2014 NBA Draft Grades: Team-by-Team Letter Marks and Results

Brian Mazique@@UniqueMaziqueCorrespondent IIIJune 27, 2014

The definitive marks for the 2014 NBA draft can't be made until at least five years have passed. That's when each prospect will have likely carved out an identity in the NBA.

For now, we can make a preliminary judgement on the teams that swung and missed, and the franchises that hit a home run on Thursday night.

Here's a look at every team and pick. 

Brian Mazique's Draft Grades
Boston CelticsMarcus Smart (6), James Young (17)A-
Brooklyn NetsMarkel Brown (44), Xavier Thames (59), Corey Jefferson (60)B-
New York KnicksCleanthony Early (34), Thanasis Antetokounmpo (51), Louis Labeyrie (57)A+
Philadelphia 76ersJoel Embiid (3), Dario Saric (12), K.J. McDaniels (32), Jerami Grant (39), Vasilije Micic (52), Jordan McRae (58)C+
Toronto RaptorsBruno Caboclo (20), DeAndre Daniels (37)F
Chicago BullsDoug McDermott (11), Cameron Bairstow (49)B-
Cleveland CavaliersAndrew Wiggins (1), Joe Harris (33)A-
Detroit PistonsSpencer Dinwiddie (38)B-
Milwaukee BucksJabari Parker (2), Damien Inglis (31), Johnny O'Bryant III (36)A
Atlanta HawksAdreian Payne (15), Walter Tavares (43), Lamar Patterson (48)B-
Charlotte HornetsNoah Vonleh (9), P.J. Hairston (26), Dwight Powell (45), Semaj Christon (55)A
Miami HeatShabazz Napier (24)A+
Orlando MagicAaron Gordon (4), Elfrid Payton (10)A
Los Angeles ClippersC.J. Wilcox (28)C-
Los Angeles LakersJulius Randle (7), Jordan Clarkson (46)A+
Phoenix SunsT.J. Warren (14), Tyler Ennis (18), Bogan Bogdanovic (27), Alec Brown (50)B-
Sacramento KingsNik Stauskas (8)B-
Houston RocketsClint Capela (25), Nick Johnson (42)A-
Memphis GrizzliesJordan Adams (22), Jarnell Stokes (35)B-
New Orleans PelicansRuss Smith (47)C-
San Antonio SpursKyle Anderson (30), Nemanja Dangubic (54)A-
Denver NuggetsJusuf Nurkic (16), Gary Harris (19), Nikola Jokic (41), Roy Devyn Marble (56)A-
Minnesota TimberwolvesZach LaVine (13), Glenn Robinson III (40), Alessandro Gentile (53)B+
Oklahoma City ThunderMitch McGary (21), Josh Huestis (29)B-
Utah JazzDante Exum (5), Rodney Hood (23)A
Picks from NBA.com, Grades by Brian Mazique

Note: traded picks have been swapped in table.


Best Picks

Gary Harris at No. 19 to Denver Nuggets via Chicago Bulls

The Bulls and Nuggets pulled the trigger on a rumored deal that sent Chicago's 16th and 19th picks to Denver for the 11th overall selection. The Bulls got a nice fit for their offensive-strapped squad, but the Nuggets tabbed Bosnian big man Jusuf Nurkic and Harris.

If you're looking for a guy who teams are most likely to be sorry they passed on, it's Harris. Coming in, many experts had Harris listed as a top-10 talent. Somehow he slipped, and the Nuggets were able to grab him at 19. 

B/R's Adam Fromal applauded the selection: "This was one of the best picks of the first round, bar none."

Having recently re-acquired Arron Afflalo from the Orlando Magic, and with Danilo Gallinari still on the roster and expected to be healthy, the Nuggets may have a logjam on the wing.

If nothing else, they have interesting trade chips and depth.


Julius Randle at No. 7 to Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers hit the jackpot by grabbing an elite talent who loves the organization. The fact that he'll be playing with a chip on his shoulder after slipping out of the top five only adds value.

Randle posted this throwback picture after being drafted to prove his long-standing love for the purple and gold, and Kobe Bryant.

News of a foot injury may have diminished Randle's stock, but, in the interview below, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak says he doesn't believe the injury to be career threatening.

Already considered one of the most talented bigs in this year's draft, Randle will begin his tenure with the Lakers looking to prove the six teams that passed on him were in great error. If you're L.A., you couldn't ask for a better scenario.


Shabazz Napier at No. 26 to Miami Heat via Charlotte Hornets

Forget the fact that LeBron James, the best player in the world, and the free agent the Heat are trying to keep, wanted Napier.

From a pure basketball standpoint, the pick makes sense.

Mario Chalmers is a free agent, and the Heat needed a point guard for depth, and one who can add some scoring punch. Napier has all of those qualities, and he should thrive playing with James (assuming he stays), Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

Quite honestly, the Heat probably couldn't have handpicked a better fit for their franchise, even higher in the draft.


Cleanthony Early at No. 34 to New York Knicks

Even more than Harris and Randle, Early is a major steal. He slipped to the second round despite showing first-round talent the last two seasons. Perhaps his age (23) was a deterrent, but advanced age rookies have proven to be solid players in recent years.

Taj Gibson of the Bulls is one example.

Early's athleticism, rebounding and shooting ability are among the best at his position. Had he gone to a major program and not Wichita State, he probably would have been a lottery pick.

Instead, the Knicks may have found themselves a gem.


Worst Picks

Bruno Caboclo at No. 20 to Toronto Raptors

What's the meaning of this?

I won't profess to have scouted Caboclo, so putting him down would be irresponsible. That said, it is hard to believe the Raptors couldn't have tabbed the raw Brazilian prospect later in the draft.

Couldn't the Raptors have traded down? The Heat were interested in taking Napier. It seems Miami would have been a suitor and the Raptors could have added an asset to move down and still got Caboclo.

Even if Caboclo becomes a superstar in the NBA, the Raptors didn't get the most out of this selection.


Joel Embiid at No. 3 to Philadelphia 76ers

The 76ers aren't at fault for being interested in Embiid. He is an awesome talent who, if healthy, should have been the No. 1 pick. 

The fact is he's not healthy.

Embiid is days removed from surgery on his foot, and there were concerns about his back before the most recent injury. Taking him at No. 3 would have still been a permissible gamble had the team not already taken a similar chance on Nerlens Noel in last year's draft.

To top it all off, the 76ers grabbed Croatia's Dario Saric later in the draft, and he won't play in the NBA for at least two years.

A team that won 19 games last season has its hopes riding on two 20-year-old big men with major injury concerns. One is coming off a torn ACL, another may already be showing signs that he'll have durability issues his entire career. Let's not forget the international prospect who is at least two years away from arriving stateside.

Selling a fanbase on the future is difficult enough, but selling them on a shaky big picture is even tougher.

It has to be hard being a 76ers fan right now.


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