1999 NBA Draft: The 8 Most Successful Players

The 1999 NBA Draft: The 8 Most Successful Players To Come Out Of This Class Cover Image

The 1999 NBA draft was the 53rd draft in league history dating back to the 1946-1947 season. While the 1999 draft did not produce the superstar-level talent of the drafts immediately preceding it, it still introduced many successful players into the league. It was one of the first drafts where massive amounts of coverage and information were made available to the public, in large part due to the increasing influence of the internet on sporting events.

1999 NBA Draft Class

The 99 NBA Draft is considered one of the deepest and most successful in NBA history, as a high percentage of NBA draft 1999 picks would either become all-stars, starters, or successful role players. It included 9 players who made at least 1 all-star game and 5 players who made at least 1 All-NBA team.

The initial 1999 NBA draft list contained many successful collegiate basketball players from traditional college basketball powers including Duke, St. John’s, Maryland, UCLA, Arizona, and UConn. The 1999 NBA draft lottery saw 4 players from the same college team selected for the first time in NBA history, with Duke teammates Elton Brand, Trajan Langdon, Corey Maggette, and William Avery all being picked.

Who Won Rookie of the Year?

Elton Brand and Steve Francis shared rookie of the Year honors.

Elton Brand

Elton Brand was the 1999 NBA draft 1st pick, made by the Chicago Bulls and previously had a successful 2-year collegiate career with Duke, leading them to the national championship game in 1999. Although he would at times play center during his career, at 6’8″, he was better suited to play power forward.

In his first year in the NBA, Brand established himself as one of the most successful 1999 NBA rookies, averaging 20.1 PPG, 10 RPG, and 1.6 BPG. He was one of the few bright spots on the Bulls, who were struggling in a rebuilding phase after their historic run with Michael Jordan in the 1990s. Although the Bulls only won 17 games during the 1999-2000 season, Brand was named co-ROY due to his outstanding individual play during the season.

Steve Francis

Steve Francis was the 2nd pick in the 1999 draft by the Vancouver Grizzlies, who then traded him to the Houston Rockets after Francis publicly voiced his desire not to play for the Grizzlies. Francis joined a veteran team with 3 future members of the hall of fame, Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley, and Scottie Pippen, that had underachieved the previous season after losing in the 1st round of the playoffs.

Francis was expected to fulfill a need as an athletic point guard, something the slow and aging Rockets team needed. However, the situation deteriorated quickly, as Pippen was traded to Portland, and both Barkley and Olajuwon missed significant time due to injury, thrusting Francis into the spotlight. Francis responded with an excellent rookie season, averaging 18 PPG, 6.6 APG, 5,3 RPG, and 1.5 SPG, a performance that earned him co-ROY honors.

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Who was in the NBA Draft 1999 Class?


  1. Elton Brand (Chicago Bulls)
  2. Steve Francis (Vancouver Grizzlies)
  3. Baron Davis (Charlotte Hornets)
  4. Lamar Odom (Los Angeles Clippers)
  5. Jonathan Bender (Toronto Raptors)
  6. Wally Szczerbiak (Minnesota Timberwolves)
  7. Richard Hamilton (Washinton Wizards)
  8. Andre Miller (Cleveland Cavaliers)
  9. Shawn Marion (Phoenix Suns)
  10. Jason Terry (Atlanta Hawks)
  11. Trajan Langdon (Cleveland Cavaliers)
  12. Aleksandar Radojevic (Toronto Raptors)
  13. Corey Maggette (Seattle SuperSonics)


  1. William Avery (Minnesota Timberwolves)
  2. Frederic Weis (New York Knicks)
  3. Ron Artest (Chicago Bulls)
  4. Cal Bowdler (Atlanta Hawks)
  5. James Posey (Denver Nuggets)
  6. Qunicy Lewis (Utah Jazz)
  7. Dion Glover (Atlanta Hawks)
  8. Jeff Foster (Golden State Warriors)
  9. Kenny Thomas (Houston Rockets)
  10. Devean George (Los Angeles Lakers)
  11. Andrei Kirilenko (Utah Jazz)
  12. Tim James (Miami Heat)
  13. Vonteego Cummings (Indiana Pacers)
  14. Jumaine Jones (Atlanta Hawks)
  15. Scott Padgett (Utah Jazz)
  16. Leon Smith (San Antonio Spurs)


  1. John Celestand (Los Angeles Lakers)
  2. Rico Hill (Los Angeles Clippers)
  3. Michael Ruffin (Chicago Bulls)
  4. Chris Herren (Denver Nuggets)
  5. Evan Eschmeyer (New Jersey Nets)
  6. Calvin Booth (Washinton Wizards)
  7. Wang Zhizhi (Dallas Mavericks)
  8. Obinna Ekezie (Vancouver Grizzlies)
  9. Laron Profit (Orlando Magic)
  10. A.J. Bramlett (Cleveland Cavaliers)
  11. Gordon Giricek (Dallas Mavericks)
  12. Francisco Elson (Denver Nuggets)
  13. Louis Bullock (Minnesota Timberwolves)
  14. Lee Nailon (Charlotte Hornets)
  15. Tyrone Washington (Houston Rockets)
  16. Ryan Robertson (Sacramento Kings)
  17. J.R. Koch (New York Knicks)
  18. Todd MacCulloch (Philadelphia 76ers)
  19. Galen Young (Milwaukee Bucks)
  20. Lari Ketner (Chicago Bulls)
  21. Venson Hamilton (Houston Rockets)
  22. Antwain Smith (Vancouver Grizzlies)
  23. Roberto Bergersen (Atlanta Hawks)
  24. Rodney Buford (Miami Heat)
  25. Melvin Levett (Detroit Pistons)
  26. Kris Clack (Boston Celtics)
  27. Tim Young (Golden State Warriors)
  28. Manu Ginobili (San Antonio Spurs)
  29. Eddie Lucas (Utah Jazz)

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Who was the best player in the 1999 Draft?

Manu Ginobili is arguably the best player to come out of the 1999 Draft.

Manu Ginobili

Manu Ginobili was the 57th pick in the NBA 1999 draft by the San Antonio Spurs, partly because he was not planning on joining the NBA right away, choosing to play professionally in Italy for 3 seasons. After joining the Spurs for the 2002-2003 season, Ginobili played a relatively minor role with the team, averaging just 7.6 PPG while playing about 21 minutes a game.

However, by his 3rd season with the team, Ginobili established himself as the 3rd best player on the team, making major contributions to the Spurs 2004-2005 championship team. While Ginobili never generated the great individual stats of some of his peers because he played on many elite teams, he nonetheless established himself as the best player of the NBA 1999 draft and would probably be the number 1 pick by most general managers in a 1999 NBA redraft.

Ginobili won 4 NBA championships with the Spurs, was named an all-star 2 times, was named an all-NBA 3rd team selection 2 times, and won the 2007-2008 sixth man of the year. Ginobili is currently a finalist for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and is expected to be enshrined this year.

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1999 NBA Draft Best Players

Elton Brand

The 99 NBA draft 1st pick. After being drafted by the Chicago Bulls and enjoying two statistically successful years with the team, Elton Brand was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers, a lowly franchise that had seen little success in its history. Although the Clippers would continue to struggle, Brand was eventually able to lead them to a 47-35 record during the 2006-2007 season, at the time the best record in the Clippers history, and a first-round playoff series win.

His 20.3 PPG, 10.2 RPG, and 2.1 BPG averages during his first 8 seasons made him arguably the best player of the 99 NBA draft class during that span. However, he became plagued by injuries starting in his 9th NBA season and was never the same player, although he would have brief periods of success as a role player later in his career. Brand was named to 2 all-star games and 1 All-NBA 2nd team, in addition to being named co-ROY with Steve Francis.

Steve Francis

Steve Francis was traded by the Vancouver Grizzlies, who had selected him 2nd overall, to the Houston Rockets soon after the 1999 draft. Although he joined a veteran team with many aging stars, he was quickly forced to become the focal point of the team offense as Charles Barkley and Hakeem Olajuwon both struggled with injuries most of the season.

By his 2nd season with the team, Francis was firmly established as the team’s best player but was only able to lead the Rockets to the playoffs once in his 5 years with the team despite amassing impressive individual statistics.

He also spent time with the New York Knicks and Orlando Magic, but never quite reached his potential considering his tremendous talent. Francis averaged 18.1 PPG, 6 APG, 5.6 RPG, and 1.5 SPG, was named to 3 all-star teams, and was the co-ROY with Elton Brand, but only played in one playoff series in his career.

Wally Szczerbiak

After being drafted 6th overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves, Wally Szczerbiak developed into a complementary scorer to Kevin Garnett, averaging just under 15.5 PPG during his 6 and a half year run with the team. He also spent time as a role player on Boston, Seattle, and Cleveland, most notably playing alongside Lebron James during the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Szczerbiak ended his career with a 14.1 PPG average and was named to 1 all-star team during the 2001-2002 NBA season.

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Richard Hamilton

Richard Hamilton was drafted 7th overall by the Washinton Wizards after a successful collegiate career that saw him win a national championship with UConn. After spending 3 years with the Washinton Wizards, Hamilton was traded to the Detroit Pistons, where he would spend the next 9 seasons. Hamilton was a good mid-range spot-up shooter, elite free throw shooter, and good passer that fit in perfectly with the Pistons, helping them win the 2003-2004 NBA championship. Hamilton averaged 17.1 PPG for his career, was named to 3 all-star teams, and led the NBA in 3pt% during the 2005-2006 season.

Shawn Marion

Shawn Marion was selected 9th overall by the Phoenix Suns and quickly established himself as an elite all-around player with almost limitless athleticism. He was a major contributor on the Phoenix Suns teams of the mid-2000s that regularly made extended playoff runs, functioning as a versatile forward that could play inside and outside on both offense and defense. Marion was also a starter on the 2010-2011 Dallas Mavericks championship team after his playing days with the Suns. Marion averaged 15.2 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 1.5 SPG, and 1.1 BPG, was named to 4 all-star teams, and was named to the All-NBA 3rd team twice.

Ron Artest

After being selected 16th overall by the Chicago Bulls, Ron Artest developed into a ferocious perimeter defender and solid offensive player. Artest played with 6 different teams during his career, including the Los Angeles Lakers, where he was a starter on the 2009-2010 championship team. He averaged 13.2 PPG, 4.5 RPG, and 1.7 SPG, was named to 1 all-star team, and was named to the All-NBA 3rd team 1 time. He also was named to the All-Defensive 1st team and the All-Defensive 2nd team twice and was the 2003-2004 defensive player of the year.

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Andrei Kirilenko

Although he was selected 24th overall by the Utah Jazz, Andrei Kirilenko did not join the team for 2 years, choosing instead to play professionally in Russia. Kirilenko played most of his career with the Jazz, becoming known as a very good defender and solid all-around player. He averaged 11.8 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1.4 SPG, and 1.8 BPG, and was named to 1 all-star game.

He also was named to the All-Defensive 2nd team twice, and the All-Defensive 1st team once. His most significant playoff run came during the 2006-2007 season with the Jazz, where he made major contributions to the Jazz’s run to the Western Conference Finals.

The Manu Ginobili draft class / Steve Francis draft class / Elton Brand class is one of the most successful in league history

The 99 NBA draft class was one of the most successful in league history, generating many star players who would contribute heavily to the league over the next decade. Manu Ginobili is expected to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this year in 2022, giving the 1999 draft class its first HOF inductee. In all likelihood, Shawn Marion will also be elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in the next few years.