Rick Pitino has lost a lot of talent the past few years. (Icon SMI)
By Ryan Feldman
Thursday, August 5, 2010
As always, the NBA Draft brought a lot of surprises. Some players got taken earlier than expected and some players got taken later than expected or not at all. Some teams made great decisions and some made poor decisions.
Here are my thoughts from the 2010 NBA Draft:
The first five picks went to form, so there were no surprises there. The Sixers and Nets showed that Evan Turner and Derrick Favors, respectively, were their targets all along, despite rumors that they were looking to trade or take someone else there. The T-Wolves were extremely happy to get Wesley Johnson. The Kings took the best player available, their future center, in DeMarcus Cousins.
The draft really started at No. 6 when the Warriors chose Ekpe Udoh. The Warriors have a history of drafting big men that turn out to be major busts, and this could be more of the same. Udoh is a good defender but he doesn't have the potential of other players. They could have easily gone for the safer pick with Greg Monroe or even Al-Farouq Aminu, but they took a risk with Udoh.
That started a ripple effect. Monroe slid to the Pistons at No. 7. Detroit was ecstatic about that. If they didn't get Cousins, Monroe was their ideal pick. He gives the Pistons their first legit big man in a while. The Clippers were happy that Aminu fell to them at No. 8. He was their target all along. He will fit in well and give the Clippers that small forward they were missing.
The Clippers also grabbed two quality guards in Eric Bledsoe and Willie warren. They're hoping at least one of them turns into a quality pure point guard.
The Jazz made a minor surprise by taking Gordon Hayward at No. 9. It's not that Hayward wasn't worthy of a top-10 pick, but many thought Luke Babbitt or Ed Davis would be their target.
With Davis still on the board, it seemed obvious the Pacers would take him. But the Pacers never do what everyone expects them to do. Instead, they took Paul George. This was a terrific choice for the Pacers. George is a small forward like Danny Granger, but maybe the Pacers can find a way to put one of them at shooting guard in a big lineup or power forward in a small lineup. George is going to be a stud in a few years. If the Pacers opt to trade Granger, George can replace him. Small forward wasn't a need for the Pacers, so this pick is a bit puzzling, but George has a ton of upside.
The Pacers also took Lance Stephenson in the second round. He is a guy who could be the starting shooting guard for the Pacers. He and George have a lot of potential, and both of them are different from the type of players the Pacers normally take, but there is no question that both have a lot of talent.
The Thunder desperately needed to add some size down low and they did that with Cole Aldrich and Tibor Pleiss. Each of those two players could end up as the starting center for the Thunder in a year or two.
The Grizzlies needed a potential wing replacement for Rudy Gay and a future point guard replacement for Mike Conley, Jr. They got one of each in Xavier Henry and Greivis Vasquez, but they could've done better. Henry is a terrific outside shooter and has great potential, but Vasquez is a curious choice. He isn't a pure point guard and he doesn't have the quickness, speed and athleticism to keep up with NBA point guards.
The Raptors added some size to replace Chris Bosh with Ed Davis and Solomon Alabi. They were fortunate that Davis slipped to them at No. 13 and that Alabi slipped to the second round.
The Bucks made a huge splash in the draft. They were desperate for size and they got three big men with Larry Sanders, Tiny Gallon and Jerome Jordan. All three will have an opportunity to play right away. They also got Darington Hobson, a multi-talented wing. The Bucks now have a nice mixture of youth and experience on their roster.
The Blazers had been targeting Elliot Williams all along. They may have even given him a first round guarantee, as Williams stayed under the radar throughout the draft process. The Blazers drafted him at No. 22 and also traded Martell Webster for Luke Babbitt at No. 16. The Blazers, who already had incredible depth, add two more young talented players.
The Timberwolves reached big time by drafting Trevor Booker at No. 23 and then he was traded to the Wizards. It was pre-arranged, so it's the Wizards who should be criticized. They could've easily waited until No. 30 to get Booker. Then, the Timberwolves, using the Wizards' No. 30 pick, drafted Lazar Hayward. Both were puzzling picks. Booker was an early second round pick at best and Hayward was a mid-to-late second round pick.
The Magic made the most of their two picks by taking Daniel Orton, a young promising big man, and Stanley Robinson, a long, athletic forward. Depth down low and small forward were two of the Magic's needs and they got great value with both picks.
It was interesting to see Hassan Whiteside, once thought to be a lottery pick, slip to the second round. The Kings scooped him up at No. 33. He and Cousins give the Kings a nice future down low along with Jason Thompson. It's hard to say the Kings didn't make the most of their draft.
The Knicks, as always, were the running joke of the draft. With back-to-back picks at No. 38 and No. 39, the Knicks took two players who may not have even been chosen by any other team - Andy Rautins and Landry Fields. At least Rautins is arguably the best long-range shooter in this draft, but why take Fields this early, let alone at all? They could've went for Stephenson, Devin Ebanks, Robinson, Alabi, Gallon, Warren, or plenty of other guys, but no, the Knicks had to frustrate their fans once again.
It was incredible to witness the fall of Alabi. He was thought to be a possible top-20 pick and he fell all the way to No. 50. Apparently, there were some medical red flags, but it's still a shame for a guy who left Florida State early.
Of course, there were a handful of players who weren't drafted who probably deserved to be picked. Sherron Collins was the most notable. He had a terrific college career at Kansas but his height and weight hurt his stock. Mikhail Torrance was a standout at Portsmouth and had gained a lot of momentum in his draft workouts, but he somehow fell out of the draft. Art Parakhouski was a guy who got a lot of hype during the season and right after the season, but that talk cooled down quickly and his name was not called. Jon Scheyer of Duke had an incredible season and, as a 6-foot-5 point guard, seemed like he would find his way into the second round, but it didn't happen.
The fun that is the NBA Draft is over for this year. Now it's time to get ready for the 2010-11 college basketball season and the 2011 NBA Draft.