NBA Draft: If You're Not in the Top 10, What's the Point?

Tim StoeckleContributor IIIJune 22, 2012

NEWARK, NJ - JUNE 23:  Kyrie Irving (R) from Duke greets NBA Commissioner David Stern after he was selected number one overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round during the 2011 NBA Draft at the Prudential Center on June 23, 2011 in Newark, New Jersey.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The NBA Draft is supposed to be an opportunity for struggling franchises to select their future star; their savior. However, it seems that in recent years the talent pool is rather shallow. Once-in-a-lifetime players like LeBron James and Derrick Rose only come around for a team, well, once in a lifetime. Of course, in the 2003 NBA Draft, there were multiple "once in a lifetime" players selected in the top five, including James, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade. But, that year was the exception. In the past few years very few "franchise players" have been taken and it seems that if you don't have a top-10 pick (maybe even top five) you aren't going to get a valuable player for your team.

Let's start with last year's draft where Cleveland took Kyrie Irving with the first overall pick. Irving averaged 18.5 points per game and 5.4 assists en route to winning Rookie of the Year. Irving proved to be a solid player for the Cavaliers, however, I'm not convinced he's a superstar. Very talented, yes. But he is not the replacement for LeBron James. Sorry, Cavs fans. But, look past the first pick and you don't see many recognizable names. The next player you can say really made a difference for his team is Tristan Thompson who averaged 13.1 points and 7.8 rebounds for the Cavaliers. Brandon Knight, Kemba Walker, Klay Thompson and Kenneth Faried put up decent numbers but, as of now, they're not franchise players.

The 2010 Draft gave us John Wall, Evan Turner, DeMarcus Cousins, Greg Monroe, Gordon Hayward and Paul George who are all talented players, but with the exception of maybe John Wall, they won't turn any teams into contenders without a lot of help. Even Wall hasn't been able to keep the Wizards out of the bottom part of the league.

2009 and 2008 both had some solid players drafted such as Blake Griffin, James Harden, Tyreke Evans, Ricky Rubio, Stephen Curry, Brandon Jennings, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love and Roy Hibbert. There are All-Star players on this list, but by looking back at these drafts you can see that if you don't have a top-10 pick, the chances of getting a franchise player, or even a consistent contributor, is unlikely.

So, looking at this year's draft, who has the potential to be an All-Star? The likely first pick, Anthony Davis out of Kentucky, obviously is at the top of everyone's list for potential All-Stars. There are other solid prospects in the draft, but as far as star power, I see only a few players who could potentially fit into that category. Thomas Robinson from Kansas reminds me of a shorter Dwight Howard and I love his potential. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Bradley Beal and Harrison Barnes are other names that stand out to me. Outside of those players, I see busts and bench players.