The premise is simple- if every player in the NBA was a Free Agent, and a draft was held today, who would go where?
In Part II, we will look at picks 20-11, with the draft order based upon the historical success of the franchise.
Please remember that these rankings do not necessarily go hand in hand with actual player rankings. For example, neither Kevin Garnett nor Tim Duncan made the first-round cut. Both are 33, have tons of miles on the tires, and are not really building blocks for a franchise at this point in time.
At #20, the Orlando Magic are on the clock...
The 29 year old Spanish import has gone from a former Rookie of the Year (2001) on a lousy team in Memphis to an All-Star player on what is now a perennial title contender in Los Angeles.
Since his trade to Los Angeles in February of 2008, Gasol has averaged 18.8 ppg, 8.5 rpg and 3.5 apg. For his career, Gasol has shot 52% from the floor and blocked 1.7 shots per game, making him efficient on both ends of the floor.
The Lakers records with and without Gasol since the trade futher prove Pau's value, and make him a worthy pick here at No. 20.
If this draft was solely on age and durability, the 25-year-old Iguodala would be even higher up on this list.
In six seasons, AI has only missed a total of 6 games (all of them in the 06-07 season). His high flying dunks and athletic defensive play has had Philly fans buzzing since he arrived from Arizona in 2004.
He still has room to improve on his jump shot, but there have been signs of improvement over the past year. If his jumper is off, Iguo has the ability to slash to the hole and draw fouls or just flat out finish above the rim.
With career numbers right around 16-6-4 to go along with about 2 steals per game, Andre has been and will be the face of the Sixers for the foreseeable future.
His age (30), possible desire to play overseas, and this picture shown above are all reasons why Dirk slides to Denver at No. 18.
There is absolutely no denying what the big German brings to the offensive side of the court. With a career average of 22.7 ppg, Dirk will go down as one of the most talented shooting big men of all time.
He has never averaged 10 rebounds per game in a season, but a career average of 8.6 per game is respectable for a seven footer when you consider his style of play.
Dirk is the main reason the Mavs are no longer the laughing stock of the NBA, turning them from cellar dweller to a perennial playoff team. He stills plays no defense and complains more than any player in the NBA, but at No. 18, Denver is more than willing to take on Dirk.
If you want to discuss players who are just flat out awesome to watch, Rajon Rondo is near the top of my list. When my Knicks passed up on him in the 2006 Draft, I was mortified.
Ever since his days in Kentucky, the writing was on the wall for this kid to become a superstar. And he has done just that, running the point for an NBA Champion Celtics squad full of veterans who had accomplished way more than Rajon.
But that did not intimidate this lanky version of Jason Kidd 2.0, and at 22 he played the 2008 Playoffs like he was 32.
Rondo plays with no fear and a bit of a chip on his shoulder. He contributes in almost every category and, with time, will become an even more potent offensive threat than he is now.
His ability to get rebounds and steals with his long arms, combined with superior court vision and deceptive quickness land Rondo the No. 17 spot and a new gig in New Jersey.
The best part about doing J-Smooth's slide was picking out the picture. I mean, look at him... does he even look like he is trying?
Smith is an example of what NBA Power Forwards of the future will look like. At 6'9, 240 lbs., Smith is a petrifying mix of size and agility, as his career numbers prove.
Smith has career averages of roughly 7.5 rpg, 1.5 spg and 1.5 bpg. He's only 23 years old, but has 5 years of NBA experience and an improving offensive resume to go with it.
Smith still has a few kinks to work out both on and off the court, but the former McDonald's High School All-American is one of the 10 most entertaining players to watch in this league, as well as a top 20 talent without a doubt.
At No. 16, Dallas has their superstar who will put fans—and opponents shots—in the seats night in and night out for years to come.
Another player who falls due to durability issues, Yao is one of the most versatile all-around centers in the league.
His ability to shoot 15 footers with ease, as well as dominate at the foul line (career 83% shooter) produces a challenge for opponents who try to defend him.
Come out to guard that shot, and Yao will unleash his post moves on you. After missing only 2 games in his 1st 3 seasons, Yao has played a total of 57, 48, 55 and 77 games in each season after that.
He is a 6 time All-Star selection with career averages of 19 ppg, 9 rpg and 2 blocks per game. Without his partner in crime, Tracy McGrady, Yao has gotten the Rockets out of the first round for the first time in his career.
Until the 7'6 import can start winning some big games, his legacy will remain the same. Elton Brand has been a wash so far in Philly due to health concerns, so Sixers fans are keeping their fingers crossed on Yao.
Yes, the Celtics landed Kevin Garnett in the Al Jefferson trade. And yes, it sprung them to an NBA Championship.
But KG is clearly on the decline, and Al Jefferson's game is only getting better. A five year veteran with no college experience, Jefferson started off slow his first 2 years in the league.
But since then, he has become one of the most dominant low post players in the NBA, averaging at least 11 rpg and 1.5 bpg the last three years.
In addition, Al has averaged 16, 21, and 23 ppg in each of the last three seasons. His 2008-2009 campaign was cut short due to injury, and the injury he suffered may be cause for future concern.
But at the ripe age of 24 with only 330 games on his career resume, the Wizards finally have a high school center who may turn into something
The Jazz could never win the big one against Chicago. When Deron was playing for the Fighting Illini, Illinois couldn't beat the TarHeels and win the big one.
So a change of scenery and a move to Milwaukee may be just what Deron needs. He's just 24, but has already established himself as a top 3-5 PG in the league.
In 4 NBA seasons, Deron has put up career averages of 16 ppg, 3 rpg and 8.7 apg (his first season drastically pulls down those averages). More importantly, he has been as consistent a point guard as a franchise could ask for, showing up night in and night out.
At 6'3, 207 lbs., Deron is one of the bulkier players at his position, yet he still has the speed to get up and down the court faster than his opponents.
Milwaukee has had its share of mediocre point guards come and go, but now they have the face of their franchise in Deron-ron.
This will go down as the steal of the draft in my opinion. The 26-year-old veteran out of New Mexico has blown up the last 4 years, increasing his ppg by 6 every season since his rookie campaign in 2005-06.
Last season, Granger averaged 25.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg and 3.9 apg. His outside shot is just as deadly as his inside game, averaging almost 3 3 pointers a game in 2008-09. And for a player with his offensive capabilities, his defense is even more of an added bonus.
He has averaged at least 1 steal and 1 block per game each of the last two seasons. So put that line together: 25-5-4-1-1. At 12th overall, the Sacramento Kings land a superstar in the making (if he isn't already one) who has not gotten the respect he deserves.
But if he keeps this up, there will be a handful of teams kicking themselves for letting Granger fall to Sacramento.
The Class of 2003 has four picks in the Top 11. Bosh is the last of the four to get selected, but New Orleans is surely not complaining about landing the former Raptor at No. 11.
At 6'10, Bosh can do it all. And while he may not be the most feared defensive player in the league, he more than makes up for it offensively.
A six year veteran out of Georgia Tech, Bosh has averaged at least 22 ppg, 8.7 rpg and 1 bpg each of his last 4 seasons. He is a career 49% FG shooter along with an 80% career FT shooter.
His average of 73 games per season over his first six years provides above average consistency in a league where big men struggle to ever make it through an entire season.
Bosh has been stuck in a rut in Toronto, but returning to the deep south in New Orleans could be just what the doctor ordered for this immensely talented power forward.