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You notice there are a lot of 2004 draftees around in these playoffs?
Dwight Howard was the first pick. Ben Gordon was third. Andre Iguodala was ninth, Josh Smith 17th, J.R. Smith 18th, and Jameer Nelson was the 20th.
Sasha Vujacic was 27th, Anderson Verejao was 30th, and Trevor Ariza was a tremendous value with the 43rd pick.
Five years after that draft, players are coming into their own all over the place. It's a happy story.
But my word, have you seen the sadness that is the former 16th pick in the 2004 NBA Draft? Kirk Snyder was in the news a few weeks ago, having been accused of breaking into a home and assaulting a man. He has been indicted on two felonies, and has since received another assault charge for allegedly attacking an inmate at the county jail.
Believe it or not, it gets worse.
Denise G. Callahan of the Dayton Daily News writes:
Warren County Common Pleas Judge Neal Bronson found Snyder unable to stand trial this week following a competency hearing. He also has ruled, at the request of Dr. Anthony Whitaker at Summit Behavioral Healthcare, that Snyder be force fed.
"The defendant has in fact rejected all medications and nutrition that has been offered him to the point that the defendant had to be hospitalized on two occasions...," Bronson wrote. "All other possible methods have been attempted without success, thereby making forced medication and nutrition the least intrusive method remaining."
Snyder's attorney, Hal Arenstein, could not be reached for comment, but he had filed documents in court saying his client is not guilty by reason of insanity and he is not competent to stand trial.
UPDATE: Ryan Schwan of Hornets247 e-mails:
That story about Kirk Snyder hurts. He played for a season with the Hornets during Paul's rookie year, and if I had to bet on which of the three swingmen we had on the team at the time (Rasual Butler, Kirk Snyder or J.R. Smith) would turn out to be a solid contributer in 2008-2009, Kirk Snyder was the one.
He had a good handle, a nice stroke, and all the athletic gifts in the world. During one game against the Lakers, he took a feed from Speedy Claxton and literally jumped over Von Wafer and dunked -- Carter over Weis style.
Now, I knew he had a bit of a troubled past. He'd been suspended by Jerry Sloan as a rookie for taunting the Houston bench after a dunk. He'd also gotten into a fistfight with Jerry Stackhouse (and gotten the worst of it), and Utah happily traded him away the following year.
I remember quotes from Byron Scott talking about how he had trouble getting through to Snyder a few times during the season, but really, I was shocked when the Hornets dumped him in the off-season, ostensibly because he was acting like he was a superstar at the Summer League instead of taking instruction. Really? Dump a guy with his gifts, because he thought he could lord over the talent at Summer League? It was a little hard to swallow.
I know at one point he was trying to change too. During the season with the Hornets, I know he talked about how he found Stackhouse after a game and apologized for the fight the year before.
It's a shame things ended so wrong.