NBA Draft 2010 Recap: Winners, Losers, & Final Thoughts

June 27, 2010

The last two NBA Drafts have been unusual because they have featured teams more concerned with shedding salaries and dealing away first round picks than with acquiring young talent.

The reason? Teams want the cap space in order to sign one of the many coveted 2010 free agents.

Keeping this in mind, our draft analysis will take into account not only the quality of talent selected, but also the salary cap flexibility that was gained prior to the July 1 free agency period.


Miami Heat

The Heat traded their first-round pick and Daequan Cook, clearing nearly enough cap space to sign D-Wade plus two other max contract free agents. They also drafted some quality prospects in the second round, none of whom will require guaranteed deals.

The first of those picks is Dexter Pittman, an active, talented big man who was a scoring and rebounding force down low in a quality conference. Pittman battled weight problems throughout college, but if he can shed a few pounds and stay in better condition, then the Heat may have a real find.

Jarvis Varnado is a tremendous weakside shotblocker with long arms, hops, and timing. Despite the holes in the other aspects of his game, he should make the roster based on his D alone. Swingman Da'Sean Butler is a versatile scorer, but is coming off a major knee injury. If he can get healthy, the Heat may have picked up a late draft steal.

Chicago Bulls

The Bulls traded guard Kirk Hinrich and the $17 million he was owed over the next two years, plus first round pick Kevin Seraphin to Washington, and in return cleared enough space to put them $31 million under the cap. As such, they have almost enough room to sign two max slots after July 1.

Given that the Bulls have one of the most attractive rosters out there for potential free agents, they are certain to land at least some big name this offseason.

Washington Wizards

The Wizards landed the best player in the draft in John Wall - a potential All-Star in the making who should be downright lethal once he gets a reliable jumper.

In addition, Washington executed a trade, getting Kirk Hinrich and French first-rounder Kevin Seraphin. Despite his hefty contract, Hinrich gives the Wizards nice backcourt depth, as he can defend both 1's and 2's and has a nice outside shot.

Seraphin is an athletic, but raw big who will take years to develop. Fortunately, rebuilding Washington has the time.

Trevor Booker is a banger and an undersized 4 who probably could have been had in the second round, but was selected with the 23rd pick overall.

For an organization that complained a few weeks ago about league salaries, the Wizards took on a lot of guaranteed money which might not improve the team. Fortunately, Wall should cure some of those ills.

Sacramento Kings

In a tall Western Conference filled with quality bigs, the Kings just made things more competitive on the interior by selecting the best center prospect in the whole draft in Kentucky's DeMarcus Cousins.

Although Cousins allegedly is prone to emotional outbursts and discipline concerns, he should provide Sacramento with an active, powerful inside presence, capable of wreaking havoc on the glass and overpowering smaller opponents. Moreover, Cousins already has good touch around the rim and a decent offensive post game. Throw in his size, long arms, and shotblocking potential, and the upside for Cousins is tremendous.

The Kings did not just stop with Cousins however. In the second round, Sacramento drafted center Hassan Whiteside, a tall, lanky, and athletic shotblocker who averaged 5.35 swats a game last year as a freshman. Whiteside's offensive game is raw and unrefined, but the Kings got great value for a guy some had projected to go in the lottery.

Throw in pricey 7' shotblocker and recent trade acquisition Samuel Dalembert, and it becomes obvious that Sacramento has improved their interior defense and rebounding by leaps and bounds.


Detroit Pistons

Landing the highly-skilled Greg Monroe at number 7 was a coup for Detroit. Monroe steps into a team well-suited to his cerebral passing game, as there are multiple scorers on the roster ready to finish off of his dimes. The versatile Monroe could play at either the 4 or the 5, and should see minutes immediately.

Second-rounder Terrico White is an athletic guard who should provide some depth in a pinch.

Philadelphia 76ers

Number 2 overall pick Evan Turner brings a ready-made playmaker to the Sixer backcourt. Turner has good size and can create his own shot, but could use a more consistent jumper from deep. Although he might not have the upside of some of the others in the lottery, he was a safe choice who should step right in at the 2 and provide Philly with another quality threat on the perimeter next to Andre Iguodala.

Minnesota Timberwolves

Apparently Minnesota still is not sold on former lottery pick Corey Brewer, as they passed on a need position with center DeMarcus Cousins, and instead nabbed explosive swingman Wesley Johnson.

With his leaping ability, thunderous finishes, and outside stroke, Johnson is a guy with tremendous upside who the Wolves are hoping can lock down a spot at the 3 for the next few years.

If Johnson struggles, they picked up some insurance in a draft day trade with Portland for Martell Webster. Still a young player in this league, Webster is a pure shooter who will spread the floor with his three-point range.

Late first rounder Lazar Hayward is nothing more than a scrappy role player, who probably is not worth the guaranteed deal he will be getting. Euro big man Paulo Prestes was a nice second round choice who could make an impact once he comes to the States in a year or two.

New Jersey Nets

First round lottery selection Derrick Favors was worth the risk for the Nets, as his raw athleticism and upside could make him a good fit next to Brook Lopez.

Fellow first-rounder Damion James is a solid role player who can crash the glass, fill the lane on the break, and hit an occasional 15 footer. His upside is limited, but his hustle and toughness could make him a solid rotation guy.

Toronto Raptors

With free agent star Chris Bosh appearing ready to leave the T-Dot, the Raptors entered the draft in need of frontline help. Fortunately, athletic power forward prospect Ed Davis fell down to the thirteenth pick and Toronto was able to snag him.

While Davis' energy and length should make an immediate impact on the offensive glass, it is the rest of his game that will have to come along more slowly. Still, he could be a quality replacement for Bosh down the line.

Second round pick Solomon Alabi is a legit 7-footer learning the game as he goes. Alabi is not the most fluid guy on the court, but is a decent enough athlete to eventually contribute on the boards and on defense.

Oklahoma City

The Thunder made a trade with New Orleans and got a potential starter at center in Cole Aldrich. Aldrich can make an immediate difference on D with his shotblocking, as he is blessed with long arms. He also has decent hands and touch around the basket.

Trade throw-in Mo Peterson is a knockdown shooter from deep who should fit nicely with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

In the second round, the Thunder got a legitimate 7' center in Germany's Tibor Pleiss. Expect them to stash Pleiss in Europe for at least one year.

San Antonio Spurs

In the first round the Spurs got outside shooting specialist James Anderson of Oklahoma State. Anderson should prove to be a good complement for a team with Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, and Manu Ginobilli, as he will get open shots from the double teams that they create.

Second-round Brit Ryan Richards was an unknown until he showed good agility and athleticism at several workouts. Expect the Spurs to stash him in Europe for a season while he develops his frontcourt skills.


Memphis Grizzlies

Change could be afoot in Memphis this offseason, as Rudy Gay will be a prized free agent and Mike Conley has yet to lock down the point guard position after several cracks at the gig. What that means is that the O.J. Mayo era could be arriving soon with Mayo running the show at point, and someone else playing off the ball.

That "someone else" could be first round pick Xavier Henry, a young 2 guard with an NBA body and an outside shot. Henry however, still struggles to create his own looks, so he will be a work in progress.

Memphis also will take a good look at fellow first rounder Greivis Vasquez, a tall versatile guard, who like Mayo, could see minutes at either the 1 or 2.

Houston Rockets

Patrick Patterson is a hard-nosed 4 who can bang underneath or step out and nail an open jumper. He should complement Yao Ming's game nicely, and is an offensive upgrade over veteran Chuck Hayes.

Orlando Magic

First round pick Daniel Orton was a backup to DeMarcus Cousins at Kentucky, averaged just 3 points per game, and has had issues with his conditioning. Nevertheless, the Magic saw enough talent in this youngster to use a first round selection on him.

Orton indeed has some tools and will improve just by practicing everyday against Dwight Howard. Should he develop as hoped, the Magic could then deal away pricier backup Marcin Gortat.

Atlanta Hawks

With star guard Joe Johnson a part of the 2010 free agent class, the Hawks needed some insurance at the two. Acquiring first-rounder Jordan Crawford in a trade with New Jersey is a step in the right direction.

Crawford can make an impact with his size, leaping ability, and three-point stroke. Throw in his scorer's mentality and bravado in the clutch, and the Hawks have a quality prospect they can develop over the next few years.

Second-rounder Pape Sy is not ready and likely will be stashed in Europe for a year or two.

Indiana Pacers

First round pick Paul George was coveted by many due to his excellent outside shot and height. Although George is somewhat unproven and played in a weak league, drafting him was worth the risk given his very high upside.

Still, there are some questions about whether he can play at the 2. If not, then the Pacers will have a logjam at the 3, as Danny Granger already gets the bulk of the minutes at that spot.

Second round pick Lance Stephenson received a lot of ink coming out of high school, then had a good, but not dominant, freshman campaign. Still, he is a big perimeter player who can make things happen with the ball in his hands. With time, he could be a quality asset.

Milwaukee Bucks

When Milwaukee lost Michael Redd and Andrew Bogut to injuries last season, they became entirely dependent on John Salmons and Brandon Jennings to generate points. Entering the draft, the Bucks addressed those scoring concerns by trading for perimeter threats Corey Maggette and Chris Douglas-Roberts.

So the Bucks used their first pick to address their interior defensive needs, nabbing athletic weakside shotblocker Larry Sanders in the first round. Sanders is a project whose offensive game is suspect, but expect him to at least crack the Bucks rotation and take the now-departed Dan Gadzuric's role providing defensive energy off the pine.

In the second round, the Deer got a trio of prospects in Jerome Jordan, Tiny Gallon, and swingman Darington Hobson. Gallon - an overweight but talented big man - is by far the most intriguing, as he has good agility and some offensive scoring ability.

New Orleans Hornets

Last year, the Hornets had the best draft in the NBA, getting two steals in Marcus Thornton and UCLA's Darren Collison. This offseason, things have not gone as smooth, as star guard Chris Paul has not been pleased with the trade rumors circling over his head.

In a draft day swap with the Thunder, the Hornets received Craig Brackins and athletic swingman Quincy Pondexter. Both first rounders project as mere role players, with Pondexter's scoring knack, slashing drives, and midrange pull-up game, giving him the greater upside of the two.

Los Angeles Lakers

The best news for the Lakers has been that stars Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol will not be playing for their national teams. That equates to offseason rest and rejuvenation entering the 2010-2011 season.

LA also should benefit from a smaller luxury tax next season, as Adam Morrison's contract will be off the books, and Derek Fisher could come back for less dough. As for the draft, LA picked up a couple of nice second round prospects, neither of whom will make much of an impact this year.

Devin Ebanks is an excellent on-ball defender in the mold of a poor man's Scottie Pippen. Tall, athletic, and blessed with long arms, Ebanks is a finesse type who successfully guarded point guards, 2's, and both forward slots in college. His offense however, is a work in progress, as Ebanks lacks a consistent J.

Derick Caracter is an active 4 on the interior who can score and board. After struggling early in his career at Louisville, Caracter transferred to UTEP and led the Miners to the NCAA Tournament. He could take Josh Powell's roster spot.

Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers still have no coach, perhaps fearing that the wrong hire before July 1 might alienate an elite free agent. But coach or not, the Clippers reputation as a dysfunctional organization is their greatest barrier to a landmark signing, as their roster talent is otherwise solid at all positions save for the 3.

With that in mind, the Clips used their top pick on athletic forward Al-Farouq Aminu of Wake Forest to fill that hole. Aminu is a quality rebounder and finisher who played the 4 in college. His natural position is small forward, but he currently lacks the offensive game and outside shot to be effective there. Still, his upside is high, and with time he could develop into a solid three. It will take time however.

LA also traded for point guard Eric Bledsoe, another first round selection. Bledsoe's athleticism makes him lethal in the open court, but he is unproven as a point guard. Fortunately, he will get to learn from one of the best in starter Baron Davis.

The Clips best value pick may have been snagging guard Willie Warren in the second round. Had he come out as a freshman, Warren was slated to go in the lottery. Now reunited with Blake Griffin, the gifted Warren can perhaps reclaim some of that lost magic.

Phoenix Suns

Phoenix could lose free agent star Amare Stoudemire, so help up front was a necessity. The Suns used both of their second round picks on forwards, selecting Dwayne Collins and Gani Lawal. Lawal is the more interesting prospect and a good value pick, as he is a quality rebounder and a physical player.

Dallas Mavericks

First round pick Dominique Jones has some skills, but will likely have trouble getting minutes in a crowded Dallas backcourt.

Boston Celtics

Desperately needing to infuse their roster with some youth and athleticism, Boston picked up guard Avery Bradley in the first round.

Bradley is an outstanding, tenacious on-ball defender with quick feet, who should fit right in with the Celtics' approach on the defensive end. On offense however, the 6'2" Bradley right now is more of a combo guard than a true point, so there will be a learning curve for him should Boston decide to use him at the 1.

Second round pick Luke Harangody is not a great athlete, but can score. Boston would be happy if he could at least equal Brian Scalabrine's production.

Utah Jazz

Utah needed more size at the three, and got it with Gordon Hayward of Butler. Hayward is a decent, but not great athlete, who is coordinated and skilled with the ball. He has a nice face up game, and can drive to his right or pull up and hit a mid range jumper.

However, do not expect Hayward to start anytime soon, as he is not strong enough defensively, nor a good enough shooter from distance to gain the trust of coach Jerry Sloan just yet. With Hayward, it will take some time.


Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavs have an unproven GM, no coach, and are on the verge of losing LeBron James to another free agent bidder. And its not just the New York Knicks that Cleveland must worry about, as Miami and Chicago have now positioned themselves as greater threats to buy the King.

Worse yet, they had no selections in the 2010 NBA Draft.

At least choke-in-the-clutch "All Star" Mo Williams still wants to stick around. Williams has been tweeting lately about how he does not want to be traded. The only surprise with that news is that some team would actually want to acquire his contract after his past two playoff no-shows.

New York Knicks

With Miami and Chicago making moves, the Knicks are not the only team with cap room for multiple max slots. Worse yet, New York has less talent than those other two squads, as they have no player equivalent to Derrick Rose or Dwayne Wade, should he re-sign.

New York traded away its 2010 lottery pick years ago, and ended up drafting second-rounders Andy Rautins and Landry Fields. Rautins can shoot, but has an injury history. Fields has some scoring ability, but is no guarantee to make the team.

For Gotham, everything now depends on courting a free agent, and unfortunately, two more eligible suitors have joined the party.

Denver Nuggets

The Nuggets had an earlier-than-expected playoff ouster, then entered the draft with no selections. Despite efforts to trade for a pick, Denver came up empty-handed and will have to improve the roster via free agency.

Charlotte Bobcats

Similar to Denver, the Bobcats had no selections in the 2010 NBA Draft. New owner Michael Jordan now must improve his team through trades or free agency.

Golden State

The Warriors passed on Georgetown's Greg Monroe and instead selected Ekpe Udoh. Since both are 4's, the Warriors essentially felt that Udoh was the better guy with the greater athletic upside.

Make no mistake, Udoh is an excellent prospect who can block shots and score. Monroe however, was the one big in the draft with the intangibles and understanding of the game to see plays and deliver passes one step ahead of the others on the floor.

A Monroe and Stephen Curry one-two punch could have provided Golden State with two highly-skilled threats at their respective positions for years to come.

Udoh does improve the Warrior frontcourt, but Monroe should have been the pick.


Portland Trailblazers

Approximately one hour before the draft, Blazers owner Paul Allen informed General Manager Kevin Pritchard that he would be fired immediately following the draft. Such a decision is astonishing for two reasons.

First, how could a man with such little common sense become so wealthy? Rather than fire his GM in the weeks before the draft, or wait prudently until the draft had been completed, Allen waited literally minutes before the event.

Not only did Allen leave his franchise vulnerable to the potential emotional swings of Pritchard, but he also seemed to show a blind faith reliance on the fact that Pritchard would be a good soldier and do his professional best. Fortunately for Allen, he wagered correctly, but why put his organization in such a position?

Second, the fact that Pritchard did not stand pat with his picks, but actively wheeled and dealed, showed an incredible amount of loyalty and dedication to an employer that had canned him only moments earlier.

In the end, Pritchard put together a nice draft for Portland. The Blazers got a couple of athletic guard prospects in Elliot Williams (first round) and Armond Johnson (second round), plus one of the top shooters in the draft in Luke Babbitt. Babbitt and veteran forward Ryan Gomes came via a trade with Minnesota in which the Blazers dealt sharpshooting swingman Martell Webster.

As for Pritchard, he leaves behind a mixed legacy. Pritchard got rid of the "Jail Blazers" stigma, accumulated a roster of young talented players, and pulled off a great midseason deal for Marcus Camby. He also embarrassed the team with his threats to sue any franchise that tried to sign Darius Miles, and was unlucky to have potential franchise center Greg Oden succumb to numerous injuries.

By Mike Elliott
Staff Editor for

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