Worst. Draft. Ever ... Or not 

May, 15, 2010

"Awful draft. About five or six really good players." -- An NBA GM on the 2010 draft class.

If you talk to NBA decision-makers around this time of year, you'd come to the conclusion that the draft is the worst event on the NBA calendar. And that's not just limited to this particular spring. Annually, you hear GMs, scouts and other personnel people utter similarly negative comments that sound as if they wonder whether there are even 60 players worthy of being drafted.

Then something happens. The calendar changes to June.

By that point, opinions start to change. More and more optimism creeps into the conversation. Why? Teams have done their homework. They've watched tons of video, worked out groups of players and conducted plenty of interviews. They start to identify qualities they like in players they had previously disparaged.

A longtime GM once described the draft as a "June bride," meaning that no one is all that excited about the wedding in the fall, but the closer you get to the actual date, you can't help but fall in love.

But if you're still not convinced that this year's draft will look better in a month (let alone once the guys actually suit up for teams), then simply gaze back toward this past May. Leading up to the 2009 draft, almost every GM and scout I spoke with said it could be the worst since the lottery began in 1985. It's only been a year, but it's already safe to say that the class of 2009 will never be mistaken for its 2000 counterpart, a legit contender for the title of "worst draft ever."

While it's premature to judge a draft after just one season, last year's first-rounders are off to a good start. Combined, those 30 players started 647 games, more than the 2005, '06 and '07 draft classes did as rookies. (The 2008 first-rounders notched an impressive 833 starts.)