If ever there was a confusing draft, it is the NBA Draft. The 2010 NBA Draft didn’t differ too much from that assumption. Picks and player’s rights being traded, draftees from countries we can barely pronounce, and money being shifted around to make salary cap room makes for a tiresome day for NBA GMs, ESPN analysts, the players, and certainly the fans. Although it may be a maze of a draft, it isn’t the marathon that the NFL Draft has become.
Much like I said in a previous article regarding the NFL Draft (found here), teams won’t immediately know what their draft picks ratings will be, unlike you would find in a popular video game. And while it’s hard to declare any team as a “loser” or a “winner” even before the season starts, pretty accurate predictions can be made to certain teams. With only two rounds to break down, it can be a little more difficult to grasp a “wider picture” in the NBA Draft. But nevertheless, analysts do it for a living, so it can be done.
With all this taken into consideration, I’ll attempt to break down some winning teams, some losing teams, and one “X Factor” team.
Winner – Philadelphia 76ers
#2 Evan Turner
You can say the Philadelphia 76ers haven’t had the best of luck in their previous drafts. Jrue Holiday proved to be a decent pick for the 76ers last year, but not since selecting Andre Iguodala in the 2004 Draft have the 76ers had a great pick. This may be the year that breaks that trend. I already previewed the 76ers pick Evan Turner (found on the final page), so for the sake of brevity I won’t go into too much depth on Turner himself. However, I will say with Turner’s ball handling ability that the 76ers can once again successfully deploy their high octane offense.
Winner – Washington Wizards
#1 John Wall, #18 Kevin Seraphin, #30 Lazar Hayward, #35 Nemanja Bjelica
I really hate to say that the team with the number one overall pick is a winner because it seems like a cop out, but they really are the big winners of the night. They got perhaps the best player in the draft in John Wall, and that selection showed that the team is leaning away from the troubled Gilbert Arenas. John Wall should shape up to be a great NBA player, much like another John Calipari product Derrick Rose. Kevin Seraphin is a pick from France so you may not have heard of him. He offers tremendous size (6′ 9″, 258 Lbs.), he’s young (20). Lazar Hayward will more than likely be just a role player, but he will have the coolest name out of any other picks in this draft.
Loser – Utah Jazz
#9 Gordon Hayward
Originally, I thought “Hey, I like Hayward” after watching him in the NCAA Tournament. Then I realized that’s just the NCAA Tournament. Granted, he did lead an inspired run for a Butler team that many counted out time and time again, but how will he fair against some of the most elite athletes in the NBA? Will he be able to effectively create his own shot, or will much quicker defenses stifle his creative ability? But again because I like Hayward and think he’s a good fit with Utah it’s hard to call them a “loser”, per se.
“X Factor” – Minnesota Timberwolves
#4 Wesley Johnson, #16 Luke Babbit, #23 Trevor Booker, #45 Paulo Prestes, #56 Hamady N’diaye
The Timberwolves draft can swing one way or the other, so I’m going to say they’re the “X Factor” in the draft. With the fourth overall selection in the draft, the Timberwolves selected Wesley Johnson (that’s right, not a point guard!). What Johnson brings to the team is, well, not a point guard. But on a serious note Johnson brings some great athleticism, length, and something you can’t coach – age. At 23 he was by far the oldest pick out of the top five, and that experience could shine alongside players such as Brandon Jennings.
Outside of Wes Johnson, the Timberwolves made a bit of a stretch by selecting Luke Babbit and Trevor Booker in the first round. But when you’re as bad as the Timberwolves were last year, there’s only one way to go, and that’s up. Hopefully.