Late first round trades galore, random second round picks, and my mock draft getting destroyed. After all the dust has settled, which teams are winners and which losers after the NBA Draft? Here are my Eastern Conference team grades. Click on the team name for individual player grades. Check back Saturday for my Western Conference team grades.
By: David Kay
Atlanta Hawks: (B+)
While I really like ultimately ending up with Jordan Crawford and cash for the 24th pick, I have no idea who this Pape Sy guy is they drafted in the second round. 500,000-1 odds he never plays in the NBA. Anyway, Crawford was one of my sleepers of the draft and being able to nab him at 27 was a terrific value as he should immediately help fill the likely void left behind by free agent Joe Johnson.
Boston Celtics: (C)
With the Boston window to win a championship slowly closing, (or so you would think) bringing in an NBA-ready talent would have been a wiser choice to help this team win. But Avery Bradley could develop into a very good player and the C’s felt the risk was worth it at 19. Luke Harangody will fight to find minutes behind KG and Big Baby next season so we will have to wait a couple of years to see the true impact of this draft class.
Charlotte Bobcats: (INC.)
Charlotte was a non-factor on draft night, having no picks and making no trades.
Chicago Bulls: (A-)
The Bulls gave their first round pick and Kirk Hinrich to the Wizards for cash considerations. This was purely a salary dump move as Chicago hopes to now set itself up to land two of the top free agents. If they don’t, this move will backfire worse than Happy Gilmore’s puck trick with the hot chick PR golf chick.
Cleveland Cavaliers: (INC.)
See “Charlotte Bobcats”
Detroit Pistons: (A-)
Joe Dumars and company should be thrilled Monroe fell to them at 7 as he will provide an immediate up-grade in the post. He was the best option for them at that point and fills a massive need. White is a good value in the second round, but barring injury, I don’t see him being much of a contributor right away.
Indiana Pacers: (C-)
Pacers clearly went with the best available player philosophy as they came into the draft needing a point guard and an athletic big but ended up selecting a pair of wing players with their first two picks. Both George and Stephenson have a lot of potential but likely won’t help Indiana win right away which was supposedly a goal of GM Larry Bird’s. I’d be surprised if Rolle made the roster.
Miami Heat: (B+)
With their four second round picks, the Heat were probably just hoping to land a couple players who could potentially become role players. Varnado and Butler each bring a special specific talent but I think 32 was a little high to take Pittman with a lot of other skilled players still on the board. Williams is a bit of a sleeper at 48.
Milwaukee Bucks: (A-)
After trading for two wing players earlier in the week, Milwaukee needed to get more physical inside and become a better defensive and rebounding team. That is exactly what they accomplished. Sanders and Jordan bring a lot of length to the frontcourt and add immediate depth. Gallon has a lot of up-side and was a great roll of the dice with their fourth pick of the draft. I am really high on Hobson and think his versatility will give the Bucks wing a different look. GM John Hammond is quickly becoming one of the best in the biz.
New Jersey Nets: (B)
The Nets added some toughness and physicality to their roster which was much needed after an awful 2009-10 season. Favors has the potential to be an All-Star while James will be an immediate up-grade at the forward spot. I still think they gave up too much to get the former Longhorn but there is no question the Nets improved during the draft.
New York Knicks: (D-)
If I didn’t like Rautins so much from his days at Syracuse, this grade would easily be an F. Here is the thing, New York took two players in Rautins and Fields who most people did not think would be drafted. Why not either try to trade down to get them and maybe acquire cash or another pick rather than hold steady? Did the Knicks give Isiah Thomas a one-day contract as GM and not tell anyone?
Orlando Magic: (C-)
The Magic were the “slide busters.” What I mean by that is both of their picks were guys who were projected to go a lot higher but were on massive slides. Orton is a long-term project and won’t sniff the rotation for at least a couple of years. Robinson could potentially be a role player depending on what happens with free agent Matt Barnes. I would have liked to see Orlando add a guard with at least one of these picks though.
Philadelphia 76ers: (A-)
They took the best available player with their only pick and landed a guy who could realistically average 18 points, 6 boards, and 5 assists a game next season. The only reason this grade isn’t an “A” is because they didn’t find a team dumb enough to take on Elton Brand’s nasty contract.
Toronto Raptors: (A)
They needed to begin preparations for life post-Bosh and that is exactly what they accomplished through this draft. Toronto picked a pair of big guys who were sliding lower than expected but can bring some defense and rebounding to the frontcourt. The question is; how much will they contribute in their rookie seasons?
Washington Wizards: (D)
Taking on Kirk Hinrich’s remaining two years, $17 million to move up and grab Kevin Seraphin and then trading two picks to jump seven spots and take a second round prospect in Trevor Booker? I feel bad for John Wall. Even landing the best prospect in the draft doesn’t help make up for a pair of bone-headed moves.