Jun 29, 2008

Draft Grades -- Eastern Conference

Here are my unqualified draft grades for all the Eastern Conference teams...

Chicago: B-
Whenever you pick at #1, you inevitably end up picking who everyone else tells you to pick. It's just too big of a risk as a GM to take a shot in the dark with so many chips on the table. That said, Rose was clearly the best prospect in this draft. Hinrich was miserable last season and isn't strong enough to fit into the Bulls' "hard hat" system. Rose is strong, quick, and gets it. Their second-round pick of Sonny Weems is a bit curious... aren't they already LOADED at guard? He may not even make their active roster. I thought they should have used the pick to get a raw big man (anyone would be an upgrade to Aaron Gray as a backup) or better yet -- use it on a foreign player who could stay overseas and develop for a few years.

Miami: C
Beasley was clearly the second-best player in the draft -- so you can't really fault them for this pick. However, I think it could be problematic to have a self-proclaimed socialite living under the bright lights of Miami. They then proceeded to take another undersized power forward in the second round (Darnell Jackson), which makes less sense given the fact they already have Udonis Haslem. I can't believe they didn't use either pick to get a point guard or a center.

New York: B-
I like the Gallinari pick, as I think he will end up having a good NBA career. The Knicks have needs at virtually every position, but I would have preferred seeing them draft a point guard to ensure Marbury's tenure would be coming to a close.

Milwaukee: D
I had mixed feelings about the Jefferson trade. Yi showed some flashes in his first season in the U.S., and they used a high lottery pick on him just a year ago. Seems a little premature to be dumping him, regardless of the fact Jefferson has proven to be a 20ppg scorer in the league. If they are so high on Jefferson, why did they use both of their picks on small forwards?? I'm baffled.

Charlotte: C-
I'm starting to look like a pessimist here, but I don't get this pick, either. I'm not sold on Felton being unable to succeed as a starting NBA point guard. If they plan on sliding him to the 2, they would have the shortest backcourt in the league with Felton (6'1?) and Augustin (5'10). Curious. As much as I dislike Brook Lopez, he would have been a much more logical choice here. Okafor could have slid to the 4 and their starting lineup would have been decent by next season. I've lost all hope in Michael Jordan as a front office decision-maker.

New Jersey: A
I spoke above about how I disliked the Jefferson-Yi trade for Milwaukee. Not surprisingly, I liked the trade for NJ. It was evident that Carter and/or Jefferson would be dealt soon, and they got a promising young player in return. I think the New York area will be a much better spot for Yi from a marketing standpoint, as well. There is no question they can capitalize on that gigantic Chinese population given there are only 2 relevant Chinese players in the league. As for the draft, New Jersey got a good deal in Lopez at #10, and scored one of the most underrated prospects in the draft late in the first round (Anderson). I LOVED the CDR pick at #40. He is going to be a legitimate scorer in the NBA, and Carter is probably on his way out the door.

Indiana: C-
What is Larry Bird thinking? He has two positions filled by promising players (2 & 3) in Granger & Dunleavy. Apparently he isn't aware of this, as he traded his lottery pick for Rush, who will play 2/3 in the NBA. They will undoubtedly be loaded at the wings, but after trading O'Neal they are left with a front court of Troy Murphy & Jeff Foster. Sorry, but I don't see that being the recipe for anything better than a first round playoff exit.

Philadelphia: B+
Speights was a great pick. He is a tremendously gifted athletically and will fit in perfectly with the Sixers' raw, young, roster that loves to run the floor.

Toronto: C+
While I think Hibbert was undervalued in this draft, I don't see him fitting into their style of play. It is no secret that Colangelo likes to put together teams that run, run, run. Hibbert doesn't have the foot speed to play in that kind of system. I think he would have been a better fit for a grind it out type of team (say, Miami or San Antonio).

Washington: B
JaVale McGee was a solid pick at #18. He could have easily been a late lottery selection, so I'm happy if I'm Washington. I like his length and athleticism in the Wizards' system -- he just needs to put on a few pounds. It will only be a couple years before he is supplanting Haywood in the starting lineup.

Cleveland: C+
J.J. Hickson was a decent pickup at #19. I wish they would have dealt this pick for a decent veteran high-post scorer, but Hickson is already a better scoring option than Ben Wallace. He's got potential, time will tell if he will turn into a viable option in the NBA.

Orlando: B
Outside of the 4-spot, Orlando needed most help at the wings (as a third wing option after Lewis & Turkoglu). I think Courtney Lee has the potential to fill that void. Given Turkoglu's emergence last season, the Magic have the ability to ease Lee into the rotation. I like this pick.

Detroit: C+
With Sheed on the last legs of his career, Detroit clearly needs to find a big man. While I like Deron Washington's athleticism, they already have an athletic energy guy in Maxiell. I'm not one to question Dumars after proving to be a savvy decision-maker (see Rodney Stuckey last draft), so I won't be too critical of their 08 draft management, but I would have used my pick(s) differently. I probably would have used #29 on the potential upside of DeAndre Jordan (and not dealt him to Seattle as they did with their #29 pick, D.J. White).

Boston: B+
I liked the Giddens pick at #30 and liked the trade for Bill Walker even better. Even though they are stacked at the 2 & 3 with Pierce & Allen, Boston is aging quickly and will benefit greatly from these two young, athletic wings.

Atlanta: B
Atlanta didn't do anything on draft night, and it was the right move. The last thing they need is to get younger.

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