After a long wait for the highly anticipated 2014 NBA draft, it seemed to come and go in the blink of an eye. Before we knew it, 60 of basketball's brightest young athletes had new homes in the Association.
Some of these players will be works in progress, needing time to develop certain traits and abilities before they can truly begin contributing on a consistent basis. Others were more NBA-ready and could log some serious on-court time this season.
No matter which route each franchise opted to take, schematic fits, draft position and team needs play a huge part in overall draft success.
Taking all of this into consideration, let's take a look at grades for each of the draft's 60 selections and highlight a few picks that stood out.
|6||Celtics||Marcus Smart||PG||Oklahoma State||B+|
|10||Magic||Elfrid Payton||PG||UL Lafayette||A|
|14||Suns||T.J. Warren||SF||N.C. State||A-|
|15||Hawks||Adreian Payne||PF||Michigan State||B-|
|19||Nuggets||Gary Harris||SG||Michigan State||A|
|26||Hornets||P.J. Hairston||SG||UNC/NBA D-League||A-|
|34||Knicks||Cleanthony Early||SF||Wichita State||A|
|36||Bucks||Johnny O'Bryant III||PF||LSU||B|
|40||Timberwolves||Glenn Robinson III||SF||Michigan||A|
|43||Hawks||Walter Tavares||C||Cape Verde||A|
|44||Nets||Markel Brown||SG||Oklahoma State||B+|
|49||Bulls||Cameron Bairstow||PF||New Mexico||B|
|50||Suns||Alec Brown||C||Green Bay||B-|
|56||Nuggets||Roy Devyn Marble||SG||Iowa||B-|
|59||Raptors||Xavier Thames||PG||San Diego State||A-|
Sean O'Donnell's Grades
4. Orlando Magic: Aaron Gordon, PF, Arizona
This was the first rather perplexing pick of the evening on Thursday.
Gordon is a solid player with nice defensive skills and great athleticism. He's certainly a certified top-10 pick; however, this was a reach at No. 4 overall.
The Magic need a power forward, and Gordon should be able to contribute initially due to his prowess as a rebounder, but his offensive skill set needs plenty of work, and he may not have much of an impact on that end of the court.
Guard appeared to be a bigger need for the Magic here, and although the team ended up snagging Elfrid Payton later, it's hard to see the reasoning for passing up on Dante Exum at this spot.
Nate Duncan of Basketball Insiders tweeted his initial reaction that seemed to be shared by many other Twitter users:
Aaron Gordon number 4 according to @WojYahooNBA. I think this is a huge mistake for the Magic, great boon for the Jazz if they get Exum.— Nate Duncan (@NateDuncanNBA) June 26, 2014
Like practically every pick in the draft, we'll have to wait and see how this pans out.
19. Denver Nuggets: Gary Harris, SG, Michigan State
This may have been the steal of the first round.
The Nuggets traded Doug McDermott to the Chicago Bulls for the No. 16 and No. 19 picks in the draft. Chicago came away with International sensation Jusuf Nurkic and former Michigan State standout Gary Harris with those selections.
Now, that's a haul.
NBA analyst Mark Deeks put it perfectly:
I would rather have Harris and Nurkic, individually, over McDermott. But both? Yeesh.— Mark Deeks (@MarkDeeksNBA) June 27, 2014
Nabbing Harris at No. 19 is just ridiculous. If he would've gone in the top 10, no one would have thought twice about the selection.
An intelligent and well-rounded player, Harris comes from a great system under Tom Izzo in which he averaged 16.7 points, four rebounds and 2.7 assists while shooting 42.9 percent from the floor on a very talented team.
Harris has all the tools to be a starter, but considering the Nuggets deep roster, he'll be a valuable rotational piece to begin his career.
34. New York Knicks: Cleanthony Early, SF, Wichita State
This pick may have won the second round.
Early was widely heralded as a first-round pick before the draft, and it's a bit of a mystery as to why he slipped into the second.
The Knicks were more than happy to scoop him up with the 34th selection, as the former Wichita State forward figures to come in and play a big role in Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher's triangle offense.
Last season on the Shockers offense, Early averaged 16.4 points and 5.9 rebounds per game while shooting 48.4 percent from the field and 37.3 percent from downtown.
With the impending departure of Carmelo Anthony from the team, adding a phenomenal scorer like Early was a brilliant move at this point in the draft.
SiriusXM's Adam Schein was loving the Knicks' moves on draft day:
Knicks get rid of Chandler and Felton, add Calderon and Cleanthony Early. Wow. Didn't seem possible 2 days ago. Great job Phil!— Adam Schein (@AdamSchein) June 27, 2014
Could this wind up to be the steal of the draft? It's a big possibility.
There were some magnificent picks in this year's draft, but none better than the honorary selection of former Baylor standout Isaiah Austin, who recently had to give up his hopes of playing in the NBA after being diagnosed with Marfan syndrome.
It was a great moment shared by everyone in attendance and all of the event's onlookers.