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2007 NBA Lottery: “Re-Drafted”
Posted By Tommy Beer On September 28, 2011 @ 10:00 am In All,Main Page,NBA Draft | No Comments
The plan this off-season is to go back and “re-draft” each draft from the prior lockout (1998) to this current one. Thus far, I have quite a few different drafts in the books (click here for a complete list).
Here is how we’ve been approaching this project: Every pick will be made pretending each organization is a first-year expansion franchise and has no other players on its roster; as a result, roster needs as of June 2007 will not be factored into the equation. Nor will current contract status, regardless of whether the player is currently locked into a deal that makes him either under or overpaid. Selections will be made simply based on pure production – i.e. best player available.
I’ll list each pick, and underneath I’ll post the player that was actually selected in that original draft slot.
As a refresher, here is a link to the actual 2007 NBA draft.
Let’s dig in:
#1 – With the first pick in the 2007 NBA re-draft, the Portland Trail Blazers select: Kevin Durant
(Actual 2007 pick: Greg Oden)
After much handwringing four summers ago, Durant is now obviously the clear choice at #1. However, the Blazers can’t be admonished for selecting Greg Oden with the top overall selection four years ago, considering how rare it is to have the opportunity to land a legit franchise-changing center. Nonetheless, Oden’s career has been completely derailed by injuries, while Durant has emerged as one of the game’s brightest stars. The knock on KD entering the league was that he’d be rendered ineffective by bigger, stronger defenders and that his lithe frame wouldn’t be able to handle the rigors of the pro game. Durant went about proving doubters wrong immediately, taking home Rookie of the Year honors during his first season. And despite having just four NBA seasons on his resume, Durant already commands immense respect. His best statistical season came in 2009-2010, when he averaged 30.2 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 1.4 steals per contest. That season he became the youngest scoring champion in the history of the NBA (at just 21 years of age.) His statistical production took a slight step back last season, but the OKC Thunder keep improving as a team, with Durant spearheading the charge. The sky is the limit for this kid…
#2 – The Seattle SuperSonics select: Al Horford
(Actual 2007 pick: Kevin Durant)
The Hawks have made some questionable picks with high lottery selections over the past decade, but they hit a home run with Horford in 2007. Big Al has been a beast since stepping foot in the NBA. He finished second to Durant in ROY the year voting, averaging a near double-double (11.5 ppg and 9.3 rpg) right out of the gates. Horford has made back-to-back All-Star Game appearances the last two seasons and was selected to the All-NBA Third Team for the 2010-2011 season.
#3 – The Atlanta Hawks select: Joakim Noah
(Actual 2007 pick: Al Horford)
Noah was a controversial pick coming of our Florida. Some pundits felt his game wouldn’t translate well to the NBA and that the Bulls had reached at #9. Well, after a somewhat slow start in Chicago, Noah has developed into a key cog on an up-and-coming Bulls squad. Noah’s game will never be pretty, but he is undeniably effective. He pounds the paint, protects the tin, and is the defensive heart-and-soul of the gritty Chicago attack.
#4 – The Memphis Grizzlies select: Marc Gasol
(Actual 2007 pick: Mike Conley Jr.)
In early February of 2008, the Memphis Grizzlies traded the face of the franchise, Pau Gasol, to the L.A. Lakers for Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, a 2008 1st round draft pick (which became Donte’ Greene), a 2010 1st round draft pick (which became Greivis Vasquez) and the Lakers second-round draft choice from the 2007 draft: Marc Gasol, an unknown foreign center who hadn’t yet played a minute in the NBA. The younger Gasol was clearly an afterthought in the blockbuster trade, as Pau teamed up with Kobe and company, helping to shift the balance of power in the West (the Lakers would win back-to-back championships starting in 2009). But Marc came over to the States the following fall and quickly showed he was more than a “throw-in.” In league with so few legitimate big men, Gasol is now considered one of the NBA’s better centers. Marc sparkled in the 2001 postseason, averaging 15.0 points and 11.2 boards in the Grizzlies remarkable playoff run. He also blocked 2.2 shots per game – 3rd highest average in the postseason. Gasol will be a restricted free agent whenever the lockout ends and will be one of the more coveted FA’s on the market.
#5 – The Boston Celtics select: Rodney Stuckey
(Actual 2007 pick: Jeff Green)
After the first four players, there is a significant drop-off in talent in this draft class. I’ll go with Stuckey here at #5. Rodney was an unheralded mid-first round pick out of Eastern Washington and didn’t distinguish himself much as a rookie after breaking his hand in the Pistons final preseason game. Still the talent was apparent when he averaged 13.4 points and nearly 5 assists despite playing less than 32 minutes a night during his second pro season. Detroit had high hopes for the youngster and was hoping he would develop into the centerpiece of their offense. However, Stuckey struggled with consistency and efficiency (he shot just 40.5% from the floor in 2009-2010 while attempting over 15 shots per contest). Stuckey still possess special upside, it remains to be seen whether he can put it all together on a consistent basis.
#6 – The Milwaukee Bucks select: Mike Conley
(Actual 2007 pick: Yi Jianlian)
The were some skeptics dubious when the Grizz selected Conley with the #4 overall pick in 2007, and plenty of pundits scoffed when Memphis handed Mike a $45 million extension last November. Yet, based on Grizzlies impressive playoff run and the upward trajectory of the franchise, Memphis likely feels confident with their on-court quarterback. Say this for Conley, he has shown steady improvement throughout his brief NBA career. Conley’s scoring and assist averages have climbed in each and every one of his four pro campaigns.
#7 – The Minnesota Timberwolves select: Jeff Green
(Actual 2007 pick: Corey Brewer)
With the Thunder emerging as one of the West’s better young teams, it seemed OKC would keep the promising trio of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Jeff Green together for a long, long time. It appeared this core would be the foundation of the franchise. Green, a long, versatile, all-around athlete, was a valued defender and one of the team’s leading scorers – he averaged over 15 ppg in both his second and third NBA seasons. However, at the trade deadline last February, GM Sam Presti dealt Green to the Celtics in exchange for center Kendrick Perkins. Green struggled after arriving in Boston and never seemed to find his comfort zone with the C’s. It will be interesting to see if the Celts lock him up long-term, and if he can bounce back and get his career back on track in Boston.
#8 – The Charlotte Bobcats select: Wilson Chandler
(Actual 2007 pick: Brandan Wright)
Chandler flourished in New York under Mike D’Antoni’s free-flowing offense; he was inserted into the starting lineup during his second season and never looked back. Wilson averaged over 14 ppg during each of the three seasons he spent with D’Antoni in NYC, but was then shipped to Denver in the Carmelo Anthony deal. Interestingly, Chandler, who would have been a restricted free agent this summer, agreed to terms with a team in China, which means he won’t play in the NBA during the 2011-2012 season (if there is one), as the Chinese Basketball Association doesn’t allow buy-out clauses in their contracts.
#9 – The Chicago Bulls select: Greg Oden
(Actual 2007 pick: Joakim Noah)
Ah, what might have been… Or, maybe, what could still be?? Oden was on the NBA radar as early as his freshman year in high school. Projected as a true “can’t miss” prospect, Oden dominated the NCAA (despite a wrist injury) during his lone season at Ohio State and most everyone assumed he’d had a major impact in the NBA right away as well. However, as we all know, injuries robbed him of that opportunity. Oden underwent mircofracture surgery on his right knee in September of 2007, a few short months after the Blazers nabbed him with the #1 overall selection. He would miss the entire 2007-2008 campaign. Oden played on opening night the following season, but left with a foot injury after playing just 13 minutes. After as a solid opening month to the 2009-2010 season (which included 24-point scoring outburst and a separate 20-rebound game), he fractured his left patella tendon, which cost him the rest of that season. Then, the following November, Portland announced Oden needed microfracture surgery on his left knee. Obviously, Oden’s career up until this point has been tragically marred by knee injuries (he’s missed a grand total of 246 games); however, when he has been able to suit up, he’s shown what’s he’s capable of – even if he isn’t close to 100% healthy. Oden has played in exactly 82 games in his NBA career, and during that time he’s averaged 9.4 points (shooting 57.7% from the floor), 7.3 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks in just 22 minutes of action. That equates to 15.3 ppg, 11.9 rpg, and 2.3 bpg per-36-minutes. In addition, he actually leads the entire 2007 draft class in “Win Shares per 48 minutes.” The Blazers elected to make Oden a Qualifying Offer making him a restricted free agent, which means they are clinging to the hope he still has some basketball left in his body. It will be extremely interesting to see if he can ever stay healthy long enough to give us a glimpse of what kind of NBA player he could have been.
#10 – The Sacramento Kings select: Thaddeus Young
(Actual 2007 pick: Spencer Hawes)
Young’s scoring average has dropped in three consecutive seasons (from 15.3 ppg in ’08-09 to 12.7 ppg in ‘10-11), so why has Thad’s stock actually risen during that time frame? It’s because he’s become a far more efficient player. Young shot a respectable 49.5% from the floor in 2008-2009, while attempting 2.2 three-pointers per contest. Last season, he shot an incredibly impressive 54.1% from the field (thanks in large part to his improved shot selection – he attempted just 0.3 three’s per game). Young’s solid defense and effective skill-set will make him a valued commodity on the free-agent market.
#11 – The Atlanta Hawks select: Jared Dudley
(Actual 2007 pick: Acie Law)
More than just a good dude to follow in Twitter, Dudley has earned a role as a valued contributor off Phoenix’s bench. JMZ’s numbers won’t wow anybody, but he’s a scrappy defender and a solid offensive option as well. His minutes and production have increased each of the past three seasons.
#12 – The Philadelphia 76ers select: Carl Landry
(Actual 2007 pick: Thaddeus Young)
Landry slipped into the second round back in 2007, but soon showed he had first-round talent. Carl showed steady progress over his first two seasons in Houston, but really made his presence felt in his third year. When Rockets starting center Yao Ming went down with an injury, Houston leaned heavily on Landry. Carl responded with his best season as a pro, averaging 16.1 ppg and 5.5 rpg. In February of 2010, Landry was shipped to the Kings as part of three-team trade that also sent Tracy McGrady to New York and Kevin Martin to Houston. Sacramento later traded Landry to the Hornets for Marcus Thornton and cash considerations.
#13 – The New Orleans Hornets select: Arron Afflalo
(Actual 2007 pick: Julian Wright)
Afflalo was a seldom used reserve off the bench during his first two seasons in Detroit. Then, in the summer of 2009, the Pistons were looking to shed salary in order to sign free agents Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva to (exorbitant) contracts. As a result, the Pistons essentially gave Afflalo to the Nuggets, trading away the shooting guard for a second-round pick. In Denver, Arron found a home. He unexpectedly earned a spot in the starting lineup and has been an important player for the Nuggets ever since as an excellent perimeter defender and consistent jump shooter used to help stretch defenses.
#14 – The Los Angeles Clippers select: Spencer Hawes
(Actual 2007 pick: Al Thornton)
The Kings had high hopes for Hawes, and although he’s had some moments, he’s never quite developed into the stud center they envisioned. Hawes spent last season starting for the Sixers.
Best of the rest: Aaron Brooks, Ramon Sessions, Nick Young, Rudy Fernandez, Glen Davis, Al Thornton, Marco Belinelli, Josh McRoberts, Corey Brewer
Biggest Bust: Greg Oden (selected #1 overall by the Portland Trail Blazers)
Yi Jianlian and Brandon Wright are in the conversation, but of course we have to go with Oden, even if it seems unfair as it’s due solely to injuries. Nevertheless, selecting Oden over Durant is now viewed as a colossal mistake. Durant has blossomed into arguably the league’s premier offensive weapon, while Oden has been sidelined for three-quarters of his NBA career…
Best Value Pick: Mar Gasol (selected 48th overall by the Los Angles Lakers)
As detailed above, Gasol has proven himself as a legit NBA pivot and his terrific performance in the 2011 postseason was further evidence that the kid is for real. Only 26 years of age, Gasol is just now entering his prime. It is safe to assume, given his impressive skill set and the lack of quality big men in the game today, Gasol will participate in a few all-star games in the near future – which is obviously a rare accomplishment for a mid-second round pick…
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