NBA Draft Grades: Yes, New Orleans gets an A+
Yes, this is very premature. I know that, you know that. But neither of us like to wait.
So here are my draft grades from 2012. We can look back on this together in three years and have a good laugh.
Atlanta Hawks: B
They got the best pure shooter in the draft in John Jenkins out of Vanderbilt, and Mike Scott is good value in the second round. There are a whole lot of big questions in Atlanta — like why didn’t you trade Josh Smith? —but these guys are solid picks.
Boston Celtics: B+
Jared Sullinger is a great value pick at 21, a guy whose high hoops IQ and game around the basket will be a fantastic fit with a veteran team. Fab Melo is a good gamble as a shot blocker.
Brooklyn Nets: F
The grade is not for their picks — I like getting Tyshawn Taylor and Tornike Shengelia in the second round — but for trading away a first rounder at the deadline rent Gerald Wallace who is leaving as a free agent. That No. 6 pick would have helped more.
Charlotte Bobcats: B+
Surprised they kept the pick after all the rumors (although I wouldn’t have moved it for Derrick Williams either). I like this pick because this is a team that needs to change the culture on the court and the hustle and leadership of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is a step in that direction.
Chicago Bulls: C
They get a nice backup point guard in Marquis Teague out of Kentucky. Not thrilling, but nice. They played an iron shot off the tee into the middle of the fairway.
Cleveland Cavaliers: D
I don’t love the reach for Waiters (could they not have moved down to No. 7 and got the same guy?). To be fair it comes down to this — how good is Dion Waiters in a three years? A lot of scouts were high on him, and if he pans out it’s good pick. I’m not sold. I think they picked for need over the best player available. Adding Tyler Zeller via trade a solid move, but could they have used those picks better to round out the roster?
Dallas Mavericks: B-
They trade down, they sold off a late pick for cash to the Lakers. They got a few nice picks who may give them some minutes, but I like getting Bernard James out of Florida State. Everyone is rooting for him to succeed.
Denver Nuggets: B
I like the pick of Evan Fournier from France, he’s pretty athletic, has handles and does a lot of things well. Which is a good fit on that roster.
Detroit Pistons: A
They get an “A” not because I think Andre Drummond pans out — I hope I’m wrong but I think he ends up pretty average, or worse — but because it was a good gamble at No. 9. I also like the Khris Middleton roll of the dice.
Golden State Warriors: B+
Harrison Barnes falls to them and that is a great fit, he can be the three that they really need to round out the starting lineup — if he lives up to potential. Like the Draymond Green pick also.
Houston Rockets: C
GM Daryl Morey dreamed big but couldn’t pull it all off, so they are still stuck in the middle. I like the Jeremy Lamb and Royce White picks, one may really pan out for them.
Indiana Pacers: C
Meh. If they are lucky Miles Plumlee is the Jeff Foster for a new generation.
LA Clippers: C
Drafting Furkan Aldemir then trading him is neither here nor there. Big move was getting Lamar Odom back… we’ll see if they keep him or buy him out.
LA Lakers C+
Didn’t have many picks, but made a decent gamble buying Darius Johnson-Odom from Dallas. Not a game changer, may not pan out, but a decent gamble at that spot.
Memphis Grizzlies: B
Picked up one of the better sleepers in the draft in Tony Wroten. It may take a couple years but could develop into good rotation player in Memphis.
Miami Heat: B-
They traded their only pick, Arnett Moultrie, to the 76ers for potential backup big Justin Hamilton and a future No. 1. It’s moot, they don’t need rookies they need guys who can help now.
Milwaukee Bucks: B
They made a couple of quality picks. I’m higher on John Henson than most, and he can give them some defensive presence inside lost when Andrew Bogut was traded. Lamb can shot the rock, which is always handy.
Minnesota Timberwolves: C
They only had one pick at 58 at and Robbie Hummel is a feel good story who will barely if ever see the court.
New Orleans Hornets: A+
It was a no-brainer but they are still the night’s big winner. Taking Anthony Davis gives them the franchise player they need to build around. Austin Rivers is more of a gamble, I’m not convinced he’s the point guard you put next to Eric Gordon, but they could form nice backcourt for the future.
New York Knicks: C
The Knicks get an average grade for their “stash” pick of Kostas Papanikolaou who will stay in Europe a few years at least. Knicks fans at the draft get an A+ for their freak out reaction to the pick.
Oklahoma City Thunder: A
Baylor’s Perry Jones fell all the way to 28 and he is a great pick there. He’s got fantastic talent and this is a locker room that will make sure his head is screwed on right.
Orlando Magic: C
Don’t read anything into the Dwight Howard situation with the Andrew Nicholson pick. Nicholson may develop into a nice backup center, very different thing.
Philadelphia 76ers C+
A small gamble on St. John’s Maurice Harkless, but if he pans out he would be another athletic wing who fits their system well as a role player.
Phoenix Suns: B
Kendall Marshall is a solid pick as the point guard of the future — whether that future is next year or a couple years from now after Steve Nash retires.
Portland Trail Blazers: B+
I like the Damian Lillard pick a lot as a point guard of the future and Meyers Leonard will be solid. Not a bold stroke but some good picks.
Sacramento Kings: A
Thomas Robinson fell into their laps but they get a guy some GMs picking above them will regret not taking in a couple years. Robinson and DeMarcus Cousins form a formidable front line.
San Antonio Spurs: C
They picked Marcus Denmon at 59. I’d say a guy picked that late never makes the team but this is the Spurs so, who knows?
Toronto Raptors: B-
I like the Terrence Ross pick, he was one of the real sleepers in this draft and a great athlete. But could they have traded down a few spots and still gotten him?
Utah Jazz: C+
They took a gamble on small-school Kevin Murphy at 47, but that’s what you should do at 47. It’s a place for risks.
Washington Wizards: A
They get Bradley Beal, the shooting guard a lot of scouts thought was the second best player in this draft. He’s a great fit next to John Wall. I like the Tomas Satoransky pick as well.