NBA Draft: 13 times the LA Clippers left stars on the board

LA Clippers NBA Draft Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
LA Clippers NBA Draft Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /
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Amar'e Stoudemire
Amar’e Stoudemire (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

6. 2002 NBA Draft

Clippers Select: Chris Wilcox (8)

Still on the Board: Amar’e Stoudemire (9)

The best player to enter the NBA via the 2002 draft (this might be different if Yao Ming‘s career wasn’t cut short due to injuries) fell to the ninth slot in the draft, as Amar’e Stoudemire was scooped up by the Phoenix Suns just one pick after the Clippers selected Chris Wilcox out of Maryland.

Stoudemire also suffered a fair share of injuries over the course of his 14-year NBA career, but that didn’t stop him from winning Rookie of the Year, being named an All-Star six times, and becoming a five-time member of the All-NBA team.

When healthy, Stoudemire was one of the most explosive big men in basketball and a vital piece on the famous Seven Seconds or Less Suns teams under head coach Mike D’Antoni. His athleticism and bounce would have certainly fit in well with the young Clippers teams of the early 2000s.

The Clippers were hoping to get an explosive, athletic big of their own in Chris Wilcox, but the six-foot-ten forward/center never quite panned out in his time in Los Angeles. He spent parts of four seasons with the Clippers before being traded to Seattle for Vladimir Radmanovic in 2006. Wilcox experienced some success with the the Sonics, averaging 13.5 points and 7.7 rebounds in his most productive season. He was eventually traded to the Knicks in exchange for Malik Rose, and spent the last few years of his career playing limited minutes for the Pistons and Celtics.

Don’t blame the Clippers too much, Wilcox was considered the higher prospect at the time after his impressive Freshman campaign at Maryland. The Suns even had him ranked higher than Stoudemire in their 2002 pre-draft scouting reports.