NBA Draft Grades

  • Hoophead
  • Matt Dollinger
  • June 26, 2009, 4:44 PM

One of the wildest drafts in history is over. But which teams made the grade? Read on to see how we judged the drafts of all 30 NBA teams. And CLICK HERE to fill out your own team-by-team NBA Draft Report Card!







   Atlanta Hawks
Round 1: Jeff Teague (19)
Round 2: Sergiy Gladyr (49)
Teague is going to be a good point guard and would have been a top-10 choice had he stayed at Wake Forest another year. His selection (and the trade for Jamal Crawford) could signal Mike Bibby’s eventual departure. Overall, Teague is a great pick who is a dynamic scorer and floor general.
Grade: B+
  Boston Celtics
Round 2: Lester Hudson (58)
Hudson displayed he could score in college (27.5 ppg), but he’s an extremely undersized shooting guard in the NBA. At 24, he has a chance to make the Celtics, but only if they part with Eddie House.
Grade: D
  Charlotte Bobcats
Round 1: Gerald Henderson (12)
Round 2: Derrick Brown (40)
The Bobcats continue to build a college all-star team. The front office and head coach betrayed their UNC roots and drafted a Dukie this year! Luckily for them, he should be an above average swingman for years to come. Brown is another case of a guy who could have improved his draft stock by staying another year, but could end up providing the Bobcats with something.
Grade: B
  Chicago Bulls
Round 1: James Johnson (15), Taj Gibson (26)
It looks the Bulls have a thing for athletic hybrid forwards. Johnson and Gibson will join Tyrus Thomas in Chicago as players who don’t have a real position. The two have length and explosiveness, but not much else.
Grade: C
  Cleveland Cavaliers
Round 1: Christian Eyenga (30)
Round 2: Danny Green (46), Emir Preldzic (57)

The Cavaliers are trying to win now, but they apparently didn’t see anyone in the draft that could help them do that this season. While there were plenty of quality players available at No. 30 (Sam Young, DeJuan Blair, Chase Budinger), they elected to pass on them for Eyenga, a project with some upside.
Grade: C+
  Dallas Mavericks
Round 1: Rodrigue Beaubois (25)
Round 2: Ahmad Nivins (56)

Beaubois won't contribute any time soon, but he has the potential to take over for Jason Kidd one day. With his quickness and super-long arms, he could be another Rajon Rondo. Nivins will provide some toughness and rebounding off the bench, but not much else.
Grade: B-
  Denver Nuggets
Round 1: Ty Lawson (18)
The Nuggets have wanted Lawson since last year’s draft and got their man by making a deal with the T-Wolves. In addition to backing up Chauncey Billups, the Nuggets could go small at times and play the two in the same backcourt together if they choose to do so.
Grade: A-
  Detroit Pistons
Round 1: Austin Daye (15)
Round 2: DaJuan Summers (35), Jonas Jerebko (39)
Daye is years, and many, many protein shakes away from contributing to the Pistons, but he is a great shotblocker and decent 3-point shooter for someone his size. He’s a natural comparison to the Pistons’ Tayshaun Prince, but he’s a long shot to match his production.
Grade: B-
  Golden State Warriors
Golden State
Round 1: Stephen Curry (7)
If you had the volume up while watching the draft, you likely heard millions of New Yorkers’ hearts breaking when the Warriors selected Curry. The Davidson product will excel in Don Nelson’s transition offense – btu where does he fit in? Curry is a near physical duplicate to Monta Ellis – and neither is much of a defender. Nevertheless, Curry’s shooting alone makes this a good pick.
Grade: A-
  Houston Rockets
Round 2: Jermaine Taylor (32), Sergio Llull (34), Chase Budinger (44)
Although Houston didn’t have any first-round picks; they did quite well for themselves this year. More than anything, they drafted for depth, which could indicate they’re contemplating a big trade (Tracy McGrady?).
Grade: B
  Indiana Pacers
Round 1: Tyler Hansbrough (13)
Round 2: A.J. Price (52)
Predictable. Pacers GM Larry Bird didn’t have a ton of options, but picking Psycho-T is too safe of a pick. The NBA’s scouting report on Hansbrough reads, “Effort and intensity separate him from the pack.” Unfortunately, what the NBA fails to tell you, is that “the pack” consists of D-League players. A.J. Price will only make the team if Indiana parts ways with T.J. Ford or Jarrett Jack, so it’s too early to evaluate that pick.
Grade: C
  Los Angeles Clippers
Los Angeles
Round 1: Blake Griffin (1)
Even the Clippers couldn’t mess this one up. Now Los Angeles has to decide which frontcourt veterans (Marcus Camby, Chris Kaman, Zach Randolph) they’ll keep and which ones they’ll ship out. If I’m one of those three, I’m volunteering. You don’t draft someone No. 1 overall just to have them ride the pine.
Grade: A+
  Los Angeles Lakers
Los Angeles Lakers
Round 2: Chinemelu Elonu (59)
There isn’t a lot of room for rookies on the defending champs, so Los Angeles traded away the rights to their first two picks. With the second-to-last pick of the night they grabbed Elonu, a big man who didn’t do much at Texas A&M. Maybe Elonu can keep Adam Morrison company on the end of the bench.
Grade: D+
  Memphis Grizzlies
Round 1: Hasheem Thabeet (2), DeMarre Carroll (27)
Round 2: Sam Young (36)
With OJ Mayo and Mike Conley entrenched in the backcourt, Ricky Rubio didn’t make any sense. Hasheem Thabeet did. He should go well with Marc Gasol and will provide the Grizzlies with their best interior defender since Bryant “Big Country” Reeves. Okay, not really, I just wanted to say his name. In all seriousness, I really like what the Grizzlies did last night. Young could end up being the steal of the draft and could take some minutes from Gay and Mayo.
Grade: A-
  Miami Heat
Round 2: Patrick Beverley (42), Robert Dozier (60)
The picks aren’t as flashy as Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers last season, but these two could end up backing up last year’s picks for year to come.
Grade: B
  Milwaukee Bucks
Round 1: Brandon Jennings (10)
Round 2: Jodie Meeks (41)

The Bucks need just about everything, which is why they took the played with the most upside left on the board with Jennings at No. 10. Then again, he’s also the most likely player in the lottery to end up being a complete bust. Meeks could develop into a rotation player, but he would have been smarter to stay at Kentucky for another season to improve and try and win a national championship.
Grade: B-
  Minnesota Timberwolves
Round 1: Ricky Rubio (5), Jonny Flynn (6), Wayne Ellington (28)
Round 2: Henk Norel (47)

I’m still struggling with this one. Why would Minnesota draft two point guards in a row? Will they be playing with two basketballs next year? Neither has a chance of co-existing with one another, so new GM David Kahn must plan on dealing one of them (right?). Ellington is an extremely underrated prospect who would be a great addition to any team.
Grade: C+
  New Jersey Nets
New Jersey
Round 1: Terrence Williams (11)
The quirkiest player in the draft goes to the franchise with the least personality after trading Vince Carter yesterday. Williams is a complete player, with his main weakness being his shooting. But don’t let that turn you off, the Louisville product will excel as a defender, passer, and rebounder. Now, if only we could get to the bottom of the Barbie backpack he supposedly adorned throughout college…
Grade: B+
  New Orleans Hornets
New Orleans
Round 1: Darren Collison (21)
Round 2: Marcus Thornton (43)

Collison will provide New Orleans with a long-term back up to Chris Paul and Thornton was one of the most talented players left on board. The Hornets are likely not done making moves this summer, so it’s unclear how much these two fit in to the franchise’s future.
Grade: B
  New York Knicks
New York
Round 1: Jordan Hill (8), Toney Douglas (29)
Got to love New York fans. They would boo their own mothers if they were drafted b the Knicks. Don’t take it personally, Jordan Hill. The former Arizona Wildcat seems like a good fit in Mike D’Antoni’s high-tempo offense. Toney Douglas is a great defender, something the Knicks usually lack. Not a bad draft by GM Donnie Walsh and Co.
Grade: B+
  Oklahoma City Thunder
Oklahoma City
Round 1: James Harden (3), B.J. Mullens (24)
Round 2: Robert Vaden (54)

A few months ago, Harden was the consensus No. 3 draft pick, but slipped down draft boards for reasons unknown to me. This selection might have surprised some, but it was a smart one by the Thunder. What doesn’t make sense is the draft-night trade for B.J. Mullens. They must not broadcast Ohio State’s games in Oklahoma. Vaden is a lights out shooter but hasn’t always been the biggest fan of passing. He’ll need to adapt if he wants to make it in the NBA.
Grade: B
  Orlando Magic
no picks
No draft picks, but they did land Vince Carter, so I’ll give credit where credit is due.
Grade: B+
  Philadelphia 76ers
Round 1: Jrue Holiday (17)
Question: What do the front offices of the first 16 picks and me have in common? Answer: We’re not sold on a guy who averaged 8.5 ppg in college! If he couldn’t score in the Pac-10 how can you expect him to in the NBA? Nevertheless, some are calling this pick a “steal.” I, on the other hand, consider Holiday the lottery’s leftovers.
Grade: C
  Phoenix Suns
Round 1: Earl Clark (14)
Round 2: Taylor Griffin (48)

Clark is the type of make-or-break player that keeps general managers up at night. He’s extremely long and athletic, but at the same time he’s not big enough to guard most power forwards and too slow to guard the small forwards. Taylor Griffin, Blake’s brother, should provide rebounding and toughness inside, something the Suns need after dealing Shaq to Cleveland.
Grade: B
  Portland Trail Blazers
Trail Blazers
Round 1: Victor Claver (22)
Round 2: Jeff Pendergraph (31), Dante Cunningham (33),
Patrick Mills (55)

I’m not too impressed with what the Blazers did with their four picks. Claver has been praised by scouts, but won’t be a Blazer for years. Pendergraph failed to improve during his four years at Arizona State and Cunningham is too small to play power forward at the next level. I do like the fact that they stole Patty Mills late in the second round, so I’ll give them a passing grade.
Grade: C-
  Sacramento Kings
Round 1: Tyreke Evans (4), Omri Casspi (23)
Round 2: Jon Brockman (38)

A great draft for the Kings, who got a potential franchise player in Evans and the second coming of Hedo Turkoglu in Casspi. Brockman was a tough rebounder in college, but is undersized. He’s essentially a shorter version of Spencer Hawes, a player they already have.
Grade: A-
  San Antonio Spurs
San Antonio
Round 2: DeJuan Blair (37), Jack McClinton (51), Nando De Colo (53)
How DeJaun Blair fell to 37th boggles my mind. I’m not sure if he’ll start for the Spurs, but he’ll get plenty of minutes at the four next to Tim Duncan next season. McClinton is a great 3-point shooter and could also help San Antonio immediately. De Colo is an intriguing prospect – one Make Your Mock Draft participants love – and has impressed some.
Grade: A
  Toronto Raptors
Round 1: DeMar DeRozan (9)
A classic debate: upside versus experience. The Raptors selected DeRozan 100 percent on the first. With the franchise’s future up in the air – will Chris Bosh walk? – the Raptors decided to draft for the future. But GM Bryan Colangelo does have a history of success in the lottery. When running Phoenix’s front office, he selected Amar’e Stoudemire with the No. 9 overall pick.
Grade: C+
  Utah Jazz
Round 1: Eric Maynor (20) Round 2: Goran Suton (50)
Looking to fill out their bench, the Jazz took two safe, older rookies in Maynor and Suton. Maynor could be a starter in the NBA one day (although not on the Jazz) and Suton is a skilled big man similar to Mehmet Okur.
Grade: B+
  Washington Wizards
no picks
Like the Magic, the Wizards came away from draft night without any rookies, but with veterans instead. The Wizards traded the No. 5 overall selection to the T-Wolves for Randy Foye and Mike Miller. Considering that both of those players are likely much better than half of this year’s lottery, I’m inclined to give the Wizards’ a decent grade.
Grade: B

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