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Atlanta Hawks - Grade: D

Round 1: No picks

Round 2: Keith Benson, C, Oakland (48)

The Hawks foolishly traded their first round pick in this draft along with Mike Bibby and Jordan Crawford for Kirk Hinrich.  I think it's pretty safe to say that was a mistake.

Keith Benson has talent but he's soft.  I think they would've been much better off going with Greg Smith out of Fresno State. Smith's not as talented as Benson, but he has the size and strength to take over the role that Jason Collins played for them in the playoffs.

 

 Boston Celtics - Grade: C

 Round 1: JaJuan Johnson, PF/C, Purdue (27)

Round 2: E'Twuan Moore, SG, Purdue (55)

I'm not a fan of the JuJuan Johnson pick.  I think they would've been much better off keeping Marshon Brooks or taking Jordan Hamilton, who has the potential to be the next Paul Pierce. JuJuan Johnson is painfully skinny and will struggle to guard anyone one-on-one in the NBA.

Moore is a good shooter who may be able to crack the rotation if the Celtics don't sign a shooting guard in free agency.

 

Charlotte Bobcats - Grade: A

Round 1: Bismack Biyombo, PF/C, Congo (7)
Kemba Walker, PG, UConn (9)

Round 2: No picks

The Bobcats were tired of being mediocre and made the smart decision to sacrifice winning in the present, by trading away Gerald Wallace and Captain Jack, for a chance to be a contender in the future with Bismack Biyombo and Kemba Walker.  I was a big fan of both of these guys, having both of them in my personal top 5.

Biyombo is an amazing athlete, easily the best in the draft.  Comparisons to African busts like Hasheem Thabeet and Mouhamed Saer Sene hold no water.  Thabeet was a stick figure, a poor rebounder, was exposed when forced to defend legit post players one-on-one, and was 4 years older than Biyombo is now when drafted.  The Sene comparison is even worse. Like Thabeet, Sene was older and not as strong as Biyombo.  Sene was also remarkably unproven, playing sparingly for a team in Belgium.  Conversely, Biyombo led Spain's ACB, the best league in the world after the NBA, in blocks.  Biyombo is clearly superior physically and has proven himself to a greater degree against better competition than either of those clowns.

I'm also a big fan of Kemba Walker.  He's extraordinarily quick and was great at creating for himself and others at UConn.  He's also very similar in stature to the best PG in the NBA, Chris Paul, so don't let anyone tell you he's too small.

 

Chicago Bulls - Grade: A

Round 1:  Nikola Mirotic, PF, Montenegro (23)
Jimmy Butler, SF, Marquette (30)

Round 2: No picks

Nikola Mirotic slipped because his steep buyout, but based solely on talent, I think he was a top 10 player in this draft.  Mirotic is a very skilled forward who is a very good 3 point shooter that can also score off the dribble.  This was a very smart pick for the Bulls.

Jimmy Butler's a solid pick.  He'll likely never be a star or a starter, but his size, basketball IQ, and high all-around skill level makes him an ideal role player, and a good back-up for Luol Deng.

 

Cleveland Cavaliers - Grade: B

Round 1: Kyrie Irving, PG, Duke (1)
Tristan Thompson, PF, Texas (4)

Round 2: Milan Macvan, PF, Serbia (54)

I give them credit for taking the best player, Irving, with the first pick, but not too much, as I feel any half-decent Front Office would have done the same thing.  Irving was clearly the number one prospect in my opinion.  Few freshmen make an immediate impact in college basketball.  Not only did Irving make an immediate impact, but he was immediately the best player on the best team in the nation.  I can't see him being worse than a solid starter in the NBA.

Thompson was a bit of a reach in my opinion.  He's a good athlete, he's a very good rebounder and shot-blocker, and he got to the free throw line at an insane rate.  However, he's somewhat limited offensively at this point, he's a terrible free throw shooter, and he can only play one position.  I think they'd have been better off with Jonas Valanciunas or Bismack Biyombo.

I don't foresee Macvan making an impact in the NBA.  He's overweight and doesn't rebound.

 

Detroit Pistons - Grade: C+

Round 1: Brandon Knight, PG, Kentucky (8)

Round 2: Kyle Singler, SF, Duke (33)
Vernon Macklin, PF, Florida (52)

Brandon Knight fell to them at 8, but I think they would've been much happier with Bismack Biyombo or Tristan Thompson.  I think Knight will be a valuable player in the NBA, but I see his ceiling as that of a scoring guard coming off the bench. I don't see him being a starting point guard on a good team and I think he's very similar to Rodney Stuckey. Maybe too similar to co-exist.

I'm not a big fan of Kyle Singler.  He hasn't really progressed at all in his four years at Duke. I don't think he's strong enough to guard power forwards and I don't think he's quick enough to guard small forwards.  And I don't think he's a good enough 3 point shooter to make those weaknesses acceptable.

I don't see Macklin making much of an impact.  He's a 24 year old underachiever.

 

Indiana Pacers - Grade: B+

Round 1: No picks

Round 2: No picks

The Pacers traded their first and second round picks for Spurs guard George Hill.

It's very hard to predict how well a player will perform in the NBA, which makes much of the NBA draft a bit of a crapshoot.  Often, players picked in the mid first round are non-factors in the NBA.  Instead of taking this risk, the Pacers picked up Hill, who's proven to at least be a solid player in the NBA. Hill is a valuable player to have because he can play and defend both guard spots.  Enabling him to both back-up D.J. Collison but play alongside him.

Hill is a far more proven player and better fit for the Pacers than anyone they could've drafted.

 

Miami Heat - Grade: C-

Round 1: Norris Cole, PG, Cleveland State (28)

Round 2: No picks

Norris Cole is a good NBA prospect, and I think he could have a long NBA career, but I think he's a poor fit for the Miami Heat.  In a point guard, the Heat needed a player who was capable of knocking down catch-and-shoot jumpers and didn't need the ball in his hands.  This is not Norris Cole.  Cole dominated the ball at Cleveland State and is not a very good shooter.  I think they would've been better off sitting tight at 31 and drafting Charles Jenkins out of Hofstra.

 

Milwaukee Bucks - Grade: B

Round 1: Tobias Harris, SF/PF, Tennessee (19)

Round 2: Jon Leuer, PF, Wisconsin (40)

I liked Milwaukee's trade where they dumped John Salmons, Corey Maggette, and the 10th pick in exchange for Stephen Jackson, Beno Udrih, Shaun Livingston, and the 19th pick.  They got rid of a pair of bad contracts, got the best player in the trade (Captain Jack), and got a very good pack up point guard (Udrih) in exchange for moving down 9 spots.

With the 19th pick, I would've preferred Jordan Hamilton for them, but Tobias Harris will be a solid player for them for a long time.  Harris is a great glue guy thanks to his high all-around skill level, his high basketball IQ, and his consistently high effort level.

I like the Leuer pick as well.  It's rare to find a 7 footer who can shoot like Leuer can.  He may stick.

 

New Jersey Nets - Grade: B

Round 1: Marshon Brooks, SG, Providence (25)

Round 2: Bojan Bogdanovic, SF/SG, Bosnia and Herzegovina (31)
Jordan Williams, C/PF, Maryland (36)

Marshon Brooks is a good pick for a team like the Nets that needed a perimeter scorer.   Brooks falls to 26 because he can't do anything other than score.  With his height, wingspan (7'1"), strengths, and weakness, he's drawn comparison to Wizards guard Nick Young, which I think are on the money. The Kobe comparisons need to be squashed or he'll always be viewed as a disappointment.

Bogdanovic is a very talented slashing swingman who could be a productive NBA player. The problem is he just signed a new deal with Fenerbahce and is unlikely to come over for at least a year.  Still a solid pick given his skill level.

I don't love the Jordan Williams pick that much. Williams is a solid offensive player and a great rebounder, but his poor conditioning and lack of athleticism could prevent him from cracking an NBA rotation.

 

New York Knicks - Grade: C+

Round 1: Iman Shumpert, PG/SG, Georgia Tech (17)

Round 2: Josh Harrellson, C, Kentucky (45)

I thought the Shumpert pick was solid.  The Knicks wanted to address their defense and Shumpert was the best defensive guard available.  Shumpert's a great athlete with a huge 6'9.5" wingspan.  I think the Knicks may be thinking, "To win the NBA championship, we need to beat the Heat, and we don't have anyone who can even slow down Dwyane Wade." Shumper can at least slow him down.

I don't understand the Harrellson pick. I just don't see him playing in the NBA.  He's a poor man's Jordan Williams.

 

Orlando Magic - Grade: B-

Round 1: No picks

Round 2: Justin Harper, PF, Richmond (32)
Deandre Liggins, SG/SF, Kentucky (54)

The Magic traded away their first round pick along with Vinsanity, Marcin Gortat, and Mickael Pietrus in exchange for Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu, and Earl Clark.  Mistake.

Justin Harper is a good pick and a great fit.  Harper is a great stretch four, and that's what the Magic love.  I see him as a more athletic version of Ryan Anderson.  He should be a valuable rotation player for years to come.

DeAndre Liggins is a good defender, but I'm not sure if he gives you enough offensively to justify a spot in your rotation.

 

Philadelphia 76ers - Grade: B

Round 1: Nikola Vucevic, C/PF, USC (16)

Round 2: Lavoy Allen, PF, Temple (50)

The Sixers desperately needed size and got the best man available, Nikola Vucevic, who was the biggest man at the NBA combine.  Vucevic is a skilled post scorer with range out to the 3 point line on his jumper and he's a good rebounder.  He's not much of an athlete, and this can hurt him defensively, but his size and effort level mitigate this weakness to a degree.

Lavoy Allen is a very talented player, but was an underachiever at Temple due to his lack of consistent effort. That won't fly with Doug Collins. Either he buckles in and makes the roster, or he's off the team pretty quick.

 

Toronto Raptors - Grade: A-

Round 1: Jonas Valanciunas, C, Lithuania (5)

Round 2: No picks

I think the Valanciunas was a great, gutsy pick.  Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo will surely be criticized for acquiring yet another foreign player, but it was the right move.  Concerns over Valanciunas being unable to join the NBA next year are overblown.  Is a 19 year old playing for a terrible team in a strike-shortened season really that important?

I think Valanciunas is the best center prospect in the draft, ahead of Kanter.  In 2008, Valanciunas led his Lithuanian team to the FIBA Europe U16 Championship and was named MVP.  In 2010, he led Lithuania to win the FIBA Europe U18 Championship and was named MVP.

Valanciunas is a great pick & roll finisher with great touch around the basket.  Despite his young age and lack of bulk, he averaged over 14.5 rebounds per 40 minutes in the Euroleague this past season.  He's also a remarkable free throw shooter for his size, hitting over 91% of his attempts in the Euroleague.

 

Washington Wizards - Grade: A

Round 1: Jan Vesely, SF/PF, Czech Republic (6)
Chris Singleton, SF/PF, Florida State (18)

Round 2: Shelvin Mack, PG, Butler (34)

I really like the Jan Vesely pick.  Vesely is a huge forward and a great athlete whose posterizing dunks are the stuff of legend.  An uber-aggressive high flyer who needs to work on his shooting, Vesely defies all stereotypes about European players.  I think Vesely will be a very good player, and he and John Wall will make a deadly fast break combo.

Chris Singleton was incredible value at the 18th pick.  Arguably the best defensive player in this draft, Singleton should stick in the league for a long time.  He reminds me a lot of Bucks defensive specialist and combo forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.  He doesn't do enough offensively to ever be a star, or probably ever a starter on a good team, but he'll be very valuable.

I'm not very high on Shelvin Mack.  He's not a pure point guard, he's a not a very good athlete, he's not a great shooter, he's not very big, and he's an inefficient scorer.  I just don't see him as an NBA player.  I think they would've been much better off with Michigan's Darius Morris.

Comment #1 has been removed
June 28, 2011  01:30 AM ET

Disagree that Singler didn't progress in 4 years. You clearly didn't watch him all 4 years

Also disagree with Orlando's grade. Unless they are the most comfortable with J.J. at SG and no back-up, they needed someone there.

June 28, 2011  09:47 AM ET

"..Conversely, Biyombo led Spain's ACB, the best league in the world after the NBA, in blocks...."



He should be drafted because he blocks shots?

This pick is going to be a big, big mistake, imo.

June 28, 2011  08:03 PM ET

Rudedog, the second player that Orlando picked is listed as a SG/SF, so they have a SG and addressed that need in the draft.

Pitt, the Bucks should've gotten a better grade than the Raptors, in my opinion. We get a great 7 foot shooter that late in the draft which is amazing. And then we got a good pick in the first round and the trade was awesome... The Raptors had one pick, and their pick won't play next year.

Also, Assassin, I'm not sure what the NBA is going to do about Biyombo since he's 26 years old. Yet Pitt seemed to fail to mention in his blog for some reason...

June 28, 2011  08:42 PM ET
QUOTE(#4):

Also, Assassin, I'm not sure what the NBA is going to do about Biyombo since he's 26 years old. Yet Pitt seemed to fail to mention in his blog for some reason...

Because he's not 26 years old.

Tanguy Ngombo is 26 years old.

 
June 29, 2011  06:29 PM ET

Hmm... Must have been an old rotoworld feed that I read that said he was between the ages of 23 to 26... My mistake.

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