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Draft Day Grades!

A draft occurred! I must grade it!

Atlanta Hawks: C

Picks: Jordan Crawford (29), Pape Sy (53)

They bump up a notch for getting their man and scoring a couple million by moving down. Unfortunately, their man (Detroit native Jordan Crawford) isn't likely to contribute, much less replace Joe Johnson. He's noted as a poor defender with an attitude problem, which is hardly what the Hawks need, and Greivis Vazquez would have been a better fit.

Pape Sy, whose name is pronounced Pop-C, giving him instant street cred., doesn't even have a Wikipedia page. I think Atlanta got a bit too cute with that one.

Boston Celtics: B-

Picks: Avery Bradley (19), Luke Harangody (53)

Questions about whether he can play the point? Poor perimeter shooting? Can't do squat from the free throw line? If the Celtics think they have another Rajon Rondo on their hands, they are confusing correlation for causation. Bradley was probably worth a first round pick, given his age and his talent coming out of high school, but this was a reach.

Harangody was a low risk pick here. He'll likely crack the rotation and provide some rebounding in lieu of a retired Rasheed Wallace. I don't think he'll be able to score at the NBA level, since he's a limited perimeter shooter and doesn't have the size needed to bang down low. Also, Harangody looks kinda like the Celtic mascot.

Charlotte Bobcats: F

Picks: None

They traded this year's pick for a French guy named Alexis who cannot play basketball.

Chicago Bulls: A+

Picks: Not necessary.

The Bulls traded Kirk Hinrich and some French Guy(anan) who cannot play basketball in order to double their chances of landing LeBron James. Their worst case scenario is now adding Amare Stoudemire and Joe Johnson. If that's a basement, it's a fully finished man cave with four high def screens so you can watch every NCAA tournament game while riding a team-branded exercise bike.

Cleveland Cavaliers: C

Picks: None

They had no choice but to trade away the 30th pick in order to get Antawn Jamison, so it's hard to grade them harshly even though it seems to be coming back to bite them. LeBron passed on watching the draft so he could watch reruns of Criminal Minds.

Dallas Mavericks: C+

Picks: Dominique Jones (25)

I have no problem with this pick, though it's a bit odd that the Mavs were in a hurry to get into the first round to make it. He's not a very good shooter, but kind of reminds me of Rodney Stuckey in that he can rebound and get to the basket. Does that kind of player fit with the Mavs system? Probably not, but this is more about the future anyway.

Denver Nuggets: A-

Picks: None

This was the pick they traded to the Timberwolves for Ty Lawson, by far the best of the three point guards Minnesota drafted last year. So, basically, they drafted Ty Lawson, which is working out well.

Detroit Pistons: B

Picks: Greg Monroe (7), Terrico White (36)

I'm on the record in commending the Monroe pick, as I think he's the Pistons center of the future.

As such, I'm inclined to assign fewer demerits for the unconscionable White pick. White is, indeed, an outstanding athlete. He comes in with 3.7% body fat, which is Ben Wallace territory (by comparison Adrian Peterson clocks in at just under 6%), and he impressed in workouts on the defensive end. If he can earn 8-10 mpg as a defensive stopper, much will be forgiven here, though it still would have made a lot more sense to take a flier on a big man.

Golden State Warriors: F

Picks: Ekpe Udoh (6)

I am not at all a fan of Udoh's game. He rates just above Terrico White in the Hollinger draft rater. Given that he's 23, that's an awfully bad sign. His choice did inspire my favorite line from the ESPN draft crew: "I don't know where they get these arms."

And yes, he has long arms. But you don't draft arms at the number 6; you draft complete players. Golden State could have traded down and still gotten their man. Worse, the guy is older than two of the young bigs Golden State already has on the roster.

Houston Rockets: B

Picks: Patrick Patterson (14)

I put Patterson and Cole Aldrich in the same camp. Both are likely to be productive, but unspectacular performers in the NBA, but had their statistical profiles skewed by playing on elite squads. Patterson, in particular, had to share the boards with DeMarcus Cousins, which explains the regression in rebounding numbers his Junior year.

The Rockets didn't need to swing for the fences here. If Yao is healthy, they have a pretty stocked squad, so a poor man's Carl Landry will fit in just fine.

Indiana Pacers:C+

Picks: Paul George (10), Lance Stephenson (40), Magnum Rolle (51)

Paul George is a tough player to nail down. From his freshman to sophomore year, his FT% went from 70% to 91%, while his 3P% went from 45% to 35%. He certainly has the potential to be a star, but I don't like the fact that he didn't dominate for a second-tier squad. That said, I think the Pacers needed to take a shot at something other than winning 37 games every season.

I like Stephenson less than I like Terrico White. I don't understand why you draft shooting guards who can't shoot. I just don't. Magnum Rolle is rather obviously a dud, and he's 24. What, exactly, do the Pacers expect him to do?

Los Angeles Clippers: A

Picks: Al-Farouq Aminu (8), Eric Bledsoe (18), Willie Warren (54)

Love Aminu for the Clippers, especially if he can play the three. Bledsoe shot the ball reasonably well at Kentucky, but got lost in a sea of talent there. Hard to be thrilled by an 0.96 A/TO ratio from a guy billed as a pass-first point guard, and who was surrounded by so much talent. Still, the Clips are getting the right value for this pick.

Willie Warren was well worth a flier at 54. After a solid freshman campaign, he regressed due to injuries and attitude issues. Playing with Blake Griffin will be good for him, and the Clippers are basically doubling up on mid-high ceiling Baron Davis replacements, which is a sensible strategy.

Los Angeles Lakers: B-

Picks: Devin Ebanks (43), Derrick Caracter (58)

If you are reading an analysis of two second round draft picks for the team that just won the championship, you have some real time on your hands.

I hope Derrick Caracter realizes how ironic it is that he brings more off-court problems than any other player drafted. He also has Kwame hands. Troubled bigs who turn the ball over don't get to play much in the NBA, but there is undeniably some real talent there. He can certainly score.

Devin Ebanks doesn't look good. His ESPN profile lists him as "inconsistent from 3-point range". Um, yeah, he shot 11% for his college career. I'll say he was inconsistent. Kobe won't allow him to make eye contact.

Memphis Grizzlies: A

Picks: Xavier Henry (12), Greivis Vazquez (28)

By my lights, the Grizz replaced Rudy Gay for cheap. Xavier Henry was a steal at the 12, and his outstanding shooting should earn him a starting job sooner than later. Why he slipped past Utah is beyond me.

Greivis Vazquez isn't going to be a star, since he can't shoot and he's already 23, but he's an NBA-ready rotation player who can play a few positions and do a lot of things. He's a perfect fit for a team desperate for bench help.

Miami Heat: A

Picks: Dexter Pittman (32), Jarvis Varnado (41), Da'Sean Butler (42)

The Heat win all the way around. They traded out of the first round to clear up cap space for a potential free agent bonanza, and collected two first round talents in the draft anyway. The Heat have consistently pursued a strategy of taking players who are falling in the draft, which also explains the Butler pick, of which I am not a fan.

Still, if the Heat can bring in the free agents, they have taken two steps toward adding a supporting cast. They grabbed an outstanding shot blocker in Varnado, as well as a back up big man in Pittman, who could emerge as a real steal if he drops some weight.

Minnesota Timberwolves: F

Picks: Wesley Johnson (4), Lazar Hayward (30), Nemanja Belicia (35), Paulo Prestes (45)

Wesley Johnson can definitely shoot, and he demonstrated a lot of improvement in his Junior Year. That said, they could have traded down and landed him. At the age of 22, I don't see him developing into a star, though he'll certainly be a massive improvement over Ryan Gomes.

The Hayward pick makes no sense. He's 23, and has demonstrated himself to be a very average player. The Serbian basketball looks like a volleyball, which is the only thing that intrigues me about the Belicia pick. I don't think anyone knows who Paulo Prestes is, and there is probably a reason for that.

The real killer is that the Timberwolves traded a first rounder and a non-guaranteed contract (Gomes) for Martell Webster. What the hell was that about? They had just drafted four small forwards. Why add one who can't play instead of grabbing a shot blocker?


New Jersey Nets: A-

Picks: Derrick Favors (3), Damion James (24)

Personally, I would have gone with Cousins here, but there was a valid argument for taking Favors. He's 18, he's in better shape, and he has a better reputation. It is said that he has an unrefined game, but he still managed to shoot 61% from the field.

The real steal is Damion James, who likely fell because he was (gasp!) a senior in college and because of the ridiculous obsession with height. He's this year's Ty Lawson. The guy can score and rebound, and can probably slide over to the three (he has a decent long range game), giving the Nets one of the more intriguing front lines in basketball.

New Orleans Hornets:C-

Picks: Craig Brackins (21), Quincy Pondexter (26)

The Hornets traded Cole Aldrich, a player they could have used, in a desperate effort to keep Chris Paul. After that Yubitsume appetizer, they moved on to an entree of Seppuku by wasting a perfectly good draft pick on Craig Brackins, who has shown no sign that he is ready to play in the NBA.

Quincy Pondexter reminds Chad Ford of Desmond Mason, but I think he can play. He took a nice step forward his senior year, and even showed hints of a perimeter game. He also earns kudos for his defense, and the Hornets have a real need for some help at the three. His selection saved draft day from being a total disaster for the bees.

New York Knicks: B+

Picks: Andy Rautins (38), Landry Fields (39)

Andy Rautins is a D'Antoni pick, and is obviously meant as a sharp shooting companion to whatever stars the Knicks are able to land. Landry Fields was an out of nowhere pick, whose Player Adjusted Win Score projects pretty well. He probably won't be a star, but it's nice to see a team buck conventional wisdom in favor of the statistics that are staring them right in the face. The dude averaged 22 and 9 in the Pac 10. That's easily worth a second round flier.

Oklahoma City Thunder:B+

Picks: Cole Aldrich (11), Tibor Pleiss (31), Latavious Williams (48), Ryan Reid (57)

Somehow, the Thunder turned nothing into the Clippers future first round pick and Cole Aldrich. They stockpiled another big in Pleiss, who is a 7-ft. project, and another solid defender in Latavious Williams.

Clearly, the Thunder are taking the approach that defense is undervalued, and clearly, they have a system in which they feel confident. How else to explain the Ryan Reid pick? If he pans out, it's time to be afraid of the OKC Thunder, because they are the smartest men in the room. I have a hunch they maybe over-thought their second round strategy a bit.

Orlando Magic: B-

Picks: Daniel Orton (29), Stanley Robinson (59)

Orton is a big question mark, obviously. Hollinger's draft rater likes him, while his PAWS projects poorly. If there is a 1 in 3 chance Hollinger's right, this was certainly a good pick at the 29 position. Robinson is another enigma. I love the jumps in 3P% from 42% to 13% to 34%. Sample size played a factor there, but still...

At the 59, enigma is fine.

Philadelphia 76ers: B

Picks: Evan Turner (2)

I think they could have gotten more creative here. However, it's tough to fault a team for picking easily the best college player from the previous year. They'll need to creative at some point, though, to avoid redundancy on the roster.

Phoenix Suns: B-

Picks: Gani Lawal (46), Dwayne Collins (60)

Gani Lawal wasn't a bad idea. His impact suffered by playing alongside Derrick Favors, and he'll provide some rebounding to fill the void left by Amare Stoudemire, likely with better defense. Ditto Collins, who has limited offensive skills, but could provide some help on defense and on the offensive glass.

Portland Trailblazers: D

Picks: Luke Babbit (16), Elliot Williams (22), Armon Johnson (34)

Kevin Pritchard conducted his final draft, after absurdly being fired by his team, which then asked him to stay for one last shot at greatness. Or something. The Trailblazers are obviously owned by idiots.

Luke Babbit reminds me a bit of Adam Morrison. He described himself as the best shooter in the draft, and he's right about that. He has a bit more height than Morrison, and should be more productive on the offensive end. He'll be lousy on defense, but considering the Blazers only had to give up Martell Webster to get him, this is a great pick.

After that, though, I wonder if Pritchard wasn't strategizing a bit. You could make the case that Elliot Williams and Armon Johnson are the worst picks Pritchard could justify without appearing malicious. Williams is an obvious reach, and Johnson doesn't come close to solving the problem at the point, but you could make the case that having him play with Babbit would be good for him.

I hope my explanation is right, because I think Pritchard got screwed. He wasn't the golden child everyone made him out to be, but he was clearly a top ten GM in the league.

Sacramento Kings: A+

Picks: DeMarcus Cousins (5), Hassan Whiteside (35)

Best player in the draft? Check. Best upside big man in the second round? Check.

I don't want to talk about it. Moving on.

San Antonio Spurs: B-

Picks: James Anderson (20), Ryan Richards (49)

Anderson is an ideal fit for what the Spurs need, namely scoring from the wings. Ryan Richards is the Spurs' usual international prospect. There weren't any DeJuan Blair type of thefts, but this is a competent draft.

Toronto Raptors: D

Picks: Ed Davis (13), Solomon Alabi (50)

Oh man. Neither of these players cracked double digits on Hollinger's draft rater, which means it is exceedingly unlikely that either will make it in the pros. What's depressing is that you know Raptors management was clinking champagne glasses at their good fortune for having these guys fall to them. You know, just like they did when Hedo fell to them.

They avoid getting an 'F' because there is a chance Davis will develop when healthy, and they didn't have to give away an asset to get him like they had planned on.

Utah Jazz: D-

Picks: Gordon Hayward (9), Jeremy Evans (55)

Gordon Hayward is this year's Tyler Hansbrough, a guy who jumped 10 spots simply because his team was successful in the tournament. He'll be okay, but I don't know how Utah passed up Xavier Henry here. Jeremy Evans was just a waste of a pick.

Washington Wizards: D

Picks: John Wall (1), Kevin Seraphin (17), Trevor Booker (23), Hamadi N'diaye (56)

The Wiz got the easy part right, and the rest of the test badly wrong. They got totally Memphised by Chicago, who managed to dump Kirk Hinrich's $17 million remaining with only the 17 pick as bait. In the process, they gave Chicago the keys to the Central Division. Thanks, idiots.

What do they do with the pick? They select a guy who can't play. Then they reach with the 23rd pick, passing up Damion James mind you, to draft the middling Trevor Booker. The last pick was completely wasted on a 23 year old "project" who has already spent at least four years as a "project".