NBA Draft 1996: Players who left their mark on the league
Each year the teams who missed the playoffs in the previous season participate in the lottery process to determine the lottery winner who gets the first selection in the Draft.
The most noted NBA Draft years have been 1984, 1996 and 2003. Each of those is often referred to as one of, if not, the best NBA Draft ever.
For today let’s focus on the 1996 Draft, which has most of his players so deep into their careers that their impact on the league can be gauged.
Jermaine O’Neal: The high point of his career was the 8 seasons he spent at Indiana. In his 8 seasons he was named a six-time NBA All-Star and the NBA most improved player for 2001-02. He led the Pacers to the playoffs six times including a trip to the Conference Finals in 2003-04.
Peja Stojakovic: He had to wait 15 years for his first title with the Dallas Mavericks but in his early years was known for his three-point shooting with the Sacramento Kings. A three-time All-Star, he also won the All-Star three point contest in consecutive years in 2002 and 2003 and made it to the All NBA second team in 2004.
5. Derek Fisher:
The 24th overall pick drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers, is a five-time NBA champion. Contributing off the bench as a role player, he earned his first three rings with the Lakers in their three-peat entering the millennium. His remaining two rings came in the Lakers titles of 2009 and 2010.
He adds more to the team than just numbers. In the early years it was the energy he would bring to the game off the bench for the Lakers and in his second stint it was his experience and skill as a leader.
In his second stint with the Lakers, Fisher started every game that the Lakers featured in whether regular season or the playoffs. Do the math and that’s a staggering 404 consecutive games.
He was criticised many a times at being slow and not being able to stay in front of younger and faster point guards, Fisher would make for it with his consistent clutch shooting in the post-season. His famous .4 shot against the Spurs is at the 18th spot on the All-time playoff moments list.