Tuesday, June 28, 2005

NBA Draft Report Card

In a draft filled with surprises, let's take a look at who did the best. Please note that the Chicago Bulls and Dallas Mavericks didn't have any draft picks. So there will only be 28 teams covered.

Atlanta Hawks: F Marvin Williams (2), SG Salim Stoudamire (31), G Cenk Akyol (59)

Comment- Can't do badly when you land the most talented forward and best outside shooter. They'll hope Akyol pans out at the point long term.

Grade: B+

Boston Celtics: SG Gerald Green (18), SF Ryan Gomes (50), PG Orien Greene (53)

Comment- Somehow the number one rated high school prospect fell into their lap. Then they were able to get an NBA ready player who can score and took a chance on Greene.

Grade: B+

Charlotte Bobcats: PG Raymond Felton (5), PF Sean May (13)

Comment- Going for two local players off the NCAA champions will please their fans. But will it lead to more wins?

Grade: C+

Cleveland Cavaliers: PF Martynas Andriuskevicius (44)

Comment- Originally drafted by Orlando, the Cavs acquired the rights to the 7-3 Lithuanian native in exchange for a 2006 second rounder and cash. He can step out and knock down three's. But when will he come over?

Grade: C

Denver Nuggets: G Julius Hodge (20), SF Linas Kleiza (27), SF Ricky Sanchez (35), PF Axel Hervelle (52)

Comment- Denver fans should love the versatility of Hodge. Kleiza and Sanchez were acquired from Portland in the Jarrett Jack deal. Too early to tell if they will pay off. Hervelle is from Spain and has upside.

Grade: C+

Detroit Pistons: PF Jason Maxiell (26), PF Amir Johnson (56), G Alex Acker (60)

Comment- Pistons go for toughness in Maxiell and potential in Johnson. Acker played his college ball at Pepperdine and will compete for a backup point guard job. What's disappointing is that Detroit didn't get an outside shooter.

Grade: C-

Golden State Warriors: PF Ike Diogu (9), PG Monta Ellis (40), PF Chris Taft (42)

Comment- Diogu is the only player ready to contribute with both Ellis and Taft projects.

Grade: C

Houston Rockets: SG Luther Head (24)

Comment- Taking Head here might have been a reach. But the athletic guard can shoot, pass and play D. Just what Jeff Van Gundy likes.

Grade: B

Indiana Pacers: SF Danny Granger (17), PF Erazem Lorbek (46)

Comment- Getting the athletic Granger at 17 is a steal. Lorbek is a great European prospect. But when will he be a Pacer?

Grade: B-

Los Angeles Clippers: SF Yaroslav Korolev (12), PG Daniel Ewing (32)

Comment- Korolev is just 18 and will probably stay over with CSKA Moscow a couple of more years. He has a lot of potential. Ewing comes from Duke and should be well prepared for the NBA. He could be like Chris Duhon was for the Bulls last year.

Grade: C+

Los Angeles Lakers: C Andrew Bynum (10), PF Ronnie Turiaf (37), SG Von Wafer (39)

Comment- The Lakers drafted for potential with Bynum, which doesn't make sense with Phil Jackson back. Turiaf is a solid pick who adds size to their frontline and can contribute right away. They'll hope Wafer can knock down some shots to take some pressure off Kobe.

Grade: C

Memphis Grizzlies: PF Hakim Warrick (19), PF Lawrence Roberts (55)

Comment- With Stromile Swift set to leave, the selection of the athletic Warrick makes sense. If his outside shot improves, he could make a few GMs pay the price. Roberts was acquired from Seattle for a 2006 second round pick. He didn't have a big senior year but he could still wind up contributing.

Grade: B

Miami Heat: PF Wayne Simien (29)

Comment- Smart pick by Heat because they could lose the services of Udonis Haslem this summer. The Kansas product is rock solid on the block and hits the glass.

Grade: B

Milwaukee Bucks: C Andrew Bogut (1), SF Ersan Ilyasova (36)

Comment- Bucks addressed their lack of size in the pivot with Australian Bogut. Out of Utah, he should be solid fundamentally. Ilyasova is a Turkey product who Milwaukee hopes will team up with Bogut for years to come.

Grade: B+

Minnesota Timberwolves: SG Rashad McCants (14), G Bracey Wright (47)

Comment- McCants is as talented a scorer as anyone but the questions are his attitude and defense. Wright is a gamble out of Indiana to replace Sam Cassell. Who's the last Hoosier guard to make it big?

Grade: C+

New Jersey Nets: SG Antoine Wright (15), C Mile Ilic (43)

Comment- The athletic Wright could be solid selection. Ilic is a Yugoslavian product who the Nets hope will develop similarly to Nenad Krstic.

Grade: B-

New Orleans Hornets: PG Chris Paul (4), PF Brandon Bass (33)

Comment- No brainer taking the quick and talented Paul to run the point. With P.J. Brown no spring chicken, team will look for Bass to take over at four.

Grade: B+

New York Knicks: C Channing Frye (8), PG Nate Robinson (21), PF David Lee (30)

Comment- The addition of Frye gives Knicks boost inside. Robinson is part of the Quentin Richardson deal from Phoenix for Kurt Thomas and second round pick Dijon Thompson. Robinson is the classic overachiever who will instantly become a fan favorite. However, the selection of Lee at 30 baffled me.

Grade: B-

Orlando Magic: PF Fran Vazquez (11), PG Travis Diener (38), C Marcin Gortat (57)

Comment- Taking Vazquez when they already have Howard at the same position doesn't make sense. Diener is a small guard who can knock down treys but how much PT will he get with Francis and Nelson ahead of him? Gortat's rights were acquired from Phoenix for cash. Are the Magic banking on the Poland native to fill center hole?

Grade: C-

Philadelphia 76ers: SG Louis Williams (45)

Comment- Sixers took a chance on potential with South Gwinnett Georgia HS prospect.

Grade: C

Phoenix Suns: SF Dijon Thompson (54)

Comment- Thompson was final piece to puzzle in trade with Knicks to acquire Kurt Thomas. What he gives them will be a bonus. The defensive minded Thomas was a must for Suns to contend next year. He'll fit in well in the pick n' roll with Nash.

Grade: B+

Portland Trail Blazers: SG Martell Webster (6), PG Jarrett Jack (22)

Comment- Portland wisely traded down to get the player they coveted. Webster had impressive workouts and became the first high school player selected. Picking up Jack from Denver is a wise move. While they have Telfair, Jack is older, bigger, stronger and plays with ferocity. They should form a solid duo at the point for years.

Grade: B

Sacramento Kings: SG Francisco Garcia (23)

Comment- Kings get an athletic shooting guard with size and heart from the Bronx projects. Garcia will become a fan favorite.

Grade: B+

San Antonio Spurs: PF Ian Mahinmi (28)

Comment- Spurs go for French big man who wasn't even listed in the Draft Guide. A San Antonio special.

Grade: C

Seattle Supersonics: C Johan Petro (25), SF Mickael Gelabale (48)

Comment- Sonics address potential void at center with Jerome James and Reggie Evans set to test market. Last year, they selected Robert Swift out of high school. Now they get Petro. Guess they'd rather be safe than sorry. If the two French players panout, just call them the French Connection.

Grade: C+

Toronto Raptors: PF Charlie Villanueva (7), SF Joey Graham (16), PG Roko Ukic (41), PF Uros Slokar (58)

Comment- Selecting Villanueva that early was a shock. The Brooklyn native could panout but why take him when they already have Chris Bosh? Graham is rock solid around the basket and was a nice choice. Ukic was rated as the fourth best point guard. Slokar will probably stay overseas in Italy.

Grade: C-

Utah Jazz: PG Deron Williams (3), SG C.J. Miles (34), C Robert Whaley (51)

Comment- Trading up with Portland to get the savvy Williams was a must. He is strong on the ball, tough and an unselfish player. He should fit in great with Utah. Jazz gamble on potential with two high school prospects. They'll have an excellent teacher in Jerry Sloan.

Grade: B

Washington Wizards: PF Andray Blatche (49)

Comment- Wizards go with South Kent Prep Connecticut star to provide what Kwame Brown couldn't inside.

Grade: B-


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