Well, the most exciting day in June is officially over and it wasn't just because Mike Trout hit a home run yesterday. The 2012 NBA Draft is done. The march towards the season has begun and the 2013 NBA Draft will be here in what seems like a few days. The draft was full of intrigue, odd moments, and head-scratching picks. People freaked out that trades weren't announced fast enough and all that other jazz that comes with the draft. So, without any further ado, here's my personal 2012 NBA Draft grades for each team and the analysis as to why I gave them said grade.
Atlanta Hawks: C-
Draft Picks: John Jenkins, Mike Scott
Analysis: I'm not a huge fan of John Jenkins simply because he only has one discernible skill that translates to the NBA; his shooting touch. We've seen players like him before and they've fizzled out with little fanfare. Anyone here remember the late, great Morris Almond? Utah needed a pure shooter, drafted him, and then he never amounted to anything. I think Jenkins will be a solid or decent pro player but nothing that warranted the 23rd pick in the draft. Mike Scott is a face-up four man who can rebound well and plays hard. Solid pick but nothing earth-shattering. Could fit well next to Al Horford. With who was on the board, I think Festus Ezeli would have been a better pick at 23 while Kyle O'Quinn would have been a better pick at 43rd. They need size.
Boston Celtics: B+
Draft Picks: Jared Sullinger, Fab Melo, Kris Joseph
Analysis: The reason they're not getting a higher grade from me is because it's entirely contingent upon two things. (1) Jared Sullinger recovering from eventual back surgery and (2) Kris Joseph actually panning out. I think Sullinger was well worth the risk at 21st overall while Melo was a great pick at 22nd overall. It gives them a future 4-5 combination once Garnett leaves. Plus, they don't need Sullinger this season. Melo can play right away as the center while Garnett moves back to power forward and Brandon Bass comes off the bench still getting 30 minutes per game. Kris Joseph is athletic, has a decent jumper, and can play but they need him to help off the bench in a big way. We'll see if he can do it. Like I said, though, their grade hinges on if Sullinger comes back healthy. I think he will.
Brooklyn Nets: F
Draft Picks: Tyshawn Taylor, Tornike Shengelia, Ilkan Karaman
Analysis: Forget the two foreign guys that they're going to stash overseas until they never come over. This grade is based solely around Tyshawn Taylor and his inability to be anything more than a scrub. The guy sucks. Anyone who watched him play would know that he sucks and yet the Nets felt it was necessary to not only pick him up but rather traded for Taylor. Taylor plays out of control, stupid, and will never amount to anything other than an energy guard defender off the bench. He can't shoot, turns it over way too much, and is definitely not a leader. If the Nets lose Deron Williams in free agency then Taylor will be their starter. That should scare everyone.
Charlotte Bobcats: A+
Draft Picks: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Jeffrey Taylor
Analysis: All Michael Jordan had to do was swing a trade for Jordan Taylor in the second round and then the first names of the three guys he would have taken would have been Michael Jeffrey Jordan. But alas, I digress. The Bobcats wanted to get tougher, nastier, more defensive, and athletic. They did that. Kidd-Gilchrist will start from day one while Taylor will be an excellent roleplayer. If Taylor were about two years younger, he'd have been a lottery pick. They can actually play on the court together and not impede what the other wants to do. In my final mock draft I pegged their upside as Scottie Pippen and Luol Deng. I think that can be true. Imagine those two together with Bismack Biyombo on the inside and their defense just got a whole lot better. Still need a true center but that can come next year.
Chicago Bulls: A
Draft Picks: Marquis Teague
Analysis: I love this pick for the Bulls a lot. Only thing that would have made it better is if they had a second round pick. Anyways, I love Teague's game for the Bulls simply because he is a Rose clone. Athletic but a pure scorer. Plus, he knows how to be unselfish and do whatever it takes for the team to win. The Bulls got him at 29th overall and was probably the steal of the first round with all things considered. They needed a point guard, got a great one, will let him develop and start while Derrick Rose rehabs from his injury, and then become a valuable player for the Bulls once Rose returns. This is one of those picks that a winning team, or a team on the rise, will look back at and be thankful for the other teams being so stupid.
Cleveland Cavaliers: D+
Draft Picks: Dion Waiters, Tyler Zeller
Analysis: The only reason this grade is so high is because they got Tyler Zeller. They would have gotten a (WT)F if it were just Waiters and nothing else. I'm not a fan of Waiters at all and I think his game is more suited for a sixth man than anything. He can slash to the basket, defend, but not do much else. Great in transition, yes, but I attribute that more to both slashing and defending. The guy is not a shooter. Reminds me a lot of DeMar DeRozan coming out and will probably have a similar career arc, err career canyon. I like Tyler Zeller because he gives them size inside with a scoring and rebounding presence. He can fit next to either Tristan Thompson or Anderson Varejao without a hitch and I think he was truly undervalued. Compares favorably to Greg Monroe.
Dallas Mavericks: B+
Draft Picks: Jared Cunningham, Bernard James, Jae Crowder
Analysis: I'm a huge supporter of Cunningham. Underrated game. Gonna be a great spark plug. The James pick was one of the greatest moments in NBA Draft history. And Jae Crowder is just a superb energy defender who never gives up. I'm aware that they want to try and woo Deron Williams to come to Dallas so this draft did nothing to detract them from that end goal. Cunningham can be a starting one or a two but likely an energy scoring and athletic two guard. James is a good center even though he's 27 while Crowder is a great grab at small forward. This was a very solid haul for the Mavericks and they should be happy that they didn't detract from their end game.
Denver Nuggets: A-
Draft Picks: Evan Fournier, Quincy Miller, Izzet Turkyilmaz
Analysis: I really like the Fournier pick for Denver because he doesn't have to come over right away. They can stash him for a year over in Europe and let him develop even more. They'll don't need him until the 2013-2014 season at shooting guard anyways. Quincy Miller, at that point in the draft, was a real steal. He has lottery talent and top five potential but injuries and questions about what he'll be in the NBA detracted teams from taking him early. I think he'd be a very versatile 3-4 who can defend, score, and rebound. Their other second round pick will be stashed overseas for quite some time. Either way, the Nuggets did pretty well given the circumstances. They didn't need much. Got a talented guy who they can stash and an impact forward who will help. Can't ask for much else at that point in the draft.
Detroit Pistons: A+
Draft Picks: Andre Drummond, Khris Middleton, Kim English
Analysis: I'll talk about their two second round picks first. Middleton is a smooth mid-range shooting forward who had to deal with injuries this past season. He could be a slight steal at this point considering he can take over at small forward in the future while English could be a good contributor off the bench as a scoring guard. The real steal came with Drummond, who based on talent alone should have probably been the first overall pick in the draft. But his motor and willingness to play hard has been questioned a lot. However, at this spot, 9th overall, he's a great find. Pistons will pair him with Greg Monroe and attempt to build their own twin towers for the future. With Brandon Stuckey and Brandon Knight in the fold, Pistons are building towards a bright future.
Golden State Warriors: D
Draft Picks: Harrison Barnes, Festus Ezeli, Draymond Green, Ognjen Kuzmic
Analysis: Okay, first off, I'm not a Harrison Barnes fan and I'm not a fan of Harrison Barnes going to Golden State. I think it's a bad situation. They needed a backup center so I understand the Ezeli pick. They need someone who can do a lot of things at an above-average level so I get the Green pick. The Kuzmic pick is a stash. But I do not understand the Barnes pick. Yes, he can score. Yes, he has a viable mid-range jumper and a smooth release. However, his footwork, ball-handling, and shot selection are all poor. He's not a good defender and what the Warriors need more than anything are wing defenders. They already have enough jump-shooters in Curry and Thompson. Now they have three and still can't defend anyone. It's a bad move.
Houston Rockets: B+
Draft Picks: Jeremy Lamb, Royce White, Terrence Jones, Furkan Aldemir
Analysis: I inexplicably left Lamb out of my final mock draft for reasons I can't even fathom. I probably just forgot about him at the time. Anyways, Lamb fits here. Versatile shooting guard who is athletic, can shoot, can drive, can score, and can defend with the best of them. I don't buy his injury issues and I think he'll be fine. A team like Golden State could have really used him. I like the White pick because it gives them a guy who can rebound, score, and pass as a combo forward while giving them toughness. They just have to get his anxiety disorder under control. My lone problem is Terrence Jones. I felt it was a redundant pick. I love Terrence Jones. He's Lamar Odom all over again. When Jones plays hard, there might not be a better player in college basketball. However, they had just taken White. I get that they can play together as hybrid forwards when the Rockets go small and put someone else at the center spot but I guess I'll just have to see how it all plays out. And I think it'd be wise for them to move Kyle Lowry for a center.
Indiana Pacers: B-
Draft Picks: Miles Plumlee, Orlando Johnson
Analysis: The Plumlee pick was a bit of a head-turner but he can play. He's athletic, plays hard, and can do good things on the court for a team. Yes, it was a tad high for him but I'm confident he can at least be a rotational big man that pulls his own weight. Think Nick Collison. I did love them dealing cash for Orlando Johnson, though. That was the steal for them. I think this will lead to a bigger move by the Indiana Pacers actually. I think a trade with the Lakers would make sense where they deal Danny Granger to the Lakers in exchange for Pau Gasol. It'd give them their center and allow Johnson to play next to Paul George. Either way, this move makes sense. Johnson plays well off the ball and can score. The Pacers need both in their backcourt. They had a very underrated draft.
Los Angeles Clippers: C
Draft Picks: None
Analysis: The Clippers drafted a player in the second round but he's going to be included in a four-team trade that sends Lamar Odom from the Mavericks to the Clippers, Mo Williams from the Clippers to the Jazz, a trade exception from the Jazz to the Mavericks, and cash from the Rockets to the Mavericks. Either way, the Clippers get a C here instead of an incomplete because they turned Mo Williams into something. Williams didn't want to be with the Clippers much longer and wanted to go to a team where he had a chance to start. I'm not fond of the Odom acquisition which is why it's only a C here but it's length. So whatever.
Los Angeles Lakers: B
Draft Picks: Darius Johnson-Odom, Robert Sacre
Analysis: I actually liked the Lakers draft from a depth standpoint. DJO is a perfect combo guard who can score, shoot, and defend. If I had to compare to anyone he's basically Derek Fisher. Knows his role, doesn't shy away from anything, and is tough as nails. With Sacre, they got a tough physical presence inside that can defend and rebound. He's also got some offensive game to him but it gives the Lakers another legit seven footer to throw at teams. It's a pretty tough trio to defend now or get around on defense. All-in-all, it was a quality draft for the team across the hall and they got pieces that will help them out on the bench.
Memphis Grizzlies: C
Draft Picks: Tony Wroten Jr.
Analysis: It's pronounced ROW-TIN but I'd just call him ROT-TEN personally. I mean, Memphis went with a player who has high upside if he ever pans out but he's Tyreke Evans to me. Can't shoot at all. I mean at all. It's terrible watching him think he can shoot and then fail miserably at it. They did need a backup point guard though and he fits with Conley because it'd allow Conley to be a spot-up shooter at times if needed while Wroten handled the ball for them. He could pan out. He really could. I did laugh at Jay Bilas last night saying he could be the next Rondo. Not even close. Rondo, when he came out, was an elite passer and defender. I was actually really high on Rondo. Wroten is neither. His passing is truly overrated. Decent pick, though.
Miami Heat: D-
Draft Picks: Justin Hamilton
Analysis: The only thing saving them from an F is that they aren't the Brooklyn Nets and didn't draft Tyshawn Taylor. I actually do like Hamilton, though. However, they had drafted Arnett Moultrie, who fit in perfectly on that team, then traded him away for the 45th pick, which was Hamilton, and a future first round pick from Philadelphia. If the lottery protected pick from Philadelphia finds its way into Miami's hands next year and happens to be in the top twenty, then sure this is a solid trade and draft for them. But I just think Moultrie was a steal at that point and was going to help them inside with toughness, rebounding, and athleticism. He and Bosh could have played together. Oh well.
Milwaukee Bucks: B-
Draft Picks: John Henson, Doron Lamb
Analysis: Okay, let me preface this by saying that I have a close friend who went to college in Wisconsin and is a Bucks fan. He hates John Henson with a passion. And he hated the Bucks draft. I asked him to grade it and he said a C. I'm going slightly higher because I think John Henson is kinda underrated. He's Anthony Davis but with a less revved up motor. The problem is that I don't see any help he's gonna have inside. They're just gonna ask Henson to man the fort on his own without any help whatsoever and that could be bad. Lamb was a good pick. I know they have Ellis and Jennings but Lamb can shoot and defend. Ellis can't really defend and is only decent at shooting. Jennings is the same. So both picks made sense. We'll just have to see how it turns out a few years down the road.
Minnesota Timberwolves: D-
Draft Picks: Robbie Hummel
Analysis: Like the Miami Heat, the only thing that saved the Timberwolves here is that they aren't the Nets. The Timberwolves traded away the 18th pick to Houston for Chase Budinger and a guy who won't come over anytime soon. At the 18th pick, there were players such as Evan Fournier, John Jenkins, and Jared Cunningham available. They all went within the next several picks. And all three are shooting guards who can score. A need that Minnesota desperately needs to fill. They then, unsuccessfully I might add, called every team in the lottery and dangled Derrick Williams out there. No one bit. Hummel is a decent player but injuries have derailed him and I doubt he makes much impact for them. Just a bad draft for Minnesota.
New Orleans Hornets: A+
Draft Picks: Anthony Davis, Austin Rivers, Darius Miller
Analysis: In an effort to keep Eric Gordon around, the Hornets had a great draft and should keep him firmly entrenched in the Bayou. Anthony Davis was the consensus first overall selection and they followed that up with Austin Rivers. Most people disagree with the pick but take into account that Davis and Rivers were the number one and number two high school recruits in the nation at this juncture last season. That's the crazy part. I think Rivers and Gordon can play and also excel next to each other. They both can handle the ball and pass with enough effectiveness while also being adept scorers from both inside the paint and outside the arc. They're great together. Miller was a great find for them, as well. He'll replace Ariza right away and can play next to Al-Farouq Aminu without any problem. I think they should have traded up with Toronto to nab Drummond but you can't fault them here. They're one year away from contending. If they get someone like Cody Zeller, Nerlens Noel, or Steven Adams next year then they're seriously set for the future.
New York Knicks: B-
Draft Picks: Kostas Papanikolaou
Analysis: He was the greatest name in the NBA Draft this year by far. And he's got a really good game to go along with it. He's probably going to stay stashed in Europe for a year before coming over but he's a quality player. He's got a solid jumper, is a good defender, and hustles. When drafting a small forward in the second round, you really cannot ask for much else. Now, as usual, the Knicks faithful were not fond of the pick simply because they had no idea who he even was. In the 2009 FIBA Europe Under-20 Championships, Kostas Papanikolaou won the MVP. The Knicks got a really good player with the 48th overall pick.
Oklahoma City Thunder: C
Draft Picks: Perry Jones III
Analysis: At the 28th overall pick, you're not supposed to get a guy with lottery or top five talent. But they did. However, I don't like the fit for them. What's he going to learn from Kevin Durant? Perry Jones isn't a shooter. He's not even a good offensive player. He's a dunker and really only operates within ten feet. What's he going to learn from Serge Ibaka? Perry Jones isn't a defender and definitely not a shot blocker. He's a combo forward so there's that but his motor is highly questionable and in Oklahoma City he's not going to see a ton of minutes in order to get a better feel on the court. I honestly think Festus Ezeli was a better pick for them or even Jeff Taylor if they wanted a wing player. I don't think PJIII will work out in Oklahoma City. Call me a naysayer but he's a bum. And it doesn't help that there's reports that his knee issue is bone-on-bone.
Orlando Magic: A-
Draft Picks: Andrew Nicholson, Kyle O'Quinn
Analysis: I really like what Orlando did. They got two guys, one in particular, who could have gone higher. Nicholson reminds me a lot of Anderson Varejao. Very tough, good rebounder, and good defender. He can shoot it from about 15-feet but he's more known as a dunker and energy big who will always hustle. The Magic need that next to Dwight Howard, depending on how long Howard is there of course. And then in the second round they nabbed a guy who I'm really high on as an energy rebounder and defensive guy, Kyle O'Quinn. It gives them depth in the front court and down low while allowing them to prepare for the future departure of Dwight Howard. It was a very smart draft for the Magic and they should actually be proud of themselves for the way they handled it.
Philadelphia 76ers: B+
Draft Picks: Maurice Harkless, Arnett Moultrie
Analysis: The 76ers traded a future first round pick for Arnett Moultrie but that's fine. He gives them size up front and they need it with the absence of Elton Brand looming along the horizon. The Harkless pick was good. They're eventually going to move Andre Iguodala and need a replacement for him at the small forward spot. That's where Harkless comes in. A future starting lineup of Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner, Maurice Harkless, Arnett Moultire, and Nikola Vucevic will be quite good. Especially when and if they grow together. I do like this draft, though.
Phoenix Suns: C
Draft Picks: Kendall Marshall
Analysis: I hate Kendall Marshall. Phoenix should be happy I'm actually giving them a C here since they think he can replace Steve Nash. Marshall can't shoot, isn't athletic, and isn't savvy. He can pass at an elite level but he's always played with terrific talent around him. He'll have talent in Phoenix but he'll take some time to get accustomed to the speed of the NBA. I just don't like the fit. The Suns needed a scorer and didn't get one. I'm sure Marshall can lead the league in assists once or twice but he's Andre Miller. He won't wow you on offense outside of passing and he'll be a liability on defense. It's a meh pick.
Portland Trail Blazers: A+
Draft Picks: Damian Lillard, Meyers Leonard, Will Barton
Analysis: Okay so the Blazers got the best scorer and shooter in the draft, who can also play point guard, while also getting a defensive and athletic center to pair with LaMarcus Aldridge. And then, on top of that, they got a guy who can play the two guard in Will Barton. The Lillard-Barton pair will score some points and create a lot of offense for guys down low. It's great for the Blazers. I actually have Lillard tabbed as the early favorite for Rookie of the Year and I think Leonard could be a Defensive Player of the Year contender during his career. I think Neil Olshey did very well in his first draft for the Blazers. He didn't trade for Dwight Howard like a certain someone did but, hey, you can't always replicate greatness.
Sacramento Kings: D+
Draft Picks: Thomas Robinson
Analysis: Why? That's the only question I have for this. Why? What's this do for them? I hate the fit. I really do. He's a good kid. I love him. But this is a bad fit. They already have DeMarcus Cousins and they needed a true center or an actual small forward who could score. They needed to draft Harrison Barnes or Andre Drummond. I understand going away from Drummond because I don't think he would pan out in Sacramento but why not take Barnes? It makes a lot of sense. Robinson will hustle, rebound, defend, and score points for you but that team is not a great fit for him. Sacramento just continues to screw up the draft royally. Pun intended.
San Antonio Spurs: B
Draft Picks: Marcus Denmon
Analysis: A really solid pick for the Spurs here. It gives them another young, athletic shooting guard who can get hot and score from the perimeter when left open like so many Spurs shooters have a habit of being lately. The Spurs usually go for European guys and then stash them overseas for a while but by picking Denmon it shows that they feel they need the bench help now. He probably won't play a lot but he could see, at the very least, James Anderson minutes since he's been a bust for them. Denmon isn't a special player but any means but he fills a niche and could be quite valuable down the line if he ever reaches his full potential. Spot-up shooters who can knock it down are pretty valuable.
Toronto Raptors: B
Draft Picks: Terrence Ross, Quincy Acy, Tomislav Zubcic
Analysis: I don't get the hate for the Raptors draft at all. Ross, at that point, was a fine pick. They needed a wing scorer and he's athletic enough to score in a multitude of ways while having an adequate shot from the perimeter. He's not going to be a 20 PPG scorer in the league but he's going to go about his offense the right way. He's a team guy and I really like the fit there. Acy was another good pick. Great rebounder, good defender, and always hustles. They compared him last night to Reggie Evans and that's who he is. Don't forget, Evans was in Toronto. He's gonna help them inside. Zubcic is a stash. Talented guy, though. The Raptors are setting themselves up for a good future whether people want to admit it or not. I don't agree with them amnestying Jose Calderon instead of Amir Johnson, but whatever.
Utah Jazz: B
Draft Picks: Kevin Murphy
Analysis: The third straight B grade I've handed out. Murphy is a good scorer but a really good shooter. As we saw, the Jazz have zero of those in their backcourt. They also did the deal and got Mo Williams so they now have two shooters in the backcourt who can both get hot. They need that. I doubt Murphy starts at all but he could be a good bench guy for the Jazz as they try to make the playoffs for the second straight year with a young team. The Jazz are building a decent future but did screw themselves over by actually making the playoffs this year. What's done is done and Murphy is a good pick for them at the point that they got him.
Washington Wizards: B+
Draft Picks: Bradley Beal, Tomas Satoransky
Analysis: The Wizards actually made history because they were the third team at the top of the draft to pick a freshman. It marked the first time that the top three picks in the draft were all freshmen. I like Beal's game. It reminds me a ton of Eric Gordon's but without the handles and passing that Gordon had. Beal is tough, physical, can shoot, can drive, and will do some dirty work inside on the boards. Not to mention that he's a good defender. Satoransky is a good pick because he's a combo guard. He can play the one and the two effectively. I really like this combination of picks for them and expect the Wizards to be a playoff contending team next year.
Well, there you have it. 30 teams. 30 grades. Any questions?