Looking Back: Erick Blasco's Comprehensive Review of the 2007 NBA Draft

Erick BlascoSenior Writer IJuly 2, 2010

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 20:  Greg Oden #52 of the Portland Trail Blazers looks on against the Golden State Warriors during an NBA game at Oracle Arena on November 20, 2009 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

With the 2010 NBA Draft over and done with, I figured it might be a good time to look to the past and study how the 2007 NBA Draft impacted teams in the league today.

Most analysts agree that a draft can only be accurately judged three years down the road.

This gives enough time for the players to develop their game and adjust to the league, while giving managers, coaches, and fans the chance to see what a player can do, what he can’t do, and what role he can serve on his team.

With that as an introduction, I present my analysis of the 2007 NBA Draft. Overall, the 2007 draft class was an average one, with one superstar in Kevin Durant. There were solid pros throughout the draft, but also host of mediocre players at the top and middle of the draft order.

As always, there were a number of picks traded on draft day, before draft day, and in the case of the 22nd pick of the second round, 10 years prior to the selections being made. Trades involving draft picks occurring a year before the draft will be counted as part of the draft because, under many circumstances, actual players are more important than picks.

For the sake of brevity, trades made a year and a half or longer before the draft won’t be counted. Sorry, John Wallace and Chris Dudley.

To give context of how each player turned out in relation to what number he was drafted, I’ve created a list of the top 5 players at each position, and the top 10 players overall based on talent, impact on their team to date, and player potential.

Top Five Centers

1) Al Horford
2) Marc Gasol
3) Joakim Noah
4) Greg Oden
5) Spencer Hawes

Top Five Power Forwards

1) Carl Landry
2) Jeff Green
3) Glen Davis
4) Thaddeus Young
5) Yi Jianlian

Top Five Small Forwards

1) Kevin Durant
2) Jared Dudley
3) Wilson Chandler
4) Al Thornton
5) Corey Brewer

Top Five Shooting Guards

1) Arron Afflalo
2) Rudy Fernandez
3) Nick Young
4) Marco Belinelli
5) Daequan Cook

Top Five Point Guards

1) Aaron Brooks
2) Rodney Stuckey
3) Ramon Sessions
4) Mike Conley
5) Acie Law

Top 10 Overall Players

1) Kevin Durant
2) Al Horford
3) Marc Gasol
4) Carl Landry
5) Aaron Brooks
6) Joakim Noah
7) Jared Dudley
8) Rodney Stuckey
9) Arron Afflalo
10) Greg Oden


* Order of team grades will be determined by which teams had the earliest remaining pick. Grades will take into account players drafted and picks traded. A number in parenthesis indicates the number of pick. A player in parenthesis indicates what player a traded pick turned into.*

Portland Trail Blazers

Picks involved in: (No.1) Drafted Greg Oden. (24) Phoenix drafted Rudy Fernandez, then sold him and James Jones to Portland. (30) In 2006, traded James White to Indiana for Alexander Johnson, the No. 42 pick, and the No. 55 pick in 2008 (wound up on the Los Angeles Clippers as Mike Taylor). Drafted Derrick Byars with the No. 42 pick, then traded him to Philadelphia for the rights to No. 30 pick Petteri Koponen. (37) Drafted Josh McRoberts. (52) Drafted Taurean Green. (53) In 2005, traded Tyrus Thomas and Viktor Khryapa to Chicago for the pick and LaMarcus Aldridge. Drafted Demetris Nichols then traded him, Zach Randolph, Fred Jones, and Dan Dickau to New York for Steve Francis, Channing Frye, and No. 36 pick in 2008 (wound up in Chicago as Omer Asik).

Players Received: Greg Oden, Rudy Fernandez, James Jones, Petteri Koponen, Josh McRoberts, Taurean Green, LaMarcus Aldridge, Steve Francis, Channing Frye, Alexander Johnson
Players Lost: Derrick Byars, Tyrus Thomas, Viktor Khryapa, Demetris Nichols, Zach Randolph, Fred Jones, Dan Dickau, James White

Review: Portland was certainly one of the most active teams during this draft. They started off by picking Greg Oden. Oden still has the potential to be a defensive game changer and an above average post scorer, but it’s hard to say he’s better right now than Marc Gasol, Al Horford, or Joakim Noah as the best center in the draft, let alone Kevin Durant as the best player.

The hope for potential, plus the fact that the Blazers already had star wing Brandon Roy keeps the pick from being an F, but it’s still a D-.

Rudy Fernandez has had one good season and one poor season in Portland, while James Jones was a useful rotation wing. Since both came free, and haven’t hampered Portland’s cap situation (Jones has moved on to Miami and Fernandez only has one more year and roughly $1.25 million dollars left on his contract) the Blazers get an A.

Petteri Koponen has more hope in becoming a better pro than Byars does so the Blazers deserve a B for that minor deal, especially with James White out of the league. The Blazers deserve an F, though, for taking Josh McRoberts with Marc Gasol on the board.

The only interesting thing about the Taurean Green selection is that the Blazers acquired the pick in a prehistoric trade when they shipped Chris Dudley to the Knicks in 1997!

In 2005, the Blazers were able to send off Viktor Khryapa and Tyrus Thomas for LaMarcus Aldridge, an A in everybody’s book. The residue of the trade was a 2007 draft pick which was shuffled along with Zach Randolph to the Knicks, clearing out a potential troublemaker, and clearing up more playing time for LaMarcus Aldridge, another grade-A decision.

Tallying up the ledger, the Blazers have three A’s, a B, an F, and a D-. Considering how bad a selection Oden looks in hindsight, and the fact that Aldridge is still a bit too soft to compensate, the best final grade the Blazers can hope for is a solid B.

Grade: B

Seattle Supersonics

(No.2) Drafted Kevin Durant. (No.5) Drafted Glen Davis with the No. 35 pick and traded his rights and Ray Allen to Boston for the rights to No. 5 pick Jeff Green, Wally Szczerbiak, and Delonte West, and the No. 46 pick in 2008 (wound up in Detroit as Trent Plaisted). (31). Drafted Carl Landry then traded him to Houston for the No. 56 pick in 2008 (wound up in Cleveland as Sasha Kaun).

Players Received: Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, Wally Szczerbiak, Delonte West.
Players Lost: Ray Allen, Glen Davis, Carl Landry

Review: Kevin Durant is a star and it’s hard to envision him not being the best player out of the draft class when everything is said and done.

I don’t rate Jeff Green as highly as others do. While he certainly has a host of skills, he’s not a great finisher, shooter, ball handler, passer, rebounder, or defender. Plus, he doesn’t have a failsafe go-to move on offense he can get off anytime. Compare this to Carl Landry who is a solid individual defender and a dreadnaught in the post.

Even Glen Davis, the player Green was traded for, finishes better at the basket while providing terrific individual and help defense. When the Thunder become elite, I doubt Green will be a part of the team. The Sonics didn’t get enough for Ray Allen, and they should’ve held on to Landry over Green.

Grade: B-

Atlanta Hawks

(No.3) Drafted Al Horford. (11) Traded Al Harrington and John Edwards for the pick. Then drafted Acie Law. (34) Traded the pick (Nick Fazekas) to Dallas for Anthony Johnson.

Players Received:
Al Horford, Acie Law, Anthony Johnson
Players Lost: Al Harrington, John Edwards, Nick Fazekas

Review: Al Horford has been the best center, and second best player from the 2007 draft. He has the physicality to score in the post, defend the paint and rebound, and the athleticism to shoot, face-and-go, and defend the perimeter.

Trading Al Harrington was the right move, but Acie Law has been a bust that could have been Rodney Stuckey, Aaron Brooks, or even Ramon Sessions. Because the Hawks didn’t make the playoffs that year, trading away the No.34 pick for Anthony Johnson wasn’t the right decision.

Grade: B-

Memphis Grizzlies

(No.4) Drafted Mike Conley Jr.

Review: The Grizzlies lost their second round pick in a trade two seasons prior for Lawrence Roberts. Mike Conley’s wingspan hasn’t compensated for his poor defensive awareness, and he isn’t an offensive difference maker. Rodney Stuckey’s a better scorer and defender, Ramon Sessions is a better playmaker, while Aaron Brooks can win games with his hot shooting. Joakim Noah would have also been a prudent pick with Pau Gasol heading out the door.

Grade: F

Boston Celtics

(No.5) Drafted Jeff Green then traded his rights, Delonte West, Wally Szczerbiak, and the No. 46 pick in 2008 (wound up in Detroit as Trent Plaisted) to Seattle for the rights to No. 35 Glen Davis, and Ray Allen. (24) In 2006, Boston traded the pick (wound up in Portland as Rudy Fernandez) to Phoenix for Rajon Rondo and Brian Grant. (32) Drafted Gabe Pruitt. (49) In 2006, traded the pick (wound up in Chicago as Aaron Gray) to Denver for Leon Powe.

Players Received: Glen Davis, Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo, Brian Grant, Gabe Pruitt, Leon Powe.
Players Lost: Delonte West, Wally Szczerbiak, Trent Plaisted, Jeff Green, Rudy Fernandez, Aaron Gray.

Boston cleaned up the draft by acquiring multiple pieces of their 2008 and 2010 Finals teams. In 2006, they swindled Robert Sarver’s penny-pinching pockets, acquiring star point guard Rajon Rondo for what would eventually turn into Rudy Fernandez.

They traded Jeff Green for Glen Davis, a player whose toughness and quick-footed defense is more valuable to them than Jeff Green.

Oh, and they got Ray Allen in the deal too.

Leon Powe had a very successful run as a post scorer before blowing out his knee. Gabe Pruitt could have become Ramon Sessions, but that doesn’t take away from what Boston accomplished.

Grade: A+

Milwaukee Bucks

(No.6) Drafted Yi Jianlian. (33) In 2006, traded the pick (Marcus Williams) to San Antonio for Damir Markota. (56) Drafted Ramon Sessions

Players Received: Yi Jianlian, Damir Markota, Ramon Sessions
Players Lost: Marcus Williams

Review: The Bucks wasted their lottery pick on Yi Jianlian, one of the softest players of recent memory. They made up for it by selecting Ramon Sessions in a spot where nobody finds backup-quality talent, let alone a fringe starter like Sessions.

Grade: C

Minnesota Timberwolves

(No.7) Drafted Corey Brewer. (41) In 2006, traded Bobby Jones for the pick. Then selected Chris Richard.

Players Received: Corey Brewer, Chris Richard
Players Lost: Bobby Jones

Review: Corey Brewer was supposed to be the athletic wing Minnesota needed, but his high handle and iffy jump shooting range hold back his offense, while his perpetual gambling holds back his defense. Worse, he hasn’t improved in those areas, suffering the same bad habits as his rookie season. Jared Dudley isn’t as capable of creating his own offense, but Wilson Chandler has proven to be a more effective two-way player than Brewer.

Neither Richard nor Jones has been anything more than filler.

Grade: F

Charlotte Bobcats

(No.8) Drafted Brendan Wright. Then traded him to Golden State for Jason Richardson and the rights to No. 36 pick Jermareo Davidson. (22) Drafted Jared Dudley.

Players Received: Jason Richardson, Jermareo Davidson, Jared Dudley
Players Lost: Brendan Wright

Review: Brendan Wright has a ton of athleticism and no clue how to use it. Instead of holding on to him, the Bobcats purveyed him into a forgettable season-plus of Jason Richardson. Charlotte also acquired Jared Dudley in the trade, a sold defensive player, and exceptional three-point shooter. Richardson never worked out, but is still better than Wright, while Dudley has blossomed into a valuable rotation player.

Grade: A-

Chicago Bulls

(No.9) Drafted Joakim Noah. (38) In 2006, Traded the pick (wound up in Utah as Kyrylo Fesenko), and Rodney Carney to Philadelphia for Thabo Sefolosha). (49) In 2006, traded J.R. Smith to Denver for the pick (Aaron Gray) and the No. 51 pick (JamesOn Curry). (53) In 2006, traded the pick (wound up in New York as Demetris Nichols) and LaMarcus Aldridge to Portland for Tyrus Thomas and Viktor Khryapa.

Players Received: Joakim Noah, Thabo Sefolosha, Aaron Gray, JamesOn Curry, Tyrus Thomas, LaMarcus Aldrisge
Players Lost: Kyrylo Fesenko, Rodney Carney, J.R. Smith, LaMarcus Aldridge, Demetris Nichols

Review: All of the heavy lifting for Chicago’s portion of the 2007 draft was done in prior trades. Even the Joakim Noah selection was made after the Bulls swapped picks with the Knicks as a result of the Eddy Curry trade. Fortunately for Chicago, Noah projects better than Wilson Chandler.

The Bulls still need a post presence today, and gave up one in LaMarcus Aldridge. Plus, passed on Carl Landry to take Noah in the 2007 lottery. Noah has at least proven his worth as an excellent defender and rebounder with respectable offensive skills.

Thabo Sefelosha was a better pick than the combined value of Kyrylo Fesenko and Rodney Carney, as Sefolosha has always been a valuable defender. Carney is nothing more than a low-end scoring option, while Fesenko is in the league simply on the status of his massive frame.

J.R. Smith was a headcase who still suffers from profound immaturity. The Bulls can’t be blamed for dumping him for Aaron Gray and Jameson Curry.

It wouldn’t have been the worst draft in the world if not for the LaMarcus Aldridge trade still gumming up the works.

Grade: B-

Sacramento Kings

(10) Drafted Spencer Hawes.

Review: Sacramento lost its second round pick in a 2004 trade. They needed size and front court athleticism, and got the former with Hawes but not the latter. Hawes doesn’t have much in the way of post offense or defense and projects to be a journeyman center. A poor pick in hindsight.

Grade: D+

Philadelphia 76ers

(12) Drafted Thaddeus Young. (20) In 2006, Philadelphia traded Allen Iverson and Ivan McFarlin to Denver for Andre Miller, Joe Smith, the No. 21 pick, and the No. 30 pick. Drafted Daequan Cook with the No. 21 pick and traded him and the No. 45 pick in 2009 (Wound up in Dallas as Nick Calathes) to Miami for the No. 20 pick Jason Smith. Drafted Petteri Koponen with the No. 30 pick and traded him to Portland for No. 42 pick Derrick Byars. (38) In 2006, traded Thabo Sefolosha to Chicago for Rodney Carney and the pick. Drafted Kyrylo Fesenko and traded him to Utah for No. 55 pick Herbert Hill. (41) In 2006, traded the pick (Chris Richard) to Minnesota for Bobby Jones.

Players Received:
Thaddeus Young, Andre Miller, Joe Smith, Jason Smith, Derrick Byars, Rodney Carney, Herbert Hill, Bobby Jones.
Players Lost: Allen Iverson, Ivan McFarlin, Thabo Sefolosha, Chris Richard.

Review: The Sixers had a hyperactive role in the 2007 draft with a multitude of trades affecting the middle and later portions of the draft. I’ll try to simplify the effects of everything.

First of all, the Daequan Cook for Jason Smith trade is a wash as neither player is effective at creating his own shot, defending, or being an impact on the court in general. Likewise, neither Petteri Koponen nor Derrick Byars has had any NBA impact, though the Sixers are docked a small amount due to Koponen’s potential to be a possible NBA rotation player someday. Chris Richard for Bobby Jones also should be ignored.

After Carl Landry, none of the power forwards in the draft really differentiated themselves from one another. Thaddeus Young is a terrific athlete and off-ball slasher, but he’s probably a worse all around offensive player than Jeff Green despite being a better defender. Glen Davis isn’t quite the athlete, but he’s also a solid defender who serves as a better half court scorer. Young still serves as an athlete for Philadelphia’s up-and-down game plan, but the pick only nets a C.

Trading off Allen Iverson was the right move to allow Philadelphia’s youngsters to develop, and Andre Miller was perfect for maximizing the talent around him. He even led the overachieving Sixers to four playoff victories in two years. An A grade.

Thabo Sefolosha has become one of the premier on-ball defenders in the league while Rodney Carney is simply a mediocre scorer. To exacerbate things, they traded a functional rotation big in Kyrylo Fesenko for a non-NBA player in Herbert Hill. Give the Sixers a D- for that.

Overall, that leaves the Sixers with only a mediocre grade.

Grade: C

New Orleans Hornets

(13) Drafted Julian Wright. (43) Drafted Adam Haluska.

Review: Julian Wright can run and jump, but has no basketball IQ. The two wings taken after him, Al Thornton and Nick Young, have each had more productive careers to this point. Adam Haluska was picked with Marc Gasol still on the board. Overall, the Hornets had a totally ineffective draft.

Grade: F

Los Angeles Clippers

(14) Drafted Al Thornton. (45) Drafted Jared Jordan.

Review: Al Thornton is another high talent, poor awareness player who hasn’t been as effective as Wilson Chandler and Jared Dudley, who were both on the board. However, Thornton has shown enough talent to not be a complete bust. Jared Jordan is D-League filler.

Grade: C-

Detroit Pistons

(15) In 2006, traded Darko Milicic and Carlos Arroyo for the pick and Kelvin Cato. Then drafted Rodney Stuckey. (27) Drafted Arron Afflalo. (57) Drafted Sammy Mejia.

Players Received: Rodney Stuckey, Kelvin Cato, Arron Afflalo, Sammy Mejia.
Players Lost: Darko Milicic, Carlos Arroyo.

Review: The Pistons cut bait with Darko Milicic, who was useless for them, turning him into Rodney Stuckey. Stuckey has problems running an offense and shooting, but he’s a powerful scorer and tough defender who was much better than both players he was traded for. The Pistons also selected Arron Afflalo, an excellent wing defender and perimeter shooter. Sammy Mejia hasn’t amounted to anything, but as a No. 57 pick, can’t be criticized.

The Pistons selected quality players in the 2007 draft. It’s the decisions that have come afterwards that have the Pistons hamstrung with limited talent and exorbitant contracts.

Grade: A-

Washington Wizards

(16) Drafted Nick Young. (47) Drafted Dominic McGuire.

Review: The Wizards didn’t have a bad draft by any stretch of the imagination. Nick Young is an average shooting guard with wild production swings that come with having an immature game and being a totally perimeter-oriented player. Wilson Chandler and Rudy Fernandez may have been more stable picks, but each also has his own flaws.

In the second round, the Wizards selected Dominic McGuire. He’s a limited offensive player, but he’s a passable defender and an active rebounder who has stuck in the league despite being a late draft pick.

Grade: B-

New Jersey Nets

(17) Drafted Sean Williams.

Review: Sean Williams didn’t practice hard, didn’t play hard, and fell out of favor in New Jersey very quickly. He was a high-risk, high-reward draft pick that didn’t pan out.

Grade: F

Golden State Warriors

(No.8) Traded Jason Richardson and the rights to No. 36 pick Jermareo Davidson to Charlotte for the rights to No. 8 pick Brandon Wright. (18) Drafted Marco Belinelli. (46) Drafted Stephen Lasme.

Players Received: Brandon Wright, Marco Belinelli, Stephen Lasme.
Players Lost: Jason Richardson, Jermareo Davidson.

Review: The Jason Richardson trade was one of the first dominoes in breaking up the 2006-2007 Golden State team that knocked out top seeded Dallas in the opening round of that year’s playoffs. However, Golden State lost an electric scorer for a kid who hasn’t developed. Wright has shown nothing but flashes in his career that he can stay in the league.

Marco Belinelli is a one-dimensional shooter that can’t do anything else, while Stephen Lasme is a D-Leaguer. Not only did the Warriors strike out on their picks, but they struck out while also losing a top-notch offensive weapon.

Grade: F

Los Angeles Lakers

(19) Drafted Javaris Crittenton. (40) Drafted Sun Yue. (48) Drafted Marc Gasol.

Review: The Lakers’ first two picks were duds who are now more commonly referenced as punch lines than as players. Marc Gasol, however, has turned into a borderline all-star who can shoot and pass from the high post, has terrific touch around the hoop, and is a quality rebounder. He’s a second-round steal.

Grade: B-

Miami Heat

(20) Drafted Jason Smith. Then traded him to Miami for No. 21 pick Daequan Cook and the No. 45 pick in 2009 (wound up in Dallas as Nick Calathes). (39) Drafted Stanko Barac, then traded him to Indiana for the No. 43 pick in 2009 (wound up in New Orleans as Marcus Thornton).

Players Received: Daequan Cook.
Players Lost: Jason Smith. Stanko Barac.

Review: Since Marcus Thornton was traded on draft day in 2009, he doesn’t count as being received by the Heat. The Heat aren’t penalized for essentially giving away a player because Stanko Barac hasn’t come stateside, and doesn’t look to be arriving anytime soon. The Daequan Cook for Jason Smith swap was an inconsequential trade involving inconsequential players.  Not surprisingly, the Heat had an inconsequential draft.

Grade: C-

New York Knicks

(23) Drafted Wilson Chandler. (53) Traded Steve Francis, Channing Frye, and the No. 36 pick in 2008 (wound up in Chicago as Omer Asik) to Portland for Zach Randolph, Dan Dickau, Fred Jones, and the rights to No. 53 pick Demetris Nichols.

Players Received: Wilson Chandler, Zach Randolph, Dan Dickau, Fred Jones, Demetris Nichols.
Players Lost: Steve Francis, Channing Frye, Omer Asik.

Review: Wilson Chandler can shoot a little bit, finish, play in the open court and the half court, and is a decent defensive player. He’s not good at creating his own offense in isolations, however.

Zach Randolph was a nightmare his lone full season in New York, and gave the Madison Square Garden crowd a full spectacle of overdribbling, no movement, no defense, and terrible shot selection.

Fred Jones was useful for a season as an athletic defender who could put the ball in the basket. Steve Francis was done, and is as fondly remembered in New York as Randolph. Channing Frye is soft, weak, and defenseless, but is an excellent shooter when given ample spacing which the Knicks didn’t have.

A plus grade for Chandler and a minus grade for Randolph means a C grade total.

Grade: C

Phoenix Suns

(24) In 2006, drafted Rajon Rondo, then traded him and Brian Grant to Boston for the pick. Drafted Rudy Fernandez, then sold him and James Jones to Portland. (29) Drafted Alando Tucker. (59) Drafted D.J. Strawberry.

Players Received: Alando Tucker
Players Lost: Rajon Rondo, Brian Grant, James Jones.

Review: Rajon Rondo was the 2007 stop on Phoenix’s draft pick-trading railroad. While Rondo wouldn’t have been the best fit in Phoenix because his inability to shoot limits Phoenix’s ability to space the floor, he’s still better than nothing. Rudy Fernandez’ multi-dimensional offense could have thrived in Phoenix, but he was sold off for cash. Alando Tucker is roster filler, while D.J. Strawberry is only a D-Leaguer.

Phoenix got nothing of value from the 2007 draft. Nothing except an F grade.

Grade: F

Utah Jazz

(25) Drafted Morris Almond. (38) Drafted Herbert Hill with the No. 55 pick and traded his rights to Philadelphia for the rights to No. 38 pick Kyrylo Fesenko.

Players Received: Morris Almond, Kyrylo Fesenko.
Players Lost: Herbert Hill

Review: Morris Almond was never able to learn Utah’s flex offense and is now hoping to latch on to a team. Arron Afflalo would have been the better pick. Kyrylo Fesenko has developed into a serviceable player, while Herbert Hill is out of the league.

Grade: C

Houston Rockets

(26) Aaron Brooks. (31) Traded the No. 56 pick in 2008 (wound up in Cleveland as Sasha Kaun) to Seattle for the rights to No. 31 pick Carl Landry. (54) Bought the No. 54 pick from Orlando. Drafted Brad Newley.

Players Received: Aaron Brooks, Carl Landry, Brad Newley
Players Lost: Sasha Kaun

Review: The Rockets absolutely cleaned up during the draft. Late in the first round, they gambled on pint-sized Aaron Brooks, hoping that his ability to create his own shot would offset his lack of height. The pick has worked out tremendously, as Brooks has developed into an explosive offensive player.

Next, the Rockets traded a 2008 pick to the Sonics for Carl Landry. Landry is one of the best post scorers and screen/roll finishers in the game, and is one of the most efficient scorers in the game. His rebounding and defense are only average, but finding a post scorer that late in the draft is rarely done.

Houston picked up two of the top five rookies from the 2008 draft class with late picks. That’s a fantastic job done by Daryl Morey and the Rockets scouts and front office.

Grade: A+

San Antonio Spurs

(28) Drafted Tiago Splitter. (33) In 2006, traded the draft rights to Damir Markota to Milwaukee for the pick. Drafted Marcus Williams. (58) Drafted Giorgos Printezis then traded his rights to Toronto for the No. 45 pick in 2008 (wound up in Phoenix as Goran Dragic.

Players Received: Tiago Splitter, Marcus Williams.
Players Lost: Damir Markota, Giorgos Printezis

Review: Tiago Splitter may be a fantastic player when he comes over to the Spurs, but with San Antonio competing for championships the past three years, Carl Landry may have been able to provide more immediate dividends as a low post scorer taking the pressure off of Tim Duncan. The 2006 Markota trade didn’t pay off because Marcus Williams hasn’t been an NBA worthy player. San Antonio’s decision to trade away Goran Dragic will be touched on in my 2008 draft review next year.

Grade: D+

Dallas Mavericks

(34) Traded Anthony Johnson to Atlanta for the rights to No. 34 pick Nick Fazekas. (44) Drafted Milovan Rakovic with the No. 60 pick, then traded his rights to Orlando for the rights to No. 44 pick, Reyshawn Terry. (50) In 2006, traded the draft rights to J.R. Pinnock to the Lakers for the pick. Drafted Renaldes Seibutis.

Players Received: Nick Fazekas, Reyshawn Terry, Renaldes Seibutis
Players Lost: Milovan Rakovic, J.R. Pinnock.

Review: Dallas didn’t have a first round pick to play with, trading it away in 2004 in the Erick Dampier trade. They acquired an early second round pick in midseason for Anthony Johnson, though trading away a proven veteran for a pick was strange considering the Mavs thought themselves to be title contenders that year. Even then, they drafted Fazekas with Glen Davis and Marc Gasol still available. The entire saga of the No. 34 pick is riddled with poor choices.

Dallas hoped to trade up in the second round for a quality player, but Reyshawn Terry has provided as much to the NBA as Rakovic. Likewise, Seibutis and Pinnock are out of the league.

Grade: D-

Orlando Magic

(15) In 2006, traded the pick (Rodney Stuckey) and Kelvin Cato to Detroit for Carlos Arroyo and Darko Milicic. (39) Forfeited the pick (wound up in Indiana as Stanko Barac) and the No. 52 pick in 2008 (wound up in Cleveland as Darnell Jackson) as compensation for hiring Stan Van Gundy. (44) Drafted Reyshawn Terry, then traded his rights to Dallas for the rights to No. 60 pick Milovan Rakovic. (54) Sold the pick (Brad Newley) to Houston.

Players Received: Darko Milicic, Carlos Arroyo, Milovan Rakovic
Players Lost: Rodney Stuckey, Kelvin Cato, Stanko Barac, Darnell Jackson, Reyshawn Terry, Brad Newley

Review: Darko Milicic was a slight upgrade over Kelvin Cato, and Rodney Stuckey’s inability to shoot wouldn’t have flown well in Orlando’s spread screen/roll offense that needs shooters and spacing to work. Even though Stuckey is the best player in the transaction, the Magic can’t be faulted in hindsight for the deal.

The Magic are also much better off with Stan Van Gundy than with Darnell Jackson and Stanko Barac. Brad Newley, Reyshawn Terry, and Milovan Rakovic are all inconsequential players with inconsequential impacts on the draft.

Grade: B

Indiana Pacers:

(11) Traded the pick (Acie Law) to Atlanta for Al Harrington and John Edwards. (39) Traded the No. 43 pick in 2009 (Wound up in New Orleans as Marcus Thornton) to Miami for the rights to No. 39 pick Stanko Barac. (42) In 2006, traded James White to Portland for the pick (Derrick Byars), the No. 55 pick in 2008 (would up in Houston as Mike Taylor), and Alexander Johnson.

Players Received:
Al Harrington, John Edwards, Stanko Barac, James White
Players Lost: Acie Law, Marcus Thornton, Derrick Byars, Mike Taylor, Alexander Johnson

The only players involved in Indiana’s draft who have done anything substantial as professionals are Al Harrington and Marcus Thornton. Harrington is a shoot-em-up forward who can create his own shot and sink the three, but with a proclivity for poor shot selection, poor decision making, and missed layups.

Thornton, is a novice scorer with terrific athleticism, the ability to create his own shot, and better discretion than Harrington.

All told, the Pacers gave away the best player they could have had.

Review: D+

Denver Nuggets

(21) Traded the pick (wound up in Miami as Daequan Cook), the No. 30 pick (wound up in Portland as Petteri Koponen), Andre Miller, and Joe Smith to Philadelphia for Ivan McFarlin, and Allen Iverson. (49) In 2006, traded Leon Powe for the pick (Aaron Gray). Then traded the pick, the No. 51 pick (JamesOn Curry) and Howard Eisley to Chicago for J.R. Smith.

Players Received: Allen Iverson, Ivan McFarlin, J.R. Smith
Players Lost: Daequan Cook, Petteri Koponen, Leon Powe, JamesOn Curry, Howard Eisley.

Review: The Allen Iverson trade was a step sideways, not a step forward, and the Nuggets only got better once they shipped Iverson off themselves. J.R. Smith, despite his wild immaturity, was worth the risk of two inadequate second round picks and the washed up Howard Eisley. He’s too easily thrown off track, a key reason why the Nuggets have lost in the first round in three of Smith’s four seasons on board. However, his spectacular talent helped allow the Nuggets to reach the conference finals in 2009.

Trade: B-

Toronto Raptors

(58) Traded the No. 45 pick in 2008 (wound up in Phoenix as Goran Dragic) to San Antonio for the rights to No. 58 pick Giorgos Printezis.

Players Received: Giorgos Printezis
Players Lost: Goran Dragic

Review: Like a nefarious time capsule, one of Toronto’s second round picks (Taurean Green, the No 52. Pick) was traded away in 1997 in the deal that brought John Wallace to the Raptors and Chris Dudley to the Knicks. The pick was actually top-50 protected until 2012 (When you absolutely, positively don’t want the pick to become anyone worthwhile, you set 15 years of protection on it). Safe to say, Toronto wasn’t harmed since their two seasons of John Wallace were far more productive than the 17 ineffectual games Taurean Green played in the NBA.

That historical aside finished, the Raptors traded their 2008 second round pick, which would eventually become Goran Dragic, for Giorgos Printezis, a player who is unlikely to play in the NBA. A clear-cut failure of a transaction.

Grade: F

Cleveland Cavaliers

No picks.

Review: Cleveland didn’t have a pick as each of their picks was traded away long before 2007. They were in possession of a pair of first round picks, but traded one for Sasha Pavlovic, and another for the immortal Jiri Welsch (every year I do one of these draft recaps, and every year, a different team is trading him away). Their second round pick was traded away in the deal that brought Drew Gooden and Anderson Varejao to the Cavs.

Grade: INC

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