We haven’t done one of these in a while, so here’s a reminder on the ground rules:
(1) The idea is that while each team has the same roster it had at the time of the Draft, they have the added benefit of knowing how each potential draftee will turn out as of today. For example, the Blazers go into this 2006 do-over knowing that Brandon Roy is a future All-Star and potential franchise player, but not knowing they’d eventually land Greg Oden. As far as Portland knows, getting B-Roy means he’d team up with Zach Randolph as their 1-2 punch.
(2) You can’t predict injuries. Teams looking at Adam Morrison in ’06 would know that he’s something of a one-note scorer who initially struggles to adjust to the pro game. They don’t know that he’ll blow out his knee going into his second season.
(3) Potential still matters. As of today, we know Rajon Rondo has the tools to be a Top-10, perhaps Top-5 point guard in the League down the road, but hasn’t yet hit his peak. Teams looking at him in ’06 would know Rondo’s a 10-point, 5-assist guy by his second year, but — just like us — don’t know how much better (or worse) he’ll get.
(4) Lastly, you can’t predict how the rest of your roster will turn out. The Raptors had Jose Calderon in ’06, but since they don’t know he’ll turn into a borderline All-Star, might still be interested in a point guard.
All clear? Now, going into the ’06 Draft, Toronto had the top pick and was beginning a rebuilding project. Bryan Colangelo had just been brought in to turn things around, and with Chris Bosh already established as the primary building block, they needed a Kobe to his Shaq. Knowing then what they know now, that would leave Roy, Rudy Gay and LaMarcus Aldridge as the most viable candidates.
With that, here’s my ’06 Lottery do-over:
1. Toronto — Brandon Roy, SG, Washington. A foundation of Roy and Bosh makes the Raptors relevant in the Eastern Conference for the next decade (or at least until one of them wants to leave Canada). A definite upgrade over Jalen Rose and Mo Pete.
2. Chicago — LaMarcus Aldridge, PF/C, Texas. Before the great implosion of ’07-08, the Bulls’ one missing piece was a low-post scorer. It’s still an issue today, only now it’s just one of many.
3. Charlotte — Rudy Gay, SF, UConn. Coming off their second season as a franchise, the ‘Cats were in the mode of acquiring talent now and working out the rotation later.
4. Portland — Adam Morrison, SF, Gonzaga. After Z-Bo, their best offensive player was Darius Miles. Morrison’s local-kid appeal would also be good for marketing.
5. Atlanta — Rajon Rondo, PG, Kentucky. He’s not Chris Paul. Or Deron Williams. He might not even be Ray Felton. But he’s a talented point guard, which the Hawks didn’t need to pass up.
6. Minnesota — Randy Foye, PG/SG, Villanova. Some needed scoring punch and someone who can play the point to help KG.
7. Boston — Tyrus Thomas, PF, LSU. The C’s had no shot-blockers, and Raef LaFrentz was getting quality minutes up front. At this point they didn’t know exactly how good Al Jefferson would become.
8. Houston — Andrea Bargnani, SF/PF, Italy. Always desperate for a scorer with range to compliment T-Mac and Yao, the Rockets take a chance on the poor man’s Dirk..
9. Golden State — Paul Millsap, PF, Louisiana Tech. Doesn’t need the ball to be effective, provides defense and rebounding, and athletic enough to fit into Nellie Ball.
10. Seattle — Daniel Gibson, PG, Texas. Another shooter to compliment Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis, and another guard to provide depth behind Luke Ridnour.
11. Orlando — Ronnie Brewer, SG, Arkansas. With Steve Francis beginning the quick descent, the Magic needed backcourt depth. We’ve since found out that Brewer isn’t exactly the 6-7 point guard he was hyped up to be at the time, but he’s still a solid starter.
12. New Orleans — Josh Boone, C/PF, UConn. Pre-Tyson Chandler, N.O. was desperate for big men. Boone is at least serviceable.
13. Philadelphia — Jordan Farmar, PG, UCLA. A true point guard that allows A.I. to play his natural two-guard spot. Otherwise Kevin Ollie is taking the reigns.
14. Utah — J.J. Redick, SG, Duke. As a team the Jazz shot 33% beyond the arc, with rookie Deron Williams (not even a full-time starter) being the only player connecting over over 40% of his threes.
OTHER NOTABLES: Rodney Carney, Hilton Armstrong, Jorge Garbajosa, Kyle Lowry, Leon Powe, Renaldo Balkman, Shelden Williams, Marcus Williams, Thabo Sefolosha, Shawne Williams, Mardy Collins, Steve Novak, Oleksiy Pecherov, Patrick O’Bryant, Sergio Rodriguez, Quincy Douby, Saer Sene, Shannon Brown, Maurice Ager, Craig Smith, Dee Brown, Gerry McNamara, Allan Ray, James White, Rod Benson.