Teams at the top of the 2014 NBA draft got the results they needed on Thursday night.
With the best incoming class since 2003, it was difficult to screw up. Some teams still did, though, and their draft grades reflect that. However, the top prospects were selected where they should have been—at the top.
Here are draft grades for every NBA team that selected on Thursday night along with analysis of where the Big Three of the 2014 class landed.
|Los Angeles Lakers||A|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||C|
|Los Angeles Clippers||C|
|San Antonio Spurs||A|
|New York Knicks||A+|
|New Orleans Pelicans||C|
|Golden State Warriors||—|
|Portland Trail Blazers||—|
SG Andrew Wiggins, Kansas: Cleveland Cavaliers (No. 1 overall)
19 years old, 6’8”, 200 pounds
Freshman stats: 17.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game
Cleveland better lead the league in entertainment with two first overall picks in the same backcourt. Wiggins is too raw to be a go-to scorer immediately, but he'll instantly be a lockdown defender and SportsCenter Top 10 fast-break finisher.
Wiggins' defense could have been what ultimately sold the Cavaliers on him over Jabari Parker. A perimeter defense of Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and Parker would have been putrid.
Speaking of Waiters, though, the addition of Wiggins as well as the team's second-round pick—shooting guard Joe Harris—makes him dispensable. In fact, unless they envision Harris as a small forward, it's difficult to imagine the team keeping Waiters.
SF Jabari Parker, Duke: Milwaukee Bucks (No. 2 overall)
19 years old, 6’8”, 241 pounds
Freshman stats: 19.1 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game
Milwaukee not only landed the heavy favorite for next season's Rookie of the Year honors, but it picked the perfect complement to Giannis Antetokounmpo. Antetokounmpo is a 6'9", 205-pound freak athlete, and he has the potential to be one of the most physically imposing wings in the league for years to come.
However, Antetokounmpo will likely never overwhelm anyone with his offensive skill set. That's where Parker comes in. Though he isn't nearly as flashy as Wiggins, Parker's superior basketball IQ and polished scoring ability contrast Antetokounmpo's gifts so much that they add another element to the Bucks.
If Larry Sanders rebounds from a disappointing year, Milwaukee could be one of the most improved teams in the league next season. And speaking of Sanders, the defense that he can provide along with both Antetokounmpo and John Henson should be able to hide Parker's lack thereof.
C Joel Embiid, Kansas: Philadelphia 76ers (No. 3 overall)
20 years old, 7’0”, 250 pounds
Freshman stats: 11.2 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game
This pick has the most potential in the draft, as Embiid has the highest ceiling of any prospect in the class. He's just so injury prone that it seemed unlikely that he'd hear his name called within the top three.
The promise of pairing two seven-foot freak athletes in Embiid and Nerlens Noel in the same frontcourt was too incredible for the Sixers to pass up, though. Embiid and Noel can potentially coexist. Typically, starting two centers would clog up the lane, but Embiid has three-point range.
Now, Embiid and Noel are both raw and have endured major injuries in their respective young careers. They both could be total flops, but if they stay healthy and even scratch the surface of their potential, it'll pretty much be impossible to score on Philadelphia in the paint with both of them sharing the floor.
David Daniels is a columnist at Bleacher Report. He tweets, too.