As fans we all love to play armchair GM as it allows to not only second guess those in charge but also right their wrongs. In this version of “What If?” we will explore what could have been the case with the Bobcats if they had drafted with near perfection.
2004: The franchise started this year and they received the 2nd overall pick.
Bobcats Selection: Emeka Okafor PF/C
Who they could have taken: Andrew Iguadala, Luol Deng, Al Jefferson, Josh Smith, JR Smith, Kevin Martin, Anderson Varejao
Okay, so Okafor wasn’t the worst pick, and he looked good early in his career, but he never seemed to improve much as a player. Entering that draft I had both Andre Iguadala (who I thought was the next coming of Paul Pierce) and Luol Deng ranked higher. Josh Smith and Big Al progressed really well in their careers, but they were not in play for the 2nd overall pick. Varejao was the first pick in the second round by the Magic, who had selected Dwight first overall. Imagine if they had held onto Varejao too….
Anyways, going back in time I’d have to select Luol Deng with the second pick, with Josh Smith and Andre Iguodala also in the mix.
Who they Actually Selected in 2004: Emeka Okafor PF/C
Our Revisionist History Selection: Luol Deng SF
Bobcats Selection: 5th overall they selected Raymond Felton, 13th overall they selected Sean May.
Who they could have taken: with the 5th pick: Andrew Bynum With the 13th pick: Danny Granger or David Lee
Well the 5th pick wasn’t awful, but they missed out on Deron Williams (3rd overall) and Chris Paul (4th overall). Felton has had a nice NBA career, but even with Bynum’s injury and maturity concerns, lets slide him in there. Also with the 13th pick, Sean May was a tough selection even back then. Choosing Granger or Lee, or anyone else for that matter would have ended up a better choice. For the optimal team, let us choose David Lee, who was actually an early second round pick.
Who they Actually Selected: Raymond Felton PG, Sean May PF
Our Picks: Andrew Bynum C, David Lee PF
Bobcats Selection: 3rd overall, it even hurts to write, Adam Morrison F
Who They could have taken: This was a really poor draft class, but they could have chosen Brandon Roy, Rudy Gay, JJ Redick, Rajon Rondo
Okay, so we all remember the hype of the mustached man Adam Morrison. He had a flair in the media for his appearance and he could make it rain from outside. Problem was he wasn’t fast, especially laterally, he didn;t play defense, he didn;t have much of a vertical, and he wasn’t great at handling the rock. Despite all his flaws, the Bobcats wanted to sell seats and drafted Morrison third Overall. While Roy would have been a possible pick because he was also rated highly, for this particular argument lets choose the best player drafted after Mr. Morrison and go with PG Rajon Rando.
Actual selection; Adam Morrison SF
Armchair GM Pick years later: Rajon Rondo PG
Bobcats Selection: Brandon Wright PF 8th overall
Who They could have had: Joakim Noah C, Wilson Chandler, Jared Dudley, Marc Gasol (late 2nd round pick of lakers), Thaddeus Young, Rodney Stuckey
No brainer here, they were waffling at the time between Wright and Noah and they just made the wrong choice. Noah is the easy selection here as he was taken one pick after the Bobcats selected, had a high likelihood of going there but they went for the player that projected as a better athlete and not a better player.
|Noah in a Viking helmet, how could I NOT include this picture?|
Actual Selection: Brandon Wright
Our Pick: Joakim Noah
Just To recap who they could have on their team right now had things worked out differently:
Sf: Deng-would be up for new contract now, not max player, but big contract at that time
Who they selected: DJ Augustine PG 9th overall, Alexis Ajinca C 20th overall
Who They could had: Brook Lopez, Roy Hibbert, Javale McGee,(early picks end) (rest of players selected post pick 20) Courtney lee, Serge Ibaka, Nick Batum, Omer Asik, Nicola Pekovic….
Okay, so DJ was pretty highly rated out of college, but everyone could see he was undersized and lacked on the defensive end. For the sake of rounding out this team I would select Brook Lopez for an offensive minded big man and Nicholas Batum SG/SF. His defense combined with Noah and Rondo would be suffocating for opponents. Looking back at this draft, there was a ton of talented big men drafted.
Who They Selected: DJ Augustine, Alexis Ajinca
Our Pick: Brook Lopez C (selected 10th overall, one pick after the Bobcats selected), Nicholas Batum SF
So at about this time they would have to start making some roster decisions with their young talent, not everyone would stay, but still imagine the talent they could get back in sign and trades or for expiring contracts of rookies in draft picks/other young talent.
From 2009 till now I don’t hate any of the draft choices (Henderson, Kemba, MKG), so I won’t judge them quite yet. Regardless, I think we can all agree, that even just one or two better picks and we could be looking at a completely different franchise. Food for thought, this was fun.