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Pistons Draft

2011 NBA Draft Grades

Self explanatory. Some winners, some losers, one Biyombo.

Atlanta Hawks
Keith Benson (48)
Grade: C+

I don’t mind the Benson pick. It makes sense to take a chance on blocks and rebounding at the 48. The dude did a lot of things well, from shooting to getting to the line, albeit against mediocre competition. Not sure the Hinrich for first-rounder swap was a great plan. This team needs some pieces if it’s going to move on from Josh Smith.

Boston Celtics
Picks: JaJuan Johnson (27), E’Twaun Moore (55)
Grade: A-

Johnson projects as a spot up shooter, someone who can probably spell Kevin Garnett without hemorrhaging in any one particular area. If he falls in love with the three-point shot, though, he’ll be pretty useless. Similarly, E’Twaun Moore should have a shot to make the roster with his perimeter scoring. I’m not sure if I buy into the intangible benefit of bringing two players on from the same team, but it almost certainly can’t hurt, and both picks are old enough to contribute right away for a team making a last run at glory.

Charlotte Bobcats
Picks: Bismack Biyombo (7), Kemba Walker (9)
Grade B+

Ah, the difference a competent GM makes. Exploiting Milwaukee’s desperation to get rid of (a still useful) Corey Maggette, the Bobcats moved up in the draft to get a Biyombo AND unloaded a (not really useful) Stephen Jackson. The Walker pick takes it down a notch for me, although he makes more sense for that roster.

Chicago Bulls
Picks: Nicola Mirotic (23), Jimmy Butler (30)
Grade: A-

Prototypical 60-win team draft. The Bulls grabbed one player to stash in Europe, and one defensive ace with lots of intangibles. Butler will fit right in on the Bulls Roster, and might be a bit better on offense than you might assume. Not sure they needed to package two picks to get Mirotic, but what were they really going to do with the 43rd pick?

Cleveland Cavaliers
Picks: Kyrie Irving (1), Tristan Thompson (4), Milan Macvan (54)
Grade: B

Kyrie Irving wasn’t quite a no-brainer, but he was close. I think they reached for Tristan Thompson. I would have been content with him at the eight, and I think he could be very productive. But the Cavs could have gotten much more creative at the 4. I won’t pretend to be up on my Milan Macvan trivia. Scouts are using the words "Basketball IQ" and "wingspan", so I’m guessing he’s a dud.

Dallas Mavericks
Picks: Rudy Fernandez (TRADE)
Grade: B-

Tough to know how to parse this one. The Mavs unloaded their pick for an established player, but in Fernandez, they have a player who is every bit the mystery a foreign draft pick would be. After an outstanding rookie season (59% True Shooting), Fernandez regressed, and clearly wore out his welcome in Portland. If he can rebound with the Mavericks, this will be a huge pickup.

Denver Nuggets
Grade: A-
Picks: Kenneth Faried (22), Jordan Hamilton (26), Chukwudiebere Maduabum (56)

How much wood would Chukwudiebere chuck if Chukwudiebere could chuck wood? Irrelevant. The prizes here are Faried and Hamilton. When you get the most prolific rebounder in the history of the NCAA at the 22 slot, you’ve won the night. As for Hamilton, the Nuggets are probably banking on him thriving in an up-tempo system. He’s young enough, and a solid enough shooter from distance, to justify the pick. Chu-chu, as he’s known, comes from the D-League as a defensive specialist, theoretically.

Detroit Pistons
Picks: Brandon Knight (8), Kyle Singler (33), Vernon Macklin (52)
Grade: F

It’s possible that Knight will become a competent point guard at the NBA level. It’s just that there isn’t anything in his NCAA profile to suggest it is in the cards. He didn’t do anything particularly well. Worse, the teams that decided to take a look at him passed on him. Singler and Macklin are simply wasted picks. They are already in their mid-20s, and weren’t very good in college. Detroit did not improve its roster last night, and that is inexcusable.

Golden State Warriors
Picks: Klay Thompson (11), Jeremy Tyler (39), Charles Jenkins (44)
Grade: C-

Oh look, Golden State got another volume shooter. The Jeremy Tyler pick is interesting simply because it is not unreasonable to chalk up his failure to date as culture shock. I like the Jenkins pickup. We’ll have to see if his numbers against weaker competition will translate, because he was solid in every category. I’ll take a 64% TS in the second round any day.

Houston Rockets
Picks: Marcus Morris (14), Donatas Motiejunas (20), Chandler Parsons (38)
Grade: D+

I’m at a loss to figure this out. I’ll entertain the possibility that playing alongside his twin impacted Marcus Morris’ numbers. Motiejunas is a complete mystery. Was any other team even going to draft Chandler Parsons? Far be it from me to question the methods of the Houston Moneyballers, but I have to call it like I see it.

Indiana Pacers
Picks: George Hill (trade)
Grade: B+

Getting a young, proven talent like Hill is certainly worth a mid-first in a mediocre draft. But what about Darren Collison? Given that the Pacers brand is as much about image as it is about basketball, bringing an Indianapolis native and solid character guy has some extra value. Also, this gives lie to the notion that the Pistons could not have traded down in this draft.

Los Angeles Clippers
Picks: Trey Thompkins (37), Travis Leslie (47)
Grade: F

Kyrie Irving > Mo Williams. Trey Thompkins is a jump shooting power forward. Travis Leslie is a combo guard who can’t shoot. The Clippers are fail.

Los Angeles Lakers
Picks: Darius Morris (41), Andrew Goudelock (46), Ater Majok (58)
Grade: B

Morris’ shooting numbers are problematic, but his enormous improvement playing the point guard position between his freshman and sophomore years make him a reasonable risk at 41. Goudelock is a knock down shooter, and will earn minutes for that reason. Sometimes, I think the Lakers just like to entertain themselves by drafting players with funny names. In that respect, the 58th pick in the draft has already paid off. He doesn’t seem to be any good, though.

Memphis Grizzlies
Picks: Josh Selby (49)
Grade: D

Another combo guard who can’t shoot. He also has knee problems. He’s also a head case. But he has "lottery talent", whatever that means. Is there any precedent for a guy who didn’t perform in college AND has character issues every becoming a successful NBA player? It’s the 49 pick, but still.

Miami Heat
Picks: Norris Cole (28)
Grade: B-

Did the Heat make this pick simply because Cole played in Cleveland? Cole can probably backup Mario Chalmers without too much of a drop-off, thus relieving Mike Bibby of his duties. For some insight into just how mad the Pistons’ draft was, if Miami had landed Knight at the 28, they would have gotten the same grade.

Milwaukee Bucks
Picks: Tobias Harris (19), Jon Leuer (40)
Grade: C+

I’m not totally sold on Harris, who lacks athleticism and shooting. He’s young, and I think the Bucks are hoping he’ll be able to contribute on defense right away. The Bucks need rebounding, so passing on Faried was pretty dumb. I like the Leuer pick a lot. His numbers might have been overlooked because of Wisconsin’s methodical pace, but I think they can pair him with Bogut in the front court effectively. Great value at the 40.

Minnesota Timberwolves
Picks: Derrick Williams (2) , Malcolm Lee (43), Tanguy Ngombo (57)
Grade: B

Things got off to a nice start, then Kahn started doing stuff. I can’t keep straight all the stuff the Timberwolves did last night. He probably would have traded Williams, too, but the league forbid him to trade a basketball player for a Target Center-sized lollipop. I think he also negotiated Andorra’s independence, but I’m still unraveling it all. Malcolm Lee is a combo guard who cannot shoot. Tanguy Ngombo doesn’t even have a Draft Express profile.

New Jersey Nets
Picks: Marshon Brooks (25), Bojan Bogdanovic (31), Jordan Williams (36)
Grade: C-

Brooks shot the basketball more than anyone last year, and so naturally scored a lot of points. He’s a very inefficient player, though they might get something out of him in tandem with Deron Williams. At least he isn’t a combo guard. Bogdanovic is the Bosnian Marshon Brooks. I like the Jordan Williams pick in principle, but will he stay disciplined playing for a lottery team? If so, his rebounding should come in handy, especially if the other two picks get significant minutes.

New Orleans Hornets
Picks: None
Grade: N/A

Basically, they traded this pick for Jarret Jack. Shrug.

New York Knicks
Picks: Iman Shumpert (17), Josh Harrellson (45)
Grade: C

Shumpert was drafted as a defensive specialist, and could certainly fit with the Knicks in the regard. I just wonder if he can fight the impulse to shoot. If he can focus on getting some rebounds, playing lockdown defense, and occasionally hooking up Billups and Anthony, he’ll earn minutes. If he shoots threes, he’ll be an epic bust. I’m clueless as to why they passed up Faried here, though. Harrellson was probably worth a flier.

Oklahoma City Thunder
Picks: Reggie Jackson (24)
Grade: A-

Miami basically shut down his workouts, and it’s the worst of all worlds for Jackson, who will struggle to battle through a logjam at guard. On the other hand, the Jackson played the point pretty efficiently, and is a good value here. His Hollinger Rater performance (which is in the single digits) concerns me. There is a correlation between steals in college, and success at the point guard position in the NBA, so his lack thereof is potentially concerning.

Orlando Magic
Picks: Justin Harper (32), DeAndre Liggins (53)
Grade: B

Not sure if he is a stretch-four so much as a three in a four’s body, but Harper can absolutely shoot. If the Magic intend to keep Dwight Howard (and I’m sure they do), this is an outstanding pick, though big men who cannot rebound tend to be awfully limited in terms of their contribution. Liggins is nothing special, and is too old to become anything special.

Philadelphia 76ers
Picks: Nikola Vucevic (16), Lavoy Allen (50)
Grade: B+

Vucevic, projects pretty well, based on his rebounding and block totals. He should be a solid pick, and certainly a good fit for the 76ers. Lavoy Allen? Nope.

Phoenix Suns
Picks: Markieff Morris (13)
Grade: A

A perfect fit for the Suns, Morris can defend and shoot from long range. The lingering perception that Marcus is the better basketball player (that’s why they play the games, yo) had teams down on Markieff, but I don’t see how the Suns could have done any better here.

Portland Trail Blazers
Picks: Nolan Smith (21), Jon Diebler (51)
Grade: C+

Smith is a combo guard who can kinda shoot. His Duke pedigree is what has him in the first round, I think. He turned the ball over a lot his senior year, suggesting the transition to point guard didn’t go very well. Diebler does one thing well, and that is three point shooting. There is a rumor he might be headed to Detroit, and I wouldn’t mind that. If not, a knockdown shooter late in the second is good sauce.

Sacramento Kings
Picks: Jimmer Fredette (10), Tyler Honeycutt (35), Isaiah Thomas (60)
Grade: D+

Fredette is not a top ten talent. The Kings took a massive downgrade here in order to pick up John Salmons. UCLA talent has a tendency to transition well to the NBA, but otherwise, I’m not seeing what Honeycutt brings. He rebounds reasonably well for the position, but is turnover prone and an average shooter. It feels like Isaiah Thomas will be around. The league needs a couple of super-short point guards, and the existing crop is getting old.

San Antonio Spurs
Picks: Kawhi Leonard (15), Cory Joseph (29), Davis Bertans (42), Adam Hanga (59)
Grade: B-

Leonard is appropriate value for this spot, but was he worth George Hill? If you figure both players will be above average, I guess you take Leonard’s affordability to the bank (literally). Cory Joseph is young and can shoot from long range, though I think the first round is a bit high for him. Did they think they couldn’t get him at the 42? David Bertans is the quintessential Spurs stash pick. Adam Hanga is a complete unknown. Toronto Raptors Picks: Jonas Valanciunas (5) Grade: B Valanciunas is a talented big in a draft short on talent and bigs. Not sure why the Raptors passed on Biyombo when they are in such desperate need of defense. Nonetheless, Valanciunas projects to be a very solid pro, and the Raptors could have done much worse.

Utah Jazz
Picks: Enes Kanter (3), Alec Burks (12)
Grade: C

There is a very good chance the Enes Kanter simply can’t play at the NBA level. That makes him an awfully risky pick. Alec Burks is a slashing scorer, which makes him a good fit for the Jazz, though he seems unlikely to become any sort of star. He also fits a positional need for them. If Kanter surprises, this grade could be way off, but the 3 and the 12 need to yield a better outcome than one high rotation player.

Washington Wizards
Picks: Jan Vesely (6), Chris Singleton (18), Shelvin Mack (34)
Grade: F

That Vesely pick is going to haunt them. He looks good dunking on Euro-sissies, but his stats don’t translate to NBA success, and he isn’t going to be able to dominate NBA athletes. Singelton is a good defender, but he’ll cost the Wizards dearly on the offensive end, especially if he wants to become a sloppy jump shooter. Shelvin Mack was taken on name recognition alone.