NBA Draft Grades 2014: Full Results, Analysis and Instant Reaction

Ryan DavenportContributor IJune 27, 2014

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 26:  Julius Randle (R) of Kentucky shakes hands NBA Commissioner Adam Silver after being selected with the #7 overall pick by the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2014 NBA Draft at Barclays Center on June 26, 2014 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The 2014 NBA draft featured arguably the finest collection of prospects since the legendary 2003 class that was headlined by future superstars such as LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade.

And that’s why June 26, 2014 may go down as a day that changed the fortunes of multiple NBA franchises.

With a variety of potential cornerstones in Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid, Jabari Parker, Dante Exum and Julius Randle all up for grabs, this was the perfect opportunity for a number of general managers to acquire a star-caliber talent, even outside of the first five picks. 

In the end, Wiggins, the prospect who's seemed destined for stardom for well over a year, went No. 1 to Cleveland, but the Cavaliers are far from the only team that came out with influential building blocks on Thursday night.

Looking back on what was an all-important evening for countless organizations around the league, here's a look at how well each team performed at the Barclays Center, as well as reactions and analysis on the biggest moments of the 2014 NBA draft. 

Round 1 Draft Grades
PickTeamPlayerPositionSchoolGrade
1CavaliersAndrew WigginsSFKansasA-
2BucksJabari ParkerSFDukeB+
376ersJoel EmbiidCKansasA
4MagicAaron GordonPFArizonaB-
5JazzDante ExumPGAustraliaB
6CelticsMarcus SmartPGOklahoma StateB-
7LakersJulius RandlePFKentuckyA+
8KingsNik StauskasSGMichiganC-
9HornetsNoah VonlehPFIndianaA
10MagicElfrid PaytonPGUL LafayetteB
11BullsDoug McDermottSFCreightonB+
1276ersDario SaricSFCroatiaB
13TimberwolvesZach LaVinePGUCLAB
14SunsT.J. WarrenSFN.C. StateB+
15HawksAdreian PaynePFMichigan StateC
16NuggetsJusuf NurkicCBosnia-HerzegovinaB+
17CelticsJames YoungSGKentuckyB+
18SunsTyler EnnisPGSyracuseB
19NuggetsGary HarrisSGMichigan StateB
20RaptorsBruno CabocloSFBrazilD+
21ThunderMitch McGaryPFMichiganC+
22GrizzliesJordan AdamsSGUCLAB-
23JazzRodney HoodSFDukeA
24HeatShabazz NapierPGConnecticutB+
25RocketsClint CapelaPFSwitzerlandA-
26HornetsP.J. HairstonSGUNC/NBA D-LeagueA-
27SunsBogan BogdanovicSGSerbiaB
28ClippersC.J. WilcoxSGWashingtonB
29ThunderJosh HuestisSFStanfordB-
30SpursKyle AndersonSFUCLAB+
Bleacher Report

 

Biggest Surprises and Reaches

It wasn't a shock to see Wiggins, Parker and Embiid come off the board as the first three players chosen, but Randle's tumble out of the top five was certainly unexpected. 

After averaging 15 points and better than 10 rebounds a game as a freshman with Kentucky, Randle's long since established himself as one of the most promising power forwards in recent memory, so needless to say, the Lakers were thrilled to see his name available at No. 7. 

This was such a steal for L.A. that even Kobe Bryant was excited.

Bryant wasn't the only NBA superstar excited about his team's draft haul, as many, such as Bleacher Report's Ethan Skolnick, have written about LeBron's desire to play alongside Connecticut star Shabazz Napier.

By moving up to No. 24 to get the point guard who is coming off a dominant performance en route to the NCAA title, Pat Riley may also have helped his odds at luring James back to South Beach. "Even if James didn't directly influence him to draft Napier, surely LeBron took note of Riley's guts and skill in maneuvering to add a player. And surely, that can't hurt as James considers whether Riley will be capable of doing the same again in the veteran market, when free agency opens."

At the other end of the spectrum, despite the abundance of elite prospects in the pool, a handful of teams reached in Round 1, perhaps none more so than the Kings, who took former Michigan gunner Nik Stauskas with the eighth selection. 

However, the most puzzling pick has to be Philadelphia's at No. 12, as the 76ers burned their second first-rounder on Dario Saric. He absolutely has the tools to contribute, but as CBS Sports' Matt Moore noted, Saric joins Embiid and 2013 draftee Nerlens Noel as early Philadelphia picks that won't join the team on the floor immediately.

Taking Embiid at No. 3 is one thing, because with his upside and rapid rate of development as a player, there was no letting him slip away. But to further prolong the rebuild by using a second top-12 pick on yet another prospect who is not expected to join the 76ers anytime soon is a dangerous gamble for an organization that has a lengthy road back to respectability in front of it. 

Round 2 Draft Grades
PickTeamPlayerPositionSchoolGrade
31BucksDamien InglisSFFranceA-
3276ersK.J. McDanielsSFClemsonB+
33CavaliersJoe HarrisSGVirginiaA-
34KnicksCleanthony EarlySFWichita StateB+
35GrizzliesJarnell StokesPFTennesseeB+
36BucksJohnny O'Bryant IIIPFLSUB
37RaptorsDeAndre DanielsSFConnecticutC+
38PistonsSpencer DinwiddiePGColoradoB
3976ersJerami GrantSFSyracuseA-
40TimberwolvesGlenn Robinson IIISFMichiganA
41NuggetsNikola JokicPFSerbiaB
42RocketsNick JohnsonSGArizonaA-
43HawksWalter TavaresCCape VerdeA-
44NetsMarkel BrownSGOklahoma StateB
45HornetsDwight PowellPFStanfordB+
46LakersJordan ClarksonPGMissouriB+
47PelicansRuss SmithPGLouisvilleC
48HawksLamar PattersonSGPittsburghC+
49BullsCameron BairstowPFNew MexicoB+
50SunsAlec BrownCGreen BayB
51KnicksThanasis AntetokounmpoSFGreeceA-
5276ersVasilije MicicPGSerbiaB+
53TimberwolvesAlessandro GentileGItalyC+
5476ersNemanja DangubicSFSerbiaB-
55HornetsSemaj ChristonPGXavierB+
56NuggetsRoy Devyn MarbleSGIowaB
57KnicksLouis LabeyrieCFranceB
5876ersJodan McRaeSGTennesseeC+
59RaptorsXavier ThamesPGSan Diego StateB-
60NetsCorey JeffersonPFBaylorB
Bleacher Report

 

Round 2 Highlights

While the night's true headliners were long gone by the time pick No. 31 rolled around, there were still some prospects with national recognition available in Round 2, such as Michigan fan favorite Glenn Robinson III, who went to Minnesota. 

And while questions remain about Robinson's ability to transition to the professional game, at least his new team sounded ecstatic at being able to add the son of former NBA All-Star Glenn II at No. 40. 

In addition to Robinson, former Louisville stud Russ Smith found a new home with the Pelicans, who took the former NCAA champion at No. 47 after flipping Pierre Jackson to Philadelphia for the pick. 

There's no question that Smith does possess the natural ability to put up points, but as USA Today noted, there are much bigger question marks surrounding his potential in the NBA: "That's the question surrounding the 2013 champion and immensely talented scorer. He's only 6-1 and doesn't have the top-end athleticism to play shooting guard, but he developed as a passer last season. He definitely has charisma, for what that's worth."

For now, Smith will likely head to the D-League to develop a more complete game, but the fact that he's a proven winner and somewhat marketable asset may help him get a shot at the next level sooner rather than later.