Miami Heat: F
Picks: Justin Hamilton (45)
With their fingers freshly fitted for rings, the Heat could have rolled the dice on Perry Jones III with the 27th pick. If they wanted another ballhandler behind Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole, Marquis Teague was right there. Or they could have gone big, snagging either Arnett Moultrie or shot-blocking specialist Festus Ezeli. Instead, they made a cost-cutting move by trading the 27th pick to Philadelphia for a future first-rounder and the rights to Hamilton, a 7-footer who really had only one good year out of three at Louisiana State.
Milwaukee Bucks: A-minus
Picks: John Henson (14), Doron Lamb (42)
Ersan Ilyasova will leave a lot of offensive boards behind if he leaves via free agency, and Henson will be more than happy to pick up the slack. At the very least, the North Carolina product will block shots and rebound at least as well as Amir Johnson, his comparable floor. Henson’s Achilles heel comes at the stripe, where he is below 50 percent for his career. Lamb is a heady player who can stretch the floor and run an offense. With Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis siphoning off shots in the backcourt, Lamb would be wise to get everyone involved if and when he sees playing time.
Minnesota Timberwolves: D
Picks: Robbie Hummel (58)
The Purdue forward has hit several injurious bumps in his road, but all Minny needs now is that shooting stroke to stay healthy and they will find a spot for him. The real move of David Kahn’s potential last draft was getting Chase Budinger from the Rockets for the 18th pick. While the Timberwolves could use some outside shooting, Budinger might not be any real upgrade over Wes Johnson or Martell Webster, the swingmen who roamed the Target Center last season.
New Orleans Hornets: A-plus
Picks: Anthony Davis (1), Austin Rivers (10), Darius Miller (46)
Last year, coach Monty Williams yanked the Hornets’ defense out of the cellar. This year, GM Dell Demps has drafted the finest defensive specimen we’ve seen in the college ranks in over a decade. Even if Davis never averages more than the 14.3 points he put up in his lone season at Kentucky, he will be a star in this league and an instant force around the rim. And no, Eric Gordon’s presence in NOLA doesn’t make Austin Rivers redundant; if anything, Gordon’s incumbency at the shooting guard slot should allow Austin to hone his craft at the point, something Williams wouldn’t mind. Miller is a solid small forward and a Kentucky teammate of Davis’. Familiarity is always a plus.
New York Knicks: B-minus
Picks: Kostas Papanikolaou (48)
The Greek forward lives on the baseline and slashes toward the basket – usually without the ball – to do his damage. Of the nine international players drafted, Papanikloaou is best prepared to put on an NBA uniform tomorrow and have an impact with substantial playing time. In Europe, he has defended both forward positions with encouraging results, but he is still figuring out the most effective ways to create his offense.
Oklahoma City Thunder: A
Picks: Perry Jones III (28)
Red flags and all that nonsense don’t matter too much when you’ve just reached the NBA Finals and have an opportunity to select a guy who would have been a top-five pick last season. I would say “Sam Presti’s done it again!” but I’m afraid this one was just too easy.
Orlando Magic: C
Picks: Andrew Nicholson (19), Kyle O’Quinn (49)
With Ryan Anderson and Dwight Howard possibly on the way out, the Magic are going to need some help down low. Even if one or both stay, this year’s frontcourt could use some depth. St. Bonaventure’s Nicholson is immensely talented, while O’Quinn out of smallish Norfolk State is … immense. Neither are studs; at least Nicholson should prove useful.
Philadelphia 76ers: B
Picks: Moe Harkless (15), Arnett Moultrie (27)
Harkless was extremely busy as a freshman, playing more than 35 minutes a night for a discombobulated St. John’s team whose coach, Steve Lavin, missed a majority of the year due to health problems. Instability and all, Harkless emerged as a star-caliber player who could kill you a half-dozen different ways from either forward slot. Moultrie came over in a deal with the Heat. The Mississippi State big man’s defense and activity in the paint will be a welcome tempo switch from the effective yet increasingly slothful Elton Brand.
Phoenix Suns: A-minus
Picks: Kendall Marshall (13)
Phoenix cannot go into this summer expecting Steve Nash to re-sign. And whether he does or not, the Suns will eventually need a point guard, so they went and got the best one remaining. Three cheers for conviction.
Portland Trail Blazers: A
Picks: Damian Lillard (6), Meyers Leonard (11), Will Barton (40)
Lillard is why I put the word “remaining” in Marshall’s write-up. He might not be the pure passer that Marshall is, but Lillard has a super handle and his stroke is up there with John Jenkins as the best in this draft. After the Raymond Felton disaster, Portland needs a point guard who can push the pace and shoot a decent percentage. Leonard is an athletic big man whose defense should complement LaMarcus Aldridge if he learns how to muster consistent effort. And why Barton was not a sure-fire first-rounder is completely inexplicable. The small forward from Memphis improved every facet of his game between a sturdy freshman season and a spectacular sophomore run.
San Antonio Spurs: C
Picks: Marcus Denmon (59)
Missouri to San Antonio seems like it would be a smooth transition for Denmon, and something tells me the Spurs plan on using him. However, it was strange to see R.C. Buford turn toward the college ranks when funny-looking international names were flying all over the place in the 50s.
Sacramento Kings: A-plus
Picks: Thomas Robinson (5)
When Kings fans saw Dion Waiters strolling to the stage with Cavaliers gear on his head, their hearts must have stopped. A team with pieces in place but no room for additional projects, Sacramento did not want to resort to taking Andre Drummond or stocking the wings with more shoot-first guards. Instead, the second-best player in this draft trickled to the Kings. He will pair perfectly with DeMarcus Cousins, especially if T-Rob can start icing those 12-foot jumpers on a more regular basis.
Toronto Raptors: C-plus
Picks: Terrence Ross (8), Quincy Acy (37), Tomislav Zubcic (56)
With Rivers and even Marshall dangling on the board, the Raptors opted for shooting and scoring on the wing over point guard help as they approach the last season of Jose Calderon’s contract. Ross hit 37 percent of his 3-pointers as a sophomore at Washington and used his 6-6 length and leaping ability to pull down 6.4 rebounds per game. Acy leaves Baylor with a reputation for two things: his dunks and his beard. Those high- percentage shots will help him gain coach Dwane Casey’s favor; the beard will keep him warm on those Ontario nights. Zubcic is a Croatian forward who can do a little bit of everything but never really does what you want when you want it. You won’t see him next year.
Utah Jazz: C
Picks: Kevin Murphy (47)
The 6-6 shooting guard out of Tennessee Tech dropped 50 on Southern Illinois and averaged 20.6 points for the season, which is impressive in any Division I conference, and the Ohio Valley is no exception. With a slew of bigs that all 29 other teams should envy, Tyrone Corbin could certainly use another perimeter scorer. Again, Iona’s Scott Machado would have made a lot of sense in a backcourt that tries to pass off Devin Harris as a starting point guard.
Washington Wizards: B
Picks: Bradley Beal (3), Tomas Satoransky (32)
After a month of being compared to Ray Allen – you know, the greatest shooter of our generation? It’s been a silly month – Beal’s ego must have used up the last couple rungs on its ladder when teams like the Thunder and Spurs were rumored to be jockeying for a shot at the Florida guard just days and even hours before the draft. With seemingly every team but the Hornets in the mix, the top of the draft stood still and the Wizards – who had openly coveted Beal and his Shuttlesworthian stroke – ended up with their man. What irks me most about the comparison to Allen is that it draws attention from one of Beal’s more lovable attributes: his rebounding. Measuring at just under 6-5, Beal pulled down double-digit boards seven times at a freshman and averaged 6.7 for the season. And he does have a lovely release on his jumper. As for Satoransky, don’t buy the hype about this 6-7 point guard. He has a chance to play in this league if he can start knocking down open jumpers and attacking the rim more often off pick-and-rolls, but nothing I saw this year in Spain leads me to believe he’s ready to do that. If and when he does come over, it will be as a shooting guard. Having Jan Vesely around (both from the Czech Republic, same agent) will make for a softer landing. Washington should have drafted some of the shot-blocking they lost it lost wehn it dealt JaVale McGee.