2004 NBA Draft Remix
Where Orlando worked their magic.
Hindsight - a best friend to writers and Monday morning quarterbacks the world over; worst of enemies to sport’s GMs. It’s easy for use to sit back after the fact and criticize a trade or draft pick that some “bonehead” GM made. It would be a whole different story to have to make the decision based only on a forecast of the future like a GM does. Also, our future employment and ability to support our families don’t depend on these decisions like it does for the poor GM. BOO HOO. That is why NBA GMs get all the money, power and respect and we don’t, so they can suck it up and deal with our slings and arrows.
In that vein, Draft 365 is embarking on an ambitious project of “remixing” drafts from years gone past. We are starting with the 2004 Class, since we wanted to give players at least five years in the League before critiquing them. We are taking the top 10 picks from each draft and redrafting them, knowing what we know today about how each player’s career has unfolded. This is a list based strictly on a player’s talent and accomplishments. Without further ado, let us travel back to the magical year of 2004.
2004 NBA Draft
All-Stars: 3 (Dwight Howard, Devin Harris, Jameer Nelson)
Biggest Bust: Rafael Araujo, Toronto, pick No. 8
Second Round Steal: Trevor Ariza, New York, pick No. 43
Winning Team (in the long run): Orlando (Dwight Howard, Jameer Nelson)
Pick No. 1 | Orlando Magic
Actual Selection: Dwight Howard
Draft 365 Remix: Dwight Howard (1)
There was a bit of debate heading into the draft whether Orlando should go with NCAA champion Emeka Okafor or unproven high school phenom Dwight Howard. Considering they were still playing this June, it’s obvious they made the right choice.
Pick No. 2 | Charlotte Bobcats
Actual Selection: Emeka Okafor
Draft 365 Remix: Al Jefferson (15)
Okafor has been a solid, consistent performer for the Bobcats so they can’t really complain about their pick too much. However, considering they were an expansion team with no expectations to win many games anytime soon, it would have made more sense to go with the much younger Jefferson, who has turned into an automatic 20 & 10 guy.
Pick No. 3 | Chicago Bulls
Actual Selection: Ben Gordon
Draft 365 Remix: Emeka Okafor (2)
Chicago’s main need right now? A reliable low-post big man. What would Okafor add to their roster? A reliable, low-post big man.
Pick No. 4 | Los Angeles Clippers
Actual Selection: Shaun Livingston
Draft 365 Remix: Andre Iguodala (9)
Could the Clippers not tell that Shaun Livingston was going to be fragile just by looking at him? An Urkel-like physique doesn’t usually ensure a prospect of a long NBA career. Iguodala, on the other hand, is a physical specimen who has only missed six games over his whole career.
Pick No. 5 | Washington Wizards
Actual Selection: Devin Harris
Draft 365 Remix: Jameer Nelson (20)
Both Harris and Nelson had breakout seasons this past year, but Jameer gets the nod due to his all-star selection and for playing for a far superior team.
Pick No. 6 | Atlanta Hawks
Actual Selection: Josh Childress
Draft 365 Remix: Josh Smith (17)
A swap of Joshes – Childress for Smith. While Smith is still maddeningly inconsistent and erratic, he is one of the most gifted players in the League, able to strike fear in opponent’s hearts at both ends of the floor. Childress is currently enjoying some souvlaki.
Pick No. 7 | Phoenix Suns
Actual Selection: Luol Deng
Draft 365 Remix: Kevin Martin (26)
Out of the obscurity of the University of Western Carolina to the obscurity of the Sacramento Kings, Kevin Martin continues to do his thing in the shadows. Over the past three seasons Martin has established himself as on the L’s premier scorers.
Pick No. 8 | Toronto Raptors
Actual Selection: Rafael Araujo
Draft 365 Remix: Ben Gordon (3)
Hoffa Araujo was the biggest bust in the whole draft, even more so than Livingston. Ben Gordon, meanwhile, is the top career scorer from this draft class so far (and a hell of a lot richer than Hoffa).
Pick No. 9 | Philadelphia 76ers
Actual Selection: Andre Iguodala
Draft 365 Remix: Devin Harris (5)
If we remixed this draft again in another five years, Devin Harris would probably be up closer to his original spot at pick No.5. At the age of 25, he truly came into his own last season in the swamps of Jersey.
Pick No. 10 | Cleveland Cavaliers
Actual Selection: Luke Jackson
Draft 365 Remix: Andris Biedrins (11)
Cleveland didn’t find the whole draft thing quite as easy in 2004 as they did in 2003. Jackson is a poster child for a lottery bust, while Biedrins averaged 12 & 11 last season and is still only 23-years-old.
Barely missed the Top 10 Remix: Luol Deng, J.R. Smith, Josh Childress, Trevor Ariza.
Next on the Remix: The monumentally weak draft class of 2003!
Read more of Jeff Fox at The Hoops Manifesto.