23 June 2011

2011 NBA Draft: 1st Round Grades

Here are my live grades of the first round of the 2011 NBA Draft. I will update them as each pick is announced by David Stern in Newark with my commentary and a grade.


1. Cleveland Cavaliers - Kyrie Irving, PG, Duke
As expected, the Cavaliers go with arguably the top player in the draft in Irving, but that's not to see that this pick does not come without risk. Irving only played a handful of games in his freshman year at Duke early in the season before suffering a tie injury that kept him out until the NCAA Tournament. But regardless, the listless Cavs need a new face of the franchise and while I'm not sure that Irving will be a star, I think that he can be a very good point guard for a long time. Plus, with Baron Davis on roster, Irving won't have to be the starter from day one. Irving won't be a star but he's the right pick here.
Grade: A


2. Minnesota Timberwolves - Derrick Williams, F, Arizona
Although they really tried to dangle this pick for a veteran, it seemed to be a foregone conclusion that Williams would go here if Minnesota was here. I've already said I'm not a fan of the pick, despite the fact that he is the second best player in the draft. David Khan really could've screwed up worse, but Enes Kanter should have been the pick.
Grade: C-


3. Utah Jazz - Enes Kanter, C, Kentucky
This really was a tough pick for Utah to make. They could have gone with a point guard to replace Devin Harris somewhere down the line in Brandon Knight or the physical and skilled center they could really use in Kanter. Ultimately, they had to go with Kanter because he has the potential to be a really good center. He is not great at blocking shots but he is fundamentally sound, can rebound very well and can hit the mid-range shot.
Grade: A-

4. Cleveland Cavaliers - Tristan Thompson, PF, Texas
Not many people, including me, thought Thompson would go here but this is not a bad pick despite it being unexpected. Thompson needs some work on the offensive end but is an awesome rebounder at both ends, can block shots, has great footwork, and he plays very hard. He and J.J. Hickson can make a nice tandem down low down the road.
Grade: B+


5. Toronto Raptors - Jonas Valanciunas, C, Lithuania
Now Andrea Bargnani has been a nice player, he is not a center in any way. He is softer than tissues, or Jeff Parles, and is terrible on getting boards. The Raptors need a physical presence down low and Valanciunas is that guy. He is very raw offensively, but he has all the skills to be a force down low on D. He has great length and athleticism and has shown the ability to be a top-flight shot-blocker and rebounder with plus defensive instincts.
Grade: B


6. Washington Wizards - Jan Vesely, SF, Czech Republic
The Wizards are a mess. They have a future star in last year's top pick John Wall but they need to surround him with more talent to run with. Vesely, who has great taste in women BTW, is a high flyer and will fit in perfectly running with Wall. He is supremely athletic and can hit the shot with ease. He needs to strengthen up and get tougher on defense but he will make the Wizards even more exciting.
Grade: B+


7. Charlotte Bobcats (from Sacramento) - Bismack Biyombo, PF, Congo
The Bobcats did well to get this pick in a good trade and Biyombo is the prototypical "Boom Bust" prospect. African big men are always risky but Biyombo has the skills to be the next Ben Wallace but Serge Ibaka is a more realistic high-level comparison. Biyombo has no offensive game whatsoever but he is an awesome athlete and can be a force immediately on defense due to his length and athleticism. Bottom line with him is either be DaSagana Diop or Ibaka.  I personally think he is worth the risk but by no stretch am I an expert.
Grade: B


8. Detroit Pistons - Brandon Knight, PG, Kentucky
I'm still stunned over the epic fall the Pistons have taken from being a perennial playoff contender in the East to now being a scrub squad. The Pistons made a good, but not a great pick in the Kentucky guard. I like Knight a lot, he has a very good shot and is a solid combo guard, but the Pistons already have a couple of players just like him in Rodney Stuckey and Ben Gordon. He does clog up their backcourt but this is a really good value so I can't blame Joe Dumars here.
Grade: B


9. Charlotte Bobcats - Kemba Walker, PG, Connecticut
The Bobcats had a big need at small forward but they really need more offensive punch. Walker was godly in the 2011 NCAA Tournament and he showed he can be a point at the next level despite his size disadvantage. He is very clutch and strong, can shoot very well, and can push the tempo, which fits Paul Silas' style.
Grade: B


10. Sacramento Kings (from Milwaukee) - Jimmer Fredette, G, BYU
There are so many things wrong here. First, the Kings could have been in a position to take Brandon Knight or Kemba Walker if they stayed at seven but they really wanted to move down and take on John Salmons' contract and now they have Jimmer. Fredette is a great story and a great name, but come on. I'm a better defender than he is. He is actual more athletic than I initially gave him for but I'm not completely sold on his athleticism. Now Jimmer will have a long career because he is a tremendous shooter but I don't think he will be much more than that. Can't wait for the Jimmer and Tyreke films though.
Grade: C


11. Golden State Warriors - Klay Thompson SG, Washington State
This is a solid fit for Thompson. He is a tremendous three point shooter, which the Warriors always love. Just imagine him playing in a lineup with Steph Curry, Monta Ellis, and Thompson. Thompson is also a better defender than many will give him credit for and he is pretty good at getting into the passer lane.
Grade: B


12. Utah Jazz - Alec Burks, G, Colorado
With local boy Fredette gone already, the Jazz lost out on a sure immediate fan favorite but they got a better player to help out their backcourt. Burks is very good at putting the ball in the hoop and is a tremendous slasher. He has great body control in the lane, is dangerous on the open floor, and can pass really well too. He needs work on the defensive end but he has the potential to be adequate on that end. But since they didn't take Jimmer, they win regardless.
Grade: A-


13. Phoenix Suns - Markieff Morris, PF, Kansas
The Suns were looking to get more physical in the paint and are rumored to move Channing Frye, who is even softer than Jeff Parles, to a reserve role. Morris is a rugged force down low who will add more muscle next to the surprising Marcin Gortat. Morris is also solid on offensive as he can play back to the basket and can pop a three as well. Very solid selection.
Grade: A-


14. Houston Rockets - Marcus Morris, PF, Kansas
So Markieff was born seven minutes before Marcus was and now he was selected...(I HATE STU SCOTT) ...five minutes before his brother. Morris is a physical four that will fit in nicely in Houston because he can also hit the mid-range jumper out to the arc and showed that he can be a complete player at Kansas, where he was excellent. A steal for Houston.
Grade: A


15. San Antonio Spurs (from Indiana) - Kawhi Leonard, SF, San Diego State
This is an excellent selection by Larry Bird and co. Leonard is a relentless basketball player who gives it his all on the hardwood. He is very long and athletic and is a tremendous defensive presence because he can guard multiple slots. He also is a great offensive rebounder. The concern with Leonard is that he cannot shoot but he is able to muscle the ball to the rim. The Spurs were looking to get younger and could this kid be the next Bruce Bowen potentially?
Grade: A


16. Philadelphia 76ers - Nikola Vucevic, PF/C, USC
Vucevic has been a high riser but I'm not entirely sure why. The 76ers wanted some more size down low and Vucevic helps in that regard. He can play the four or the five who has some skills offensively but he really needs to toughen up on defense. I did read a comparison of him to Kosta Koufos.
Grade: C


17. New York Knicks - Iman Shumpert, G, Georgia Tech
I really do not like this pick. Shumpert has seen his stock soar of late and he has the athleticism to excel in the Mike D'Antoni system and can play either guard slot. He is a decent player that does an adequate job in all factes but nothing exceptionally well but I wouldn't have made this pick if I was Knicks brass. I really would've taken Kenneth Faried, Chris Singleton or Jordan Hamilton over Shumpert.
Grade: D+


18. Washington Wizards - Chris Singleton, SF, Florida State
This is a terrific pick for Washington after the Knicks passed on Singleton. The Wizards needed more depth and a playmaker at small forward and thus Singleton is a great addition. He is tremendously defensively and is very versatile. This guy cradles the boards and can even block shots. He does have any real offensive game but he and Vesely could combine to be a strong wing presence for the years to come.
Grade: A


19. Milwaukee Bucks (from Charlotte) - Tobias Harris, F, Tennessee
The Bucks wanted more help at the forward slot and Harris certainly helps. He is a tweener as he isn't really a three or a four. He can shoot and is a very smart player, an ideal point forward that can handle the ball. He can post up and is long. Needs to get more aggressive on the boards but he can be a solid contributor for a good club.
Grade: B


20. Houston Rockets (from Minnesota) - Donatas Motiejunas, F/C, Lithuania
This is a guy that was thought at some point to be a late lottery pick so this is a solid selection. He is, as Fran Fraschilla puts it, a "conscientious objector" on the boards and he's rumored to be lazy at times but he is tremendous skilled on offense and he has a really good shot. He is also solid on the point of attack off the dribble but he has to be willing to put in the effort or he could be Nikoloz Tskitishvili. 
Grade: B-


21. Portland Trail Blazers - Nolan Smith, G, Duke
Smith is first and foremost, a winner and a high character guy. For a team that does not a whole lot of needs and is looking to be a playoff contender, that's goes far. He is a solid scorer that can spot up and shoot but he does not have a great shot. This is a reach but it isn't an awful pick.
Grade: C+


22. Denver Nuggets - Kenneth Faried, PF, Morehead State
Everytime I watch this kid play, I see Dennis Rodman. He is a relentless, ultra high motor player on the glass and on defense and he is alter and block shots with great success. He needs some work on the offensive end but does have a hook shot in the paint that he can build on. The Nuggets needed more toughness down low and Faried will make an immediate difference.
Grade: A-


23. Chicago Bulls  (from Minnesota via Houston) - Nikola Mirotic, PF, Spain
Mirotic is a guy that can contribute down the line but he won't play in the U.S. for at least four years. The Bulls clearly like him and they think he can be a player for them down the road and since he won't play for years, it's a nice stash pick.
Grade: B-


24. Oklahoma City Thunder - Reggie Jackson, G, Boston College
Kinda curious why Jackson did not work out for anyone before the draft. Anyways, Jackson is a solid scoring combo guard that can provide points in a pinch off the bench. I do not see him getting major minutes in Oklahoma City but I do think he can be a solid contributor off the pine.
Grade: B


25. New Jersey Nets (from Boston) - Marshon Brooks, SG, Providence
Brooks proved to be one of the more underrated scorers in college basketball last season at Providence and he can score in a lot of different ways. He has a solid shot and can also drive to the hole. He also has great length but needs to work on his defense. Avery Johnson will not tolerate lazy defensive play and he will press him to improve on that end.
Grade: B+


26. Denver Nuggets (from Portland via Dallas) - Jordan Hamilton, SF, Texas
Hamilton is a very proficient scorer from the wing and proved that in college. He has a very good shot from the outside and take the ball to the hoop. I am stunned that Hamilton fell this far and the Nuggets are getting great value on a guy that should contribute right away.
Grade: A


27. Boston Celtics (from New Jersey) - JaJuan Johnson, PF, Purdue
The Celtics made a very good pick here because Johnson will be able to contribute right away thanks to his experience. Johnson can shoot the ball very well and can also effectively rebound and block shots. The Celtics needed more frontcourt depth and Johnson is a solid addition.
Grade: A-


28. Miami Heat (from Minnesota) - Norris Cole, PG, Cleveland State
The Heat do not have a whole lot of needs but could use a true point guard to develop behind Mike Bibby for down the road and Norris (don't call me Bimbo) Cole can be that guy. He is a solid shooter who can distribute well and can surprisingly rebound.
Grade: B

29. San Antonio Spurs - Cory Joseph, PG, Texas
Now the Spurs organization deserve a lot of credit for making many great decisions over the years and do need a backup point guard after trading George Hill but this is a head scratcher. Joseph is a reach even at this point and I'm curiious as whether he can ever be a contributor. But what do I know?
Grade: C-


30. Chicago Bulls - Jimmy Butler, SF, Marquette
The Bulls really don't have many needs or have any use for young prospects but even then, this isn't a great pick. Butler has great intangibles and is solid on defense but he does not have a great shot and to be honest, I do not think he deserves a first round pick especially with some of the players on the board.
Grade: D+

No comments:

Post a Comment