Not every team can be the San Antonio Spurs.
Forget their latest Finals triumph, the Spurs took the league to school on Thursday night in the 2014 NBA draft, nonchalantly picking late in each round and still knocking it out of the park. Meanwhile, franchises like the Philadelphia 76ers still managed to mess up what is one of the deepest classes in recent memory.
But let's paint with broad strokes for a moment. As a whole, most teams did quite well to find value, although that is not too difficult to do in a loaded class. More importantly, the majority of teams were able to sensibly hit on areas of need.
Here is a look at a composite grade for each franchise, with some deeper analysis after the jump.
|2014 NBA Draft Grades|
|Boston Celtics||Marcus Smart (6), James Young (17)||B|
|Brooklyn Nets||Markel Brown (44), Xavier Thames (59), Cory Jefferson (60)||B-|
|New York Knicks||Cleanthony Early (34), Thanasis Antetokounmpo (51), Louis Labeyrie (57)||A+|
|Philadelphia 76ers||Joel Embiid (3), Dario Saric (12), K.J. McDaniels (32), Jerami Grant (39), Vasilije Micic (52), Jordan McRae (58)||C|
|Toronto Raptors||Bruno Caboclo (20), DeAndre Daniels (37)||F|
|Chicago Bulls||Doug McDermott (11), Cameron Bairstow (49)||C|
|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)||A|
|Miami Heat||Shabazz Napier (24)||B|
|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)||A|
|Phoenix Suns||T.J. Warren (14), Tyler Ennis (18), Bogan Bogdanovic (27), Alec Brown (50)||B|
|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)||A+|
|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), Semaj Christon (55)||C|
|Utah Jazz||Dante Exum (5), Rodney Hood (23)||A|
|Picks per NBA.com|
Best Performance: San Antonio Spurs
For 29 picks, the NBA was lost amid thoughts of rebuilding and eventually contending, from Cleveland at No. 1 all the way down.
Then the Spurs walked to the podium and sucked the air out of the room.
Kyle Anderson at No. 30 overall is not only a steal but a typical Spurs pick. Boris Diaw is a free agent, so it figures that a young prospect who could perfectly replace him fell down the board into the champ's lap.
At 6'9", Anderson averaged 6.5 assists per game a year ago at UCLA. His stat line of 14.6 points, 8.8 boards, 1.8 steals and 0.8 blocks is nice, but the focal point is on his ability to create from anywhere on the court.
As an added bonus, he hit the nail on the head in regard to San Antonio's ability to get the most out of talent, per the Spurs' Twitter account:
He needs work as a defender, but he could not have landed in a better position.
But the Spurs were not done. Two picks became one in a late-draft trade, but the brass eventually got their guy in Nemanja Dangubic, as ProjectSpurs.com's Quixem Ramirez explains:
Dangubic hardly averaged more than 25 minutes per game last year in the Adriatic League, but at 6'8" and 21 years old, the Serbian forward offers plenty of potential down the road after he spends a few years overseas developing his game.
Near the end of the draft, that is the type of move the contending Spurs needed to make to ensure future success. Dangubic is a bit of an unknown, but given the Spurs' track record, let's give them the benefit of the doubt.
Worst Performance: Toronto Raptors
It's a bad thing when the broadcast airing the draft has an issue figuring out who in the world a team selected because the name is so obscure:
Nice job, Toronto. Bruno Caboclo is about as obscure as it gets, although he may have had some late buzz around the league, based on a note from Basketball Insiders' Alex Kennedy:
So why in the world did the Raptors—a team that just made the playoffs and may lose a major star in Kyle Lowry—use a top-20 selection on a mostly unknown name?
General manager Masai Ujiri made a promise. Crickets. That report comes from Josh Lewenberg of TSN, who adds some context to the situation:
Caboclo was not Ujiri's primary target. As expected, the Raptors were after Canadian point guard Tyler Ennis, hoping he would fall to them while also trying desperately to trade up for him. Ideally, Toronto had hoped to select Ennis with pick no. 20 and snag Caboclo early in the second-round with pick no. 37. But the plan changed, as they often do on draft night, when the Phoenix Suns took Ennis at 18, two picks ahead of the Raptors.
'We decided we lost one,' Ujiri said. 'We're not going to lose the second one. We jumped on it.'
On one hand, it's great the Raptors got their guy. But not to trade back or even hold off on Caboclo until the second round is a major issue for a franchise that has to nail drafts because it struggles to lure free agents to town.
DeAndre Daniels was a decent get at No. 37 overall, but he is a few years out from being someone who can contribute regularly in a rotation. While he shot 41.7 percent from deep last year at UConn, his floor IQ and shoddy passing are traits that will cause him to struggle right out of the gate.
Toronto is fortunate the roster is already playoff-worthy if it navigates free agency properly. Perhaps the two selections will pan out in three or more years, but as it stands now, it is hard to issue any positive sentiments—especially given the whiffed value of the No. 20 overall pick.