Looking Back At The 2006 NBA Draft
Hits include Brandon Roy, the misses headlined by Adam Morrison
June 9, 2007
- Mock Drafts: May 4 | May 23 | June 5 | June 19
- Features: Top Ten Seniors | Freshmen Decisions | Should I Stay Or Should I Go? | The Bust Ratio
- Player Profiles: Arron Afflalo | The Florida Four | Glen Davis | Rodney Stuckey
- Position Breakdown: Point Guards | Shooting Guards | Small Fowards | Power Forwards | Centers
- Questions for the Analysts: Week 1 - Oden or Durant | Green and Hibbert | Nick Young
Week 2 - Brady Quinn Scenario | Second Round Stars | Hurt By Staying
Week 3 - Top Sleepers | Most Overrated | Picks Three Through Five
- Look Back: 2006 NBA Draft | 2002 NBA Draft | 1997 NBA Draft | 1992 NBA Draft | 1987 NBA Draft
- Look Ahead: Making a Mockery of the 2008 NBA Draft
- Draft Night: NBA Draft Superlatives
By Steve Aschburner
Special to CSTV.com from The Sports Xchange
It's remarkable how much smarter we all get in 12 months.
What amounts to little more than guessing and hoping as the 2007 NBA Draft approaches, among those of us who claim some small measure of expertise, in fact will resemble true wisdom and analysis -- looking back -- by the time the 2008 version draws near. Unless, of course, in assessing 12 months' worth of on-court validations and violations, we find that we whiffed horribly, got snookered by whoever this year's Michael Olowokandi might be and would rather submit to an IRS audit while swinging by for a colonoscopy than revisit, one year removed, our bold picks for the forthcoming first round.
Revisiting other people's bold picks, though, is a snap.
That -- second-guessing -- is what we do best. Second-guessing and Monday morning quarterbacking. And armchair psychoanalyzing. Oh, and finger wagging, tongue clucking, sermonizing and, as it once famously was said of columnists, riding over the hill after the battle and shooting the wounded.
Few words dance in and caress the ears of a post-prognosticator -- or would that simply be a diagnosticator? -- than these three: "They picked ... him?" Factor in a full season, during which some of those prize prospects got (a) outplayed, (b) exposed, (c) benched or (d) arrested, and we could be half as stupid and look twice as smart. Or, duh, something like that.
Last year's draft class -- that is, this year's NBA rookie crop -- has taken more than its share of hits for being unimpressive, ordinary and the cause of only minor optimism going forward, especially for the neediest of teams last spring. In star power and depth of top-tier talent, that might end up being true. But there were a solid 10-12 newcomers from the roundup last June, each of whom would be welcome on any of the league's 30 teams.
Here, then, are the 2006 draft's "hits," followed by some of its "misses":
2006 DRAFT HITS
Brandon Roy, G, Portland Trail Blazers (No. 6,
Drafted at No. 6 by
Rudy Gay, F,
Gay, drafted by
Jorge Garbajosa, F,
Until his season ended in late March, his leg buckling as he tried to defend a dunk by
Andrea Bargnani, F,
If you remember correctly, draft "experts" were sort of feeling sorry for the Raptors at this time last year, knowing that new GM Bryan Colangelo was committed to the Italian kid when he could have had his pick of anyone. Turned out pretty well, though, with the Raptors improving by 20 victories, nailing the Atlantic Division title and earning Sam Mitchell Coach of the Year honors. This wasn't a Darko Milicic repeat, either; Bargnani (11.6 points, 3.9 boards, 25.1 minutes) pulled his weight as he showed his promise.
Tyrus Thomas, F,
For much of the season, Thomas was immature and inconsistent in limited minutes. But his game grew heading to the playoffs, and the attitude that doesn't always serve him well off the floor keeps him from backing down to more seasoned foes. His raw ability is irrepressible.
LaMarcus Aldridge, F/C, Portland Trail Blazers (No. 2,
Aldridge's progress figured to be slowed more than necessary by Jamaal Magloire's presence, but the No. 2 pick from Texas -- what, he was holding the spot for Kevin Durant? -- wasn't held back. He wound up joining
Randy Foye, G,
Foye changed hats twice in rapid succession on draft night, then had a slow go in
Paul Millsap, F,
Louisiana Tech has been pretty good to the Jazz, first delivering Karl Malone and now Millsap, who played in all 82 games, ranked second (5.2) among rookies in rebounding and made 52.5 percent of his shots.
Marcus Williams, G,
Williams' reputation coming out of UConn scared off some teams, but he gave
Craig Smith, F,
Smith looked like a classic college 'tweener -- big man's game in a too-short, too-wide body -- but he brought an intensity out of
Others who impressed: Thabo Sebolosha, Chicago; Rodney Carney,
2006 DRAFT MISSES
Adam Morrison, F,
Morrison made it onto the league's second all-rookie squad, but when you're picked third overall, that's no big deal. His shooting was abysmal -- 37.6 percent, 52nd among all rookies -- and he "surrounded" his scoring average of 11.8 with too many six-point nights watering down the 18-pointers. Besides, the Bobcats' most satisfying rookie was Argentinian forward Walter Herrmann, a free agent who made his NBA debut in his 11th pro season.
Patrick O'Bryant, C,
The Warriors went for size even though O'Bryant wasn't close to being ready out of Bradley. As it turned out, the Warriors' best bet, and greatest success, was small ball once they brought Don Nelson on board after the draft.
J.J. Redick, G,
What did Redick do for the Magic that Travis Diener couldn't? Of course, this hardly is the first franchise to overrate a Duke player. Nice pick, on the heels of 2005's Fran Vazquez.
Shelden Williams, F,
Williams was an OK rookie, but not at that spot and not with the players still available when he got taken. The Hawks would have gotten more mileage in their backcourt out of Roy, Foye or Marcus Williams.
Steve Aschburner is a senior NBA reporter and columnist, covering the Minnesota Timberwolves for the Minneapolis Star Tribune for 13 seasons and serving as president of the Professional Basketball Writers Association from 2005-07.