2007 NBA Draft Grades
by Robert Ferringo - 06/29/2007
Is there a bigger gamble within the sporting world than the NBA Draft? There's really no way to know which one of the players selected is going to flake out on you. Who's going to beat his wife? Who is going to get busted with the biggest bag of herb? Or who is going to change his name to Bison Dele and then get murdered by his older brother out at sea?
Gambling is what must be done when we're talking about young and undereducated American prospects or young and untested European ones. It's all conjecture. And that's what makes the draft so deliciously appealing. No one can really tell who is going to pan out and who isn't because basketball is such a dynamic, fluid, intangible game. It doesn't rely on the cold execution on the football field or the subtle mathematics of baseball. It's a game of flow, and you just can never be sure how certain players will gel.
But if the NBA Draft is a gamble, then the general managers have to be considered as poker players. And like with cards, you may not be able to control everything that happens to you but you just need to play the odds, know when to take a shot, and hope to catch a break or two.
Last night's NBA Draft has to be considered relatively nondescript. There weren't any major deals - certainly not any up to the level that ESPN had hyped in the days leading up to the draft in order to drum up some interest - and there weren't even that many ridiculous selections. I mean, there are some guys who teams had no choice but take, even though we all know they aren't going to be any good. But other than that, everything pretty much held form with what I had laid out in my 2007 NBA Mock Draft earlier this week.
And with that in mind, here are my snap judgment grades for how each team made out:
Atlanta (A-) - They got a stud point guard and a power forward with Elton Brand potential. I love Acie Law and think he'll be a great player in this league. They get docked for unveiling their new jerseys (did they think they got relegated to the ABA?) and because they could have had a shot at Amare Stoudamire. But ultimately it was a shockingly successful night.
Boston (B-) - I'm not a huge fan of the Ray Allen trade, but I do think that it makes them better immediately. He still has one or two very good years left in him, even if he's never an All-Star again. I really like the Big Baby pick. He would have gone in the Top 10 if he had come out last year.
Charlotte (B+) - I thought I liked the Jason Richardson deal, and then when I heard that ass clown Stephen A. Smith railing Michael Jordan for it I knew that it was a good trade. Richardson is an outstanding fit with the Bobcats, who didn't need another young project. They also grabbed one of my favorite players in the draft, Jared Dudley, who will produce immediately.
Chicago (C-) - I think they bit on two of the worst players available - Carrot Top Noah and Aaron Gray. JamesOn Curry was an intriguing get and they didn't bite on Spencer Hawes. But while they went after guys that seem to fit their needs, I'm not sure any of these three (except maybe Curry) will be able to address them.
Cleveland (N/A) - They didn't have any selections.
Dallas (D) - I don't see Nick Fazekas having much of an NBA impact, and their other two picks were zany foreigners. I'm not impressed.
Denver (N/A) - They didn't have any selections.
Detroit (B) - Let's not get too excited about Stuckey until he actually proves something. That said, I think they restocked the backcourt with two strong selections and Sammy Meijia has a shot at to be a poor man's Tayshaun Prince. On their practice team, that is.
Golden State (A-) - They saved money with the Richardson deal, got a guy with exceptional upside (B. Wright), and grabbed a foreigner (M. Belinelli) that will fit in well with Nelly's style. On top of that they grabbed a one-dimensional player (Lasme) that happens to excel at that one dimension - defending the rim.
Houston (C-) - I like Brooks, but I think this is a curious fit for him. The Rockets also could have grabbed Big Baby here but instead went with Carl Landry. It could have been worse, but it also could have been a whole lot better.
Indiana (C+) - With only one second round pick it's really tough to gauge here.
L.A. Clippers (B+) - Thornton fell in their lap and they had the good sense to grab him. He should add a new dimension to the Clips. I also loved the Jared Jordan pick. This guy can ball in a big way, and was one of the top five point guards in college basketball last year. I don't know if he's athletic enough, but he definitely has the skills.
L.A. Lakers (C+) - This is great; it's like they're fucking with Kobe Bryant by drafting guys that they know aren't ready to play and will take years to develop. Classic.
Memphis (B+) - They had more general managers (two) than they did picks (one) but they didn't reach for Wright and ended up with the top point guard in the draft. Good show.
Miami (D) - They needed a point guard and they drafted an underdeveloped G/F that rode the bench for his college team. They could have tried to trade up or down, but instead blew it on a guy that isn't a first round talent.
Milwaukee (B-) - It rarely ends well when a team drafts a guy that said beforehand that he doesn't want to play there. If Yi is as good as some scouts think then the Bucks could end up with an absolutely dominating frontcourt, so it might be worth the gamble.
Minnesota (D+) - Of all the moves out there to make for Kevin Garnett the T-Wolves couldn't get one of them done. I love Corey Brewer's game, but he's not someone whose contributions are going to be appreciated right away. And Chris Richard is awful.
New Jersey (D-) - I know they needed size, but they took the one lock for Guy Whose Career Is Marred By Legal Issues. Williams does not have the motivation - or the skill - to be an NBA player. Size simply isn't enough. This was their only pick and they missed it badly.
New Orleans (C+) - The book on Julian Wright is that he does everything but shoot and score. So, he's Mark Madsen. The Hornets picked up The Mad Dog, Part Deux with the No. 13 pick. Not good. Also, his favorite TV personality is Stephen A. Smith. Enough said.
New York (C+) - As much as I hate to say it, the Knicks actually had a decent draft night. They picked up Zach Randolph, who could give them solid numbers if he doesn't follow his lunatic tendencies. Wilson Chandler - an underachiever with no offensive refinement - is a vintage Isiah pick.
Orlando (C-) - This is giving them credit for the Darko trade (they gave up the No. 1). Rayshawn Terry is a chump and there were a handful of players taken after him that the Magic would have been better off with.
Philadelphia (A) - Very quietly the 76ers have rebuilt their franchise. I think they got their hands on two fantastic prospects (Thad Young and Derrick Byars). One of those guys is going to pan out and play in multiple All-Star games. Herbert Hill is a lunch pail guy and although I'm not a fan of Jason Smith's, he does fit a need and I suppose he has a modicum of potential. But he's the only pick here keeping them from an A+.
Phoenix (B-) - I loved all three of their selections; it's just a shame they couldn't keep Rudy Fernandez, whom I'm very high on. They are in a tough spot because they've been more fiscally reckless than the former Republican Congress. But I think they did well with what they had to work with.
Portland (A++) - I really don't see how their night could have gone much better. They landed a franchise center, they dumped a head case and they scored three outstanding prospects. We all know about Oden, but the guy I'm really excited about is Rudy Fernandez. McRoberts has some versatility and athleticism. Taurean Green is just a winner, a clutch player and the leading scorer for the national champions. Throw in a solid Channing Frye pickup and the financial flexibility they'll get from dumping Randolph and buying out Steve Francis and this was an exceptional draft night.
Sacramento (D) - Spencer Hawes sucks. He's unathletic and overrated. Any one of the next six guys picked after him would have been a better choice. This is a selection that will be mocked for a decade.
San Antonio (B+) - After showing up in mock drafts for what seems like ages, someone actually took Tiago Splitter. He fits perfectly into the Spurs' system and they can leave him overseas until he's ready. Marcus Williams has first-round athleticism. It will be a matter of whether Pops can get him to work. If so, he could be a steal.
Seattle (C-) - Yes, they got Durant. But is this team better today than it was on Monday? I say no. I like Jeff Green a lot, but I have questions about how his game is going to translate. He'll be a solid supplement on a good team, but he's not really a piece to build around. They also took on that horrific Wally Szczerbiak contract, which was curious. That's going to hinder their efforts to give Durant players to work with, and if they can't keep Rashard Lewis then this team went from promising to putrid very quickly.
Toronto (N/A) - They didn't have any selections.
Utah (B) - They wanted a shooter and they got the one they needed. Simple and effective, just like the Jazz.
Washington (B) - I love Nick Young and think they got a steal there. The team now has a legit third perimeter scorer like they had two seasons ago with the Hughes-Arenas-Butler trio.
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