After the scarcity of star power the previous year, the 2001 Draft brings us back to a more typical output. There were seven All-Stars in this draft: Pau Gasol (picked #3), Joe Johnson (#10), Zach Randolph (#19), Gerald Wallace (#25), Tony Parker (#28), Gilbert Arenas (#30) and Mehmet Okur (#37.)
The best players in this draft seem almost evenly dispersed across the top 40. So 2001 was not top heavy at all, and again indicates the semi-randomness of the draft order. Obviously it is better to have a late lottery pick than an early second rounder - but in retrospect we see often it doesn't matter nearly as much as we think it should.
Kwame Brown was a huge bust with the first selection. Tyson Chandler was a solid pick at #2. Eddy Curry was a relative disappointment at #4. Jason Richardson was a fine pick at #5.
There are several other first rounders that have had excellent careers: Shane Battier (#6), Richard Jefferson (#13), Troy Murphy (#14), Brendan Haywood (#20) and Samuel Dalembert (#26) all should be taken note of.
Arenas and Okur were both obviously great second round picks. Also Earl Watson and Bobby Simmons, picked 39th and 41st respectively, are probably at least worth mentioning as second rounders who carved out long and decent careers.
The undrafted class of 2001 is pretty impressive as well. Carlos Arroyo, Charlie Bell, Mo Evans and Jamario Moon all have had long careers.
Here is the approximate order of the top ten players from the 2001 draft, with their actual selection number in parenthesis:
1. Pau Gasol (3)
2. Tony Parker (28)
3. Joe Johnson (10)
4. Zach Randolph (19)
5. Tyson Chandler (2)
6. Gilbert Arenas (30)
7. Richard Jefferson (13)
8. Gerald Wallace (25)
9. Mehmet Okur (37)
10. Shane Battier (6)