This looks like the album cover to Austin Rivers and Anthony Davis' first album. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
You've seen probably one or two or five or 25 draft recaps with grades attached to them. I think the idea is sort of silly. Grading the draft the day after is sort of silly. Who knows what will become of these players or if any of them will pan out for the team until at least training camps, if not 3 years down the road? Nobody really knows. That's why so many teams draft the absolute wrong player. But I think you can get a sense for when a team really does well given their position, or if they do really horribly. Most teams fall into the "oh that team drafted a guy with their pick. Nice" category. So let's get those teams out of the way first.
Atlanta Hawks, Chicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, LA Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors, and Washington Wizards
Congratulations. You all drafted a guy or a couple of guys. I hope that works out for you.*
*If you really want to know what I specifically think about any of these teams' draft, let me know and I will tell you. But they are all about the same. Each of them gets between a B and a C.
Like I said, nobody knows if Kevin Murphy will make the team or not, so it's hard to judge. But the Jazz certainly had the opportunity and ammunition to trade up to #27, if they wanted to. Their offer of the 47th pick and the Golden State pick would have trumped Philadelphia's offer of the 45th and a non-lottery future pick. So not only will the Jazz be judged on whether anybody from 48-60 turns out to be much better than Murphy, but to some degree they will be judged on whether anybody 27-60 is an obvious upgrade to Kevin Murphy + whatever the Golden State pick turns into. Depending on the obscurity of the player that turns out to be very good, the judgment might be very lenient. But if a guy like Perry Jones turns into a very good player, it will be hard not to lament the fact that the Jazz could've traded up to take a guy with some obvious star potential.
On top of that, I would like to mention one other aspect of the Jazz pick I find troubling. David Locke and several Jazz fans have applauded the pick of Murphy for the fact that the Jazz were able to see him play in person a bunch of times and that they interviewed him. Okay. So they drafted a guy that they knew and had done their homework on. But just because they did their homework doesn't mean it was good homework. I would be more impressed to hear that the Jazz took somebody that they didn't get a chance to talk to in person, because of the breakdown and investigation into that player that they perfomed of their own accord. In theory, the Jazz should have had a full portfolio on strengths and weakness and an idea of what that player's attitude was like for all 60 of the guys taken in the draft. If they did their proper homework, they should have a pretty good feeling that a guy like Tony Wroten or Perry Jones, or Quincy Miller wasn't worth trading up for. That's in essensce what they were saying by staying pat. I'm not going to judge the Jazz for not trading up now, but I'm just bringing up the parameters for what the team will and should be judged on in the future. The Jazz better hope there isn't an all-star or near all-star in the 27-60 range that isn't named Kevin Murphy. Most likely, the Jazz belong in the above mentioned group. They drafted a guy who looks like he could stick and we'll see what happens.
Explanation: I liked the Damian Lillard pick pretty well. They were looking for a future point guard and Lillard has the potential and work ethic to become a very good point guard. There wasn't another point guard who was an obvious upgrade. Meyers Leonard on the other hand.... It's my opinion that they took the worst prospect of the three remaining big men. I believe both John Henson and Tyler Zeller will be better big men than Meyers Leonard. But, we shall see. Bottom line: with all the talk about winning now and contending while they have Lamarcus Aldridge in his prime, the Blazers are not significantly better now than they were a year ago.
With a pretty good core of big men and a franchise point guard and power forward, the Wolves need help on the wing. So it's hard to criticize them trading the 18th pick for Chase Budinger, who we know can play for the team, if not start immediately. We will see how Budinger pans out, but it seems like it will be a decent trade at worst. I also really like Robbie Hummel, who they took in the second round. So good job David Kahn. Things are looking up, perhaps.
You can call the Thunder lucky or whatever you want, but Two Face said it best in Batman with the phrase "you make you own luck." Were the Thunder sort of lucky that Perry Jones III fell to them? Sure. But the Thunder also put themselves in a position by having a very balanced roster and solid organization that they could draft a player that fell to them, regardless of position. The thunder also dodged all overtures of a top pick for James Harden, which I believe was the absolute right choice. Whether or not Perry Jones becomes very good, the Thunder drafted a top 5 talent at number 29. When is the last time a team was able to draft a player who had been in the top 5 of any draft, in the late 20s? I don't even think that applies to Dejuan Blair.
I have no strong opinions on Evan Fournier, but I think Quincy Miller at 38 might be the steal of the draft. And Izzet Turkyilmaz has the coolest name.
The Audience at the Draft
Between the two random Jazz fans who had the most enthusiasm of the bunch and the fantastic boos of David Stern and the Knicks pick of a Greek guy nobody knows, the fans were awesome at the draft. But what really made the evening special was the unified standing ovation and chant of "USA!" when ex-serviceman Bernard James was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers. It was just one of those moments you won't forget and that makes you proud to be an American.
"Sources close to NBA players"
Good job. You were almost all completely wrong. You described to anyone who would listen about the perfect environment for a bunch of Draft Day trades. What a disappointment. There wasn't one interesting trade on Draft day. I can't fail you all fast enough.
ESPN's coverage of the Draft
There were a couple salient points and interesting breakdowns, but mostly ESPN just solidified yourself as a powerhouse sports station that is just way behind the times. Twitter was sometimes 3 picks ahead of those guys. You had Tom Penn breaking down a player's fit with a certain team, when 80% of the people watching knew that player had already been traded. That's called Dramatic Irony. No reason the crew can't be a little more up to date. If not, then forgo experts and show us a cool video of past draftees being called, interupted by David Stern announcing the picks we already know about.
Now for the rest of the teams:
Like the Thunder, the Celtics have put themselves in a position to draft a guy or two who fall to them. They drafted at least one guy who is going to be an NBA starter in Jared Sullinger or Fab Melo. Compare that to the guys the Jazz have drafted in the 20s our entire lives. I could be wrong, but I think Boston will look very smart in 3 years regarding this draft.
The Nets made one of the worst trades of the last 10 years in the NBA when they traded what became the 6th pick in this draft for the opportunity to overpay Gerald Wallace. That trade is indefensible. The funniest part was all of the reports about how the Nets were trying to call teams and trade back into the 1st round. You have to imagine some of those proposals revolved around Gerald Wallace. I can't believe GMs continue to get jobs with different teams when they have basically bumbled through their job the first time. But that is the case with Billy King, I'm afraid. The only reason the Nets don't get an F is because Tyshawn Taylor has some upside. Actually, you know what? Nevermind. The Nets get an F.
The Bobcats stuck to their guns and took Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, which requires vision, because he isn't the best pick today for the Bobcats. But he probably will be 5 years from now. They also get an A because of the trade they made with Detroit which landed them a potential top 5 pick in 2-3 years, just for taking on Ben Gordon's extra year. I can't tell you how incredible of a trade that will be when that pick turns into a top 5 guy in 2015. But mostly the Bobcats get an A for letting Rich Cho call the shots and for actually having a plan. Well done Bobcats and well done MJ.
I'm not in love with the Dion Waiters pick, but who knows? But they should get props for turning the 24th and 33rd and 34th pick into Tyler Zeller, who I think will be a sure starter. They get props for making the only interesting trade of the night, even if it doesn't pan out.
The Mavericks traded the 17th pick to the Cavaliers which made a lot of sense because they are trying to clear cap space and don't want to be forced to pay a guaranteed contract to a rookie that may or may not pan out. Except that they traded for the 24th pick which will still come with a guaranteed contract that is only $400,000 less than the 17th pick will get. If a better player than Jordan Cunningham ends up coming from picks 17-23, it will be hard to justify that $400,000 savings. Unless that was the exact savings they needed in order to be able to sign everybody they want this offseason.
The Warriors had a nice draft. They were able to draft players they wanted to draft. Before the draft I thought that Harrison Barnes had about a 20% chance of being a bust in the NBA. Now that Golden State drafted him, that just went up to 50%.
Congratulations. You drafted a guy that you traded to Houston so you could acquire Lamar Odom and his $8 million. Why didn't you just force the Mavs to cut him and pick him up off of waivers? He obviously wants to come back to LA. Oh well.
I have heard of players letting down after winning a championship, but the whole front office? There were some good players to be had at the 27th pick that would have added some depth to the team. But instead you drafted a guy that will never play in the NBA. A little proud of yourselves? Overconfident much? Poor job, poor effort.
Keep up the good work. You are the foil to the Jazz's rebuilding plan. You did the exact opposite. We'll see who becomes a contender first.
Way to be patient. I think not trading the 5th pick will pay off for you. You got the best possible guy that could have fallen to you, in my opinon. Good luck to your opponents getting any rebounds.