Dallas Mavericks - Grade: A-
Round 1: No picks
Round 2: No picks
The Mavericks traded both their picks. They traded their first round pick to the Nuggets in the Andre Miller/Raymond Felton deal and received Rudy Fernandez and the rights to Petteri Koponen from the Blazers. Even though a really talented player in Jordan Hamilton was available with the pick, I like this trade for Dallas. Late first round picks are unlikely to make an impact in their rookie season, and many never make an impact. Fernandez just turned 26 and has proven himself as a quality role player for Portland. Fernandez will help them defend their title, as even though they were victorious, they were a little weak at the SG/SF spots.
Koponen is big point guard who may play in the NBA one day, but I doubt it's with the Mavs as they're already well-stocked with small guards, and they also hold the rights to Nick Calathes.
They drafted Targuy Ngombo with their second round pick and traded him to Portland as part of the Miller/Felton deal who traded him to Minnesota for cash. I'll get to that later.
Denver Nuggets - Grade: A-
Round 1: Kenneth Faried, PF, Morehead State (22)
Jordan Hamilton, SF, Texas (26)
Round 2: Chukwudiebere "Chu Chu" Maduabum, PF, Bakersfield Jam (56)
The Nuggets traded Raymond Felton to Portland in exchanged for Andre Miller, the rights to Jordan Hamilton, and a future second round pick. I like this trade for Denver. I don't think Felton was going to be comfortable with how he was going to be used, and I think Miller is a better fit alongside Felton due to his size and experience. They also pick up Jordan Hamilton, who I thought should've been a lottery pick. Hamilton has struggled with shot selection at Texas, but I thought he improved in that area throughout his career and I could easily see him being the next Dorell Wright.
Faried has very limited upside, but I'd be stunned if he's not a valuable role player for the next several years. He's the best rebounding prospect since DeJuan Blair. This skill alone should guarantee him the career of Reggie Evans, at least. The only problem is that his height relegates him to one position and he's so limited offensively, he's not likely to be that much better than Reggie Evans.
Chu Chu Maduabum is a find from Denver's GM Masai Ujiri, who was born in Maduabum's native Nigeria. Ujiri's apparently been targeting Maduabum for a long time.
Golden State Warriors - Grade: B-
Round 1: Klay Thompson, SG/SF, Washington State (11)
Round 2: Jeremy Tyler, C/PF, Tokyo Apache (38)
Charles Jenkins, PG/SG, Hofstra (44)
I'm not a huge fan of Klay Thompson. He's a great shooter, but he's got a frail frame, below average athleticism, and is going to struggle to create shots against NBA defenders. I thought they would have been much better off picking Chris Singleton out of Florida State, Alec Burks of Colorado, or Markieff Morris of Kansas. If they're dead set on trading Monta Ellis, Burks would be the way to go. Thompson's a better shooter than Burks, but in my opinion, Burks is a clearly superior all-around prospect. If they're keeping Monta, Singleton would've given them some much needed defense, and Markieff would've given them some much needed size and grit, as well as a sweet outside shot.
They still get a solid grade from me because I really like what they did in the second round. Warriors should be very happy with their ownership. They recently became the 4th NBA team to buy their own D-League team, and in the draft, they bought the 38th pick for $2 million and picked Jeremy Tyler, who may have the greatest disparity between "best case scenario" and "worst case scenario". Physically, Tyler is a top 10 player in this draft. He's a very good athlete with great size, standing at 6'11" with a 7'5" wingspan. I like the gamble.
Jenkins was statistically one of the best players in all of college basketball last year. He was Mr. Everything to his Hofstra team, yet was still able to score extremely efficiently. Jenkins made over 55% of his 2 point attempts, 40% of his 3 point attempts, and 80% of his free throws. The only other drafted player to accomplish this was Kyrie Irving.
Houston Rockets - Grade: D
Round 1: Marcus Morris, PF, Kansas (14)
Donatas Motiejunas, PF/C, Lithuania (20)
Round 2: Chandler Parsons, SF, Florida (38)
Daryl Morey likes power forwards more than David Kahn likes point guards. Despite already having Luis Scola and last year's #14 overall pick Patrick Patterson as guys who are far better at PF than any other position, the Rockets chose Marcus Morris, whose best at PF and I don't see him being able to play SF in the NBA, ahead of Kawhi Leonard of San Diego State, Jordan Hamilton of Texas, and Chris Singleton of Florida State. Morris is a solid value, but a terrible fit.
Speaking of terrible fits, the Rockets traded up to draft Donatas Motiejunas, a skilled 7 footer that chooses not to rebound or play defense. As with Morris, this is not a bad value, but it's inexplicable for a GM as smart as Morey to think this array of overlapping talents won't be far less than the sum of their parts. Unless a trade is in the works to move these superfluous assets, this was a poor draft by Houston.
Parsons is a solid all-around talent, but I'm not sure he does any one thing well enough to crack the rotation.
Los Angeles Clippers - Grade: F
Round 1: No picks
Round 2: Trey Thompkins, PF, Georgia (37)
Travis Leslie, SG, Georgia (47)
So, the Clippers traded away what would become the #1 pick in order to save about $12 million. I can't tell why people dislike Donald Sterling. He's like Santa Claus to every other team in the league.
Even if the pick stayed at 8 instead of jumping to 1, this is still a terrible cheapskate trade. The Clippers could've easily had Kawhi Leonard, who would've been a great fit, filling their gaping hole at SF. Instead, Donald Sterling has an extra $12 million, which I'm sure he's using for a good cause, like buying underage Thai sex slaves. Too far?
Their second round picks were good, but not good enough to escape the first round debacle. Trey Thompkins is a very skilled big man who was the potential to be the next David West. The problem is he's poorly conditioned, he had the highest body fat % at the NBA combine, and he didn't progress that much at Georgia. He actually regressed as a shooter, seeing his 3 point shooting percentage drop each year.
I do like Travis Leslie. He's a jaw-dropping athlete, who may participate in a dunk contest or two if he can stick in the league. I think the best case for Leslie is that he channels his explosive athleticism into lockdown defense and becomes a Tony Allen-like player. He doesn't provide too much on offense outside of those dunks.
Los Angeles Lakers - Grade: A-
Round 1: No picks
Round 2: Darius Morris, PG, Michigan (41)
Andrew Goudelock, PG, College of Charleston (46)
Ater Majok, PF, FMV Isikspor Istanbul (58)
In 2010, the Lakers traded away their first pick this year in order to dump Sasha Vujacic and picked up 2 future second round picks, including the one they used on Darius Morris. I love the Darius Morris pick, as I thought he was a top-20 prospect in the draft. Morris is a 6'5" point guard who declared for the draft after a breakout sophomore season at Michigan. He's not a great athlete, but he uses his size very well when attacking the basket. Morris led all drafted players in assists per 40 minutes.
Andrew Goudelock is somewhat similar to Jimmer Freddette. Goudelock is a great shooter with seemingly unlimited range. He's not a very good athlete, he's not a pure point guard, and he'll struggle defensively. Despite this, I think Goudelock has a real shot at making the league due to his great shooting ability.
The Majok pick is inexplicable. Majok was an atrocious offensive player and very poor rebounder for his size while at UConn. The only skill he's not well-below average at is blocking shots. Majok turns 24 in a week. Choosing him over other draft-and-stash candidates like Giorgi Shermadini, Michael Dunigan, Adam Hanga, and Xavi Rabaseda is insanity.
Memphis Grizzlies - Grade: A-
Round 1: No picks
Round 2: Josh Selby, SG/PG, Kansas (49)
The Grizzlies traded away this year's first rounder in 2010 for Ronnie Brewer, who suffered a season-ending injury almost immediately afterward.
I love the Josh Selby pick. Selby was an unstoppable scorer in high school and AAU ball before an underwhelming season at Kansas. His disappointing season at Kansas can be explained like this: He missed the first 9 games of the season, he was banged up for most of the season, he was a terrible fit as he likes to have the ball in his hands and the offense ran through Tyshawn Taylor and the Morris twins. Selby may never amount to anything in the NBA, but he has the potential to be a great 6th man in the same mold as Jason Terry. The Grizzlies really needed a scorer in their backcourt, and the got one in Selby.
Minnesota Timberwolves - Grade: B-
Round 1: Derrick Williams, PF, Arizona (2)
Round 2: Malcolm Lee, SG/PG, UCLA (43)
Targuy Ngombo, SF, Qatar (57)
I think picking Derrick Williams, though he's a bad fit as the team stands now, was the right move. I don't love Williams as much as everyone else, but I think he was the best prospect available and should be valuable NBA player. The player he most reminds me of is Thaddeus Young of the Sixers. He's a tweener, stuck between the SF and PF positions, who's best at PF where he can exploit mismatches with his quickness. I think Milwuakee ought to trade either Williams or Michael Beasley before the season starts, because with Kevin Love and Wesley Johnson already on the roster, there's a real logjam at forward.
The Timberwolves originally had the 23rd pick in the first round. Through multiple trades, they ended up, in total:
Giving up: 23rd pick, Jonny Flynn
Receiving: 43rd pick, Lotto-protected 2013 Memphis first rounder, 2014 Miami Heat second rounder, Brad Miller, crazy amount of cash
If Memphis is a lottery team every year between 2013 and 2016, that first rounder becomes a second rounder in 2016.
I think that's a solid bit of trading, unless Jonny Flynn lives up to his potential.
I like the Malcolm Lee pick. They needed a defender in their backcourt and Lee could be a great one. There's also a reputation being built for Ben Howland's UCLA players performing very well in the NBA despite not having jaw-dropping college stats: (Russell Westbrook, Jrue Holiday, Darren Collison, Arron Afflalo, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Trevor Ariza, et cetera).
The Ngombo situation is an embarrassment for the Timberwolves and the league. Ngombo claimed to be 21, but the day after the draft, through no research other than internet searches, it was revealed that he is actually 26, making him ineligible. In fact, on FIBA's website for the 2012 Olympic games, Ngombo is listed as being 26 on Qatar's roster. How Minnesota could do so little research about a player who was naturalized by Qatar, a nation known for shady practices in this regard, when so little research was required to find the lie is beyond me.
New Orleans Hornets - Grade: D+
Round 1: No picks
Round 2: No picks
The Hornets traded their first round pick for Jerryd Bayless in 2010. They then traded Bayless to Toronto for Jared Jarrett Jack. Jack is a solid back-up point guard, but I think they'd be better off with Tobias Harris of Tennessee, Jordan Hamilton of Texas, or Reggie Jackson of Boston College. That was boring. I thought NOLA was supposed to be excited. I didn't even see any breasts.
Oklahoma City Thunder - Grade: B
Round 1: Reggie Jackson, PG/SG, Boston College (24)
Round 2: No picks
Reggie Jackson is one the most interesting stories in this draft. He shut himself down for virtually the entire process. He went to no workouts and did not go to the combine. All because he, reportedly, got a promise from the Heat at 31. Despite not being able to workout or measure him, the Thunder nab him at 24. I think if Jackson had participated in the workouts and gone to the combine, he had a shot at being a lottery pick, or at least a top 20 pick. Jackson is a very good athletes with a huge wingpsan and was a great scorer at Boston College. I don't think there's that much difference between Jackson and Kentucky's Brandon Knight. He's not an easy fit for Oklahoma City as they already have Russell Westbrook and Eric Maynor at the point, but he's a great value.
Phoenix Suns - Grade: B+
Round 1: Markieff Morris, PF, Kansas (13)
Round 2: No picks
Though most had his twin brother Marcus as the better prospect, I think Markieff is the better fit for Phoenix. Markieff is a tough guy who rebounds very well, plays good defense, and is a good athlete. Markieff averaged more than a 3 point attempt per game over his last 2 seasons at Kansas and made 44.9% of those attempts. He'll add some much needed grit to Phoenix's defense, and should be a great fit for Phoenix's offense. I think he'll be a great addition.
Portland Trailblazers - Grade: C+
Round 1: Nolan Smith, PG, Duke (21)
Round 2: Jon Diebler, SG, Ohio State (51)
I think the trade with Denver and Dallas was solid for Portland. Felton is more valuable and a better fit for Portland than Miller was, though they also had to give up Rudy Fernandez.
I don't like the Nolan Smith pick. I think it was a reach. I had him as the 3rd best point guard available, behind Reggie Jackson and Darius Morris, at the time. I think they would've been best off taking either of those point guards or Nikola Mirotic of Montenegro, who I believe is a top 10 talent in the draft. I think the best case for Smith is as a solid 6th man, but I believe he'll probably be a back-up point guard like CJ Watson.
Diebler is a very limited player, but he's an unbelievable shooter, knocking down over half his attempts in his senior year at Ohio State. Diebler has a shot at carving out a career for himself in the same vein as Anthony Morrow and Kyle Korver. Or he could play in Europe with Jaycee Carroll.
Sacramento Kings - Grade: D-
Round 1: Jimmer Fredette, PG, BYU (10)
Round 2: Tyler Honeycutt, SF, UCLA (35)
Isaiah Thomas, PG, Washington (60)
Shortly before the draft, in a collossally stupid move, the Kings traded Beno Udrih and the 7th pick for John Salmons and the 10th pick. Udrih is a better player than Salmons with a much better contract. So why do it? I don't have a clue.
Instead of getting Brandon Knight or Kemba Walker who were available at 7, the Kings wound up with Jimmer Freddette, who, based solely on talent and not media hype, should've been on the first round bubble. Fredette was a great shooter, but so were Jaycee Carroll and a ton of other mid-major guards who failed to make the NBA. Fredette wasn't great finishing at the rim in college, and that's only going to get a lot worse in the NBA. I'd compare Fredette to another one-dimensional small guard with a silly name, Boobie Gibson.
I like the Tyler Honeycutt pick. The Kings desperately needed help at SF and Honeycutt has a lot of talent. He never put it together at UCLA, but as I pointed out earlier, UCLA players under Howland have been better than their college stats would suggest. Honeycutt is a great all-around talent, but was far too passive for his own good while at UCLA.
Isaiah Thomas may make it in the NBA despite his small stature. Thomas is a hyper-athletic guard who showed he may able to be a point guard in his last year at Washington.
San Antonio Spurs - Grade: A-
Round 1: Kawhi Leonard, SF, San Diego State (15)
Corey Joseph, PG/SG, Texas (29)
Round 2: Davis Bertans, SF, Latvia (42)
Adam Hanga, SG/SF, Hungary (59)
While giving up a proven player for a couple draft picks is usually not a good move, this is an exception. George Hill, while a very good player, was a year away from free agency, and the Spurs may not have been able to afford to keep him. So instead, they moved him for Kawhi Leonard and Davis Bertans, a very good trade if you ask me. Leonard is a better fit for San Antonio than Hill was. The Spurs were too small last season, and as a result, more than 40% of Manu Ginobli's minutes were at SF. Kawhi Leonard fixes this problem. I don't think Leonard has as much star potential as others do, but I think his athleticism, motor, and great rebounding ability will make him a very valuable role player.
The Joseph pick is an odd one. Before the draft, I thought there was a real chance that Joseph would go undrafted. I thought there were several better guards available at the 29th pick. However, the Spurs have one one of the most respected front offices in the league because of their ability to find talent in the late first round and beyond (Hill, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobli, DeJuan Blair) which gives me pause when criticizing the pick. I would've gone with Darius Morris, but hey, maybe they know something I don't. You have no idea how hard that is for me to admit.
I love the Bertans pick. Bertans is 18 years old, 6'10.5", and is one of the best shooters in the draft. He's at least a couple years away from being able to contribute in the NBA, but I like his potential. He may never play in the NBA, but he could be the next Rashard Lewis.
Adam Hanga is a draft-and-stash player. He played well in Hungary, and he'll get a chance to prove himself next year in Spain's ACB.
Utah Jazz - Grade: B-
Round 1: Enes Kanter, C/PF, Kentucky (3)
Alec Burks, SG, Colorado (12)
Round 2: No picks
The Jazz received the 3rd overall pick from the Nets along with Derrick Favors, Devin Harris, and a 2012 first rounder in exchange for Deron Williams. I think it was a good trade for Utah, but I don't like the pick. I'm far from sold on Kanter. Kanter was very good in international competitions, including winning MVP at the 2009 FIBA Europe U18 Championship. However since then, he's really only played one game against legitimate competition, the 2010 Nike Hoop Summit, an exhibition game. I don't think picking a player with so little experience, with that little experience being so far in the past, is a good idea when players like Kemba Walker, Jan Vesely, and Jonas Valanciunas are available. That's just too much risk.
I do like the Alec Burks pick, however. The Jazz really needed a shooting guard and Burks is the best in the draft available. He needs to improve his shooting, of course, but he's a good all-around player and an excellent scorer off the dribble. With Deron Williams gone, they need a perimeter player like Burks who can create for himself and others.