Blog Entry

2011 NBA Draft Team Grades

Posted on: June 24, 2011 3:10 am
Edited on: June 24, 2011 4:01 pm
Posted by Matt Moore and Ben Golliver

Here are our team-by-team grades for the 2011 NBA Draft. Listed are team, most notable player, and grade. You can tell us what you think grades should be at our Facebook page. .

Atlanta Hawks: Keith Benson. Grade: B-. Benson has some upside and it was just a second round pick. Good value for position.

Boston Celtics: JaJuan Johnson, E'Twaun Moore. Grade: B. Celtics needed a big, they got a big. They needed a guard. They got one. And they wound up taking guys with polish, both from Purdue, who were both underrated and are capable of being competent role players down the line. Yup, sounds like the Celtics of the last few years. 

Charlotte Bobcats: Bismack Biyombo, Kemba Walker. Grade: A+. A savvy GM knows his team's lot in life. Rich Cho, just weeks on the job, launched a full-scale rebuild by shuttling out Stephen Jackson and adding an extra lottery pick, securing the draft's best defensive prospect and a fan-friendly, dynamic point guard who has a definite shot of making it big at the NBA level. There are plenty more moves in Charlotte's future, but this was a great start.

Chicago Bulls: Nikola Mirotic. Grade: C. The Bulls knew they wouldn't get their improvement at the end of the first round, and didn't try. They traded for a stash and pulled in a 6-7 shooting guard in Jimmy Butler, who's worth a shot. Want not, waste not, I suppose.

Cleveland Cavaliers: Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson. Grade: A. Taking Irving with the first pick gave the franchise a new face, but the selection of Thompson, which was largely unexpected, showed that GM Chris Grant has the guts, vision and power to rebuild a roster his way. Thompson is an excellent two-way player who was a solid find amidst all the Euro hype.

Dallas Mavericks:
none. Grade: I. The Mavericks drafted Rudy Fernandez. So that's pretty good, I guess, but we're still not going to grade them on this "draft." Not that they needed a draft. What with being the champs and Dirk being "that dude" and all.

Denver Nuggets: Kenneth Faried, Jordan Hamilton. Grade: A-. Faried may wind up as nothing more than another high-energy, rebounding bench player who gives you ten minutes of solid defense a night. In this draft, that's great value for where they selected. Faried can't score, but he doesn't have to with the kind of talent he's surrounded by. Denver's a good fit for him. Hamilton is highway robbery. They surrendered Felton, who they neither needed nor wanted, and got back Andre Miller AND Hamilton, who bizarrely slid down the draft. Hamilton can do the work of Wilson Chandler should he depart in free agency. He's long with range and, next to Danilo Galinari, he makes the Nuggets look freakishly athletic. Great draft for Masai Ujiri.

Detroit Pistons: Brandon Knight. Grade A. Knight might not be as ready to lead a team as he thinks he is, but his raw intelligence, overall skillset and upside make him arguably the best value pick of the first round.

Golden State Warriors: Klay Thompson. Grade: B+. Thompson doesn't really address a positional need per se, but he does bring a different -- bigger and longer -- look to the Warriors backcourt. He was clearly their target and will allow a Monta Ellis trade to develop at its own pace. Thompson has sneaky upside. Could he be a star?

Houston Rockets: Marcus Morris, Donatas Motiejunas. Grade: B. Daryl Morey needed to hit a home run, which he didn't do. But he hit a stand-up double by getting a big body, excellent value in his Euro-stash and earns bonus points for getting out of Brad Miller's deal while taking a reasonable risk on a fresh start for Jonny Flynn. Losing a future first-round pick in the process turns this from A- or B+ into a B. Still very clever work.

Indiana Pacers:
No first round picks (traded Kawhi Leonard to Spurs). Grade: B+. This was a sneaky good night for the Pacers. I'm high on George Hill's potential when it's his show to run, and a sliding Kawhi Leonard -- the best player left on the board -- was going to be extraneous in Indiana. 

Los Angeles Clippers: Trey Thompkins. Grade: B. Thompkins slid all the way to the Clippers in the second round. Decent value pick even if it's definitely not a position of need for them. After all, they do have this guy named Griffin.

Los Angeles Lakers: Darius Morris. Grade: A. Even when the Lakers barely try, with all of their picks in the second round, they win. Morris somehow made his way to them and he's one of the better guards offensively in the middle to late part of the draft. The rich get richer, really. Their other picks are mostly just excuses to not pay someone. 

Memphis Grizzlies: Josh Selby. Grade: A-. Selby has great length, outside shooting range, and is a misfit. Perfect for Memphis. Even with Xavier Henry's struggles last year, this was a great pick for where the Grizzlies got him.

Miami Heat: Norris Cole. Grade: B-. Cole has a pulse. Therefore, he is better than half the players who played point guard for Miami this season.

Milwaukee Bucks (from Charlottte): Tobias Harris. Grade: B+. The Bucks cleared cap space and moved down and still managed to snag Harris. It creates a bit of a problem with Carlos Delfino but it's still great talent for where they landed, especially since they added Stephen Jackson.

Minnesota Timberwolves: Derrick Williams. Grade: B. Williams was the best player on the board and a no-brainer, although you always have to wonder when the Timberwolves are on the clock. His fit on Minnesota's roster isn't perfect, but it's not terrible, especially if David Kahn can find a way to ship out Michael Beasley for future assets. Malcolm Lee might be the wing defender they need.

New Jersey Nets:
Marshon Brooks. Grade: B-. The Nets managed a pretty good haul with Brooks hanging around until late when some thought he could go in the mid-teens. And, it's a position of need for them. Jordan Williams has some potential. Not bad for what they had to work with.

New Orleans Hornets: None. Grade: I. Incomplete, Hornets drafted one player then sold him. The end. 

New York Knicks: Iman Shumpert. Grade: B-. Come on, they were taking a guard, they were always taking a guard, they had to take a guard and there was no way to get Jimmer. From there this was unavoidable. Sure, Marshon Brooks would have been entertaining, but they needed someone who could at least play combo guard. Shumpert plays defense and has athleticism. The rest is up to D'Antoni.

Oklahoma City Thunder: Reggie Jackson. Grade: B-. Jackson is a good value pick. The knock will be that he didn't fill a need for the Thunder ... but look at their roster. Who are you going to take minutes away from to give to a rookie? No one. So this pick didn't matter and they still got value from it. 

Orlando Magic: DeAndre Liggins. Grade: B. Pretty talented guy for a team to pick up that late.

Philadelphia 76ers: Nikola Vucevic. Grade: C+. The Sixers needed size. They would have taken any big that was available here and Vucevic was the best available at 6-10. Taking Motiejunas would have been a bigger gamble and at least Vucevic has work ethic. He has no athleticism, none to speak of, and is, in a lot of ways, Spencer Hawes. But there's no point in creating a logjam for yourself just to avoid drafting for need. The Sixers could have done worse for how their roster is constructed. Lavoy Allen will not be joining us next year. 

Phoenix Suns: Markieff Morris. Grade: B-. The Suns went against the grain in terms of which Morris twin was expected to go first, and Markieff brings a physical presence that is currently lacking. He's probably the better fit. The Suns addressed a position, but did they put themselves back on a positive trajectory? Seems like they're facing the same problems as a franchise that they were yesterday.

Portland Trail Blazers:
Nolan Smith. Grade: C. Smith would have been there four to seven picks later if they wanted to trade down. They didn't address needs elsewhere and, while reshaping the backcourt was a priority, there were better guards than Smith to acquire here. A reach pick on top of a disappointing trade night for the Blazers. 

Sacramento Kings:
Jimmer Fredette. Grade: D. The Kings fell in love with a big name, found themselves on the bad end of a big three-team deal and generally continued their pattern of directionless instability. Kings fans suffered through a tough year to get to draft night and almost certainly leave feeling disappointed. 

San Antonio Spurs: Kawhi Leonard. Grade: A-. Huge steal for the Spurs who give up George Hill but get a lottery-quality pick plus Davis Bertans has a lot of potential and is just the kind of guy the Spurs can wait on. Leonard will be an impact player immediately, the rare combination for the Spurs of youth, athleticism, and polish. He gives them a player to help ease the transition and possibly make one more run. Yet another reminder of how good R.C. Buford and company are at this gig. 

Toronto Raptors: Jonas Valanciunas. Grade: I. Well, Bryan Colangelo certainly sticks to his guns, doesn't he? Vegas considered Toronto to be the least likely team to win the 2012 NBA title and that was before they blew a top five pick on a player with a buyout issue that will keep him from the NBA for at least a year. The Raptors addressed their biggest need -- the five spot -- but they needed lots of help now, and didn't get it.
Utah Jazz: Enes Kanter, Alec Burks. Grade: B+. The Jazz arguably came away with the best center and best two guard in the draft. The moves signaled that Utah is ready for a quick turnaround rather than a slash-and-burn style tear down. Kanter has considerable hype to live up to and Burks will need to work on his range, but the Jazz addressed major issues and provided hope, even if they didn't land cult hero Jimmer Fredette.

Washington Wizards: Jan Vesely, Chris Singleton. Grade: A+. The Wizards got two of the best steals of the draft. Vesely will bring aggression and athleticism. Singleton, defense and versatility. They knocked this out of the park. 

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Category: NBA

Since: Apr 1, 2008
Posted on: June 24, 2011 3:12 pm

2011 NBA Draft Team Grades

Kemba has played point guard his entire life, except for maybe 10 minutes a game this year when he played off the ball because a) he was by far UConn's most polished scorer and b) UConn's best five players included Shabazz Napier, who was less effective off the ball. Kemba actually had the exact same role when he was a freshman. He'd run point, and A.J. Price (a more polished scorer at that stage) would move off the ball. When Jeremy Lamb stepped up late in the year, Kemba kept hooking him up (he assisted on 14 Lamb baskets in the NCAA Tournament). In fact, when Arizona took a 3-point lead with six minutes to go and UConn looked like toast, Kemba over-ruled Calhoun (who wanted to get him some shots) in the huddle and said they needed to run a baseline set for Lamb. So he ran that play twice, got Lamb two straight buckets, and the game turned around (for what it's worth, he also suggested the game-winning play against Pitt in the huddle, knowing that they'd switch). 

Not sure how a player gets overhyped after doing what Kemba did this season. What he did to lead that team to a title was ridiculous. It's certainly fair to say he has question marks at the next level, but if anything, he's been underhyped. 

Since: Jan 26, 2011
Posted on: June 24, 2011 3:00 pm

2011 NBA Draft Team Grades

I really hope you guys are right about the having an A+ NBA Draft. I'm a lifelong suffering fan that wants to see this team become a legitimate contender. I do think we are on the right path, but you never know until you actually see it on the court. The plan owner Ted Leonsis has laid down for the team is the right way to build in my opinion. Look at the who are in the hunt for a championship every year. The plan does work, but we need to be patient because it doesn't happen overnight!

Since: Aug 19, 2009
Posted on: June 24, 2011 2:38 pm

2011 NBA Draft Team Grades

After the initial trade, i wrote down all the names, picks, and contracts for the players. Me and 2 other co-workers all decided we got the smellest poop of this shit deal. Corey Maggette would have been much better than John Salmons (who played here and was shipped away during a contract year) then he got a big contract and played like a mediocre 2/3 ever since.  He doesnt play defense and he is a very streaky shooter. so they just drafted Jimmer, a shoot first PG. crap, they alreay have a that in tyreke. gd, being a king fan sucks.

they also have to re-sign marcus thornton (who had a fantastic contract run as the starting 2-guard while tyreke was injured). are they gonna re-sign dalembert? dont know. they originally picked him up for his end of contract. best 5 line-up. jimmer, thornton (please re-sign), tyreke-3, salmons-4, cousins-5. i will have to talk myself into this small ball line-up. they could score 110 pts with it on 10 assists. maybe have jason thompson as the 4 instead of salmons and use him as the 6th man. well they could score 110, but would give up 125. i hope demarcus better be in shape, cuz he is gonna have to RUUUUUNNNNNN.

for a city that needs a team to have 40 wins. i will cross my fingers. Maloofs, please dont leave. this line-up sucks. i cant help it if the arena is crappy. i also cant help that you have a shitty business plan and you spent all your daddy's money on a casino that you sold for 35 cents on the dollar and sold your beer distributor. dont blame sacramento for your problems. sell the team. there are reasons why this team sold out for 800 straight games while being a bottom feeder in the nba. its not the fans fault you raised ticket prices and parking and you priced out a bunch of fans. you cant put a mediocre product on the floor and hope fans come and then blame fans for not buying you a new arena. the city is broke, the state is broke, i took a pay cut to stay employed like the rest of the city and state workers. dont blame us. look in the mirror. lower ticket prices. put some butts in the seats. how about u use ur beer and casino money for a new stadium.

the lock-out is coming. are you prepared. i bet  your not. dont blame fans for the owners making really bad contracts. francisco garcia, beno, john salmons, c-webbs bad knees.

i've ranted enough.

Since: Mar 26, 2011
Posted on: June 24, 2011 2:29 pm

2011 NBA Draft Team Grades

Knocking the Bobcats pick of Walker brings back the other misinformed who doubted he'd do well this past year. He's a proven winner and will show it as part of the Charlotte team which, with his presence, is definitely on the upswing.

Since: Dec 29, 2006
Posted on: June 24, 2011 1:45 pm

2011 NBA Draft Team Grades

sacramento had a horrible day on thursday..anyone who thinks jimmer is a satrting PG i this league is an idiot..lasts eason they had issues with defense an dthey added the worse defender in draft..then they add john salmons who is a decent player but not for what they have to pay him ..i see no evidence this team has a clear or decise idea of what they want to be a s ateam..and to pass on tony parker in essence for jimmer is a joke...even if they would have had to eat richard jefferson's contract his money is better than salmons and you get 100 times better player in parker than jimmer can dream of being..bad bad bad bad bad day to be a kings fan................... 

Since: Dec 29, 2006
Posted on: June 24, 2011 1:41 pm

2011 NBA Draft Team Grades

cleveland had a bad night irving is not the answer to the problems they have derrick williams would have been a better #1 the they could have came back and gotten kimba waker at #4 he would have given them a toughness and heart they lacked last season..unless they deal baron davis irving will play 20 m inutes a game .. 

Since: Jun 24, 2011
Posted on: June 24, 2011 1:37 pm

2011 NBA Draft Team Grades

I think Cleveland did poorly considering their draft picks. Why did they not take Williams or Kanter with their first pick, and then get either Irving or Knight with the fourth pick? That would have helped the team much more than what they did, IMHO.

Since: Dec 13, 2006
Posted on: June 24, 2011 1:26 pm

2011 NBA Draft Team Grades

Is that looser or loser ?

Since: Sep 22, 2006
Posted on: June 24, 2011 1:12 pm

2011 NBA Draft Team Grades

What makes Moore & Golliver think the Raptors need help now?  This is a team that's rebuilding.  It had the 2nd youngest roster in the NBA last season.  Vegas thinks they are the longest shot for the title next season.  Even if they had pick #1 and took Irving, would they be championship material?  Heck no.

So, they don't need help right now.  They need controllable long-term talent.  A nucleus that starts to peak when older teams like Boston start to fall know like a year or two from now.

Smart Raptors fans will be understanding and patient.  Even if Valenciunas takes a year to show, they took the best talent available and filled a need.

You can't ask for much more than that.

Since: Nov 7, 2006
Posted on: June 24, 2011 1:09 pm

2011 NBA Draft Team Grades

1st did you watch the Miami series?They couldn't by a 3pt basket they dropped all 5 guys down to def Rose so I'm sorry a Big 4 years from now if ever and a back up to Deng is not what they needed!Hamilton is 6-8 can shoot and def and Jenkins will be a shooter.PAckage and move up you can find a vet to back up Deng they need not only a starting 2 but a back up 2 with 3 picks and not addressing you most glaring need is a huge mistake my friend.I would even have taken Sheldon Mack something anything but we NEED a 2 and taking some old bum off the scrap heap is not the answer!!

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