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 1. 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.
29 2. 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.
28 3. 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.
27 4. 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.
26 5. 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.
25 6. 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.
24 7. 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.
23 8. 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.
22 9. 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.
21 10. Los Angeles Lakers – Raymond Felton
Original pick –Andrew Bynum
20 11. 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.
19 12. 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?
18 13. 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.
17 14. 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.
16 15. 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.
15 16. 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.
14 17. Indiana Pacers – C.J. Miles
Original pick – Danny Granger
13 18. Boston Celtics – Gerald Green
Original pick – Gerald Green
12 19. 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.
11 20. 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.
10 21. Phoenix Suns – Hakim Warrick
Original pick – Nate Robinson
9 22. Denver Nuggets – Martell Webster
Original pick – Jarrett Jack
8 23. Sacramento Kings – Brandon Bass
Original pick – Francisco Garcia
7 24. Houston Rockets – Ian Mahinmi
Original pick – Luther Head
6 25. 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?
5 26. Detroit Pistons – Jason Maxiell
Original pick – Jason Maxiell
4 27. Portland Trail Blazers – Charlie Villanueva
Original pick – Linas Kleiza
3 28. 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.
2 29. 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.
1 30. 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.
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