The 2014 NBA draft went pretty much as expected. The first three selections were the consensus top prospects despite Joel Embiid's injury, and only a few players made notable jumps or slides compared to the projections.
One thing frequently mentioned during the buildup to the draft was the amount of depth in the class. It meant that even teams drafting outside of the top 20 had a chance to make some solid value picks that are capable of making an impact sooner rather than later, which proved true.
With that in mind, let's check out a chart with complete results from a busy night for front offices around the league along with grades for each team that made a pick. We'll also break down some prospects who should outplay their draft position over time.
2014 NBA Draft Grades
|Atlanta Hawks||Adreian Payne (15), Walter Tavares (43), Lamar Patterson (48)||B-|
|Boston Celtics||Marcus Smart (6), James Young (17)||A-|
|Brooklyn Nets||Markel Brown (44), Xavier Thames (59), Cory Jefferson (60)||C+|
|Charlotte Hornets||Noah Vonleh (9), P.J. Hairston (26), Dwight Powell (45), Semaj Christon (55)||A-|
|Chicago Bulls||Doug McDermott (11), Cameron Bairstow (49)||B+|
|Cleveland Cavaliers||Andrew Wiggins (1), Joe Harris (33)||A|
|Denver Nuggets||Jusuf Nurkic (16), Gary Harris (19), Nikola Jokic (41), Roy Devyn Marble (56)||B+|
|Detroit Pistons||Spencer Dinwiddie (38)||C+|
|Houston Rockets||Clint Capela (25), Nick Johnson (42)||B|
|Los Angeles Clippers||C.J. Wilcox (28)||B-|
|Los Angeles Lakers||Julius Randle (7), Jordan Clarkson (46)||B|
|Memphis Grizzlies||Jordan Adams (22), Jarnell Stokes (35)||B+|
|Miami Heat||Shabazz Napier (24)||A-|
|Milwaukee Bucks||Jabari Parker (2), Damien Inglis (31), Johnny O'Bryant III (36)||A|
|Minnesota Timberwolves||Zach LaVine (13), Glenn Robinson III (40), Alessandro Gentile (53)||B|
|New Orleans Pelicans||Russ Smith (47)||B-|
|New York Knicks||Cleanthony Early (34), Thanasis Antetokounmpo (51), Louis Labeyrie (57)||B|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||Mitch McGary (21), Josh Huestis (29)||C+|
|Orlando Magic||Aaron Gordon (4), Elfrid Payton (10)||A-|
|Philadelphia 76ers||Joel Embiid (3), Dario Saric (12), K.J. McDaniels (32), Jerami Grant (39), Vasilije Micic (52), Jordan McRae (58)||A|
|Phoenix Suns||T.J. Warren (14), Tyler Ennis (18), Bogan Bogdanovic (27), Alec Brown (50)||B|
|Sacramento Kings||Nik Stauskas (8)||C|
|San Antonio Spurs||Kyle Anderson (30), Nemanja Dangubic (54)||B+|
|Toronto Raptors||Bruno Caboclo (20), DeAndre Daniels (37)||C|
|Utah Jazz||Dante Exum (5), Rodney Hood (23)||B|
Best Value Selections
Kyle Anderson to San Antonio Spurs at No. 30
The Spurs have built a model franchise thanks to Tim Duncan and a front office that understands how to find value both in the draft and on the free-agent market. Anderson, who was projected as a fringe lottery selection, is just the latest example.
He has the size of a power forward, the scoring ability of a wing and the ball-handling skills of a point guard. Although he's still a bit raw and will need to improve his decision-making to thrive at the next level, his skill set is off the charts.
San Antonio passed along comments from him after the pick was made:
"My first reaction is wow, just going to a great organization in general. Guys really care about developing their players." - Kyle Anderson— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) June 27, 2014
Anderson quickly drew comparisons to Boris Diaw, who's a potential free agent the Spurs may lose, as a player with size and passing ability. The rookie won't be able to contribute as much as Diaw did in the playoffs, but he has the potential to become an even more well-rounded asset.
Cleanthony Early to New York Knicks at No. 34
If there's one thing the Knicks have lacked in recent seasons, it's an efficient secondary scorer. Amar'e Stoudemire filled the role before his injury woes, and J.R. Smith is more of a volume option. As a result, Early should have a path for playing time right away.
The Wichita State star shot 58 percent from the field and 37 percent from beyond the arc last season. He's a merely average defender and could use some more polish in the paint in case he's asked to play the 4 regularly, but to get a player with his scoring ability in the second round is a steal.
His selection got a stamp of approval from two-time scoring champion Tracy McGrady:
Cleanthony Early to Knicks.. That's a great pick up...— Tracy McGrady (@Real_T_Mac) June 27, 2014
Early is probably never going to become a superstar top scorer like McGrady was during his prime. That said, he should serve as a valuable role player for the Knicks right out of the gate with the potential to move into a starting role within a few years.
Cameron Bairstow to Chicago Bulls at No. 49
Bairstow was overlooked in large part because he's not an extraordinary athlete. During the draft process the hype goes to the players who can jump out of the gym. That's not his strength, but he's a very solid interior player with a reliable mid-range game that can stretch a defense.
Who will be the draft's best value pick?
The Aussie didn't take on a major role at New Mexico until his senior season. In turn, he doesn't have much experience against top competition, which could lead to a longer transition period. But that's not unexpected for somebody picked just inside the top 50.
It's also won't bother the Bulls, given their depth up front. It will give Bairstow time to develop at a reasonable pace. Within a few years Chicago should have a good interior defender and rebounder with enough offensive skill to make a consistent impact.