Friday, July 5, 2013

2013 NBA Draft Grades

First off let me apologize for not having written for awhile.  I was in Chicago over the weekend from Friday to Monday and I can openly say I was far too intoxicated to write anything remotely coherent.  However, I was able to catch the NBA Draft, which is good because I've been wanting to break it down for awhile now.  I'll be breaking down each team pick by pick and grading teams from an F to A + Scale.

Atlanta Hawks
Who They Got - Lucas Nogueira, Dennis Schroeder, Mike Muscala, Raul Neto

The Hawks did an excellent job of drafting picking up Nogueira, and Schroeder with somewhat late first round draft picks.  Nogueira looks to be a solid defensive/rebounding center, and with Mike Budenholzer on the sidelines next year I think Nogueira could develop into a more refined Tiago Splitter. Schroeder is someone I fully expected to go in the lottery.  Schroeder looks like he has big time player potential, but he wasn't on most teams radars until fairly recently, but I could see him developing into a Rajon Rondo type. 

Overall the Hawks did an excellent job of getting some solid talent with late picks in a what was a pretty weak draft.  Anytime you're picking late in the first round you always want to get players who will turn into solid NBA players, as it's rare that those picks will turn into stars.  The Atlanta Hawks did a great job of getting the best value they could with those picks.

Grade - B+

Boston Celtics
Who They Got - Kelly Olynyk, Colton Iverson

Boston's draft, while not great was at least passable.  I don't expect Olynyk to be anything more than a role player in the league but I could be wrong.  Olynyk can stretch the floor as a shooting big man, but he is most certainly not a center and I question whether or not he has the ability to bang with certain players underneath.  In terms of Colton Iverson I really don't know much about him, but it'd be sweet if he turned into a player similar to that guy Allen Iverson, he was pretty good.

Grade - C+

Brooklyn Nets
Who They Got - Mason Plumlee

The Nets ended up trading for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce but in the process got rid of Reggie Evans who was an absolute enforcer underneath.  Plumlee gives them some front court depth and a very intelligent player.  He will work hard and he's a prtty physical player who won't hesitate to get mixed up underneath.  I think Plumlee will be a solid backup F/C for a long time much like Tyler Hansbrough.  Plumlee is also about 100x better than his brother Miles, but who cares, I love them both.

Grade - C+ 

Charlotte Bobcats
Who They Got - Cody Zeller

Cody Zeller was a great college player that is unquestionable.  I also really, really want him to succeed in the NBA, but I don't know if that's going to happen.  Zeller has all the right tools, good size, soft hands, solid footwork, but I just don't know if this guy is going to be able to bang with bigs in the NBA.  However, as a Magic fan I have to say Zeller's numbers look a lot like Vucevic's did his last year of college ball so it might work out.  Anyway, it's tough to give this team a great grade because of Jordan's history with draft picks, and because I just don't know how Zeller will be in the league.

Grade - C- 

Chicago Bulls
Who They Got - Tony Snell, Erik Murphy

If you're a Bulls fan you should be incredibly happy with this draft.  Tony Snell had a pretty decent junior season at New Mexico, and showed that he can shoot the ball and play tough defense.  He reminds me of a less refined Jimmy Butler, which is not a knock on him by any means.  Snell is a hard worker who is sure to fit in well in Coach Thibodeau's offense, and he's a competent shooter from the outside.  If Snell brings the same work ethic Butler brought into the league, Bulls fans will be more than satisfied with grabbing this guy with the 20th pick in a relatively weak draft.  

Erik Murphy played power forward at Florida and he can stretch the floor, that's pretty much all I really know about him.

Grade - B-

Cleveland Cavaliers
Who They Got - Anthony Bennett, Sergey Karasev, Carrick Felix

The Cavaliers had the number one pick in the draft and the number 19 pick and they used both exceptionally well.  Several mock drafts had the Cavaliers taking Nerlens Noel, Otto Porter, and a few even had them taking Kansas' Ben McLemore.  Though several people though this was a surprising pick I can't say that I was all that surprised.  Bennett is an athletic freak, who is somewhat of a tweener forward in that he can play either forward positions.  Bennett has a decent outside shot, above average handles, and quickness and athleticism to beat several players off the bounce.  He's also extremely strong and will use this and his athleticism to his advantage on both ends of the floor.  I know it's extremely cliched, but the guy could seriously be Larry Johnson 2.0.  Johnson possessed many of the same intangibles, athleticism, and he also went to UNLV.  Though I see Bennett being much more of a Charle Barkley type, he very well could be the second coming of Larry Johnson.

Though everyone is talking about the Cavs' number one pick they drafted extremely well at 19 as well.  Sergey Karasev has a high basketball IQ and this is a guy who has interested me since Jonathan Givony of Draft Express gave him very high praise.  Karasev is an extremely intriguing prospect, at 6' 7" as a SG who can shoot from nearly anywhere on the floor.  He also has an extremely high basketball IQ and a great feel for the game.  He sees the floor very well and is an above average passer.  He can create his own shot fairly well and can score at the rim.  I think Karasev might have one of the highest ceilings out of nearly any player in the draft, and is an extremely high value pick at 19.

Carrick Felix has a cool name, and he was a decent player as a senior G/F at Arizona State, I don't really have any idea what he'll bring to the table as an NBA player, but I think he has the skill set to at least be a decent role player.

Grade - A

Denver Nuggets
Who They Got - Erick Green, Joffrey Lauvergne

The Nuggets initially took PF/C Rudy Gobert with the 27th pick and immediately flipped him to Utah for a 2nd rounder and cash considerations.  In the 2nd round they took Erick Green, who was a very talented scoring PG for a very untalented Virginia Tech team.  It's no secret that I'm an Erick Green fan but I don't know how good he will be in the NBA.  He's a good shooter, and can penetrate fairly well, and he may actually be a better passer than what his time at Virginia Tech revealed, considering there weren't a whole lot of players worth passing the ball to.

As far as Joffrey Lauvergne goes, well, who the fuck is Joffrey Lauvergne?

Grade - C-

Detroit Pistons
Who They Got - Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Tony Mitchell, Peyton Siva

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was potentially the purest scorer in this draft class.  Though his shooting percentages aren't wowing anyone he was the only real scoring option on his team at Georgia which forced him to take some pretty difficult shots.  He has pretty good size for a shooting guard standing at 6'5" with a wingspan of 6'8 and a standing reach of 8'5.  Kentavious has above average athleticism and should be an upgrade over Rodney Stuckey either immediately or in a year or two.

Tony Mitchell isn't really anything special, and I don't see him staying in the league too long.  He regressed big time in his second season at North Texas, and I don't see his game translating to the league too well, considering he's somewhat of a turnover machine and his jump shot is atrocious.

Peyton Siva is an intriguing player to me.  I understand he was taken at the end of the 2nd round and he didn't put up great numbers at Louisville I think he could be an effective game manager.  Siva is an adept ball handler, and sees the floor well, and just seems to have a great feel for the game.  I'm very interested to see how his career pans out, or if he even ends up having something you can call a career.

Grade - B-

Golden State Warriors 
Who They Got - Nemanja Nedovic

Nedovic is a Serbian PG who is 22 years old.  He's averaged over 10 points a game only one season in his 5 year professional career overseas, he's a horrendous shooter and doesn't rebound or pass the ball all that well.  Golden State took him with the 30th pick, which means that if they sign him, they're paying him a guaranteed contract.  Yes, a guaranteed contract for a guy who just straight up is not that good, and who I do not expect to play more than 3 seasons if even a single season in the NBA.

Grade - D-

Houston Rockets
Who They Got - Isaiah Canaan

The Rockets didn't take a first rounder which means they don't have to pay anyone in this draft guaranteed money, which means they can keep salary off the books in order to sign a marquee player.  Canaan is also a solid player who during his senior season became a 2nd team All American.  He can score the ball pretty well, and he's an above average shooter.  Though he is fairly undersized, should the Rockets trade Jeremy Lin in an effort to land Dwight Howard or another marquee player he could be a decent backup to Patrick Beverly.

I'm going to grade the Rockets here mostly on Daryl Morey being a savvy GM picking up a decent player and not spending any money on a first rounder to keep that cap space free for a big name player this off-season.

Grade - A-

Indiana Pacers
Who They Got- Solomon Hill

Solomon Hill was a nice little player during his career at Arizona and seems to possess a high basketball IQ.  He's 6'6, 200lbs which is the prototypical size of an NBA SG/SF but I don't think he possesses the elite athleticism necessary to succeed in the League.  I think Hill has a solid work ethic and a decent all around game, but there have been several players like Solomon who had nothing but an inkling of an NBA career, maybe Solomon will be the exception to that rule, but I personally don't see that happening.

Grade - C

Los Angeles Clippers
Who They Got - Reggie Bullock

Bullock was a shooter at North Carolina, and that's pretty much it, however this is what the Clippers need.  Though the Clippers did just trade for JJ Redick, and Jared Dudley, Caron Butler is now in Phoenix, so having Bullock on a cheap rookie deal to bring off the bench as another shooter is great for the Clips.  Bullock will be able to space the floor nicely for Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, and Chris Paul and will be an excellent role player for the Clippers during his time there.

Grade - B

Los Angeles Lakers
Who They Got - Ryan Kelly

First off, I love Duke, and I absolutely love Ryan Kelly so I was thrilled to see him get drafted.  I also think that Kelly can be a solid player in the NBA, as a stretch PF.  Kelly shot over 40% from deep at Duke last season, and was a very effective rebounder.  Duke was also a much, much better team with Kelly on the floor as they struggled quite a bit when he was sidelined with a foot injury.  Kelly's question marks lie in his strength and athleticism, but if he's put into a position where you can hide his deficiencies and get the most out of what he does bring to the table I think he can be a very effective role player in the NBA, all Duke and Ryan Kelly fandom bias aside. 

Grade - B-

Memphis Grizlies
Who They Got - Jamaal Franklin, Jannis Timma

Jamaal Franklin was an absolutely fantastic pickup in the 2nd round.  Most mock drafts had him going mid-late first and yet team after team passed on this guy.  Though his offensive game isn't the greatest, this guy is an absolute terror on the defensive end, and under the tutelage of Tony Allen could improve into one of the better defenders in the NBA.  He also has the benefit of having Marc Gasol playing behind him so when he does make mistakes on the defensive end as a young player it won't be as costly.

Jannis Timma is some European guy who got taken with the last pick in the draft.  All I really have to say for him is hey, good for you for at least getting drafted.

I'm giving the Grizzlies a high grade for their draft just because they were able to get a high value player with a pretty late pick.

Grade - B+

Miami Heat
Who They Got - James Ennis

Miami traded out of the first round and took James Ennis.  Ennis was a long athletic player who was a pretty good scorer at Long Beach State and seems to have pretty good intangibles.  I don't know a lot about this guy, except that he plays above the rim very well for a G/F so I'm not going to sit here and pretend that I do.  Judging by the videos I've seen of him and the scouting reports I've read this seems to be a very low risk/decent reward pick for Miami. Ennis doesn't have a guaranteed contract, and should he make the team he will be extremely cheap and may be able to replace some of the Heat's aging role players. 

Grade - B-

Milwaukee Bucks
Who They Got - Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nate Wolters

Giannis is a project, plain and simple.   He has not played basketball for all that long, but at age 18 he grew three inches to 6'9 and he may not be finished growing.  Giannis is long and pretty athletic, and he has absolutely massive hands, measuring at about 22" from his wrist to the tip of his middle finger.  This gives him the ability to hold the ball like an orange which will aid his game immensely.  I love this kid's potential, and I'm extremely excited to see what he does with his career because he could legitimately be anything from a star defender, a very good one, or an absolute bust which makes him very interesting.

Nate Wolters had a great career at South Dakota State but he struggled a bit in the tournament playing against a higher level of competition.  Still, he has a very high IQ, and can shoot the ball from nearly anywhere on the floor.  Wolters will have to get quicker and stronger, but I don't think he'll have too much trouble making an NBA roster and could see him being a Luke Ridnour type.

Grade - B

Minnesota Timberwolves
Who They Got - Shabazz Muhammad, Gorgui Dieng, Lorenzo Brown, Bojan Dubljevic

There aren't too many people who were terribly high on Muhammad following his one and done season at UCLA.  I am not one of those people.  Muhammad proved he could score, yet did little else in terms of the stat sheet but I also think this is a product of playing on a poor team and being poorly coached (there's a reason a guy like Steve Alford is now the coach at UCLA).  The Timberwolves have struggled to find an effective wing scorer over the past few years even reaching with their signing of Brandon Roy who struggled in his attempt to return to the NBA.  Shabazz could potentially be the answer to their struggles at finding a scoring wing, and I think he will compliment Ricky Rubio greatly in the front court.

Gorgui Dieng looks to be a very effective post defender, but he also looks like he still needs some work and that's generally not something you want out of a 23 year old.  Dieng may mature quickly and refine his game sooner rather than later, but I think he was a bit of a reach with the 21st pick and would have liked to see him taken in the 2nd round instead.

Lorenzo Brown was a personal favorite of mine at NC State, but he never really seemed to get better.  He reminds me a lot of Perry Jones III or Quincy Miller, guys who had the athleticism and potential but just couldn't quite reach it.  He may be a decent player, he may be terrible, but this isn't too much of a risk in the 2nd round.  As for Bojan Dubljevic, I have no clue who that is, or how the hell you pronounce his name for that matter.

Grade - B-

New Orleans Pelicans
Who They Got - Pierre Jackson

The Pelicans made one of the biggest splashes of the Draft when they took Nerlens Noel 5th and then traded him and a 1st round pick in 2014 to the 76ers for Jrue Holiday.

Here's the thing, I love Holiday's game, I think he is a terrific player and I think he will succeed in New Orleans with Anthony Davis, Ryan Anderson, and Eric Gordon.  He has a very reasonable contract at 4yrs/$40M and elevates the Pelicans to a potential playoff contender.  I also think that Nerlens Noel has the potential to be Greg Oden 2.0 because of those knee injuries, which can be extremely concerning.  
When I first saw the trade I thought that the Pelicans had done a good job of improving their team, however, I now feel that the 76ers pulled off highway robbery here.  Like I said, I love Jrue Holiday, and I think he improves this team a lot and I think Noel is a high risk player, but Jrue Holiday was not worth that 2014 pick when you consider the fact that the Pelicans could very well be a lottery team again next year.  While there are plenty of drafts where lottery picks aren't necessarily that great 2014 does not look to be that year.  Many scouts are already predicting that 2014 will be one of the best draft classes of all time, so why on earth would you give up your pick that could very well end up being a franchise player for a guy like Holiday who is a star caliber player but will never be a guy who can lead your franchise to the playoffs.

Oh uh, they also drafted Pierre Jackson who torched my beloved Hawkeyes in the NIT Finals, but seriously who gives a damn? Jackson isn't about to change any franchises and he's sure as hell not turning into one of the Harrison twins, Julius Randle, Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins, Marcus Smart or any of the other much more talented players coming in 2014.

Grade - D-

New York Knicks
Who They Got - Tim Hardaway Jr.

I watched a lot of Big 10 basketball last year and I saw a lot of the Michigan Wolverines.  Tim Hardaway Jr. has a lot of good intangibles, and fairly decent athleticism.  His outside game isn't great, and he's not a tremendous scorer but he has a good all around game.  There isn't one single facet of his game that's going to stand out, but he was the 24th pick and he's not going to be asked to come in and contribute right away.  Overall, I like the pick and think if he's able to develop a little bit Tim Hardaway could be a solid NBA journeyman, or even a 6th man if he can reach the height of his potential.

Grade - C+

Oklahoma City Thunder
Who They Got - Steven Adams, Andre Roberson, Alex Abrines, Grant Jerrett

I've got some mixed feelings on the Thunder's draft.  First of all they drafted Steven Adams out of Pittsburgh with the 12th pick.  Adams was a solid defensive big man at Pitt who rebounded fairly well, but nothing about him impresses me that much.  He did average two blocks a game and he's a legit seven footer, but I'm not completely sold on him yet.  

Andre Roberson was a great rebounder, and defender during his time at Colorado and those skills should translate well into the NBA.  He's somewhat undersized but seems to be able to make up for that in toughness and physical strength.  Roberson looks to be a decent player off the bench in the next few years.

Abrines has the scoring ability to be a solid scorer, he reminds me a lot of Rudy Fernandez, but hopefully Abrines can adjust to the NBA game better than Fernandez did.  Jerrett is a decent shooter, but I'd be surprised if he makes it through training camp.  

Grade - B (I'd like to give them a B+ but I just can't justify that with Steven Adams)

Orlando Magic
Who They Got - Victor Oladipo, Romero Osby

According to many scouts Oladipo was the only real can't miss prospect of the draft.  Oladipo works hard and improved his game tremendously from his freshman to his junior season at Indiana.  Oladipo is a tremendous defender who harasses the ball and is adept at jumping passing lanes.  Victor proved he could score this past year putting up 13.6 ppg and showed his ability to shoot when open.  Though his handles are questionable at times and his shooting still has question marks due to his few attempts from deep Oladipo may have the best all around game out of anyone that was drafted.  As an Orlando fan I can tell you now I'm thrilled with this pick and fully expect him to develop into a great NBA player and look forward to watching him play with my favorite team.

When asked about who they intended to take with the 51st pick general manager Rob Hennigan said "we're just looking for a human being to take."  Well, Osby is by all accounts a human being.  He's an undersized power forward who played well in his senior season at Oklahoma and that's pretty much all I can say.  I'd be surprised if he makes the roster but hey, my beloved Magic are rebuilding so he may have a chance.

Grade - A

Philadelphia 76ers
Who They Got - Nerlens Noel, Michael Carter-Williams, Arsalan Kazemi

Philadelphia may have had the best draft night out of any team.  First off, I realize they traded away Jrue Holiday who is incredibly talented but the 76ers are rebuilding and they were able to score a young talent in Nerlens Noel and get the Hornets pick which means they will most likely have two extremely high picks in the loaded 2014 draft class. 

As I mentioned above when discussing the Hornets Nerlens Noel's knees concern me, but he's still got a lot of upside and he'll be a nice young piece for this currently rebuilding team.  Michael Carter-Williams is a tall, long, athletic point guard who will fill in nicely for the departed Jrue Holiday, and could very well be the best point guard in this draft.  Kazemi is a pretty good rebounder, and since the 76ers will be young and somewhat undermanned I would be shocked if he doesn't make the team.

Overall, the 76ers pulled off a fantastic draft night trade, secured assets for the future, and got some solid young players who look to be pretty good NBA players in their own right.  Philly won this draft hands down.

Grade - A+

Phoenix Suns
Who They Got - Alex Len, Archie Goodwin, Alex Oriakhi

I am not a fan of Alex Len, and I'm even less of a fan of him at the no. 5 pick.  Granted, this was a weak draft talent-wise so I understand why the Suns picked him I'm just not sold.  First of all, Len was not a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd team all ACC player, which I would say is fairly concerning in terms of talent.  Furthermore I don't like his footwork and his scoring ability isn't that great.  I do think he does have quite a bit of upside but he's going to need a coach to bring that out in him.  Len will also need to get bigger and stronger, but he does have the size to play at the NBA level.

Archie Goodwin was considered a can't miss prospect and then proceeded to struggle in college causing his draft stock to drop dramatically.  I do think however that Goodwin will be a success in the NBA.  Some players like Goodwin struggle to adapt to the slower paced collegiate game, and the offenses some coaches run.  Goodwin is an explosive player who can do nearly everything on the basketball court and I fully expect him to be a good NBA 6th man in a few years.

Don't know much about Oriakhi, but the Suns are abysmal so he'll probably make the team. 

Grade - B

Portland Trail Blazers
Who They Got - CJ McCollum, Allen Crabbe, Jeff Withey, Marko Tordorovic

McCollum is a stud, I have absolutely little doubt and I think he could be an excellent off the ball combo guard paired with Damian Lillard.  This was a weak draft as I've mentioned earlier but Portland managed to get a lot of value and depth out of it, and getting McCollum with the 10th pick was a great start to their draft.  

Allen Crabbe is a player who most people don't know about but who I am a huge fan of.  This kid could absolutely light it up from deep at Cal, and he's a great defender, not to mention very mentally tough.  His handles need work and he's not that explosive at getting to the rack, but Portland desperately needs bench players and I think Crabbe will find that niche as a solid rotation guy.

I've never been a big fan of Withey and his game, I've always felt he was a bit overrated as a college player, however he played tough defense and he's a big guy which is something Portland really needs.  I wouldn't be surprised at all if he makes the roster and contributes meaningful minutes next year, but I also wouldn't be surprised if he didn't.

Marko Tordorovic is not coming over anytime soon so Portland can stash him overseas and see his game develop before he actually comes and puts on a uniform for Rip City so I like this pick as well.

Grade - A

Sacramento Kings
Who They Got - Ben McLemore, Ray McCallum

McLemore is going to be a solid NBA player there is no doubt in my mind about that, but only if he works hard and uses the wide array of physical tools that he has to get better.  The kid can shoot there is little doubt about that, however he struggles a bit off the bounce and has a hard time getting his own shot.  I think new head coach Mike Malone will be a guy who gets the most out of McLemore, and I think McLemore will work hard despite some rumors of him having a poor attitude.  I mean, I just have to imagine that coming from a situation like he did that you'd want to be the best you can be and succeed at the highest level you can, but who knows?

Ray McCallum was a point guard.  At Detroit University.  That's all I've got.

Grade - B+

San Antonio Spurs
Who They Got - Livio Jean-Charles, DeShaun Thomas

I haven't really seen a lot of Livio Jean-Charles but I do like what I have seen.  He's long, athletic, and has nice touch around the basket.  Obviously the Spurs always draft well but it appears they've hit the nail on the head with this kid in terms of him fitting into Popovich's system.  I wish I had more than Youtube videos to use as evidence of this kid but unfortunately I don't.  However, he was praised by Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress and that guy knows his stuff so I'll trust his word.

DeShaun Thomas could straight up put the rock in the bucket at Ohio State and I fully expect him to be a pretty good scorer in the NBA.  Whether or not he is ever anything other than a scorer has yet to be seen, but I could see him being a rotation guy and it's a solid pick with an extremely late 2nd round pick.

Toronto Raptors
Who They Got - Nobody

Toronto didn't have a pick, so they don't get a grade.  They also just traded Andrea Bargnani, good for the Raptors.

Grade - N/A

Utah Jazz
Who They Got - Trey Burke, Rudy Gobert

Trey Burke was a standout at Michigan, leading his team to the NCAA Finals before falling just short.  He was named player of the year and his draft stock rose immensely after his NCAA tournament run.  This kid is good, I mean, really freaking good and he excels at running the pick and roll which I think Utah good do to great success with him and Derrick Favors who I think will benefit greatly from Burke's arrival.  Burke can score, he can pass, and he gets his teammates involved.  Burke is also a great leader and seems to have a good head on his shoulder, he's easily in my top 5 rookie of the year candidates right now.

Rudy Gobert is going to be a solid defensive big for a long time in the league.  While his offensive game isn't that impressive he will definitely find some success as a rim protector.  I don't expect him to make an immediate impact as he needs to put on some weight to avoid being pushed around.  He is 7'2 though, and you know what they say, you can't teach height.

Grade - A-

Washington Wizards
Who They Got - Otto Porter III, Glenn Rice Jr.

Otto Porter is going to be a very solid NBA player.  I don't know that he will ever be an absolutely elite player, but he will be able to help out John Wall and co. on this very young Wizards team that looks like it's finally starting to hit its stride.  Porter is a decent outside shooter, has a great mid-range game, can play off the ball effectively and can bring the ball up the floor.  I fully expect him to make an immediate impact and I can't wait to watch him play.

Glenn Rice Jr. was a solid 2nd round pick up and I expect him to come in and play some minutes right away next year.  The Wizards have a somewhat limited bench and I think Rice will help add some valuable depth to this team.

Grade - B  



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