2010 NBA Draft Class: Where are they now?
The 2010 draft class featured it all: the lightning quick point guard, a trio of promising big men, lanky and multitalented wings, and several front office Hail Marys. Just weeks away from season’s end, we’ll look back at the first three years from one of the most talent laden classes in recent memory.
From The Top (1-3)
John Wall: Do we think John Calipari would have finished 21-12 with a loss to Robert Morris in the NIT opening round had Wall decided to remain a Kentucky Wildcat? This spring would have concluded Wall’s senior season at UK which may lend some perspective when evaluators seem ready to anoint him a managerial calamity.
Had Randy Wittman and co. had Wall’s services for a full season this team would be challenging for a 6th seed. Instead, Washington’s season was jolted forward when their star point guard returned to the lineup January 23rd. Since becoming part of the rotation Wall has been nothing short of what we’ve wanted to see on draft day: a do-it-all floor leader.
23-18: Washington’s record since Wall’s return. Not only has his return translated to wins but his statistical value has also been something to be coveted. Among his abridged season statistics Wall can boast a 47 point outburst and 11 games of double figure assists.
2013 has been the largest leap forward for Wall who continues to address his shooting prowess which has long been a slight. This season he’s shooting at career marks in nearly every category. 44% from the floor, 82% from the charity stripe, and a far from impressive, yet career best 31% from three point range.
A full season of Wall paired alongside shooting star Bradley Beal has the nation’s capital in a swivet as to what 2014 may bring.
Evan Turner: It was impossible to ignore the comparisons to Grant Hill the moment the ping pong balls fell in Philadelphia’s favor just three years ago. The former Ohio State standout has the tools to contribute in every facet of the game and it’s just now that he’s getting the chance to prove it.
As a rookie Turner started just 14 games for Philly and then just 20 during his sophomore season. This year, the talented wing has started every game and posted the numbers to justify floor time. An average better than 13 PPG alongside 6.4 RPG and 4.3 APG make Turner the complete package.
The Sixers played it safe selecting Turner 2nd overall though it would be difficult to argue his value above later draftees like Paul George, Greg Monroe, or DeMarcus Cousins.
Derrick Favors: Just months after snatching the young center with the 3rd overall pick the Nets shipped Favors in a package to land incumbent star Deron Williams. Fans in Utah have made the requisition to see more of the promising big man but Favors’ minutes have been sparse during his first three years as a pro.
The Jazz precipitancy to allocate minutes to Favors has been in large part due to competition for playing time (just 22:41 MPG this season compared to 20:11 as a rookie). Nestled in a crowded frontcourt among Enes Kanter, Paul Millsap, and Al Jefferson, Favors finds himself in the undesirable position of fighting for minutes among skilled, equally talented post players.
With both Jefferson and Millsap set to hit free agency this summer, 2014 may be breakout year for Favors. Like the aforementioned John Wall, Favors left the collegiate ranks after just his freshmen year meaning that had it been, say 1983, instead of 2013, we would be catching our first glimpses of Favors in 2013-2014.
Paul George: With the 10th pick Indiana laid a crushing blow to the remainder of the Eastern Conference when they landed Paul George from Fresno State. Indiana can boast one of the game’s most exciting small forwards who has been so good that the Hoosier state has hardly noticed the absence of Danny Granger.
Over his last 10 games George has averaged just under 20 PPG while reeling in over seven rebounds per contest. The emergence of Paul George gives his team a frontline of pharaonic proportions considering the commitment Indy has made to both Roy Hibbert and David West.
In just less than a month George will turn 23, and at the same time his team hopes to be advancing in the playoff picture which seemed inconceivable when team leader Danny Granger re-injured his left knee, requiring yet another surgery.
The derision directed at the Pacers won’t wane until George proves that his squad can deliver on the impressive regular season run his team has put together.
Eric Bledsoe: Stashed apace with John Wall at Kentucky, Bledsoe has yet to be given the full reins as a point guard but scouts have seen enough of the third year talent for his name to be mixed among trade deadline rumors featuring names like Kevin Garnett and Paul Millsap.
Things didn’t look so promising at the end of last season when Bledsoe minutes trailed off to a meager 11.6 per contest. Entering 2013 he seemed to be buried yet again behind veteran guards like Chauncey Billups and Chris Paul. Fortunately for Bledsoe a injury to Billups paved the way to playing time and a chance to reassert himself as one of the game’s most promising stars.
In games when he’s started (12 total this season) Bledsoe has shown off an array of talents such a 27 point explosion vs. Orlando, a 9-15 scorching of Boston in January, and multiple outings of double-digit assist numbers.
Selecting Bledsoe outside the lottery at 18th overall in 2010 now looks to be one of the steals of the draft but fans have yet to see just what this young guard is capable of once he’s handed an opening.
Wesley Johnson: Just one season at Syracuse, preceded by a career at Iowa State seemed to be enough for executives to pull the trigger on Wes Johnson as the 4th overall selection in 2010. Since being drafted the rangy wing has seen nothing but nothing short of prosaic.
Soon to be 26, Johnson has yet to crack the 40% barrier as a shooter which ventures into near unplayable territory. Following two seasons in Minnesota the Timberwolves shipped the 6’7’’ forward to the Phoenix desert where he’s been even less of an impact. Starting a career low 13 of 42 games, Johnson hasn’t impressed the Suns enough to warrant playing time but then again, neither have his numbers.
Johnson owns a career low 7 PPG alongside paltry rebounding skills which make him near lock to be on the move yet again come season’s end. While Minnesota fans may blame Kevin Love’s wrist injury for their struggles, they may want to look back at the blunder of 2010 which may find Wes Johnson in draft-day infamy.
Xavier Henry: The Kansas Jayhawks have never been ones for one-and-done talents but Xavier Henry’s freshman year in Lawrence was nothing short of impressive. His 42% shooting clip from three-point range gave hope that Henry’s sweet lefty stroke would translate to the professional ranks however the NBA has met the young swingman with nothing but resistance.
A disappointing rookie season in New Orleans sent Henry to Memphis where he’s since been buried at the end of Lionel Hollins’ bench. Thus far he’s struggled to see the light of day, appearing in just 42 games this season but it may be too early to consider him a flop just yet.
Having just turned 21, Henry is young for his class and surveyors believe that he may still be developing. Such claims give hope to the Grizzlies and Henry fans alike who think the future might hold a contributing role at the NBA level.