As for the draft I remember the main discussion being 4 players.
Gay - but drafting him at 1 was reaching
Roy - but his knees were a concern
Aldridge - but the team already had bosh
Bargnani - therefore was the best choice
except for Roy's knees, none of it turned out to be true. (and I would have taken 4 years of Roy before his knee injuries over 5 years of what Bargnani has given the team)
As for Rondo, its incredibly difficult to argue that he wouldn't be as good if he was on a different team. Its the same thing when people argue 'good players' are overrated because they are the best player on a bad team. Bosh and Pau were often compared that way, both one of the top PFs in the league, but only that good becaue they were good players on bad teams. Pau went to LA and flourished, Bosh went to Miami and looked worse. Deron Williams went from a good team (at the time) Utah to NJ and while his shooting % dropped due to his injury, he set new career highs in assists, steals and rebounds.
The guy is the best (or atleast top 2) defensive PGs. Top 5 in assists for the last 3 years. Could be the quickest player in the league and is tough and intense competitor. Did Boston help create some of that? Maybe. Will he be any worse or better by being on a different team? I bet the change in marginal at best. We aren't talking about a situational player here (ex Kapono).. we are talking about what has arguably been the best player on a contending team
Roy was never seriously considered for the first overall pick. The book on him in 2006 was that he was NBA ready but didn't have the ceiling of some of the other prospects, which put him in the 4-10 range even in a weak draft like 2006.
I remember it being between Aldridge and Bargnani, with a few murmurs about Adam Morrison early on in the process. Aldridge was essentially a CB4 clone at the time, and when you mixed that with Colangelo's love affair with European commodities, I don't remember there being much of a debate. It was concluded a good 2 weeks before the draft that if the Raptors kept their pick, Andrea would be their guy.
After reading the comments it seems like the pick wasn't so bad after all and was actually at the time given the variables the right one. With out even bringing into effect injuries he's the 5th best player from his draft behind Rondo, Roy, Gay and LA. With injuries considered as of today he'd be 4th (ahead of Roy and assuming Gay's shoulder and Rondo's elbow don't have any long term effects on them). Dre hasn't lived up to his advertised potential and his effort is suspect but calling him a bust at this point seems ignorant IMO.
Bargnani has almost always been the logical choice in that draft. It was the right thing to do at the time. Unfortunately he didn't turn out to be as good as everybody expected. But he DEFINITELY didn't deserve his contract after his rookie deal.
This is slightly off topic for this thread but you brought up Bargnani's contract so...
I have never been a fan of Bryan's signings. You can look at the list of contracts he's dished out, and a large majority of them have been pretty controversial.
Bargnani, Turk, Calderon, Amir (although that seems to be justified), Jack, Kleiza, Kapono, and would have signed Bosh to a max contract if he stayed.
I remember his news conference justifying Bargnani's contract by comparing it to Aldrige's contract. The justification never made sense to me since Aldridge is twice the player Bargnani is.
Hopefully Bryan hires a GM who can help dish out more reasonable contracts to Demar and Ed (and eventually JV) when their rookie deals end. Although if Bryan gets the last word, then I don't see that happening.