The 1998 NBA Draft was one of the best in recent memory, with four all-time greats at the top of the heap and several players following who changed the game in certain ways.
The list starts off not with the top overall pick, Michael Olowakandi of Pacific, but with a player who changed the game like few if any power forwards before him did: Dirk Nowitzki of Germany.
Nowitzki was originally drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks, but traded to Dallas along with Pat Garrity for Robert “Tractor” Traylor, a monstrous power forward/center from Michigan.
The list was compiled by the popular Facebook page BallisLife2, and is as follows:
1. Dirk Nowitzki-
With his signature one-legged fadeaway and incredible 2011 NBA title run, which included a victory over the LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade-led Heat, Nowitzki etched his signature on the power forward position and the NBA in general.
One of the most influential players of all-time, Dirk is the crown jewel of the 1998 Draft class.
2. Paul Pierce-
The Kansas product had a smooth inside-outside game as a 6-foot-7 small forward who could play the two-guard and even the power forward position if needed.
He won the title in 2008 with the ‘Big 3’ of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, along with supporting players like Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis, point guard Rajon Rondo and defensive stopper James Posey.
3. Vince Carter-
Also known as ‘Half Man, Half Amazing,’ Carter retired at age 43.
He played 22 years and didn’t win an NBA championship, but his Slam Dunk Contest performances are the stuff of legends.
4. Antawn Jamison-
A former UNC Tar Heel teammate of Carter’s, Jamison had a more polished game heading into the league but didn’t quite reach Carter’s level.
He didn’t win a title, either, but was a two-time All-Star.
5. Rashard Lewis-
A stretch-four who wrecked opponents from the perimeter with Dwight Howard operating on the inside for the 2009 NBA finalists, Lewis averaged 14.9 points while shooting 38.6% from three-point land as a 6-foot-10 forward.
Lewis is now a captain of the 3-Headed Monsters team in the Big 3 at age 43.
6. Larry Hughes-
The former St. Louis Billiken averaged a career-best 22.7 points in 1999-2000.
He played all the way until 2011-2012, showcasing great athleticism and scoring ability at the shoot guard position.
7. Mike Bibby-
Bibby averaged 21.6 points per game for the 2005-2006 Sacramento Kings, lighting it up in the playoffs and solidifying the point guard position after Jason Williams’ departure.
Related Reading: ‘Color Blind:’ The Jason Williams (White Chocolate) Documentary Movie
8. Al Harrington-
A 6-foot-9, 230 pound power forward, Harrington averaged 17 or more points six times or more over the course of his long and illustrious career.
9. Cuttino Mobley-
The man known as “Cat” averaged 17 or more points five times as well.
His smooth handle and outside shooting made him one of the best and most underrated point guards of the 1998 NBA Draft class.
10. Ricky Davis-
The 6-foot-6, 195 pound Davis was a phenomenal athlete who averaged 13.5 points over the course of his career.
His inclusion at number 10 on this list shows just how talented the 1998 NBA Draft class really was by the time it was all said and done.