Devin Vassell was drafted in the eleventh spot by the San Antonio Spurs, the first lottery pick in decades. The eleventh pick can be tricky - no guarantee of greatness, yet some major difference makers have been chosen there.
There will be eyes on the Florida State Seminole as he traverses his rookie season. Just as much criticism will be allotted to his playing time from PATFO as will be how he handles the time he is given.
With hindsight being 2020 (pun intended), let’s rank the players chosen at the eleventh spot over the last decade and then produce the appropriate amount of speculation and conjecture for which to determine Vassell’s success rate.
10th- Cole Aldrich (2010)
2010- Cole Aldrich (C) was drafted by the New Orleans Hornets before being traded on draft day to the Oklahoma City Thunder. He spent eight season playing for six teams in the NBA, averaging just over three points. His career never panned out and he finished his career in the Chinese Basketball Association in 2018. By comparison, Eric Bledsoe was drafted 18th and Avery Bradley 19th, and they are still kicking around the league.
9th- Doug McDermott (2014)
2014- Small Forward Doug McDermott (F) has made his NBA career as an off-the-bench journeyman. Over six seasons, the Creighton Bluejay has played for five teams, coming off the bench for all but fourteen of his 410 games. There were a bevy of future difference makers that were passed up including Zach LeVine (13th), Jusuf Nurkic (16th), Gary Harris (19th), Rodney Hood (23rd), Bogdan Bogdanovic (27th), Joe Harris (33rd), and Nikola Jokic in the 41st spot. Denver recognized this and capitalized on it as they spent draft night sending McDermott to Chicago for Nurkic and Gary Harris.
8th Malik Monk (2017)
Malik Monk (G) is the first occurrence on this list where a team drafted a player at the eleven spot and then signed him. Monk joined the Charlotte Hornets in 2017 behind star point guard Kemba Walker. After Walker’s trade to Boston, Monk has continued to come off the bench behind Terry Rozier. His stats continue to trend up. As his minutes have increased, so has his points, rebounds, assists, and field goal percentage. He’s growing as a player, but in hindsight, the Hornets could have chosen Donovan Mitchell, 13th overall, who could have made more of an immediate impact.
7th Cameron Johnson (2019)
It’s hard to tell just what kind of waves small forward Cameron Johnson will make in the NBA, especially considering the playing time lost due to the coronavirus pandemic. His 43.5% shooting and 8.8 points per game is a small sample size, but the addition of leadership through Chris Paul could influence his game for the better.
Next up: A Tortoise and Hare compared in a race as the highest achiever falls from grace.
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