By Liam Melrose
Australia's Andrew Bogut was selected by the Milwaukee Bucks with the first overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft. Photo: Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images
A draft class that includes a Hall of Fame point guard, forgotten names that were once stars of the league in their prime, as well as one season wonders. Liam Melrose looks back at the 2005 NBA Draft and re-selects his new top 10.
PICK 1: MILWAUKEE BUCKS – CHRIS PAUL (ORIGINALLY PICK 4 - NEW ORLEANS HORNETS)
ORGINAL PICK: ANDREW BOGUT
Paul will finish his career as one of the greatest point guards of all time. One of the best passers the game has ever seen, his ability to find open looks for his teammates but also score the ball himself has made him so difficult to defend. The ‘lob city’ era in Los Angeles with Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan showed how dangerous Paul’s passing and pick and roll game is with the right pieces around him. Has averaged 18.5 points and 9.5 assists per game across his 14-year NBA career, as well as two steals per game. A 10-time NBA All-Star as well as a four-time All-NBA First Team member. Even at 35 years of age Paul is still performing at an elite level. He averaged 17.6 points and just under seven assists per game in the 2019-20 season for the Oklahoma City Thunder which included an unexpected playoff berth.
Chris Paul is one of the greatest on court generals the NBA has ever seen. Photo: Michael Dwyer/Associated Press
PICK 2: ATLANTA HAWKS - DERON WILLIAMS (ORIGINALLY PICK 3 – UTAH JAZZ)
ORIGINAL PICK: MARVIN WILLIAMS
Williams played his best basketball in Utah as well as a couple of seasons in New Jersey/Brooklyn. However, the first half of his career was considerably better than his second, with his numbers falling away after the 2012-13 season. This was likely due to a number of injuries, he was originally an explosive point guard that could attack the rim as well as pass the ball extremely well. Unfortunately, the injuries took away the athleticism we saw during the first part of his career. Finishing his tenure as a perimeter shooter, Williams averaged just over 16 points per game as well as eight assists across 14 seasons in the league, to go with three All-Star selections, and was also a two time All-NBA Second Team member.
Deron Williams enjoyed a consistent beginning to his career before he was hampered by injuries. Photo: Michael Ehrmann/Getty Images
PICK 3: UTAH JAZZ – LOUIS WILLIAMS (ORIGINALLY PICK 45 – PHILADELPHIA 76ERS)
ORIGINAL PICK: DERON WILLIAMS
Williams has improved with age and flourished as the best sixth man in the league. A three time recipient of the Sixth Man of the Year award (2015, 2018 and 2019) as well as averaging 18.2 points per game for the 2019-20 season off the bench once again. One of the most consistent performers in this draft, he has averaged double figure scoring numbers every season since 2007. Williams has also improved his passing as his career has gone on, averaging at least five assists per game off the bench for the Los Angeles Clippers in each of the past three seasons.
Lou Williams has aged like a fine wine with the Los Angeles Clippers. Photo: Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press
PICK 4: NEW ORLEANS HORNETS - MONTA ELLIS (ORIGINALLY PICK 40 – GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS)
ORIGINAL PICK: CHRIS PAUL
An explosive scorer at the two-guard position, Ellis put together a consistent career with his best seasons being at the Golden State Warriors between 2007 and 2012. The flashy guard averaged 25.5 points per game in the 2009-10 season along with just over five assists per game as Golden State’s starting shooting guard. Ellis teamed up with Baron Davis for a majority of those years, and later on a young Stephen Curry to form a formidable backcourt.
Monta Ellis with the Indiana Pacers in 2017. Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images
PICK 5: CHARLOTTE BOBCATS – DANNY GRANGER (ORIGINALLY PICK 17 INDIANA PACERS)
ORIGINAL PICK: RAYMOND FELTON
Another unfortunate case of injuries cutting a career short. A breakout season came in 2008-09 with the small forward averaging 25.8 points, five rebounds and just under three assists per game earning him an All-Star selection and the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award. A wing that in his prime could do it all on both ends of the floor, his 2008-09 season proved that where he averaged both a block and a steal per game as well as his large scoring output.
Danny Granger was once an NBA All-Star who averaged nearly 26 points per game. Photo: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
PICK 6: PORTLAND TRAILBLAZERS – DAVID LEE (ORIGINALLY PICK 30 – NEW YORK KNICKS)
ORIGINAL PICK: MARTELL WEBSTER
A two-time All-Star, Lee had a solid career averaging 13.5 points and just under nine rebounds per game across 13 seasons in the league. He was an offensive weapon with a lethal left-handed hook shot in his earlier years at the New York Knicks, as well as a majority of his time at the Golden State Warriors. His best season came in 2009-10 with the Knicks, where Lee averaged just over 20 points per game and just under 12 rebounds before becoming a role player off the bench for the Warriors, and eventually finishing his career with the San Antonio Spurs. Was a member of the 2015 Golden State Warriors championship team.
David Lee Finished his career with the San Antonio Spurs. Photo: SooBum Im-USA TODAY Sports
PICK 7: TORONTO RAPTORS – ANDREW BOGUT (ORGINALLY PICK 1 – MILWAUKEE BUCKS)
ORIGINAL PICK: CHARLIE VILLANUEVA
While it’s unlikely if Bogut stayed healthy he would’ve remained the number one pick in this draft, he easily could have remained in the top three. A young Andrew Bogut could perform at both ends of the floor, averaging double-double numbers with the Milwaukee Bucks from 2007 to 2011. His best season came in 2009-10, where the center averaged 15.9 points, 10.2 rebounds per game along with two and a half blocks, showing us when he was healthy how prolific he could be at both ends of the court. Bogut left Milwaukee after seven seasons and joined the Golden State Warriors where he was an NBA champion in 2015 playing a vital role as a defensive anchor.
The number one pick of the 2005 NBA Draft slides to pick seven in our redraft. Photo: NBA Getty Images
PICK 8: NEW YORK KNICKS – ANDREW BYNUM (ORIGINALLY PICK 10 – LOS ANGELES LAKERS)
ORIGINAL PICK: CHANNING FRYE
Similar to Bogut, if injuries didn’t cut Bynum’s career short the sky was the limit. A serious case of a breakout season only to vanish the following year. Bynum had a career best season averaging 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds in 2011-12 which earned him an All-Star selection. However, following his career best season, he fell victim to a number of knee injuries and never fully recovered. Due to issues with his knees he sat out the entire 2012-13 season before signing a two-year deal with Cleveland ahead of the 2013-14 season, however he only managed 24 games with the Cavaliers before being traded.
Andrew Bynum of the Los Angeles Lakers is closely guarded by Amare Stoudamire of the Phoenix Suns. Photo: Jeff Gross/Getty Images
PICK 9: GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS – MARVIN WILLIAMS (ORIGINALLY PICK 2 – ATLANTA HAWKS)
ORIGINAL PICK: IKE DIOGU
Williams has put together a solid career where has been both a starter and role player depending on who his teammates are. Can start if you need him to, but can also play a crucial role off the bench. Extremely efficient offensively, has averaged at least 40 percent shooting throughout his career to date. Can also shoot the three ball very well with a career best coming in the 2017-18 season, where Williams was just over 41 percent from behind the arc over 78 games, starting in all of them.
Marvin Williams with the Charlotte Hornets. Photo: Kent Smith/NBAE Getty Images
PICK 10: LOS ANGELES LAKERS – RAYMOND FELTON (ORIGINALLY PICK 5 – CHARLOTTE BOBCATS)
ORIGINAL PICK: ANDREW BYNUM
A tale of two halves. The first half of Felton’s career was promising with his best season coming in 2010-11 where the point guard averaged 17.1 points along with nine assists per game for New York. He returned to the Knicks for two years between 2011-2013 putting together two more solid seasons, however injuries de-railed his career in the end, limiting his ability to consistently start for his respective teams. Fortunately he was still able to play a role off the bench as a strong backup at the point guard position.
Raymond Felton with the New York Knicks, he averaged just over 17 points per game in the 2010-11 season. Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
Cover Photo: Cato Cataldo/Getty Images
By Ollie Nash and Liam Melrose
LeBron James was again superb, winning his fourth title and Finals MVP. Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Strong defense and energy is the strongest key to winning games of basketball
For anyone that follows basketball closely or has played a lot of basketball you’ll often hear analysts and coaches say, “strong defense translates into strong offense and defense wins you games of basketball.” In Game 6 the Lakers did just that.
The energy Los Angeles brought, particularly in the first half was paramount in them taking such a huge lead into halftime. They made it really tough for Miami to so much offensively, with an intimidating level of energy which brought strong defensive possessions translating into effective offensive play as they stamped their authority from the opening tip.
This led to them finishing the game 13-point winners and taking the franchises 17th Larry O’Brien trophy home to LA.
Role players help roll Lakers over the line
Every title winning team has strong role players who stand up when it matters most and Rajon Rondo and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope did just that in Game 6. Both were at their best in tonight’s game and a crucial reason why Los Angeles clinched their 17th championship
The experienced Rondo finished with 19 points, four rebounds and four assists in 30 minutes of game time. Caldwell-Pope finished with 17 points, with 15 of those coming in the first half to help the Lakers go into half-time with a 28-point lead.c
Despite a painful foot injury, Goran Dragic toughed it out to return in Game 6. Photo: David Dow/NBAE/Getty Images/AFP
Goran Dragic toughness
I discussed Bam Adebayo’s toughness in returning from his neck injury in Game 4 of these Finals, so I can’t forget about Goran Dragic after his return in Game 6.
The point guard hadn’t played since Game 1, when he tore his plantar fascia. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski the injury could not get worse if he played, his return just depended on if he could deal with the pain. It had been extreme, specifically when he warmed up to try and play in Games 4 and 5.
Despite this, and clearly hampered, Dragic bit his tongue to be able to play nearly 19 minutes and record five points, five rebounds and two assists. The Finals requires toughness both physically and mentally, which Dragic displayed in spades in getting back on the court.
Frank Vogel appreciation post
It’s a tough job coaching LeBron James. The pressure, publicity and expectation on Frank Vogel is something that only James’s former coaches would know about.
He has taken it in his stride though and had a superb year in his first season as Lakers head coach. Vogel’s playoff performance has been outstanding. He moved Dwight Howard to the starting line-up in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals and it had an immediate impact, winning the next two games to close out the series.
For Game 6 of the Finals he moved Caruso to the starting line-up, replacing Howard, and it had an immediate impact again. The Lakers jumped out to an eight point lead at quarter time and a 28-point lead at half-time, setting them up to win the 2020 title. Head home and crack open a cold one Frank, you can relax now.
Cover Photo: NBA Instagram
By Liam Melrose and Ollie Nash
Jimmy Butler finished with another impressive triple-double as the Heat force a Game 6. Photo: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
Jimmy Butler puts Miami on his back again
The result of the game decided who was the Player Of The Game between LeBron James and Jimmy Butler. A Miami clutch win means Butler is the man at the top of the list. 35 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists, five steals with 58/33/100 shooting splits. An amazing showing in an elimination game, forcing the series into a sixth game. Nothing else to say.
King James does what a King does
Deciding who was stronger out of Butler and LeBron James is clutching at straws, all I know is they were both crazy in this game. LeBron did everything to end the series today, 40 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists and three steals on 71/67/67 shooting splits. With a fourth title in sight, I think we can expect another showing like this from LeBron, and Jimmy for that matter.
Jimmy Butler was a force in stopping the Lakers clinch the NBA title. Photo: Mark J Terrill/Associated Press
Undrafted Duncan stands up on the biggest stage
For a player that has been up and down throughout the playoffs, Duncan Robinson stood up on the biggest stage. It was win or go home for the Heat, and Robinson finished with 26 points on the back of seven threes. Hitting a number of big shots when the Lakers were knocking on the door threatening to steal the championship. If Robinson can keep up this shooting form in Game 6, the Heat may very well force a Game 7.
KCP ‘bail-out’ option nearly helps Lakers over the line
The Lakers offense is centered around Anthony Davis and LeBron James, however with two powerful superstars like the pair of Davis and James, there’s always going to be room for spot-up shooters like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. With Danny Green struggling, KCP was huge for the Lakers adding 16 points giving the Heat defense something else to worry about. Like Duncan Robinson if Caldwell-Pope can keep up that level of form in Game 6, it will go a long way in helping Los Angeles clinch their 18th NBA title.
Cover Photo: USA TODAY SPORTS/Kim Klement
By Ollie Nash
Anthony Davis and the Lakers bought a better intensity to Game 4. Photo: Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press
Lakers energy back up = a win
In Game 3 the Lakers came out of the blocks looking lethargic, unenergized and sloppy on the offensive end. In Game 4 they did a full 180 and bought the intensity, specifically on the defensive end, that has made them so good all season.
It was led by the role players, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Rajon Rondo specifically, and it gave them some easier transition looks by getting some stops.
The Lakers biggest task is to match Miami’s grit and grind mentality, because when they do, they have the talent in LeBron James and Anthony Davis to take them over the edge. This is what they did tonight and was the biggest reason they are now up 3-1.
The deficit is not ideal, but Miami is still alive
The one thing that Miami have done this postseason is make every game close. Win or lose, they rarely get blown out or blow out teams. After the first two games of this series where they looked out of place, they have found their mojo and are back to the form that got them this far.
Being down 3-1, while not ideal, is now not such a steep climb, especially with Bam Adebayo back. This game wasn’t decided until the final minute, as a lot of Miami’s games have been during the playoffs. I can nearly guarantee this will be repeated in Game 5 and Game 6 or 7 if necessary.
With no crowd in the bubble and no home court advantage, Denver proved coming back from 3-1 is doable and if any team was going to repeat the feat, it would be Miami. I don’t think it will happen; the Lakers have LeBron James for goodness sake. However, 2020 has been weird, so can we really 100 percent count it out as a possibility?
Bam Adebayo proved his toughness in returning in Game 4 despite his injury. Photo: ESPN
Huge props to Bam Adebayo
In a bubble, away from home and family for over two months now and you get injured. For Bam Adebayo, it’s a tough situation to be in mentally and physically, so to see him back fighting it out is inspiring.
I don’t think we can underestimate the toll being in this bubble would have on these players. Yes, they are well looked after, but there’s nothing like being able to spend a night in your own bed and being around your family. Add a severe injury to that and it just brings you down another peg. Adebayo has been able to fight his way out of it and helped put Miami in a position to win Game 4.
His 15 points and seven rebounds were important, especially the points he scored early in the first quarter attacking the basket. A tough showing from one of every NBA fans favourite players.
If the Lakers win the title, the Finals MVP is decided
Through the first two games of this series, all the talk was centred around “if the Lakers end up winning the title, has Anthony Davis earned the Finals MVP?” The answer two games later is a resounding no.
Game 3 he went missing, early turnovers leading to foul trouble and an all-around bad game. The man who hasn’t gone missing is LeBron James. Like most of the Lakers team, he wasn’t great in Game 3. But he was back to a version of his dominant self, without being out of this world in Game 4. Oh, but he still put up 28 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists on 8-16 shooting from the field, 2-5 from three and 10-12 from the free throw line. An easy pick now if LA win the championship.
Cover Photo: The Canadian Press
By Ollie Nash and Liam Melrose
Jimmy Butler had an all-time great performance in Game 3. Photo: NBA
Butler brings the heat to lift Miami over LA
Jimmy Butler put up an historic NBA Finals performance to lift the Miami Heat out of the gutter and drag them back into the series. Without fellow starters Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo it was up to Butler to deliver if the Heat were going to be any chance of putting one finger on the Larry O’Brien trophy.
He finished with 40 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists in what was arguably the greatest performance of his career to date with the basketball world watching on. He was also great on the defensive end, finishing with two steals and two blocks.
After his impressive performance, Butler becomes just the third player in NBA history to record a 40-point triple double in the NBA Finals joining LeBron James and Jerry West. However, he was the first player to do so in a win.
Lakers lack of curveballs
Jimmy Butler was amazing in Game 3 and made some tough shots over some good Laker defence. However, he was allowed to continually have a one-on-one match-up, attack it in any way he liked and either score or get fouled. The Lakers never threw a double or any different defensive scheme. The old analogy applies here, how many times will you let someone punch you in the face before you throw something back or get out of the way?
In all sports around the world, if what you are doing is not working, do something different. The Lakers are experienced enough that they can change on the fly. For me, I would be doubling Jimmy more often and making Duncan Robinson, Tyler Herro, Jae Crowder and Kelly Olynyk beat you. They’re all good three-point shooters and there’s a chance they make you pay, but at least it’s throwing something back at the haymakers Butler was delivering. Except for Olynyk who shot it well from behind the arc, Robinson was 3-10 from three, Herro 2-7 and Crowder 2-8, so it wasn’t as if they were catching fire. Make them beat you.
LeBron and the Lakers didn't have any answers in the end. Photo: Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports
Lack of energy from LA
The one aspect of the Game 2 that stood out to me the most was the Lakers energy, particularly Anthony Davis. He had eight offensive rebounds, half of LA’s 16 as a team. In Game 3, Davis had just two and the Lakers had 11 as a team.
Their lack of energy was clear as day to start the game and it just started a domino effect. 10 first quarter turnovers for 11 Miami points ensued, Davis was immediately in foul trouble and they fell into a deficit. It’s hard to build energy mid-game when you are losing and have come out so flat. This meant the Lakers was playing catch-up and that’s a hard game to play against this Heat team, as they have shown throughout the playoffs.
A lack of energy should never be a problem in an NBA Finals game and I would be extremely worried if the Lakers had the same issue in Game 4.
Olynyk steps up when the Heat need him most
For a role player that averaged 8.2 points and 4.6 rebounds during the regular season, you can’t expect too much of an output in the playoffs regardless of how many minutes you play. However, over the past two games with star Heat center Bam Adebayo injured, Kelly Olynyk has taken his opportunity with both hands.
In Game 2 he became the first player to come off the bench and score 24 points and pull in at least nine rebounds in NBA Finals history. In Game 3 with Adebayo out he backed it up again, playing over 30 minutes and finishing with 17 points and seven rebounds. Way to step up when your team needs you most Kelly.
Cover Photo: Erik S. Lesser/EPA-EFE
By Ollie Nash and Liam Melrose
LeBron James and Anthony Davis combined for 59 points in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. Photo: Erik S. Lesser/EPA-EFE
The force of LBJ and AD too strong for the Heat
LeBron James and Anthony Davis combined for 59 points, 22 rebounds and 14 assists in Game 1 with the pair both shooting the ball at over 50 percent from the field. With Davis arguably playing the best basketball of his career to date, it’s hard to see how Miami can handle Davis and put time into LeBron, who we all know becomes an absolute beast in the Finals.
With Miami anchor Bam Adebayo leaving Game 1 with an apparent left shoulder injury, it’s set to be a serious test for the Heat to see if they can contain the pair of Davis and LeBron for the remainder of the series. Miami have been great all post-season, however the presence of AD and LBJ may prove to be too much to handle as the series progresses.
Injuries are never good for a team in any sport at any time. They’re especially untimely during the NBA Finals. With games every second day, a shoulder injury to Bam Adebayo, twisted ankle for Jimmy Butler and foot injury to Goran Dragic won’t help Miami’s campaign.
Reports are that Dragic could be out for the series. If Adebayo and Butler are able to play the remaining games, they won’t be fully healthy and with the rough and tough nature of the NBA Finals, it will make life even harder. Fingers crossed for quick recoveries, because the 2020 season deserves a tight contest to finish the year.
Injuries to Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler could not have come at a worse time. Photos: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images and The Associated Press
Lakers three-point shooting
After a slow start being down as many as 13 in the first quarter, it was the Lakers shooting from behind the arc that got them back in the game. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led the way hitting two threes in the first term and the team followed.
The Lakers went 15-38 from the three point line, 11 of those makes coming in the first half to help them to a 17-point lead at half time, one they never relinquished. Shooting nearly 40 percent from three isn’t going to happen every game, but doing so in Game 1 no doubt instils confidence in the Lakers role players especially.
Duncan Robinson needs to lift
Like all shooters, Duncan Robinson can be streaky. You are you can’t afford to go scoreless in an NBA Finals game though. Even more remarkably Robinson took just three shots in 27 minutes and failed to register an assist. With injuries to two fellow starters in Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic in Game 1, Robinson needs to lift. Often this post-season we have seen him have either 12-20 points or struggle to have an impact at all.
With the Heat struggling in Game 1 a spark from Robinson will be needed in Game 2.
Cover Photo: Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images