If the Bucks could do it over, who would they take #1 in the ’05 Draft?
We put that question up as the DimeMag.com poll a few days ago, but the results were so surprising I think it’s worth a deeper look.
Think back to 2005: At the time, most people felt Chris Paul was the best overall player in the field. But seeing as the Bucks already had Mo Williams on-board and T.J. Ford returning from missing the previous season following spinal surgery, there wasn’t as big of a need at that position. In addition to CP, having two NBA starting-caliber point guards put Deron Williams and Ray Felton out of the mix.
So that left big man Andrew Bogut and promising wing Marvin Williams as realistic options. Milwaukee went with Bogut, and while he’s been solid (11.7 ppg, 8.8 rpg 1.8 bpg), by Year 3 it’s become clear he isn’t even the best center — or even the best Andrew — in the class. Andrew Bynum (12.3 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 2 bpg), a project coming out of high school in ’05, was picked 10th overall and has since become one of the top centers in the NBA.
But had they known then what they know now, what would the Bucks have done? The readers answered in the poll:
CHRIS PAUL (203 votes)
DERON WILLIAMS (57 votes)
ANDREW BYNUM (44 votes)
ANDREW BOGUT (6 votes)
First off, with the way people go back-and-forth in the “CP vs. Deron” debate (check out Dime #37’s Letters section), I didn’t expect Paul to be such a runaway winner and get almost four times as many votes as Deron.
Then there’s Bynum. While CP (21.3 ppg, 10.3 apg, 2.9 spg) and Deron (19.3 ppg, 9.1 apg) are knocking on All-Star status right now — and Chris should be a lock this year — looking ahead 3-4 years down the road, don’t be shocked if Bynum is the more valuable commodity. Deron and CP will be battling for the crown of the L’s top point guard by then, but go and ask the 21st-century Spurs, the most recent three-peat Lakers, the ’04 Pistons and the ’06 Heat how having a dominant big man can lead to a championship. Bynum could be that in a few years. He’s only 20 years old right now and is improving almost daily this season.
It would be tough to pass on Paul or Williams, but a 7-footer with All-NBA potential who could be the cornerstone for a championship team? It’s definitely appealing. And as for Bogut … well, he’d still be a sure Top-10 pick.
My ’05 do-over Lottery:
1. Milwaukee — Chris Paul, PG, Wake Forest
2. Atlanta — Deron Williams, PG, Illinois
3. Utah — Andrew Bynum, C, St. Joseph’s H.S. (N.J.)
4. New Orleans — Ray Felton, PG, North Carolina
5. Charlotte — Monta Ellis, PG/SG, Lanier H.S. (Miss.)
6. Portland — Danny Granger, SF, New Mexico
7. Toronto — David Lee, PF, Florida
8. New York — Andrew Bogut, C, Utah
9. Golden State — Marvin Williams, SF, North Carolina
10. L.A. Lakers — Martell Webster, SF/SG, Seattle Prep (Wash.)
11. Orlando — Andray Blatche, PF/SF, South Kent Prep (Conn.)
12. L.A. Clippers — Charlie Villanueva, PF/SF, UConn
13. Charlotte — Jason Maxiell, PF, Cincinnati
14. Minnesota — Lou Williams, PG, South Gwinnett H.S. (Ga.)