NBA Draft Recap: Team By Team Picks, Grades, Trades and Top Storylines

Wiggins goes No.1 to Cavs, Jabari No.2 to Bucks, Embiid No.3 to Sixers; NBA Draft grades after a busy and entertaining NBA Draft:


Via Yahoo Sports:

Readers will notice a fair amount of very good grades in our take on the 2014 NBA draft. This is because the league’s front offices are getting smarter, scouting is becoming more advanced and this is one of the deeper drafts in NBA history. It’s early, but we think these marks were earned.

Onto the grades …

Atlanta Hawks

The haul: Adreian Payne, Walter Tavares, Lamar Patterson

Hawks general manager Danny Ferry has yet to put together a championship contender in Atlanta, but he’s done well to secure low-cost talent while avoiding some (or, all, really) of the financial mistakes made by his predecessors. The loss of Al Horford to injury in 2013-14 turned Atlanta’s season on its ear, and while Payne is nowhere near the sort of contributor the former All-Star is, his ability to spread the floor while playing competently on the other end will fit in with a team that likes to do its damage from the perimeter. Finding a go-to backup and spot starter at No. 15 was good news.

The 6-foot-10 Payne is already 23, but his confidence, both in contributing from the outside and in playing the center and power forward positions, will be a needed boon to coach Mike Budenholzer’s bench. In the second round, the Hawks took a calculated chance on enormous 7-foot-3 Cape Verde product Walter Tavares. The 22-year-old has been playing basketball for just four years, but he still managed to work as a rotation player in a prominent international league in Spain, which bodes well for his chances to make an NBA bench.

Grade: A


Boston Celtics

The haul: Marcus Smart, James Young

Grabbing an enviable future starting backcourt — one that comes complete with dynamic athleticism, ball-handling skills, NBA-styled leadership qualities from Smart and game-changing spacing from Young — is a big deal. Boston GM Danny Ainge didn’t try to faff about with trades or attempts at moving up and down. He just chose what were probably the two best players available as Boston continues its pick-heavy rebuilding project.
The unfortunate byproduct is the annoying columns we’ll be reading in the upcoming months about how Smart was brought in to replace Rajon Rondo. This isn’t the case, as Smart isn’t ready to take on full-time point guard responsibilities at this level, though that will change soon enough. Rondo has never been on the trade block, but he’s always been available in a deal — and both Rajon and Ainge are smart and professional enough to understand and work through their uneasy situation, with Rondo in his prime and his teammates just starting up. Rondo could and probably should be dealt in July, but that doesn’t mean we need to make a press-fueled soap opera out of it.

Grade: A


Brooklyn Nets

The haul: Markel Brown, Cory Jefferson, Xavier Thames

The Nets were working without a first-round pick, and with most of their roster just about untradeable in the open market, GM Billy King was resigned to asking his owner to open his checkbook in order to toss millions (or, excuse me, “cash considerations”) to other teams in order to find some young help to possibly make the roster next season. It’s all King can do, in looking to find some new blood to give this moribund roster some life.

Brown is an undersized shooting guard, but a smart player and dogged defender. Jefferson shows some promise with his face-up game and 6-foot-9 length, while Thames is a short scoring guard. All three could find a role with good training camp showings, and it looks like Mikhail Prokhorov won’t be cutting costs any time soon.

Draft: B


Charlotte Hornets

The haul: Noah Vonleh, P.J. Hairston

Vonleh, the Indiana big man with serious upside on both sides of the ball, slid slightly to the newly rechristened Hornets at ninth overall, and the team should be giddy with the way things worked out. If the young man remains diligent, his “Otis Thorpe meets Chris Bosh” style of play could do great things for an improving Hornets team, and give the team a buttress in the eventual post-Al Jefferson era. There is serious potential here.

The Hornets also draftrf Shabazz Napier (another slider who would have worked well alongside former teammate Kemba Walker) at 24, but quickly scuttled him off to Miami for a second-round pick that turned into Semaj Christon (who was then traded to the Thunder) while falling a few spots to take on the guy they wanted all along — former North Carolina scorer P.J. Hairston. If Hairston can keep his off-the-court exploits in order and stay in shape, his brand of scoring and shooting on the wing will be exactly what Charlotte needs.

Grade: A+


Chicago Bulls

The haul: Doug McDermott, Anthony Randolph, Cameron Bairstow

Chicago went into Thursday night with all manner of options and truly rolled the dice on dealing up to swap picks with Denver and acquire McDermott. The former Creighton star supplies exactly what Chicago needs on paper — shooting and someone to swing between the forward positions — but it remains to be whether those oodles of contested jumpers in the MVC and then the Big East will translate to the NBA. This isn’t like pro football, where moving up in the middle of the first round can do wonders for your team. There may not have been any stars available at 16 and 19, but was this worth it for Chicago?

The deal did not save the Bulls any potential cap space as they ready for a shot to sign Carmelo Anthony this summer, and the acquisition of Randolph further clouds things. He’ll make just $1.8 million next season, and though Chicago can forgo the 60-day waiting period that bans immediate re-trades by dealing while under the cap, Randolph still seems to be an odd player to take on when every penny counts. Bairstow, an Australian center with serious scoring skills on the NCAA level, could stick around should Chicago empty its roster in the chase for Carmelo.

Grade: C+

Cleveland Cavaliers

The haul: Andrew Wiggins, Joe Harris, Dwight Powell, Brendan Haywood

Once again, the Cavaliers entered draft night with the top pick in the draft, and for the second straight season there was some question as to which player the squad would glom onto. New GM David Griffin chose Wiggins in this scenario, and it’s not hard to understand why — his mixture of offensive potential and at-times dominant defense could turn him into a franchise player if everything develops as promised. Concerns about previous whiffs in the first round or Kyrie Irving’s permanence are for another day — Wiggins is a stud and a deserved top overall pick.

In a deep draft, Virginia shooter Harris will probably make the Cavs despite his 33rd overall selection status, though Stanford shooting big man Powell is less assured to find an NBA home this fall. The Cavaliers also took on Haywood’s contract in a deal with the Hornets in order to acquire Powell, but Haywood did not play last season and is unlikely to ever see a minute in Cleveland.

Grade: A+


Dallas Mavericks

The haul: No haul

Dallas did not have a first-round pick after dealing its selection to Los Angeles in 2011 for Lamar Odom. That didn’t work out.

Its second-round picks were tossed to New York in the Tyson Chandler trade. Please don’t remind fans that Raymond Felton was also involved in that trade.

Grade: C


Denver Nuggets

The haul: Jusuf Nurkic, Gary Harris, Arron Afflalo, Nikola Jokic

With Dario Saric reportedly signing a three-year deal with a team in Turkey, the Nuggets lost out on their main target. Undeterred, they received both of Chicago’s mid-round selections while pawning Anthony Randolph off on the Bulls and picking up both Nurkic and Harris in the process. Nurkic, frankly, looks like a bit of a plodder whose game may not translate to the NBA (he played in Croatia last year), but he’s only 19 and appears to have a bit of a needed edge to his game. And we’re always game for an old-school-styled center to find a home in this league.

Harris seems a bit redundant now that Afflalo is back with Denver for a second turn, but if Arron opts out and leaves as a free agent next summer, the all-around stylings of the Michigan State product should provide ample relief. He’s just a classic, two-way sort of Nugget. Jokic is a massive, skilled big forward who may stay overseas for a few years before making his way stateside. In all, a solid return for what was once the 11th pick, Evan Fournier and the 56th pick.

Grade: B


Detroit Pistons

The haul: Spencer Dinwiddie

New Pistons el jefe Stan Van Gundy and GM Jeff Bower entered the night without a first-round selection, as the squad’s would-be lottery pick was sent to Charlotte in a cost-cutting move that, sadly, helped the team eventually acquire Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings. But the Pistons made out quite well on Thursday, in the end. Picking in the second round, the franchise chose Dinwiddie as a stash of sorts, while the new front office figures out just what the heck to do with its mess of a roster.

Dinwiddie is a 6-foot-6 point guard with lottery-level talent, but he tore his left ACL midway through last January, and figures to need the bulk of his rookie year to get back up to his regular speed, much less adapt to the rigors of NBA competition. Still, a smart contract from the Pistons’ end could keep the prospect in the fold, and he’ll only be 22 when the 2015-16 season tips off.

Grade: A


Golden State Warriors

The haul: No haul

The Warriors gave up their 23rd pick to Utah in an attempt to clear space to trade for Andre Iguodala last summer. Fair move, in retrospect.

Grade: A


Houston Rockets

The haul: Clint Capela, Nick Johnson, Alessandro Gentile

Houston’s night went almost annoyingly to plan. The team is preparing to deal its way into further cap space, again, and make a run at LeBron James, or Carmelo Anthony, or Chris Bosh, or Columbia Records-era Miles Davis, or season three of “The Simpsons,” or the 1967 Ford Mustang, or any other number of franchise-level knockouts. The team drafted Capela, a Swiss stringbean with hops, to keep overseas and save cap space.

In the second round, the Rox picked up Johnson, an undersized but incredibly athletic off guard who could become an immediate favorite of the team’s coaching staff at a Chandler Parsons-esque price. The team also used a pick on scoring swingman Gentile, who directed some of my favorite films of the 1960s. Neither player may see the light of day for Houston next season, but grabbing three sound prospects while keeping potential cap space intact? While also receiving a first-round pick from New Orleans in exchange for Omer Asik? A killer couple of days that could lead to another killer offseason for this franchise.

Grade: A


Indiana Pacers

The haul: No haul

Indiana dealt its first-round pick to Phoenix for Luis Scola and the ability to unload Gerald Green’s contract, which seemed like a good idea at the time. It also, mindful of Lance Stephenson’s impending free agency and luxury-tax concerns, dealt its second-round selection for cash.

Grade: D


Los Angeles Clippers

The haul: C.J. Wilcox

The 6-foot-5 Wilcox is a good enough player, but one wonders if the Clippers may have been better off trading out of the first round and seeing what they could scrounge in the second frame, where they didn’t have a pick. The hope here is that Wilcox could turn into a Hubert Davis-styled shooter for a team that suffered through injuries to J.J. Redick last season; Wilcox did shoot nearly 39 percent from behind the (admittedly shortened) 3-point line in his four-year career at Washington.

He’s a ready-made player, which suits this win-now team. His aim has to be true, though.

Grade: B-


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Posted on June 27, 2014, in NBA and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on NBA Draft Recap: Team By Team Picks, Grades, Trades and Top Storylines.

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