There’s no doubt the biggest winner of the 2010 NBA Draft is the Washington Wizards, who made premier prospect John Wall the fifth point guard in NBA history to be taken with the No. 1 overall pick. Wall has the potential to be one of the greatest floor generals to ever play the game, a fact obvious to most hoops fans. But who else emerged from the draft as winners? AFRO staff writer and college basketball guru George Barnette ranks the three best and worst picks of Thursday night’s draft.

Best Three Picks

1. No. 20 San Antonio Spurs – James Anderson (Oklahoma State)

There’s a reason why San Antonio continues to stay competitive: they continue to draft well. James Anderson will be an All-Star. I’m not sure why he fell to No. 20, but he’s going to make everyone pay for ignoring him. The Big 12 Conference Player of the Year averaged more than 22 points per game in one of the nation’s premier conferences. He’s 6-foot-6-inches tall and can shoot from three-point range. He will team with George Hill, who’s coming off an outstanding season with the Spurs, to form their backcourt of the future.

2. No. 5 Sacramento Kings – DeMarcus Cousins (Kentucky)

DeMarcus Cousins is the best big man in the draft. The rumors of Cousins overwhelming No. 3 pick Derrick Favors in a pre-draft workout don’t shock me. Cousins has amazing footwork, great touch around the rim and has the wide body you want in a low-post player. People question his maturity, but the 20 year-old is not a finished product mentally or physically. When he is, he’ll consistently be a 20-point and 10-rebound player every night.

3. No. 11 New Orleans Hornets – Cole Aldrich (Kansas) (Traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder)

It was apparent in its first-round series with Los Angeles that Oklahoma City is in desperate need of more size. Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom dominated the Thunder in the paint. Gasol is the most skilled big man in the league, and the Thunder had to use undersized forward Jeff Green to guard him. Aldrich is not going to be an NBA All-Star, but he’s a solid defender and rebounder. He’ll make low-post players earn everything they get, and will be a good complementary piece to stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

Worst Three Picks

1. No. 8 Los Angeles Clippers – Al-Farouq Aminu (Wake Forest)

For all the criticism Georgetown star Greg Monroe received for “checking out” of games, at least he showed up in the big ones. That’s not something you can say about Al-Farouq Aminu. Aminu was productive at Wake Forest, but in a ACC Tournament loss to Miami, he only played 25 minutes and he wasn’t in foul trouble, but his team lost by 21 points. No question the talent is there, but in the end Aminu’s career may look very similar to that of Dallas Mavericks forward Tim Thomas: a physically-talented player that never quite lived up to his potential. That’s not what you want out of a top-10 pick.

2. No. 15 Milwaukee Bucks – Larry Sanders (Virginia Commonwealth)

I never saw what everyone else saw in Larry Sanders. He was never as productive as the hype would lead you to believe. He should have been dominant in the Colonial Athletic Association while playing the up-tempo style favored by Virginia Commonwealth. He was consistently in foul trouble and will probably always be a better defender than offensive player, but it’s clear from their playoff performance that Milwaukee needed to add more offensive firepower. In my opinion, there’s not a lot of difference between Sanders and the No. 41 pick, Jarvis Varnado.

3. No. 25 Memphis Grizzlies – Dominique Jones (South Florida) (Traded to the Dallas Mavericks)

Dominique Jones was an outstanding scorer in the Big East, one of the toughest conferences in college basketball. However, it may have been a reach to take him in the first round. He’s a great scorer, not a great shooter. He won’t be an effective option when playing against more athletic defenders. He is competitive, so I think he’ll have a decent NBA career, but I think Dallas could have gotten him in the second round.


George Barnette

Special to the AFRO