Category Archives: draft grades

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-


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2009 NBA Draft – Team Grades

You can’t judge a draft in any league for about three years, but everyone has a knee-jerk reaction to a team’s draft picks. The NBA Draft makes or breaks General Manager’s careers. If you miss on a guy, you’re screwed. If you pass up on a guy, you’re screwed. If you have a high pick, but draft for need, and a guy who is drafted after your pick turns into a superstar, you’re screwed. The draft has about a 75% failure rate and is the reason why you never see a GM without some gray hair. Here are my draft grades for the 2009 NBA Draft.

Boston Celtics – They only had one pick in the draft and it was a late one. They ended up picking Lester Hudson from Central Florida. He is a scorer and will probably be a NBDL all-star, but doubtful to make the team the next two seasons. Draft Grade: D

New Jersey Nets – The Nets also only had one pick, but their pick was in the Lottery. Terrence Williams will be a good player in this league, he’s eccentric and fun. He isn’t that mature and scouts say he loses focus, but he dominated in the Big East last season. Draft Grade: B-

New York Knicks – The Knicks need young talent, since after this season, they will have about $50 bucks on their payroll. They picked Jordan Hill and traded for Toney Douglas, good solid picks. This draft makes me miss the Isiah Thomas-led drafts. Where was the random Renaldo Balkman kind of pick? Draft Grade: B

Philadelphia 76ers – Jrue Holiday was their lone pick in this draft. I’m not a fan of Holiday, but he did upstage Darren Collison at times. He is a few years away, by the time he’s ready, Elton Brand will be ancient. Draft Grade: C-

Toronto Raptors – You can blame Tim Floyd for my low draft grade for the Raptors. DeMar DeRozan came into USC has a game-changing stud, but his numbers never took off. Toronto was reaching a little by picking him #9. Draft Grade: D+

Chicago Bulls – The Bulls made a good showing in the NBA Playoffs last season. They are still relatively young and need to build around Derrick Rose. Taj Gibson and James Johnson are two good pieces, only if Johnson grows up and learns to get along with his teammates. Draft Grade: B

Cleveland Cavaliers – The Cavs knew that they were not able to improve their team this year with this draft. They pick Christian Evenga and Danny Green, two guys that will not make the team this year. Evenga will probably stay in Europe and Green can help their NBDL affliate. Draft Grade: D

Detroit Pistons – Detroit had a typical Pistons draft. They got guys who showed defense ability and the ability to play team basketball. Austin Daye and DaJuan Summers will be Pistons and will contribute. Jonas Jerebko could be a decent bench player for a team that doesn’t need to add any expensive free agents. Draft Grade: B+

Indiana Pacers – Indiana shocked the world when they picked Tyler Hansbrough. Everyone thought that they were picking a point guard, but they waited until the 2nd round and got A.J. Price from UConn. It was a weird draft for them and took some risks. Draft Grade: C-

Milwaukee Bucks – The Bucks traded away Richard Jefferson and needed to add some offense. Brandon Jennings will not help you offensively, but could turn into a nice point guard. Jodie Meeks could step in and score points immediately. He could turn into a Ben Gordon-type player coming off the bench. Draft Grade: B+

Atlanta Hawks – The Hawks are re-building their backcourt and by drafting Jeff Teague, they have themselves a possible future star. He’s a combo guard and can run the point if Bibby leaves. Draft Grade: B-

Charlotte Bobcats – I don’t like the strategy the Bobcats use by only drafting UNC and Duke players in the first round. Gerald Henderson may have already reaching his ceiling and Charlotte should have went in another direction. The Derrick Brown and Robert Vaden picks could bolster their bench, but unfortunately Larry Brown and rookies go together as well as hot sauce and a guy with IBS. Draft Grade: D-

Miami Heat – The Heat needed some size in the paint, but drafted a guy who is small for his position. Robert Dozier is not great fit for the Heat, but with no first round pick, they had to pick from what was left. Draft Grade: F

Orlando Magic – The Magic didn’t have any picks in the draft this year.

Washington Wizards – The Wizards traded their lone draft pick to Houston.

Dallas Mavericks – The Mavericks are getting long-in-the-tooth and need youth to help re-build their team. Dallas acquired Rodrique Beaubois, who will likely stay overseas, and drafted Ahmad Nivins from St. Joseph’s. This draft was a wash and didn’t accomplish a whole lot. Draft Grade: D-

Houston Rockets – Houston didn’t have any picks in this draft, but they were active in acquiring players for future considerations and picks. Jermaine Taylor, Chase Budinger and Sergio Llull were gained in the draft process. I don’t know how their odds of making the team this year, but Budinger had a lot of upside. Draft Grade: C+

Memphis Grizzlies – Not only did Memphis get rid of Darko Milicic, but they had a pretty good draft. Hasheem Thabeet, DaMarre Carroll, and Sam Young are all big guys that should help them defensively. They were one of the worst defensive teams in the league and needed size. Draft Grade: A-

New Orleans Hornets – Chris Paul is a great point guard, but he is small. They needed a back-up for Paul, but they picked Darren Collison, who is just as small. Is this a swing and a miss? Draft Grade: F

San Antonio Spurs – The Spurs are known to always do their homework on European players and make the most of their 2nd round picks. They didn’t have a first round pick this year, but got DeJuan Blair, a first round talent, in the second round. He is missing both ACLs, but in San Antonio, he doesn’t need to play a lot of minutes. Jack McClinton was another great 2nd round pick, but his maturity is in question. Draft Grade: A

Golden State Warriors – The Knicks thought that they had Stephen Curry, but the Warriors stole him. The rumor is that they may send this pick to the Suns in the Amare Stoudemire deal. If Curry stays in Oakland, he will put up monster numbers in Don Nelson’s offense. Draft Grade: B+

Los Angeles Clippers – It isn’t hard to do well in a draft if you’re picking #1 in a one player draft. The Clippers will have to try really hard to mess this kid up. Draft Grade: A+

Los Angles Lakers – The Lakers came into the draft with three picks, but left with only one. The only player they kept was Chinemelu Elonu, who was picked in the late 2nd round. He will probably end up in the NBDL, but he could end up joining a team as a defensive replacement. Draft Grade: D-

Phoenix Suns – Steve Kerr has had a rough time as the Suns GM. The Shaq deal didn’t work out and he’s taking a lot of heat. He needed a great draft to distract from his rough start. Unfortunately for Mr. Kerr, he whiffed on another draft. The Earl Clark pick was a reach and someone should tell him that he wanted “Blake Griffin,” not “Taylor Griffin.” Draft Grade: D

Sacramento Kings – The Kings came into this draft needing impact players. They traded away a lot at the trading deadline last year and basically only have Spencer Hawes and Jason Thompson as cornerstones. Tyreke Evans and Omri Casspi will help them immediately and I really love the Evans pick. They traded for Jon Brockman, so they will have an all-Huskies frontcourt in Sacramento. Draft Grade: A+

Denver Nuggets – Denver didn’t have much to do in this draft, but they did get a player that they coveted. George Karl is a UNC alum and he loved Ty Lawson. He can spell Chauncey Billups and will benefit from learning under him. Draft Grade:B-

Minnesota Timberwolves – The T-Wolves set themselves up for an extremely busy day. They traded Washington for their first round pick and ended up with a total of six picks for the day. They chose two point-guards with the #5 and #6 picks. It was a little confusing, but from what I hear, Ricky Rubio does not want to play in Minnesota. They could package a deal and receive instant talent and maybe a future #1. Jonny Flynn will be a good player in the NBA and I liked that pick a lot. Wayne Ellington and Nick Calathes was also picked by Minnesota, both fell down the draft to them and they clearly picked them as the “best player available.” Draft Grade: A+

Portland Trail Blazers – Jeff Pendergraph adds to the young talent in Portland. The late pick of Patrick Mills will only add to the excitement about the Blazers. Draft Grade: B

Oklahoma City Thunder – The Thunder are looking for the future. They have picked smart and the future is looking bright. James Harden will make their offense even more scary. B.J. Mullens is a nice addition, but needs a few years to mature.Draft Grade: B

Utah Jazz – The Jazz are smart and take players who have good fundamentals. Eric Maynor will be a great back-up for Deron Williams. Maynor may end up developing into something better than they expect. Draft Grade: B

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