The 2005 NBA Draft should be
remembered as much for the players who weren’t selected as much as for those
who filled the 14 spots in the lottery and the remaining 16 selections in the
first round Tuesday night.
As expected, Andrew Bogut and Marvin Williams went 1-2 to
Atlanta to start things
And, as forecast in our final mock
first round Monday, point guards Deron Williams, Chris Paul and Raymond Felton went 3-4-5, to Utah, New Orleans and Charlotte, respectively, while Martell Webster – easily the best high
school prospect in this draft, despite the Gerald Green hyperbole on other
Internet sites – went No. 6 to Portland.
Then, as you know if you were
transfixed by the ESPN broadcast, things began unraveling for all of those who
crafted mock first rounds with such diligence.
knocked everyone for a loop – in the broadcast crew and watching in the audience
or in TV Land – by tabbing Charlie Villanueva at No. 7.
I’m sure the Raptors’ decision
makers thought long and hard about that one. But count me among the legions of
the baffled over that decision.
Kudos to their choices at No. 16
(Joey Graham) in the first round and
point guard Roko Ukic (via
Croatia) at No.
41 in Round 2. The latter was a fellow they had contemplated taking in the 16
But, especially if you’re a
fan/observer of the Southeastern Conference, one of the major stories of Tuesday
night’s events concerned some of the players who didn’t hear their names called
by either Commissioner David Stern
(in the first round) or his deputy, Russ Granik (during the 30 second-round
Kennedy Winston (Alabama) and Anthony Roberson and Matt Walsh (both of Florida), three of
the SEC’s 10 best players last season, and Randolph Morris (Kentucky), one of the
conference’s most promising post players, were all blanked Tuesday
And each left NCAA eligibility on
the table, the first three a year apiece and Morris three seasons’
They learned a very painful lesson
and one that, unfortunately, too few players – and whoever happens to be
advising them – are going to heed in the future:
If you’re not going to exhaust your
college eligibility – and the free education and room and board that come along
with it – you’d better have as much of a guarantee that someone is going to pick
you as is possible in a business in which promises can sometimes be taken with a
whole box of salt.
Do you think each of those four
would like to be back on campus in the fall, helping their teams compete for an
SEC title and deep runs into the NCAA tournament and the opportunity to enhance their
stock for what should be a very thin – thanks to the ban on high school players
– 2006 draft, talent wise?
That’s not a difficult
C.J. Miles, Monta Ellis, Louis Williams
and Amir Johnson, who signed with
Louisville, respectively – didn’t
enter the draft pool thinking “we may be second-round picks, but we’re cool with
it”, you can rest assured.
Each of the four were 2005
McDonald’s All-Americas but will be fortunate to be playing in National
Basketball Development League games next fall. Sorry, guys . . . your career
paths have definitely hit some speed bumps.
Some other draft-night
Utah (trading up to get the best point guard in the
draft in Deron Williams), Charlotte
(bagging national championship ring-holders in Tar Heels Raymond Felton and Sean May at No.’s 5 and 13) and
Portland (parlaying a No. 3 selection that it would have used for Martell Webster anyway into Webster and Georgia Tech guard Jarrett Jack) were among the big “team”
winners. So was New York, which (thanks to the Kurt Thomas/Quentin Richardson trade
with Phoenix) was able to secure three first-round selections in Channing Frye, Nate Robinson and David Lee who should have immediate and
forceful impact on the Knicks’ rotation next season – no matter who is coaching
Add Chris Taft to the list – very near the top of the list – of college guys’ who made
decisions to depart school that were proven to be ill-advised. Many Internet
sites hyped the Pittsburgh sophomore
as a sure-fire lottery selection – and possible No. 1 overall selection – for
much of the season, even when it became apparent that he was a long way, effort-
and skill-wise, from being the kind of prospect anyone was going to invest a
early- or mid-first round selection on. Tuesday night, he lasted until 12 picks
deep into the second round before
State stopped his
Was it me or did Hakim Warrick seem awfully morose after
going No. 19 (to Memphis) in the first round, as the last prospect still sitting
in the “Green Room” after being projected to go as early as No. 9 to Golden
State? Dude, look at this way: there are a bunch of guys who would have gladly
traded places with you. And you’re now rich!
An April inductee into the USBWA
Hall of Fame, Frank Burlison is Scout.com’s National Basketball Expert
and is also a columnist for the Long
(Calif.) Press-Telegram. He can be
reached at email@example.com. Read more of Burlison’s pieces at