Re-Drafting the First Round of the 2005 NBA Draft

The 2005 NBA Draft is a forgotten one, but it is one that brought in many key players for the NBA. Point guards like Chris Paul and Deron Williams were the stars, but a number of other long-time players came in this year as well.

This was also the only draft of the decade in which the Los Angeles Lakers found themselves in the lottery and they wound up taking someone who would help them win back-to-back championships just a few years later.

Of course, not every team made the perfect pick that they could have and that is why we are here, to re-draft the 2005 NBA Draft.

#30 New York Knicks – Linas Kleiza, Original Pick: David Lee

The Knicks just needed some talent and Kleiza had a couple of good years in the NBA. A versatile forward who could stretch the floor, Kleiza could have carved himself out some minutes for a Knicks team in need of scoring upfront.

#29 Miami Heat – Ryan Gomes, Original Pick: Wayne Simien

Just missing out on an NBA Finals trip, the Heat add Ryan Gomes for some forward depth. He could play both the 3 and the 4 and was a solid scorer when given the chance.

#28 San Antonio Spurs – Ian Mahinmi, Original Pick: Ian Mahinmi

San Antonio was shuffling different big men next to Tim Duncan at this time and Mahinmi is the ideal Spurs big. Athletic and a solid defender he would have been fine for the Spurs.

#27 Portland Trail Blazers – Luther Head, Original Pick: Linas Kleiza

Portland needed to get some young legs in the backcourt as Nick Van Exel, Damon Stoudamire, and Derek Anderson were all in their 30s. Head gives them versatility as he could play both guard spots.

#26 Detroit Pistons – Ronny Turiaf, Original Pick: Jason Maxiell

Turiaf fits the profile of a Detroit Pistons big man at this period. He gave 100% effort and was good on the boards and defensively. He would give the Pistons depth behind the Wallaces.

#25 Seattle SuperSonics – Jason Maxiell, Original Pick: Johan Petro

Seattle needed help up front and despite being undersized, Maxiell was a force on the boards and as a weakside defender. He would have an immediate role on this team.

#24 Houston Rockets – Raymond Felton, Original Pick: Luther Head

Houston needed help at point guard and Raymond Felton was a fine player when he kept his weight in check. Perhaps playing with Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming would have helped him do so.

#23 Sacramento Kings – Francisco Garcia, Original Pick: Francisco Garcia

Sacramento needed wing depth and another playmaker and Garcia gave them that. He was never more than a decent role player, but at this stage that is the best available to them that fits a need.

#22 Denver Nuggets – Andray Blatche, Original Pick: Jarrett Jack

At this stage, Denver had the opportunity to take the best player available in the draft, and taking a chance on the talented but troubled Blatche makes sense. Denver’s bigs were mostly defensive-minded and Blatche would give a young team another weapon.

#21 Phoenix Suns – Hakim Warrick, Original Pick: Nate Robinson

Phoenix was in the midst of transforming the NBA with their ‘7 seconds or less’ offense and Warrick would have fit in as a versatile athletic forward who could run the floor with Steve Nash and co.

Warrick could have played behind Amar’e Stoudemire and Shawn Marion while learning the nuances of the NBA game. Nash would have gotten more out of Warrick than he ever showed during his time in the league.

#20 Denver Nuggets – C.J. Miles, Original Pick: Julius Hodge

Denver was one of the fastest rising teams in the NBA behind Carmelo Anthony and Andre Miller. They lacked players to stretch the floor, however, and C.J. Miles could have helped that cause.

A career 35 percent 3-point shooter, Miles could have gotten immediate opportunities as Denver had a big hole at shooting guard.

#19 Memphis Grizzlies – Charlie Villanueva, Original Pick: Hakim Warrick

The Grizzlies were a young, promising team that had very little offensive punch. Villanueva would have given the team another scoring option with his unique skill set.

Villanueva was a double-digit scorer who could stretch the floor. He and Pau Gasol could have worked well together as Memphis looked to climb higher in the Western Conference hierarchy.

#18 Boston Celtics – Nate Robinson, Original Pick: Gerald Green

The Celtics still had Paul Pierce as the face of the franchise, but Gary Payton was past his prime as the starting PG making Nate Robinson a great choice here.

Robinson eventually enjoyed some time in Boston in 2010, but in this scenario, he has the chance to take the reins immediately. Despite his lack of size, Robinson’s heart, athleticism, and scoring ability have made him an NBA player for years.

#17 Indiana Pacers – Ersan Ilyasova, Original Pick: Danny Granger

After the ‘Malice at the Palace,’ the Pacers were looking to re-shape their image as they eventually cleared house. The team lacked talent up front and Ilyasova is a talented, if not inconsistent power forward.

Ilyasova is a great stretch power forward (38 percent from 3, 6 rebounds per game career averages) who could have developed in Indiana as the team began a new era.

#16 Toronto Raptors – Martell Webster, Original Pick: Joey Graham

After trading Vince Carter, the Raptors needed some help on the wing and Martell Webster would make for a great addition, even though he never lived up to his lofty draft status.

Webster is a career 38 percent shooter from deep who is also a plus defender. In this re-draft, the Raptors would have suddenly ended up with a core of Webster, Chris Bosh, and Andrew Bynum, not bad by any means.

#15 New Jersey Nets – Brandon Bass, Original Pick: Antoine Wright

Brandon Bass is a prototypical pick-and-pop power forward who is lights out as a mid-range shooter and always finds himself in the right position on the offensive end while giving all-out effort on defense.

The Nets had very little to speak of upfront and Bass would have given the Nets some young legs and a decent offensive option.

#14 Minnesota Timberwolves – Amir Johnson, Original Pick: Rashad McCants

Amir Johnson has long been one of the more underrated big men in the NBA. He has been a solid rebounder and shot-blocker for the last 5 seasons and understands his role very well.

Johnson has really developed since getting consistent opportunities in Toronto. He shoots a good percentage as he plays within himself, and must always be accounted for on the offensive glass as well as defensively as he is a great weak side help defender.

The Timberwolves had Kevin Garnett upfront, but not much else. Garnett’s intensity and work ethic could have gotten the most out of Johnson and Minnesota would have had a scary frontcourt defensively.

#13 Charlotte Bobcats – Gerald Green, Original Pick: Sean May

After getting a big at number 5, the Bobcats add an explosive, athletic scoring wing at 13 in Gerald Green, a player who had to fall out of the league before really finding himself and developing into a contributor.

Green had the athletic ability from the moment he stepped foot in the NBA, winning the NBA Slam Dunk Contest in 2007. Where he really improved was as a shooter and shot creator. He has shot at least 35 percent from deep in 3 of the last 4 years, including 40 percent on 6 attempts per game in 2014.

The Bobcats had very little in terms of backcourt talent so Green would have gotten immediate opportunities. Maybe his career takes a different path and he is able to develop quicker in this scenario.

#12 Los Angeles Clippers – Jarrett Jack, Original Pick: Yaroslav Korolev

Jarrett Jack is really the perfect backup NBA point guard. He is someone who is great coming off the bench but can step into the starting lineup in an instant and put up great numbers as well, making him a great get for the Clippers at 12.

Jack is a scorer first, like most point guards these days, but his strong body allows him to absorb contact and finish in the paint better than most small guards. He also has no fear on the court, always willing to take the big shot.

The Clippers had Shaun Livingston developing, but Jack could have played with him as well as been insurance in case Livingston didn’t pan out, which turned out to be the case.

#11 Orlando Magic – Marvin Williams, Original Pick: Fran Vasquez

Marvin Williams will forever be known as the man taken ahead of Chris Paul and Deron Williams, but he actually carved out a decent career for himself even though he never became the star many believed he would.

Williams was someone who could do a little bit of everything, but never had that one skill that was exceptional. He could score some and was a decent rebounder. He had the skill to play both forward positions, but he could never really take that next step to become a star.

Orlando had a couple of franchise cornerstones in Dwight Howard and Steve Francis. Adding Williams would have given them another piece to an intriguing young core.

#10 Los Angeles Lakers – Louis Williams, Original Pick: Andrew Bynum

One thing is for sure about Lou Williams, he knows how to put the ball in the bucket. Some will question whether he could fit with Kobe Bryant, but the Lakers badly needed someone else who could create his own shot.

Williams has always been primarily a sixth man but has embraced that role throughout the years. Aside from being a scorer, he is an underrated playmaker, averaging 3 assists per game for his career.

This was the Lakers one down year and they were employing the likes of Chucky Atkins and later Smush Parker at point guard. At worst, Williams would have been able to finish games alongside Kobe Bryant and give the Lakers a potent 1-2 punch in the backcourt.

#9 Golden State Warriors – Channing Frye, Original Pick: Ike Diogu

A stretch four in every sense, Channing Frye has really etched out a role for himself in the NBA, despite some early struggles. One of the few players able to combine knockdown shooting with solid rebounding, Frye is a truly unique player.

For his career, Frye shoots over 38 percent from deep, but he has also been able to use his size and length to become a factor on defense and is a decent rebounder despite spending most of his time on the perimeter.

The Warriors had a promising team after trading for Baron Davis. Adding Frye to the core of Davis, Jason Richardson, and Mike Dunleavy would have been great on offense, and very fun to watch.

#8 New York Knicks – Marcin Gortat, Original Pick: Channing Frye

Marcin Gortat was stuck as a backup for his first 3+ seasons in the NBA, but really blossomed once given the opportunity. A real brute down low, he goes to the Knicks to give them a legit presence down low.

Gortat is just solid in all phases. He isn’t necessarily dominant, but he is a good scorer when he needs to be, is always consistent on the boards (over 8 per game in the last 4 seasons) and can protect the rim adequately. He is also an enforcer who has no problem mixing it up with anyone.

The Knicks really needed to upgrade the front line as Kurt Thomas, Nazr Mohammed and Tim Thomas just isn’t enough. Gortat would be able to give them minutes immediately before taking over full-time after a couple of years.

#7 Toronto Raptors – Andrew Bynum, Original Pick: Charlie Villanueva

While he never quite lived up to his vast potential, Andrew Bynum was still a very good center at his best who possessed great fundamentals and was a key cog to the Lakers back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010.

Bynum was extremely talented who understood how to use his size and length both offensively and defensively. He really seemed to be coming into his own in 2012 when he averaged just under 19 points, 12 rebounds, and 2 blocks, being named an All-Star in the process.

If he could keep his head on straight, an Andrew Bynum-Chris Bosh frontcourt would have given teams fits and would have put the Raptors on the fast track to relevancy in the Eastern Conference.

#6 Portland Trail Blazers – Danny Granger, Original Pick: Martell Webster

With an All-Star appearance and a Most Improved Player award to his name, Danny Granger was one of the league’s best wing players for a period of time averaging 18 or more points for five straight years while providing solid defense as well.

Granger has had some injury issues but was one of the best young wings for a while. Though maybe he should have never been a number one option, Granger could flat out get buckets.

Portland was in the midst of their ‘Jail Blazers’ period, but adding a talent like Granger, to go along with young Zach Randolph, would have given them their frontcourt of the future.

#5 Charlotte Bobcats – David Lee, Original Pick: Raymond Felton

When given the opportunity, David Lee has always been a double-double machine in the NBA. For a Charlotte team in need of an identity and a true number one scorer, he would be welcomed with open arms.

A two-time All-Star and All-NBA 3rd Team selection in 2013, Lee has averaged a double-double in 4 of his 10 NBA seasons while missing out by less than 1 rebound per game in 3 others. Needless to say, his scoring and rebounding are top-notch.

Charlotte was being led by Gerald Wallace and Emeka Okafor, two solid but defensive-minded players being miscast as lead options. Lee would have given Charlotte that top scorer, and his defensive shortcomings would have been masked by his frontcourt mates.

#4 New Orleans Hornets – Andrew Bogut, Original Pick: Chris Paul

One of, if not, the best defensive center in the NBA today, Andrew Bogut was on his way to becoming one of the best two-way centers in the NBA before a gruesome arm injury changed his career trajectory.

Bogut’s offensive game has never been the same since, but his defensive ability and overall skill has allowed him to remain a major factor in the NBA. Over the last couple of years, Bogut has ranked near the top in most advanced defensive statistics and made All-Defensive 2nd Team in 2015.

The Hornets badly needed help up front as P.J. Brown and Jamaal Magloire were the team’s best bigs. Bogut and David West would have formed a very intriguing young frontcourt in New Orleans.

#3 Utah Jazz – Monta Ellis, Original Pick: Deron Williams

After a rookie season in which he didn’t play much, Monta Ellis quickly became one of the best scoring guards in the NBA. On a Jazz team with marginal talent in the backcourt, he would have fit in very well.

Ellis has averaged at least 16.5 points every year since his second season and is also a capable playmaker at times. He also is a pest on defense, constantly getting into passing lanes and has ranked in the top-10 in steals a number of times.

Utah had talent upfront in Carlos Boozer, Matt Harpring, Mehmet Okur, and Andrei Kirilenko. They sorely needed some explosiveness from the guard spots and Ellis would have been perfect for their re-building efforts in the post-Stockton/Malone era.

#2 Atlanta Hawks – Deron Williams, Original Pick: Marvin Williams

The Atlanta Hawks needed a point guard badly going into this draft, but decided to skip over both, much to the chagrin of pundits and fans. Not so this time as Deron Williams heads to Atlanta this time.

At one point many considered Williams the superior player to Chri Paul as he usually dominated Paul in head-to-head matchups. Even though constant ankle injuries have slowed him down he still averages 17 points and 8.5 assists for his career.

The Hawks had some solid talent upfront with Antoine Walker, Al Harrington, and a young Josh Smith. Adding Williams to bring everyone together would have made Atlanta very scary.

#1 Milwaukee Bucks – Chris Paul, Original Pick: Andrew Bogut

Arguably the best point guard in the NBA today, Chris Paul was easily the gem of the 2005 draft class. A true point guard in every sense, Paul elevates his teammates as no one else does.

Paul is the standard of point guards in the NBA, having the ability to score, set his teammates up, and lock opposing point guards down. He would have been the franchise player Milwaukee hasn’t had since the days of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson.

With Michael Redd and Desmond Mason on the wing, Paul would have had some excellent running mates and the Bucks could have quickly gotten back into playoff contention with Paul running things.

 

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