NBA Draft 2010 Losers: Naming the 10 Biggest Losers of Draft Night
Every year we look for instant analysis of the NBA Draft. Who were the winners? Who were the losers? Who will be the Rookie of the Year? Who had the ugliest suit?
And every year has one thing in common: We never really know anything.
Every question we are attempting to answer right now will not be answered until the next NBA season—and it may not even be completely answered then.
But knowing this doesn't make speculating any less fun.
With that, here are the 10 biggest losers of the 2010 NBA Draft.
10. Detroit Pistons
On the surface, the Pistons' draft appears fantastic.
Former Georgetown Hoya Greg Monroe is the second most NBA-ready big man in the entire draft and fills a need position for Detroit. He will almost assuredly ascend to the Pistons' starting lineup by mid-season—if not by opening night.
Ole Miss' Terrico White, the team's second round choice, is an insanely talented combo guard who almost assuredly will make the Pistons' opening night rotation.
So how in the Sam Hill can I possibly say they are a "loser"?
Because they did not even remotely scratch the surface of the team's stated draft night strategy: Regain the early-2000's toughness that last year's team sorely lacked.
Despite Monroe's offensive wizardry, he is an unbelievably indifferent defender at times (If you wanted to get snarky, you could say he's Villanueva-esque). Detroit's best move here would have been to trade back and take an Ed Davis-or-Larry Sanders-type player who would strengthen the team's defensive post play.
In the second round the Pistons were left with another chance to draft a defensively gifted big man (Florida State's Solomon Alabi) and chose to select White instead. I would have less of a problem with this pick if Detroit didn't already have two combo guards on its roster already (Ben Gordon and Rodney Stuckey).
Great draft in terms of talent for Detroit but horrid in terms of addressing the team's needs.
9. Xavier Henry
I thought about making the Memphis Grizzlies the choice as "loser" out of the new Xavier Henry-Grizzlies marriage.
However, while the Grizzlies' thought that Henry makes for good Rudy Gay insurance is idiotic, its effect on Henry's career is much greater.
Being drafted by Memphis as a swingman instead of as a 2 instantly limits Henry's potential. He has neither the lateral quickness to guard athletic 3s nor the shot-creating ability to effectively score against longer defenders.
And considering Memphis has O.J. Mayo entrenched as its starting 2, Henry will quickly be relegated to the bench by any competent head coach. In addition Henry is a rhythm scorer who gets his shot in the flow of the game instead of a light-switch scorer who thrives on coming off of the bench.
In other words Xavier Henry's game is horribly suited for any role he could have in Memphis. Considering he could have thrived elsewhere, Henry has to be among the most disappointed draftees this year.
8. Portland Trailblazers/Kevin Pritchard/Trailblazer Fans
Blazers owner Paul Allen: "Hey Kevin, I know you've been one of the best GMs in the league for years now, and you helped reinvigorate our franchise after the 'Jailblazer' days...but we're going to relieve you of your duties as general manager. Oh, but not until you draft for us tonight, okay?"
After years of preaching stability in the aftermath of the Jailblazer days, Portland now seems like a front office in disarray. Owner Paul Allen has abandoned his hands-off approach to ownership and has suddenly become every fan and GM's worst nightmare: a meddling owner.
For an owner to fire a general manager who headed a team that was seemingly on the precipice of yearly contention just a year ago and that made the playoffs despite debilitating injuries this season seems incredibly incompetent.
If the draft day firing of Kevin Pritchard is indicative of what comes next, then all hell is about to break loose in Blazerland.
As for Pritchard's last acts as general manager—they were nothing to write home about. Trading Martell Webster for Nevada forward Luke Babbitt seems like a lateral move at best, and Elliott Williams is basically the same type of prospect that current Blazers point guard Jerryd Bayless was two years ago.
7. Golden State Warriors
What do Anthony Randolph, Patrick O'Bryant, Ike Diogu, Andris Biedrins, Jiri Welsch, Adonal Foyle, Todd Fuller, and Clifford Rozier all have in common?
First, they are all 6'8" or taller. And second, they were all first round picks by the Warriors during the Larry Cohen era characterized as "still developing" offensively on draft night.
Total All-Star appearances between the eight players? Zero.
If the saying goes, "Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, shame on you," then what the hell is the saying for "fool me nine times?"
Why nine instead of eight? Because with the No. 6 pick, the Warriors selected, you guessed it, a player over 6'8" with a "still developing" offensive game in Baylor's Ekpe Udoh.
Hey, if the formula failed the first eight times, it's bound to work the ninth, right?
Don't color me optimistic about Udoh's chances for NBA success.
6. Cleveland Cavaliers
With so many mid-to-late first round selections being traded/sold, it's completely inexplicable that a team with limitless pockets didn't get into the final half of this first round.
You're telling me a player like Jordan Crawford or Dominique Jones couldn't instantly step in and contribute for Cleveland?
Owner Dan Gilbert and his patsy new GM really dropped the ball here. There's nothing else to be said about it.
5. Daniel Orton/Orlando Magic
Not only did the former Kentucky Wildcat and former projected lottery pick fall all the way to No. 29 overall, but he was also drafted by Orlando—a team with a full stable of rotation-entrenched and high-priced big men.
One could spin this positively and say that playing in Orlando will give Orton a much-needed opportunity to grow and develop as a player.
I tend to be much more negative. If Orlando doesn't part with Marcin Gortat or Brandon Bass, Orton will spend much of his NBA days like he spent his time at Kentucky: on the bench.
As for the Magic's part in drafting Orton—what in the blue hell are they thinking? Is their goal to one day become the first team in NBA history to have an all-6'8"-and-over starting lineup?
Earlier, I skewered the Pistons for selecting Ole Miss guard Terrico White. Well, they never should have had the chance—White should be in an Orlando Magic uniform as we speak. He not only would have filled a need, but he also would have been yet another explosive athlete to add to Orlando's already lethal arsenal.
Completely inexcusable pick.
4. Kirk Hinrich
The newly acquired Hinrich is already (at best) the Wizards' third-string point guard.
Granted, most assume that Gilbert Arenas will shift over to the 2 or be traded by the beginning of the 2010-2011 season.
But what if neither happens?
Despite being overpaid, Hinrich is a very solid NBA point guard. It was not too long ago that Hinrich was one of the most sought-after trade pieces at the trade deadline. In fact the NBA Finals runner-up Boston Celtics feverishly tried to trade for the former Bulls' starting point guard before settling for Nate Robinson.
No matter which way you slice it, Hinrich is in store for a steep playing time decrease in Washington. And when he does play, his supporting cast will pale into comparison to Chicago's.
If I'm Hinrich, I'm already lobbying for a way out of D.C.
3. Solomon Alabi
Considering the fact that Alabi was a first rounder in almost every mock draft I saw since April and he fell all the way to No. 50, he is easily the biggest "loser" prospect-wise.
Instead of having millions of dollars in guaranteed cash, Alabi's fledgling NBA career becomes solely dependent on his performance in Summer League.
The one positive: Toronto's roster is on the verge of being systematically gutted this offseason and already lacks a defensive stalwart-type center. Things look bleak now, but look for Alabi to make Toronto's roster easily.
2. Minnesota Timberwolves
Two years ago (after the Pau Gasol pilfering), I hatched a theory that Memphis Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace and former Detroit Lions president/CEO Matt Millen were the same person. I felt there was no way that level of incompetency could happen twice, so Wallace and Millen are simply the same person working under aliases.
Well, today I am retracting that theory. In its place, I give you my new (and totally original) theory: Timberwolves GM David Kahn and Matt Millen are the same person.
How else can you explain Kahn drafting/trading for three swingmen in the first round just a year after drafting three PGs in the first round?
(Note: Minnesota traded Ty Lawson to Denver draft night in 2009 and traded Luke Babbitt to Portland last night—for another swingman.)
Kahn's systematic dissing of the entire state of Minnesota wasn't over, either. His first action in the second round? Drafting, you guessed it, another small forward.
If you're counting at home that's four small forwards either acquired via trade or draft in one night. Am I being too harsh, or has Kahn reached a Defcon-5 level of incompetency?
It's just not the type you want to see if you're interested in ever fielding a winning basketball team.
1. The Fans
The 2010 NBA Draft was supposed to bring pandemonium to the NBA landscape. Star players, horrible contracts, and Eddy Curry's corpse were all rumored to be heading anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere.
The 2010 Draft was also supposed to be a landmark precursor to the 2010 NBA free agency bonanza.
Well, none of that happened.
Instead, what we got was a Kirk Hinrich trade and a very average draft in terms of excitement—when the most exciting portion of your night involves someone named Greivis, you probably didn't have a great night.
In terms of hype this draft totally failed to live up to its billing. Regardless of whether or not you thought any of those pie-in-the-sky trades were going to happen (I did not), everyone had at least that glimmer of hope something legendary could happen. And it didn't.
While the draft was no less entertaining than drafts in years' past, it felt that way.
It makes me wonder whether the draft is indeed an indicator of what to expect from free agency—just not in a good way.
Either way, whether your team left as a winner or a loser on draft night, most fans will leave the 2010 NBA Draft with a melancholy feeling inside.
Let's hope free agency doesn't leave us feeling that way as well.