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- What Would Einstein Say About the Raptors Trading for Rudy Gay?
- Seeing Through Colangelo's Reality Distortion Field (Part 1)
- Can The Raptors Contend Without Tanking?
- The Case Against Signing Steve Nash
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Posted on June 29, 2012 | 14 Comments
THE PERSONAL TRAGEDY EDITION
Was it just me or did more players in the lottery have more personal tragedies that usual. I almost teared up when Thomas Robinson started crying. In fact, I don’t think I have seen so many players emotionally overwhelmed as I did this year. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Thomas Robinson and Andre Drummond had very heartfelt and touching reactions to being drafted. It was actually nice to see.
And I have to say I was absolutely shocked to see (as I write this) no major deals going down. I kept waiting for them to happen and nothing did. I’m still not convinced that’s going to be it. Something GOT TO happen, doesn’t it?
A quick explanation of the grades. As usual, I’ve taken a cue from my kid’s report cards eschewing letter grades which I’ve always found a little arbitrary. The grades are based on not just the quality of the player picked, but on where they were picked, their fit on the team and who else was available. Basically, I’m grading the GM and whether or not he did a good job.
Anyway, without further ado here are the grades…
TORONTO: Needs Improvement
8. Terrence Ross
37. Quincy Acy
I like Ross. I said so in my last couple of posts. He was one of my safe picks and sleepers, as well as a guy I wanted the Raptors to go after should they pick up a second first rounder. That’s why I have mixed feelings about the pick. I think he’s going to be a good player. He’s an excellent shooter, a good defender and a safe pick. The problem is, as I’ve said, ad nauseum, the last thing the Raptors needed was a safe pick.
The fact that Andre Drummond was available and the Raptors didn’t select him is disappointing. And the fact of the matter is that Jeremy Lamb would probably have been a better pick, with more upside. Ironically, I now think the Raptors could have done better if they had traded down with Houston and grabbed who they did, Lamb and Royce White.
The Raptors had a chance to pick up one of the guys I had on my watch list for a second first rounder with their second round pick. Quincy Miller was a high reward player who, at 37, was a low risk pick. Instead they chose another Quincy from Baylor, Quincy Acy, an undersized power forward who doesn’t have very good defensive skills and is a mediocre rebounder, but he does hustle. It was a startlingly perplexing pick. Not only was Quincy Miller available, but so was Will Barton, Tyshawn Taylor, Darius Miller and Deron Lamb, who all were better options.
The most disappointing thing about the Raptors in this draft, however, was their inability to move up. I seriously think Toronto had the pieces to move up to either 2 or 3 (both of which, apparently, were in play), but have a feeling Colangelo didn’t feel it was worth parting with any of his main assets (Bargnani, Davis or DeRozan) and wouldn’t take back a bad contract (Tyrus Thomas, Andray Blatche) in order to do it. I think he made a huge mistake. The Raptors desperately needed a player like Bradley Beal or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and instead settled for a good, but unspectacular player in Ross.
After this draft, unless a deal is made, then I’m officially on the fire-Colangelo bandwagon. He needed to hit a home run to prevent the Raptors from getting on the mediocrity treadmill, and he didn’t even try. In basketball terms, Colangelo needed to hit a three to tie with just seconds left and, instead, he passed up an open three and drove to the hoop for a layup. He got two points, but he lost the game.
Now, keep in mind, I was one of the few who loved last year’s pick immediately and even felt I had to defend my position on him, so it’s not as if I’ve had a history of bashing Colangelo’s draft picks. In fact, the only draft pick of his I haven’t applauded was Bargnani. So my disapproval of this draft, I think, should not be taken lightly.
Houston: Exceeds Expectations
12. Jeremy Lamb
16. Royce White
18. Terrence Jones
I’ve been a critic of Houston GM, Daryl Morey, on many occasions and never understand why he’s had such a high standing among fans. Well, he hit it out of the park, this time. He was able to draft three guys with the potential, at least, to be lottery picks, but without a pick above 12. Lamb was talked about as a top 5 pick at one point late in the season and I’m not exactly sure why his stock fell as far as it did. I think he’s certainly got questions, but he’s also got a ton of talent.
White as one of my sleepers and is a unique talent. He’s a guy you can run the offense through and he’ll make his teammates better. If he and Jones can play together, they could have drafted 3 starters. All three of these guys could end on the All Rookie first or second team, if they get enough minutes.
Oklahoma City: Exceeds Expectations
29. Perry Jones
And the rich get richer. Jones would have been a top 10 pick last year, and free fell to 29th. While he underwhelmed this season, that’s mostly because of expectations. The guy has the talent and physical tools to be an excellent player. And now he’s going into a situation that will allow him to succeed.
Jones dropping to then is unbelievably fortuitous. Oklahoma’s biggest weakness is lack of inside scoring and while Jones is no Jared Sullinger, he’s a tall, athletic big man who can score inside and out. If you’re going to free fall in the draft, you couldn’t ask to be put into a better situation.
Boston: Exceeds Expectations
21. Jared Sullinger
22. Fab Melo
51. Kris Joseph
With an aging frontline that struggled to replace Kendrick Perkins, Boston desperately needed to reload and did so by grabbing two guys who should compliment each other well. Sullinger, as long as his back allows, should make teams regret passing on him after having similar circumstances at DeJuan Blair did a few years ago.
Melo has the physical skills and should, at the very least, be a good defensive center.
Joseph is a Canadian who never lived up to his potential.
Golden State: Exceeds Expectations
7. Harrison Barnes
30. Festus Ezeli
35. Draymond Green
52. Ognjen Kuzmic
Wow do they have a horseshoe up their proverbial ass. First, they win the coinflip with Toronto that allows them to keep the pick rather than having it conveyed to Utah in a prior deal (the pick was top 7 protected). Then Barnes, who at one point was projected as a top 3 player, and most recently was still a top 5 pick, drops to 7 where they snatch him up. Now, while I question Barnes’ upside, he definitely got talent and should have a long, prosperous career. And while’s he probably not the best fit for the Warriors (they already have good shooters who aren’t great defensive players), you don’t look a gift-horse in the mouth when being given a present.
Ezeli was a guy who I followed a little mostly because I loved his name. He’s also got some game, being a center with impressive physical tools. He’s a good pick.
Green is a perfect example of a pretty good college player who really has little chance of making it in the NBA. He’s a too small PF that can’t defend any position.
I know absolutely nothing about Kuzmic except he’s obviously not from around here.
Detroit: Exceeds Expectations
9. Andre Drummond
39. Khris Middleton
44. Kim English
I don’t think Detroit could have done better with their 9th pick. Drummond has as much potential as anyone in the draft, and even if he doesn’t fulfill it, will be a very athletic 7 footer who can rebound and play defense. And he’s the perfect guy to play beside Greg Munroe, who is more offensive minded. They now have, potentially, one of the best frontcourts in the NBA in a few years.
Detroit passed on better players who have a much better chance of sticking than Middleton, but English, while undersized for the SG position and without great athleticism, is a very good 3 point shooter who could find a niche.
With the addition of Drummond, Detroit is really starting to build a nice team. They still lack a true star, but they’ve done extremely well without having a top 5 pick.
Phoenix: Exceeds Expectations
13. Kendall Marshall
While Phoenix did hit a home run, Marshall is a very good pick who is the perfect replacement for Steve Nash, should he leave. He was on my list of sleepers and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him end up being on of the top ten players from this draft.
Orlando: Exceeds Expectations
19. Andrew Nicholson
49. Kyle O’Quinn
At 19, Orlando not only got a guy who should immediately help the team, he’s a perfect guy to play alongside Dwight Howard, should he stay, and a good replacement for Ryan Anderson, should he leave. Nicholson is the type of guy who is a good, if unspectacular, player who falls farther than he should because he lacks upside.
O’Quinn was expected to go a little higher, but at 49, you really have no expectations he’s going to do anything, anyway.
Washington: Meets Expectations
3. Bradley Beal
10. Tomas Satoransky
Beal is the perfect player for the Wizards. Up until now, the Wizards have been awful at surrounding John Wall with the right players. Guys like Jan Vesley and Chris Singleton are athletes, sure, but neither can hit a jumpshot, which you’d think would be a requirement to play with a guy like Wall. With Beal, they get an all around good shooting guard who will benefit from Wall and visa-versa.
Satoransky is a big PG who I know nothing about. They could have selected some guys who will probably end up being better players, but since I know nothing about Satoransky, it’s hard for me to say one way or the other.
Sacramento: Meets Expectations
5. Thomas Robinson
36. Orlando Johnson
Traded Johnson to Indiana for cash considerations.
Robinson is a good pick for Sacramento, and he and DeMarcus Cousins have the potential to be a great front line. Robinson probably won’t ever be an All Star, but playing beside Cousins he won’t need to be to help Sacramento. More importantly, he’s a good character guy who doesn’t need the ball, and the Kings need more guys like that.
Johnson was traded for cash, which is never a good thing, but most second round picks don’t work out.
Charlotte: Meets Expectations
2. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
31. Jeffery Taylor
Picking Kidd-Gilchrist was the first surprise, since most thought either Robinson or Beal would be picked second. That said, I had a feeling that Michael Jordan would want Kidd-Gilchrist, a guy cut from the same cloth. Kidd-Gilchrist will never be the scorer that Jordan was, but his competitive spirit and drive will be contagious. With he and Byombo, the Bobcats have the makings of a very good defensive team. What he doesn’t have, and what Charlotte needs, is shooting and scoring. Beal might have been a better fit, but I doubt they’ll ever regret making this pick.
Taylor was expected to be picked in the first round, so getting him in the second is great for Charlotte. Rich Cho has two good drafts in a row.
Philadelphia: Meets Expectations
15. Moe Harkness
27. Arnett Moultrie
Philadelphia got two very good athletes who they might have to wait on a little. Harkness might one day end up being one of the ten best selected in the draft, but he’ll need time and help to develop. Moultrie fell farther than expected, but probably for good reason. He’s a big man who struggles with consistency and on the defensive end.
Memphis: Meets Expectations
25. Tony Wroten
I’m not a big fan of Wroten, but I think he could carve out a niche for himself as a 3rd guard in the league. Perry Jones might have made more sense, but it’s not a bad pick.
Atlanta: Meets Expectations
23. John Jenkins
43. Mike Scott
Jenkins is an excellent outside shooter who should be a decent role player. Scott was probably not the best player available.
Lakers: Meets Expectations
55. Darius Johnson-Odom
60. Robert Sacre
Yay! A Canadian!
And at least the Lakers have an Odom, again. Maybe one of the Kardashians can marry him.
Chicago: Meets Expectations
29. Marquis Teague
Teague struggled to find his role at Kentucky, but helped then in their title run with a couple of big games. With Rose out for much of next season, they desperately need a PG to fill in and keep them in the playoff hunt. It’s a hell of a lot to ask a 29th pick, though. He’ll certainly get a better chance to succeed than most 29th picks.
Utah: Meets Expectations
47. Kevin Murphy
With only one late-ish second round pick, Utah picked a guy who has a chance to stick around. You can’t ask for more than that.
Minnesota: Meets Expectations
58. Robbie Hummel
He’s the third last pick and his name is Robbie. What more do you want me to say?
New Orleans: Approaching Expectations
1. Anthony Davis
10. Austin Rivers
46. Darius Miller
Yes, they draftEd Davis, but that was a no brainer and you knew that was coming. The Rivers selection, though, doesn’t make sense to be. And not just because I’m not a fan of his game. Unless he’s insurance in case Eric Gordon leaves, Rivers isn’t a PG, so playing them together doesn’t seem viable to me.
To me, the obvious pick would have been Kendall Marshall, a pass first PG who would have been a perfect guy to play with Davis and Gordon and run their offense. And with Davis behind him, his defense would not be as much of a problem.
Miller should be a nice role player who already knows how to play with Davis. I always felt he should have been rated higher.
Cleveland: Approaching Expectations
4. Dion Waiters
17. Tyler Zeller
I still can’t believe Waiters went from a mid-first round pick to #4 based solely on workouts. I’ve never understood how much weight workouts seem to have. I’ve already talked about why am not a fan of Waiters. Of course, I wouldn’t be surprised if I was wrong about him, but if I’m not, then this is the second year in a row they’ve made a major misstep by taking a flier on a guy who no one expected to go that high, and bypassing better players to do it.
While I think they made a mistake drafting Waiters so high, they were able to trade up in the draft with Dallas to select Zeller, utilizing some of their second round picks to do it. I give them high marks for this. For some reason, Zeller is a guy I’ve constantly overlooked, even forgetting to include him on my list of Safe Picks. He’s a good, solid 7 footer who should make a good, solid pairing with Tristan Thompson.
Portland: Approaching Expectations
6. Damian Lillard
11. Meyers Leonard
40. Will Barton
41. Tyshawn Taylor
Traded Taylor to Brooklyn for cash.
Lillard was another guy who moved up after the college season ended, so it shouldn’t be a surprise I’m not a big fan of the pick. Making matters worse, for me, is that he’s a PG who scores far better than he distributes. It was just four years ago that Portland acquired another shoot first PG and that didn’t work out very well then. With Drummond available, he would have been a good guy to move on from the whole Greg Oden thing. And the perfect guy to pair with LaMarcus Aldridge.
Leonard has a chance to be a good center. He’s got the physical tools to be a dominant defensive center. Of course that doesn’t mean he’s going to be, but Portland might not be questioned about passing on Drummond if Meyers pans out.
Barton had great advanced stats and was a very good pick and Taylor, who would also have been a good pick had they kept him, was sold for cash.
Milwaukee: Approaching Expectations
14. John Henson
42. Deron Lamb
The day before the draft, the Bucks traded some useless players and their 12th pick for Samuel Dalembert and the 14th pick. They missed out on Jeremy Lamb, who would have been a bit of a steal at 12, but drafted Henson, who should be a good defensive player if he ever gains 20 pounds. The problem is the Bucks already have a young, athletic, too skinny shotblocking PF in Larry Sanders.
Lamb, while without a lot of upside, is a guy who I think will have a decent career. He’s a good shooter and role player.
San Antonio: Approaching Expectations
59. Marcus Denmon
For the first time in memory, San Antonio doesn’t get an Exceeds Expectations. Denmon is a SG with the size of a PG and doubt he catches on.
Indiana: Approaching Expectations
26. Miles Plumee
With their only draft pick, the Pacers selected an athletic 7 footer who can defender and rebound, but is raw offensively. Sound like another former Pacer who recently retired? Doubtful, though. Plumee will be 24 by the time the season starts and I would tend to stay away from raw 24 year olds.
Dallas: Needs Improvement
23. Jared Cunningham
33. Bernard James
34. Jae Crowder
The Mavericks traded down with Cleveland, which I’ve never been a fan of, and ended up downgrading in quality, quite frankly. at 17, where they were originally picking. There were several good players available at 17 that I think they’ll end up regretting they did not draft.
It’s not that I think they did a poor job of picking in the spots they did, but I’d much rather have one of Tyler Zeller, Andrew Nicholson, Terrence Jones or Jared Sullinger than all three guys they ended up selecting.
53. Felkin Aldemir
Not a clue who this guy is.
54. Tornike Shengelia
57. Ikan Karaman
Shocking! The Nets drafted two international players I’ve never heard of before.
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