Ranking the draft is no simple task. There are lots of factors and too many variables, however I will attempt it to the best of my ability. Please enjoy, please comment.
1. Washington Wizards: A
Draft summary: Although the Wizards did give up a future second round pick, they did very well in the draft. Obviously John Wall will help the team considerably right away but they acquired quite a few solid players leading up to the draft as well as during it. It started with the trade with the Bulls where they gave up a future second round pick for valuable guardas well as Kevin Seraphin with the 17th pick in the draft. Seraphin is a very good piece, and would like to stay overseas for a couple more years. He is highly skilled and could be a very good player when he comes over in a couple of years. The Wizards also picked up a very solid role player that can contribute right away in Trevor Booker. Their only second round choice Hamady N’diaye is a big player with a very long wingspan that could be a decent defensive player of the bench.
2. Las Angeles Clippers: A
With their first selection the Clippers took the ultra athletic Al-Farouq Aminu the forward from Wake Forrest. Aminu is a top-5 talent who was the only player in the ACC to average a double double. Aminu can play either the 3 or the 4 and is one of my favorite players in the draft. He can really run the floor. With the Clippers next move they decided to trade a future first round pick (kind of a downer) for Eric Bledsoe. Bledsoe is a great pick because had he not played off John Wall this year experts predict he could have been a top-10 or even a top-5 selection. He is a tough guard who can potentially play both guard positions, he is a great point guard of the future and could develop into a solid guard. With the Clippers second round choice they took Willy Warren. Warren is an excellent value pick here and at one time was projected in the top-10. He could be a good player off the bench, and knows Clippers forward Blake Griffin well. The thing that I like most about the Clippers draft decisions is that they really addressed their biggest needs sufficiently. They really needed a small forward and a point guard. They got players at both positions that could be ready to log minutes immediately.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder: A
I believe that there were three elite teams in this year’s draft. Washington, the Clippers, and Oklahoma City. Oklahoma City got a great variety of players and picks in this year’s draft. It starts with OKC trading the 21st and 26th picks to the Hornets for the rights to Cole Aldrich. More than anything the Thunder needed a solid post player out of this years draft and they addressed that with Aldrich, who was number one on their board all along. In that trade they also receivedwho can be a solid contributor off the bench. They also obtained a future first round pick from the Clippers (which figures to be a good one) and yet another solid role player in . They also bought Tibor Pleiss, which I think was a wonderful idea. He is 7-1 and is only 20 years old. With multiple picks, the Thunder were bound to end up with at least one foreign player, and ended up with the second best on in this draft. Pleiss will probably stay in Germany for a couple more years. OKC also got Latavious Williams who can bring energy off the bench and Ryan Reid a defensive specialist who figures to get little playing time. Overall I think the Thunder did an absolutely magnificent job this year and also added an additional first round pick for the future. What I especially liked about the Thunder is that in this drafted they clearly showed that they are trying to build a team the right way, by getting young guys in the draft. There were teams that were trying to get rid of everything to make room for free agents and the Thunder, as well as the Wizards really took advantage of that. I gained a lot of respect for the Thunder because they made great decisions and obtained some very valuable assets when the timing was right, and the price was low.
4. Indiana Pacers: A-
I think the Pacers did a great job in this draft, taking players with a lot of potential. They have been known to draft more conservatively but they really went for the home run this year and I think that’s why the Pacers end up here. In the first round they drafted Paul George who has the tools to be an absolute superstar. He may not be able to contribute right away but he is an excellent and worthy project. He is only 20 years old. With the Pacers second pick they went with upside again with Lance Stephenson who I believe has great potential and if it wasn’t for a few supposed character issues he could have been selected in the mid to late 20’s. He can definitely score and I believe he is a great pick here. The next player they acquired in the draft is Magnum Rolle, a big man that probably won’t amount to much. The Pacers stepped outside of their comfort zone in this draft and I believe it will pay off in the long run.
5. New Orleans Hornets: A-
The Hornets did a very good job in this year’s draft. Not only did they get a couple of players who can help them up front but they avoided a potentialtrade. They traded the rights of Cole Aldrich and Morris Peterson who was scheduled to make over 7 million dollars this year for the 21st and 26th pick. With those picks they took versatile forward Craig Brackins who is 6-10 and can help the Hornets right away. With the 26th pick they took Quincy Pondexter of Washington who had a very good year last year. Pondexter is an athletic forward who can score and rebound. The Hornets made two great picks that can contribute right away, and got under the luxury tax as well. The Hornets did exactly what they needed to do in this draft and in my opinion exceeded all expectations.
6. Sacramento Kings: A-
The Kings fans felt like they got the steal of the draft when they took DeMarcus Cousins with the 5th pick, and the truth is they did. Cousins was arguably the second most talented player in this draft to John Wall but was plagued by possible maturity issues and being out of shape. If the Kings can get Cousins to live up to his potential, he can be a very, very good player. With their second round selection, the Kings took Hassan Whiteside from Marshall. A couple of weeks ago Whiteside was projected to go in the late lottery to mid first round. Whiteside is a huge risk in the first round, but in the second round, he’s all upside. Between Whiteside and Cousins the Kings really set themselves up nicely in the long term as far as the frontcourt goes. Between Jason Thompson,, and Donte Green and the Kings draft picks they should be ok in the frontcourt for the foreseeable future. The only reason I hesitate to put the Kings higher on the list is both selections by the Kings are players with character issues and the Kings are a young developing team with no real leadership. There are really no big mentor type players, and if you get too many guys like Cousins on your team it can become a very unstable situation. The talent the Kings got is however, undeniable.
7. Milwaukee Bucks: B+
I believe the Bucks are in this position more for the talent they picked up in the second round rather than the first round, however picking Larry Sanders 15th is nothing to sneeze at. Sanders is a long athletic forward that can block shots and is improving on the offensive end. Sanders is a raw player that will start by bring energy off the bench but could develop into a solid starter in the future. Sanders will also bring athleticism to the Bucks frontcourt and add another dimension to the team. In the second round the Bucks really picked up a lot of quality talent and could see production right away. With their first selection in the second round they took Darington Hobson who was getting looked at by multiple teams with picks in the first round. He can play three positions and is very athletic and versatile. With their next second rounder they took, a 7-1 center with an impressive 7-5 wingspan. Jordan will have to improve his toughness, and really get physical if he wants to be successful but he does have an NBA body and has the tools to be successful. Their last second round pick may be the most impressive of them all. Taking Keith “Tiny” Gallon with the 47th pick was an excellent choice. Many people had Gallon going between 25-35 so at 47 they really got great value. Gallon is very skilled. He is a huge player who can play in the post as well as step out and shoot the three. If Gallon can get in shape he has a lot of potential. Milwaukee really added a lot to their frontcourt, and got a valuable wing in Hobson. They really did a great job of getting talented players who fell down the draft board.
8. New Jersey Nets: B+
The Nets seemed like they really wanted to get rid of their 3rd pick but when they couldn’t Derrick Favors is a really great option. Favors andis a great frontcourt of the future. Favors has a lot of potential and is only 18 years old. He has an impressive wingspan and has a good NBA body. The player taken after Favors, Wes Johnson is a full 5 years older than Favors. If the Nets decide they want to go after a big free agent at power forward Favors also has really good trade value. With the Nets second first rounder they took Jordan Crawford who was traded for who was taken three picks earlier along with the rights to German center Tibor Pleiss. James is an excellent addition and being one of the few seniors taken in the first round, he should be ready to make a major contribution right away. The Nets addressed their needs at both forward positions in this draft and got two very talented players.
9. Detroit Pistons: B+
The Pistons did a very good job addressing a big need with their first pick, Greg Monroe. Monroe is a solid forward who is very fundamentally sound. The Pistons were lucky that Monroe fell down to the seventh pick and made a great selection as Monroe will be able to play a lot of minutes right away and probably even start from day one. After choosing a solid, low risk player with their first round selection they swung for the fences with their second round choice, Terrico White. White is a workout warrior who performed extremely well at the combine but wasn’t as effective in games. White may not be ready right away, but with time he could develop into a good player.
10. San Antonio Spurs: B+
The Spurs got lucky when Big 12 player of the year James Anderson fell into the 20’s. Anderson is considered one of the most NBA ready players in the 2010 draft and can step in and score points right away. Anderson has plenty of experience and can bring a spark to an ageing Spurs team. With the Spurs second round pick they took the English 7 footer Ryan Richards. Richards is only 19 years old and is more of a project but he has a ton of potential. He wowed everyone during workouts and has great size for a power forward. He may need a year or two in the D-league but again he’s only 19. The Spurs got two draft bargains that, with time could develop into solid starters.
11. Philadelphia 76ers: B
The 76’s had only one pick in this year’s draft, but it was Evan Turner. Turner is very skilled and was the best player in college basketball this year. There are concerns about Turner's ability to play at the next level as he doesn't possess elite athleticism, and he did have a high turnover rate, but I believe he can have a successful career. He also gives Philadelphia an interesting option because having Turner and Iguodala, two players with a similar skill set allow Philadelphia to potentially trade one of them for a shooter or a big man. With Igoudala scheduled to make more than 11 million dollars this year they might want to try to move him to avoid financial problems in the future.
12. Portland Trail Blazers: B
Blazers GMwas fired right before the draft but they let him carry out the NBA draft and he did a pretty good job. The Blazers did make a couple mistakes though. The trade where they gave away for the 16th pick Luke Babbitt and reserve was a decent trade that saved the Blazers money but it is a bit of a risk. Webster can play, but Babbitt is unproven and Gomes is nothing more than a reserve. Babbitt is a talented player though. When the Blazers took Elliot Williams at 22 they got a talented player but it was definitely a reach. They could have traded down, and potentially obtained another pick. With their final pick the Blazers took Babbitt’s teammate at Nevada Armon Johnson who is a raw, nut talented point guard who has great size and really worked out well. Overall I think the Blazers did a good job with their picks and drafted well.
13. Toronto Raptors: B
Toronto got a bargain at 13 when they picked Ed Davis from North Carolina. They had been trying to move up to get a big man but in the end a good one fell right into their lap. Davis was thought to be a top-8 pick. The Raptors got a bargain. Davis is a talented forward that is probably more of a long-term option at the forward position. The Raptors also traded next years second round pick for the rights to center Solomon Alabi from Florida St. Alabi was hurt by injury concerns but he doesn’t seem to worried about it. With the possible departure of Chris Bosh to free agency this summer the Raptors picked two valuable frontcourt players. Toronto did a nice job planning for the future after Bosh leaves.
14. Boston Celtics: B
The Celtics made two good choices in this year’s draft. There was quite a bit of evidence suggesting the Celtics would trade this pick, but in the end they kept it and got a very good player in Avery Bradley. Bradley is a solid combo guard that plays lock down defense. He can help the Celtics off the bench right away. He can learn quite a bit from guards Rajon Rondo and Nate Robinson as well as Ray Allen if he decides to stay. With the Celtics’ second round pick they chose the Notre Dame forward Luke Harangody. Boston has had quite a bit of success with undersized forwards and forwards picked by Boston in the second round have developed into good role players. Harangody didn’t really play good defense at Notre Dame, but he can really fill it up and he can rebound too. There have been many questions surrounding whether or not Harangody can succeed in the NBA, for now it remains to be seen.
15. Miami Heat: B-
The Miami Heat made three picks in the second round and made the most of them. They managed to get good players while also getting rid of even more cap space. They got rid of the salary of Daequan Cook and don’t have to pay the guaranteed salary of a first round pick. With their first second round choice they took center Dexter Pittman of Texas. Pittman can really eat up space. He is tall, wide and has a huge wingspan. He is experienced and may be able to start right away if the Heat end up signing 3 players to the max contact and have to only sign players to minimum contacts. He could play a role similar to that of Kendrick Perkins the year the Celtics acquired the big 3. The Heat’s second pick was Jarvis Varnado, who now holds the record for the most blocks in NCAA history for a career. Varnado will definitely need to add strength but he could be a valuable defensive player off the bench, but doesn’t really do anything on the offensive end which probably won’t matter all that much especially if they sign 3 players to max contracts. The last player Miami selected was De’Sean Butler from West Virginia. Butler could have easily been a first round pick if he could have avoided tearing his ACL in his final game at West Virginia in the final 4. He is still recovering but he is a good pick for the Heat at this spot. The Heat picked a 3, 4, and 5 in the draft and cleared enough room for 3 max contracts. They did what they came into the draft to do.
16. Los Angeles Lakers: B-
The Lakers made the most of their 2 second round picks taking two players who could develop into solid role players and could contribute off the bench right away. With the 43rd pick in the draft the Lakers nabbed a first round talent in Devin Ebanks. Ebanks is a great on-ball defender, in fact he almost always guarded the other teams best player and also has a solid, though developing offensive game. Ebanks can also rebound and got several looks from teams with picks in the first round. With the Lakers second pick they decided to take Derrick Caracter of UTEP. Caracter is a beast down low. He is 6-10, 280 pound power forward who can score and rebound. Caracter saw his stock drop due to personal issues but he didn’t have any problems this past season. The Lakers weren’t looking for star power in this draft. They need player who can play a specific role and contribute off the bench and that’s what they got.
17. Houston Rockets: B-
The Rockets only had one pick in this years draft but they used it well. With the 14th pick in this years draft they took Kentucky power forward Patrick Paterson. Paterson is one of the most solid players in the draft. He may not have much upside but there is no doubt he is an NBA ready player. He will be a solid bench player and potential sixth man for years to come and he could even develop into a starter in time. With this pick the Rockets beef up their front line and add another solid player to their rotation.
18. Utah Jazz: C+
The Jazz did get a great prospect in Gordon Hayward, but they did reach down to get him. Hayward is a very good, very versatile prospect but he probably wasn’t worth the 9th pick. There were many other players that the Jazz could have taken but Hayward is someone that could develop into a solid NBA starter in time. He could be very valuable as an oversized 2 if he can regain his shooting touch, which is probably what the Jazz are thinking. With their second pick the Jazz took little known power forward Jeremy Evans from Western Kentucky. He came out after his senior year, which means he is a little older than the rest of the class. He only played 26 minutes per game in his senior year, which could mean a number of different things. He is 6-9 but only weighs 195 pounds. I just don’t know what they see in Evans but who knows. In the end the Jazz are already a good team and they got better with the addition of Hayward.
19. Orlando Magic: C+
The Magic had 2 picks in the draft. One at the end of the first round and one at the end of the second round. However, they did get two talented players. With their first pick they chose Daniel Orton who at one time was thought to be a lottery pick. At 6-10 he is big enough to play the 4 in the NBA and his 7-4 wingspan is more than sufficient. Orton has had some problems with injury in the past missing his senior year in high school with an injury. He also received little playing time at Kentucky. He has talent but there are some red flags. At 29, Orton is worth the risk. With the 29th pick there generally aren’t many high impact players left. The Magic don’t really need immediate help anywhere so they might as well go completely off of potential and that’s what they did. With their second round pick they took high flying forward Stanley Robinson. Robinson is a crazy athlete that can contribute off the bench. In time he has the potential to work his way into Orlando’s rotation.
20. Atlanta Hawks: C+
The Hawks originally drafted Damion James with the 24th pick but quickly shipped him off for the draft rights to the 27th pick Jordan Crawford and 31st pick Tibor Pleiss. They then turned around and sold the right to Tibor Pleiss to the Thunder. With their second round pick the Hawks definitely reached when they took a chance on Pape Sy the 6-7 combo guard from Senegal. He is very raw and is 22 years old. He will definitely need time to develop but overall the Hawks got a good scorer at the 2 a little bit of cash and a long term project in Sy.
21. Phoenix Suns: C
With their 2 second round picks the Suns, anticipating the departure of Amare Stoudemire the Suns took two athletic rebounding forwards in Gani Lawal and Dwayne Collins. These guys can provide limited minutes to suppress the impact of Stoudemire’s departure. The Suns did well with what they had, and made the most of their picks. These two players combined for almost 17 rebounds a game last year and could help the team next year.
22. Minnesota Timberwolves: C-
The Wolves had the potential to have a big draft, and blew it. They wasted multiple picks and took some big risks. I believe the Wolves made on good pick in this year’s draft. With the 16th pick they took Luke Babbitt. He is a high risk player, but at 16 he was just too much to pass up. They ended up trading Babbitt and their starting small forward, Ryan Gomes for another small forward, Martell Webster who was drafted 6th overall in 2006 but averaged just 10 points and four rebounds for the Blazers last year. It also seems as if Webster plays the same position as Wesley Johnson, whom the Wolves took with the forth pick. I believe that Johnson was not worthy of the fourth pick and they should have taken DeMarcus Cousins instead. Johnson is already 22 years old and may not have much potential left. He seemed more comfortable in the post at Syracuse last year and didn’t really seem like much of a wing. Johnson dressed like a clown at the draft and I just don’t think he will be the superstar the Wolves are hoping he will be. Then the Wolves traded the rights of the 23rd and 56th overall picks for the 30th and 35th picks. I thought this was a great trade at the time until I saw whom they took with these picks. They took Lazar Hayward in the first round. If Hayward was their guy they should have picked someone else and signed Hayward after he went undrafted but no they had to take him in the first round. Then they took Nemanja Bjelica a 6-10 point guard from Serbia who is already 22 and will probably need at least a couple more years before he is ready to come to the US. With their last pick the Wolves took Paulo Prestes from Brazil. I actually think this might have been their best pick. He is a beast down low and shows lots of potential, however he is 22 and scouts are saying he also will be needing at least a couple of years before he is ready for the NBA. The Wolves seem to be getting almost no help right away from this draft even though they had 5 picks. The Wolves need to get better now, but Wes Johnson and Martell Webster with the loss of Ryan Gomes are probably not going to be enough. They do have a nice stash of foreign players, but I see the Wolves having a chance to have a top 5 chance of obtaining the number one pick again next year. They really could have done a lot better with what they had especially with the 30th pick.
23. Dallas Mavericks: C-
The Mavericks only got one player out of this draft and that was Dominique James. They bought James from Memphis and now they have to pay him a first round salary on top of that. Jones is a good scorer but is very undersized and isn’t a great shooter. Jones can be a good rotation player and provide a spark off the bench but he does play a similar role to that of Rodrigue Beaubois and I just don’t see how it’s going to work out.
24. Memphis Grizzlies: C-
I believe the Grizzlies really made a lot of mistakes in this draft. With their first selection at number 12 they took Xavier Henry who is a good player but he probably can’t play the 3 consistently and doesn’t play the same kind of role as Rudy Gay, who they probably picked Henry to replace for. Henry likes to shoot but Gay was a slasher. I also believe that this pick was a bit of a reach. Henry is good, but I’m not sure he’s worth a top 12 pick. If Henry was their guy they should have traded down and got an extra second rounder. With the 25th pick they took Dominique James, which was a good pick until they sold him, which I don’t blame them for. I t was a good move, they got some cash for him. In the end I had to knock the Grizz down because they made an absolutely unbearable selection when they took Maryland’s Greivis Vasquez with the 28th pick. It’s...