Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

2014 NBA Draft grades

Cavaliers: A: With so much talent in the 2014 Draft, it would have been difficult for the Cavaliers to mess up the first pick, but it’s tough to put anything past Cleveland. With Wiggins, the Cavs got an athletic wing player with sky-high potential. He has some learning to do, but he has the potential to blossom into one of the game’s better players. The Joe Harris pick in the second round doesn’t necessarily fill a need, but it at least provides Cleveland with a solid shooter. Pretty solid draft day.

2014 NBA Draft grades

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NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, left, congratulates Andrew Wiggins of Kansas who was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers as the number one pick in the 2014 NBA draft, Thursday, June 26, 2014, in New York. (Jason DeCrow/AP)
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, left, congratulates Andrew Wiggins of Kansas who was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers as the number one pick in the 2014 NBA draft, Thursday, June 26, 2014, in New York. (Jason DeCrow/AP)

Cavaliers: A: With so much talent in the 2014 Draft, it would have been difficult for the Cavaliers to mess up the first pick, but it’s tough to put anything past Cleveland. With Wiggins, the Cavs got an athletic wing player with sky-high potential. He has some learning to do, but he has the potential to blossom into one of the game’s better players. The Joe Harris pick in the second round doesn’t necessarily fill a need, but it at least provides Cleveland with a solid shooter. Pretty solid draft day.

Bucks: B+: The Bucks got their guy in Parker, and he seems genuinely excited about being a Buck. Parker will provide the Bucks with an excellent offensive option and someone they can build around. Milwaukee’s two second-rounders,Inglis and O’Bryant , don’t move the needle too much, although O’Bryant could develop and provide the Bucks with some decent depth up front.

Sixers: B: The Sixers, who had the most picks in the draft, did their best to acquire talent, or as Sam Hinkie calls it, ‘assets’ on draft day. Embiid is the very definition of a high risk/ high reward pick. If he can remain relatively healthy, he could develop into a dominant paint protector and post producer for the Sixers. However, if he ends up being oft-injured, then the Sixers basically wasted one of the most important picks in recent franchise memory. Saric will be a nice player, but there are risks with his selection also. What if he gets injured before joining the SIxers, or decides against the NBA altogether? Unlikely, but still risky. The Sixers also got two future picks with Saric due to some shrewd draft day maneuvering by Sam Hinkie.

In the second round, the Sixers got a lot of value. McDaniels and Grant are excellent athletes that could develop into reliable rotation players. The Sixers also added to their guard depth with Micic, McRae, and the return of Pierre Jackson. All in all it was an eventful draft night for the Sixers, who added a lot of talent, but also took some real risks.

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Magic: B: Three really solid picks for Orlando, as they addressed needs and added talent. Aaron Gordon is a great addition in Orlando, as he will provide the team with some need versatility up front. The Magic also needed a point guard and got a great one in Elfrid Payton.

Jazz: B+: Exum remains a mystery, but if he lives up to some of his potential, he could prove to be a great selection for Utah. He can share guard duties with Trey Burke, helping to alleviate concerns that he may struggle with point guard duties. Rodney Hood was a great pick at 23, as many had him pegged as a lottery pick. He will provide the Jazz with a solid scorer from the perimeter.

Celtics: A: The Celtics did quite well for themselves. They got themselves a Rajon Rondo-replacement in Smart, who could have potentially been a top-two pick had he draft declared last year. Smart has great size, strength, and instincts for a point guard. If he can improve his shot he will become extremely dangerous. In James Young, Boston could potentially the best shooting guard in the draft, and a player that can stretch the floor and serve as an offensive option for the young Celtics.

Lakers: B+: The Lakers lineup in thin currently, and they desperately needed to infuse some talent. In Julius Randle the team got a player than can come in and contribute right away. Randle led college hoops in double-doubles last season, and he was one of the most NBA-ready players in the draft. With Gasol’s future in L.A. an uncertainty, the Randle selection makes even more sense. Jordan Clarkson was also a nice value addition.

Kings: C: The Kings don’t seem to have a concrete plan, or a direct core to build around. Stauskas is a solid shooter, maybe the best in the draft other than Doug McDermott, but his fit with the Kings is the question. The Kings have a rather random roster, and a shooter with defensive deficiencies doesn’t appear to address any issue or make them much better.

Hornets: A +: The Hornets did extremely well for themselves on draft day, especially considering they weren’t even supposed to have a lottery picks. Charlotte got extremely lucky to have Noah Vonleh fall in their lap at nine, as many had him projected as a top-5 pick. He has sky-high potential and will provide the Hornets with a new dimension on both ends of the ball. The Vonleh selection didn’t address the teams’ biggest need; outside shooting and perimeter production, but their second selection sure did. P.J. Hairston would have likely been a lottery pick if not for concerns about off-court issues. He is an NBA-ready sharpshooter who can score and will fit in perfectly on the perimeter in Charlotte. Throw in the fact that he is already familiar with the city from his stint at North Carolina, and it seems to be a perfect fit. The team also added two potential role players in the second round in Powell and Christon. Great draft day for Charlotte.

Nuggets: B: Between Nurkic and Gary Harris, the Nuggets got two solid players that will help the team. Harris is a solid two-way player who slipped further in the draft than expected. He can knock down shots and also take the ball to the basket, as well as D’ing up on the other end. Nurkic will take some development, but he could become a productive paint player for Denver.

Timberwolves: C+: Zach Lavine could be really good, but he needs some development. Plus he looked none too happy to be selected by Minnesota; how long until he pulls a Kevin Love? Plus it’s difficult to tell at this point exactly where LaVine fits in with the team. Is he a point guard or a shooting guard at the NBA level? Glenn Robinson III was a solid second round selection, as he could develop into a contributor on the offensive end.

Suns: B: The Suns added a lot of talent on draft day. T.J. Warren is an excellent addition that could develop into the Suns’ best offensive option. Tyler Ennis may have been a reach, but he could provide the Suns with some backcourt depth and flexibility. Their later picks, Bogdanovich and Brown, will both take some work.

Hawks: B: Adreian Payne is a nice addition for Atlanta. Tavares and Patterson are both question marks, although Patterson displayed a nice offensive arsenal at Pittsburgh.

Bulls: B +: The Bulls need a shooter, and they got one. Doug McDermott is potentially the best shooter in the draft class, with great size and unlimited range. Although there are concerns about his speed and athleticism, there are no concerns about his ability to put the ball in the basket, which is exactly what the Bulls need.

Raptors: C: Caboclo was a head-scratcher in the first round, as he wasn’t really on the radar. DeAndre Daniels is an athlete would could maybe be in the Raptors’ rotation.

Thunder: B: Assuming he is healthy, McGary fills a need for Oklahoma City. With Kendrick Perkins on his way out eventually, McGary provides another big body for the frontline along with Ibaka and Steven Adams.

Grizzlies: B: Jordan Adams can put the ball in the basket, which is good for Memphis, which lacks a lot of perimeter offensive options. Adams lack of athletic ability is concerning however. Jarnell Stokes will provide them with some more frontcourt depth.

Rockets: B: A couple question marks with potential for Houston. Clint Capela could develop into a nice player down the road, as could Nick Johnson. Cap space and upcoming free agency was the priority for Houston heading into draft day.

Heat: B: The Heat got their guy, or rather LeBron’s guy in Shabazz Napier. If Napier’s selection has any impact on James re-signing with Miami then it was an excellent pick.

Clippers: C+: In C.J. Wilcox, the Clippers got a solid outside shooter. With Chris Paul’s penetration and Griffin and Jordan patrolling the paint, players that can spread the floor and open up the offense are valuable for the Clippers.

Nets: B: In Brown, Thames, and Jefferson Brooklyn added some solid second-round talent on draft day.

Pistons: B: Not too much else Detroit could have done at 38. Dinwiddle is a bit of a gamble coming off of a knee injury, but his selection was pretty low risk, and he could develop nicely in Detroit.

Pelicans: D: For the second year in a row, the Pelicans dealt with the Sixers on draft day. Russ Smith is extremely athletic and fun to watch, but questions remain about how his game will translate to the NBA-level. Also, where does he fit in in New Orleans’ guard-heavy roster?

Knicks: B +: For a team that wasn’t even going to have a pick, the Knicks did pretty well for themselves. Cleanthony Early was a great value pick in the second round. Many had Early pegged as a first-round pick, and he could develop into a nice piece for the Knicks. Thanasis Antetokounmpo could be a nice piece eventually also, although he may play in Greece next season.

Spurs: B +: Can the Spurs do wrong? As the last pick in the first round, Kyle Anderson could be a great value pick-up for San Antonio. Anderson is a long, versatile player that won’t be expected to do much right away.

 

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