NEW YORK -- To their dismay, the New Jersey Nets did not get the first pick at the lottery last month, despite finishing with the league's worst record.
But they certainly got the most intriguing pick in the 2010 NBA draft, at No. 3. And with it, they selected Derrick Favors out of Georgia Tech on Thursday night.
"I kinda blacked out when my name was called," Favors said. "I'm just excited."
The first pick that was really in question was the Nets' choice at No. 3. And they went with a 6-foot-10, 245-pound power forward who played just one season at Georgia Tech before bolting for the pros.
Favors averaged 12.4 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.1 blocks in his one season with the Yellow Jackets. He shot 61.1 percent from the field and was the ACC Rookie of the Year.
"We just absolutely love this young man," Nets coach Avery Johnson said. "We think he has a great upside. We think potentially if he can put on about 15 more pounds, we think we have a combination of a Dwight Howard with a little bit [of] not only power but also finesse and great touch around the basket.
"We were looking for somebody who could be a perennial All-Star in time, and we feel that we got that guy."
James is a 6-foot-8, 227-pound forward who played for four years at Texas. He averaged 18.0 points and 10.3 rebounds per game for the Longhorns last season. His 54 double-doubles are the most in Big 12 history.
"He can come in and play minutes at the 3 position right now," Johnson said. "He's tough, hard-nosed, and for a team that couldn't play much defense last year, you gotta get some guys who can help you on that end of the floor."
The Nets reportedly also considered taking Kentucky power forward DeMarcus Cousins and Syracuse swingman Wesley Johnson with the No. 3 pick. In fact, several reports indicate Cousins was much more impressive in a joint workout with Favors at the Nets' facility on Monday.
But the Nets ultimately went with Favors, the second-youngest player eligible in this draft and the youngest American player. Favors won't turn 19 until next month.
"Just means I got a bull's-eye on my back now," Favors said of being taken third overall. "I've gotta put in a lot of work."
When asked what he will bring to the Nets, Favors replied, "Good defense, rebounding, and an improved offensive game.
"I feel like I can contribute right away."
But the question remains, will Favors ever wear a Nets uniform?
Rumors have been swirling that Favors will be used as a chip in a future trade. The Nets have a new owner (Mikhail Prokhorov), a new coach and plenty of salary-cap space to play with this summer, so several moves could be forthcoming.
James is athletic, with long arms, and is an excellent rebounder, with good range on his jump shot as well. But he's too small to play power forward in the NBA. He needs to polish his offensive game, particularly his ball-handling, if he's going to succeed at small forward at the next level.
Whatever team Favors ends up playing for will be getting an athletic young player with superior leaping ability and a big upside. If he stays with the Nets, he could develop into a nice complement to center Brook Lopez in the post.
"I'm excited to be in the NBA. It didn't matter what team, I'm just excited to be here," Favors said.
We'll see if Favors and James are in New Jersey come next season.