Let’s take a look at the first five picks of Thursday’s 2010 NBA Draft and see what they bring to the table.
1. Washington Wizards – John Wall (6-4, PG, Kentucky).
Strengths: Gifted athete, playmaker and brings size to PG position. Weaknesses: Needs to improve FT (Shot 75.4 percent at Kentucky), inexperience.
Impact on Wizards: Not only will he bring fans to the arena, Wall gives Washington a player they can immediately build around and put past troubles with the franchise.
2. Philadelphia 76ers – Evan Turner (6-7, SG/SF, Ohio State).
Strengths: Clutch, seasoned (played three years in college) and shoots a high percentage (shot 51.9 percent from the field last season). Weaknesses: Turnover prone and not as explosive around the rim in terms of finishing in traffic.
Impact on 76ers: Will have to play small forward, but teaming up with Andre Iguodala will give the 76ers two very good perimeter defenders. Has a very competitive edge, which Philadelphia has lacked in recent years.
3. New Jersey Nets - Derrick Favors (6-10, PF, Georgia Tech).
Strengths: Shows freakness athletic ability in the paint and has NBA body (6-10, 246 pounds). Weaknesses: Just 18, Favors still just a teenager and considering his talent level, didn’t dominate on the college level.
Impact on Nets: Will be New Jersey’s most talented inside player. Won’t need plays ran for him to impact game on offense and will gives the Nets a sound off-ball defender.
4. Minnesota Timberwolves - Wesley Johnson (6-7, SF, Syracuse).
Strengths: Well-rounded player with athletic ability and can knock down the outside shot (Shot 41.5 percent from 3-point range last season). Weaknesses: Since Syracuse plays zone quite a bit, Johnson must show he can guard man-to-man on the perimeter in the NBA.
Impact on Timberwolves: He gives them another offensive weapon who can stretch the defense with his outside shooting. He’ll start so Johnson has to be a double-digit scorer for a team who needs help all over the place.
5. Sacramento Kings – DeMarcus Cousins (6-11, PF/C, Kentucky).
Strengths: Power post player, has a mean streak and can get on the glass (Avg. 9.8 rebounds). Weaknesses: Has maturity issues and must find that fine line between being tough and touchy.
Impact on Kings: Can provide them a low-post presence and allow them to play in the half court some. Pairing up with Tyreke Evans will work for Cousins because Evans has similiar skills to his UK teammate, John Wall.
In looking at the rest of the draft, this is who stood out to me:
1. Epke Udoh (6-10, PF, Baylor). Saw this guy when he was at Michigan and thought he had upside. He transfers to Baylor, blossoms and the Golden State Warriors took him with the sixth overall pick. Golden State has had the best of luck with drafting big men, but Udoh could change that.
2. Gordon Hayward (6-8, SF, Butler). Any one who can take a program like Butler and lead them to the national title game is special as did this season is special. He’s more athletic than adverstised, but Hayward is a winner so it’s no surprise the Utah Jazz took him with the ninth overall pick. Has a chance to eventually become a star there.
3. Patrick Patterson (6-10, PF, Kentucky). Went about where I expected as the Houston Rockets picked him with the 14th overall pick. Strong player who has a physical nature to him. Although he can shoot from the outside, if Patterson can play the way DeJuan Blair did as a rookie with the San Antonio Spurs, he’ll make mark with Rockets early.
4. Elliot Williams (6-5, SG, Memphis). Whenever a player starts his career at Duke as Williams did before transferring ot Memphis, you know he’s got talent. Add the fact he’s a lefty, has size, is fluid and can play both guard positions, Williams has value. The problem is he’s going to a team in the Portland Trail Blazers that’s perimeter oriented, but he’s a talent.
5. Andy Rautins (6-4, SG, Syracuse). The New York Knicks got a guy in the second round who can flat out shoot the rock as he shot 40.7 percent from 3-point range as a senior with the Orange. A senior? He played four years of college? That’s unheard of this days, but that may serve him well in the NBA. Plus if the Knicks can get LeBron James, Rautins will be a shooter James can rely upon.