Looking Back: Re-drafting The First Round Of The Top Heavy 2010 NBA Draft

At the time of the draft and in the six-plus seasons since, the 2010 NBA Draft class has been derided for a relative dearth of both top-end talent and overall depth. Despite the fact that the 2010 NBA Draft certainly cannot compare to the quality of the historically loaded classes of 2003, 1996, and 1984, the quality of the players drafted in 2010 far exceeds that of the contenders for worst class ever, which includes the astonishing and cringe-inducing classes of 2000 and 2013, among several others.

In any given draft, it is usually reasonable to assume that the players at the top will at least turn into major contributors at the NBA level and could conceivably become franchise cornerstones for a decade or more. It is also reasonable that some lottery picks will go bust -- often in spectacular fashion -- while a future All-NBA selection is passed over by most of the league, only to be plucked by a team with an abundance of talent already on its roster.

Looking back on the results of the 2010 NBA Draft, it is true that the lottery produced franchise-level talent (DeMarcus Cousins, Paul George, and John Wall, among others) to go along with more than a few disappointments of bust-level proportions (ever thus to “raw, but physically gifted” lottery picks, Ekpe Udoh and Wesley Johnson). While a bit thin in terms of its overall depth, the 2010 class is certainly deserving of a second look through this re-draft in which each team is aided by the benefit of more than six years worth of hindsight.

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30 Washington Wizards – DeMarcus Cousins

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Original Selection: John Wall

In the midst of a career year in which he is averaging 28.3 points, 10.9 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.5 blocks per game through the first quarter of the 2016-17 season, DeMarcus Cousins has definitively affirmed his status as the best player -- by a relatively wide margin -- of the 2010 Draft class. Cousins’ game has improved game each season and he has even extended his range out to the three-point line to the tune of 34.6% over the last two seasons. Concerns over his attitude have been mostly overblown, as he's shown a great deal of improvement over the last few years in that regard, and Cousins has done well to produce in a situation that is far from ideal for a player of his caliber.

29 Philadelphia 76ers – Paul George

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Original Selection: Evan Turner

Likely the steal of the original draft when taken 10th by the Pacers, Paul George goes to the 76ers in this re-draft. A three-time All-Star, George has bounced back nicely from the devastating injury that cost him almost all of the 2014-15 campaign and provides the Sixers with a foundational player, potentially eliminating the need to commit to the polarizing tanking strategy now fondly or mockingly referred to as “The Process.” Of course, those who are delighted to have Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons now on the roster might prefer that the Sixers pass on George in this re-draft to ensure the losing seasons that led to those high draft picks year after year.

28 New Jersey Nets – John Wall

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Original Selection: Derrick Favors

Although Favors has turned into a solid contributor in Utah, the Nets ultimately moved the third pick of this draft for a point guard in Deron Williams, whose time in Brooklyn was a major disappointment for a team with championship aspirations. The notoriously competitive John Wall could have thrived in an environment that briefly included an aging but still fiery and effective Kevin Garnett, not to mention a roster loaded with skilled and productive veterans like Paul Pierce and Joe Johnson. Since entering the league as the top overall pick in 2010, the three-time All-Star has been outstanding in Washington despite the team’s inability to live up to its own lofty expectations, with Wall putting up 18.3 points and 9.0 assists per game while also earning a selection to the 2015 NBA All-Defensive Team.

27 Minnesota Timberwolves – Gordon Hayward

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Original Selection: Wesley Johnson

Over the past three seasons, Gordon Hayward has been nothing short of a revelation in Utah, cementing his status as a legitimate franchise player while putting up an impressive line of 19.9 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per game since the start of the 2014-15 season. In Hayward, Minnesota gets the athletic wing scorer the team surely hoped Wesley Johnson – a raw, but physically gifted player out of Syracuse University -- would eventually become. Instead, Johnson has seen his minutes reduced from 26.2 minutes per game as a rookie with the Timberwolves to 12.5 per game as a member of the Clippers. Just image a starting line-up including Gordon Hayward, Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns. Now, that's scary.

26 Sacramento Kings – Hassan Whiteside

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Original Selection: DeMarcus Cousins

Hassan Whiteside has had quite the journey since being drafted in the second round by the Kings back in 2010, 33rd overall, and it seems fitting that the mercurial 7-footer is available to the Kings in this re-draft since Cousins is already off the board. It’s entirely possible that Whiteside, just a few years removed from being out of the NBA and bouncing around the D-League, China, and Lebanon, continues to rise up this draft board in future years, as it appears that he is only beginning to scratch the surface of his immense talent while averaging 17.6 points, 14.7 rebounds (best in the NBA through the quarter-season mark), and 2.3 blocks per game this season. The best may be yet to come for Hassan Whiteside, who recently signed a mammoth contract with the Miami Heat.

25 Golden State Warriors – Greg Monroe

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Original Selection: Epke Udoh

Greg Monroe, a solid big man and a double-double machine, slides up one spot from his original draft position to replace Epke Udoh, a disappointing lottery pick for Golden State. Currently in a reduced role with Milwaukee, Greg Monroe is a likely candidate to be moved at the trade deadline and any teams eyeing the 6-11 power forward/center will be hoping to get the player who averaged 14.5 points and 9.1 rebounds per game during his fist six seasons in the NBA. Among the teams rumored to be interested in Monroe include the very team that selected him in this re-draft: the Golden State Warriors. With a fresh start, Monroe can easily rediscover the form that made him a solid lottery pick for the Detroit Pistons.

24 Detroit Pistons – Eric Bledsoe

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Original Selection: Greg Monroe

The Clippers landed Eric Bledsoe with the 18th pick of the original 2010 NBA Draft, but the point guard’s production since joining the Phoenix Suns ensures he doesn’t fall outside of the lottery in this re-draft. In his four seasons with the Suns, Bledsoe has put up 18.2 points, 5.9 assists, and 4.9 rebounds per game, giving the Pistons a solid young point guard to run the show for coach Stan Van Gundy – serving as more than ample consolation for losing out on Greg Monroe, the player they originally drafted in 2010, who went one pick earlier in our re-draft. Though it took Bledsoe sometime to get going in the NBA, he's become an elite PG in the league and is worthy of being a lottery selection.

23 Los Angeles Clippers – Derrick Favors

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Original Selection: Al-Farouq Aminu

Originally the third pick in 2010, Derrick Favors drops to eighth but remains in the lottery, falling to the Clippers and taking the place of Al-Farouq Aminu. Since arriving in Utah via trade, Favors has proven to be a key contributor, averaging 15.7 points and 8.0 rebounds per game since 2014-15. Injuries have hampered Favors at the outset of the 2016-17 NBA season, but the Jazz have high hopes that the former top-three pick can rejoin Hayward and Rudy Gobert soon enough to make a serious playoff run.

Aminu never panned out with the Clippers, lasting a single season in Los Angeles, before moving on to the Hornets/Pelicans, Mavericks and Trail Blazers, where he continue to play today.

22 Utah Jazz – Avery Bradley

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Original Selection: Gordon Hayward

With Gordon Hayward long gone in this re-draft, going fourth overall to Minnesota, the Jazz have to settle for Avery Bradley, getting one of the best perimeter defenders in the league. Fortunately for Utah, Bradley has also become a reliable offensive contributor as well, making him one of the most underrated two-way players in the NBA. After earning NBA All-Defensive First Team honors for the 2015-16 season, the University of Texas product has showcased an impressive offensive game, averaging 18.2 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game through the first quarter of the 2016-17 campaign. Bradley is trending upwards and if he continues at this pace, he'll likely move up in this re-draft in the upcoming years.

21 Indiana Pacers – Jeremy Lin

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Original Selection: Paul George

Sadly for the Pacers, their franchise star, Paul George, went second overall in this re-draft, so they get a decent consolation package with Jeremy Lin. One of the most well-known undrafted NBA success stories, Lin has earned a place in the top 10 of this re-draft despite the meandering path that now has the 6-3 point guard out of Harvard University back in New York -- this time with the Brooklyn Nets after stints with Golden State, New York, Houston, Los Angeles, and Charlotte. Since the magical but clearly unsustainable “Lin-sanity” campaign with the Knicks in 2011-12, Lin has been a solid contributor and a dynamic ball-handler at every stop, averaging 11.7 points and 4.4 assists per game for his NBA career.

20 Oklahoma City Thunder (via trade with New Orleans Hornets) – Patrick Patterson

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Original Selection: Cole Aldrich

Playing in a reserve role for the bulk of his career, Patrick Patterson has been solid for Houston, Sacramento, and Toronto, providing an average of 8.0 points and 4.8 rebounds per game, while being a solid defensive player that makes life difficult for opposing stars. Although most fans hold out their hopes for a star-caliber when their team picks in the lottery, it’s important to remember that for every Reggie Miller or Klay Thompson there is a Kedrick Brown and Jerome Moiso. As Celtics fans will surely attest, a solid rotation player is not necessarily a disappointing outcome when picking 11th (Boston took Brown and Moiso with the 11th pick in consecutive drafts). Anyway, anything would be better than Cole Aldrich, who has averaged 3.6 points and 3.8 rebounds per game for his career.

19 Memphis Grizzlies – Trevor Booker

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Original Selection: Xavier Henry

Due to several injuries that include an issue with his Achilles tendon, Xavier Henry played just 38 games for the Grizzlies and has been out of the NBA since a nine-game stretch with the Lakers during the 2014-15 season, finishing with only 5.7 points and 1.9 rebounds per game for his career. So the Grizzlies take Booker in the lottery, landing a seven-year pro who has been playing well in a starting role with the Brooklyn Nets. Through the season’s first quarter, Booker has averaged 10.6 points, 9.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 2.0 steals per game, vastly exceeding his career averages entering the season (6.7 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.0 assists, and 0.7 steals per game). If he continues to play at this level, the Brooklyn Nets might've found themselves a steal in free agency.

18 Toronto Raptors – Evan Turner

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Original Selection: Ed Davis

Evan Turner is a prime example of a player’s draft position creating outsized expectations that, when not lived up to, make it difficult for observers to recognize the value he brings to his team. Anyone who watched Turner during his two-year stint with the Celtics saw how much Brad Stevens leaned on Turner during late-game situations and valued his abilities as a sort of playmaking Swiss Army knife. Of course, Turner certainly has flaws in his game and is surely not the franchise centerpiece most hope to find with the second overall pick in the draft. So the Raptors end up with Turner in this re-draft, allowing Davis to slide to the last pick of the lottery and getting a versatile player capable of doing a little bit of everything.

17 Houston Rockets – Ed Davis

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Original Selection: Patrick Patterson

With Patrick Patterson already off the board, going 11th to the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Rockets still wind up with a solid big man in Ed Davis, who has bounced around the league a bit but has nonetheless managed to earn regular rotation minutes while playing for the Toronto Raptors, Memphis Grizzlies, Los Angeles Lakers, and Portland Trailblazers. Originally, Ed Davis went one pick earlier to the Toronto Raptors, but we have them selecting a sliding Evan Turner. Over seven NBA seasons, the 6-10 Davis has averaged just over 21 minutes per game while providing 6.9 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 1 block per contest, essentially allowing Houston to break even on the 14th pick in this re-draft.

16 Milwaukee Bucks – Al-Farouq Aminu

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Original Selection: Larry Sanders

With this selection, we find a third straight current member of the Portland Trail Blazers, joining Ed Davis and Evan Turner. Al-Farouq Aminu was a valuable contributor for a surprisingly good Portland Trail Blazers team during the 2015-16 season, stepping into a starting role and providing the kind of production the Clippers hoped to see from him when they originally selected the 6-9 forward. With standout players like Gordon Hayward, Paul George, Eric Bledsoe, and Avery Bradley still on the board at the time, the Clips could have done better than Aminu in 2010, but he's a fine choice for the Milwaukee Bucks at the halfway point of this re-draft. They'd certainly get more value out of Aminu than Larry Sanders, who looked like he had star potential, but had to remove himself from the NBA to anxiety and mood disorders.

15 Portland Trailblazers (via trade with Minnesota Timberwolves) – Ish Smith

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Original Selection: Luke Babbitt

Ish Smith, one of several players originally undrafted during the 2010 NBA Draft to wind up in the first round of this re-draft, sees his fortunes improve greatly in this re-draft, ending up with the Portland Trail Blazers just two picks outside of the lottery. In the seven years since going undrafted, Smith has appeared in games for 10 different NBA franchises but seems to have finally found a more permanent home in Detroit and has filled in nicely as a starter with Reggie Jackson injured, providing 9.7 points and 6.1 assists per game during the early part of the 2016-17 season. More of a reserve player than a starter, Smith can offer plenty of value off the bench and would give the Trail Blazers even more depth at their guard positions.

14 Washington Wizards (via trade with Chicago Bulls) – Lance Stephenson

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Original Selection: Kevin Seraphin

Lance Stephenson’s talents keep him from sliding off the re-draft board altogether, as the Wizards use the 17th pick to take a flier on a frustrating player whose headache-inducing attributes have earned him tickets out of Indiana, Charlotte, Los Angeles, Memphis, and, most recently, New Orleans. A gamble to be certain, Washington can only hope that Stephenson is able to replicate his last two seasons with Indiana, in which he was engaged on both offense and defense while averaging 11.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game. He even had a solid spell with the Memphis Grizzlies to close out the 2015-16 season, as he averaged 14.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game, though he hasn't really been able to build off that momentum.

13 Los Angeles Clippers (via trade with Oklahoma City Thunder) – Greivis Vasquez

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Original Selection: Eric Bledsoe

The Clippers miss out of Eric Bledsoe with the 18th pick, as he obviously goes much earlier in this re-draft than the second half of the first round, settling for Greivis Vasquez, a guard whose best season came in New Orleans during the 2012-13 seasons, when he averaged 13.9 points, 9.0 assists, and 4.3 rebounds per game while serving as the club’s starting point guard. Vasquez can play both guard positions, meaning he'd fit in perfectly with the Clippers, as either a decent starting SG or a change of pace for Chris Paul. Plus, if they had Vasquez, maybe they wouldn't have wasted money on Austin Rivers. Vazquez has hit some big-time shots during his NBA career and the Clippers have to hope that he provides some of that playoff magic to a franchise that has had a difficult time living up to its own playoff expectations in recent years.

12 Boston Celtics – Luigi Datome

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Original Selection: Avery Bradley

The Celtics wound up with one of the better players to emerge out of the 2010 NBA Draft in Avery Bradley, but like our last entry with Eric Bledsoe, he's long gone at this point of the re-draft. So, they instead have to settle for selecting Sardinian sensation Luigi Datome, a fan favorite during an unfortunately brief stint in Boston late in the 2014-15 season. In his final game with the C’s, Gigi scored 22 points and added 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and a block for good measure, all to the delight of the home crowd, who gave the delightful Datome a standing ovation for his end-of-season performance. If the Italian started his career in Boston, he might've been able to put his talent to better use and had a better NBA career.

11 San Antonio Spurs – Cole Aldrich

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Original Selection: James Anderson

A lottery pick out of Kansas, originally going to the New Orleans Hornets 11th overall, Cole Aldrich has never quite lived up to the kind of expectations associated with just about every lottery pick. The Spurs, however, have a knack for getting production out of players like Aldrich, so perhaps things go a little differently for the 6-11 center as a result of this re-draft. He'd be able to learn under Gregg Popovich, while also getting to practice with one of the best big men in NBA history, Tim Duncan. Aldrich hasn’t had much trouble finding a spot on an NBA roster, but cracking a place in the rotation has been a different story, as he has only averaged 11.2 minutes per game while playing for six different teams over seven NBA seasons.

10 New Orleans Hornets (via trade with Oklahoma City Thunder) – Landry Fields

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Original Selection: Craig Brackins

A second-rounder taken by the Knicks with the 39th pick of the 2010 NBA Draft, Landry Fields earns a place in the first round and winds up with the New Orleans Hornets in this re-draft. Fields’ rookie season may have been his finest, so the Hornets can only hope they get the Knicks-era Fields (9.3 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game while starting 143 of 148 games) and not the Toronto-era Fields (3.3 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 0.9 assists per game while starting 33 of 107 games). Fields is not longer in the NBA as of the writing of this piece, but he was solid while in New York, which is a lot more than Craig Brackins can say, who only managed 17 NBA games, with 1.9 points and 1.1 rebounds per game.

9 Portland Trailblazers – Lance Thomas

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Original Selection: Elliot Williams

The Portland Trail Blazers select Duke product Lance Thomas with their late-round pick, adding a decent rotation player to take the place of Elliot Williams, who only appeared in just over 100 games during his four NBA seasons due to a number of injuries and who wasn't very productive, averaging 4.9 points and 1.5 rebounds in those games. Thomas, who was actually teammates with Williams for two seasons at Duke (Williams ultimately transferred to Memphis before declaring for the 2010 NBA Draft), is currently playing for the New York Knicks and has enjoyed seven NBA seasons in which he has averaged 5.4 points and 2.5 rebounds per game. Far from superstar numbers, but definitely worthy of a spot on the bench.

8 Minnesota Timberwolves – Jeremy Evans

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Original Selection: Trevor Booker

At this point, if a team selected a solid player, they're already gone, so it goes without saying that Trevor Booker is no longer a possibility for the the Minnesota Timberwolves with the 23rd pick of the 2010 NBA Draft. A late second-rounder (55th overall), Jeremy Evans leaps up the draft board and lands with the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first round of this re-draft. In six seasons spent with the Jazz and Mavericks, Evans appeared in 249 games, averaging 3.5 points and 2.6 rebounds per game in a limited role. Few second-rounders are able to even make the roster of the team that drafted them and only a handful are able to remain on an NBA roster for six years or more, so the T-Wolves get an overachieving player at number 23 in Jeremy Evans.

7 New Jersey Nets (via trade with Atlanta Hawks) – Xavier Henry

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Original Selection: Damion James

An Achilles injury has kept Xavier Henry out of the league for each of the past two seasons, but the former lottery pick has enough talent to warrant a roll of the dice by the Brooklyn Nets as a part of this re-draft. Henry’s best season came with the Lakers in 2013-14, when he averaged 10 points and 2.7 rebounds in 21.1 minutes per game. Although Achilles injuries are notoriously difficult to overcome, the Nets are more than willing to bank a late first-rounder on Henry’s potential recovery and subsequent return to the NBA. They're certain to get more out of Henry than they did with Damion Jones, we only managed 39 games in the NBA, starting 17 of them, where he averaged 2.8 points and 3.4 rebounds per game. He hasn't played in the NBA since early 2014.

6 Dallas Mavericks (via trade with Memphis Grizzlies) – Kevin Seraphin

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Original Selection: Dominique Jones

The Dallas Mavericks took a shot at landing a talented scorer in Dominqiue Jones, but the University of South Florida product last appeared in the NBA in 2012-13, as he could only muster 3.1 points, 1.4 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game in his relatively short NBA career.

That reason is why Dallas goes with Kevin Seraphin this time around. The seven-year pro has averaged 6.0 points and 3.5 rebounds per game while playing for the Wizards, Knicks, and Pacers. Seraphin has come off the bench for the bulk of his career (he has only started in 31 of his 386 appearances), averaging a little more than 15 minutes per game, allowing the Mavs to add a role player at number 25.

5 New Orleans Hornets (via trade with Oklahoma City Thunder) – Quincy Pondexter

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Original Selection: Quincy Pondexter

Quincy Pondexter stays put at number 26, as one of the few players on this list to get drafted in the same spot, letting New Orleans hold on to the wing player who averaged 5.3 points and 2.0 rebounds per game during his five NBA seasons, all of which were split between New Orleans (as both a Hornet and Pelican) and Memphis. Pondexter, a team-first player, has had injury troubles that have kept him out of action for the past two seasons and it is possible the injury issues were exacerbated when he delayed a surgical procedure on his knee until after the Pelicans’ had completed their 2015 playoff run. It remains to be seen if Pondexter will be able to continue his career when he recovers from left knee surgery, but we're pulling for him to get back into the league.

4 Atlanta Hawks (via trade with New Jersey Nets) – Luke Babbitt

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Original Selection: Jordan Crawford

Luke Babbitt, originally taken just outside the lottery back in 2010 by the Minnesota Timberwolves, winds up at the tail-end of the first-round, giving the Atlanta Hawks the opportunity to take a player with the 27th pick of the re-draft who has been a decent player off the bench while suiting up for Portland, New Orleans, and Miami, averaging 4.7 points and 1.9 rebounds per game over his seven-year career. While Jordan Crawford is still available, the Hawks are not eager to re-draft a player who was traded after just half a season in Atlanta, even though there is no denying the production Crawford is capable of when he's given a chance. We think if Atlanta has another chance, they'd go with the safer pick here.

3 Memphis Grizzlies – Donald Sloan

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Original Selection: Greivis Vasquez

After going undrafted in 2010, Donald Sloan ascends to the first round and joins the Memphis Grizzlies, more than adequately replacing Greivis Vazquez, who has already been taken in this re-draft. Over five seasons, Sloan has played for five teams, putting up averages of 5.5 points, 3.0 assists, and 2.1 rebounds per game. The 6-3 point guard and product of Texas A&M last played with the Brooklyn Nets, averaging 7.0 points and 4.4 assists per game while starting in 33 of the 61 games in which he appeared, but he opted to play in China for the Guangdong Southern Tigers following the 2015-16 season. We're not sure if his NBA career is over, but if Sloan has a decent spell in China, he may find himself back on an NBA roster sooner than you think.

2 Orlando Magic – Jordan Crawford

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Original Selection: Daniel Orton

Jordan Crawford provided decent production during stints with the Wizards and Celtics, but he was never quite able to find a permanent roster spot in the NBA despite career averages of 12.2 points, 3.2 assists, and 2.6 rebounds per game, which sound a lot better than a lot of the people we've catalogued on this list. Late in the first round, the Magic are happy to take Crawford in place of Daniel Orton, who appeared in just 16 games for Orlando and has been out of the league since a 22-game run with the Sixers in 2013-14. Incidentally, Orton is the only one of the five UK alums (along with Wall, Cousins, Patterson, and Bledsoe) drafted in 2010 to be out of the league seven seasons later.

1 Minnesota Timberwolves (via trade with Washington Wizards) – Boban Marjanovic

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Original Selection: Lazar Hayward

The Timberwolves wind up with everyone’s favorite Serbian center, closing out the first round by taking the 7-3 Boban Marjanovic with the 30th pick of the re-draft. The undrafted Marjanovic is still a project seven seasons after the 2010 NBA Draft, but he displayed an intriguing skill set with the Spurs during his rookie season in 2015-16, earning him a contract offer from the Pistons worth $21 million over three seasons. What makes the contract especially impressive is the fact that Boban needed just 54 appearances to convince the Pistons to commit $21 million to signing him. His NBA career has just begun, as he's only played a total of 64 NBA games, meaning that Marjanovic can easily move up this list. For now, he settles in as the last pick of the first round.

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