Re-drafts are a popular thing to do for sports fans. After all, hindsight is 20/20. But most re-drafts are usually done just two or three years after the actual draft even though it’s still way too early to get an accurate gauge on what a player will become. For example, Steph Curry was drafted in 2009 but didn’t really become “Steph Curry” until 2014. Curry averaged just 14.7 points per game in his third NBA season and played in only 26 games. If we held a 2009 re-draft after that season, Curry wouldn’t even be a top 10 pick! Guys like Brandon Jennings and Tyreke Evans, who were both also in that draft class, would have been selected before Curry in a re-draft. Thus, we have decided to take a look at a draft class that we are far removed from, and that is the 2005 NBA Draft.
A dozen years have passed since the 2005 NBA Draft and, amazingly, 17 players from that draft class are still active in the NBA. By comparison, the 2006 draft has just 11 active players so 2005 was clearly a deep class. The 2005 draft also served as the final draft (for now) in which players could be drafted straight out of high school.
This re-draft will take into account the player’s career performance as well as the fit and need for the drafting team at the time. Every sports fan loves to play GM every once in a while so here is my re-draft of the first round of the 2005 NBA Draft.
30 Milwaukee Bucks – Chris Paul
Original pick – Andrew Bogut
The first pick is the easiest pick as Paul has separated himself from all of the other players in his draft class and will be the only one from it in the Hall of Fame. Sometimes there is a debate as to whether to take the best player available or to draft for need, and the Bucks chose the wrong option by selecting Andrew Bogut. Yes, they needed a center, but Bogut wasn’t seen in the same light as other sure-fire #1 picks like Shaq, Blake Griffin, or even Yao Ming.
While Bogut has had a solid NBA career, he’s been injury-prone throughout and hasn’t been a true difference-maker. CP3 might be the best pure point guard since Magic Johnson and has rightfully earned the nickname of the “Point God.” It would have been fun to watch Paul and the Bucks battle LeBron and the Cavs for supremacy in the Central Division.
29 Atlanta Hawks – Deron Williams
Original pick – Marvin Williams
There were two All-Star caliber point guards leading up to the 2005 draft and the Hawks were sitting pretty with the #2 overall pick. There was no way they could mess this up…and somehow they did. They took a UNC tweener in Marvin Williams to add to a team already full of tweeners. Williams is still in the league but he was severely raw at that point and didn’t even start on his North Carolina squad in his lone season in Chapel Hill.
Deron Williams would have fit in perfectly with this young Hawks squad but they instead went with the Royal Ivey-Tyronn Lue combination at point guard. Remember it was just a couple of years ago when there was an actual debate as to whether Deron Williams or Chris Paul was the better player. We all know how that turned out but we also know who the better Williams was and is between Deron and Marvin.
28 Utah Jazz – Andrew Bogut
Original pick – Deron Williams
The Jazz needed a point guard but with the top two options gone, Utah would have been best served to draft a big man out of its own backyard in former Utah Ute, Andrew Bogut. Raymond Felton was an option here but seeing how Jerry Sloan clashed with Deron Williams, chances are the former coach would have issues with all point guards born on June 26, 1984.
The Jazz did have a solid frontcourt at the time with Kirilenko, Boozer, and Okur; so Bogut could have came in and served an apprenticeship behind those guys as a reserve. Bogut’s basketball IQ, high-post passing, and knack for defense would have ingratiated himself to Sloan and maybe could have extended Sloan’s tenure on the sideline.
27 New Orleans Hornets – Danny Granger
Original pick – Chris Paul
In between the Reggie Miller era and the Paul George era in Indiana, the Pacers were Danny Granger’s team. Remember, this is a guy who averaged 25.8 and 24.1 PPG in back-to-back years. Granger is just one of 5 players from the 2005 draft who made an All-Star game and may have made even more if not for injuries. Chris Paul was obviously the best possible pick for the franchise but Granger would have made for a nice consolation.
An added bonus to the Hornets/Pelicans drafting Granger is the fact that he’s a New Orleans native. The year 2005 was the year that Hurricane Katrina hit the city and the team played their home games in Oklahoma City. It would have been fitting for New Orleans to have some New Orleans flavor on its team while it was displaced.
26 Charlotte Bobcats – David Lee
Original pick – Raymond Felton
The then-Charlotte Bobcats clearly went for the local products with their first round picks as they selected Felton and his UNC teammate Sean May (#13 overall) in this draft. Thus, they needed both a point guard and a power forward so they should have selected the power forward, first, and taken David Lee. Besides Paul and Williams, Lee is the only other player from this draft to make multiple All-Star teams.
Lee was seen as too unathletic to be a high pick so he dropped to the last pick of the first round. He has proven those scouts wrong and become a valuable two-way player. Over an 8 year stretch, Lee averaged a double-double (16 PPG, 10 RPG) en route to All-Star berths with the Knicks and Warriors. He also knows how to accept a role and moved to the bench for Golden State in 2014-15 which fortified their second unit and helped propel them to an NBA championship.
25 Portland Trail Blazers – Andrew Bynum
Original pick – Martell Webster
Portland was attempting to transition from its “Jail Blazers” era and decided to take a swingman out of high school in Martell Webster. They had the right mindset in taking a high schooler but went the wrong route and should have drafted Andrew Bynum instead. On a per-minute-basis, Bynum is the second best player from this draft after only Chris Paul.
Bynum had flashes of superstardom with the Lakers: remember when he grabbed 30 boards in a game or when he had a triple double in the playoffs? Even as the third option on two Lakers title teams, Bynum was still putting up good numbers while patrolling the paint. Also, with Bynum’s injury history, he would have fit right into the Blazers’ history of players whose bodies break down (Walton, Roy, Oden).
24 Toronto Raptors – Monta Ellis
Original pick – Charlie Villanueva
Charlie V won a national championship at UCONN and scored 48 points in a game as a rookie in Toronto. Who knew that those would be the only meaningful contributions of Villanueva’s career? He would be traded after his rookie year then get grossly overpaid in Detroit before finishing his career as a backup in Dallas.
The Raptors had a 20-year-old Chris Bosh at PF when they drafted Villanueva which no doubt had CB already thinking about South Beach. I’m not saying taking a different player would have kept Bosh in Toronto, but having a running mate like Monta Ellis would have endeared the Raptors more to Bosh. Only Chris Paul has scored more points than Ellis out of everyone from that draft class Bosh and Ellis would have made a perfect inside-out combination for The North.
23 New York Knicks – Channing Frye
Original pick – Channing Frye
One of the few things that the Knicks have gotten right over the past 15 seasons, I would not change this pick. Frye was a little ahead of his time as a stretch-big but he’s been a solid pray throughout his career. The New York native made the All-Rookie team despite coming off the bench and his game back then is pretty similar to his game now.
The one thing I would change if given the chance is the roster surrounding Frye. Just look at some of the names on the 2005-06 Knicks: Stephon Marbury, Steve Francis, Eddy Curry, Matt Barnes. That’s not exactly the best group of veterans to help nourish a rookie but somehow both Frye and David Lee were able to keep their sanity. Perhaps it was the presence of Penny Hardaway on the team that helped them as he somehow managed to sneak on the court for 72 minutes that season.
22 Golden State Warriors – Marcin Gortat
Original pick – Ike Diogu
Diogu was an undersized big man who didn’t work in the 2000s but might have worked in the early-to-mid 90s. This Warriors team was just before the “We Believe” squad but had a solid backcourt in Baron Davis and Jason Richardson. They needed someone in the frontcourt to complement those two and the Polish Hammer would have been the best pick.
Gortat lasted until the 57th pick in that year’s draft and played in Europe for two years before coming to the States in 2007. His arrival would have coincided perfectly with Don Nelson’s arrival and would have given the team the center that they always lacked. Nellieball hasn’t been that receptive to true centers in the past, but Gortat’s ability on both ends of the court would have made him the best possible center for the Warriors and a much better option than Andris Biedrins.
21 Los Angeles Lakers – Raymond Felton
Original pick –Andrew Bynum
Bynum was the best pick for L.A. in their post-Shaq world but he’s off the board now. With no other elite big men on the board, the Lakers should have looked to fill their glaring need at point guard. LA had a point guard, but his name was Smush Parker…yes, THAT Smush Parker. For a team that started Smush Parker, Chris Mihm, and Kwame Brown; the Lakers had lots of holes to fill but a pass-first point guard like Felton would have appeased Kobe Bryant (until he missed Kobe open on the wing). Felton has become the butt of many fat jokes over the last few years but he was a serviceable starter earlier in his career in Charlotte. Perhaps Phil Jackson’s yoga sessions could have helped keep the weight off?
20 Orlando Magic – Nate Robinson
Original pick – Fran Vazquez
You may have never heard of Vazquez and that is for good reason as the #11 overall pick in the 2005 draft never played a minute in the NBA. Some international players wait a year or two, or even a decade, before coming over to the US but Vazquez is one of the few who never made the trip. It was a big missed opportunity for Orlando who had just drafted Dwight Howard the year prior and were looking to build around him.
Nate Robinson is a sentimental pick as he wasn’t the 11th best player in this draft, but boy I would have loved to see the after-practice dunk sessions between he and Howard. We could have seen Robinson dunk over Howard in 2005 instead of waiting until the 2009 dunk contest. Imagine what they would have thought up in the locker room, on the bus, etc. Could Robinson have done a 360 over Howard? Could Howard have dunked Robinson through the hoop? Who knows?
19 Los Angeles Clippers – Ersan Ilyasova
Original pick – Yaroslav Korolev
Korolev as teenager from Russia who averaged 1.1 points per game over his 34-game NBA career…Typical Clippers pick under Donald Sterling. If the Clippers wanted to go young and go international, then they should have went with the Ghostface Illa, Ilyasova was just 18 when he was picked out of Turkey and needed time to develop, but couldn’t you say that about every Clippers draft pick until Blake Griffin came around?
Ilyasova would go back to Europe before rejoining the NBA but it was time abroad well spent. With all due respect to the NBA D-League, international experience better prepares players for life in the NBA. The extra experience served Ilyasova well and he’s been one of the most underrated stretch-fours over the last decade.
18 Charlotte Bobcats – Jarrett Jack
Original pick – Sean May
The Hornets got their power forward in their earlier pick with Lee and now they get their point guard. Jack and Felton are similar players but you have to factor in who Charlotte got with their other first round picks. Would you rather have Felton and Sean May or Jack and David Lee? No contest.
Before injuries and age caught up with Jack over the last few years, he was one of the most durable players in the NBA. He led or tied for the NBA lead in games played in 4 straight seasons and was the starting point guard for 5 different teams. When you get to the middle of the first round, you aren’t expecting to hit a home run with every pick, but Jack is someone who will at least get on base for you.
17 Minnesota Timberwolves – Marvin Williams
Original pick – Rashad McCants
Another guy whose peak came in college, McCants never found the success in the NBA that he experienced at North Carolina. In all honesty, perhaps the most notable thing he did after leaving UNC was date a Kardashian. If Minnesota’s goal was to tick off Kevin Garnett even more with a player who wasn’t ready to contribute to the NBA, then Minny achieved their goal.
The Timberwolves would have been better served with going with McCants’ college teammate, Marvin Williams. Williams has never lived up to his status as a #2 overall pick, but it’s not like he’s a bust either. He’s been a starter for over a decade and has become a true stretch-4 after being a combo forward earlier in his career. He could have played alongside Garnett or backed him up. He would have then ascended into Garnett’s position once it became inevitable that KG wanted to leave for a championship contender.
16 New Jersey Nets – Amir Johnson
Original pick – Antoine Wright
The Nets still had the trio of Jason Kidd, Vince Carter, and Richard Jefferson on the perimeter so they should have looked for some frontcourt help. Instead they went with swingman Antoine Wright whose only meaningful NBA contribution was him being used to even out salaries as a part of the trade that sent Kidd to Dallas. Outside of the NBA, Wright last played basketball professionally for a team in the Philippines called the “Rain or Shine Elasto Painters.” If that doesn’t scream draft bust, then I don’t know what does.
Amir Johnson was the fifth-to-last player drafted and (for now) is the last player in NBA history to be drafted straight out of high school. It took some time for him to develop into a quality NBA player but something he could have done right out the gate is catch lob passes from Kidd. Johnson has been severely underrated during his NBA career and according to basketball-reference.com, his career plus/minus ranks second only to Chris Paul amongst players in that draft. Not bad for the 56th overall pick.
15 Toronto Raptors – Ronny Turiaf
Original pick – Joey Graham
Before there were the Lopez Twins or the Morris Twins, there were the Graham Twins with Joey and Stephen. Unfortunately, neither of the two really stood out from the other so people often confuse the two similarly to Marcus and Markieff. I had Toronto grabbing Monta Ellis with their first pick so they would want to avoid another one of the youngsters on the board. Thus, they should have went with one of the few college seniors available, Ronny Turiaf.
The beefy Frenchman had played in the NCAA tournament in all four of his seasons at Gonzaga and would have provided much-needed interior toughness to the Raptors. Chris Bosh had yet to be introduced to the weight room at this point in his career so Turiaf could have served as the muscle to this young Raptors team.
14 Indiana Pacers – C.J. Miles
Original pick – Danny Granger
It would have been hard for the Pacers to do any better with this pick than they did with Granger but New Orleans grabbed him in the top 5. Reggie Miller had just retired for the Pacers and they were shifting into a new era and away from those Ron Artest-Jermaine O’Neal teams. Nothing says “new” like an 18-year-old kid and C.J. Miles could have been a start for the Pacers’ new era. Jackson could have spent summers with Miller working on his jumper and winters with Artest and Stephen Jackson working on his right jab. Miles would eventually make his way to Indiana and is still with the team today, but it happened about 10 years later than Larry Bird and Co. would have liked.
13 Boston Celtics – Gerald Green
Original pick – Gerald Green
Green wasn’t ready physically or mentally when he joined the NBA out of high school, but I still wouldn’t change a thing about this pick. It’s not so much for what Green provided to the Celtics as a teenager or for what he provides them currently as a 30-year-old. It’s more for what Green would become and that is a valuable part of the trade package that sent Kevin Garnett to the Celtics. If Green is replaced by Brandon Bass or Marvin Webster, do the Timberwolves make the deal? They very well may do so but it’s best not to mess with fate. Sometimes you just don't mess with a good thing and this is one of those cases.
12 Memphis Grizzlies – Lou Williams
Original pick – Hakim Warrick
The steal of the draft! Williams lasted until the 45th pick in 2005 and lasts until the 19th pick this time around. Instant offense is Sweet Lou’s game and the Grizzlies have struggled on offense since they were in Vancouver! Williams appears to be on his way to winning the second 6th Man of the Year award and he’s still young enough to potentially tie the all-time record of three such awards.
Outside of making that block against Kansas in the 2005 NCAA Championship game, can you recall anything else Hakim Warrick did in his basketball career? I guess you don’t really need to do anything else for people to remember you when it’s that iconic of a play.
11 Denver Nuggets – Francisco Garcia
Original pick – Julius Hodge
This was George Karl’s first full season at the helm in Denver and Furious George has never really been too keen on young players. Thus, I have the Nuggets taking 24-year-old Francisco Garcia who was a do-everything player at Louisville. He would have fit in nicely as a point forward for the Nuggets who love to get up and down the court in the high altitude of Colorado. Instead Garcia toiled away on a listless Sacramento Kings team that Karl would eventually be hired to and fired from.
Hodge was an All-American at NC State but it was all downhill from there. He lasted just two seasons in the NBA but was miraculously was able to return to play after being shot three times while sitting in his car. According to his biography, he’s played with 22 different pro teams all around the world.
10 Phoenix Suns – Hakim Warrick
Original pick – Nate Robinson
The Suns drafted Robinson but then immediately traded him to the Knicks. If this pick is again traded to New York, why not select someone who has already excelled playing there (albeit in Syracuse) with Hakim Warrick. Larry Brown was the coach of the Knicks at the time, and even though he struggled in NY, there is no better NBA coach at maximizing a player’s talents than “LB.” He could have made Warrick a rim-running big man which would have complemented their shooting big man rookie, Channing Frye. Warrick is someone with too much talent to be out of the league already and perhaps he just needed to be in a better situation (and I keep convincing myself that the Knicks are a better situation).
9 Denver Nuggets – Martell Webster
Original pick – Jarrett Jack
Jack was immediately traded to Portland after being drafted so in his place I went with the Blazers original #6 overall pick, Martell Webster. An added bonus is that the high school player is a local product as he grew up in Washington. Webster was a solid pro but he had too much pressure on him as a teenager with being the 6th pick in the draft. He would have less pressure to be a star at this pick in the draft and that may have helped with his game. He also would have been going to a much better team. Jarrett Jack was not a bad pickup but Portland could have had Webster and Andrew Bynum instead of Webster and Jack.
8 Sacramento Kings – Brandon Bass
Original pick – Francisco Garcia
The 2005-06 Kings were the last playoff team for the franchise before embarking on their current 11 year playoff drought. With Garcia off the board, Bass represents the best player on the board and the undersized big man has carved out a nice career across six different teams. This was also the season in which the Kings traded for Ron Artest and I would have loved seeing Artest and Bass go at it in practice.It probably wouldn't have made a huge difference for the Kings, but at least we'd have been entertained. Among the second round picks from 2005, Bass is the only player who went to college who is still in the league as the others were out of high school or international players.
7 Houston Rockets – Ian Mahinmi
Original pick – Luther Head
When you get towards the end of the first round, you come across teams that are contenders for a title. Thus, teams aren’t necessarily looking for starters, but just guys who can be role players. Mahinmi would have filled the backup center role for Houston behind All-Star, and Hall of Famer, Yao Ming. If you think Mahinmi is raw now, imagine him as a 19 year old. But with Jeff Van Gundy calling the shots in Houston, Mahinmi’s learning curve wouldn’t have been as steep as he is an elite big man coach despite being about 4’10”. Mahinmi also would have learned from one of the all-time greats as Dikembe Mutombo was still a finger-wagging presence in the paint for Houston.
6 Seattle SuperSonics – Linas Kleiza
Original pick – Johan Petro
Some 8-year-old is reading this and wondering what are the SuperSonics? The Sonics are a forgotten NBA team and Kleiza was a forgotten NBA player. The rare international player who went to a US college, Kleiza honed his craft in his native Lithuania before playing at Missouri. Kleiza played a total of seven years in the NBA, splitting time in Denver and Toronto. He was mainly Carmelo’s backup with the Nuggets but he could also go off on any given night. He once scored 41 points with Denver and may be one of the most anonymous players in NBA history to score 40 in a game. Maybe Kleiza’s presence in Seattle would have kept the SuperSonics in town?
Or maybe not.
5 Detroit Pistons – Jason Maxiell
Original pick – Jason Maxiell
This was when Detroit was in the midst of going to the Eastern Conference Finals each year so they were thinking “contribute” and not “develop” with their first round picks. After the Darko disaster, the Pistons likely weren’t even looking at youngsters or international players, so they correctly drafted the best available senior. Maxiell wasn’t a sexy player but he did his job as an energy big off the bench. (His only problem is that he became too big when he gained weight later in his career). For a hard-nosed, blue-collar city like Detroit, you can’t go wrong in drafting someone whose nickname is “The Baby Eater.” Alongside Jay “The Midnight Creeper” Vincent and Mickael “Air France” Pietrus, Maxiell is one of those NBA players whose nickname was better than his game.
4 Portland Trail Blazers – Charlie Villanueva
Original pick – Linas Kleiza
This pick was traded to Denver to complete the trade that sent the #22 pick to Portland. Sometimes you just have to take a chance on a player and hope he pans out and with Denver having success in the past doing that, Charlie V would be the newest Nugget. He has his flaws but his offense would be valuable to George Karl who loves to space the floor with his bigs. He’ll give up just as much on the defensive end as he gives offensively, but that’s Karl’s problem, not mine. Villanueva often gets a bad rap for being grossly overpaid by the Pistons, but that’s not his fault! If someone thinks I’m worth $38 million, who am I to argue with them?
3 San Antonio Spurs – Ryan Gomes
Original pick – Ian Mahinmi
The Spurs were just coming off a championship and would win another two years later. Even though Mahinmi never panned out in San Antonio, the Spurs, again, showed their scouting chops with another late-round pick who became a solid player. With Mahinmi off the board, the Spurs would look for another no-frills, low-maintenance player that they could groom, and that would be Providence senior Ryan Gomes.
Gomes would have been the same age as Tony Parker even though Parker was entering his 5th season in 2005-06. Gomes was nothing special during his eight-year career, but he also didn’t hurt you while out on the court. Gomes surely would have benefitted from learning at the feet of the greatest power forward of all-time but instead he landed with Boston and learned from the likes of Ricky Davis and Delonte West.
2 Miami Heat – Andray Blatche
Original pick – Wayne Simien
Miami won the NBA title in the 2005-06 season so chalk up former Jayhawk, Wayne Simien, as one of those players who snuck in a ring without barely anyone noticing. Whomever the Heat were going to draft this year wasn’t expected to get much playing time right away, so they should have been thinking about the future.
Blatche is the last high school player on the board who would actually play in the NBA and he would have matured quick, fast, and in a hurry within the Heat’s culture. Shaq, Alonzo, Riley, Payton, D-Wade…it’s hard to fail with that group running things. Perhaps if Blatche was in Miami instead of Washington DC, he wouldn’t have gotten shot in a carjacking, and also arrested for solicitation and reckless driving.
Or perhaps, since he would have been in South Beach, those would have been the least of his worries.
1 New York Knicks - Daniel Ewing
Original pick – David Lee
Considering the value the Knicks got with Lee with the last pick of the first round, this may have been the greatest draft pick in Knicks history! It’s hard to top that so I decided to not go with the best available player, and instead just put another Ewing in MSG.
Daniel Ewing, who is not related to Patrick Ewing, was a senior from Duke. He just missed out on Duke’s 2001 title but played with everyone from Jay Williams to J.J. Redick to Luol Deng while in Durham. He would play two seasons as a backup with the Clippers before embarking on a career overseas and is still playing today. He embodied the typical Duke player that opposing fans love to hate: a gritty, in-your-face player who you just begged would run into a hard screen. That is just the type of player that the Knicks needed with a roster full of prima donnas. Also, since the Knicks don’t want to hire Patrick as coach, this is the closest thing to having another Ewing on the sideline.