Tuesday, June 15, 2010

2010 NBA Draft: Key Themes

It’s no secret that the 2010 NBA Draft is overshadowed by not only the NBA Finals, the World Cup, and the free agency period which will follow it shortly after the draft. That said, this draft is deeper than those in recent memory, and teams that come in with a plan can see great improvement, as seen in Oklahoma City and Memphis.

The themes below encapsulate the key storylines that will dominate draft night.
  • Washington holds 3 picks among the first 35 and have only 6 players under contract. It’s a foregone conclusion that John Wall will be the first pick. If the Bullets can parlay picks 30 and 35 into bench contributors, then Ernie Grunfeld will live to see more days as the Bullets GM.
  • Philadelphia has the 2nd pick overall (their only pick), and Evan Turner would be the value pick. However, Andre Iguodala and Thaddeus Young are already on a roster that lacks inside muscle. Not to mention, Samuel Dalembert, the team's only real roster, is in the last year of his contract.
  • Minnesota owns 3 picks in the first round (pick #s 4, 16, 23) and 5 picks overall. They could use interior depth, but have a gaping hole at the shooting guard position. Could Minnesota package 3 picks into a trade with the 76ers and select Evan Turner?
  • If your roster is starving for power forwards and centers, then this is your draft. I have given 1st-round grades to 11 power forwards and centers. If I had any love for Kevin Seraphin, that number would be one higher.
  • After John Wall, there are no true point guards with a 1st-round grade. Shooting guards Avery Bradley, Eric Bledsoe, Armon Johnson (combo guard), and Terrico White may play point guard at the next level.
  • Toronto is actively attempting to acquire a pick in the 20s. Cap-starved teams like Orlando and teams with multiple first round picks (Minnesota, Oklahoma City, Memphis) are possible dance partners for the Raptors. That said, the Raptors have approximately $46M locked up in contracts next season that do not include Chris Bosh. They are in serious trouble.
  • What will Mikhail Prokhorov do in his first draft? His Nets hold picks 3, 27 and 31. They some good young pieces in Brook Lopez, Devin Harris, Courtney Lee, Yi Jianlian, Terrence Williams, and Chris Douglas-Roberts, but will be wise to add muscle to the frontcourt.
  • According to John Sheridan of ESPN.com, the current asking price for a spare 2nd-round pick has a starting price of $1.5M. Of course, picks in the early half of the 2nd round are more expensive. Last year, Houston paid Washington $2.5M in Lil' Flip albums for the 32nd pick overall.
  • The Knicks will be calling teams to possibly purchase 2nd-round picks (in addition to their two early second-round picks), who would cost them a paltry cap figure of $473,604, and effectively fill out their roster.
  • Who will fall precipitously on draft night? We don't know yet, and we won't know until draft night. All I know is that calls and texts will be prefaced by, "What were they thinking? I can't believe [insert name] is still on the board." Two years ago, it was Darrell Arthur. Last year, it was Pittsburgh's DeJuan Blair and Sam Young.

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