Friday, June 24, 2011

Do over! 2006 NBA Draft was a mess.

Adam Morrison went 3rd in 2006. Uh-roh!
I remain steadfast in my resolve that one cannot judge the NBA Draft one day after it takes place. Obviously - I have my own opinions about who did a good job yesterday - but at this stage - nothing has been proven. It makes more sense to me to do what I have done for years - which is to examine the draft that took place five years ago.

Let's do it! Below is our 2006 NBA Draft re-do order five years later. In parenthesis will be the position the player was actually picked.

  1. Rajon Rondo (21)
  2. LaMarcus Aldridge (2)
  3. Rudy Gay (8)
  4. Andrea Bargnani (1)
  5. Brandon Roy (6)
  6. Paul Millsap (47)
  7. Kyle Lowry (24)
  8. Tyrus Thomas (4)
  9. Daniel Gibson (42)
  10. Ronnie Brewer (14)
  11. Thabo Sefolosha (13)
  12. Shawne Williams (17)
  13. Shannon Brown (25)
  14. Jordan Farmar (26)
  15. J.J. Redick (11)
  16. Craig Smith (36)
  17. Randy Foye (7)
  18. Ryan Hollins (50)
  19. Leon Powe (49)
  20. Shelden Williams (5)
  21. Hilton Armstrong (12)
  22. Renaldo Balkman (20)
  23. Steve Novak (32)
  24. Solomon Jones (33)
Oleksiy Pecherov was not the next Dirk. 
It is interesting to note that we can only come up with 24 players that are still getting playing time in the NBA. In hindsight - the worst pick of the draft was Adam Morrison going third to the Charlotte Bobcats. But the entire first round is littered with poor choices. All these guys were actually selected in round one: Patrick O'Bryant, Mohammed Sene, Cedric Simmons, Oleksiy Pecherov, Quincy Douby, Marcus Williams, Josh Boone, Sergio Rodriguez, Maurice Ager, Mardy Collins, and Joel Freeland. The preceding list shows that over one-third of the players picked in the 2006 NBA Draft first round were busts. 

The order of our re-do is certainly debatable. Debate away. I felt like there were three possible choices at number one in this re-do. I chose Rajon Rondo over LaMarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy. Roy could be viewed as the player who has accomplished the most individually. But Roy's knees have failed him and he is clearly descending as a player. So Rondo vs. Aldridge is a matter of personal preference and I chose Rondo because he ranked 10th in Point Guard efficiency while Aldridge was 16th at his position (Power Forward). 

Going up! Shawne Williams is still maturing. 
There are seven players from the 2006 draft that would represent the "top-shelf": Rondo, Aldridge, Rudy Gay, Andrea Bargnani, Roy, Kyle Lowry and Paul Millsap. After that - things get decidedly less attractive but there are players that can still have a bigger impact than they have had to date. Shawne Williams is listed 12th because he is clearly still ascending in his career. He rated 28th in Small Forward efficiency in 2010-11 while playing a career-high amount of minutes. 

The lesson is that not every draft produces great NBA players. Even high lottery picks can and will fail. Accept it. Know it. 

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