2011 NBA Draft: Which Teams Are Best at Scouting College Talent?
If you would like to know how your team will perform at the 2011 NBA Draft, then look no further than their recent draft history.
During the past five years, the league's 30 franchises have displayed various levels of skill at scouting college talent.
Some teams have excelled, selecting superior talent and making the most of late picks, while others have struggled, failing to figure out which prospects would be able to produce at the professional level.
Consequently, the following slides will take a look at each team's performances in the 2006-2010 drafts, ranking them from the NBA"s worst to the best.
(for the sake of consistency, drafted players shall be defined as players whose rights are owned by a team following the conclusion of the draft)
No. 30: Denver Nuggets
2008: No. 39 Sonny Weems
2009: No. 18 Ty Lawson
Amazingly, the Denver Nuggets have only had two draft selections during the past five years.
Nevertheless, they have made the most of these two, as Lawson has shown the potential to become one of the league's better point guards, while Weems has proven to be a solid, albeit unspectacular player.
However, Denver's reluctance to participate in the draft serves to illustrate that they would rather go for players who have already proven themselves as pros, rather than relying upon the talent of their scouts.
No. 29: Orlando Magic
2006: No. 11 JJ Redick, No. 41 James Augustine
2007: No. 60 Milovan Rakovic
2008: No. 22 Courtney Lee
2010: No. 29 Daniel Orton, No. 59 Stanley Robinson
JJ Redick has developed into a solid role player on a good Orlando Magic team, however, he has not performed as well as a No. 11 overall pick would be expected.
Moreover, Courtney Lee seems like a solid value at No. 22, but when one realizes that he was taken a couple of spots ahead of guys like Nicolas Batum and Serge Ibaka, the pick seems less than ideal.
And when that is combined with the awful performance by Daniel Orton thus far, it's clear that Orlando's scouts have struggled in recent years.
No. 28: Toronto Raptors
2006: No. 1 Andrei Bargnani, No. 35 PJ Tucker
2007: No. 58 Giorgos Printezis
2008: No. 41 Nathan Jawai
2009: No. 9 DeMar DeRozan
2010: No. 13 Ed Davis, No. 50 Solomon Alabi
Without a doubt, the Toronto Raptors' first overall selection of Bargnani was one of the worst top picks in recent memory.
On the other hand, DeRozan has shown a decent amount of promise as a player, even though it has been on one of the worst teams in the NBA.
And while Ed Davis has shown the length and athleticism of an NBA big, the rest of Toronto's picks have been rather insignificant.
Therefore, it seems as though the Raptors have been one of the worst teams at evaluating draft prospects.
No. 27: Dallas Mavericks
2006: No. 28 Maurice Ager
2007: No. 34 Nick Fazekas, No. 44 Reyshawn Terry, No. 50 Renaldas Seibutis
2008: No. 51 Shan Foster
2009: No. 25 Rodrigue Beaubois, No. 45 Nick Calathes, No. 56 Ahmad Nivins
2010: No. 25 Dominique Jones
The Dallas Mavericks have been one of the NBA's better teams over the past five seasons, so it's understandable that they haven't had access to the best draft prospects.
However, the fact that Rodrigue Beaubois is the only one of their nine selections who has proven to be a legitimate contributor is still troubling.
Consequently, it's hard to be impressed by ability to scout talent.
No. 26: Miami Heat
2007: No. 21 Daequan Cook
2008: No. 2 Michael Beasley, No. 34 Mario Chalmers
2009: No. 42 Patrick Beverly, No. 60 Robert Dozier
2010: No. 32 Dexter Pittman, No. 41 Jarvis Varnado, No. 42 Da'Sean Butler
While we all know that the selection of Michael Beasley did not work out for the Miami Heat, it's hard to fault them too much for the pick, seeing as though Beasley was the consensus No. 2 overall prospect after a dominant year at Kansas State.
Nevertheless, among the rest of their picks, only Chalmers—who is currently the team's backup at point—has really proven his worth.
So had the Heat done a better job scouting talent, then maybe the team wouldn't be facing their current struggles.
No. 25: Phoenix Suns
2007: No. 29 Alando Tucker, No. 59 DJ Strawberry
2008: No. 15 Robin Lopez, No. 45 Goran Dragic
2009: No. 14 Earl Clark, No. 46 Danny Green, No. 48 Taylor Griffin
2010: No. 46 Gani Lawal, No. 60 Dwayne Collins
First and foremost, Goran Dragic was a fantastic value pick for the Phoenix Suns at No. 45. However, he may have been the only such pick.
At No. 14, they reached for Earl Clark, and while Robin Lopez is still an effective contributor to the Suns, he was picked before frontcourt players like JJ Hickson, JaVale McGee, Ryan Anderson and Serge Ibaka—all of whom have out-performed him to this point.
Therefore, it seems like the Suns have not been too successful in scouting talent for the draft.
No. 24: Charlotte Bobcats
2006: No. 3 Adam Morrison, No. 50 Ryan Hollins
2007: No. 22 Jared Dudley, No. 36 Jermareo Davidson
2008: No. 9 DJ Augustin, No. 20 Alexis Ajinca, No. 38 Kyle Weaver
2009: No. 12 Gerald Henderson, No. 40 Derrick Brown
As the Charlotte Bobcats' No. 3 pick in 2006, Adam Morrison will go down as one of the biggest draft busts in NBA history.
And while Charlotte has somewhat made up for that with the selections of Dudley, Augustin (a slight reach) and Henderson (who has played well lately), they still lack the star power needed to turn their franchise around.
So without improved scouting, the Bobcats may have some dark days ahead of them.
No. 23: Atlanta Hawks
2006: No. 5 Shelden Williams, No. 33 Solomon Jones
2007: No. 3 Al Horford, No. 11 Acie Law
2009: No. 19 Jeff Teague, No. 49 Sergii Gladyr
2010: No. 27 Jordan Crawford, No. 53 Pape Sy
Al Horford was a fantastic selection by the Atlanta Hawks. However, being that he was the best prospect on a back-to-back NCAA champion Florida team, he was expected to be a successful high pick.
But outside of Horford, the Hawks' draft performances have been less than stellar.
The 2006 draft was a mess, and selecting Acie Law at No. 11 was definitely a reach.
And most recently, the 2009 and 2010 drafts haven't yet proven to give the team anything substantial either.
Therefore, it appears as though the Hawks could certainly use some work on their scouting.
No. 22: Cleveland Cavaliers
2006: No. 25 Shannon Brown, No. 42 Daniel Gibson, No. 55 Ejike Ugboaja
2008: No. 19 JJ Hickson, No. 52 Darnell Jackson, No. 56 Sasha Kaun
2009: No. 30 Christian Eyenga, No. 56 Emir Preldzic
The Cleveland Cavaliers have had a few solid selections during the past five years—namely Brown and Gibson—but their most impressive pick was undoubtedly Hickson.
This season, Hickson is having a career year for the Cavs, showing signs of developing into a successful, all-around post player.
However, despite Hickson's promise, there have been no real gems.
And while Eyenga still shows potential, Cleveland's pre-draft scouting has been rather average, on the whole.
No. 21: Philadelphia 76ers
2006: No. 16 Rodney Carney, No. 37 Bobby Jones, No. 56 Eden Bavcic
2007: No. 12 Thaddeus Young, No. 20 Jason Smith, No. 42 Derrick Byars, No. 55 Herbert Hill
2008: No. 16 Marreese Speights
2009: No. 17 Jrue Holiday
2010: No. 2 Evan Turner
Until recently, it looked like the Philadelphia 76ers' recent selections had been less-than spectacular.
Yet, with the breakout performances of Jrue Holiday and Thaddeus Young this year, that may no longer be the case.
So while Carney was certainly not worthy of the No. 16 pick in 2006, and since Speights might have been a slight reach, the Sixers' scouts are looking better witth time.
As long as Evan Turner can develop enough to prove worthy of such a high selection, then Philadelphia's scouting may be worthy of an even higher place on this list.
No. 20: Los Angeles Lakers
2006: No. 26 Jordan Farmar
2007: No. 19 Javaris Crittenton, No. 40 Sun Yue, No. 48 Marc Gasol
2008: No. 58 Joe Crawford
2009: No. 59 Chinemelu Elonu
2010: No. 43 Devin Ebanks, No. 58 Derrick Caracter
Despite having a only a few low draft picks during the past five seasons, the Los Angeles Lakers have still managed to locate a fair amount of talent.
Farmar was a solid pick in 2006, but their gem was the selection of Marc Gasol—currently one of the NBA's better centers—with the 48th pick in 2007.
And with Caracter looking like he too has the potential to develop into a solid big, the Lakers scouting has certainly looked effective in their limited work.
No. 19: New Orleans Hornets
2006: No. 12 Hilton Armstrong, No. 15 Cedric Simmons, No. 43 Marcus Vinicius
2007: No. 13 Julian Wright, No. 43 Adam Haluska
2009: No. 21 Darren Collison, No. 43 Marcus Thornton
2010: No. 11 Cole Aldrich
While a couple of the New Orleans Hornets' early draft picks have been rather unimpressive big men (i.e. Armstrong and Wright), for the most part, they have still been able to serve as solid frontcourt role players.
However, it was the selection of guards, Collison and Thornton, late in the 2009 draft, which really showed the talent of Hornets' scouts.
And with the team looking like it is fading from their early season success, New Orleans may need their scouts to work their magic in the offseason and identify some young talent to provide a boost before next season's campaign.
No. 18: Utah Jazz
2006: No. 16 Ronnie Brewer, No. 46 Dee Brown, No. 47 Paul Millsap
2007: No. 25 Morris Almond, No. 38 Kyrylo Fesenko
2008: No. 23 Kosta Koufos, No. 44 Ante Tomic, No. 53 Tadija Dragicevic
2009: No. 20 Eric Maynor, No. 50 Goran Suton
2010: No. 9 Gordon Hayward, No. 55 Jeremy Evans
The Utah Jazz have not done anything too flashy during the past few drafts, however, they have not made any major blunders either.
Their best selection was definitely Paul Millsap at No. 47, but the picks of Brewer, Maynor and Hayward didn't appear to be bad either.
Nevertheless, with the Jazz's recent struggles and abundance of future selections (from the Deron Williams trade), the team will need even better scouting to make a quick turnaround.
No. 17: Milwaukee Bucks
2006: No. 39 David Noel, No. 59 Damir Markota
2007: No. 6 Yi Jianlian, No. 46 Ramon Sessions
2008: No. 8 Joe Alexander, No. 37 Luc Richard Mbah a Moute
2009: No. 10 Brandon Jennings, No. 41 Jodie Meeks
2010: No. 15 Larry Sanders, No. 37 Darington Hobson, No. 47 Tiny Gallon
The Milwaukee Bucks made a couple of big mistakes with early draft picks, selecting busts Yi Jianlian and Joe Alexander in consecutive years.
However, following that they were able to grab franchise point guard Brandon Jennings at No. 10 in 2009.
And when that move is combined with their late-round successes—namely picking Sessions, Mbah a Moute and Meeks as second-rounders—it's hard to say that the Bucks' scouting has been too much of a failure.
No. 16: Detroit Pistons
2006: No. 51 Chiekh Samb, No. 60 Will Blalock
2007: No. 15 Rodney Stuckey, No. 27 Arron Afflalo, No. 57 Sammy Mejia
2008: No. 32 Walter Sharpe, No. 46 Trent Plaiste, No. 59 Deron Washington
2009: No. 15 Austin Daye, No. 35 DaJuan Summers, No. 39 Jonas Jerebko
2010: No. 7 Greg Monroe, No. 36 Terrico White
The Detroit Pistons have had a number of quietly effective selections during the past five drafts.
Stuckey has been the leader of the Pistons for a while now. Afflalo and Jerebko have performed efficiently when given time, while Daye has done much to silence his draft-day doubters, and Monroe is playing like one of the better rookies in the NBA this year.
Should the Pistons can continue their string of picks without any major disappointments, then maybe their fans will one day forget their infamous No. 2 overall selection of Darko Milicic in 2003.
No. 15: Indiana Pacers
2006: No. 17 Shawne Williams, No. 31 James White
2007: No. 39 Stanko Barac
2008: No. 13 Brandon Rush, No. 17 Roy Hibbert
2009: No. 13 Tyler Hansbrough, No. 52 AJ Price
2010: No. 10 Paul George, No. 40 Lance Stephenson, No. 51 Magnum Rolle
The Indiana Pacers have made a number of solid selections in the past five NBA drafts, highlighted by their drafting of Roy Hibbert at No. 17 in 2008.
However, Hibbert has been helped along by other draftees, such as Rush and Hansbrough, both of whom have proven their respective worths.
Furthermore, Indiana rookie Paul George has played as one of the best rookies, despite receiving limited minutes.
And when one considers the success Shawne Williams is experiencing with the New York Knicks this season, it is easy to see that the Pacers' scouting has been rather effective of late.
No. 14: Houston Rockets
2006: No. 32 Steve Novak, No. 44 Lior Eliyahu
2007: No. 26 Aaron Brooks, No. 31 Carl Landry, No. 54 Brad Newley
2008: No. 28 Donte Greene, No. 33 Joey Dorsey, No. 54 Maarty Leunen
2009: No. 32 Jermaine Taylor, No. 34 Sergio Llull, No. 44 Chase Buddinger
2010: No. 14 Patrick Patterson
Although the Houston Rockets had only one pick at 25 or above since 2006, they made the most of their selections.
As No. 26 in 2007, Brooks was the team's starting point guard, he led the league in three-point shooting last year, and now he is serving as the heir to Steve Nash on the Phoenix Suns.
And since Brooks' departure, Buddinger has seen his role increase with Houston, allowing him to thrive as an athletic, scoring two-guard.
For his part, Carl Landry has proven to be an effective scorer, while his former Sacramento Kings teammate Donte Greene has shown flashes of brilliance.
Even Patrick Patterson has looked well in his limited minutes this year.
Consequently, the Rockets have done a pretty solid job in their pre-draft scouting, even though they have not made any recent big-time selections.
No. 13: Memphis Grizzlies
2006: No. 8 Rudy Gay, No. 24 Kyle Lowry, No. 45 Alexander Johnson
2007: No. 4 Mike Conley
2008: No. 3 OJ Mayo, No. 27 Darrell Arthur
2009: No. 2 Hasheem Thabeet, No. 27 DeMarre Carroll, No. 36 Sam Young
2010: No. 12 Xavier Henry, No. 28 Greivis Vasquez
Yes, the Memphis Grizzlies have made a few mistakes on draft day—represented primarily by the selection of Hasheem Thabeet at No. 2 and reaching for OJ Mayo at No. 3.
However, Memphis also acquired their starting point (Conley) and star forward (Gay) through the draft, along with role players Arthur and Young.
Moreover, 2006 pick Kyle Lowry is in the midst of a breakout season with the Houston Rockets, and Memphis rookies Xavier Henry and Greivis Vasquez, have shown their readiness to contribute at this level.
Consequently, while the Grizzlies' mistakes may be glaring, their scouting has proved to be more effective than not.
No. 12: Minnesota Timberwolves
2006: No. 7 Randy Foye, No. 36 Craig Smith, No. 57 Loukas Mavrokefalidis
2007: No. 7 Corey Brewer, No. 41 Chris Richard
2008: No. 5 Kevin Love, No. 31 Nikola Pekovic
2009: No. 5 Ricky Rubio, No. 6 Jonny Flynn, No. 27 Wayne Ellington, No. 38 Henk Norel
2010: No. 4 Wesley Johnson, No. 30 Lazar Hayward, No. 35 Nemanja Bjelica, No. 45 Paulo Prestes
First of all, it is too early to make much of a judgment on the Minnesota Timberwolves' selection of Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio. After all, he may still play for the franchise in the near future.
So not counting Rubio, the T'Wolves' only really bad selection was Corey Brewer at No. 7, while Flynn may have been a reach at No. 6.
Nevertheless, picking Love was certainly a great move. Wes Johnson also looks like he can be a solid player, while Foye is currently performing well, and both Craig Smith and Pekovic are holding their own.
Therefore, if Rubio does, play and thrive in Minnesota, the team's scouting will be proven effective.
No. 11: Golden State Warriors
2006: No. 9 Patrick O'Bryant, No. 38 Kosta Perovic
2007: No. 8 Brandan Wright, No. 18 Marco Belinelli, No. 46 Stephane Lasme
2008: No. 14 Anthony Randolph, No. 49 Richard Hendrix
2009: No. 7 Stephen Curry
2010: No. 6 Ekpe Udoh
At No. 9 in 2006, it is safe to say that Patrick O'Bryant is now considered a bust.
However, the same cannot yet be said about Brandan Wright and Anthony Randolph—a couple of long, athletic, young players with tons of potential.
As for Stephen Curry, he is undoubtedly one of most talented guards in the league and was definitely a steal at No. 7.
Nevertheless, Warriors' rookie Udoh is currently in the same boat as Wright and Randolph, as it is too early to tell how good he will become.
So while the jury is still out on a few of Golden State's recent selections, there is no question that their scouts have an eye for talent and upside.
No. 10: New York Knicks
2006: No. 20 Renaldo Balkman, No. 29 Mardy Collins
2007: No. 23 Wilson Chandler, No. 53 Demetris Nichols
2008: No. 6 Danilo Gallinari
2009: No. 8 Jordan Hill, No. 29 Toney Douglas
2010: No. 38 Andy Rautins, No. 39 Landry Fields, No. 44 Jerome Jordan
The New York Knicks have made a number of solid selections over the past few seasons, despite their awful draft in 2006.
Chandler was a steal at No. 23, Gallinari has proven to be an efficient offense player (even though he may have been a reach at No. 6), and Douglas has out-performed his No. 29 pick.
Moreover, rookie guard Landry Fields is being mentioned in the same sentence as No. 1 pick John Wall, as the NBA's best rookies behind Blake Griffin.
Additionally, Jordan Hill may end up being a solid contributor for the Houston Rockets.
Therefore, the Knicks' recent scouting efforts appear above average, and they will need that to continue this trend, since they keep trading away many of their early draft picks.
No. 9: Sacramento Kings
2006: No. 19 Quincy Douby
2007: No. 10 Spencer Hawes
2008: No. 12 Jason Thompson, No. 42 Sean Singletary, No. 43 Patrick Ewing Jr.
2009: No. 4 Tyreke Evans, No. 23 Omri Casspi, No. 38 Jon Brockman
2010: No. 5 DeMarcus Cousins, No. 33 Hassan Whiteside
After being rumored to be interested in Ricky Rubio at the 2009 NBA Draft, the Sacramento Kings instead went with the smart money and took Tyreke Evans at No. 4.
And in the end, they were rewarded for their actions, as Evans took home the Rookie of the Year award that season.
However, that was not the Kings' only good draft showing, as both Hawes and Thompson are solid bigs, Casspi is a promising young scorer and Brockman has developed into an interior role player.
Rookie DeMarcus Cousins has also put together an impressive season thus far, although there are still lingering questions about his character.
Nevertheless, Sacramento's young and talented roster speaks volumes for the franshise's scouting. Should the team have a few more solid selections, they might finally find themselves back in contention.
No. 8: Washington Wizards
2006: No. 18 Oleksiy Pecherov, No. 48 Vladimir Veremeenko
2007: No. 16 Nick Young, No. 47 Dominic McGuire
2008: No. 18 JaVale McGee
2010: No. 1 John Wall, No. 17 Kevin Seraphin, No. 23 Trevor Booker, No. 56 Hamady N'daiye
While it's hard to give the Washington Wizards too much credit for picking Wall at No. 1, they certainly deserve some recognition for their other selections.
At this point, Young, McGee and Booker have all proven to be steals at their respective draft positions.
Furthermore, Seraphin has the potential to develop into a solid player in due time.
Consequently, should the Wizards continue to scout with such effectiveness, they will field a competitive team sooner, rather than later.
No. 7: Boston Celtics
2006: No. 21 Rajon Rondo, No. 49 Leon Powe
2007: No. 32 Gabe Pruitt, No. 35 Glen Davis
2008: No. 30 JR Giddens, No. 47 Bill Walker, No. 60 Semih Erden
2009: No. 58 Lester Hudson
2010: No. 19 Avery Bradley, No. 52 Luke Harangody
The Boston Celtics is another team that has made the most of its limited and late selections.
Most notable was their picking Rondo at No. 21—which may be the steal of the last five years.
However, they did more than that, as Boston took one of their most important rotation players, Glen Davis, with a late selection.
Furthermore, second-rounders Powe, Walker, Erden and Harangody have all shown that they belong on an NBA court.
Therefore, with that type of scouting, the Celtics should have no trouble rebuilding through the draft after the Big Three decide to retire.
No. 6: San Antonio Spurs
2007: No. 28 Tiago Splitter, No. 33 Marcus Williams
2008: No. 26 George Hill, No. 48 Malik Hairston, No. 57 James Girst
2009: No. 37 DeJuan Blair, No. 51 Jack McClinton, No. 53 Nando de Colo
2010: No. 20 James Anderson, No. 49 Ryan Richards
The San Antonio Spurs have consistently been among the NBA's better teams—both on the court and at scouting draft talent.
During the past five years, the Spurs have continued this trend, as contributors like Splitter, Hill and Blair have all come from late picks.
Therefore, it's quite reasonable to expect the Spurs to continue their pre-draft scouting successes.
No. 5: Oklahoma City Thunder
2006: No. 10 Saer Sene, No. 40 Denham Brown, No. 53 Yotam Halperin
2007: No. 2 Kevin Durant, No. 5 Jeff Green
2008: No. 4 Russell Westbrook, No. 24 Serge Ibaka, No. 29 DJ White, No. 50 DeVon Hardin
2009: No. 3 James Harden, No. 24 BJ Mullens, No. 54 Robert Vaden
2010: No. 21 Craig Brackins, No. 26 Quincy Pondexter, No. 31 Tibor Pleiss, No. 48 Latavious Williams, No. 57 Ryan Reid
The Oklahoma City Thunder is a team that has been built around recent draft picks. Looking past the selection of Sene in 2006, they have been one of the NBA's best drafting squads.
Nevertheless, they don't deserve too much credit for picking Durant, as the team would have just as readily grabbed Greg Oden, had Durant went No. 1 to the Trail Blazers in 2007.
But that didn't happen, as they took Durant, traded to pick Green, and in the following years, selected Westbrook, Ibaka and Harden, solidifying their place as a team with one of the best young cores in the NBA.
And as a result of their recent scouting successes, Oklahoma City has definitely established themselves as one of the best at evaluating draft prospects.
No. 4: Los Angeles Clippers
2006: No. 34 Paul Davis, No. 52 Guillermo Diaz
2007: No. 14 Al Thornton, No. 45 Jared Jordan
2008: No. 7 Eric Gordon, No. 35 DeAndre Jordan, No. 55 Mike Taylor
2009: No. 1 Blake Griffin
2010: No. 8 Al-Farouq Aminu, No. 18 Eric Bledsoe, No. 54 Willie Warren
The Los Angeles Clippers have suddenly turned into one of the NBA's promising young teams, due in large part to their success at scouting talent.
Selecting Eric Gordon at No. 7 in 2008 was huge for the team, as was the pick of DeAndre Jordan at No. 35.
Furthermore, rookies Aminu and Bledsoe have shown the ability to come in and contribute from day one.
And even though Blake Griffin was the consensus No. 1 in 2009—so the Clippers' scouting was not too responsible for his selection—the franchise finally has a bright future and may be another solid draft or two away from becoming a contender.
No. 3: New Jersey Nets
2006: No. 22 Marcus Williams, No. 23 Josh Boone, No. 54 Hassan Adams
2007: No. 17 Sean Williams
2008: No. 10 Brook Lopez, No. 21 Ryan Anderson, No. 40 Chris Douglas-Roberts
2009: No. 11 Terrence Williams
2010: No. 3 Derrick Favors, No. 24 Damion James
The selection of Brook Lopez at No. 10 in 2008 by New Jersey Nets may have been the steal of the draft, providing the team with a franchise cornerstone for years to come.
Furthermore, when one considers this, along with the team's drafting of solid players like Ryan Anderson, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Terrence Williams and Derrick Favors, than there's no doubting that they are one of the NBA's better teams at scouting.
No. 2: Chicago Bulls
2006: No. 4 Tyrus Thomas, No. 13 Thabo Sefolosha
2007: No. 9 Joakim Noah, No. 49 Aaron Gray, No. 51 JamesOn Curry
2008: No. 1 Derrick Rose, No. 36 Omer Asik
2009: No. 16 James Johnson, No. 26 Taj Gibson
Although Tyrus Thomas may have been a reach for the Chicago Bulls at No. 4, he is still a solid and productive player, and is nowhere near bust territory.
So seeing as though he might be the team's worst pick, with stars like Rose and Noah coming from early picks, along with talented players Asik, Gibson and Sefolosha picked later, it's clear that Chicago knows how to scout prospects.
And if the Bulls want to make a run at a title, then their scouts will need to continue to turn in strong performances.
No. 1: Portland Trail Blazers
2006: No. 2 LaMarcus Aldridge, No. 6 Brandon Roy, No. 27 Sergio Rodriguez, No. 30 Joel Freeland
2007: No. 1 Greg Oden, No. 24 Rudy Fernandez, No. 30 Petteri Koponen, No. 37 Josh McRoberts, No. 52 Taureen Green
2008: No. 11 Jerryd Bayless, No. 25 Nicolas Batum
2009: No. 22 Victor Claver, No. 31 Jeff Pendergraph, No. 33 Dante Cunningham, No. 38 Patrick Mills
2010: No. 16 Luke Babbitt, No. 22 Elliot Williams, No. 34 Armon Johnson
Yes, the Portland Trail Blazers picked Greg Oden ahead of Kevin Durant in 2007.
However, no one could have foreseen how badly Oden would struggle with injuries once he landed in Portland. And furthermore, Oden may still return and become a productive player.
But Oden is not the reason why the Blazers top this list.
Actually, there are many reasons.
First, the team was able to select both Aldridge (No. 2) and Roy (No. 6) during the same draft—a fact made even more impressive when one considers that the rest of the top-six picks that year consisted of Andrei Bargnani, Adam Morrison, Tyrus Thomas and Shelden Williams.
Additionally, the team selected Spanish point guard Sergio Rodriguez that season, and also picked another talented Spaniard in Rudy Fernandez, along with the do-it-all power forward Josh McRoberts during the Oden draft.
The next season, they picked the explosive Jerryd Bayless and the long, athletic and skilled Nic Batum.
And with selections over the past couple of drafts including promising players like Victor Claver, Patty Mills, Dante Cunningham, Luke Babbitt, Elliot Williams and Armon Johnson, it is clear that Portland absolutely has an eye for scouting talent.