Friday, June 25, 2010

Looking back at the NBA Draft

Best Picks:

  • Sacramento: The Kings may have had the best draft in the league. For starters, DeMarcus Cousins, the only player outside of John Wall with real star potential in this draft, falls into their lap at the 5th pick. Cousins has his issues -- he needs to continue to get into shape, he needs to mature, he needs to learn to control his emotions -- but he may be the only NBA ready center selected. With the 33rd pick, the Kings landed Hassan Whiteside, a potential lottery pick from Marshall. Whiteside has a long way to go if he is going to reach his ceiling as a prospect. If he does, the Kings just landed the next Marcus Camby at 33rd. Both Whiteside and Cousins are going to need some babysitting and coddling as they mature into professionals, but can you imagine the Kings front line in three years? And they have Tyreke Evans? Here's to hoping they can develop talent in Sacramento.
  • Houston: The Rockets got a gift with Patrick Patterson falling to 14th. Patterson is not going to be a star, but he's a big, strong, meat-and-potatoes kind of player. He'll rebound, he'll defend, and he's got enough talent offensively to contribute 12-15 ppg. The Rockets always seem to have excellent drafts.

  • San Antonio: James Anderson may end up being the best perimeter player taken in this draft. He's a legit 6'6", he is a lights out shooter that can carry a team when he gets it going, he's a much better athlete than people once believed, and he got picked up by a team that will be able to use him. The Spurs are another team that always seem to have great draft classes.

  • Dallas: Dominique Jones was sent to Dallas by Memphis, which is a great pick for the Mavs in the 25th spot. I think Jones has a lot of value here. He's a scoring guard that is strong and aggressive going to the rim and drawing fouls. He's also a tough defender. I definitely think he will be a rotation guy for this team.

  • New Orleans: New Orleans sent the 11th pick, Cole Aldrich, to OKC for the 21st pick, Craig Brackins, and the 26th picks, Quincy Pondexter. I don't love the Craig Brackins pick, as I've never really thought he was going to be much of an NBA player. But I'm a big fan of Pondexter. He's an athletic 6'6" wing who can efficiently create his own shots and will defend, rebound, and play hard. He'll hang around the NBA for a while.

  • Pheonix: The Suns gobbled up Gani Lawal and Dwayne Collins late in the second round. While neither will be able to replace Amare Stoudamire should he decide to leave, both players are big, strong, athletic forwards that play hard, rebound the ball, and could eventually make the rotation down the road.

  • Toronto: Dallas traded the rights to their 50th pick, Solomon Alabi, to Toronto, which is a great pickup for the Raptors. Alabi isn't a potential all-star because of a lack of offensive potential, but he was in the first round of most mock drafts (he dropped because of something that came up in his physical). I can see Alabi being another Samuel Dalembert, which is a pretty good pickup this late.

  • LA Clippers: I'm not a huge fan of Willie Warren. He's a 6'3" shoot first point guard that isn't all that great of a shooter and that turns the ball over too much. That said, here's a kid that might have been a top five pick in the 2009 draft have he decided to leave, and the Clippers got him 54th. In the second round, you look for value picks and you looks for steals, kids that have slipped throught he cracks for whatever reason. Warren is well worth the risk that late.

Head Scratchers:
  • Minnesota: The T-Wolves had four of the top 35 picks. They took Wes Johnson, traded for Martell Webster, and then added Lazar Hayward and Nemanja Bjelica. All four of those players are small forwards. After taking all point guards last year, the Wolves should have a full team in three years.

  • New York: The Knicks picked Andy Rautins and Landry Fields at 38th and 39th. Don't get me wrong, I like both of those players. I think both could one day be contributors in the NBA. But the Knicks could have had them as undrafted free agents. Instead, they skipped over a number of kids that could have been first round picks. I'm not sure what the Knicks were doing here.

  • Washington: The Wizards really had a chance to do big things in this draft. They started out correctly, picking John Wall first. But after that? They added Kirk Hinrich's contract to get Kevin Seraphin at 17th? They traded the 30th and 35th picks to get Trevor Booker at 23rd?

  • Oklahoma City: Indiana made this pick for the Thunder, who wanted Ryan Reid? Reid was a decent role player at Florida State, averaging 6.8 ppg and 4.0 rpg. But why was he drafted? This makes no sense.

Other thoughts:
  • Last night, Kentucky had five players get drafted in the first round. They were knocked out of the NCAA Tournament in the Elite 8 by West Virginia. The Mountaineers had two players taken in the second round. The only player that saw action in the Final Four to be taken in the first round was Gordon Hayward. I make this point not to pick on John Calipari or Kentucky basketball. I make this point because its becoming more-and-more clear that to succeed in college basketball, loading up on talented freshman isn't the way to do it. (Right, Paul Hewitt?) Land the talented players that will hang around for a few years, mix in an early entrant every now and then, and you very well may find yourself in the Final Four in a few years. We will have a much more in depth post on this in the coming weeks.

  • As a college basketball fan, I understand that some of the best and most beloved players aren't talented enough to make a big splash in the NBA. But it still saddens me to see guys like Sherron Collins, Scottie Reynolds, Jon Scheyer, Jerome Randle, Matt Bouldin, and Omar Samhan go undrafted. It wasn't unexpected, but when head cases like Lance Stephenson, Tiny Gallon, and Derrick Caracter are getting scooped up late, I really start to wonder what the NBA teams are looking for in the second round.

  • Chris Bosh is gone from Toronto. Why else would they pick Ed Davis and trade for Solomon Alabi?

  • Has anyone made a worse decision than Willie Warren to return to school? The kid went from a high lottery pick to a low second rounder in the span of 12 months. That's brutal.

  • Nevada was one of nine schools to have multiple players taken in this draft, with Luke Babbit going 16th and Armon Johnson going 34th. Yet the still couldn't win either the regular season or tournament title in the WAC?

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