Thomas’ Thoughts On The 2010 Draft

Is it just me or is this the least anticipated draft in a long time?  For some reason there is a distinct lack of buzz this year.  Maybe it’s due to the Lakers/Celtics series ending just last week. Perhaps fans are more concerned with the pending free agent signing period.  Maybe its because the top three picks have been pretty much set in stone since the lottery. 

I wonder if you can really get excited about a draft in which pick 20 could turn out to be a better pro than pick 5?  I’m not saying Daniel Orton is an equal prospect to DeMarcus Cousins, but with the questions surrounding Cousins, who knows what he will be in five years?  And that really underscores the problem with this draft: high on potential and short on sure things. 

To me, this year’s draft is reminiscent of the 2001 and 2006 drafts.  Each of those drafts saw big disappointments in about half of the top 10 picks. 2001 lottery picks Brown (1), Curry (4), Griffin (7), Diop (8), and White (9) played well below expectations while less heralded Wallace (25), Parker (28), Arenas (31), and Okur (38) range between solid pros to all-star players. 2006’s unholy trinity of Morrison (3), Thomas (4), and Williams (5) should still be fresh in all minds.  But second round finds Gibson (42), Milsap (47), and Powe (49) are contributors.  The point here is that the Knicks could get lucky and find a solid contributor at 38 and/or 39. 

Take if available:

Willie Warren(PG): I think Warren has too much talent to pass up at 38/39.  He has good size for a point (6-4), excellent ball handler, solid passer, can get into the lane and also to the line.  I am aware that his shot selection needs work but according to draft combine reports he has good mechanics. 

Jordan Crawford (SG): A very effective scorer with well a rounded offensive game.  Unlike Warren, Crawford shows good shot selection and is very efficient. In fact, he is the second most efficient player in draft according to Draft Express. He tends to over dribble and is always on the look out for his shot. Crawford’s offense is somewhat limited by an inability to get to the line. He reminds me of another Crawford who played here–except for the efficient part. 

Lance Stephenson(SG): This guy is all over the place in mocks. has him going 15th, DX has him 41st, CNN didn’t place him in the first round, and Chad Ford won’t tell me where he thinks Stephenson will go unless I fork over 6.95 a month (Ed’s note – 37th as per version 6.1).  Anyway Stephenson has great size (6-6) for the two, he is strong and quick though not a super athlete. A one dimensional offensive player but is superb in that dimension. Stephenson is probably a higher upside than Crawford. There are maturity concerns with him and I wonder if giving him a half million dollars then turning him loose in his home town is a great idea. That aside, on talent he is a steal at 38.

Jerome Jordan(C): The 7 footer center from Tulsa will be 24 years old by the start of the 2010-11 season, but he is still quite young in terms of the basketball development–began playing late in high school.  His offense is limited but he has a solid face up jumper and good defensive skills.  Even if his ceiling is a solid back up center, that’s pretty good for the 38th pick.

Mikhail Torrence(PG): Has good size (6-5) and can get to the basket with either hand.  Good passing skills are slightly marred by below average decision making.  A flawed player (that is why he’ll probably be available) but has potential to improve.  Pushes the ball and transitions well.  Probably a good fit for D’Antoni’s offense. Torrence’s shot needs work (46 FG%) but far better offensive player than Duhon or Collins.

I would pass on:

Gani Lawal(PF): I don’t dislike the 6-9 junior but I don’t see how he fits into the coach’s plans.  A defensive specialist with a limited offensive game sounds like a guy that will languish on the end of D’Antoni’s bench.

Tiny Gallon (C): A lighter version of Jerome James at 6-10 305.  Again, does not fit into the current style of play.

Samardo Samuels(PF): A graduate of my alma mater and I wish him the best but I’m not sure he has the tools to survive as an undersized PF (6-8) in the NBA.  Sure guys like Milsap, Blair, and Glen Davis do well with a similar frame, but Samuels doesn’t show the rebounding ability of Milsap or Blair, and Samuels lacks Davis’ ability to finish against larger players. 

With a little luck, and a good eye for talent, a GM can find a valuable player in the second round.  Because the Knicks have only 4 players under contract for 2011, they don’t have to draft based on position needs–they need everything– placing positional needs above talent is always a bad idea. Given the current state of the roster and the coach’s reluctance to give minutes to rookies, I think the approach is to take the most talented, high potential player available, then hope he develops into a solid contributor over the next 2-3 seasons.

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Thomas B.

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43 thoughts to “Thomas’ Thoughts On The 2010 Draft”

  1. The Miami Heat traded Daequan Cook and their 18th pick for the 32nd pick. They really are serious about this 3 max players thing, and it sucks for us.

  2. I think the lack of heat/buzz is because everyone’s saving up their emotional juice for the decision by a player whose name rhymes with SheShmron Shrames

  3. “the Knicks have only 4 players under contract for 2011…”

    I think this sentence should read “the Knicks only have 4 players, and 1 professional medicine ball crusher, under contract for 2011…”

  4. I can’t seem to shake the feeling that I’m going to be screaming at my television “WHO THE F*@% IS [_____], DONNIE?” That said, the one thing that will really chap my ass is if the Knicks select another SF.

    While we are on the subject of the draft, is there going to be another draft contest this year? Perhaps another shot at an autographed copy of BC’s book? Who won last year anyway, was it tastycakes?

  5. Hey, why don’t the Knicks sign Pritchard as their GM and then have Donnie retire as President than slowly retire and give Pritchard total control.

    They can give Pritchard a Godfather-type contract – go for it, Dolan!!

  6. Yo, I’m about to freak the hell out. Someone explain this to me please.

    According to this:

    “The Heat, then, have a payroll currently at $44 million, which puts the franchise closer to signing three max-contract players — their own free agent Dwyane Wade and possibly two others.”

    How can the math be right with this? 44mil is like 10m under the cap. How is that enough room to resign Wade and two max’s?

  7. @7,

    If they wanted to offer 3 max deals, they’ll need 50 mil in cap space to offer 3 max deals.. What everybody is assuming is that LeBron, Wade, and Bosh will all take around 14.3 mil to play together. Not. Gonna. Happen. You know, since Miami wants to take the fun out of being a fan, I really hope this whole thing backfires and they end up with Boozer, Haywood, and Josh Howard.

  8. “How can the math be right with this? 44mil is like 10m under the cap. How is that enough room to resign Wade and two max’s?”

    All they have is Beasley and Chalmers on their roster now. Assuming Wade opts in, they’ll have $23,000,000, plus the roster holds, in committed salary. That gives them roughly $32 million to spend on July 1st– the equivalent of two max salaries.

  9. It doesn’t make sense to me either.

    By trading down in the draft from #18 to #32, they did lose the guarantee they would have had to make in paying a lottery first rounder (#18), and that does count against that cap. But only for $1M or something.

    And I don’t think Cook’s salary comes off the books yet because of the late date of the trade.

    So one of our smarter posters will have to explain this to the rest of us. And it wouldn’t surprise me if ESPN has no idea what they are typing about. $44M in salaries doesn’t put Miami anywhere near being able to sign two FA’s plus Wade.

  10. @z

    But that is TWO, not 3. They don’t have 32mil after signing wade. So basically they have enough for wade plus a 12 mil player is my point, and two max players if Wade is not retained.

  11. I’m still flabbergasted by the math here. Something has to be way off, because if the heat have a salary of 44 mil and can sign 3 max players and the knicks have a payroll of 22 mil, then I guess that means we can sign six max players….WOOOHOOOO!!!

  12. Forget the $44 million number. It’s a misprint.

    The Heat can sign 2 max players, but they already have Wade signed, so they can pay for three.

    Their roster looks like this:

    Beasley: $5 mil
    Chalmers: $850,000
    Wade: $17,000,000

    That’s it. What math is there to figure out?

  13. Spree!

    The cap for NBA teams is going to be set around $56 – 57 million. Subtract the salaries of the players that the Heat have under contract (James Jones? Beasley? Chalmers? any others??) for next year and beyond and you’ll have the amount of cap space Miami has to sign free agents. I don’t know that info. offhand.

  14. Wade 17mil
    Beasley 5mil
    chalmers 1 mil (just to make it easier)
    9 ghost slots 5 mil.

    Equals about 28mil, which puts them 28 under the cap, so it’s a max and 11+mil, I guess it’s closer than I thought. Uggh, not good for us…

  15. If they move Beasley for basically nothing, then they’ll have 48-50 million in cap space depending on the cap – enough for 3 max contracts. Lebron, Wade AND Bosh could literally all play together. They might not have any teammates, but they might not need any. And they could easily trade Beasley for 2 2nd rounders – say to the Bucks – giving them 4 2nd rounders.

    Think about:

    Armon Johnson
    D. Wade

    Jerome Jordan
    Jerome Randle
    James Jones
    5 D-leaguers or crappy vets

  16. yes..I am officially in panic mode. If it were the Nets, Clips or pretty much ANY TEAM BUT MIAMI in the position the Heat are in, I’d be fine with today’s moves. But please basketball gods, anybody but Miami!!!!!!! LOL..of all teams, it is the HATED Heat who are most likely to rob us of our dreams. Dammit if we still had Zeke we could give LBJ an intern filled recruiting visit to sway things in our favor lol. What’s Walsh gonna offer? The sexy senior citizen with a bad hip or the one who can work wonders with a denture-less mouth? buggin, but this development does worry me and deeply disturbs me..

  17. Also, if you’re the Knicks, I think you go for it re: CP3.

    Gallo, Curry’s expiring and DWTDD or Chandler for CP3 and Okafor. I think that could maybe get it done. Then NO can try and package Stojakovic with West and totally start over with a core of Collison, TD or Chandler, Gallo, Thornton, Wright, Patrick Patterson and whoever they can get for West/Stoj.

    We have CP3 at the 1, Walker at the 2, Okafor at the 5, and TD or Chandler as a 6th man. If you can do it, trade Chandler for Rudy F. Buy a 1st rounder and grab Brackins. Woo Lebron.

    Rudy F.

    Chandler/Toney D

    That’s weaker than Miami’s lineup, but with a better bench. I think if you have a chance to get a top 5 player in the NBA, you have to try.

  18. Bird Rights on Wade, right? That would mean that they only need $34M in cap space to sign two FA and then retain Wade.

    “In essence, the Larry Bird exception allows teams to exceed the salary cap to re-sign their own free agents, at an amount up to the maximum salary. To qualify as a Bird free agent, a player must have played three seasons without being waived or changing teams as a free agent.”

    Wade would be eligible by that simple definition. That’s scary.

  19. Bird rights are moot. Wade is already signed for 2010, then in 2011 they can go way over the cap to re-sign him long term.

    Here’s the breakdown, once again, for the Heat as it stands this moment:

    Wade: 17.15
    Beasley: 4.96
    Chalmers: .85
    7 roster spots @ .45 each: 3.15
    LeBron: 16.6
    Free Agent X: 13.4

    = 56.1 (salary cap)

    So yes, unofficially they are $3.2 mil away from “3 max superstars”. That can either be cleared by trading Beasley or by the three of them agreeing to $660,000 less than the max…

  20. I doubt they seriously get Lebron and Bosh to agree to come to Miami, but either way it works well for Miami – more cap room is better period when you’re trying to convince Wade to stay.

  21. @19,

    Please tell me this is one of your jokes. That looks like Zach Randolph throwing an outlet to Qyntel Woods. I’ve spend too many years watching guys like Sweets, JJ, Curry, and Zach and their weight problems. No more of the guys who think an interest in conditioning means getting central A/C.

  22. Brian,

    Great call re: Pritchard. Hope the Knicks make a play for him. However, he might not want to come in as the 2nd banana if he’s got offers to run the show somewhere. He also might not want to come if he feels D’Antoni’s presence would eventually limit his decision making once he actually has decision making power. Donnie, for his part, might not want to risk Pritchard undermining him.

    If Donnie set a schedule for phasing himself out and Dolan paid Pritchard like he was running the show… could see it happening. I would be very excited about the future with Pritchard.

  23. re: Miami

    I’m not too worked up over it… we’ll see what happens. Will be crazy if all three go there, but I still like the Knicks’ chances as much as anyone’s.

    @20 Because of his cap hold they can’t really go over the cap to sign him.

    re: CP3

    He was on track to be maybe the best PG ever, but if it’s true that he’s got no cartilage in his knees… that’s a huge risk. I would probably do it, but you’re not necessarily getting a top 5 player going forward and I’m on the record as not a fan of playing Okafor at the 5. As much as Paul is 8x better, given the health concerns and Okafor’s contract attached and having to give up our best young assets (even then who knows if NO goes for it)… Bosh might be the better option.

  24. Re: Miami Cap

    If Wade opts out then his cap hold will be the maximum salary for a player with 7 years experience about 16,250,000. Add that to the 5,800,000 for Beasely and Chalmers you get 22,052,000 subtract that from the cap of 56.1 million and Miami has 34,040,000 room, but then you have to figure in the roster charge to get you to a minimum of 12 players. 9 x 490,180 = 4,411,620 subtract that the 34 million and end up with about 29.8 million in cap room.

    Miami doesnt seem to have the room to sign 2 max players who have at least 7 years in the NBA (16 million max) with 29.8 million. Even if they renounce Wade or lose him. They still cant get three Max players with at least 7 years of service. They could get three folks in the Rudy gay and David lee range but not LBJ, Bosh, and Dirk.

    Am I missing something here?

  25. I know it’s a lot of money for a few spots, but I would have liked to see the Knicks outbid Portland to move up to 34… Much better chance a guy they thought was a solid 1st rounder is on the board at 34 than 38.

    ess, Gallon may work out for someone… but personally I’d stay away if there’s anyone else on the board I’m interested in.

    Thomas, Great analysis!

    May turn out like 01 or 06, but I’m not going to say so yet. I do see it, though, and think it’s a pretty astute observation on your part. One way or another it looks like a deep draft.

    I think Stephenson’s upside lies largely on defense. Could be a nasty, lock-down defender if he dedicates himself. Offensively he’ll be able to hang in the NBA, but I have a hard time envisioning him being an above average offensive player. Easier to see him as a high-volume/low-efficiency scorer. Hope he reigns that in and concentrates more on becoming an elite defender and versatile offensive player.
    At 6’4.5″ I wouldn’t call his size “great” for a 2-guard, but certainly big enough.
    The character concerns are massive. He’s not just a little immature. Every time a Cincinnati teammate made a mistake Stephenson would look disgusted and sometimes literally throw his hands up. He forced a million bad shots (might have been somewhat by design, but still really ugly). He is NOT a team-player. Also has a pretty high body fat % for a guard. By 38/39 he might be worth it, but for me it would seriously depend who else is on the board. I guess you might as well take a risk by the mid-2nd… He’s clearly driven and that’s the biggest thing for a guy with his skill/issues combo.
    Apparently the Bucks are looking at Stephenson at 15, so I doubt they pass on him should he be there at 37.

    Not sure I’d list Warren as a PG. Would be a great pick at that point, though.

    I hope someone better than Torrance is available, but maybe I’m wrong. He favors his left hand considerably and his handle is sort of ugly (high… susceptible to pressure). Mechanical running a team, but maybe that was Alabama’s system. Not a great athlete from what I can tell. I think there’s a better chance he ends up in Europe than the NBA, but maybe I’m wrong. Did improve throughout college and is a good player. Could develop into an NBA PG. I guess I’d like to see what I consider to be a higher ceiling player, but what do I know? By the 2nd all you can ask for is an NBA player.

    Varnado still excites me, and I’m starting to get on board with the Hobson thing. I think Booker would be a smart play, but don’t know if the Knicks would take him. I’m a fan of Armon Johnson, but doubt he’s still on the board. Vasquez, Lazar Hayward (same size as Stephenson… might be a 4… but it’s been done before), or Stanley Robinson I would be fine with. Da’Sean Butler could be a wild-card. I love Ebanks that late if he’s on the board. Basically, just excited for whoever the Knicks take.
    Alabi & Varnado would thrill me the most probably, take two shots big …

  26. @27

    “Am I missing something here?”

    Not really, but how much of a difference would 16 vs. 15 million dollars make to you? Everyone thinks (/is motivated) differently, but to me once you have a certain number of millions a marginal 1 mill just doesn’t have that much utility. (Hence why I waste time at work on this site… I’m not pulling in millions by any means, but it’s roughly the same idea.)
    If you consider Florida not having an income tax and the marketing opportunities of playing on a dynasty team… they could easily make that money back. I think there’s a chance they pull it off, but I like the Knicks’ chances just as much.
    If Wade desperately wants to win rings in Miami he could even offer to pocket the entire $3 mill per year loss and let LeBron/Bosh sign max deals.

  27. “Am I missing something here?”

    Chris Sheridan says it’s more like $27 million.

    Everyone commenting on the Heat should read this:

    James Jones:
    “Jones has $15.5 remaining on his contract through 2012-13, but those final three seasons are only partially guaranteed if James is waived by June 30.

    Waiving Jones would knock another $2.8 million off the Heat’s salary cap for the 2010-11 season, giving them roughly $27 million to spend in free agency after July 1.”

    Joel Anthony:
    “The Heat were also awaiting word from center Joel Anthony, who faced a Thursday night deadline to decide whether to exercise a player option for 2010-11 that would pay him (and reduce Miami’s cap space) $885,000.”

  28. If the rumors of the Warriors drafting Udoh #6 are true I have to think that makes Biedrins more available…

  29. Meh. I think if worse comes to worse, we just stick with out two picks and try to buy a late 2nd as well. Hobson sounds nice as does Brackins, but neither will completely alter our trajectory.
    I’ll be thrilled if Terrico White drops to us, a little less so for Willie Warren. Same goes for Alabi or Bledsoe, but I don’t see that happening.
    Ted I agree about Torrance… he has a ‘Mardy Collins’ feel to his game. Armon J. would be a good pick. Even Greivis at that spot is a good pick. Stanley Robinson, Booker, Dwayne Collins, Lawal… other high energy guys could be a good fit. I like Zoubek later if we buy another 2nd rounder. Or Jordan or Prestes. Project big men.

    My predicition is that we somehow end up with Vasquez and then a shocking pick like oh say… Manny Harris. Then we get Zoubek later on.

  30. Also, I don’t get why all these teams (Clips, Magic) are lining up to discuss Luol Deng when for the right package, they could have Chandler for like 1/10th the price. They are nearly identical players considering that Chandler is 2 years younger and Deng appears to be getting worse. I don’t get it. I think there is a NYK freeze out in the league or something.

  31. I know it’s total BS especially by that point in the draft, but Chad Ford’s Mock 7 has the Knicks getting Armon Johnson AND Dominique Jones!!! (Don’t know if the Knicks would take 2 guys without jumpers, but that would be great talent to get so late in the draft.) With Ebanks, Varnado, Warren, Jordan, etc…. still on the board.
    Man am I excited for the draft!

    Ford says Warriors are offering the #6 pick if a team will take Monta Ellis… Wonder if they’d take back Curry and change that to Biedrins? (Only $2 mill per less than Ellis.) Curry/Chandler for Biedrins/#6 or Biedrins/Brandan Wright would be about salary neutral. At #6 you’re looking at Monroe, Aminu, maybe even Cousins… Could be worth taking back Ellis to get a C like Cousins or Monroe…


    Chandler has not produced even an average NBA season yet. It’s all projection/potential with him (I know, I know… his TS% was .550 for 30 games last season, great… he’s been a below average player for 3 seasons). I can see why a GM would be more hesitant to get a guy who CAN *potentially* do something than a guy who has consistently been doing something for 5 years. We all think WC CAN produce that season, but Deng has been an above average NBA player for 5 or 6 seasons and is only 2 years older than Chandler… Deng had a good season (Chicago’s best player according to 82games’ Simple Rating, #2 in WS/48) so I’m not sure why you’d say he’s getting worse. Who knows what’s behind those rumors, though… Seems like Chicago is shopping Deng and might be that teams are intrigued if the #17 pick is thrown in.

    On the whole I’d say WC is rated a whole lot higher on this site than around the league, which either means people here are ahead of the curve or that they’re drinking the kool-aid… Also consider he’s a free agent next offseason who will cost more than he’s making now… maybe into the 7-10 mill range depending what kind of season he has.

  32. Deng to Chicago: “This deal would save the Bulls about $22 million in future salaries, but it wouldn’t give them any more cap space to add a second free agent this summer. In fact, it would erase about $300,000 in cap space, which probably makes this move unlikely.”

    I love the idea of Deng to Orlando! No extra cap space for the Bulls this summer, they lose part of their “young nucleus”, Deng is sent to the Magic making LeBron all the more motivated to go to a team who will help him beat Orlando.

  33. Speaking of Orlando: Vince for Gilbert?


    I think that team beats Cleveland w/ LBJ next year. Move on, LeBron!

  34. ess-dog,

    You also have to consider their situations if Orlando and LAC are interested…
    -Orlando is a capped out contender with limited resources to get over the hump and win a ring. Turning two solid rotation players (say Bass, Pietrus) into a quality player might be a good play. If the #17 were included… You get a nice 24 year old above-average starter AND a shot at drafting a high ceiling guy in a pretty wide open draft.
    -LAC have valuable cap space, but might have a hard time finding someone to take it. I would take Deng over Gay at even money. If Gay’s getting more than Deng, no way. Outside of Gay who does LAC realistically target? Bring in Deng for leadership (great guy, hard worker, smart, tough…) to solidify a supporting cast of #8 pick, Kaman, Davis, Gordon, DeAndre Jordan, Craig Smith… around the guy you hope is your franchise player: Blake Griffin… could be a playoff team in a couple years. Clippers might be wise to take the solid playoff team play rather than their chances of getting LeBron James.

  35. Ted, yeah, that’s exactly what I would hope they would do – throw a ton of money at Pritchard and promise him he will be the successor by 20__. I think it’s a real possibility that he would take it.

    As for Lawrence Frank, who wouldn’t like the idea of a great defensive coach being added on (which means you have to pay him a lot) as an assistant coach? Sounds like a no-brainer for the Knicks, but Frank is good enough to be seriously considered for head coaching jobs, no? So I don’t know if he wouldn’t just wait for a head coaching job to open up first.

  36. Ok if this one’s true then Larry Bird needs his keys to the car taken away:

    “An NBA source has told us the Pacers and Bulls are discussing a deal that would send Kirk Hinrich and the 17th pick to Indiana for the 10th pick and possibly some salary relief to even out the deal. The Pacers are supposedly targeting Gordon Hayward at 17.”

  37. Just reached Mock 7.0 on ESPN. How many more mocks is Chad Ford going to squeeze in before 8 pm? I’m thinking maybe 2 more.


    Ted I hope this draft is like 2001 or 2006 so some talent drops to us. Thanks for the acknowledgement. Fair enough on Stephenson, but the views on him are all over the place, which I think explains why there is no agreement as to where he could be picked. From what I saw of him at Cinncy, he could get whatever shot he wanted. Outside stroke needs some polish. He was a ball hog. I dont know if that was due to a lack of offensive options or what the coach wanted. But he is a pouter when he isnt featured. Hard to tell about his defense since i saw him playing a lot of 2-3 and match up zone with little on ball defense or help rotations.

    @ 30

    I get that if players give up a few million then they could all play together, but then those are no longer max contracts. My point is that even with Wade renounced there is not enough cap space in Miami to sign 3 max contracts of the top free agents. They could squeeze in three 2nd level guys but not 3 max top level guys. I just want folks to keeping in mind the minimum roster charge plaus the cap hold of a free agent until he is signed or renounced. When people say Miami is 40 million under, it is clear they didnt make the right calculations.

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