The postmortem for the 2014 NBA draft can't truly be done until at least four or five years from now. With that said, the immediacy with which the players are integrated into their new teams makes it easier to judge the early value of each pick.
For instance, Jabari Parker to the Milwaukee Bucks at No. 2 overall is a good pick. Bruno Caboclo to the Toronto Raptors at No. 20 is a not-so-good pick. You can reach that conclusion by virtue of the fact that Parker will help the Bucks right away, while the Raptors will be lucky if Caboclo is ready in the next three years.
Using a combination of talent, immediate impact and fit, below are grades for all 60 picks of the 2014 draft, followed by four teams who had the most interesting draft hauls.
NBA Draft Grades
|1||Cleveland Cavaliers||Andrew Wiggins||Kansas||A+|
|2||Milwaukee Bucks||Jabari Parker||Duke||A+|
|3||Philadelphia 76ers||Joel Embiid||Kansas||A-|
|4||Orlando Magic||Aaron Gordon||Arizona||B|
|5||Utah Jazz||Dante Exum||Australia||A|
|6||Boston Celtics||Marcus Smart||Oklahoma State||B+|
|7||Los Angeles Lakers||Julius Randle||Kentucky||A|
|8||Sacramento Kings||Nik Stauskas||Michigan||C|
|9||Charlotte Hornets||Noah Vonleh||Indiana||A-|
|10||Philadelphia 76ers (traded to Magic)||Elfrid Payton||Louisiana-Lafayette||B+|
|11||Denver Nuggets (traded to Bulls)||Doug McDermott||Creighton||B|
|12||Orland Magic (traded to 76ers)||Dario Saric||Croatia||B-|
|13||Minnesota Timberwolves||Zach LaVine||UCLA||B+|
|14||Phoenix Suns||T.J. Warren||NC State||B|
|15||Atlanta Hawks||Adreian Payne||Michigan State||A|
|16||Chicago Bulls (traded to Nuggets)||Jusuf Nurkic||Bosnia||B|
|17||Boston Celtics||James Young||Kentucky||A|
|18||Phoenix Suns||Tyler Ennis||Syracuse||B+|
|19||Chicago Bulls (traded to Nuggets)||Gary Harris||Michigan State||A-|
|20||Toronto Raptors||Bruno Caboclo||Brazil||D-|
|21||Oklahoma City Thunder||Mitch McGary||Michigan||B-|
|22||Memphis Grizzlies||Jordan Adams||UCLA||D+|
|23||Utah Jazz||Rodney Hood||Duke||A+|
|24||Charlotte Hornets (traded to Heat)||Shabazz Napier||Connecticut||B|
|25||Houston Rockets||Clint Capela||Switzerland||B+|
|26||Miami Heat (traded to Hornets)||P.J. Hairston||Texas Legends||A-|
|27||Phoenix Suns||Bogdan Bogdanovic||Serbia||B|
|28||Los Angeles Clippers||C.J. Wilcox||Washington||B-|
|29||Oklahoma City Thunder||Josh Huestis||Stanford||C+|
|30||San Antonio Spurs||Kyle Anderson||UCLA||A|
Draft Results via NBA.com
|1||Milwaukee Bucks||Damien Inglis||France||B|
|2||Philadelphia 76ers||K.J. McDaniels||Clemson||A+|
|3||Cleveland Cavaliers||Joe Harris||Virginia||B|
|4||New York Knicks||Cleanthony Early||Wichita State||A|
|5||Utah Jazz (traded to Grizzlies)||Jarnell Stokes||Tennessee||B+|
|6||Milwaukee Bucks||Johnny O'Bryant||LSU||C|
|7||Toronto Raptors||DeAndre Daniels||Connecticut||B|
|8||Detroit Pistons||Spencer Dinwiddie||Colorado||C+|
|9||Philadelphia 76ers||Jerami Grant||Syracuse||A-|
|10||Minnesota Timberwolves||Glenn Robinson III||Michigan||B+|
|11||Denver Nuggets||Nikola Jokic||Serbia||C+|
|12||Houston Rockets||Nick Johnson||Arizona||B+|
|13||Atlanta Hawks||Walter Tavares||Spain||B+|
|14||Minnesota Timberwolves (traded to Nets)||Markel Brown||Oklahoma State||B+|
|15||Charlotte Hornets||Dwight Powell||Stanford||A-|
|16||Washington Wizards (traded to Lakers)||Jordan Clarkson||Missouri||A|
|17||Philadelphia 76ers (traded to Pelicans)||Russ Smith||Louisville||C|
|18||Milwaukee Bucks||Lamar Patterson||Pittsburgh||C-|
|19||Chicago Bulls||Cameron Bairstow||New Mexico||C+|
|20||Phoenix Suns||Alec Brown||Green Bay||C+|
|21||New York Knicks||Thanasis Antetokounmpo||Philadelphia 87ers||A|
|22||Philadelphia 76ers||Vasilije Micic||Serbia||A-|
|23||Minnesota Timberwolves||Alessandro Gentile||Italy||C+|
|24||Philadelphia 76ers (traded to Spurs)||Nemanja Dangubic||Serbia||C-|
|25||Miami Heat (traded to Thunder)||Semaj Christon||Xavier||B+|
|26||Denver Nuggets (traded to Magic)||Roy Devyn Marble||Iowa||A-|
|27||Indiana Pacers (traded to Knicks)||Louis Labeyrie||France||C+|
|28||San Antonio Spurs (traded to 76ers)||Jordan McRae||Tennessee||C+|
|29||Toronto Raptors (traded to Nets)||Xavier Thames||San Diego State||A-|
|30||San Antonio Spurs (traded to Nets)||Cory Jefferson||Baylor||A|
Draft Results via NBA.com
Most Intriguing Drafts
You gotta hand it to Philadelphia 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie. He's gonna tank, and he doesn't care who knows it. The NBA is a league where you either have to commit to being really good or really bad. Otherwise, you get stuck where the Atlanta Hawks were for a few years: good enough to make the playoffs but not good enough to make a deep run.
Slate's Josh Levin captured the paradoxical nature of the league:
Sixers get Embiid and Saric, will be horrible again next year. And Sam Hinkie is a genius. The NBA economic system, everyone.— Josh Levin (@josh_levin) June 27, 2014
The Sixers' draft pretty much hinges on how good Joel Embiid is and if he stays healthy.
Grabbing the next Hakeem Olajuwon at No. 3? A steal. Grabbing the next Sam Bowie at No. 3? Not so much.
Philly did a great job, though, with the second round. No. 32 pick K.J. McDaniels can be a lockdown defender with a competent enough offensive game, while Jerami Grant (No. 39 overall) will also help out on the defensive end.
Of course, the true success of this draft might not be known for three or four years.
Three or four years might be a conservative estimate for Caboclo. ESPN's Fran Fraschilla saying the Brazilian is "two years away from being two years away" is the kind of thing that could become NBA draft folklore:
The Brazilian Kevin Durant is two years away from being two years away? Hm.— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) June 27, 2014
Calling Caboclo raw would be a massive understatement. This is somebody who averaged 4.9 points a game in the Brazilian league, per Nick Coffey of The Cardinal Connect:
Bruno from Brazil averaged 4.9 points last season and was drafted 20th overall.— Nick Coffey (@TheCardConnect) June 27, 2014
Toronto Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri has arguably earned the benefit of the doubt to this point, so you can't dismiss this pick too much. If it works out, he and the Raptors will look like geniuses.
The Utah Jazz kinda lucked into Dante Exum. Most had the Australian point guard going third overall, but since he was there at No. 5, it was a no-brainer for Utah. Exum doesn't come without risk, though. Sports Illustrated's Seth Davis thinks he might be more of a gamble than Embiid:
People talk about Embiid but Exum is the biggest risk in the draft. Very young, VERY small sample vs quality competition.— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) June 27, 2014
Pairing him with Trey Burke will work out in the short term and give the Jazz a lot of flexibility in the long term if they want to move either player. Burke's a good player, but he arguably doesn't have the star potential that Exum possesses.
Rodney Hood was a massive steal at No. 23. You can't expect to get better value at that spot than an above-average shooter who can get to the basket. The only worry about Hood is whether or not he can make strides as a defender.
Is the clock ticking on Rajon Rondo's time in Boston? ESPN's SportsNation captured the reaction many fans immediately jumped to after the Celtics drafted Marcus Smart sixth overall:
Celtics select PG Marcus Smart... Rajon Rondo right now... pic.twitter.com/gIMzUQPkwO— SportsNation (@SportsNation) June 27, 2014
If the team is indeed planning to trade Rondo, it's keeping its cards close to the vest. Head coach Brad Stevens said that he hasn't considered the idea, per Baxter Holmes of The Boston Globe:
Celtics coach Brad Stevens: “I haven’t put two minutes of thought into Rondo not being (on the Celtics)"— Baxter Holmes (@BaxterHolmes) June 27, 2014
General manager Danny Ainge doesn't envisage any issues in terms of cohesion between Smart and Rondo.
"I just think they’re two guys who can be starting players in the NBA for years to come," Ainge said, per Holmes. "I just don’t want to put too much pressure on them right away. We need to let these guys develop and sort of earn their stripes. I think they’re going to have very, very bright careers."
As long as Smart can improve his shot selection, he's more than capable of playing the 2, which would eliminate any potential problems between him and Rondo.