I figured since I didn't do a playoff preview this season for each team as I did last year, I'll do a fun little countdown to this year's draft, since that's where my team is going to be instead of the postseason. Well now that we got our debates about whether or not 2007 was worth the #9 selection, I'm going to give in to my loyal readers and say I was probably wrong by putting the 2007 draft so low. I was so deadset on proving that it was a bad draft, that I let some really bad drafts off the hook. Be that as it may, I stand by my journalistic pride and proclaim that this draft was better than 2007, regardless of what I'm about to say. But here it is, ladies and gentlemen, the number 8 draft on our list is the 2006 NBA Draft which features some really bad trades (sorry Chicago and Minnesota fans), really questionable selections (I'm looking at you Atlanta) and overall, just not a deep talent pool.
Top Ten Drafts of the Last Ten Years
#10: 2000 NBA Draft: http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/
#9: 2007 NBA Draft: http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/
#8: 2006 NBA Draft:
1) Toronto Raptors - Andrea Bargnani, C, Italy
2) Chicago Bulls - LaMarcus Aldridge, PF, Texas (traded to the Trail Blazers)
3) Charlotte Bobcats - Adam Morrison, SF, Gonzaga
4) Portland Trail Blazers - Tyrus Thomas, PF, LSU (traded to the Bulls)
5) Atlanta Hawks - Shelden Williams, C, Duke
6) Minnesota Timberwolves - Brandon Roy, SG, Washington (traded to the Trail Blazers)
7) Boston Celtics - Randy Foye, SG, Villanova (traded to the Trail Blazers, then traded to the Timberwolves)
8) Houston Rockets - Rudy Gay, SF, UConn (traded to the Grizzlies)
9) Golden State Warriors - Patrick O'Bryant, C, Bradley
10) Seattle Supersonics - Mouhamed Sene, C, Senegal
Looking at this list, I'm now aware of my 2007 mistake. Tihs is not a very impressive list at all. Morrison and Williams have already made all time busts lists and Morrison continued a rough stretch for Michael Jordan in terms of his ability to draft players. Morrison struggled his rookie season before tearing his knee up and is now sitting on the far end of the Lakers bench. Williams never showed hope in Atlanta and was eventually traded to Sacramento and somehow found his way to Boston's bench this season and may have found a home as a nice utility big man for the Celtics. Bargnani showed a lot of potential his rookie season, had a sophomore slump, showed a lot of promise last year but didn't take that step forward this season as expected. Aldridge and Roy are the best out of this bunch and Portland was able to snag both on draft night with slick trades. Conversely, the guys they were traded for, Tyrus Thomas and Randy Foye respectively, are no longer with the teams they were traded to. Thomas kept Bulls fans waiting for a few years before he was traded to Charlotte this season. Foye frustrated Minnesota fans with his inconsistency and then frustrated Washington fans with the same problem this season. Rudy Gay was traded for Shane Battier on draft night and has become a great scorer for the Grizzlies and will be a sought after free agent this season, but has yet to achieve much in his short career. Meanwhile, O'Bryant and Sene (who continued Seattle's trend of drafting centers just to draft centers; ironically not one of them worked out) are no longer in the league at all and looked out of place everytime they were on the court. Not exactly what you're looking for out of your top ten draft selection.
11) Orlando Magic - J.J. Redick, SG, Duke
12) New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets - Hilton Armstrong, C, UConn
13) Philadelphia 76ers - Thabo Sefolosha, SG, Switzerland (traded to the Bulls)
14) Utah Jazz - Ronnie Brewer, SG, Arkansas
15) New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets - Cedric Simmons, PF, North Carolina State
16) Chicago Bulls - Rodney Carney, SF, Memphis (traded to the 76ers)
17) Indiana Pacers - Shawne Williams, PF, Memphis
18) Washington Wizards - Oleksiy Pecherov, C, Ukraine
19) Sacramento Kings - Quincy Douby, SG, Rutgers
20) New York Knicks - Renaldo Balkman, PF, South Carolina
Another group of ten very mediocre players. When Redick is the best out of the bench, you know it doesn't look good. In fact, the Magic were largely criticized when they drafted Redick, but the team was patient with the Duke star and he eventually paid dividends this season. Both of the Hornets two picks in the top 15, Armstrong and Simmons, are no longer in the league. As far as the Sefolosha for Carney trade that went down between Chicago and Philadelphia, neither player is going to blow anyone away but Sefolosha has developed a reputation as a terrific defensive player. Carney, on the other hand, is a dime a dozen scorer but has found a way to stay on rosters in the league. Brewer was a high flyer who could play defense and was welcome for the usually grounded Utah Jazz. However, they traded him to Memphis this season to get under the luxury tax and then Brewer injured himself, leaving it unknown if he'll ever reach his true potential. Meanwhile, Williams was talented but too much of a head case to make it in Indiana while Pecherov was a big man who could shoot from long range but hardly found his way on the court in Washington and is struggling to do the same in Minnesota. Douby (the 2Pac look a like, google it) struggled to stay in Sacramento's rotation and is now playing overseas. Balkman was a blasted pick for Isiah Thomas and the Knicks, but he had a fine rookie season. After that, though, he's done nothing and is sitting on Denver's bench now.
21) Phoenix Suns - Rajon Rondo, PG, Kentucky (traded to the Celtics)
22) New Jersey Nets - Marcus Williams, PG, Uconn
23) New Jersey Nets - Josh Boone, PF, UConn
24) Memphis Grizzlies - Kyle Lowry, PG, Villanova
25) Cleveland Cavaliers - Shannon Brown, PG, Michigan State
26) Los Angeles Lakers - Jordan Farmar, PG, UCLA
27) Phoenix Suns - Sergio Rodriguez, PG, Spain (traded to the Trail Blazers)
28) Dallas Mavericks - Maurice Ager, SG, Michigan State
29) New York Knicks - Mardy Collins, PG, Temple
30) Portland Trail Blazers - Joel Freeland, PF, United Kingdom
The Phoenix Suns continued their trend of drafting players and then trading them to other teams that they seemingly did the entire decade. Rondo became the second coming of Christ in Boston and has turned into one of the best point guards in the league. Rodriguez, on the other hand, never quite caught on in Portland, Sacramento or New York and may go back overseas this offseason. Williams and Boone were supposed to finally replace the duo of Jason Kidd and Kenyon Martin in New Jersey, but neither worked out at all. Lowry turned out to be a really nice player for Memphis and was eventually traded to Houston last season where he's continued his strong play. Brown bounced around the league for a little bit before being traded to the Lakers last season and then breaking out as a bench player for the league champions. Ironically, he joined Farmar, the 26th pick, in Los Angeles. Farmar looked like the point guard of the future in Los Angeles before Derek Fisher rejoined the Lakers. Farmar now is in and out of the Lakers rotation and will probably be playing elsewhere next season. Ager was a great shooter in college but never cracked the rotation in the NBA. Collins is a tough, defensive minded point guard who's still on someone's roster but I'm not sure why. Meanwhile Freeland is an extremely talented prospect but he still doesn't look to be in any hurry to come join the NBA.
Round Two Notables:
32) Houston Rockets - Steve Novak, PF, Marquette
36) Minnesota Timberwolves - Craig Smith, PF, Boston College
42) Cleveland Cavaliers - Daniel Gibson, PG, Texas
47) Utah Jazz - Paul Millsap, PF, Louisiana Tech
49) Denver Nuggets - Leon Powe, PF, Cal (traded to the Celtics)
50) Charlotte Bobcats - Ryan Hollins, C, UCLA
Novak and Hollins just make this list because they're still in the league. Novak emerged as a really nice three point shooter last year with the Clippers but struggled to crack their rotation this season. Hollins got a really nice deal with Minnesota this season but still has yet to put his athletic talents to use as an NBA player. Smith was a really nice hustle player for the Timberwolves and made the All-Rookie second team and is now playing for the Clippers. Daniel Gibson was terrific his rookie season, becoming the second best player for a Cleveland team that wound up making the NBA Finals. Gibson was rewarded for that breakout postseason with a big contract but has done nothing of note since signing that deal. Millsap has become a bonafide stud for Utah and is their PF of the future once Carlos Boozer leaves. Leon Powe struggled to crack the rotation with Boston his rookie season but eventually found his way in the lineup for the Celtics 2008 championship team. Injuries have halted his career but the jury's still out on him.
Notable Undrafted Players:
Jose Juan Barea, PG, Northeastern - Signed with the Dallas Mavericks
Walter Hermann, SF, Argentina - Signed with the Charlotte Bobcats
Chris Quinn, PG, Notre Dame - Signed with the Miami Heat
Quinn, like Novak and Hollins in Round Two, makes this list because he's still in the league. He was a third string point guard for the 12-70 New Jersey Nets this season and doesn't look to have much of a future in the NBA, but for now he's still there. J.J. Barea has become a nice rotation player for the Mavericks the last couple of seasons and shows glimpses of being a solid player in the league although Dallas fans hate him. Hermann broke out his rookie season and looked to become a solid player for, eventually, the Detroit Pistons before signing overseas this past offseason.
2006-2007 NBA Rookie of the Year: Brandon Roy
All Stars from the 2006 NBA Draft: Brandon Roy, Rajon Rondo
2006-2007 NBA All-Rookie First Team
Jorge Garbajosa (who signed with Toronto in the 2006 offseason after a successful Euroleague career) and LaMarcus Aldridge tied for the fifth spot
2006-2007 NBA All-Rookie Second Team
Rajon Rondo, Marcus Williams and Walter Hermann all tied for the fifth spot
Seriously, NBA, what's with the ties? Grow a set.