Kevin Love Trade Grades

Kevin Love Trade Grades
Cleveland Gets: Kevin Love
Minnesota Gets: Andrew Wiggins, Thaddeus Young, Anthony Bennett, Trade Exception
Philadelphia Gets: First Round Pick, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Alexey Shved
The Cavaliers have traded for the best offensive big man in the NBA and now have the best Big 3 in the NBA, with LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. Love will become their 2nd option offensively, but you can still expect 23+ points and 12+ rebounds and an All NBA selection. He is one of the 5 best players in the NBA and although the price was big, this is a trade they make with no hesitation, as they are now one of the 2 favorites in the East and can win a title next season.
The Timberwolves traded their best player and one of the 5 best players in the NBA, but he wasn’t going to re-sign next offseason and they had to get value for him while they could and they received incredible value; the 2 most recent number 1 picks in the draft and they have gotten one of the bigg…

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NBA Draft 2014 Results: Table of Letter Grades for Rounds 1-2 for Each Franchise

For a night that so many organizations have aimed toward over recent seasons, the 2014 NBA draft certainly lived up to the hype. Now it’s a matter of the players living up to that same hype.

Although the destinations of Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Joel Embiid dominated the storylines and speculation heading into Thursday night, there was little surprise when that trio saw their names come off the board first. After that, though, it got awfully interesting with plenty of teams making surprise moves—some good, and some not so good.

Some of the tank-happy teams got their wish at the top of the board, while other teams with great opportunities decided to go in head-scratching directions.

Let’s break down grades for all 30 teams that took part in the 2014 NBA draft.

 

 

Noteworthy Drafts

Milwaukee Bucks

The Bucks were the second team to draft on Thursday night, but their selection had more of a No. 1-overall feel to it—which should play out on the court as well.

Jabari Parker had a real chance to go No. 1 overall, but the Bucks weren’t about to pass him up at No. 2 when Andrew Wiggins was selected first. 

Milwaukee knows what it is getting with Parker—a player who is already polished on the offensive end with the ability to play on the wing or even at the four spot, if needed. He’s already big and skilled enough to be the Bucks’ go-to guy from the start, despite being one year removed from high school.

Perhaps most important for the Bucks is that he doesn’t seem to mind the idea of sticking around his whole career, as the Washington Post‘s Michael Lee observed:

The Bucks were the worst team in basketball last season, but the tanking has paid off in a big way with Milwaukee nabbing one of the top prospects not just in this class, but in the last five or six years. There’s no real star power on the roster, meaning Parker can be the franchise player from the start and the Bucks can build around him.

They began doing so before Thursday’s draft even concluded, adding Damien Inglis and Johnny O’Bryant. Inglis should be an immediate addition, per the Bucks’ Twitter account:

Inglis will give the Bucks some depth on the wing to help out Parker, and O’Bryant has great potential as a post scorer and rebounder who can crack the rotation. But there’s no doubt that this draft is all about Parker, and Milwaukee got its man.

 

Philadelphia 76ers

It might be safe to say that when the Sixers decided more than a year ago to sell out for the 2014 draft, few around Philadelphia expected neither Wiggins nor Parker to be available when the Sixers were on the clock.

For much of the months leading up to draft day, it was working out perfectly for Philly as Joel Embiid threatened to be picked at No. 1 or 2—leaving either Wiggins or Parker, not both, open. Well, Embiid‘s fractured foot a week before the draft put a stop to that. 

But there was no denying Embiid‘s stock, per the team’s official Twitter:

Picking Embiid complicates things a bit in Philly as it picked Nerlens Noel in the 2013 draft before sitting him out all of last season. But Noel’s ceiling to begin with was a starter at best, so this allows Embiid—a franchise player if he fulfills his potential—to take the long-term role of dominating the frontcourt.

Of course, the Sixers were busy on draft day with a number of picks. They moved down from No. 10 to 12, grabbing Dario Saric on a draft-and-stash—arguably the best international player in the class who figures to make a big impact when he leaves Europe.

Philadelphia continued stockpiling talent in the second round, adding Jerami Grant, Vasilije Micic and Jordan McRae. Grant can be an impact rebounder right away, while McRae is a pure scorer who will give the backcourt more options if he thrives.

 

Chicago Bulls

With picks No. 16 and 19 in the first round, the Chicago Bulls were in position to add a couple of talented youngsters to help bolster a championship-caliber squad that has a number of holes.

But they had their sights set on just one player, and using both picks to get him ended up being an easy choice. The Bulls added Doug McDermott by moving into the lottery and grabbing him with the 11th overall pick.

Of course, the biggest move the Bulls are hoping to make this offseason isn’t in the draft, but rather to add Carmelo Anthony. Yahoo Sports’ Marc J. Spears reported Friday that the Bulls are one of five teams Anthony expects to meet with.

This may or may not help in that regard, but ESPN’s Mike Wilbon likes the pick regardless:

It’s not hard to see why McDermott fits so well. The Bulls are a serious contender, but their lack of scoring on the wing—and in general—has been their downfall over recent seasons.

If Chicago makes a serious free-agent swoop in the coming days and weeks, it will need McDermott to bring a scoring burst off the bench. If the Bulls fail to bring in a max-contract free agent, they’ll really need McDermott’s scoring.

All in all, the Bulls couldn’t have gotten a much better fit for what they’re trying to build in 2014-15. 

 

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NBA Draft Grades 2014: Full List of Scores for All Picks

After a long wait for the highly anticipated 2014 NBA draft, it seemed to come and go in the blink of an eye. Before we knew it, 60 of basketball’s brightest young athletes had new homes in the Association.

Some of these players will be works in progress, needing time to develop certain traits and abilities before they can truly begin contributing on a consistent basis. Others were more NBA-ready and could log some serious on-court time this season.

No matter which route each franchise opted to take, schematic fits, draft position and team needs play a huge part in overall draft success.

Taking all of this into consideration, let’s take a look at grades for each of the draft’s 60 selections and highlight a few picks that stood out.

 

4. Orlando Magic: Aaron Gordon, PF, Arizona

This was the first rather perplexing pick of the evening on Thursday.

Gordon is a solid player with nice defensive skills and great athleticism. He’s certainly a certified top-10 pick; however, this was a reach at No. 4 overall.

The Magic need a power forward, and Gordon should be able to contribute initially due to his prowess as a rebounder, but his offensive skill set needs plenty of work, and he may not have much of an impact on that end of the court.

Guard appeared to be a bigger need for the Magic here, and although the team ended up snagging Elfrid Payton later, it’s hard to see the reasoning for passing up on Dante Exum at this spot.

Nate Duncan of Basketball Insiders tweeted his initial reaction that seemed to be shared by many other Twitter users:

Like practically every pick in the draft, we’ll have to wait and see how this pans out.

 

19. Denver Nuggets: Gary Harris, SG, Michigan State

This may have been the steal of the first round.

The Nuggets traded Doug McDermott to the Chicago Bulls for the No. 16 and No. 19 picks in the draft. Chicago came away with International sensation Jusuf Nurkic and former Michigan State standout Gary Harris with those selections.

Now, that’s a haul.

NBA analyst Mark Deeks put it perfectly:

Nabbing Harris at No. 19 is just ridiculous. If he would’ve gone in the top 10, no one would have thought twice about the selection.

An intelligent and well-rounded player, Harris comes from a great system under Tom Izzo in which he averaged 16.7 points, four rebounds and 2.7 assists while shooting 42.9 percent from the floor on a very talented team.

Harris has all the tools to be a starter, but considering the Nuggets deep roster, he’ll be a valuable rotational piece to begin his career.

 

34. New York Knicks: Cleanthony Early, SF, Wichita State

This pick may have won the second round.

Early was widely heralded as a first-round pick before the draft, and it’s a bit of a mystery as to why he slipped into the second.

The Knicks were more than happy to scoop him up with the 34th selection, as the former Wichita State forward figures to come in and play a big role in Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher’s triangle offense.

Last season on the Shockers offense, Early averaged 16.4 points and 5.9 rebounds per game while shooting 48.4 percent from the field and 37.3 percent from downtown.

With the impending departure of Carmelo Anthony from the team, adding a phenomenal scorer like Early was a brilliant move at this point in the draft.

SiriusXM’s Adam Schein was loving the Knicks’ moves on draft day:

Could this wind up to be the steal of the draft? It’s a big possibility.

 

Honorary Selection

There were some magnificent picks in this year’s draft, but none better than the honorary selection of former Baylor standout Isaiah Austin, who recently had to give up his hopes of playing in the NBA after being diagnosed with Marfan syndrome.

It was a great moment shared by everyone in attendance and all of the event’s onlookers.

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2014 NBA Draft Grades: Full Results and Scores for Rounds 1-2

Immediately after the conclusion of the 2014 NBA draft, fans are begging to know how good of a job their favorite team did at acquiring talent.

Players have a way of surprising draft experts after serving a few years in the league. With this in mind, it is impossible to know how well each team did until we see how things work out on the court.

Still, every team in the draft needs to use its position to gain value while minimizing risk. It does not make sense to take a chance on a player too early who only has a slight chance of excelling a few years down the road. Upside only works when you can get value for it and have a plan for it to develop.

Here is a look at grades for each pick in the draft with a breakdown of the best team drafts from Thursday night.

 

Best Drafts

Boston Celtics

It seemed strange for the Celtics to draft a point guard when arguably the best player on the current roster was also a point guard. This is especially true considering both have problems shooting from the outside, making it unlikely either will move to the 2 position.

However, general manager Danny Ainge is confident Rajon Rondo will stick around even after Boston drafted Marcus Smart, telling Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston:

Absolutely. No question. And [Smart] and Avery. No question. He’s a very versatile player. He can play off the ball. He can handle the ball. With his length and his size, he can probably play against a lot of small forwards — 6-3, long wingspan, 230 pounds. He’s a very versatile player. Easily those guys can play together, and I think they would really thrive playing together, all of them.

The good news is that the Celtics now at least have a safety net as someone who can lead the rebuilding process from the point guard position. Smart is one of the best two-way players in the class and can do anything to help his team win.

Meanwhile, Boston made another strong pick later in the first round in the form of James Young. The wing is one of the best offensive players in the class thanks to his slashing ability and knack for finishing above the rim.

Young knows exactly how he will help the team right away:

If he can gain more consistency in his outside shot, he could become one of the bigger steals in this class.

 

Denver Nuggets

The Nuggets needed help at more than one position after an extremely disappointing season. As a result, they traded the No. 11 pick for the No. 16 and No. 19 selections in the first round. This ended up being a good move for Denver because the organization was able to bring in two talented players.

First, the Nuggets selected Jusuf Nurkic, who is more advanced than your typical international big man. He has good technique in the low post and knows how to perform defensively.

Meanwhile, the real jewel of the class was Gary Harris at No. 19. The shooting guard was a bit inconsistent in college but has all the tools you look for in a shooting guard. Seth Greenberg of ESPN explains that his ability goes beyond ordinary measurements:

Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com takes into account all the moves over the two-day period for the Nuggets:

It seems unlikely Denver will automatically become contenders in the Western Conference right away next season. Still, the additions will make a big difference going forward.

 

Philadelphia 76ers

According to CSN Philly, Joel Embiid will miss the next five to eight months due to his surgery. Dario Saric will not come to the United States to play for at least two years. If you are a 76ers fan, it makes sense to be disappointed with this draft.

Things are even worse when you consider that Philadelphia is coming off a terrible year with Nerlens Noel sitting out all season with an injury.

So why was this draft a good one? Because the 76ers know that it will take a long time to turn this team into a contender and are patient enough to build for the long term.

Dana O’Neil of ESPN believes the first pick will end up well:

Meanwhile, Saric can be a big-time player in the future with his pure skill on the offensive end. ESPN’s Kevin Negandhi breaks down the strategy:

Philadelphia added quality players in the second round like K.J. McDaniels and Jerami Grant, who will help out now and still have room to grow. This was a risky draft for the 76ers, but it will be fun to see how this turns out.

 

New York Knicks

This draft was extremely impressive for a team that did not have any picks as of one day earlier. The Knicks sent Tyson Chandler and others in a package that brought back some second-round selections, and New York made them count.

With their first pick, the Knicks selected Cleanthony Early, who could have easily been taken in the middle of the first round. ESPN’s Jeff Goodman was happy with the selection:

Early can create his own shot and consistently be a matchup nightmare for opposing defenders. On a team without many scorers, the Wichita State star can play a big role next season.

The Knicks then followed up this pick by taking Thanasis Antetokounmpo, the brother of the Milwaukee star. The Greek player is a bit older at 21 years old, but he still has plenty of upside that should excite fans as soon as he steps on the court.

When you add these picks to French center Louis Labeyrie, this was a good haul for the Knicks. Jeff Borzello of CBS Sports was impressed as well:

While it would have been nice to have a first-round pick, the organization did a great job with what it had.

 

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NBA Draft Results 2014: Quick Review of Every Team’s Grades for Rounds 1-2

After 60 picks, dozens of trades and what seemed like years of speculation, the 2014 NBA draft is in the books, and teams are being dissected for their moves on draft night.

While the first part of the draft worked out in somewhat of a predictable manner—to a certain extent—with no early trades, some teams began making head-scratching decisions before the lottery drew to a close. A few organizations made bold moves in the latter stages of Thursday’s draft to bolster their squads, while others confused us all by their selections.

Let’s break down a complete list of draft grades, highlighting the most intriguing teams.

 

 

Most Intriguing Drafts

Denver Nuggets: A-

It wasn’t really clear what the Nuggets were looking to do with their No. 11 overall selection, but they ended up turning it into much more than anyone could have imagined.

They initially selected Doug McDermott with the 11th pick but quickly flipped him to Chicago for the 16th and 19th selections. That ended up doing wonders for Denver with how the board worked itself out.

At No. 16, Denver added Jusuf Nurkic—one of the best international prospects in the class. The big man has drawn comparisons to Nikola Pekovic and threatened to come off the board in the lottery.

Three picks later, the Nuggets got potentially the steal of the draft with the selection of Gary Harris. The Michigan State shooting guard wouldn’t have surprised anyone coming off the board at No. 11 when Denver had initially picked. 

If my math is correct, that means the Nuggets turned one lottery pick into two. 

Of course, they weren’t done there with one second-rounder left. They turned that 41st overall selection into Nikola Jokic, a draft-and-stash pick who could help them in the coming years. 

Perhaps their biggest move came before the draft, as Fox Sports Florida’s Ken Hornack reported the Nuggets added Arron Afflalo. That doesn’t factor into their draft grade, but it can’t be ignored.

All in all, Denver made quite the splash on draft day.

 

Utah Jazz: A-

The Jazz weren’t expecting Dante Exum—a top-tier prospect out of Australia—to be available when they made their fifth overall selection. But they weren’t about to pass up on him either.

Utah made one of the biggest moves of the draft by securing him at No. 5 overall, pairing him with young point guard Trey Burke in the process.

Questions were immediately raised as to how the two point guards would play alongside each other, but NBC’s Kurt Helin shed some light:

Although Exum’s true potential is as the floor general in the backcourt, he could end up doing well alongside Burke for a year or two. He certainly has some growing to do to adjust to the NBA game, which represents a major step up from his competition in Australia.

He’s also making his impact among the media, as Jazz radio voice David Locke noted:

With two first-round picks, the Jazz weren’t done. Although they didn’t select in the second round, they added another important piece by obtaining Duke’s Rodney Hood with the No. 23 pick—an instant-offense player off the bench who has a ceiling in the starting lineup.

Utah is still a few years away from contention, but it put together a scary young backcourt. 

 

Orlando Magic: C+

With such a deep talent pool at the top of this draft class, the Orlando Magic were sitting pretty at No. 4 overall, with Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Joel Embiid and Dante Exum hashing out a four-man top tier of prospects.

But when those first three came off the board, the Magic went with not only a second-tier prospect but arguably the most questionable one at that in Aaron Gordon. 

Magic fans weren’t all too pleased with the selection at their viewing gathering, according to a YouTube video via The Big Lead’s Stephen Douglas. It was a questionable pick to say the least, with starting point guard Jameer Nelson over the hill and prized floor general Exum available at the time.

Despite criticism coming in all directions, ESPN’s Skip Bayless was once again there to play devil’s advocate:

ESPN’s Jeff Goodman was another who looked at the bright side:

The Magic somewhat made up for their gaffe of passing up Exum later in the draft, acquiring Elfrid Payton (No. 10 overall) in a trade with Philadelphia, per The Times-Picayune‘s Julie Boudwin. That was a good move to save face by nabbing a future starting point guard, but it didn’t undo missing out on the Australian star.

Gordon brings more athleticism and hard-nosed defending to the Magic, and that could end up fitting in quite well. But they had better hope that Exum doesn’t make them regret that decision at No. 4.

 

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2014 NBA Draft Results: Easy-to-Read Letter Grades Overview for All 30 Teams

Not every team can be the San Antonio Spurs.

Forget their latest Finals triumph, the Spurs took the league to school on Thursday night in the 2014 NBA draft, nonchalantly picking late in each round and still knocking it out of the park. Meanwhile, franchises like the Philadelphia 76ers still managed to mess up what is one of the deepest classes in recent memory.

But let’s paint with broad strokes for a moment. As a whole, most teams did quite well to find value, although that is not too difficult to do in a loaded class. More importantly, the majority of teams were able to sensibly hit on areas of need.

Here is a look at a composite grade for each franchise, with some deeper analysis after the jump.

 

Best Performance: San Antonio Spurs

For 29 picks, the NBA was lost amid thoughts of rebuilding and eventually contending, from Cleveland at No. 1 all the way down.

Then the Spurs walked to the podium and sucked the air out of the room.

Kyle Anderson at No. 30 overall is not only a steal but a typical Spurs pick. Boris Diaw is a free agent, so it figures that a young prospect who could perfectly replace him fell down the board into the champ’s lap.

At 6’9″, Anderson averaged 6.5 assists per game a year ago at UCLA. His stat line of 14.6 points, 8.8 boards, 1.8 steals and 0.8 blocks is nice, but the focal point is on his ability to create from anywhere on the court.

As an added bonus, he hit the nail on the head in regard to San Antonio’s ability to get the most out of talent, per the Spurs’ Twitter account: 

He needs work as a defender, but he could not have landed in a better position.

But the Spurs were not done. Two picks became one in a late-draft trade, but the brass eventually got their guy in Nemanja Dangubic, as ProjectSpurs.com’s Quixem Ramirez explains:

Dangubic hardly averaged more than 25 minutes per game last year in the Adriatic League, but at 6’8″ and 21 years old, the Serbian forward offers plenty of potential down the road after he spends a few years overseas developing his game.

Near the end of the draft, that is the type of move the contending Spurs needed to make to ensure future success. Dangubic is a bit of an unknown, but given the Spurs’ track record, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt.

 

Worst Performance: Toronto Raptors

It’s a bad thing when the broadcast airing the draft has an issue figuring out who in the world a team selected because the name is so obscure:

Nice job, Toronto. Bruno Caboclo is about as obscure as it gets, although he may have had some late buzz around the league, based on a note from Basketball Insiders’ Alex Kennedy:

So why in the world did the Raptors—a team that just made the playoffs and may lose a major star in Kyle Lowry—use a top-20 selection on a mostly unknown name?

General manager Masai Ujiri made a promise. Crickets. That report comes from Josh Lewenberg of TSN, who adds some context to the situation:

Caboclo was not Ujiri‘s primary target. As expected, the Raptors were after Canadian point guard Tyler Ennis, hoping he would fall to them while also trying desperately to trade up for him. Ideally, Toronto had hoped to select Ennis with pick no. 20 and snag Caboclo early in the second-round with pick no. 37. But the plan changed, as they often do on draft night, when the Phoenix Suns took Ennis at 18, two picks ahead of the Raptors.

‘We decided we lost one,’ Ujiri said. ‘We’re not going to lose the second one. We jumped on it.’

On one hand, it’s great the Raptors got their guy. But not to trade back or even hold off on Caboclo until the second round is a major issue for a franchise that has to nail drafts because it struggles to lure free agents to town.

DeAndre Daniels was a decent get at No. 37 overall, but he is a few years out from being someone who can contribute regularly in a rotation. While he shot 41.7 percent from deep last year at UConn, his floor IQ and shoddy passing are traits that will cause him to struggle right out of the gate.

Toronto is fortunate the roster is already playoff-worthy if it navigates free agency properly. Perhaps the two selections will pan out in three or more years, but as it stands now, it is hard to issue any positive sentiments—especially given the whiffed value of the No. 20 overall pick.

 

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NBA Draft Results 2014: List of Picks, Trades and Letter Grades

The 2014 NBA draft was stocked with potential stars, European mysteries and players who epitomize the terms “raw” and “upside.” 

For all the different routes NBA teams could have taken with the hoards of talent available, the draft went rather predictably to start off. Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Joel Embiid went one-two-three, while players like Noah Vonleh and Dante Exum stayed within the top-10 picks.

The draft got much more interesting in the middle of the first round, as a flurry of trades and some shocking picks—yes, I’m referring to Bruno Caboclo—had NBA fans desperately trying to keep up with how their teams were preparing for the future.

To make things easy on fans still trying to recover from all of the trades, picks and player news, here is the full list of picks—accompanied by letter grades for each team—and draft-night trades from a memorable night for the Association.

 

Best Pick: Julius Randle, Los Angeles Lakers

The Milwaukee Bucks have a case for the best overall pick by drafting Jabari Parker, but there was little uncertainty for them at the No. 2 pick; they simply took the best player on the board and moved on.

The Los Angeles Lakers don’t have a roster fleshed out beyond a few players, so their pick took on much greater significance. They hit the mark by selecting power forward Julius Randle out of Kentucky. Randle averaged 15.0 points and 10.4 rebounds per game at Kentucky; he could very easily get enough minutes to match those numbers as an NBA rookie.

Fox Sports’ Sam Amico believes people will look back on the draft and wonder how Randle fell to No. 7:

Randle was quick to make the kind of aggressive statements that will gain the approval of fans as well as alpha-dog Kobe Bryant.

“I heard Kobe was as little tough on rookies, but I don’t care,” Randle said, via the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Plaschke. “The city of Los Angeles expects nothing but championships. What more can I ask for?”

Bryant didn’t hesitate to welcome Randle into the fold:

Randle is the Lakers first choice in the top-10 since Andrew Bynum in 2005. He is also a great bet to become the first player drafted by the Lakers to start regularly as a rookie since Eddie Jones in 1994. 

The Lakers currently have just Robert Sacre on the cap table for 2014, according to Spotrac.com. Randle fills an obvious need, one of many for the Lakers, and should excite fans with his aggressive playing style and winning mentality. Randle brings a jolt of excitement and energy to a Lakers franchise that has been starved of good news lately.

 

Best Trade: Nuggets Trade McDermott, Anthony Randolph to Bulls for Nurkic, Harris

The Chicago Bulls made a masterstroke of a trade by sending the rights to No. 16 Jusuf Nurkic and No. 19 Garry Harris to Denver for the Nuggets’ No. 11 choice, Doug McDermott, Anthony Randolph’s expiring contract and a future second-round pick.

The Bulls ranked 28th in defensive efficiency last season according to ESPN’s Hollinger rankings, netting just 99.7 points per 100 possessions. McDermott’s sensational scoring ability—he averaged 26.7 points and shot 44.9 percent from three-point range in 2013-14—fills the Bulls most obvious need.

Chicago prides itself on coach Tom Thibodeau‘s defensive system, and the man in charge believes McDermott offers value on that end as well.

“If you view him as strictly a shooter, you’re not casting the proper light on him,” Thibodeau said, via K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. “He’s a lot more than that. We think he’s a complete player. We think he’s capable of playing very good defense.”

The trade was hardly one sided. It netted the Denver Nuggets a towering center prospect in Nurkic and a potential steal in the form of Harris. The Michigan State star was regarded as one of the the stronger two-way players in the draft thanks to his excellent work rate on the defensive side of the ball.

Nurkic offers the Nuggets long-term value at center with his NBA ready size and deft footwork.

Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix liked the potential of both players:

One concern for the Nuggets is that they are still a team full of role players without a star player to orbit. Rather than hoping McDermott develops into a centerpiece, they instead went for multiple assets. The Nuggets do have plenty of young assets on the roster now, and could perhaps package their draft choices with players like Danilo Galinari or Arron Afflalo to land a bona fide superstar.

 

Best Potential Sleeper: Kyle Anderson, San Antonio Spurs

Doesn’t this just sound like typical Spurs? Kyle Anderson falls in the draft as every NBA general manager gets hung up on his admittedly alarming lack of speed, while the Spurs take him for his proven on court production because the only test Gregg Popovich needs is the eyeball test.

If athleticism was indeed what NBA executives got hung up on, UCLA coach Steve Alford made sure to point out Anderson does pretty well with the whole “playing basketball” thing. Via Jeff McDonald of San Antonio Express-News:

Anderson’s production warrants a pick higher than the very end of the first round. He averaged 17.8 points, 10.5 rebounds and 7.8 assists per 40 minutes, as per Sports-Reference.com. And this is on a team that featured the likes of Zach LaVine and Jordan Adams, both of whom were drafted ahead of Anderson.

ESPN Stats & Info noted that Anderson was indeed a rare box-score stuffer:

Evan Turner’s numbers warranted him the No. 2 pick in the 2010 NBA draft; he’s gone on to average 11.1 points per game in his career. If Anderson can match Turner’s level of production, that is a tremendous value at No. 30 overall.

Bleacher Report’s own Jared Zwerling compared Anderson to a current Spurs player:

Anderson doesn’t have to come in right away and make an impact for the NBA champions. He can learn from the veterans around him and develop at his own pace.

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East grades: Bucks come out with clear plan

Team by team analysis for the Eastern Conference.

      
 

 

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2014 NBA Draft Results: Table of Grades for Each Franchise

With the 2014 NBA draft in the books, there’s a new air of optimism for all 30 teams who believe that one right move will bring a championship banner. Of course, if you catch some personnel people in an honest moment, they would say roster building is a process that doesn’t yield results overnight. 

Thanks to the benefit of hindsight, we will put grades to Thursday’s action. It was certainly a memorable event, highlighted by commissioner Adam Silver’s gesture to Isaiah Austin halfway through the first round, so there’s much to discuss. 

Even though grades are a wholly subjective thing, we try to put some method to it by examining the value teams got because we won’t have a definitive answer on how good or bad these players are for at least two years. 

Adam Wells’ 2014 NBA Draft Grades
Team Picks Grade
Boston Celtics Marcus Smart (6), James Young (17) B
Brooklyn Nets Markel Brown (44), Xavier Thames (59), Cory Jefferson (60) C
New York Knicks Cleanthony Early (34), Thanasis Antetokounmpo (51), Louis Labeyrie (57) C+
Philadelphia 76ers Joel Embiid (3), Dario Saric (12), K.J. McDaniels (32), Jerami Grant (39), Vasilije Micic (52), Jordan McRae (58) A
Toronto Raptors Bruno Caboclo (20), DeAndre Daniels (37) D
Chicago Bulls Doug McDermott (11), Cameron Bairstow (49) B+
Cleveland Cavaliers Andrew Wiggins (1), Joe Harris (33) A-
Detroit Pistons Spencer Dinwiddie (38) C+
Milwaukee Bucks Jabari Parker (2), Damien Inglis (31), Johnny O’Bryant III (36) B+
Atlanta Hawks Adreian Payne (15), Walter Tavares (43), Lamar Patterson (48) B-
Charlotte Hornets Noah Vonleh (9), P.J. Hairston (26), Dwight Powell (45) A-
Miami Heat Shabazz Napier (24) B+
Orlando Magic Aaron Gordon (4), Elfrid Payton (10) B
Los Angeles Clippers C.J. Wilcox (28) C
Los Angeles Lakers Julius Randle (7), Jordan Clarkson (46) B+
Phoenix Suns T.J. Warren (14), Tyler Ennis (18), Bogan Bogdanovic (27), Alec Brown (50) B+
Sacramento Kings Nik Stauskas (8) B
Houston Rockets Clint Capela (25), Nick Johnson (42) B+
Memphis Grizzlies Jordan Adams (22), Jarnell Stokes (35) B-
New Orleans Pelicans Russ Smith (47) C-
San Antonio Spurs Kyle Anderson (30), Nemanja Dangubic (54) B
Denver Nuggets Jusuf Nurkic (16), Gary Harris (19), Nikola Jokic (41), Roy Devyn Marble (56) A-
Minnesota Timberwolves Zach LaVine (13), Glenn Robinson III (40), Alessandro Gentile (53) B
Oklahoma City Thunder Mitch McGary (21), Josh Huestis (29), Semaj Christon (55) B
Utah Jazz Dante Exum (5), Rodney Hood (23) A-

 

Best Moment: Adam Silver Drafts Isaiah Austin Into NBA

Adam Silver has had to deal with a lot in nearly five months as NBA commissioner, most notably the Donald Sterling fiasco that could have been a nightmare. Silver got out in front of the situation quickly and justly was lauded for it. 

Isaiah Austin is a 7’1″ center who played two years at Baylor before declaring for the 2014 NBA draft. He was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome during the evaluation process and could no longer continue his playing career. 

It was a crushing blow for a 20-year-old who probably would have been a second-round pick, but the opportunity to recognize Austin didn’t slide past Silver. The commissioner stopped the draft about midway through the first round to acknowledge his presence in the building, then continued the incredible gesture by drafting the center into the NBA. 

Commissioners often get booed by fans walking to the podium before a draft starts, but the Barclays Center greeted Silver with a rousing ovation prior to the first pick and only enhanced his legacy by giving Austin his moment in the spotlight. 

 

Best Pick: Julius Randle to the Los Angeles Lakers

If you’ve seen the movie Inception, you know about the state of limbo that Leonardo DiCaprio’s character is potentially stuck in when the credits roll. The ending of that movie reminds me a lot of where the Los Angeles Lakers find themselves entering next season. 

With Kobe Bryant under contract for two more years, the Lakers certainly aren’t planning to go through a long rebuilding process despite losing 55 games last season and having one of the oldest rosters in the league. 

There is some hope the club can land Carmelo Anthony and/or LeBron James in free agency because they have just four players under contract combining for a total of $34 million. 

However, the Lakers’ smartest move this offseason came on Thursday night when they opted to keep the No. 7 pick to take Kentucky power forward Julius Randle. 

As Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding wrote after the draft, Randle gives Los Angeles the perfect mix of present performance and long-term upside to work with Bryant: 

Bryant earned his ticket to L.A. with his legendary predraft workout against Michael Cooper in front of Jerry West. Randle said he was so strangely comfortable in the Lakers’ practice gym that it felt “like home” to him for his own deal-sealing workout that ended with Jim Buss approaching for a handshake.

And 18 years to the day after Bryant was drafted, Randle was chosen by the Lakers.

The Lakers haven’t picked in the lottery since drafting Andrew Bynum 10th overall in 2005. They needed to start building for the future while getting help for the present. Randle is the piece this franchise desperately needed and was fortunate to get him seventh overall. 

 

Best Draft: Philadelphia 76ers

There’s not a more divisive draft class than the Philadelphia 76ers’. If you look at grades from around the Internet, you can find just as much praise as you do uncertainty over what general manager Sam Hinkie is trying to do. 

ESPN.com’s Chad Ford (Insider subscription required) gave the team an incomplete, citing the fact that Embiid may not play this season and Dario Saric being under contract overseas and unavailable to the 76ers for at least two years. 

On the other hand, Adi Joseph of USA Today gave the 76ers an A+ because of how much raw potential Embiid and Saric have down the road: 

Sam Hinkie has a plan for the future, and it’s rarely been this clear. Embiid and Saric will make little to no impact next year, as Saric will stay in Turkey while Embiid will miss extended time rehabilitating the foot stress fracture that caused his slide from the No. 1 spot. But they have ridiculous potential…

This is what the Sixers need to do as they continue to build for 2016 and beyond.

It’s precisely because of where the Sixers are as a franchise that it’s easier to agree with Joseph’s assessment. If they were close to contending for a playoff spot, these moves would be easy to question after they bet big on another injured big man in Nerlens Noel last year. 

Sometimes the best way to get out of purgatory is take big swings and misses. No team did that more than Philadelphia on Thursday night. It may end up biting the franchise in the future, but right now it looks like a brilliant strategy for Hinkie to follow. 

 

If you want to talk sports, hit me up on Twitter. 


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West grades: Jazz, Lakers make big splashes

The Lakers and Jazz put in great efforts. Who didn’t fare as well in the draft?

      
 

 

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