While its WAY too early to evaluate how well teams made out in this draft, well attempt to take an early shot at grading the draft based on what we know now and what we heard and saw from covering the draft over the past few months.
This report card was based off three things:I:
How well did the team in question satisfy their personal needs or fill the gaps they have on their roster with the hand they were dealt.II:
How much value teams got from the picks they had. III:
Subjective opinions on the player they got and how well they fit with the teams style of play, the direction they are headed and what we know about the organization. Draft Grades Methodology:A:
The team probably could not have done any better considering the situation they were in. B:
The team did well in filling their needs, getting fair value from their pick and getting a prospect that fits their system and the direction the franchise is heading in. C:
The team had an average draft, not knocking anyones socks off, but also not embarrassing their fans. D:
The team should have done a better job with the picks they made.F:
The team did a terrible job and their fans have every reason to be mad about the picks they made or didnt make. Grades#22 New Jersey Nets Picks: Marcus Williams (22); Josh Boone (23); Hassan Adamas (54)B+
The Nets came into this draft looking for a backup point guard and a power forward who compliments Nenad Krstic
in the first round, and the best available player they can find deep in the 2nd round.
Considering the players they came away with, that mission was a clear success, particularly in landing Marcus Williams
with the 22nd pick. Williams has a bit of Jason Kidd
to his game in the way he controls the tempo of the game and finds the open man with his incredible court vision, but still needs to improve his defense and conditioning level, which hell have no choice not to do if he wants to play for conservative head coach Lawrence Frank. The Nets will be able to boast having one of the top backup point guards in the NBA very soon, and once Kidd begins to slow down, Williams should be ready to step right in without losing much of a beat.
At 23 the Nets took a bit more of a risk in drafting fellow UConn junior Josh Boone
. While Boone started off the season ranked way ahead of Williams on most mock drafts, his apathy and lack of mental toughness on the basketball court had many thinking hell end up being drafted in the 2nd round. Boone surely has the physical tools to succeed, including a wide frame, long arms, good hands and solid athleticism, but it remains to be seen whether he has what it takes to capitalize on his potential. Alexander Johnson
would have been a better pick here considering his freakish athleticism and tenacious style of play, but concerns about past injuries ended up dropping him to the 2nd round.
In the late 2nd round the Nets got another player who was once much more highly regarded in Hassan Adams
. Despite being a human-highlight reel, Adams lacks size at his position as well as decent ball-handling skills, perimeter shooting and decision making ability. The kiss of death for him was his multiple off the court issues that came up during his senior year at Arizona. Where the Nets where drafting, though, theres very little downside in taking a player like Adams, and his ability to defend, run the floor and finish at the basket should get him some minutes in New Jerseys slim rotation.
All in all the Nets had a solid draft and should continue to compete for home court advantage in the Eastern conference next seasons.
#24 Memphis Grizzlies Rudy Gay
(8), Kyle Lowry
(24); acquired, Stromile Swift
; acquired Alexander Johnson
After a trade between the Rockets and Timberwolves fell through (thanks to the shrewdness of the Portland Trailblazers) just as the clock started ticking on the #8 pick, the Memphis Grizzlies stepped in and made a risky trade to send consummate glue guy Shane Battier
to Houston for Stromile Swift
and the rights to the #8 pick. The Grizzlies selected Rudy Gay
, and half of the league wondered whether Jerry West
had officially lost his mind, while the other half wondered whether the Logo had just quietly come away with the best player in the draft.
After a few years of mediocrity settling for quick, early exits in the first round of the playoffs, the Grizzlies appear to be intent on taking the proper risk needed to make it to the next round. Gay is more of a long-term project that will develop alongside 25 year old Pau Gasol
, but the fact that he goes into a situation where he can play behind and learn from a true professional in Eddie Jones
makes us a little bit more optimistic about how he might turn out. If the Grizzlies can parlay Stromile Swift
into some kind of valuepreferably a point guard--they could very well be on their way.
With their own pick, the Grizzlies drafted Kyle Lowry
, whom the team never worked out. Jerry West
scouted him heavily at Villanova and saw enough to think he has a potential steal late in the first round. Lowrys size and outside shooting skills will always be a hindrance, but he is the type of tenacious lead guard that could eventually grow on Mike Fratello enough to the point that hell actually use him. It probably wont be anytime soon, though.
In the 2nd round, the Grizzlies traded a future pick to Portland to land Alexander Johnson
. The Grizzlies made a promise to draft Johnson just a few nights before the draft, but as is the case with many commitments we see every year, reneged at the last moment and sent his stock into a tailspin when he wasnt taken in the first round. They got to have their cake and eat it to by landing him in the 2nd round, and Johnson is now faced with the awkward situation of having to play for the organization that gave him a rude introduction to the business of the NBA, just as his professional career got started.
#25 Cleveland CavaliersPicks: Shannon Brown (25); Daniel Gibson (42); Ejike Ugboaja (55)B
Its difficult to criticize teams drafting this late in the first round when they come away with anything that resembles a player that could contribute to them down the road, and the Cavs got two of them at 25 and 42. With Lebron James
as their true playmaker, the Cavs have perpetually been searching for a combo guard they can play next to him that doesnt dominate the ball, can knock down open 3-pointers, play excellent defense and get to the basket when the situation calls for it. Both Brown and Gibson have their flaws, mainly their ball-handling/slashing skills to go along with their obvious lack of true playmaking ability and experience, while both duplicate each other to a certain extent. With them only being sophomores, though, they have room to develop and the attitudes to want to do so.
In the late 2nd round the Cavs took a shot in the dark at a player even most NBA international scouts dont know a thing about in Ejike Ugboaja
. The Cavs must have been impressed by the 6 points he scored on 27% shooting at the U-21 World Championships in Argentina last summer.
#26 Los Angeles LakersPicks: Jordan Farmar (26); acquired Maurice Evans; acquired J.R. Pinnock (58) D
Again, difficult to criticize a team drafting this late, but its even more difficult to see how Jordan Farmar
fits into the Triangle offense. With Phil Jackson
s emphasis on tall point guards who can shoot, play great defense and dont dominate the ball, it seems like Farmar might actually be the exact opposite of what they should have been looking for.
Regardless, Farmar is still a very nice player, and if Jackson can get past his flaws and actually decide to play him, could stick around for quite some time. His ability to find the open man is absolutely top-notch, as are his ball-handling and leadership skills. Not being the most patient about wanting to develop and make the league, the true test for Farmar will be to see how he reacts to playing in the D-League and riding the pine extensively.
Later in the draft the Lakers went out and acquired two more guards who really dont fit their system in Maurice Evans
and Danilo Pinnock
. That brings them to 6 young guards on their roster excluding Kobe Bryant
, so something will have to give at some point in the form of a pink slip or two. Trading a 2007 2nd round for the a player who almost certainly would have went undrafted seems like a bit of a waste when you consider that one of those pink slips could very well be handed to the #58 pick Pinnock.
#28 Dallas MavericksPicks: Maurice Ager (28)B
These last few picks of the first round are considered some of the least valuable to have in a draft like this, but the Mavs got themselves a player who could certainly be a rotation type by the end of his rookie deal. Ager fits in with Avery Johnson
s tough and hardworking mentality and his excellent attitude on and off the court will never clash with Dallas stars. With Jerry Stackhouse
becoming a free agent next summer and Marquis Daniels
clearly on the block, Ager could even get some playing time in the near future if he manages to beat out Rawle Marshall
and Adrian Griffin
The Mavs shrewdly converted their extremely late 2nd rounder into a much more valuable 2007 pick, when teams drafting well before them were only getting straight cash. That was a smart move by a team that doesnt have many roster spots to spare and could certainly get a player that is just as talented in the undrafted free agent pool.
#34 Los Angeles ClippersPicks: Paul Davis (34); Guillermo Diaz (52)A
The Clippers had some basic needs and they made an effort to fulfill them through the draft. Paul Davis
had a nice college career and well now see if he can translate that into being a rotation player in the NBA. He certainly has the size and basic skill-set to do so, despite his below average wingspan. Guillermo Diaz
is an intriguing pick by an intriguing team in the sense that they can pair him with 6-7 point guard Shaun Livingston
and allow Diaz to play his natural position offensively at the 2. You rarely get someone that late in the draft who can actually play, but the Clippers appear to have done just that.
#39 Milwaukee Bucks Picks: David Noel (39); acquired Damir Markota (59) in a trade with the SpursD
The Bucks probably could have gotten better value than David Noel
with the #39 pick, but the more head-scratching move they made was trading the better of their two 2007 2nd round picks for the rights to #59 pick Damir Markota
. Thats not really a move that makes too much sense unless there is something very obvious we are missing here. The Spurs probably wont be complaining about it.
Denver NuggetsTraded #49 Leon Powe to Boston for a 2007 2nd round pickB
You really cant argue with the Nuggets for trading the #49 pick for the rights to Bostons 2007 2nd rounder. Not only will they almost certainly get a better pick, it also will be in what appears to be a much stronger draft class, which means better options to choose from. And with no GM at the helm at the moment, that seemed like the safest way to go.
Detroit PistonsPicks: Will Blalock (60); acquired Cheick Samb (51) for Maurice EvansA
Anytime you get a player who could make your roster with the last pick in the draft you did a good job, and thats exactly what the Pistons did here for the 2nd year straight. The Pistons wanted a tough point guard that fit their style of play and Blalock is exactly that. He might have to compete with Alex Acker
in summer league for a roster spot, but he should be in the league somewhere next year regardless.
To help with the crunch of the luxury tax the Pistons also managed to trade away Maurice Evans
contract for a late 2nd round pick. If theyve decided that Evans cant help them anymore then that has to be considered a good move when they have other free agents that that space will be used for. Super-scout Tony Ronzone knows what hes doing on the international front so well see what comes out of the #51 pick Cheick Samb
. If its nothing no one will remember it, but if he ever makes the team Ronzone will get yet another pat on the back.
San Antonio SpursPicks: Traded Damir Markota (59) to the Bucks for better of their two 2nd round picksA
Leave it up to the Spurs to get great value even out of their ultra late 2nd round picks. The Spurs managed to squeeze the better of Milwaukees two 2nd round picks (Houston or their own), getting a better spot in a deeper draft, which is an absolute no-brainer.
Miami HeatPicks: None
Having traded away all of their picks for Shaq and company, the Heat appeared to be more than content staying pat in this draft. Their summer league team loaded up for that reason exactly, and they could very well get 2nd round type value with the 61st pick.