NBA, NBA Draft / May 27, 2008 / 11:13 am

2004 NBA Draft Do-Over

IMAGE DESCRIPTIONDwight Howard (photo. Mannion)

If there was ever a Draft where NBA decision-makers wished they could see into the future, it was the 2004 version. With a record number of high schoolers making the jump to the pros that year — from a seemingly can’t-miss big man in Dwight Howard to an intriguing high-flyer in Josh Smith to an outright polarizing point guard in Sebastian Telfair — teams had to have to flex their scouting and educated-guessing acumen more than ever before. If you’ve never read one of these Draft do-overs, here are the RULES.

Seeing as one of those rules is “You can’t predict injuries,” you might be wondering why Shaun Livingston didn’t crack the Top 14. It’s not because of injuries. Instead, teams looking into the future at Livingston would see that going into his fourth year in the League, the kid was still not a full-time starter and only showing flashes of brilliance. At the same time, someone like Jameer Nelson — a starting PG on a playoff team — is much more appealing.

With that, here’s my 2004 Lottery do-over…

1. Orlando — Dwight Howard, C, Southwest Atlanta Christian H.S. (Ga.)
A potential franchise center then has become a definite franchise center now.

2. Charlotte — Al Jefferson, PF, Prentiss H.S. (Miss.)
With the first draft pick in the team’s history, the Bobcats go with a 20-10 workhorse they can rely on for as long as they’re willing to pay him.

3. Chicago — Josh Smith, SF, Oak Hill Academy (Va.)
Looking back at the ’04 mock drafts, most had the Bulls taking Andre Iguodala in this spot, with the idea that he’d be a Scottie Pippen clone. Turns out J-Smoove is more Pippen than Iguodala, as he’s become one of the League’s best complimentary players.

4. L.A. Clippers — Kevin Martin, SG, Western Carolina
Point guard was a serious need here: the Clippers were running with Eddie House, Keyon Dooling, Marko Jaric and Doug Overton at the one. There really isn’t a PG in this class worth such a high pick, but Martin at least gives you another scorer to make up for a lack of floor leadership.

5. Washington — Emeka Okafor, C/PF, UConn
Back when the Big Three was Gilbert Arenas, Antawn Jamison and Larry Hughes, the Wizards were still weak at center (a.k.a. Brendan Haywood). Okafor would fill give them a much-needed defensive presence.

6. Atlanta — Andre Iguodala, SF/SG, Arizona
The Hawks’ fourth-highest scorer that season? Chris Crawford. The would take anyone who could get buckets.

7. Phoenix — Devin Harris, PG, Wisconsin
Mike D’Antoni came in midway through the season and Stephon Marbury was traded, leaving the Suns with Amare Stoudemire, Shawn Marion and Joe Johnson but no PG to run the “Seven Seconds or Less” system. (Steve Nash wouldn’t be brought in until later that summer through free agency.)

8. Toronto — Andris Biedrins, C, Latvia
With Vince Carter and Chris Bosh as the foundation, the Raps were thin at point guard and center.

9. Philadelphia — Luol Deng, SF, Duke
After A.I., Philly was almost painfully unathletic. Glenn Robinson, Kyle Korver, Kenny Thomas, Aaron McKie, Eric Snow and Derrick Coleman were all logging significant minutes.

10. Cleveland — Ben Gordon, SG, UConn
With LeBron, Big Z and (at least they thought so) Carlos Boozer holding down the front line for the foreseeable future, the Cavs needed to bolster their backcourt. BG is another guy who can create his own shot and isn’t afraid to fire away in crunch-time, which would do a lot to help LeBron’s game.

11. Golden State — Jameer Nelson, PG, St. Joseph’s
The Warriors needed bigs, with 37-year-old Cliff Robinson having started all 82 games that season and Erick Dampier at center. But in the pre-Baron days they also could have used a point guard.

12. Seattle — Anderson Varejao, PF, Brazil
This was the year when the Sonics started their streak of taking 7-foot projects in the first round, when they grabbed high schooler Robert Swift. Considering their centers at the time were Jerome James, Vitaly Potapenko and Calvin Booth, you can see the thought process. Varejao would at least give them a rebounder and post defender who’s proven to be effective in the League.

13. Portland — J.R. Smith, SG, St. Benedict’s H.S. (N.J.)
Every mock draft in ’04 had the Blazers taking Nevada’s Kirk Snyder to fill their need at two-guard. Knowing then what we know now, J.R. would be the better pick. Although the fact that he fits right into the image Portland was trying to get away from might change their mind.

14. Utah — Josh Childress, SF/SG, Stanford
Reports at the time said the Jazz had promised Sergei Monia they’d draft him in this spot, but Portland took him before they had a chance. If they were still looking for a wing, Childress gets the job done and would be a perfect role player.

OTHER NOTABLES: Shaun Livingston, Sasha Vujacic, Chris Duhon, Sebastian Telfair, Trevor Ariza, Delonte West, Kris Humphries, Beno Udrih, Kirk Snyder, Dorell Wright, Robert Swift, David Harrison, Tony Allen, Royal Ivey, Andre Brown, Luke Jackson, Rafael Araujo, Sergei Monia, Viktor Khryapa, Pavel Podkolzine, Ha Seung-Jin, Pape Sow.

DRAFT DO-OVERS: 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006

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  • http://www.myspace.com/carli_borikua4life daquest?on a.k.a Heavy Artillery

    wow if jr smith had gone to portland they would have truly been the jail blazers damn that would have been a real mess

  • DaPro

    Not a bad redo but J-Smooth is nice but if I’m Chicago I might be go with Igodala. He is better man to man defender and a great second option.

  • TWolves Convert

    A combo of Lebron, Gordon, Boozer, and Big Z would be a pretty nice group. They would still need a PG to run the pick and roll for Boozer sometimes though.

  • Brown

    Didn’t the Wizards trade the #5 pick to Dallas for Jamison?

    Washington only had Hughes and Arenas at that point AB.

  • MoxWestCoastRep

    I assume PHX still picks up Nash, and with DH learning the point behind him the Suns would be set at PG right now for the next 10 years!
    What about ‘The Machine’ to Portland!!
    Glad my team has him, Go Lakers!

  • Kobeef

    This draft is exactly why you need to pick the most talented player and ignore the hype (Pick Beasley Chicago!!).

    I remember the war that raged over Emeka vs Dwight. Dwight was clearly a better prospect but Emeka (and Gordon) were getting all the attention from their NCAA run.

    JR Smith needs a good coach to get him on track – because that kid is the real deal when he is playing.

    I’d take Delonte over Jameer. West is a head-case but he can do everything Jamer does and doesn’t get benched when the opposing PG is over 6 ft.

    I’d also take Varejo over Biedrins. Biendrins is a huge liability at the end of a close game if the opposing team starts to foul him. He airballs FT’s……

    The NBA..where players make millions but can’t hit a free throw happens.

  • yallallreadyknow

    al jefferson #2?
    really?…based on what? he hasn’t done shit when he was in beantown. i aint hatin…but is he really worthy of the #2 slot?

  • Kobeef

    yeah – using the “what we know now” appraoch I think you have to take JSmoove at #2.

    Josh also gives you 17pts and 8 rebs but Jefferson doesn’t give you blocks or assists or outside shooting like Smith. Also, Smith is a slam-dunk champ and he sells tickets. Smith (PF) and Wallace (SF) together in the Bobcats frontcout is awesome.

  • maddskizzle

    Toronto fans do not want to be reminded of this draft.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/djkianoosh djKianoosh

    i know i’m biased, but I would definitely pick Delonte West over JR Smith knowing what we know now. JR Smith is too much of a nutcase and completely kills you defensively and makes dumb decisions on offense, even though he can get ridiculously hot. he’s way too streaky. Delonte plays more solid and within himself and doesn’t kill you with dumb mistakes.

  • http://www.dimemag.com Austin Burton

    I’d take Jefferson because when you’re starting a franchise, you want a guy who can be a legit #1 option. Smith is more of a #2 guy, a Pippen to someone else’s Jordan. Jefferson can be The Man on a team.

  • TJ

    Yea, the Wiz got Antawn for the pick and Stackhouse (and some trash).

  • E$

    ATL & NY – kill yourself – lol

  • Kobeef

    While we are talking draft, more stunning news from Minnesota.

    “Numerous sources with varying ties to Minnesota confirmed to DraftExpress over the past few days that Timberwolves GM Kevin McHale has locked in on UCLA freshman Kevin Love as possibly his favorite prospect in this draft.”

    Is McHale the worst GM in sports? Yes.
    It’s like he feels compelled to waste the careers of his franchise players by surronding them with the worst combination of talent he can find. Case in point, Kevin Love is expected to be drafted in the ‘teens and is a poor compliment to Mr. Low Post Al Jefferson: Think Eddy Curry and ZBo part 2 just replace Z-Bo with a player who is more overweight and less athletic.

    does McHale secretly hate Minnesota? Is this some type of secret revenge? Something is going on.

  • Chuck…Haters come in all fashions and forms so bear arms

    @Austin
    I agree,Post #11, dude has a bundle of upside. If the wolves put some good talent around dude, he’s gonna be a monster. I like corey brewer when he gains some weight, and works on his jumper. It really all depends on his work ethic and attitude. But Jefferson is a beast and think he’ll have a good career.
    @Dapro
    I don’t know pro, J-smoove can do so much, he can block shots, get stills, score, and SMASH on anybody at any given time.

    Pick up that new Usher Album (No homo), it’s something nice to ride in the car with ya lady bumpin.

  • Celts Fan

    ok, I have to weight in on some of the stuff I’m hearing here.

    I’d take Delonte over Jameer. West is a head-case but he can do everything Jamer does and doesn’t get benched when the opposing PG is over 6 ft.
    (I agree on Delonte over Jameer, but when was he ever a headcase? I never heard of anything while he was here or since he left.)

    I’d also take Varejo over Biedrins. Biendrins is a huge liability at the end of a close game if the opposing team starts to foul him. He airballs FT’s…… (Varejo isn’t exactly automatic, plus Biedrins does all the things Varejo does and blocks shots better. This is close, but I’d take Biedrins myself.)

    on Big Al: “he hasn’t done shit when he was in beantown.” Apparently averaging a double double last year and 20 and 10 this year is nothing.

    “Josh also gives you 17pts and 8 rebs (both less than Big Al’s #s this year) but Jefferson doesn’t give you blocks (true, he rotates slower than the Earth) or assists (true) or outside shooting like Smith (whaaaat? since when does shooting about 25% ON JUMPERS equate to outside shooting. Subtract his dunks and he shoots terribly. I love his upside and he seems to be working hard on the jumper, but that thing is broke right now.) Also, Smith is a slam-dunk champ and he sells tickets.” (again, true to the real hoop heads like us, but neither will move the dial in the general public. Also, Big Al is one of the best in the business down low. His low post, back to the basket game is PHENOMENAL. He is lacking in a lot of areas – defense, athleticism, speed – but his offense down there and the array of moves he has are AMAZING.)

  • Celts Fan

    Kobeef, 2 words for you that render the McHale as worst GM in sports argument completely and totally over: Matt Millen.

    (plus, as much as we rip him, he did get Big Al and the chance to blow this year’s top 10 pick back from Boston. Look at what Philly got for AI. He’s TERRIBLE, but there are worse.)

  • Marcel P.

    I love how my Hawks turned down AI, Jefferson and Deng in this draft for Afroman. Well done, Billy Knight, well done!

  • kowtz

    Hawks shoudl have picked up a PG instead of andre igudola… I mean I would even take Benoh Udrih with his flashes of 20 pointers this season over andre…

    instead of bringing in Joe Johnson the following year…

  • sans

    Luke Jackson played for my bar’s City League team last week. He’s still a god in Eugene so that made everyone real stoked to be on the same court as him.