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The greatest draft-night trade of all time

Dirk-Nowitzki-Don-Nelson-Steve-Nash

The final proof 2020 is an insane year is the fact the Timberwolves and Warriors are desperately trying to trade their no.1, and no.2 picks in this year's Draft. We have no idea what will happen, but one thing is for sure - if we do get some draft-day trades, it will take years to assess who "won the trade." Let's use the 1998 Draft as a lesson in patience. 

The Winner

A three-team draft-night trade occurred, and everyone agreed, the Milwaukee Bucks won the trade. Who did they get? The next Charles Barkley - Robert Traylor. The country had watched Traylor bully defenders at the University of Michigan, and he looked like a future star. His nickname "The Tractor" referred to his weight. Some were concerned he would be another Oliver Miller, but a report from '98 seemed teams were convinced that wouldn't be the case. 

“Traylor has dropped about 20 pounds since the end of the Wolverines’ season and 40 since he began conditioning drills with his team last fall. That impressed NBA scouts, who gave up any thoughts of linking Traylor to Miller and instead started linking him to Charles Barkley, who dieted his way to an imminent Hall of Fame induction.”

The Capital Times in Madison, Wisconsin

Traylor struggled with his weight throughout a seven-year NBA career in which averaged 4.3 points and 3.7 rebounds and spent as much time rehabbing injuries as he spent on the floor. He, unfortunately, passed away from a heart attack at the age of 34. 

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Second best

The second team in the trade were the Phoenix Suns, who were considered a winner and got rid of a point guard who couldn’t find playoff playing time behind Jason Kidd or Kevin Johnson and got Pat Garrity, the 19th pick in the Draft. Garry spent only one year in Phoenix and was shipped to Orlando, where he averaged 7.3 points and 2.6 rebounds in his nine years with the Magic. 

The Losers

Media outlets in Dallas called GM Don Nelson's move "the dumbest thing I've ever heard." They traded a guy compared to Charles Barkley for a third-string point guard and a skinny German kid who may not come over to the NBA for two more years. Here's the entire trade. 

  • The Mavs drafted Robert Traylor with the No. 6 pick
  • The Bucks took Nowitzki at No. 9 and Pat Garrity at No. 19
  • The Mavs traded Traylor to the Bucks for Nowitzki and Garrity
  • The Mavs turned around and traded Garrity to Phoenix for Nash, a back-up point guard

That year's draft was considered eight players deep, and when Paul Pierce fell to no.6, everyone was convinced Don Nelson would take him. So when he traded down to no.9, everyone lost their mind. Nowitzki and Nash, when he could've had Pierce? The only thing they were right about was Paul Pierce. 

“Pierce was my second-favorite player in the draft. I just think Nowitzki is going to be better.”

Don Nelson, Star Telegram

So whatever happens on November 18th, give it time.

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