Going into the 2010 NBA draft, the consensus was that it was very top heavy and after the first few picks, teams would have a hard time finding someone who could carry their franchise into the future.
So far, the opposite has been true, however, as some of the most productive players from the draft came at the lower end of the lottery and in a few cases, even into the second round. If we were to re-do this draft, how would things go down? Well, it would be a lot different than it was in June 2010, that’s for sure. Let’s look at which players from the draft would make the top 10 if we did it now.
Paul George has gotten vastly better in each of his three seasons in the NBA and right now, he’s the best player on a borderline title contender in the Indiana Pacers. He’s a great scorer and since moving to the small-forward spot, he’s become an excellent rebounder. After everything he’s done these past few seasons, he’s established himself as the most impressive player to come out of the draft (for the time being that is) and if the Washington Wizards had another crack at the No. 1, they’d likely take him over John Wall, who has shown potential, but hasn’t put it all together like George has.
Greg Monroe barely gets the nod over DeMarcus Cousins here because while he hasn’t been quite as flashy, he also doesn’t have anywhere near as many behavioral problems and would be much easier to deal with. Let’s face it, a guy like Cousins would be destined to clash with a hard-nosed coach like Doug Collins. Monroe is a great scorer and rebounder and would have been a huge building block for the Philadelphia 76ers moving forward.
3. DeMarcus Cousins – New Jersey Nets (Originally Selected fifth overall by Sacramento Kings)
In their search for a big man, the then-still-in-New-Jersey Nets took Derrick Favors, who has been a solid pro, but not on the level of Cousins. In spite of the problems discussed earlier, Cousins is an extremely talented big man whose offense can be unstoppable at times. For a Nets team that was coming off a 12-win season, Cousins would have given them an instant marquee player and the thought of him wreaking havoc in the post with Brook Lopez is quite scintillating. Sadly, it wasn’t meant to be.
4. Evan Turner – Minnesota Timberwolves (Originally selected second overall by Philadelphia 76ers)
The Minnesota Timberwolves needed a small forward going in the 2010 draft. Unfortunately, Turner was already gone by the time they picked and they were stuck with Wesley Johnson, who is already one of the bigger lottery busts of the past 10 years. In this new scenario, Turner would be on the board for the Wolves and while they wouldn’t be getting a franchise player, they would be getting a solid swingman who has continued to improve. He’s not the best shooter in the game, but he finds ways to put points on the board and his defense continues to be solid. As a complimentary piece to Kevin Love, he certainly would’ve worked better than Johnson or Michael Beasley.
5. John Wall – Sacramento Kings (Originally selected first overall by Washington Wizards)
Yes, the Sacramento Kings took Tyreke Evans the year before, but he was never a true NBA point guard and they know that now. A John Wall selection here would’ve moved Evans to the 2-guard spot a year earlier and created an electrifying backcourt of Evans and Wall, two talented players who came out of John Calipari’s system. The two would have been a bit like Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis in Milwaukee, but better. Admittedly, there’s some concern that the two would have struggled to share the ball, but with that much talent, one can only hope they would have worked things out.
6. Derrick Favors – Golden State Warriors (Originally selected third overall by New Jersey Nets)
As with the Wolves, the player who could have helped the Golden State Warriors in this draft was already gone when their pick came up. They took Ekpe Udoh, who has been pretty disappointing so far, currently struggling to even crack the rotation with the Milwaukee Bucks. Favors would have been a much better pick, giving the Warriors a solid big man going forward. He could have teamed up with David Lee to form a fearsome frontcourt. However, the Warriors didn’t sign Lee until after the draft, so maybe if they get Favors he goes elsewhere. That’s problem with time travel. You can alter the present in ways you can’t imagine.
7. Ed Davis – Detroit Pistons (Originally selected 13th overall by Toronto Raptors)
With Monroe off the board, the Pistons find a suitable replacement in Ed Davis, who has quietly been one of the most efficient players in this draft. He had worked his way into the starting lineup with the Toronto Raptors before being shipped to the Memphis Grizzlies. If he goes here, he likely works his way into the starting lineup earlier, and quickly becomes a big part of the Pistons youth movement going forward. If Davis were given the same minutes as Monroe, it’s not unrealistic to think he could do similar damage on the score board.
The Los Angeles Clippers wound up with Eric Bledsoe in this draft anyway, but only after the Oklahoma City Thunder traded his draft rights. This time around, everyone knows how good he is and the Clippers need to grab him much earlier. In this universe, the Clippers don’t have Chris Paul yet, so there’s no way of knowing how far he could have gone. Could Bledsoe have beaten out an aging Baron Davis for the starting point guard spot? It’s hardly beyond the realm of possibility.
9. Gordon Hayward – Utah Jazz (Originally selected 9th overall by Utah Jazz)
The only pick here that doesn’t change. Gordon Hayward might not be a superstar, but he fits into Utah’s system quite well and the fans love him. A point guard would be tempting here, but the relationship between Hayward and Salt Lake City just seems to work and I’m not one to tamper with success.
10. Greivis Vazquez – Indiana Pacers (Originally selected 28th overall by Memphis Grizzlies)
Greivis Vazquez narrowly earns the final spot over undrafted Jeremy Lin here on the strength of the excellent season he’s had with the New Orleans Hornets. Keep in mind, at this point in time, the Pacers’ point guards were A.J. Price and T.J. Ford and they were about to bring in Darren Collison, who never materialized for them. Picking Vazquez would have given them an excellent ball distributor, and an excellent pick-and-roll partner for Roy Hibbert.
This was the first entry in a series of re-drafts, in which we will see which teams made the right pick and who missed out on a franchise player. Next up: Would Blake Griffin still be No. 1 if we did the 2009 draft again?
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