2014 NBA Draft Grades: Scores for Overall Results, Trades and Team Decisions

Nate Loop@Nate_LoopFeatured ColumnistJune 29, 2014

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver opens the 2014 NBA draft, Thursday, June 26, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
Jason DeCrow/Associated Press

The 2014 NBA draft truly felt like a watershed moment for professional basketball. The amount of talent available in the draft, combined with the extensive coverage and the ever-increasing influx of foreign prospects, might make this draft one of the more notable nights in league history.

There was plenty at stake for each and every team involved in the draft. Even the second-round prospects were enough to convince the cash-flush Brooklyn Nets to get in on the draft. They went from having no picks on Thursday night to picking up three late-draft prospects via trade.

This was a markedly different approach from the Washington Wizards, who sold their only draft pick to the Los Angeles Lakers. The team must be confident in the core of John Wall and Bradley Beal to skip out on this draft class entirely.

I'm not a professor, but I don't mind busting out the metaphorical red pen, spilling some digital ink and grading each team on their draft decisions.

2014 NBA Draft Trades, Grades
Trade PartnersTeamTeamTrade Grades
Chicago Bulls-Denver NuggetsBulls receive: Doug McDermott (11), Anthony RandolphNuggets receive: Jusuf Nurkic (16), Gary Harris (19), 2015 second-round pickBulls: A Nuggets: A-
Philadelphia 76ers-Orlando Magic76ers receive: Dario Saric (12), 2015 second-round pick, 2017 first-round pickMagic receive: Elfrid Payton (10)76ers: B+ Magic: B
Charlotte Hornets-Miami HeatHornets receive: P.J. Hairston (26), Semaj Christon (55), 2019 second-round pick, cash considerationsHeat receive: Shabazz Napier (24)Hornets: A Heat: B+
Memphis Grizzlies-Utah JazzGrizzlies receive: Jarnell Stokes (35)Jazz receive: 2015 second-round pickGrizzlies: B+ Jazz: C+
Atlanta Hawks-Milwaukee BucksHawks receive: Lamar Patterson (48)Bucks receive: 2015 second-round pickHawks: B- Bucks: B+
Los Angeles Lakers-Washington WizardsLakers receive: Jordan Clarkson (46)Wizards receive: cash considerationsLakers: A- Wizards: D
Oklahoma City Thunder-Charlotte HornetsThunder receive: Semaj Christon (55)Hornets receive: cash considerationsThunder: B Hornets: B
Denver Nuggets-Orlando MagicNuggets receive: Arron AfflaloMagic receive: Evan Fournier, Roy Devyn Marble (56)Nuggets: A Magic: C+
New York Knicks-Indiana PacersKnicks receive: Louis Labeyrie (57)Pacers receive: cash considerationsKnicks: B Pacers: B
San Antonio Spurs-Philadelphia 76ersSpurs receive: Nemanja Dangubic (54)76ers receive: Jordan McRae (58), Cory Jefferson (60)Spurs: B+ 76ers: C+
Brooklyn Nets-Minnesota TimberwolvesNets receive: Markel Brown (44)Wolves receive: cash considerationsNets: B Wolves: B-
Brooklyn Nets-Toronto RaptorsNets receive: Xavier Thames (59)Raptors receive: cash considerationsNets: B+ Raptors: D
Brooklyn Nets-Philadelphia 76ersNets receive: Cory Jefferson (60)76ers receive: cash considerationsNets: B 76ers: B
New Orleans Pelicans-Philadelphia 76ersPelicans receive: Russ Smith (57)76ers receive: rights to Pierre JacksonPelicans: B- 76ers: B
Dallas Mavericks-New York KnicksMavericks receive: Tyson Chandler, Raymond FeltonKnicks receive: Jose Calderon, Wayne Ellington, Shane Larkin, Samuel Dalembert, Cleanthony Early (34), Thanasis Antetokounmpo (51)Knicks: A Mavericks: B-
NBA.com, grades by Nate Loop


2014 NBA Draft: Overall Grades
TeamPicksDraft Grade
Boston CelticsMarcus Smart (6), James Young (17)A-
Brooklyn NetsMarkel Brown (44), Xavier Thames (59), Corey Jefferson (60)B-
New York KnicksCleanthony Early (34), Thanasis Antetokounmpo (51), Louis Labeyrie (57)B
Philadelphia 76ersJoel Embiid (3), Dario Saric (12), K.J. McDaniels (32), Jerami Grant (39), Vasilije Micic (52), Jordan McRae (58)B+
Toronto RaptorsBruno Caboclo (20), DeAndre Daniels (37)D
Chicago BullsDoug McDermott (11), Cameron Bairstow (49)A-
Cleveland CavaliersAndrew Wiggins (1), Joe Harris (33), Dwight Powell (45)A
Detroit PistonsSpencer Dinwiddie (38)C+
Milwaukee BucksJabari Parker (2), Damien Inglis (31), Johnny O'Bryant III (36)A
Atlanta HawksAdreian Payne (15), Walter Tavares (43), Lamar Patterson (48)B
Charlotte HornetsNoah Vonleh (9), P.J. Hairston (26),A+
Miami HeatShabazz Napier (24)B+
Orlando MagicAaron Gordon (4), Elfrid Payton (10)A-
Los Angeles ClippersC.J. Wilcox (28)C
Los Angeles LakersJulius Randle (7), Jordan Clarkson (46)A
Phoenix SunsT.J. Warren (14), Tyler Ennis (18), Bogan Bogdanovic (27), Alec Brown (50)A+
Sacramento KingsNik Stauskas (8)C+
Houston RocketsClint Capela (25), Nick Johnson (42)B
Memphis GrizzliesJordan Adams (22), Jarnell Stokes (35)B-
New Orleans PelicansRuss Smith (47)C+
San Antonio SpursKyle Anderson (30), Nemanja Dangubic (54)B+
Denver NuggetsJusuf Nurkic (16), Gary Harris (19), Nikola Jokic (41), Roy Devyn Marble (56)A-
Minnesota TimberwolvesZach LaVine (13), Glenn Robinson III (40), Alessandro Gentile (53)B
Oklahoma City ThunderMitch McGary (21), Josh Huestis (29), Semaj Christon (55)C-
Utah JazzDante Exum (5), Rodney Hood (23)B+
NBA.com, grades by Nate Loop


Best Overall Night: Charlotte Hornets

In terms of hitting team needs and making savvy trades, you could hardly do much better than the Charlotte Hornets' haul from Thursday night.

First, they got a bruising power forward in the form of Noah Vonleh, a tremendous value pick at No. 9 overall.

ESPN's Bomani Jones believes the hype on Vonleh should have people questioning how Indiana coach Tom Crean utilized him last season:

Vonleh should be a huge upgrade over Josh McRoberts for the Hornets. He is an excellent rebounder, works hard on defense and should wreak havoc trading off with Al Jefferson in the low post.

Vonleh couldn't help but show off his monstrous mitts at the draft:

You know who else has giant hands? Kawhi Leonard. Just saying.

It's tough for teams to succeed in this league without a solid outside shooter on the wing. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has tried in vain to improve his shot, with mixed results. 

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, NBA Stats
SeasonGamesMinutesPointsField-goal %Free throw %
Basketball-Reference.com, (stats per game)

His field-goal percentage improved while his free-throw percentage plummeted, and he's zero threat from long distance. Gilchrist may be able to hit the open jumper more consistently, but he is a liability in late-game situations if he can't be more consistent from the charity stripe.

The Hornets may have solved this problem by swapping Shabazz Napier for P.J. Hairston. The D-League star has a very smooth shooting motion. He hit 35.8 percent of his threes with the Texas Legends and 87 percent from the foul line. Hairston is the kick-out option Kemba Walker needs in pick-and-roll situations.

The Hornets also received cash considerations from the Oklahoma City Thunder for Semaj Christon to improve their bottom line. They also traded No. 45 Dwight Powell and Brendan Haywood to the Cavaliers for Alonzo Gee and his expiring contract, as per the Akron Beacon-Journal's Jason Lloyd.

Their sophisticated approach makes them clear winners on the night; if Vonleh and Hairston shake out, Charlotte could be making a run at finishing in the top four of the Eastern Conference as early as next season.

Worst Overall Night: Toronto Raptors

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 26:  A video screen shows the selection of Bruno Caboclo of Brazil as the #20 overall pick in the first round by the Toronto Rapters during the 2014 NBA Draft at Barclays Center on June 26, 2014 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

If you happened to have turned your head away from the screen before NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced the Raptors' pick at No. 20, the organization might need to apologize for giving you whiplash.

The Raptors selected the little-known Bruno Caboclo from Brazil.

ESPN's Fran Fraschilla, via ESPN's Jeff Goodman, had this to say about the pick:

Basketball Insiders' Alex Kennedy relayed some vague platitudes regarding Caboclo, although the descriptors didn't correspond with where the Raptors drafted him:

The Raptors can save cap space by stashing Caboclo for a few years, but potentially re-signing Kyle Lowry shouldn't really break the bank. The Raptors are a young team with a chance to improve in a weak Eastern Conference; they could have used more of a win-now approach to the draft.

Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri was quick to dismiss his detractors. Via Eric Koreen of the National Post:

I shouldn’t say this, but I don’t care. We’re in a business where I can’t react to anything, I just have to maybe do my job and you hope that the best comes out of it. Yeah, is it a gamble? Yes. But I was asking someone, do we remember who the 20th picks of the last 10 drafts are?

It's one thing to gamble on a top choice when you have a few other options in your back pocket, but Ujiri didn't have that luxury in 2014.

The Raptors then took DeAndre Daniels with the No. 37 choice, the one that was supposedly earmarked for Caboclo.

After that perplexing decision, the Raptors decided to do away with their final second-round draft choice, sending the rights to Xavier Thames to the wealthy Brooklyn Nets.

Thames would have been a solid option for the Raptors, especially since Lowry might not return to the league. The Raptors began the night with three picks and might just have Daniels to show for it next season.

Sure, all the draft-night decisions could all work out wonderfully for the team in the end; until that moment comes, the Raptors' brass will have to absorb the criticism.


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