It's in the book. The 2010 NBA draft has come and gone. And while Timberwolves fans all have an opinion on what the Timberwolves did, let's not forget that 29 other teams had a draft this year too.
Well, 28. I mean, really, how much of a "draft" did the Knicks have?
I must say though, it was fun to see the draft be...well, fun, again. There was a bit of a return to it being a spectacle....something it used to be in generations past, but seems to have lost as of late. The draftees had some serious style that brought back memories of old. The MSG fans....despite their team not picking until 8th in the second round...were alive and screamin'. And who didn't enjoy watching David Stern antagonize them? Even resident Wolves hater Bill Simmons got a kick out of it:
4:32: David Stern is booed by the New York crowd, calls the fans unruly, then cups his ears for boos after reminding everyone that the Lakers won the 2010 Finals by beating the Celtics. He's slowly morphing into the Mr. McMahon of the NBA. I love it. We might see him make a catty "By the way, I hope LeBron signs with Chicago" joke before the night's over.
But, of course, what would an NBA draft be without NBA draft analysis? That is what I am here to provide today. Tonight. Whatever.
Only the first round though, folks. After all, second rounders aren't guaranteed contracts. No use analyzing a pick that is more likely to be cut than not.
So let's get to it.
Actually, before we begin, let's mention a couple of things:
First. I really did love the style of this year's rookies. Very un-generic (exemplified best, of course, by our own Wes Johnson) Anyone can wear a black suit and tie. This year we got color. This year we got contrast. This year we got patterns. Just little customizations here and there that set them apart. Reminds me of 84' when Hakeem showed up in a bowtie, Barkley showed up in maroon, and Jordan....well, didn't show up at all....
Seriously, that is some style.
Second. I know people have been asking about it, so here's the video of our rookie press conference.
Now that that's out of the way, let's get down to it.
Pick #1 - Washington Wizards select John Wall (Kentucky)
Who didn't see this coming? It's the only team he worked out for and the rest of the rookies all but conceded the spot to him. Wall has been projected as the first overall pick in this draft since 2008. Seriously.
How will he do with the Wizards? Well, there's a world of talent here, no question about that. He's athletic. He's blindingly fast. He's a natural floor leader and a good kid. He has all the tools to succeed and....as far as anyone can tell....the right mind to do it with.
The question, of course, is how do the Wizards fit him in? The adage is take the best player available, then adjust to it. Washington got the BPA thing....but seemed to have mixed up north and south on the adjustment compass. Not only do they have an immovable point guard contract already in Gilbert Arenas, but they then traded for a second one in Kirk Hinrich. That gives them three talented players at one position, all worth minutes. Yes, in some circumstances, Hinrich and Arenas can play shooting guard. But that's not ideal, and not something they can do every....or even most....nights. It'll be interesting to see how this pans out....Wall is far to talented (and hyped...let's be honest) not to play significant minutes. Who gets left out in the end?
Still, ultimately, there's really no arguing that this is a great pick. I firmly believe John Wall will be something of a reflection of Gary Payton for his career, and that's really saying something. Glove was one of the most talented, multi-dimensional and competitive point guards the NBA has ever seen. Wall has the ability to be that kind of player.
Pick #2 - Philadelphia 76ers select Evan Turner (Ohio State)
Another expected pick with another set of questionable fit characteristics. Turner is the Swiss Army Knife of this draft. To paraphrase the PS3, he only does everything. He's the reigning college player of the year. He had the best NCAA season since Magic Johnson. He's unquestionably NBA ready, ultra competitive, and skilled at an absurd level.
Problem is, the Sixers already had a PS3 going into the draft. His name is Andre Iguodala. Granted he's an older model, with scuffs and dents and outdated firmware. But he essentially does the same thing.
The glaring problem with the Sixers last year was shooting. Iggy is not a great shooter. Thad Young is not a great shooter. Louis Williams, Jrue Holiday and....Evan Turner....are not great shooters. Their best shooter is the newly acquired Andres Nocioni, who is....servicable in that department.
The 76ers' talent level went up. Their leadership went up. Their depth went up. Their biggest weakness is still as big as ever. Turner is their new best player and the kind of guy who can lead the team to something big...if he gets the right supporting cast.
Look for the Sixers to heavily shop Iguodala this summer. It's the only way they can hope to balance this roster.
Pick #3 - New Jersey Nets select Derrick Favors (Georgia Tech)
Ahh, I'm not real sure what to make of this pick. We've all discussed Favors pretty in depth here at Canis Hoops, so I'll let that analysis be as it is. The issue here is will Favors actually play for this team.
Before the draft, the Nets were all over the map, rumored to be moving up, down, sideways, and ultimately declaring they "weren't very happy" with their position. New owner Prohkov wanted Wes Johnson. New coach Avery Johnson wanted DeMarcus Cousins. GM Rod Thorn wanted Favors. They explored seemingly every avenue available...and several that weren't....including trying to get us to swap places with them. Didn't work.
So on draft night, they take Favors. Hooray? Not really. As Chad Ford noted in his post-draft wrap, new head coach Avery Johnson sounded less-than-enthused about the pick in his interview with ESPN. Several times, Johnson referred to Favors as something synonymous with an asset. Not once did he give any indication the kid was a cornerstone or any part of the future at all.
Then, post draft, Rod Thorn announces he's stepping down as Nets GM. Favors' biggest (and seemingly only) supported within the organization is leaving.
All this seems to add up to Favors being traded by summer's end.
It's a good pick for what it is. If they keep him, they have an athletic power forward who can rebound and defend to go with Brook Lopez, who can rebound and score. Good compliments. It they move him, he's a highly coveted asset. He's a couple years away, but figures to be a good....potentially great....player for his career. It's just hard to know where that will be right now.
Pick #4 - Minnesota Timberwolves select Wesley Johnson (Syracuse)
Johnson is another guy who has been discussed in depth here, so again, I'll let the debate over him as a player happen elsewhere.
As a pick, he's pretty solid. Count me among those who would have rather seen Cousins picked and traded, but let's be clear on one thing: we were going to end up with Johnson by the end of the night no matter what.
I'm not going to lie and say I don't like this pick. I know a lot of you don't want Johnson on the team. I do. He can't create his own shot....at least yet...and so that problem remains. But the truth is there's not much negative to be said about Johnson as a player on the Timberwolves. He isn't redundant (not even close). He won't force the team to adjust what it's doing. He's not going to take 2 or 3 years to get his feet under him.
He's a solid shooter and a sky high athlete, which goes a long way towards solving two big problems of ours. In comparison to what other players might have been for us? There's an argument to be made there. But just in terms of what Wes can do versus what we need, this is a good pick, and I'll leave it at that.
Pick #5 - Sacramento Kings select DeMarcus Cousins (Kentucky)
He was only going to fall so far, after all.
I think it's agreed by just about everyone that Cousins could....could....be the best player in this draft. He has an incredibly rare combination of overwhelming size and developing skill. The debate over his immaturity will probably never be settled conclusively, but just in terms of what he could be, Cousins is unparalleled in this draft class.
The Kings also don't have nearly the fit problem the Wizards or Sixers have. Samuel Dalembert is a center, Cousins is a center, that's a problem. I know people argue over his mobility, but let's be honest: DeMarcus Cousins is just not going to be an NBA power forward. However, the other two big men the Kings have are very tradable assets. Carl Landry is one of the most ridiculously efficient low post scorers in the NBA, and Jason Thompson is a great jack-of-all-trades big man who can compliment just about anyone.
In the end, the Kings have Cousins, they have Tyreke Evans, and although that's not going to get them many points beyond 15 feet, it's an incredibly good core duo to work with.
Pick #6 - Golden State Warriors select Ekpe Udoh (Baylor)
I...ummm...well....this pick, more than any other pick in the draft, puzzles me. Big time.
Let me get one thing straight. I have nothing against Udoh. I like him as a person, I like what he was able to do at Baylor, I think he's a fine player....for what he is. A solid defensive big man who can rebound and protect the rim.
That's why, in a draft sense, this is a monsterous reach. Not only did the Warriors not pick the BPA, but they didn't even pick someone who fit. Even the Timberwolves at least managed to pick someone who fit. If you think about the team the Warriors have....basically a brigade of athletic shooters....what kind of big man would fit with that? Maybe a skilled low post scorer with great court vision and passing ability who can balance the floor and find those open shooters?
Why, that sounds like Greg Monroe.
Udoh isn't Dwight Howard....he isn't going to singlehandedly solve their defensive problems and throw down monster dunks on offense in the process. And he doesn't do anything else well enough to help them in any other area. No matter what angle you come at it from, this pick doesn't make any sense.
Pick #7 - Detroit Pistons select Greg Monroe (Georgetown)
This pick, by contrast, makes perfect sense. Monroe is both the BPA and a perfect fit for a post-starved Pistons team.
Monroe offers the Pistons both a much needed scoring presence in the paint and a good facilitator to get Ben Gordon and Rip Hamilton (assuming he stays) open looks. But maybe more importantly, he offers the Pistons a chance to dynamically change gameplay on command.
Pair him with Charlie Villanueva, and you get an overwhelming scoring force that will really set teams back on their heels. It's a pretty deadly inside/outside combination that few teams have both the size and mobility to keep up with.
Monroe was one of the most debated players for the past couple years. Is he an incredibly skilled big man with a passing ability that's the envy of half the NCAA's guards? Or is he a soft, turnover prone player with no motor? I'll let you decide...what I will say is this pick is nothing but good for the Pistons.
Pick #8 - Los Angeles Clippers select Al-Farouq Aminu (Wake Forest)
The Clippers apparently were determined to find a replacement for Al Thornton. Congratulations.....they succeeded.
Aminu is a solid player. The problem is he doesn't have a position in the NBA. He's a classic tweener....to small to be a power forward, but the wrong skillset to be a small forward. For one, his shooting ability is nowhere near what it needs to be to be an NBA 3. Take him beyond 18 feet and you'll be lucky if he hits 20%. But, of course, he isn't going to supercede Blake Griffin at the 4. So where can the Clippers put him?
This is another pick I wouldn't be surprised to see ultimately traded. It feels like Julian Wright and the Hornets...talented kid, but just lost in no-man's land in this roster landscape.
Pick #9 - Utah Jazz pick Gordan Hayward (Butler)
My initial reaction to this was "what???" As I imagine a lot of yours were too. But then I got to thinking...what system is he going to be playing in?
When you put this in the perspective of this is the Utah Jazz, this actually makes a great deal of sense. Hayward is a tough, skilled player with a high basketball IQ going to a team that maximizes tough, skilled players with high basketball IQs. His multi-dimensional skillset should be a very good fit in between the sharpshooting Wes Matthews and whatever bruiser the Jazz employ at power forward, and I think his facilitating ability will really emerge now that he has players who are better than him to pass to. He's a guy who can play both on and off the ball, impact the offense without interrupting it, and can fill in the gaps as necessary. He actually reminds me a great deal of a young Andre Kirilenko.
In that the Jazz are a team very much drafting for fit, this is a good pick. Hayward should eventually supplant the overmatched CJ Miles at small forward and continue the Jazz way of playing basketball with precision execution.
Pick #10 - Indiana Pacers select Paul George (Fresno State)
For this pick, I'll repost a conversation I had with Canis Hoop's PDgirl:
I didn't think he was the clear BPA there such that Indy should draft him when they are purporting to build around Granger...
Why not Henry?
by PDGirl on Jun 25, 2010 2:28 PM PDT up reply actions
They’re banking a lot that George will pan out as a SG (and maybe quietly admitting Brandon Rush is a bust)
It’s not a very smart pick for them from really any angle you look at it. Especially considering they tried desperately to trade that pick before the draft. He’s a solid kid with great potential, but I just don’t see what the Pacers can do with him
by Oceanary on Jun 25, 2010 2:30 PM PDT up reply actions
That's it. That's the analysis of this pick. Indiana is doing one of two things: setting up a future trade, or taking an extraordinarily huge risk displacing a guy they made a point to trade for before and trying to get this kid to play a role he's not really built for. And that assumes he pans out in the first place.
PS: Jerry Zgoda made a comment that we had a trade in place to essentially swap the 16th pick for a higher one to get a specific player. That deal fell through when that player was gone by the pick we were trading for. Jerry thought it was Hayward, but I'll bet quite a bit it was actually Paul George.
As a pick for the Hornets, this makes little sense. The bugs have David West and Emeka Okafor...both very expensive...who basically do everything Cole Aldrich does. At best, Cole is token depth for them.
But as a traded pick to the Thunder, this is....well, scary.
S-n-P made a comment this past season that he felt the Thunder were one real big man away, and would get a top pick somehow to grab Aldrich in this draft. Well, it didn't takes as high a pick as we thought it would back then, but the end result is the same.
Cole Aldrich is exactly what this Thunder team needs...a tower in the paint. He can rebound, and he can protect the rim, and he has the size to do it alone if he has to (which is important, since the Thunder essentially start two small forwards). If there was any one thing that cost the Thunder against LA, it was simply that they were too small....literally. The play that closed their season was basically Pau Gasol being taller than everyone else. Aldrich gives the Thunder the size to battle the giants out west, and he and Nenad Krstic should make a great offense/defense combination.
As a pick for a team that needs a real go-to force in the paint, Aldrich is not the answer. But for a team that needs size and defense, he's perfect. Watch out LA.
Pick #12 - Memphis Grizzlies select Xavier Henry (Kansas)
This is a pretty good pick on a number of fronts. First, it helps cover the bases if Rudy Gay leaves. The Grizz can then either mover Ronnie Brewer into the starting 5 and get some serious scoring punch from Henry, or start Henry outright.
Second, it gives Memphis a lot more options on the wing. Some of you have probably noticed that OJ Mayo will be playing in Memphis' summer league entry, which is essentially an experiment to see if he can be a point guard. Head Coach Lionel Hollins doesn't think so. I disagree. Whatever the case though, being able to pair Mayo with another sweet shooter is going to really open the floor up and can turn the Grizzlies' size deficiency into a size advantage in the backcourt.
And third, Henry is just a really good shooter. Whatever happens, he will fit in, whether it's at the 2 or 3, starting or off the bench, as a ballhandler or catch-and-shoot player...he can do what the team needs him to do.
Pick #13 - Toronto Raptors select Ed Davis (UNC)
Here's the real analysis of this pick: Bosh is a gonner. Oh, I know they say they feel they have a shot at resigning him, but here's the reality. With this pick, the Raptors essentially drafted Bosh's replacement.
In more ways than one, in fact. Ed Davis is a mirror image of Bosh. Lanky, skinny, and athletic. Very good face up game with the ability to take defenders off the dribble. Good ability to draw fouls (not a Bosh's level, but then again, no big man in the NBA is)
Davis had, for all intents and purposes (at least for the time he was healthy...) an identical year to Derrick Favors. He is, of course, 3 years older than Favors...thus the 10 pick difference in their draft status. But he's also been an underrated prospect all year who's likely to surprise a lot of people. There's a lot more upside here than with some of the big men taken before him like Aldrich, Udoh and Monroe.
Pick #14 - Houston Rockets select Patrick Patterson (Kentucky)
I know the SB Nation mock had them selection Eric Bledsoe, but this just makes a lot more sense. The Rockets aren't a lottery team (well, ok, they were this year, but c'mon....no Yao) When healthy, this is a playoff club, so picking BPA....especially when that guy is yet another tiny point guard....doesn't add up. A guard isn't going to see any playing time around Aaron Brooks, Kevin Martin, Kyle Lowry and Shane Battier.
On the other hand, Yao is coming back from injury, Carl Landry went west, Chuck Hayes is roughly the same size as Kobe Bryant, and Dikembe Mutombo is officially retired (sadness). That leaves just Luis Scola. This is a team in desperate need for help up front, and that's something Patrick Patterson will most certainly provide.
Patterson took the dreaded tweener status and actually made a positive out of it this year. He was displaced at power forward by DeMarcus Cousins (or Daniel Orton, depending on how you see it) He went from the go-to player to the #3 option. He saw his scoring, rebounding, assists and block all decline. And he came out ahead. Why? Because he proved he can adjust his game. He proved he's willing to sacrifice for the team. And he proved he can play small forward.
He shot over 50% despite being much further from the basket than he was accustomed to, and he added a three point shot basically in one season. Not only that, but he shot a respectable 35% from distance. That added mobility and shooting range make him a perfect compliment to skyscraper Yao in the frontcourt, allowing the Rockets to field a power forward who will do more than just blue collar work for them.
Pick #15 - Milwaukee Bucks select Larry Sanders (VA Commonwealth)
Let's start out by noting that this is a big, big dude. Sanders is 6'11", 230 lbs with a 7'6" wingspan and 9'4" standing reach.
The logic in this pick, of course, is Bogut's health is always a question. The Bucks showed that with a big, defensive presence in the paint, they're a real force. Without one....well, not so much. This is primarily a hedge bet by the team to make sure they have a big, talented player to step in if Bogut goes down again. The fact he'll add depth (Bucks haven't had a real backup big man in years) and increase the talent level are nice bonuses.
The illogic here is what role does he ultimately play? Is he always going to be a backup? He probably has starting capability in the NBA alongside a guy like Bogut, but then what does the team do with Mbah A Moute? He's as key to their defense as Bogut. And they can't move him to the 3, because that would move Corey Maggette to the 2, and then the team wouldn't have a prayer of hitting a three most nights.
It'll be interesting to see how this works out, but for what it is and what the team needs, it's a very solid pick.
Pick #16 - Minnesota Timberwolves select Luke Babbitt (Nevada) *Traded to the Portland Trailbalzers
Well, I'm a lot less disappointed by this trade than most of you seem to be. If we had kept Babbitt, that'd have been ok. We didn't, and that's ok too.
What I will say is while I certainly recognize his shooting ability, I wasn't overwhelmingly impressed by him the couple times I watched him play. It felt like watching Wally Sczcerbiak again. Babbitt's a solid player, but also a guy I think who looked better in college than he will in the NBA. He's not going to be a go-to player, first off. And with the skillset he has....and the fact he is playing for the Blazers....it's likely he's going to be a Kyle Korver and not much more.
The Wolves could use a Korver, but we can use a Webster even more. So no complaints from me. I think Babbitt's going to have a very solid year for the Blazers coming off the bench as a catch-and-shoot player from three, so he's in an ideal situation for him, and Webster's in an ideal situation playing for us.
Pick #17 - Chicago Bulls select Kevin Seraphin (France)
Sorry Mplax. Looks like the Bulls saw what you did in Seraphin. He's a pretty good pick for a team that need a low post scoring punch (although the Bulls are certainly hoping for Bosh or Boozer to really solve that problem) and Seraphic can give them help in a number of areas of need for cheap.
My guess is Chicago saw in Seraphin a good measure of JJ Hickson....a big, tough, fairly athletic power forward who can really work the pick and roll with a guy like.....well, LeBron. He also covers the bases for them if they can't land one of the top free agent power forwards. There's a lot more this guy can do for them than the bland-across-the-board Taj Gibson.
EDIT: EricinMadison was kind enough to point out that Seraphin will be going to the Wizards when the Kirk Hinrich trade is finalized.
I guess the best I can say about that is at least the Wizards are stockpiling talent. Their frontcourt doesn't fit together very well, with Blatche, McGee and Thronton already there and Seraphin and Trevor Booker inbound. One or two of them will have to be moved as some point, you'd think.
Pick #18 - Oklahoma City Thunder select Eric Bledsoe (Kentucky) *Traded to the Los Angeles Clippers
The Thunder got what they wanted in Cole Aldrich, so this was a good move by them to roll assets forward into next season.
For the Clippers, this is a very solid move to acquire a backup point guard with some upside. Baron Davis is sometimes healthy, sometimes not, sometimes sane, sometimes not, so having a young player like Bledsoe to provide a safety net and some depth is a pretty good thing.
He's going to need to really work on his point guard skills....he had a negative assist/turnover ratio last year at Kentucky....but he showed the court vision and aptitude for the job, so I don't consider him a converted shooting guard. More like an out-of-place point guard (he obviously was not going to take precedence over John Wall) He's got good size, great wingspan, and a solid shooting touch, so he'll fit well alongside combo guard Eric Gordon and the sweet-shooting Rasual Butler, while helping to spread the floor for Blake Griffin in the post.
Pick #19 - Boston Celtics select Avery Bradley (Texas)
Very interesting pick. I'm really not sure what to make of this, because there were a number of better selections the Cs could have made here.
What Bradley brings to the team is some athleticism and a good scoring touch. It's not about him as a player...he's a good player who should be able to find a niche in the NBA somewhere.
The problem is, what do the Celtics do with him? He's not a real point guard, and they're better off retaining Nate Robinson for the backup point guard role anyway. They could need a shooting guard, especially if Ray Allen isn't resigned, but not one who's 6'3", 180 lbs.
Considering they're losing their top big man reserve....and knew that going into the draft....as well as possibly losing their starting shooting guard, it would have made much more sense for this pick to have been James Anderson, Quincy Pondexter, Craig Brackins, Jordan Crawford, or Daniel Orton. Wouldn't it?
Pick #20 - San Antonio Spurs select James Anderson (Oklahoma State)
Well, Boston's loss is San Antonio's gain. This is, in my opinion, the steal of the draft. Something the Spurs pull off on such a regular basis it almost doesn't register as extraordinary anymore.
Anderson got profiled pretty well here on Canis Hoops pre-draft, so what he is and what he can do shouldn't be a mystery. The trump card, of course, is how well he fits with the Spurs.
San Antonio likes bringing Manu Ginobili off the bench, and are quite frankly, at their best when they can afford to do so. Which they haven't been able to lately. Michael Finley is gone, Roger Mason has disappointed, and the rest of their shooting guards are a mixture of DLeaguers and castoffs.
What Anderson can do is immediately step into the starting shooting guard position....seamlessly....and give the Spurs what they want from that role. Solid defense and solid shooting. His deliberate, tempered, controlled play is a great compliment to Ginobili's circus magic, which is what they used to have before age caught up to Finley, and what they'll have again now. Fantastic selection. Gems like this are why the Spurs seem so ageless.
Pick #21 - Oklahoma City Thunder select Craig Brakins (Iowa State) *Traded to the New Orleans Hornets
This pick was moved as part of the Cole Aldrich deal, and it's a pretty solid pickup for the Hornets. Brackins can provide them with something David West and Emeka Okafor don't....a pure scoring presence in the post.
Where he fits in with the team, I'm not sure. If he pans out to be the player I think he can be, he'll make David West expendable, which gives the Hornets a great trading chip to further their rebuilding project. At the least, he provides depth and an added dimension in the post they were missing before.
Pick #22 - Portland Trailblazers select Elliot Williams (Memphis)
Low expectations for a guy who's probably not going to see a whole lot of playing time this year. Not a bad situation to be in, playing for a rising club and behind one of the best shooting guards in the league.
I kind of felt the Blazers should have hedged their bets and gone big with this pick....Daniel Orton would have been very solid...but this isn't bad by any means. Williams can really score in the halfcourt, and has above-average facilitating ability for a shooting guard, so he's a good pick to replace some of the minutes of Webster and a safety net for what appears to be the imminent loss of Rudy Fernandez.
Pick #23 - Minnesota Timberwolves select Trevor Booker (Clemson) *Traded to the Washington Wizards
I knew from the moment this pick was announced that this was going to be a trade. Booker is another Craig Smith/Paul Millsap/Jason Maxiell type (closest to Jason Maxiell) A undersized power forward who's a decent scorer/rebounder/shot blocker. A solid prospect, and like the other three, will find a niche in the NBA. But not with us, that's for sure.
Booker will give the Wizards some decent, limited minutes behind Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee, filling in what court time he can around Al Thornton. He'll be ok long term, but considering what he is versus what we ultimately got for this pick, I'd have to say we came out on top in this one.
This guy was an absolute bulldog in college, and I like the fit with the Nets. He's a solid scorer (18ppg on 50% shooting, 38% from three) but his real standout ability is rebounding.
Standing 6'7", James averaged over 10 rebounds a game twice in his college career, which will make him a valuable complement to the finesse game of Yi Jianlian. It's a great pickup by the Nets, who will get immediate help on the wings from a guy who can contribute big in a number of areas. As a four year college athlete with his particular skillset, look for James to be this draft's Josh Howard. Hopefully without the drugs.
Pick #25 - Memphis Grizzlies select Domonique Jones (South Florida) *Traded to the Dallas Mavericks
I like this pickup for the Mavs. Jones is a solid, multi-dimensional, NBA ready player who can contribute some good things on the court and will give the team some added flexibility this summer.
Dallas has a number of big issues to tackle this offseason, the foremost of which are the contract statuses of Dirk Nowitzki, Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood. Caron is due for a possible extension this summer, Dirk is expected to opt out and hit free agency, and Haywood is already a free agent.
What Jones does is provide the Mavs with a Caron Butler-like player at a fraction of the cost. He's not going to be as productive as Butler this year, but he'll be respectable if he's put in that position of replacing Caron. If that's the case, if frees up the Mavs to trade Butler for something else...a big man to replace the departing Haywood, or money to help retain Dirk. Dampier is a big expiring contract, but not someone who any team will consider a key pickup. Caron is both.
If Butler does stay with the Mavs, Jones still provides help as a legitimately-sized shooting guard, taking pressure of off mighty mice JJ Barea and Roddy Beaubois to defend out of position.
Jones was the player the Mavs targeted this draft. Shortly after acquiring him, owner Mark Cuban tweeted "We tried to trade into the top 20 to get Jones, got lucky to get him 25."
Pick #26 - Oklahoma City Thunder select Quincy Pondexter (Washington)
Why isn't anyone saying the Thunder won this draft? I mean sure, they didn't get a franchise guy like Wall or Turner, but at the end of the day, this draft made them a more dangerous team than anyone else.
The mandate for OKC was clear from the Lakers' series: get a true big man to anchor the paint, and get scoring help for Durant when defenses lock in on him. Check and check.
Pondexter is the second of the two checks....guy who will be able to step in at the 2 and 3 and get buckets. Lots and lots of buckets. He's a fairly complete player with good size and the high IQ to naturally know how to play alongside Durant. And he's NBA ready, so the Thunder can continue to push forward with him as an added contributor.
It will be interesting to see how the rotations play out. The Thunder are very logjammed at the swingman spots. Durant is obviously going to take the lion's share of minutes at small forward, and Sefalosha does a good job of complimenting that with tough defense. James Harden finally seemed to find his motor late last season and is the best compliment to Russell Westrbook, and at some point, the Thunder will realize they're probably best of starting Aldrich and either Krstic or Ibaka and bringing Jeff Green in off the bench. Pondexter it too talented not to get minutes, but where those minutes will be available at is anyone's guess.
But as a scoring force and talented player for a team that needs scoring and is stockpiling talent, this is a great pick.
Pick #27 - New Jersey Nets select Jordan Crawford (Xavier) *Traded to the Atlanta Hawks
The Hawks are in something of a bind. They are very reliant on Joe Johnson, yet it appears he's leaving, and the rest of the team without him amounts to also-rans at best, cannon fodder at worst.
If he does leave, it will force Jamal Crawford into a less-than-ideal starting role, and would leave the Hawks with no depth at shooting guard. Enter Jordan Crawford.
Jordan is a solid 6'4" with good reach and a great shooting touch. He averaged 20ppg on 46% shooting (39% from three) and chipped in a respectable 3 assists per game in the process. If he is called on to fill and instant offense role off the bench, he is well suited for it.
And yes, this is the same Jordan Crawford who dunked on LeBron last summer.
The Hawks might be starting a new and terrifying relationship with Nike this year....
Pick #28 - Memphis Grizzlies select Geivis Vasquez (Maryland)
A solid pick for what the Grizzlies need. Vasquez is a solid scorer and a great facilitator for his size and position who could be a great compliment as a shooting guard or small forward between the more scoring-inclined Zach Randolph and OJ Mayo.
But let's be honest....the best part of this pick was seeing his enthusiasm when his name was called.
I mean, that's just awesome. With all the media coverage and analysis and how critical we all like to be, dissecting it all down to absurdly fine detail, it's easy to forget that the draft is a dream come true for these guys, and they deserve to enjoy it.
Pick #29 - Orlando Magic select Daniel Orton (Kentucky)
It's really hard to overstate how much I like this pick. Every year the Magic say they won't be making any big moves, and every year they do anyway. And this, I think, is the start of their big moves for the year.
Last season the Magic went all-in with the spending plan. Vince Carter. Marcin Gortat. Brandon Bass. Jason Williams. Matt Barnes. It didn't work, primarily because their biggest problem in 2009 was still their biggest problem in 2010: Dwight Howard can't consistently score in the post.
What Orton brings as a player is very efficient and effective low post work that could very well turn into some high volume production. Orton has a good scoring touch, a good motor, and incredible toughness and intensity. He's not going to contribute much right away, but should be able to get around the learning curve fast considering his talent and the team he's playing for.
But more importantly, he brings the Magic flexibility. His presence and potential turns the expensive contracts of Brandon Bass and Marcin Gortat into valuable trading chips the team can use to solve other problem. The spend big plan backfired, and perhaps Orton's biggest contribution to the Magic this year will be giving them the ability to change course on that.
Although, like his fellow Kentucky big man DeMarcus Cousins, Orton is going to have to do some serious work to get into better shape.
Pick #30 - Washington Wizards select Lazar Hayward (Marquette) *Traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves
Well, this pick generated a lot more controversy than I understand or think it's worth. I like this pickup by us, and don't really see why we would have done something different or why we should have.
Biggity2big summarized it better than I did, so I'll let his post do the talking:
The rest of the draft is very interesting, to me - one the one hand Kahn followed his MO from last year by nabbing a solid, productive upper classman in Hayward (last year was Ellington) who will probably, by the end of the year, be more productive than people might expect (again, see Ellington). Low ceiling but relatively high floor. In essence he becomes a very young and actually productive Maddog or Janitor on this team, and in my opinion every team needs guys like that for what they give in practice. They can really help set the practice bar high in terms of effort and doing the work, and while some may scoff that this team needs talent and not marginal effort guys, I would respond that it is a mistake to underestimate the impact a Maddog (a guy just scraping to play in the NBA) can have on guys far more gifted and talented than him.
The team sees a lot of Wes Matthews in Hayward, and I do too. Tough player with solid, all around abilities and a never-say-die attitude. Matthews was a huge surprise last year with the Jazz, performing well all year and ultimately stepping into the starting lineup to give Carmelo Anthony fits in the playoffs. If Hayward can be that type of player, then this pick is well spent in my book.
So am I the only one who misses Russ Granik?
I used to love how the MSG crowd would go nuts when he walked out to host the second round. Adam Silver is a likable guy, but he doesn't have that charisma to him Russ did.
I like how the Wolves did in this draft. We went in needing a starting shooting guard, starting small forward, and starting center, and came away with the shooting guard and small forward. That's not too bad. And that's also not even considering the great second round picks we made.
We made progress out of this. We went a long ways towards solving our wing issues, which is something CH was on all year. We're more athletic, we're more talented, we moved forwards, and that's something to be pleased about.