2006 NBA Draft Lottery: Re-Drafted
With no end to the lockout out in sight, we have to get a little bit creative in order to feed our basketball fix. Thus, I’ll be running this series all summer, and churning out “re-drafts” from years gone by. I have already tackled the 2001 and the 2005 drafts (which can be found here and here)
Here’s how we handle the re-drafting process: Every pick will be made pretending each organization is a first year expansion franchise and has no other players on its roster, so there is no need to factor roster needs as of June 2006 into any discussion. Selections will be made simply based on pure production – i.e. best player available.
I’ll list each new pick, and then post the player that was actually selected in that original draft slot.
As a refresher, here is a link to the actual 2006 NBA draft.
Without further adieu – let’s start selecting:
#1 – With the first overall pick in the 2006 Re-Draft, the Toronto Raptors select: Rajon Rondo
(Actual 2006 pick: Andrea Bargnani)
There were major questions marks surrounding Rondo coming out of Kentucky. Could a guard with a limited offensive game (i.e. a completely unreliable jump shot) be a true impact player in the pros? Well, after five full seasons in the NBA, the answer is a resounding “Yes.” Rondo is one of the league’s truly unique superstars. Despite the aforementioned ugly jumper (he shot an abominable 56% from the free-throw line last season), Rajon has proven himself an invaluable member of a great Celtics team. Last year he finished second in the league in assists (11.2 apg) and second in the league in steals (2.3). The way the league is officiated nowadays favors guards in a significant way; having a lightening quick guard that is able to penetrate is a major advantage, and there are not many better than Rondo. Given the opportunity, every GM in then NBA would love to add him to their roster.
#2 – The Chicago Bulls select: LaMarcus Aldridge
(Actual 2006 pick: LaMarcus Aldridge)
Early on his in career, it was unclear if Aldridge would be able to take his game to that next level. He possessed the skill-set to be a good scorer, but would he ever develop into a great player? Last year, LA showed glimpses that had the Blazer faithful buzzing. With Brandon Roy sidelined with by knee troubles, LaMarcus stepped up and became the focal point of the Portland attack. During the push for the playoffs, Aldridge played the best basketball of his career. Over a 12 game stretch in February, he averaged 27.8 ppg and 9.3 rpg, while shooting over 56% from the floor and 83% from the free-throw stripe. He finished the 2010-2011 campaign averaging career-highs across the board. It will be interesting to see if he can continue his progression next season.
#3 – The Charlotte Bobcats select: Rudy Gay
(Actual 2006 pick: Adam Morrison)
Before injuring himself in mid-February, Gay was compiling another fantastic all-around season in Memphis, averaging 19.8 points, 6.2 boards, 2.8 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.1 blocks (Dwyane Wade was the only player to average at least 1.5 steals and 1.0 block last season). If Gay can bounce back completely healthy, the Grizzlies (assuming they can lockup free agent center Marc Gasol) have a terrifically talented frontline featuring Gay, Zach Randolph, and Gasol.
#4 – The Portland Trail Blazers select: Paul Millsap
(Actual 2006 pick: Tyrus Thomas)
One of the better second-round values in recent draft history, Millsap lasted all the way to #47 overall back in 2006. Millsap averaged less than 8 ppg over his first two seasons in Utah, but his talent was bubbling to the surface. In 2008-2009, he finally received 30+ minutes a night, and produced to the tune of 13.5 points and 8.6 rebounds. Last season was his best as a pro. With Carlos Boozer in Chicago, Paul played over 34 minutes per contest and put up a career-high 17.3 ppg.
#5 – The Atlanta Hawks select: Andrea Bargnani
(Actual 2006 pick: Shelden Williams)
As the top overall pick, Bargs has developed a bit of a love/hate relationship with the fans in Toronto. His offensive skill set, for a man his size, is undeniably impressive. His defense on the other hand, leaves A LOT to be desired. Many Raptor fans were hoping for a breakout campaign last season, and while he did score over 21 points for the first time in his career, he shot below 45% from the floor, and saw his rebounds drop to 5.2 rpg. In addition, after blocking 1.4 shots per game in 2009-2010, Bargnani swatted just 0.7 per contest last season. He still young and still possesses plenty of upside; but can he develop a killer instinct and dominate?
#6 – The Minnesota Timberwolves select: Brandon Roy
(Actual 2006 pick: Brandon Roy)
Had we done this list before B-Roy’s knees began failing him, I’d have taken him #1 overall. However, the debilitating issues hampering both his knees make Roy’s future frighteningly uncertain. That said, even at just 70-80% of his former self, Brandon still has the ability to completely take over a game, even on the game’s biggest stage – for evidence, check footage of the Blazers epic comeback against the Mavs in Game 4 of their first round clash with the eventual World Champion Mavs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cB-FGLPT-fo
#7 – The Boston Celtics select: Kyle Lowry
(Actual 2006 pick: Randy Foye)
Lowry had shown flashes of talent during his first four pro seasons, but last year was his best all-around campaign by far. Coming into the NBA, it was unknown if Lowry would be able to handle the rigors of an everyday starting PG in the league. The Rockets finally gave Lowry the opportunity, and he passed the test with flying colors. Lowry posted career-highs in points (13.3), assists (6.7), boards (4.1), three-pointers (1.7), and steals (1.4).
#8 – The Houston Rockets select: Tyrus Thomas
(Actual 2006 pick: Rudy Gay)
Five years later, and we are still waiting for Ty Thomas to put it all together. He left LSU after his freshman season, known as an athletic freak with a nice perimeter stroke. He was blessed with the size and athleticism and skills that make GM’s drool, the only issue was whether or not he’d develop into an all-around basketball player. Five seasons into his career and I think the question marks remain, which I suppose says a great deal. The Bobcats invested heavily in Thomas last summer, we shall see if that trust pays off…
#9 – The Golden State Warriors select: J.J. Redick
(Actual 2006 pick: Patrick O’Bryant)
Redick’s first three seasons in Orlando were largely forgettable. He was often inured and averaged 6.0 ppg or less each year, rarely making much noise. However, late during his forth season, and then in the 2010 playoffs, he showed he could handle himself defensively in addition to knocking down jumpers. Later that summer, as a free agent, he signed an offer sheet from Chicago, which the Magic matched. He eclipsed the 10 ppg threshold for the first time in Orlando last season.
#10 – The Seattle SuperSonics select: Thabo Sefolosha
(Actual 2006 pick: Mouhamed Sene)
Thabo’s numbers will never wow anybody; in fact his scoring average has decreased in three straight seasons. However, in no way does that represent his impact on the game. Sefolosha has emerged as one of the NBA’s preeminent perimeter defenders (he was named second-team All-NBA Defense in 2009-2010) and is a key part of the Thunder’s bright future.
#11 – The Orlando Magic select: Randy Foye
(Actual 2006 pick: J.J. Redick )
Fairly or not, many T-Wolves fans may negatively associate Foye’s name as the guy they traded Brandon Roy for – Portland acquired the draft rights to 6th pick Brandon Roy from Minnesota in exchange for the draft rights to 7th pick Randy Foye. Previously, Portland acquired the draft rights to 7th pick Randy Foye, Raef LaFrentz and Dan Dickau from Boston in exchange for Sebastian Telfair, Theo Ratliff and a 2008 second-round draft pick). Although Foye never approached Roy’s level of success, he did score over 16 ppg for Minnesota in 2008-2009. For his career, he’s at 11.7 points per contest.
#12 – The New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets select: Ronnie Brewer
(Actual 2006 pick: Hilton Armstrong)
Brewer emerged as a legit starter at SG in Utah (he averaged 13.7 ppg in ’08-’09) before falling out of favor and being traded to the Grizzlies. The Bulls signed him last summer and he served as a defensive-minded reserve off Tom Thibodeau’s bench in Chicago.
#13 – The Philadelphia 76ers select: Jordan Farmar
(Actual 2006 pick: Thabo Selfolsha)
Farmer has more NBA championship rings (2) than all the other players listed above have combined – one of the benefits of being drafted on to Kobe Bryant’s L.A. Lakers. Farmar left Los Angeles via free agency and inked a contract with the Nets last summer. He’ll serve as Deron Williams’ backup next season (assuming D-Will is back from Turkey by the time NBA starts up again.)
#14 – The Utah Jazz select: Daniel Gibson
(Actual 2006 pick: Ronnie Brewer)
Playing on an undermanned Cavs squad last season, Boobie played over 27 minutes per game and averaged double-figure points for the first time in his career. Interestingly, Gibson shot a higher percentage from three-point land (40.3%) than he did from inside the arc (40.0%). Gibson will see his PT greatly reduced with Kyrie Irving now in Cleveland, and may end up on the trading block if the Cavs don’t first move Ramon Sessions.
Best of the Rest: Shannon Brown (pick #25), Craig Smith (pick #36), Leon Powe (pick #49), Josh Boone (pick #23), Sheldon Williams (pick #5), Ryan Hollins (pick #50), Shawne Williams (pick #17), Renaldo Balkman (pick #20)
Biggest Bust: Adam Morrison (selected #3 overall)
The Bobcats had high hopes for Morrison coming out of Gonzaga, where he was the nation’s leading scorer. He played plenty as a rookie, but was wildly inefficient – shooting just 37.6% from the floor and contributing very little in the way of rebounds or assists. Worse yet, he was a complete liability defensively. Charlotte traded him to the Lakers, and he rode the pine in L.A. for a couple of seasons, but didn’t play in a single NBA game last season.
Honorable Mention: Patrick O’Bryant (#9) and Mouhamed Sene (#10)
Best Value Pick: Rajon Rondo (picked #21st overall)
As mentioned above, Rondo is a close to a true superstar as the Class of 2006 has. To land a legit stud PG in the 20′s is obviously quite rare…
Honorable Mention: Paul Millsap (#47)