The 2013 NBA draft was considered by most to be a fairly weak class in terms of star power, but several teams were able to acquire extra draft picks and come away with an enviable haul. Even if this draft doesn't produce a lot of All-Stars or Hall of Fame-caliber players, plenty of solid contributors should come from it.
Teams that were looking for instant contributors may be disappointed, but there were a lot of long-term projects in this draft that could ultimately turn into something special. For teams that are in a rebuild mode, they could look back at the 2013 draft as the one that turned their fortunes around.
Along with a full listing of grades, here are the three teams that earned an "A" and rose above all other franchises on Thursday night.
The Minnesota Timberwolves had a great chance to improve their roster with the No. 9 overall pick in this year's draft, but they got creative and managed to do even better for themselves.
When Minnesota selected Michigan point guard Trey Burke at No. 9, many observers were confused, as the T'Wolves already have Ricky Rubio. Things made a little more sense soon after, though, as Minnesota had orchestrated a trade with the Utah Jazz, according to ESPN Stats & Info:
Updated details about the proposed trade between the Jazz & Timberwolves: pic.twitter.com/OCoZVKoBLd— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 28, 2013
That deal netted the T'Wolves the No. 14 and No. 21 overall picks, which ended up being UCLA forward Shabazz Muhammad and Louisville center Gorgui Dieng, respectively. It was a great move on Minnesota's part, as it brought in two players who should contribute for a long time to come. Small forward was a big need for the T'Wolves that Muhammad figures to fill, and Dieng gives them a defensive stalwart behind Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Love.
In addition, Minnesota selected NC State point guard Lorenzo Brown and Montenegrin big man Bojan Dubljevic in the second round. Dubljevic is a long-term project, but Brown is a versatile point guard who will add depth behind Rubio.
Minnesota was able to get three immediate roster players out of this draft and may have done enough to finally make the playoffs provided everyone remains healthy.
Thursday night was certainly interesting for the Philadelphia 76ers and their fans. Philly entered the draft with the No. 11 pick, but it was able to come away with two of the best prospects in the entire class.
The New Orleans Pelicans picked Kentucky center Nerlens Noel No. 6, but he was soon traded to the Sixers in exchange for point guard Jrue Holiday, according Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. The 76ers then selected Syracuse Michael Carter-Williams at No. 11.
Holiday was an All-Star this past season, averaging nearly 18 points and eight assists per game. So dealing him had to be difficult for Philadelphia. At the same time, the Sixers were able to clear his salary off the books and start from scratch.
The 76ers are looking to the future much more than the present, and their draft proved that. It will take some time for Noel and Carter-Williams to develop, but Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld loves their potential as a one-two punch moving forward:
Michael Carter-Williams and Nerlens Noel will end up being an excellent duo for the Philadelphia 76ers. They have a very bright future.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) June 28, 2013
If that wasn't enough, the Sixers managed to nab South Dakota State guard Nate Wolters in the second round.
Wolters was written off by many evaluators heading into the draft since he lacks elite athleticism. But he averaged at least 19.5 points per game in each of the past three seasons, and he was one of the most prolific scorers in college basketball. Philly had trouble replacing Lou Williams after he went to Atlanta, and Wolters could be that type of spark plug off the bench at some point.
Portland Trail Blazers
Which team had the best 2013 NBA draft?
The Portland Trail Blazers had a solid starting lineup last year, but they ended up having a disappointing season due largely to a lack of depth. That shouldn't be a problem much longer, though. The Blazers came away from Thursday's draft with four players who should make the roster next season, as well as an international prospect to develop overseas.
It's unlikely that any of their picks will become superstars, but all of them should be fine complementary players.
In the first round, Portland picked up Lehigh guard C.J. McCollum, who is very comparable to their first-round pick from last year, Damian Lillard. It will be interesting to see if they are on the court often together, as both are explosive scorers.
In the second round, Portland brought in a more traditional shooting guard in Allen Crabbe out of California and then stole Kansas center Jeff Withey. The Blazers desperately needed depth inside, and they came away with an ideal pick, according to Kennedy:
Jeff Withey is an absolute steal for the Portland Trail Blazers here. He's exactly what Portland needs - a tough, defensive-minded center.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) June 28, 2013
The Trail Blazers rounded out their draft with Arizona big man Grant Jerrett and Montenegrin forward Marko Todorovic.
Even if only one or two of their picks make an instant impact next season, that will be a big win for the Blazers. They got very little out of their bench last year, but now they have options and the ability to rotate. Portland needed to add bodies in this draft, and it came away with some quality ones.
|Atlanta Hawks||Lucas Nogueira, Dennis Schroeder, Mike Muscala, Raul Neto||B+|
|Boston Celtics||Kelly Olynyk, Colton Iverson||B|
|Brooklyn Nets||Mason Plumlee||B+|
|Charlotte Bobcats||Cody Zeller||B|
|Chicago Bulls||Tony Snell, Erik Murphy||B-|
|Cleveland Cavaliers||Anthony Bennett, Sergey Karasev, Carrick Felix||A-|
|Dallas Mavericks||Shane Larkin||B+|
|Denver Nuggets||Erick Green, Joffrey Lauvergne||D|
|Detroit Pistons||Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Tony Mitchell, Peyton Siva||B+|
|Golden State Warriors||Nemanja Nedovic||C|
|Houston Rockets||Isaiah Canaan||B|
|Indiana Pacers||Solomon Hill||C-|
|Los Angeles Clippers||Reggie Bullock||C+|
|Los Angeles Lakers||Ryan Kelly||C|
|Memphis Grizzlies||Jamaal Franklin, Janis Timma||B-|
|Miami Heat||James Ennis||D-|
|Milwaukee Bucks||Giannis Antetokounmpo, Ricky Ledo||B|
|Minnesota Timberwolves||Shabazz Muhammad, Gorgui Dieng, Lorenzo Brown, Bojan Dubljevic||A|
|New Orleans Pelicans||Pierre Jackson||C+|
|New York Knicks||Tim Hardaway, Jr.||B|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||Steven Adams, Andre Roberson, Alex Abrines||A-|
|Orlando Magic||Victor Oladipo, Romero Osby||B+|
|Philadelphia 76ers||Nerlens Noel, Michael Carter-Williams, Nate Wolters, Arsalan Kazemi||A|
|Phoenix Suns||Alex Len, Archie Goodwin, Alex Oriakhi||B+|
|Portland Trail Blazers||C.J. McCollum, Allen Crabbe, Jeff Withey, Grant Jerrett, Marko Todorovic||A|
|Sacramento Kings||Ben McLemore, Ray McCallum||B+|
|San Antonio Spurs||Livio Jean-Charles, Deshaun Thomas||B|
|Utah Jazz||Trey Burke, Rudy Gobert||A-|
|Washington Wizards||Otto Porter, Jr., Glen Rice, Jr.||A-|
Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter