I know what you’re thinking. Bit late for a draft recap, isn’t it? The event itself was months ago and summer league almost as far behind.
I would like to claim my tardiness was because I’ve been working on this masterpiece since then, perpetually fine-tuning it in search of the perfect phraseology, a la Brian Wilson and the Pet Sounds/Smile albums.
Of course, such a claim would be total and utter bullshit. I’d started on this article soon after Summer League, stopped for a while, forgotten about it and only rediscovered it last night when I was clearing out all my old documents. So I figured better late than never and I finished it while battling the Sandman.
In a rarity for my work, this is all my own ideas and theories. Therefore, you shall like it, and if you don’t, you, sir/ma’am, are a fool who doesn’t know what they’re on about.
- Drafted Damion James with the 24th overall pick.
- Traded his rights to New Jersey for the 27th and 31st overall picks.
- Drafted Jordan Crawford with the 27th and Tibor Pleiss with the 31st.
- Traded rights to Pleiss to Oklahoma City for cash.
- Drafted Pape Sy with the 57th overall pick.
I don’t understand this draft by the Hawks. At the time, it made more sense as I suspected Joe Johnson would be leaving and they saw Jordan Crawford as his long-term replacement. Then they went and threw $121 million at him and left me very confused.
While Crawford is a good player who can fit into an NBA rotation straight away, but his game is pretty much identical to Atlanta’s other J. Crawford who just happens to be the current Sixth Man of the Year.
The sale of Pleiss is classic Atlanta penny-pinching, but again it’s a boneheaded move. Even if he hadn’t come over for a couple of years, Atlanta are a team that desperately needs size – their lack of it was the main reason they couldn’t compete for a title last year and will be a major reason why they may not even make the playoffs this year against teams like Milwaukee, New York and Chicago in the East.
As for Pape Sy, well, I know absolutely nothing about him other than that he’s a French swingman who the Hawks managed to buy out of his contract and have signed for this year. Since I don’t have great faith in Atlanta’s scouting abilities (or anything about this franchise, as a matter of fact) I don’t know whether he’s the next Manu Ginobili or a complete waste of a roster spot.
While the Hawks aren’t the worst run franchise in the league – not while the Timberwolves are still bumbling along – I’m hard pressed to think of a more schizophrenic team in the NBA. On one hand, they offer their Franchise-Player-Who-Can’t-Get-You-Out-Of-The-Second-Round-And-Is-Only-Effective-In-Iso-Situations a ridiculous contract. Then they’re selling draft picks and making coaching hires on the cheap.
And despite this, they’re probably still not bad enough to miss the playoffs in the East.
- Drafted Avery Bradley with the 19th pick.
- Drafted Luke Harangody with the 52nd pick.
I like this draft by the Celtics. Nothing flashy, just shoring up a team that hopefully has one more title run in them.
Bradley’s stock fell after a poor freshman year at Texas (then again, he’s hardly the first player to see his stock fall under Rick Barnes) but he’ll have a role on this Celtics team off the bench especially with the loss of Tony Allen – despite his 6’3” frame, he’s a tough and tenacious perimeter defender who can play both guard spots (although he’s probably better suited for the 2), handle the ball and shoot the 3. I would like to see him get some real PT with Rondo at some point this season, as they could potentially be a pretty effective backcourt tandem in the future.
As for Harangody, well, I cringed when he was drafted because I knew that Danny Ainge had finally stuck the knife in the Brian Scalabrine Era. And I love Scal. I own a Scalabrine Celtics jersey if you needed to know how much I love the guy. And I seriously doubt Brian Scalabrine’s own mother owns one of his jerseys.
That said, while I can’t see Harangody being much more than the Celtics’ Token White Guy at this point and filling the Scal role (i.e. cheerleader/locker room guy/practice warrior), once the Big Three era ends he could conceivably become a solid role player in Boston or elsewhere. He may not be a dunk contest or DPOY winner, but the guy can score. Both in the post and out to the 3pt line.
- No draft picks.
It may seem pointless talking about the Bobcats since they had no picks, but I’m gonna bring something up here.
As we know, Michael Jordan’s draft record is horrendous (Kwame Brown over Pau Gasol, Adam Morrison over Brandon Roy, DJ Augustin over Brook Lopez, Gerald Henderson over Jrue Holliday/Darren Collison) but at some point sooner rather than later, the Bobcats are gonna have to rebuild cause their team as constructed isn’t a title contender – hell, in the East right now they’re barely a playoff team. However, MJ seems intent on trading all his first round picks away.
Whether that’s because he doesn’t want to build through the draft and hopes he can use himself as a selling point to free agents in the future (don’t count this out, even if Charlotte is a small market) or because he manages the Bobcats from a VIP suite in Bellagio in between poker tables, I don’t know.
I do know that Bill Simmons was on to something when he suggested that there’s a possibility that MJ could possibly lose the team to a couple of card sharks in Vegas over a blackjack game. Don’t write this possibility off. Or that said card sharks do a better job running the team than Jordan.
- Traded the 17th pick in the draft (along with Kirk Hinrich) to the Washington Wizards for a future 2nd round pick.
- Wizards used the pick to select Kevin Seraphin.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why the Bulls made this trade at the time – clearing cap room for free agency.
With the benefit of hindsight, would the Bulls have made the same move? After all, they had the cap room to sign Boozer without having to dump Hinrich and the 17th – that said, now they can offer Noah and Rose extensions without Jerry Reinsdorf having to worry about the luxury tax (and considering that Reinsdorf isn’t what you’d call a free spending owner, this makes more sense).
- No draft picks.
I don’t see the point of kicking the Cavs while they’re down, so I’ll just leave them be.
- Bought rights to 25th overall pick (Dominique Jones) from Memphis Grizzlies.
I have to say I don’t fully understand this move. Jones is a good player who should find a niche for himself in the NBA – however he’s a young, score-first combo guard coming to a team who already has a young, score first combo guard (Rodrigue Beaubois) who may already be better than Jones (and definitely has more potential).
I rate Donnie Nelson highly as a GM and Mark Cuban as an owner, however if they really felt a need to get into the draft this year maybe it would have made more sense given their team’s needs to go after a young big – Daniel Orton and Hassan Whiteside both were available with the 23rd.
- No draft picks.
I can’t really fault the Nuggets here – they’ve been in win-now mode for the past couple of seasons. When you note Melo’s behaviour this off-season and the fact it’s almost a guarantee this is his last season in Denver before he either walks/is traded before he can walk, you can see why Nuggets management have upped the ante recently. And when you consider that (unlike Charlotte) they were Western Conference Finalists a season ago and lost to Utah last playoffs mostly because their main defensive enforcer (Kenyon Martin) was out injured, this strategy makes more sense.
- Drafted Greg Monroe with the 7th pick
- Drafted Terrico White with the 36th pick
OK, let’s get one thing straight here. I have nothing against Greg Monroe. In fact, I believe that in the right system, a big man with his unique skillset can be very effective.
However, note the emphasis on system. To be useful, Monroe needs to play in a system like the Princeton offense that he played in at Georgetown – an offense which emphasizes ball movement where he can play in the high post, find cutters and guys coming off screens and not have to bang inside too much. In Detroit, where he’s playing with a shoot-first PG and other shot-happy blokes like Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva, he’s simply not going to be able to play his game.
Which is a problem, because Greg Monroe does not do conventional big man work very well. He’s a well-below average rebounder and shot blocker. He doesn’t play much defense in the post and is too slow to match up against quicker 4s. On the offensive block, he can only play with his left hand and relies almost exclusively on a jump hook. Nor can he spread the floor beyond about 10 feet.
As for Terrico White, he’s an insane athlete but has too many flaws in his game (ball dominant, average ball handling and shooting skills, mediocre defender) to make a major impact on the NBA for a few years if at all.
Sorry Rob, but it’s gonna be a long few years for the Pistons.
Golden State Warriors
- Drafted Ekpe Udoh with the 6th overall pick.
OK, anyone who remembers my earlier draft recap will remember just how pissed off I was when the Warriors drafted Udoh. And a few months later I’m still not completely sold.
That said, given that I’m a pathetic fanboy with Stockholm Syndrome, I’ve managed to talk myself into the Ekpe Udoh era even after he munted his wrist. Sure he’s not gonna be a major scoring threat – we’ve already got plenty of those. What he will bring to the team is defense and rebounding – two areas where the Warriors struggled big time last year.
I’m still lukewarm on the pick itself though, mostly because I believe that Larry Riley missed an opportunity to trade down for him and possibly get a future pick back (particularly for 2012, where New Jersey has our 1st thanks to the fucking Marcus Williams deal a few years back). Come on, like Udoh would have been off the board latter in the lottery? Some projections had him missing out the lottery all-together. You’re telling me we couldn’t have done a 6th/12th and 28th swap with Memphis? Or the 6th/14th and 2012 1st from Houston?
That said, as soon as I pay my next credit card bill I will be buying a Udoh jersey and I will support him as long as he’s wearing a Warriors jersey. I just feel we overvalued him a bit much.
- Drafted Patrick Patterson with the 14th overall pick.
A nice, simple draft by Houston – they had just one pick and used it to plug the hole left by Carl Landry from his trade deadline shipping to Sacramento.
I don’t know if Patterson is as good a player as Landry (surely one of the most underrated guys in the NBA) but he does everything you can hope from an undersized power forward – rebounds well, plays tenacious if not always effective defense, can spread the floor out to the college (and possibly the NBA) three point line. Unlike many other guys in this year’s draft, he’s also ready to contribute from day 1.
Given that the Rockets are stacked and (with Yao Ming’s return) should be back in the playoffs next year they possibly could have gone for a higher-upside guy like Hassan Whiteside or Daniel Orton and given them some time to develop – however, I have complete faith that GM Daryl Morey knows what he’s doing, which isn’t something I say about many GMs.
- Drafted Paul George with the 10th overall pick.
- Drafted Drederick Tatum with the 40th overall pick.
- Traded the 48th overall pick to Oklahoma City for the 51st overall pick.
- Drafted Magnum Rolle with the 51st overall pick.
After playing it very safe in the post-Malice at the Palace years when it came to acquiring players (in the draft or otherwise) Larry Bird went for it this year and picked two guys with great potential but who come with their own red flags.
For Drederick, his arrest (only without the promise that “if I could turn back the clock on my girlfriend’s stair pushing, I would certainly reconsider it.”) shows up the biggest danger with him – he’s talented as hell (the guy can flat out score and he has the physical tools to become a lethal sixth man in the NBA) but also crazy as hell. I’m not sure what the Pacers plan to do at this point, however I suspect Bird will let him stay only on the promise that his deal is shredded the moment he gets so much as a parking ticket.
Regarding George, the big question is his NBA-readiness. Indiana reached for him at 10 – he had been projected to finish outside the lottery – because of his upside and physical tools (a 6’9” swingman who can get to the rim and plays decent D) while ignoring the fact that his offensive game (particularly his shooting) needs to improve for him to be an NBA-caliber SF.
As for final second round pick Magnum Rolle, well, I don’t know anything about him so I’ll pass. I will say, however, that I would have picked Stanley Robinson or Willie Warren at this point – both those guys have NBA potential. Although Rolle does have a cool name. I wish my parents had named me Magnum.
I’m not willing to pass final judgement on Indiana until the Tatum situation is sorted out, but I will say that this was a boom-or-bust draft for the Pacers after several years of mediocrity. Their draft plus their big off-season move (trading for Darren Collison) will either put them in the Eastern playoff race or doom them. And I personally am glad to see Larry Bird showing a little chutzpah with his picks.
Los Angeles Clippers
- Drafted Al-Farouq Aminu with the 8th overall pick.
- Traded a future No.1 to Oklahoma City for rights to 18th overall pick (Eric Bledsoe)
- Drafted Willie Warren with the 55th pick.
My Uncle Ganesh has been a Clippers fan and season ticket holder for nearly 20 years. He speaks fondly of Larry Brown’s coaching days, Ron Harper’s time in a Clipper uniform and what Danny Manning could have been had injuries not crueled his career and describes the relationship Clippers fans share with Donald Sterling as “battered fan syndrome.”
After the draft I sent him an email, “Did you see the Clippers draft?” He replied 20 minutes later with, “I saw something for sure. I’m just not sure whether I dreamt it or not.”
As unbelievable as it may sound, the Clippers had an absolutely fantastic draft. I’d wanted the Warriors to draft Al-Farouq Aminu – I believe he’s an All-Star and DPOY candidate in the making. He provides the Clippers with a lockdown wing defender, a shot blocker and a developing offensive game – think a less knuckleheaded Josh Smith.
The Bledsoe trade was also a savvy move – he provides them with backup for Baron and will be able to take over for him in a few years. He’s another guy who I believe could be an All-Star in the future.
As for Willie Warren, don’t forget he was talked about as a lottery pick last year and the Clippers got him with the 55th. While he has a few character issues, he’s definitely a talented player. If you can get anything out of pick no. 55 you have to be happy – the Clippers have gotten a guy who can cover both guard spots and really score the ball. Plus, don’t forget he and Blake Griffin were teammates in college.
Now not only are the Clippers playoff sleepers in the West for next year after some astute free agent signings (sure they missed LeBron, but they were never going to get him anyway) but they’ve got a team that could be title contenders in a few years assuming Sterling’s cheapness doesn’t get the best of him (this of course being a big assumption, but the old bastard has shown more willingness to pay to keep players these days, even if he runs the rest of the team on a shoestring). There’s some real Thunderesque potential here if Blake Griffin can live up to his billing.
In 30 years, when people are looking at the death of the Clipper Curse and wondering when the franchise started to turn around, the 2010 draft will be a watershed moment.
Los Angeles Lakers:
- Drafted Devin Ebanks with the 43rd pick.
- Drafted Derrick Caracter with the 58th pick
Obviously the Lakers didn’t need any great help from the draft – however, with two second round picks, Mitch Kupchak did a fine job for a guy who I’ve long suspected is only considered a good GM because of a) the competitive advantage of managing the LA Lakers and the benefits that come with that and b) fleecing a complete nitwit in Chris Wallace for Pau Gasol.
Obviously, barring injuries Ebanks and Caracter aren’t gonna be getting any real minutes on this Lakers team, however both are good players. Ebanks is a Carl Landry-type combo forward who has some head case potential, as does Caracter – however if there was ever a coach and teammate who could drum that out of them it’s the Phil Jackson/Kobe duo.
Caracter himself is an intriguing player – an old school back-to-the-basket power forward/center with first-round talent. I actually suspect that if Andrew Bynum doesn’t recover quickly from his injuries, Phil Jackson might just be willing to give the rookie some minutes, especially if he stays in good shape.
Either way, both guys have good potential and could become valuable members of the Lakers once Kobe retires (which he might do once his next contract ends), Pau leaves or retires as well (remember, he’s only a year younger than Kobe) and the Lakers have to look to rebuild.
- Traded Daequan Cook and 18th overall pick to Oklahoma City for 32nd overall pick.
- Drafted Dexter Pittman with the 32nd overall pick.
- Drafted Da’Sean Butler with the 41st overall pick
- Drafted Jarvis Varnado with the 42nd overall pick.
Honestly, does the South Beach Scum draft really matter after their free agent coup? I guess I have to cover it.
The Cook to OKC deal was a blatant salary dump on their end – we all know how that worked for them. Pittman at 32 is the only one who might get any minutes at first – he’s had conditioning issues in the past, but he’s a big body who could potentially be used off the bench to at least use six fouls on the Dwight Howard/Andrew Bogut types who no one else on Miami can really counteract (unless the Erick Dampier signing goes ahead).
I’m a big Jarvis Varnado fan and I had hoped that the Heat would offer him a deal even if it had been just to fill a roster spot – however maybe playing in Europe is better for his career right now. This guy will be an NBA player eventually though, so don’t forget about him.
As for Butler, while he’s coming off a nasty ACL injury he’s a guy who can shoot the 3, something none of the main Heat guys other than Mike Miller can do consistently. So I imagine once he recovers he’ll probably get 10/15 minutes a game just to come in and shoot 3s.
All in all, Miami managed to pick up a few role players who will compliment the Three Am-Egos quite nicely.
- Drafted Larry Sanders with the 15th overall pick.
- Drafted Darington Hobson with the 37th overall pick.
- Drafted Jerome Jordan with the 44th overall pick. Sold pick to New York Knicks.
- Drafted Tiny Gallon with 47th overall pick.
I can’t really fault the choice of Larry Sanders for the Bucks. While they may have reached a bit for him, it’s not a reach on the level of Ekpe Udoh going 6th. He provides them with a guy who can back up Bogut for short stretches and also play a bit of 4. While his offensive game isn’t quite there, he’s a great athlete and defensive player – think a slightly shorter Samuel Dalembert.
I can’t see Darington Hobson or Tiny Gallon getting much playing time considering that the Bucks are pretty loaded this year, although if Bogut gets injured again Scott Skiles might want to use Gallon’s big body to defend the Howard/Lopez types of the NBA.
- Drafted Xavier Henry with the 12th overall pick.
- Sold rights to 25th overall pick (Dominique Jones) to Dallas.
- Drafted Greivis Vasquez with the 28th overall pick.
This draft was a mixed bag by the Grizzlies.
Xavier Henry was a solid choice at 12. While I reckon the Grizzlies should have tried to move down to get Bledsoe, he gives them a genuine 3pt threat – considering that both Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph command a double team from most teams in the post, he should get plenty of open looks. He won’t contribute much else for his first few years – he’s only an average defender, his ball-handling is poor and he’s no great athlete – but if Memphis use him right he has some Rip Hamilton/Kevin Martin potential.
The Vasquez pick made much less sense though. I’ve met him and hung out with him before (my cousin goes to Maryland and a friend of hers was dating some guy on the Terrapin team last year) – he’s a lovely guy and great fun to hang out with, but he’s not a first-round talent and he’s gonna be stuck in the NBA. He’s not athletic enough to play the 2 which he played in college (on either end) so unless Memphis see him as a potential point guard of the future (which I’m not sold on) I can’t see his NBA niche.
- Drafted Wesley Johnson with the 4th overall pick.
- Drafted Luke Babbitt with the 16th overall pick.
- Traded Ryan Gomes and the rights to 16th overall pick Luke Babbitt to Portland for Martell Webster.
- Traded the 23rd and 56th overall picks to Washington for the 30th and 35th picks.
- Drafted Lazar Hayward with the 30th pick.
- Drafted Nemanja Bejilica with the 35th pick.
- Drafted Paulao Prestes with the 50th pick.
Ah David Kahn, you lovable bungler you. Without KAHHHHHHHHN!’s antics, Chris Wallace would still be the No.1 dunce of the NBA.
To be fair to Kahn, he didn’t totally screw up this draft like he did 2009 (driving Ricky Rubio away by drafting Jonny Flynn right after him) – at least Wesley Johnson didn’t run to Europe.
Picking Johnson over DeMarcus Cousins was a safe pick by Kahn, given Cousins’ reputation for being a tad unstable – however it’s a pick that could come back to bite him on the arse big time. Johnson is a good player – a guy who can cover three positions (albeit he shouldn’t play 4 in anything but a very small lineup), shoot 3s, drive the lane, defend and rebound well, but he doesn’t have Cousins’ ceiling or star potential. Then again, he doesn’t have Cousins’ weight problems or tendency to punch out opposition players. If Cousins makes it we’ll keep calling Kahn a moron, if Cousins busts we’ll be calling him a genius. (Well, maybe not).
Even the Portland trade wasn’t such a bad move. While I’m not convinced that Martell Webster is a better player than Luke Babbitt now (never mind in five years) he’s a tough defensive player who can get hot behind the arc.
The confusing part comes from the Washington trade. (To be fair, both teams screwed that one up, but I’ll discuss the Wizards when it’s their turn). I can understand the trading down part, but why did they take Lazar Hayward with the 30th pick? More importantly, who the hell is Lazar Hayward? He hadn’t been on my radar at all to ever get drafted, forget about the first round. And he plays the same position as the guy Kahn drafted at 4 and the guy he traded for from 16 (who, incidentally, also plays small forward). You can’t tell me that Hassan Whiteside wouldn’t have been a better pick here.
As for Bejilica and Prestes, well, I imagine Kahn’s gonna keep them in Europe for a few years at least. I don’t know enough about them to make a judgement.
New Jersey Nets
- Drafted Derrick Favors with the 3rd overall pick.
- Traded the 27th and 31st overall picks to Atlanta for the rights to the 24th overall pick (Damion Jones)
I can understand the Nets’ logic for picking up Favors with the 3rd overall pick – he’s a great athlete with real superstar potential. However, there has to be a heavy emphasis on “potential” when discussing Derrick Favors.
While he can jump out of the arena, block shots and rebound well, the rest of his game isn’t anywhere yet. His offensive game needs a lot of work before he can become an effective NBA power forward, both inside and his jump shot. Defensively, while he can block shots and rebound he needs to bulk up and improve his ability to play man defense in the paint. While playing for a lousy Georgia Tech team didn’t help his development last year, he still has a long way to go.
And frankly, after the season the Nets were coming out of, I think they had to go for a guy who could be of more help to them now. Potential is all well and good but it’s not a sure thing. Considering that New Jersey failed to pull off any major free agent signings, there is even more pressure on Favors to take on a role he’s not ready for yet.
I do, however, like the trade for Damion James. Of course the Hawks whiffed their picks in the deal, but James is an ideal role player – he’s an aggressive defender who plays bigger than his size, while being able to stretch the floor on offense. Think Big Baby after liposuction.
New Orleans Hornets
- Drafted Cole Aldrich with the 11th overall pick.
- Traded his rights to Oklahoma City for the 21st and 26th overall picks.
- Drafted Craig Brackins with the 21st overall pick.
- Drafted Quincy Pondexter with the 26th overall pick.
Not a bad draft by the Hornets. While I generally wouldn’t be a huge fan of a deal where only the 21st and 26th picks were acquired for the 11th, the Hornets made two savvy picks, even though Aldrich (a good pick and roll player and tough defender) would probably have been an upgrade on Emeka Okafor if NOLA could find a taker for his deal.
I probably would have switched the order I picked Brackins and Pondexter around, however, both are good players. Brackins (who was traded to the Sixers a few days ago) isn’t the greatest defensive player, but he would have been ideal insurance for David West had he left this year (which I suspect he might – he’s pretty underpaid right now and some team will throw money at him before the CBA expires) and possibly even an upgrade as he’s a 6’10” PF who can shoot the 3 as well as run the pick and roll and score inside. I’m surprised the Hornets let him go just to get Willie Green.
Pondexter is another guy I rate very highly – so high, in fact, that I had really wanted the Warriors to try grab a late 1st rounder to grab him. If he was a 19 year old freshman with ridiculous upside he would be a top-5 pick – his offensive game is well balanced and he’s a tough defender although he’s a bit undersized for SF. As it is, since he’s a 22 year old college senior he’s slipped to the late 1st round, but mark my words – he’s this year’s Kevin Martin.
New York Knicks
- Drafted Andy Rautins with the 38th overall pick.
- Drafted Landry Fields with the 39th overall pick.
- Bought rights to 44th overall pick (Jerome Jordan) from Milwaukee.
It’s obvious that the Knicks’ attention wasn’t on the draft – their main concern was free agency.
While I was a critic of picking Andy Rautins with the 38th pick, he has one use to Mike D’Antoni – he’s a pure shooter in a system that needs plenty of shooters. But even though I go for Stanford (along with UNLV) in college basketball (my favourite of my many cousins went there – if you thought the scene from Fat Pizza where Sleek tells Habib to “call all the cousins” was funny, try my family. My cousins could populate a small country with ease) Landry Fields is a future All-Star…in the D-League.
Jerome Jordan was a guy I was very high on before the draft – he’s a first round talent once his general game comes along a bit. I thought he might get some real PT in New York, but given the Knicks’ signing of Timofey Mozgov he’s gone to Europe. Don’t forget about him though. Like Varnado, he has the skills and physical abilities to become a solid NBA center. I suspect he might come back next year if Mozgov makes the starting center spot his and Fat Arse Eddy Curry finally comes off the cap. (insert link about Curry being broke – How the hell do you go broke making $10 million a year? How? It boggles the mind.)
Oklahoma City Thunder
- Traded the 21st and 26th overall picks to New Orleans for the rights to 11th overall pick Cole Aldrich.
- Drafted Eric Bledsoe with the 18th overall pick.
- Traded the rights to the 18th overall pick to the Clippers for a future 1st round pick.
- Bought rights to 30th overall pick Tibor Pleiss from Atlanta.
- Traded 51st overall pick to Indiana for 48th overall pick.
- Drafted Latavious Williams with 48th overall pick.
The ESPN analysts who have a boner for Sam Presti were going on about his ability to wheel and deal throughout the draft and how good his moves were. While I certainly don’t think the Thunder had a bad draft by any stretch of the imagination, I don’t think it was quite a great one either.
Simply put, I think OKC could have gotten better value for their three first-round picks than Cole Aldrich and a future Clippers No.1 (Although given that this is the Clippers and calamity could strike at any minute, this wasn’t such a bad deal). Aldrich is a solid center who provides the Thunder with the interior defensive presence they haven’t had and which cost them against the Lakers, however, I do believe Presti could have done more (18th+ 21st for 12th and 28th? Don’t tell me Chris Wallace wouldn’t have bought that).
The Thunder did, however, make several savvy moves in the second round. Tibor Pleiss will probably spend a couple more seasons in Europe, however if and when he comes over he provides OKC with another big and a guy who can spread the floor with his shot. Latavious Williams will probably also return to the D-League for now, but he too could develop into a solid role player to base around Kevin Durant. I personally believe they should have gone for Derrick Caracter with the 48th pick given that he would plug the last hole on the Thunder (offensive post scoring) but I can understand them being scared over his conditioning/character issues.
Maybe not quite a great draft by the Thunder, but still a very good one.
- Drafted Daniel Orton with the 29th overall pick.
- Drafted Stanley Robinson with the 59th overall pick.
Obviously the Magic didn’t need to improve their team a whole lot either, so they chose to use their first round pick on a project center in Daniel Orton.
While I still believe Orton declaring and getting picked in the first round makes a mockery of college basketball (if Calipari recruits me to sit on the bench and score 3 points and 3 rebounds a game can I get a $2 million guaranteed contract?) in Orlando it won’t matter as he’s behind Dwight Howard and Marcin Gortat on the depth chart – he’s gonna be spending a lot of time in the D-League or on the end of the bench.
The Magic then really lucked out with getting Stanley Robinson at 59. Robinson reminds me more than a little bit of Gerald Wallace and not just in appearance – he’s a great athlete and provides a lot of energy, he rebounds and blocks shots amazingly for a guy who’s just 6’8” and his offensive game is pretty solid as long as you don’t expect him to shoot 3s. He fell to 59 because of some apparent character issues, but Orlando could do worse than find minutes for him somewhere.
All in all, a good draft by the Magic.
- Drafted Evan Turner with the 2nd overall pick.
The Sixers are an organization in flux right now – saddled with terrible contracts, halfway between rebuilding and win-now mode and a few talented young guys sharing roster places with overpaid and washed up veterans. There could hardly be a worse place to be as a basketball player right now.
While taking Evan Turner was the obvious choice at the 2nd spot, I’m not sure how much this pick benefits the Sixers. Turner and Andre Iguodala have very similar styles of offensive play – both tend to dominate the ball and neither are great long range shooters. Had I been the Sixers I would have looked to trade down from 2 – see if anyone would bite on Iggy’s deal at least (2nd+Iguodala for the 4th?). Then again, had I been the Sixers AI would never have left and Elton Brand wouldn’t have gotten $80 million in the first place.
- Drafted Gani Lawal with the 46th overall pick.
- Drafted Dwayne Collins with the 60th pick.
With just two late second rounders, the Suns did pretty well, although I would have tried packaging them to move up a bit. I had projected Lawal as a late first/early 2nd rounder and was surprised to see him fall this low. The Suns got a good player who struggled more than his college teammate Derrick Favors from the lousy Georgia Tech guards/coaching/offense. If he gets any PT in Phoenix with Nash/Dragic, he could develop into something pretty good with his physical tools.
I know nothing about Dwayne Collins, but hell, he was the 60th pick. What do you expect out of them? And I hear he’s gone to Europe for a while anyway.
Portland Trail Blazers
- Traded Martell Webster to Minnesota for Ryan Gomes and the rights to 16th overall pick Luke Babbitt.
- Drafted Elliot Williams with the 22nd overall pick.
- Drafted Armon Johnson with the 34th overall pick.
Considering that Kevin Pritchard had been fired just before the draft but was still in charge, he did a remarkably good job. (Were it me, I’d’ve been on the phone offering the 22nd and 34th picks to the highest bidder. And maybe trading Brandon Roy for the 56th overall pick and two future No.2s).
As I mentioned earlier, while Babbitt is probably a step back from Webster on the defensive end he’s an upgrade offensively in that he can create shots – mostly for himself, but for others as well. All while knocking down jumpers from anywhere inside the arc and beyond the 3pt line. He’s also a solid rebounder, ready to contribute and surprisingly athletic for a 6’8” white guy, although he’s not gonna be winning a dunk contest soon. He was another guy I had wanted the Warriors to move down for. As long as Portland don’t play him at power forward (where he played spells in college), he’ll have a solid NBA career.
Elliot Williams at 22 was seen as a stretch by some, but here’s another kid who has some real Sixth Man of the Year potential if he’s used right in his career. Portland, with it’s excellent coaching and support staff, being a near ideal place to fall. He can cover both guard spots, is unselfish with the ball (something that many combo guards struggle with) and isn’t a bad defender against smaller PG types, even if his shooting could use some work.
As for the Armon Johnson pick, well I hated it because I knew that it probably meant that Patty Mills was on the outer in Rip City. That said, I’m usually a fan of drafting college teammates (Babbitt and Johnson played together at Nevada) and Johnson brings size and skill to the PG position – it’ll be interesting to see if he gets any minutes behind Andre Miller and Jerryd Bayless.
- Drafted DeMarcus Cousins with the 5th overall pick.
- Drafted Hassan Whiteside with the 33rd overall pick.
When people talk about the best GMs in the NBA, the names Presti, Pritchard, Ainge and Morey are often thrown around – however one guy who I never feel gets the raps he deserves is Geoff Petrie. When these guys were in the infancy of their management careers, Petrie was fine-tuning the art of the draft and being a GM into a science. And while some may argue he gets lucky (particularly this year) as the old maxim goes, the harder you work the luckier you get. (The reason I never have any luck? I’m a lazy bastard.)
That said, he did have a stroke of luck with Hassan Whiteside falling into his lap at 33. While Whiteside had projected as a late-lottery to mid-first round pick, he ended up slipping due to some questions about his character (rumoured to be due to Attention Deficit Disorder). However, as Jay Bilas said during the draft coverage, at this point in the draft he’s all upside. Already he’s a defensive beast (racking up points/rebounds/blocks triple doubles in his one year of college) and while his offensive game needs work, he showed signs of a nice jump shot which hopefully he can refine with NBA coaching. Plus he comes from the coolest sounding program in the NCAA. The Marshall Thundering Herd. Say it to yourself. I’d draft him for that alone.
As for big Boogie, well, one could argue Petrie lucked out again, however don’t forget that there was a strong school of thought that the Kings should go for Greg Monroe pre-draft even if they could have taken Cousins. In the end, Petrie showed faith in the big man and it’s gonna pay off – if Cousins can control his weight and his temper, he’ll be in the upper echelon of NBA bigs in no time. Gotta remember, he’s only 19 (I’m older than he is!) but his offensive post game is incredibly smooth and refined and he can hit the 15-20 foot jumper as well while providing a real interior defensive presence. Most 19 year old big men need a few years to develop in the NBA – not Cuz.
My mate Fish (the Kings fan) and I watched the draft together at his place. When David Stern announced “With the fifth overall pick, the Sacramento Kings select…DeMarcus Cousins,” Fish jumped up and started screaming in celebration. I reached for the bottle of vodka. This kid’s gonna be great. Believe me – in a few years Minnesota, New Jersey, Philadelphia and possibly even Washington are gonna regret passing on him.
The Kings may have gotten lucky, but you have to be good to take advantage of luck. An excellent draft.
San Antonio Spurs
- Drafted James Anderson with the 20th overall pick.
- Drafted Ryan Richards with the 49th overall pick.
Anderson was a guy who I suspected would go higher than this – I still believe that (after Evan Turner) he’s the best wing player in this draft. Once again, the old adage about having to be good to lucky applies – no one can doubt that Gregg Popovich and R.C. Buford are good. I’d be interested to see if they have the balls to trade Tony Parker and start a young but potentially very good backcourt of George Hill/James Anderson with Manu playing his natural sixth man role. Either way, a savvy pick by the Spurs.
As for Ryan Richards, he’s a typical Spurs international player pick – they’ll keep him in Europe for a few years, let him develop and once he’s ready bring him over. Maybe they forsee a future frontcourt of Tiago Splitter/Ryan Richards once Duncan retires. I don’t know enough about Richards to judge his game, but I have full faith in the Spurs’ international scouts.
- Drafted Ed Davis with the 13th overall pick.
- Drafted Solomon Alabi with the 50th overall pick.
While Toronto pretty much flubbed the rest of their off-season big time (Bosh walking didn’t exactly help) their draft was pretty solid.
Ed Davis is a bit of a project for now, but he was projected as a top-10 pick for a stretch. Nevertheless, he has a nice inside scoring touch (something that’s always useful in a big man) and he’s athletic enough to be a decent rebounder and shot blocker. He does need to build some muscle to be an effective interior defender, but NBA trainers should help there. On a team as lousy as the Raptors post-Bosh he should get plenty of minutes and chances to develop.
Solomon Alabi is another dead-set steal – he fell to 50 because of health concerns (Hepatitis B) but he’s a real talent. Think Serge Ibaka for an idea of what this guy can do – he’s big, athletic and a great defensive player. While his offense may not quite be there yet, it’ll hopefully come with time – and considering that Toronto’s No.1 big man (Bargnani) is good offensively but garbage on D adding a defensively-minded big with the 50th pick is hardly a bad move. Again, I’d hope that Alabi sees some minutes in Toronto.
- Drafted Gordon Hayward with the 9th overall pick.
- Drafted Jeremy Evans with the 57th overall pick.
There’s no real way to sugar coat this. Utah had a real chance to make themselves title contenders with this pick, and they completely blew it.
Hayward is a classic example of a guy who got overrated in the draft because of his spectacular NCAA Tournament. In the NBA, however, he has one major problem – he’s a guy with no stand-out skill who’s also athletically limited. He’s a good but not great 3pt shooter (33% average last year). He has a high basketball IQ and he’s unselfish with the ball, but surely Utah didn’t draft him to play PG with Deron Williams around – and even if they use him as a backup PG the Derrick Rose/Russell Westbrook types will eat him alive. He’s not exactly a brilliant defender, nor is he going to be a major scoring threat with his lack of physical tools or outright shooting ability. I don’t see how he fits into the NBA.
The Jazz really should have gone after a guy who could have made them title contenders by giving them the consistent third scoring option that they needed – Xavier Henry would have been best, or if they had to go for a white guy (this being Utah after all) Luke Babbitt would also have sufficed. Although Babbitt isn’t as white as Hayward. Even Cole Aldrich would have been a better Best Available White Guy pick – he may not have been a major scoring threat but he would have provided Utah with the tough interior defender they don’t really have.
As for Jeremy Evans, well I’d never heard of him before the draft. I’m sure that’s not a good sign with Derrick Caracter, Stanley Robinson and Mikhail Torrance all on the board.
- Drafted John Wall with the 1st overall pick.
- Traded a future 2nd rounder to Chicago for Kirk Hinrich and the 17th overall pick.
- Drafted Kevin Seraphin with the 17th overall pick.
- Traded the 30th and 35th overall picks to Minnesota for the 23rd and 56th overall picks.
- Drafted Trevor Booker with the 23rd overall pick.
- Drafted Hamady N’Diaye with the 56th overall pick.
I’m not going to bother discussing the John Wall pick in much depth because it was really a no-brainer. Needless to say that the John Wall Era should hopefully be a bright one in DC.
The Wizards also had significant cap space this off-season, however, instead of trying to chase free agents they chose to try and scoop up assets from teams dumping salary for the Free Agency Chase of 2010 – hence, getting Hinrich and the 17th for next to nothing. I like this deal for the Wizards – Hinrich gives them a solid third guard and an insurance policy against Gilbert Arenas if he doesn’t behave. Seraphin at 17 isn’t a bad pick either – he’s got a lot of developing to do but he’s very athletic, defends well and seems to have a nice scoring touch. A young big with those three qualities is always a better shot at developing than not.
I’m not so wild on the Minnesota deal however. I had projected Trevor Booker as a mid-2nd rounder at best – you’re telling me he wouldn’t have been available at 30? Plus, with Seraphin and Andray Blatche the Wizards already have plenty of young PFs. Given their lack of depth at small forward, Quincy Pondexter would have been a much better choice. Call it two out of three for the Wiz.
Tags: 2010 draft