When it comes to professional sports drafts it's almost impossible for every pick to pan out the way teams expect them to. The fact that teams are able to make just a couple of good picks is very impressive; it shows the hard work and effort that scouts and front offices conduct before they make a final decision on a player. Some players are severely underwhelming while others exceed every expectation put in front of them. The NBA has seen a number of star college players fizzle out in just a few years. The 2006 NBA Draft provided players that fit that model to a tee. It's one of the worst drafts we have ever seen but there are a number players from it who are out playing their original draft spots for various teams in the league.
A majority of the players that were taken in the first 20 picks are either overseas or are not in the league anymore. It's sad but not every draft can be like the one held in 2003 which featured names such as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony. Let's not forget 2006 was the year that a controversial rule was first coming into play and it would drastically affect the NBA and collegiate players all over the country. The year before former commissioner David Stern signed a new collective bargaining agreement that required NCAA players to participate in one year of collegiate play before entering the NBA draft. Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are just a few of the names that made the jump from high school to the NBA before the one-and-done rule was put into place. The rule is still controversial and is debated among many basketball fans to this day. Yes it changed the way players look at college but it doesn't excuse the lackluster talent that was featured in the 2006 draft. Here's what the first round of the draft would look like today.
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30 LaMarcus Aldridge - Toronto Raptors
Original Pick: Andrea Bargnani
This should be a no brainer. Aldridge would see his first nine seasons in the NBA come with the Portland Trail Blazers after being a part of one of the most lopsided trades in NBA history. The Chicago Bulls took Aldridge with the second pick of the night but made the decision to send him to Portland for Tyrus Thomas who was taken by the Blazers with the fourth overall pick. Thomas would go on to be one of the biggest draft bust the league has ever seen while Aldridge continues to cement his place as one of the best power forwards in the game today. He could have been the missing piece to a Raptors team that has had difficulty finding a suitable player for the four and five spots in recent years (he definitely would have been better than Bargnani).
Now a member of the San Antonio Spurs, the Dallas native is in search of his first NBA Championship. In a stacked western conference we'll see if Aldridge and the rest of the Spurs have what it takes to get past Golden State.
29 Rajon Rondo - Chicago Bulls
Original Pick: LaMarcus Aldridge
Currently a member of the Chicago Bulls, Rondo's best days are behind him but during his prime he was a force to be reckoned with. One of the few players from this draft class to win a championship, Rondo wasn't the biggest name coming out of college but his play in the 2005 FIBA World Championships did garner some attention. Taking him with the second pick (and not trading him for complete garbage) could have drastically changed the Bulls organization for years to come; having a suitable point guard already, Chicago might have gone with Michael Beasley instead of Derrick Rose in 2008 (or they might not have had the first overall pick at all).
Playing alongside a number of feature Hall of Famers during his days in Boston, Rondo was and still is one of the few pass-first point guards we have today. Perhaps it was the torn ACL back in 2013 that has slowed him down but regardless Rondo could have made quite an impact on Chicago 10 years ago.
28 Paul Millsap - Charlotte Bobcats
Original Pick: Adam Morrison
Anyone would have been a better draft pick than Adam Morrison. Sure he won two rings with the Lakers but he rode the bench for a majority of both seasons, but Paul Millsap was taken with the 47th pick by the Utah Jazz and was a hidden gem in this year's draft. After spending seven seasons with the Jazz, Millsap is now a member of the Atlanta Hawks and is a threat from multiple spots on the floor. Whether he's doing his work from mid range as a face-up four or attacking smaller players in the low post, Millsap is up there with Aldridge as one of the premier power forwards in the game today. Four NBA All-Star selections is hard to argue with.
27 Rudy Gay - Portland Trail Blazers
Original Pick: Tyrus Thomas
When it comes to basketball analytics one might argue that Rudy Gay's career stats (18.4 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 2.3 ASP) are nothing but empty numbers since he's only made it to the postseason once in his 11 years in the NBA. Still he probably would have been a better pick for the Hawks than Tyrus Thomas since it's pretty tough to average almost 20 points every year in the NBA. Gay is now a member of the Sacramento Kings after being traded to the team by the Toronto Raptors in December 2013. The Hawks did make the 2008 NBA Playoffs but were eliminated in the first round by the Celtics. Perhaps they could have had a better result that year had they drafted Rudy Gay back in 2006. Gay had his season cut short this year after suffering a ruptured left Achilles in January during a game against the Pacers. Let's hope Gay can come back at full strength after his rehab.
26 Kyle Lowry - Atlanta Hawks
Original Pick: Shelden Williams
Another player who is drastically outplaying his draft spot, Kyle Lowry wasn't blowing anyone away in his first couple years of professional basketball but recently he has become one of the best point guards in the NBA. Playing in his third consecutive All-Star game this season, Lowry is looking to make a run in the playoffs with his back court buddy DeMar DeRozan. The two have given Toronto a bit of hope in the eastern conference by sporting a back court that is currently one of the best in the league.
Safe to say Lowry has had much more success in the NBA than Shelden Williams, who is no longer in the NBA. He has become a mainstay in the city of Toronto as the team currently sits in fourth place with the All-Star break now behind us.
25 Brandon Roy - Minnesota Timberwolves
Original Pick: Brandon Roy
Injuries might have ended Roy's playing days early, but in his six seasons in NBA he was able to accomplish quite a bit. A three-time All-Star and the Rookie of the Year in 2007, Roy made an impact early and put the rest of the league on notice. Portland was one of the only two teams Roy played for (Minnesota being the other) and he averaged 18.4 PPG during his five seasons with the team. He has become another "What if" story of the NBA as his knees just couldn't handle the grueling NBA season. By 2011 they had degenerated so much that there was barely any cartilage between his bones and his knees. He was forced to retire much sooner than anyone expected.
Roy attempted a comeback in the 2012-13 season with the Timberwolves but he just wasn't the same player we saw in Portland, averaging just 5.8 PPG before being waived by the team in May.
24 J.J. Redick - Boston Celtics
Original Pick: Randy Foye
Redick has made a name for himself by becoming one of the best threats from downtown we've seen in recent years. His work behind the arc is quite impressive as the Duke alum has made 41 percent of his threes in his career thus far. Weaving around screens set by his teammates, Redick has become a master of getting the best look possible at the hoop before knocking down his shot. His play has allowed him to become the starting shooting guard for a Clippers team filled with talent. He might not get the attention that Chris Paul and Blake Griffin get but the team would be very different without him.
Randy Foye wasn't a terrible pick for the Celtics (they ended up trading him anyway) but Redick could have provided them with valuable three point shooting that nowadays every team is looking for. With his contract expiring after this season and both Paul and Griffin having opt-outs in theirs, Redick may find himself playing for a different team in the near future if Los Angeles decides to go in a different direction with the team. I'm sure there are plenty of teams that would be willing to bring the sharpshooter on board. We'll just have to wait and see what kind of playoff run they can make this year.
23 Andrea Bargnani - Houston Rockets
Original Pick: Rudy Gay
What were the Raptors thinking? Taken with the first-overall pick in the draft Bargnani was drawing comparisons to Dirk Nowitzki due to his ability to shoot the deep ball along with some decent ball-handling skills. Not even close. Bargnani is one of the biggest draft busts the NBA has ever seen. He averaged just 10.9 PPG and 4 RPG in his season with the EuroLeague before entering the draft. That doesn't sound like a superstar like Nowitzki to me. He was one of the Raptors' go to offensive options for many years but his production did nothing but bolster his own stats and didn't help the team in the long run. They made the playoffs in his first two years with the team but failed to every season after.
After Chris Bosh left Toronto in 2011, Bargnani's numbers began to drop drastically and it became evident that he lacked the ability to be the star of the team. They wound up trading him to the Knicks in 2013 so that he could be New York's problem and not theirs. He is now back in Europe and probably won't be back in the NBA any time soon.
22 J.J. Barea - Golden State Warriors
Original Pick: Patrick O'Bryant
This is where the draft starts to show how weak it is when compared to others. J.J. Barea has had his moments in the NBA. With the flip of a switch he can turn into a player that can provide some nice numbers for a team off the bench. He was a role player for a Dallas Mavericks team that would end up winning the championship back in 2011. Paired up with Yogi Ferrell, Barea believes that the two can make some noise in Dallas once the Puerto Rican point guard returns to the team after suffering a calf injury earlier this season. The two have similar body types so perhaps Barea can give the rookie a few tips and pointers when it comes to playing in the NBA.
21 Randy Foye - Seattle SuperSonics
Original Pick: Mouhamed Sene
Randy Foye is known for his three point shooting ability. He won't provide much on the defensive end, averaging 0.7 steals throughout his career, but it's not his defense that has kept him around anyway. Averaging a little over 10 PPG Foye has provided teams with some nice scoring off the bench but doesn't have the qualities to be a starter on some of the better teams today.
To put things in a better perspective, he is currently on the Brooklyn Nets and doesn't even start for them. They're one of the worst teams in the league and Foye has struggled averaging only 5 PPG on 36% shooting this season so far. We'll see if the team decides to re-sign him once the regular season is over. I say regular season because we know they're not making the playoffs.
20 P.J. Tucker - Orlando Magic
Original Pick: J.J. Redick
After falling into the second round of this draft P.J. Tucker has become one of the more reliable wing players for the Phoenix Suns. Tucker was originally drafted by the Toronto Raptors with the 35th overall pick but only played one season for the team before spending the next five years overseas. The Suns signed him once he returned to the league in 2012. Tucker is one of the better small forwards when it comes to crashing the glass as he is averaging 6.0 RPG this season, putting him ahead of players such as Kawhi Leonard and Gordon Hayward and is 11th in the league overall. No one is quite sure what direction the Suns are taking with their team but Tucker should be apart of whatever their future holds.
19 Thabo Sefolosha - New Orleans Hornets
Original Pick: Hilton Armstrong
Thabo Sefolosha has built a reputation in the NBA of being a player who relies on his defensive abilities to hold a roster spot on a team. He's never much of a threat from deep (34% career average) but teams continue to give him a chance despite being on the lower end of the scoring spectrum. The Hawks have had Sefolosha as part of their rotation for the past three years now but the only noise he's made with the team has been off the court when he was involved in a scuffle with police that resulted in a fractured tibia. The injury ended the 2014-15 season early for him and is still a topic of discussion two years later. With the trade deadline approaching Sefolosha has been involved in trade talks as of late, so we'll find out whats in store for the NBA veteran sooner then later.
18 C.J. Watson - Philadelphia 76ers
Original Pick: Thabo Sefolosha
After playing for the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, C.J. Watson made the decision to enter the NBA draft. Watson would go undrafted in 2006 but would get his chance in the NBA with the Golden State Warriors after a brief stint in Europe and the NBA Developmental League. He was sent to the Chicago Bulls after Golden State traded him in 2010 and became a member of "The Bench Mob" a nickname given to the Bulls bench that many saw to be one of the best in the league.
He's bounced around teams over the past few years, with Orlando being his current home, but he should be happy to be in the league after being passed by teams so many years ago.
17 Jordan Farmar - Utah Jazz
Original Pick: Ronnie Brewer
Jordan Farmar is the only player on this list to win two titles during his tenure in the NBA. The UCLA product became a household name with the Lakers. With a career average of 37% teams could rely on him to knock down some threes but outside of that there wasn't much to be desired. The Sacramento Kings signed Farmar at the beginning of this season but has been waived by them on two different occasions. Not sure what the team saw in him the second time around (he was waived twice in two weeks). Farmar will always be remembered for playing alongside Kobe Bryant; it's kind of the same thing that has happened with Michael Jordan and some of the lesser talent he played with just in more recent years.
16 Tyrus Thomas - New Orleans Hornets
Original Pick: Cedric Simmons
The Bulls made a huge mistake by trading LaMarcus Aldridge for Tyrus Thomas. I don't think I can exaggerate that enough. Let's breakdown the two players. Lamarcus Aldridge career averages: 19.2 PPG, 8.4 RPG with a field goal percentage of 48%. Tyrus Thomas career averages: 7.7 PPG, 4.8 RPG on 43% shooting. I hope Jerry Krause and company are still kicking themselves after making this trade. Thomas played four seasons in Chicago before being traded to the Charlotte Bobcats for Acie Law, Ronald Murray and a future first-round draft pick. Krause probably thinks that Bulls fans have forgotten about this move by now but with the team struggling to stay above .500, trades like this will always be brought back up in this day and age.
15 Ronnie Brewer - Chicago Bulls
Original Pick: Rodney Carney
Another player who was a member of the Chicago Bulls bench mob, Ronnie Brewer couldn't hit a jump shot to save his life. At least that's what it seemed like. A majority of his buckets came in the paint but that only pays off if you're someone like Dwayne Wade who has a killer mid-range jumper to go along with it. Brewer is not Dwyane Wade. In fact he's probably the farthest thing from him. The Utah Jazz took Brewer with the 14th overall pick and the Portland native played some of his best years with the team, particularly in the 2008-09 season in which he averaged a career high 13.7 PPG and 1.7 SPG. Still, like a number of other players on this list, Brewer struggled to maintain a spot on a team and most recently played for the Santa Cruz Warriors but is currently not on a roster.
14 Shannon Brown - Indiana Pacers
Original Pick: Shawne Williams
With a leaping ability that is rarely seen in basketball, Shannon Brown could fly with the best of them. He's probably one of the best dunkers we've seen in recent years but he was just an average player overall. Brown played for eight different teams with his best years coming with the Phoenix Suns where he averaged 10.7 PPG on 42% shooting during his two years with the team. A trip to the D-League proved unsuccessful for brown after he was waived by the Grand Rapids Drive this past November. He's another guy who is going to be remembered for his championship run with Kobe and the Lakers. Playing limited minutes isn't so bad when you have a ring or two to go along with it.
13 Steve Novak - Washington Wizards
Original Pick: Oleksiy Pecherov
Shooters are often highly coveted in the NBA since teams can't have enough range in today's game. Coming out of Marquette Steve Novak had the reputation of being a shooter and he backed that up once he entered the league. Novak shot 43% from three in his career and competed in the 2013 NBA 3-Point Shootout Contest to further prove that he was a dead-eye from deep. Its hard to get by on shooting alone though and that can be seen by looking at Novak's track record (he played for nine different teams throughout his career). He would return to Milwaukee in 2015 but only played in 11 games before being let go by the team earlier this month. Who can forget his sweet nickname though? "Novakaine" might be the GOAT when it comes to creative monikers.
12 Daniel Gibson - Sacramento Kings
Original Pick: Quincy Douby
Spending his entire professional career with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Daniel "Booby" Gibson had a lot of potential in the NBA and he showed it during the 2008 Rookie Challenge. Gibson represented the sophomore team and was on fire during the first half. He broke the record for most threes in a rookie challenge despite the fact that he didn't start in the contest. He finished with 11 overall and was named the MVP of the game. To bad this all came during an exhibition. When it came to the regular season, Gibson was seen as a scorer but at the guard spot you have to provide more than that (2.0 ASP isn't going to cut it). He is now attempting a career in the rap game which can't be any worse than Carlos Boozer's. Yes, Carlos Boozer has a rap song and it's awful.
11 Sergio Rodriguez - New York Knicks
Original Pick: Renaldo Balkman
Sergio Rodriguez's best playing days have come with Real Madrid. Career averages of 9.7 PPG and 4.6 ASG isn't bad. Now only if he could have replicated those numbers or something similar to them in the NBA. Rodriguez was taken with the 27th pick by the Phoenix Suns but was later traded to the Portland Trail Blazers. "El Chacho" played as a backup point guard for the team but wasn't able to provide much on either offense or defense. In 2009 Portland traded him to Sacramento. After playing 39 games the Kings sent him to New York. All of this movement must have frustrated Rodriguez as he made the decision to return to Spain at the end of the season. He hasn't won a championship in the NBA but he did win one with Real Madrid which probably means more to him anyway since he's from Spain.
Rodriguez returned to the NBA this season and is now a member of the Philadelphia 76ers. El Chacho isn't as cool as Novakaine but say it with a Spanish accent and it will sound ten times better.
10 Ryan Hollins - Phoenix Suns
Original Pick: Rajon Rondo
Hollins was pretty close to going undrafted but he was saved by the Charlotte Bobcats who took him with the 50th overall pick. Not much of a threat at the center position, Hollins averaged just 2.2 RPG in the NBA. That's pretty hard to do when you're seven feet tall. Perhaps jumping would have helped. He is now playing for Herbalife Gran Canaria (let's be happy the NBA is only putting ads on jerseys and not in the names of teams) after playing in four games with the Memphis Grizzlies last season. Hollins was waived three times by Memphis before the team let him go for good. Being waived by a team that many times might be a new record.
9 Craig Smith - New Jersey Nets
Original Pick: Marcus Williams
Craig Smith is a big dude. Weighing in at 265 pounds a nickname like "The Cookie Monster" is pretty fitting. It's always fun to see the bigger players bully their way to the basket but not having anything to go along with it isn't going to help. Not everyone can weigh 265 pounds and move like LeBron James. If Smith is remembered for anything it's for being one of many players who wound up broke after their playing days in the NBA came to an end.
According to the LA Times he made $9.4 million during his time in the league (nothing compared to today's standards) but in 2012 discovered that he had only $85 in his bank account. Wow. Who knows how Smith spent that money but I hope it was worth it in the end. It probably wasn't.
8 Leon Powe - New Jersey Nets
Original Pick: Josh Boone
Who can forget game two of the 2008 NBA Finals when Leon Powe randomly went off for 21 points? Powe was selected with the 49th pick of the draft by the Denver Nuggets but he did just enough to find a spot on this list. Denver wound up trading Powe to Boston, a move which I'm sure he's happy about to this day. Boston looked towards Powe to provide interior defense and rebounding and that's just what he did. He was not very reliable on the offensive end but he was a role player for a Celtics team that would go on to win it all. In 2014 the Celtics offered Powe an office position with the team which he accepted. It's always good to see teams taking care of their former players.
7 Renaldo Balkman - New York Knicks
Original Pick: Kyle Lowry
Obviously the draft has thinned out by now. Renaldo Balkman was most recently seen in the Philippines choking his teammate in the Phillipine Basketball Association. Choking an opponent is one thing but choking your teammate is on a whole different level. The incident led to the PBA banning Balkman who is now playing Puerto Rico. Balkman was acquired by the New York Knicks with the 20th pick in the draft. He never averaged more than 5 PPG and in his final season in the league he played in only 14 games before being released to make room for J.R. Smith. His tattoos might be some of the worst we've ever seen in the NBA. He has tattoos on his eyelids. Do I really need to say more?
6 Hilton Armstrong - Cleveland Cavaliers
Original Pick: Shannon Brown
Here's another player who went way earlier in the draft then he should have. Drafted with the 12th overall pick by the New Orleans Hornets, Armstrong could not have been more disappointing during his days in the NBA. In his senior year at Connecticut he averaged 3.1 BPG. His shot blocking ability got the attention of the Hornets who thought he could make an impact immediately on the team. They basically wasted the pick though by trading for Tyson Chandler. Chandler would become the starting center, eating up a majority of Armstong's minutes (11.3 MPG) his rookie season. The shot-blocking and athleticism that Armstrong was being labeled with before the draft never showed up and he now finds himself in Japan playing for the Chiba Jets.
5 Adam Morrison - Los Angeles Lakers
Original Pick: Jordan Farmar
Bust. That's the only word that should be used when describing Adam Morrison. Sporting a haircut and mustache that made it look like he had just walked off a 70s porno set, Adam Morrison might be one of the most undeserving players to ever win an NBA Championship right next to Brian Scalabrine (we love you Scal but we all know who did the heavy lifting back in 2008). The Charlotte Bobcats took Morrison with the third overall pick and inserted him into a team that was already synonymous with losing.
After two seasons with the team Morrison and Shannon Brown were traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for Vladimir Radmanović. He was released by L.A. after the 2010 season and has not played on a team since. If you're the third overall pick you should probably last more then four seasons in the league. He got his rings so I guess there's nothing else to accomplish at this point.
4 Pops Mensah-Bonsu - Phoenix Suns
Original Pick: Sergio Rodriguez
One of the few players to come into the NBA sporting three names, Pops Mensah-Bonsu went undrafted but the Dallas Mavericks ended up signing him after he played for them in the Summer League. The British player played for five different teams before making the decision to leave the league in 2010. He's now played on so many different EuroLeague teams that it has become almost impossible to figure out what the man is going to do next. Fortunately he works for only one team now. The San Antonio Spurs brought Mensah-Bonsu on as a Advanced Pro Scout, which sounds like a gig that might be better than actually playing. If Pops was his nickname he would qualify for the all-time greatest nicknames list but it's not. So yeah that's that.
3 Chris Copeland - Dallas Mavericks
Original Pick: Maurice Ager
With dreads that only Predator could rival, Chris Copeland saw little success after going undrafted in 2006. Given how terrible the draft was Copeland would most likely squeeze into the first round today but not by much. The Knicks ended up signing him in 2012 and he averaged 8.7 PPG, not bad compared to the rest of this draft. However, before New York signed him Copeland saw some success in Germany. He won the Belgium Cup Championship in 2012 while also becoming the MVP of the league that same year.
Maybe he should go back there and try to get on Stephon Marbury's level of being a god in a foreign country. The Germans could start making ridiculous plays about his life just like the Chinese did with Marbury. It would probably be more entertaining than his NBA career.
2 Solomon Jones - New York Knicks
Original Pick: Mardy Collins
Now a part of basketball purgatory, Solomon Jones showcased his athletic ability early on after being drafted by the Atlanta Hawks but hit his ceiling pretty early on in his career. His most prominent role came with the New Orleans Hornets where he averaged 17.8 MPG but he wasn't able to do much with almost twenty minutes of playing time (5.5 PPG and 3.7 RPG). If he's remembered for anythings it's for being dunked on by Nene in 2012. The Chicago Bulls signed him back in 2015 but the team waived him before he could even appear in a game. Who knows maybe Chicago could use him now since the team is struggling to put together a string of wins (not really but it sucks being unemployed).
1 Lou Amundson - Portland Trail Blazers
Original Pick: Joel Freeland
Amundson gets the 30th spot on our list simply for how long he lasted in the NBA. It's actually quite impressive. Averaging 3.7 PPG he somehow played for 10 different teams in 10 years. He's like a modern day Joe Smith. It's almost as if teams felt bad for him and just brought him in to give him a paycheck. With a ponytail that only Triple H could compete with, Amundson almost lasted longer than everyone else that went undrafted but J.J. Barea has him beat. At least Barea has proven himself to be useful on team.
After making millions of dollars I'm sure Amundson is content with not playing for his 11th different team this season. At the very least, it's a vacation.
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