2011 NBA Draft Grades: Los Angeles Lakers and 5 Teams with Incompletes
Now that the 2011 NBA Draft has come to an end, it's time for speculation to begin on how NBA organizations graded out in their respective drafts.
Based on team needs and value of selection, some teams had fantastic drafts while others left a little to be desired.
Still others, however, may not be able to be graded properly just yet.
Some drafted players from foreign countries that, for one reason or another, may not be able to play in their first year. Others may have gotten good value with their picks but failed to address certain team needs. They will have to effectively fill those spots with free agents.
This is the case for the Los Angeles Lakers, who drafted a few high quality players (including one originally from Sudan) but have needs that still need addressed.
Including the Lakers, here are five teams who should receive an "incomplete" immediately following the NBA Draft.
The Toronto Raptors drafted C Jonas Valanciunas from Lithuania with the fifth overall draft pick.
Valanciunas is a 7'0", 231-pound tower who is a hard worker and an offensive force down low, but needs to pack on some muscle and work on his defense. Overall, he has the skills to be a great starting center.
The Raptors are a young team with plenty of talent, but one of their weaknesses is defense. Valanciunas' sheer size could help remedy that, but Toronto needs to find some solid defenders in free agency.
Unfortunately, this is all assuming Valanciunas makes it to Toronto in 2011. Reports from NBA.com are the Raptors may have to wait a year to get their high-profile player.
But outside of Wall, the Wizards had few difference-makers on their team.
This year, the Wizards selected F Jan Vesely of Serbia, F Chris Singleton of Florida State, and G Shelvin Mack of Butler.
Vesely is another foreign player who may have to wait a year before playing. Singleton and Mack were two of the country's best at their respective positions, but neither were positions of major need.
The Wizards reportedly need another center to help out JaVale McGee, a need which now has to be dealt with via free agency.
Los Angeles Lakers
Prior to the Draft, there was speculation swirling about the Los Angeles Lakers making a big move up draft boards. But that was definitely not the case.
While the Lakers had four draft picks (one of which was traded to Denver), none were even in the first round.
Their first pick, at 41st, was G Darius Morris of Michigan.
Morris was rated by NBA.com as the sixth best point guard behind Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker, Brandon Knight, Jimmer Fredette, and Nolan Smith. Not bad company.
However, the Lakers have a lot of aging players and need to seriously think about finding a replacement for Kobe Bryant. Morris, as good a prospect as he is, is not that guy.
It's possible that could be done via free agency, but they'll need to make a splash one way or another.
With the 22nd overall pick, the Nuggets selected F Kenneth Faried of Morehead State.
Faried is a 6'8", 225-pound athlete who reportedly excels at rebounding and defense and has emerging skills on offense. He could be a force off the bench early in his career with the potential to become a solid starter by NBA standards.
However, with free agency threatening to lay waste to the Denver roster, the Nuggets' draft grade will depend on how many key players they retain.
If Nene and Kenyon Martin reach new deals with the Nuggets, their draft grade should be pretty good despite having only one pick.
But if those two go, the Nuggets will have major depth issues in the front court and will have to find adequate replacements via free agency.
Their two remaining players, F Jimmy Butler and F Malcolm Lee, are quality selections as both averaged double digit points per game for two traditional basketball powers (Marquette and UCLA).
Without Cole, however, Chicago has little at the guard position outside of Derrick Rose, who still needs some improvement as a shooter. Because the Bulls failed to draft a great shooting guard to pair with Rose, they'll have to nab some sort of legitimate scoring threat via free agency.
Getting a center with some offensive game sure couldn't hurt either considering Joakim Noah's relative inadequacies in that area.