After 60 picks, dozens of trades and what seemed like years of speculation, the 2014 NBA draft is in the books, and teams are being dissected for their moves on draft night.
While the first part of the draft worked out in somewhat of a predictable manner—to a certain extent—with no early trades, some teams began making head-scratching decisions before the lottery drew to a close. A few organizations made bold moves in the latter stages of Thursday's draft to bolster their squads, while others confused us all by their selections.
Let's break down a complete list of draft grades, highlighting the most intriguing teams.
|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)||B|
|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), Roy Devyn Marble (56)||C+|
|Los Angeles Clippers||C.J. Wilcox (28)||C|
|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)||C|
|Houston Rockets||Clint Capela (25), Nick Johnson (42)||B+|
|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)||A-|
|Minnesota Timberwolves||Zach LaVine (13), Glenn Robinson III (40), Alessandro Gentile (53)||B+|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||Mitch McGary (21), Josh Huestis (29)||C+|
|Utah Jazz||Dante Exum (5), Rodney Hood (23)||A-|
Grades via Steven Cook, results via NBA.com
Most Intriguing Drafts
Denver Nuggets: A-
It wasn't really clear what the Nuggets were looking to do with their No. 11 overall selection, but they ended up turning it into much more than anyone could have imagined.
They initially selected Doug McDermott with the 11th pick but quickly flipped him to Chicago for the 16th and 19th selections. That ended up doing wonders for Denver with how the board worked itself out.
At No. 16, Denver added Jusuf Nurkic—one of the best international prospects in the class. The big man has drawn comparisons to Nikola Pekovic and threatened to come off the board in the lottery.
Three picks later, the Nuggets got potentially the steal of the draft with the selection of Gary Harris. The Michigan State shooting guard wouldn't have surprised anyone coming off the board at No. 11 when Denver had initially picked.
If my math is correct, that means the Nuggets turned one lottery pick into two.
Of course, they weren't done there with one second-rounder left. They turned that 41st overall selection into Nikola Jokic, a draft-and-stash pick who could help them in the coming years.
Perhaps their biggest move came before the draft, as Fox Sports Florida's Ken Hornack reported the Nuggets added Arron Afflalo. That doesn't factor into their draft grade, but it can't be ignored.
All in all, Denver made quite the splash on draft day.
Utah Jazz: A-
The Jazz weren't expecting Dante Exum—a top-tier prospect out of Australia—to be available when they made their fifth overall selection. But they weren't about to pass up on him either.
Utah made one of the biggest moves of the draft by securing him at No. 5 overall, pairing him with young point guard Trey Burke in the process.
Questions were immediately raised as to how the two point guards would play alongside each other, but NBC's Kurt Helin shed some light:
Exum plays a ball handling two with Trey Burke at the one and Gordon Hawyard at the three. Lot of potential there.— Kurt Helin (@basketballtalk) June 27, 2014
Although Exum's true potential is as the floor general in the backcourt, he could end up doing well alongside Burke for a year or two. He certainly has some growing to do to adjust to the NBA game, which represents a major step up from his competition in Australia.
He's also making his impact among the media, as Jazz radio voice David Locke noted:
If Dante' Exum is as smooth on the floor as he is with the media the Utah Jazz are in good shape— David Locke (@Lockedonsports) June 27, 2014
With two first-round picks, the Jazz weren't done. Although they didn't select in the second round, they added another important piece by obtaining Duke's Rodney Hood with the No. 23 pick—an instant-offense player off the bench who has a ceiling in the starting lineup.
Utah is still a few years away from contention, but it put together a scary young backcourt.
Orlando Magic: C+
With such a deep talent pool at the top of this draft class, the Orlando Magic were sitting pretty at No. 4 overall, with Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Joel Embiid and Dante Exum hashing out a four-man top tier of prospects.
But when those first three came off the board, the Magic went with not only a second-tier prospect but arguably the most questionable one at that in Aaron Gordon.
Magic fans weren't all too pleased with the selection at their viewing gathering, according to a YouTube video via The Big Lead's Stephen Douglas. It was a questionable pick to say the least, with starting point guard Jameer Nelson over the hill and prized floor general Exum available at the time.
Despite criticism coming in all directions, ESPN's Skip Bayless was once again there to play devil's advocate:
Aaron Gordon is another solid but not sensational pick. Plays crazy hard. Can't shoot, but can learn. Has a little BlakeGriffin in him.— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) June 27, 2014
ESPN's Jeff Goodman was another who looked at the bright side:
Orlando takes Aaron Gordon. Man, Oladipo and Gordon together -- talk about a pair of athletic guys who play hard and defend.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) June 27, 2014
The Magic somewhat made up for their gaffe of passing up Exum later in the draft, acquiring Elfrid Payton (No. 10 overall) in a trade with Philadelphia, per The Times-Picayune's Julie Boudwin. That was a good move to save face by nabbing a future starting point guard, but it didn't undo missing out on the Australian star.
Gordon brings more athleticism and hard-nosed defending to the Magic, and that could end up fitting in quite well. But they had better hope that Exum doesn't make them regret that decision at No. 4.
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