2006 NBA Draft Report Card (Part Two: 11-21)

2006 NBA Draft Report Card (Part Two: 11-21)
Jun 30, 2006, 11:46 pm
2006 NBA Draft Report Card

While it’s WAY too early to evaluate how well teams made out in this draft, we’ll attempt to take an early shot at grading the draft based on what we know now and what we heard and saw from covering the draft over the past few months.

This report card was based off three things:

I: How well did the team in question satisfy their personal needs or fill the gaps they have on their roster with the hand they were dealt.
II: How much value teams got from the picks they had.
III: Subjective opinions on the player they got and how well they fit with the team’s style of play, the direction they are headed and what we know about the organization.

Draft Grades Methodology:

A: The team probably could not have done any better considering the situation they were in.
B: The team did well in filling their needs, getting fair value from their pick and getting a prospect that fits their system and the direction the franchise is heading in.
C: The team had an average draft, not knocking anyone’s socks off, but also not embarrassing their fans.
D: The team should have done a better job with the picks they made.
F: The team did a terrible job and their fans have every reason to be mad about the picks they made or didn’t make.


#11 Orlando Magic

Picks: J.J. Redick (11); James Augustine (41)


This grade is highly contingent on the feedback the Magic got from their doctors about J.J. Redick’s back, and just how well that “gamble” turns out for them. We are operating under the assumption that his back is fine, and that there will be no long term issues stemming from the redflags that were put on him following his physical at the Orlando pre-draft camp.

On paper this appears to be a pretty good fit, as the double teams that both Dwight Howard and Darko Milicic should open up plenty of good looks for Redick to do his thing. Orlando’s backcourt might be considered one of the smaller in the league with Jameer Nelson starting next to Redick, but the fact that both of them have a great understanding of how to play should make them just as dangerous on the perimeter as they are vulnerable on the defensive end. Being able to bring a player of Redick’s caliber off multiple screens and shoot with range from behind the arc is something that not every team in the league can boast.

At 41 the Magic got an athletic big man who can rebound and run the floor in James Augustine, which is about as much as you can ask for picking at this point in the draft. Augustine will certainly make the team and still has upside to continue to develop on the offensive end.

The Magic are extremely young and talented and did not have too much time to wait on upside considering how likely Dwight Howard is to develop into a legit allstar this upcoming season, so picking a specialist rather than going for a homerun made sense at this point in the draft.

#12 New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets

Picks: Hilton Armstrong (12); Cedric Simmons (15); Marcus Vinicius Vieira De Souza (43)


Size is always at a premium in free agency for a somewhat unattractive team like the Hornets, so they did well in drafting two athletic big men with great size and length where they were picking in the 1st round.

On a team that is led by a future allstar in Chris Paul, it makes sense to take two players with good potential as shot-blockers who can run the floor and finish in transition. Both are high character individuals off the court who will play their role and relish the tutelage of a steady veteran like PJ Brown. Simmons has the more upside of the two considering his youth, and the development of his 18 foot jump-shot will be very intriguing to watch. Armstrong is a very young senior who just started to come into his own in his last year in college and likely still has plenty of room to continue to grow both physically and skill-wise on the offensive end.

If Marquinhos can knock down spot-up 3-pointers on the wing at a good rate and improve his perimeter defense to the point that he isn’t a complete liability, he will stick in the league and give the Hornets a viable option to bring off the bench. The only question is whether Byron Scott will play him.

None of their picks will be immediate stars in the NBA, but the Hornets should be in no rush considering how bright their future looks at the moment.

#13 Philadelphia 76’ers

Picks: Rodney Carney (16); acquired rights to Bobby Jones (37); acquired Edin Bavcic (56) in a trade with the Raptors


The 76’ers could have went in a number of directions to satisfy the many needs they have, but in the end went with plenty of redundancy that makes you wonder exactly what kind of vision GM Billy King has for his team.

With Ronnie Brewer and Cedric Simmons surprisingly still on the board, King decided that adding a future 2nd round pick is the most pressing need the Sixers have to address. He moved down to the 16th pick and selected Rodney Carney instead, a player with excellent upside, but serious question marks about his likelihood to achieve it playing next to someone like Allen Iverson. Picking up an extra ball-handler and distributor who plays terrific perimeter defense in Ronnie Brewer certainly made more sense considering how one-dimensional Philly’s half-court offense is with Iverson dominating the ball. Even taking a long, tall and extremely athletic big men in Cedric Simmons would have been a move in the right direction when considering how far Chris Webber is past his peak.

Nabbing Bobby Jones from the Timberwolves early in the 2nd round was a nice move, but we have to wonder how many minutes he will be able to get in the logjam that Knight has created at the 2/3. Flushing even more money down the toilet to get Edin Bavcic was a complete waste; one front-office member of a Euroleague team that scouted him in the past told us after the draft that from what he saw “Bavcic wasn’t even worthy of being selected in the WNBA draft.”

The Sixers might redeem themselves this summer by trading Allen Iverson, but if that doesn’t happen, there will be even more reason to wonder how dim Philadelphia’s future is.

#14 Utah Jazz

Picks: Ronnie Brewer (14); Dee Brown (46); Paul Millsap (47)


Utah was surprised to see Ronnie Brewer fall right into their laps at #14, and didn’t hesitate to snatch him right up. The Jazz had him ranked #1 on their board going into the draft, and should be able to make immediate use for him right away. Brewer brings them a big dose of much needed athleticism out on the perimeter, and his willingness to do whatever is asked of him will make him a favorite of Jerry Sloan right off the bat.

The Jazz were already one of the worst perimeter shooting teams in the NBA last year, and Brewer’s arrival unfortunately doesn’t solve any of that. Considering where they were drafting, the fact that Rodney Carney was always going to be a terrible fit, and the other intangibles Brewer brings to the table, it’s very hard to argue with the pick.

In the 2nd round the Jazz reunited Illinois backcourt teammates Deron Williams with their latest selection Dee Brown, a move that really can’t be questioned when you consider that they got him with the 46th pick. Immediately afterwards they landed another player who was once considered a first round prospect in Paul Millsap, a move that could end up looking great if Jerry Sloan can get him to play meaner and more aggressive basketball in the next year or two, something he specializes in.

All in all the Jazz had a very good draft, as they went in needing a shooting guard, a backup point guard, and a backup power forward after trading away Kris Humphries and Robert Whaley. They got just that, with all three players having the type of attitudes that fit the Utah Jazz mentality as well.

#17- Indiana Pacers

Picks: Shawne Williams (17); James White (31)


Considering that he was just one of two freshman picked in this entire draft along with Tyrus Thomas, Shawne Williams’ selection is one of the more difficult to evaluate at this early stage. He could very well have stayed another season or two at Memphis and developed into a top five pick, or he could have flamed out after four years in college and not been drafted at all. That’s how large the discrepancy is between his upside and downside.

Unless the Pacers know for sure that they won’t be resigning Peja Stojakovic, this wasn’t a need pick either, as they just drafted Danny Granger last year to play that same 3/4 position that Williams is best suited for as well.

Only time will tell how well this one turns out, and much of it will depend on how Williams reacts to what he has waiting for him in Indiana with the no-nonsense coaching style of Rick Carlisle.

One thing that has to be said is that the criticism levied on him from the direction of the “analysts” dissecting this draft regarding not being a winner is completely ridiculous. Williams did not lose a game in his final year of high school and Memphis went 33-4 last season before losing to UCLA in the Elite Eight.

In the 2nd round, the Pacers paid a pretty steep price to get the Trailblazers to draft James White with the #31 pick. In return they gave up the #45 pick Alexander Johnson and two future 2nd rounders, which should tell you plenty about how highly they had him ranked on their board going into this draft. Whether White turns out to be good enough to deserve that is almost entirely up to him, as his size, length and ridiculous athleticism gives him an upside that is higher than anyone picked in the 2nd round. Whether he manages to achieve it is anyone’s guess, though.

#18 Washington Wizards

Picks: Oleksiy Pecherov (18); Vladimir Veremeenko (48)


A perplexing draft when considering the fact that Washington went into this night looking for a bruising big man who will punish players that dare to enter the lane, which is about as close to the complete opposite of Oleksiy Pecherov and Vladimir Veremeenko as you can get.

What makes things worse is that both players will be returning to Europe for another season, which means that Gilbert Arenas’ desire to compete for a championship took a step backwards in this draft, not forward.

We need to remember that Washington was picking 18th, though, not in the top 10, so it’s tough to say just how much better the Wizards could have gotten in a draft like this. If the rumors are true that Ernie Grunfeld promised Pecherov at #18, that means that his hands were tied in regards to making a trade with the clock running down as calls began to come in for Marcus Williams, something that is a bit concerning.

At #48 the Wizards again went with a player they’ll be stashing overseas in Vladimir Veremeenko. Considering that he is basically a poor man’s version of Pecherov, you have to wonder just how much value they got from their pick here when the team drafting right after them (Denver) managed to land a future 2nd round pick for their trouble.

The Wizards needed some help right now in many key areas, particularly in terms of depth off the bench, but unfortunately they have none coming anytime in the near future.

#19 Sacramento Kings

Pick: Quincy Douby (19)


Geoff Petrie has coveted a combo guard in the mold of Bobby Jackson to bring off the bench ever since he traded him away, and he managed to secure the 2nd most talented one in the draft despite picking 19th.

Douby will bring Sacramento’s Princeton offense a new dimension with his incredibly deep range, outstanding toughness and ball-handling skills. He led the Big East in scoring while shooting terrific percentages for a reason despite being double teamed almost every single game, and has an NBA ready skill he can utilize immediately starting next season.

Considering where the Kings were drafting, that’s about as much as you can ask for. Sacramento has many more issues to address, but those were never going to be solved strictly through the draft.

#20 New York Knicks

Picks: Renaldo Balkman (20); Mardy Collins (29)


F is for fired, and hopefully for Knicks fans, this will be the last terrible decision they will have to suffer through from Isiah Thomas’ direction. Taking Renaldo Balkman with the 20th pick with a top 10 talent in Marcus Williams still on the board could end up being one of the worst draft picks made in the past decade. Thomas was so afraid of alienating his sweetheart Stephon Marbury that he refused to draft his eventual successor even when he fell right out of the sky into his lap.

Teams we spoke with drafting deep in the 2nd round told us they had Balkman slated so far down on their board that they doubt they would have been able to draft him even if he did make it that far. There is absolutely no doubt that Thomas could have gotten much better value with this pick. At the end of the day we are talking about a player that wasn’t even good enough to consistently start for a team that did not make the NCAA tournament.

At 29, Isiah took a player who had some value in the late first round, but probably will not play much, if at all, if Thomas refuses to reshape the roster he built. Collins is smart, tough and has a terrific attitude, basically the opposite of 75% of New York’s roster. As we learned in the case of Mardy Collins, sometimes being drafted in the 2nd round isn’t that bad.

The biggest winners from this draft were probably the Chicago Bulls, who own the right to swap picks with the Knicks in next year’s loaded draft should they please.

#21 Phoenix Suns

Picks: Traded for Cleveland’s 2007 first rounder, cap space and cash.


The Phoenix Suns were very obviously trying to maneuver their way around the luxury tax before the draft started with all the rumors surrounding Shawn Marion. Since they could not find a deal that they felt was worthy of being made, they instead opted to land a pick in next year’s loaded draft (Cleveland’s), and save themselves 9 million dollars when taking salaries and luxury tax savings into consideration.

This is the name of the game in today’s luxury tax era, as tough as it might be for fans to swallow. Building a team like the Suns have put together with max or near max players like Steve Nash, Shawn Marion, Amare Stoudamire and soon enough Boris Diaw is not cheap, so keeping them together is even more difficult when your owner doesn’t have the type of (willingly) deep pockets that James Dolan or Mark Cuban do.

The Suns didn’t see a player on the board at either #21 or #27 that they felt could play a role for them next year, and no one can say that they didn’t absolutely exhaust every single option trying to move up to snag someone that they felt could.

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