2005 NBA Draft Redux

The 2005 NBA draft featured two point guards that two teams regret passing on, some big men with upside and a few sleepers that should’ve went in the lottery. Four years later, its easy to see why some of the lottery teams in this draft are still in the lottery, while others have become title contenders.

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3930#1] MILWAUKEE BUCKS – mil
CHRIS PAUL / WAKE FOREST / PG
Size: 6-0 175
’05 team needs: PF, C
Actual selection: ANDREW BOGUT
Analysis: With a career EWA of 5.42, Bogut certainly isn’t a bust and he filled a need in the frontcourt for the Bucks. But if former — I emphasize former — GM Larry Harris were able to do it all over again, knowing what he knows now, he would certainly take Paul, who has a career EWA of 20.66 and is currently one of the top five or six players in the league. The Bucks had Mo Williams at the point in 2005, but could have used him as a valuable trading chip due to his age, production and affordable contract.

3929#2] ATLANTA HAWKS – atl
DERON WILLIAMS / ILLINOIS / PG
Size: 6-3 205
’05 team needs: PG, C
Actual selection: MARVIN WILLIAMS
Analysis: With Tyronn Lue as the teams starting point guard heading into the draft, there’s simply no excuse not to take a point guard here, especially with D-Will on the board. Even if ESPN’s Chad Ford considered Marvin Williams the best player in the draft, passing on Paul and Williams is a mistake that continues to haunt former GM Billy Knight. Imagine building around a trio of Joe Johnson, Josh Smith and Deron Williams — or Chris Paul, for that matter.

3943#3] UTAH JAZZ –uth
DANNY GRANGER / N.MEXICO / SF
Size: 6-8 225
’05 team needs: PG, SG
Actual selection: DERON WILLIAMS
Analysis: It’s unclear whether or not the Jazz would have moved up into this spot if they knew Paul and Williams would be off the board. They needed a point guard in the worst way and, based on feedback, knew that both would be going to be available here. That being said, the Blazers would’ve almost certainly taken Granger, and knowing his All-Star potential, the Jazz probably would’ve too.

3936#4] NEW ORLEANS HORNETS –nor
ANDREW BYNUM / ST. JOSEPH HS / C
Size: 7-0 280
’05 team needs: PG, C
Actual selection: CHRIS PAUL
Analysis: This is where things start to get a bit tricky. Taking Paul was obviously the right decision, especially with the departure of Baron Davis. But under this scenario, snagging Bynum would probably be the best option. He hasn’t been the most durable big man since entering the league as a 17-year old, but has shown good production and a quick learning curve early in his career, and still has the potential to be a dominant big man in the league.

3956#5] CHARLOTTE BOBCATS –cha
DAVID LEE / FLORIDA / PF
Size: 6-9 235
’05 team needs: PG, C
Actual selection: RAYMOND FELTON
Analysis: By now, it’s evident that the Bobcats reached for Felton here, despite desperately needing a point guard. With two selections in the lottery to grab a point guard, grabbing Lee here makes a lot of sense. Emeka Okafor would move to center (which has happened anyway, and Lee would instantly become a fan favortie for a team having difficulty filling its arena (29th out of 30 in league attendance).

3927#6] PORTLAND TRAILBLAZERS –por
ANDREW BOGUT / UTAH / C
Size: 7-0 250
’05 team needs: SG, C
Actual selection: MARTELL WEBSTER
Analysis: Before the Blazers ever had a shot at drafting Greg Oden, under this scenario they would’ve likely had an opportunity to take Bogut and still have a solid inside presence. He’s not worthy of being the top overall selection, but he’s still a solid player, when healthy, and right here would be an ideal spot of him to fall.

3966#7] TORONTO RAPTORS –tor
MONTA ELLIS / LANIER HS / CG
Size: 6-3 170
’05 team needs: PG, SG
Actual selection: CHARLIE VILLANUEVA
Analysis: According to the EWA and career PER, the Raptors actually took the next best available player in Villanueva. But with Chris Bosh already in the fold at power forward, Ellis would really be an intriguing fit here. His ability to handle both backcourt spots would help the eventual rebuilding of the backcourt with the eventual departures of Rafer Alston and Vince Carter.

3933#8] NEW YORK KNICKS –nyk
CHARLIE VILLANUEVA / UCONN / PF
Size: 6-10 240
’05 team needs: C, PF
Actual selection: CHANNING FRYE
Analysis: With an aging frontcourt in New York, the Knicks went with Channing Frye here. But under this scenario, Villanueva would be a much better selection. His size and versatility give him the ability to play multiple positions, and with the rebuilding in full swing, Villanueva gives them immediate and future help up front. Plus, he’s from New York City and would likely boost fan morale a little during those ugly Isiah Thomas years.

3928#9] GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS –gsw
MARVIN WILLIAMS / N.CAROLINA / SF
Size: 6-9 225
’05 team needs: C, SF
Actual selection: IKE DIOGU
Analysis: The Warriors don’t have a serious need at any position, so they’ll likely take the best player available. That looks like Marvin Williams from here. Though his 3.12 career EWA isn’t what most expected it to be, four years later he’s still young and productive enough that the future could be a bright one. At this point, he’s certainly one of the ten best players from this class.

3931#10] LOS ANGELES LAKERS –lal
RAYMOND FELTON / N.CAROLINA / PG
Size: 6-1 195
’05 team needs: PG, C
Actual selection: ANDREW BYNUM
Analysis: With Derek Fisher gone and Jordan Farmar not yet in the fold, the Lakers were in serious need of a point guard. Lucky for them, Felton is available under this scenario. He probably would’ve thrived in this situation, too, running the fast break and tossing up lob passes to Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom for alley-oops.

3945#11] ORLANDO MAGIC –orl
HAKIM WARRICK / SYRACUSE / PF
Size: 6-9 225
’05 team needs: PF, SG
Actual selection: FRAN VASQUEZ
Analysis: Rather than taking Vasquez, who has yet to come to the NBA since being drafted, going with Warrick would have been a much safer selection. While his defense is terrible, he’s been an efficient offensive player since entering the league and would be a nice addition here. At this point in the lottery, quality big men can be difficult to come by.

3971#12] LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS –lac
LOUIS WILLIAMS / ATLANTA HS / CG
Size: 6-2 175
’05 team needs: PG, SF
Actual selection: YAROSLAV KOROLEV
Analysis: Yaroslav is now out of the league, so it’s difficult to go wrong with a replacement pick here. Williams, who took a few years to develop, has turned into quite the complimentary player off the bench in Philadelphia and would have a solid fan base in Los Angeles, despite the dismal outlook of the Clippers.

3947#13] CHARLOTTE BOBCATS –cha
NATE ROBINSON / WASH / PG
Size: 5-9 185
’05 team needs: PG, C
Actual selection: SEAN MAY
Analysis: Though Robinson may not have been the ideal point guard for former GM Bernie Bickerstaff, a combination of Lee / Robinson beats out Felton / May any day of the week. Robinson is an explosive athlete and a big-time scorer than would be a short-term fix at the point, much like Felton has been. Plus, he’s great for fan appeal, which is something Charlotte lacked in 2005.

3983#14] MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES –min
MARCIN GORTAT / POLAND / C
Size: 6-11 265
’05 team needs: C, PG
Actual selection: RASHAD MCCANTS
Analysis: While point guard is a high priority, there just nobody worth taking that high at that position. Therefore, Gortat becomes the selection here. He didn’t come to the NBA until 2007, but he has terrific size and physicality and his production in year four was quite impressive. Plus, he’s much better than Mark Blount, who the Timberwolves had starting at center in 2006.

*Email Andrew at ajohn135@gmail.com

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4 Responses to “2005 NBA Draft Redux”

  1. There are three stars in this draft and none of them were drafted in the top three. That’s a sad, sad commentary on NBA scouting, especially considering the fact that CP3 played two years in college, D-Will played three, and Granger played four. It’s not like they came out of nowhere and scouts didn’t have time to scout them properly.

  2. Good point. I’m not sure how CP3 fell all the way to No. 4 when he was considered the best point guard prospect since Jason Kidd by some experts. It’s an inexact science, but if these draft do-overs have proved anything, it’s that league scouting has been horrendous for quite some time. You can’t tell me anybody actually thought Andrew Bogut was going to be better than Chris Paul; that’s something I just refuse to believe.

  3. Part of it goes back to the half-cocked theory that a halfway decent big an is better than any player under 6-foot-6. It feels like each year that theory is proven wrong. Of course, big men are vital to success in the NBA, but we’ve also see that having an elite point guard can be pretty effective, too.

    Interestingly enough, there have been more elite point guards than elite big men in the past half dozen drafts. And because of that, I think teams are learning that they needs to take the best player available, regardless of position.

  4. Other than Rose and Paul, there really aren’t any other players who have deserved to be selected No. 1 overall in the past decade. But for big men, you could say, Griffin, Howard, Stoudemire and Gasol who deserved to be the top overall selection. Only two of them actually were, so in theory, big men have a lot of upside and teams are often afraid to pass on one they believe could be dominant.

    That being said, it’s hard to understand how proven commodities like Chris Paul and Deron Williams were passed on. I realize Bogut and Williams has loads of upside, but it’s not even a debate who the Bucks and Hawks should’ve taken.

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