NBA sixth man of the year
Join Date: Jul 2010
Re: Chad Ford's Draft Grades [Need an ESPN Insider please]
DALLAS MAVERICKS GRADE: A-
Round 1: None.
Round 2: None.
Analysis: The Mavs dropped out of the draft by trading their pick, Jordan Hamilton, to the Nuggets. But they picked up a young player in Rudy Fernandez who can come in and help them right now. Fernandez has talent -- proven talent -- and likely will outperform anyone else who would've been available at 26.
In the second round, Dallas also traded away the rights to Targuy Ngombo to the Blazers. I don't know how they're going to be able to sleep at night over that decision.
DENVER NUGGETS GRADE: B
Round 1: Kenneth Faried (22), Jordan Hamilton (26, obtained from Dallas)
Round 2: Chukwudiebere Maduabum (56, obtained from L.A. Lakers)
Analysis: The Nuggets had a busy night. Not only did they trade Raymond Felton for Andre Miller, but they ended up with three draft picks.
I won't factor the Felton/Miller trade into their draft grade. (I'll let John Hollinger pick that one apart.) But I love Kenneth Faried. He has great energy and can really rebound the basketball. Faried probably won't be a star -- he may not even be a starter. But given his relentless enthusiasm for playing defense, it's hard to see how he doesn't stick in the league.
Jordan Hamilton is a bit harder to fathom. I like the value. But on a team with Danilo Gallinari and most likely Wilson Chandler, a restricted free agent this summer, I'm not sure how he ever gets into the game. As for Chukwudiebere Maduabum ... he's a big-time project.
DETROIT PISTONS GRADE: A-
Round 1: Brandon Knight (8)
Round 2: Kyle Singler (33, obtained from Toronto), Vernon Macklin (52)
Analysis: Brandon Knight wasn't the Pistons' biggest need, but he was the best talent on the board when the Pistons selected and GM Joe Dumars didn't hesitate to take him. I applaud that. Dumars can figure out how to fit Knight into a somewhat crowded backcourt, and teams typically fare better when they don't worry about fit and take the best player on the board. Knight isn't a sure thing, but he's a hardworking, unselfish player with all the tools to be great if he puts it together.
I'm not in love with the Singler pick, but I also can't argue definitively that there was a better prospect for the Pistons to take at No. 33. You can't teach toughness and Singler has loads of it. If he ever becomes a consistent shooter, he could be a threat.
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS GRADE: B
Round 1: Klay Thompson (11)
Round 2: Jeremy Tyler (39, obtained from Charlotte), Charles Jenkins (44, obtained from Phoenix via Chicago)
Analysis: Warriors adviser Jerry West became enamored with Klay Thompson early, and I can see the appeal. The Washington State guard is big, shoots the ball well and has some great basketball DNA from his father Mychal, the No. 1 pick in the 1978 draft and a 12-year NBA veteran.
But there were still players like Kawhi Leonard and Alec Burks on the board at No. 11 that I think have much higher ceilings. The Warriors went safe, but safe doesn't get you an "A" grade.
I did really like their second-round selection of Charles Jenkins, who can be a major scoring threat off the bench. Their other second-rounder, Jeremy Tyler, has lottery size and talent ... but is he mature enough to handle the rigors of the NBA? He's going to be a project.
HOUSTON ROCKETS GRADE: C+
Round 1: Marcus Morris (14), Donatas Motiejunas (20, obtained from Minnesota from Memphis via Utah).
Round 2: Chandler Parsons (38, obtained from LA Clippers)
Analysis: At some point, I'm going to learn that the harder I grade the Rockets, the more I get burned.
Marcus Morris is solid at No. 14, but they passed on Kawhi Leonard to get him. I think the pick also implies (given the Rockets' current personnel) that they're projecting Morris as a 3. I'm not so sure that's a good idea.
Donatas Motiejunas has potential as a big-time scorer, but with all the forwards already in Houston, he looks to be hopelessly buried.
Chandler Parsons is one of the most intriguing players in the draft. If he ever lives up to his potential, he's a great pick in the second round. But after four years of not doing it at Florida, I'm not at all confident he'll do it at the NBA level.
INDIANA PACERS GRADE: B+
Round 1: None.
Round 2: None.
Analysis: I'm torn on this one.
On one hand, I really like that the Pacers opted out of the draft. They need help now, and trading for hometown hero George Hill could be considered a coup. The Pacers, along with a number of teams, have tried to pry Hill away for years. His versatility, toughness and playoff experience on a veteran roster all help accelerate the Pacers' rebuilding project. He can step in immediately and give them something they need: a guard who can create his own shot and defend.
On the other hand, Kawhi Leonard (who the Pacers drafted at No. 15 and traded for Hill) was one of my favorite players in the draft. I thought the Pacers were going back to 2005, when Danny Granger fell into their laps. But there's a time and place for everything, and the Pacers have plenty of young talent already. They're ready to win and Hill helps them in that quest.
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS GRADE: C-
Round 1: None.
Round 2: Trey Thompkins (37, obtained from Detroit), Travis Leslie (47, obtained from Houston)
Analysis: If the Clippers had sat on their hands at the February trade deadline, we'd be talking about how Kyrie Irving was the final piece of the puzzle for a young Clippers team.
Instead, they traded their first-round pick to Cleveland, Mo Williams is their point guard and the Clippers have Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie, two teammates from Georgia who've underperformed for the past two years. Both have talent appropriate for the second round, but I still can't help but think that the Clippers would've been better off with Irving and Baron Davis in L.A. instead of Irving and Davis in Cleveland.
LOS ANGELES LAKERS GRADE: C+
Round 1: None
Round 2: Darius Morris (41, obtained from Golden State via New Jersey), Andrew Goudelock (46, obtained from New York), Ater Majok (58, obtained from Miami).
Analysis: The Lakers had a solid draft. Darius Morris has real talent as a pure point guard. If coach Mike Brown can get him to defend his position and improve his jumper, we could remember him as a draft night steal down the road. Goudelock can shoot the basketball with deep range, but he's very undersized. Majok barely deserves a mention.
MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES GRADE: A-
Round 1: None.
Round 2: Josh Selby (49)
Analysis: I have no idea whether Josh Selby will pan out. But at No. 49, the Grizzlies drafted a player with lottery talent.
A medical red flag concerning a swollen knee and a skipped MRI were partly to blame for Selby's drop. But teams were more worried about his character and his poor season at Kansas. Still, when you watch his game film from college or watch him work out, you see that he has the potential to be special.
That late in the draft, the Grizzlies risked nothing and had everything to gain -- and maybe Selby follows in the footsteps of other young, talented second-rounders like Monta Ellis, Lou Williams and Gilbert Arenas. Selby may never get it together, but he was worth a shot here.
MIAMI HEAT GRADE: A-
Round 1: Norris Cole (28, obtained from Bulls)
Round 2: None.
Analysis: There was value late in the first round and the Heat were aggressive in getting it. Cole was ranked in the early 20s on my board. If he had played at a school like Duke instead of Cleveland State, he'd probably have been 10 to 15 spots higher on the board.
Point guard was a need and, frankly, I think Cole could end up being a significant upgrade over Mario Chalmers down the road.