Revisionist history is something that permeates throughout sports. "What could have been" resonates when another scenario could have been better than the chosen reality. This is especially true years after draft classes have been selected. TSFJ scribes Johnathan Tillman and Matt Whitener have set forth not only on redrafting the past two decades of the NBA, but also changing how history will play via our NBA Re-Draft series.
The 2006 NBA Draft is not exactly one of the most inspiring of all-time. Sure, there are some memorable names that emerged from it, for a variety of reasons. LaMarcus Aldridge, Kyle Lowry, Rajon Rondo and JJ Redick have gone on to the most enduring success throughout their careers, while Brandon Roy became one of the era’s great “What if” discussions. Meanwhile, Andrea Bargnani, Adam Morrison, Tyrus Thomas, Shelden Williams and Rudy Gay filled in plenty of other parts of the spectrum around a roller coaster original top 10. Even in our effort here, a third of the original first rounders go unselected, the largest such number of this project so far. It is what it is; that’s the nature of the game.
This lull in the action though does give us an opportunity to revisit, remind and update the process around our NBA Re-Draft effort here. With this being our seventh entry in the series, a lot has changed while our resident revisionists, Matt Whitener and Jonathan Tillman, have tinkered with the sands of NBA time.
Due to this, while parts of the retooled NBA remain similar, much of it looks very different. While links to earlier entries in this series appear above, we will also start including a link to review the current roster of our NBA prior to taking on the season’s draft. This roster accounts for the opening night look of each team, of course with our adjustments via our new drafts and trades, as well as some changes they may have never happened due to us playing with history.
For example, the Boston Celtics moves in 2007 to land Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen still are on the verge of occurring. However, due to the fact that Al Jefferson, Gerald Green or Delonte West were never Celtics in this world, they take on a different feel. Our Re-Draft approaches are not based purely in re-ranking the best players from a class, but rather making selection based on needs and roster composition. Because of this, we will share those rosters here as well, so you can follow our noses and smell not just what we're cooking, but more importantly, understand our respective rationales as well.
With being said, following this Draft, we will begin to include the up-to-date roster for each team in our re-imagined league before the Re-Draft takes place. But for now, take a look at our reimagining of the class of 2006, with the benefit of a bit of hindsight in hand.
As always, Picks will alternate between the TSFJ GMs from 1-30. And with the first pick, Brother Whitener will take the podium on behalf of the Raptors, with Brother Till to follow for Portland.
1. Toronto Raptors: Brandon Roy, Washington (+5)
Original pick: Andrew Bargnani
Admittedly, this is not taking either the highest regarded player at the time, nor the most accomplished player from the class. But none was better at his peak than Roy, who won Rookie of the Year and was an All-Star by his second season, the first of three consecutive selections. In the process, he also made two All-NBA selections and trailed only LeBron James and Kobe Bryant in win shares between 2008 and 2010. That’s the stuff that number one picks are made out of.
Unfortunately, a degenerative knee injury quickly besieged his career, just as his prime was on the horizon. But five years of Roy still payout strong dividends worthy of the pick.
2. Portland Trail Blazers (from Bulls): LaMarcus Aldridge, Texas
Original pick: same
Portland misses out on Brandon Roy thanks to the previous pick but Aldridge was still the more productive investment. He is certainly still worthy of second pick status coming off being named the 2006 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and a Third-Team All-American. As a pro, Aldridge has been a four-time All-Star and continued to be a productive player at level into his 30s. Blessed with a tough jumper that now extends beyond the arc and an unstoppable turnaround fade away in the post, Aldridge has scored over 12,000 points just in the past decade. He's more than worthy of being picked here.
3. Charlotte Bobcats: Kyle Lowry, Villanova (+21)
Original pick: Adam Morrison
Lowry was a much different man on draft day, as opposed to the six-time All-Star and NBA Champion he’d go on to become. He spent many of his early years fighting for time, maturing as a pro and jumping between teams. However, he’d become the type of bulldog competitor that the young Bobcats franchise could have put to better use in steadying their uneven early days.
4. Chicago Bulls (from Blazers): JJ Redick, Duke (+7)
Original pick: Tyrus Thomas
Redick is one of the sweetest shooters in NBA history. He allows for a lot of teams to have spacing around interior players — as evidenced in his IRL career alongside the likes of Blake Griffin and Dwight Howard, and now among Amar'e Stoudemire in our Re-Draft Bulls roster. Bucking the trend of seniors failing to be drafted this high, the former Duke Blue Devil lands in the top five, going to a Chicago team that he immediately becomes a very nice compliment piece within amid its more successful rebuild via revision.
5. Atlanta Hawks: Paul Millsap, Louisiana Tech (+41)
Original pick: Sheldon Williams
Although his career season-bests of 18.1 points or nine rebounds aren’t mind blowing numbers, Millsap’s physicality is exactly what the Hawks need. He’s a high upside role player type, who actually made four All-Star appearances for the IRL Hawks between 2014 and 2017. Millsap made All-Star appearances in 10 of his first 13 seasons and was an All-Defense selection as recent as 2016.
6. Portland Trail Blazers (from T-Wolves): Rudy Gay, Connecticut (+1)
Original pick: Roy
On talent alone, Gay's career likely should have reached All-Star levels, but it fell short. Nonetheless, he's been a productive scoring wing since being drafted in 2006, averaging double digits points in every season of his 14-year career to date. Between his age-21 and 28 seasons, Gay never averaged fewer than 18.2 PPG. In our revised universe, the Blazers are building a very potent roster, especially considering how their picks shake out in the future.
7. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Boston): Andrea Bargnani, Benetton Treviso (Italy) (-6)
Original pick: Randy Foye
In the context of being a number pick, Bargnani was definitely overcast. He was never more than a second option, averaging over 20 PPG only once. However, he still wasn’t a complete waste on the court, as a seven-footer who could shoot when he was young, going 37% from three. However, his shooting touch didn’t age well (29% over his last five years) and he was back playing in Europe by age 31.
8. Memphis Grizzlies (from Rockets): Randy Foye, Villanova (-1)
Original pick: Gray
Memphis has a point guard slot open, so selecting Foye here makes a lot of sense. Foye is steady and tough, having played and defended forwards during his tenure at 'Nova with Jay Wright. He won't get in the way of the stars' productivity and is certainly an addition to the roster. He never became the glamorous scoring threat he was pegged to be, but still serves a purpose as plus depth guard.
9. Golden State Warriors: Thabo Sefolosha, France (+4)
Original pick: Patrick O’Bryant
While never a big numbers guy — his career-high of 8.2 PPG came in his 12th season — Sefolosha had undeniable staying power. He continued the trend of strong and versatile wings to come over from France, capable of defending position outside of center and can shoot enough to keep an eye on. He fits in a unique way on a Warriors roster that is retooling for a revival.
10. Seattle Supersonics: Adam Morrison, Gonzaga
Original pick: Mouhamed Sene
It's easy to stick to labeling Morrison a bust, especially with comparing him to Redick. But part of why Redick has had a successful career is opportunity with lack of expectation. Maybe selecting Morrison tenth instead of third takes pressure off him and allows his game to develop more fruitfully.
11. Orlando Magic: Ronnie Brewer, Arkansas (+3)
Original pick: Redick
He was never much of a shooter, but Brewer was able to contribute at both guard positions and was a rugged defender in the process. He averaged nearly two steals per 36 minutes for his career and contributed to playoff teams in all but two seasons in his career. Brewer adds yet another above-average athletic presence to these re-draft Magic on the wing, along with Mickael Pietrus and Gerald Green.
12. New Orleans/OKC Hornets: Rajon Rondo, Kentucky (+9)
Original pick: Hilton Armstrong
New Orleans misses out on Chris Paul in our re-draft universe, so the team needs a floor general. Rondo has been one of the NBA's best setup men over the past decade, averaging over eight assists a game throughout his career. He's not the scorer that Paul is, but he's similarly effective at freeing up teammates.
A current thought on Rondo: If he can get back healthy for the Los Angeles Lakers, his boost would make the West's top seeds chances improve. If you're looking to wager on who will make the NBA Finals, use our promotional codes to make a bet.
13. Chicago Bulls (from 76ers): Jordan Farmar, UCLA (+13)
Original pick: Sefolosha
The Bulls need depth at the point and Farmar became one of the best supporting PGs of his era. He was a strong shooter (37% career from three) and was capable enough at running an offense as well. His best individual season came in the 2011-12 season, when he averaged 10.4 points, shot 44% from three and 90% from the free-throw line.
14. Utah Jazz: Shannon Brown, Michigan State (+11)
Original pick: Brewer
During our discussion about this pick, we struggled with placing a player here in Utah. After much deliberation, we both decided Brown makes the most sense. Utah, in a couple of ways, needs some excitement on the court as the team moves farther away from the Stockton-to-Malone years. Brown plays above the rim and gives the Jazz a desperately needed threat in transition.
15. New Orleans/OKC Hornets (from Bucks): Tyrus Thomas, LSU (-14)
Original pick: Cedric Simmons
Thomas’ athleticism raised his stock over what his basketball abilities could account for when he went number four overall originally. However, he was good for the occasional highlight dunk and remained a good vertical athlete around the rim throughout. He twice averaged double-figures, but shot only 43% from the field for his career.
16. Philadelphia 76ers (from Bulls): Marcus Williams, Connecticut (+6)
Original pick: Rodney Carney
Williams averaged eight assists a game over his last two years at UConn. Philly is hurting bad for talent and they are still years from trusting the process. Injuries shortened Williams' career but his collegiate productivity would have the Sixers' front office choose him here at number 16.
17. Indiana Pacers: PJ Tucker, Texas (+18)
Original pick: Shawne Willliams
Tucker’s career took a lot of twists and turns before he established himself in the NBA. Originally a second-round pick, he spent the entirety of his age 22-26 seasons on a tour of Europe. Eventually, he returned to America and became a strong energy/intangibles type, mainly as an undersized power forward. Who knows if this path would have been different had he landed in the first round, with a roster that could use him immediately such as the Pacers.
Thinking ahead to present day, how nice would Tucker fit on the Pacers now? Could Indiana be a darkhorse candidate to sneak into the Eastern Conference Finals? If you're feeling so inclined, use our TVG promo code for odds on Indiana's chances.
18. Washington Wizards: Rodney Carney, Memphis (-2)
Original pick: Oleksiy Pecherov
Carney's athleticism wasn't enough to gather a prolonged NBA career. But high-flying wing players will always be given chances based on their potential. He isn't the best athlete in this class — that player is still yet to come — but he did possess the tools to be at least a capable shooter and good defender.
19. Sacramento Kings: Daniel Gibson, Texas (+23)
Original pick: Quincy Douby
Gibson may be the top heat check guy from this draft, as his career .407% mark from three ranks third in the class behind Steve Novak and Redick. The definition of a shoot-first PG, ‘Boobie’ never averaged more than three assists in a season over his seven-year career. A busy man off the court as well, Gibson starred in a reality show with then-wife Keyshia Cole, but also struggled from damning mixture depression, anxiety and injuries he never rallied from. His career was over by 27.
20. New York Knicks (from Nuggets): Steve Novak, Marquette (+12)
Original pick: Renaldo Blackman
Best standstill shooter in the Draft, and that includes Redick. Steve Novak is a career 43 percent shooter from three and I'm not sure I've ever seen him take a live dribble in any of his 467 career games. Don't expect much on the defensive end of the floor. Novak only has one job. But he does that job well.
21. Boston Celtics (from Phoenix): Craig Smith, Boston College (+15)
Original pick: Rondo
Originally, the Celtics found the gift of the perfect point guard to compliment their recently-formed Big Three of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen in Rondo here. However, with no such luck possible in this redo, the pivot goes instead to Smith. An undersized, but hyperactive power forward, Smith shot .553% from the floor for his career.
22. New Jersey Nets (from Clippers): J.J. Barea, Northeastern (Undrafted)
Original pick: Williams
Jose Juan Barea is every sports underdog movie's plot with every dribble he takes and every shot he makes. Listed at a generous 5'10", Barea has been a vital member of various rosters over his 13-year career. He's always managed to be productive, even against visibly bigger and better opponents. Looking back, he's probably the one player whose history would be drastically revised with hindsight.
23. New Jersey Nets: Josh Boone, Connecticut
Original pick: Same
Boone lands where he originally did with New Jersey yet again. The Nets hoped to be getting a versatile frontcourt contributor at 6’10," capable of the same hard work around the rim that made him Big East Defensive Player of the Year in 2005. But injuries impacted Boone’s career early on and offensive struggles did later on, combining to him departing for China after his fourth season.
24. Memphis Grizzlies: Hilton Armstrong, Connecticut (-12)
Original pick: Lowry
Granted, Armstrong isn't the most memorable player. If there is one truth that forever holds throughout all NBA Draft eras, it's that tall people get picked. The old adage is that height can't be taught and those genetically gifted with being close to seven feet tall tend to be given the opportunity to develop basic NBA-caliber skills. But he is tall and with the younger Gasol in Memphis instead of Pau still developing, he at least provides minutes at the center position.
25. Cleveland Cavaliers: Shawne Williams, Memphis (-8)
Original pick: Brown
Williams fits in well with this particularly tall collection of Cavs. He was a solid shooter for his size (6’9"), connecting on 40.1 percent of his threes in 2010-11 and topping 36% in two other seasons. He was never more than a rotational piece, but that’s a decent find for a Cleveland team that’s just adding depth at this point.
26. Los Angeles Lakers (from Heat): Patrick O’Bryant, Western Kentucky (-17)
Original pick: Farmar
O'Bryant was selected in the top ten in real life primarily due to his performance against the University of Pittsburgh in the 2006 NCAA Tournament. His production on the national stage caused a serious rise in his draft stock, even if the skill and potential didn't warrant that. In a completely unrelated note, I (Till) went to the University of Pittsburgh and was there when that game happened. So no love is lost here, I promise.
27. Portland Trail Blazers (from Suns): CJ Watson, Tennessee (Undrafted)
Original pick: Sergio Fernandez
Despite dishing out the second-most assists in school history for the Volunteers (577), Watson spent his first two pro seasons between Italy, Greece and the D-League (now G League) after going undrafted. Despite this, he played 600 games over 10 seasons in the NBA, mostly as a productive backup. He averaged nine or more points in four seasons, while shooting 37.3% from three in his career.
28. Dallas Mavericks: James White, Florida (+3)
Original pick: Maurice Ager
The DC area-native White is one of the best dunkers of all time. He may not have had the length of NBA career to put his arsenal on full display, but it is still true. His prowess above the rim was so well known that he participated in the 2012 Slam Dunk Contest despite being a "this guy is still in the league?" candidate with the Knicks. But he was a good player in college, putting up 16 points and five rebounds his final season at the University of Florida. It's a shame he could only amass 67 total games played.
29. New York Knicks (from Spurs): Leon Powe, California (+20)
Original pick: Mardy Collins, Temple
Powe made a career out of being lengthy body who could contribute minutes and physicality. Although he spent only five seasons in the NBA, he was productive in stints. In over the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons, Powe averaged 17.4 points and 10.1 rebounds a night, per 36 minutes, while shooting 54.5%.
30. Portland Trail Blazers (from Pistons): Denham Brown, Connecticut (+10)
Original pick: Joel Freeland, United Kingdom
The Blazers don't need much on their roster. But a bruising wing like Brown helps take the pressure off J.R. Smith and Rudy Gay to constantly defend and battle the game's better perimeter players. He's likely be a defensive specialist, only called in to contribute in transition and maybe the occasional spot up three.
Biggest Risers: Barea (Undrafted), Watson (Undrafted), Millsap (+41)
Furthest Falls: O'Bryant (-17), Thomas (-14), Armstrong (-12)
Out of the Round: Shelden Williams (#5), Mouhamed Sene (#10), Cedric Simmons (#14), Oleksiy Pecherov (#18), Quincy Douby (#19), Renaldo Balkman (#20), Sergio Rodriguez, Maurice Ager, Mardy Collins, Joel Freeland (#30).
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