The 2006 Draft is rather peculiar. It was the first year that players were disallowed from entering the draft directly from high school, a custom that had been in practice since 1995. It also was the first year a European player was selected first overall. Neither of these points ended up working in the draft's favor.
There are only three players from 2006 who have made the All-Star team: LaMarcus Aldridge (picked #2), Brandon Roy (#6) and Rajon Rondo (#21). That is a pretty low number of All-Stars, and it seems very possible that no other player from this draft will eventually achieve that status.
The quality of the players in this draft is clearly better than the notoriously bad 2000 draft. But at the same time there are no transcendent players like there were in 1997, another draft that had only three All-Stars. So overall 2006 appears relatively weak.
There also is a high degree of randomness in the draft order of 2006. Rondo, for a proven and talented college player, was picked very late. Because of Roy's numerous injury problems, there is a good chance Rondo will go down as the best player from 2006, even though he dropped all the way to #21. Kyle Lowry (picked #24) and Paul Millsap (#47) futher confirm the arbitrariness of this draft. In retrospect, both clearly deserved to be picked in the top ten.
As it stands, the top five of 2006 is a huge disappointment besides Aldridge. Andrea Bargnani was a bad selection as the first choice, but he looks great compared to Adam Morrison (selected #3.) Tyrus Thomas (#4) has been a large letdown, and Shelden Williams (#5) simply is not good.
The lottery, in fairness, did produce other productive players we have yet to mention: Rudy Gay (#8), J.J. Redick (#11), Thabo Sefolosha (#13) and Ronnie Brewer (#14) all were solid picks. Obviously Rondo and Lowry were the steals of the latter part of round one, which otherwise proved rather mundane.
Millsap is one of the great late picks in recent NBA history, and the clear highlight of the second round. Steve Novak (#32), Craig Smith (#36), Daniel Gibson (#42) and Leon Powe (#49) are the other notable second round picks, although none have had particularly excellent careers. Similarly, Jose Juan Barea and Louis Amundson are notable undrafted players from this year.
So 2006, in conclusion, is a pretty poor draft. It lacks a superstar and has comparatively poor depth. Even so, there were several borderline stars and solid players available, once again proving that no draft is truly "bad." A rough approximation of the top ten players from 2006, with their actual pick number in parenthesis:
1. Rajon Rondo (21)
2. LaMarcus Aldridge (2)
3. Brandon Roy (6)
4. Paul Millsap (47)
5. Kyle Lowry (24)
6. Rudy Gay (8)
7. Andrea Bargnani (1)
8. Ronnie Brewer (14)
9. J.J. Redick (11)
10. Tyrus Thomas (4)