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Draft Day Grades

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After watching all four grueling hours of the NBA Draft, with the help of two fellow college-basketball players and hoops fanatics (Stallon Saldivar [@steeeezyFbaby], and Parker Swope [@pswope11]), I pulled out my red pen and gave each team their 2012 Draft grade. Here are the results, and spit out your gum!---

Atlanta Hawks: SG John Jenkins (Vanderbilt), PF Mike Scott (Virginia)
The Hawks were looking for shooting and instant bench offense in this year’s draft. Their best bench players last year consisted of the goggled Kirk Hinrich, the ghosts of Tracy McGrady and Jerry Stackhouse, and the walking basketball bum Vladimir Radmanovic. In drafting Jenkins and Scott, they did an adequate job of fulfilling their needs. Jenkins was the second-best shooter in the draft outside of Bradley Beal (taken third) and could blossom into a volume shooter. Scott is a solid big man, averaging 18 ppg for a slow-it-down Virginia team, and given that the team signed Eric Dampier last year, the Hawks were in desperate need of a quality reserve big.

Grade: B-

Boston Celtics: PF Jared Sullinger (Ohio St.), C Fab Melo (Syracuse), SF Kris Joseph (Syracuse)
The Celtics picks are all question marks, but if they pan out, the Celtic’s brass will look like pure geniuses. Sullinger plummeted in the draft after being red-flagged for back issues, and Melo has a history of off-the-court issues that won’t fly in Boston. However, the older Celtics were able to get young with a potential replacement for Kevin Garnett and a true back-to-the-basket center. Plus, in taking Joseph late in the second round, they were able to pick up another solid scorer and defender. Depending on the status of Jeff Green and Kevin Garnett, both Melo and Sullinger could be potential starters. Solid draft by the Celtics.

Grade: B

Brooklyn Nets: PG Tyshawn Taylor (Kansas), C Tornike Shengalia (Belgium), F Ilkan Karaman (Turkey)
The only saving grace for the Nets in this draft was picking up Taylor, who had a solid senior campaign for the Kansas Jayhawks last season. Both Shengalia and Karaman are unlikely to set foot on an NBA floor, and if by the grace of God they do, they will have minimal-to-no impact. The Nets also lost their lottery pick in the draft to the Blazers in the Gerald Wallace trade. Dumb. Stupid. Idiotic. The Nets need to focus all of their efforts on keeping D-Will in Brooklyn, and they didn’t get off to a good start in the draft.

Grade: D-

Charlotte Bobcats: SF Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Kentucky), SF Jeffery Taylor (Vanderbilt)
The Bobcats had many options at the No. 2 slot in the draft, and many believe they made the safe choice and selected Kidd-Gilchrist. The kid has an unbelievable motor and will prove to be a tenacious defender in this league, and while his offense could use some work, with his dedication it will come along in time. Don’t quite understand the Taylor pick in choosing another SF, but he is another excellent defender and capable shooter who will surely help them out. Given Michael Jordan’s recent draft choices (uber-bust No. 1 pick Kwame Brown and mustache-wannabe Adam Morrison), this draft has to be a big-time success.

Grade: B+

Chicago Bulls: PG Marquis Teague (Kentucky)
Don’t understand this pick. Yes, stud PG Derrick Rose will be out for the beginning of the season after suffering a torn ACL in the playoffs, but backups CJ Watson and John Lucas III filled in sufficiently. The Bulls could have gone after the shooting guard they have long desired rather than continue to use busted-up Rip Hamilton. Doron Lamb was still on the board here and would have been an excellent choice. I believe Teague will pan out to be a solid pro, and do somewhat understand Chicago’s pick, but going a different direction could have been much more beneficial to the team.

Grade: C-

Cleveland Cavaliers: SG Dion Waiters (Syracuse), C Tyler Zeller (North Carolina)
Cleveland surprised many by taking Walters as high as No. 4 in the draft, but he could end up being a very capable and efficient pro. The Cavs now have an established backcourt to build off of in their post-Lebron campaign. Many experts say Walters has one of the most NBA-ready games coming out of college; we will have to find out. Zeller will be a solid backup to Anderson Varejao at the 5 spot, but Cleveland game up three picks in order to get him. Why sacrifice three picks for an un-athletic white center? Beats me.

Grade: B

Dallas Mavericks: SG Jared Cunningham (Oregon St.), C Bernard James (Florida St), SF Jae Crowder (Marquette)
What were the Mavs doing? They passed up on Baylor stud Perry Jones III TWICE, and traded a solid center (Zeller) for a couple of picks that they did not use to fill their needs. Dallas is focusing all its efforts on getting D-Will and Dwight Howard in the next year or two, but did nothing in the draft to help their cause. Cunningham is an athletic two-guard, which the Mavericks have not had in quite some time, but he has a skinny frame and many believe he should have stayed in college another year. Crowder is a solid pick in the second round, but where does he fit in? Bernard James was one of the feel-good stories of the draft, but that is about as far as he will go.

Grade: D

Denver Nuggets: SG Evan Fournier (France), SF Quincy Miller (Baylor), C Izzet Turkyilmaz (Turkey)
It is unclear if Fournier will come from overseas anytime soon, but when he does, he could be a valuable asset to the run-and-gun Nuggets. He knows how to use his body and could be a solid bench scorer. Quincy Miller has potential to be a scoring threat right away, and getting him as late as they did (No. 38), the Nuggets have to be feeling pretty good about themselves. Turkyilmaz is a player that will be stashed away overseas for several years, as well, and coach John Karl has had success with big, foreign, goofy bigs (see Timofy Mozgov and Kosta Koufos). Denver did well with what they had in the draft.

Grade: B+

Detroit Pistons: C Andre Drummond (Connecticut), SF Khris Middleton (Texas A&M), SG Kim English (Missouri)
The draft could not have worked out any better for the Pistons. Drummond was projected to go in the top five but fell to them at nine, and Middleton and English are both solid selections. Pairing the young Drummond with Greg Monroe down low gives the Pistons a very dangerous low-post combo. The Pistons now have a very young starting five who could pan out to be very good in a couple of years. Middleton had some injury problems last year but has been referred to as “Kevin Durant lite” and English is a tough, versatile defender and a solid shooter.

Grade: A-

Golden State Warriors: SF Harrison Barnes (North Carolina), C Festus Ezeli (Vanderbilt), PF Draymond Green (Michigan St)
Drafting Barnes gives the Warriors a solid starting five for next year, with Curry playing point, Klay Thomson at the 2, Barnes at the 3, and David Lee and Andrew Bogut down low. The Warriors also now have a team that is capable of playing defense rather than trying to score 120 points every night. In drafting Ezeli and Green, they got two strong players to add to a bench cast that was formerly the one-man show of Nate Robinson.

Grade: A

Houston Rockets: SG Jeremy Lamb (Connecticut), SF Royce White (Iowa St), SF Terrence Jones (Kentucky), PF Furkan Aldemir (Turkey)
After making all kinds of trades in order to get into the top 10 in order to trade for Dwight Howard, the Rockets got a solid player at 12 in Jeremy Lamb, then got two more good players in White at 16 and Jones at 18. They also were able to trade to get foreign rebounding machine Aldemir, who averaged 15 per. The Rockets drafted players from winning programs and got younger and more athletic, -- always positives. Lamb will most likely play in the 2 spot, so it will be interesting to see what they do with incumbents Kevin Martin and Courtney Lee. They might not have gotten Dwight, but they certainly got better.

Grade: A

Indiana Pacers: PF Miles Plumlee (Duke), SG Orlando Johnson (UCSB)
Do not understand these picks at all. Plumlee was a total surprise taken in the first round, as many teams did not even have him on their big board at all. He is limited offensively and is already behind David West and Tyler Hansbrough at power forward, and I don’t see him being very productive at the center position. At best, he is an above-average rebounder in the league. Johnson adds some scoring punch, but he will be behind Danny Granger, Darren Collison, George Hill, Paul George, and Leandro Barbosa.

Grade: F

Los Angeles Clippers: No picks
The Clippers selected Aldemir and traded him to the Rockets, and other than that had no selections in the draft. They were able to swing a trade earlier in the day for Lamar Odom, who will certainly help them out.

Grade: C

Los Angeles Lakers: SG Darius Johnson-Odom (Marquette), C Robert Sacre (Gonzaga)
Johnson-Odom is a young, slashing guard who will certainly help them out. He could be groomed to play point guard with the impending departure of Ramon Sessions. Sacre will have an opportunity to compete for backup minutes behind Bynum and Gasol if he stays in LA. The Lakers never do much through the draft but didn’t do anything to hurt themselves this year

Grade: C+

Memphis Grizzlies: SG Tony Wroten (Washington)
The only hole in the Grizzlies’ roster from last year was a backup point guard, and they filled that need admirably in grabbing Wroten. He is a smooth-operating left-hander with tremendous upside. Love this pick for Memphis; now if they can get healthy, they might be the biggest competition for the Thunder out West.

Grade: A-

Miami Heat: C Justin Hamilton (LSU)
The Heat drafted Arnette Moultre but traded him moments later and then selected Hamilton in the second round. They had an opportunity to get Perry Jones III but passed him up, as well. They could have started Jones at the 4 and slid Chris Bosh to the 5, but instead settled for Hamilton. Hamilton is reminiscent of a very poor man’s Chris Kaman, and I doubt he will amount to anything in the league. However, they are the reigning champs and didn’t lose or gain anyone who would hurt them.

Grade: C

Milwaukee Bucks: PF John Henson (North Carolina) SG Doron Lamb (Kentucky)
Henson was a very solid pick up front as he can be combined with Ekpe Udoh and Samuel Dalembert to form a very interesting front line. He is one of the best shot blockers in the draft and will only improve on offense. Getting Lamb as late as they did was a major steal. He is an excellent shooter who can play either guard spot and will serve as a valuable backup for Brandon Jennings and Monte Ellis.

Grade: A-

Minnesota Timberwolves: SF Robbie Hummel (Purdue), obtained SF Chase Budinger in trade for pick
Budinger will be a good bench player for the T’wolves, and Hummel was a player who was very highly touted a few years ago. However, he has been marred with injuries, tearing knee ligaments in back-to-back seasons, and doesn’t seem to be a model of good health.

Grade: C-

New Orleans Hornets: PF Anthony Davis (Kentucky), SG Austin Rivers (Duke), SF Darius Miller (Kentucky)
Davis is the kind of player t you can build around, and adding by adding Rivers and Miller the Hornets are off to a very strong start. Davis has a very high ceiling on offense and defense, and spending some time in the weight room will benefit him greatly. Rivers can play either guard spot and pairing him in the backcourt with Eric Gordon is a scary sight. Miller is a strong defender and a capable scorer, and will fit in perfectly with the rest of the team. The Hornets now have a very strong core and many are already thinking playoffs. This draft was definitely a game changer for New Orleans.

Grade: A+

New York Knicks: SF Kostas Papanikolau (Greece)
The Knicks did not have many options, selecting 48th, so they picked a foreign player who they could stash away for a few years. Many think Papanikolau will be one of the best foreign players to come our of this year’s draft, but Knicks fans booed their selection once again.

Grade: C-

Oklahoma City Thunder: PF Perry Jones III (Baylor)
GM Sam Presti deserves an award for arguably being one of the best GMs of all time. Stud forward Jones III fell all the way to 28th, and the Thunder wasted no time in selecting him. Jones III was looked at as a surefire top-three pick last year and a lottery pick again this year; how he slipped to the Thunder we might never know. He provides athleticism, scoring and rebounding to an already very strong Thunder team. Drafting him makes center Kendrik Perkins expendable, as Serge Ibaka can now slide to the 5 spot, leaving the starting power forward position to Jones III or Nick Collison if Scottie Brooks decides to bring Jones III off the bench.

Grade: A+

Orlando Magic: C Andrew Nicholson (St. Bonaventure), PF Kyle O’Quinn (Norfolk St)
The Magic know that they are most likely going to lose Dwight Howard soon, so they drafted big in hopes of finding an interm replacement. Both players come from small mid-major schools and both are very underrated. Nicholson scored and rebounded well in college and was also an excellent shot blocker. He could backup Ryan Anderson or start at center once Howard leaves. O’Quinn was a gamble and many do not think he has the size or strength for the NBA, but he is a hustle player with a nose for the ball.

Grade: B-

Philadelphia 76ers: SF Moe Harkless (St. John’s) C Arnette Moultre (Mississippi St)
This pick is an interesting one. With Thaddeus Young, Elton Brand, and Andre Iguodala still on the roster, why select another forward? To me, this means the end of the Iguodala era in Philly. Iggy has been the target of many trade rumors, most notably to the Lakers, and it seems that Philly is now ready to pull the trigger. Lou Williams has also said that he will not be returning next year, so the 76ers needed to add some scoring punch. In Moultre, they get a long, athletic big man who will certainly help them out right away. Harkless must also get used to playing small forward as he played the four in college.

Grade: B-

Phoenix Suns: PG Kendall Marshall (North Carolina)
This pick also means the end of an era. In drafting Marshall, the Suns must be almost certain that Steve Nash will not be returning next year. He is an unselfish, pass-first point guard who will make everyone around him better. There are question marks surrounding his jump shot, and he needs to work on his quickness, as well, but Marshall is the long-term solution for this Phoenix team.

Grade: B+

Portland Trail Blazers: PG Damian Lillard (Weber St) C Meyers Leonard (Illinois) SG Will Barton (Memphis)
Lillard will be a good answer for their poin- guard question and should be able to help them out immediately. He is very effective in the pick and roll and has deep range. He will be a perfect fit with star LaMarcus Aldridge. Leonard has a bunch of question marks and strikes me as another Joel Przybilla. He needs to get stronger and meaner on the glass; however, he does fill a need for the Blazers so we will see how he pans out. In drafting Barton, the Blazers get another excellent scorer and defender in what was a very good pick; he could help them out right away.

Grade: B+

Sacramento Kings: PF Thomas Robinson (Kansas)
Love this pick for the Kings. Pairing him down low with DeMarcus Cousins will be very dangerous, and the two will be very effective together. Thomas was one of the best rebounders in the draft and is already effective on offense and will only get better. He and Cousins could both average double-doubles for years to come. He is also a very high-character guy and will be a huge influence on the locker room. If the Kings continue to draft like this and develop their young guys, they could be very dangerous in a year or two.

Grade: A

San Antonio Spurs: SG Marcus Denmon (Missouri)
No matter who the Spurs draft, everyone thinks they can play because the Spurs find a way to maximize the production of all of their players. With the second-to-last pick, they chose Denmon, who is a superb shooter although a little undersized. We will have to see what they do with Denmon, but for now the pick is average.

Grade: C

Toronto Raptors: SG Terrence Ross (Washington), PF Tomislav Zubcic (Croatia), PF Quicy Acy (Baylor)
With the second-biggest surprise of the night, the Raptors took Ross with the eighth pick with Austin Rivers and Jeremy Lamb still on the board. Ross will most likely start at shooting guard and should mesh well with Demar DeRozan. Acy is a tenacious rebounder who will help out this club and will add athleticism off the bench. Zubcic will be stored overseas and we could see him in a year or two. The Raptors also get last year’s lottery pick, Jonas Valenciunas, this year to come help them out. Ross was a bit of a reach at eight, but the Raptors got solid players that should help them out immediately.

Grade: B

Utah Jazz: SG Kevin Murphy (Tennessee Tech)
This came as a surprise to some, but taking a deeper look at Murphy, he might be one of the biggest steals of the draft. The 6-foot, 6-inch guard hung a 50 spot this year and can flat out score the ball. Utah did the best they could with this pick, and Murphy should help out right away off the bench following CJ Miles' imminent departure. In time, he will battle with Alec Burks for the starting shooting-guard spot as Gordon Hayward moves to his more natural position of small forward. Worst case, Murphy is a high-volume shooter/scorer off the bench.

Grade: B

Washington Wizards: SG Bradley Beal (Florida), PG Tomas Satoransky (Czech Republic)
Beal might prove to be the gem of this draft and could potentially pan out to be better than Anthony Davis. He has been compared favorably to Ray Allen, and many say that at this age, he's better than Ray was. He will be an immediate starter and should help out the Wizards immensely. Satoransky is a big point guard and is very close to Jan Vessely, who is already of the team. He is expected to come play in a year and will be a viable backup to John Wall. The Wall-Beal backcourt could prove to be very effective and Satoransky is a strong pick given where he was taken.

Grade: A-