NBA Draft report card: Team grades
We graded each team's draft based on what it did with the picks it had. Mike Misek filled out the report card for East teams and Jonathan Wasserman for the West.
Jenkins was the best 3-point shooter in college basketball. He’s almost a replica of JJ Redick, with the same quick release, but has three extra valuable inches on his wingspan. With Josh Smith on the block and changes to be made, I thought Perry Jones and Arnett Moultrie were tough to pass on. But Jenkins’ ability to spread the floor and knock down threes can’t go overlooked. Mike Scott should crack the rotation as well, as a rugged power forward with a polished midrange jumper.
The Celtics got incredible value with Sullinger at 21. The red flags will end up turning into a blessing in disguise for Boston, and will do the same for Sullinger, who gets to play for a world-class coach who should maximize his abilities. Melo, on the other hand, was an interesting pick. With Boston losing shot-makers and in desperate need of athleticism, I thought there were better options on the board. Melo gives Boston a true 7-footer and an active interior presence, but most of his work will come off the ball and he has minimal offensive upside.
The Nets gave up their No. 6 overall pick for a player who is now a free agent (Gerald Wallace). They acquired Taylor in the second round, a guard with excellent size and athleticism but questionable decision-making. Shengelia has solid potential as an energy forward and has been one of the hottest international prospects over the past few months. Two talented second-rounders, and a wasted opportunity in the first.
With a tough decision to make, the Bobcats went with a proven winner, high-character kid and two-way player. Kidd-Gilchrist presents minimal risk and gives Charlotte a constant in a lineup that saw little consistency. He'll add toughness, hustle and defense, which should help push the team toward developing a winning attitude. The problem is that MKG lacks offensive potential, and this team really struggles to score. Players such as Harrison Barnes or even Thomas Robinson made more sense, and trading the pick for multiple picks just seemed too obvious. There was too much value in the mid-first round and Charlotte really needed to move the pick and add more talent.
Chicago: No. 29 Marquis Teague
The Bulls made their only pick count. Teague quarterbacked the Wildcats to a national championship as a freshman, looking more and more comfortable running an offensive set. That’s what he’ll be asked to do in Chicago, and should have ample opportunity to learn on the fly while Derrick Rose rehabs his knee. The Bulls needed a point guard, and got a pretty good one for a late first-round selection.
The less Waiters worked out, the higher his stock soared. By the time the draft rolled around, the myth of Dion Waiters had grown to legendary status. The Cavs swung for the fences with this one, passing on Thomas Robinson, Harrison Barnes and Andre Drummond. For a team with such a talented and proficient point guard in Kyrie Irving, adding a ball-dominating, undersized combo guard so high doesn't seem to make much sense. They followed that with a trade that netted them a solid borderline starting center. But they gave away picks that could have yielded them Arnett Moultrie, Draymond Green and Quincy Miller.
Dallas: No. 24 Jared Cunningham, No. 33 Bernard James, No. 34 Jae Crowder
While the Mavericks' success next season ultimately will be determined by how they utilize their cap space in free agency, they will still need inexpensive and functional players on the bottom of it. Dallas came away with a decent haul of talent. Cunningham is an attacking guard with a knack for getting to the line, James is a well-schooled defensive center with good bulk and length, and Crowder is smart, battles incredibly hard on both ends and can be an asset off the bench.
Denver: No. 20 Evan Fournier, No. 38 Quincy Miller, No. 50 Izzet Türkyilmaz
Fournier is a crafty player off the dribble who has a knack for scoring in bunches. He has a pretty shot, but his perimeter shooting numbers the past couple years have not been great. While Denver GM Masai Ujiri is off to a tremendous start, we feel this pick was a reach. Miller, on the other hand, was a tremendous value pick. If his knee can improve, he has considerable upside. Türkyilmaz is a 7-1 small forward who played sparingly with Banvit BK in Turkey this past season.
Joe Dumars is on a roll. Drummond was our No. 2 overall prospect and has too much value to fall to the ninth pick. Prospects with his upside are usually off the board much earlier, so Detroit should consider this a major victory. They won't see production right away, but he's got franchise player potential down the road. Middleton is coming off a disappointing season yet has shot-making ability, while English has specialist potential as a sharpshooter with defensive versatility.
Barnes was our top-rated small forward and he projects better to the NBA level than college. If he can grow out of extended shooting funks, he can be an incredible asset for the Warriors. Ezeli is a massive big man who is known for being a rim protector. Green was a very good value in the second round, and should be able to step in and battle for a backup forward position.
Houston: No. 12 Jeremy Lamb, No. 16 Royce White, N0. 18 Terrence Jones
The Rockets came away from the draft with an excellent haul of talent. Lamb is a talented shooter whose long arms and athleticism should make him a pest on the defensive end. White is the most unique talent in the draft with his combination of power forward size and point guard-like ballhandling and passing skills. Jones has prototypical power forward size to go with small forward athleticism. The Rockets are accumulating assets and trades will need to be made, but that's GM Daryl Morey's obsession.
Indiana: No. 26 Miles Plumlee
REGIONAL DRAFT REPORTS
- Bobcats: Fans not pleased by pick
- Bucks: Young player has potential
- Cavs: Bennett their top choice?
- Clippers: Snagging a shooter
- Grizz: Franklin steal of draft?
- Hawks: Master plan becomes clear
- Heat: Swing a deal for Ennis
- Lakers: Kelly best player left
- Magic: Oladipo will help defense
- Mavs: Get Larkin but want Howard
- Pistons: Passing on local favorite
- Suns: Len a 'no-brainer' pick
- Thunder: One safe pick, one reach
- Wolves: Muhammad in good situation
There had been rumors Plumlee would get into the first round in the weeks leading up to the draft, but many scouts struggled to grasp the concept. Plumlee is 7-feet tall and has a 40-inch vertical. But his basketball skills are so raw that he simply doesn't justify a first-round selection. The shock will eventually wear off, but the Pacers will still have to account for drafting Plumlee over Arnett Moultrie and Perry Jones.
Los Angeles Clippers: No. 53 Furkan Aldemir
Aldemir is big-bodied banger who rebounds well and hangs around the hoop. In the TBL, he averaged 8 points and better than 6 rebounds in 20 minutes per game. He fouls too much and does not have much range, but can stay in Turkey for a few years to continue his development.
Johnson-Odom is a late second-round pick with a real chance to stick. While undersized for a shooting guard, he is an incredibly hard-working defender and has shot the ball well from the perimeter over the past three years. Sacre is a 7-footer who should have a chance to make it in the league as a backup center.
Memphis: No. 25 Tony Wroten
Wroten is a talented prospect who slipped into what could be a good fit if he can grow up quickly. The Grizzlies need a backup point guard for Mike Conley, but it is fair to question whether Wroten is ready to step into that role on a team that should be contending in the West. While Wroten has great size and potential, his poor shooting, shot selection and high turnover rate could make it hard for Memphis to trust him in that role next year.
I guess they just didn’t think anyone was worth the guaranteed contract. They traded away the pick that could have been either Arnett Moultrie or Perry Jones. But then again, Miami and Moultrie might not have been a very good combination. But they did get a future first-rounder, plus Hamilton, who possesses a nice blend of size, touch and mobility. Miami will be looking to make noise on the free-agent market with their exception.
In the past few days, the Bucks have built a moat around their defensive goal. Henson, along with trade addition Samuel Dalembert, provides Milwaukee with a sense of rim protection that should make it difficult for opponents to score easy baskets. The Bucks also added Lamb, a player we felt had first-round talent, giving them a proven 3-point shooter and a reliable source of backcourt depth. While I like their acquisitions, I don’t think either makes Milwaukee a better team next year.
Minnesota: No. 58 Robbie Hummel
The Timberwolves were in need of a SG and they made a smart decision in trading the 18th pick for Chase Budinger. Hummel has value as a late second-rounder. Even after the knee injury that sidelined him for all of 2011, he can still shoot it extremely well from deep and make good decisions with the basketball. On a team with a great distributor like Ricky Rubio, it is very possible Hummel can make the team and find a niche as a spot-up shooter off the bench.
New Orleans: No. 1 Anthony Davis, No. 10 Austin Rivers, No. 46 Darius Miller
It is hard to find fault with the Hornets' draft night. Davis has been the consensus top pick and Rivers is one of the top scoring guards in the draft. On a team that fell so far following the Chris Paul trade, this draft has given them two building blocks for the future. Miller is an athletic wing and committed defender who should be able to make the team.
New York: No. 48 Kostas Papanikolaou
Clearly Glen Grunwald didn’t think there was anyone who could crack the Knicks rotation at No. 48. Papanikolaou had a big impact on Europe's highest stage, helping Olympiacos take home the Euroleague Final Four title. New York will exercise the old draft-and-stash and let Papa season in Europe for a while. Knicks fans can boo, but this is one of the few international picks with some substance.
Oklahoma City: No. 28 Perry Jones III
Apparently the fears about his knee did play a factor in Jones sliding on draft night. The Thunder received a gift. Even if you want to criticize Jones for struggling against bigger, more physical opponents in college, it is hard to not love the pick. At No. 28, it's unheard of to find such a standout physical specimen. Despite falling way further than he should have, Perry is a good kid and finds himself in the ultimate situation to succeed as he's in a winning environment where he can develop positive work habits.
The Magic added a quality post player in Nicholson, who reminds some of an undersized, yet more versatile, Al Jefferson. He added a new face-up dimension and increased his range, and should give the Magic an immediate inside/outside option off the bench. O’Quinn was also a nice second-round pickup who provides Orlando with even more frontcourt depth and size. Sounds like they are preparing for a future without their current starting center.
I don’t think the Sixers could have gotten more given their draft position. In a few years, I see Harkless as one of the steals of this year's draft. Incredibly smooth, long and athletic, Harkless has a power forward’s interior feel with a small forward's mobility. Moultrie was even more of a steal. He has lottery tools, including 6-11 size, elite athleticism and a jumper that’s unappreciated. He also led the SEC in rebounding. Philly didn’t have a pick in the lottery and landed two studs. Exceptional draft work by a top-notch scouting organization.
Marshall was able to operate the point guard spot at North Carolina in beautiful fashion. He understands how to play the position at such an advanced level, but Phoenix does not have the talent relative to the NBA that North Carolina has compared to the rest of college basketball. If Steve Nash stays, then Marshall will be able to ease into the position. Such a scenario would certainly help Marshall’s transition to the NBA. If Nash leaves and Phoenix goes into full rebuilding mode, it will be a much more burdensome task.
Portland: No. 6 Damian Lillard, No. 11 Meyers Leonard, No. 40 Will Barton
While his numbers at Weber State were phenomenal, it is completely unfair to compare what Lillard did at a Big Sky school to what most of the lottery picks did against ACC, Big East or SEC schedules. Regardless, he has a chance to be special. Leonard is a worthy gamble. As inconsistent as he was at Illinois, it is hard to believe he will be ready to offer major minutes for the Blazers right away. However, Leonard's upside is considerable as he could become a top-10 center in the league if he puts his mind to it.
Sacramento: No. 4 Thomas Robinson
The Kings were at the bottom of the NBA in so many categories last season. They were a bad defensive team that did not share the ball or shoot it well. Robinson is not going to be able to help alleviate all their problems, but he should help them improve upon the 29th-ranked defensive rebounding percentage and gives them a boost at the power forward position going forward. One also has to hope that his focused, aggressive style of play rubs off on some of his teammates.
San Antonio: No. 59 Marcus Denmon
Denmon spent his final two years at Columbia playing as well and as efficiently as any guard in college basketball. He scored inside and out as well as protected the ball incredibly well. If he was not undersized for his natural shooting guard spot, he would have never been available late in the second round, but even at his size he could still be capable of stepping in and possibly becoming San Antonio’s next Gary Neal off the bench.
The Raptors clearly went with the guy they thought was the best on the board. Ross has so many NBA qualities that it's easy to understand how they could pass on Austin Rivers. Ross was one of our favorite players and has a chance to be special. Acy also has a lot of likeable qualities with a high motor and a huge wingspan.
Utah: No. 47 Kevin Murphy
Last season, the Jazz were 27th in the NBA in 3-point shooting percentage and 28th in 3-pointers made. The team needs to improve its shooting on the perimeter, and Murphy had an excellent record in college as a shooter, albeit at a small Ohio Valley Conference school. He will go to training camp and have a chance to compete for a roster spot.
John Wall needed a reliable shot-maker running alongside him. And that's exactly what he got in silky-smooth Beal, who provides a sense of balance and reliability to a core that's missing consistent nightly production. A lights-out shooter who can handle the ball, his ability to defend and rebound reflect his completeness as a prospect. The Wizards also added the play-making forward Satoransky, who they’ll stash overseas as a future asset.