2012 NBA Draft Team Grades

The 2012 NBA Draft is in the books, and it is time to take a look at how each of the teams fared.  Please note that the grades reflect how the teams picked based on a combination of the player’s draft value and the team’s need for that player.


Atlanta Hawks

1st Round: John Jenkins (23rd, Junior, SG, Vanderbilt)

2nd Round: Mike Scott (43rd, Senior, PF, Virginia)

Grade: B-

Analysis: While Jenkins will be able to provide the Hawks with some much needed consistency from the perimeter, he was certainly a bit of a reach at #23.  The addition of Mike Scott at 43 makes up for some of it, and gives the Hawks another good scoring option off the bench from 15 feet in.

 

Boston Celtics

1st Round: Jared Sullinger (21st, Sophomore, PF, Ohio State); Fab Melo (22nd, Sophomore, C, Syracuse)

2nd Round: Kris Joseph (51st, Senior, SF, Syracuse)

Grade: B

Analysis: Count me among those who feel Boston may have gotten the steal of the draft with Sullinger falling because of medical “red flag.”  If he stays healthy, Sullinger will be a double-double machine immediately for the Celtics.  Melo is still going to need time to develop, but with the right coaching, he could be an above-average big man.  He is certainly an upgrade over whoever the Celtics have been using.  Joseph was a solid addition at #51 and will eventually provide some scoring off the bench.


Brooklyn Nets

1st Round: None (Pick traded to Portland)

2nd Round: Tyshawn Taylor (41st, Senior, PG, Kansas); Tornike Shengalia (54th, SF, Georgia); Ilkan Karaman (57th, PF, Turkey)

Grade: C-

Analysis: Tyshawn Taylor was a great value pick at #41, and will immediately enter their guard rotation.  An improved shooter, Taylor will provide leadership and the ability to make plays for himself and others.  Shengelia has good size, but he can’t shoot and is nowhere near tough enough to attack the basket in the NBA.  If Karaman ever comes over to play, it will be a miracle; a complete waste of a selection.


Charlotte Bobcats

1st Round: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (2nd, Freshman, SF, Kentucky)

2nd Round: Jeff Taylor (31st, Senior, SF, Vanderbilt)

Grade: B-

Analysis: I understand some of the reasoning behind the possible selection of the “high character, hard-working” Kidd-Gilchrist, but the simple fact is that the Bobcats could have done much better at #2.  Charlotte needs someone who can create their own scoring opportunities, or at least score when they get the ball.  Kidd-Gilchrist’s inability to shoot is going to make him a detriment on the offensive end, especially since defenders can sag against him to prevent him from trying to get in the lane.  Understanding that players aren’t drafted necessarily for immediate contribution, but it will be 3-4 years before Kidd-Gilchrist helps on offense. Defensively, he will adjust to the speed of the NBA in time, but he isn’t going to be the great defender everyone expects immediately.

I think Taylor was a great value pick in the 2nd round, and he will be more prepared than Kidd-Gilchrist to contribute immediately on both ends of the floor for the Bobcats.


Chicago Bulls

1st Round: Marquis Teague (29th, Freshman, PG, Kentucky)

2nd Round: None ( sent to LA Lakers)

Grade: B

Analysis: It is still unknown how quickly Derrick Rose will recover from his ACL injury, but Teague is no position to help the team for a few years.  He doesn’t shoot well and I question his ability to run anything more complex than a pick-and-roll.  Maybe with some solid coaching for a few seasons, he may turn into a serviceable backup point guard.


Cleveland Cavaliers

1st Round: Dion Waiters (4th, Sophomore, SG, Syracuse); Tyler Zeller (17th, Senior, C, North Carolina)

2nd Round:

Grade: B

Analysis: I do not buy the Waiters hype for one minute.  He hasn’t shown that he can play consistently for any length of time, and certainly not in a starting role.  He is a good athlete, and he still may develop into a real offensive threat, but an outrageous reach at #4.  On the other hand, Zeller was a great value pick at #17 and should make the Cavaliers frontcourt significantly better from Day 1.

 

Dallas Mavericks

1st Round: Jared Cunningham (24th, Junior, SG, Oregon State)

2nd Round: Bernard James (33rd, Senior, PF, Florida State); Jae Crowder (34th, Senior, SF, Marquette)

Grade: B+

Analysis: This grade is more of a reflection of the 2 great second round picks rather than a clear reach in the first round.  Cunningham could be an effective pro, but he will need to show that he can be a point guard in the NBA.  A good defender, but I don’t see him being effective against NBA shooting guards.  James and Crowder are going to make the Mavericks one of the more physical teams out west.  James will provide solid minutes off the bench immediately, though I don’t see him being an eventual starter.  Crowder is one of my favorite players in this draft, and all of the talk about him not having a position is nonsense.  He can be used in a variety of ways, and he will make the team work harder to keep up with him.


Denver Nuggets

1st Round: Evan Fournier (20th, SF, France)

2nd Round: Quincy Miller (38th, Freshman, SF, Baylor); Izzet Turkyilmaz (50th, PF, Turkey)

Grade: C-

Analysis: The only thing that saved this grade was the potential value of Miller at #38.  Fournier, despite what he may think, is not even close to ready for the NBA.  A slasher who shies away from contact is not going to go far in the NBA, especially when he is no jumper to fall back on.  Miller should have definitely stayed in school another year, but with no immediate need for him, hopefully the Nuggets do what they need to to develop him.  Turkyilmaz has the best name this draft for someone who will never see the NBA.


Detroit Pistons

1st Round: Andre Drummond (9th, Freshman, C, Connecticut)

2nd Round: Khris Middleton (39th, Junior, SF, Texas A&M); Kim English (44th, Senior, SG, Missouri)

Grade: A-

Analysis: Obviously there is still no way to tell how Drummond is going to develop, but at #9, the risk is absolutely worth the potential reward.  Worst case right now, he is still an athletic big who can help Greg Monroe on the defensive end.  Best case, Drummond will be an absolute monster in the middle.  The Pistons also did very well in the second round, adding two experienced players who can contribute immediately.  English is one of the most mature players in this draft, and will add a knockdown shooter and solid defense.  Middleton is a slasher who is still developing an all-around game, but he still has a lot of potential.


Golden State

1st Round: Harrison Barnes (7th, Sophomore, SF, North Carolina); Festus Ezeli (30th, Senior, C, Vanderbilt)

2nd Round: Draymond Green (35th, Senior, PF, Michigan State); Ognjen Kuzmic (52nd, C, Bosnia)

Grade: A-

Analysis: Barnes was a very solid pick, especially in a high need area for the Warriors.  He will be able to contribute scoring right away, especially with the way Curry and Thompson can spread the floor.  Ezeli adds some more toughness in the frontcourt to pair with David Lee, and also should contribute immediately.  Picking a player like Green in the second round is never a bad move.  The Warriors will be able to use his versatility on both ends, as well as gaining some much-needed maturity and leadership.  Kuzmic will likely never be seen playing in the United States.


Houston Rockets

1st Round: Jeremy Lamb (12th, Sophomore, SG, Connecticut); Royce White (16th, Junior, PF, Iowa State); Terrence Jones (18th, Sophomore, PF, Kentucky)

2nd Round: Furkan Aldemir (53rd, PF, Turkey)

Grade: B

Analysis: Lamb is a very good value at #12, and should be able to step in as an improvement over Kevin Martin in most areas as soon as they can move him.  White is a bit of a reach at #16, but is still a decent pick.  He has a very good understanding of the game, but he has not shown that he can defend well on the perimeter or if he knows how to operate in an offense where the ball isn’t going through him.  While he does make some spectacular plays as a “point forward”, he still makes some really bad decisions as well, so you need to hope he develops more.  Jones is another good value pick at #18, though he is entering a logjam of power forwards in the Houston organization, so the Rockets are still going to need to make some moves.  A decent rebounder, Aldemir doesn’t have the body or toughness to be effective in the NBA. Will need to see how he develops in a few years, but there were still better options available who are ready to contribute.


Indiana Pacers

1st Round: Miles Plumlee (26th, Senior, C, Duke)

2nd Round: Orlando Johnson (36th, Senior, SG, UCSB)

Grade: B

Analysis: While the reaction to Plumlee at #26 wasn’t great, it wasn’t a huge reach for him here.  Big and athletic, Plumlee understands what it takes to win basketball games, and he will be a nice backup compliment to Roy Hibbert.  Orlando Johnson knows how to score in a variety of ways, and he is exactly the kind of players that very good teams are able to bring off the bench.


Los Angeles Clippers

1st Round: None (Sent to Boston)

2nd Round: None (Sent to Houston)

Grade: INC

Analysis: Nothing to see here, please move on.

 

Los Angeles Lakers

1st Round: None (Sent to Dallas via Cleveland)

2nd Round: Darius Johnson-Odom (55th, Senior, SG, Marquette); Robert Sacre (60th, Senior, C, Gonzaga)

Grade: B

Analysis: People may deride the value of two very late second round picks, but the fact is that the Lakers got some very good value here.  Johnson-Odom is one of the hardest-working, toughest players around, with a great ability to score.  He will need to show he can play point guard, but I guarantee he is already better than last year’s early second round selection, Darius Morris.  Sacre is a solid player who can operate well out of the high post and is a very good defender.


Memphis Grizzlies

1st Round: Tony Wroten (25th, Freshman, PG, Washington)

2nd Round: None (Sent to Brooklyn via Philadelphia)

Grade: B-

Analysis: I admit that Wroten is a physical freak who can do some amazing things with the basketball.  He can also be that much of a train wreck when he has the ball as well.  For a playoff contender, they need to be able to back-up Conley with someone better than this, so I wouldn’t expect him to play any role for a few seasons.  If he ever gets it together, could end up being the steal of the draft.


Miami Heat

1st Round: None ( Sent to Philadelphia)

2nd Round: Justin Hamilton (45th, Junior, C, LSU)

Grade: D

Analysis: This is not a knock on Hamilton, who I like as a player who can give some valuable minutes to a team with no quality big men.  The Heat really needed to shore up the center position, and would have been better off keeping the pick, Arnett Moultrie, or taking Festus Ezeli.  One very good thing about Hamilton – he is an above average perimeter shooter for his size, and if he can draw defenders away from the rim, James and Wade could have an easier time than they do now.


Milwaukee Bucks

1st Round: John Henson (14th, Junior, PF, North Carolina)

2nd Round: Doron Lamb (42nd, Sophomore, SG, Kentucky)

Grade: B+

Analysis: Henson was a steal for the Bucks at #14, and he will be an immediate defensive presence, and certainly a slight upgrade over Ekpe Udoh and Larry Sanders.  While his offensive game still needs work, he did improve a lot during this past season, and should continue to do so.  Lamb was also a very solid pick at #42.  He is a pure shooter, and with Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis’ ability to draw defenders, Lamb can put up some pretty good numbers.


Minnesota Timberwolves

1st Round: None (Sent to Houston)

2nd Round: Robbie Hummel (58th, Senior, PF, Purdue)

Grade: C

Analysis: I actually liked the deal the Timberwolves made for Chase Budinger, giving up the 18th pick overall, so I won’t hold that against them here.  Hummel is an incredibly smart player who can knock down shots from the perimeter.  After coming back and playing the way he did his senior year after two ACL tears, Hummel is going to give everything he has out there to make the team better.


New Orleans Hornets

1st Round: Anthony Davis (1st, Freshman, PF, Kentucky); Austin Rivers (10th, Freshman, SG, Duke)

2nd Round: Darius Miller (46th, Senior, SF, Kentucky)

Grade: A

Analysis: The combination of Davis and Rivers will not only produce well into the future for the Hornets, but both will generate a style of play which will want others to play with them.  Davis has a chance to be dominant at the NBA level, but that is still a long way off.  I still think Rivers will eventually move to the point guard spot in the NBA, but for now, he is one of the best in this class at taking his man off the dribble, and as he matures physically, he will be able to finish better.  Miller was a solid middle of the second round pick who can contribute immediately on perimeter defense and knocking down open shots.


New York Knicks

1st Round: None (Sent to Houston)

2nd Round: Kostas Papanikolaou (48th, SF, Greece)

Grade: B-

Analysis: Papanikolaou became well-known after his play in the Euroleague Finals, but he is still a long way from being ready to have an impact at the NBA level.   Maybe in 3 years, if he comes over, he may be an average player, which isn’t that bad for the 48th pick.


Oklahoma City Thunder

1st Round: Perry Jones III (28th, Sophomore, PF, Baylor)

2nd Round: None (Sent to Minnesota)

Grade: A

Analysis: Just a remarkable turn of events for the Thunder here.  On potential and talent, Jones is still a lottery pick.  However, the questions over motivation and a possible knee problem caused an almost unprecedented slide.  Jones may have found the perfect spot for him to continue to develop, and if there are issues with his desire or motivation, you only used the 28th pick on him.


Orlando Magic

1st Round: Andrew Nicholson (19th, Senior, PF, St. Bonaventure)

2nd Round: Kyle O’Quinn (49th, Senior, C, Norfolk State)

Grade: B+

Analysis: A great first draft for new GM Rob Hennigan.  Nicholson is long and skilled, with the ability to stretch the floor or score around the rim.  O’Quinn is a fighter and he will do whatever the team needs of him.  You aren’t going to get Dwight Howard’s replacement at #49, but they did get a very good back-up who will bring great energy levels.


Philadelphia 76ers

1st Round: Maurice Harkless (15th, Freshman, SF, St. John’s); Arnett Moultrie (27th, Junior, PF, Mississippi State)

2nd Round: None (Sent to Miami)

Grade: B+

Analysis: Harkless may have been a small reach at #15, but he is very athletic and still raw, so with the right coaching the Sixers may have a potential long-term starter here.  I am not a big fan of Moultrie.  He is big and athletic, but his skill level is poor.  However, there is nothing bad you can say about taking him at #27, especially when you need to add some size to the team.


Phoenix Suns

1st Round: Kendall Marshall (13th, Sophomore, PG, North Carolina)

2nd Round: None (Sent to Atlanta)

Grade: B+

Analysis: Marshall was the best pure point guard in this class, and a great addition with Steve Nash ‘s time in Phoenix being over.  While the Suns will need to add some more scorers around him, he will make everyone around him better.  There are issues with his foot speed and lateral movement on the defensive end, but he knows how to play defense, and he can continue to work on his athleticism.


Portland Trail Blazers

1st Round: Damian Lillard (6th, Senior, PG, Weber State); Meyers Leonard (11th, Sophomore, C, Illinois)

2nd Round: Will Barton (40th, Sophomore, SG, Memphis)

Grade: B

Analysis: With the 6th and 11th picks, the Trail Blazers had the opportunity to do something great, but came away with Lillard and Leonard.  I like Lillard and he should be a decent scoring point guard, but his value is a bit lower than 6th.  He can score, get into the lane, and continues to work hard to get better, but he is just average as a “point guard”, so he really needs to learn how to develop the ability to create for others and how to play when he is not the focal point of the offense.  Leonard is an athletic big man who is still developing at the center position, but even at his full potential, I don’t see him as 11th pick value.  Barton could be a great get at the 40th spot.  He is a nice athlete who can provide some scoring pop off the bench.


Sacramento Kings

1st Round: Thomas Robinson (5th, Junior, PF, Kansas)

2nd Round: None (Sent to Indiana)

Grade: A-

Analysis: Sacramento ended up not making a move paid off and they got possibly the 2nd best player of the draft at #5.  Robinson will be a nice compliment to DeMarcus Cousins and should instantly elevate Sacramento closer to playoff contention.


San Antonio Spurs

1st Round: None (Sent to Golden State)

2nd Round: Marcus Denmon (59th, Senior, SG, Missouri)

Grade: B+

Analysis: A fantastic value pick at #59, Denmon has a legitimate shot of making the roster, and should eventually make a move to being a back-up point guard.  He can knock down open shots and knows how to play tough perimeter defense.  Not much more you can ask for from the second to last pick of the draft.


Toronto

1st Round: Terrence Ross (8th, Sophomore, SG, Washington)

2nd Round: Quincy Acy (37th, Senior, PF, Baylor); Tomislav Zubcic (56th, SF, Croatia)

Grade: C

Analysis: Ross going with the 8th pick may be the worst of some absolutely baffling picks made in this draft.  A good athlete, solid defender, and knockdown shooter, there is nothing about Ross that screams Top 10 pick.  He can’t create his own shot, and Toronto doesn’t exactly have the playmakers to get him open looks.  I like Acy, and he will bring some much needed toughness to Toronto, but #37 was still a reach for him.  Zubcic is a decent shooter, but is a long way from being a NBA player.


Utah

1st Round: None (Sent to Houston)

2nd Round: Kevin Murphy (47th, Senior, SG, Tennessee Tech)

Grade: B+

Analysis: I love the Murphy pick at #47, and I expect him to be able to provide some wing scoring off the bench rather quickly for the Jazz.  He will need to become a more consistent shooter, especially from mid-range, but when he gets hot, it is tough to guard him.


Washington

1st Round: Bradley Beal (3rd, Freshman, SG, Florida)

2nd Round: Tomas Satoransky (32nd, SG, Czech Republic)

Grade: A-

Analysis: The Beal pick gave them an A, but wasting a high second round pick on Satoransky is ridiculous.  Beal will be a great compliment to John Wall in the Wizards backcourt, and should continue to improve at a rapid rate for a few years still.  Satoransky is a shooting guard who can’t shoot, but he does have good size and a decent understanding of the game.

 

That wraps up the 2012 NBA Draft.  Thank you for reading this year, and I will start work on 2013 prospects next week.  Hope to see many of you in Las Vegas for Summer League.