2014 NBA Draft Team Grades

Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, and David Kay of the The Sports Bank.
Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
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Updated: June 30, 2014.

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Atlanta Hawks: C- Grade
15. Adreian Payne, PF, Michigan State
43. Walter Tavaras, C, Spain
48. Lamar Patterson, SG, Pittsburgh

I thought Atlanta should have drafted a wing player in the first round along the lines of James Young, Gary Harris, Rodney Hood, or Kyle Anderson. I think Adreian Payne is going to be a nice player at the next level, but the Hawks already have Paul Millsap and Al Horford. Walter Tavares brings size to the team whenever he comes to the association, but isn’t that what the Hawks used one of their first-round picks on last year when they selected Lucas Nogueira? Lamar Patterson was a nice college player, but I can’t see him making an NBA roster.

Boston Celtics: A Grade
6. Marcus Smart, G, Oklahoma State
17. James Young, G/F, Kentucky

You might be looking at the new Celtics backcourt of the future. Smart is a physical guard and at his best attacking the hoop, while Young has a smooth outside shot. Sounds like a pretty good duo to me. Young was a terrific pick at No. 17, and Smart makes sense as well especially if Boston ends up dealing Rajon Rondo or possibly Avery Bradley.

Brooklyn Nets: B- Grade
44. Markel Brown, G, Oklahoma State
59. Xavier Thames, PG, San Diego State
60. Cory Jefferson, PF, Baylor

The Nets entered the night with zero picks, but ended up acquiring three veteran college players. Hey, if you have money like Mikhail Prokhorov does, spend it. Brown, Thames, and Jefferson may make the roster, so we’ll find out if one or two of them make Brooklyn’s final 15, or if the investment was a waste.

Charlotte Hornets: A- Grade
9. Noah Vonleh, PF, Indiana
26. P.J. Hairston, SG, D-League
45. Dwight Powell, PF, Stanford
55. Semaj Christon, PG, Xavier

The Hornets got terrific value in the draft when Vonleh fell to them at No. 9. They then traded back to add Hairston, a shooter who should be able to help the team right away. Even grabbing talents like Powell and Christon in the second round could pay off for Charlotte to be able to take another step forward in the Eastern Conference.

Chicago Bulls: B+ Grade
11. Doug McDermott, SF, Creighton
49. Cameron Bairstow, PF, New Mexico

Chicago’s biggest need this offseason is adding a scorer on the wing. McDermott definitely fills that void, even if it cost the Bulls both of their first-round picks and having to take on Anthony Randolph’s contract. McDermott should be a solid role player for Chicago for a number of years. Bairstow could find a role off the bench due to his physicality and mid-range game, especially if the Bulls ends up amnestying Carlos Boozer.

Cleveland Cavaliers: A- Grade
1. Andrew Wiggins, SF, Kansas
33. Joe Harris, SG, Virginia

Kudos to Cleveland for making the right pick this time at No. 1. Since the ping-pong balls bounced the Cavaliers’ way once again, I’ve said Wiggins was their guy and this is a decision they won’t regret. Harris was highly regarded because of his shooting ability, but I’m not sure he is a NBA player long term.

Dallas Mavericks: B Grade
The Mavericks included their two second-round picks in the trade with the Knicks that brought Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton to Dallas. I liked the trade from the Mavericks’ point of view, so I am okay with them including a pair of second-round picks.

Denver Nuggets: B+ Grade
16. Jusuf Nurkic, C, Bosnia
19. Gary Harris, SG, Michigan State
41. Nikola Jokic, C, Serbia

Denver turned the 11th pick into a pair of potential role players in Nurkic and Harris. Nurkic’s size alone makes him an intriguing prospect, although he may not come to the NBA right away. Harris was one of the great values of the 2014 NBA Draft, but Denver did just trade for Aaron Afflalo and has Randy Foye, so I’m not sure where Harris factors into the equation from Day 1. Jokic is another draft-and-stash guy who can maybe contribute down the road.

Detroit Pistons: B Grade
38. Spencer Dinwiddie, G, Colorado

Had it not been for a season-ending injury, Dinwiddie likely would have been a first-round pick, so Detroit gets solid value with its lone pick of the night. If free agent Rodney Stuckey doesn’t return to the Pistons and Dinwiddie can even slightly help replace him, this is a solid pick.

Golden State Warriors: INC Grade
The Warriors did not have a pick.

Houston Rockets: B+ Grade
25. Clint Capela, PF, Switzerland
42. Nick Johnson, G, Arizona

Daryl Morey may have been swayed to go the international route in hopes of saving some cap space for a potential run at Carmelo Anthony. Capela is an upside type of prospect who could be a significant role player in a few years. Though he’s undersized, Johnson could carve out a niche and was a solid mid-second round pick.

Indiana Pacers: N/A Grade

The Pacers sold their second-round pick (57th, Louis Labeyrie) to the Knicks. Nobody Indiana would draft at this point was going to make the roster, so the team might as well get some free cash.

Los Angeles Clippers: D Grade
28. C.J. Wilcox, SG, Washington

The Clippers just drafted Reggie Bullock last year and have J.J. Redick, Jamal Crawford, and Jared Dudley, who all play the same position as Wilcox. This simply congests the wing even more in L.A. The Clippers would have been better off adding someone like Jarnell Stokes, who could have provided some needed depth inside.

Los Angeles Lakers: A Grade
7. Julius Randle, PF, Kentucky
46. Jordan Clarkson, G, Missouri

The Lakers got great value with both of their picks. Randle should be a factor from Day 1 and was once considered a top-three pick in this draft. Clarkson has first-round talent, too, but he somehow slipped into the mid-second round.

Memphis Grizzlies: B- Grade
22. Jordan Adams, SG, UCLA
35. Jarnell Stokes, PF, Tennessee

The Grizzlies needed an offensive-minded wing, and Adams is a pure scorer, but his severe lack of NBA athleticism is a big red flag for me. I think there are players who were selected below him who will be better players in the league. Memphis traded to bring Stokes to his hometown, and he bring some physicality to the front court.

Miami Heat: A+++ Grade
24. Shabazz Napier, PG, Connecticut

I love this move for Miami more than I love drinking the chocolate milk out of a cereal bowl after eating Cocoa Krispies. Okay, that’s a lie, but I do love this move for the Heat. Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole are clearly not the point guard answers in Miami, while Shabazz Napier is a proven winner who is going to single-handedly be the reason LeBron James will stay in Miami. (I hope people understand the sarcasm there, but I figured I’d write it out anyway.)

Milwaukee Bucks: B Grade
2. Jabari Parker, SF, Duke
31. Damien Inglis, SF, France
36. Johnny O’Bryant III, PF, LSU

Jabari Parker and the Bucks each received their wish when the Cavs passed on him in favor of Wiggins. Parker is the go-to scorer that Milwaukee needs, and crazy enough as it sounds, he actually wants to be in Milwaukee. Inglis should develop into, at least, a defensive forward in the NBA, which is suddenly becoming a crowded position for the Bucks since they still have the Greek Freak. O’Bryant will add some physicality inside, so overall, Milwaukee did a solid job of adding young talent.

Minnesota Timberwolves: D Grade
13. Zach LaVine, G, UCLA
40. Glenn Robinson III, SF, Michigan

I’m not high on either of these guys. LaVine is nowhere near NBA ready, while Robinson never wowed me at Michigan to the point where I thought he could be a real NBA contributor. Are we sure David Kahn wasn’t making these picks?

New Orleans Pelicans: B Grade
47. Russ Smith, PG, Louisville

The Pelicans dealt D-League stud Pierre Jackson, an undersized, but offensively explosive, point guard to get Smith, an undersized, but offensively, explosive point guard. I like Smith’s potential to crack a rotation better than Jackson’s, so I’m okay with deal.

New York Knicks: B Grade
34. Cleanthony Early, SF, Wichita State
51. Thanasis Antetokounmpo, SF, Greece
57. Louis Labeyrie, PF, France

Originally having no picks at all, the Knicks ended the night with three second-rounders. New York took a pair of foreign, project forwards, but Early is a first-round talent who should be able to find a role in the NBA and eat up some of the minutes Carmelo Anthony will be leaving behind in New York.

Oklahoma City Thunder: D+ Grade
21. Mitch McGary, C, Michigan
29. Josh Huestis, SF, Stanford

Oklahoma City reached for both guys. McGary might be a future replacement for Nick Collison, but there were better players on the board at that time. I didn’t have Huestis in my mock draft at all, so for the Thunder to spend a first-round pick on him seems like a waste. Maybe he can develop into a defensive specialist, but the Thunder did just spend a first-round pick on a similar guy, Andre Roberson, last year.

Orlando Magic: B+ Grade
4. Aaron Gordon, F, Arizona
10. Elfrid Payton, PG, LA-Lafayette
56. Roy Devyn Marble, SG, Iowa

I really like Gordon’s potential as a solid role player in the NBA, but the fit in Orlando doesn’t excite me. Trading up two spots and having to give up a future first-round pick for Payton seems steep even though Orlando sorely needed to find a point guard in this draft. Marble might be able to help replace some of the production on the wing that the Magic lose by trading Aaron Afflalo.

Philadelphia 76ers: C- Grade
3. Joel Embiid, C, Kansas
12. Dario Saric, F, Croatia
32. K.J. McDaniels, SF, Clemson
39. Jerami Grant, F, Syracuse
52. Vasilje Micic, PG, Serbia
58. Jordan McRae, SG, Tennessee

So the Sixers entered the night with seven picks and ended up with three second-round picks who MIGHT help this this year. This is the ultimate boom-or-bust draft for Philly depending on Embiid’s health and when – if ever – Saric comes to the NBA, which at earliest will be in two years. The 76ers did pick up a future first-round selection when they swapped Elfrid Payton for Saric and should be high in the lottery again next year since they figure to be one of the worst teams in the league.

Phoenix Suns: C Grade
14. T.J. Warren, SF, N.C. State
18. Tyler Ennis, PG, Syracuse
27. Bogdan Bogdanovic, G/F, Serbia
50. Alec Brown, C, Green Bay

The Suns’ most pressing need was adding talent on the wing, and Warren will certainly provide some scoring punch to the lineup. Bogdanovic figures to spend another year overseas. As for Ennis, I am not sure how he fits into the rotation with Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe, though Bledsoe is a restricted free agent. Brown won’t make the roster.

Portland Trail Blazers: INC Grade
The Trail Blazers did not have a pick.

Sacramento Kings: C+ Grade
8. Nik Stauskas, SG, Michigan

The Kings did just take a shooting guard with their first-round pick last year in Ben McLemore, so this pick doesn’t necessarily add up for me. Yes, Sacramento needs a shooter, but does the club really think Stauskas is a better fit and prospect than say a Noah Vonleh? Someone like Vonleh could be the frontcourt mate of the future that the Kings need alongside DeMarcus Cousins?

San Antonio Spurs: B Grade
30. Kyle Anderson, G/F, UCLA
54. Nemanja Dangubic, SF, Serbia

Anderson is a terrific value with the final pick of the first round, and if anyone can figure out how to utilize his all-around ability, it is Gregg Popovich. The Spurs moved their two late second-round picks for a foreign guy who will probably be an All-Star someday since that’s what this organization does.

Toronto Raptors: D+ Grade
20. Bruno Caboclo, SF, Brazil
37. DeAndre Daniels, SF, Connecticut

They took a dude I’ve never heard of. Literally, NEVER heard of and I obviously consider myself a huge NBA Draft nerd. If the Raptors were that high on Caboclo, why take him at No. 20 rather than moving back to grab him? I do like DeAndre Daniels’ potential to one day be an athletic role player in the NBA, so that saves Toronto’s grade a bit.

Utah Jazz: A- Grade
5. Dante Exum, G, Australia
23. Rodney Hood, SF, Duke

Exum and Trey Burke should form a solid one-two punch in the Utah backcourt, and don’t forget about Alex Burks either. Exum could be the go-to scorer that the Jazz havs been searching for. Hood was a terrific value and adds needed depth on the wing. I think he was being undervalued in this draft.

Washington Wizards: INC Grade

The Wizards had the 46th pick but sold it (Jordan Clarkson) to the Lakers for cash.

Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, and David Kay of the The Sports Bank.
Send Paul an e-mail here: [email protected].
All other e-mail, including advertising and link proposals, send to: [email protected]

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