Commentary

NBA draft filled with point guards

Updated: June 23, 2009, 7:41 PM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

I've heard a lot of comments that this year's NBA draft is considered weak.

How do we really know? It usually takes a while to see how players adjust from college to the pros. Who knows what gets into the heart of a player? You never know what happens when a young athlete gets to compete at a higher level, when he finds out his future earning potential is at stake.

You won't get a true evaluation of the draft's strength until three years from now. At that point, you will have a better understanding of how players fared and if teams made good decisions or poor choices.

Looking at this draft, three things pop out at me.

First, this is not a draft loaded with superstars at the top. You don't have the kind of instant-impact players that you have had over the past.

Second, this is a draft loaded with talented point guards. You look at Jonny Flynn, Stephen Curry, Ty Lawson, Ricky Rubio, Tyreke Evans, Brandon Jennings, Jrue Holiday and company and you see players who can help out in the future.

Third, there is a lot of potential in this draft. You can get a contributor later on in the first round, and even in the second. You may get someone at No. 14 who is as good as a player at Nos. 5-6.

If I was drafting, I would want to move up and get a guy like Curry. I remember a few years ago working on the draft and screaming that Atlanta should take Chris Paul. Instead, the Hawks went with Marvin Williams, a good player but not a superstar like Mr. Paul down in New Orleans.

I'm telling you, Curry will be a star at the next level. He has all the parts: flair, charisma, skills as a ball handler and phenomenal range as a shooter. He is my choice for Rookie of the Year next season. I know the Knicks are hoping and praying he will be available for them at No. 8, but I don't believe that will happen.

Mike Lupica of the Daily News wrote that he would go nuts if the New Yorkers got Curry. Sorry, Mr. Lupica. I think he will be gone before then.

This draft has a world of potential with Hasheem Thabeet, the 7-foot-3 center from Connecticut, expected to go in the top five. I know he has great size to defend, and some question his scoring ability. It will take him a little time to become a major factor, but you have to take a shot at him based on his upside.

I am talking from a position of being there years ago. I was fired because of players with potential -- if you don't get the right player, you get the ziggy and go to television, baby!

NBA scouting guru Marty Blake had it right over the years; I have a lot of respect for his evaluations. Blake said it was important to be patient with draft picks.

I feel there are several sleepers who will be exciting in the lower portion of the first round. Don't count out guys like Wayne Ellington of North Carolina and Sam Young of Pittsburgh.

Over the years, the experts have seen a number of second-round picks stand out; look at Gilbert Arenas, Michael Redd and Manu Ginobili. How about guys like Trevor Ariza, who was so important in the Lakers' run to a championship? Ariza went in Round 2, baby! Leon Powe and Glen "Big Baby" Davis were important second-rounders for the Celtics. Paul Millsap has developed into a factor in Utah. Monta Ellis had injury problems but he is a player at Golden State. Carl Landry helped out in Houston. The list goes on and on!

Guys break down players, analyzing all aspects of their game. Every year we see a few players in Round 2 with an impact on a roster in the league. That's the beauty of this process. It is not a perfect science and if you are making a high draft choice, you'd better hope and pray you don't make a turnover.

I don't want anyone getting the ziggy, because they will come after my job!

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.

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