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NBA Draft Grades: Yes, New Orleans gets an A+

Jun 29, 2012, 11:08 AM EDT

2012 NBA Draft Getty Images

Yes, this is very premature. I know that, you know that. But neither of us like to wait.

So here are my draft grades from 2012. We can look back on this together in three years and have a good laugh.

Atlanta Hawks: B
They got the best pure shooter in the draft in John Jenkins out of Vanderbilt, and Mike Scott is good value in the second round. There are a whole lot of big questions in Atlanta — like why didn’t you trade Josh Smith? —but these guys are solid picks.

Boston Celtics: B+
Jared Sullinger is a great value pick at 21, a guy whose high hoops IQ and game around the basket will be a fantastic fit with a veteran team. Fab Melo is a good gamble as a shot blocker.

Brooklyn Nets: F
The grade is not for their picks — I like getting Tyshawn Taylor and Tornike Shengelia in the second round — but for trading away a first rounder at the deadline rent Gerald Wallace who is leaving as a free agent. That No. 6 pick would have helped more.

Charlotte Bobcats: B+
Surprised they kept the pick after all the rumors (although I wouldn’t have moved it for Derrick Williams either). I like this pick because this is a team that needs to change the culture on the court and the hustle and leadership of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is a step in that direction.

Chicago Bulls: C
They get a nice backup point guard in Marquis Teague out of Kentucky. Not thrilling, but nice. They played an iron shot off the tee into the middle of the fairway.

Cleveland Cavaliers: D
I don’t love the reach for Waiters (could they not have moved down to No. 7 and got the same guy?). To be fair it comes down to this — how good is Dion Waiters in a three years? A lot of scouts were high on him, and if he pans out it’s good pick. I’m not sold. I think they picked for need over the best player available. Adding Tyler Zeller via trade a solid move, but could they have used those picks better to round out the roster?

Dallas Mavericks: B-
They trade down, they sold off a late pick for cash to the Lakers. They got a few nice picks who may give them some minutes, but I like getting Bernard James out of Florida State. Everyone is rooting for him to succeed.

Denver Nuggets: B
I like the pick of Evan Fournier from France, he’s pretty athletic, has handles and does a lot of things well. Which is a good fit on that roster.

Detroit Pistons: A
They get an “A” not because I think Andre Drummond pans out — I hope I’m wrong but I think he ends up pretty average, or worse — but because it was a good gamble at No. 9. I also like the Khris Middleton roll of the dice.

Golden State Warriors: B+
Harrison Barnes falls to them and that is a great fit, he can be the three that they really need to round out the starting lineup — if he lives up to potential. Like the Draymond Green pick also.

Houston Rockets: C
GM Daryl Morey dreamed big but couldn’t pull it all off, so they are still stuck in the middle. I like the Jeremy Lamb and Royce White picks, one may really pan out for them.

Indiana Pacers: C
Meh. If they are lucky Miles Plumlee is the Jeff Foster for a new generation.

LA Clippers: C
Drafting Furkan Aldemir then trading him is neither here nor there. Big move was getting Lamar Odom back… we’ll see if they keep him or buy him out.

LA Lakers C+
Didn’t have many picks, but made a decent gamble buying Darius Johnson-Odom from Dallas. Not a game changer, may not pan out, but a decent gamble at that spot.

Memphis Grizzlies: B
Picked up one of the better sleepers in the draft in Tony Wroten. It may take a couple years but could develop into good rotation player in Memphis.

Miami Heat: B-
They traded their only pick, Arnett Moultrie, to the 76ers for potential backup big Justin Hamilton and a future No. 1. It’s moot, they don’t need rookies they need guys who can help now.

Milwaukee Bucks: B
They made a couple of quality picks. I’m higher on John Henson than most, and he can give them some defensive presence inside lost when Andrew Bogut was traded. Lamb can shot the rock, which is always handy.

Minnesota Timberwolves: C
They only had one pick at 58 at and Robbie Hummel is a feel good story who will barely if ever see the court.

New Orleans Hornets: A+
It was a no-brainer but they are still the night’s big winner. Taking Anthony Davis gives them the franchise player they need to build around. Austin Rivers is more of a gamble, I’m not convinced he’s the point guard you put next to Eric Gordon, but they could form nice backcourt for the future.

New York Knicks: C
The Knicks get an average grade for their “stash” pick of Kostas Papanikolaou who will stay in Europe a few years at least. Knicks fans at the draft get an A+ for their freak out reaction to the pick.

Oklahoma City Thunder: A
Baylor’s Perry Jones fell all the way to 28 and he is a great pick there. He’s got fantastic talent and this is a locker room that will make sure his head is screwed on right.

Orlando Magic: C
Don’t read anything into the Dwight Howard situation with the Andrew Nicholson pick. Nicholson may develop into a nice backup center, very different thing.

Philadelphia 76ers C+
A small gamble on St. John’s Maurice Harkless, but if he pans out he would be another athletic wing who fits their system well as a role player.

Phoenix Suns: B
Kendall Marshall is a solid pick as the point guard of the future — whether that future is next year or a couple years from now after Steve Nash retires.

Portland Trail Blazers: B+
I like the Damian Lillard pick a lot as a point guard of the future and Meyers Leonard will be solid. Not a bold stroke but some good picks.

Sacramento Kings: A
Thomas Robinson fell into their laps but they get a guy some GMs picking above them will regret not taking in a couple years. Robinson and DeMarcus Cousins form a formidable front line.

San Antonio Spurs: C
They picked Marcus Denmon at 59. I’d say a guy picked that late never makes the team but this is the Spurs so, who knows?

Toronto Raptors: B-
I like the Terrence Ross pick, he was one of the real sleepers in this draft and a great athlete. But could they have traded down a few spots and still gotten him?

Utah Jazz: C+
They took a gamble on small-school Kevin Murphy at 47, but that’s what you should do at 47. It’s a place for risks.

Washington Wizards: A
They get Bradley Beal, the shooting guard a lot of scouts thought was the second best player in this draft. He’s a great fit next to John Wall. I like the Tomas Satoransky pick as well.

  1. wjmoffatt - Jun 29, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    Thunder were the biggest winners! To sit there that late in the first round and get a guy with top talent is amazing. Perry gives them a better line up to attack small lineups!
    Can we say Jeff Green 2.0 in OKC

    • heat256 - Jun 29, 2012 at 12:56 PM

      Your statement “Jeff Green 2.0″ suggests Jeff Green 1.0 was any good and they improved on it. Green was so-so at best. Jones has a chnace to either be great or someone his teammates will punch out on the court during a game for mental lapses.

      • pmd5319 - Jun 29, 2012 at 1:00 PM

        Please site Bill Simmons if you are going to quote his work. [See Draft Diary XVI, 2.0 v "rich-man version" debate]

      • heat256 - Jun 29, 2012 at 1:03 PM

        Not quoting Simmons, as that is something me and my friends have talked about at length. i will give props to Simmons for expanding on it with the “rich man’s” portion of the comparisons though.

  2. blueintown - Jun 29, 2012 at 11:28 AM

    Austin Rivers is not a point guard. No one with any credibility has ever projected him as a point guard.

  3. garryfish - Jun 29, 2012 at 11:30 AM

    What happens if Wallace re-signs with the Nets. Do you still give them an F?????

    • gmen4life33 - Jun 29, 2012 at 12:52 PM

      Yes, because to get Wallace they will have to offer more $ than anyone else (he isnt taking a discount). Therefore, logic tells you, Nets could have kept the #6, AND THEN offered Wallace the most $ as a FA. They could have had the #6 and an overpaid Wallace if they wanted. Stupidest trade ever.

      How does King still have a job? He turned a team who had an unbelievable amount of assets in future picks and the most cap-space in the league, and turned it into a team whose only assets area 1) Dwight Howard want to play there and 2) Located in Brooklyn. King has nothing to do with those 2 things either.

  4. ccshocktalk - Jun 29, 2012 at 11:31 AM

    Eh, your grading is a little flawed…giving a lot of credit to some teams for players you hope that pan out, and then in the next breath giving someone low credit because you’re not positive that player will pan out.

    Charlotte got what they needed in MKG, and you should see a nice nucleus that resembles OKC in MKG Ben Gordon and Kemba Walker…and they even have DJ Augistin as well…get their hands on Blair or another solid PF or even get their hands on Chris Kaman and they’ll be set to win another dozen games this year.

    • londonaiooo - Jun 29, 2012 at 2:51 PM

      Resembles OKC, you’re kidding right? Ben Gordon likes to shoot, but Kevin Durant he is not. Kemba Walker isn’t on par with Westbrook either (I’m not familiar with MKG so not sure how he’d compare with Harden sorry). The Bobcats will need a couple more high draft picks before they even start to resemble the OKC blueprint. But they have a good GM, so that’s a start.

  5. Mr. Wright 212 - Jun 29, 2012 at 11:46 AM

    Knicks deserve an F. They had proven value available at 48 and chose to take Frederic Weis, reincarnate.

    • gmen4life33 - Jun 29, 2012 at 12:59 PM

      Knicks deserve an A. There was no player left at 48 that would even make our rotation, and they got a GREAT talent in Papanikolaou. Dude is 6 ft 8, can shoot the lights out, athletic, plays D and HUSTLES (is known in Greece for running people down in transition and getting blocks the way LBJ does in NBA). He was the MVP of the Euro League Final Four, and is thought of as a more complete player than Gallinari was when he was in Europe. I know you probably never heard of him, but go watch some tape and do some homework. This guy is the real deal, and I couldnt be happier as a Knicks fan. Cavs were suppose to snag him with one of their 30’s picks, but traded them for Zeller.

  6. phillyphan83 - Jun 29, 2012 at 12:02 PM

    I agree with cchocktalk, how does Miami get a B- while trading a 1st and a 2nd for a rookie backup, yet the 6ers, who get the better end of the deal, get a C-??? makes absolutely no sense. They set themselves up to have 2 1st rd picks either next year or in 2014 for an unproven, unathletic rookie backup center, PLUS a 1st rd pick this year and they only get a C-…you’re delusional. Way to give Miami a better grade just for being defending champs. Clown.

    • heat256 - Jun 29, 2012 at 12:59 PM

      Possibly because at some point in the next 3 years MIA will get a higher pick because the Sixers will make the playoffs and miss the lottery. When you flip a late 1st round pick to get into the teens, you do it and you get props for it. Personally, I wanted MIA to go after Perry Jones because being with Wade, James and the Heat organization would have whipped him into shape.

  7. phillyphan83 - Jun 29, 2012 at 12:09 PM

    well never mind me, I saw the trade wrong. we give up 45th pick and a future 1st rd pk for a guy projected to be a late lottery pick. terrible trade right? ;)

  8. jaredhibma - Jun 29, 2012 at 12:39 PM

    Wolves get an F. Traded away rights for #10 and Sam Cassell for Marko Yaric, traded #18 for Budinger, and then drafted a guy with 2 ACL injuries.

  9. rajbais - Jun 29, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    Detroit gets an “A”???

    How do they deserve an a when Joe Dumars is a F-Grade general manager???

    He went from a championship general manager to a dumb one overnight once he traded Chauncey Billups for Allen Iverson!!!

    That trade made Detroit irrelevant immediately!!! Thanks for the great work, Joe!!!

    • ponsonbybritt - Jun 29, 2012 at 1:24 PM

      I hope they haven’t ‘gambled and lost’, but I presently don’t like the odds.

  10. 00maltliquor - Jun 29, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    Am I the only one who thinks SAC has a sweet roster? I mean really, they got some real talent there to build on and a lot of potential…

    PG- Isaiah Thomas
    SG- Marcus Thornton Jimmer Fredette
    SF- Tyreke Evans Tyler Honeycutt
    PF- Thomas Robinson Jason Thompson
    C- DeMarcus Cousins

    Yeah I know ‘Reke would be better as a SG and they have a midget backcourt and The Jimmer is more of a comercial then a Show right now but there is some serious potential there to make some noise and surprise people next year so as long as players develop right this offseason and Evans learns to accept being a SF and Cousins really matures *cough -yeah right- cough*. I’d be pumped if I was a Sac Queen fan right now, I’m not kidding.

  11. bowden5000 - Jun 29, 2012 at 4:10 PM

    Agree … Draft grade makes 0 sense. 76ers I thought had a great night … Big upsides with both players. Collins will get the most out of them.

  12. lucky5934 - Jun 29, 2012 at 4:44 PM

    Kurt obviously is hard up for the Heat, based on the grading system. But anyone who follows this site on a regular basis know that. I also don’t get why the Heat need players who can contribute now as opposed to a rookie they can develop. They just won the title, their role players stepped up, and they have plenty of talent that they can bring a devlopmental player in and get him ready to contribute in a year or two when their roster needs him. It is a cheaper option and the teams like the Spurs have proven it can work.

  13. fanz928 - Jun 29, 2012 at 5:53 PM

    When you get 2 of the lottery pick it’s hard to go wrong

  14. TheJStyles - Jun 29, 2012 at 6:29 PM

    Cavs get a D because they could of got Waiters at 7…

    Which is only 3 PICKS AFTER THEY TOOK HIM.

    Wow.

    • lucky5934 - Jun 30, 2012 at 7:48 AM

      TheJStyles,

      Let’s be honest… there are no sure things after Davis at # 1. And even he may be more of a Marcus Camby type of player. If the Cavs liked Waiters that much, then why does it matter if they grabbed him at four? What, because “experts” thought they should trade back a few spots? The Cavs were not the only team high on Waiters and the moment they trade back to #7 in your perfect scenario, is when they become predicable. That is the moment another teams trades up to #6 to snag him. Waiters may go on to be a top five player from this draft or he me become a bust. Nobody really knows at this point. Which is why we shouldn’t rush to judgement on “grading” a team’s selections. I mean how many “Experts” gave teams high draft grades after the 2002 NBA draft, one of the worst in the NBA Draft history? Sure their were other players who could have been drafted in the Cav’s spot, but their is no guarantee they will be any better of a NBA player then Waiters. Let’s revisit this draft in 2-3 years and reserve our comments until then.

  15. xjokerz - Jun 30, 2012 at 5:29 AM

    How does Detroit get an A you ask? Drummond is going to be a beast on this league along side Monroe could be a beast front line. Need I remind you Drummond is only 18 and should be a high school senior ….

  16. mgavin78 - Jun 30, 2012 at 1:58 PM

    The ones you no nothing about. Just give them a C and call it a day. Lol

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