The NBA draft has proven to be the most entertaining of professional sports drafts.
Everyone is familiar with the players after intensely following the events of March Madness. There is usually a clear "can't-miss" player or two in every draft, or in certain cases, a couple "can't-miss" players and Sam Bowie.
However, this year's class provides no such player.
There are rumors floating around that Cleveland is interested in pursuing Kyrie Irving if they receive the No. 1 pick. Granted, Irving looked good in limited action this year, but since when has a guy's stock risen after sitting out an extended period of time? This just doesn't happen.
This is why I believe this is the worst draft in 11 years.
In taking a look at the past 10 drafts, lets separate players into three categories:
- Studs - Guys that went on to be a franchise player or top 2 or 3 player on a contending team.
- Starters - These are the guys that never really made it to the point that he was an untouchable asset for the team, but still contributed as a consistent starter.
- Role Players - Solid off-the-bench guys who occasionally started in certain situations.
These are the three types of players that add value to a draft class. I will have to be subjective for the most recent drafts for certain players, and I will only consider 1st round picks, as to compare top prospects from this years class to past top prospects.
Best draft class since 2000?
So, here are the past 10 drafts:
2010 NBA Draft
- Studs: John Wall
- Starters: Derrick Favors, Wes Johnson, DeMarcus Cousins, Greg Monroe, Paul George
- Role Players: Evan Turner, Ekpe Udoh, Al-Farouq Aminu, Xavier Henry, Ed Davis, Larry Sanders, Damion James, Eric Bledsoe, Jordan Crawford
2009 NBA Draft
- Studs: Blake Griffin, Tyreke Evans, Stephen Curry
- Starters: James Harden, Demar DeRozan, Brandon Jennings, Jrue Holiday, Ty Lawson, Darren Collison
- Role Players: Hasheem Thabeet, Jordan Hill, Tyler Hansbrough, Eric Maynor, Omri Casspi, Rodrigue Beaubois, Taj Gibson, Toney Douglas
2008 NBA Draft
- Studs: Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love
- Starters: Michael Beasley, Eric Gordon, Danilo Galinari, D.J. Augustin, Brook Lopez, Roy Hibbert, Javale McGee, J.J. Hickson, Courtney Lee, Serge Ibaka, Nicolas Batum
- Role Players: O.J. Mayo, Jason Thompson, Ryan Anderson, Courtney Lee, George Hill, Darrell Arthur
2007 NBA Draft
- Studs: Kevin Durant, Al Horford
- Starters: Mike Conley, Jeff Green, Joakim Noah, Wilson Chandler, Aaron Brooks
- Role Players: Greg Oden, Yi Jianlian, Corey Brewer, Spencer Hawes, Thad Young, Al Thornton, Rodney Stuckey, Nick Young, Daequan Cook, Jared Dudley, Rudy Fernandez, Arron Afflalo
2006 NBA Draft
- Studs: LaMarcus Aldridge, Brandon Roy, Rudy Gay, Rajon Rondo
- Starters: Andrea Bargnani, Kyle Lowry
- Role Players: Tyrus Thomas, Randy Foye, J.J. Redick, Thabo Sefolosha, Ronnie Brewer, Shannon Brown, Jordan Farmar
2005 NBA Draft
- Studs: Andrew Bogut, Deron Williams, Chris Paul
- Starters: Marvin Williams, Raymond Felton, Andrew Bynum, Danny Granger, David Lee
- Role Players: Martell Webster, Charlie Villanueva, Channing Frye, Joey Graham, Hakim Warrick, Nate Robinson, Jarrett Jack, Francisco Garcia, Jason Maxiell
2004 NBA Draft
- Studs: Dwight Howard, Andre Igoudala, Kevin Martin
- Starters: Emeka Okafor, Ben Gordon, Devin Harris, Luol Deng, Al Jefferson, Josh Smith, Dorell Wright, Jameer Nelson
- Role Players: Andris Biedrins, Kris Humphries, J.R. Smith, Tony Allen, Beno Udrih
2003 NBA Draft
- Studs: LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade,
- Starters: Chris Kaman, Kirk Hinrich, David West, Boris Diaw, Kendrick Perkins, Josh Howard
- Role Players: Darko Milicic, T.J. Ford, Mickael Pietrus, Nick Collison, Luke Ridnour, Dahntay Jones, Travis Outlaw, Leandro Barbosa, Ndudi Ebi (just kidding)
2002 NBA Draft
- Studs: Yao Ming, Amare Stoudemire
- Starters: Nene, Caron Butler, Tayshaun Prince
- Role Players: Mike Dunleavy, Drew Gooden, Melvin Ely, Nenad Krstic, John Salmons
2001 NBA Draft
- Studs: Pau Gasol, Joe Johnson, Tony Parker
- Starters: Tyson Chandler, Jason Richardson, Richard Jefferson, Troy Murphy, Zach Randolph, Gerald Wallace
- Role Players: Kwame Brown, Shane Battier, Vladimir Radmanovic, Brendan Haywood, Samuel Dalembert
Lets compare these draft classes in NCAA Football recruiting class format. Since I'm the Jerry Jones of this article, and I can do whatever I want, I am going to 5 stars to "Studs," 3 stars to "Starters," and 1 measly star to "Role Players."
As you can see, last year's class only beats one other class, but I may not be accounting for a mid to late 1st rounder or two that blossoms in a couple of years (like Rondo).
Before 2001's solid class was probably the worst class in recent memory.
I guess that's what the NBA gets for hosting a draft in Minneapolis. Let's compare the 2000 draft as we did before, but this time, we will compare it to this upcoming 2011 class:
2000 NBA Draft
- Studs: None
- Starters: Kenyon Martin, Hedo Turkoglu
- Role Players: Stromile Swift, Mike Miller, Jamal Crawford, Joel Pryzbilla, Kenyon Dooling, Etan Thomas, Desmond Mason, Quentin Richardson, Speedy Claxton, Morris Peterson DeShawn Stevenson
2011 NBA 1st Round Prospects
- Studs: Kyrie Irving
- Starters: Perry Jones, Jared Sullinger
- Role Players: Derrick Williams, Enes Kanter, Jimmer Fredette, Harrison Barnes, Terrence Jones, Alec Burks, Kawhi Leonard, Jordan Hamilton, Marcus Morris, Kemba Walker, Donatas Motiejunas, John Henson
Comparing the two head-to-head:
The classes look frighteningly similar.
One stud, and there is debate as to whether Kyrie Irving can lead a franchise or not. Still, I do believe there is a bit more depth to this class than people give it credit for.
There are a number of guys projected middle to end of Round 1 that could turn into "Starters" or decent "Role Players." Nonetheless, despite mixed opinions, this appears to be one of the weaker classes since the turn of the century.
This is a definitely not good timing for players to make power moves. Good luck, Cavs.
I bet LeBron is smiling.