NBA Draft 2012 Grades: Franchises Whose Fortunes Took Drastic Turns

Matt Shetler@@buccos12Correspondent IJune 29, 2012

The NBA draft is an opportunity for rebuilding teams to become contenders in a hurry. Just look at the Oklahoma City Thunder, who built through the draft and, in the span of a couple of seasons, were playing in the NBA Finals.

Quite a few franchises fortunes took a drastic turn for the better practically overnight. Here's a look at the draft grades for each NBA franchise. Some of them got instantly better during Thursday night's NBA draft.


Atlanta Hawks 

John Jenkins at No. 23 is a bit of a stretch, although I love his shooting ability. Virginia’s Mike Scott will be a very good bench player for the Hawks.  Grade:  C


Boston Celtics 

Plenty of teams shied away from Jared Sullinger, but he’s worth the risk at No. 21. Fab Melo is a project but he adds much-needed size. Kris Joseph will be solid depth for the team.  Grade:  B


Brooklyn Nets

Tyshawn Taylor could be a good backup guard on this team.  Tornike Shengelia and Ilkan Karaman don’t do much for them now.   Grade:  D-


Charlotte Bobcats

The Bobcats needed players to make an impact, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is going to be a great fit on this team.  His leadership abilities and tenacity on the defensive end of the floor should be infectious on this roster.  

Jeff Taylor adds another elite athlete who can defend. The Hornets are still far away, but this was a very solid draft from Michael Jordan's team.  Grade:  B+


Chicago Bulls

Marquis Teague is a nice pick, and he is Derrick Rose's insurance. Teague would have likely been a top-10 pick next year had he stayed in school. I think they needed to address the 2-guard, spot but the Bulls got themselves a player at No. 29.  Grade:  B


Cleveland Cavaliers

Not a lot of people saw Dion Waiters going at No. 4, but I like it. He doesn't fill the need that Harrison Barnes would have, but he's a scorer, and he adds toughness and the ability to get to the basket.

A Kyrie Irving-Waiters backcourt will pressure opposing defenses for years.

They gave up a lot to move up and get Tyler Zeller, but Cleveland needed some size, and it was a smart move. The Cavs have a very nice young core in Irving, Waiters, Zeller and Tristan Thompson. Grade: B


Dallas Mavericks

Dallas added picks and more cap flexibility for the future by trading down.  Jared Cunningham, Bernard James and Jae Crowder will add nice depth, although passing on Perry Jones at No. 24 could be a mistake down the road.  Grade:  C+


Denver Nuggets

Evan Fournier went too high for my liking, and it will be interesting to see if they want to bring him over this season or wait a couple of years.  Quincy Miller will turn out to be a nice pick if he develops and Izzet Turkyilmaz could turn into something in the future. All of these picks are for the future, though, as the Nuggets had no real pressing needs.  Grade:  C


Detroit Pistons

This grade could be better if Andre Drummond becomes a star, but on paper, a frontcourt that features Drummond and Greg Monroe could be very good for years to come.

Khris Middleton and Kim English will add some shooting as well. The Pistons improved with this draft.  Grade:  B


Golden State Warriors

Harrison Barnes fell to a team that needed production at small forward. He will turn out to be a steal for the Warriors, and a starting lineup of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Barnes, David Lee and Andrew Bogut could be very good.

Festus Ezeli should be a solid backup center for years to come and a big body that I like a lot. Draymond Green was a steal in the second round, and Ognjen Kuzmic is a player that Golden State can stash away for a few years. Outstanding draft by the Warriors.  Grade:  A-


Houston Rockets

The Rockets added three nice players in Jeremy LambRoyce White and Terrence Jones, but they will regret not being able to get Drummond. It will be interesting to see how many of the three are still with the Rockets when training camp nears, as the Rockets have a huge void in the middle.  

Furkan Aldemir is actually a pretty good foreign prospect who could make an impact down the road. Grade:  B+


Indiana Pacers

Miles Plumlee could be decent at best, but he could also be out of the league quickly.  Trading up to take Orlando Johnson in the second round could work out nicely, but overall, I did not like Indiana’s draft. Grade:  D-


Los Angeles Clippers:

The Clippers didn’t pick in this draft.  Grade:  N/A


Los Angeles Lakers

Darius Johnson-Odom should be a good depth piece for a team in need of solid bench players and better athletes.  Robert Sacre is not a bad player to get with the final pick of the draft.  Grade:  C


Memphis Grizzlies

I like Tony Wroten for them, but he will need time to develop, and we won’t know how this pick works out for a couple of years.  Grade:  C+


Miami Heat

The Heat traded down to save cap space, but there was some very good talent on the board when they picked. Jordan Hamilton could turn into a rotation guy. Grade D+


Milwaukee Bucks

I love the John Henson pick with the addition of trading for Samuel Dalembert. Milwaukee gets deeper and better up front and should be a team that can protect the rim.

I also like Doron Lamb, who can add some shooting off the bench. It’s been a very good couple of days for the Bucks.  Grade:  B+


Minnesota Timberwolves

Robbie Hummel can play defense and shoot the ball. He adds some depth for the Wolves.  Grade: C+



New Orleans Hornets

The Hornets added Anthony Davis with the No. 1 overall pick, which is plenty enough for the high grade. They added another quality player in Austin Rivers, which creates a good young combo to watch for years to come. 

Darius Miller hasn't been talked about as much the day after the draft, but he is a steal in the middle of Round 2.  Grade:  A


New York Knicks   

Kostas Papanikolaou could be a star once he makes his way to the NBA. However, it could take a couple of years.  Grade:  B-


Oklahoma City Thunder

Getting Perry Jones III at the bottom of the first round is a steal.  He’s just another young weapon for a team already loaded with them.  Grade:  A


Orlando Magic

I love Andrew Nicholson’s game and think he could be the steal of the draft. He’s a guy who can do it all on the floor and will be productive.  Kyle O’Quinn is also a nice pick. He will surprise people with how productive he is.  Grade:  B+


Philadelphia 76ers

I love the upside of Maurice Harkless, but I don’t know if Philadelphia is the best fit, as they have wing players galore right now.  I also like the upside of Arnett Moultrie, who should be a solid rebounder for the team.  Grade:  C+


Phoenix Suns

Kendall Marshall was a need pick, but I don’t think his game will translate well to the NBA. He will have big shoes to fill if Steve Nash leaves as a free agent.  Grade:  C+


Portland Trail Blazers

The Blazers had some needs and filled them.

Damian Lillard has the chance to be outstanding. Meyers Leonard has potential and a huge upside, and while it will take him some time to develop, Leonard has the chance to be very good.

To get a first-round talent like Will Barton in the second round is a steal. The Blazers have the pieces set in place for the future.  Grade:  A-


Sacramento Kings

They were rumored to be trading down all week, but Robinson fell into their lap and will be a great fit on a Kings team that has some good young talent. Robinson is explosive and will be a tenacious rebounder.

Paired with DeMarcus Cousins, the Kings filled a huge need in the draft and could have a dominant frontcourt for years to come.  Grade:  A-


San Antonio Spurs

The Spurs always find players late in the draft. Marcus Denmon could be a solid backup point guard.  Grade:  C+


Toronto Raptors

I like Terrence Ross a lot, but the Raptors could have probably traded down and still gotten him. Second-round pick Quincy Acy has the chance to be a surprise. Tomislav Zubcic is another player to stash away.  Grade:  C+


Utah Jazz

Kevin Murphy has the chance to be a surprise. He can score the ball and is worth rolling the dice on in the second round.  Grade:  C


Washington Wizards

Bradley Beal certainly fills the hole at shooting guard, and Tomas Satoransky should provide good depth in the future.  

However, they still have a ways to go though before contending in the East. Grade:  A-



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