The draft has come and gone, and after all the trades and picks we finally know where this years' top rookies will be headed. There were a number of winners and losers on Thursday night, so it's easiest to break down their performances by team.
Atlanta Hawks (Jordan Crawford and Pape Sy): B-
Crawford has good scoring ability and together with Jamal Crawford could help fill the offensive void left by soon to depart Joe Johnson. Crawford's main concern is that he could be too short (6-4) to play SG, but lack the court vision and ball handling to play PG, and could eventually obtain the classic tweener label. The Hawks other pick, Pape Sy, is a project, and will stashed away in international leagues for a couple years.
Boston Celtics (Avery Bradley and Luke Harangody): C+
Avery Bradley doesn't excite me as an NBA prospect. At Texas he only created for himself, and showed nothing that would indicate he can blossom into a successful NBA PG. His one plus is that he does play great defense, so combining him and Rondo will mean the Celtics will always have at least one plus defender on the floor. Harangody should fill Brian Scalabrine's shoes well as unathletic white guy who sits at the ends of the Celtics' bench.
Dallas Mavericks (Dominique Jones): B+
Jones lacks elite upside, but is the NBA ready player the Mavericks need at this point in their franchise's development. Jones lacks great athleticism but often makes up for it with craftiness and a high basketball IQ, on top of that he is a surprisingly good finisher considering his size and leaping ability. He has a natural feel for scoring and could conceivably average around 10.0 PPG in his rookie season.
Detroit Pistons (Greg Monroe and Terrico White): B+
Greg Monroe was an excellent pick at #7. In my opinion, Monroe will be a perennial all-star much in the mold of Pau Gasol, he possess a polished post game, solid fundamentals, good size and athleticism, and some of the best passing from a big man you'll ever see. Monroe's main knock in college was that he was too passive, but this was a result of the Georgetown offense, not a lack of competitiveness on Monroe's part. Detroit's 2nd rounder, explosive but raw PG Terrico White, was decent, but I would have liked to have seen a more NBA ready player with the position, as Detroit could used a combo guard ready to log solid minutes right away.
Golden State Warriors (Ekpe Udoh): C-
I cannot believe the Warriors chose Udoh over Monroe, especially considering that Don Nelson coaches them. Udoh was a workout warrior who recently shot up draft boards into the top 10, in other words, the type of player who has busted time and time again in the past. Udoh has no offensive game to speak of, and his defensive ability mainly came from his size and wingspan, which won't count for as much against more skilled NBA opponents. Golden State also already has two raw athletic big men in Anthony Randolph and Brandan Wright, both of whom are loaded with upside, making this pick one of the most non-sensical of the draft.
Houston Rockets (Patrick Patterson): A-
As much as I dislike the Udoh pick, I love the Patterson one. In a draft full of uncertainty, Patterson is one of a safest bets to become a productive NBA player. Patterson does not really excel at one aspect of the game, nor does he have any glaring weaknesses, but his ability to do everything reasonably well should make him a useful NBA player for the next decade.
Indiana Pacers (Paul George, Lance Stephenson, Magnum Rolle): B
I dislike the George pick, but the Stephenson and Rolle selections were excellent in my opinion. George is another workout warrior, and at this stage in his career seems to more of an athlete than a polished basketball player. That being said, he is extremely athletic, and showed flashes of putting that natural ability to good use last season, creating some flashy dunks and blocks. Stephenson is immensely talented but fell because of character concerns. While his personality may be a legitimate problem it is not enough of a detriment to keep him from being a great value at #40. You simply do not find guys as offensively talented as Stephenson in the 2nd round very often.
Los Angeles Clippers (Al-Farouq Aminu, Eric Bledsoe, Wille Warren): A-
Aminu filled an obvious need and the Clippers did the right thing by drafting him. I admit that Aminu is a bit of a boom-or-bust type player, but in this years' weak crop of talent he was easily the best available to Los Angeles, and the fact that he fills their biggest need is icing on the cake. Bledose is talented but often played out of control with Kentucky, a year or two under veteran Baron Davis' tutelage should make him a more efficient PG ready to eventually start for the Clippers. Warren looked like a mid-first rounder to begin the year, but offensive struggles and legal concerns dropped his stock, making him one of the best values of the draft. Warren can shoot the lights out, a trait that should transfer well to the NBA. Overall, I see him as a Ben Gordon clone, which makes him a tremendous pick at #54.
Los Angeles Lakers (Devin Ebanks and Derrick Caracter): A
Ebanks is great selection as a project filled with tons of upside coming to a team that doesn't need him to log meaningful minutes for a couple of years. If he develops into a star then great, but if he doesn't L.A. didn't really have anything invested in him anyway, great high risk, high reward pick for the Lakers. Caracter was once hailed as a top prep talent, but character concerns and work ethic limited him in college, if the Lakers can turn him around they might have a star on their hands, and if not then they don't really lose much, as they aren't counting on him to do anything anyway. This was a great draft by the Lakers, who don't need any immediate contributers, and thus took two of the most talented but riskiest players in the draft.
Memphis Grizzlies (Xavier Henry and Greivis Vazquez): B
Henry not a top athlete but possess a great shooting touch, body control, and jump shot, he should become a good scorer much in the same vain other athletically limited stars such as Paul Pierce and Brandon Roy, and while I don't see him reaching quite those high levels of production, he does have a chance to be a 20 PPG guy down the road. In three years a backcourt of him and O.J. Mayo could reasonably be the NBA's highest scoring. I don't understand the Grizzlies' love of Vazquez, as they already have Mike Conley, Mayo, and Henry in their backcourt. Vazquez was overrated at Maryland and really was a volume shooter, something he will not be allowed to get away with in a talented Grizzlies backcourt. He is also a liability defensively and I would be very surprised if he ever meaningfully contributes for Memphis.
Miami Heat (Dexter Pittman, Jarvis Vernado, and DeSean Butler): C+
I thought the Heat missed a golden chance to grab their PG of the future with Eric Bledose, but instead opted to trade him to the Clippers. Dexter Pittman was a worthless pick, as he has pretty much every concern one can have of a draft pick (work ethic, limited upside, lacks offensive polish, undisciplined defender), I doubt he'll find much playing time in a depleted Heat frontcourt. Vernado was a good pick, and gives the Heat a huge shot blocking threat, if nothing else. Butler was probably a late first rounder before tragically tearing his ACL in the NCAA tournament, but if his knee comes back strong the Heat may have gotten a late steal as he posses legitimate first round talent.
Milwaukee Bucks (Larry Sanders, Darrington Hobson, Jerome Jordan, Tiny Gallon): C
The Bucks had a very weak draft, failing to land an impact player with any of their picks. Larry Sanders could be a decent rebounder and shot blocker, but has no offensive potential, and is not the type of value you want at #15. Hobson and Jordan are both decent but unspectacular picks, and Jordan seems a bit redundant with Sanders already on board. Gallon is a 300 lb. PF who probably is unfit to defend a single player in the NBA. He'll have to do a ton of work to get his defense good enough to step foot on an NBA court, and if he can do that he'll still be limited by his terrible stamina and quickness.
Minnesota Timberwolves (Wesley Johnson, Lazar Hayward, Nemanja Bjelica, and Paulo Prestes): D+
Congratulations T'Wolves fans, your incompetent GM has just condemned you to another few years of mediocracy. Johnson was an okay pick, as he's a good fit for the team, but lacks the upside of DeMarcus Cousins, but the picks got significantly worse from there. Last year it was PGs, now it seems to be SFs, as David Kahn proceeded to draft two more and trade for another. Hayward is by no means terrible but a reach in the first round, and he profiles as a lesser version of the player they already have, Wesley Johnson. Bjelica and Prestes could be decent players, but we will probably have to wait a couple years for them to come overseas. What really makes this draft terrible for Minnesota was the trade of their #15 pick (Luke Babbit) and Ryan Gomes for Martell Webster. Gomes for Webster was a lateral move at best and giving up their #15 pick in the process was the final layer of insanity. But hey, it wouldn't be an NBA draft without something stupid being done by David Kahn.
New Jersey Nets (Derrick Favors and Damion James): B+
The Nets got too good prospects who will get immediate playing time and will be given every chance to reach their potential. Nothing to criticize here, as they also sold the #31 pick for precious cap space.
New Orleans Hornets (Craig Brackens and Quincy Poindexter): B-
Two average picks, the Hornets know what they're getting with Brackens and Poindexter, two guys with good chances to reach relatively low ceilings. Although I would have liked New Orleans to take a higher upside guy with one of these picks I really can't knock them for going the safe route.
New York Knicks (Andy Rautins and Landry Fields): C
Rautins could be an okay player who has the chance to be a decent role player down the line, but the Fields pick really came out of nowhere, I don't think anyone had him even being drafted. Huge reach at #39 overall, especially with immensely talented Lance Stephenson being picked with the very next pick.
Oklahoma City Thunder (Cole Aldrich, Tibor Pieiss, Latavious Williams, Ryan Reid): B-
Aldrich gives them some much needed length that they desperately needed against the Lakers, and since the Thunder won't ask him to be scoring threat he should fit in well in OKC. Pieiss is a massive C who will remain in Europe for the next couple of seasons. Williams and Reid are completely unspectacular and probably wastes of 2nd rounder picks. Still, I can't give OKC anything less than a B- for properly identifying their greatest need, and getting the best guy available to fill that need.
Orlando Magic (Daniel Orton and Stanley Robinson): B
No one really knows what to expect out of Daniel Orton, and since he probably won't develop well as a PF and Dwight Howard certainly isn't going anywhere this is a bit of a confusing pick for Orlando. Despite the lack of a great fit Orton was the best talent available, and Robinson is a good late second round pick. Orlando clearly likes the best player available strategy, and they managed to get two good players here.
Philadelphia 76ers (Evan Turner): B
I would have liked to have seen Derrick Favors or DeMarcus Cousins here, as I think the Sixers already have a decent pair of wing players with Thaddeus Young and Andre Iguodala. That being said, Turner is a great player, and Philly with their roster already mired with overpriced veterans they couldn't afford a bust, by picking Turner they should avoid all chance of wasting a top pick.
Phoenix Suns (Gani Lawai and Dwayne Collins): B+
Good value picks in the 2nd round. I don't know who made these picks, as the Suns don't have a GM currently, but neither of them was completely off the mark.
Portland Trail Blazers (Luke Babbit, Elliot Williams, Armon Johnson): B+
Babbit could crack the rotation immediately and shooters like him will always find a home in the NBA. Williams and Johnson do not excite me, as neither are NBA ready nor loaded with potential. What makes this draft a big win for Portland is their excellent trade of Martell Webster for Ryan Gomes and Luke Babbit, a classic example of one of the best GMs (now ex-GM) ripping off one of the worst.
Sacramento Kings (DeMarcus Cousins and Hassan Whiteside): A
Fantastic draft for the Kings. They got the draft's top talent in DeMarcus Cousins and defensive difference maker in Hassan Whiteside. Often times people blow character concerns out of proportion, and that is exactly what has happened to DerMarcus Cousins. Nothing will ever change the fact that Cousins has some of the most talent you'll even see from a teenager, and has all the physical tools to become Shaq-lite. Him and Tyreke Evans should transform the Kings into a top offensive team in a matter of just a few years. Whiteside was a great vale pick in the 2nd round, and will be a defensive force for years to come.
San Antonio Spurs (James Anderson and Ryan Richards): B
Neither of these picks are particularly exciting, but Anderson is a top shooter and should contribute for the Spurs for years to come. Richards is extremely raw, and may remain overseas this year to further advance his game.
Toronto Raptors (Ed Davis and Soloman Alabi): B
Davis was the right pick for the spot, but Toronto fans are deluding themselves if they think he is in any way going to replace Chris Bosh's production. Alabi is huge and loaded with defensive potential, and pairing him at times with Andrea Bargnani could give the Raptors a very balanced frontcourt.
Utah Jazz (Gordon Hayward and Jeremy Evans): D
I don't see all the hype surrounding Hayward as justified, sure he had a great NCAA tournament but that's a very small sample size to draw any significant conclusions. He also seems to have been mislabeled as a great shooter, which he certainly is not, as he shot only 21% from 3 his sophomore season. In addition to this the Jazz lost their chance to replace the soon to be departed Carlos Boozer, as solid PF options in Ed Davis and Patrick Patterson were still available. Evans is rail thin and lacked meaningful production at a small school, I'm surprised he was even draft.
Washington Wizards (John Wall, Kevin Seraphin, Trevor Booker, Hamady N'diaye): B
The Wizards made the obvious right choice with Wall, but failed to connect on any of their subsequent picks. Seraphin was the first foreign player chosen, and could become a good role player, but Booker lacks much potential and N'diaye is a relative unknown. Drafting John Wall ensures a decent grade, but the Wizards failed to completely capitalize on all of their picks.