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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