2010 NBA Draft Day Highlights and Lowlights

 

The 2010 NBA Draft is in the books. The best day of the year for NBA fans – especially those who root for consistently poor organizations – is now behind us. Although the impending free agency period may have overshadowed the draft this year, there were still plenty of memorable moments for fans.

Here’s a look at some of the highlights and lowlights from draft night.

Highlights

The Great Wall in DC – We are really getting spoiled as NBA fans. It seems like every year the league is adding at least one exciting young point guard and John Wall is just the latest name to be added to the list. Deron Williams, Chris Paul, Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry, it’s really getting ridiculous how much talent there is at the point guard position in the NBA.

The scary thing is, Wall has the potential to be the best of them all. He has a scary combination of size and explosiveness to go with an excellent feel for the game and the ability to be a lock down defender. Oh, and he has his own dance. How many players can say that? His selection by the Wizards marks the start of an exciting career that NBA fans can’t wait to see get started.  If you don’t watch a lot of Wizards games, it’s okay, you’ll be seeing plenty of John Wall on Sportscenter.

Dressed to Impress? – Everybody has their own opinion of what looks good and those opinions were certainly put to the test Thursday night with Wesley Johnson and Al-Farouq Aminu’s attire. Johnson did his best Fonzworth Bentley impersonation with what appeared to be pajama pants while Aminu channeled his inner Steve Urkel with some glasses that people won’t soon forget.

Got any cheese? (Photo: Ray Stubblebine/Reuters)

Now I’m not saying I would ever even think about wearing anything even close to resembling what Johnson and Aminu pulled off, but you have to give these guys credit for having the stones to do it while the entire NBA world was watching.

Welcome to the NBA Greivis Vasquez – As we approached draft night, it was unclear as to where Greivis Vasquez would be selected. Vasquez certainly had his critics who thought he was too slow and didn’t possess certain skills to be able to successfully run the point in the NBA.

Despite the naysayers, there were a few teams that saw something in Vasquez. And after seeing his reaction after being picked 28th by the Memphis Grizzlies, you’d have to believe that those teams that believed in him were on to something.

His reaction sums up what draft night is all about; young players realizing their dreams. Vasquez was thrilled to achieve his lifelong goal of playing in the NBA and wasn’t afraid to show it. There will be no player in the NBA who is more appreciative of the opportunity to play basketball for a living. Vasquez may not end up being a star in this league, he may not even be a starter, but he will scrap, claw and fight every minute he’s on the court.

A Tradition Unlike Any Other (Except, Perhaps, The Masters) – A tradition becoming nearly just as entertaining as the draft itself is witnessing the reactions of the New York Knicks fans in attendance. Unfortunately, the Knicks didn’t have a first round pick this year but they didn’t disappoint with their back-to-back picks in the second round. Andy Rautins wasn’t exactly what they were looking for with pick 38, but being a product of Syracuse probably got him off the hook.

Fields was among the Pac-10’s best (Photo: Harry How/Getty)

Landry Fields wouldn’t be so lucky. When he was selected 39th, all the pent up frustration from the previous pick that was unable to be released came out in full force. The tradition lived on, thank you Landry Fields.

Lowlights

Calm Trade Winds – The trade winds seemed to be swirling in the days and even the hours before the draft.  Very few of the trade rumors actually came to fruition, however. Big names like Chris Paul, Danny Granger, Al Jefferson, Devin Harris and Zach Randolph were rumored to be on the block, but that’s all the trade talk involving these players ended up being, rumors.

The majority of the draft day trades were made by teams such as the Bulls and the Heat, which were looking to dump salary and better position themselves as major players in free agency. The much-anticipated free agency period definitely played a role in the minimal amount of big trades made on draft night.

Jay Bilas’ Worst Available – It might be time to remove Jay Bilas from the draft. Is he really the best draft expert ESPN has?  Of course not, anyone who follows basketball closely knows that Chad Ford is the main draft guru at the worldwide leader. Jay’s big board says it all. How can your draft expert on the set have James Anderson as the 10th best player in the draft? Luke Babbitt 9th?  C’mon Bilas, you’re better than that, but not better than Chad Ford. It’s time for Chad to take over the draft in 2011 and give the people what they want.

Dead Man Walking – It was widely expected that Kevin Pritchard would be removed from his position as general manager of the Portland Trailblazers, but few expected that move to come an hour before the draft. Now that’s dirty. An organization widely regarding for having a stellar front office and doing things the right way certainly surprised a lot of people around the league by axing their GM right before the draft.

Pritchard transformed the team’s image during his tenure at Portland and also made several savvy moves like acquiring Brandon Roy in 2006 to make the Trailblazers one of the most promising young teams in the NBA. He may well end up being remembered for taking Greg Oden over Kevin Durant in 2007, but in his defense, Oden was nearly the consensus pick at the time. Pritchard doesn’t deserve to be remembered as the guy who passed on Durant and he certainly didn’t deserve to be fired an hour before the draft.

Senior Slide – It’s getting harder and harder to convince kids to stay in school. Between school and basketball these kids have a rigorous schedule, they don’t get paid, and evidently they don’t get drafted. The first senior to be selected was Trevor Booker, who was taken at No. 23 by Minnesota, and many have argued that Booker had no business being selected that high. Damion James then came off the board at No. 24 followed by three more seniors at the end of Round 1.

Of the five seniors taken in the first round, three weren’t expected to be first round selections (Vasquez, Booker and L. Hayward.) As teams continue to value potential when evaluating prospects, seniors are likely to be devalued, thus hurting college basketball in the process. Much of this trend can be attributed to the NBA age limit requirements, which aren’t likely to be changed any time soon.

 

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