At the turn of a new millennium the Sixers were taking further steps to become a top-tier team in the Eastern Conference. The 2000 NBA draft was — well to say the least — very “undistinguished.” Besides the likes of Kenyon Martin –who had a solid NBA career with the Nets after going number one — the overall talent was very lackluster. The Sixers were in the middle of the pack with the No. 20 pick and selected an athletic guard out of Hofstra by the name of Speedy Claxton. Excitement and intrigue followed the pick. Would he be able to play along side one of the greatest to ever do it in Allen Iverson? Being a premier point guard and leading Hofstra to the American East Title and making a short NCAA tournament run, Claxton’s reputation for being a leader on the floor shined bright.
Claxton lasted just one season in Philadelphia. He averaged 7.2 points per game and three 3.0 assists per game. After just one season in a Sixers uniform he was traded to the San Antonio Spurs where he backed up guard Tony Parker and won the 2003 NBA title as a member of the Spurs. That was the one shining ray of light on his lowly career. He would play for the Golden State Warriors for two years, the Atlanta Hawks for three years, as well as the Hornets and one more stint with the Warriors before being waived to make way for Anthony Tolliver.
To be honest, the 76ers really didn’t miss out on much. Outside of Kenyon Martin, who went number one and Jamal Crawford who was selected eighth by Cleveland, there was little to no talent in this draft. The draft was full of players who had some good, short runs, but the class was lacking the superstar talent. A few notable role players were on the board when the Sixers selected Claxton at 20th. Morris Peterson went 21st to the Toronto Raptors and while he was not that much better than Claxton from an athletic standpoint, he did have a decent NBA career. DeShawn Stevenson was selected 23rd overall by the Utah Jazz. Stevenson had a decent career and he made headlines during the 2010 NBA finals with his feud with superstar LeBron James. He was a key fixture in helping the Mavericks deny Miami’s “Big Three” their first title. The most notable player would have to be Michael Redd, who was selected in the second round at 43 by the Milwaukee Bucks. Redd played 12 seasons and finished with a .380 3 point field goal percentage.
Even if it wasn’t noticed because of a weak draft class, Speedy Claxton was yet another draft mistake by the 76ers.