UNSUPPORTED BROWSER
NBA

2014 NBA draft team grades

The top five included (from left) No. 1 Andrew Wiggins, No. 2 Jabari Parker and No. 4 Aaron Gordon. Photo: NBAE via Getty Images

The top five included (from left) No. 1 Andrew Wiggins, No. 2 Jabari Parker and No. 4 Aaron Gordon.

With the NBA draft in the books, here are my grades for all 30 teams:

Atlanta Hawks

First Round: Adreian Payne (15)

Second Round: Walter Tavares (43), Lamar Patterson (48)

Analysis: Payne was one of the more underrated players in the draft. If the Michigan State big man were two years younger, he probably would have gone in the high lottery. A four-year college player, the 23-year-old Payne should be able to step into the rotation immediately and provide shooting and rebounding behind big men Al Horford and Paul Millsap. I like Tavares here, too. The 22-year-old center from Cape Verde is nowhere near ready for the NBA, but he is huge (7-3, 265 pounds) with massive hands. He might be able to contribute in a year or two.

Grade: B


Boston Celtics

First Round: Marcus Smart (6), James Young (17)

Second Round: None

Analysis: I’m not sure Smart was at the top of Boston’s wish list; Aaron Gordon, who went two picks earlier, was up there, and the Celtics almost certainly would have taken Joel Embiid if the Kansas center had slid to No. 6. That said, Smart is a solid pick. He’s cut out of the Derrick Rose/Russell Westbrook mold of big, physical point guards. It’s hard to see how he plays with Rajon Rondo, but that’s a problem for another day. Young’s stock slipped after he reportedly missed some workouts following a minor car accident, but the Kentucky swingman has great size and length and scouts see a potentially electrifying perimeter scorer.

Grade: B


Brooklyn Nets

First Round: None

Second Round: Markel Brown (44), Xavier Thames (59), Cory Jefferson (60)

Analysis: The Nets entered the draft with no picks. After trying to trade into the first round, they walked away with three second-round selections. Oklahoma State's Brown has the best chance to make the roster. He’s a four-year college player who is athletic with a decent jump shot. The other two -- San Diego State’s Thames and Baylor’s Jefferson -- are long shots.

Grade: B-


Charlotte Hornets

First Round: Noah Vonleh (9), P.J. Hairston (26)

Second Round: Dwight Powell (45)

Analysis: Bet the Hornets didn’t see Vonleh falling to No. 9. Team sources indicated that the Hornets were high on Doug McDermott, who was available when Charlotte made its first pick. But the chance to draft Vonleh, a tremendously gifted physical player with a developing perimeter shot, and let him learn alongside Al Jefferson was too much to pass up. At 18, Vonleh will take time, but he has great potential. So, too, does Hairston, the D-League star acquired in a trade with Miami. The value of D-League numbers is debatable, but the 6-5, 229-pound Hairston -- who averaged 21.8 points on 45.3 percent shooting for the Texas Legends -- has prototypical two-guard size and, if brought along correctly, could develop into a starter. Christon could make the roster as a backup point guard.

Grade: A-


Chicago Bulls

First Round: Doug McDermott (11)

Second Round: Cameron Bairstow (49)

Analysis: The Bulls didn’t want two first-round picks (they began the night with Nos. 16 and 19), not with the goal to keep as much cap space as possible for the pursuit of Carmelo Anthony. And they needed offensive punch off the bench. They get it in McDermott, an elite scorer at Creighton with a diverse arsenal. McDermott will struggle on the other end, but if there is anyone who can turn him into a serviceable defender it’s Tom Thibodeau, who did the same with Carlos Boozer. Bairstow, who averaged 20.4 points as a senior at New Mexico, could stick.

Grade: B+


Cleveland Cavaliers

First Round: Andrew Wiggins (1)

Second Round: Joe Harris (33)

Analysis: All along, the Jabari Parker-to-Cleveland storyline felt like a smokescreen. Parker is a top talent and the most NBA-ready player in the draft ... but he’s not Wiggins. The Cavs get a stellar athlete with enormous two-way potential to pair with Kyrie Irving in an impressive young backcourt. Harris is a terrific shooter (40.7 percent from three-point range in four years at Virginia) who may be able to get minutes off the bench.

Grade: B+


Dallas Mavericks

First Round: None

Second Round: None

Analysis: The Mavericks lost their first-round pick (which ended up with the Thunder) in the 2011 Lamar Odom trade and dealt two second-round picks to the Knicks this week in the Tyson Chandler trade.

Grade: N/A


Denver Nuggets

First Round: Jusuf Nurkic (16), Gary Harris (19)

Second Round: Nikola Jokic (41)

Analysis: The Nuggets didn't love anybody at No. 11, which is why they shopped the pick so aggressively. They found a willing partner in Chicago, which had its sights set on Doug McDermott. In exchange, Denver takes a risk with Bosnia's Nurkic, 19, a big, offensive-oriented center who will likely take years to develop, if at all. Scouts are all over the place on his potential. Harris is a quality pick. If Harris can stay healthy and rediscover the shooting stroke from his freshman year at Michigan State (his three-point accuracy declined to 35.2 percent as a sophomore from 41.1 percent), his two-way play will get him on the floor. Jokic, a 6-11 power forward from Serbia, is a draft-and-stash pick.

Grade: B+


Detroit Pistons

First Round: None

Second Round: Spencer Dinwiddie (38)

Analysis: Before sustaining a torn left ACL in January, Dinwiddie was a projected first-round pick. The combo guard is a fine shooter who was having the best of his three seasons at Colorado before the injury, averaging 14.7 points and hitting 41.3 percent from beyond the arc. Will he be the same player coming back? If he is, Detroit will have a nice pickup.

Grade: B


Golden State Warriors

First Round: None

Second Round: None

Analysis: The Warriors traded their first-round pick in last year's sign-and-trade deal for Andre Iguodala and dealt their second-round pick to the Timberwolves in a separate move.

Grade: N/A


Houston Rockets

First Round: Clint Capela (25)

Second Round: Nick Johnson (42), Alessandro Gentile (53)

Analysis: Not surprisingly, the Rockets took a potential draft-and-stash international prospect in the first round. Houston is clearing cap space for a run at LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony and isn’t looking to add payroll. Capela, 20, a 6-11 Swiss power forward, is an excellent defensive prospect. He’s a very good athlete with a long wingspan. Johnson, the nephew of the late Hall of Fame guard Dennis Johnson, could eventually contribute as a reserve.

Grade: B-


Indiana Pacers

First Round: None

Second Round: None

Analysis: The Pacers traded their first-round pick for Luis Scola last year and dealt their second-round pick to the Knicks for cash on Thursday.

Grade: N/A


Los Angeles Clippers

First Round: C.J. Wilcox (28)

Second Round: None

Analysis: Wilcox can shoot (38.9 percent from three-point range in four years at Washington), but it’s hard to see where he fits into the J.J. Redick/Jamal Crawford/Willie Green rotation at two-guard. The Clippers even have last year’s top pick, Reggie Bullock, in the mix. A trade could loosen things up, but an athlete like defensive-minded small forward K.J. McDaniels (who went No. 32) might have made more sense for a team that needs help at the three.

Grade: C-


Los Angeles Lakers

First Round: Julius Randle (7)

Second Round: Jordan Clarkson (46)

Analysis: Randle fills a suddenly gaping hole at power forward (bye, Pau Gasol) and satisfies Kobe Bryant at the same time. The Kentucky freshman is close to NBA-ready; he could even start for a team that will be desperate for low-post offense. His power offensive game will make his defensive shortcomings easier to stomach for Lakers fans. Clarkson is a solid scoring combo guard (17.5 points as a junior at Missouri) whom some executives saw as first-round talent.

Grade: A


Memphis Grizzlies

First Round: Jordan Adams (22)

Second Round: Jarnell Stokes (35)

Analysis: Adams makes up for what he lacks in athleticism with a smooth perimeter game that could boost an offense that ranked 17th in points per possession. But you have to think that Adams could have been available had the Grizzlies traded down. They passed on a chance to draft Rodney Hood, a once-projected lottery pick and a premier perimeter shooter. Stokes is a worker who could get minutes off the bench.

Grade: C+


Miami Heat

First Round: Shabazz Napier (24)

Second Round: None

Analysis: There was no safer bet than Miami's doing what it took to get Napier. Besides being LeBron James' favorite player in the draft (no small consideration when the Heat are attempting to re-sign the four-time MVP), Napier fills a need. The Heat don’t want to pay starting point guard Mario Chalmers too much money to come back, and now they can plug Napier, a four-year player at UConn, into a backup role behind Norris Cole. Other players with bigger upsides were available, but Napier was a safe pick for a team in win-now mode.

Grade: B


Milwaukee Bucks

First Round: Jabari Parker (2)

Second Round: Damien Inglis (31), Johnny O'Bryant (36)

Analysis: The Bucks landed the franchise player they sought in Parker, who made it clear he wanted to be there, too. It will be interesting to see how coach Larry Drew plays Parker, who will likely see his heaviest minutes in a lineup alongside center Larry Sanders and 19-year-old forward Giannis Antetokounmpo. That’s fine with Parker, who was moved all over the floor during his one year at Duke. The Bucks also grabbed a solid draft-and-stash player in Inglis, a long French forward, and a burly reserve candidate in O’Bryant, who averaged 15.4 points and 7.7 rebounds as a junior at LSU.

Grade: A-


Minnesota Timberwolves

First Round: Zach LaVine (13)

Second Round: Glenn Robinson III (40)

Analysis: I’m not on the Zach LaVine train yet. LaVine is a ridiculous athlete, but he's also a streaky shooter who doesn't have a position. The UCLA freshman wants to play point guard, but the Wolves have a pretty good one in Ricky Rubio. On paper, a Rubio-LaVine backcourt could be effective in the open floor, but LaVine will have to earn minutes first. Michigan’s Robinson was a good value pick in the second round. If Robinson can be more assertive offensively, he has the physical tools to be an NBA small forward.  

Grade: B-


New Orleans Pelicans

First Round: None

Second Round: Russ Smith (47)

Analysis: The Pelicans made their big move before the draft, agreeing to acquire center Omer Asik from the Rockets. (New Orleans traded its first-round pick to Philadelphia in last year's deal for Jrue Holiday.) Smith was one of the best college players the last two seasons at Louisville, but his size (6-0, 160 pounds) and shot selection scared off some teams. If Smith plays under control, he could be a solid change-of-pace guard off the bench.

Grade: C+


New York Knicks

First Round: None

Second Round: Cleanthony Early (34), Thanasis Antetokounmpo (51), Louis Labeyrie (57)

Analysis: The Knicks went from having no picks to using three. Early is a potential steal; he can play both forward spots and is superb in the open floor. It’s hard to see how he slipped this far. The D-League's Antetokounmpo, 21, isn’t as good as his younger brother, Giannis, but he is a first-rate transition player whom scouts say could be a very good defender. The Knicks will watch 22-year-old French forward Labeyrie closely overseas during the next few years.

Grade: B


Oklahoma City Thunder

First Round: Mitch McGary (21) Josh Huestis (29)

Second Round: Semaj Christon (55)

Analysis: McGary is a promising power forward prospect who missed all but eight games last season because of back surgery. McGary’s camp didn’t disclose much, if any, information on his injury. He skipped the draft combine and went through only one workout, in Milwaukee. But there is no way Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti would have taken the 22-year-old in this spot unless he was confident about McGary's outlook. If healthy, McGary has lottery talent. Huestis is a defensive-minded forward who doesn’t bring much offensively.

Grade: B-


Orlando Magic

First Round: Aaron Gordon (4), Elfrid Payton (10)

Second Round: Roy Devyn Marble (56)

Analysis: Gordon was something of a surprise, particularly with Dante Exum on the board. But the Magic clearly made the calculated risk that they could draft Gordon, a superior defender/rebounder who can jump out of the gym, and still get a point guard later. They did -- via trade with the Sixers -- in Payton, perhaps the draft's fastest riser, who distinguished himself in team workouts. Orlando picked up two pretty good assets for its long rebuilding process.

Grade: A-


Philadelphia 76ers

First Round: Joel Embiid (3), Dario Saric (12)

Second Round: K.J. McDaniels (32), Jerami Grant (39), Vasilije Micic (52), Jordan McRae (58)

Analysis: Thank you, Philadelphia, for making this draft entertaining. This might be a high grade to some, but I’m basing it on several things. First, while Embiid may not play a minute next season, he was a lock for the No. 1 pick before it was announced last week that he needed surgery to repair a stress fracture in his right foot; he has All-Star written all over him. Second, while Saric, 20, won’t play in Philadelphia next season (or perhaps the season after that) after agreeing to a deal with a Turkish club, he is a terrific point forward prospect who will benefit from the extra seasoning. And the Sixers picked up a nice haul of second-round picks, including two first-round fallers (McDaniels and Grant) who should make the team. They also reacquired point guard Pierre Jackson, their 2013 second-round pick who was subsequently traded to New Orleans and tore up the D-League last season -- for the rights to Russ Smith. It won’t be a pretty season, but given that the Sixers owe Boston their first-round pick next year if they make the playoffs, they may not care.

Grade: A


Phoenix Suns

First Round: T.J. Warren (14), Tyler Ennis (18), Bogdan Bogdanovic (27)

Second Round: Alec Brown (50)

Analysis: GM Ryan McDonough is an savvy judge of young talent, and he got some good ones here. Warren is a scorer. It’s not always pretty, and it’s often not from beyond the three-point line, but he finds ways to put up points (24.9 in 35.4 minutes as a sophomore at NC State). He should be an immediate asset to the Suns' second unit. Ennis is a heady point guard who thrives in the pick-and-roll. Bogdanovic likely will stay in Europe, but he could develop into a starter thanks to an impressive blend of shooting and passing.

Grade: A-


Portland Trail Blazers

First Round: None

Second Round: None

Analysis: The Trail Blazers traded their first-round pick to the Hornets in the 2011 Gerald Wallace deal and traded their second-round pick to the Nuggets in the 2011 Raymond Felton trade.

Grade: N/A


Sacramento Kings

First Round: Nik Stauskas (8)

Second Round: None

Analysis: Stauskas was a reach and he plays the same position as Ben McLemore, the seventh pick in 2013. Stauskas might be the best shooter in the draft and he's a decent playmaker, but the rest of his game, including his defense, is limited. The Kings were shopping this pick on draft night, giving rival teams the impression that they didn’t want it. With a promising power forward like Noah Vonleh on the board, it's hard to see why Sacramento went with Stauskas.

Grade: D


San Antonio Spurs

First Round: Kyle Anderson (30)

Second Round: Nemanja Dangubic (54)

Analysis: A pass-first combo guard with outstanding court vision? He’ll never fit in with San Antonio. Never. Kidding, of course. Anderson is a high-value pick for the Spurs. His defense is very suspect and he isn’t a strong shooter, but he is a terrific decision maker with the ball. He could develop nicely. Which would be, you know, another total shock.

Grade: B+


Toronto Raptors

First Round: Bruno Caboclo (20)

Second Round: DeAndre Daniels (37)

Analysis: I’ll be honest: I’ve been studying the draft all year and been speaking regularly with international scouts, and I wasn’t very familiar with Caboclo and never considered him a first-round pick. Caboclo, an 18-year-old Brazilian forward listed at 6-9, 200 pounds, isn't believed to have had a single private workout and was a complete unknown to several GMs. Raptors coach Dwane Casey described him as one of the most athletic players in the draft and compared him with a young Rashard Lewis. You get the feeling this is either going to turn out to be one of the most brilliant picks ever or a complete disaster. UConn’s Daniels is an athletic forward who has a chance to stick if he bulks up.

Grade: C-


Utah Jazz

First Round: Dante Exum (5), Rodney Hood (23)

Second Round: None

Analysis: The Jazz were doing cartwheels when Exum was available at No. 5. Though Exum considers himself a point guard, many scouts see him as a two-guard long term. Either way, his talents should mesh well with those of incumbent point guard Trey Burke. A Burke-Exum-Gordon Hayward perimeter trio is a strong one, provided Hayward re-signs in restricted free agency. Hood needs to work on creating off the dribble, but he can score from the perimeter.

Grade: A


Washington Wizards

First Round: None

Second Round: None

Analysis: The Wizards traded their first-round pick for Marcin Gortat last year and dealt their second-round pick to the Lakers for cash on Thursday.

Grade: N/A

More NBA

SI.com

Drag this icon to your bookmark bar.
Then delete your old SI.com bookmark.

SI.com

Click the share icon to bookmark us.