First round: Kevin Love, F, 6-10, 255, UCLA (trade)
Second round: Nikola Pekovic, C, 6-11, 245, C, Serbia
Quite frankly, Kevin Love was a good sport with the "Stephen A. Smith heckling league of gentlemen," and has said all the right things since arriving in Minnesota. Whether or not he can be even a shadow of his "all-time favorite NBA player" Kevin McHale and live up to the fifth pick of the draft is another story. McHale's right-hand man is Serbian-born Zarko Durisic, so it only made sense that they would take Europe's most dominant big man, the Serbian Nikola Pekovic, with the first pick of the second round. Pekovic is locked into a deal that will likely keep him from signing with the T-Wolves for three years, but Pekovic should provide them with a nasty interior force in a few years and valuable trade chip (i.e. Marc Gasol) if necessary.
New York Knicks
First round: Danilo Gallinari, F, 6-8, 220, Milano, Italy
Donnie Walsh's clean-up job began by taking the pride of Italy. The D'Antoni connection ended up being a factor as the Knicks opted for the sweet-shooting forward from Italy. Gallinari is a bit of a safe pick as he's already a proven professional in Europe and shows a high basketball IQ. This pick could end up terribly wrong as the pressure on Gallinari will be greater in the Big Apple than any team in the league. If he gets off to a slow start, it would be difficult for him to win over the team's fan base. Jerryd Bayless is the player that made the most sense for the Knicks, as he had the most upside of anyone left on the board. But his lack of a position and with Marbury still in the fold, it made taking him more difficult.
First round: J.J. Hickson, PF, 6-9, 245, North Carolina State
Second round: Darnell Jackson, PF, 6-8, 250, Kansas (trade)
Second round: Sasha Kaun, C, 6-11, 250, Kansas (trade)
The Cavs appear to be floundering, struggling to add talent around LeBron in the draft, free agency and trades. Hickson is an undersized four-man with good length and solid muscle but lacks the upside of other freshman prospects. If he's not able to bring the team much in the short term, there's a good chance he will struggle to improve much over time. LeBron and NYC, tick-tock....
Second round: Shan Foster, G, 6-5, 195 Vanderbilt
The Mavs panicked after the Lakers pulled off the Gasol deal, making a terrible decision to acquire Jason Kidd. At the time, it was obvious this team was not a legitimate contender even with Kidd and the team went overboard, giving away far too much to obtain the aging playmaker. If Kidd was 2-3 years younger, the deal would make sense, but giving away a young, talented point guard like Devin Harris plus Diop and 2 first rounders was a huge mistake.
First round: Brandon Rush, G-F, 6-6, 210, Kansas (trade)
First round: Roy Hibbert, C, 7-2, 280, Georgetown
Larry Legend did not start off his GM tenure in Indiana very well. Unloading Jermaine O'Neal and his 2-year $40-million deal was necessary, but he didn't get enough in return as T.J. Ford, like O'Neal, is injury prone and could be more trouble than he's worth. He also has yet to prove that he can be an elite-level point guard. Their draft philosophy makes sense for a team that's close to contending, adding Rush and Hibbert a couple of NBA ready players with not a lot of upside. Unfortunately the Pacers are in rebuilding mode and don't have the talent in place to make "solid" picks. Rush's career took a big turn for the worse when he was informed that he was being traded to Indiana instead of playing for Portland. The expectations and role that the Pacers have in mind for him will make it difficult for him to succeed. He is a defensive standout with solid shooting ability, but asking him to be more than that is asking for trouble. Taking Hibbert at 17 was also a mistake as he's limited athletically, and will be nothing more than a solid center. While these picks might look solid in a year, they likely won't appear so solid in 4-5 years when other players they could have taken (like Bayless and McGee) potentially become standouts.
New Orleans Hornets
Players the Hornets could have added at the 27th pick: Darrell Arthur, Donte Greene, DeAndre Jordan, Mario Chalmers, and Chris Douglas-Roberts a player who happens to be exactly what they're missing. Now if they had known that those players would all be available, would they still have sold the pick to Portland? The Blazers were hot to trot and would have bought this pick at the 11th hour, so why sell the pick two days before the draft? Selling picks is no way to run an NBA franchise, and the team's fan base should be outraged. Wouldn't Darrell Arthur or CDR at $800k per year help this team? With the top point guard in the game in Chris Paul and one of the most exciting young teams in the league, this was inexcusable. This is no way to show Paul how much they appreciate him, and cracks the door open for him to bolt in free agency. Hopefully, they insisted on Euros for the pick.
Atlanta's first rounder went to Phoenix in the Joe Johnson trade. Considering how well Johnson has worked out for them, and this team actually made the playoffs, Hawks fans can live without having a pick. The Hawks are finally out of the basement and have a team to be proud of, having extended the champion Celtics a lot further than Kobe and company. But with success comes adversity, as the team must now decide who to build around, and who to let go of. The Hawks had no picks and made no moves during the draft so they draw an incomplete.