NBA Draft 2010 loaded with big men

The 2009 NBA Draft was the year of the guard, but this summer's draft is all about the big men, with Derrick Favors, DeMarcus Cousins and Greg Monroe leading the pack, writes Sam Smith.

Gordon Hayward

Sam Smith wouldn’t call them sleepers, but he could see guys like Xavier Henry, Gordon Hayward (above), Ekpe Udoh and Elliott Williams rising from outside the top 10 to be some of the best players to come out of this draft. Actually, Butler's Hayward could end up in the NBA as a shooting guard, which would strengthen that group. (Getty Images Sport)

Bulls Draft Central 2010

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John Wall, the Kentucky phenom point guard, is going to be the No. 1 overall pick in Thursday’s NBA draft, but he is an aberration, at least in this draft.

Last year, four of the top seven picks in the draft were point guards, and four of the five players on the all-rookie first team were point guards, with only the Bulls’ Taj Gibson breaking through to represent the big guys.

The 2009 draft featured a dozen point guards in the first round and more than half the first round picks being guards.

It was the year of the guard.

This year’s draft is going to be the year of the big man.

Personnel chiefs around the league are saying this is one of the poorest point guard drafts in memory and an overall poor guard draft with some good shooting guards, but probably only Ohio State’s Evan Turner as a top 10 shooting guard.

It’s an unusually deep draft among big men, though with no real superstars. The one player most general managers pick out as the most likely future star among the front court guys is Georgia Tech’s Derrick Favors, who is just 18 and not quite ready to make a major impact.

But there are several big men who ought to be able to step in and be in rotations immediately and several versatile swingmen who also should fit into the league quickly.

I wouldn’t call them sleepers, but I could see guys like Xavier Henry, Gordon Hayward, Ekpe Udoh and Elliott Williams rising from outside the top 10 to be some of the best players to come out of this draft.

Actually, Hayward could end up in the NBA as a shooting guard, which would strengthen that group.

There also are a large number of so-called tweeners, players generally considered not a true point guard or shooting guard or small or big forward.

Some of the top ones at forward are the likes of Patrick Patterson and Luke Babbitt. At guard, there are a half dozen or so players who are your Rodney Stuckey types more shooting guards playing point guard, like Armon Johnson, Eric Bledsoe, Terrico White, Elliott Williams and Avery Bradley.

It looks like a strong draft for power forwards, and while there are an unusual number of centers, the position is becoming somewhat obsolete in the NBA and it does take longer for big men to develop. Plus, most of the leading centers according to the scouts, like Solomon Alabi, Cole Aldrich, Daniel Orton and Hassan Whiteside have questions hanging over them from limited athletic ability to limited statistics.

Even the top big guy, Kentucky’s DeMarcus Cousins, who is by far the most skilled, has the biggest question marks in the first round because of a supposed lack of playing conviction too often. Some pros also see Georgetown’s Greg Monroe eventually as a center, especially in an NBA now with so few true big men. That is another reason there’s acute interest in the draft, especially with the Lakers having so much success as teams have trouble competing with their “size.”

There is an impressive amount of depth at power forward and center with some scouts saying you can go well into the second round and get a rotation big man, like Stanley Robinson, Gani Lawal, Larry Sanders, Craig Brackins, Jarvis Varnado, Dexter Pittman, Luke Harangody and Tiny Gallon. Which also makes if potentially filled with second guessing as a 35th pick could end up easily outplaying an 18th pick.

Here’s how the scouts and general managers generally see the top five by position in this draft:

Point Guard

1. John Wall, Kentucky
2. Eric Bledsoe, Kentucky
3. Armon Johnson, Nevada
4. Greivis Vasquez, Maryland
5. Terrico White, Mississippi

Shooting Guard

1. Evan Turner, Ohio State
2. Xavier Henry, Kansas
3. Avery Bradley, Texas
4. Elliott Williams, Memphis
5. James Anderson, Oklahoma State

Small Forward

1. Wesley Johnson, Syracuse
2. Gordon Hayward, Butler
3. Al-Farouq Aminu, Wake Forest
4. Luke Babbitt, Nevada
5. Paul George, Fresno State

Power Forward

1. Derrick Favors, Georgia Tech
2. Greg Monroe, Georgetown
3. Ed Davis, North Carolina
4. Ekpe Udoh, Baylor
5. Patrick Patterson, Kentucky


1. DeMarcus Cousins, Kentucky
2. Cole Aldrich, Kansas
3. Daniel Orton, Kentucky
4. Solomon Alabi, Florida State

5. Hassan Whiteside, Marshall

Chicago Bulls to select 17th in 2010 NBA Draft


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