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2007 NBA Draft Grades

Sat, 06/30/2007 - 2:26am
This year's draft grades may seem a little higher than usual, but overall teams did an excellent job of addressing need, and with 54 of 60 of the players projected on the mock draft taken, we can't have too many complaints, especially with the second round picks. This was an abnormally predictable second round compared to most years.


Atlanta
Draft Grade
Additions Comments



B+


Al Horford 6-10 244 PF Florida Jr.

Acie Law 6-3 186 PG Texas A&M Sr.


The Hawks made a smart decision going big with Horford instead of reaching on Conley. Conley might turn into a great point guard someday, but the margin for error is much greater than with a proven bigman like Horford who still has alot of upside. At 11, Atlanta grabbed the most NBA ready point guard in the draft. Law is not a true point guard but should make for a clutch player and have an instant impact. GM Billy Knight compared him to Mark Jackson, and though Law isn't nearly the passer that Jackon was, he's a headstrong leader with great size. With a number of promising forwards (Smith and Williams) yet to realize their full potential, taking an upside pick like Yi or B.Wright made less sense for them. Law may never erase the bad feelings of the Hawks missing on both Deron Williams and Chris Paul, but he can be solid. The team made a big step in the right direction addressing the PF and PG positions. Overall a strong effort on draft night for the Hawks.

Boston
Draft Grade
Additions Comments
F


Ray Allen
Gabe Pruitt 6-4 170 PG USC Jr.
Glen Davis 6-8 280 PF LSU Jr.

The Celtics are quickly becoming the laughing stock of the NBA. Danny Ainge should have been fired long ago, and this team should be run by a GM with the job security to build for the future. Just as he did a year ago, Ainge traded away a top 7 pick, which could have been another building block for the future (Jeff Green, Yi Jianlian, and Brandan Wright were all available). When a GM is in the position where they make moves to save their job so they can win now, they should be fired before going any further. That is, unless the team's overall goal is to fill seats and make money instead of winning championships. As great a player as Ray Allen is, he can make a good team great, but he can't make a bad team great, and the Celtics are too far away to mortgage the future on a 31 year old SG. The decision to go young but hold onto Paul Pierce never made sense, and now they have mortgaged two drafts on winning now, when they are still too far away. 30 year old GM Sam Presti and Seattle fleeced Boston on draft night.
Charlotte
Draft Grade
Additions Comments
D



Jason Richardson
22. Jared Dudley 6-7 225 SF Boston Col. Sr.
36. Jermareo Davidson 6-10 220 PF Ala. Sr. 
 
The Bobcats don't have nearly enough young talent to trade potential away for veterans. This is a core that is not even lose to competing for a championship, so while trading for Jason Richardson (with 4 years and 48 million left on his deal) will make them better in the short term, holding onto Brandan Wright would have given them much more long term promise. The trade also allowed the Warriors to pick up a 10 million trade exception with the Bobcats not sending any big salaries back in the deal. The quick fix, win now strategy seems to be focused around the Bobcats making the playoffs, which for some fans might be enough, but winning a title takes a more patient approach. There does not appear to be any long term plan in place. Jared Dudley was a bit of a reach at 22, but should provide a Brian Cardinal type of toughness and hustle player. Davidson showed great heart playing through the family tragedy (losing both his brother and girlfriend in unrelated incidents within a week of each other), he's a sharp shooting 4, but will likely struggle with the strength of NBA post players.
Chicago
Draft Grade
Additions Comments
B


9. Joakim Noah 6-11 230 PF Florida Jr.
49. Aaron Gray 7-1 280 C Pittsburgh Sr.
51. JamesOn Curry 6-3 171 SG Okla.St. Jr.
 
Noah is a solid pick at 9 for them as they bolstered their front court with additional inside defense. They also did a great job of not overspending in a trade for Kevin Garnett. They have a lot of talent to offer, but would be wise not to break it up too much in order to get the 31 year old vet. KG would be a tremendous addition for Chicago, but only at the right price. Noah is a glue type player, and with scorers in place such as Ben Gordon and Kirk Hinrich, Noah can focus on what he does well: passing, rebounding and defense. The Bulls second round picks were solid as Aaron Gray is a legit 7-1 who gives great effort and could turn into a solid back up center, and JamesOn Curry a shooter who could make the team as an instant offense guy.
Cleveland
Draft Grade
Additions Comments

I

The Cavs made it to the finals but had no draft additions this year after trading away their first rounder to Boston back in 2005 for Jiri Welsch.
Dallas
Draft Grade
Additions Comments

B



34. Nick Fazekas 6-11 240 PF Nevada Sr. 
44. Reyshawn Terry 6-7 232 SF UNC Sr.
50. Renaldas Seibutis 6-6 180 SG Lith. 1985
  60.

Nick Fazekas is a tremendous half court player, who struggles in transition, but if he proves he can run with NBA athletes could turn into an excellent pick. Renaldas Seibutis could turn into a nice pick for them with his hustle and overall feel for the game. With their inability to defend dribble penetration, picking up Reyshawn Terry was a great move. Terry was an underachiever in his senior season at UNC. He lacks a great motor, but has all the physical characteristics to be a successful NBA player, especially defensively. However, for a team coming off such a disasterous first round loss to the Warriors, they addressed their defensive weakness with Terry, but should have made another defensive minded pick as well.

Denver
Draft Grade
Additions Comments

I
No Picks
The Nuggets first rounder went to Philly in the Iverson deal. With no picks, the Nuggets will look to address their needs for an outside shooter in free agency. Steve Blake may be on the move so they are shopping Najera and Evans for a point guard.
Detroit
Draft Grade
Additions Comments

B+


15. Rodney Stuckey 6-5 207 SG E. Wash. So.
27. Arron Afflalo 6-5 215 SG UCLA Jr.
57. Sammy Mejia 6-6 200 PG/SG DePaul Sr. 
Rodney Stuckey could turn out to be a great pick for them at 15. Although, Marco Belinelli was available, so it will be interesting to see which of the two ends up better. This is a team known for grabbing Europeans, but after getting burned taking Darko over Melo, they may have gotten cold feet on taking another Euro. Arron Afflalo should become a solid 2G for them. He's in a great situation playing behind Rip Hamilton and can ease into the shooting guard position over time. Second rounder Sammy Mejia is long and versatile but will have an uphill battle to make it in the league with limited foot speed.
Golden State
Draft Grade
Additions Comments




A+





8. Brandan Wright 6-10 200 PF UNC Fr.
18. Marco Belinelli 6-6 200 SG Italy 1986

46. Stephane Lasme 6-8 225 PF Mass Sr.

Chris Mullin has mysteriously gone from a cruddy NBA decision maker to one of the best since hiring coach Don Nelson. Mullin was on the hotseat going into last season after his spending sprees giving way too much money to Foyle, Fisher, Dunleavy, Murphy and even Richardson. The brilliance of Nelson has completely turned this team around as only Foyle remains from the bad salary group and the team has become much younger and more talented. the Warriors 18th pick of Marco Belinelli who was one of my personal favorites going into the draft gives them a great shooter and passer who fits into Nelson's system perfectly. Their second rounder Lasme is a Rodman type of rebounder/athlete who could trun into an excellent role player. Along with Wright, the Warriors acquired the Bobcats 10 million dollar trade exception (for being an expansion team), which makes the Warriors a big player in this year's free agent market as they can go after a big name.
Houston
Draft Grade
Additions Comments

A-



26. Aaron Brooks 6-0 160 PG Oregon Sr.
31. Carl Landry 6-9 235 PF Purdue Sr. 
54. Brad Newley 6-6 198 SG Australia 1985

The Rockets PG position received a big boost with the addition of speed merchant Aaron Brooks. Brooks is on the small/light side, but could turn into a steal at 26 as he's incredibly gutsy and clutch. Houston is in need of a PF, but without many options at the position, the Rockets made a smart choice going with the Oregon PG. Houston addressed their power forward trading a future second rounder and cash for Carl Landry. Landry was a player we were high on all season, and should turn out to be an excellent selection at 31. He could even compete for the starting PF position in Houston. Brad Newly impressed scouts with his athleticism and toughness in Orlando, and has the added value of staying overseas for a few seasons while the Rockets hold onto his rights and watch him develop.
Indiana
Draft Grade
Additions Comments




B



39. Stanko Barac 7-1 220 C Bosnia 1986 

Coming off a disappointing season, the Pacers found themselves with no picks. Their pick went to Atlanta from the trade they made to re-acquire Al Harrington. Instead of standing pat, they gave up a 2009 second rounder for project European bigman Stanko Barac. Barac is a few years away from coming over but is a sharpshooter with size. He's not much of an athlete but filling out should help his ability to play inside. Jermaine O'Neal continues to be shopped around and may end up in New Jersey for Jefferson and Krstic.
LA Clippers
Draft Grade
Additions Comments


A-

14. Al Thornton 6-7 221 SF/PF Florida St. Sr.

45. Jared Jordan 6-2 190 PG Marist Sr.

The Clippers were smart to go with the best player available instead of reaching on an inexperienced point guard such as Javaris Crittenton. Al Thornton's a combo forward who at 23 years old should make an instant impact on the team. His offensive game has really improved as he shows the ability to create offense for himself. Jordan was the best passer in college basketball last year, and if he can make it athletically in the league, he'll make a solid back up PG.

LA Lakers
Draft Grade
Additions Comments

B-



19. Javaris Crittenton 6-4 194 PG G.Tech Fr.
40. Sun Yue 6-9 205 SG China 1985
 
48. Marc Gasol 7-0 270 C Spain 1985   
With a disenfranchised franchise player, Mitch Kupchek is struggling to put a championship level team around him. This year's pick should have been a chip in a deal to land a star to put next to Kobe. Unfortunately, the choice went into a young PG who won't be a true factor until Kobe's prime is nearing it's end. Crittenton was a solid value pick at 19, but after taking a point guard last year and going young again, the choice is questionable. International prospects Sun Yue and Marc Gasol are both projects as well, so the Lakers will not receive much of an upgrade from their team last year through the draft. Gasol has great size and could turn into a solid pro over time. Sun needs to improve defensively and get stronger, but has great vision and a good feel for setting up teammates.
Memphis
Draft Grade
Additions Comments

B-

4. Mike Conley 6-1 175 PG Ohio St. Fr.
Coming off an injury to their franchise player Pau Gasol and the worst record in the league, came the news that Jerry West was stepping down as GM. Their new GM Chris Wallace is best remembered for passing on Gilbert Arenas and Tony Parker 3 times in the 2002 draft in favor for Kedrick Brown, Joe Johnson and Joseph Forte as GM in Boston. Johnson was hastily traded for Rodney Rogers. The Griz had a real need at point guard, but taking Conley at 4 was a bit of a reach with other more talented prospects on the board such as (Yi, B. Wright and J Green). Conley should be a solid pro at worst due to his unbelievable quickness but he may take some time to get there, and still has a lot of question marks including an inconsistent jumpshot, plus the fact that so few point guards have made a successful jump to the league with less that 2 years of college experience.
Miami
Draft Grade
Additions Comments

B

21. Daequan Cook 6-5 210 SG Ohio St. Fr.
Indiana 2009 Second Round Pick 
The Heat took an excellent prospect in Daequan Cook who may be able to come in and produce pretty quickly, but a more NBA ready 2G such as Morris Almond makes more sense for a team still in contention for an NBA title. Cook is a tremendous athlete, who plays with a swagger, but needs to mature and respond better to coaching than he did in college. The Heat have a short window to win another championship, but with a talent like Cook there, they can't be blamed too much for grabbing him, and he may develop quicker than expected. But with players such as Morris almond still avalable, the heat should have looked for a more NBA ready prospect.
Milwaukee
Draft Grade
Additions Comments

A-

6. Yi Jianlian 7-0 242 PF China 1984

56. Ramon Sessions 6-3 190 PG Nevada Jr. 
The fact that Yi's camp made every attempt to stop the Bucks from selecting him could be a problem for them. As far as Yi was concerned, this was the worst possible outcome in a small market, lacking a Chinese population. But Yi should accept his fate and play out his contract in Milwaukee and then explore options to play in a city where he can market himself better. As far as Milwaukee is concerned, Yi has a chance to be a great player, and fits into the Bucks team well as a scorer alongside Bogut. Ramon Sessions made a terrible decision to enter the draft. He had a real shot at being a first rounder next year, and a senior year running the team at Nevada would have done wonders for his career. Now he has an uphill battle to make it in the league.
Minnesota
Draft Grade
Additions Comments




C


7. Corey Brewer 6-8 185 SF Florida Jr.
41. Chris Richard 6-8 255 PF Florida Sr.

Brewer makes sense along with Garnett to a degree. The problem is KG is quickly hitting the end of his prime (4 straight seasons in which his PER dropped) and while Brewer can eventually be a nice piece, he isn't enough to put them over the top. The 2-3 year plan just doesn't jive with KG winning a championship in Minnesota. His time is now, and that time needs to be with another team. It's hard to argue against the fact that KG hasn't chosen money over going for rings when it was his choice to re-up with Minnesota for more money instead of exploring other options that could have put him with better players. But for everything KG has done for McHale (essentially extending his GM tenure for 10 plus seasons, and never asking to be traded), McHale owes it to KG to send him somewhere that he can win a championship. The T-Wolves should have closed a deal with KG before this draft and added a few young players. Adding Chris Richard with their second round pick was solid, but they can't expect much help from him outside of rebounding off the bench as a 9-12 guy. The move Danny Ainge pulled off on draft night makes more sense for the T-Wolves as pairing KG and Ray Allen would have been interesting.
New Jersey
Draft Grade
Additions Comments
B+


17. Sean Williams 6-10 235 PF BC Jr.
For a team with so much talent on the perimeter (assuming they resign Vince Carter), gambling on Sean Williams at 17 was a smart move as the reward outweighs the risk. Williams remains the player in this year's draft most likely to crash his car while self serving ala Eddie Griffin, but in a draft devoid of athletic bigmen outside of the top pick, Williams has the upside to warrant the selection. Williams should give them instant help defensively as a bigtime shot blocker plus he has offensive potential for the future. Now if they can move Jefferson and Krstic for Jermaine O'Neal and light a fire under his butt, they will have a contender.
New Orleans
Draft Grade
Additions Comments

B+


13. Julian Wright 6-8 211 SF Kansas So.
43. Adam Haluska 6-5 210 SG Iowa Sr.
  
Nick Young fit into the team's needs better, but strictly on a talent standpoint, they selected the best player available. J. Wright won't give them the scoring that Young would have and they still have a glaring hole to fill at the 2-guard position, but Wright can give the team a great role player that does everything besides score. Haluska can potentially make the team in a back up role.
New York
Draft Grade
Additions Comments

B+

23. Wilson Chandler 6-7 230 SF DePaul So.
53. Demetris Nichols 6-7 205 SF Syracuse Sr.
Zach Randolph
Fred Jones
Dan Dickau
The Knicks grade goes up due to the draft day deal they made to acquire Zach Randolph. This could go down as the best trade Isiah has ever made, and the Knicks have become a definite playoff level team. Randolph comes in with a lot of off court concerns, but after such a tremendous (all star level) season there's reason to believe he's matured and taking his career more seriously. There's no denying Chandler's physical gifts, but he's still unpolished offensively, and a major reach at 23. He's got the speed of an Italian sports car, but his motor is that of a rent-a-wreck. Playing along with other underachievers in NYC, with a guaranteed contract could be a recipe for disaster for him. Adding Nichols in the second round trade was a nice move. Without the Randolph trade the Knicks would receive a C.
Orlando
Draft Grade
Additions Comments
C


Milovan Rakovic 6-10 240 PF Serbia 1985
Without a first rounder, the Magic grabbed Rakovic who was an ox in the post in Treviso at the Eurocamp, and could turn into an excellent role player down the road.
Philadelphia
Draft Grade
Additions Comments


B-



12. Thaddeus Young 6-7 210 SF GT Fr.
20. Jason Smith 7-0 233 PF Colorado St. Jr.  
42. Derrick Byars 6-7 225 SG/SF Vand. Sr.  
55. Herbert Hill 6-10 240 PF Providence Sr.  

The Sixers had the right philosophy with this year's draft and got quality at their selections. Their move to get Jason Smith trading up one spot didn't make a whole lot of sense, since the player they traded away (Cook) had more upside, and especially since Miami was likely to take Cook anyway. The Sixers had an interesting decision between Julian Wright and Thaddeus Young. Young has more upside due to his ability to shoot, but Wright is the more NBA ready and sure bet of the two. Smith is going to take a few years and may always be the workout wonder type, but fits in great with a running team. Derrick Byars could end up being the steal of the draft at 42, as he's an NBA ready player with a great feel for the game. His lack of foot speed ultimately dropped him out of the first round where some scouts had him projected. The Sixers picked up his rights for cash from Portland. Herbert Hill was a solid late second rounder. He will fight for a roster spot in summer league and training camp.

Phoenix
Draft Grade
Additions Comments

B

Cash (for 24th pick)
29. Alando Tucker 6-5 210 SF Wisconsin Sr.
59. DJ Strawberry 6-5 201 SG Maryland Sr.
It's deja vu all over again with the Suns selling a first round draft choice. For a team so close to a championship, one would think saving a few extra million in luxury tax would be the last thing on their minds. The Suns picks were very solid, but their decision to trade their top pick away for cash has to be frustrating for Suns fans. This is a team that has given up draft picks that could have netted them Luol Deng, Marcus Williams (UConn), Sergio Rodriguez, and now Rudy Fernandez and Aaron Brooks, and the team is still in need of a back up PG.
Portland
Draft Grade
Additions Comments




A





1. Greg Oden 7-0 257 C Ohio St. Fr.
24. Rudy Fernandez 6-6 172 SG Spain 1985
30. Petteri Koponen 6-4 195 PG Fin.1988
37. Josh McRoberts 6-10 240 PF Duke So.
52.Taurean Green 6-0 177 PG Florida Jr.
Channing Frye
Steve Francis
New York 2008 Second Round Pick

Just like last year, it was a whirlwind of activity for GM Kevin Prichard and the Trailblazers. Adding Greg Oden was a no brainer, and puts the Blazers in the Championship picture from the year 2009 on. Oden is not only a tremendous talent on the court, but a wonderful kid off the court who the NBA can look to as a potential ambassador for the sport. Owner Paul Allen (the anit-Colangelo), told Prichard to buy some late first rounders if he felt there was talent to be had, and that's just what he did. He was able to grab two European guards (Fernandez and Koponen) who should provide rewards in the future. Fernandez is ready now, but the Blazers might actually prefer letting him stay in Spain for another season. Pairing him with his old running mate Sergio Rodriguez should be very interesting. Koponen is surely a few year's away, but has some promise as an NBA point guard. Credit Prichard for not doing something crazy like giving away Brandon Roy to get Oden's buddy Conley. McRoberts was a great acquisition at 37. He's certainly a player that will go down as a player that left at the wrong time, (some may say too early but in reality probably too late). However he's a talented kid who has played with Oden before (in AAU) and the two mesh well together. Green is a solid picks in the second round, (10 draft picks in 2 years, making this team's 15 man roster won't be easy). The Randolph deal didn't make much sense, unless the Blazers thought Randolph was such a clubhouse cancer that he would disrupt Oden's progression. Dealing for Frye didn't make much sense as the team already has the same player in LaMarcus Aldridge, and acquiring overpaid and chronically unhappy Steve Francis made even less sense. Dealing away Randolph is fine, but was that really the best deal they could get for him? Regardless landing Oden makes this the best draft of anyone's by a landslide.

Sacramento
Draft Grade
Additions Comments

B-

10. Spencer Hawes 7-0 244 C Wash. Fr.

The Kings have maybe the most underrated GM in the business in Geoff Petrie. With a team that's no longer close to contending, grabbing an upside pick like Hawes makes perfect sense. Hawes "God Bless George Bush" bumper sticker alone drops the Kings draft grade.
San Antonio
Draft Grade
Additions Comments



A-


28. Tiago Splitter 6-11 240 PF Brazil 1985

33. Marcus Williams 6-7 207 SG Arizona So.
Toronto 2008 Second Round Pick
The Spurs had a very solid draft grabbing Tiago Splitter (Luis Scola's teammate) at the end of the first round. The Spurs might as well make Tau their farm team. Splitter was severely overrated over the past few seasons, and while the buyout situation surely had an affect on his stock, he was never the lottery level talent that he was once made out to be. Marcus Williams is another player once erroneously projected in the lotto, he's a solid pick up in the early second round but may really struggle early with the speed and strength of NBA athletes.
Seattle
Draft Grade
Additions Comments

A+


2. Kevin Durant 6-10 215 SF Texas Fr.

5. Jeff Green 6-9 228 SF Georgetown Jr.


30 year old Sam Presti is off to a great start as GM, getting Durant with the 2nd pick and moving Ray Allen and the 35th pick for #5 Jeff Green, Wally Szczerbiak and Delonte West. Pairing Durant with Green was a masterful move as the skills of the two will mesh like peanut butter and jelly. Green is the consummate team player, who does everything besides score (not that he can't), and Durant figures to become one of the top scorers in the NBA game in time. With such a difference in age between Durant and Allen, this was a smart move, and it frees them up to resign Rashard Lewis and use the three together.
Toronto
Draft Grade
Additions Comments

A-

58. Giorgos Printezis 6-8 205 SF Greece 1985
BC and the Raps made an attempt to get Marco Belinelli but in the end they weren't willing to give up enough. Greek player Giorgos Printezis gives the team a nice player to stash overseas for 2-3 years and see what he can do.
Utah
Draft Grade
Additions Comments

B+


25. Morris Almond 6-6 214 SG Rice Sr.
38. Kyrylo Fesenko 7-0 240 PF/C Ukr. 1986
   
The Jazz picked up the sleeper of the draft last year nabbing Paul Millsap in the second round at the 47th pick. This year they may have grabbed the sleeper of the first round with their 25th selection of Morris Almond. Almond was the third leading scorer in the nation and shows the ability to score from outside equally well as midrange. Michael Redd was a similar college player, a great scorer but skinny and not overly athletic. The similarity was too much for the Jazz to allow him to fall into the second round, the way Redd did (taken 43rd in 2000). Fesenko is a nice upside pick at 38 who may never deliver on his promise, but could turn into a beast in a few seasons.
Washington
Draft Grade
Additions Comments

B+
 
16. Nick Young 6-6 206 SG USC Jr.
47. Dominic McGuire 6-8 210 SF Fres.St. Jr. 
Washington had a solid draft adding offensive fire power with their first selection. Nick Young has a polished offensive game and should be able to give them something right away. He's not great at dribble penetration but playing alongside Arenas should give him a lot of catch and shoot opportunities. Their second rounder Dominic McGuire adds athleticism to the wing and has potential. He's not highly skilled, but has great length and athleticism.
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