You may have heard that Adam Morrison, once a media darling while dropping jumpers at Gonzaga, will try to resurrect his career in Los Angeles after being traded along with Shannon Brown from Charlotte to the Lakers for Valdimir Radmanovic.
Morrison has been more or less a bust since the Bobcats drafted him No. 3 overall in the 2006 draft. He’s had knee surgery, he’s never played defense and a guy who hung his hat on scoring in college hasn’t even scored that much.
You’ll also remember J.J. Redick hasn’t been so great in the NBA either.
A lot of people saw both of these bombs coming. So, naturally, this got us thinking: How’s that 2006 draft class stacking up in terms of NBA performance?
Let’s take a look.
No. 1 Andrea Bargnani (Toronto): If I recall correctly, there wasn’t necessarily a clear-cut No. 1 overall pick in this draft, but Bargnani ended up being the guy. The 7-footer from Italy is more Dirk Nowitzki than Shaq, preferring to shoot jumpers from the perimeter. But no matter, his career has come along nicely. This year he’s averaging 13.5 points per game and five rebounds while shooting 39 percent from deep.
No. 2 LaMarcus Aldridge (Chicago; traded to Portland): Aldridge might be the best player (right now) from the 2006 draft this side of Brandon Roy, with whom he teams in Portland. Aldridge is a little more of a jump-shooting, finesse big man, but that will work well when teamed with Greg Oden. He’s helped lead Portland back up the Western Conference standings, and this year he’s averaging 17.7 points and 6.2 rebounds.
No. 3 Adam Morrison (Charlotte): We’ve kind of already documented this, but this proved a very, very bad choice for Charlotte. Morrison was a scoring machine at Gonzaga, but scored just 11.8 points per game in his rookie season and struggled defensively. He missed all of the 2007-08 season with a knee injury, and has averaged just 4.5 points per game this year before being traded to the Lakers.
No. 4 Tyrus Thomas (Portland; traded to Chicago): Tyrus Thomas drives me insane. At any given time he can be the best player on the floor for the Bulls or he can look completely lost. He’s athletically gifted, but hasn’t put it together yet, averaging just nine points and nearly six rebounds. Sometimes he’ll score 20, then for the next three games he’ll score like five. Maddening. Can we get LaMarcus Aldridge back, please?
No. 5 Shelden Williams (Atlanta): Williams, known by the ridiculous nickname “The Landlord” while at Duke, is now in Sacramento after a few nondescript years in Atlanta. He was a rugged shot blocker in college but is a bit undersized (6-9) in the NBA and doesn’t see much playing time for a crappy Sacramento team. In other news, he’s married to Candace Parker (who could totally ball him up) and they’re expecting their first child in the spring. Well done, sir.
No. 6 Brandon Roy (Minnesota; traded to Portland): Roy is probably the stud of this draft class. His scoring average has gone up in each of his three seasons and now sits at 22 points per. He won Rookie of the Year and has been an All Star each of the last two seasons. Enough said.
No. 7 Randy Foye (Boston; traded to Minnesota via Portland): Foye has become a pretty decent scoring point guard, averaging 16 points per game along with 4.7 assists. Nothing about his game has ever wowed me, but he’s all around pretty solid. No complaints here.
No. 8 Rudy Gay (Houston): Gay eventually ended up in Memphis, and I really like how his game has come along. He’s a long, super-athletic wing whose jumper has come along to the tune of 20 points per game last year and 19 this year. He’s also good for a highlight reel dunk now and again, which is nice.
No. 9 Patrick O’Bryant (Golden State): Who remembers this guy? He shot up draft boards after leading Bradley (the same school that turned out Hersey Hawkins) to the Sweet 16 in 2006. The 7-footer spent a couple drab years in Golden State and is now sitting the bench in Boston averaging like a point a game.
No. 10 Mouhamed Saer Sene (Seattle): I honestly didn’t even remember this guy. But nevertheless, the Sonics drafted him and since then he’s never averaged more than six minutes per game. You can imagine the stats he’s accumulated in those minutes.
No. 11 J.J. Redick (Orlando): J.J. Redick was perhaps the most hated college basketball player ever. And I’m not exaggerating. But watching him in the NBA doesn’t make anyone want to boo because he really doesn’t do much. Redick gets about 17 minutes a game and is about a 40 percent three-point shooter, but he’s far from a star. Oh well.
From here we’ll break the first round picks into groups because only a couple stand out.
Those That Matter
No. 14 Ronnie Brewer (Utah), No. 21 Rajon Rondo (Phoenix; from Los Angeles Lakers; traded to Boston), No. 26 Jordan Farmar (Los Angeles Lakers; from Miami): Brewer has become an every-game starter and one of the league’s best budding perimeter defenders; Rondo is nothing more than the starting point guard for the reigning world champions and Jordan Farmar is a solid role player coming off the bench for a very good Lakers team.
Hey, at Least They’re Contributing a Little
No. 13 Thabo Sefolosha (Philadelphia; traded to Chicago), No. 16 Rodney Carney (Chicago; traded to Philadelphia), No. 24 Kyle Lowry (Memphis), No. 27 Sergio Rodriguez (Phoenix): I’ve always liked Thabo even though his offensive game is a little rough. He’s a long, rangy wing defender that still has upside. Carney is getting about 14 minutes a game in Minnesota now and Lowry has started some in Memphis this year and is averaging seven points/four assists per game. Rodriguez got traded to Portland and is now doing is thing there.
No. 12 Hilton Armstrong (New Orleans), No. 22 Marcus Williams (New Jersey; from Los Angeles Clippers), No. 23 Josh Boone (New Jersey): Armstrong and Boone, both OK big men who are more valuable on defense than offense are still with their original teams. The Nets traded Williams to Golden State after a couple decent years for a young point guard, but he’s only appeared in nine games this year after almost being cut earlier in the season.
The Non-Factors: I’ll list them for the sake of saying they were drafted in 2006, but I don’t have much else to add and I certainly won’t bold them. Most of these guys aren’t even with their original teams but are still lingering in the Association.
No. 15 Cedric Simmons (New Orleans; from Milwaukee), No. 17 Shawne Williams (Indiana), No. 18 Oleksiy Pecherov (Washington), No. 19 Quincy Douby (Sacramento), No. 20 Renaldo Balkman (New York; from Denver), No. 25 Shannon Brown (Cleveland), No. 28 Maurice Ager (Dallas), No. 29 Mardy Collins (New York; from San Antonio).
Who Knew Brits Could Hoop?
No. 30 Joel Freeland (Portland; from Detroit): Freeland still hasn’t dressed a single NBA game. The Blazers told him to stay in Europe and keep getting better, and so far the England-born center hasn’t made it across the pond.
Highlights of the 2nd Round
No. 42 Daniel Gibson (Cleveland; from Philadelphia): Gibson has carved out a great role for himself as a sharpshooter and ball handler around LeBron James and played a big role getting the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals a couple years ago.
No. 47 Paul Millsap (Utah): Another good find in this draft for Utah. Millsap was a rebounding machine at Louisiana Tech and he’s proven to be just that in the NBA as well. And at 6-foot-8 no less. He’s averaging nearly 15 points per game and nine rebounds. Odds are the Jazz will keep him rather than Carlos Boozer in the long term.