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: Aug 31, 2006
Posted on: June 24, 2011 9:08 am

2011 NBA Draft Team Grades

Bearsfan, that theory has more holes in it than Cutlers O-line last season. Irving was CLEARLY the best player in the draft, not one franchise had him lower than #2 on their board. He is the only probable all star without major ?s in this years draft and there is absolutely no way he falls to them at #4. 

Since: Sep 1, 2006
Posted on: June 24, 2011 9:07 am

2011 NBA Draft Team Grades

Didn't Milwaukee trade away their pick?  So they ended up without a player from the first round.  I think the Kings used that pick to get Jimmer.

Since: Aug 31, 2006
Posted on: June 24, 2011 8:51 am

2011 NBA Draft Team Grades

A+ for Charlotte?...? Ack!!! They got the two most over hyped players in the draft in Bismack"But you say he's just a friend"Biyombo and Kemba"Hakuna Matata"Walker. Walker is essentially an undersized 2 guard that shoots 40% from the field. You're kidding yourself if you think he will transition into a run the offense type point guard, though I think his character make-up is D-Wade like. As for Biyombo, the frustration of having one Tyrus Thomas underachieving for 20 minutes a game is enough to drive a fan to drink, but the Bobcats must figure the drunker their fans the better their team will look because they just added Tyrus 2.0 with much less offensive polish. It's not all bad though, his Dwight Howard like chisel will look great in the team promo photos.      .   

They're already up on the team's Splash page as "Thunder and Lightning"...hmm... more like "Partly Cloudy and Occasional Drizzle"... The good thing is that if they drafted 2 half eaten biscuits it would have been an improvement over last years final roster. I can honestly say I never in a million years would have believed that Disagana Diop, Kwame Brown, Edwardo Najara, Joel Przybilla and Matt Carrol would be paid by the same franchise at the same time. Oh well at least they gave up their 2 best players (Gerald Wallace and Stephen Jackson) and took on the huge contract of an aging one dimensional wing that averages more turnovers than assists (Corey Maggete) to get these 2 picks.... Wait, huh..??!? That my friends is the furthest thing from an A+ that I have ever seen given an A+ since the time in 11th grade when I was a teachers assistant for an ESL class that graded on a curve.


Since: Aug 30, 2006
Posted on: June 24, 2011 8:48 am

2011 NBA Draft Team Grades

Wow, it looks like the Milwaukee Bucks did so bad in the draft they contracted the franchise overnight!  Nice writing guys, really top notch journalism when you forget a team.

Since: Oct 6, 2006
Posted on: June 24, 2011 8:40 am

2011 NBA Draft Team Grades

For Cleveland, having picks 1 and 4 and taking Irving was hardly an A move.  I'd give it a C.  A much better move would have been to to take Williams and take a point guard at the fourth pick.  Minnesota and Utah didn't need a point guard, so its likely Irving still would have been on the board.

Since: Feb 2, 2009
Posted on: June 24, 2011 8:29 am

2011 NBA Draft Team Grades

very suprising, but pretty good evaltuations for the most part. didnt throw any cocophony garbage in this like most of the awful cbs writers do.. as a knick fan, i wish we had gotten jujuan johnson or faried, but iman shumpert seems like a good kid i guess idk.. mixed emotions i needa see him play more before i make my decision on this kid

Since: Mar 28, 2008
Posted on: June 24, 2011 6:43 am

2011 NBA Draft Team Grades

Hey Schmitty...I totally agree. I also guess the San Antonio lost their franchise as well. What an amateur writer. Don't write about basketball if you can't remember all of the teams. What a moron...

Since: Mar 21, 2008
Posted on: June 24, 2011 6:20 am

2011 NBA Draft Team Grades

Disappointed? Are you kidding? The Kings got a guy who will be one of there best defenders in Salmons and drafted the best shooter in the draft in Fredette. Why would I be disappointed with that? I, for one, can't wait to see Fredette and Tyreke Evans on the court together. Should be a fun future in Sac.

Since: Jun 24, 2011
Posted on: June 24, 2011 6:10 am

2011 NBA Draft Team Grades

Did Milwaukee lose there franchise?  Just another sign of NO respect for the "deer".  Shame on you Mr. Moore and Mr. Golliver.

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