By Chris Mannix
June 25, 2010
2010 NBA Draft Team Grades
C+ Atlanta Hawks
A draft-day deal with New Jersey yielded Jordan Crawford, an explosive scorer who fascinated more than a few GMs before the draft. Crawford has 20-point potential but he doesn't get to the line much and tends to play out of control. Still, Crawford is extremely talented and as athletic as they come. Senegal's Pape Sy -- a complete unknown leading up to the draft -- was a bit of a peculiar pick, especially with proven talents like Willie Warren and Stanley Robinson still on the board.
B- Boston Celtics
Danny Ainge has had a bit of a man-crush on Avery Bradley for weeks, hoping the explosive combo guard would get to the Celtics at No. 19. While most believed Ainge was targeting a big man to fill in for the injured Kendrick Perkins or the just-retired Rasheed Wallace, Ainge was always after the best player available. Bradley was it. Bradley can back up Rajon Rondo and his slashing ability gives Boston a much-needed punch on what will likely be a revamped bench. Luke Harangody was an overachiever in college, but if he turns out to be a good practice player, Boston will keep him around.
Inc. Charlotte Bobcats
No picks for the Bobcats, and maybe that's a good thing for a team that has either whiffed (Adam Morrison, Alexis Ajinca) or barely put the ball in play (Gerald Henderson, D.J. Augustin) in recent drafts.
Inc. Chicago Bulls
The Bulls made one pick -- Kevin Seraphin -- and are sending him to Washington along with Kirk Hinrich in a deal that will expand their available cap space to close to $30 million this summer. If one of the big free agents signs, it's a great decision. If not, they wasted a pick in a pretty deep draft.
Inc. Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cavs were burning up the phones trying to get into this draft but couldn't make a deal. They have better things to worry about anyway. Like finding a coach. And re-signing LeBron James.
B+ Dallas Mavericks
The Mavs searched for weeks for a first-round pick to buy. When they got one, they spent it on Dominique Jones, a prolific scorer from South Florida who will have to fight for minutes behind Jason Terry and Roddy Beaubois. The Mavs also dealt second-round center Solomon Alabi to Toronto for future considerations. With Erick Dampier likely gone and Brendan Haywood a free agent, wouldn't it have made sense to hold on to someone like that?
Inc. Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets tried -- and failed -- to trade their way into the second round to grab one of the available big men (five of the 12 players Denver worked out went in the second round). It was disappointing, as Denver badly needed an infusion of youth in the frontcourt.
B+ Detroit Pistons
Greg Monroe fell into the center-less Pistons' lap at No. 7, and they pounced. Monroe is a terrific passer with burgeoning offensive skills and should instantly upgrade a Detroit lineup that was forced to give an aging Ben Wallace extended minutes last season. In time, Monroe could develop into a front-of-the-line starting center. Second-rounder Terrico White is a superb athlete who can play limited minutes at both guard positions. If he makes the team, White could provide added protection should the Pistons part ways with Richard Hamilton.
C Golden State Warriors
Ekpe Udoh is a 6-foot-10, 240-pound pseudo-center who isn't especially tough and isn't especially strong. The Warriors have plenty of those with Anthony Randolph, Brandan Wright and Andris Biedrins on the roster. Udoh possesses some offensive moves (he averaged 13.9 points last season at Baylor) and has a decent touch from the perimeter. But a more traditional big man like Greg Monroe might have been a better fit.
B- Houston Rockets
Patrick Patterson has an NBA body and is an above-average scorer in the post, so if he sticks in Houston, he should be a nice addition off the bench. But with the Rockets looking to be players in free agency, don't be surprised to see Patterson dangled in a deal that could recoup a top veteran like Amar'e Stoudemire or Chris Bosh.
B- Indiana Pacers
The Pacers had hoped to lock up a point guard (the Nets' Devin Harris) and a power forward (Derrick Favors) in one fell swoop when they dangled Danny Granger and the No. 10 pick to Jersey. The Nets didn't bite, though, and Indy was left with Paul George, a late bloomer (he didn't play AAU ball until his senior year of high school) out of Fresno State who compares himself to Tracy McGrady. He's a good transition player who can shoot the three, a must in Jim O'Brien's offense. Indy took a flyer on Lance Stephenson, a good-sized two-guard who lacks many offensive skills, in the second round.
A- Los Angeles Clippers
They are holding out the slim hope that LeBron fills their vacant small forward spot, but Al-Farouq Aminu isn't a bad placeholder. Something about his game -- versatile, good rebounder, finishes well at the rim -- screams Luol Deng, a player the Clips would be perfectly content with. Aminu's a bit of a tweener who doesn't shoot the three well (27.3 percent last season), but by all accounts he's a coachable player with a big upside. Second-rounder Willie Warren is a first-round talent with a third-round head but perhaps a change of scenery will make him see the light. And in L.A., Warren will be reunited with college teammate Blake Griffin.
B Los Angeles Lakers
Devin Ebanks is a solid wing defender with limited offensive skills but the real find could be Derek Caracter. He had a nightmarish two seasons at Louisville but appeared to turn around his career at UTEP, becoming (at least on the surface) a model citizen and a pretty good post player. He's a solid rebounder, too, and could become a quality backup to Pau Gasol.
B- Memphis Grizzlies
Rudy Gay might want to think about putting his house on the market. Xavier Henry doesn't have the size or athletic ability of Gay, but he's a lights-out shooter who, if combined with Ronnie Brewer, could form a decent replacement on the wing. Ideally, Memphis brings back Gay and adds Henry's punch to a lackluster bench. The Grizzlies sold a strong scorer in Dominique Jones to the Mavericks and picked up a so-so bench player in Greivis Vazquez, who won the unofficial Most Excited To Be Drafted award after he bear-hugged David Stern.
B Miami Heat
The Heat are another team trying to create flexibility, and following Thursday's draft, they opened up more salary-cap space than any team in the league. It all started on Wednesday when they dumped Daequan Cook and the No. 18 pick on Oklahoma City. Then they used the draft to take a few flyers on some big men. Dexter Pittman is a 300-plus-pound center who has potential if he can lose a few (or 30) pounds. Jarvis Varnado is a strong shot-blocker and Da'Sean Butler is a first-round talent who will be out the first few months of the season while he recovers from a torn ACL. Little risk for Miami, which can now offer Dwyane Wade about $127 million to stay and reel in a another max free agent (LeBron, Bosh, Stoudemire) and even then add additional talent.
B Milwaukee Bucks
Milwaukee's makeover continues. After acquiring a pair of wing scorers in Corey Maggette and Chris Douglas-Roberts in trades prior to draft day, the Bucks shored up the frontcourt with Larry Sanders, a skinny power forward with great defensive skills. He'll need to bulk up, but he could be a Kurt Thomas-type defensive stopper. Darington Hobson, Jerome Jordan and Keith "Tiny" Gallon are quality picks in the second round and if one can make the team, the Bucks will be happy.
B+ Minnesota Timberwolves
Here's all you need to know about Wesley Johnson: He enjoys playing in the triangle. Johnson told reporters on Wednesday that he felt very comfortable playing in the complex offense. And why shouldn't he? Johnson is a terrific shooter who should get a few open looks playing off Al Jefferson, assuming Jefferson is still a Timberwolf when the season opens. Johnson has star written all over him: He's efficient, a promising defender -- you don't know for sure with guys who played zone at Syracuse -- and a terrific rebounder at his position. Minnesota swapped the rights to Luke Babbitt to Portland for Martell Webster, a good deep shooter who could blossom outside of the Pacific Northwest. They also picked up Lazar Hayward, a limited player who will have trouble adjusting to playing small forward in the NBA.
C- New Jersey Nets
It would be one thing if New Jersey loved Derrick Favors and envisioned him as its power forward of the future. But the Nets entertained offers -- including a blockbuster from Indiana -- right up until they made the pick, and still could plug Favors into a megadeal. No one knows what Favors is going to be; he has a great body and tremendous defensive instincts, but he lacks polish and it's hard to project what kind of post player he's going to become. Jersey also acquired Damion James, a good transition player who comes up with a lot of hustle points. But it passed on Quincy Pondexter, a more accomplished scorer who can finish and knock down the pull-up jump shot.
B- New Orleans Hornets
There were a few "here we go again" moments when the Hornets traded the rights to Cole Aldrich (along with Morris Peterson's contract) to Oklahoma City for two late first-round picks. But New Orleans landed two potential quality role players in power forward Craig Brackins, a solid inside-out player, and Quincy Pondexter, a terrific athlete who developed into a capable scorer in four years at Washington. Worth Aldrich? Yes, and possibly more.
C New York Knicks
Second-round picks Andy Rautins and Landry Fields are one-dimensional shooter/scorers, but the bigger point is this: The Knicks got killed by Chicago and Miami. Donnie Walsh and Co. maintained their position of clearing cap space, but predraft trades left the Bulls and Heat in prime position to land not one, but two max free agents. Plus, they have support already in place (Bulls) or have enough left over to find help (Heat) in addition to signing two stars. With July 1 now a week away, the Knicks took a major step back.
B+ Oklahoma City Thunder
At some point in the next few years, Sam Presti is going to own all 30 picks in the draft. Oklahoma City's young, enterprising GM was wheeling and dealing on Thursday, sneaking into the lottery to pick up a potential starting center (Cole Aldrich), a solid veteran two-guard (Morris Peterson), a bruising power forward in Ryan Reid and a young center in German 7-foot-1 Tibor Pleiss, whom the Thunder will stash overseas for a few years. In addition, Oklahoma City got back Latavious Williams, a D-Leaguer who played for the Thunder's affiliate in Tulsa last season. Presti also secured a future first-round pick from the Clippers when he shipped Eric Bledsoe to L.A. He maybe should have kept the dynamic Bledsoe, but overall a strong night from one of the NBA's top GMs.
A Orlando Magic
Terrific picks. Daniel Orton was a big-time slider in the days before the draft. Clearly he needs coaching. Enter Stan Van Gundy, one of the best teachers in the game. He needs role models, too. Hello Dwight Howard and Patrick Ewing. Playing behind Howard and under Ewing's tutelage should accelerate the development of a young player with tremendous physical tools. And if the Magic like what they see of Orton, Marcin Gortat suddenly becomes a trade chip. As far as Stanley Robinson -- I watched most of the draft with ex-UConn star Donyell Marshall, who grumbled every time someone passed on Robinson. Marshall contends that Robinson's game is better suited for the NBA than college. If Robinson can polish his offensive game, Marshall could be proved right.
B+ Philadelphia 76ers
Is Evan Turner going to be a good player? No question. Was he the consensus No. 2 pick? Absolutely. Is he going to be better than Wesley Johnson in three years? Ehhhhh. Turner was a no-brainer: He's polished, mature and a natural two-guard who, along with Jrue Holiday, gives Philly a dynamic backcourt that will be entrenched on Broad St. for the next decade. But Johnson was the high-riser in the 2010 draft, with every team -- including the Sixers -- gushing over his workouts. Philadelphia was after another late first-, early second-round pick most of the night but struck out, a result it may regret if Daniel Orton or Hassan Whiteside turn out to be players.
B Phoenix Suns
One of Steve Kerr's last acts as Suns GM could be a good one. Gani Lawal didn't get a lot of press at Georgia Tech playing next to acclaimed freshman Derrick Favors, but he has excellent hands and what some scouts believe to be a burgeoning post game. If he develops, he could be a real steal in the second round. Dwayne Collins was a decent athlete at Miami but don't expect him to get much further than training camp.
B Portland Trail Blazers
Kevin Pritchard -- who was fired as the Blazers' GM an hour before the draft but remained involved in the decision-making process -- could have stuck it to his old bosses by mailing it in this draft. Instead, Pritchard helped orchestrate a deal that swapped Martell Webster for a crafty scorer in Luke Babbitt and a solid veteran in Ryan Gomes. Portland stole Elliot Williams, a potential point guard of the future, late in the first round and grabbed an intriguing prospect in Armon Johnson in the second round. As finales go, this one was pretty good.
B- Sacramento Kings
After acquiring the disgruntled Samuel Dalembert from Philly, the Kings drafted another disgruntled big man: DeMarcus Cousins. Hard to argue with Cousins' potential -- 6-foot-10 without shoes, with a gigantic 7-6 wingspan and a standing reach of 9-5 -- but he earned a reputation as a sulker with a questionable attitude at Kentucky. Will he mature in the NBA? If he does, he has scary talent and could blossom into an elite center. The Kings got a great value pick in the second round in Marshall's Hassan Whiteside, the NCAA's leading shot-blocker (5.35 swats per game last season) who was projected in some early mock drafts as a lottery pick.
A- San Antonio Spurs
James Anderson is a vintage Spurs pick. He didn't wow anyone in workouts but he was a consistent scorer in college (22.3 points last season) who has an NBA-ready jump shot. He'll probably contribute early to a Spurs bench that has needed an infusion of youth. English center Ryan Richards is a bit of an unknown, but when it comes to finding top overseas talent, the Spurs are second to none.
A- Toronto Raptors
It's easy to draft in the NBA when good picks slide right into your lap. Ed Davis was earmarked for Detroit before Greg Monroe became available, leaving the UNC power forward on the board for the Raptors to scoop up at No. 13. With Chris Bosh likely out the door, Toronto badly needed frontcourt help and Davis was one of the best options. Solomon Alabi slid more than most scouts expected, but athletic 7-foot-1 centers don't grow on trees and Toronto GM Bryan Colangelo was smart to acquire him from Dallas in the second round. Two picks, two pretty good ones.
B- Utah Jazz
Gordon Hayward is simply a risk. He's a 6-foot-9, 207-pound toothpick who parlayed a strong sophomore season and a fantastic NCAA tournament into a lottery selection. But for all the praise heaped on Hayward for his shooting, he knocked down only 29.4 percent of his threes last year. Still, he's going to the right system. He's smart, tough and should thrive -- and get a whole lot of open looks -- in Jerry Sloan's offense. He can't go one-on-one, but how many of Sloan's players can say they can? Second-round pick Jeremy Evans is athletic ... but not much else.
B+ Washington Wizards
The Wizards scored perhaps the draft's only franchise player when they nabbed John Wall with the No. 1 pick. Whether Gilbert Arenas is on the opening-day roster or not, this is now Wall's team and Flip Saunders will shape the offense in his image. That means you can expect a more up-tempo offense in D.C. this year. The agreed-upon acquisition of Kirk Hinrich -- who comes with a $17 million price tag over the next two seasons -- was a little puzzling, especially considering that as part of the deal the Wizards are getting Kevin Seraphin, a raw rebounder/shot-blocker from France with zero offensive game. The Wizards did manage to land Trevor Booker, a rugged, undersized power forward with above-average athleticism for his position.

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