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2011 NBA Draft Grades
by Robert Ferringo - 6/24/2011

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Duke guard Nolan Smith (2) celebrates with Duke forward Kyle Singler

A shot of rail vodka, with a warm, six-month-old beer chaser.

That’s pretty much what the 2011 NBA Draft was like. In a draft class that was shockingly short on talent, NBA teams were forced to man up and chug a disgusting combination of limited potential and “he has absolutely no chance of making an NBA roster”.

In all, I would have to give this entire shit show of an NBDL Draft (sorry, I mean NBA draft) a grade of a D-. But I will hand it to everyone – from the front office people for the teams, to the analysts, to the production folk, to the fans – they all manned up, did their shot, drank their rank beer, and took it like a man.

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With that in mind, here is Doc’s Sports 2011 NBA Draft Grades:

Atlanta Hawks – C-
They only had one second-round pick, which they used on Keith Benson, because they traded their No. 1 for Kirk Hinrich. So a bad trade and a nondescript pick (Benson has some skills, but also has a lot to prove) mean that the Hawks didn’t do much to improve their team on Thursday.

Boston Celtics – B
The Celtics scored with two talented, proven, tough players in JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore. The fact that they were teammates at Purdue should be a big benefit because they should help one another adjust to life in the NBA.

Charlotte Bobcats – B-
I like the fact that they scored Kemba Walker, who I think can be a very good NBA player. But they were the suckers that bought Bismack Biyombo, who is essentially an 18-year-old Quincy Acy. That was simply a wasted pick when you consider that, according to the bobblehead media, his ultimate upside is “Ben Wallace-like”. There’s a reason Ben Wallace wasn’t drafted.

Chicago Bulls – C+
I like the Jimmy Butler pick. It was the end of the first round and the pickings were beyond slim, but I have no idea what is going on with Nikola Mirotic. I just know this: the Bulls needed to find some outside shooting and/or someone that could create their own shot (or a shot for someone else). They didn’t do it.

Cleveland Cavaliers – A-
I won’t fawn over what the Cavaliers were able to do in the draft. But I will applaud them for not blowing it by trying to do something crazy. Look, this draft was disgustingly thin in terms of talent. But in Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson the Cavs scored two guys with tremendous upside. I don’t think either will end up being the top player to come out of this draft, but I do think that at least one of them, and possibly both, will turn into solid NBA players.

Dallas Mavericks – A-
I will give the Mavericks the same grade as the Cavaliers because they had the sense to not take anyone out of this debacle of a draft. But I do have to say one thing: while I’m not at all high on Jordan Hamilton right now, I will say that I thought he was a great value pick at No. 26. But I think I would definitely take Rudy Fernandez over him at the moment, despite Hamilton’s higher ceiling.

Denver Nuggets – B-
I think that it was a lateral move to trade Ray Felton for Andre Miller. Felton has the better future, but he may have caused some problems in the locker room next year if he wasn’t starting, whereas Miller will accept his roll. They also nabbed Ken Faried (who I doubt will stick in the league after about four years) and the aforementioned Hamilton. Not a great night. Not a bad one. We’ll see what Hamilton becomes.

Detroit Pistons – B-
One of the least reported stories of the NBA Draft is just how pathetic Detroit has been with its picks over the last 15 years. And Joe Dumars has been a disaster in recent years – Darko was the worst pick, but not the only pathetic one. So I am going to assume the worst here and drop them from a B+. That said, they took a flier on two guys with potential (Brandon Knight and Kyle Singler), and I thought they got good value on both.

Golden State Warriors – A
I love what Golden State has done over the last few weeks and I think Mark Jackson has some good young talent to work with here. Klay Thompson is a guy that I think will be one of the best two or three players out of this draft. I am very high on his game. The Warriors also “shot the moon” in the second round with two high-upside guys, Jeremy Tyler and Charles Jenkins. I thought they got great value and I think they nabbed one of the top players in the pool. It was a good night for the Warriors.

Houston Rockets – C+
Look, I’m going to be honest; I’m really not all that sure what the Rockets are doing with their roster. They’ve been making some weird moves in the post-Yao Era and this mish-mash of a draft is another good example. Look, I like Marcus Morris. And Chandler Parsons is a guy worth gambling on with a virtually worthless second-round pick. But I don’t see either of those two guys – nor that foreign dude they got with their other pick – ending up as anything but a good second teamer in the NBA.

Indiana Pacers – A-
Again, I’m giving them the same grade as Dallas because they opted out of the draft. They did a little better than the Mavericks because they still scored a player – George Hill from San Antonio – but they also did a little worse because they had to give up on Kawhi Leonard, who was one of only about six or seven guys in this draft that I think could develop into something. All in all, I think they did the right thing though.

L.A. Clippers – C-
Look, there are few people in the country that followed this Georgia team as closely as I have over the last two years. And as opposed to the Celtics, who took two big-time players off one of the best college teams in the country over the last two years, the Clippers took a duo off one of the least-talented, most underachieving teams around. Leslie has appealing talent. And Thompkins has some unique skills. But they are both soft as hell and neither really has much of a clue when it comes to hoops IQ.

Oh, yeah, and there’s the fact that they could have had the No. 1 overall pick. Ouch.

L.A. Lakers – C-
I don’t think that the Lakers did much better than their cross-town buddies. Ater Majok is a total waste. Darius Morris and Andrew Goudelock definitely have potential, and if just one of them breaks out while the other flames out this grade will seem low. But all night it seemed as if they were reaching. You know, kind of like the decision to hire Mike Brown.

Memphis Grizzlies – B
I think that Selby was worth a flier at No. 49. He does have some serious character issues. But there was some hype around this guy for a reason. And compared to what else was out there I thought the Grizz made a nice move.

Miami Heat – B-
I wanted to bump Miami down just because I, like 99 percent of the basketball-loving world, has nothing but disdain and contempt for this team. But I’m a big Norris Cole fan. He was an outstanding college player and he has potential to stick in the NBA. He isn’t a difference-maker for a team desperate for a point guard. But they weren’t in a position in this draft to find That Guy.

Milwaukee Bucks– B+
I think that Tobias Harris was THE sleeper in this draft. Maybe he’ll end up being a bum. But he was definitely worth the No. 19 pick and I think he has 100 times more of an opportunity to be an NBA baller than Jimmer Fredette has, so that trade was a no-doubter. Second round pick Jon Leuer could be a coup, as far as second-round picks go, and is a local guy that will at the very least sell some jerseys.

Minnesota Timberwolves – B+
Hey, the T-Wolves got the best prospect in the draft, so the night couldn’t be a total loss. But beyond that, I have no idea what this team was doing.

New Jersey Nets – B
They made a good trade, moving Johnson to Boston in exchange for Marshon Brooks. I don’t think that Brooks will stick in the league, but, unlike a lot of other guys picked last night, he at least has one defined skill (scoring). But guys like him are kind of a dime a dozen. However, they grabbed Jordan Williams and I think that he is a very nice prospect.

New Orleans Hornets – B
I give the Hornets credit for abstaining from this monstrosity. However, I don’t give them the same credit as some of the other teams that didn’t make a pick because those other teams at least picked something up on the periphery in lieu of not drafting.

New York Knicks – D
As if it hadn’t been made obvious time and time again that the Knicks front office – whoever is at the controls – doesn’t have a clue what they are doing in the draft, last night gave us another perfect example. If Iman Shumpert turns into a starting No. 2 guard I’ll eat my words. But I’m about 95 percent sure he’ll be out of the league within five years. And Josh Harrellson? Really? REALLY?

Oklahoma City Thunder – B+
I like the Reggie Jackson pick. On the one hand, he has kind of the same skill set as Russell Westbrook. The Thunder needs a steadier hand leading the ship, that’s for sure. But Westbrook is legit and if they see the same things in Jackson then why not go for it? At this stage of the draft I thought they got good value on a player with a lot of potential.

Orlando Magic – B-
I do think that they did a good job by targeting a player – Justin Harper – that they wanted and by moving up to grab him. Good show. And I like Harper a little bit. But DeAndre Liggins will spend most of his career on 10-day contracts or in the D-League. Nothing sexy about the Magic’s draft, and they need a talent influx in a bad way.

Philadelphia Sixers – C
I kind of like Nikola Vucevic. He isn’t going to be an NBA star, but he has a very good chance to be a nice big man off the bench, with some starts mixed in, over the next 10 years. That’s more than I can say for a lot of the bums that got picked in this class. He also fits a need for the Sixers. Unlike what Milwaukee did, I thought the Sixers made a mistake by taking “local” guy Lavoy Allen, from Temple. They should have seen enough from him over the last four years to know he has always been overrated.

Phoenix Suns – D+
I honestly and truly think that they picked the wrong Morris twin on accident. That is seriously the best explanation that I could think of. Markieff Morris is garbage. And the only reason that his numbers and his play were as respectable as they were at Kansas is because everyone was focused on his brother! He is the equivalent of Taylor Griffin. (Don’t get me wrong; Marcus is no Blake Griffin. But the point is that, like Taylor, Markieff won’t be anything in the NBA.)

Portland Trail Blazers – B-
I’m not going to kill the Blazers for what they did. I think that Nolan Smith was kind of underrated in this draft. He has an excellent mid-range game and plenty of athleticism. He also got much, much better at running the point by his senior season. I think he could potentially develop into a little better version of Chris Duhon. Also, Diebler was the best shooter in the draft. We saw guys like Kyle Korver and Mike Miller play key roles late into the NBA playoffs, and I don’t think Diebler is all that far off what those guys were coming out of school.

Sacramento Kings – D-
No idea. I have no idea what the Kings were doing. First, they were the ones who drafted Bismark Biyombo, who I doubt will ever play in the NBA. That was bad enough. But then they traded him (good job) for…wait for it…Jimmer Fredette (uh-oh). I mean, this draft class was horrendous but the Kings got their hands on the two biggest Bust Guys in the lottery. Good work there. Tyler Honeycutt and Isaiah Thomas are both awful, so basically the Kings wasted three picks. Oh, but they got John Salmons. (Hence the D instead of an outright FAIL.)

San Antonio Spurs – B
Look, all the Spurs have done is lace doubles and triples in the draft over the last 15 years. So like the analysts last night, I will defer to their track record. You can’t argue with them getting Leonard, who I think is one of only about six or seven guys in this draft that were even worth taking. But I don’t like them giving up George Hill and I thought that the Cory Joseph pick might have been one of the worst of the night. I suppose a lot of how this draft pans out will come down to Davis Bertans’ development.

Toronto Raptors – D
It is as if the Raptors don’t want to be in the NBA. Or as if they are hoping that the NBA will stash their entire franchise in some Euro League and come back and get them in a few years after they have developed.

Utah Jazz – A-
I don’t think you can fault the Jazz for what they did on Thursday. I think that Enes Kanter has the chance to be a very productive NBA player over the next decade. And at No. 12 they grabbed Alec Burks, one of the few guys in the pool with the upside to be an NBA starter. (Then again, the closer we got to the draft the less I liked Burks. We’ll have to wait and see.) They didn’t do anything stupid and I think they are one of the few teams that actually picked up a future starter, so kudos to the wacky Mormons.

Washington Wizards – D+
See, everyone was lauding the Wizards for what they did. Not me. Let’s think about this: they ended up with Jan Vesely (who?), Chris Singleton (one-trick/three-legged pony) and Shelvin Mack (with a pick in the 50’s, “Eh, maybe”, but not in the low 30’s). How would you have felt about them getting: Brandon Knight, Tobias Harris and Jordan Williams? I know how I would have felt: A+. Or if they had passed on Knight (I mean, they drafted Mack to be a backup so why not get Knight?) in deference to John Wall and “reached” for Klay Thompson. That would have been an A++. Instead, they had a typical Wizards draft and not only didn’t do anything to help their pathetic franchise, but they actually made it even worse because they will be wasting time with these clowns.

Robert Ferringo is a professional sports handicapper for Doc’s Sports. He is off a winning NBA season and is considered one of the top MLB cappers in the country. He has turned a profit in four of the last five years on the diamond with his baseball picks. He closed 2010 with $6,000 in earnings over the last four months and is looking forward to a great upcoming season against the MLB odds. Click here for more information on his MLB picks.

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