NBA Draft 2010: The Good, The Bad, and etc...
After letting the 2010 NBA Draft digest over the weekend, here's how I think things played out in this very inexact and unpredictible science.
From the good to the bad, and a lot of stuff in between.
The Great (Wall)
The Washington Wizards desperately needed to draft a franchise player that could help steer the organization in the right direction after the debacle that was the '09-'10 season.
Thankfully, they didn't screw it up, no guns were needed, and they selected Kentucky point guard John Wall with the first overall pick.
Wall was the near-consensus best prospect in this year's draft and has all the tools of a superstar-in-waiting, as well as a guy that is well-equipped to handle the pressure of being the face of this downtrodden franchise.
At 6'4'', Wall is a big point guard that is blessed with scary athleticism and elite speed. He is just a dynamic, special athlete and a true playmaker on offense that should quickly become one of the premiere point guards in the NBA.
Even better, Wall is a good teammate that appears to have his head on straight.
Before the draft, I was watching a little bit of the Combine, and the part I happened to tune in to, the players were preparing for live, 5-on-5 scrimmages. Because of obvious reasons, Wall was not participating in this part of the Combine, but he was being interviewed. Naturally, the reporter asked him anyways why he wasn't playing. Wall told him that his agent was holding him out, and made it a point to let it be known that it wasn't because he felt like he was better than anybody. He emphasized the latter, and it was the sincerity in Wall's response that really got me. It was genuine and sincere, and that bodes well for this franchise.
The bottom is Wall just seems to have that "it" factor about him that only the best in the game have, and anytime a franchise is able to land that type of player, then that's a great draft for that organization regardless of their other picks.
After a bleak season marred by $100 million prankster toting a gun in the locker room, a lot of losing, and a blowup of the roster, drafting John Wall should breathe some life into this wounded franchise.
The Pretty Good - Part I
With the second pick, Philly was able to land 6'7'' swingman Evan Turner, who was by far the most versatile perimeter player in the draft. Turner brings a lot to the table and should be a very nice compliment on the wing to go along with second-year point guard, Jrue Holiday.
Offensively, Turner can handle and distribute the ball and is a very good driver with an effective mid-range game. At the defensive end, he is just as versatile, and his length and athleticism should allow him to become a very strong perimeter defender that can guard a lot of positions.
It's really hard to find fault with this decision by the Philly brass. Turner appears to be a safe, well-rounded pick that is good for any franchise, especially the woeful Sixers.
The Pretty Good - Part II
The Sacramento Kings were wise in selecting another John Calipari-player in center Demarcus Cousins with the fifth pick.
Cousins is just a beast down low and is a nightly double-double at the NBA level.
In my eyes, he's the second safest pick behind his former Kentucky teammate John Wall, regardless of the so-called "character" issues that accompany him to the league.
Sure, he's probably going to go off the handle from time to time in the league, but who doesn't like a big man with a nasty streak?
All things considered, Cousins is a very good pick by the Kings, and he should form of one of the league's best young inside-outside duos with last year's Rookie of the Year, Tyreke Evans.
In fact, don't be surprised if Cousins keeps the Rookie of the Year award in Sacramento.
The Potential Is Certainly There
The word is "potential" with 6'10'' power forward Derrick Favors, and he certainly has a ton of it.
In fact, Favors comes to New Jersey just oozing with potential.
However, I doubt he'll make an instant impact at the NBA level, at least offensively, because his game is still so raw. He's only 18, so he certainly has time to develop, but right now, Favors offense is based solely on athleticism.
In the NBA, there's a lot of athletes, and Favors will have to develop some post moves and a jumper if he is to live up to the hype and reach his highly regarded potential.
I like Favors, and I certainly agree that he has the most upside of any big man in this year's draft, but this is a boom or bust pick for the Nets and far from a sure thing, yet they were almost obligated to pull the trigger on this one, so I can't really fault them for it.
Could've Been Better
I don't hate Golden State's selection of Baylor's Ekpe Udoh with the sixth pick, I just think they might regret passing on Greg Monroe of Georgetown.
Even so, Udoh does fit in nicely with the Warriors' style of play. He's an excellent athlete that can run the floor and finish in transition, a good rebounder, and a very good shotblocker. He also has a very nice mid-range game.
So I guess the more I talk about him, the more I like him, but still, was there a more perfect big man for Golden State's uptempo run and chuck offense than Monroe? He would have been ideal in this system with his superb passing skills and ability to handle the ball and run the floor.
Don't get me wrong, Udoh is nice, but I just get the feeling that Monroe might be a very special big man. We'll see.
The Ugly and The Bad Rolled Into One
The Ugly: Al-Farouq Aminu's goofy glasses.
The Bad: The Clippers Organization and Draft
Al-Farouq Aminu (pick 8) is a tremendous athlete, but really nothing else. Willie Warren (pick 54) is a smaller J.R. Smith, but Smith is worth the hassle - Warren is not.
The lone bright spot is Kentucky guard Eric Bledsoe, who they acquired in a trade with the Thunder. That said, I trust Sam Presti's decision-making prowess far more than I trust any decision that comes out of Clipperland, so based on that alone, I wouldn't be surprised if Bledsoe rounds out a trio of likely busts for the Clippers.
So it goes.
Count me as one of the few not on the Ed Davis bandwagon.
Like Favors, Davis is young and has potential, but I just don't see him becoming anything more than a role player on a team clearly in need of a star.
Worst case scenario, but one that I see as a strong possibility, is that Davis becomes Brandan Wright 2.0.
That's not good for our franchise up North, eh?
The Solid - Part I
Houston loves underrated and undersized physical forwards, and they got a good one in Kentucky's Patrick Patterson with the fourteenth pick of the draft.
Patterson was overshadowed at Kentucky this season while playing alongside the likes of a Wall and Cousins, but he is ready to contribute immediately at the NBA level and is well-versed in the team concept.
Drafting a guy like Patterson only helps a franchise; it most definitely doesn't hurt them. Solid pick the Rockets.
The Solid - Part II
As always, the Oklahoma City Thunder organization made another good decision on draft night, this time choosing to trade for the rights of New Orleans' eleventh pick, center Cole Aldrich from Kansas.
Aldrich should fit in nicely on this impressive, young Thunder team and provide them with a physical presence down low, particularly on the defensive end. At 6'11, Aldrich has the size and toughness to bang in the paint with NBA centers, and he is also an above-average shot blocker
Nice, solid addition by the Thunder, and yet another piece to the championship puzzle Sam Presti is quietly building in Oklahoma City.
Atlanta threw me off a little with their decision to trade for the rights of Jordan Crawford, who was taken by the New Jersey Nets with the 27th pick.
I like Crawford, I really do. He's a guy that can fill it up - a perfect sixth man.
But so is his brother, Jamal, who the Hawks already have on their roster.
It just seems like two Crawfords might be a crowd, so I don't know about this one.
So-So, But Maybe
I can't help it, and I don' t really want to, but I seem to like what the Memphis Grizzlies did in the first round by selecting Xavier Henry at 12 and Greivis Vasquez at 28.
With the likely departure of Rudy Gay, Henry fills a hole on the wing opposite O.J. Mayo, and has the size and skill set to become a very productive NBA player.
Henry isn't the most athletic player, and he doesn't do one thing particularly great, but he's versatile and does a lot of things pretty good, not to mention he is a very smart player that knows how to fit in on a team.
He may not wow you, but Henry is a very polished offensive player that should have a very solid NBA career.
But where they can knock this draft out of the park is if their late first round pick, Vasquez, pans out and proves to be a steal, which I think can happen.
Like Henry, Vasquez might be lacking in athleticism, but he's a 6'5' competitor with the swagger of a superstar. In a lot of player's cases, this can be their downfall; in Vasquez case, this helps him, and it's this chip on his shoulder that allows him to hold his own against much better athletes.
It pains me to say this, being a Duke fan and all, but I like how Vasquez plays the game and wouldn't be surprised at all if he has a productive rookie season and solid NBA career. He can pass, he can score, and he's a competitor. What's not to like here?
At first glance, these two picks might appear blah and questionable, but I feel that both players have the talent and versatility to have very solid NBA careers.
This might have been a pretty good night for the Memphis organization.
I get that the real draft for the New York Knicks starts July 1, but I don't think LeBron James is foaming at the mouth to play with the likes of Andy Rautins and Landry Fields.
Hello, Joe Johnson.
I'm just saying.
I'd say the Portland Trail Blazers' acquisition of Nevada's Luke Babbitt via a trade with the Timberwolves is perhaps the most intriguiging move of the draft, and not just because Babbitt is white, but because in college, he could really play!
Babbitt can fill it up offensively and is a very good 3-point shooter, and also is a solid, tough rebounder.
So it will be interesting to see how his game transitions to the NBA.
Babbitt's a definite wild card, but worth the risk.
The Sleeper That Really Wasn't A Sleeper.
I loved Boston's decision to draft Avery Bradley from Texas with the nineteenth pick of the first round.
Bradley has a ton of potential and will provide the Celtic's backcourt with some youth and athleticism.
I can't help but be reminded of Russell Westbrook when I watch highlights of Bradley, and that's promising.
That's it, and that's all.
I guess only time will tell, but let me know your thoughts on what went down last Thursday night in Madison Square Garden.