The 2010 NBA Draft continues to disappoint us. At the time, many scouts and teams were convinced this was going to be a great draft. John Wall was considered one of the best point guard prospects in a while, and a player fully deserving of being picked first. Evan Turner had just had one of the best college seasons in recent memory, and was considered pick #1a. Meanwhile, although possessing a questionable attitude, several scouts saw DeMarcus Cousins as the most talented player in a star-laden draft. Derrick Favors and Wes Johnson were also coveted prospects. Each of these players, in their own way, has been a disappointment.
I reviewed the 2010 Draft a few months ago. If anything, in general, the players from that draft have disappointed us to an even greater extent so far this year. Wall has been hurt, while Greg Monroe and Cousins have apparently regressed.
The one huge and shocking exception is Eric Bledsoe, whose ascent has been pretty well documented. Bledsoe has been playing lights out this year, and it does not appear to be a fluke - this guy just possesses an uncanny mix of athleticism and basketball smarts.
There was not much of an indication this was going to happen, though. Bledsoe was not a highly sought-after prospect (he was picked #18 by the Clippers) and he was simply not good his first two years in the league.
This year, in limited minutes, he has been great. Which leads us to an interesting question that Ethan Sherwood Strauss put out recently: Is Bledsoe the best player from the class of 2010?
He really might be. That is as much an indictment of the players from that class as it is an endorsement of Bledsoe, but it's a relevant question nonetheless. A guy who plays less than 20 minutes a night and was picked 18th overall should not be in contention to be the best player in a draft that was supposedly loaded.
But consider where we are. The class of 2010 lacks a true star so far, and it's becoming less certain whether one will arise. Bledsoe seems to have as good a shot as any, although we should not necessarily consider him the favorite.
This is very good news for the Clippers, although they might not know it. Being the Clippers, it actually seems they have a good chance of screwing this up. Chris Paul and Bledsoe form a small backcourt, but both are so good defensively that one can usually effectively defend shooting guards. This means, ideally, Paul and Bledsoe can be the Clippers backcourt for the forseeable future. Bledsoe is also the ideal point guard to spell Paul and make sure his minutes are low during the regular season.
But, like I said, this is the Clippers - so we should expect the worse. Even with Jamal Crawford and an eventually healthy Chauncey Billups, Bledsoe needs to be playing much more than he has. And, more importantly, he needs to be an integral part of L.A.'s future plans, along with Paul and Blake Griffin.
Bledsoe probably will cool off some when he eventually is given more minutes, but it seems pretty clear we are watching a very good basketball player here. His surprising success, compared with the unexpected failures of the rest of the 2010 draftees, indicates how difficult it can be to predict future success in the NBA.