2011 NBA Draft Grades & Analysis - Part 1

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The 2011 NBA Draft has come and gone and its time to take a look back at what each team did, give them a nice little grade to go with it, and try and make sense of some of these moves.  These grades are based solely on the players chose and where they were chosen.  Trades for existing pros were not factored in.  For those wanting to see what I thought of David Kahn this year, sorry, you will have to wait until tomorrow.  But for now, here is Part 1, and upon further review, things weren’t as bad as they seemed the other night.

Atlanta Hawks GradeB

 

1st Round – None

2nd Round – Keith Benson, PF, Oakland(#48)

 

Analysis – Benson won’t be the added size the team really needs to help Al Horford or Zaza Pachulia inside, but he does have an interesting skill-set for his size, and the pace at which he improved at Oakland is testament to the hard work he puts in.  He should be able to contribute a few minutes off the bench early-on, but he will need to bulk up to have a longer term impact.

 

Boston Celtics GradeB+

 

1st Round – JaJuan Johnson, PF, Purdue (#27)

2nd Round – E’Twaun Moore, G, Purdue (#55)

 

Analysis – Boston did very well here, picking up two players, both are proven winners and 4-year guys, who should be able to contribute immediately to a veteran playoff team.   Johnson will provide some much needed length and athleticism on the inside, and though not particularly strong, he knows how to defend the post well.
Moore is a smart guard, can play either backcourt position, and won’t make many mistakes.  While he won’t be a long-term solution in the backcourt, he can be a valuable role player.

 

Charlotte Bobcats GradeB+

 

1st Round – Bismack Biyombo, PF, Congo (#7); Kemba Walker, PG, UConn (#9)

2nd Round – None

 

Analysis – I’m sorry, but I am not convinced on a handful of games in Spain and 1 game in the US against high-schoolers that Biyombo was worth the hype or the #7 pick.  The good news is, that even if he isn’t as a good as everyone seems to believe, he should still help the Bobcats on the defensive end – he is extremely long and athletic, and has good defensive instincts.  However, he is so far away on the offensive end, that unless the Bobcats add some more scoring, the difference Biyombo could make on the defensive end is negated.


Walker was a great pickup at #9 for
Charlotte, he can score, he can run the offense and he can get the ball moving.  Yes, there are concerns about his size, but anyone who watched his title run with UConn this past season knows how tough he is.

Chicago Bulls GradeB+

 

1st Round – Nikola Mirotic, SF, Serbia (#23); Jimmy Butler, SF, Marquette (#30)

2nd Round – None

 

Analysis – Mirotic is athletic and can score in a variety of ways, but it may be a few years before we see him in the NBA, if at all.  If he does make it over here in a decent time-frame, this could be a great pick for the Bulls at #23.


Butler is a great addition to the NBA’s most winning team last season, which returns almost all of its key contributors. 
Butler can defend multiple positions, will not be out-worked and also has developed a nice mid-range jumper.

 

Cleveland Cavaliers GradeA-

 

1st Round – Kyrie Irving, PG, Duke (#1); Tristan Thompson, F, Texas (#4)

2nd Round – Milam Macvan, PF, Serbia (#54)

 

Analysis – In my mind, Irving was a no-brainer at #1.  A do-everything guard who is far from reaching his potential, Irving is also the “face of the franchise” that a rebuilding Cavs team will need as it recovers from the Lebron James departure.  Irving will have the ability to learn from Baron Davis, and I versatile enough that they can even spend time on the court together.

 

I think once Kanter went off the board at #3, waiting a year for Valanciunas was not an option.  Enter Tristan Thompson, another 19 year old still coming into his own as a player.  Thompson is a freakish rebounder and a still-developing offensive game. He just needs to hit his free throws and he can eventually be a solid 2nd or 3rd option on offense.

 

Dallas Mavericks GradeInc.

 

1st Round – None

2nd Round – None

 

Analysis – With no pressing needs late in the first round, the new NBA champion Mavericks gave up their pick and came away with POrtland guard Rudy Fernandez, a decent player, who just never seemed happy with his role.  Add him to the other young guards in the system – JJ Barea, Rodrique Beaubois, Dominique Jones, and the eventual retirement of Jason Kidd should not sting as bad.

 

Denver Nuggets GradeB

 

1st Round – Kenneth Faried, PF, Morehead St. (#22), Jordan Hamilton (#26)

2nd Round – Chukwudiebere Madubaum, PF, Bakersfield Jam (DLeague) (#56)

 

Analysis – Faried is a high-energy guy who will provide much-needed defense and rebounding off the bench for Denver.  I think though that he is as good as he will ever be, and would be surprised if he plays significant minutes.  Hamilton could end up being a steal at #26, though with him basically filling the same role as Danilo Gallinari, how long until Hamilton becomes disgruntled waiting for his turn?  And no, I will not give Madubaum’s selection more than this little space – really?

Detroit Pistons GradeA-

 

1st Round – Brandon Knight, PG, Kentucky (#8)

2nd Round – Kyle Singler, SF, Duke (#33); Vernon Macklin, PF, Florida (#52)

 

Analysis – Knight can be seen as a steal at #8 for a lot of reasons.  Yes, Rip Hamilton, Rodney Stuckey, Ben Gordon and others are already here, but the presence of Knight will allow Joe Dumars to start to look long-term with the team again.  Knight is a very good scorer but will need time to develop as a strong point guard, but he should have time with this group.

 

Singler is a winner, there is no better word to describe him.  While there is no particular skill that makes him shine, it is all of the little things he does to help him team win that make him so valuable.  It doesn’t mean he can’t score, he can, but his toughness is what will make him a valuable NBA role player.  Macklin to me is a quality pick this late in the draft.  Incredibly strong, Macklin isn’t afraid to get in there and throw his body around to grab some rebounds and play some defense.

 

Golden State Warriors GradeA-

 

1st Round – Klay Thompson, SG, Washington State (#11)

2nd Round – Jeremy Tyler, C, Tokyo Apache (#39); Charles Jenkins, PG, Hofstra (#44)

 

Analysis – Love the Thompson pick, an instant third scoring option in the backcourt to go along with Steph Curry and Monta Ellis.  While not the most physically skilled guy, Thompson knows how to find ways to score and he sees the court very well.  Should be able to make an impact almost immediately next season.

 

What else is there to say about Tyler, great physical ability, but no one knows if he will ever mature mentally.  It may be worth the risk in the 2nd round though.  Jenkins will provide firepower off the bench for the Warriors and was a vastly underrated defender in college.  Should be able to provide minutes at either guard position.

 

Houston Rockets GradeB

 

1st Round – Marcus Morris, F, Kansas (#14); Donatas Motiejunas, SF, Lithuania (#20)

2nd Round – Chandler Parsons, SF, Florida (#38)

 

Analysis – I think getting Morris at #14 is great value, if they already didn’t draft a better version of him last year in Patrick Patterson.  Still, Morris is a solid pick up who should provide toughness and some scoring off the bench for the Rockets, plus he can spell minutes at either forward position.  Motiejunas, again was a solid pick at #20, but with the current roster, where is he going to get time to show what he can do.

 

Like the pick of Parsons at #38, a solid all-around player with a great basketball IQ.  But again, where does he fit on a roster full of similar players.

 

Indiana Pacers GradeInc.

 

1st Round – None

2nd Round – None

 

Analysis – The Pacers opted out of the draft by trading their pick to acquire George Hill from San Antonio, and Hill is probably a better fit at a pressing-need for a team that gave the Bulls a tough run in the 1st round of the playoffs.

 

Los Angeles Clippers GradeB-

 

1st Round – None

2nd Round – Trey Thompkins, PF, Georgia (#37); Travis Leslie, SG, Georgia (#47)

 

Analysis – This grade would probably be much lower if I factored in that a deadline deal with Cleveland for Mo Williams turned into the #1 pick and Kyrie Irving.  But, we are just judging this on who was taken, and the results still aren’t great.  Thompkins showed a lot of promise during his first two years at Georgia, but seemed to lose a step and some focus this past season.  If he can get back on track, this can be a decent pick, as he can add some toughness and scoring ability around the rim off the bench.  Travis Leslie can dunk and is a freak athlete, but really adds little of value.

 

Los Angeles Lakers GradeB

 

1st Round – None

2nd Round – Darius Morris, PG, Michigan (#41); Andrew Goudelock, G, Charleston (#46); Ater Majok, C, UConn (#58)

 

Analysis –Morris could turn out to be a long-term steal at #41. A big point guard with excellent vision and the ability to control an offense, Morris probably needed another year of college to tighten up his jumper.  Also, I’m not convinced he will be able to guard NBA level point guards, at least not for a few years.  Goudelock is a steal at #46, and should get minutes off the bench as a shooter who can stretch defenses for the Lakers.  Still waiting to hear that Majok pick was a practical joke.

 

Memphis Grizzlies Grade: B+

 

1st Round – None

2nd Round – Josh Selby, SG, Kansas (#49)

 

Analysis – This is the kind of pick that can eventually turn into a much higher-grade.  We all know Selby has talent, but the mess of a season at Kansas paired with the way he handled draft preparations, left a bad taste in a lot of teams’ mouths.  If he plays to his abilities, Selby can be an excellent scorer off the ball, though he also needs to learn how to be patient and not try to force things.  Also, it is going to take him some time to learn to play defense in a way that could give him serious court minutes.  But this was the 49th pick, so you can’t fault the Grizzlies for taking a chance.

 

Miami Heat GradeA-

 

1st Round – Norris Cole, PG, Cleveland State (#28)

2nd Round – None

 

Analysis – The Heat have 2 serious deficiencies, point guard and center, and may have just filled one with this late first round pick.  Cole is a very good scorer and distributor, plays better than average defense, and certainly plays much bigger than his listed 6’2.  An excellent leader, I can see Cole being able to step in right away and play on the same side as Lebron & Co.  He could become a much better shooter – he preferred to get into the lane – but how much scoring will he be asked to do?  Solid pick and could be one of the missing pieces to the puzzle.

 

Make sure to come back for Part 2 tomorrow, including everyone’s favorite target – the Minnesota Timberwolves.

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