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Draft Do-Over: 2006 Edition

Daniel Gibson, Anderson Varejao, LeBron James

The 2005-06 season was a big one for the Cleveland Cavaliers. The team would make the playoffs for the first time since their first round exit in 1998, mostly in part to the major roster changes made.

After naming Danny Ferry the new General Manager of the team, he would make the team his own via free agency, due to the team not having any draft picks. Larry Hughes and Donyell Marshall joined the team on expensive contracts, helping lead the team to a 50-32 record, ranking fourth in the Eastern Conference.

After losing in seven games to the Detroit Pistons in the Conference Semi Finals, the Cavaliers had earned themselves the 25th and 55th pick in the 2006 NBA Draft. After a deal with the Phildelphia 76ers, the Cavs would also have the 42nd overall pick.

How well did they do? Lets re-draft.

Original Pick: Shannon Brown (#25)
Alternate Choices: Jordan Farmar, Steve Novak, P.J. Tucker

Considering the choices that followed Brown, this pick wasn’t a huge failure. Brown showed a lot of potential, becoming an early crowd favorite with his high flying ability. Trust wasn’t shown in the youngster to prove himself at the NBA level fresh in his career, resulting in NBA D-League stints on multiple occasions.

Brown played just 38 games with the Cavaliers in a season and a half, before being included as a part of the blockbuster deadline day deal in 2008.

Brown went on to win back-to-back titles with the Los Angeles Lakers a few seasons later, and has not played a game since the 2014-15 season with the Miami Heat.

Original Pick: Daniel Gibson (#42)
Alternate Choices: Paul Millsap, Leon Powe, Ryan Hollins

After a 2006 pre-draft workout with the Cavaliers, Gibson canceled his remaining workouts with other teams, refusing to work out for any other team before the draft. It is believed this was the reason Gibson fell to the second round, after some thought he might be drafted in the first.

Gibson played in 60 games in his rookie season, leading all rookies in three point percentage, shooting 41.9%. ‘Boobie’s’ shooting from deep would play a major part in the success of Cleveland’s season. The game that Gibson erupted onto the scene for the Cavs was May 31st, 2007, Game 6 of the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals.

Taking a cue from James’ legendary Game Five showing, Gibson went 5-for-5 from three-point country, scored 19 of his career-best 31 points in the fourth quarter, and helped the Cavs stomp Detroit in a 98-82 blowout.

Unfortuntely it all went down hill from there for the former Texas Longhorn. The next season saw Gibson’s three-point percentage rise and the sophomore compete in the Three-Point Shootout during All-Star weekend, but his overall play was incredibly inconsistent. The 2008-’09 season was even worse. Gibson’s percentage from three dipped to 38 and his year was marred by nagging injuries and even more disappointing play.

When you look back at who the Cavaliers could have selected, the obvious stand out is Paul Millsap. Millsap was an absolute steal for the Utah Jazz in the second round, missing just 6 games in his first four seasons combined.

The Cavaliers could have used the services of Millsap behind the veteran leadership of Drew Gooden, but Gibson became a hero in Cleveland. If you’re the proud owner of a ‘SHOOT BOOBIE SHOOT!’ tee, you’re doing life right.

Original Pick: Ejike Ugboaja (#55)
Alternate Choices: Damir Markota, Will Blalock

The name Ejika Ugboaja may not ring any bells for any Cavs fans. The 6’9 Nigerian was a member of the 2006-07 Cleveland Cavaliers team but never actually played in a game.

A staple in the Nigerian national team, Ugboaja has played all over the world. His lengthy resume included stints in the USA, Nigeria, Poland, Cyprus, Iran, Ukraine, Spain, Lithuania and Turkey.

With a late pick in an average draft class, the Cavs couldn’t have done much more here. Will Blalock was the only player selected after Ugboaja that actually played in an NBA game, suiting up for 23 games.

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