Reviewing The 2006 NBA Draft

With David Thorpe’s recent article on ESPN looking back at some of the selections in the 2006 draft and their progress so far in the NBA, I thought it would be a good idea to take a look back as well. It has a similar feel to the article by David Thorpe, but there is no middle ground here. Either the player has been a success or a bust so far in his tenure as a pro. Here’s a look at 10 players that are worth a look at:

So Far …So Good

Brandon Roy
Portland Trail Blazers
19.2 PPG, 5.7 APG, 4.5 RPG

Easily, the best player out of the 2006 draft so far, which makes sense considering most people had him ranked as the most NBA-ready player of that draft class. Still though, not many expected him to reach this level of play this young in his career. Last year’s rookie of the year winner doesn’t seem to have any thoughts of slowing down. He has helped the Blazers young players become more than just youth and in doing so he has taken a team from the bottom of the standings and has put them in playoff contention.

LaMarcus Aldridge
Portland Trail Blazers
17.3 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 75.8 FT%

He was getting comparisons to Toronto’s Chris Bosh prior to his drafting and we now know why. He has the size, the shot, the versatility and the athleticism to be a real threat down-low, a combination of skills not many NBA players possess. He has gotten a lot more playing time than people expected because of the injury to “old wise man” Greg Oden. With his Kevin Garnett like shot release, it makes it real hard for other big men to guard him as they don’t know whether to play off him or guard him closely.

Rudy Gay
Memphis Grizzlies
19.4 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 1.49 BPG

Probably the most athletic player taken in the 2006 draft class, he has shown that he can create excitement on both ends of the floor. Mostly known for his acrobatic dunks, he is quickly getting recognized as a player on the defensive end as well. He’ll be even better once he starts reducing the amount of fouls he takes. However, he needs to be on a more productive team to know whether or not he is a future superstar in the making or just a really good player.

Jordan Farmar
Los Angeles Lakers
9.7 PPG, 2.8 APG, 1.1 SPG

By watching him play, you quickly realize why the Lakers took Farmar with the 26th pick in the 2006 draft. He has really blossomed into a dependable guard off the bench who can not only shoot, but dish it out as well. His defensive game isn’t all there yet, but when it is in a few years he should easily be counted upon to lead this Lakers team in the backcourt. I wish he would get a few more minutes though to show his potential, as he only gets 20 minutes per game on average. More playing time with Kobe never hurts.

Paul Millsap
Utah Jazz
8.5 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 51.3 FG%

He’ll rarely take you out of your seat on the offensive end, but it is his defensive presence that gets him into this top five. He can guard almost every position on the floor depending on who he’s up against because unlike most big men, he is mobile. He is easily the steal of the 2006 draft and because of this a thumbs up to the Utah scouting staff for doing their homework. Every team in the league can use this type of player; every team in the league had a chance to draft him.

So Far …So Bad

Shelden Williams
Atlanta Hawks
2.7 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 36.1 FG%

Just like the Bobcats the Hawks had numerous options selecting at 5th overall, and yet they chose someone who is sitting on the bench many nights and is showing no progression whatsoever. It isn’t his fault he was drafted where he was, nor is it his fault they felt the need to draft Al Horford in the 2007 draft, who might I add is turning out to be quite the player. He wasn’t bad last season, but like Morrison he wasn’t good either. It’s kind of like he was just there, like he’s kind of just there on the bench this season.

Adam Morrison
Charlotte Bobcats
Out for Season

Although he had an okay rookie season, there wasn’t really that feeling that he was going to progress into a star in this league. There was a feeling that he had sort of maxed out his potential in his first season. However, it’s gotten even worse for him as he is slated to miss the entire 07/08 season which doesn’t help at all. He doesn’t have a lot of tricks up his sleeves and unless he really changes his game, he won’t be much more than the third or fourth guy off the bench in the future.

Andrea Bargnani
Toronto Raptors
9.0 PPG, 3.4 APG, 38.1 FG%

Many expected Bargnani to be a 14-17 PPG guy this season, but it hasn’t panned out. With being the #1 overall pick comes a lot of pressure, pressure Bargnani didn’t have to deal with last season as Bryan Colangelo, general manager of the Raptors, stated that he wasn’t going to light the league up as he would be more useful down the road when he learns the NBA system. However, with his season last year, good enough to finish second in the rookie of the year voting, there was tons of pressure on him coming into this season. Pressure he just hasn’t learned how to deal with.

Tyrus Thomas
Chicago Bulls
5.3 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 1.1 APG

Some would argue that Thomas shouldn’t be on this half of the article, but he just hasn’t produced as much as someone picked as high as he was should. There are various reasons for this, including the fact that he can’t seem to find any consistent minutes. His comments about the slam dunk contest in his rookie season didn’t help his image around the league. Thomas shouldn’t be considered a 2006 draft bust for long, chances are that he’ll develop into a solid double-double player once he gets more playing time after Chicago makes some roster changes.

J.J. Redick
Orlando Magic
3.7 PPG, 0.4 APG, 0.4 RPG

I really had high hopes for Redick coming out of Duke however, like others that don’t get enough minutes, he just hasn’t been able to put it all together –or any of it. He might still develop into a Jason Kapono type of player, a second or third guy off the bench who can change the momentum of the game in five minutes. It is doubtful though if he will be able to accomplish such things in an Orlando uniform.

It’s hard to believe that four of the top five picks from 2006 are on the negative side of this article, but that’s just the way it is. It is still very, very early in their careers as NBA players and it only takes a five-game stretch for the confidence of some of these kids to flourish or flounder, it’s the story of professional sports, how long it takes these guys to learn that lesson is the real story.

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8 thoughts on “Reviewing The 2006 NBA Draft

  1. True enough Gagan, it’s always tough to accurately size up a draft class in just their second season but you seemed to do a pretty solid job of it. It’s funny to think about how different that list would have been last year and how different it could be next year. Just off the top of my head I know if you did this last year you would have to swap Bargnani and Aldridge. Maybe even Farmar and Morrison.

  2. I liked Aldridge’s game last season as well, but Bargnani really seemed destined for superstar status, we know now though that he needs to work on his mental toughness, but the injury early in the season didn’t help. I wasn’t a big fan of Morrison even last season, it just seems like he only has one tool in his toolbox. But he wasn’t a bust last season at all.

  3. Marvin Williams was in the 2005 draft class, remember Atlanta took him over Chris Paul. But, he has really developed into a nice piece of the puzzle for them and he is what they would call in baseball a “5 tool player.” It’s just a matter of time now before he puts it all together and on a more consistent basis.

  4. I’m sorry to say but Bargnani was a waste of a first overall pick in the 2006 draft. He’s becoming an Araujo. This guy cant hit an open jumpshot from the 3 point arc, the mid-range, and even better yet does not shoot well from the free throw line. He does not have good handles, weak rebounding skills, and shows no emotion. To me this proves that a player with these statistics tells me that the first overall pick in the 2006 draft was indeed a flop.

  5. Ebaz – A player with Bargnani’s skill set needs time to develop. He had a good season last year, but now the other teams have figured him out. It is up to him to put it all together. I am still confident he will be a 20 PPG player in this league in a couple of seasons.

    As a side note as well, I think people expected him and Bosh to have more chemistry, they need to work on how they can help each other’s game out.

  6. Everyone keeps saying, “he needs time”, I dont understand how it is difficult to shoot a wide open 3 pointer. I dont mind him not rebounding, less assists, but if your main attribute is shooting the 3 ball, then you better do a good job of doing that especially if you’re wide open. And another point is that, neither him or Bosh plays well together. On most nights its Bosh taking over, but not Andrea, and then you see limited nights of Andrea scoring 19-20 and Bosh only scoring 16 or so.

  7. He needs time! lol

    Seriously though, he’s had a good stretch of 5 games where he has looked a lot better, he made a three-pointer against Washington the other night and then looked back and said something in Italian to the Raptors bench, something we haven’t seen much –or any of, since last season.

    Look for him to have a big game tonight as long as he doesn’t pick up early fouls.

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