In a matter of a few hours, the 2014 NBA draft came to a close, but the ramifications are sure to be felt by teams for years to come.
After all the buildup and suspense surrounding the No. 1 overall pick, potential trades and just how far Kansas standout Joel Embiid would tumble on draft day, the pressing questions have now been answered. But the work is only beginning.
We won't truly know who came out on top in this draft for at least three to four years. But there are certainly a few teams who appear to be in much better shape than they were just two days ago.
By the same token, there's more than one team that left fans scratching their heads. Here's a look at how each team graded out as well as a few of the highlights for the night.
|Boston Celtics||Marcus Smart (6), James Young (17)||B+|
|Brooklyn Nets||Markel Brown (44), Xavier Thames (59), Cory Jefferson (60)||C|
|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)||C|
|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)||A-|
|Orlando Magic||Aaron Gordon (4), Elfrid Payton (10)||A|
|Los Angeles Clippers||C.J. Wilcox (28)||C|
|Los Angeles Lakers||Julius Randle (7), Jordan Clarkson (46)||B|
|Phoenix Suns||T.J. Warren (14), Tyler Ennis (18), Bogdan Bogdanovic (27), Alec Brown (50)||A-|
|Sacramento Kings||Nik Stauskas (8)||B|
|Houston Rockets||Clint Capela (25), Nick Johnson (42)||B+|
|Memphis Grizzlies||Jordan Adams (22), Jarnell Stokes (35)||B-|
|New Orleans Pelicans||Russ Smith (47)||C|
|San Antonio Spurs||Kyle Anderson (30), Nemanja Dangubic (54)||B|
|Denver Nuggets||Jusuf Nurkic (16), Gary Harris (19), Nikola Jokic (41), Roy Devyn Marble (56)||A-|
|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|
As usual, the draft wasn't just about picks. Several trades were completed as teams tried to improve their squads by maneuvering the draft board. Here's the full list of trades that went down:
|Chicago Bulls-Denver Nuggets||Bulls receive: Doug McDermott (11), Anthony Randolph||Nuggets receive: Jusuf Nurkic (16), Gary Harris (19), 2015 second-round pick|
|Philadelphia 76ers-Orlando Magic||76ers receive: Dario Saric (12), 2015 second-round pick, 2017 first-round pick||Magic receive: Elfrid Payton (10)|
|Charlotte Hornets-Miami Heat||Hornets receive: P.J. Hairston (26), Semaj Christon (55), 2019 second-round pick, cash considerations||Heat receive: Shabazz Napier (24)|
|Memphis Grizzlies-Utah Jazz||Grizzlies receive: Jarnell Stokes (35)||Jazz receive: 2015 second-round pick|
|Atlanta Hawks-Milwaukee Bucks||Hawks receive: Lamar Patterson (48)||Bucks receive: 2015 second-round pick|
|Los Angeles Lakers-Washington Wizards||Lakers receive: Jordan Clarkson (46)||Wizards receive: cash considerations|
|Oklahoma City Thunder-Charlotte Hornets||Thunder receive: Semaj Christon (55)||Hornets receive: cash considerations|
|Denver Nuggets-Orlando Magic||Nuggets receive: Arron Afflalo||Magic receive: Evan Fournier, Roy Devyn Marble (56)|
|New York Knicks-Indiana Pacers||Knicks receive: Louis Labeyrie (57)||Pacers receive: cash considerations|
|San Antonio Spurs-Philadelphia 76ers||Spurs receive: Nemanja Dangubic (54)||76ers receive: Jordan McRae (58), Cory Jefferson (60)|
|Brooklyn Nets-Minnesota Timberwolves||Nets receive: Markel Brown (44)||Wolves receive: cash considerations|
|Brooklyn Nets-Toronto Raptors||Nets receive: Xavier Thames (59)||Raptors receive: cash considerations|
|Brooklyn Nets-Philadelphia 76ers||Nets receive: Cory Jefferson (60)||76ers receive: cash considerations|
|New Orleans Pelicans-Philadelphia 76ers||Pelicans receive: Russ Smith (57)||76ers receive: rights to Pierre Jackson|
|Dallas Mavericks-New York Knicks||Mavericks receive: Tyson Chandler, Raymond Felton||Knicks receive: Jose Calderon, Wayne Ellington, Shane Larkin, Samuel Dalembert, Cleanthony Early (34), Thanasis Antetokounmpo (51)|
Orlando Magic Solidify Defense with Two Top-10 Picks
The Orlando Magic were among the most active teams in the opening round. Not only did they grab Arizona product Aaron Gordon at No. 4, but they followed by moving up two spots from No. 12 to No. 10 to get Louisiana-Lafayette's Elfrid Payton.
Combined, the two moves have to be considered a home run for the Magic. With Payton and Gordon in the fold, the Magic have established an identity around athleticism and defense. The point was driven home by Adi Joseph of USA Today:
No team in the NBA could match the athleticism of a Payton, Oladipo, Harkless, Gordon, Nicholson lineup.— Adi Joseph (@AdiJoseph) June 27, 2014
Seth Greenberg of ESPN chimed in with the most obvious drawback of the approach: the half-court offense:
Gordon Payton Oladipo can all defend are long and compete. Not sure they can survive offensively in the half court.— Seth Greenberg (@SethOnHoops) June 27, 2014
Greenberg's criticism is warranted. With the trade of Arron Afflalo and an influx of defensive stalwarts, there should be concerns about how the Magic will manage to score baskets with regularity.
However, NBA coaching and experience can go a long way toward building offensive skills. With time, Payton's ability to create should improve, and Gordon's inconsistent shot will get better with coaching. What can't be taught is the kind of tenacious defense and athleticism that both of those picks will bring to the table.
Philadelphia 76ers Continue Patient Approach to Building Contender
Here's the bad news for the Philadelphia 76ers: It's going to be a long season. Again.
By taking center Joel Embiid at No. 3 and trading back to No. 12 where they took Dario Saric, Philadelphia brass committed to another season of being, well, not good at basketball. Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated broke down how long fans will have to wait to see each of the team's first two picks:
Saric is playing in Turkey for at least one year, probably two, if you believe what he says. Embiid saying 4-6 months, but could be longer.— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) June 27, 2014
Obviously, impatient fans are bound to be disappointed with this draft. The team acquired no one for Michael Carter-Williams to grow with on the heels of a 19-win season.
However, those who hold onto hope could be pleased. Head coach Brett Brown projected the team's lineup three years from now, via Sports Radio 94:
Brown projects lineup in three years, ideally: MCW (1), Saric (3), Noel (4), Embiid (5), "knockdown shooter at 2" | http://t.co/cUEwNzIprI— SPORTSRADIO 94WIP (@SportsRadioWIP) June 27, 2014
There are a lot of "ifs" still involved at this point, but that's a lineup that could turn out to be a contender as those four players develop. With a first-rounder next season that is all but guaranteed to be a high selection, the Sixers are set up for a long time.
Miami Heat Make Move to Placate LeBron James
The Miami Heat have rarely had a first-round pick since the LeBron James era started in 2010. With the 26th pick in the draft, they needed to make a move that would ensure the James era would continue. The star forward is set to hit free agency in July.
The team did just that, trading to No. 24 in the draft to take point guard Shabazz Napier of UConn. As Chad Ford points out, the Heat were likely motivated by James' infatuation with the standout:
LeBron James really wanted the Heat to get Napier. Pat Riley flew out to see him right after Finals— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) June 27, 2014
If the Heat are to convince James that Miami truly provides his best shot at titles, they must find pieces who are both affordable and make sense from a basketball perspective. With Norris Cole and Mario Chalmers struggling in the playoffs, Napier fits the bill.
It might not be enough to sway James. There are teams who can do much more than simply draft a prospect who may or may not pan out. But it can't be said that the Heat didn't try to pacify their greatest commodity.
Now the Heat—like everyone else in the NBA's post-draft landscape—will await the 29-year-old's decision.