Denton: If 2006 NBA Draft Was Redone

By John Denton
June 17, 2013

ORLANDO – In the days, weeks, months and years following the June 27th NBA Draft, the players selected will become subject to revisionist history. Not only will that draft class be forever linked, but those players will also be compared against one another every time they face off.

Because the impact of a high draft pick can be so great – or disastrous, for that matter – there will be much attention paid to the order that players are selected in the NBA Draft later this month. The Orlando Magic have the second pick, just behind the Cleveland Cavaliers at the top of the draft order. Washington, Charlotte and Phoenix round out the top five picks.

The Magic have a long history of getting it right when they select in the top five of the NBA Draft, picking Dennis Scott (1990), Shaquille O’Neal (1992), Chris Webber (who was traded for Penny Hardaway in 1993), Mike Miller (2000) and Dwight Howard (2004). O’Neal, Hardaway and Scott formed the foundation on Orlando’s 1995 team that reached the NBA Finals, while Howard led the 2009 Magic to the NBA Finals. And Miller emerged from a weak draft class in 2000 as the Rookie of the Year.

The course of history in the NBA could have been dramatically different had players been properly evaluated and drafted accordingly. While some picks were dead on, most GMs would like a do-over with the benefit of history to make their picks.

Imagine if any of three Hall of Famers Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley or John Stockton had gone No. 2 to Portland instead of Sam Bowie in 1984. What if Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade or Chis Bosh had been taken by the Detroit Pistons in 2003 instead of wasting that pick on Darko Milicic? And what if Portland, and not Oklahoma City, had grabbed Kevin Durant with the top pick in 2007 rather than the brittle Greg Oden?

As the saying goes, hindsight is always 20/20, so with the benefit of history before us let’s look back at the past 10 years of NBA Drafts and pick how those draft nights should have unfolded. There have been draft night home runs and major misses in recent years, so let’s pinpoint how the top five picks (plus the Magic’s picks) of those drafts should have played out.

Today, we’re going to break down the 2006 NBA Draft – a draft that was notable for Italian power forward Andrea Bargnani going first overall to Toronto and four UConn players being selected in the first round. Bargnani got off to a solid start, but has since fizzled because of injuries and a lack of powerful play, while three of the UConn players drafted – Hilton Armstrong, Marcus Williams and Josh Boone – are no longer in the NBA.

Here’s how the 2006 NBA Draft might unfold today if GMs were given a do over:

 

PICK NBA TEAM ACTUAL SELECTION TODAY'S PICK
1 Raptors Andre Bargnani Rajon Rondo

 

REVIEW: Rondo is the perfect example of hindsight being 20/20. Rondo came out of Kentucky with several red flags because of his lack of a jump shot and his stubbornness, but he has quickly evolved into one of the game’s best all-around point guards. Rondo’s size, defense and vision would have made him the perfect guard to build a team around.  

 

PICK NBA TEAM ACTUAL SELECTION TODAY'S PICK
2 Blazers LaMarcus Aldridge LaMarcus Aldridge

 

REVIEW: Aldridge was drafted by the Bulls, but traded to Portland for Tyrus Thomas and Viktor Khryapa. Aldridge has become a steady and productive player for Portland, averaging at least 21 points each of the last three seasons. While he is no franchise player, he is a very good part that could benefit from having other great players around him. He might have been even better had Brandon Roy and Greg Oden been able to stay healthy.

 

PICK NBA TEAM ACTUAL SELECTION TODAY'S PICK
3 Bobcats Adam Morrison Rudy Gay

 

REVIEW: Morrison looked the part of a good player at Gonzaga where he often scored at will and had a knack for making big shots. But his lack of quickness and athleticism doomed him in Charlotte where he struggled to get off shots against other small forwards. Morrison lasted just two seasons in Charlotte before he was shipped off to the Lakers. He has attempted two comebacks to the NBA, but didn’t get training camp invites following summer league showings with the Nets and Clippers. Gay had red flags coming out of UConn because of his wavering focus, but he has become a career 18-point-a-game scorer. His domination of the ball and his 45 percent shooting, however, detracts from his ability to pile up points in bunches.

 

PICK NBA TEAM ACTUAL SELECTION TODAY'S PICK
4 Bulls Tyrus Thomas Paul Millsap

 

REVIEW: Thomas wowed scouts with his off-the-charts athleticism and long arms, but he never became much of a force in the NBA because of his lack of a jump shot and his inability to fit in at either forward slot. In four seasons with the Bulls, he averaged double figures just once. And he rarely played in Charlotte this past season after receiving a big contract. Almost everyone missed on Millsap, the 47th overall selection, but he has become a steady threat in Utah. He averaged a career-best 17.3 points in 2010-11 and 8.8 rebounds (to go with 16.6 points) in 2011-12.

 

PICK NBA TEAM ACTUAL SELECTION TODAY'S PICK
5 Hawks Shelden Williams Brandon Roy

 

REVIEW: A year after bombing on the Marvin Williams pick at No. 2 over Chris Paul and Deron Williams, the Hawks combated their problems by taking Shelden Williams. Few considered Williams a lottery pick and certainly not a top-five pick. As for Roy, he was traded from Minnesota to Portland on draft night where he became the Rookie of the Year (2007), a three-time all-star (2008-10) and a two-time All-NBA performer (2009-10). Scouts initially backed off of him because of issues with his knee, and that injury ultimately ended his career in Portland and his comeback bid this past season in Minnesota.

 

PICK NBA TEAM ACTUAL SELECTION TODAY'S PICK
11 MAGIC J.J. Redick J.J. Redick

 

REVIEW: Redick had his struggles in Orlando initially, playing just 42 and 34 games in his first two NBA seasons. But after changing his body and becoming a more reliable defender, Redick ultimately found his way with the Magic. He blossomed into a fan favorite by improving his scoring average for five straight seasons and becoming an underrated playmaker. Redick also played a major role in Orlando’s playoff success in 2009 and ’10. The Magic wisely matched the offer sheet presented to him by the Bulls in 2010, allowing them to hang onto a player who eventually became a franchise cornerstone. Set to become a free agent in July, Redick was dealt to the Milwaukee Bucks in February for a package that centered around Tobias Harris and Doron Lamb.

 

Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Orlando Magic. All opinions expressed by John Denton are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Orlando Magic or their Basketball Operations staff, partners or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Magic and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NBA accredited member of the media.

 

 

 

 




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