2008 NBA Draft Report Card

2008 NBA Draft Report Card
Jun 28, 2008, 10:41 am
While it’s WAY too early to evaluate how well teams made out in this draft, we’ll attempt to take an early shot at grading the draft based on what we know now and what we heard and saw from covering the draft over the past few months.

This report card was based off three factors:

1) How well did the team in question satisfy their personnel needs or fill the gaps they have on their roster with the hand they were dealt.
2) How much value teams got from the picks they had.
3) Subjective opinions on the player they got and how well they fit with the team’s style of play, the direction they are headed and what we know about the organization.

Draft Grades Methodology:

A: The team probably could not have done any better considering the situation they were in.
B: The team did well in filling their needs, getting fair value from their pick and getting a prospect that fits their system and the direction the franchise is heading in.
C: The team had an average draft, not knocking anyone’s socks off, but also not embarrassing their fans.
D: The team should have done a better job with the picks they made.
F: The team did a terrible job and their fans have every reason to be mad about the picks they made or didn’t make.

Before you send a nasty email complaining about the grade your favorite team got, please read the methodology above. We’re well aware that most NBA Draft Report cards only hand out A’s and B’s to teams, so it does not make sense to compare our grades to anyone else's.

Chicago Bulls

Picks: Derrick Rose (#1), traded three second round picks for the rights to Omer Asik (#36)


The Bulls probably don’t deserve a great deal of credit for lucking their way into the #1 pick and then selecting one of the two best talents in the draft. They do deserve credit for the way they handled the process, though—keeping an open mind about both players throughout, doing an extensive analysis of each and not jumping to conclusions based off their overenthusiastic local media who anointed Rose as the pick as soon as the ping-pong balls dropped. There was plenty of reason to consider Beasley, but at the end of the day John Paxson decided to minimize his risks and go with the guy he trusted more, even though Chicago was, according to NBA team sources, leaning towards Beasley as late as the first week of June. Only time will tell if that was the right move—your guess is as good as ours at this point.

In the second round, the Bulls picked up the player we called “one of the biggest steals of the draft” in the lead-up to tonight. Our enthusiasm for Asik was severely dampened once he decided to sign a 5-year contract with Fenerbahce that has no escape clause for the NBA, though. Making things even worse is the fact that Chicago needed to burn three second round picks (two of their own, and Denver’s 2009 second rounder) to get him, when he very well could have been had just three picks later with the 39th pick. They might not have gotten great value there, to say the least.

Miami Heat

Picks: Michael Beasley (#2), traded two future second round picks and cash considerations for rights to Mario Chalmers (#34), traded rights to Darnell Jackson (#52) for the lesser of Cleveland’s two second round picks in 2009.


Whether they wanted him or not, Miami ended up landing Michael Beasley, who many feel could emerge as the best player in this year’s draft. Beasley’s production at the collegiate level puts him in a class of his own looking at drafted big men over the last 10 years or so, and there is very little question that he will quickly emerge as a scoring machine and an absolute beast of a rebounder. That’s not what concerns Riley, though. Miami made every effort possible to get the best offers they could for this pick in the days leading up to this draft, but when it was all said and done, just couldn’t get enough value to actually make a move. Looking forward, Riley will likely end up feeling very fortunate that he decided to keep Beasley, and it’s now up to the player to prove that he can indeed live up to his potential.

In the second round, the Heat made a very aggressive move targeting Mario Chalmers, an exceptional defender and spot-up shooter who could very well prove to be a terrific compliment playing next to a dominant ball-handler like Dwyane Wade. Chalmers was never talented enough to be considered the lottery-caliber value point guard that some analysts pegged him as on draft night, but his weaknesses (shot-creating ability, natural playmaking instincts) are minimized in a system like this alongside Wade, as he’ll be able to execute Miami’s half-court offense well enough and still provide plenty with the things he does well. He could emerge as a Derek Fisher type in time, as his attitude fits what Riley is looking for to a T.

Wondering how highly NBA teams rated the depth of this draft? It cost Miami two second round picks and reportedly 1.5 million dollars to go out and secure Chalmers with the #34 overall pick.


Picks: Traded Marko Jaric, Antoine Walker, Greg Buckner and the draft rights to O.J. Mayo (#3) to Memphis for Mike Miller, Brian Cardinal, Jason Collins and the draft rights to Kevin Love (#5), Nikola Pekovic (#31), traded rights to Mario Chalmers (#34) to Miami for two future second-round picks and cash


You have to take your hat off for Kevin McHale for once. Not only did he go out and get the player he coveted the most in this draft—Kevin Love—he also managed to pick up a terrific player to compliment him in Mike Miller, while also unloading two nasty contracts (with three years remaining) in Greg Bucker and Marko Jaric. That might even qualify as a home-run in our book. Don’t look now, but Minnesota has firmly entrenched themselves to be huge players on the much anticipated 2010 free agent market, if they have the patience to continue to maintain their flexibility.

Throughout the draft process, we got the feeling like Minnesota’s staff was not enamored with Mayo as the third best talent in this draft, like he had been unanimously anointed by the mass media. Love was McHale’s guy, as we reported very early on back in May, and it was very shrewd of him to be able to get both him and everything else they acquired in this trade. Now we’ll have to wait and see what kind of player he turns out to be alongside Al Jefferson. The fact that Minnesota has not given up yet on Randy Foye is fairly significant too.

In the second round, the Timberwolves picked up a first-round caliber talent in Nikola Pekovic. It’s still up in the air whether or not he’ll ever play in the NBA, but if he does, he could immediately (literally) push for minutes off the bench.

Minnesota must not have felt like they had the roster spots to tack on another rookie with their other second round pick (#34), so they converted this into two future second rounders and a cool million and a half dollars. If Chalmers develops into a quality NBA backup, this might not look like such a smart move in time, especially considering how shallow Minnesota’s backcourt currently is.


Picks: Russell Westbrook (#4), Serge Ibaka (#24), traded Walter Sharpe (#32) and Trent Plaisted (#46) to Detroit for D.J. White (#29), DeVon Hardin (#50), traded rights to Sasha Kaun (#56) to Cleveland for cash.


Possibly more than any team in the league, Seattle’s adventure on Thursday is one that cannot really be properly evaluated for at least 2-3 years. Russell Westbrook is a player that may or may not prove to be worthy of starting at either backcourt position in the NBA, and taking him fourth was definitely a surprise looking at some of the other players that were on the board here. Is Westbrook enough of a playmaker to be a starting NBA point guard in time? And if not, is he big enough, and a good enough ball-handler, outside shooter and all-around scorer to start at the 2? He can surely defend well enough at either position, but considering that he might need a very particular type of lead-guard alongside him—was he worthy of being drafted fourth overall? On first glance the answer to that seems to be no, but Sam Presti might know something that we don’t…

At 24, there is no question that Serge Ibaka had the physical tools and all-around upside to warrant being selected this high. The question is—will he ever play in the NBA? Ibaka currently has offers on the table that may not allow him the financial flexibility needed under the NBA’s rookie scale to justify paying his buyout along with the money he’ll be leaving on the table in Spain. His agents didn’t want him getting drafted in the first round—did Presti call their bluff? Or did he just blow a first round pick? Only time will tell.

Later on in the draft, Seattle definitely got great value, landing a prospect who has all the makings of a quality rotation player in D.J. White at 29 (in exchange for two second round picks), and then doing the same late in the second round by stopping the free-fall of DeVon Hardin, who surprisingly slipped this far. If Seattle can get anything out of this pick, this late in the draft, they’ve done absolutely well for themselves.

Memphis Grizzlies

Picks: Traded Mike Miller, Brian Cardinal, Jason Collins and rights to Kevin Love (#5) to Minnesota for Marko Jaric, Antoine Walker, Greg Buckner and rights to O.J. Mayo (#3); traded rights to Donte Greene (#28) and a 2009 second-round pick to Houston for Darrell Arthur (#27)


There didn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to anything Memphis was doing throughout this draft process (and over the last year, really), and that impression certainly continued as we learned how much they needed to give up to move up two spots in the draft to select Mayo. Minnesota may have ended up with the better talent in Mayo, but they hampered their financial flexibility for the future (the whole point of trading away Pau Gasol for nothing?) with the pair of three-year contracts they took off Minnesota’s hands, and also created a huge glut of players in their backcourt. Giving up on the extremely underrated Mike Miller on top of everything only made things that much worse. If we’re looking at value and the direction the franchise is heading in, there are certainly some eyebrows to be raised.

Later on in the first, Memphis was able to pick up the free-falling Darrell Arthur—a risk well worth taking at this part of the round. We were never quite on board with Arthur as the lottery caliber talent some were painting him out to be—due to the concerns we had with his intensity level, rebounding skills and fairly disappointing measurements, but at the 27th pick, you certainly can’t argue with taking him.

New York Knicks

Picks: Danilo Gallinari (#6)


This is just a very subjective opinion on how we feel about Gallinari more than anything really. He’s a great talent with terrific intangibles and should prove to be a very solid building block in the very long rebuilding process that New York needs to go through. This is a guy no team is ever going to be disappointed to have on their roster, and there is very little question that he is going to find a way to be successful, in some capacity at least. We thought they should give a stronger look at Jerryd Bayless than they did, but they obviously disagreed. The Knicks did not guarantee they would draft him at 6th by the way—but the Nets did according to members of Gallinari’s camp.

Los Angeles Clippers

Picks: Eric Gordon (#7); DeAndre Jordan (#35); traded 2009 second-round pick to Portland for rights to Mike Taylor (#55)


The Clippers had Eric Gordon pegged as “their guy” all throughout the draft process, as we wrote on numerous occasions. In fact, they almost traded a future first rounder to Seattle to move up to #4 to ensure that they got him. Somehow that deal fell through (luckily for the Clippers), and Gordon was still there at 7th overall. The big question here is, which Eric Gordon will they be getting—the one who thoroughly dominated college basketball at the beginning of the season, or the one that struggled mightily to finish off? The answer is likely somewhere in-between.

How good Gordon ends up being largely depends on what kind of guard the Clippers can find to place alongside him. He will be able to accelerate his learning curve significantly by seeing some minutes at the point guard position early on, but in the long run, having someone such as a healthy Shaun Livingston playing next to him would let him focus on what he does best—which is scoring. Until then, the jury is still out.

In the second round, the Clippers got great value and also managed to patch up some needs by securing solid potential backups at both point guard and center. The very athletic DeAndre Jordan—once projected as a top-10 pick, was shockingly available for them at 35, and then at 55, the Clippers identified yet another terrific athlete in Mike Taylor who they traded a future second round pick to Portland for. There are plenty of question marks about Taylor’s all-around profile, but there is surely enough in the ways of physical tools and talent to at least take a chance here. We like both choices, and think Jordan most certainly should have been a first rounder, if not a top 22 pick.

The Clippers just got a whole lot more athletic on draft night-- they could stack their draftees up against those of any other teams in a track meet and probably come out victorious.

Milwaukee Bucks

Picks: Joe Alexander (#8), Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (#37), also acquired Richard Jefferson in exchange for Yi Jianlian and Bobby Simmons


Ignoring their draft picks for a moment, you have to like what the Bucks did in packaging the equally disappointing Yi Jianlian and Bobby Simmons for one of the 10 best small forwards in the NBA in Richard Jefferson. Milwaukee went into this draft looking to get better at the small forward position, and they did exactly that, without giving up too much in return. Yi Jianlian never wanted to be here in the first place, and Bucks fans don’t really sound all that sad to see him go. Bobby Simmons might have been the most overpaid player in the NBA at his position considering what he’s given the Bucks since he signed his 5 year, 47 million dollar contract. That’s a very small price to pay to get an athlete of Jefferson’s caliber.

With Jefferson in the fold, we definitely feel better about seeing Milwaukee take a chance on Joe Alexander with the 8th overall pick. He was always going to have problems stepping up from day one and justifying being drafted that high considering his lack of polish, but with Jefferson on board and minutes to be had off the bench at the 3 and especially the 4, Alexander can develop at a more reasonable pace, instead of being thrown straight into the fire.

Mbah a Moute at 37 doesn’t seem to make much sense at all this high in the draft (this pick is eerily similar to taking David Noel at a similar spot a few years back), but former Detroit Pistons executive John Hammonds likely feels that he can bring them something in the ways of toughness and defense, which the Bucks are sorely lacking at.

Charlotte Bobcats

Picks: D.J. Augustin (#9), Alexis Ajinca (#20), Kyle Weaver (#38)


It was definitely surprising to see Charlotte pass up on Brook Lopez here once he fell right into their lap. They just drafted Raymond Felton fifth overall just a few years back, and now it looks like they might need to trade him and start the learning process all over again from the very start. Augustin is obviously more of a Larry Brown type point guard than Felton is, but you have to wonder just how much better the Bobcats got on draft night compared to where they already were. At some point you need to start winning ball games, and Charlotte seems to still be stuck in that dreaded spot (ala the Orlando Magic over the last few years) between just being mediocre enough to teeter between securing late lottery picks and losing in the first round of the playoffs, but not being quite bad enough to be able to shake themselves out of that vicious cycle. From what we understand, Augustin was Larry Brown’s pick all the way. We like him, but just wonder about him being taken at this spot.

With the 20th overall pick, Alexis Ajinca is the type of project you can afford to take a risk on at this point in the draft. He had a terrific workout in Charlotte, and also had the backing of international scouting director (and Nike Hoop Summit organizer) Rich Sheubrooks, who has studied him closely.

New Jersey Nets

Picks: Brook Lopez (#10), Ryan Anderson (#21), Chris Douglas-Roberts (#40), also traded Richard Jefferson for Yi Jianlian and Bobby Simmons


We probably need to separate between what happened before the draft and what happened after. Before the clock started ticking, the Nets cleared out a significant amount of cap space for the 2010 offseason by trading Richard Jefferson for what appears to be pennies on the dollar (Yi Jianlian and Bobby Simmons). It’s hard not to imagine that they could have landed a more attractive package had they waited until the trading deadline, but the Nets must think much more highly of Yi than others.

After the draft kicked off, the Nets were very fortunate to see the top center in the draft, Brook Lopez, slip to them at 10th. They obviously snatched him right up, and definitely got great value in doing so. At 21 they decided to select Ryan Anderson, a talented player who was rated lower on most teams’ boards, and who surely duplicates some of the things that Yi Jianlian already brings to the table. They might have been better off taking a chance on Donte Greene here, but one of the reasons he even fell here was due to the fact that he got into an argument with a member of their coaching staff in a private workout.

With the 40th pick they may have landed one of the biggest steals in the draft in Chris Douglas-Roberts. It’s not quite clear why he slipped so far, but the Nets may be able to get immediate production from him off the bench now that Jefferson is gone.

Indiana Pacers

Picks: Traded Jermaine O'Neal to Toronto for T.J. Ford, Rasho Nesterovic and the rights to Roy Hibbert (#17), traded Ike Diogu and the rights to Jerryd Bayless (#11) to Portland for Jarrett Jack, Josh McRoberts and the rights to Brandon Rush (#13)


With their backs against the wall, the Pacers managed to land a sweetheart deal by packaging Jermaine O’Neal to the Raptors for T.J. Ford (filling their void at point guard), Rasho Nesterovic (filling their void at center), and the 17th overall pick. This gave them the flexibility to target the best overall player on the board in the draft, and pick up a very nice asset in Jarrett Jack to put alongside two proven and polished college players -- Roy Hibbert and Brandon Rush. All in all, this was definitely a homerun draft for Indiana. They are a better team, with better character in the lockerroom, deeper off the bench, and also more flexible financially to go out and continue to add pieces in their rebuilding process.

The one thing we wonder about is whether Jerryd Bayless may develop into enough of a talent to make the Pacers regret trading him after he shockingly fell right into their lap at #11. Taking Hibbert over Kosta Koufos is another one we’ll have to wait and see on.

Sacramento Kings

Picks: Jason Thompson (#12), Sean Singletary (#42), Patrick Ewing Jr. (#43)


We understand the logic in taking a senior power forward like Jason Thompson at #12—he has the size, range and intangibles to be a nice piece next to Spencer Hawes—but you have to wonder if this wasn’t a reach considering some of the players that were on the board here. The Kings were likely disappointed to see the top two guards left in the late lottery off the board when Charlotte surprisingly selected D.J. Augustin 9th and then Indiana snatched up Jerryd Bayless 11th. Thompson had an excellent workout in Sacramento and could develop into a fine player, but he will definitely be under a lot of pressure to do so.

In the second round, the Kings continued to reach for players that many teams did not have ranked anywhere on their board.

Portland Trailblazers

Picks: Traded Jarrett Jack, Josh McRoberts and rights to Brandon Rush (#13) to Indiana for Ike Diogu and rights to Jerryd Bayless (#11), traded rights to Darrell Arthur (#27) and Joey Dorsey (#33) to Houston for rights to Nicolas Batum (#25); traded rights to Omer Asik (#36) to Chicago for three future second-round picks, traded rights to Mike Taylor (#55) to L.A. Clippers for 2009 second-round pick.


Kevin Pritchard and his terrific staff continue to run circles around every other front office in the NBA, going out and securing the top players on their draft board, at their biggest needs, while continuing to stock up on picks for the future.

Portland’s staff identified Jerryd Bayless as the best fit for their roster very early on in the season, as we discussed with the Oregonian here and here, and they were confident and aggressive enough (as usual) to go out and get him.

It makes perfect sense of course, as his biggest weakness (the fact that he’s not a true point guard) actually becomes a strength playing alongside Brandon Roy (who will do the majority of the ball-handling). Letting Bayless focus on what he does best—making shots and creating for himself and in turn for others—will absolutely bring out the best in him, very quickly even. He will defend point guards, while Roy will handle the shooting guards, and the two will just cross on offense. The Blazers had him ranked as the fourth best player in this draft—as did we—and being able to nab him with the 13th pick and Jarrett Jack was a huge coup that many NBA teams will regret letting the Blazers accomplish down the road.

Later on in the draft, the Blazers continued to wheel and deal, helping the Rockets foil the shrewd plans of the Spurs to steal Nicolas Batum by hiding his physical from the rest of the league. Portland liked Batum enough to give him strong consideration at #13—they scouted him possibly more than any other team in this draft reportedly—so to land him with a measly three million dollars and an early second round pick is quite an accomplishment.

To make sure they have enough toys to play with in next year’s draft Portland went out and secured four additional second rounders for their remaining picks, always getting great value in every trade they made.

Golden State

Picks: Anthony Randolph (#14), Richard Hendrix (#49)


Anthony Randolph definitely had the potential to warrant being picked at this spot, but the jury is out on whether it made any kind of sense to take him considering the style of offense Golden State likes to employ. Randolph’s inability to make shots from the perimeter, along with his often selfish style of play and lackadaisical attitude on defense and as a rebounder are all exactly the opposite of what Golden State needs at this point in time, which makes it difficult to imagine him being overly successful early on under Don Nelson. Considering his overall profile, that could spell trouble down the road for him. In fact, we said many of the same things about Brandan Wright (a player Randolph somewhat resembles) exactly a year ago, but were a bit higher on his ability to score inside. We will see what direction Golden State heads in over the next few years and whether they’ll find a coach that can make use of the players their GM is drafting. Right now, the two definitely don’t seem to be on the same page, which might be the biggest concern.

At 49, the Warriors did extremely well for themselves by drafting one of the players we pegged as possibly being one of the steals of this draft in Richard Hendrix. Hendrix fell quite a bit on draft night due to a knee problem that was discovered during the Orlando pre-draft camp. Thus, the parallels with Carlos Boozer continue, as he not only put up very similar numbers in college, but also was red-flagged for the exact same reason (according to one NBA team we talked to at least). We see Hendrix as more of a Paul Millsap type at the next level, and this is actually exactly what Golden State needs considering the type of players they currently have on their roster.

Phoenix Suns

Picks: Robin Lopez (#15), traded rights to Malik Hairston (#48), a future second-round pick and cash considerations to San Antonio in exchange for draft rights to Goran Dragic (#45)


The Suns certainly telegraphed the fact that they’ll be taking Robin Lopez very early on. He has the potential to be a solid backup, which, considering his size and energy level, makes him a reasonable pick at 15. The Suns will of course hope he can develop into a bit more.

What is surprising, though, is the way they handled themselves in the second round. In order to move up three measly spots from 48 to 45, the Suns traded a good player (Malik Hairston), a future second rounder, AND cash. We realize that the Suns are serious about getting tougher and better defensively (Dragic fits the bill there), but we’re not talking about a sure-fire NBA player by any stretch, and there aren’t even any guarantees that he will want to leave Tau Vitoria for whatever the Suns offer him. We always talk about value, value, value…the Suns did not get a lot of it here.

Philadelphia 76ers

Picks: Marreese Speights (#16)


Value? Maybe. Need? Check. Subjective opinion? Check back with us in a few years. On talent, Speights is certainly a lottery pick, but beyond that, he’s simply not. Drafting him this close to the lottery might be a slight reach, but only if Speights doesn’t wise up, mature, and show that he has the internal motivation needed to prove his doubters wrong. The other players the Sixers were reportedly considering—Darrell Arthur and DeAndre Jordan, were no sure things either.

Washington Wizards

Picks: JaVale McGee (#18)


At 18 there certainly isn’t as much to lose as there would be if he went in the top 10 like some prognostications anticipated earlier on in the process, but still, it’s hard not to feel like there weren’t better players on the board here. Again, this will come down more to McGee’s internal motivation to improve more than any arguments about his talent. If he does pan out, this could be an incredible steal for the Wizards. But that’s a big IF.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Picks: J.J. Hickson (#19), traded future second-round pick to Miami for rights to Darnell Jackson (#52), traded cash considerations to Seattle for rights to Sasha Kaun (#56)


This probably isn’t the move that makes LeBron James fall back in love with Cleveland, but it’s also not a pick that can be judged for at least 2-3 years. It seems like there were better players to be had here that could have filled Cleveland’s needs quicker, but this is risky territory we’re getting into trying to predict the improvement or lack of that a 19-year old college freshman will make in the NBA.

Darnell Jackson seems to duplicate a lot of what Cleveland already has on its roster, and if he can’t make it out of camp, the Cavs would have burned two second round picks on nothing.

Orlando Magic

Picks: Courtney Lee (#22)


You won’t find us arguing with this pick, as the Magic got good value, filled a definite need, and also landed one of our favorite wing players in this draft. Stan Van Gundy will actually like Lee, and it’s not difficult to envision him getting playing time as a rookie even. They definitely telegraphed this move in the weeks leading up to draft night, but ended up getting their man regardless. Lee brings them outside shooting, passing skills, defensive ability on the wing, and an excellent all-around feel for the game. The biggest question mark now is—what will they do with J.J. Redick?

Utah Jazz

Picks: Kosta Koufos (#23), Ante Tomic (#44), Tadija Dragicevic (#53)


The Jazz came into this draft looking for a backup for Mehmet Okur, and came away with a player that appears to be his carbon clone. He could have gone as high as 11th to Indiana, most certainly filled a need at the center position, and appears to have significant upside to continue to improve as well. Anytime you can get a 7-1 center with a 7-5 wingspan and an incredibly high skill level, you do it, particularly when that player is just 19 years old. Koufos could end up being one of the steals of this draft at this point. The only concern is whether he will actually sign with Utah, or will he prefer to take one of the substantially more lucrative offers he has waiting for him in Greece…

In the second round, the Jazz got a player at 44 they were considering at 23, in Ante Tomic. There are serious question marks about whether he’ll ever come play in the States, but if he does, he could end up making Kevin O’Connor look very smart, particularly if he continues to add weight.

Houston Rockets

Picks: Traded rights to Nicolas Batum (#25) to Portland for rights to Darrell Arthur (#27) and Joey Dorsey (#33); traded rights to Arthur to Memphis for rights to Donte Greene (#28) and 2009 second-round pick, Maarty Leunen (#54)


There isn’t much not to like here with what Houston did on draft night considering their limited resources. First, they busted up the plans of division rivals San Antonio Spurs by selecting Nicolas Batum (the player they had promised and tried to hide from the rest of the NBA). They likely did not win many fans over a few hours down I-10 with that move, but ended up coming away as winners by picking up Donte Greene, Joey Dorsey, and a 2009 second round pick out of that lone #25 pick. That’s what we call value…particularly Greene, who could have gone 15 spots higher had he not behaved poorly in a workout with the New Jersey Nets (something that reportedly spread quickly around the league). Morey likely loves Dorsey and Leunen’s numbers—their college production is impossible to argue with, even if it seems strange to add a 4th and 5th power forward to the mix now.

San Antonio Spurs

Picks: George Hill (#26); traded rights to Goran Dragic (#45) to Phoenix for rights to Malik Hairston (#48), a future second-round pick and cash considerations, James Gist (#57)


San Antonio was very likely blindsided after being caught by the Rockets with their hand in the cookie jar trying to steal Nicolas Batum from the rest of the league, so much that they seem to have reached for George Hill, who they almost certainly could have had in the early second round. Hill’s numbers are off the charts and he did play extremely well at the Orlando pre-draft camp, but learning how to play the point guard position is not going to be the easiest task in the world for him.

In the second round, the Spurs took Phoenix to the cleaners simply for the price of moving up three spots in the draft. They landed the better player in the deal (Malik Hairston), picked up a future second round pick, and even managed to swindle some cash out of the Suns in the process. A very nice transaction all in all. Hairston has a great chance to make this team and may develop into a contributor down the road if he can improve his perimeter defense skills.

James Gist was someone that a number of teams seemingly had fairly high on their draft boards, but for some reason slipped all the way to the end of the second round. Nothing about his profile really jumps out at you, but he does have the athleticism to hang around for a little while.

Detroit Pistons

Picks: Traded rights to D.J. White (#29) to Seattle for rights to Walter Sharpe (#32) and Trent Plaisted (#46), Deron Washington (#59)


Even though the Pistons really didn’t have a whole lot to work with here, it’s hard to come away overly impressed with what they did on draft night. They traded their first round pick for the rights to Walter Sharpe (a big talent with major red flags) and Trent Plaisted, who will join Deron Washington in Europe next season while the Pistons wait for them to develop. Were there better players to be had? Only time will tell.

Boston Celtics

Picks: J.R. Giddens (#30), traded cash considerations to Washington for draft rights to Bill Walker (#47)


Giddens makes a lot of sense here, as he surely has the talent and athleticism to warrant being drafted this high, granted he realizes how blessed he was to get a second opportunity. Playing alongside warriors like Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, Giddens should fall right in line. He needed the security of a two year contract to give him a cushion until he’s truly ready to contribute anything more than spot-defensive minutes, so it will be interesting to see how well he takes advantage of this opportunity.

Bill Walker slipped deep into the second round due to concerns regarding his knee. He has a good deal of talent, but doesn’t look very close to being able to contribute at this point in time. It will be interesting to see if the Celtics hold on to him for long enough to see whether he was worth the cash they gave the Wizards for his rights. They are reportedly shopping him overseas at the moment, trying to get him to play in Europe next season and then try and make their team next year.

Toronto Raptors

Picks: Traded T.J. Ford, Rasho Nesterovic and the rights to Roy Hibbert (#17) to Indiana in exchange for Jermaine O'Neal and the rights to Nathan Jawai (#41)


This doesn’t look like a very good trade for Toronto on paper at all. Jermaine O’Neal is not only extremely injury prone and incredibly overpaid for the next two seasons, he also seems to duplicate Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani with his preference to play on the perimeter and often settle for low-percentage jump-shots. You have to think they could have gotten more for this seemingly extremely valuable package they gave Indiana.

At #41, the Toronto Raptors picked an interesting project in Australian Nathan Jawai. The big man is nowhere near ready to play in the NBA considering his limited skill-level, poor conditioning and near non-existent experience, but he does have some upside to develop if his work ethic is better than advertised. Either way, it was worth the gamble at 41. His agent mysteriously refused to let him work out for teams drafting outside of the first round, which helps explain why he slipped to here.

Dallas Mavericks

Picks: Shan Foster (#51)


The Mavericks didn’t have a lot to work with here, but certainly made the best of it, taking a player who could emerge as a steal for them if they show the willingness to develop him. Foster might be the best shooter in this year’s draft. With his size at 6-6, terrific 6-11 wingspan and uncanny ability to make shots at a prolific rate and extremely high percentage, it’s surprising he didn’t get drafted much earlier.

Los Angeles Lakers

Picks: Joe Crawford (#58)


Crawford may or may not make it out of training camp, but it’s hard to argue with drafting anyone this late when it was their only pick.

Denver Nuggets

Picks: Traded a 2009 second rounder for rights to Sonny Weems (#39)


The Nuggets selected arguably the best athlete in this draft, Sonny Weems, early in the second round. Weems doesn’t have the willingness or knowledge of to use that athleticism to his benefit at this point, but if he can figure that out over the next few years, he could develop into a solid rotation player. He has more upside than almost anyone drafted in the second round, that’s for sure.

Atlanta Hawks

Picks: None


No picks means no grade, but Rick Sund surely didn’t impress anyone by already making his first mistake—not showing any serious interest in finally bringing over former draftee David Andersen, who could have been a very nice compliment to Al Horford, and would have contributed more to the team than any player drafted outside of the lottery this season. The Australian center took less money than he made last season to go to Barcelona, and the Hawks yet again blow a chance to strengthen their roster. Some things never change.

New Orleans Hornets

Picks: None (traded #27 pick to Portland for cash)


Operating in a small market such as New Orleans, the Hornets need to make every penny count. They decided to sit this one out and will probably use the money they saved to sign someone for the veteran minimum. Considering the success rates of players drafted this late in the first round, it’s hard to criticize that strategy too much.

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