It is a bold statement and it clearly is not something to be judged right away. It is something that can take time to determine. Looking at the amount of players that are projected as top 10 locks take their names out one by one though is not helping this draft before it even takes place.
Is it the looming lockout that is causing these touted college players from putting their names in the hat? Is it the thought of getting picked by either Cleveland or Minnesota in the top five that is making a return to college more appealing? It could be both but either way it is starting to look like this years draft could be the worst group of “talent” in a decade.
How could we forget that wonderful 2001 NBA draft by the way? A classic lottery that gave us great players like DeSagana Diop (8th to Cavs), Kedrick Brown (11th to Boston), Rodney White (9th to Detroit), and Eddie Griffin (7th to Nets). Oh did I forget to mention the great choices of Kwame Brown (1st to Washington) and Eddie Curry (4th to Bulls). As you can see if this years NBA draft wants to surpass the 2001 as the possible worst draft it has a lot of work to do.
As Perry Jones of Baylor, Jared Sullinger of Ohio State, and yet to announce but heavily rumored Harrison Barnes of North Carolina all do return for their Sophomore years. The 2011 draft is on the right track. Currently the undisputed top pick in the upcoming draft is a Freshman point guard that played a mere 11 games this season due to injury. What does that tell you?
Most current mock drafts have at least five international players going in the top 10. Much like parachute pants I was really hoping that fad was over. I guess I was wrong. European prospects like Jonas Valanciunas, Bismack Biyombo, Jan Vesely, and Donatas Motiejunas are considered lottery picks and are all twenty years or younger. Throw in another professional from Europe in Enes Kanter and you have another European draft invasion similar to the ones that occurred after the success of Dirk Nowitzki in 1998.
Is this another fad though or just the product of nothing else to choose from. With Jones, Sullinger, possibly Barnes withdrawing their names what other choices do NBA teams have?
The top college prospect in the draft are previously mentioned Kyrie Irving, Arizona Sophomore Derrick Williams, Kentucky Freshman Brandon Knight, and UConn Junior Kemba Walker. No sure thing at all. Irving played just 11 games. Williams had a great season and even better tournament. Could be a decent bench player in the NBA but nothing close to worthy of a top 5 pick. Knight is a 6’3 shooting guard and Walker showed better point guard skills this season but is still more of a 6’1 shooting guard.
Will this draft class turn out as poor as it is being projected? Will it turn out worse than the class of 2001? Only time will tell