|News » Draft Grades: Spurs steal the show|
|Draft Grades: Spurs steal the show|
This year's NBA Draft was supposed to be boring. The 2009 class was considered the least talented since the dreadful class of 2000. We knew exactly who was going first for months, and there were no crazy trade rumors involving that top pick.Things don't always play out as they should, though.
The 2009 draft will be known for the plethora of major trades leading up to it. In a very short span, we saw Shaquille O'Neal, Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson all land on teams that were already contenders. We also saw the fifth pick of the draft being traded and a bevy of other, smaller deals.
So who won? Who lost? It's a year where no team earned an F, but only one earned an A+. And hey, the Los Angeles Clippers even got an A for passing a multiple-choice test with only one possible answer.
Indiana PacersPicks: (13th) Tyler Hansbrough, (52nd) A.J. Price
Analysis: Indiana remained true to its conservative ways, which has to be frustrating for fans hoping to build a contender. Hansbrough has the chance to be a nice player for years. His heart and knack for scoring should keep him in the league for a long time. But the 13th pick just seems about 10 spots too high. Price probably would have went undrafted and wasn't the best point guard on the board.
Los Angeles ClippersPick: (1st) Blake Griffin
Analysis: How do you grade this? On one hand, the Clippers didn't mess up. They took the future stud. Griffin was the only player in this draft who looked like a sure thing. On the other hand, it can't be an A+ because they didn't make any other moves and Griffin can't be called a steal.
Los Angeles LakersPick: (59th) Chinemelu Enolu
Analysis: The defending champs sold the 29th pick, Toney Douglas, to the Knicks. Then they traded the 42nd pick, Patrick Beverly, to the Heat for a future second- rounder and cash. They could have used one of those combo guards. Instead, they end up with the raw, underwhelming Texas A&M forward.
Memphis GrizzliesPicks: (2nd) Hasheem Thabeet, (27th) DeMarre Carroll, (36th) Sam Young
Analysis: The Grizzlies wanted to improve their rebounding, defense and overall toughness. In those regards, this was a great draft. Thabeet certainly makes a lot of sense here and has tremendous potential. Carroll and Young will compete for playing time but each brings something to the table.
Miami HeatPicks: (42nd) Patrick Beverley, (60th) Robert Dozier
Analysis: Both players are pretty good fits for what the Heat need, but neither was a great pick by any means. Beverley is a combo guard who just got done with a year in low-level Ukraine. Dozier, a former Memphis Tiger, can defend. The Heat also got two future second-rounders for the 43rd pick, Marcus Thornton.
Milwaukee BucksPicks: (10th) Brandon Jennings, (41st) Jodie Meeks
Analysis: Jennings was a great value pick at 10th. He's got the potential to develop into one of the best point guards in the league, and his stock was hurt by his decision to eschew college in favor of Europe. Meeks, on the other hand, wasn't even close to the best shooting guard available.
Minnesota TimberwolvesPicks: (5th) Ricky Rubio (via Washington), (6th) Jonny Flynn, (28th) Wayne Ellington, (47th) Henk Norel
Analysis: The least-talked about storyline of the draft is that Rubio may stay in Spain for a year or two, which won't please Minnesota fans. Esteve Rubio, his father, is quoted on Marca.com: "With this pick, it's possible Ricky plays a year or two more in Europe." But he's still a tremendous value at 5th, and Flynn and Ellington are also very solid picks. Trading Randy Foye is part of this grade, but it was still a very good draft.
New Jersey NetsPick: (11th) Terrence Williams
Analysis: For starters, the Vince Carter blockbuster isn't part of this grade. Williams has the look of a very good NBA role player. But you have to wonder if Gerald Henderson wouldn't have been a better fit for a team that is going to need scoring next year. The Nets' youth movement is nice to see, though.
New Orleans HornetsPicks: (21st) Darren Collison, (43rd) Marcus Thornton (via
Analysis: Your best player is a lightning-quick 6-foot point guard. You're a playoff team near contention. Why would you draft a lightning-quick 6-foot point guard? With that said, Collison is a nice backup, and Thornton's scoring ability is almost enough to look the other way on the first-rounder.
New York KnicksPick: (8th) Jordan Hill
Analysis: The fans booed, but Hill is a great value here, a true power forward who is an upgrade from Al Harrington at the position. He's got the ability to become an absolute stud, and at the least should be a poor man's Jermaine O'Neal. The Darko Milicic trade was nice, though not included in the grade.
Oklahoma City ThunderPicks: (3rd) James Harden, (24th) B.J. Mullens, (54th) Robert Vaden (via Charlotte)
Analysis: The Thunder came into the night with two open spots in their future starting lineup: shooting guard and center. So they filled them. This is a case where a team drafts for need but gets two really good values in the process. Even Vaden may make the roster.
Orlando MagicPicks: None
Analysis: We're not factoring in the Vince Carter trade because it didn't involve a pick, but if we were, the grade here would be an A.
Philadelphia 76ersPick: (17th) Jrue Holiday
Analysis: Holiday was expected by many to go several spots higher than this. But there wasn't any real reason for it. While he does have potential, Holiday is a true project who seems to have bust written all over him after doing very little with plenty of opportunity at UCLA last season.
Phoenix SunsPick: (14th) Earl Clark, (48th) Taylor Griffin, (57th) Emir Preldzic
Analysis: The Suns got one of the 10 most talented players in the draft with the 14th pick. The concerns over Clark's intensity seem to be a stretch. But drafting Griffin 48th seemed a little odd, as Blake's older brother probably shouldn't have been drafted.
Portland Trail BlazersPicks: (22nd) Victor Claver (via Dallas), (31st) Jeff Pendergraph (via Sacramento), (33rd) Dante Cunningham, (55th) Patrick Mills
Analysis: The Blazers already had a loaded roster, so they weren't looking to add much right now. Claver has a lot of talent and won't require a contract for a few years. Pendergraph and Cunningham are both solid value prospects to stow away in the NBDL. Mills should have been taken 20 spots higher.
Sacramento KingsPicks: (4th) Tyreke Evans, (23rd) Omri Casspi, (38th) Jon Brockman (via Portland)
Analysis: On one hand, the trio adds much-needed toughness to a very soft team. On the other hand, Evans isn't a true point guard and will struggle to get shooters like Kevin Martin and Francisco Garcia involved. They should have went with Rubio. Casspi should be a nice addition on the wing, though. Brockman: NBA, really?
San Antonio SpursPicks: (37th) DeJuan Blair, (51st) Jack McClinton, (53rd) Nando De Colo
Analysis: How do these guys just fall into the Spurs' lap? Blair is a perfect fit alongside Duncan and could start next season. That alone deserves an A. But then you factor in McClinton, a potential Eddie House clone, and De Colo, a brilliant passer with potential, and you have an A+ draft with no first rounders.
Toronto RaptorsPick: (9th) DeMar DeRozan
Analysis: You can't fault a team for taking the best player available at a position of need. But DeRozan may not be the ideal fit. The Raptors can win as soon as next year if they resign Marion, and DeRozan may still be a year or two away. Then again, his athleticism might translate quicker than expected.
Utah JazzPicks: (20th) Eric Maynor, (50th) Goran Suton
Analysis: The Jazz failed to address their need for help on the wings and took two players with very limited upside. Maynor is a nice player who should be a nice backup, but they could have afforded to gamble on a small forward with big potential. Suton lacks NBA-level athleticism and quickness.
Washington WizardsPicks: None
Analysis: The Minnesota trade that gave away the fifth pick and three bigs for Randy Foye and Mike Miller is looking less desirable now that we know Rubio would have been available. But the Wizards did what they needed to do to win now. Selling the 32nd pick, Jermaine Taylor, also might have been foolish.
Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: June 26, 2009