24 June 2013

Grading the 2012 NBA Draft, One Year Later

With only a few days until the 2013 NBA Draft, it feels like a good time and look at the 2012 Draft, one year later. Therefore, here are my grades for last year's draft now.

2012 Grades

1. New Orleans Hornets - Anthony Davis, PF, Kentucky
Davis may have been plagued with some injury issues during his rookie campaign, but overall, he looks like he was well worth the hype and the top selection. One he gets more experience, he should be a double-double threat with a handful of blocked shots for the rest of his career.

Grade: A

2. Charlotte Bobcats - Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Kentucky
I loved this selection a year ago, but I was probably wrong when I referred it to being a safe pick because Kidd-Gilchrist was not near being a finished product, particularly on offense as his jumper is a mess. However, he proved himself to be a very good defender and we knew he would be a leader with a strong work ethic.
Grade: B

3. Washington Wizards - Bradley Beal, SG, Florida
Similarly to Kidd-Gilchrist, we knew that Beal was not going to be a finished product due to his inexperience, but given the skill-set that Beal flashed as a rookie, that has to excite Washington. He showcased an excellent jumper, which flourished with John Wall running the point, showed that he could rebound well for a guard and he worked hard at his craft. Very bright future.
Grade: A

4. Cleveland Cavaliers - Dion Waiters, SG, Syracuse
Many were questionable on Waiters considering he was a sixth man at the Cuse, and he was not that great at the start of the year, he improved in the second half en route to getting on the All-Rookie First Team. Unfortunately, he did struggle with injuries but flashed an intriguing offensive game when he was on the court.
Grade: B

5. Sacramento Kings - Thomas Robinson, PF, Kansas
So the Kings decided to move Robinson midway during his rookie season to Houston, essentially for financial reasons to save some coinage. Why they would bail on a talented rookie so early just to save some coin is beyond me, especially because they probably could have gotten more. Besides, Robinson barely got any time in Sacremento and then in Houston so he's still a question mark. For guys that were dealt after the draft, I'll factor in the haul for the grade.
Grade: C-

6. Portland Trail Blazers (from Brooklyn) - Damian Lillard, PG, Weber State
Lillard was one of the few bright spots for a mediocre Portland club as he cleared out the field to win Rookie of the Year. He was very good offensively and Portland got significantly worse when he was off the court. However, it is important to note that he is a pretty mediocre defender, compiled stats on a bad team and drew a comparison to Damon Stoudemire. Still an A, but something to ponder.
Grade: A

7. Golden State Warriors - Harrison Barnes, SF, North Carolina
Barnes had a rock-solid rookie year for a very good team in Oakland. He was much better than expected defensively, as was the team as a whole, and did a very good job on that end. His offensive game was a little more questionable, but he still is very good from the perimeter and his inconsistencies on that end were masked by an extremely productive backcourt.
Grade: A-

8. Toronto Raptors - Terrence Ross, SG, Washington
Ross did not see a whole lot of playing time up north this year but given the glut of perimeter guys the Raptors have, especially after the Rudy Gay, that's not that surprising given how raw Ross is. That said, he does have a fair amount of work to do to receive consistent playing time, particularly on offense where he is too reliant on others.
Grade: C

9. Detroit Pistons - Andre Drummond, C, UConn
It seems like Detroit is in a rut year-in and year-out, but they appear to be set in the frontcourt with their Big East pillars in Greg Monroe and Drummond, who was very good in his rookie campaign. Despite being pretty raw, he showcased himself as a double-double threat down low, which allowed Monroe to mix it up away from the basket. Should develop into a very good center going forward, provided he stays healthy.
Grade: A

10. New Orleans Hornets (from Minnesota via Lakers) - Austin Rivers, PG, Duke
It was thought that the son of Doc Rivers could help to fill the Chris Paul void at the point guard. Unfortunately, Rivers was a complete disaster and he did not show enough to even be a competent rotation piece. Then he fractured his right hand a few months ago and was done for the season. Fortunately, it really cannot get much worse.
Grade: D

11. Portland Trail Blazers - Meyers Leonard, C, Illinois
Considering that the Trail are likely to take a center on Thursday night, that means that they are still looking for the answer at center. But to be fair to Leonard, who came to Portland pretty raw after only one inconsistent season at Illinois, he had a decent rookie season and was solid offensively when he saw the floor. His defensive game is going to need a fair amount of work, but the talent is there.
Grade: C

12. Houston Rockets (from Milwaukee) - Jeremy Lamb, SG, UConn
The Rockets turned this pick as well as some other guys including most notably Kevin Martin into James Harden. Considering how tremendous Harden was in Houston this season, leading them to an exciting first round against Oklahoma City, that's good stuff. Lamb did not see a lot of time with OKC during his rookie year, but I think the Rockets were well off.
Grade: A

13. Phoenix Suns - Kendall Marshall, PG, North Carolina
At the time of this selection, we were thinking that Marshall was going to be mentored by Steve Nash. Nash was then traded to the Lakers but Marshall did not take advantage of the hole at point guard. Instead, he sat at the end of the bench and contributed very little over the course of the season. You would have thought that he would have seen more time considering how mediocre the roster was, right?
Grade: D

14. Milwaukee Bucks (from Houston) - John Henson, PF, North Carolina
Considering a pretty deep frontcourt in Milwaukee, the raw Henson did not see a whole lot of time this year. However, when he did see the court, he showed some game. He is still rail thin, so he does need to add to his frame, but it is clear that the team wants to develop him and they have high hopes for him, so there's that. Offensive game needs some work.
Grade: B-

15. Philadelphia 76ers - Moe Harkless, SF, St. John's
Harkless was dealt to the Magic a couple of months after the draft as part of the Dwight Howard trade that brought Andrew Bynum to Philly. That deal worked out really well for the Sixers given that they also gave up Nikola Vucevic to Orlando and received nothing in Bynum and a declining Jason Richardson. And by really well I mean awful. Harkless meanwhile showed some game on defense but needs a lot of work at the other end.
Grade: D+

16. Houston Rockets (from New York) - Royce White, F, Iowa State
This pick turned out to be a mess and a headache that embarrassed both parties. Issues arose over White's anxiety disorders turned public after it had been appeared that both sides had worked out a deal over White's transportation means. At one point saying that there was a "very high" chance that he will never play in an NBA game, White has drawn some criticism in some corners and praise in others for his actions, but as a result, he has not seen any NBA action and very little NBDL action. This situation bears monitoring.
Grade: Incomplete

17. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Dallas) - Tyler Zeller, C, North Carolina
Some folks had Zeller going a little higher than 17 but given what he showed on the court this season, we can see why he slipped as he really did not provide the Cavaliers with much on offense or on defense. His offensive game did not provide much for Cleveland to work with, and that was supposed to be his strength. He needs to step it up if he wants to continue to find time.
Grade: C-

18. Houston Rockets (from Utah via Minnesota) - Terrence Jones, F, Kentucky
Given all the rookies that were in the mix for Houston last year, even after Lamb was part of the Harden deal, Jones was not able to find much playing time on the big club, particularly as they were making a playoff push. However, when he did find some playing time in the Developmental League, he really shined, averaging a 19 and 7. We know he is talented, he just needs to find some time.
Grade: B

19. Orlando Magic - Andrew Nicholson, PF, St. Bonaventure
Yes, the Magic were pretty awful this season in their first year post-Howard, but they found themselves some quality talent in their roster, including this burly Canadian. He made the most of his playing time in his rookie campaign, averaging 16.9 and 7.4 per 36 minutes. Nicholson has a good shot and knows how to find an open look. His defense needs some work but he looks to be a keeper as the rebuilding process continues.
Grade: A-

20. Denver Nuggets - Evan Fournier, SG, France
Even as George Karl said that he liked his rookie Frenchman very much, Fournier struggled to find some playing time for much of the year, particularly as Denver is quite deep on the wing. And yet, when Fournier was able to get on the court, even starting four games, he played pretty well. Over 36 minutes, he averaged 17 points-per-game and shot over 40% from three. Look for him to find even more time next season.
Grade: B

21. Boston Celtics - Jared Sullinger, PF, Ohio State
Once Sullinger got into the groove of the NBA, he was able to find some playing time for a Celtics club that was thin up front, averaging almost 20 minutes per-game on the year and showing some double-double potential. But the questions regarding his back which caused him to fall to 21 remain, especially after his season was ended by back surgery in February. Health issues are going to be important for Sullinger going forward because with Kevin Garnett potentially gone, Boston needs the inside help.
Grade: C+

22. Boston Celtics (from Clippers via Oklahoma City) - Fab Melo, C, Syracuse
Melo came into the league very raw and thus was not expected to see a whole of time this year but given how shallow the Celtics' frontcourt depth was, given that Melo only played six minutes shows that he has a long ways to go to become a contributor. That said, at least he shined in the NBDL, with compiling a triple-double at one point.
Grade: C

23. Atlanta Hawks - John Jenkins, SG, Vanderbilt
Atlanta went through a decent shakeup last year with Joe Johnson being dealt to Brooklyn, and it was thought that potentially that Jenkins could help fill the void at the two. Now while Jenkins did not see a huge amount of time this season, he did look solid when he saw the court. He shot the ball well from the perimeter as expected and he averaged almost 15 points-per-game per-36 minutes.
Grade: B

24. Dallas Mavericks (from Lakers via Cleveland) - Jared Cunningham, SG, Marquette
Cunningham did not see very much playing time at all with the Mavs, even with their aging corps, due to the club already having a glutton of swingmen in the mix. He only saw time 26 minutes over the course of the season but in such limited minutes, he did show that he can shoot very well from distance, something that Dallas craves.
Grade: C

25. Memphis Grizzlies - Tony Wroten, PG, Washington
Memphis really needed to find something behind Mike Conley at point guard but as we saw last year, it is going to take time to develop Wroten, who came to town pretty young and pretty raw. While when he played he looked inconsistent, Wroten was able to show spurts of talent from time to time and we know how big point guards are always desirable in the league.
Grade: C

26. Indiana Pacers - Miles Plumlee, C, Duke
As you may have known already, I certainly was no Plumlee fan last year nor was I a fan of this selection. For a guy that was already 24, he looked lost when he did see the floor with the Pacers, which was not very much. He shot a dreadful 24% from the field with the big club and he really struggled offensively. He did show some potential as a rebounder, averaging 14.3 rebounds over 36 minutes, but he has a lot of work to do to be a contributor.
Grade: C-

27. Philadelphia 76ers (from Miami) - Arnett Moultrie, PF, Mississippi State
It did not help Moultrie this much that the 76ers were a real disaster this season as well as the fact that now-former coach Doug Collins did not seem to be willing to develop some of the youngsters in town despite the fact that the season went south early. Therefore, Moultrie did not see many minutes as he was raw coming to the pros but he did show some nice rebounding skills and he shot 58% for the year. Look for the club to make a more concerted effort developing its youngsters going forward.
Grade: C

28. Oklahoma City Thunder - Perry Jones, PF, Baylor
Jones fell much further than was expected due to injury concerns with his knee. While his talent is well known, he did not see much if any playing time year on a contending Oklahoma City club. He did get some playing time in the NBDL and we know that the club is high on him, so look for him to contribute more this coming season.
Grade: C

29. Chicago Bulls - Marquis Teague, PG, Kentucky
You would have thought that Teague would have gotten some more playing time with Derrick Rose being out for the entire season and especially with Nate Robinson slated to fill the void for a while, but while Robinson was surprisingly competent, Teague did not play a whole lot nor did he show that much when he did. With Rose slated to come back, it is an uphill fight for some PT for the Kentucky product.
Grade: C-

30. Golden State Warriors (from San Antonio) - Festus Ezeli, C, Vanderbilt
You have to be willing to take whatever you can get at the end of the first round and while statistically, Ezeli did not provide much, he was a solid contributor and gave the club some important depth at center when Andrew Bogut was out as he provided some good interior defense. Unfortunately, he is expected to miss six-to-nine months due to surgery on one of his knees.
Grade: B

1 comment:

  1. Way too generous...Sacramento's pick at #5 is definitely not a C...probably an F...I could maybe see a D, especially with what they got for him.