No major-league team in any sport is infallible when it comes to drafting players.
Twelve NBA teams chose not to draft Kobe Bryant in 1996 before the then-Charlotte Hornets took Bryant and immediately traded his draft rights to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The San Diego Chargers actually gave away three draft picks to move up one spot and select quarterback Ryan Leaf second overall. Leaf was the bust of all NFL busts.
So they all make mistakes, including the Charlotte Bobcats, who watched New Jersey Nets point guard Deron Williams drop 57 points on them Sunday. The Bobcats were presented a trade in 2005 that would have given them the option of drafting Williams or Chris Paul, who both could end up Hall of Famers.
It got me thinking: In some magical world where the Bobcats now could have a do-ever on every first-round pick theyve made, how many names would change? Here goes
Player selected: Emeka Okafor, second overall pick. Alternatives: Andre Iguodala, ninth, Josh Smith, 17th, Anderson Varejao, 30th. Conclusion: Okafor probably was the right move, particularly since center is such a hard spot to fill and Okafor was such a safe pick for a new franchise. Still, Iguodala, Smith and Varejao have all become borderline All-Star talents.
Players selected: Raymond Felton, fifth; Sean May 13th. Alternative: The Portland Trail Blazers offered the third pick, in return for Charlottes fifth and 13th. That would have given the Bobcats their choice of Deron Williams or Chris Paul. Conclusion: Then-general manager/coach Bernie Bickerstaff thought the Blazers price was too high. He counter offer with the fifth pick and the future first the Cleveland Cavaliers owed Charlotte. Portland didnt want that. Maybe the worst outcome in franchise history: Either point guard would have been best player in Bobcats history-to-date, regardless of how long he was here.
Player selected: Adam Morrison, third. Alternatives: Rudy Gay, eighth, Rajon Rondo, 21st. Conclusion: This was a really bad call at the outset of Michael Jordans involvement with the Bobcats. Rondo turned out to be far better than anyone in the NBA anticipated, but choosing Morrison over Gay was a huge setback. When a guy whose only NBA skill is shooting turns down open shots, what do you do with him? Morrison no longer is in the NBA.
Players selected: Brandan Wright, eighth (rights immediately traded to Golden State); Jared Dudley 22nd. Alternatives: Joakim Noah ninth; Wilson Chandler 23rd; Rudy Fernandez 24th; Marc Gasol 48th. Conclusion: The draft-day trade for Warriors veteran Jason Richardson could be justified, in that the Bobcats desperately needed a go-to scorer and some experience. However, Noah would have filled a hole at center that has never been adequately addressed. Dudley was a good selection at No. 22, a solid, versatile NBA wing player.
Players selected: D.J. Augustin ninth, Alexis Ajinca 20th. Alternatives: Brook Lopez 10th, Roy Hibbert 17th, Serge Ibaka 24th. Conclusion: There was a stalemate in the Bobcats front office over whether center Lopez or point guard Augustin was the better pick. Augustin has been solid, but Lopez probably would have been the better selection. Drafting Frenchman Ajinca was a disaster; they hoped Hibbert or J.J. Hickson would last to No.20, and it didnt happen. Maybe if Rich Cho had been in Charlotte back then, Ibaka (drafted by Chos team, the Oklahoma City Thunder) now would be a Bobcat.
Player selected: Gerald Henderson 12th. Alternatives: Tyler Hansbrough 13th, Ty Lawson 18th, Taj Gibson 26th. Conclusion: After a slow start, Henderson has grown into a quality NBA shooting guard. This was the right move.
Bobcats had no first-round picks
Players selected: Bismack Biyombo seventh (via a trade with Milwaukee and Sacramento); Kemba Walker ninth. Alternatives: Brandon Knight eighth; Iman Shumpert 17th; Chris Singleton 18th. Conclusion: Too early to make a real call, but Biyombos ability to guard the rim is quite valuable, particularly considering how bad the Bobcats are in general, defensively. Walker still is evolving as a point guard.