Saturday, June 27, 2009

DRAFT GRADES

With the draft now complete, I examine who did best on Thursday Night. Their was no team that went from bad to contender overnight like in some previous drafts. But several teams especially the Clippers and Thunder took big steps to building a contender in 3-4 years.
Here are my Grades:

L.A. Clippers- A
1. Blake Griffin-PF-He won't turn around the worst franchise in NBA history overnight. But with Griffin, Eric Gordon, and Al Thorton, the Clippers have a young nucleus to build around. They also have star (when healthy) PG Baron Davis to lead them. I think they should try to trade Zach Randolph, but that will be tough to do. At the very least Griffin can learn some good post up moves from Randolph.

Memphis Grizzlies- B+
2. Hasheem Thabeet-C-Thabeet will be a defensive shutdown center from day one. He will control the paint for many years and should be on the NBA's all-defensive team in a few years. His offense is raw but that's OK.
27. DeMarre Carrol-CF
36. Sam Young-SF
Both Carrol an Young should make the roster and provide good depth at the forward spots. Both are NBA ready and could see significant minutes next year.

Oklahoma City Thunder- A
3. James Harden-SG-Harden is the perfect fit at SG to play in between young star SF Kevin Durant and up coming stud PG Russel Westbrook. It will only be a matter of time before Harden is averaging 20ppg. Taking him over Rubio was a great move.
24. B.J. Mullens-C-Mullens has a lot of potential and offensive skill. Yet it will take at least 3-4 more years before he is ready to be a stud. It was a good pick considering their need at center, but it will take a while before it pays off.
54. Robert Vaden-SG-They traded for him so they think he might challenge for a roster spot. At the very least he could be a good player in the D-League

Sacramento Kings- B+
4. Tyreke Evans-PG-Most people either love or hate the move to pick Evans over Rubio. I think Rubio would have been a better fit for the Kings and Evans a better fit for the TWolves. However Evans still has a lot of talent and has great driving skills that can eventually compliment the lights out shooting ability of SG Kevin Martin. Only time will tell and it will take a long time to tell this one.
23. Omri Casspi-SF-We might look back 5 years from now and realize how much of a steal Casspi was. He will stay in Europe 1-2 years, but when he gets to the league he will be a starting SF or at least a good 6th man.
38. John Brockman-PF-He's a bruising hustle player in every sense. He will be deep on the bech but should still make the team. He also was a teammate of starting Center Spencer Hawes at Washington in 06-07. I think that played into their decision to get him.
They also got a role playing PG in Sergio Rodriguez in a trade with the Blazers.

Minnesota Timberwolves- Inc.
5. Ricky Rubio-PG-I still don't think Rubio will actually play a game for the TWolves. He will stay in Europe 1-2 years if the TWolves cannot find a suitable trade for him. The Knicks, Rockets and maybe a few other teams would be interested. Picking Rubio at #5 was still a smart move given his value and potential. The GM said that Flynn and Rubio can play in the backcourt together. I don't buy that, Rubio doesn't want to play there so he probaly won't.
6. Jonny Flynn-PG-It looks like Flynn might be the TWolves PG of the future. He is a tough as nails competitor who will have a very solid career. He probably will never be a star though
28. Wayne Ellington-SG-Will be a great shooter off the bench on most teams, but has a chance to start for the TWolves
47. Henk Norel-PF-I mean his name is cool I guess.

Golden State Warriors- B-
7. Stephen Curry-CG-I love Curry, and they are saying he will not be traded but a lot of people say things. Clinton said he didn't have sexual relations, Rafael Palmeiro said he didn't take steriods, Bush said Iraq had WMD's. If they have to trade Curry to get Amare Stoudamire I think they'll do it. I don't think Curry and Monta Ellis together is a good idea. They have almost the exact same size and skill set. Curry will be a specialty scorer off the bench who can develop into a starting PG in the right system.

New York Knicks- C+
8. Jordan Hill-PF-New York fans are so ignorant, they booed a guy who could become a 15ppg, 8rpg guy in a few years. This pick, plus the trade for Darko likely means the Knicks can be ready to let David Lee go.
29. Tony Douglas-CG-He will be a good scorer off the bench. If he can't make it in
D'Antoni's uptempo high scoring system, then he won't ever make it in the NBA. I like his game though.

Toronto Raptors- B+
9. Demar DeRozan-F/G-They got exactly who and what they wanted. He will battle for one of the starting wing spots and has star potential. It's too bad Chris Bosh will be gone before he develops. Demar can one day be a 20ppg, 6rpg guy.

Milwaukee Bucks- C+
10. Brandon Jennings-PG
-He will be a good backup at first but will eventually be a quality starter for many years. I don't see him being a star. But he has the skills to be a very productive player in the league for a long time.
41. Jodie Meeks-SG-A backup SG who might make the team. At the very least can be a star in Europe similar to Trajan Langdon.

New Jersey Nets- B+
11. Terrence Williams-F/G-This versatile player should have a solid NBA career as either a starting SF or a very good 6th man. The Nets have a lot of young talent now in Devin Harris, Brook Lopez, Courtney Lee, Yi, and now Williams. All they need is a star. Hello Le Bron or at least Chris Bosh or Joe Johnson next year.

Charlotte Bobcats- B+
12. Gerald Henderson-SG-Henderson has a lot of potential to be a 16-18ppg starting SG pretty soon. However if he shows the inconstency he showed in college he may never be more than a role player.
40. Derrick Brown-CF-He's a very athletic combo forward who should help provide defense a depth.

Indiana Pacers- B
13. Tyler Hansborough-PF-Tyler will be a solid role playing PF who could start soon. If they are expecting him to be a star like he was in college, they've got another thing coming. He also provides the toughness they lacked.
52. A.J. Price-PG-He'll be a role playing backup/3rd string PG if he makes the team.

Phoenix Suns- B+
14. Earl Clark-CF-Clark is a very talented and versatile player can start at either forward spot. He will be great if he doesn't have to be the star. He would be best as the 2nd/3rd best player on a team with a superstar a la Lamar Odom. His skills and body are very similar to Odom.
48. Taylor Griffin-CF-The Suns like to draft the less talented role playing brother. They drafted Robin Lopez (Brook's brother) last year. Griffin wil compete to make the roster.
57.
Emir Preldzic-SF-He will stay in Europe for a few years and may one day develop into a backup SF.

Detroit Pistons- D+
15. Austin Daye-SF-I am not a fan of Daye. He will be deep on the bench for a while. He maybe can become a starter in the NBA if he does 3 things, 1) Get tough like Tayshaun Prince, 2) Get skills like Rip Hamilton, 3) Workout with Ben Wallace's old trainer (and some steriods wouldn't hurt neither). The bottom line is Daye's skills, slight size and soft game are ideal for Europe not the NBA. He could be a superstar overseas.
35. DaJuan Summers-CF-Can be a good backup at both forward spots, who might turn into a starter one day.
39. Jonas Jerebko-SF-Can be a very tough defensive SF as a 7th/8th man. His game is similar to Andres Nocioni.
Both guys are the anti-Austin Daye.

Chicago Bulls- B-
16. James Johnson-CF
26. Taj Gibson-SF-Both guys will provide depth, toughness and versatility at the forward spots. They also make Tyrus Thomas expendable.

Philadelphia 76ers- B
17. Jrue Holiday-PG-They better re-sign Andre Miller as Holiday will need a few years to develop his PG skills before becoming a starter. He will be a a very good big defensive PG. He is like a more athletic version of former 76ers PG Eric Snow. Lawson or Maynor would have helped more immediately but the 76ers are looking to the future with this pick.

Denver Nuggets- A
18. Ty Lawson-PG-This was a great move for the Nuggets to move up and get a great backup for Chauncey Billups. Lawson will provide a spark off the bench and can eventually become a good starting role playing PG espcially if he learns a lot from Mr. Billups. This was a great move for a contender looking to get over the hump.

Atlanta Hawks- B
19. Jeff Teague-CG-He will be a great backup CG and they hope he can turn out to be what Acie Law wasn't. Teague has a very similar game to John Starks and Jason Terry. He's an undersized scorer. With the trade to get Jamal Crawford and the pick of Teague the Hawks are showing they are ready and willing to let PG Mike Bibby go via Free Agency. If that's a smart move, I don't know.
49. Sergiy Gladyr-PG-He will be in Europe for a while. I don't know if he'll ever see the NBA.

Utah Jazz- B-
20. Eric Maynor-PG-I like Maynor, but with both of their PF's as Free Agents they had more pressing needs with their frontcourt depth. I do like Maynor and feel he will be a solid backup for many years and on another team can become a starter. His game and size is just like Sam Cassel. The Jazz hope he can come of the bench and hit big shots to help them to a title like Cassel did for the Rockets when he was young.
50. Goran Suton-PF-Suton is originally from Europe, which is probably where he'll end up playing professionally.

New Orleans Hornets- B-
21. Darren Collison-PG-Just like the Jazz, the Hornets needed frontcourt depth more than a backup PG, but Collison will be a very good defensive backup that will spell Chris Paul so he doesn't have to play 45mpg.
43. Marcus Thornton-SG-He will try to make the team in his homestate and could become a decent backup.

Portland TrailBlazers- B
22. Victor Claver-SF-He will stay in Europe for a few years. He has a lot of potential and can become a very good 6th/7th man with his offensive skill and versatility especially for a 6-10 player.
31. Jeff Pendergraph-PF
33. Dante Cunningham-CF-Both are NBA ready players who should make someone's roster. Just maybe not the Blazers. Both have improved a lot in college and at the very least can be stored in the D-League for the Blazers and could get called up if something were to happen to LaMarcus Aldridge.
55. Patty Mills-PG-He is a undersized scoring PG whose game is suited perfectly for Europe. He must develop his PG skills to ever play in the NBA.

Dallas Mavericks- C+
25. Rodrigue Beaubois-CG-He is a long term project, but they say they expect him to be on the roster next year. At best he will be a long athletic defensive CG to come off the bench just like Leandro Barbosa.
45. Nick Calathes-PG-He will play in Europe at least 1 year and can become a decent tall PG with a lot of offensive skills. His game is almost the opposite of Beaubois. His game is perfect for Europe and might end up staying there a very long time.
56. Ahmand Nivins-PF-He has improved a lot in college and can become a deep bench role player.

Cleveland Cavaliers- C
30. Christian Eyenga-WHO? He is a very long term project (3-4 years) who could be an athletic defender like Mickeal Pietrus who people are comparing him to. This pick was strictly financial so the Cavs won't need to pay him guaranteed money until a few years.
46. Danny Green-F/G-He should make the team and give them much needed length and defense off the bench. Plus he's a winner and knows how to be a good role player.

Houston Rockets- A
32. Jermaine Taylor-SG-He has a strong NBA body and can be a good bench player right away. He has the skills to become a starter or at least a very good 6th/7th man. I think he compliments Aaron Brooks very well.
34. Sergio Llull-PG-I think Llull will one day develop into a decent backup PG. He's only 21 and will probably play 2 more years for Euro powerhouse Real Madrid.
44. Chase Budinger-G/F-Chase will be a deep bench role player as a shooter. He can become much better, and maybe even a starter if he can get tougher and stronger. With Ron Artest and Shane Battier the Rockets don't really need Budinger to be tough. They do need him to knock down open jumpers.

San Antonio Spurs- A
37. DeJuan Blair-PF-He might end up being the steal of the draft or a bust if his knees fail. I think he will flourish as Tim Duncan's backup where he'll only need to play 12-15mpg. He will give the "soft" Spurs needed toughness as the ultimate garbage player off the bench. He may one day become a role playing starting PF.
51. Jack McClinton-CG-He can become a decent deep bench combo scoring guard.
53. Nando De Colo-CG-Sorry Henk Norel, Nando clearly has the coolest name in the draft. He also has a very good offensive skill set which could see the NBA as early as 10-11.

Miami Heat- B-
42. Patrick Beverly-PG-He can shoot and create well for himself but not that well for others, which is a big negative for a PG. He will challenge Chris Quinn for the 3rd PG/roster spot.
60. Robert Dozier-SF-He's an insanley long versatile defender who reminds me of a former great role player on the Heat, James Posey. If only he can learn to hit the 3 like James Posey he'll have a spot in the league for many years.

Boston Celtics- C+
58. Lester Hudson-CG-He'll likely be playing in the D-League next year. He could somehow make the team and has a game similar to their current backup combo guard Eddie House.

Los Angeles Lakers- C-
59. Chinemelu Elonu-C/F-He's a long term project who will probably get as close to playing for the Lakers as Jack Nicholson. The Lakers could care less about this year's draft. They are still celebrating their title and worrying about re-signing Lamar Odom and Trevor Ariza.

Washington Wizards- A
They got two very talented veteran players for the #5 pick. Mike Miller should start at SG and Randy Foye can backup at both guard spots. They still need a center though and neither Gilbert or Roye is a true PG.

Orlando Magic- Inc.
They really didn't care about the draft with no picks, only making major predraft trades. But their off-season grades will depend on how they finish next season. If they win the NBA title, their grade is an A+++++. If they lose in the NBA title, it's an A-. If they make it to the Conference finals, meaning they would probably need to beat the Celtics with KG or the new look Cavs with LeBron and Shaq I give them a B. A loss to the Cavs or Celtics in the 2nd Round is a C. Anything less than that is a big F-. Orlando made the deals to win a title. Let's see if it can be done now.

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