NBA Draft 2012: Team-by-Team Reaction and Grades
The NBA Draft came, saw and conquered.
We saw picks go exactly where they were predicted to, talent fall well below the lottery and teams reaching on players who might not even last in the league. With the way the new Collective Bargaining Agreement is set up, teams are going to be forced, much more than before, to improve through the draft as opposed to free agency.
As a result, most of the players picked this year are going to be key pieces to their teams, regardless of how high or low they were picked in two rounds.
On behalf of Metta Chronicles, I got a chance to discuss the draft with Trapped in Golden State. Since everybody else is pretending to know exactly how these picks are going to turn out for the teams, we thought we would do the same.
Trapped in Golden State felt this draft was a huge disappointment, except for his team's picks of course. Where was the entertainment value that we've always been able to count on? There were no ridiculous fashion statements from prospects, and there weren't nearly enough flat out stupid picks.
To be fair, David Kahn in Minnesota didn't have a first round pick and Billy King already made his moronic move by trading his pick. Plus, the only legitimately memorable moment from the draft that we can hang our hat on was Andy Katz and Jared Sullinger's "bulging dicks" (via Deadspin).
Take a look...
Atlanta Hawks: (23) John Jenkins, SG; (43) Mike Scott, PF
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Metta Chronicles: The Hawks got the best pure perimeter shooter at pick No. 23 with John Jenkins. Jenkins shot 43.9 percent on 3-pointers last season while making nearly four per game.
Although Jenkins makes some sense for Atlanta since they need a back up for Joe Johnson, neither selection of Jenkins and Mike Scott (No. 43) fit the “youth” model Danny Ferry was hoping to build for long-term success. Rather, they get some cheap players who can help now.
My issue with Jenkins is that he’s extremely one-dimensional and isn’t a great ball-handler or defender. Sure, he can shoot lights out but it’s not like the Hawks are known for their extra passes to find the open man.
He’ll get some open shots in the wing and corner playing with Horford, Smith, and Johnson, but I doubt he sees the ball enough to make an impact with his shot.
With Mike Scott, they get a solid backup forward who had a nice season at Virginia last year. He’s a good rebounder who can be used in pick-and-pop plays, and I can see him getting some run as a back-up big, a position the Hawks have been notoriously weak in.
Unless, of course, you’re a big fan of Zaza Pachulia. Remember, Mike Scott just wants 100 kids so he can have 100 friends.
(C-) Atlanta played it safe in the draft, especially with Jenkins at No. 23. I would have liked to see them gamble on any of the Baylor wings as long-term projects. Plus, no Josh Smith trade equals a bad draft day.
Trapped in Golden State: It seems like the Hawks hired Danny Ferry, who showed up 20 minutes before the draft, just in time to keep his record of marginal to terrible streak of draft picks alive.
He got the best shooter in the draft (John Jenkins) at the position the best player on the team already fills. Over his five years in Cleveland his best pick was Daniel Gibson (42) but his real strength is trading for and signing marginal talent.
Good luck in the upcoming Josh Smith deal, ATL.
(D-) You really can’t fail when you’ve got a couple of low picks to begin with, but they should have taken a boom-or-bust guy like Perry Jones III instead of taking guys who will barely play anyways.
Boston Celtics: (21) Jared Sullinger, PF; (22) Fab Melo, C; (51) Kris Joseph, SF
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Metta: The Celtics added some nice depth with all three of their picks. With Kevin Garnett coming back for the next few years, Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo, picks No. 21 and No. 22 respectively, will be groomed into solid defensive players.
Most importantly, these picks immediately help the C’s out in their biggest weakness: rebounding.
Sullinger fell out of the top 10 range because of his back issues, but I trust his camp when they say that it’s more of a flexibility issue stemming from his hamstrings and not an actual back injury.
Sullinger is a high-IQ guy, has some skill around the rim and will instantly be part of the rotation. Fab Melo is more of a reach at No. 22, but is already an upgrade over playing guys like Stiemsma and Ryan Hollins at the 5.
With pick No. 51, Celtics took SF Kris Joseph, also out of Syracuse who could get some back-up minutes behind Paul Pierce. He’s got some length and a nice outside shot, a couple things that work quite well when running the floor with Rondo.
(B/B-) I was surprised Boston took Sullinger and Melo back-to-back, especially with Perry Jones was still available. If they had taken PJ3, I would have given them an A.
Main goal now: Bring Ray Allen back, and I think the team will have upgraded over this past season.
Trapped: I know I wasn’t the only one hoping they’d take PJ3 and Jared Sullinger back to back but that would have been too many red flags on a that’s already full of them. Instead they took Sullinger’s "bulging dicks" (Trademark: Andy Katz) and Fab Melo right after to replace Kendrick Perkins.
So after carelessly trading Perkins to the shady OKC Thunder for Jeff Green (their failure to disclose his heart condition cost them a 2nd round pick in 2013) they drafted a smaller Big Baby Davis and a poor man’s Kendrick Perkins.
I think Danny Ainge is going about recreating 2008 the wrong way.
(C+) Melo only partially fills a big hole in the middle but it’s probably too little too late. I don’t think he’s NBA starter material right now and probably won’t be till KG, Allen and Pierce are gone.
Hopefully Sullinger can overcome his bulging disc problem so he can compete with JaJuan Johnson for backup minutes.
Brooklyn Nets: (41) Tyshawn Taylor, PG; (54) Shengelia, SF; (57) Karaman, PF
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Metta: The Nets could have had the No. 6 pick, but traded it. They don’t even deserve to be analyzed by any writer out there. They did buy into the second round where they took Tyshawn Taylor and a couple names that sound made up by smashing down on the keyboard (Tornike Shengalia, Ilkan Karaman).
Taylor is fast, plays solid defense and will compete for backup minutes. Their other two picks are solid forwards who really shouldn’t get any run in this league.
(D/D-) I gave them an F at first, but I like the Taylor pick. The more important problem is if they end up losing Deron Williams and Gerald Wallace.
"What you want me to do? I'm sorry." (Jay-Z voice).
Trapped: Getting Tyshawn Taylor at number 41 was pretty good for them. I think they got an NBA player, which is no small feat at that point even in a deep draft. They also got what looks like a pretty good Euro who might contribute down the road but they failed this draft months ago.
As a Warriors fan I’m happy they made one of the dumbest trades in forever. Do you know what kind of indictment that is coming from a Warriors fan? They basically traded Harrison Barnes or Damian Lillard along with Mehmet Okur’s carcass for the right to overpay Gerald Wallace for six months, or if they’re lucky, four more years.
(F) Guys like Billy King make me feel just a little better about the Warriors track record.
Charlotte Bobcats: (2) Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF; (31) Jeffery Taylor, SF
Metta: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist just became the best player Jordan has ever drafted. Well done MJ, you’re finally improving at this whole front office thing.
MKG will bring tons of energy and defense to the team, but I’m not too sure that’s exactly what the team needed.
Well, okay, they need a bit of everything on that roster, but now they have seven guards and small forwards with just three post players—Bismack Biyombo, Tyrus Thomas and Byron Mullens.
Don’t worry, none of those names have us jumping out of our seats either. Jeffrey Taylor adds more depth and talent to the team, but in the same role as MKG.
(C+) I’m a big fan of MKG, don’t get me wrong. I just think he would have been more useful for a team that already has some offensive weapons (Wizards, for example.)
Trapped: I’m amazed that Michael Jordan took what I consider the second-best player in the draft with the second pick. Even I might have taken Thomas Robinson for that team but Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is going to be Gerald Wallace at the very worst and has a ceiling somewhere around the Scottie Pippen level.
MKG has to take a couple of elevators just to get to the one that drops you off at Pippen’s floor, but he is widely regarded as the hardest worker in the draft. Plues, he’s only eighteen which is nothing but good news.
(B) I also like small forward Jeff Taylor who they got at number 31, but why take two guys at the same position when you have holes everywhere?
Chicago Bulls: (29) Marquis Teague, PG
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Metta: The Bulls only had one pick in the draft (No. 29), and did as much with it as they possibly could. They take Kentucky PG Marquis Teague who will help the team immediately, especially with Rose being out most of next year. If Rose was healthy, I’d be even more impressed with this pick as it would have bolstered their bench a great deal.
Teague gives them speed and athleticism off the bench, and the second Calipari PG on their roster. Once Rose is back, this could mean the end of CJ Watson’s run as a Bull.
(A-) They still need a shooter, but Teague will hold it down until Rose returns.
Trapped: I think this pick was tweeted out sometime on Wednesday. I’m not sure whether I’m a fan of knowing every pick before they happen or not, but I am a fan of this pick.
Teague will grow into a starting point guard someday but for now he is already better than C.J. Watson while Derrick Rose recovers.
(A) I don’t know what else they could have done better. They got the best available player and filled a giant need at the 29th pick.
Cleveland Cavaliers: (4) Dion Waiters, SG; (17) Tyler Zeller, C
Metta: Draft day for the Cavs was an interesting one. I’m having a tough time deciding if I like their picks or if they are too much of a gamble for my liking.
Again, I would have preferred the Cavs to go with Thomas Robinson but they were looking for someone to pair with Kyrie Irving in their backcourt. It seems like they’re willing to work with Tristan Thompson and Varejao down low. Waiters will probably work out just fine, but he’s not as polished of a player as I’d like to see running alongside Uncle Drew.
Zeller's height is a plus, and this is a great value pick at 17. He’ll help the team right away, and add some depth down low.
(C/C-) The Cavs still don’t have much core to work with, and they’ll probably continue to keep Dan Gilbert on suicide watch. I’m a big fan of Irving, though, and I’m hoping he’s able to incorporate Waiters and Zeller well as the season moves on.
Trapped: The Cavs got the top 6th man in the country and a marginal center instead of Thomas Robinson, Jared Cunningham, Bernard James (who got an awesome U.S.A. chant when he was taken for whatever that’s worth) and Jae Crowder when they traded for Tyler Zeller’s rights in exchange for the 24th, 33rd and 34th picks with Dallas.
I don’t care if you already have Tristan Thompson and Sideshow Bob, that’s unacceptable. I’d be surprised if it were a team other than Cleveland.
(D-) A core of Irving, Waiters and Thompson means they’ll be competing for another top pick next season.
Dallas Mavs- (24) J. Cunningham, SG; (33) Bernard James, C; (34) Jae Crowder, F
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Metta: I really am not sure what to make of the players they took. In Jared Cunningham, Bernard James, and Jae Crowder, they get a bunch of high-energy, defensive guys who can fill out the rotation. They’re also in the process of clearing cap space for free agency, so it does make sense that they weren’t going for any home-runs in the draft.
Cunningham won’t be able to play PG in the NBA, and will probably spend some time in the D-league to learn the position. James and Crowder are both rebounder/junkyard-type players. They should make the team though, since every team needs players like that.
(C-) I would have taken Perry Jones III at 24. Cunningham is a good player, but just don’t see him having a defined position.
Trapped: I can’t really fault the Mavs for the choices they made. They are basically clearing cap space which is why they traded down in the first and picked up a couple of non guaranteed 2nd round contracts to remain flexible for the Deron Williams/Dwight Howard sweepstakes.
If nothing else, Cunningham and James are already better then Dominique Jones and Brendan Haywood.
(C+) Not because they made shrewd picks but because they stuck to their plan. The grade would have been much lower if I didn’t see their ulterior motives.
Denver Nuggets: (20) E. Fournier, SG; (38) Q. Miller, SF; (50) I. Turkyilmaz, C
Metta: The Nuggets already have a squad with plenty of talent and depth at each position, so nothing they did on draft night was going to be a big positive or a negative.
Fournier is considered the best international player in this draft, but he joins a rotation of Gallinari, Wilson Chandler and Jordan Hamilton. There’s not enough playing time for Fournier, at least not right now.
I’m hoping he can move to the 2-spot, and open some more playing time for himself. Either way, he’s not worth the No. 20 pick. With Quincy Miller, they add a nice piece of talent, but it’s just another SF.
Seven-footer Izzet Turkyilmaz could be someone serviceable in a few years.
(C+) Nothing spectacular, nothing horrible. It’s time to trade some of this depth for a superstar talent.
Trapped: I don’t know much about Evan Fournier other than he’s from France and people say the pick was a reach, but I’m not one to split hairs by saying they picked him four slots too early. Who cares? If you like a guy you grab him—it’s not like they passed on a star to fill their need for a scorer.
The better pick by them was Quincy Miller at number 38 who might be a better NBA player then his Baylor teammate PJ3.
(C+) If Al Harrington is taking most of the big shots for you in the playoffs, that’s a good sign you need some more shooters. It seems like they saw the writing on the wall.
Detroit Pistons: (9) A. Drummond, C; (39) K. Middelton, SF; (44) K. English, SG
Metta: Solid draft for the Pistons: (9) Andre Drummond, C; (39) Khris Middelton, SF; (44) Kim English, SG. I’m like a little kid on Christmas morning anticipating the duo of Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond.
While they work on Drummond’s offensive game, he’ll protect the paint and rebound well immediately. Monroe is one of the most underrated players in the league, and this frontcourt duo is a nice start to work with for Dumars. It’ll take a few years for Drummond to develop, but Detroit fans can look forward to an intimidating frontline with those two.
Middleton adds some outside shooting for the team, and Kim English can be a nice backup guard for the team.
(A-) Let’s hope Drummond ends up having the same defensive presence Ben Wallace once had.
Trapped: With each pick that Andre Drummond slipped in the draft, he became less and less of a bust. I don’t know anyone who thinks he has the skills to be anything more than a defensive specialist.
Even that distinction is questionable since defense and rebounding is mostly desire and that was one attribute nobody attached to him during the pre draft process.
(B) Even if I hate Drummond, it was a good value pick at number nine because there is always a team that thinks it can be the one to redeem a guy with that kind of body.
Another plus is second-round pick Khris Middleton, who might be a Richard Hamilton-type player down the road.
GSW: (7) H. Barnes, SF; (30) F. Ezeli, C; (35) D. Green, SF; (52) O. Kuzmic, C
Metta: Honestly, no matter how much I want to hate on anything this team does, they couldn’t have had a better draft night. They brought in a haul that immediately fills holes and minimizes weaknesses on their current squad: (7) Harrison Barnes, SF; (30) Festus Ezeli, C; (35) Draymond Green, SF; (52) Ognjen Kuzmic, C.
Barnes will be their starting SF, and trust me, he’ll score and score often. He can hit the outside shot, will have more space with an extended three-point line when compared to the college game, and has a great ball-handler in Curry to set him up.
I’d like Coach Jackson to work with Barnes on his footwork, and that’s something that will take years to develop.
For now though, he the right guy to fill out their starting lineup. Ezeli will be a solid backup center, and Draymond Green was an absolute steal in the second round.
I guess tanking does pay off.
(A) They couldn't have done better. GSW fans should be excited for next year—another season of promises most likely ruined by injuries and a lack of defense.
Trapped: The Warriors nailed their first three of their four selections this year. Harrison Barnes may never be an all-star, but he should be a ten-year starting-caliber player at a position with a long-term need.
Festus Ezeli also gives them a defensive presence off the bench and that is more then Andris Biedrins has given them in years—and he was starting! I bet he hits more free throws than Biedrins and Drummond combined this year: Any takers?
(A+) Is this a homer grade here? Maybe, but getting Draymond Green with the 35th pick was just icing on a very good-looking cake. I wouldn’t have given them better than a D had they drafted Drummond.
Houston Rockets: (12) Jeremy Lamb, SF; (16) Royce White, PF; (18) T. Jones, PF
It’s tough to grade the Rockets right now, since GM Daryl Morey is probably up to something with some trades this summer. They add plenty of talent through the draft, which most likely means some of their current roster (ex. Kevin Martin) is on his way out.
(B-) They still have no inside presence and as a result, I can’t see them being too much better than they were last season. It’s time to trade some of this depth on the wings for someone to help Scola down low.
Trapped: GM Daryl Morey may not have been able to put together enough assets to land franchise hostage-taker Dwight Howard, but he’s probably better off.
Don’t think for a second that Dwight won’t hold Houston over the ledge all season if they do figure this thing out.
Instead, Morey dumped Sam Dalembert and his inflated contract and picked up Jeremy Lamb, Royce White and Terrance Jones without giving up on Kyle Lowry.
(A) I can’t fault any of the picks or the maneuvers that led to them. Good job, good effort!
Indiana Paceres: (26) Miles Plumlee, PF; (36) Orlando Johnson, SG
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Metta: Another white, below-average big man for Indiana? You would think history would have taught them a lesson. Miles Plumlee wasn’t even the best Plumlee on his college team. He’s athletic, but definitely a reach even in the late first round.
Honestly, I think Plumlee will be out of the league in less than five years. Being a California guy, I’ve seen Orlando Johnson plenty and I think he’ll end up getting some time off the bench for of his offense.
(D) Underwhelming night for Indiana. I’m disappointed.
Trapped: Miles Plumlee? Really? If they think he has more NBA potential then Arnett Moultrie, PJ3, Teague or Ezeli (the four picks that followed) I’ve got some Todd Fuller rookie cards to sell them (this may just be for Warrior fans).
(F+) Maybe they just wanted a practice player or something? I know they didn’t think that he would help them in their series against the Heat for even a minute.
What they got was a homeless man’s version of Roy Hibbert, only more inconsistent and pastier than that.
L.A. Clippers: (53) Furkan Aldemir, PF
Metta: Furkan Aldemir can rebound the ball, and that’s pretty much it. We’ll never see him.
(N/A) Doesn’t even count as a pick.
Trapped: They got a Turkish forward (if I mentioned his name would any of you know who the hell it was?) that I’m pretty sure real estate tycoon and racist Clippers owner Donald Sterling wouldn’t let live in any of his apartment complexes.
He better stay overseas until they trade him.
Update: Before this article went to press, the Clippers moved Aldemir in a deal that will bring Lamar Odom-Kardashian and his reality show back to the Clippers. One thing that hasn’t changed is that he won’t be allowed in a Sterling owned property unless Khloe signs the lease.
(F) Other than Clipper Darryl are there any real Clipper fans to dispute this grade? Or would they?
L.A. Lakers: (55) Darius Johnson-Odom, SF; (60) Robert Sacre, C
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Metta: There’s not too much you can do in the late second round, but the Lakers did just about as well as they could with pick No. 55 (Darius Johnon-Odom).
He can play backup to Kobe, due to his ability to score the ball and his toughness. He’s a hard worker and we know how much Kobe likes that.
Center Robert Sacre was taken with the last pick of the second round, but he won’t make the team. Let’s not waste time on him.
(B) LA wasn’t going to make a splash in the draft unless they made a huge draft-day deal with Pau Gasol. DJO has a good chance of making the team, and adds some depth to a team lacking exactly that.
Trapped: With their only pick in the draft the Lakers selected Mr. Irrelevant. Enough said. I don’t know anyone that was upset about the Laker Show trading two first-round picks to get Ramon Sessions and sending Derek Fisher out to pasture (but I don’t know many Lakers fans.)
(A+) I love what they’ve done with their draft picks for the next two years. For a Laker hater's money, Ramon Sessions is way more valuable than next year's first round pick.
Next season I expect them to use their second-round pick on a German doctor so Kobe can stop flying back and forth.
Memphis Grizzlies: (25) Tony Wroten Jr., PG
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Metta: The Grizzlies have a nice squad all the way through, but have been missing a quality backup to Conley. They get that with Tony Wroten. He’s a PG with some size (6’6"), handles the ball well, can get to the basket and passes well enough. He’s not a great outside shooter, but will get playing time immediately.
(B) He fills an immediate need, and maybe even more importantly, Wroten can play the SG spot too. With OJ Mayo probably heading out, that will come in handy.
Trapped: You could sway me either way on the Grizz picking Tony Wroten. He’s kind of like O.J. Mayo 2.0 but this model couldn’t throw a rock into the ocean. It’s not good when a guy who commands the ball and loves to shoot really sucks at it.
However, if he continues that mess in Memphis, he’ll probably find himself on the wrong end of a Z-Bo elbow. Other than that, I hear he’s really good.
(B-) The value of this pick will really be determined after we know whether Mayo will be returning and whether or not Wroten ever learns how to shoot.
Miami Heat: (57) Justin Hamilton, C
Metta: The Heat traded down from the first round to save cap space, and took Justin Hamilton in the second round. Maybe Hamilton and Dexter Pittman can compete to see who knocks out Lance Stephenson again next season?
(C-) I was a bit surprised they didn’t take someone like Ezeli in the first round, someone who would have helped their big man rotation immediately.
Trapped: After LeBron finally earned his crown, the Heat traded their pick because: 1) they can barely afford a first round pick with the Big 3 and pretty much the rest of their worthless roster have them capped out for years to come; and 2) some other veteran who wants to get dragged to a title will take a severe pay cut to join their crew of corpses next season.
(N/A) Does it really matter? James is like Magneto from the X-Men after he learned how to control his powers and started destroying everyone who ever slighted him at this point.
Mike Miller might get to limp to three more NBA Finals because the Heat will be paying him over $6 million a year until 2014-15 to do it.
Hopefully he just retires.
Milwaukee Bucks: (14) John Henson, PF; (42) Doron Lamb, SG
Metta: I’m impressed with what the Bucks have been doing lately. Earlier in the week, they brought in Samuel Dalembert for their C position. On draft night, they got the guy they wanted (Henson) and picked up a shooter who will get playing time next year in Lamb.
The main issue I have with their pick is their excess of average forwards and centers (Sanders, Udoh and Gooden.) Henson is a great defensive player, but Skiles will have some work ahead of him finding enough playing time for all these projects they have.
Doron Lamb can shoot so he’ll definitely get some run behind Ellis.
(B-) They picked up some good players, but as stated, they have too many post players for my liking. One important note—teams will have a tough time scoring in the paint on Milwaukee.
Trapped: They needed a big because Andrew Bogut is a Warrior now and their other serviceable big guy (Ersan Ilysova) will probably make like Usain Bolt as soon as the free agency gun goes off.
They ended up with a guy (John Henson) who could probably fit three of himself in Brandan Wright’s shadow.
(B) This grade gets bumped up a little bit because it’s hard not to like their selection of Doron Lamb in the second round. I just can’t help but think his talents will be wasted carrying Brandon Jennings’ Xbox and Monta Ellis’ jock strap for the next couple years.
Minnesota Timberwolves: (58) Robbie Hummel, SF
Eric Francis/Getty Images
Metta: There were a lot of rumors that the Timberwolves were trying to get into the top five, dangling last years No. 2 pick Derrick Williams in the trade. No one bit, most likely because Williams just isn’t that good.
They probably would have traded that pick to the Lakers for Pau Gasol, but nothing spectacular like that ended up happening, and the Wolves took SF Robbie Hummel late in the second round.
He’s already had two ACL injuries, and he is not going to be good pro player at all. He can shoot the ball and his ability to play some defense might help him stay on the roster.
(C+) Not much else you can do at the No. 58 pick.
Trapped: The T-wolves made the most of their only selection at number 58 by selecting Boilermaker Robbie Hummel. I love this pick. They’ve been trying to fill the void that was left at the end of the bench when Mark Madsen retired in 2009.
I expect him to be a world class towel waver/butt slapper and if they’re lucky, a comically bad dancer.
(A) I told you I love this pick. He’s got big shoes to fill but I think he’s up to the challenge! I think he’ll make fans in Minnesota forget all about Mark Madsen.
NO Hornets: (1) Anthony Davis, PF; (10) Austin Rivers, G; (46) Darius Miller, SF
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Metta: They added Anthony Davis, Austin Rivers and got a steal with Darius Miller in the second round. Rivers is going to have to learn to be more of a true PG with Eric Gordon at the 2 spot, but right now, NOLA needs talent and that’s what they drafted.
Coach Monty Williams is a great coach, and he’ll be able to contain Rivers’ tendency of over-shooting.
Rivers at the 1, Gordon on the wing, and Anthony Davis down low—things are looking bright for the Hornets. Kentucky's Darius Miller fell to the middle of the second round, but he will be a solid role player due to his ability to hit the mid-range jumper and defend.
(A-/B+) Rivers will need to pass the ball more than he wants to if NOLA wants to keep improving.
Trapped: Nobody in the league showed the kind of dedication that Hornets management did what it took to rig the lottery for the rights to the most dynamic eyebrow in NBA history. The Unibrow (Trademark: Anthony Davis, seriously, he trademarked “Fear the Brow”) is the best big man prospect since Dwight Howard and will be a big help when Doc Rivers’ kid is getting destroyed on a nightly basis.
(D) First of all, you get no credit for rigging the lottery and making the pick that a three-year-old could have made. On top of that, I hate the Austin Rivers pick because he’s really a poor man’s Eric Gordon.
Maybe they’re anticipating a slow recovery or a fast exit from Gordon, and if that’s the case, I’ll revise my grade of this pick.
New York Knicks: (48) Kostas Papanikolaou, SF
Hannah Johnston/Getty Images
Metta: The Knicks only had one pick (No. 48), and there’s not much you can do with that pick. They took SF Kostas Papanikolaou, who will probably spend some more time in Europe before coming here.
(C-) They should have tried to take someone who can make the roster this upcoming season, not a project for years down the road.
Trapped: The Knicks executed their single second-round pick to perfection. Instead of taking someone who could help plug some holes on a team that’s full of them they took a Greek guy (who’s name I will never be able to pronounce) who can’t comes to the States for another two years.
Why is that you ask? Because for the next two seasons when they get bounced in the first round of the playoffs they say “just wait, we’re going to win it all when Papanikolaou gets here!”
(B) The only disappointment here is that ESPN hasn’t run any stories about this guy being the final piece of the puzzle yet.
Oklahoma City Thunder: (28) Perry Jones III
Metta: The rich get richer. The Thunder got Perry Jones III at pick No. 28, and in my opinion, this was the steal of the draft. He’ll have zero responsibility in OKC and can learn a ton from Kevin Durant.
Jones is a 6’11" forward who can handle the ball, pass, rebound and slash. He’s not a bad shooter either. Sound familiar?
They get someone who can play some minutes behind KD giving the scoring leader some much needed rest he often doesn’t get, and in a few years, could be a big part of the rotation. Very fortunate for OKC that he fell to them. Shame on the other GMs.
(A) Lottery talent at the end of the first round? Yes please.
Trapped: I’m sure the Thunder went into the draft thinking, “All we need to do is to get more athletic.” As impossible as it is to fathom, one of the youngest, most athletic teams in the league just got younger and faster.
I still can’t believe the ripcord on PJ3’s free fall didn’t get pulled until the 28th pick.
(B+) This was another no-brainer that I have a hard time giving full credit for. All I know is that this guy is going to be electric to watch in pregame warm ups before he takes his spot on the bench until Scotty Brooks can get a fire lit under him.
Orlando Magic: (19) Andrew Nicholson, PF; (49) Kyle O’Quinn, C
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Metta: The Magic took Andrew Nicholson at pick No. 19, pretty much to have some insurance if and when Dwight Howard skips town. He could be a good pick if Howard leaves, but if he doesn’t, Nicholson will get buried on the bench behind guys like Ryan Anderson and Glen Davis.
He’s a good rebounder and protects the paint well, but has a very limited offensive game. Fun fact—the last player picked from St. Bonaventure in the first round was Bob Lanier. In case you’re reading this, and don’t know who Lanier is, look him up. He was good, very good.
At No. 49, the Magic took C Kyle O’Quinn. It’s a solid pick, and not much else they could have done at that point.
(C) Much depends on what Howard does, but picking two big men seemed a bit odd.
Trapped: I like the pick but I don’t think this was exactly what Dwight “Franchise Stick-Up Man” Howard had in mind when he demanded a point guard to take him to the conference finals, or else.
In the end, it really doesn’t matter what they do because he’d rather get to Brooklyn before Jay-Z cuts his next record, and then to get back to the NBA Finals.
(C) Andrew Nicholson should be a very good stretch four, but isn’t that what Ryan Anderson is?
When Howard leaves over $30 million on the table just to get away from them next season, I guess they feel they’ll have plenty of cap space (and a top draft pick) to fill the other four positions on the floor.
Philadelphia 76ers: (15) Maurice Harkless, F; (29) Arnett Moultrie, PF
Metta: The Sixers added Maurice Harkless (previously known as Moe) and Arnett Moultrie in the first round. I don’t understand the Harkless pick since they already have Iguodala and Thaddeus Young in their rotation.
Harkless will take some time to develop but his length and rebounding skills will be used one way or another. He slashes to the basket well on the offensive end. He’ll be a project for Philly but they can afford that with their current roster pretty much set.
Their Arnett Moultrie pick was solid—he’s strong and rebounds the ball extremely well. Philly needs some of that down low. Also, he plays well into a left-hand jumphook when he sets up on the right block.
Nice addition for Doug Collins.
(B/B-) Had them around a C initially, but I like the Moultrie pick too much.
Trapped: The Sixers got a fat haul of skinny forwards this year with Maurice “Don’t Call Me Mo” Harkless and 6'11”, 230-lbs. power forward Arnett Moultrie. If nothing else, they've got more wingspan than any other team in the league. That has to count for something right?
(B-) Philly is obviously stocking themselves with long, light and cheap alternatives in anticipation of cutting ties with their highest paid player (Elton Brand) and their best player (Andre Igoudala.)
Brand will probably just play out his last big money year ($18 million+) and walk when his contract expires.
Phoenix Suns: (13) Kendall Marshall, PG
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Metta: The Suns took Kendall Marshall at No. 13. This is a tough one to figure out—it’s a good fit, but it might not be enough to help the team. It seems that Nash is on his way out from Phoenix, and Marshall replaces him nicely, especially with his passing.
He was the best passing guard in this draft, but the issue is that there aren’t too many people on the Suns to pass to. He’ll run the pick-and-roll well with Gortat, distribute the rock to some outside shooters, but there isn’t any one player on that team the offense can rely on.
Just not enough talent on the team for Marshall to maximize his passing skills.
(B-) Unlucky for them that guys like Rivers, Terrence Ross, and lamb were off the board already.
Trapped: Kendall Marshall was no doubt the right guy to take with the 13th pick but Phoenix is screwed, plain and simple. They are losing Steve Nash and have a roster full of marginal talent.
Now they’ve got a guy who can’t shoot like Nash (that’s the understatement of the year) but he can pass and play defense like him.
(B) I can't be too upset about the pick, but that roster needs help—some major help.
Portland Blazers: (6) Damian Lillard, PG; (11) M. Leonard, C; (40) W. Barton, SG
Metta: The Blazers brought in a nice group of players on draft night: (6) Damian Lillard, PG; (11) Meyers Leonard, C; (40) Will Barton, SG.
I already wrote about Lillard before the draft, and he would have been a stud anywhere he landed. In Portland, he’ll be in an uptempo environment where his range and quickness will be useful.
I’m not a big fan of Leonard’s game, but with Aldridge at the 4, all Leonard needs to do is rebound the ball and protect the paint. Good fit for him.
They get a steal with Barton in the second round, he’ll bring good energy for them whenever he gets playing time.
(A-) They get players who fit well with their current roster. Lillard-Matthews-Batum-Aldridge-Leonard is not too shabby.
Trapped: I love their pick of Damian Lillard (full disclosure: I’m biased towards Oakland born-and-raised point guards) and am indifferent about the Myers Leonard pick. Lillard probably won’t be Gary Payton but I see Leonard falling somewhere between Todd Fuller, Patrick O’Bryant and Adonal Foyle (my apologies for the terrible Warriors comparisons to everyone in Portland.)
(C+) They got the best point guard in the draft even if they did have to overspend a little.
Lillard has a supreme work ethic and you don’t have to worry about him spending his paychecks on Krispy Kreme donuts like you do with Raymond Felton.
Sacramento Kings: (5) Thomas Robinson, PF
Metta: The Kings hit gold when Thomas Robinson fell to them at No. 5. The Robinson-Cousins combo up front is going be brutal for the opposition. Good luck trying to rebound while these two are on the floor.
He does need to polish things up a bit, and I’ve heard scouts mention he should elevate his release a bit more. But he’s not just an inside scorer, he’s got a great face-up game and can hit the mid-range jumper.
He will be a double-figure rebounder instantly; Robinson averaged nearly a dozen rebounds in his one full-time college season. College rebounding success almost always translates to the NBA game.
(A) So excited to see the T-Rob/DMC combo on the floor.
Trapped: Did the Kings get lucky or what? They got a top two or three prospect in the draft at number five and the cheaper-than-cheap Maloofs were able to turn their second-round pick into a pile of free money!
They probably could have gotten more for the pick if they held it for ransom and made the people of Sacramento pay for it like everything else they’ve done that last few years.
(B+) I feel like I’m giving them a good grade for getting lucky but I love Robinson’s motor and maturity. How many of their guys that actually play can you say that about?
San Antonio Spurs: (59) Marcus Denmon, SG
Eric Francis/Getty Images
Metta: They took SG Marcus Denmon at pick No. 59. He’s a quick, athletic guard who plays efficiently. If any other team took Denmon, I’d probably say he’ll end up with a career in Europe. But it’s the Spurs! Everything they do somehow seems to work out.
Denmon will end up being a solid back-up guard for the Spurs. Just saying, Popovich will find a way. He always does.
(C) The Spurs never do anything that’s “below average.” They’ll find a way to make Denmon maximize his potential.
Trapped: The biggest surprises about San Antonio’s pick at number 59 was that he is American (6'3” point guard Marcus Denmon) and that he will be on the roster this coming season.
They must be getting desperate with Timmy on his last legs.
(C+) How do you grade the 59th pick? Were they supposed to do better? Would their fans rather have seen them draft and stash a Spaniard?
Toronto Raptors: (8) Terrence Ross, SG; (37) Q. Acy, SF; (56) Tom Zubcic, SF
Metta: At No. 8, the Raptors took Terrence Ross, a shooting guard out of Washington. He’s got some nice size, and can shoot the ball, but I’m not sure if this is what the Raptors needed on their roster.
The Raptors were 28th in scoring in the league last year, so his ability to score will be a plus for the team.
He’ll be a good wing alongside DeRozan, but the team still lacks a true starting SF. If they were going with a SG, I would have taken Rivers or Lamb, but Ross should be solid enough.
The team is hoping Lithuanian center Jonas Valanciunas, who joins the team this year after being drafted in 2011, will move Bargnani to the 4-spot and give the team more options on offense.
In the second round, the Raptors took Baylor forward Quincy Acy, who adds length and some strength on defense. Solid second round pickup.
(B) If they start Ross, they’ll have to move DeRozan to the 3. They lack some size at that spot as a result, but get the perimeter help they’ve needed. Will be interesting to see if Calderon sticks around, and if Colangelo is successful in bringing Steve Nash in.
Trapped: I give the Raptors credit for resisting the urge to take Drummond. I also give them props for getting Quincy Acy in the second round.
At the same time I’ll be subtracting a couple points for taking Terrance Ross at number eight.
Didn’t they know that when the Logo said he liked him it was a total ruse?
(C-) Personally I would have traded that pick to a team that was dumb enough to move in front of Detroit to get Drummond. They also got a 6'11" guy from Croatia (Tomislav Zubcic) who is too soft to even play small forward, but I guess he fits their style.
Utah Jazz: (47) Kevin Murphy, SF
Metta: At No. 47, they took SF Kevin Murphy. That’s a generic name if I’ve ever heard one. He was a big-time scorer at Tennessee Tech (20.6 pts per game in his senior year), but I doubt he finds much playing time on that Utah roster.
(N/A) Insignificant pick.
Trapped: I’m sure the Jazz were thrilled that the Warriors ended up with Harrison Barnes with the seventh pick. Since they didn’t have a first-round pick they had to watch our selection and let 40 picks go by before selecting a nice little scoring guard from Tennessee Tech named Kevin Murphy.
You haven’t heard of him? Or the school either? You’re not alone.
(C) Another pick that elicits a screaming yawn get a mediocre grade. On the bright side, someone informed the Jazz that they need players at a position other than power forward/center, and they got the message loud and clear.
Washington Wizards: (3) Bradley Beal, SG; (32) Tomas Satoransky, SG
Metta: Maybe I’m just being overly optimistic, but I think Washington could sneak into the playoffs next year. The East is weak after Miami, and the Wizards have some talent on their roster to make the eighth spot.
Let’s hope that Beal takes over the outside-shooting responsibilities, and Wall can stick to driving the ball and getting his teammates open.
Beal did have one poor shooting year at Florida, so he’ll need to prove that his new shooting touch will be consistant, but he’s only 19 and there’s plenty of time to improve. Promising back-court duo for the Wizards with veteran talent across the board (Nene, Ariza, Okafor).
They also got Jan Vesely’s old friend in Tomas Satoransky, a combo guard with size and athleticism. The team doesn’t have much cap space left over after their recent trade, but they have enough talent on their roster to be much-improved from last season.
(A-) They get Beal and some depth in the draft. Nice work by GM Ernie Gunfeld.
Trapped: After turning Rashard Lewis’ dead body in for Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza, the Wiz didn’t care that MKG didn’t fall or that Thomas Robinson did. They just stuck to the game plan and took 19-year-old (as of draft night) Bradley Beal and didn’t look back.
I think Beal is going to be a very good pro but am I the only one that got tired of hearing the Ray Allen comparisons? As long as he isn’t Nick Young they will be ecstatic.
(A-) They did very well to fill their vacancy in the backcourt while still keeping an eye on next season’s tanking efforts.
The Wizards achieved this by using their second-round pick on a big and talented guard from the Czech Republic (Tomas Satoransky) who probably won’t touch down on U.S. soil for another couple of years.