The 2014 NBA draft produced a bevy of value for several squads searching for immediate upgrades and long-term improvements.
While the proceedings usually resort to taking shots in the dark, this year's draft offered up plenty of talent for any team looking deep enough. The fun didn't stop after the top-three prospects found their new homes, and it kept trucking along well after the lottery.
Considering the depth of this field, quite a few bargains materialized at the Barclays Center last Thursday. Before highlighting three notable steals, let's take a closer look at all 60 picks and their grades.
|2014 NBA Draft Grades|
|1||Cleveland Cavaliers||Andrew Wiggins, SF, Kansas||A|
|2||Milwaukee Bucks||Jabari Parker, SF Duke||A|
|3||Philadelphia 76ers||Joel Embiid, C, Kansas||A-|
|4||Orlando Magic||Aaron Gordon, PF, Arizona||B|
|5||Utah Jazz||Dante Exum, PG, Australia||B+|
|6||Boston Celtics||Marcus Smart, PG, Oklahoma State||A-|
|7||Los Angeles Lakers||Julius Randle, PF, Kentucky||A-|
|8||Sacramento Kings||Nik Stauskas, SG, Michigan||B-|
|9||Charlotte Hornets||Noah Vonleh, PF, Indiana||A|
|10||Orlando Magic||Elfrid Payton, PG, UL Lafayette||B|
|11||Chicago Bulls||Doug McDermott, SF, Creighton||B|
|12||Philadelphia 76ers||Dario Saric, SF, Croatia||B+|
|13||Minnesota Timberwolves||Zach LaVine, PG, UCLA||B-|
|14||Phoenix Suns||T.J. Warren, SF, N.C. State||B+|
|15||Atlanta Hawks||Adreian Payne, PF, Michigan State||B|
|16||Denver Nuggets||Jusuf Nurkic, C, Bosnia-Herzegovina||B+|
|17||Boston Celtics||James Young, SG, Kentucky||A-|
|18||Phoenix Suns||Tyler Ennis, PG, Syracuse||B|
|19||Denver Nuggets||Gary Harris, SG, Michigan State||A|
|20||Toronto Raptors||Bruno Caboclo, SF, Brazil||C-|
|21||Oklahoma City Thunder||Mitch McGary, PF, Michigan||C+|
|22||Memphis Grizzlies||Jordan Adams, SG, UCLA||C+|
|23||Utah Jazz||Rodney Hood, SF, Duke||B+|
|24||Miami Heat||Shabazz Napier, PG, Connecticut||A-|
|25||Houston Rockets||Clint Capela, PF, Switzerland||A-|
|26||Charlotte Hornets||P.J. Hairston, SG, UNC/NBA D-League||B+|
|27||Phoenix Suns||Bogan Bogdanovic, SG, Serbia||B|
|28||Los Angeles Clippers||C.J. Wilcox, SG, Washington||C+|
|29||Oklahoma City Thunder||Josh Huestis, SF, Stanford||C|
|30||San Antonio Spurs||Kyle Anderson, SF, UCLA||A|
|31||Milwaukee Bucks||Damien Inglis, SF, France||B|
|32||Philadelphia 76ers||K.J. McDaniels, SF, Clemson||A|
|33||Cleveland Cavaliers||Joe Harris, SG, Virginia||B|
|34||New York Knicks||Cleanthony Early, SF, Wichita State||A|
|35||Memphis Grizzlies||Jarnell Stokes, PF, Tennessee||A-|
|36||Milwaukee Bucks||Johnny O'Bryant III, PF, LSU||B|
|37||Toronto Raptors||DeAndre Daniels, SF, Connecticut||B|
|38||Detroit Pistons||Spencer Dinwiddie, PG, Colorado||B+|
|39||Philadelphia 76ers||Jerami Grant, SF, Syracuse||A-|
|40||Minnesota Timberwolves||Glenn Robinson III, SF, Michigan||A-|
|41||Denver Nuggets||Nikola Jokic, PF, Serbia||B-|
|42||Houston Rockets||Nick Johnson, SG, Arizona||A-|
|43||Atlanta Hawks||Walter Tavares, C, Cape Verde||A-|
|44||Brooklyn Nets||Markel Brown, SG, Oklahoma State||B|
|45||Charlotte Hornets||Dwight Powell, PF, Stanford||B|
|46||Los Angeles Lakers||Jordan Clarkson, PG, Missouri||B|
|47||New Orleans Pelicans||Russ Smith, PG, Louisville||B+|
|48||Atlanta Hawks||Lamar Patterson, SG, Pittsburgh||B-|
|49||Chicago Bulls||Cameron Bairstow, PF, New Mexico||B|
|50||Phoenix Suns||Alec Brown, C, Green Bay||B|
|51||New York Knicks||Thanasis Antetokounmpo, SF, Greece||A-|
|52||Philadelphia 76ers||Vasilije Micic, PG, Serbia||B|
|53||Minnesota Timberwolves||Alessandro Gentile, G, Italy||B-|
|54||Philadelphia 76ers||Nemanja Dangubic, SF, Serbia||B|
|55||Charlotte Hornets||Semaj Christon, PG, Xavier||B|
|56||Denver Nuggets||Roy Devyn Marble, SG, Iowa||A|
|57||New York Knicks||Louis Labeyrie, C, France||B-|
|58||Philadelphia 76ers||Jordan McRae, SG, Tennessee||B-|
|59||Toronto Raptors||Xavier Thames, PG, San Diego State||B+|
|60||Brooklyn Nets||Cory Jefferson, PF, Baylor||B|
Best Draft Values
Charlotte Hornets: Noah Vonleh (No. 9)
Prior to last Thursday, Indiana's Noah Vonleh worked his way up many draft boards, frequently getting paired with the Utah Jazz at No. 5 in mock drafts. Yet the Charlotte Hornets found him waiting at No. 9 and they couldn't pass him up.
According to ESPN's Andy Katz, Vonleh and his agent assumed he'd go off the board before Charlotte's turn came up.
Yet the power forward expressed his gratitude for his new NBA gig, per the team's official Twitter page.
This was the type of draft where the difference between picking fourth and ninth was minimal. Luckily for the Hornets, the Orlando Magic preferred Aaron Gordon. They may live to regret that choice.
During his freshman season, Vonleh averaged 11.3 points per game on 52.3 percent shooting. He grabbed 9.0 boards and swatted 1.4 blocks per contest despite logging just 26.5 minutes a game.
Per Sports-Reference, he tallied a 22.2 player efficiency rating and a 91.7 defensive rating. His team out-earned opponents by 21.3 points per 100 possessions with him on the court.
The one criticism of Vonleh as a pick is that he's not the perimeter scorer the Hornets need. He was, however, the best player available, and Charlotte addressed that shortcoming by securing the D-League's P.J. Hairston toward the end of Round 1.
Denver Nuggets: Gary Harris (No. 19)
The Denver Nuggets essentially escaped Thursday night with a free first-round pick.
Had they snatched Gary Harris at No. 11, nobody would have flinched or called it an overpay. In fact, it looked like the most logical choice before they acquired shooting guard Arron Afflalo prior to the draft.
Instead, they traded the pick to the Chicago Bulls for the 16th and 19th selections, cleverly appraising the draft's depth and Chicago's desperation to land skilled scorer Doug McDermott. With their first choice, they took international center Jusuf Nurkic, a project pick whose towering frame can bully opponents down low in the future.
Even though they just solved their 2-guard woes by reclaiming Afflalo from the Orlando Magic, they saw a bargain and pounced when Harris remained on the board at No. 19.
Despite concerns over his lack of size, Harris is a fluid, developing scorer who also flourished on the defensive end with 2.2 steals per game for Michigan State last season. He described what makes him a valuable player to ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin.
Hours after getting Afflalo at a bargain, the Nuggets continued their value shopping by turning one pick into two equally good selections.
San Antonio Spurs: Kyle Anderson (No. 30)
Leave it to the San Antonio Spurs to strike gold with a late draft pick.
Although they haven't picked in the lottery since 1997, they have still used the selection process to their advantage. They haven't landed a significant contributor since finding DeJuan Blair in the second round five years ago, but they get a pass for uncovering Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli and quickly orchestrating a trade for Kawhi Leonard.
This year, they found a significant rotation player hanging around at No. 30, and they grabbed UCLA's Kyle Anderson, a perfect fit for Gregg Popovich's squad.
Although he recorded per-game averages of 14.6 points, 8.8 rebounds and 6.5 assists during his sophomore season, nobody wanted him because of his lack of speed and true position. Built like a forward at 6'9" and 230 pounds, Anderson thrived as a point guard, a role he's unlikely to continue with the Spurs.
Instead, they'll utilize him much like they did Boris Diaw, who enters free agency this offseason. The Spurs' offense thrives with talented big men facilitating their impeccable ball movement, and Anderson is a magnificent passer with a great feel for the game.
The Diaw comparison is not a lazy one employed for convenience. Many analysts, including Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman, linked the two players before the draft.
Usually the Spurs have to dig deep to discover a hidden gem. This time around, they just got lucky when a top-20 talent fell into their lap.