Monday, July 1, 2013

3 comments 2013 NBA Draft Grades

Wow, that escalated quickly didn't it? This was a pretty unpredictable NBA Draft from the very first pick. If I had the guts I would have taken Anthony Bennett #1 overall too, but I don't near have the balls (stupidity?) to take Bennett #1 overall. I honestly have about 12 screens open now just trying to figure out where the hell all of these players ended up going. It feels nearly impossible to figure out which teams have the rights to which players after all of the trades. Anyway, I'm giving it a shot and I will probably be wrong about a couple of them, but I'm trying hard not to. I wouldn't want a player from Latvia who was traded to the Mavericks to affect the grade I give the Nuggets. Just a note, I tend to give grades on a scale of 0-10 (0 is the lowest and 10 is the highest) as opposed to a letter grade.

Atlanta Hawks

Maybe this isn't weird, but I thought it was weird that the Hawks chose to draft three international players. The Hawks seemed eager to improve their team right now with the rumors they were looking to sign Chris Paul and/or Dwight Howard, but then they drafted three project-ish type guys. Maybe they won't want to use cap space to sign some free agents. That's probably the reason they signed these project-ish guys. I'm going to cop-out on the first team in these grades because Dennis Schroeder is the only guy I know enough about to comment on. It is possible none of these three guys could even play for the Hawks next year. Lucas Nogueira is a long, athletic center who may play for the Hawks in a year or two, but I do really like the Schroeder pick.

Grade: 5

Boston Celtics

Other than trading two Hall of Famers a week after trading one of the most successful coaches in franchise history and then drafting two white stiff centers, the Celtics had a great draft. I'm not a Kelly Olynyk fan. Not only because his hair is disgusting, but he's a non-physical center who relies on the officials to bail him out on foul calls. Yeah, I don't like him that much. He has a skill set NBA teams look for in that he can score a variety of ways, so I could very well be proven wrong. At worst, he is a short-term fix I guess. Colton Iverson serves the purpose of being tall. The Celtics only gave up cash for his rights, but I don't see why the Celtics traded up to get Olynyk. Dieng is a better defender and Shabazz Muhammad is going to be the scorer the Celtics will need without Paul Pierce. I did like the four 1st round picks the Celtics got for Rivers/Garnett/Pierce though and I also liked the Doc Rivers/Bill Simmons bitch-fest. Both sides had points. Doc's son (Jeremiah) is right that Bill kicked Doc around when the Celtics weren't winning, thought Doc was a genius when the Celtics won, and now is kicking Doc again as he heads out the door. Bill is right that Doc sort of bailed on the team because he didn't want to rebuild. Still, I can't exactly blame Rivers for not wanting to stick around during a 2-3 year rebuilding process.

Grade: 2

Brooklyn Nets

Mason Plumlee is what he is. He can run the floor, he's a pretty good rebounder and he will be a good backup power forward. He's also going to get a good schooling by playing with Kevin Garnett everyday in practice which will probably only serve to break him or make him tougher. He's a good pick for where they got him and I think he will be able to contribute. The Nets aren't a team that is looking for a high-end guy coming off the bench, but need a guy who can contribute immediately. Plumlee will never be good enough to start, but he can provide 10-15 minutes in a game without completely embarrassing himself. For the win-now Nets I think that would end up being good enough for now.

Grade: 6

Charlotte Bobcats

I'm not trying to be a contrarian. I like the Cody Zeller pick much more than others do. I like it better than the Bobcats selecting Alex Len and Nerlens Noel. The Bobcats don't need another non-offensive minded big man on the roster, even if Noel can block shots and I would bet good money that Cody Zeller is going to be a much better big man (even as a power forward) than Alex Len. Zeller runs the floor well, he plays well in the post, but he just needs to get stronger and adapt to the NBA level of competition. He fell in the eyes of many scouts for some reason over the last few months, but I thought he was an excellent pick in the #4 overall spot. If the Bobcats were to take best player available, they would have taken Ben McLemore, but I have very little doubt Zeller over Noel/Len was the right pick.

Grade: 7

Chicago Bulls

I probably like Tony Snell more than most human beings do. He's a three-point shooter and a great defender, which means he is going to fit in very well with the Bulls. The Bulls need shooting and they always focus on playing great defense. I like Snell as a player and he fits a need for the Bulls. Really good pick. Erik Murphy is sort of a Ryan Kelly-lite, who is a Matt Bonner-lite, so I'm not too excited about Murphy's prospects of making the Bulls roster. He can shoot, but I don't know if he will defend well enough to make it in the NBA. Still, with the #49 pick it's not like you are finding complete players in that spot.

Grade: 6

Cleveland Cavaliers

It's hard to grade this draft. Anthony Bennett was certainly a surprise at the #1 overall spot, but he's a very talented guy. I wish I had the guts to take Bennett if I were an NBA GM, but the fact Bennett is slightly overweight and had a shoulder injury made it seem like the Cavs wouldn't take a chance on him. Still, he has such a unique skill set that he is worth the gamble. I just thought since the Cavs were looking to make the playoffs this year they would go with a more "certain" player. Bennett could shoot it from outside, can play inside as well, and also plays decent defense when he wants to. Still...there's something off I can't place my finger on. Maybe it's his work ethic. The Cavs got the sharpshooter they wanted out of this draft with Karsev and Carrick Felix is (hopefully) Tony Allen. I keep liking the moves the Cavs make, though I laugh at the idea Bill Simmons tossed out during the draft that the Cavs should make moves to appease LeBron James in case he came back to Cleveland in 2014. Yeah, the VP of Common Sense suggested the Cavs make moves to appease a guy who isn't even a free agent yet just in case that free agent decides to come back to Cleveland. Brilliant.

Grade: 9

Dallas Mavericks

I'm sort of confused as to whether Ricky Ledo is a Maverick or not, but we'll pretend he is for now. I realize the Mavericks are trying to clear cap space to make a run at marquee free agents, but they got an excellent point guard in Shane Larkin, while also taking a flier on Ricky Ledo. Ledo has the chance of being the Lance Stephenson of this draft. He is a guy with maturity issues, but a ton of talent. If the Mavericks can surround Ledo with the right guys then he could be the steal of this draft. I feel like I am liking too many of these team's drafts, but I do like this one too. I think Larkin can be excellent off-the-bench scoring for the Mavericks and Ledo may be a year or two away, but could be a starter.

Grade: 7

Denver Nuggets

It seems the Nuggets sum total from this draft was Erick Green, who probably is going to be very confused by playing with other basketball players who have talent. This past season at Virginia Tech probably caused Green to believe he will always be the most talented player on the court. He can score, so that's good, but he's also very used to having the ball a lot. The Nuggets also drafted an international player named "Joffrey," but no word yet on whether he is from King's Landing. To get Joffrey the Nuggets only had to trade their talented, young backup center Kosta Koufos. The lesson? Having someone named "Joffrey" on your side will always screw you.

Grade: 4

Detroit Pistons

This was kind of a risky, upside-only draft for the Pistons. I'm not complaining, but just noting. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is an excellent shooter who rose up into the lottery over the last few weeks. He's a shooter and can play some defense, so at the very least he seems to be able to provide some off-the-bench shooting. Caldwell-Pope thought he would get drafted by the Timberwolves or the Trailblazers, so of course he ended up in Detroit. Tony Mitchell has a ton of talent, but he regressed last year while playing at a mid-major. That's not a good sign for his future in my opinion. Either the talent level he played against caused him to slack off or he became disinterested. Teams take a chance on talent though, so the Pistons took a chance on Mitchell. Peyton Siva probably won't make the roster, but he's worth a shot.

Grade: 5

Golden State Warriors

I know absolutely nothing about Nemanja Nedovic. He is a point guard and an international player. It would be idiotic for me to pretend I know something about him.

Grade: Incomplete due to my lack of knowledge

Houston Rockets

Finally we get to the genius Daryl Morey's spot in the draft. What sort of magical and ingenius moves did Morey make that ensures the Rockets barely miss the playoffs or get a low-seed on the way to finally completing his 10 year turnaround plan for the Rockets? I'm being snide not because I don't like Morey, but he's treated like a genius when the Rockets haven't gotten a 5 seed or better since he's been in Houston. In fact, the team has seemingly regressed since he took over, yet Bill Simmons treats him like a magical fairy who wins championships with a movement of his wand. It seems Morey basically drafted a slightly taller Aaron Brooks in Isaiah Canaan and I liked it. Canaan may or may not be a pure point guard, but he knows how to score. Plus, we all know Morey didn't want to make any moves that would hurt his ability to finally acquire Dwight Howard as soon as possible. I'm going to be interested in seeing Bill Simmons' reaction to his idol acquiring Howard, the center that Bill just wrote a column on as being on the decline. Bill will have to think of a way of talking up Morey without acknowledging his Howard column. Tough times.

Grade: 6

Indiana Pacers

Larry Bird is going to be back at the helm of the Pacers very soon. He has vowed to improve the bench with the little cap room the Pacers have, then immediately after Bird was re-hired the Pacers reached for Solomon Hill and then traded their second round pick. I know it is hard to criticize a team for reaching, but Hill could have been had later in the draft in my opinion. I don't get why the Pacers spent a 1st round pick on him. I feel like they have wasted two 1st round picks in a row on Hill and Miles Plumlee.

Grade: 1

Los Angeles Clippers

I'm not sure Reggie Bullock will ever be anymore than outside shooting threat in the NBA, but the Clippers can certainly use a wing forward who can put points on the board. He got better as his career went on at creating space off the dribble and scoring off the dribble, but I don't know if he is going to continue to improve this facet of the game in the NBA. He's a good rebounder and a pretty good defender. The Clippers didn't seem to have a ton of better options at #25, but I'm not entirely sure Allan Crabbe would have been a better option. Bullock is sort of underrated in my opinion.

Grade: 7

Los Angeles Lakers

I don't know how Ryan Kelly got drafted or why he was taken at #48. I like Ryan Kelly, he is a good college stretch 4, but he lacks the physicality to rebound at the power forward position and he is out of shape coming off of a foot injury. If he is able to make the Lakers roster then he can provide three-point shooting and he is excellent at team defense. I don't believe he can guard at the NBA level nor he will be able to rebound at the power forward position to even make the Lakers team. I thought Lorenzo Brown or DeShaun Thomas were better options.

Grade: 2

Memphis Grizzlies

The Grizzlies seem to have gotten a good backup for Marc Gasol in Kosta Koufos, which is a win for them. Jamaal Franklin is a long-sleeve wearing Tony Allen who can do it all, but I think Franklin has a higher ceiling than Allen did. I said a few days ago he sort of reminded me as a smaller Kawhi Leonard and he does do most everything on the court very well. It's a steal to get him at #41 in the draft. Playing with NBA players could only help him better find his niche, as opposed to being the unquestioned star of a team like he was at San Diego State last year. I think Franklin is the type of player who will thrive when he is allowed to have his talent meld in with the talent of those around him. The Grizzlies also drafted a guy named "Janis" at #60. I know nothing about him except his name isn't "Joffrey."

Grade: 8

Milwaukee Bucks

It seems the Bucks got Nate Wolters in a trade. I'm not entirely sure how this happened, but through a few trades he ended up in Milwaukee, especially if Brandon Jennings isn't re-signed. I could see him sticking in Milwaukee. The Bucks used their first round pick on Giannis Adetokunbo, who has a very difficult name to spell. Hopefully he won't find it as difficult to adjust to the NBA in a couple of years when the Bucks decide to bring him over to the United States.

Grade: 5

Minnesota Timberwolves

For the record, the Timberwolves did draft two point guards. Granted, they didn't keep both of them, but that's beside the point. I really, really liked the Timberwolves draft. Shabazz Muhammad ended up in a great spot. He is playing beside Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love, so he doesn't have to worry about passing at all. Love can rebound Muhammad's misses and Rubio can throw Muhammad some fancy passes. As I said previously, I don't love Muhammad, but he is a professional scorer. What I mean by that is he is going to score points and that's what you can count on from him.. If he is convinced to pass the ball and play defense, then the sky is the limit for him. Gorgui Dieng isn't going to put up 20 points per game, but he will protect the rim and benefit from playing with Rubio. I like Dieng in Minnesota. I know nothing about Bojan Dubljevic, but his name makes me hungry for Bojangles' food. I'm not a huge fan of any of the N.C. State players that came out of the draft, but to get Lorenzo Brown at #52 is a good move for the Timberwolves. It's a pretty low-cost risk for a guy of his talent. Brown played well when he was the off-guard and Tyler Lewis ran the point. Brown can run the point and play alongside Rubio. I'm not convinced Brown is a point guard because I feel like he stops the flow of the ball when it is in his hands, but with Rubio playing point and Love rebounding there's no need to worry about disrupting the flow. Rubio can keep the flow of the offense going.

Grade: 9

New Orleans Pelicans

I thought at first the Pelicans had absolutely fleeced the Sixers in the Noel trade. I thought the Pelicans got the Sixers 2014 1st round pick AND Jrue Holiday (I half expected David Stern to veto this trade at the podium if this was the set-up of the trade), but it turns out they gave up a 2014 1st round pick. Pelicans really must have felt they needed a point guard because they traded for Jrue Holiday and drafted Pierre Jackson. I'm still not sure what to think about Holiday in a Pelicans uniform (I'm not even sure about an NBA team named the Pelicans), but at least these moves make sure Austin Rivers isn't ever handling the basketball. The Pelicans really didn't need Noel with Davis on the roster, though that would have been fun to watch.

Grade: 6

New York Knicks

The highlight of my night was seeing Knicks fans get excited at the idea of the Knicks drafting a player they had heard of. Then we got a Spike Lee interview where he pretended to know who Tim Hardaway Jr was? Fantastic. Guess what? I hate this pick. Hardaway wasn't the best 2-guard available and he should have stayed in school. Of course if he stayed in school then his bad shot selection would come to light when he became more of an offensive focus for the Michigan team and his usage increased. Hardaway can shoot it...sometimes. He wasn't an efficient scorer last year and his shot selection really isn't very good at all. I felt like the Knicks could have done better.

Grade: 1

Oklahoma City Thunder

I'm confused. I know the Thunder aren't an old team, but there isn't always a wide open window for teams in the NBA and they had the #12 pick in the they chose an enormous project. Steven Adams looks clueless at times on the court and his skill set doesn't match his physical characteristics. I thought there were 5-6 better options on the board for the Thunder. Andre Roberson is a nice rebounder even if he is undersized. I can see him getting playing time this year and contributing. The Thunder don't have to be in win-now mode, but I would like to have seen them take a chance to improve their team more than they did when having a late-lottery pick. They went from trying to trade up and get Oladipo to taking one of the most raw players in the draft. Then they drafted Alex Abrines and will stash him overseas. I know the Thunder are close to a title, but I think they blew a chance to get even closer and improve the bench. Maybe I'm being too hard on them.

Grade: 3

Orlando Magic

I would not have passed over Ben McLemore. I think when you have the #2 pick you have to try and hit a homerun. Oladipo is more like a double or a double that could get stretched into a triple. McLemore has a much higher upside to me than Oladipo does and I just think the Magic should have gone in a different direction. Still, Oladipo is a great defender and a much safer pick. While McLemore's drive has been questioned you can't say the same for Oladipo. Clearly the Magic preferred a guy who improved tremendously last year and has a great drive.

Grade: 5

Philadelphia 76ers

I really hated the Noel trade initially, but I have to say I am coming around on it. The Sixers needed a big man and they also got a point guard in the draft. Granted, it's not easy to replace Holiday, but Michael Carter-Williams could conceivably be great if he stops turning the ball over and learns to shoot. Ok, so maybe those are two important pieces to being a point guard. I have to give the Sixers credit for trying something extreme to improve their team. I'm not sure it will work, but they have the center they wanted and tried to replace Holiday. It's easy to hate the trade because Holiday is a proven commodity, but I guess the Sixers felt they had to do something extreme to improve their squad.

Grade: 8

Phoenix Suns

I think we all know how I feel about Alex Len. He's a work in progress to me. I'm not sure about the progress. I keep hearing it is impressive how quickly he learned English, and that is impressive, but I'm confused as to how that translates basketball. I'm really surprised the Suns took him over a couple of the other options on the board. I didn't like that decision. I did like Archie Goodwin later in the first round though. I think Goodwin got lost in the shuffle at Kentucky and he is on a good team where he can get an opportunity to develop. Back to Len, I just don't like his lack of production at Maryland. I know (trust me, I know) the Terps had point guard issues, but he would disappear and only made his presence known in stretches. I see why the Suns drafted him and that's because of his potential. Potential rules the world it seems.

Grade: 4

Portland Trailblazers

I tend to really like the Trailblazers draft. Because Jeff Withey can walk AND chew gum at the same time, he will easily take Meyers Leonard's minutes at center. Withey definitely has a ceiling, but he is more athletic than he looks and can really provide some rim protection for the Blazers. Plus, I love C.J. McCollum. He's a combo guard, which works out perfectly for the Blazers since they already have Damian Lillard running the point guard spot. He has a great offensive shot and ability to drive to the basket. Allen Crabbe is an excellent shooter who was asked to do too much at California last year. He is another player who I think as his usage goes down, his production will go up. He can find a niche as a shooter and potentially succeed in the NBA. I think the Blazers did a really good job.

Grade: 9

Sacramento Kings

I'm confused and disheartened. Two of my favorite players ended up on a team seemingly without direction. I don't think the Kings had a choice but to take Ben McLemore given the talent level he possesses. If he doesn't have the drive to succeed then he is on the right team. I'm all the way on the other coast from Sacramento, but I constantly get a "blah" vibe from them. I know the Kings' fans aren't "blah," so they deserve better than this. McLemore's supposed lack of drive runs counter to Ray McCallum who is going to be the backup point guard before long. I think he could even compete with Isiah Thomas for minutes as the starter. Should I lower a team's grade because I don't trust that team to not ruin the players they drafted?

Grade: 3 (on the assumption the Kings will ruin these players. Otherwise, it's an 8)

San Antonio Spurs

It's almost unfair. The Spurs really aren't that smart when they draft, it's just they take advantage of mistakes other teams make. Livio Jean-Charles is all upside, which the Spurs think they can afford to do. I would agree with this, though I did just throw a hissy-fit over the Thunder taking Steven Adams. Still, the Thunder took Adams at #12 not #28. That's the difference I see. DeShaun Thomas is a perfect guy for the Spurs offense. He knows his role, he can do several things well, and he is an excellent shooter. I love this pick and can already see him shooting three-pointers for the Spurs from the corner. Thomas won't be a starter, but he can score and should play a nice role for the Spurs this season.

Grade: 5

Toronto Raptors

The Raptors didn't have any picks. It's a good thing they don't have any needs. 

Grade: N/A

Utah Jazz

The Jazz needed a point guard and they got the 1st or 2nd best one in the draft in Trey Burke. That's a big win for them. Rudy Gobert is a project who I am a little surprised didn't go earlier. I'm also surprised the Jazz went with another project rather than reach for Withey in this spot. Maybe they figured they didn't like Withey enough to spend a 1st round pick on him. Either way, the Jazz got a point guard who is going to make the team and the players around him better. I think Trey Burke won't necessarily be Deron Williams, but he also won't be Devin Harris either. I think a nice comfortable medium between those two players will make this pick worth it for the Jazz.

Grade: 7

Washington Wizards

This draft fell nicely for the Wizards. They got Michael Kidd-G---I mean they got Otto Porter (I know, that's a lazy comparison, but they both have a variety of high level skills, but don't do anything exceptionally) to play small forward with that newly tattooed thug John Wall and my super-favorite player Bradley Beal. Its nice to see the draft fall into the Wizards lap like that. Porter could use some additional weight, but the Wizards appear to be building something with potential and Porter is going to really help as a guy who fits in well with Wall and Beal. Porter won't require the ball to make an impact on the game, which is always nice. The Wizards then traded around for Glen Rice Jr, who managed to get kicked off a very needy Georgia Tech team. Rice drove drunk and discharged a firearm while drunk, so he got kicked off the team. Hopefully he won't be the next Wizards player to make a motion of shooting guns during warmups (Agent Zero callback!) or else David Stern will have a nice suspension/fine for Rice. Rice has a ton of talent, so it was a good pick for the Wizards to make. The Wizards seem to building talent, but now they just have to start winning games.

Grade: 3 (I'm going on the assumption the Wizards will find a way to ruin these two players. Otherwise it's a 6)


Anonymous said...

Well done BG. The Simmons train is starting to derail as he is more exposed huh? You do a nice job of alerting us to his stupidity and complete lack of NCAA knowledge but didn't allow your animus for him to take over the premise of the post. I love that Bill's arrogance and thirst for starfucking clouded his judgement and therefore he thought it would be a great idea to go on TV with real athletes. EPIC FAIL. ps...the Celtics are a mess but as usual there are so many other dramas in Boston that Danny "The Towel Sniffer" Ainge is escaping all media scrutiny. Did you see his presser? He just doesn't know? We drafted without a coach and ESPN happily releases a gross Jackie McDoosh article outlining tanking? This combined with the NBA's complete inability to call LeBron James for a defensive foul (please look at the numbers) creates a very disturbing climate for a professional sports league. Stern is the worst ever and Silver will be just as bad. Sorry for the rant but I was blown away by LeBron's incredible league wide protection. Thanks again @BigCityJob

DG said...

I think the NOLA/Philly deal was slightly in favor of NOLA. Holliday was a great piece to get for a NOLA team that is not far from contending and I have a hard time seeing anyone from that 6 spot on having a better career. Yah, maybe Noel or McLemore in a couple years, but JH is a dynamic athlete at 6'4 who has the potential to be significantly above average on both ends.

That pick coming next year is obviously a big deal but if NOLA has everyone healthy I can't see it being better than #10. It is a good asset but picks in that range aren't always dynamite. I know the 2014 draft is supposed to be stacked but again nothing is certain*.

That being said, I don't hate it for Philly, they get Noel and a pick next year to build around with MCW and maybe Thad and Turner. I just think Holliday was a great foundational piece; in today's NBA you need a good PG (unless you have Lebron) so I feel like Philly is really taking a gamble starting over at that spot. I know MCW has a great feel and body for the position but I am really not sold on his ability to score, and even as a PG you have to bring some scoring punch.

*I am really not big on calling drafts weak and strong. IMO it always seems like drafts with superstar prospects are strong and drafts with less sure things at the top are weak. While I don't neccessarily diagree with this logic, I think outside of the top 5 it is very difficult to say a draft will be weak or strong. Maybe if there are a ton of top guys like the Wiggins and the Parkers going in the guys who are mid 1st rounders might wait a year, making the draft top-heavy. It kind of reminds me how many said this year's NFL draft was weak when to me there was plenty of quality, just not one or two "can't miss" QBs which would get every Peter King salivating over the "stacked" draft. I just think 'strong' and 'weak' desciptors almost always apply to the peak, but not the depth, of the draft class. All of which is to say I think the 2014 pick was a good get for Philly, I just don't like it when people tell me "don't forget how loaded the draft is next year".

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, thanks. I thought Simmons brought something different to the draft show, but I'm not sure it was something different I would like to see. I thought he went a little too "Celtics-fan" at times, but that's his schtick I guess. What annoyed me most about Simmons' criticism of Doc is that he does tend to bash Rivers when things are bad, but not when things are good. It's very reactive of him. Maybe Rivers did quit on the team, but the Celtics are constructed next year aren't the Celtics Rivers signed on to coach, plus the C's got a 1st round pick for him. Doc didn't quit on the team, he just didn't want to be a part of the rebuilding process. This isn't the first time this has happened, but Bill throws a fit b/c it involves the Celtics.

DG, that's a good point about someone in the 6-spot or greater having a better career. Holiday is a known quantity, but the Sixers essentially traded that known quantity to finally fill the center position. It felt like a lot to give up, but I like how the Sixers did try and take care of the PG spot with Carter-Williams.

I'm less worried about Carter-Williams ability to score than I am a/b his turnovers and I haven't seen him play man-to-man defense yet. You have to guard at the NBA level and the 'Cuse zone didn't show me Carter-Williams could.

I think this year's draft was supposed to be loaded wasn't it? It turns out it wasn't. I feel like every year the NBA Draft is loaded next year. Parker may not even go to the NBA after his freshman season. It's not a given.

When I made that statement I was referring to what other people think, not what I think. Maybe I didn't make that clear. I feel like if the top part of the draft is talent-heavy then the draft is strong regardless of the players behind it. I liked this year's draft for depth, but it just didn't have the superstar prospects. So I feel somewhat like you do, and I like the trade for Philly, but I also am a bit dubious about counting that next year's draft will be so fantastic.