Conventional wisdom says that you can't really judge a draft until a few years later. Player development plays a big role in how a pick turns out.
However, that's boring, and no one would read an article on draft grades from three years ago. In fact, it's likely that no one will be reading this article in three days, considering free agency's on the horizon.
Anyway, here are my thoughts on how each team did with its pick(s). I tend to grade on a curve, so a C isn't really all that great. Value and need are both criteria for these grades.
Atlanta Hawks: C- (Jordan Crawford and Pape Sy)
The Hawks appear to be preparing for life after Joe Johnson, but getting another 6'4" Crawford probably wasn't the way to do it.
There's no question that Jordan has great range on his jumper and knows how to score. I just don't know how well he co-exists with Crawford considering they have basically the same strengths and weaknesses. Who handles the ball in Atlanta? It needs someone to find its shooters in good spots.
Sy is a foreign prospect that probably isn't going to play in Atlanta right away.
Boston Celtics: C- (Avery Bradley and Luke Harangody)
On another team I would like Bradley as a solid developmental prospect at the point guard spot and potential part time shooting guard.
However, he makes less sense on Boston. He's going to be blocked at the point for quite a while and neither player has the size to be a true shooting guard.
Who knows, maybe Rondo and Bradley will disrupt opposing backcourts enough to make it work. Avery clearly has the athleticism and defensive prowess to be disruptive and can hit jumpers in spurts.
However, he's going to have to figure out if he's a point guard or shooting guard and work on the skills needed for that position.
Despite being one of the most productive players in college basketball the last few years, Harangody could struggle to even crack the rotation. He simply doesn't have NBA caliber length or athleticism.
Charlotte Bobcats: INC (no picks)
Minnesota ended up with the Bobcats' first round pick.
Chicago Bulls: INC (no picks)
The Bulls traded the 17th pick to Washington in a salary dump of Kirk Hinrich.
Cleveland Cavaliers: INC (no picks)
Cleveland traded its first pick as part of the Antawn Jamison deal.
Dallas Mavericks: C (Dominic Jones)
The Mavericks acquired the rights to Jones from Memphis.
There aren't a whole lot of successful shooting guards that can't shoot. He can score in the basket area, but shouldn't be a threat from the NBA three (though he'll probably still shoot them). He might be an interesting prospect off the bench, but that looks to be about it.
Denver Nuggets: INC (no picks)
Memphis acquired Denver's first round pick.
Detroit Pistons: B+ (Greg Monroe and Terrico White)
The Pistons definitely needed a big man and Monroe was the best one left on the board. That said, I'm not sure how well he fits in Detroit.
They really needed someone that can defend and play tough defense up front, which are not Monroe's strengths. He's not a particularly explosive athlete and has been criticized for a lack of aggression and toughness at Georgetown.
What Detroit will get is considerably offensive talent. Monroe can step away from the basket with ease and is a very good passer and ball-handler for his size. He also has good touch inside (though he may not get good position inside as regularly in the pros) and can step out and hit a jumper.
The Pistons still will be vulnerable to tough frontcourts, but at least Monroe should give them an interior balance to their other jumper-heavy players.
Terrico White is an explosive athlete, but he is a bit of a 'tweener and needs to work on his jumper.
Golden State Warriors: D (Ekpe Udoh)
I like Udoh, but No. 6 was way too early to take him.
He's one of the oldest players in this draft at 23, so he's likely a finished product or close to it. He also needs to bulk up to bang in the post and doesn't have much of a post game.
That said, he will stick in an NBA rotation. He has the size you want in a big man and can step out and hit mid-range jumpers when left open. Udoh should also make a difference as a help defender with his huge wingspan and shot blocking instincts.
Golden State does need some talent up front, but I question whether or not Udoh is any better than Andris Biedrins or Anthony Randolph.
Houston Rockets: B- (Patrick Patterson)
The Rockets seem to have a thing for tough power forwards that don't have ideal size or athleticism. Even after trading Carl Landry, they still have Chuck Hayes, Luis Scola, Jordan Hill and Alexander Johnson.
There's no question that Patterson can play. He's very physical and can produce at both rims as well as step out and hit jumpers. He should be a solid rotation player in the NBA.
That said, the key is rotation player. Patterson probably isn't skilled enough to be a really solid starting player. However, he should be highly productive in spurts.
Indiana Pacers: C- (Paul George, Lance Stephenson and Ryan Reid)
I'm not a big fan of George at No. 10 for the Pacers.
It's not that he's a bad player. Despite playing in the WAC for a weak Fresno State team, George has all of the tools to be a solid NBA wing player. He has awesome size at 6'9" 214 lbs, and is a good athlete who can hit the three.
However, he's been inconsistent and some have questioned his work ethic. He also plays basically the same role as their best player, Danny Granger.
Stephenson is another wing player that is a work in progress. The difference is he's not as good an athlete or shooter as George and has a reputation as a selfish player with poor shot selection.
Ryan Reid wasn't even particularly good for Florida State.
Los Angeles Clippers: B+ (Al-Farouq Aminu and Eric Bledsoe)
The Clippers need a small forward, and Aminu certainly looks the part. However, he doesn't quite have the skill set to play the position just yet.
He doesn't really have a position on offense. He doesn't shoot the three well enough or handle the ball and create shots enough to be considered a pure "3" and doesn't really have the size or post game to play inside. His best fit is probably as a small-ball power forward, but that won't happen with Blake Griffin on the roster.
However, Aminu should fit in well running the floor and he won't have to score as much with Davis, Gordon, Kaman and Griffin on the roster.
The acquisition of Eric Bledsoe is also a solid pickup. With his athletic profile, he has quite a bit of upside. However, he'll have to develop as a distributor after playing off the ball a lot at Kentucky this past season. As a developmental backup and injury insurance for Davis, he is a very nice fit.
Willie Warren gives them another combo guard prospect, though he needs a lot more work. After a strong freshman season as the No. 2 scorer to Blake Griffin, he and his team struggled mightily when he was the man. He definitely needs work on his decision making.
Los Angeles Lakers: D (Devin Ebanks and Derrick Caracter)
The Lakers traded their first rounder as part of the Pau Gasol trade.
Ebanks was talked about as a lottery pick earlier in the year, but slid because of concerns about his position.
Ebanks has good length and is a decent ball-handler, but isn't super-explosive and doesn't shoot well. He can rebound well too, but doesn't have much bulk or scoring touch inside. Add it all up and you get a classic 'tweener.
The Lakers can obviously afford to draft for potential after their second ring, but he's probably not going to help them much next year.
Caracter has very good touch and solid footwork around the basket. However, his conditioning is usually in question and he's fairly earth-bound. He's also been around college for a while due to a transfer from off the court issues.
Memphis Grizzlies: B+ (Xavier Henry and Greivis Vasquez)
This grade is based on the assumption that Rudy Gay is leaving in free agency, which seems like a safe bet since Henry plays the same position as Gay.
Xavier looks like he will be a solid wing player on the NBA level, which is a nice grab outside of the top 10. He has serious range and accuracy on his jumper, which will make him a valuable player right away. He can also finish in the basket area because of his size.
As for his weaknesses, putting the ball on the floor isn't really his strong suit right now, and he's not the quickest player in the league. He's not going to completely replace Gay.
However, the Grizzlies will be able to stretch the floor with Mayo and Henry. Now if only they had a solid point guard that could create shots...
They finally added Greivis Vasquez with the 28th pick to give them another option at point guard. While his size is a better fit at the 2, he played a lot on the ball at Maryland. He's not a good athlete and his jumper is sporadic, but he can have some value as a distributor.
Miami Heat: D+ (Dexter Pittman, Jarvis Varnado, and Da'Sean Butler)
Miami did not have its first round pick, which went to the Thunder.
Pittman has good size and touch around the basket, but he's a bit heavy and slow. He could struggle to play in a faster paced game.
Varnado is a nice athlete that can block shots and rebound, but his offensive game isn't very good and he needs to add weight.
If Butler is healthy, he could be a nice pickup on the wing given the draft slot. Butler is a solid catch and shoot player that has the size to play some physical defense and maybe slide to the 4 at times. He doesn't have the athleticism to be a star, but could be a nice role player for their expected free agent binge.
Latavious Williams is an interesting pick even if he never does anything of note because he was drafted out of the D-League. Originally a Memphis commit, he didn't qualify academically and had to go a different route. He's another 'tweener, but with his athleticism he could be a decent bench player.
Milwaukee Bucks: C (Larry Sanders, Darrington Hobson, Jerome Jordan, and Keith Galon)
I have a hard time getting excited about a big man from a small school that's still a work in progress.
Like most first round big men, he has good length and athleticism but has some work to do on offense. He didn't exactly post outstanding numbers at VCU either, so the serious step up in competition could hurt his adjustment. His lack of bulk could also hurt.
They definitely needed a big man, I'm just not sure how much Sanders will help them. Then again, these guys are also the ones that tend to make you look dumb in a few years.
Hobson is a slightly more intriguing player. While not a great athlete, he was highly productive and versatile at New Mexico. He could be a nice glue guy as a complementary player.
Jordan is a guy that gives them good size off the bench that has some touch around the basket, but isn't terribly explosive. Gallon is fairly similar. Though shorter, than Jordan, he has a lot more bulk.
It seems to me that they could have used a project point guard rather than drafting multiple big men that could struggle to make an impact.
Minnesota Timberwolves: C+ (Wes Johnson, Nemanja Bjelica, Paulo Prestes, and Lazar Hayward)
Johnson fills a major need for the Timberwolves given their lack of quality players on the wings.
However, I don't think he was the best player on the board (Cousins). Johnson also seems to have a lower ceiling than the rest of the top five given that he's already 23 and doesn't make many plays off the dribble.
That said, he should have good value to Minnesota because he can hit threes and has the athleticism to make a difference defensively.
They reportedly traded their second pick, Luke Babbitt, to Portland for Martell Webster. While Webster certainly will help their wing situation, he's not exactly a star. There's also a bit of a log jam at SF now with Brewer, Johnson and Webster all fitting best at the three. But hey, Minnesota apparently loves logjams given their roster makeup.
Belica and Prestes will probably spend at least one more season in Europe.
I'm not sure how Hayward fits in either. He has decent skill, but his size and athleticism are far less than ideal for an NBA forward. There are also multiple players ahead of him on the depth chart at both forward spots. Why not take a point guard or center, where their roster is far more thin?
The Johnson pick is in the B/B+ range for me, but I'm not a fan of them taking two foreigners and a 'tweener forward when they can very clearly use some more capable players.
New Jersey Nets: B+ (Derrick Favors and Damion James)
While not nearly as polished as Turner or Wall, Favors looks like the third best prospect in this draft. He is the next in a long line of athletic power forwards to go in the top five. The Nets hope he's closer to Dwight Howard or Chris Bosh than Tyrus Thomas or Stromile Swift.
His superior length and impressive athleticism makes him an intriguing long term prospect. However he probably won't be more than an average starter this year given his raw offensive abilities. Then again, the makeup of the Yellow Jackets didn't exactly help his development (poor distributors in the backcourt and another similar player up front in Gani Lawal).
They also picked up Damion James, another athletic forward. They seem to have a number of power forwards now with these two draft picks and Jianlian. They seem to have a nice blend of skills, but how many minutes with there be to go around at the 4? Small forward isn't a good spot for any of them either.
New Orleans Hornets: C- (Craig Brackins and Quincy Pondexter)
The Hornets picked up a bit of an enigma in Brackins, which is the reason for the below average grade. He is a fairly skilled big man, but also is older than most in this class and had an inconsistent career at Iowa State. Even if he does pan out, he duplicates a lot of the skills that they already have in David West as a stretch power forward.
Quincy Pondexter makes a lot more sense. An athletic forward that can run with Paul and play defense is exactly what they need. His jumper is streaky, but there are other players on the roster that can hit shots.
New York Knicks: F (Andy Rautins and Landry Fields)
The Knicks traded their first rounder a loooooong time ago as part of the Stephon Marbury trade.
I don't really get either of their second rounders either. Rautins can shoot, but doesn't really create his own shot and probably won't defend well in the NBA. I have a hard time seeing him as a starter in the NBA.
Landry Fields will likely struggle to make an impact as well. While he was a stud at Stanford, he doesn't really have the jumper or ball-handling to play outside or the size to play inside.
I realize that it's hard to find talent in the second round, but a big man that could defend and rebound would have made more sense than a 'tweener forward that isn't going to push Wilson Chandler or Danilo Gallinari and a shooter off the bench.
Oklahoma City Thunder: B- (Cole Aldrich, Tibor Pleiss and Magnum Rolle)
The one glaring need for the Thunder is a solid defensive center. They might have one after acquiring Aldrich.
Cole was one of the most dominant players in college basketball, especially defensively and on the glass. He is an inconsistent scorer, but with Durant and Westbrook on the roster that's not as much of an issue.
The bigger issue for him is that he's not a particularly good athlete. While he should help in the halfcourt, he could struggle in transition.
The Thunder traded two other picks to the Clippers and Hornets.
They purchased the rights to Tibor Pleiss from Atlanta. He will probably stay in Europe for a while.
They also took a flier on Rolle, who is athletic but is probably bench filler until he develops a bit.
Orlando Magic: C+ (Daniel Orton and Stanley Robinson)
They get an incomplete on this pick because we're not really going to know what Orlando will get from Orton until a few years from now. He definitely has size and athleticism, but is extremely raw.
They drafted a great athlete in Robinson in the second round. He has a very limited offensive game, but he could be a solid defender and energy player off the bench.
Philadelphia 76ers: A (Evan Turner)
Turner was the most productive player in college basketball last year and is arguably the safest pick.
He doesn't have the mind-blowing athleticism of some of the other prospects, but he is extremely versatile with his size and well-rounded skill set. His outside shot is inconsistent, but everything else is there.
He may not end up as the second best player in this draft, but the odds are very good that he will be a solidly above average NBA player, if not a star.
Phoenix Suns: D- (Gani Lawal and Dwayne Collins)
Phoenix did not have its first round pick, which was acquired by OKC.
Though he wasn't the best big man on his team, Lawal is still an intriguing prospect to stash on the bench. He's a solid athlete at the power forward spot that can score around the basket. He's going to have to keep building his post game though because he's probably not big or explosive enough to create shots in the NBA right now. Phoenix's fast paced system could help him early.
Collins is undersized and has virtually no offensive game. His best value will probably come as a rebounder.
Portland Trail Blazers: C- (Luke Babbitt, Elliot Williams and Armon Johnson)
The Trailblazers acquired the rights to Babbitt from Minnesota in exchange for Martell Webster.
Portland has so much depth that I'm not really sure where Babbitt fits in. While he can certainly shoot and score, it already has players like Rudy Fernandez and Nicholas Batum on the bench.
Considering that Babbitt will probably struggle to guard NBA wing players, it might be hard to crack the rotation.
The same goes for Williams, he's going to have a hard time stealing playing time to Roy or Fernandez. He's an athletic guard that can finish and defend, but has a streaky jumper and doesn't have ideal size for a shooting guard.
Armon Johnson gives them an athletic point guard prospect, but he probably won't see much playing time either.
Sacramento Kings: A (DeMarcus Cousins and Hassan Whiteside)
The Kings are took a bit of a risk at No. 5, but I like the pick.
If Cousins had no character issues, he probably would have been a candidate for the No. 1 pick. He has outstanding size and strength as well as good quickness and touch down low. He was extremely productive in college and will continue to be a tough matchup in the pros.
However, there's a reason he was there at No. 5. He has developed a reputation for being difficult to handle and only occasionally working hard. His weight could be a major issue considering he's already not the most explosive athlete.
If he's willing to work, Cousins will be an absolute steal. If he takes games off and causes problems off the court, they'll wish they took someone else.
Whiteside gives them another big man up front, creating a bit of a logjam now. With Cousins, Jason Thompson, Carl Landry, Samuel Dalembert and Whiteside, that's a lot of big bodies.
Whiteside will probably ride the bench a while, giving him time to bulk up and work on his defensive game. If he does see the court, his biggest impact will be in shot-blocking.
San Antonio Spurs: B- (James Anderson and Ryan Richards)
Anderson is one of the best shooters in the draft and would step into a bench role as things stand right now. That's probably his best fit anyways given that he's not a great athlete that can put it on the floor and finish with regularity.
Ryan Richards is an English player that probably won't join the Spurs for a while.
Toronto Raptors: B+ (Ed Davis and Salomon Alabi)
If Davis had gone in the top five as was projected earlier in the year, it would have been a pretty questionable pick. However, at No. 13, Davis has too much talent to ignore.
He's an active big man that can make plays in the paint at both ends of the floor. Though he doesn't have a developed post game, he has a solid touch around the basket and was reasonably productive despite limited touches.
His biggest problem early in his career will be his strength, especially given his playing style. He's not going to be able to bang on both ends at under 230 pounds and doesn't have the skills to step away from the basket right now.
Overall, you could find worse replacements for the likely departing Chris Bosh. In a couple of years he could be an impact player, though it will take a lot of work.
They got very good value in the second round with Alabi, who was acquired from Dallas. While he is a work in progress, his sheer size and length will let him contribute in spurts off the bench.
Utah Jazz: B (Gordon Hayward)
The Jazz are far better than your typical team picking ninth, so they can afford to pick a role player at that spot. That's what they got in Hayward.
For now, Gordon will probably come off the bench and hit jumpers. With his size, he should get the shot off with ease and he knows how to score.
He's probably never going to be a star given that he doesn't have particularly good athleticism, but in Utah he can run the wings and hit the open shots that are there because of Deron Williams.
Washington Wizards: A (John Wall, Trevor Booker, Kevin Seraphin, and Hamady N'diaye)
To be honest, this grade is more for their good fortune than their brilliant drafting.
Wall is the consensus best player in the draft because of his extraordinary size and athleticism at the point guard position. His quickness and leaping ability makes him absolutely lethal on the drive. He is immediately their franchise player and should start from his first day in the league.
He will need to work on his jumper and his turnover management, but his upside is massive.
Trevor Booker was also acquired from Minnesota, who gives them a tough power forward up front. He probably won't be a star, but he'll play hard and contribute.
They also got the rights to Kevin Seraphin from the Bulls, who will probably stay in Europe for another year or two, and Hamady N'diaye, who did basically nothing but block shots at Rutgers and has fairly low expectations.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!