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Durant Or Oden? Re-drafting The First Round Of The 2007 NBA Draft

The NBA Draft is much more of an art that an exact science, evidenced by the many blunders and steals by teams over the years. The 2007 Draft was billed as a two-superstar draft at the time. Both Ohio State’s Greg Oden and Texas’ Kevin Durant were seen as can’t-miss prospects, but people seemed torn on which player should go number one. The old adage that size always wins out in such situations supported Oden, while Durant’s superb freshman season for the Longhorns convinced some people that he was a transcendent talent.

As we all know, one player turned out to be a stud while the other ended up a dud. That’s what makes the NBA Draft great. These 30 teams have scouts and executives poring over information, reports and film all in the hope of making the right call come draft night and they still get it wrong. You’d be hard-pressed to find an NBA Draft that wouldn’t go vastly different if it were held again today. Hence this exercise, where we examine how the 2007 NBA Draft may go if it were held today. Knowing what we know now about these players, here is how the 2007 Draft could play out:

58 Portland Trail Blazers – Kevin Durant, F, Texas (Original Pick: Greg Oden)

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Well, in one of the most infamous draft blunders since Bowie over Jordan, the Blazers famously selected big man Greg Oden over Kevin Durant. In many ways, you can’t really blame Portland for the selection. Oden was a beast in his single season at Ohio State, a physical marvel that looked like he could be a franchise cornerstone and the next great big man in the NBA. However, Oden simply couldn’t stay on the floor in the pros due to injury, and he’s been out of the league for a few years now.

Durant, on the other hand, quickly established himself as one of the best players in the entire league. He captured the league’s Most Valuable Player award in 2014 and is generally considered to be one of the three best players in the NBA right now. The Blazers already had a lot of talent at the time too, with youngsters like LaMarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy leading the charge. Just imagine if they had added Durant to the mix.

57 Seattle SuperSonics – Al Horford, F/C, Florida (Original Pick: Kevin Durant)

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

The then-Sonics (now Oklahoma City Thunder) really didn’t have much on their roster at the time save for some other failed lottery picks (I’m looking at you, Robert Swift). That enables the team to go any direction with this pick. The drop-off from the first pick to the second here is considerable, but there are still a lot of good players left. I opted for Al Horford. Horford was coming off back-to-back National Championships with the Gators and was seen as one of the safer picks in the draft. He ended up going to the Atlanta Hawks with the third overall  pick and became one of their best players for years.

Horford is not a flashy player and you’re not going to see him on SportsCenter much. However, he is one of the more versatile and well-rounded big men in the entire league. He’s not a superstar, but Horford still would have gotten Seattle/OKC pointed in the right direction.

56 Atlanta Hawks – Mike Conley, PG, Ohio State (Original Pick: Al Horford)

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In 2007, the Atlanta Hawks were coming off a serious rough patch of draft picks. They had gone through their small forward phase where they seemingly forgot about the other four positions on the floor, selecting guys like Josh Smith, Josh Childress and Marvin Williams in a two-year period. 2006 saw the Hawks shift gears and take a big man, but that big man happened to be Shelden Williams, an unmitigated bust. Not taking Chris Paul in 2005 was already haunting the Hawks, so Mike Conley would have helped eased the sting of that mistake, especially considering their original pick, Al Horford, is already off the board.

Conley, originally taken fourth by the Grizzlies, was seen as an unspectacular pick, but he possessed a lot of the qualities teams look for in a point guard. His NBA career got off to a rocky start and for a time it looked like he could end up being bust, but the OSU product slowly figured it out. Conley eventually developed into one of the more unheralded quality points guards in the league and received a $153 million contract in the offseason.

55 Memphis Grizzlies – Marc Gasol, C, Spain (Original Pick: Mike Conley)

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

This pick is a bit amusing since the Grizzlies would eventually end up with Gasol as a cornerstone piece of their franchise. At the time, the Grizzlies even had Marc’s brother Pau anchoring their front line, and the trade that would send the elder Gasol to Los Angeles would actually bring Marc to Memphis. Marc Gasol was not an elite prospect at the time, though, and he ended up going in the second round of the draft. He was overweight and looked like a backup center at best. Well, that assessment was wrong. Gasol slimmed down after being drafted and eventually emerged as one of the best big men in the game. He’s an elite passer for his position and one of the craftier bigs you’ll find in the NBA today. Had Memphis been able to pair the Gasol brothers together, it would have been a great story.

54 Boston Celtics – Joakim Noah, C, Florida (Original Pick: Jeff Green)

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

This pick was traded to the Seattle SuperSonics for Ray Allen in a deal that would help win Boston the NBA Championship. The Sonics opted for Georgetown forward Jeff Green at the time, which seemed oddly redundant after selecting Kevin Durant with the second pick. The two never meshed, even after an ill-fated experiment of playing Durant at shooting guard. For this re-draft, I’m opting for Joakim Noah, who originalyl went 9th overall to the Chicago Bulls. Noah was the heart and soul of a pair of National Championship teams at Florida and he may have been in consideration for the #1 pick in the 2006 draft had he entered his name. Noah, when healthy, is one of the premier defensive big men in the league and he’s even received First Team All-NBA honors. His ability to pass the ball out of the high post is excellent, as the Bulls actually ran their offense through him during one of Derrick Rose’s injury-plagued campaigns.

53 Milwaukee Bucks – Thaddeus Young, F, Georgia Tech (Original Pick: Yi Jianlian)

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Here we see another drop-off in talent and production. Thaddeus Young is no slouch and he has become somewhat of an underrated player, but he is not on the same level of any of the Top 5 players. The Bucks originally picked Chinese forward Yi Jianlian, who was the mystery man of the draft. Yi did not pan out, though he recently signed with the Los Angeles Lakers following several years away from the NBA. Still, he was most certainly a bust for Milwaukee, who would have been much better off with Young, who orignally went 12th overall to the 76ers.

The former Yellow Jacket has career averages of 13.9 PPG and 5.9 RPG, which are solid numbers. He is currently coming off a 15.1-9 season with Brooklyn where he was mostly used at the power forward position. For years, Young was seen as a bit of a disappointment by some because he was initially viewed as a classic case of a small forward that was a jump shot away from being a star. In reality, those are usually just undersized power forwards.

52 Minnesota Timberwolves – Arron Afflalo, SG, UCLA (Original Pick: Corey Brewer)

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Timberwolves were a bit of a mess when they made this pick. They were in the midst of making the Kevin Garnett trade and they didn’t truly know what their roster would look like. The teardown following the KG deal was a tough one and the franchise is really just finally recovering thanks largely in part to the incredible Karl-Anthony Towns. Corey Brewer was a decent pick, but not quite what a team hopes for with the seventh overall selection. His reputation coming out of Florida was that of a lock-down defender, but he was not quite as great as he was being billed.

Arron Afflalo, who was taken 27th overall by the Pistons, would been a better pick. It took him a little while to really make his mark in the pro game, but he worked on his skills a ton and got better year after year. His best season came in 2013-14 when he averaged 18.2 PPG for a young Orlando squad, but he’s more of a role player than anything else.

51 Charlotte Bobcats – Wilson Chandler, F, DePaul (Original Pick: Brandan Wright)

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

This pick was made by the Bobcats (now the Hornets), who selected Brandan Wright out of North Carolina. However, they quickly traded him to the Golden State Warriors in exchange for Jason Richardson and Jermareo Davidson. Michael Jordan was extremely motivated to turn the Bobcats into a winner as soon as possible and it’s likely that the Warriors truly selected Wright via a prearranged deal. Looking at this from the Warriors’ perspective, they were a team coming off an famous upset in the first round of the playoffs against the Mavericks and their trading for this pick seemed like an attempt to continue that success. Wright did not end up doing a whole lot for them, as he probably came out of college too early and was not physically ready for the league.

Unlike Wright, Wilson Chandler, the 23rd overall pick to New York, was physically capable of matching up with pros and could have been a valuable option off the bench for Golden State from day one.

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41 Chicago Bulls – Jeff Green, F, Georgetown (Original Pick: Joakim Noah)

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Bulls were a young upstart of a team in 2007, still a year away from drafting Derrick Rose. Chicago was led by Ben Gordon and Luol Deng at the time, fine players, but not stars. Unfortunately for Chicago, this spot marks a bit of a drop-off in this draft. Joakim Noah was an excellent pick for the Bulls, but in this re-draft they get Jeff Green, who was originally the fifth overall pick in this draft. Green is a classic case of fool’s gold. He looks amazing one game, lighting up an opponent and resembling a dominant force. Then he’ll go for two points the following night. Any fan of a team that has had Green can attest to this. Green has had some decent seasons, but he never seemed to live up to his potential. This is a common tale in the NBA and at this point, in what turned out to be a pretty shallow draft, he’s the best player available.

40 Sacramento Kings – Rodney Stuckey, G, Eastern Washington (Original Pick: Spencer Hawes)

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Sacramento Kings were a mess in 2007. Come to think of it, they’re a mess now, but that’s not really relevant. In 2007, the Kings had leftovers from the Chris Webber era, aging names that were no longer productive. The 10th pick in the draft provided them with a chance to inject some youth into the roster. I actually liked the selection of Spencer Hawes a lot at the time, as he was a skilled big man that could score and distribute the ball from the high post. However, Hawes left school too early and he did not appear to be physically ready for the rigors of the NBA block. I was tempted to take Hawes again here in the re-draft, but his tenure in Sacramento didn’t go well, so I decided on Rodney Stuckey, who originally went 15th to the Pistons. Stuckey came into the NBA ready to contribute and, at this juncture of the draft, that’s pretty good. He's averaged a solid 12.9 PPG and 3.7 APG during his career.

39 Atlanta Hawks – Spencer Hawes, C, Washington (Original Pick: Acie Law)

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta didn’t have a reliable point guard at the time and they tried to fix that by selecting Acie Law with the 11th pick. Law actually looked like a pretty solid pick at the time after four good years at Texas A&M, but he never found a place in the league. Law bounced around from team to team, never contributing much for the Hawks and was out of the NBA by 2012.

I opted for Spencer Hawes here, but I’m honestly not too thrilled with it. Hawes came out of college a year or two too early, but the Hawks definitely needed help in the middle at the time. Hawes would have received ample playing time from day one and perhaps that would have helped his development more than his time in Sacramento did. Don’t forget that Hawes averaged 13.2 PPG, 8.3 RPG and 3.0 APG during the 2013-14 season. Defense has never been his calling card, but offensively his best years showed a kind of poor man’s Marc Gasol skillset.

38 Philadelphia 76ers – Corey Brewer, G/F, Florida (Original Pick: Thaddeus Young)

Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia did not have too much going for them at the time of this draft, so that basically leaves them open to take the best player available. Corey Brewer, who drops from 7th overall, fits the bill here. Coming out of college, Brewer was viewed as a potential elite defender on the perimeter. While he’s never quite lived up to that defensive upside, Brewer is a quality defender and has been since entering the pro game. His offensive game has never truly come around and with a college nickname like “The Drunken Dribbler,” that can’t exactly be seen as a surprise. However, when he shot 34.6% from three-point range in 2009-10, it looked like he had solved his long distance shooting woes. Unfortunately that season proved to be an aberration, as his 28.7% career three-point percentage indicates. Brewer is a good role player, though, capable of starting but better off coming off the bench.

37 New Orleans Hornets - Jared Dudley, F, Boston College (Original Pick: Julian Wright)

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Hornets (who would eventually become the New Orleans Pelicans) had a team on the rise in the Western Conference in 2007. The team had selected point guard Chris Paul two years prior and he was quickly becoming a star in the NBA. Paul, David West and Tyson Chandler did most of the heavy lifting for this team, so it would have made sense to add an NBA-ready contributor toward the end of the lottery. Instead the team selected Julian Wright, a raw forward out of Kansas. While Wright possessed a lot of upside, he was not the kind of player that seemed ready to play meaningful minutes for a team trying to make the playoffs. Wright never panned out and he only appeared in 231 games before saying goodbye to the NBA.

Jared Dudley, on the other hand, was ready to contribute coming out of Boston College and he remains a good role player to this day. He was originally selected 22nd overall by the Bobcats and has averaged 9.4 PPG and 3.4 RPG during his career.

36 Los Angeles Clippers - Brandan Wright, PF, North Carolina (Original Pick: Al Thornton)

Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

This draft occurred back when Donald Sterling owned the Clippers, so the team was obviously a disaster. Even with some solid players like Elton Brand and Chris Kaman, the Clippers just couldn’t find a way to win. Adding Al Thornton did not help. Thornton’s statistics actually don’t look that bad when he first entered the league, but he quickly gained a reputation for being the kind of guy that doesn’t like to pass the ball. As we now know, simple statistics don’t tell the whole story, so don’t get caught up on Thornton’s 16.8 PPG in his second pro season. There’s a reason he only played in the league for a few years before finding himself out of a job in the NBA.

Brandan Wright would have been a better option for Los Angeles. While he never lived up to the vast potential he flashed with the Tar Heels, which made him the 8th overall pick, he has become a good big man off the bench. His Per-36 numbers have always been really good, but for some reason he’s never been able to carve out big minutes on any of the teams he’s played for.

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30 Detroit Pistons – Aaron Brooks, PG, Oregon (Original Pick: Rodney Stuckey)

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

In 2007, Detroit was coming off losing to the Cavs in the Conference Finals after a heroic performance from LeBron James, but they were still one of the best teams in the league. A rookie cracking the starting lineup for this team was impossible, but one contributing off the bench at point guard wasn’t impossible. Stuckey turned out to be a good pick for the team, but he’s off the board in this exercise. Detroit ended up playing Stuckey at point guard a lot, showing their need at the position. That’s why I selected Aaron Brooks here, who originally went 26th to the Houston Rockets. Brooks has been a backup his entire career, but he’s had some really good stretches over the years. He’s a small guard, so he struggles against bigger opponents, but at this point in the draft he’s the best option. Detroit may have found him minutes behind Chauncey Billups, and he could have learned from veterans like Billups and Lindsey Hunter.

29 Washington Wizards – Nick Young, SG, USC (Original Pick: Nick Young)

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

A pick that actually matches the original! A lot of people may see Nick Young this low in the draft and balk at it, but I really think this is the right spot for him. Young has become a celebrity in recent years, but he hasn’t been a very good player. He appears to have the J.R. Smith gene that causes him to shoot the ball with reckless abandon, which usually doesn’t work out very well for his team. The man they call “Swaggy P” had some decent seasons during his time in Washington, but he’s been mostly an empty stats guy. He’s a solid shooter when he takes good shots, but unfortunately he isn’t very consistent in that department. At this point in the draft, though, you’re not going to find a player more talented than Young. If he had a stronger mental game, Young could have been a really good player.

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27 New Jersey Nets – Tiago Splitter, F/C, Brazil (Original Pick: Sean Williams)

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

In 2007, the Nets were still trying to make the trio of Jason Kidd, Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson work, and by the end of the 2007-08 season they had moved on from Kidd. The team selected Sean Williams with the 17th pick in the 2007 draft in a long line of poor mid-to-late first-round picks. Williams came out of college with the reputation as an elite rim protector but ended up being a bust.

After been taken 28th overall, Tiago Splitter didn’t come over to the NBA until 2010, when Williams was already struggling to stay in the league. While this is a little early for a draft-and-stash pick, the Brazilian is the best option as far as I can see. Splitter was playing in the ACB League in Spain, arguably the top pro league in the world outside of the NBA. He was ready to play bench minutes when he entered the NBA and he’s actually become an underrated big man. The Nets needed a full rebuild at the time, so they could have had the luxury of patience with Splitter.

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25 Golden State Warriors – Carl Landry, PF, Purdue (Original Pick: Marco Belinelli)

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

For those that don’t remember the Warriors in the days before Steph Curry, this team was fresh off a massive first-round upset over the Mavs as the eighth seed in the Western Conference. The team was led by a rejuvenated Baron Davis and Warriors fans were earning a reputation around the league for being as passionate as they come. Golden State was pretty guard-heavy at the time as well, though, so it makes sense to go big here, instead of their original choice, Marco Belinelli.

Landry was a bruiser at Purdue that barely slipped out of the first round, but he clearly deserved a spot in the first. The former Boilermaker has had a good career, mainly as a bench player. Landry averaged 16.8 PPG during his best campaign and he’s consistently posted good shooting percentages. He’s not a flashy player, but he’s been a productive one. At the 18th spot in the draft, that’s more than good.

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23 Los Angeles Lakers - Ramon Sessions, PG, Nevada (Original Pick: Javaris Crittenton)

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Lakers would end up going to the NBA Finals in 2007-08, but they didn’t make the crucial Pau Gasol trade until midseason. At the time of the draft, the Lakers were coming off a mediocre season and they decided to take a big point guard in the form of Javaris Crittenton. Crittenton is currently serving a 22-year prison sentence for murder, so how do you think that pick worked out? The Lakers were in dire need at the point guard position, though, so Ramon Sessions, who went 56th overall, makes sense here. Sessions has never been a star and he actually played for the Lakers at one point, but he could have helped Los Angeles at the time. Los Angeles was relying on the likes of Derek Fisher, Jordan Farmar and Smush Parker at the one, so I’m pretty sure Sessions could have carved out some minutes. Sessions has been a steady point guard throughout his career, putting up double-digit scoring averages in multiple seasons and showing himself as a guy that can run an offense.

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21 Miami Heat – Marco Belinelli, G, Italy (Original Pick: Jason Smith)

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The Heat selected Jason Smith with this pick, but traded it for Daequan Cook, the next pick in the draft. Cook showed flashes with his shooting ability, but he was a one-trick pony that couldn’t stick in the league. The Heat were coming off a first-round exit in the playoffs and the writing was on the wall that the Shaq era in South Beach was coming to a close. Miami was supremely dependent on Dwyane Wade and surrounding him with shooters for a slash-and-kick strategy made some sense. That’s where Belinelli comes in. The Italian is not much more than a shooter, but he’s a dead-eye. Belinelli owns a 37.9% career mark from distance and his best year saw him shoot 43% from beyond the arc. Naturally that season came with the always-opportunistic Spurs. He would have been able to help stretch the floor for Wade in Miami the way the team had hoped Cook would.

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19 Philadelphia 76ers – Gary Neal, G, Towson (Original Pick: Daequan Cook)

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

In reality, the Sixers got Jason Smith here, as they swapped picks with the Heat in the previous pick. I contemplated going with Smith here, but ultimately decided on Gary Neal. Neal went undrafted out of Towson and was a relative unknown until catching on with the Spurs a couple of years later. Neal has carved out a role in the NBA as a scorer, the kind of guy that can get hot and fill it up for several minutes at a time. He provided San Antonio with scoring off the bench for years before moving on the Milwaukee. He’s been on several teams since his San Antonio days, averaging double digit PPG in multiple stops. He’s not the kind of player that you want in your starting lineup, but getting a decent bench player at the 21st pick is pretty solid. He could have given the Sixers a spark off the bench had the team taken him.

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17 Charlotte Bobcats - Josh McRoberts, F, Duke (Original Pick: Jared Dudley)

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

The Jared Dudley pick turned out to be a good one for Charlotte, though he didn’t truly hit his stride until playing for Phoenix, but he's already gone. In the re-draft the Bobcats (now Hornets) receive Josh McRoberts. McRoberts was an elite prospect coming out of high school, a McDonald’s All American. He possessed incredible athleticism, good size and unique passing ability for a big man. He did not perform at Duke the way many scouts had hoped causing his draft stock to slide dramatically. He ended up going to Portland in the second round, but didn’t truly find a significant role in the NBA until 2012-13. The team he found a role with? Charlotte. Maybe McRoberts would have still taken so long to find his niche regardless of what team drafted him, but one has to think he would have been an interesting addition to a young Bobcats team in 2007.

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15 New York Knicks - Jason Smith, C, Colorado State (Original Pick: Wilson Chandler)

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It’s no secret that the New York Knicks were a mess in 2007. The team was immersed in the Isiah Thomas era as personnel blunders abounded, but the selection of Wilson Chandler was one of the few bright spots. However, Chandler is off the board in our re-draft, so instead the Knicks end up with Jason Smith. Smith has never approached stardom in the NBA by any means, but he’s had some good seasons as a role player. Smith is a big body and, while he’s never been much of a rebounder, he does possess a nice mid-range jump shot. Smith actually spent a season with the Knicks in 2014-15, and he posted solid averages of 8.0 PPG and 4.0 RPG while playing just 21 minutes per contest. That’s not going to wow anyone, but a team needs players like Smith to be successful. It’s not all about the stars and getting a quality player in the 20s of the draft should be seen as a win.

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13 Phoenix Suns – Mirza Teletovic, F, Bosnia (Original Pick: Rudy Fernandez)

Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix Suns were experiencing the beginning of the end of the seven-seconds-or-less era in 2007 and their eventual trade for Shaq would solidify that. However, at the time of the draft, they probably didn’t know that the end was so close. The Rudy Fernandez pick made sense at the time, before they traded him, as he was billed as a potential star. Fernandez never panned out in the NBA game and the Suns would have been better off selecting Mirza Teletovic. Teletovic went undrafted and didn’t actually come to the league for years, but he would have been a good draft-and-stash pick for Phoenix. The team ended up signing him in 2015 anyway and he currently calls the Valley of the Sun home. He’s a streaky shooter that shot 39.3% from three last season and he could turn into a really valuable player if he can become more consistent.

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11 Utah Jazz - Glen Davis, F, LSU (Original Pick: Morris Almond)

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz were one of the best teams in the Western Conference in 2007, riding the likes of Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer, and they were fresh off a trip to the Conference Finals. The Jazz selected guard Morris Almond with the 25th pick, but Almond simply couldn’t earn playing time and was quickly out of the league. He would spend time in Europe and the D-League as well. Utah would have been wiser to select the man they call “Big Baby.” Glen Davis was overweight in college, but his skills were undeniable and he became a second round pick. He would eventually get himself into good shape after playing in the pros for a bit, and he actually became a real contributor during his time in Boston. His best individual season came in Orlando in 2012-13 when he averaged 15.1 PPG and 7.2 RPG. He doesn’t have much of a role these days as a member of the Clippers, but he could have been a solid part of the Utah bench early in his career.

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9 Houston Rockets – Anthony Tolliver, F, Creighton (Original Pick: Aaron Brooks)

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The 2007 draft occurred during the McGrady-Yao era of Houston Rockets basketball. T-Mac and Yao were one of the best duos in the league, but they never made it to the top. The 26th pick in the draft was not going to change that and the selection of Aaron Brooks was by no means a bad one, but he's already gone in this re-draft.

A team with some stars can always use a role player and Anthony Tolliver has been that throughout his NBA career. He wasn’t drafted out of Creighton, but found his way into the league in 2008 by way of San Antonio. Tolliver stands 6’9” tall and he’s a solid three-point shooter. As a stretch four, he would have been a good fit next to Yao Ming, a classic center. Tolliver owns a career 35.7% mark from beyond the three-point line and he could have given Houston bench minutes while knocking down some treys.

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7 Detroit Pistons - Cartier Martin, F, Kansas State (Original Pick: Arron Afflalo)

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit’s pick of Aaron Afflalo turned out to be a really good one, as he worked like a pro and consistently improved his game. However, in the re-draft Affalo is long gone. Detroit didn’t need anything in particular in 2007, as nobody this late in the first round would have cracked their rotation. So they land Cartier Martin, who is not exactly a household name. He might not have had any seasons as flashy as some of the other players remaining on the board, but he stuck in the league longer than guys like Al Thornton. Martin went undrafted out of Kansas State, but he earned a roster spot in 2008 and played for six teams between then and 2015. Oddly enough, the last team to roster Martin was actually the Detroit Pistons. The former Wildcat’s best year came in the 2011-12 season when he averaged 9.3 PPG and shot 38.7% from deep.

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5 San Antonio Spurs - Aaron Gray, C, Pittsburgh (Original Pick: Tiago Splitter)

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Spurs were one of the top teams in the league in 2007, just as they remain an elite squad in the NBA today. That kind of sustainable success comes from great drafting. While everyone knows about Spurs draft picks like Kawhi Leonard, Splitter was a really good one as well. It took him a few years to come to the league from the Spanish league he was playing in, but when he did he became a key contributor. The Spurs lacked a reliable backup center at the time, though Greg Popovich got some decent minutes out of guys like Ian Mahinmi and Fabricio Oberto.

With Splitter already gone, Aaron Gray would have been a welcomed addition to the rotation. He played sparingly for Chicago during his rookie season after being selected 49th overall, but his Per-36 averages were 15.4 PPG and 9.9 RPG. Gray has never developed into a starting-caliber center, but to get a backup big man with one of the last few picks in the first round is a success.

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3 Phoenix Suns – Joel Anthony, F/C, Nevada (Original Pick: Alando Tucker)

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Phoenix originally took Alando Tucker here with the second-to-last pick in the first round. Tucker had an illustrious collegiate career at Wisconsin and it’s a bit of a surprise that his stint in the pros didn’t go better. He struggled to shoot the ball in the NBA, especially from deep, and his inability to create his own shot against elite athletes quickly became apparent.

Joel Anthony is never going to be confused with a star player, but at least he lasted more than a few years in the league. Anthony was undrafted out of Nevada, but he earned a spot on the Miami Heat in 2007-08 anyway. He provided rebounding and defense off the bench for the Heat for years before seeing a short stay in Boston. He’s now a member of the Detroit Pistons, though he plays minimal minutes. You can’t expect too much out of the 29th pick in the draft.

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1 Philadelphia 76ers – Rudy Fernandez, G, Spain (Original Pick: Petteri Koponen)

RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports

The Sixers selected Finnish point guard Petteri Koponen with the final pick of the first round in 2007 and quickly traded him to the Portland Trail Blazers for Derrick Byars and cash. Koponen would never play in the NBA, so this has to be seen as a good trade for the Sixers. However, a better option would have been to take Rude Fernandez. The Spaniard didn’t come to the league for another year following the draft, but he was decent once he did. Fernandez owns career averages of 9.1 PPG, 2.4 RPG and 2.2 APG, which are not the statistics that many scout thought he would end up with but aren't terribly. However, Fernandez shot just 39.9% in the NBA and opted to return to the European game after four seasons. He probably could have stayed in the league, but one can’t blame him for fleeing for more familiar pastures. Still, compared to a guy that never played a single minute in the NBA, Fernandez looks pretty darn good.

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Durant Or Oden? Re-drafting The First Round Of The 2007 NBA Draft