NBA Draft 2011: Grading All 30 NBA Teams' Draft Decisions
With the threat of a lockout looming over the heads of every fan and team, this draft may be the last hint of professional basketball we see for a while. Hopefully your favorite team made this year's draft count.
This NBA draft featured very little superstar talent. However, it contained a great deal of depth. Many teams used their picks to grab up key pieces, while others used their picks in ways that made us scratch our heads.
Who were the winners and losers of this year's draft?
New Orleans Hornets
The Hornets only have five players on their roster for next season (David West and Aaron Gray have player options). Instead of picking up a few potential role players tonight, the Hornets sold their 45th overall pick, Josh Harrellson, to the Knicks.
The Hornets are going to have a lot of work to take care of during the free agency period in order to put a complete team on the court next season.
Picks: Markieff Morris
Markieff will be a good defender, but I am not sure he will ever develop into much of an offensive threat. This pick puzzled me. His brother Marcus would have been a better fit for the Suns.
This Suns are in a state of rebuilding, but Morris would be more suited going to an already solid team looking for an established defender.
San Antonio Spurs
Picks: Kawhi Leonard, Cory Joseph, Davis Bertans, Adam Hanga
I really do not like the Kawhi Leonard deal. George Hill is the better player right now and might have more potential than Leonard. The Spurs needed to get younger, but they should not have traded away their most promising player.
I am also not a huge fan of Cory Joseph. He left college too early. He still needs work on his court vision.
The saving grace for the Spurs, however, is Davis Bertans. There is a ton of potential behind this lanky shooter. He might not be ready for two or three years, but he can be a scary player if he improves his shot selection and puts on some weight.
Pick: Josh Selby
The Grizzlies picked up Selby late, and he fits a role they definitely need. However, I think that he is a few years away from being a real contributor. He is still immature and should have stayed at Kansas for a while. The Grizzlies should have looked for a guy who could help them now and not later.
New York Knicks
Picks: Iman Shumpert, Josh Harrellson
The Knicks have three big needs: a shooter on the wing, a backup point guard and a big, rebounding center. Shumpert does not really help the Knicks in any of those areas. He is not a good shooter, shooting 28 percent from three at Georgia Tech last year, and he is not a true point guard.
I believe Shumpert will develop into a nice player because of his strength and driving ability. However, I think he is not a good fit for the Knicks right now.
Buying the rights to Josh Harrellson saved the Knicks' draft tonight. He is a big center who uses his size to grab boards and play good post defense. He needs to work on his scoring touch, but he can come in and give the Knicks a true rebounder at center.
Los Angeles Clippers
Picks: Trey Thompkins, Travis Leslie
Without a first-round pick, the Clippers did what they could to improve their team. Thompkins has incredible potential, but his lack of work ethic and inability to manage his weight scared off a lot of potential suitors. Hopefully sitting behind one of the best and most focused power forwards in the league can get Thompkins' head where it needs to be.
Travis Leslie may be able to see some time off the bench, but he is definitely not ready to be a major contributor yet, and I doubt he will ever be more than an athletic role player.
Picks: Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, Milan Macvan
The Cavs had a great chance to rebuild their team with two of the first four picks in this draft. However, they failed to capitalize.
Don't get me wrong—Kyrie Irving will be a very good player in this league. He can drive to the lane and has the ability to kick the ball out to the open man. He is one of the few NBA-ready players in this draft. Kyrie can come in and start for the Cavs next year and might be able to become the foundation for this team.
So how did the Cavs get a C-? Well, they wasted their fourth overall pick on Tristan Thompson. Tristan is an awful shooter and an even worse foul shooter. He has not developed an offensive game, and he will be an undersized power forward in this league. I am labeling him the biggest bust of this draft.
The Cavs would have been much better off taking Derrick Williams with the first pick and Brandon Knight with their fourth.
Pick: Norris Cole
Cole was a good scorer and a decent passer at Cleveland State. However, I do not think he is the answer at point guard for the Heat. Mario Chalmers will remain the starter, and Cole will play limited minutes. He has to work on his shot selection and come to the realization that he will not be the go-to guy on his team.
Pick: Keith Benson
It was a pretty quiet night for the Hawks. They did get a backup for Al Horford though. Benson has great size but needs to prove that he can guard elite centers in this league. I think he will struggle at first but can develop into a solid backup for the Hawks.
Portland Trail Blazers
Picks: Nolan Smith, Jon Diebler
With their first pick, the Blazers took Nolan Smith. He is a proven winner with good leadership qualities; however, he lacks the potential to become a starter in this league. He is an undersized shooting guard who will come off the bench.
I believe Smith will have a decent NBA career. However, taking him as early as the Blazers did might have been a mistake. He does not have as much upside as other guys did.
Jon Diebler is a good value pick for the Blazers. He is a sharpshooting wing who will be a solid NBA role player.
Jordan Hamilton fell into the Mavs' lap at 26. However, they decided to trade Hamilton for Rudy Fernandez. Rudy will give them some depth at shooting guard. He is tall for the position and will give the Mavs a dose of youthfulness and athleticism.
On the other hand, I would have been happier to see the Mavs take a chance on a rookie like Hamilton. I guess Rick Carlisle really hates playing rookies.
Picks: Nikola Mirotic, Jimmy Butler
Mirotic is an intriguing player. He is 6'10" but plays the small forward position. He is a good scorer and seems like a really good pick except for the fact that he might not make it to the NBA for another three or four seasons.
Jimmy Butler was a steal for the Bulls with the last pick of the first round. He has a great ability to take good shots. He had a sky-high field goal percentage last year and is a pretty good rebounder as well.
Picks: Derrick Williams, Malcolm Lee, Targuy Ngombo
It was a strange draft for the Timberwolves. They got Derrick Williams, as expected, with the second pick, and then David Kahn proceeded to make as many trades as possible. In the end, they kept Williams and Michael Beasley and shipped off Jonny Flynn for Brad Miller.
Miller is the veteran they need on the roster, but I am not sure what they are going to do with the number of small forwards they have on this team.
Picks: Nikola Vucevic, Lavoy Allen
Vucevic will become a major upgrade over Spencer Hawes for the Sixers. He has a great jump shot for a big man and has the size and rebounding ability to be a force to be reckoned with in the post.
They had a good overall draft, although I believe they could have gotten more value out of their second-round pick. Lavoy Allen has some size, but I do not think he has the skill set to have a productive season.
Pick: Jonas Valanciunas
The Raptors definitely wanted Valanciunas and were thrilled to see the Cavs pass on him at No. 4. He may have to spend another season overseas, but if he puts on some weight and develops an offensive post presence, he can become one of the better centers in the NBA.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Pick: Reggie Jackson
As a Boston College student, I have seen a lot of Reggie Jackson. He is a pure athlete with an uncanny ability to get to the basket. In the past few years, he has improved his shooting and passing skills. He will be able to play the point in the NBA with some good coaching.
He has to improve his ball-handling and awareness, but I think he will be a solid player off the bench for the Thunder. The Thunder didn't really have many weaknesses, but Reggie is a player they have great expectations for.
Los Angeles Lakers
Picks: Darius Morris, Andrew Goudelock, Chukwudiebere Maduabum, Ater Majok
The Lakers addressed their biggest need in this draft: a point guard.
Morris is a big point guard with great court vision. He should be able to step in for Derek Fischer soon and take over control of this team. He just needs to improve his shooting ability.
Goudelock, also a point guard, falls at a different end of the spectrum. He is a sharpshooter who gives the Lakers an interesting tandem at the point. Goudelock has to improve his ability to run an offense.
And then there is Chukwudiebere Maduabum. I know nothing about this guy, but at least he has a cool name.
Picks: Tobias Harris, Jon Leuer (also traded for Stephen Jackson, Beno Udrih and Shaun Livingston)
I am not a big fan of Tobias Harris here. I feel like he was picked a little early. The Bucks would have been better off taking Jordan Hamilton here.
However, you cannot deny the fact that a roster that has Brandon Jennings, Stephen Jackson and Andrew Bogut will be a force to be reckoned with in the East.
Picks: Jimmer Fredette, Tyler Honeycutt, Isaiah Thomas (also acquired John Salmons)
I am not a huge Jimmer supporter. I think he will be a decent point guard in this league, but he definitely needs to improve his defense. I am not sure if he will be able to keep up with some of the quicker point guards in this league. He will have a talented, young team to work with, and he just may be able to be the Kings' starting point guard.
With their second pick, the Kings were able to nab Tyler Honeycutt. This was one of the biggest steals of the draft. Honeycutt is tall and lanky and has the ability to shoot the ball. He reminds me of a less talented Kevin Durant. If he can use his length to get to the basket, he can be a very good player.
Isaiah Thomas was a nice final pick. He is small but might become a solid backup point guard.
Picks: Bismack Biyombo, Kemba Walker (also traded for Corey Maggette)
I think Michael Jordan might have finally put together a solid draft.
He loves Bismack and knows that Bismack and Tyrus Thomas will develop into a supreme defensive frontcourt. These guys will be blocking shots left and right. However, questions about Bismack's age and back scare some people.
I also like the Kemba pick at No. 9. I think he is the type of guy that could become a superstar in this league. His height might make him just a quick point guard with limited passing skills, but he can develop into one of the best scoring point guards in this league. The Bobcats are the perfect team to take a chance on him. It will be interesting to see what the Bobcats do with D.J. Augustin.
Picks: None (traded both for George Hill)
The Pacers were happy to see Kawhi Leonard fall to them. They were even happier to ship him to the Spurs for George Hill. Hill is a promising young player in this league who has already proven that he has a ton of talent. This was a solid pickup for the Pacers, but it would have been nice to see them pick up some size.
Picks: Kenneth Faried, Jordan Hamilton (also traded for Andre Miller)
The Nuggets needed a power forward, and they picked up one of the better ones in the draft. He will never be a superstar but will be a good defensive player and an excellent rebounder.
Jordan Hamilton was a steal for the Nuggets. He is an athlete with great shooting ability. He has the potential to be a deadly scorer in this league. However, he will have to compete for playing time.
Golden State Warriors
Picks: Klay Thompson, Jeremy Tyler, Charles Jenkins
Warrior fans should be ecstatic. They picked up quality backups at the PG, SG and C positions.
Thompson will be a shooting threat off the bench. He gives the Warriors an excellent set of shooting guards.
Their next two picks, Tyler and Jenkins, have huge upside and can develop into excellent NBA players. However, they will have some time to play important minutes off the bench.
Picks: Justin Harper, DeAndre Liggins
Justin Harper has the potential to develop into an excellent power forward, and that is exactly what the Magic need. He is an athletic freak, and he takes good shots. He needs to work on his rebounding ability, but I am sure he can get a few pointers from Dwight Howard.
Look for Harper to be starting at power forward for the Magic at some point this season.
I am not a huge fan of the DeAndre Liggins pick. He is not NBA-ready and will need to spend a lot of time working on his game if he wants to see the court this year.
Picks: JaJuan Johnson, E'Twaun Moore
The Celtics really lucked out in this draft. They were able to jump back a few spots by swapping picks with the Nets. At 27, they were able to take JaJuan Johnson from Purdue. He is a big power forward with a nice mid-range jump shot and good rebounding tendencies. He will be able to learn from one of the greatest power forwards of all time and will surely improve his game.
The Celtics were also able to pick up Johnson's teammate, E'Twaun Moore, in the second round. He is a well-rounded shooting guard who will be able to give the Celtics some valuable minutes off the bench.
New Jersey Nets
Picks: Marshon Brooks, Bojan Bogdanovic, Jordan Williams
The Nets were delighted to see Marshon Brooks fall in this draft. They made sure they were able to take him by trading up to get the Celtics' 25th overall pick.
Marshon is a shooting guard with an incredible amount of potential. He is an incredible scorer with the ball in his hands, and he might be able to start for the Nets right away. Deron Williams will be ecstatic to have a guard like Brooks to add to his assist totals.
Bojan Bogdanovic is a big SG/SF who will have time to develop overseas. He also has a knack for scoring the ball and could turn into a solid NBA player in a few years.
Jordan Williams will also be able to give the Nets some size off the bench. He will be able to play the 4 or the 5.
Picks: Marcus Morris, Donatas Motiejunas, Chandler Parsons
The Rockets need to rebuild, and these three picks will help that cause.
Marcus Morris is a well-rounded player who can score and defend. He just needs to find a position.
Donatas Motiejunas will spend at least one more season overseas, but he is a perfect fit for the Rockets. The Rockets will not be a playoff contender anytime soon, so Motiejunas can develop into a Dirk Nowitzki-esque player. He has huge upside and may be an All-Star one day.
Many scouts are not high on Parsons' ability to contribute in the NBA. However, I think he may be able to be a serviceable role player. He is a great shooter, and he has size. Those two things don't come together very often.
Picks: Brandon Knight, Kyle Singler, Vernon Macklin
The Pistons were thrilled to see Knight fall to the eighth overall pick. Although they were looking to find some size to pair with Greg Monroe, there was no way they could let Knight slip past them.
Knight will be a player the Pistons build upon. He can have a year or two to sit behind Rodney Stuckey and will be able to develop into an excellent passer and team leader.
Kyle Singler was also a very good pick for the Pistons. He is a tall shooter who can be very difficult to guard. He will be able to learn from Tayshaun Prince and can develop into a similar player with a better jump shot.
Picks: Enes Kanter, Alec Burks
The Jazz got two great players with their picks today.
Kanter has the ability to drain a jump shot and play in the post. He will sit behind Al Jefferson in his first season to acclimate himself to the NBA, but he will develop into a potential All-Star. He is a well-rounded center, and that is something you do not see very much in this league.
Burks was another excellent pick. The Jazz need another offensive threat, and Burks gives them just that. He can shoot and drive and takes good shots.
The Jazz got two well-rounded players in this draft, and they might find their way back to the playoffs this year.
Picks: Jan Vesely, Chris Singleton, Shelvin Mack
The Wizards had a great draft. The Cavs passed on Vesely, and the Wizards were glad to snatch him up at No. 6. He is big (6'11"), athletic and effective in the post. He has to work on his shot and his dribbling ability, but I think that he might be one of the top players to come out of this draft.
Singleton is probably the best defender in the whole draft. He will be an excellent player off the bench and will be able to play the 3 or the 4. He needs to work on his offensive game, but he is an absolute lockdown defender.
Shelvin Mack was also a great pick for the Wizards. He is a very good shooting point guard who will sub in for John Wall. He is a better shooter than Wall and will be able to keep defenders off balance.