2012 NBA Draft – Draft Grades

The 2012 NBA Draft is in the books.

We expected a lot of trades tonight, but only minor trades occurred. The usual drama that surrounds early picks wasn’t there. Overall, this draft was uneventful and fairly boring.

Even if the public deemed this draft to be a bit bland, it doesn’t mean that this draft wasn’t important. Many teams improved their teams by making smart draft picks and some teams left fans scratching their heads.

I go team-by-team and give out draft grades for the entire league. Which teams make the honor roll and which teams are doomed to repeat the year?

Atlanta Hawks – #23 John Jenkins (Vanderbilt) & #43 Mike Scott (Virginia)
Jenkins is the best 3-point shooter in the draft and Scott is one of the most consistent scorers. If the Hawks were looking to improve their offense, they would have had a difficult time beating the duo they picked. Draft Grade: A-

Boston Celtics – #21 Jared Sullinger (Ohio State), #22 Fab Melo (Syracuse), & Kris Joseph (Syracuse)
The Celtics were already the best defensive team in the NBA, but by drafting Sullinger and Melo, they got much better. Sullinger is the best low-post scorer in the draft, but with his size disadvantage, that skill may not translate to the NBA. Joseph doesn’t have a position in the NBA, but he a student of the game. They needed to address their offensive woes in the draft, but only called Sullinger’s name to help. Draft Grade: C+

Brooklyn Nets – #41 Tyshawn Taylor (Kansas), #54 Tornike Shengelia (Georgia) & Ikran Karaman (Turkey)
I am already deducting point for including their first round pick in the trade to rent Gerald Wallace for one-third of a season. Taylor is a nice pick and would be a nice backup point guard behind Deron Williams (if he signs back with Brooklyn). Shengelia and Karaman are nice Euros to stash away. ‘Toko’ Shengelia has the most upside of the pair. Draft Grade: D+

Charlotte Bobcats – #2 Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Kentucky) & Jeff Taylor (Vanderbilt)
Kidd-Gilchrist is a gifted athlete and a plus defender. Taylor is a gifted athlete and a plus defender. Are you noticing the similarities? I feel like Charlotte came into the draft with a defeatist attitude. They didn’t get the #1 pick and had many opportunities to move out of the #2 position and get more picks to help their team rebuild. Draft Grade: D

Chicago Bulls – #29 Marquis Teague (Kentucky)
The Bulls needed backcourt help and they drafted the best point guard available. They could have opted for a three-point threat here, but with Derrick Rose due to miss a huge chunk of the 2012-13 season, Teague was the smart choice. If he would have stayed in school one more year, he would have been a lottery pick. Draft Grade: A-

Cleveland Cavaliers – #4 Dion Waiters (Syracuse) & #17 Tyler Zeller (North Carolina)…plus Kelenna Azubuike 
Cleveland concentrated their talent by trading some late draft picks to Dallas for the rights to Zeller. They also drafted Waiters at #4, even though they were rumored to be in love with North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes. I really like the moves they made. The Cavs could be pretty interesting in a couple seasons with a nucleus of Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, Waiters, and Zeller. Draft Grade: A

Dallas Mavericks – #24 Jared Cunningham (Oregon State), #33 Bernard James (Florida State) & Jae Crowder (Marquette)
Dallas turned one draft pick into three draft picks with a trade with Cleveland. They basically traded the rights to Tyler Zeller and Kelenna Azubuike for the three picks. I don’t understand the thought process in picking Cunningham, James, and Crowder. Cunningham could be an elite defensive backcourt stopper, James can play right away, but lacks upside, and Crowder is a 6’5 power forward with no position in the NBA. Dallas needed to fill out their roster, but I believe they missed with this trade. Draft Grade: D-

Denver Nuggets – #20 Evan Fournier (France), #38 Quincy Miller (Baylor) & #50 Izzet Turkyilmaz (Turkey)
Fournier is a talented shooting guard who could come to the NBA right away or could stay in France to add strength and experience. Miller had ACL surgery before his freshman year and didn’t look like he was healthy all season. He was one of the best players in his high school class, so if he gets healthy, this could be a steal. Draft Grade: B+

Detroit Pistons – #9 Andre Drummond (UConn), #39 Khris Middleton (Texas A&M) & #44 Kim English (Missouri)
Detroit had a need for a dominant big man, mid-range offense, and a three-point scoring threat. I believe Drummond, Middleton, and English fill all those needs. They did the best they could do with those picks, but the Middleton pick concerns me a little with his past injuries. Draft Grade: B

Golden State Warriors – #30 Festus Ezeli (Vanderbilt), #35 Draymond Green (Michigan State) & Ognjen Kuzmic
Golden State picked Ezeli before Green, which is confusing. Green is more of a sure thing than Ezeli and I’m fairly certain that he would have been there at #35. The reason that is important is that first round picks have guaranteed contracts. It is a small error that could come back to do some harm. Draft Grade: D+

Houston Rockets – #12 Jeremy Lamb (UConn), #16 Royce White (Iowa State) & Terrence Jones (Kentucky)
The Rockets have been the most active team since the NBA Lottery. They were trying to get enough assets to acquire Dwight Howard, but fell short. They ended up with three quality draft picks in the middle of the first round and added a ton of talent. Lamb is a proven winner that could turn into a Tayshaun Prince/Rudy Gay type player, White who can do things with the ball in his hands or in the post, and Jones who is a jack of all trades. I love what Houston did in this draft. Draft Grade: A+

Indiana Pacers – #26 Miles Plumlee (Duke) & #36 Orlando Johnson (UC Santa Barbara)
The Pacers will have another big white guy from Duke on their team. They were finally free from them after not re-signing Mike Dunleavy and Josh McRoberts, but apparently there was a void. Plumlee was a reach at #26, but they needed to replace the retired Jeff Foster. They bought the #36 pick from Sacramento and picked a sharp shooter from a small school. Indiana is gathering pieces that could make Danny Granger expendable in the near future. Draft Grade: C-

Los Angeles Clippers – #53 Furkan Aldemir (Turkey)
Aldemir has a lot of potential, but he will need to mature overseas before the Clippers even ponder bringing him over. Draft Grade: Incomplete

Los Angeles Lakers – #55 Darius Johnson-Odom (Marquette) & #60 Robert Sacre (Gonzaga)
The L.A. Lakers only had the #60 pick going into the draft and they used it wisely. Sacre is a guy who can make an NBA squad or be assigned to the NBDL for a bit to get some seasoning. The Lakers traded Dallas for the rights to Johnson-Odom after the draft…presumably for the younger Kardashians to marry. DJO is a solid player and a value pick so late in the draft. Draft Grade: B+

Memphis Grizzlies – #25 Tony Wroten Jr. (Washington)
I do not understand Memphis drafting Wroten Jr. He is a pass-first point guard, which is good…but lack any offensive skill past eight-feet. Mike Conley doesn’t have the best skills on offense, so Memphis will not upgrade the position with Wroten Jr. A player can be taught to shoot, but at this point, he is a project that will take time to develop. Draft Grade: D+

Miami Heat –  #45 Justin Hamilton (LSU) & a future first-round pick from Philadelphia
Hamilton has a big body the Heat covet. They lack size and the jury is out on Dexter Pittman being a productive big man. The biggest asset the Heat earned in this draft is a future first-round pick from the 76ers. Philadelphia is a volatile team and if they suffer a few key injuries, they are a lottery team. Draft Grade: B-

Milwaukee Bucks – #14 John Henson (North Carolina), #42 Doron Lamb (Kentucky) and Samuel Dalembert via trade 
The Bucks rolled the dice with Henson at #14. He is a top-10 talent but has a lot of the same skills as Ekpe Udoh. Henson will need to add muscle for this pick to pay off. I love the Lamb pick  in the middle of the second round. He is the second or third best shooter in the draft and will pair nicely with Monta Ellis. Draft Grade: B+

Minnesota Timberwolves – #58 Robbie Hummel (Purdue) & Chase Budinger via trade
I love, love, love Minnesota’s pick here. Hummel was an elite talent at Purdue before he suffered a pair of knee injuries. At #58, there is zero risk by drafting him there. The trade for Budinger was a no brainer for Minnesota. Draft Grade: A

New York Knicks – #48 Kostas Papanikolaou (Greece)
Papanikolaou was my favorite Euro going into the draft. He had an amazing Euroleague Final Four and reminds me of Andrei Kirilenko or Omri Casspi. He could end up being a nice player, but will stay over in Greece for a minimum of one year. Draft Grade: B-

New Orleans Hornets – #1 Anthony Davis (Kentucky), #10 Austin Rivers (Duke) & #46 Darius Miller (Kentucky)
The Hornets did the most in this draft to drastically improve their team. It helped that they had the #1 overall pick, but the picks of Rivers and Miller really made sense for the team. Rivers was the #1 overall talent going into the college season and Miller was the veteran leader on a National Championship team. I love the draft and New Orleans set themselves up to win soon. Draft Grade: A+

Oklahoma City Thunder – #28 Perry Jones III (Baylor)
Jones III was a top-five talent going into the college season, but concerns about his knee and inconsistent play made him fall in the draft. The Thunder know how to draft and this was a no-brainer. PJ3 is a safety net in case OKC can’t re-sign Serge Ibaka. I’m also glad the Thunder didn’t make a hasty move by trading James Harden for a lottery pick. Draft Grade: A

Orlando Magic – #19 Andrew Nicholson (St. Bonaventure) & #49 Kyle O’Quinn (Norfolk State)
Orlando clearly used their picks to attempt to replace Dwight Howard. Nicholson and O’Quinn won’t be able to fill his shoes, but could make the transition a tad easier. Nicholson has a nice shooting touch for a big man and O’Quinn is a hard worker who has some skills in the paint. Neither of these players are freak athletes, but they leave everything on the court. Draft Grade: B-

Philadelphia 76ers – #15 Maurice Harkless (St. John’s) & #27 Arnett Moultrie (Mississippi State)
Philly’s draft strategy was confusing. Harkless has the same skill-set as most of their current players (a slasher who is a tweener). They had to give up a mid-second rounder and a future first round pick for Moultrie. He is a big man with deep range who can rebound the ball well. Draft Grade: C-

Phoenix Suns – Kendall Marshall (North Carolina)
Marshall is the contingency plan in case Steve Nash bolts for greener pastures. He could end up as the starting point guard at the beginning of the season. Marshall has plus ball-handling skills with a strong knowledge of the game. I like this pick a lot, but he needs to improve on the defensive end. Draft Grade: B

Portland Trail Blazers – #6 Damian Lillard (Weber State), #11 Meyers Leonard (Illinois) & #40 Will Barton (Memphis)
Portland had a busy draft and they picked up some good players. Lillard was coveted by nearly every team in the back-half of the top-10. Leonard is a legit seven-footer that could turn into something special. Finally, Barton was a top high school talent going into college, but took a little time to develop into a plus scorer. I like what Portland did in the draft, but it lacked the instant star power fans expected from their high picks. Draft Grade: B+

Sacramento Kings – #5 Thomas Robinson (Kansas)
Robinson is my sleeper pick to be next season’s Rookie of the Year. He has an NBA-ready body with skills at the power forward position that no other talent had in this draft. He will pair nicely with DeMarcus Cousins and be a high character guy that franchise needs. Draft Grade: A-

San Antonio Spurs – #59 Marcus Denmon (Missouri)
It is hard to give out a high draft grade to a team that only had the second-to-last pick. The Spurs makes smart picks in the draft, but I expected a ‘draft and stash’ player here. I loved Demon in college and think he was a steal for the Spurs at #59. Draft Grade: B

Toronto Raptors – #8 Terrence Ross (Washington), #37 Quincy Acy (Baylor) & #56 Tomislav Zubcic (Croatia)
Honestly, I have no idea what the hell Toronto was doing here. They drafted Ross about ten spots too high, Acy is a guy who loves to dunk everything with little fundamental skills, and Zubcic will never play in the NBA (at least not for the next four years). Ross is a good shooter and is athletic, but I don’t know how he will pair with DeMar DeRozan. Draft Grade: D

Utah Jazz – #47 Kevin Murphy (Tennessee Tech)
If I said ‘Kevin Murphy’ and you had to guess which team drafted him, without any knowledge of draft position or skill…you would say the Utah Jazz, right? He is a nice college player at a small school. He was a standout there and he can shoot the ball from all over the court. It’s a nice sleeper pick with little to no risk. Draft Grade: C+

Washington Wizards – #3 Bradley Beal (Florida) & #32 Tomas Satoransky (Czech Republic)
Beal has the skills to be an elite player in the NBA. His long-range shooting will help open up lanes for John Wall to drive to the basket. They were very lucky that he fell to them at #3. Satoransky won’t be in the league for a couple years, but he has enough upside that he could have been taken in the first-round. Draft Grade: A-

By: TwitterButtons.com

A Sports & Entertainment blog that focuses on absurdity in sports, snarky banter, updates on Tim Tebow’s virginity, and decent sports gambling advice.

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