Cohen: Magic, Bulls Wouldn't Change Much From Past Drafts

By Josh Cohen
January 27, 2011


ORLANDO -- Whenever players from the same NBA Draft class compete against each other, I can’t help but analyze and evaluate the crop of talent from that particular draft.

On Friday when the Orlando Magic clash with the Chicago Bulls in an Eastern Conference showdown, there will be a few of these to examine.

Dwight Howard (No. 1) and Luol Deng (No. 7 by Phoenix) were each lottery selections in the 2004 NBA Draft, while Derrick Rose (No. 1) and Ryan Anderson (No. 21 by New Jersey) were each chosen in 2008.

Though, indisputably, Howard and Rose have transformed into two of the best No. 1 picks of the last 10 years and were the absolute correct decisions by both the Magic and Bulls, it’s always fascinating to forecast what would be different if teams were permitted a mulligan in drafts.

Indubitably, for example, if the Detroit Pistons were allowed a re-pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, they would choose Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh with the second overall pick instead of Darko Milicic.

Similarly, if the L.A. Clippers could erase their Michael Olowakandi selection with the No. 1 pick in 1998, they certainly would. Perhaps as a substitute L.A. would opt for Vince Carter, Paul Pierce or Dirk Nowitzki.

In addition to free agency, draft decisions are essential in the development of an NBA franchise.

One can argue that the Magic and Bulls, irrespective of their respective lottery luck, are two of the better drafting teams in NBA history. I’m not trying to suggest that good fortune and destiny are not to credit, but it still comes down to making the appropriate decisions.

Orlando, for one, aptly chose Shaquille O’Neal first overall in 1992, made a brilliant front office decision when it swapped Chris Webber for Penny Hardaway in 1993, ended up with the Rookie of the Year in 2000 with Mike Miller and judiciously opted for Howard rather than Emeka Okafor in 2004. The Magic also acquired Jameer Nelson that year in a draft-day trade with the Nuggets.


Josh Cohen
Chicago, in spite of making a pretty sizebable mistake when it dealt Elton Brand away to the Clippers for Tyson Chandler in 2001 and also choosing Jay Williams in 2002 when eventual superstars like Amar'e Stoudemire were on the board, has generally made intelligent draft-day decisions.

In spite of some pressure at the time to elect either Sam Perkins, Charles Barkley or even the barely remembered Melvin Turpin, the Bulls elegantly chose Michael Jordan with the third pick in the 1984 NBA Draft. A few years later, Chicago completed one of the most lopsided trades in NBA history when it acquired the rights to Scottie Pippen from Seattle in exchange for Olden Polynice in 1987.

After six NBA championships, a few years of rebuilding and some lottery luck in 2008, the Bulls avoided pressure from some critics and selected Rose rather than Michael Beasley. One year earlier, they wisely disregarded critics who claimed Joakim Noah would never transform into a successful NBA player.

Other players such as Jamal Crawford, who was acquired by the Bulls from the Cavaliers after he was drafted eighth overall in 2000, and Ben Gordon (2004) were also sharp choices by Chicago despite both not staying with the franchise. Crawford, for instance, is the reigning Sixth Man of the Year.

While the Magic and Bulls have normally enjoyed draft-day success, it is not like that for many other teams. Just ask the Portland Trail Blazers (choosing Sam Bowie over Jordan in 1984 and Greg Oden over Kevin Durant in 2007).

The point is: Yes, every team makes mistakes with some of their selections, but ultimately, all that matters is picking the right guy when it counts most. Sure, Chicago is probably a little upset it opted for Marcus Fizer in 2000 or Williams in 2002, but those poor decisions are quickly forgotten when you attain players like Rose, Deng and Noah.

Therefore, what if we can go back in time and redo NBA Drafts. What star players would be on different teams and which teams would be in a totally different circumstance with their respective franchises?

I looked back at each draft between 2000 and 2008 and decided to project how each draft would turn out if they were redone.

The projections, however, are not based on the needs of the team at the time of that draft. They, in contrast, are simply ordered based on how the players have performed since entering the league. For instance, in 2003, the Detroit Pistons probably didn’t have a spot for Dwyane Wade with the second pick since Richard Hamilton controlled that position at the time. But in these projections, the selections are based on the quality of the player, not how they would have fit with each individual team at the time.

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2000


The Way It Was:

1) New Jersey Nets: Kenyon Martin
2) Vancouver Grizzlies: Stromile Swift
3) Los Angeles Clippers: Darius Miles
4) Chicago Bulls: Marcus Fizer
5) Orlando Magic: Mike Miller
6) Atlanta Hawks: DerMarr Johnson
7) Chicago Bulls: Chris Mihm (traded to Cleveland)
8) Cleveland Cavaliers: Jamal Crawford (traded to Chicago)
9) Houston Rockets: Joel Przybilla (traded to Milwaukee)
10) Orlando Magic: Keyon Dooling (traded to L.A. Clippers)



The Way It Should Have Been:

1) New Jersey Nets: Kenyon Martin
2) Vancouver Grizzlies: Michael Redd
3) Los Angeles Clippers: Hedo Turkoglu
4) Chicago Bulls: Jamal Crawford
5) Orlando Magic: Mike Miller
6) Atlanta Hawks: Joel Przybilla
7) Chicago Bulls: Morris Peterson
8) Cleveland Cavaliers: Quentin Richardson
9) Houston Rockets: DeShawn Stevenson
10) Orlando Magic: Keyon Dooling



2001

The Way It Was:

1) Washington Wizards: Kwame Brown
2) Los Angeles Clippers: Tyson Chandler (traded to Chicago)
3) Atlanta Hawks: Pau Gasol (traded to Vancouver)
4) Chicago Bulls: Eddy Curry
5) Golden State Warriors: Jason Richardson
6) Vancouver Grizzlies: Shane Battier
7) New Jersey Nets: Eddie Griffin (traded to Houston)
8) Cleveland Cavaliers: DeSagana Diop
9) Detroit Pistons: Rodney White
10) Boston Celtics: Joe Johnson



The Way It Should Have Been:

1) Washington Wizards: Pau Gasol
2) Los Angeles Clippers: Joe Johnson
3) Atlanta Hawks: Tony Parker
4) Chicago Bulls: Gilbert Arenas
5) Golden State Warriors: Zach Randolph
6) Vancouver Grizzlies: Gerald Wallace
7) New Jersey Nets: Richard Jefferson
8) Cleveland Cavaliers: Jason Richardson
9) Detroit Pistons: Mehmet Okur
10) Boston Celtics: Tyson Chandler



2002

The Way It Was:

1) Houston Rockets: Yao Ming
2) Chicago Bulls: Jay Williams
3) Golden State Warriors: Mike Dunleavy Jr.
4) Memphis Grizzlies: Drew Gooden
5) Denver Nuggets: Nikoloz Tskitishvili
6) Cleveland Cavaliers: Dajuan Wagner
7) New York Knicks: Nene (traded to Denver)
8) Los Angeles Clippers: Chris Wilcox
9) Phoenix Suns: Amar’e Stoudemire
10) Miami Heat: Caron Butler



The Way It Should Have Been:

1) Houston Rockets: Yao Ming
2) Chicago Bulls: Amar’e Stoudemire
3) Golden State Warriors: Carlos Boozer
4) Memphis Grizzlies: Caron Butler
5) Denver Nuggets: Tayshaun Prince
6) Cleveland Cavaliers: Nene
7) New York Knicks: Luis Scola
8) Los Angeles Clippers: Mike Dunleavy Jr.
9) Phoenix Suns: John Salmons
10) Miami Heat: Matt Barnes



2003

The Way It Was:

1) Cleveland Cavaliers: LeBron James
2) Detroit Pistons: Darko Milicic
3) Denver Nuggets: Carmelo Anthony
4) Toronto Raptors: Chris Bosh
5) Miami Heat: Dwyane Wade
6) Los Angeles Clippers: Chris Kaman
7) Chicago Bulls: Kirk Hinrich
8) Milwaukee Bucks: T.J. Ford
9) New York Knicks: Michael Sweetney
10) Washington Wizards: Jarvis Hayes



The Way It Should Have Been:

1) Cleveland Cavaliers: LeBron James
2) Detroit Pistons: Dwyane Wade
3) Denver Nuggets: Carmelo Anthony
4) Toronto Raptors: Chris Bosh
5) Miami Heat: David West
6) Los Angeles Clippers: Chris Kaman
7) Chicago Bulls: Kendrick Perkins
8) Milwaukee Bucks: Mo Williams
9) New York Knicks: Josh Howard
10) Washington Wizards: Kirk Hinrich



2004

The Way It Was:

1) Orlando Magic: Dwight Howard
2) Charlotte Bobcats: Emeka Okafor
3) Chicago Bulls: Ben Gordon
4) Los Angeles Clippers: Shaun Livingston
5) Washington Wizards: Devin Harris (traded to Dallas)
6) Atlanta Hawks: Josh Childress
7) Phoenix Suns: Luol Deng (traded to Chicago)
8) Toronto Raptors: Rafael Araújo
9) Philadelphia 76ers: Andre Iguodala
10) Cleveland Cavaliers: Luke Jackson



The Way It Should Have Been:

1) Orlando Magic: Dwight Howard
2) Charlotte Bobcats: Al Jefferson
3) Chicago Bulls: Andre Iguodala
4) Los Angeles Clippers: Josh Smith
5) Washington Wizards: Kevin Martin
6) Atlanta Hawks: Luol Deng
7) Phoenix Suns: Ben Gordon
8) Toronto Raptors: Jameer Nelson
9) Philadelphia 76ers: Emeka Okafor
10) Cleveland Cavaliers: Devin Harris



2005

The Way It Was:

1) Milwaukee Bucks: Andrew Bogut
2) Atlanta Hawks: Marvin Williams
3) Utah Jazz: Deron Williams
4) New Orleans Hornets: Chris Paul
5) Charlotte Bobcats: Raymond Felton
6) Portland Trail Blazers: Martell Webster
7) Toronto Raptors: Charlie Villanueva
8) New York Knicks: Channing Frye
9) Golden State Warriors: Ike Diogu
10) Los Angeles Lakers: Andrew Bynum



The Way It Should Have Been:

1) Milwaukee Bucks: Chris Paul
2) Atlanta Hawks: Deron Williams
3) Utah Jazz: Danny Granger
4) New Orleans Hornets: Andrew Bogut
5) Charlotte Bobcats: Andrew Bynum
6) Portland Trail Blazers: David Lee
7) Toronto Raptors: Monta Ellis
8) New York Knicks: Charlie Villanueva
9) Golden State Warriors: Raymond Felton
10) Los Angeles Lakers: Francisco Garcia



2006

The Way It Was:

1) Toronto Raptors: Andrea Bargnani
2) Chicago Bulls: LaMarcus Aldridge (traded to Portland)
3) Charlotte Bobcats: Adam Morrison
4) Portland Trail Blazers: Tyrus Thomas (traded to Chicago)
5) Atlanta Hawks: Shelden Williams
6) Minnesota Timberwolves: Brandon Roy (traded to Portland)
7) Portland Trail Blazers: Randy Foye (traded to Minnesota)
8) Houston Rockets: Rudy Gay (traded to Memphis)
9) Golden State Warriors: Patrick O’Bryant
10) Seattle Sonics: Mouhamed Sene



The Way It Should Have Been:

1) Toronto Raptors: Brandon Roy
2) Chicago Bulls: Rajon Rondo
3) Charlotte Bobcats: LaMarcus Aldridge
4) Portland Trail Blazers: Rudy Gay
5) Atlanta Hawks: Andrea Bargnani
6) Minnesota Timberwolves: Paul Millsap
7) Portland Trail Blazers: J.J. Redick
8) Houston Rockets: Randy Foye
9) Golden State Warriors: Tyrus Thomas
10) Seattle Sonics: Ronnie Brewer



2007

The Way It Was:

1) Portland Trail Blazers: Greg Oden
2) Seattle Sonics: Kevin Durant
3) Atlanta Hawks: Al Horford
4) Memphis Grizzlies: Mike Conley Jr.
5) Boston Celtics: Jeff Green (traded to Seattle)
6) Milwaukee Bucks: Yi Jianlian
7) Minnesota Timberwolves: Corey Brewer
8) Charlotte Bobcats: Brandan Wright (traded to Golden State)
9) Chicago Bulls: Joakim Noah
10) Sacramento Kings: Spencer Hawes



The Way It Should Have Been:

1) Portland Trail Blazers: Kevin Durant
2) Seattle Sonics: Al Horford
3) Atlanta Hawks: Joakim Noah
4) Memphis Grizzlies: Jeff Green
5) Boston Celtics: Greg Oden
6) Milwaukee Bucks: Glen Davis
7) Minnesota Timberwolves: Jared Dudley
8) Charlotte Bobcats: Rudy Fernandez
9) Chicago Bulls: Al Thornton
10) Sacramento Kings: Thaddeus Young



2008

The Way It Was:

1) Chicago Bulls: Derrick Rose
2) Miami Heat: Michael Beasley
3) Minnesota Timberwolves: O.J. Mayo (traded to Memphis)
4) Seattle Sonics: Russell Westbrook
5) Memphis Grizzlies: Kevin Love (traded to Minnesota)
6) New York Knicks: Danilo Gallinari
7) Los Angeles Clippers: Eric Gordon
8) Milwaukee Bucks: Joe Alexander
9) Charlotte Bobcats: D.J. Augustin
10) New Jersey Nets: Brook Lopez



The Way It Should Have Been:

1) Chicago Bulls: Derrick Rose
2) Miami Heat: Russell Westbrook
3) Minnesota Timberwolves: Kevin Love
4) Seattle Sonics: Brook Lopez
5) Memphis Grizzlies: Eric Gordon
6) New York Knicks: Danilo Gallinari
7) Los Angeles Clippers: OJ Mayo
8) Milwaukee Bucks: Michael Beasley
9) Charlotte Bobcats: D.J. Augustin
10) New Jersey Nets: Ryan Anderson


After reviewing each year's draft class, which one was most successful based on the order players were chosen?
After reviewing each year's draft class, which one was most successful based on the order players were chosen?
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