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It's been a long night with a flurry of trades (thanks, Sam Presti), but here are my initial reactions to the draft that was;
Washington Wizards. Obviously, it all starts at the top for the Wizards; landing a franchise-altering talent in John Wall, who immediately makes this team relevant after having faded into oblivion in the post-Arenas gun incident days of last season.
But anyone -- well, anyone except David Kahn that is -- would have taken Wall number one overall. As superlative as Wall is, Washington has so many holes that they needed to make more moves to hasten the rebuilding process. And that's exactly what they did. The Wizards build on their good fortune in winning the lottery by swinging a deal that gave them the 17th pick at the cost of at least one season of Kirk Hinrich, before they could presumably move his expiring contract, which the team used on raw Frenchman Kevin Seraphin. Who knows whether Seraphin will develop into much of a player, but collecting picks and stashing Euros to develop overseas -- my god, the Wizards are acting just like a real franchise.
Even better was their trade for former Clemson standout Trevor Booker. Undersized for a power forward, Booker is nonetheless a ferocious finisher at the rim, the type of player NBA GMs routinely dismiss, only to be proven wrong time and time again (see: Paul Millsap, Carl Landry and DeJuan Blair). Booker might not be much more than a seventh guy on a contender, but his energy and ability to get up and down the court should make him an immediate contributor. And watch out if he develops any perimeter game.
Sacramento Kings. There's a lot to be said for simply not messing up; that old Woody Allen adage about 90% of success being about just showing up and all. The Kings had a shot at the most productive player in college basketball, one of the most physically imposing players to come out in the last decade, and they didn't miss. While Demarcus Cousins' myriad motivation/personality issues might prevent him from fulfilling his massive potential, at the fifth pick in the draft, it's more than worth it.
And in the second round, the Kings took another smart gamble, picking up mystery 7-footer Hassan Whiteside. The former Marshall product put up some Mutombo-esque shot-blocking numbers in his lone college season, but even euphemistically calling his offensive game "raw" is being a bit generous. Whiteside was projected anywhere from the late lottery to the late first round, so nabbing him early in the second round is something of a coup. Yes, there's a very strong chance he flames out, but at that point in the draft, isn't an impossibly athletic 7-footer worth it? Bravo Geoff Petrie.
Los Angeles Clippers. Maybe it's the ubiquitous Knight And Day ads, but I've got Tom Cruise on my mind. It's worse than it sounds. Which brings us to the Clippers. Indeed, to quote Cruise in Risky Business, sometimes you've just got to say f--- it, and swing for the fences. That's more or less what the Clippers did in the draft, and for this team it makes sense.
Al-Farouq Aminu at the eighth spot is a heist. Sure, Aminu can't put the ball in the hoop beyond ten feet and struggles to create his own shot, but he's a freak athlete in the Shawn Marion mold who gobbles up loose balls and figures to be a nightmare on the defensive end for opposing small forwards. On an uptempo team he should make an immediate impact, and if he ever figures out how to shoot, he'll be an absolute monster. The term "upside" was practically invented with Aminu in mind.
Likewise, trading for Eric Bledsoe and ending Willie Warren's freefall in the second round were similarly ballsy moves that could easily explode in their face or pay off big time. Bledsoe is young, has an NBA body, can light it up from deep...and has no experience running a team. His pure point rating his freshman year was horrific, although if they ease him in, it's certainly feasible that he could be a fixture in their backcourt along with Eric Gordon for a decade to come. Or he could prove that he really is just a turnover-prone combo guard.
With Warren, the Clips picked up someone who was a consensus top-ten preseason player whose selfish, depressing play submarined his stock in his sophomore campaign. Still, Warren has talent and may be better suited as a scoring combo-guard off the bench -- a niche he could find in LA. And if it doesn't work out, the Clippers' have taken on little risk; they can just cut him and his non-guaranteed contract.
Now, if they can just get Donald Sterling to sell the team to David Geffen and woo a certain free agent from Cleveland...
Indiana Pacers. Indiana was like the bizarro version of the Clippers, taking all sorts of crazy risks, except these ones are inexplicable through and through. There might not be a bigger boom-bust player in this draft than Paul George (aside from Cousins and perhaps Favors), and yet the Pacers rolled the dice on this uber-athletic swingman despite the fact that their best player (Danny Granger) plays the same position. What's the long term plan here?
Lance Stephenson, meanwhile, is an uninspired pick in the second round. Sure, he may be worth the risk of a non-guaranteed contract, but the dirty little secret about Stephenson is that despite all the hype, he was godawful for Cincinnati last year. He was a high-volume scorer who didn't score; who can't shoot; and to whom a pass is an alien concept. He's an irredeemable ball hog who can't quite back it up at the college level, let alone the pros. So really, a true tour de force of a pick.
New York Knicks. Quite an enticing roster they're assembling to lure The Global Icon™ to Manhattan, isn't it? Knicks' faithful can compose a veritable jeremiad of the woes the departed Isiah Thomas has inflicted on this once-proud franchise, but the parting shot was the cruelest: short-sightedly parting with their 2010 first-rounder, which would have been ninth overall.
But even with the picks the Knicks did have, they completely and utterly blew it. Andy Rautins and Landry Fields in the early second round, 38th and 39th to be exact? Were they just throwing darts at a board? Or did they forget they even had picks, panic and just blurt out the first names that came to mind? Rautins was a helluva college player, and his shooting makes him a perfect fit for D'Antoni's system, but couldn't they have signed him as an undrafted free agent? The same for Fields. And how can they justify taking those guys when players like Gani Lawal or even Stanley Robinson, whose freakish finishing ability would be a huge asset in that system, were still on the board?
Minnesota T'Wolves. As Matt Damon explains in Rounders, if you can't spot the sucker in the first half hour at the table, then you ARE the sucker. And you, David Kahn, are the sucker when it comes to GMs. Selecting Wesley Johnson fourth overall -- ahead of Cousins, Monroe and Aminu -- is simply farcical. Indeed, Johnson should be a solid pro, but at 23 years old, there's very little upside. You can't pass on guys who can be legit stars in this league for someone who figures to be more of a third-scorer type. Just can't do it.
Kahn did salvage a bit later in the first round, picking up Luke Babbitt and the criminally underrated Trevor Booker...wait, what's that, he traded both of them? Oops. Martell Webster and Lazar Hayward are decent pickups in return for the aforementioned Babbitt and Bookers, although neither Johnson, Webster nor Hayward excels at creating his own shot. So the T'Wolves loaded up on wing players to address that glaring weakness on their roster -- and didn't really address it at all. To be fair, Prestes and N'Diaye are two solid late-second round picks, but that doesn't erase the unmitigated disaster that was the night prior.
Some college basketball stars waited until late Thursday night before hearing their name called; Lance Stephenson, Solomon Alabi and Willie Warren come to mind.
Still, others you’ve come to know well during their college careers went the whole night without a team selecting them.
These players will find an NBA Summer League home and head to Las Vegas or Orlando, where the battle for roster spots will begin — and they’ll get one more shot to show what they can do.
Manny Harris. Should soon find a summer league home, since some team reportedly had the Michigan swingman in its top 10.
Jon Scheyer. Arguably as well-known as any draft prospect, especially in light of winning the national championship with Duke. But critics worry about his size and athleticism.
Brian Zoubek. Scheyer’s Duke teammate blossomed during the second half of the Blue Devils’ championship season, becoming a bruising, shot-blocking, rebounding machine. But it was too little, too late for NBA teams.
Sylven Landesberg. He left the University of Virginia under durress, and though he was good and showed flashes, he was the best player on two bad teams.
Sherron Collins. He was a first-team All-America, but doesn’t make up for the Jayhawks guard’s lack of height.
Mikhail Torrance. The Alabama junior was pegged by many to be a second round sleeper, a point guard with size. But he only had one season of production.
Omar Samhan. The St. Mary’s center rose to prominence during a brief Cinderella run by the Gaels. Jeff Goodman hears Samhan will join Atlanta’s summer league team.
Jermaine Dixon. After averaging 10.6 points a game as a senior, Juan’s little brother probably wasn’t really a prospect. But don’t try telling him that.
56. Minnesota Timberwolves -- Hamady N'Diaye, Center, Rutgers
N'Diaye has a 7-foot-4 wingspan. He was a frightful shot-blocker, closing down the paint for Rutgers, though his offensive game is, as you might have guessed, euphemistically a work in progress.
57. Indiana Pacers -- Ryan Reid, Forward, Florida State
There are bad picks and then are completely jaw-dropping inexplicable ones. This was the latter. Even draft guru Kevin Givony of Draft Express couldn't believe this one:
And in a since-deleted tweet, Givony wondered if Reid -- who averaged 6.8 points and 4 rebounds a game for Florida State this past season -- was the worst player drafted since they moved to just two rounds.
Yeah, it was that big a head-scratcher.
58. Los Angeles Lakers -- Derrick Caracter, Forward, UTEP
There were rumors that the Lakers were going to move this pick to the Nuggets, although that appears to not be the case now. Caracter has good moves in the post, although his conditioning and motivation have dogged him as concerns throughout his career.
59. Orlando Magic -- Stanley Robinson, UConn
This is a home run for the second to last pick of the draft; Robinson is older and lacks anything resembling touch from the outside, but he's an elite athlete who can get up and down the court and finish at the rim. Much more than you can say about Ryan Reid.
60. Phoenix Suns -- Dwayne Collins, Forward, Miami
Collins is big (6-foot-8) and athletic. That alone should give him a chance to stick with the still up-tempo Suns.
The picks are coming fast and furious at this point. Here are the 46th through 50th picks.
46. Phoenix Suns -- Gani Lawal, Forward, Georgia Tech
Can anyone explain why Lawal lasted this long? Sure, he doesn't have a single elite skill, but he's decent at a bunch of things: he can run the court, board and finish at the rim well for a big guy.
47. Milwaukee Bucks -- Keith Gallon, Forward, Oklahoma
Gallon draws comparisons to Big Baby Davis because both are talented post players who battle weight issues. Gallon has the talent to go much higher, so this is well worth it for the Bucks at this point.
48. Miami Heat -- Latavious Williams, Forward, NBDL
Williams took the road last traveled by, skipping college (he had trouble qualifying) and going to the D-League. He's 6-foot-8, athletic and young. Not too bad for this portion of the night's proceedings.
49. San Antonio Spurs -- Ryan Richards, Forward, England
And...I've got nothing here. About all the talking heads on ESPN have to add is that he runs the court well along with some footage of him indeed galloping up the court during drills and making uncontested dunks. Then again, who am I to question the savants in the Spurs' front office?
50. Dallas Mavericks -- Solomon Alabi, Center, Florida State (traded to the Raptors for a future second round pick and cash)
And Alabi's long slide finally ends. The 7-foot eraser was projected as a mid-first rounder before medical red flags apparently submarined his draft stock. Alabi is relatively old, but he absolutely shut down the paint for the Seminoles last season, anchoring the top efficiency defense in the nation for them. If he can stay healthy, the defensively-challenged Raptors got themselves quite a player at the 50th slot with this shot-blocker extraordinaire.
The trades are coming in at a whirlwind pace at this point.
41. Miami Heat, Jarvis Varnado, Forward, Mississippi State
Varnado has a 7'4" wingspan and used that to his advantage as a defensive specialist blocking a NCAA record number of shots in 2009. He's the SEC defensive player of the year three years in a row.
42. Miami Heat, Da'Sean Butler, Forward, West Virginia
He was a player of the year finalist after an impressive NCAA tournament run. He's currently coming off of ACL surgery so he's still in rehab.
43. Los Angeles Lakers, Devin Ebanks, Forward, West Virginia
The 6'8", 208 pound forward is coming out after his freshman season. He averaged 10.8 points and 7.5 rebounds in his lone season.
44. Milwaukee Bucks, Jerome Jordan, Center, Tulsa
Jordan is a solid player leading Conference USA in field goal percentage and blocked shots as well as coming in second in rebounding.
45. Minnesota Timberwolves, Paulao Prestes, Center, Brazil
A few notable college names came off the board in the between the second set of five picks in the second round. Here are the 36th to 40th overall picks in the draft.
36. Detroit Pistons -- Terrico White, Guard, Ole Miss
He's an athletic combo guard, not too dissimilar from holdover Rodney Stuckey. At this point in the draft, he's about as good as it gets.
37. Milwaukee Bucks -- Darington Hobson, Forward, New Mexico
A point-forward (Hobson averaged 4.5 assists per game for the Lobos last season), Hobson is a very solid choice at this juncture.
38. New York Knicks -- Andy Rautins, Guard, Syracuse
Positives: he's a lights-out shooter and has underrated court vision. Negatives: he's old, not that athletic, and they might've been able to sign him as an undrafted free agent.
39. New York Knicks -- Landry Fields, Forward, Stanford
An under the radar scorer at Stanford, Fields -- like Rautins -- maybe could've been had as an undrafted free agent.
40. Indiana Pacers -- Lance Stephenson, Guard, Cincinnati
Here's what I had to say about Stephenson before the draft:
Calling his shot a work in progress is being generous (25% from three-point land), and his playmaking "skills" are nearly nonexistent as well. Cliffnotes version: Stephenson is a ball hog with indefensible shot selection, absent the talent to make it work.
As you might imagine, I'm not a fan of the pick.
The second round of the 2010 NBA Draft has kicked off and right off the bat three consecutive centers were taken. Here are the first five picks of the second round:
31. New Jersey Nets, Tibor Pleiss, Center, Germany (Rights to Pleiss traded to Atlanta)
The Nets traded this pick to the Hawks who then flipped to the Thunder.
32. Miami Heat, Dexter Pittman, Center, Texas
33. Sacramento Kings, Hassan Whiteside, Center, Marshall
34. Portland Trail Blazers, Armon Johnson, Guard, Nevada
35. Washington Wizards, Nemanja Bjelica, Forward, Serbia
This pick is going to the Minnesota Timberwolves as part of the deal involving Trevor Booker made earlier in the evening.
And I’m cheating and borrowing pre-draft analysis from Matt O’Brien, who had this to say about the 6-6, 225 small forward:
Hayward, meanwhile, has been overlooked due to his relatively advanced age and small stature. But he has the perimeter game to step in as a wing in the pros, and he showed at Marquette that he’s ferocious enough in the paint to mix it up with the bigs for rebounds. Hayward could end up being a sneaky good pick in the mid-second round.
And, that’s the last pick of the first round of the NBA Draft. Matt O’Brien and Co. are going to carry you through the rest of the evening.
And we have a new record: Kentucky has set a record for most players drafted in the first round of a single draft, with five now. Orton is a complete enigma after averaging three points and three rebounds in his one and done season at Kentucky.
Still, he's got an NBA frame and he's young, so the Magic apparently are willing to take a chance that he can develop. The more interesting questions is whether this signals a willingness on the part of the Magic to move highly-paid backup center Marcin Gortat.
As we speculated, there was no way the Grizzlies were holding on to all of their backcourt players, after drafting Xavier Henry, Dominique Jones and Greivis Vazquez (to go with holdovers O.J. Mayo and Mike Conley). The Grizzlies have reportedly sold the righs to Jones to the Mavs, per ESPN's Marc Stein. Draft Express' Jonathan Givony further reports that the Mavs paid the Hawks $3 million for Jones' rights.
With last year's rookie Rodrigue Beaubois, an explosive point guard, and Jones, a muscular combo guard, the Mavs have the foundations of a stellar backcourt down the line.
Never a lock to be a first round pick, even after testing the waters after his junior season, the fiery Venezuelan sneaks into the first round as a surprise selection by the guard-heavy Grizzlies.
He spent four years playing for Gary Williams at Maryland and left as one of the program’s most decorated players. He spent most of his time running the point, with the ball in his hands, an extension of his coach on the court.
The Grizzlies have a number of players in the backcourt with similar size and skillsets, and there’s a question among scouts and observers about Vasquez’s speed. At 6-6, 211 pounds he’s got NBA size, though, and he should be able to earn minutes as a backup.
You might remember Jordan Crawford from the crazy Xavier-Kansas State Sweet 16 this past year; that's right, the 35-foot jumper that forced a second overtime. Well now he has an NBA home, heading down to Atlanta after the Nets took him 27th overall and shipped him to the Hawks as part of the Damion James trade.
Crawford packs quite a bit of scoring punch, and provides decent insurance if Joe Johnson does indeed leave Atlanta this offseason.
This pick is being made for New Orleans, so Pondexter is headed to the Hornets as part of the big deal made earlier in the evening.
As a senior, Pondexter, a 6-6, 225-pound swingman, averaged 19.3 points, so he’s a proven scorer. But it’s another roster that’s in the process of getting shaken up. But he could, with an impressive summer and training camp, take some of the minutes vacated by Morris Peterson, who was dealt to Oklahoma City.
Memphis GM Chris Wallace continues to pile up backcourt players. After selecting Kanas' Xavier Henry earlier on the night, the Grizzlies selected South Florida's Dominique Jones 25th overall. Jones, a burly combo guard out of South Florida could be a steal at this point in the draft. A physical presence, Jones is adept at creating his own shot and getting into the lane, although he needs to improve his outside shot. Still, those limitations from three-point range didn't prevent him from dominating the Big East last season, putting up over 20 points a game, as he carried South Florida to near-relevance (a major accomplishment in that loaded conference).
An underrated playmaker, Jones will likely have to transition to the point in the pros. With O.J. Mayo and Mike Conley already on board in Memphis, the Grizzlies backcourt is suddenly very crowded. Expect some more moves here.
And, this pick already has been dealt, according to Yahoo! Sports.
James is going to the New Jersey Nets, who ship two picks to the Hawks: the 27th and 31st overall.
Another four-year player, James averaged 18 points per game as a senior for the Longhorns. He’s a swingman at 6-7, 225 pounds, and has shown an ability to rebound and block shots at a high level. Improved his 3-point shot but it’s not a strength or a go-to weapon. And with all of the roster moves the Nets are making it’s hard to tell how or where he’ll fit in on their lineup.
The first four-year player selected tonight, Booker finished fifth in scoring all-time at Clemson with 1,725 points. But he did more altering other teams’ shots, blocking 249 shots in his four seasons.
And, this just in — he’s going to the wheeling, dealing Washington Wizards.
According to the ESPN people on the television, the deal looks like this:
- Washington gets Booker and Minnesota’s 56th overall pick
- Minnesota gets the 30th and 35th overall pick
Booker is a bit undersized at 6-7, 240 pounds, because he’s a post player, not a shooter. So there will be some adjustment period needed when he gets to the District. They’ll have a better idea of what they have after summer league.
It’s possible he could compete for minutes up front beind Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee, but the Wizards’ roster remains in the early stages of a makeover.
You might remember Elliot Williams from Duke two years ago: he was the lightning-quick freshman guard off the bench whose emergence as a starter catalyzed the team. He left Durham following his freshman year to transfer to Memphis to be closer to his ill mother, and he absolutely lit up C-USA as a sophomore.
Williams is heavily left-handed, great at getting to the hole, although his shot is a work in progress. He's a bit redundant with Jerryd Bayless, so it'll be interesting to see what the wheeling and dealing Blazers do with them.
This pick is for the New Orleans Hornets, who swung a deal earlier in the evening in the Cole Aldrich deal.
Brackins spent three seasons with the Cyclones, starting from Day 1. He averaged 20.2 points as a sophomore then 16.5 as a junior, leading his team in scoring both seasons. He’s got great size at 6-10, 230 pounds and averaged a block a game for his career.
Two more fun tidbits on Brackins. He likes to skateboard, and so this second item makes sense: He’s going to sign a shoe deal with Vans, according to Luke Winn of SI.com.
Stop me if you've heard this one before: the Spurs have stolen an underrated player in the draft. This year, it's James Anderson, who San Antonio nabbed at 20th overall. Anderson was a preposterously efficient scorer at Oklahoma State, and figures to give the Spurs an excellent kick-out option for the Spurs to punish teams for doubling.
Indeed, Anderson's 35% shooting from three-point land belied his smooth stroke, considering the amount of defensive attention he attracted as the Cowboys' focal point on offense. Along with George Hill and DeJuan Blair, San Antonio is well on its way towards building a nice young nucleus to complement its aging Big Three.
Bradley made the all-Big 12 rookie team one year after being named the top high school senior in the country — yes, ahead of John Wall and a couple other players already selected tonight.
He’s a point guard, which is a position of strength for the Boston Celtics; you could argue Rajon Rondo was their most valuable player in the postseason during their surprise run to the NBA Finals. But it’s also a relatively inexpensive infusion of youth on a team led by three veterans in their mid-30s.
He scored just 11.6 points per game during his lone season with the Longhorns and hit 36 percent of his 3-point attempts. He also showed promise as a defender.
There has been a trade. After the Thunder selected Kentucky's Eric Bledsoe 18th overall (that's the fourth Wildcat to come off the board, for those of you keeping score at home), they will reportedly trade him to the Clippers for a future first round pick, according to Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Bledsoe would have been an odd fit in Oklahoma City given that they already have Russell Westbrook, but on the Clippers, Bledsoe will have a chance to come along slowly behind Baron Davis (assuming they don't move the conditioning-challenged former UCLA product). Bledsoe has an NBA-ready body and a solid stroke from three-point range, although he struggled with turnovers as a freshman. If Bledsoe can figure out how to run a team, he could be an absolute steal at this point in the first round.
This pick should be for the Washington Wizards, who reportedly made a deal earlier in which they received Kirk Hinrich and this pick from the Bulls.
So this trade means one thing for Chicago: Cap space created to attempt to lure LeBron James away from Chicago.
For Washington, it’s another building block, adding to the strong foundation piece selected first overall tonight, point guard John Wall.
For the Wizards, this is a guy you have to imagine won’t be in Washington this season. The vitals: He’s 6-9, 264 pounds, and he’ll turn 21 in December. By taking on Hinrich, the Wizards added a big salary; they won’t bring in a rookie, give him a guaranteed salary and sit him on the bench. Look for him to keep playing overseas.
After getting his pink slip shortly before the NBA Draft set off, dead man walking-GM Kevin Pritchard has made his first move of the night: the Blazers will acquire Luke Babbitt (who Minnesota drafted 16th overall) as well as Ryan Gomes in return for Martell Webster, according to Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Babbitt is a sweet-shooting big (over 40% on threes) at 6-foot-9, who figures to play the three-spot in the pros. An underrated athlete -- he famously jumped 37 inches at the NBA Combine -- Babbitt has a mutlfaceted offensive game, and rebounded well in college, although that was against some lesser competition at Nevada.
As for the T'Wolves, Webster gives them a solid two-guard, teaming with Wes Johnson to remake their wings after a disastrous season from their twos and threes this past season.
For the second year in a row, a Virginia Commonwealth player goes in the first round of the NBA Draft. Sanders is an athletic shot-blocker who stands at 6-10 but has a 7-5-wingspan that made him a terror in the mid-major Colonial Athletic Association.
Sanders spent three seasons at VCU but hasn’t been a basketball player that long. He showed rapid improvement in college, averaging 14.4 points his final season. He swatted 90 or more shots in each season and grabbed 9.1 rebounds a game last year.
Perhaps unfortunately for him, the Bucks will need him to produce, especially considering last season’s injury to Andrew Bogut. He could be pressed into early service, ready or not.
That makes it three Kentucky players in the lottery of the 2010 NBA Draft. The Rockets landed Kentucky junior forward Patrick Patterson with the 14th pick. The bruising 6-foot-9 Patterson figures to make an immediate impact for the Rockets, coming in with a polished game, including range out to at least the college three-point line.
Patterson fills the void of an athletic-four the Rockets had after moving Carl Landry as part of the trade that brought them Kevin Martin this past season. If Yao Ming can come back from his foot problems, Houston could boast a formidable front line next year.
Another early entry — that’s 13 in a row if you’re counting at home — Davis heads north as Chris Bosh insurance. Or perhaps as a definite attempt as a replacement, since few people believe Bosh will be back in the dinosaur uniforms next season.
There were high expectations for Davis (6-10, 225) entering his Tar Heels career, and you could argue that he never lived up to them. He doubled his scoring as a sophomore to 13.4 points per game and shot a high percentage from the floor but he never dominated (though he blocked 129 shots in two seasons).
Davis broke the lunate bone in his left wrist late last season and ultimately played only 23 games.
Are you prepared to live in a universe where Memphis GM Chris Wallace makes sensible draft picks? A year removed from last year's Hasheem Thabeet fiasco (although to be fair Thabeet probably won't get sent down to the D-League again...right?), the Grizzlies nabbed 19-year old southpaw Xavier Henry out of Kansas with the 12th pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.
Henry has a smooth shooting stroke, putting in over 40% of his three-point attempts for the Jayhawks in his freshman season, and a strong, NBA-ready body, particularly for such a young player. Along with O.J. Mayo, Henry should give the Grizzlies a very promising backcourt for the future (and just like that, Mike Conley might be out of the picture, with Mayo sliding over as a combo-lead guard).
Known more for his defense and rebounding than anything, he should provide some of the inside presence for … the Oklahoma City Thunder, which, according to Yahoo! Sports and ESPN, has made a deal with the Hornets for the big man.
Aldrich spent three seasons at Kansas, and scored just 11.3 points per game as a junior. But the blocks jump out at you — all 125 of them last season.
ESPN is reporting the trade as:
Oklahoma City getting Aldrich and Morris Peterson.
New Orleans getting the 18th and 21st overall picks.
The Pacers' selection of Paul George may have left you scratching your head. Who, exactly? The 6-foot-8 George played out of the national spotlight at Fresno State, but he might just have the most potential of any swingman in this year's draft. George shot well from deep, rebounded the ball well, although his playmaking skills are nonexistent. Still, he's a bit of a boom or bust pick, given the questions surrounding someone who didn't really dominate the way you'd expect a lottery pick to do at Fresno State.
The bigger issue for the Pacers is that George plays the same position -- small forward -- as their best player, Danny Granger. Unless they plan on moving one of them, it's hard to see how the two fit together long term. Look for more moves out of Indiana, if not soon, at least over the coming months.
One of the breakout stars of the NCAA tournament from upstart Butler, Hayward is athletic but lithe at 6-8, 207 pounds. Shocking pick by the Utah Jazz? Not exactly. He averaged 15.5 points last season and shot much worse from the field than he did during his freshman year (he declared for the draft after his sophomore season).
This isn’t a pick the Jazz earned with their record, it’s one they stole over two trades, ultimately from the New York Knicks. So it’s not immediately clear where he fits into a solid Jazz lineup; he’s more of a depth selection, which is good for him. Haywood will have time to get bigger and stronger and develop an NBA game. Eventually, C.J. Miles could make way (or at least lose minutes) to the youngster.
And yes, Larry Bird just kicked a trash can in the Pacers draft room.
For the second consecutive year, the Clippers have nailed their lottery pick. Sure, last season was a gimme with no-doubter Blake Griffin going to Los Angeles first overall, but this time around, they got a guy with some real upside in Al-Farouq Aminu eighth overall.
Aminu is admittedly raw: He can't shoot to save his life and he's not much of a playmaker, but his athleticism is off the charts, and shows up in his monstrous rebounding numbers and on the defensive end. If Aminu is going to make a real impact in the league he'll have to add a jumper to move to the three-spot, but he's a Shawn Marion-like player who has a very, very high ceililng.
After a surprising pick by the Golden State Warriors, a steal falls into Detroit’s lap in the gifted big man from Georgetown. He spent two years with the Hoyas, averaging 16.1 points and 9.8 rebounds as a senior.
At 6-11, 247 pounds, Monroe should slide right in to the frontcourt rotation for Detroit, who used a combination of Ben Wallace and Kwame Brown at center last season.
Interesting tidbit — he’ll be reunited, at least temporarily, with former Hoyas teammate DaJuan Summers, a rookie last season.
It’s Detroit’s first lottery pick since it took Darko back in 2003. You have to think this selection will work out a little better for the Pistons.
We have our first real head scratcher of the night. Sure, the T'Wolves passing on Damarcus Cousins to grab Wes Johnson was a questionable move, but the Warriors may have one-upped them, choosing Ekpe Udoh sixth overall in the 2010 NBA Draft.
That's not to say that Udoh isn't a fine prospect -- he's an elite shot-blocker with a decent feel on the offensive end -- but the Warriors passed on Greg Monroe and Al-Farouq Aminu, both of whom are three years younger than the Baylor product. Monroe in particular would seem to fit in perfectly in Don Nelson's system as a highly skilled big who can roam the high post.
Monroe and Aminu have real star potential; Udoh is more of a solid rotation guy.
Well, the first “controversial” pick of the day is off the board, as the third freshman of the evening is selected. The Kings recently dealt Spencer Hawes for Sam Dalembert, but you have to imagine that Cousins will have the opportunity to play right away, having shown an ability to score and rebound at an elite level. His character and work ethic remain the question marks.
And hey, Cousins is sporting a purple shirt. Well played — a veteran move.
David Kahn strikes again. Though it was hardly surprising, Minnesota's selection of Syracuse's Wesley Johnson fourth overall is the first real questionable move of the 2010 NBA Draft. While Johnson is a solid prospect who should be able to fill in right away on the wing for the woefully thin T'Wolves, he's relatively old (23), didn't rebound all that well at Syracuse and too often settled for jumpers. In other words, there's a good bit of long-term bust potential here.
Minnesota passed on the obviously talented Demarcus Cousins, who though he has his own motivation/personality issues, is simply too talented to pass at this juncture. Yes, the T'Wolves are already set in the frontcourt with Al Jefferson and Kevin Love, but when you're this bad you simply need to collect assets and not draft for need; you can trade the odd man out later.
Other than that, it was a great pick.
Some would say this draft is holding true to form, as the New Jersey Nets, who had the worst record in the league last season, selected Derrick Favors, the freshman out of Georgia Tech. The ACC’s rookie of the year last year averaged 12.4 points per game to go with 2.1 blocks and 8.4 rebounds.
At 6-foot-10 1/2, he adds another long body to the Nets lineup that already features Brook Lopez in the middle (7-0) and Yi Jianlian at one of the forward spots — also 7-0.
In the end, the Sixers opted for the sure-thing in Evan Turner over the tantalizing potential that is Georgia Tech big man Derrick Favors. Turner isn't a great fit with the personnel the Sixers already have -- he and Andre Iguodola are a bit redundant -- but there's little doubt he'll develop into a very solid pro in the mold of Brandon Roy.
Don't be surprised if the Sixers shop Iguodola (and his massive contract) over the summer, looking to rebuild around a suddenly strong, young backcourt in Turner and last year's first-rounder Jrue Hollday.
Well, it wasn't exactly a shock when the Wizards made all-everything Kentucky standout John Wall the first overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. For a franchise starved for a star, the electric Wall was the only choice who ever made any sense. Indeed, the team didn't even work out Ohio State's Evan Turner, so there was little suspense who Washington would take.
The only interesting question now is what the Wizards will do to break up the logjam they have at point guard, after acquiring former Bull Kirk Hinrich earlier in the day in a yet-to-be-completed deal, and with Gilbert Arenas presumably coming back from his gun suspension. Look for the team to try to dump Arenas' albatross of a contract some time before the beginning of next season.
It's already been a busy day in regards to the NBA Draft, especially for the team that has the No. 1 pick.
The Washington Wizards, who are expected to select Kentucky point guard John Wall with the first selection when the NBA Draft gets underway (7:30 p.m. at Madison Square Garden), reportedly have made a trade. According to ESPN, the Wizards sent something -- cash or other considerations -- to the Chicago Bulls for point guard Kirk Hinrich and the No. 17 overall pick.
Where the draft goes from there? Who knows for sure, though the Philadelphia 76ers are expected to select Evan Turner out of Ohio State. SB Nation's crew of NBA bloggers predicted as much in our 2010 NBA Mock Draft, unveiled this morning.
Other SB Nation items you'll want to be aware of as we count down to the first pick:
- SB Nation and AOL Fanhouse combined powers for a pre-draft chat; you can click here for the transcript.
- Things get truly interesting with that third pick, right? And again with the fourth. The general managers for New Jersey and Minnesota might be trying to figure out which player to choose between Derrick Favors and DeMarcus Cousins. It's not a clear-cut call, as Mike Prada detailed today.
- Matt O'Brien, who will be manning the live draft updates here this evening, broke down who's great (and who ain't) using a complex formula of his own design; he's smart enough to pull that off. So click accordingly for his breakdowns of small forwards, guards and power forwards and centers.
And finally, here's tonight's draft order -- at least until the next trade comes down.
3. New Jersey
6. Golden State
8. L.A. Clippers
9. Utah (From New York through Phoenix)
11. New Orleans
15. Milwaukee (from Chicago)
16. Minnesota (from Denver through Charlotte)
17. Chicago (from Milwaukee) [NOTE: This is the pick that reportedly was dealt to the Wizards]
18. Oklahoma (from Miami)
20. San Antonio
21. Oklahoma City
23. Minnesota (from Philadelphia through Utah)
25. Memphis (from Denver)
26. Oklahoma City (from Phoenix)
27. New Jersey (from Dallas)
28. Memphis (from L.A. Lakers)
30. Washington (from Cleveland)
31. New Jersey
32. Miami (from Minnesota through Oklahoma City)
34. Portland (from Chicago through Golden State)
37. Milwaukee (from Philadelphia)
38. New York
39. New York (from L.A. Clippers through Denver)
41. Miami (from New Orleans)
42. Miami (from Toronto)
43. L.A. Lakers (from Memphis)
44. Milwaukee (from Portland through Golden State)
45. Minnesota (from Houston)
49. San Antonio
50. Dallas (from Oklahoma City)
51. Oklahoma City (from Dallas and Minnesota through Portland)
54. L.A. Clippers (from Denver)
56. Minnesota (from Phoenix)
57. Dallas (pick may be conveyed to Indiana)
58. L.A. Lakers
60. Phoenix (from Cleveland)
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