The recent announcement that the Toronto Raptors won the 2006 NBA Draft lottery comes as relief to the beleaguered fans in the Great White North. After countless poor NBA campaigns, the Raptors may be on track to do their best work since Vince Carter was a young pup. The problem with the 2006 NBA Draft, however, is that there is no clear number one selection. In this case, it is not a race to the top to see who is the best player but more of a race to a resting spot near the top of the 2006 NBA Draft. Unless the first pick in the 2006 NBA Draft ends up being Michael Jordan or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, they will be counted among the pantheon of poor NBA Draft selections, while their counterparts in the top five of the draft will get an increasing amount of benefit of the doubt for not being selected number one. The first overall selection in the 2006 NBA Draft and the following picks are going to be based on need rather than potential more than any draft over the last decade, now that high school players cannot enter the NBA Draft. The following is a mock draft of the top five picks in the 2006 NBA Draft.
1. Toronto Raptors: LaMarcus Aldridge (Center, University of Texas)- The Toronto Raptors get the burden in the 2006 NBA Draft of picking the first of a group of solid, but not overwhelmingly talented, players. The pick of center Aldridge makes sense for the Raptors, considering they need a big force in the center to complete a young, talented front court that includes last year’s NBA Draft pick, Charlie Villanueva, and talented power forward Chris Bosh. While Aldridge may have questions about how good he will be as a pro player, there is no question that this is the best combination of talent and fulfilling a need in the 2006 NBA Draft.
2. Chicago Bulls: Adam Morrison (PF, Gonzaga University)- The athletic Bulls want to run and shoot and Morrison will fall to them at number two in the 2006 NBA Draft. The Bulls, who made a deal with the Knicks earlier this season for the pick in exchange for Eddie Curry, are thanking their stars that they not only made the 2006 NBA playoffs but showed promise in taking on the Miami Heat. Morrison is a versatile player, who can park outside or slash to the lane and gives the Bulls back court some relief in transition.
3. Charlotte Bobcats: Tyrus Thomas (PF, LSU)- The Charlotte Bobcats may have Okefor in the front court but Thomas may be too talented to pass on in the 2006 NBA Draft. Only a sophomore at LSU, he helped the Tigers go deep into the tournament and showed flashes of brilliance in the 2006 NCAA Tournament. A combination of Emeka Okefor and Tyrus Thomas in the Bobcats’ front court, along with Tarheels Shawn May and Raymond Felton, could provide some spark in the 2007 NBA campaign.
4. Portland Trailblazers: Andrea Borgnani (PG)- The Trailblazers have been blessed with the decision by the NBA to eliminate eligibility for high school players in the 2006 NBA Draft. The Blazers have been burned over the last few years by selecting young and volatile talent that has not panned out and a new draft means a new opportunity for the Blazers brain trust. They would be wise to use the 2006 NBA Draft to go after a mature young player like Borgnani, who is ready to play in the NBA this season and is a seasoned player for man in his early 20s. Borgnani is a solid point guard who has the smarts necessary to lead the Blazers franchise for the decade to come.
5. Atlanta Hawks: Patrick O’Bryant (Center, Bradley University)- The Atlanta Hawks are in trouble as a franchise and the smart move would be to move out of this pick and maybe get another low first or high second round pick. However, Patrick O’Bryant made his mark in the 2006 NCAA Tournament and hopes to go high in the 2006 NBA Draft. The Hawks have some exceptional talent in Josh Childress and Marvin Williams and Patrick O’Bryant may give them a strong middle presence to take the pressure off their young team. This draft is difficult to gauge, however, and the Hawks might make the mistake of going after the rash of shooting guards who are expected to go in the 2006 NBA Draft. They have enough shooters on this team and putting a strong man in the middle may give them a chance at avoiding another wasted NBA campaign.
Tags:2006 NBA Draft