Friday, April 1st, 2011 at 9:09 am  |  33 responses

Rookie Report: Redraft

Doing our best to correct the mistakes.

by Eldon Khorshidi / @eldonadam

In life, and especially in basketball, I have trouble capturing the moment; I typically don’t absorb and understand what’s occurring until the moment is complete. The tendency was once again in effect this year, but for the first time I think it worked to my advantage.

I didn’t view the rookies as rookies; Instead, every first year pro was just a professional basketball player, regardless of age or experience. I’m not naive though. Like any fan, I gave the rookies the benefit of the doubt, understanding they have room to grow and time to flourish, like an eighth grader playing varsity. Instead of forming an impulsive perspective and drawing outrageous conclusions based off single-game (or single-week) performances, I took a years worth of work into account to analyze the rookie class.

It goes without saying that one season isn’t enough to place labels–bust, superstar, etc. Chauncey Billups came into the League in ‘97-98, but didn’t make an impact until 2002. The same applies for numerous others—Chris Mullin, Gerald Wallace, Corey Maggette, Ben Wallace to name a few. With the season winding down, let’s have some fun and redraft the Class of 2010.

No. 1 pick: The Wizards select John Wall

Season: 16 ppg, 8.6 apg, 4.5 rpg

Pick in 2010 NBA draft: John Wall

Wall has been the only ray of life for the 18-56 Wizards. He was the consensus No. 1 pick in June, and still holds the throne on the first of April. The Carolina native has the make of a franchise point guard—superb athleticism, ball handling, court awareness, and most importantly leadership. Even without a consistent jumpshot, Wall is a match-up problem on most nights. His ability to fill the stat sheet is reminiscent of a young Jason Kidd.

No. 2 pick: The 76ers select Greg Monroe

Season: 9 ppg, 7.3 rpg

Pick in 2010 NBA draft: Evan Turner

Monroe has arguably been the best Eastern Conference rookie since January. After logging 15-20 minutes a game earlier in the season, he’s made his way into the Pistons starting lineup. His numbers have increased every month—with 10 double-doubles in his last 17 games, his development is coming along smoothly. Learning from Elton Brand and playing alongside Andre Iguodala and pass-first point guard Jrue Holiday would make Monroe a good fit in Philadelphia. DeMarcus Cousins could also be considered for this spot, but I see Monroe’s versatility as a better fit for the 76ers.

No. 3 pick: The Nets select Derrick Favors

Season: 6.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg

Pick in 2010 NBA draft: Derrick Favors

This one is simple: Favors was a trade chip even before he got drafted, and he was finally shipped to Utah at the deadline. I am confident DeMarcus Cousins will have a more successful career than Favors, but the Nets already have a center in Brook Lopez. Plus, many teams would be hesitant to trade for Cousins.

No. 4 pick: The Timberwolves select DeMarcus Cousins

Season: 14.1 ppg, 8.6 rpg

Pick in 2010 NBA draft: Wesley Johnson

If there’s one player to contest Wall as the Draft’s best overall player, it’s Cousins. Cousins is a 6-11, 270 pound immovable object with the shooting touch of a guard. He’s posted a double-double in 14 of his last 28 games, and has scored in double figures in all but one game in March.

If the Wolves drafted Cousins, they could’ve put Mike Beasley at 3, allowing Kevin Love to play his natural 4, and inserting Cousins at the 5. With the double-teams Cousins is already demanding, Love would probably have five 30-30 games this year. It’s sad that the last positive memories of the Target Center lie within the Kevin Garnett days.

No. 5 pick: The Kings select Paul George

Season: 7.8 ppg, 3.7 rpg

2010 NBA draft: DeMarcus Cousins

George is a 6-8 combo guard who’s as raw as sushi. He’s shown flashes of brilliance on both ends of the floor, with a crafty offensive arsenal and the length to contest any shot on defense, even if he lays off his man. Despite shooting only 27 percent from deep, George has trampoline hops and a developing jumpshot. For George to get minutes under the strict tutelage of Jim O’Brien is an indication of some sort. Not saying he’s an All-Star, but George can be a starter in this league for years to come. With Cousins off the board, if Sacramento took the Fresno State swingman they’d have a solid core of Tyreke Evans/Marcus Thornton/George, plus a top-8 pick in this years draft.

No. 6 pick: The Warriors select Ed Davis

Season: 7 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1 blkpg

2010 NBA draft: Ekpe Udoh

Davis has been overlooked for most of the season despite being a lottery pick. His skinny frame is deceptive because he can bang down low, scoring efficiently (66 percent in January, 64 percent in February, 53 percent in March) and collect rebounds. He would fit in with Golden States run-n-gun offense, garnering lots of transition buckets. His raw ability is too much to pass up on here.

No. 7 pick: The Pistons select Evan Turner

Season: 7 ppg, 2 apg, 3.9 apg

2010 NBA draft: Greg Monroe

Both Greg Monroe and Paul George are off the board here, but Turner is still a good fit in Detroit. He needs to improve in several categories, but Turner plays at his pace and is comfortable within himself, leading to lots of playmaking opportunities. With some improved shot selection and some work behind the arc, Tuner will be a solid pro. The locker room unrest in Detroit would’ve also allowed Turner to play significant minutes.

No. 8 pick: The Clippers select Landry Fields

Season: 9.9 ppg, 1.9 apg, 6.5 rpg

2010 NBA draft: Al-Farouq Aminu

Fields’ remarkable basketball IQ and veteran poise lifts him from the dumps of the second round to the lottery. Al-Farouq Aminu has made decent contributions, but Fields’ play is way ahead of his experience—he has unpredictable upside, and at this point is a rotation player at the worst. Fields shoots, defends, and rebounds better than Aminu, and would help the Clips immediately.

No. 9 pick: The Jazz select Wesley Johnson

Season: 9 ppg, 1.9 apg, 3 rpg

Johnson has been erratic at times this season, but so has every other player on this list. Wes could fill in at small forward for Utah, as Andrei Kirilenko’s contract expires at seasons end. Johnson’s put together a few notable performances, but I think he’d do even better in the Jazz’ balanced, structured system. If he can learn to attack the rim with a vengeance and polish his three-point shooting, Johnson will be a force in the league.

No. 10 pick: The Pacers select Larry Sanders

Season: 4.6 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.2 blkpg

2010 NBA draft: Paul George

Sanders hasn’t played too often this season, but his game fascinates me. It’s rare to find a 6-11 forward who can defend positions two through five. On offense, Sanders has a smooth face-up and mid-range game. For an Indiana team that lacks front-court athleticism, Sanders a risky pick, but one that could pay dividends.

No. 11 pick: The Thunder select Patrick Patterson

Season: 6 ppg, 3.9 rpg

Pick in 2010 NBA draft: Cole Aldrich

It’s easy to be fooled by Patterson’s petty numbers, but his game is meant for game film, not the box score. Patterson can guard without fouling, something the Kings hope DeMarcus Cousins will learn. He has a limited but effective offensive game, but his impact would be especially felt on the defensive end. Patterson could play behind Serge Ibaka or Kendrick Perkins, anchoring the second unit similar to Omer Asik in Chicago.

No. 12 pick: The Grizzlies select Jordan Crawford

Season: 10.4 ppg, 2.2 apg, 2.3 rpg

March: 18.2 ppg, 3.7 apg, 3.3 rpg

Since being traded from Atlanta to Washington, Crawford has made the most of his opportunities, surprising everyone in the basketball world with his scoring ability. His latest feat—a smooth 39 on the Miami Heat this past Wednesday. Crawford would be an offensive threat off the bench for Memphis, making OJ Mayo even more expendable. The kid from Xavier can create his shot with ease, in a Jamal Crawford-Jason Terry kind of way. He’s also showed more promise than both Xavier Henry and Greivis Vasquez, Memphis’ two draft picks.

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  • Fat Lever

    I still think Turner is going to be a very good pro, but I agree, the Sixers, in hindsight, would have benefited greatly from drafting Monroe. Love his game, and he would have been a great fit here.

  • http://nobulljive.com Enigmatic

    What a weak rookie class this is (so far).
    I’d take Cousins 2nd in a re-draft.
    He’s just too skilled. You gotta take a chance on him.

  • Drew

    Evan Turner is a BUST!!

  • bails1

    I agree you gotta go Cousins in Philly. If you had Cousins instead of Hawes that team could be downright scary. Holiday, Iggy, Thad, and EB!

  • Detroit Dave

    After watching this college season, I wonder where David Lighty ends up in the draft. To me he is just as good as Evan Turner was. Turner put up eye popping numbers but if Lighty goes falls to the mid-teens he will be an instant contributer.

  • Zeek

    Why do you guys think Cousins is any good? Worst team player, thinks he is better than the rest of his team, plays trash defense and is so cocky that his ego is bigger than the state of California. When he retires, he will be considered a 10 pick or worse. Nowhere near what the other players listed on her are worth

  • http://www.michaelcho.com M Cho

    Nice to see Greg Monroe get some ink! He’s been saving my fantasy hoops roster.

  • http://slamonline.com walt williams

    Lol @ Monroe’s selection. If Monroe is versatile, what is Cousins? DMC has a much better all-around game.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I woulda taken Cousins 2nd in the real draft. I don’t understand at all taking Evan Turner with that pick, I would have taken Cousins, Favors, and Wesley Johnson over Evan Turner, without needing this NBA season to tell me they would be better pros (Wesley Johnson may not end up better, I didn’t realize how old he was till about a month ago).

  • http://nobulljive.com Enigmatic

    Favors and Cousins were both without a doubt better options than Turner, IMO.
    Perhaps the Sixers were worried about a logjam at the PF/C since they already had Elton Brand, Spencer Hawes, Marreese Speights and Thad Young, but in my opinion you ALWAYS take the best player available, regardless of position.

  • MikeC.

    @Enigmatic – I concur with your point about always taking the best player available. Teams can always trade the incumbent player for future picks and/or another player required for the rotation. I wonder if people knew to think outside the box like that in Portland when Jordan was still on the draft board.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    @ Enimatic: Nah, this draft is far from weak. You’ll see.

  • Fat Lever

    Drew, can you tell me how many Sixer games you’ve watched to base that opinion on? Because I’ve watched almost all of them, and he is far from a bust. They are bringing him along slowly. He could easily get numbers on a lesser team. ET can play, no doubt about it.

  • idrees

    don’t forget jordan crawford dunked on lebron james

  • Fat Lever

    And anyone saying the Sixers should have taken Cousins, doesn’t know the fanbase here. They wouldnt stand for his ish, and those boos would have definitely f’d with his head. We already had one DC(Derrick Coleman), we don’t need another one.

  • D12FSU

    kinda sad not to see Turner not even make the top 12 based on upside, I hope the same doesnt happen to Kemba

  • D12FSU

    wow correction, hes there at 7…my mistake

  • Pindajung

    Crawford had a triple double yesterday!

  • http://www.slamonline.com c_cantrell

    i said the whole time that cousins should have went second.. i believe he would have been a nice fit in philly

  • PippenOnEwing

    Paul George didn’t get playing time until O’Brien got fired. Big ups to Slam for showing PG some much deserved love in this weak ass rookie class

  • PV

    Gordon Hayward is a better player then both Wesley Johnson and Landry Fields… Jazz wouldn’t pass on him in a redraft

  • http://shinefluid@aol.com just bcuz

    we judge what a player will be after 1 year now? i can name HOFs who didnt have a good 1st year. thats how society is now tho

  • http://www.slamonline.com c_cantrell

    ^just bcuz..
    shut up dude, your annoying

  • johnny c

    no love for austin daye? and yes, evan turners a bust

  • illadelph

    How did people see Evan Turner becoming a star?
    Im from Philly and I see the games
    He has no strong part of his game
    Everything is just average

  • http://bugmarley.com Leonel

    ^which is why he can become a star. he’s nowhere near being a finished product. he’s average in all facets which means with hardwork and good mentoring, he can better than average in one or two areas in an offseason.

    whether he will do so is up to him and the philly org.

    just sayin’.

  • barnabusb

    Greg Monroe is the real deal. It’s good to see him get some respect even though he’s on a turrible Pistons team. He gets better every game and is going to look like a beast after a summer of working out with one of the best trainers in the league. Not only that, but his basketball IQ is off the charts.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    This draft is far from weak. Ed Davis will be an All-Star some day, and Demarcus, John Wall, Greg Munroe, Paul George, Gordon Hayward, Landry Fields, and Derrick Favors are all very good rookies. Not to mention PAT PATTERSON–very overlooked… he’s insanely valuable to the Rockets and his scoring is underrated. He’s got a wet midrange game and has deceptive hops that allow him to snatch boards and do all the little things for your team.
    Ed Davis and Patrick Patterson are the sleepers in this draft class who will surprise a lot of people come next year.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Mars

    This years draft is going to be worse. After top 10 it’s who-is-who after that.

  • goattree

    Ed Davis was not a top 10 pick. He slipt to the Raps at 13

  • http://http//portlandfan1203.blogspot.com Karley

    For the 2nd pick you said Greg Monroe of the 76ers but then go into the paragraph and say Pistons. This is a legit article but get it right.

  • dmac

    @Karley: Actually….It is right. The reason the paragraph mentions the Pistons is because they actually drafted Greg Monroe. This is a “redraft.” That means that giving what we know today about these players, if GMs were given an opportunity to do it again, this is the author take on how they should pick.

  • http://slamonline.com Eldon Khorshidi

    @goattree you’re right, thanks for that. @karley Monroe is a Piston, not a Sixer. Not sure what you’re saying