Some people say you need at least three years to properly assess a draft, to which we say: Who cares?
Below is a breakdown of each and every team did on draft night, including a few unusual suspects up top. Indeed, it's a brave new world when the Clippers are taking home the accolades for their drafting acumen, but that is the world we apparently live in. Now if they could just ensure Al-Farouq Aminu won't blow out his knees ...
And T'Wolves and Knicks fans, we feel your pain (while still reveling in the ongoing comedy gift that is the David Kahn era). WIthout further ado, we present the winners and losers from draft night 2010
Los Angeles Clippers. Al-Farouq Aminu (8), Eric Bledsoe (18), Willie Warren (54). If you're LeBron James, does a young core of Eric Bledsoe, Eric Gordon, Al-Farouq Aminu and Blake Griffin interest you? Aminu had the most potential of anyone on the board when the Clippers selected him and Bledsoe could end up being one of the better players in the draft if he can get his turnovers under control. As for Warren, I'd say the 54th pick is worth it for a guy who was widely seen as a top-10 caliber player before his selfish, depressing play submarined his stock, on the off chance that he rediscovers how to play, perhaps as a scoring combo-guard off the bench. All around, a virtuoso draft for the Clippers.
Sacramento Kings: DeMarcus Cousins (5), Hassan Whiteside (33). They got the most productive player in college basketball last season at the fifth pick, and a mystery 7-footer who many thought had a chance to go in the lottery at the beginning of the draft process with the 33rd pick. That, my friends, is how you win the draft. Cousins is the most physically dominant big to come out of college since maybe Shaq, and if he weren't such a headcase likely would have been the top pick, while Whiteside is clearly very raw, but talented, well worth a flyer in the second round. Suddenly things are looking up in Sac-town.
Boston Celtics: Avery Bradley (19), Luke Harangody (52). Assuming the Big Three are nearly on their last legs, Bradley should hasten the rebuilding process, teaming with Rondo to provide a stellar backcourt. Bradley's more of a combo guard, undersized at the two but without the playmaking skills to be a pure one, so it remains a question whether he and Rondo can play effectively together, but at 19th overall he was a coup for Boston based on his talent. Harangody probably won't amount to much, but at least he gives the Celts an understudy for Scalabrine's position of awkward white guy the crowd pines for.
New Jersey Nets: Derrick Favors (3), Damion James (24). Favors is a bit of a boom-bust player, but his upside is so undeniably large that it'd be almost impossible to justify passing on him, unless it was to nab Cousins. As for James, he was underrated coming out of Texas, but he's the kind of high-impact energy player NBA GMs typically underestimate. He even added a bit of an outside shot the past few years at Texas, so don't be surprised to see him make an immediate impact for New Jersey.
Philadelphia 76ers: Evan Turner (2). Ed Stefanski & Co. didn't mess up. They took the sure thing in Turner, who should be a fixture in their backcourt along with Jrue Holiday for quite some time. As T'Wolves fans can no doubt tell you, there's plenty to be said for simply making the obvious move.
Washington Wizards: John Wall (1), Kevin Seraphin (17), Trevor Booker (23), Hamady N'Diaye (56). And like that, the Wizards are suddenly relevant again. Indeed, after pro basketball suffered a depressing death in our nation's capital last season, Wall instantly brings back the fans and resurrects hope that the Wizards just might have a special future. Lucking into Wall alone makes this draft a home run for the Wizards' brass, but they didn't stop there last night, instead adding two players who could be solid rotation pieces down the line.
Let's be honest, taking on Kirk Hinrich's salary for two years to get a hold of the 17th pick in the draft wasn't a great deal for the Wizards. But that's an argument for another day. Seraphin -- a raw, athletic big who's drawn comparisons to Serge Ibaka -- gives the team a prospect with the requisite rebounding and shot-blocking skills to make a difference without touching the ball, though he's likely a few years away.
As for Booker, he's an explosive finisher and was enormously productive as a four-year player in the ACC. He's admittedly undersized to play inside in the pros, but as a bench player who provides energy, defense and rebounding, he's a perfect fit who should make an immediate impact.
Detroit Pistons: Greg Monroe (7), Terrico White (36). Monroe was perhaps the fifth-best prospect in the class, so the Pistons did well to land him here. His deft passing and high skill level give him a chance to be a legit star in the right system, something the Pistons desperately need. White is a solid athlete, though he duplicates much of what Rodney Stuckey already gives them.
Houston Rockets: Patrick Patterson (14). Patterson should fill the void left by the departed Carl Landry, providing a physical presence in the paint, but also touch out to the three-point line. Daryl Morey just keeps collecting assets...
Memphis Grizzlies: Xavier Henry (12), Greivis Vasquez (28). Memphis GM Chris Wallace making shrewd picks? What is going on? But seriously, Henry was actually a bit under the radar considering: 1) His youth 2) His great shooting touch 3) He had to stifle his game to fit in to a loaded Kansas team last season. As for Vasquez, he'll struggle to guard, but he's a smart, big point guard who could end up making an impact given the ongoing disappointment that is the Mike Conley Era.
Milwaukee Bucks: Larry Sanders (15), Darington Hobson (37), Jerome Jordan (44), Tiny Gallon (47). This is more about quantity more than anything else. All four of these guys could have gone in the first round and I wouldn't have blinked; for the Bucks to land this quartet, with three of them coming in the non-guaranteed second round is a very solid effort. Fear the Deer indeed.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Cole Aldrich (11), Tibor Pleiss (31), Latavious Williams (48), Ryan Reid (57). Is it alright if I admit I wasn't that crazy about the Thunder's draft? Sure, landing a future first-rounder from the Clippers could be big (provided the Clippers don't land a big free agent this summer), but Aldrich at 11? He fills a need to be sure, but there's a reason he most often draws comparisons to Joel Pryzbilla. Pleiss is a bit of a mystery and Williams has good hops for a big man, but Ryan Reid really was Sam Presti's Keith Hernandez moment: Reid averaged 6.8 points and 4 rebounds per game for Florida State, prompting Jonathan Givony of Draft Express to dub him the worst draft pick...ever.
San Antonio Spurs: James Anderson (20), Ryan Richards (49). Another draft, another steal for RC Buford and Gregg Popovich. Anderson was a preposterously efficient scorer for Oklahoma State, and figures to help spread the court for the Spurs with his shooting. In the second round, Richards is a bit of a mystery; all ESPN's international experts could say was that he can run the court, along with footage of him, you know, running doing drills. But we've all learned it's foolish to doubt the San Antonio braintrust.
Dallas Mavericks: Dominique Jones (25). Jones is a burly combo guard who demolished the competition in the Big East last year. His shot is a bit suspect, but he's a physical specimen who gets to the line and was an underrated passer and rebounder for South Florida. Pairing him with Rodrigue Beaubois gives the Mavs the makings of a solid backcourt for years to come. I can't wait for Rick Carlisle to not play both of them.
Miami Heat: Dexter PIttman (32), Jarvis Varnado (41), Da'Sean Butler (42). The Heat didn't want any first-rounders so they can clear as much cap space as possible, which is why they shipped the 18th pick (and Daequan Cook's contract) to the Thunder for the 32nd pick. As for their actual picks, they were good but not great. Pittman can be a contributor IF he can improve his conditioning (read: lose weight), Varnado can be a rotation player IF he can bulk up and develop some more offensive game, and Butler can be a great scorer off the bench IF he can come back from his torn ACL.
Toronto Raptors: Ed Davis (13), Solomon Alabi (50). Ho hum; Davis is a good athlete who doesn't have much in the way of a post game, while Alabi can be a defensive force in the paint, if the medical red flags that tanked his draft stock don't prevent him from playing. Solid potential for both to be quality rotation players but not much else.
Utah Jazz: Gordon Hayward (9), Jeremy Evans (55). All "Utah drafting a white guy" jokes aside, I actually like the Hayward pick a ton. He's a better shooter than he showed last season, he's not afraid to mix it up in the paint and battle for rebounds and he's a tenacious defender (after all, you had to be to play for Butler last season). But all of that in a 6-foot-8 package, and you have the makings of a great wing. Evans is a bit of a reach at 55, but this draft was all about the first pick for the Jazz.
Los Angeles Lakers: Devin Ebanks (43), Derrick Caracter (58). Let's get this out of the way: Ebanks might be the worst shooter in the draft. But he is 6-foot-8, a nightmare on the defensive end, and a relentless rebounder. If he can develop a perimeter game, the Lakers might have found themselves a player. Caracter, meanwhile, is a talented post player dogged by motivation issues, but is well worth the risk that late in the draft.
Phoenix Suns: Gani Lawal (46), Dwayne Collins (60). Lawal is pretty good at a lot of things, but doesn't really stand out with one elite skill. Still, he's big, decently athletic with a good motor. He has a chance to contribute in the desert. The same applies to Collins, another bouncy big out of Miami. Not bad work for the mid to late-second round.
Portland Trail Blazers: Luke Babbitt (16), Elliot Williams (22), Armon Johnson (34). There's little doubt Babbitt was the best shooter in the draft. At 6-foot-9, he shot over 40% from deep and 90% from the line for Nevada last season, immediately helping the Blazers spread the court. He's an underrated athlete, jumping an eye-opening 37 inches at the combine, though his iffy lateral quickness means he'll struggle to guard (shocking, i know: white guy shooter who can't defend). Trading Martell Webster for him is more or less a wash, although Babbitt's superior shooting should make him more valuable for Portland. Williams is a lightning-quick guard who figures to push for minutes, while Johnson is an NBA-athlete who's not too good at basketball as of yet. All in all, not a bad last night for Kevin Pritchard.
Orlando Magic: Daniel Orton (29), Stanley Robinson (59). Three points and three rebounds. That's what Orton averaged as a freshman at Kentucky. Anyone who says they have a clue how he'll develop at the next level is lying. Robinson is a better gamble at the end of the second round; his rim-rattling finishing and emerging perimeter game give him a chance to contribute down the line.
Atlanta Hawks: Jordan Crawford (27), Pape Sy (53). Crawford is a good enough pick up that late in the first round, and gives the team some insurance if Joe Johnson departs in free agency. But Sy is a complete enigma in the second round; even ESPN's Fran Fraschilla, whose job is to gush over the international kids, was at a loss to justify this move.
New Orleans Hornets: Craig Brackins (21), Quincy Pondexter (26). I can't decide if i love or hate the Hornets' draft. Both Brackins and Pondexter are older players, so they don't project much in the pros, but neither should be a bust either. Still, Brackins fell off badly trying to carry a woeful Iowa State team while Pondexter still struggles from deep. Again, this pair aren't terrible, but New Orleans should have done better at 21st and 26th.
Golden State Warriors: Ekpe Udoh (6). Udoh is a fine prospect whose shot-blocking prowess should carry over to the pros. But he's already 23 years old and Golden State passed on Greg Monroe, whose preternatural playmaking ability would've seemed a natural fit for Don Nelson's offense, and Al-Farouq Aminu, who, though raw, has nearly as much upside as anyone in the draft.
Indiana Pacers: Paul George (10), Lance Stephenson (40), Magnum Rolle (51). Any time you can take the next "next Tracy McGrady" -- supplanting the immortal Qyntel Woods for the distinction -- you've got to do it. Especially when small forward is the only position you're set at. George is mostly anonymous, even to diehard college basketball fans, after toiling at Fresno State. He undoubtedly has a high ceiling, thanks to his elite athleticism and good shot, but he's never quite dominated like you'd expect a lottery pick to do so in a lesser college conference. Add in Stephenson, who's a 30 for 30 cautionary tale waiting to happen (bonus title: Born Ready), and you have a godawful draft.
Minnesota Timberwolves: Wesley Johnson (4), Lazar Hayward (30), Nemanja Bjelica (35). You can't pass on potential franchise players, someone with a chance to be a top-20 guy in the league, to draft solid rotation guys. Not if you don't want your fanbase to descend into a pit of despair and existential angst. And yet that's exactly what David Kahn did, in eschewing Demarcus Cousins in favor of 23-year old Wes Johnson. Indeed, after seemingly trying to corner the market on point guards last year, David Kahn followed it up by targeting small forwards who can't create their own shots this time around. I can't wait for next year when it's raw big guys who are "rebounder/defenders" (read: don't have a clue on offense). Those guys are always my favorites.
New York Knicks: Andy Rautins (38), Landry Fields (39). It really wouldn't be an NBA Draft without Knicks fans screaming in agony, needlessly tormented by a front office unfamiliar with the concept of draft value. It wasn't quite taking Renaldo Balkman a spot ahead of Rajon Rondo, but picking two guys in Rautins and Fields who they very well could have been had as undrafted free agents is indefensible.
Charlotte Bobcats. Nothing to see here, moving on.
Chicago Bulls. LeBron, LeBron, LeBron, LeBron, LeBron...Bosh. LeBron, LeBron, LeBron, LeBron...Bosh. I'm sorry, the Bulls are busy counting down the second until July 1 when the great free agent of 2010 begins, entertaining daydreams of luring The Global Icon and another max free agent to the Second City now that they have rid themselves of Kirk Hinrich's contract and the 17th pick.
Cleveland Cavaliers. Well, they mortgaged any future to make a run at the title this past season, giving up the 30th pick and oodles of future cap flexibility to get... Antawn Jamison. This is the part where you restart if you were playing franchise mode on Madden. Unfortunately for Cleveland, this is real life.
Denver Nuggets. No harm, no foul for the Nuggets.