Draft Do-overs

by

The NBA draft is something of a crap-shoot.  There’s no such thing as a surefire #1 pick.  Even a player as great as Hakeem (then Akeem) Olajuwon, whom every team in the league would have taken with the #1 overall in 1984, turned out to be only the second best player in his draft class.  Scouting is an inexact science.  Teams have to decide if they will choose between draftees based on overall talent, which can be debatable in and of itself, or team needs.

Listening to commentators talk about the 2007 draft featuring Greg Oden and Kevin Durant got me thinking – what would a redraft look like today, knowing what we know now about how players will perform, who will be injured, who will surprise?  With that in mind I took a look at a few key drafts to see how the picks might have played out if the GMs could see into the future.  I decided to go back before the 2007 draft though to give the players more of a chance to establish themselves.  I rated only based on performance and results.  Clearly Arenas is a top 2 or 3 pick in terms of talent, but if he can’t stay healthy, he’s not helping anyone.  Clearly Marbury is top 5 in talent in his draft, but he headcased himself right out of the league.

2006

Pk Tm Actual Draft Re-Draft
1 TOR Andrea Bargnani Brandon Roy
2 CHI LaMarcus Aldridge Rajon Rondo
3 CHA Adam Morrison LaMarcus Aldridge
4 POR Tyrus Thomas Paul Millsap
5 ATL Shelden Williams Rudy Gay
6 MIN Brandon Roy Andrea Bargnani
7 BOS Randy Foye Randy Foye
8 HOU Rudy Gay Ronnie Brewer
9 GSW Patrick O’Bryant Tyrus Thomas
10 SEA Saer Sene Jordan Farmar

2005

Pk Tm Actual Draft ReDraft
1 MIL Andrew Bogut Chris Paul
2 ATL Marvin Williams Deron Williams
3 UTA Deron Williams Danny Granger
4 NOH Chris Paul Andrew Bynum
5 CHA Raymond Felton David Lee
6 POR Martell Webster Andrew Bogut
7 TOR Charlie Villanueva Monta Ellis
8 NYK Channing Frye Raymond Felton
9 GSW Ike Diogu Charlie Villanueva
10 LAL Andrew Bynum Louis Williams

2003

Pk Tm Actual Draft ReDraft
1 CLE LeBron James LeBron James
2 DET Darko Milicic Dwyane Wade
3 DEN Carmelo Anthony Carmelo Anthony
4 TOR Chris Bosh Chris Bosh
5 MIA Dwyane Wade Josh Howard
6 LAC Chris Kaman David West
7 CHI Kirk Hinrich Maurice Williams
8 MIL T.J. Ford Chris Kaman
9 NYK Mike Sweetney Kirk Hinrich
10 WAS Jarvis Hayes Boris Diaw

2001

Pk Tm Actual Draft Re-Draft
1 WAS Kwame Brown Pau Gasol
2 LAC Tyson Chandler Tony Parker
3 ATL Pau Gasol Joe Johnson
4 CHI Eddy Curry Gilbert Arenas
5 GSW Jason Richardson Mehmet Okur
6 MEM Shane Battier Richard Jefferson
7 NJN Eddie Griffin Jason Richardson
8 CLE DeSagana Diop Shane Battier
9 DET Rodney White Gerald Wallace
10 BOS Joe Johnson Tyson Chandler

1998

Pk Tm Actual Draft ReDraft
1 LAC Michael Olowokandi Dirk Nowitzki
2 VAN Mike Bibby Paul Pierce
3 DEN Raef LaFrentz Vince Carter
4 TOR Antawn Jamison Antawn Jamison
5 GSW Vince Carter Rashard Lewis
6 DAL Robert Traylor Mike Bibby
7 SAC Jason Williams Al Harrington
8 PHI Larry Hughes Jason Williams
9 MIL Dirk Nowitzki Cuttino Mobley
10 BOS Paul Pierce Rasho Nesterovic

1996

Pk Tm Actual Draft ReDraft
1 PHI Allen Iverson Kobe Bryant
2 TOR Marcus Camby Ray Allen
3 VAN Shareef Abdur-Rahim Steve Nash
4 MIL Stephon Marbury Allen Iverson
5 MIN Ray Allen Jermaine O’Neal
6 BOS Antoine Walker Peja Stojakovic
7 LAC Lorenzen Wright Marcus Camby
8 NJN Kerry Kittles Antoine Walker
9 DAL Samaki Walker Shareef Abdur-Rahim
10 IND Erick Dampier Zydrunas Ilgauskas

1987

Pk Tm Actual Draft ReDraft
1 SAS David Robinson David Robinson
2 PHO Armon Gilliam Scottie Pippen
3 NJN Dennis Hopson Kevin Johnson
4 LAC Reggie Williams Reggie Miller
5 SEA Scottie Pippen Mark Jackson
6 SAC Kenny Smith Horace Grant
7 CLE Kevin Johnson Reggie Lewis
8 CHI Olden Polynice Mugsy Bogues
9 SEA Derrick McKey Derrick McKey
10 CHI Horace Grant Kenny Smith

1986

Pk Tm Actual Draft ReDraft
1 CLE Brad Daugherty Brad Daugherty
2 BOS Len Bias Mark Price
3 GSW Chris Washburn Dennis Rodman
4 IND Chuck Person Jeff Hornacek
5 NYK Kenny Walker Chuck Person
6 PHO William Bedford Ron Harper
7 DAL Roy Tarpley Arvidas Sabonis
8 CLE Ron Harper Roy Tarpley
9 CHI Brad Sellers Drazen Petrovic
10 SAS Johnny Dawkins Scott Skiles

1985

Pk Tm Actual Draft ReDraft
1 NYK Patrick Ewing Karl Malone
2 IND Wayman Tisdale Patrick Ewing
3 LAC Benoit Benjamin Chris Mullin
4 SEA Xavier McDaniel Joe Dumars
5 ATL Jon Koncak Terry Porter
6 SAC Joe Kleine Charles Oakley
7 GSW Chris Mullin Detlef Schrempf
8 DAL Detlef Schrempf Michael Adams
9 CLE Charles Oakley Xavier McDaniel
10 PHO Ed Pinckney A.C. Green

1984

Pk Tm Actual Draft ReDraft
1 HOU Hakeem Olajuwon Michael Jordan
2 POR Sam Bowie Hakeem Olajuwon
3 CHI Michael Jordan Charles Barkley
4 DAL Sam Perkins John Stockton
5 PHI Charles Barkley Kevin Willis
6 WSB Melvin Turpin Alvin Robertson
7 SAS Alvin Robertson Sam Perkins
8 LAC Lancaster Gordon Otis Thorpe
9 KCK Otis Thorpe Jerome Kersey
10 PHI Leon Wood Michael Cage

Now I didn’t stress too much about figuring out who was more valuable between very similar players – I suppose Ray Allen, Steve Nash, and Allen Iverson could be rated in any way you saw fit, but they are all pretty clearly worse than Kobe and better than Jermaine, so that’s where I lumped them.  What’s interesting is that draft savvy doesn’t seem to have improved appreciably with all the intensive scouting tools available these days.  Mark Price and Dennis Rodman miss the first round, but so do Gilbert Arenas and Paul Millsap.  The old adage of drafting size seems to have caused issues pretty much every year.  The talent seems to have held up pretty well in the years I chose.

There were a few interesting drafts I overlooked because there would be few changes up top such as the Shaq / Mourning draft in 1992.  And of course having to look at the 1986 draft where Len Bias was taken 2nd and never got to play a single possession was not fun.  Within the question of who should have been drafted at what position, there’s also the question of what would have happened if the health of some key players had been different.  Bias, Sampson, Bowie, Reggie Lewis, Petrovic… What if?

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2 Responses to “Draft Do-overs”

  1. Sean D. Says:

    Very well assembled. I agree with 90% of your re-drafts. Especially the Carmelo Anthony draft.

    • jpalumbo Says:

      Thanks, Sean. I didn’t run any numbers so it’s just sort of a gut ranking. I remember watching that 2003 draft and being shocked when Donnie Darko went before the most dominant college freshman I’d ever seen fresh off winning the NCAA tournament.

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