With the league in official lockout mode, I figure we could all use a break from the hard-cap vs. the flex-cap debate, and the other discussions centered on potential profit-sharing and heavily steeped in legalese.
So the plan is this: over the next few months, I'll go back over previous drafts and "re-draft" all the players. (Back in June, I started with the 2001 draft click here for the link) Of course, I have the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, based on all that we now know everyone that came into the league years ago.
Here is how we'll approach this project: Every pick will be made pretending each organization is a first year expansion franchise and has no other players on its roster, so there is no need to factor roster needs as of June 2005 into any discussion. Selections will be made simply based on pure production i.e. best player available.
I'll list each new pick, and then post the player that was actually selected in that original draft slot.
As a refresher, here is a link to the actual 2005 NBA draft.
Without further adieu, let's start selecting:
#1 With the first overall pick in the 2005 Re-Draft, the Milwaukee Bucks select: Chris Paul
(Actual 2005 pick: Andrew Bogut)
Right out of the gate, it was pretty clear that CP3 would become an elite NBA superstar. During the 2005-2006 season, he led all rookies in points, assists, and steals, en route to winning Rookie of the Year award. By 2007, he had already established himself as arguably one the best point guards on the planet, and one of the league's most valuable players finishing a close second to Kobe for 2008 NBA MVP. Paul has already set numerous NBA records during his brief career; he is the only player to lead the league in assists and steals in consecutive seasons. He also holds the all-time record for consecutive games with a steal (108). For his career, CP3 is averaging 9.9 assists per game that is third all-time, behind Magic Johnson (11.2) and John Stockton (10.5). 'Nuff said.
#2 The Atlanta Hawks select: Deron Williams
(Actual 2005 pick: Marvin Williams)
The CP3 vs. D-Will debate is very much alive and well. Personally, I'd go with Paul, but there are Williams supporters out there that would contest Deron is the better all-around, more durable player, and that he will go on to have the better career. Looking strictly at the numbers, it is tough argue against CP3, especially when you look at his playoff production. (Here is an interesting look at their head-to-head matchups, courtesy of basketball-reference: http://bit.ly/ohF7Dl
). Nonetheless, whether you want to rank him #1 or #2, Williams is obviously a world-class PG. Over the last three seasons, D-Will has recorded more 20-point, 10-assist games (63) than another other player in the NBA (Paul is second with 60).
#3 The Utah Jazz select: Danny Granger
(Actual 2005 pick: Deron Williams)
Granger slipped all the way to way to #17 on draft night back in 2005, where Donnie Walsh and the Pacers happily snatched him up. Granger has already made an All-Star team, he won the NBA's Most Improved Player Award in 2009, and was selected as a member of Team USA during 2010 FIBA World Championships. However, Granger seemed to take a bit of step back last season in Indiana. After averaging 25.8 and 24.2 ppg respectively over the previous two seasons, Granger saw his scoring average drop to 20.5 during the 2010-2011 campaign. Also, take a look at his FG% over his first six seasons in the NBA, starting with his rookie year up through last season: 46.2%, 45.9%, 44.7%, 42.8%, and 42.5%. That downward trend is disconcerting. It will be interesting if Granger can bounce back next season (whenever that is
#4 The New Orleans Hornets select: Andrew Bynum
(Actual 2005 pick: Chris Paul)
Bynum was viewed as a huge hit-or-miss prospect back in 2005, and honestly, the same may still be said about the burly big man. Blessed with phenomenal size and athleticism, Bynum has the chance to become a truly great center. In a league where talented big men are so few and far between, Bynum's upside is scintillating. However, he has had a tough time staying healthy long enough to prove he is as good as most believe him to be. Nonetheless, if NBA GMs had a chance to get their hands on him, it is unlikely they'd be able to pass on a seven-footer with Bynum's skill set.
#5 The Charlotte Bobcats select: Andrew Bogut
(Actual 2005 pick: Raymond Felton)
Bogut is another talented center that has dealt with his fair share of injuries. However, when healthy he is legit starting center in the NBA which means he is worth his weight in gold. Over his last two seasons, despite missing a total of 30 games, Bogut has proven he can score (averaging 17.7 ppg in 2009-2010), rebound (averaging 11.3 rpg since 2009) and block shots Bogut blocked 2.8 shots per game in '09-'10, and led the entire league in swats last season (2.6 bpg).
#6 The Portland Trail Blazers select: Monta Ellis
(Actual 2005 pick: Martell Webster)
Six years after they were drafted, Ellis owns the highest career scoring average (19.4 ppg) amongst all players taken in 2005. A little known, undersized guard out a small high school in Mississippi, Ellis lasted to the middle of the second-round before the Warriors selected him making Monta one of the greatest value picks in NBA draft history. Ellis has some durability issues, and has been a headache at times in Golden State, but the kid's talent is undeniable.
#7 The Toronto Raptors select: Raymond Felton
(Actual 2005 pick: Charlie Villanueva)
Heading into the start of last season, Felton seemed to be at a bit of a career crossroads. Playing in Charlotte under Larry Brown, Felton's production had experienced a dramatic downturn. But as a free agent, Felton landed in New York, playing for head coach Mike D'Antoni. Felton immediately showed what kind of PG he could be playing in an up-tempo system that perfectly suited his game. In the 54 games he played for the Knicks before being shipped to Denver in the Carmelo Anthony deal, Felton averaged 17.1 ppg, 9.0 assists, and 1.6 three-pointers per contest. Raymond is next going to get a chance to run the show in Portland.
#8 The New York Knicks select: David Lee
(Actual 2005 pick: Channing Frye)
Yet another late gem Lee lasted to #30, the last pick of round one back in June of 2005. And if we are looking at pure statistical production, D Lee is right near the top of his class. Lee leads of 2005 draftees in rebounding (9.6 boards per game for his career); while also averaging 13.6 points and shooting a stout 54.6% from the floor. However, Lee has spent the majority of his NBA career playing in "fantasy friendly" systems (NY and GSW). And for all his offensive output, Lee is a below-average defender (and that's putting it nicely).
#9 The Golden State Warriors select: Channing Frye
(Actual 2005 pick: Ike Diogu)
In just six short seasons, Frye's career has already seen some dramatic peaks and valleys. He exploded onto the scene as a rookie with the Knicks. He was named Rookie of the Month in November of 2005 (along with Chris Paul) and averaged 15.6 ppg and 7.9 rpg as a starter for the Knicks that first year. However, he was sidelined by a knee injury late that season, and was never able to re-establish himself in New York. On June 28, the night of the 2007 NBA Draft, Frye, along with Knicks guard Steve Francis, was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for Zach Randolph, Fred Jones and Dan Dickau. Frye was relegated to bench-warmer status in Portland, before signing with the Suns as an unrestricted free agent. Frye resurrected his career in Phoenix, developing into one of the league's best jump-shooting big men, which earned him a hefty $35 million contract from the Suns.
#10 The Los Angeles Lakers select: Andray Blatche
(Actual 2005 pick: Andrew Bynum)
Blatche's maturity and commitment to the game can certainly be questioned, but his skill set for a 6-11 player is remarkable. Last season, he averaged 16.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 2.3 assists despite playing less than 34 minutes a night. His upside is undeniable; whether or not he'll ever reach his true ceiling is debatable.
#11 The Orlando Magic select: Marvin Williams
(Actual 2005 pick: Fran Vαzquez)
Williams is viewed as a bust by many due to the fact that the Hawks took him second overall, ahead of both Chris Paul and Deron Williams. However, Williams is a decent starting NBA small forward. His production won't wow you, but he is reliably consistent. You can usually pencil him in for 10 points and 5 boards, with limited turnovers.
#12 The Los Angeles Clippers select: Marcin Gortat
(Actual 2005 pick: Yaroslav Korolev)
As one of the final few picks in the 2005 draft (57th overall) very little was expected of Gortat in NBA circles. Yet, he put in work in Orlando and developed into an intriguing player. The issue was the Magic already had their franchise center in Dwight Howard, the league's premier pivot. We only saw quick glimpses of Gortat. That all changed as a result of an in-season blockbuster trade between Orlando and Phoenix. Marcin finally was given a chance to prove he was a legit NBA starting center. He ended up playing 55 games for the Suns last year, averaging 13 ppg (shooting 56.3% from the floor), 9.3 rpg, and 1.3 bpg. The Suns are hoping he is just starting to scratch the surface.
#13 The Charlotte Bobcats select: Charlie Villanueva
(Actual 2005 pick: Sean May)
After signing a massive free agent contract with the Pistons in July of 2009, it has all been pretty much downhill for Charlie V in MoTown. Last season was the worst of Villanueva's pro career. He averaged career-lows in points, rebounds, and assists. Considering the Pistons still owe him $24.2 million over the next three seasons, they are praying he is able to bounce back in a big way.
#14 The Minnesota Timberwolves select: Jarrett Jack
(Actual 2005 pick: Rashad McCants)
Jack has bounced around quite a bit, playing for four different organizations during his still young NBA career. In each city, he's found away to carve out a niche for himself and established a reputation as a productive and efficient NBA guard.
#15 The New Jersey Nets select: Amir Johnson
(Actual 2005 pick: Antoine Wright)
The Raps rolled the dice when re-signing Johnson for a whopping $35 million last summer. Amir's 'per-minute' averages had always been intriguing, but he hadn't yet proved he could sustain those stats given extensive playing time. Last season, he saw 25 minutes a night for the first time in his career and put up respectable numbers (9.6 ppg, 6.4 rpg, and 1.2 bpg). However, Amir was often his own worst enemy, as foul trouble plagued him on a near nightly basis. He is still just 24 years of age, so there is plenty of time for continued development.
#16 The Toronto Raptors select: Brandon Bass
(Actual 2005 pick: Joey Graham)
Bass is another player who we are still a bit unsure about. After spending his first two pro seasons buried on the Hornets bench, Bass got a chance to play in Dallas, and showed glimpses of impressive talent. That earned him a lucrative contract offer form the Magic once he hit free agency. The 2009-2010 campaign was a disappointment, as he played just 13 minutes per contest. But Bass bounced back last season; putting up over 11 points and grabbing 5.6 rebounds in 26 minutes of action.
#17 The Indian Pacers select: Louis Williams
(Actual 2005 pick: Danny Granger)
The Sixers took a second-round flier on Williams, an undersized guard setting scoring records in Georgia back in 2005. Sweet Lou has proved to be a solid scorer in the NBA as well, averaging over 13 points per game over the last three seasons in Philly. Williams isn't a true PG, and won't give you much besides points, but he's definitely a solid spark off the bench for Doug Collins in Philadelphia.
#18 The Boston Celtics select: Ersan Ilyasova
(Actual 2005 pick: Gerald Green)
After playing for the Bucks as a rookie in 2005-2006, Ilyasova left the NBA to play overseas. He didn't return to Milwaukee until 2009, and quickly proved he belonged. Ersan has been a fan favorite and solid rotation player for the Bucks since settling back in the States.
#19 The Memphis Grizzlies select: Hakim Warrick
(Actual 2005 pick: Hakim Warrick)
Warrick has always had an intriguing skill set, but hasn't quiet been able to put it all together in the NBA. Now he finds himself in Phoenix, where a glut of forwards has relegated him to part-time player.
#20 The Denver Nuggets select: C. J. Miles
(Actual 2005 pick: Julius Hodge)
Here is Miles scoring average over each of his last 5 NBA seasons: 2.7, 5.0, 9.1, 9.9, 12.8. The consistent, continued improvement is obvious.
#21 The Phoenix Suns select: Nate Robinson
(Actual 2005 pick: Nate Robinson)
You could argue that Robinson is pound-for-pound the most athletic player in the NBA, maybe in all of professional sports. Not only is he an incredible leaper for a guy his size (the slam dunk trophies on his mantle are proof positive of this), he is also a very good shooter. Unfortunately, he just doesn't get it. All that talent, but he refuses to exert his efforts efficiently. You would think he'd watch a player like J.J. Barea and see how he could positively impact a game. Instead, it often seems he is more interested in sending tweets or being the class clown. Just last month, Robinson got arrested twice in one weekend for public urination.
#22 The Denver Nuggets select: Ryan Gomes
(Actual 2005 pick: Jarrett Jack)
Gomes has been solid, if not spectacular, since entering the league. His best seasons came with the Timberwolves; he averaged 13.3 ppg in 08-09 and 5.8 rpg the season prior.
#23 The Sacramento Kings select: Jason Maxiell
(Actual 2005 pick: Francisco Garcνa)
The Pistons had some hope Maxiell would develop into a solid pro after a few promising moments early on in his career, but he's actually regressed a bit over the over the last couple of seasons. (He still has two years and $10 million left on his current contract.)
#24 The Houston Rockets select: Linas Kleiza
(Actual 2005 pick: Luther Head)
Kleiza spent his first four years with the Nuggets, before playing in Greece for a year. Last summer he signed a contract with the Raptors, and was having a fine season until a severe injury sidelined him.
#25 The Seattle Sonics select: Martell Webster
(Actual 2005 pick: Johan Petro)
Clearly a disappointment, as the Blazers used the 6th overall selection on Webster. Still, he is just 25 and has plenty time left to prove himself.
#26 The Detroit Pistons select: Ronny Turiaf
(Actual 2005 pick: Jason Maxiell)
Turiaf has overcome a lot, in particular a life-threatening heart condition. Ronny has bounced back and has been a hard worker, grinder, and fan favorite everywhere he's played.
#27 The Portland Trail Blazers select: Johan Petro
(Actual 2005 pick: Linas Kleiza)
Your classic journeyman center...
#28 The San Antonio Spurs select: Ian Mahinmi
(Actual 2005 pick: Ian Mahinmi)
Mahinmi has purportedly impressed in practice at each of his stops, but is still too raw to crack the rotation in Dallas. That might change next year if Tyson Chandler (an unrestricted free agent) leaves Big D.
#29 The Miami HEAT select: Luther Head
(Actual 2005 pick: Wayne Simien)
It appeared Head was destined for big things in Houston, when he emerged as a rotation player immediately. He was named second-team All-Rookie, and during his second season with the Rockets, he averaged 10.9 ppg and 2.2 three-pointers. But Luther hasn't been able to make the same NBA impact since. He spent last season in Sacarmento, appearing in 36 contests.
* As an interesting aside, the player actually picked with the 29th pick was Kansas All-American, Wayne Simien. Wayne won a title with the HEAT his rookie season, but shortly thereafter retired from basketball, at age 26. He is now working as a minister here is a link to his story.
#30 The New York Knicks select: Joey Graham
(Actual 2005 pick: David Lee)
Graham has started games for three different teams over the previous three seasons. A defensive-minded, tough-nosed forward, Graham spent last season in Cleveland, trying to help fill the gaping hole left by LeBron James.