2013 NBA Draft Grade Report


MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES

Second Round: Jamaal Franklin (SG San Diego State), Janis Timma (SF Latvia)

Via Trade: Kosta Kuofos.

I did not even know Latvia was a country before last night. At first, I thought it was where Doctor Doom resides to hatch evil plans against the Fantastic Four, but it turns out that was Latveria. Whatever, back to the point. Timma is a slashing forward, and you will not see him for another few years, if at all. Franklin, however, was highway robbery. Everyone had him in the first round and he somehow fell all the way to the middle of the second round right in Memphis’ laps. Franklin is fearless and a hustler who can rebound at the guard spot, perfect for what the Grizzlies want to do. They had a good draft seemingly by accident. Kuofos is a nice acquisition because he scored some in Denver and he showed a lot of toughness in the paint at times, which Memphis needed help with in the Western Conference Finals.

Grade: A

 

MIAMI HEAT

Second Round: James Ennis (SF Long Beach State)

Add another random name to your NBA Champions t-shirt in 2014 to go with Jarvis Varnado and James Jones! The Heat must really like Ennis, who I never saw play in college in the Big West Conference, because they usually trade their way out of drafts, not back in. The only other draft pick that they have held onto in the last 5 years was Norris Cole, and he has worked out well. Spoelstra might envision him as a back-up small forward to give LeBron some blow early in games. Either way, the champs are here!

Grade: C

 

MILWAUKEE BUCKS

First Round: Giannis Antetokounmpo (SF Greece)

Second Round: Nate Wolters (PG South Dakota State)

I refuse to give an incomplete grade to any team in a draft report, but if I had to, this would be the team to give it to. The Greek Freak is a total and utter mystery (He only worked out at EuroCamp overseas), but some scouts really love him. The other shoe to drop is the reports that Antetokounmpo, at 18 years of age and nowhere close to developed, wants to come over to play now. If that means I get to see this guy in action at Vegas summer league, then it will be the first time anyone has probably seen him. They did need a small forward, and if he pans out, you might have a steal if you are willing to wait. Wolters wound up in Milwaukee after a series of trades, and it makes sense. He is a hard working four-year player and he can score in bunches. They need a backup point guard in the event that Monta Ellis, Brandon Jennings, and J.J. Redick all leave in free agency, which is more likely than you think.

Grade: C+

 

MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES

First Round: Shabazz Muhammad (SF UCLA), Gorgui Dieng (C Louisville)

Second Round: Lorenzo Brown (PG NC State), Bojan Dubljevic (PF Serbia)

The Timberwolves nabbed Trey Burke after the guy they really wanted, Kentavious Caldwell Pope, was picked by the Pistons one pick earlier, and turned Burke into two first round picks later on. With one pick, they are going to give the slasher wheel another spin and take Muhammad, who was the top ranked player coming out of high school last summer before having a whirlwind freshman season. He is an attacker who can dribble, but his outside shot is streaky and he cannot finish as well as people thought he could. He is what I call a sideways scorer. I love Dieng, you need guys in the foxhole like him who are willing to get clowned in the paint and hustle on every play. He’ll do fine with Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic. Brown is decent when he gets on the attack, but he has no jump shot and disappears a lot. Sounds a lot like Malcolm Lee, whom they just traded last night! Dubjlevic is a big man who has outside touch, but he will stay in Europe. No David Kahn to blame this time.

Grade: B-

 

NEW ORLEANS PELICANS

Second Round: Pierre Jackson (PG/SG Baylor)

Via Trade: Jrue Holiday

(Deep breath)

My Pelicans had three of the best overall players in the draft to cherry pick, without even having to make a trade, with Nerlens Noel, Ben McLemore, and even Trey Burke, who was heavily rumored to go there, all falling at their feet. They took the big man and dreams of SwatCity and Block Party with Anthony Davis were dancing in our heads. Minutes later, it turned out to be a ruse. The Pelicans shipped Noel to the Sixers for Jrue Holiday. Holiday is a really nice point guard and has an All-Star appearance under his belt. They also got a second round pick from Philly and picked waterbug two-guard Jackson, who tore it up in the N.I.T. for Baylor. Now your backcourt is set with Holiday, Eric Gordon, Greivis Vasquez, and Austin Rivers. But here is where the worm turns: New Orleans surrendered their first round draft pick (only protected if it goes in the top five next year) to the Sixers along with Noel to get Holiday. When they announced the trade, Bill Simmons thought it was a typo! You are smack dab in the middle of a rebuild and you give up the one thing you cannot give up: A high draft pick in a really good draft class in 2014?!

(Deep breath)

Dell Demps, your ass is on the line next year, and you know it.

Grade: C

 

NEW YORK KNICKS

First Round: Tim Hardaway Jr. (SG Michigan)

I was a little bit surprised that the Knicks did not try to fortify their front line with a youthful big man or rim protector, especially with Chris Copeland more likely than not to be signed away, but Hardaway Jr. might be a good replacement in the future for the possibly departing J.R. Smith. Hardaway Jr. is very similar to Smith in that their greatest assets are long range shooting and athleticism off the dribble. The Knicks were the most productive three-point shooting team in NBA history, and this will make them even better at it.

Grade: B

 

OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER

First Round: Steven Adams (C Pittsburgh), Andre Roberson (SF/PF Colorado)

Second Round: Alex Abrines (SG Spain), Grant Jerrett (PF Arizona)

I gotta say this: For a team that is not that far away from winning an NBA Championship, the Thunder sure swung for the fences in the last two drafts. This year, I felt like the Thunder did very nicely for themselves, finding guys who are pretty skilled in certain phases that exposed them when Russell Westbrook got injured in the playoffs. Adams is very raw, but he is not scared of contact and he will be a center for the future there. I have liked Roberson for quite a while (I picked him to go in the second round when very few had him projected at all) because he was an awesome rebounder in college. He is not terribly tall, but I think in the incredible shrinking position that is power forward, he can make good. Rebounding never fails from college to the pros. Abrines is not one of these foreign prospects you have to wait for; he plays significant minutes for Real Madrid in Euroleague. I wouldn’t be stunned if he decided to come over this year or next year to play because he is ready. An attacking guard to back up Westbrook is a must. Grant Jerrett is just a kid, but he is a stretch 4 with long arms and the Thunder needed a big man that can create open lanes with outside shooting. Very nice job by Sam Presti.

Grade: A-

 

ORLANDO MAGIC

First Round: Victor Oladipo (SG Indiana)

Second Round: Romero Osby (PF Oklahoma)

In the NBA, one player does make a draft, and Oladipo was the one the Magic wanted and got at the #2 spot. Oladipo was already considered lottery material going into the NCAA tournament, but his workouts and interviews with teams really clinched him as a top five pick depending on which team wanted him the most. I don’t think he will ever be an elite shooter in the NBA but his defense and relentlessness demands attention, and he can bring it every night. The jury is still out on whether the Magic experiment with Oladipo at shooting guard and Arron Afflalo at small forward or if they move Afflalo, but the Magic still have time to get this right. Do not push your luck the way the Pelicans did last night. Osby was a pretty forgettable player at Oklahoma (I did not even list him in my pool of available players leading up to the draft), so if he makes the team, it will be a surprise to me.

Grade: B+

 

PHILADELPHIA 76ERS

First Round: Nerlens Noel (C Kentucky), Michael Carter Williams (PG Syracuse)

Second Round: Arsalan Kazemi (PF Oregon)

New Sixers GM Sam Hinkie, a Daryl Morey protégé, kept his cards very close to the vest without even a coach at draft time and he may have hit the jackpot on his first spin. He had to give up Jrue Holiday to get Noel, but they also got a certain lottery pick next year to go with their own in next year’s seemingly loaded draft. Noel is an elite shotblocker and an awesome defender not taking into account his improving offensive skills. He won’t be ready until around Christmas, so Kazemi might get major minutes, and he was another great college rebounder that was not on anyone’s mock drafts (except for mine, so self high-five there). Kazemi is undersized but he never stops trying and he can get steals. I am not terribly high on Carter Williams due to his very sketchy outside shooting, but his length at the point guard spot is unique and they immediately got a new point man to replace Holiday in less than 20 minutes. Hinkie is smart enough to prepare the Sixers fans for a rebuilding season to come knowing that you have two lottery picks in one of the best drafts in a while, and then you go to work. The only reason I am not giving him an A+ grade is because they lost an All-Star in Holiday and did not get one in return for the time being.

Grade: A

 

PHOENIX SUNS

First Round: Alex Len (C Maryland), Archie Goodwin (PG/SG Kentucky)

Second Round: Alex Oriakhi (PF Missouri)

Via Trade: Malcolm Lee

This one was a little tough to swallow. The Suns stunned a few people by taking Len over Noel (not as much as the Bobcats taking Cody Zeller one pick earlier, though) based on Len’s slightly better offensive game. I am very wary of Len due to the leg injury and the fact that he did not dominate on a nightly basis in the small, offense-friendly ACC. The Suns needed a center, but then again, they need everything right now. Goodwin fell flat as a freshman, but I guess it is that Kentucky Factor that won over the Suns. He is very quick and cerebral, but he is very immature. Oriakhi was undersized as a big man in college! I have no idea what he can do in the NBA if he does not develop his outside game, because being a defensive bully on the post is all he can be good for right now. I have no clue what the Suns are going to do with Lee, either. They are likely to be the worst team in the Western Conference once again.

Grade: C-

 

PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS

First Round: C.J. McCollum (PG/SG Lehigh),

Second Round: Allen Crabbe (SG Cal), Jeff Withey (C Kansas), Marko Todorovic (PF Serbia)

Somebody pinch me, because I think I had this dream last year. The Blazers took a mid-major two guard and a white stiff in the lottery last year, and here we go again with McCollum and Withey. Meyers Leonard is more talented than Withey, but the Blazers do need shot blocking, and that is the hat Withey wears every night. McCollum is one of the most ready  rookies in the draft, but I have major doubts about playing him off the ball with Lillard controlling the tempo, or is it going to be the other way around? Anyways, it is a very small but offensively juiced backcourt. The scores will come in flurries but you could say the same about the opposing team’s backcourts, where defense is neither McCollum’s nor Lillard’s strength. Crabbe is a dead eye shooter and like McCollum, he will be playing behind a more experienced version of himself in Nicolas Batum. Todorovic is a big who will stay overseas.

Grade: B-

 

SACRAMENTO KINGS

First Round: Ben McLemore (SG Kansas)

Second Round: Ray McCallum (PG Detroit)

The Kings did not have to do a damn thing and may have gotten the most talented player in the entire draft at their calling. McLemore has a rough upbringing and disappeared in some big games for Kansas, but his shooting skills are unreal and he is dangerous athlete in transition. The Kings’ backcourt is very small (especially if Tyreke Evans leaves as a free agent this summer), so getting McLemore not only was the best player available, he filled a need. New head coach Mike Malone was an assistant at GoldenState and helped turn Klay Thompson into a shooting Terminator. I am scared to see what he can do with McLemore if the chips fall right. McCallum is small, but he is great at being your throwback point man in the vein of Brevin Knight or Jeff McInnis. If he plays five years in the league, you did a good job getting him where you did. Sometimes it is as simple as just waiting your turn to pick the guy you want.

Grade: A

 

SAN ANTONIO SPURS

First Round: Livio Jean Charles (SF France)

Second Round: Deshaun Thomas (SF Ohio State)

Shockingly, I actually got the Jean Charles pick right in my mock! He will be the fourth member of the Spurs’ French revolution along with Tony Parker, Boris Diaw, and Nando De Colo. Draft and stash is never a bad idea when you are a title contender and you don’t need immediate help, so Charles will wait his turn in Europe. Thomas is a volume shooter and has a really high release on his three-point shot that is going to make opposing coaches irate when he floats to the corner for open three’s in that terrific Spurs offense. Good fit.

Grade: B

 

UTAH JAZZ

First Round: Trey Burke (PG Michigan), Rudy Gobert (C France)

Unlike the Kings, the Jazz did have to make some deals to get these two picks, but in the end, the Jazz got exactly what they wanted. I would have liked to see them get a shooting guard to find some improvement over Alec Burks but they really needed a point guard, too, and Burke was the best one on the board, to me. Burke is a warrior on the court, his defense is solid, and he is a big time playmaker. Burke is very similar to a guy that they had at Utah two years ago, Devin Harris, just a good bit shorter. Gobert is just a freak. His wingspan nearly goes eight feet! That fills a need, too, because the one knock on the duo of Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson (both of whom are free agents) was that they were undersized at their positions. Now you usher in the new Utah big men with Enes Kanter, Derrick Favors, and this giant Fathead of a human being. Fans are going to love him.

Grade: B+

 

WASHINGTON WIZARDS

First Round: Otto Porter Jr. (SF Georgetown)

Second Round: Glen Rice Jr. (SF NBA Developmental League)

If Jan Vesely starts to make strides next season, you could make the argument that the Wizards have had four very good drafts in a row! Porter was slotted as a perfect fit at small forward for the Wiz, and it worked out exactly that way at #3. He is ready to contribute immediately for an NBA team in the same vein as Kawhi Leonard or Tayshaun Prince. He is a jack of all trades and he overcame obscurity coming out of high school so being the lesser known star does not bother him at all. You now have John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Porter Jr. as your centerpieces if Washington turns the corner next season and reaches the playoffs. The Wizards also made a late trade and took another guy who is more ready than anyone else to play in the league right away in Glen Rice, Jr. He played borderline pros for months in the NBDL and destroyed them after leaving Georgia Tech. He can play small forward or shooting guard and he owned up to the mistakes he made in college, so the maturity is there. He will be a good player off the bench at the least.

Grade: A+ 

 

THE SUMMER LEAGUE GUYS (a.k.a. undrafted free agents who will have to prove their worth to teams in the summer or in training camp)

C.J. Leslie, Jackie Carmichael, Phil Pressey, Myck Kabongo, Richard Howell, Angelo Sharpless, D.J. Stephens, James Southerland, Trevor Mbakwe, Rodney Williams, Kenny Kadji, Robert Covington, Dewayne Dedmon, Adonis Thomas, Vander Blue, Brandon Paul, B.J. Young, Michael Snaer, Matthew Dellavadova, Brandon Davies, Seth Curry, Zeke Marshall, Amath M’Baye, Khaliff Wyatt, Elijah Johnson, Will Clyburn, Christian Watford, Ed Daniel, Elias Harris, Zeke Marshall, and Laurence Bowers.