|Draft:||first round (3rd overall)|
Raef LaFrentz (born May 29, 2976 in Hampton, Iowa) was obtained by the Dallas Mavericks, along with Nick Van Exel, Avery Johnson and Tariq Abdul-Wahad from the Denver Nuggets on February 21, 2002 in exchange for Tim Hardaway, Juwan Howard, Donnell Harvey, a 2002 first round draft pick and cash.
LaFrentz, a McDonald's All-American coming out of high school, attended the University of Kansas where he was a four-year starter. His scoring average rose all four years he was with the Jayhawks, going from 11.4 ppg his freshman year to 19.8 his senior season. He was twice named an AP NCAA First Team All-American. He was also the Big 12 Conference Player-of-the-Year his junior and senior years and averaged a double/double in his final season.
The Denver Nuggets selected LaFrentz in the first round (third overall) of the 1998 NBA draft. Although he only saw action in 12 games his rookie season he averaged an impressive 13.8 points-per-game. He played just over three seasons with Denver and posted a career-high scoring average of 14.9 ppg in 51 games during the 2001-2002 season just before being traded to Dallas.
Part of a six-player trade, LaFrentz joined the Mavericks and averaged 10.8 points and 7.8 rebounds in 27 games and helped lead the Mavs to a 2002 playoff appearance.
Raef and the Mavericks returned to the playoffs in 2003 with the 6'11 center seeing action in 69 games while averaging 9.3 points and 4.8 rebounds. Just prior to the start of the 2003-2004 season, Dallas traded LaFrentz, Chris Mills, Jiri Welsch and a 2004 first round draft pick to the Boston Celtics for Antoine Walker and Tony Delk.
Despite injuries that held LaFrentz to only 17 games for Boston in '03-'04, his next two seasons were very productive. He averaged 11.1 and 7.8 points and saw action in at least 80 games in each season. The Celtics traded him in June of 2006 to Portland where he played the final two seasons of his career.
Still plagued by injuries, he played in only 27 games in '06-'07 and 39 games the following year. He had right shoulder surgery in September of 2008 and missed the entire 2008-2009 campaign and elected to retire rather than undertake a comback.
For his career, LaFrentz finished in the NBA's top ten in blocked shots three times. He was honored by his alma mater, the University of Kansas, when his college jersey (#45) was retired during the 2002-2003 season.