Some franchises surprised us during the 2014 NBA draft, as we may end up defining this draft in a few years as the one where multiple talents slid much farther than they should have.
Joel Embiid, Noah Vonleh, Rodney Hood, Gary Harris, Cleanthony Early and others fell fast on Thursday night. Embiid's slide can be attributed to his injury issues, but he still has a chance to prove himself to be the most talented prospect in this year's class.
It will be interesting to see if the teams that passed on these talents regret their decisions down the road. If their prospects don't pan out, they could be left kicking themselves.
Without further ado, it's time to dish out draft grades like Chris Paul dishes out assists.
|Boston Celtics||Marcus Smart (6), James Young (17)||A-|
|Brooklyn Nets||Markel Brown (44), Xavier Thames (59), Cory Jefferson (60)||B|
|New York Knicks||Cleanthony Early (34), Thanasis Antetokounmpo (51), Louis Labeyrie (57)||B+|
|Philadelphia 76ers||Joel Embiid (3), Dario Saric (12), K.J. McDaniels (32), Jerami Grant (39), Vasilije Micic (52), Jordan McRae (58)||A|
|Toronto Raptors||Bruno Caboclo (20), DeAndre Daniels (37)||D|
|Chicago Bulls||Doug McDermott (11), Cameron Bairstow (49)||B-|
|Cleveland Cavaliers||Andrew Wiggins (1), Joe Harris (33)||A-|
|Detroit Pistons||Spencer Dinwiddie (38)||B|
|Milwaukee Bucks||Jabari Parker (2), Damien Inglis (31), Johnny O'Bryant III (36)||A-|
|Atlanta Hawks||Adreian Payne (15), Walter Tavares (43), Lamar Patterson (48)||B+|
|Charlotte Hornets||Noah Vonleh (9), P.J. Hairston (26), Dwight Powell (45), Semaj Christon (55)||A|
|Miami Heat||Shabazz Napier (24)||B+|
|Orlando Magic||Aaron Gordon (4), Elfrid Payton (10)||C+|
|Los Angeles Clippers||C.J. Wilcox (28)||D|
|Los Angeles Lakers||Julius Randle (7), Jordan Clarkson (46)||A-|
|Phoenix Suns||T.J. Warren (14), Tyler Ennis (18), Bogan Bogdanovic (27), Alec Brown (50)||B+|
|Sacramento Kings||Nik Stauskas (8)||D|
|Houston Rockets||Clint Capela (25), Nick Johnson (42)||A-|
|Memphis Grizzlies||Jordan Adams (22), Jarnell Stokes (35)||B|
|New Orleans Pelicans||Russ Smith (47)||B-|
|San Antonio Spurs||Kyle Anderson (30), Nemanja Dangubic (54)||A-|
|Denver Nuggets||Jusuf Nurkic (16), Gary Harris (19), Nikola Jokic (41), Roy Devyn Marble (56)||B+|
|Minnesota Timberwolves||Zach LaVine (13), Glenn Robinson III (40), Alessandro Gentile (53)||B|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||Mitch McGary (21), Josh Huestis (29)||B-|
|Utah Jazz||Dante Exum (5), Rodney Hood (23)||A|
That's who the Toronto Raptors took at No. 20 overall in the draft. Despite being far, far away from making an impact in the NBA, he was apparently too good for general manager Masai Ujiri and the Raptors to pass on.
Matt Moore of CBS Sports was just as perplexed with the pick as everyone else in the Barclays Center:
Raptors: Grade: D: Sure? 6-9. Versatile. If he's a steal, it's another Masai Ujiri score. ... I have no idea.— Matt Moore CBS (@MattMooreCBS) June 27, 2014
Brazilian journalist Luis Araujo wrote in an email to Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun about Caboclo's game:
I can tell you that he is very talented, but he still has a long way to go. He still has a lot to develop.
He is very athletic and has a great ability to make shots. He also can defend. But he wasn’t playing much time here in the Brazilian League — only 13 minutes per game. But the coach of his club had to deal with some critics about Caboclo’s (lack of) playing time.
So, who did the team pass on to grab Caboclo? Kyle Anderson, Shabazz Napier, Clint Capela, Cleanthony Early, Rodney Hood, P.J. Hairston and others, that's who. Anderson was actually one of the surprises of the draft, falling all the way to the San Antonio Spurs at No. 30.
The Raptors dropped the ball here. Caboclo could have been had in the second round. Heck, he might have even escaped the draft to become an undrafted free agent. This was the stretch of the night.
Los Angeles Clippers
The Los Angeles Clippers are stocked with shooters. J.J. Redick, Jamal Crawford, Matt Barnes and Darren Collison can all shoot well from beyond the arc.
So can C.J. Wilcox, the player whom the Clippers selected at No. 28 pick. They say you can never have too much shooting, but I don't like this fit at all for the Clippers.
Was this a good pick?
Wilcox is a specialty player. He's known for one thing and one thing only—shooting the rock. When the game is on the line, that's when specialty players make their money. The Clippers, though, already have Redick and the other aforementioned players to hit big shots.
What will be Wilcox's role?
When the pick was made, I was waiting for a trade to be announced. The fit just isn't good enough to justify the selection. But maybe head coach Doc Rivers has some master plan that I'm unaware of.
Wilcox is a very good player, so I'm not knocking the Clippers based on his talents. I'm knocking them based on the fit.
Another one of the draft's biggest head-scratchers came when the Sacramento Kings took guard Nik Stauskas with the No. 8 overall pick.
He went before Vonleh. Pairing Vonleh with DeMarcus Cousins would have made a ton of sense. Stauskas, on the other hand, doesn't make sense at all.
Similar to the situation above, I'm knocking the fit, not the player. Stauskas is a quality shooter—the best in this class—who has shown the ability to create for himself. While he's a work in progress offensively, the Michigan product will get by with his shooting touch.
The problem is that Sacramento already has multiple guys who can shoot from distance. Ray McCallum Jr., Roger Mason Jr., Travis Outlaw, Rudy Gay and Ben McLemore all shot over 30 percent from deep last year. If Isaiah Thomas comes back, you can throw his 34.9 percent mark into the mix as well.
Now, the Kings will also have to add in Stauskas. This is going to be a jumper-heavy offense, and those aren't often successful. They will live and die by the jump shot next season, which is often not conducive to winning games in the NBA.
Follow Kenny DeJohn on Twitter: @KennyDeJohn_BR