Tuesday, April 14, 2015

2010 NBA Draft

If you really want to know about a draft class, you have to wait a few years. NBA coaches don't want to play rookies a lot of minutes and few are going to give a rookie the benefit of the doubt over an established veteran at his position. It's a two-way street - very few rookies come into the league with NBA-ready games and even fewer walk into situations on good NBA teams where they can get minutes right away. It takes the vast majority of players time to get comfortable with the NBA lifestyle and develop the trust of their coaches and teammates. And with guys coming into the league at 18-19-20 years old, you want to give them some time to develop physically. The prime of their career isn't until their mid 20's and that's when you can really start to draw conclusions about a draft class.

Forget 2014 for now. Let's look at the 2010 draft. We have enough data on those guys to where we can draw some meaningful conclusions. In the interest of time, I'm only going to look at first rounders and second rounders who ended up playing meaningful minutes in the NBA.


1) John Wall (No. 1)
2) Eric Bledsoe (No. 17)
3) Avery Bradley (No. 19)
3) Greivis Vasquez (No. 29)


1) Lance Stephenson (No. 40)
2) Landry Fields (No. 39)

Every SG drafted in the first round in 2010 has already washed out of the league.

Xavier Henry (No. 12)
James Anderson (No. 20)
Elliott Williams (No. 23)
Dominique Jones (No. 25)
Jordan Crawford (No. 27)


1) Paul George (No. 10)
2) Gordon Hayward (No. 9)
3) Quincy Pondexter (No. 27)
4) Al-Farouq Aminu (No. 9)
5) Evan Turner (No. 2)
6) Wesley Johnson (No. 4)
7) Luke Babbitt (No. 16)

Out of the league: Damion James (No. 24), Lazar Hayward (No. 30)


1) Greg Monroe (No. 7)
2) Patrick Patterson (No. 14)
3) Ed Davis (No. 13)
4) Trevor Booker (No. 23)
5) Kevin Seraphin (No. 17)

Out of the league: Craig Brackins (No. 21)


1) DeMarcus Cousins (No. 5)
2) Derrick Favors (No. 3)
3) Hassan Whiteside (No. 33)
4) Ekpe Udoh (No. 6)
5) Cole Aldrich (No. 11)

Out of the league: Larry Sanders (No. 15), Daniel Orton (No. 29)

Things that jump out at me:

1) That 2010 Kentucky team had the No. 1 and 2 PG's, the No. 2 PF and the No. 1 C and 4 of the top 10 or so players in this draft. I love Calipari as a coach but he should have figured out some way to at least get to the Final Four with that team. They just had an overwhelming amount of talent. Looking back on it, Bledsoe was clearly one of the steals of the draft and the reason he fell so far is because he only played one season of college and in that season he barely got to play with the ball in his hands. It would seem ridiculous to draft the 3rd or 4rth option of a team in the Top 10, but that's the way it can go in college basketball. Talent is not equally distributed. That is where scouting is always going to come into play - how do you separate out the value of an individual player from his role on a team?

2) Pretty much the only SG from this draft whose going to have a long career in the league is Lance Stephenson. Five years later, the only other guy left is Landry Fields and he's been living off his one season with Mike D'Antoni in New York for a long time. The margins for error at the SG position are just really, really thin. If you are a sub 6'6 guard in the NBA and you don't run point, you had better be a really good player. Otherwise, there will be 10 other guys looking to take your job. An undrafted guy like Wesley Matthews can become more valuable than a guy with a lot more physical tools because he's a stout defender and a dead-eye three-point shooter. That's what you want from the wing positions and you don't necessarily need to find that skill-set in the lottery. It's only when you start getting into 6'8-6'9-6'10 that the field really starts to thin.

3) I remember Wesley Johnson pretty well because we were about the same age and he played a lot of AAU basketball in the North Texas area, being from Corsicana. I had lost track of him after high school and then all of a sudden he pops up at Syracuse as a 22-year old senior in 2010. I really couldn't believe he was this big-time prospect. The two major red flags should have been his A) age and B) playing at Syracuse. Jim Boeheim (and playing in that zone) makes a lot of guys look better than they really are. Looking back on it, taking Wes Johnson over George and Hayward was a franchise-defining mistake that ended up costing David Kahn his job.

4) Was there any way he could have known to take Hayward and George higher in 2010? Both were younger players on mid-major teams, although Hayward was coming off a run to the national title game. If you were going to make an argument for them at the time, it would have had to have been based off their physical tools. They were both taller and faster than Turner and Johnson and they were both better three-point shooters. Here's a game that I like to play that can help in situations like this - what would happen if two guys changed schools? Put PG with a bunch of dead-eye shooters at Ohio State and he probably could have done pretty well. Is Evan Turner really lifting a team whose 2nd best player was Greg Smith into the Top 25?

5) Quincy Pondexter doesn't have as much talent as Al-Farouq Aminu but he's more helpful to his team because he knows how to shoot the basketball. Ed Davis is boxed in as a backup 4 because he can't stretch the floor. If Ekpe Udoh had a 20-foot jumper, he wouldn't be a 5th big man coming off the bench. Evan Turner hasn't been able to stick anywhere in large part because he can't shoot 3's. Born Ready is really struggling in Charlotte because he's not playing with guys like Paul George and George Hill who can stretch the floor for him, which is exposing his jumper. The way the league is going, if a guy can't shoot the ball, it's just very hard for him to be effective, almost regardless of position.

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