NBA Power Rankings: Grades for Every Team, Post-Draft Edition

Peter Emerick@@peteremerickSenior Writer IIJune 29, 2012

NBA Power Rankings: Grades for Every Team, Post-Draft Edition

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    The 2012 NBA draft is behind us, and we can all shift our focus to what is shaping up to be an exciting and active offseason.

    Now that players like Anthony Davis, Bradley Beal, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist know which teams they will be playing for next season, we have a better understanding of where every NBA team stands heading into the offseason.

    Ahead are the post-draft power rankings and grades for every NBA team as we head into the 2012 offseason.  

    The grades represent each team's overall value, although the draft selections are incorporated into every team's overall grade. 

30. Charlotte Bobcats: F

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    Instead of pulling the trigger on a trade that would have given the Bobcats multiple picks in both rounds, the Bobcats stuck with the picks they had.

    With those picks (No. 2 and No. 30), the Bobcats selected two athletically gifted players who could help them win in the future, but won't turn around the franchise in one season.

    The Bobcats still have a young and inexperienced supporting cast around their newly drafted talent, and they will certainly be a lottery team next season.

    Even with Jeffery Taylor and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, the Bobcats won't be able to contend in the Eastern Conference unless they are able to reel in some big-time free agents this offseason.

    Overall Grade: F

29. Sacramento Kings: D-

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    One of the best moments of this year's draft was seeing the emotional response Thomas Robinson had when he heard his name called at the No. 5 spot to the Sacramento Kings.

    Putting emotions aside, the Kings didn't draft for the glaring need they had at the center position. They instead took the best player on the board. 

    In addition to adding Robinson, the Kings drafted Orlando Johnson, only to send his rights to the Indiana Pacers for cash considerations. Not a bad move, as the Kings didn't need another scoring guard, but they should have used that pick to draft a center who could help their team.

    The Kings drafted a talented player, but he doesn't play at the position they need help at. That alone is why the Kings didn't improve through the draft.

    Overall Grade: D-  

28. Brooklyn Nets: D-

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    The Brooklyn Nets created some excitement when they made their way into the second round with the No. 57 pick.

    The Nets went on to waste that pick on a Turkish player, Ilkan Karaman, who most likely won't even play in the NBA for a season or two.

    While there wasn't much the Nets could do in the draft to help them become a better team, but they ruined the one chance they had by drafting a player who won't provide immediate production.

    If Deron Williams ends up signing with another team this offseason, the Nets' grade will be changed to an "F," but if they hold on to him they will retain their "D-" ranking.

    The Nets need to be active in free agency or they will struggle mightily next year.

    Overall Grade: D-

27. Detroit Pistons: D

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    The Detroit Pistons had an interesting draft.

    With their lottery pick, they drafted Andre Drummond, who was the best player available, but a risky pick who could end up being a bust. 

    Next, the Pistons drafted Khris Middleton, who struggled at Texas A&M last year and failed to impress at the draft combine. Detroit followed that up by drafting a mature player in Kim English.

    Although this hodge-podge of talent could work out, it leaves more questions than it does answers. The Pistons also traded for Corey Maggette, who is not going to be anything but dead weight for them heading into the 2012-13 season.

    Another season for Detroit, another lottery pick in 2013.

    Overall Grade: D

26. Toronto Raptors: D

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    The Toronto Raptors made the stretch pick of the first round when they selected Washington's Terrence Ross with the No. 8 pick.

    Ross certainly isn't a terrible player, but the Raptors made a big reach for a player who has a lot of untapped potential. Ross is almost a mirror image of DeMar DeRozan, a wing player who offers little else besides scoring. 

    The Raptors saved their draft when they selected Quincy Acy with the No. 37 pick. Acy is a mature, physical player who can come in and add some toughness to an otherwise soft roster. 

    Unless the Raptors can land a free agent like Steve Nash, though, they will be destined for yet another year as a lottery team, and they only have themselves to blame for that.

    Overall Grade: D

25. Houston Rockets: D

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    Although a lot of experts expected the Rockets to try and trade into the upper parts of the lottery, they instead stayed put in the mid-teens with their three picks.

    The Rockets selected Jeremy Lamb, Royce White and Terrence Jones. Of those three players, Royce White is the one that raises the most questions. With other players on the board with more upside and fewer character issues, it's somewhat shocking the Rockets drafted White.

    Lamb and Jones are two players who are ready to make an impact in the NBA, and while that's great, they are not the kind of players who are going to be able to carry the Rockets to success next season.

    The Rockets failed to make a major trade during the draft, and they failed to draft players to fulfill their biggest need—the center position. The Rockets didn't do terribly during the draft, but as a team, they're not looking so hot right now.

    Let's hope they can hold onto Kyle Lowry and Goran Dragic. 

    Overall Grade: D

24. Golden State Warriors: D+

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    Drafting Harrison Barnes wasn't a bad move for the Warriors, especially with the talent left on the board for them at the No. 7 spot. In fact, Barnes could actually end up being a steal of the draft.

    The problem with the Warriors' draft was that after drafting Barnes, they failed to continue to add players who could have an immediate impact this upcoming season.

    Festus Ezeli is a prospect who is going to need a year or two to transition his game to the speed of the NBA, and Ognjen Kuzmic isn't going to be in the NBA any time soon. 

    Though Draymond Green was a nice pickup at No. 35, it's clear that the Warriors' immediate focus isn't winning. The Warriors needed to add depth at the point and shooting guard positions, and they failed to do that, which will hold them back next season.

    Overall Grade: D+

23. Washington Wizards: C

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    The Washington Wizards didn't do anything special by drafting Tomas Satoransky with the No. 32 pick in the draft. Satoransky will certainly play another two or three years in Europe to improve his game before he joins the Wizards.

    Luckily, that pick didn't mess up the Wizards' draft, as they started off by taking Bradley Beal with the No. 3 pick.

    I'm sure the Wizards were as shocked as I was when Beal was available with the No. 3 pick, but the Wizards did the right thing and pulled the trigger on him. Beal will form a solid backcourt duo with John Wall, and add some efficiency to a very inefficient team.

    With Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza now on the roster, the Wizards have transitioned from being one of the worst teams in the NBA to being a team that could be on the verge of the playoffs. 

    Overall Grade: C

22. Minnesota Timberwolves: C

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    The Minnesota Timberwolves made the most of their No. 58 pick in the 2012 draft by selecting Robbie Hummel.

    Hummel is a mature player who can shoot lights out on the perimeter, and he will give everything he has every time he's out on the court.

    With that being said, I'm surprised the T'Wolves didn't try to draft a combo guard who could help add production in the backcourt.

    The Timberwolves are certainly an exciting team heading into the 2012-13 season, but with Ricky Rubio recovering from a torn ACL and no real answer at the shooting guard spot, I can't put the T'Wolves higher than No. 22.

    Overall Grade: C

21. Milwaukee Bucks: C+

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    The Milwaukee Bucks drafted a solid power forward in John Henson. The only problem is, they already have a number of power forwards including Ersan Ilyasova (UFA), Drew Gooden and Ekpe Udoh—though Udoh will also see time at center. 

    In the second round, the Bucks pulled the trigger on free-falling Doron Lamb, who will help add scoring off the bench behind Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings.

    The Bucks certainly will have some hype surrounding them and their dynamic backcourt duo heading into next season, but they fell apart at the end of last season with a playoff berth on the line, and that is what they will do next year too.

    The Bucks need to add some toughness in the paint at the center position, and until they do that, they will be on the outside looking in. 

    Overall Grade: C+

20. Dallas Mavericks: C+

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    The Dallas Mavericks made the biggest trade of the draft when they traded the rights to Tyler Zeller (No. 17) to the Cavaliers for Jared Cunningham (No. 24), Bernard James (No. 33) and Jae Crowder (No. 34).

    After also selecting Darius Johnson-Odom with the No. 55 pick—which would have been an absolutely great selection—they instead sold his rights to the L.A. Lakers.

    If the Mavs had held on to Johnson-Odom, putting him into their lineup with teammate Jae Crowder, Dallas would be a little higher on this list. With that being said, the Mavs left the draft with some solid developmental talent in Cunningham and James.

    Even with the talent they drafted, though, the Mavericks are on the decline, and we saw that in the 2012 NBA playoffs when they got run out of town by the Oklahoma City Thunder.

    Unless the Mavs can reel in Deron Williams or Dwight Howard this offseason, they will find themselves struggling to make the playoffs next season. 

    Overall Grade: C+

19. Portland Trail Blazers: C+

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    Damian Lillard might look bummed in that picture, but he will be making Blazers' fans smile when they see him on the court this season.

    Lillard is the answer at the point that the Blazers were looking for. He is a pure scorer and solid facilitator all wrapped up into on.

    The problem for the Blazers, though, is that after drafting Lillard they passed up on the NBA-ready center they needed—Tyler Zeller—and instead drafted Meyers Leonard, who will need some time to transition into the NBA.

    The Blazers also went on to trade the rights to Tyshawn Taylor (No. 41) to the Brooklyn Nets, which certainly doesn't help them when it comes to depth.

    Unless the Blazers can land a veteran center this offseason, they will struggle to contend in the West. 

    Overall Grade: C+

18. New Orleans Hornets: C+

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    The New Orleans Hornets were the clear winners of the draft.

    Not only did they draft Anthony Davis with the No. 1 overall pick, they also managed to get Duke standout Austin Rivers (No. 10), and stud sixth man Darius Miller (No. 46).

    If the Hornets can retain Eric Gordon this offseason, they should be able to make a big jump from low lottery team to playoff contender in the Western Conference.

    The most impressive pick the Hornets made was selecting Miller in the second round. Bringing Davis' Kentucky teammate on the roster is something that will pay dividends when it comes to the big man's transition into the NBA.

    The Hornets made a major jump in the power rankings in just a few short hours on Thursday night.

    Overall Grade: C+

17. Orlando Magic: C+

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    Oh how the mighty have fallen. The Orlando Magic didn't have a bad draft, but that doesn't change the drama that will be surrounding their 2012-13 season.

    The Magic drafted two players, Andrew Nicholson (No. 19) and Kyle O'Quinn (No. 49), to add some depth to their frontcourt, which is key if Dwight Howard isn't a member of the Magic to start next season.

    With that being said, neither Nicholson nor O'Quinn is the type of player who will be able to step right in and make an immediate impact on the court, especially with Howard and Ryan Anderson ahead of them on the depth chart.

    The Magic need to add production at the shooting guard and small forward positions, and until they do that, they will struggle to contend in the East, as we saw in the playoffs. If D12 doesn't return, things will get that much worse for Orlando.

    Overall Grade: C+

16. New York Knicks: C+

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    There are too many questions surrounding the Knicks' roster this offseason to give them a higher grade. 

    The Knicks certainly didn't help themselves in the draft when they decided to go after Kostas Papanikolaou of Greece, instead of going after a player who could come in and help them this upcoming season.

    The boos and sighs that the Knicks got for their No. 45 pick is exactly the same way I feel about them heading into the offseason—underwhelmed.

    The Knicks could certainly rise up these power rankings if they are able to re-sign Jeremy Lin or sign Steve Nash, but if they don't, it will be a much different story.

    Overall Grade: C+

15. Phoenix Suns: B-

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    The Phoenix Suns' grade is based solely on the assumption that Steve Nash will be wearing a Suns' jersey when the 2012-13 season begins.

    If the Suns fail to re-sign Nash, their grade will go down. Either way, they did manage to find Nash's potential replacement in the draft, Kendall Marshall, and that certainly will help them as they prepare for the future. 

    Phoenix doesn't have a lot of All-Star talent on its roster, but still managed to be within one game of being a playoff team last season, and that's about where they will be next year if Nash returns.

    Marshall would be fortunate to learn from Nash for at least one or two years, but if not, he has the skill set to step right in and make a Nash-like impact on the court.

    Overall Grade: B- 

14. Utah Jazz: B-

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    The Utah Jazz made the playoffs this past season, but they got a rude awakening at the hands of the mighty San Antonio Spurs.

    The main reason they got swept by the Spurs was because they just didn't have enough production at either guard position. Well, the Jazz are looking to change that with Kevin Murphy from Tennessee Tech.

    While Murphy is listed as a small forward, he can certainly play at the 2-guard spot, and is one of the purest scorers in the class. Murphy even put together a 50-point night back in January. 

    Even if Murphy doesn't pan out for the Jazz on the wing, they will still be competitive int he West, because of their frontcourt trio of Paul Millsap, Derrick Favors and Al Jefferson.

    Overall Grade: B-

13. Cleveland Cavaliers: B-

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    The Cleveland Cavaliers failed to make a trade with the Charlotte Bobcats, but that didn't stop them from finding a player who can step right in and form a dynamic backcourt duo with the reigning Rookie of the Year, Kyrie Irving.

    Drafting Dion Waiters may seem like a stretch to some, but when the Cavs picked, he was the best option at shooting guard left on the board.

    The Cavaliers then decided to trade their conglomeration of picks to the Dallas Mavericks for the rights to Tyler Zeller, which is a great move to solidify their interior. 

    If the Cavaliers can sign a low-cost veteran small forward this offseason to strengthen their backcourt, they can certainly be a playoff team in the Eastern Conference. Do I smell a Cavaliers vs. Heat first-round playoff series?

    Overall Grade: B-

12. Boston Celtics: B-

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    While there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the Celtics' roster heading into the offseason, the team's front office did a great job of drafting players who can step in and fill voids if necessary.

    The Celtics got a lottery talent in Jared Sullinger, and a raw, developmental seven-footer Fab Melo to bolster their frontcourt.

    If the Celtics lose Kevin Garnett this offseason, they won't be in a terrible place because of the talent they drafted. If he re-signs with the Celtics, they will have the kind of bench production they seriously lacked last season.

    The Celtics won't be as good of a team next year as they were this past year, but they will still be a dominant team even if KG leaves with Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce running the show in Beantown.

    Overall Grade: B-

11. L.A. Clippers: B-

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    The L.A. Clippers really didn't have a chance to help themselves out much during the draft. They only had the No. 53 overall pick, and they used it on a Turkish player who might not even play next season.

    That's not bad news for the Clippers, though. The team's real focus needs to be on the offseason and figuring out which players to re-sign and which free agents to pursue.

    Randy Foye, Nick Young, Chauncy Billups, Kenyon Martin and Reggie Evans are all unrestricted free agents, and if they all walk, the Clippers will need to find talent to replace them.

    It looks like they may have already started that process by trading Mo Williams for Lamar Odom, according to an AP source.

    With Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul, the Clippers will remain a playoff team. The talent around them, though, will determine just how good of a playoff team they will be next year.

    Overall Grade: B-

10. Philadelphia 76ers: B

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    The Philadelphia 76ers made a somewhat shocking selection when they drafted Maurice Harkless with the No. 15 pick in the 2012 draft.

    That pick does make some sense, though. The 76ers are accustomed to having young, athletic and raw players on their roster, which is exactly what Harkless is. 

    The 76ers then went on to make one of the best trades of the night by dealing Justin Hamilton (No. 45 pick) to the Miami Heat for Arnett Moultrie (No. 27) and a future first-round pick. Moultrie could come right in and compete for minutes with Thaddeus Young, and if Elton Brand is indeed amnestied, Moultrie's impact will not be understated. 

    The 76ers put together one of the better drafts by taking players who are ready to make an immediate impact in the NBA.

    Overall Grade: B-

9. Denver Nuggets: B

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    The Denver Nuggets selected the first international player in the 2012 draft, and they also picked one of the purer shooting guards as well.

    Evan Fournier certainly can give the Nuggets productive minutes off the bench with his smooth stroke on the perimeter, but he doesn't bring defensive pressure, which is something they certainly needed.

    The Nuggets didn't find the backup point guard many expected them to pursue in the draft, and for that reason, they can't crack the top 10 here. If Andre Miller leaves, the Nuggets will have a tough time when Ty Lawson is on the bench.

    Even if the Nuggets decide to keep Fournier in Europe for another year or two, they will still be just as competitive next season because they have the offensive production it takes to do just that. 

    Overall Grade: B

8. Atlanta Hawks: B

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    The Atlanta Hawks made an incredibly smart pick, mainly out of necessity, when they selected the smoothest shooter in the draft—John Jenkins.

    The Hawks failed to fill the other need on their roster, though, when they drafted Mike Scott instead of pursuing a point guard who could add some depth behind Jeff Teague.

    If the Hawks manage to hold on to Josh Smith this offseason, they can continue to be a competitive and dangerous team in the Eastern Conference.

    With Al Horford back at full health, the Hawks certainly have a shot of making out of the first round of the playoffs, especially if Jenkins can add productive minutes off the bench.

    Overall Grade: B

7. Indiana Pacers: B

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    The Indiana Pacers showed us in the 2012 playoffs that they are a dangerous team in the East. They also showed us that they're not quite ready to contend with the big guns like the Miami Heat.

    The Pacers didn't necessarily do all that much to help themselves heading into the offseason either by reaching on a mediocre center in Miles Plumlee

    Plumlee isn't horrible, but he won't add much depth to the Pacers' roster.

    The Pacers need to work on adding production at the wing and in the paint at the center position, and until they do that, they will have to be content being middle-of-the-pack playoff team, and nothing more.

    Overall Grade: B

6. Memphis Grizzlies: B+

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    The Grizzlies did exactly what I expected them to with the No. 25 pick when they selected Tony Wroten Jr.

    Wroten is the kind of player who will be a perfect backup for Mike Conley Jr., and that's what the Grizzlies have been missing for the past year or two.

    The Grizzlies still don't know if O.J. Mayo will be back next season, but even if he isn't, Wroten can step in and add production off the bench at the 2-guard spot. 

    If Zach Randolph can stay healthy next year, the Grizzlies will be a team to keep your eyes on when it comes to contending for the top spot in the Western Conference.

    Overall Grade: B+

5. L.A. Lakers: B+

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    The Lakers rounded out the 2012 draft by selecting Gonzaga center Robert Sacre. That was an impressive way to make the most of having just one draft pick, which happened to be the last one of the draft.

    The Lakers also made an extremely smart move by buying the rights to Darius Johnson-Odom from the Dallas Mavericks. Johnson-Odom can step right in and be a productive guard for the Lakers with his versatile scoring. 

    Even without those two players, the Lakers should still be considered a favorite in the West because of three players—Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.

    If the Lakers manage to hang on to Gasol this offseason and find a point guard who can run the offense better than Ramos Sessions, then they will once again be playing deep into the Western Conference playoffs.

    Overall Grade: B+

4. Chicago Bulls: A-

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    Even without Derrick Rose for a few months to start the 2012-13 season, the Bulls will still be a competitive team in the East.

    They made a great pick taking Marquis Teague with the No. 29 pick in the draft. Teague is capable of filling in for Rose at the poing, and he is also able to add production at the shooting guard position, which is something they didn't have last year.

    Regardless of whether Omer Asik (UFA) and C.J. Watson (UFA) return, the Bulls can still be a dominant team in the East if they hold on to Luol Deng, and focus their offense through the frontcourt play of Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson.

    Once Rose returns, the Bulls will be a much more complete team, and will be ready to compete at the elite level they did before the former league MVP went down last year.

    Overall Grade: A-

3. San Antonio Spurs: A-

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    As long as Tim Duncan decides to return to the Spurs this offseason, they will be a dominant team in the Western Conference.

    That says a lot about the talent on their roster, but it says even more about the tactical head coaching of Gregg Popovich.

    The Spurs drafted Marcus Denmon with the No. 59 pick, and honestly, there's a good possibility that Popovich and the coaching staff can turn him into a productive member of the their rotation.

    The Spurs had an early exit in the Western Conference finals last year, and I'm sure they will be working hard this offseason to make sure that doesn't happen again.

    Overall Grade: A-

2. Oklahoma City Thunder: A+

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    The Oklahoma City Thunder came away from the 2012 NBA draft with the steal of the draft by drafting Perry Jones III at the No. 27 spot.

    Jones was a lottery talent that certainly could've been drafted in the top 10 if he had not been red-flagged by doctors for issues regarding the health of his knee.

    The Thunder needed to get bench production in the draft, but no one thought they would get a talent like Jones. 

    If Jones can add some strength and work on his post moves, he will earn solid minutes for the Thunder, and could be the missing piece to the team's championship puzzle.

    The Thunder made the absolute steal of the draft. Kudos to you, OKC.

    Overall Grade: A+

1. Miami Heat: A+

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    The Miami Heat could have drafted anyone with the No. 26 pick in the 2012 NBA draft, and they would still be at the top of the post draft power rankings.

    That's what happens when you have LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on the same team.

    Justin Hamilton, the player the Heat traded Arnett Moultrie to the Philadelphia 76ers for, could be a productive bench player, but conventional wisdom says he won't be.

    The Heat don't need much this offseason aside from signing a talented shooting guard like Ray Allen. The Heat will be in the 2013 NBA title mix next season, and NBA fans are going to have to come to terms with. The Heat are just that good. 

    Overall Grade: A+