I know I have already asked for a couple of insider things this past month and that I do not have that many posts or points but I was wondering if someone would be kind enough to post Chad Ford's insider grades for last night's draft for me to view and Chad Ford's look ahead to 2013.
Draft grades: 30 team evaluations
Originally Published: June 30, 2012
By Chad Ford | ESPN.com
Every year I hand out grades just hours after the draft. As a college professor in my day job, the exercise really amounts to the equivalent of giving a student a final grade after the first day of class. There's so much we don't know about both the teams and how these players will fit with their respective teams. In other words, these grades are totally subjective and completely unfair. In truth, you can't grade a draft for at least two years.
So why do it? Because it gives us a great opportunity to get an instant reaction on the future of every team in the league. What I write today won't be the definitive word on this draft, but it's a great way to start the conversation.
Here's our take on how every team in the league did on Thursday night:
ATLANTA HAWKS | GRADE: C
Round 1: John Jenkins (23)
Round 2: Mike Scott (43)
Analysis: With just six players under contract for next season, the Hawks needed depth at every position. While they landed arguably the draft's best shooter and a power forward who put up big numbers in the ACC, I think they passed on players with much more upside than Jenkins.
In other words, they took the player ranked 36th on our Big Board at the 23rd pick. They reached for a need instead of the best player available. While I think both Jenkins and Scott will be solid NBA players, playing it safe only gets you a C.
BOSTON CELTICS | GRADE: B
Round 2: Kris Joseph (51)
Analysis: Danny Ainge has shown an uncanny ability to find good players later in the draft. He isn't always right (remember Marcus Banks or J.R. Giddens?), but he's had a number of terrific picks outside the lottery, including Rajon Rondo, Kendrick Perkins, Glen Davis, Tony Allen and Avery Bradley. I think he might have done it again this year.
Sullinger was ranked as a lottery pick on our Big Board the entire year. His upside might not be great, but he has a chance to be a wide body who can score in the paint and rebound. Melo is a legit shot-blocker and rebounder who, in time, might be a decent center at the next level.
I'm not a big fan of Joseph, but at No. 51, I'm not a big fan of anyone really. The grade can't be an A, however, because as Ainge acknowledged Thursday night, the Celtics aren't sure about Sullinger's back. If he requires back surgery right away, or if his condition is chronic, this could easily be a bust of a pick.
BROOKLYN NETS | GRADE: D+
Round 1: Tyshawn Taylor (41, from Mavs)
Analysis: The Nets traded what became the No. 6 pick to the Blazers for the right to overpay Gerald Wallace to the tune of around $40 million in July. Considering who was on the board, I'd rather have had Harrison Barnes at a fraction of the cost. I know the Nets are taking a win-now approach, but if they don't land Dwight Howard, Wallace is a liability.
I do like the Taylor pick. Although he's a terrible decision maker at times, he has the requisite NBA speed, length and defensive ability and should be a nice point guard off the bench. Karaman is a project, but I don't have a problem with taking international projects this late in the draft.
CHARLOTTE BOBCATS | GRADE: A-
Round 1: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (2)
Round 2: Jeffrey Taylor (31)
Analysis: Michael Jordan has a very shaky track record when it comes to the draft, but I thought the Bobcats did well Thursday night. Kidd-Gilchrist was the No. 2 player on our Board, and the Bobcats didn't hesitate to take him despite the fact that other picks were more polished and could provide help sooner on the offensive end.
I believe MKG has a chance to be the second-best player in the draft and feel he could really help transform a losing culture in Charlotte. He won't win rookie of the year and won't be a dominant scorer right away, but he'll do all the little things that will help everyone on the team play the game with more intensity.
Taylor was also a solid pick at No. 31. He, too, is an excellent defender and an elite athlete. My only qualm with him at 31 is that he is a very similar (albeit more limited) version of MKG. I think they should've gambled a bit on Baylor's Quincy Miller here. He has much more upside than Taylor and was a low-risk prospect in the second round.
CHICAGO BULLS | GRADE: A-
Round 1: Marquis Teague (29)
Round 2: None
Analysis: The Bulls got the 19th-ranked player on our Big Board with the No. 29 pick. So, not only did they get the best player available here, but they filled a need. With Derrick Rose out for the start of the season, Teague might find some minutes right away.
Teague is still learning his craft as a point guard, but he is super quick, gets to the rim and was an emerging shooter at Kentucky. The fact that he's used to playing with pros (see the '11-12 Wildcats roster) and has won a championship don't hurt. Virtually every scout I spoke with thinks he has much more potential than his brother, Jeff. Given that Jeff is the starting point guard in Atlanta, I think the Bulls made out very well.
CLEVELAND CAVALIERS | GRADE: A-
Round 2: None
Analysis: For the second straight year, the Cavs took a player at No. 4 who was ranked in the late teens on our Big Board in May. Like Tristan Thompson last year, Waiters had a meteoric rise the last month of the season. Unlike Thompson, his rise happened without ever doing a workout or interview with the Cavs. The Suns shut down Waiters early in the draft process, but it only seemed to start a Waiters feeding frenzy for teams ahead of them.
Waiters is the most dynamic scorer in the draft -- his ability to get to the basket is truly special -- and a handful of GMs felt that after Davis, MKG and Beal, he was the guy in this draft with the most star potential. He has NBA skill and, together with Kyrie Irving, should create a dynamic backcourt in Cleveland. Some will say taking Waiters at No. 4 was a bold pick, but I think it was a smart one with both MKG and Beal off the board. People said the same thing a few years ago when the Thunder took both Russell Westbrook and James Harden higher than expected.
I'm more agnostic about the Zeller pick. He's not going to be a great NBA center, but he runs the floor well and can play right away. At No. 17, you can't really ask for more than that.
DALLAS MAVERICKS | GRADE: C+
Round 1: Jared Cunningham (24, from Cavs)
Analysis: This was a solid night for the Mavs. I actually like Cunningham a bit. He's a risky pick, as he has to make a position change at the next level, but his elite athleticism combined with his ability to get to the basket are intriguing. If he figures out how to be a real point guard, he could be a nice get here. I do, however, think the Mavs passed on two better point guard prospects in Teague and Wroten. To me, Teague is a much more of sure thing. Wroten is a risky pick as well, but has has more upside than Cunningham. I think the Mavs took James to be the poster child for their D-League team -- the Texas Legends. Think this former Iraqi war veteran might sell a few tickets? He can play defense, but at 27 years old, his future in the NBA is pretty limited. Crowder is one of the toughest players in the draft. But he's severely undersized for his position. I like him, but again, the upside is limited. For a team that might be undergoing a major overhaul, I thought there were better upside picks in the 30s like Quincy Miller, Will Barton and -- if you wanted a guy who could play right away -- Draymond Green.
DENVER NUGGETS | GRADE: B
Round 1: Evan Fournier (20)
Round 2: Quincy Miller (38), Izzet Turkyilmaz (50)
Analysis: I'm not totally sold Fournier's game will translate at the NBA level, and he might end up being a reach at No. 20. But he is an aggressive scorer who was productive in Europe. I love the Quincy Miller pick, however. He was ranked No. 17 on our Big Board and was a steal at 38. Teams had concerns about his surgically repaired knee and a so-so freshman season at Baylor. But the upside for Miller is pretty high if he gets totally healthy. Turkyilmaz is a project that the Nuggets will keep over in Europe for a few years. But there is some intriguing potential there.
DETROIT PISTONS | GRADE: A-
Round 1: Andre Drummond (9)
Analysis: I have no idea whether Andre Drummond is going to pan out or not. I'm not sure anyone does. He has all the physical tools to be a monster center in the NBA. He could be Dwight Howard good. However, he is a major project and there are questions about whether he has the drive to become the player he could be someday. He's the second-youngest player in the draft and can still molded. I can't fault the Pistons for taking him. He was a huge risk in the Top 5, but here the risk/reward factor favored Detroit -- especially because he was such a perfect fit on the front line next to Greg Monroe. Middleton was rated as a late first rounder last year before injuries derailed his junior season. He's a smooth scorer with a great midrange game. English shot the lights out at Missouri last year and is seen as a cheap replacement for Ben Gordon. Overall, I thought the Pistons made the right calls at the right places in the draft.
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS | GRADE: A-
Round 1: Harrison Barnes (7), Festus Ezeli (30)
Round 2: Draymond Green (35), Ognjen Kuzmic (52)
Analysis: I felt like this draft really fell the Warriors' way a couple of times. They came into the draft looking to find a starter at small forward. They walked away with two serious candidates with Barnes and Green, who were both projected to go higher than the Warriors draft position. I know their heart was set on MKG or Waiters, but Barnes is a terrific consolation prize whose pro game may have been a bit obscured at UNC. I think he has the Danny Granger-esque potential and alongside Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson gives the Warriors some serious firepower from the perimeter. I thought Green was one of the most underrated players in the draft. He's not sexy, but he's very efficient, can play two positions and does a lot of the little things that matter. I think he'll have a long, Shane Battier-like career in the NBA. Ezeli has size and is solid, and you can't ask for much more than that at 30. I had several players I liked better at 30 and felt the Warriors reached for a need a little, but I'm quibbling. Kuzmic is a project, but if he adds some strength, he could eventually find his way over here.
HOUSTON ROCKETS | GRADE: C
Round 2: None
Analysis: If I were giving grades for creativity and vision, then Rockets GM Daryl Morey gets an A. For a week leading up to the draft, he led the Rockets on a breathless, all-out pursuit of Dwight Howard. It was both bold and unprecedented. However, the execution fell far short of the vision. Ultimately the Rockets couldn't package together their assets to get up into the Top 10 or Top 5 in the draft and the players they were left with look a lot like the young players they already have on their rosters -- middling young prospects. Don't get me wrong, I think Lamb, White and Jones all have futures in the NBA. Lamb's stock slipped a bit because of an ankle injury. White's stock slipped because of an anxiety disorder. Jones' stock slipped because of poor body language on the court. They may all be good players in the NBA. They all have that potential. But for the Rockets, they don't move the needle at all, and for a team mired in the middle of the pack, that's not what the Rockets wanted or needed.
INDIANA PACERS | GRADE: D
Round 1: Miles Plumlee (26),
Round 2: Orlando Johnson (36, from Kings)
Analysis: For the past few years it seems like the Pacers have been hitting all the right notes in free agency and the draft, and it paid off big for them last season as the team came together to make a serious run in the playoffs. Since their second-round ouster, however, the wheels feel like they've come off. Both Larry Bird and David Morway, the architects of the Pacers' rebuilding effort, left the team in a messy soap opera that left everyone inside the Pacers confused and frustrated. Kevin Pritchard survived and was promoted to GM the day before the draft, and former Pacers and Knicks president Donnie Walsh returned on Tuesday, too. Amid all of the front-office chaos, I think something must have just slipped through the cracks because the Pacers' draft is uncharacteristically weak. Plumlee was a workout wonder, but his four years at Duke raise serious questions about how his size and athleticism translate on the court. I know the Pacers think he could be Jeff Foster 2.0 -- but Foster put up much better numbers in college. Johnson wasn't as big of a reach at 36. But given the amount of cash that Pacers spent to get him and their current roster, I don't totally get it. The team will search for a veteran that does the same thing in free agency, which could make him irrelevant. Given Walsh's and Pritchard's reputations, this was probably just a one-year deviation from the norm, but it sure wasn't a pretty one.
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS | GRADE: C
Round 1: None
Round 2: Furkan Aldemir (53)
Analysis: The Clippers didn't have a first-round pick and traded the rights to Furkan Aldemir to the Rockets for cash with their second rounder. Aldemir is a terrific rebounder, but the Clippers finalizing a deal to land Lamar Odom the same day was a much bigger deal for them.
LOS ANGELES LAKERS | GRADE: C-
Round 1: None
Analysis: The Lakers bought a late second pick from the Mavs to grab Johnson-Odom, a super-tough guard who, if he was three inches taller would've gone much higher in the draft. He can shoot and defend, but it remains to be seen if his lack of height will hurt his success in the NBA. Sacre is big, but in four years at Gonzaga, he didn't do a lot to scream "NBA player." But then again, Greg Stiemsma played minutes for a NBA playoff team this year.
MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES | GRADE: B
Round 1: Tony Wroten (25)
Round 2: None
Analysis: I have to confess that I secretly am pulling for Wroten Jr. On potential, he's one of the five or six most talented players in this draft. If he ever gets it, he'll be one of the most exciting players in the league to watch. He is a dynamic passer, can get to the basket at will and has elite size and athletic ability for his position. His recklessness on the court, his horrific shooting and his questionable leadership skills caused his stock to tank, but if he ever settles down and gets even a passable jumper like Rondo has developed, he will be the steal of the draft. I don't think it was a big risk to take him where the Grizzlies did.
MIAMI HEAT | GRADE: F
Round 1: Justin Hamilton (45, from 76ers)
Round 2: None
Analysis: I think the Heat blew this one. Arnett Moultrie, at No. 27, was a great fit for Miami. He's big, he led the SEC in rebounding, he's an elite athlete and he can even stretch the floor a bit. If they didn't like him, Draymond Green, Jeff Taylor and a bevy of shooters to replace Mike Miller were sitting there begging to be taken. They did get a future lottery-protected pick from the Sixers that they'll like receive in 2013 (assuming the Sixers make the playoffs), but next year's draft is much weaker. Hamilton is a big guy, but he's a project and probably ends up overseas.
MILWAUKEE BUCKS | GRADE: B
Round 1: John Henson (14)
Round 2: Doron Lamb (42)
Analysis: I'm not sure how Henson fits in Milwaukee. Between Henson, Larry Sanders and Ekpe Udoh, the Bucks are loaded with long, skinny bigs with no offensive game whatsoever. However, I can't fault them because Henson was the best player available on the board, and I think he has a chance to be better than Sanders or Udoh. If he gains more strength and continues to develop his offensive game, Henson has a chance to be pretty good. I like the Lamb pick, as well. He can really shoot the basketball, and the Bucks really needed a shooter or two in the backcourt.
MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES | GRADE: C+
Round 1: None
Round 2: Robbie Hummel (58)
Analysis: The Wolves traded the 18th pick to the Rockets for Chase Budinger. Given what the Rockets got there, Kentucky's Terrence Jones, I thought it was a solid swap. Jones has more upside, but the Budinger fits a need more. As for Hummel, again, I think it's solid. He's a good shooter, has a high basketball IQ and has worked as hard as anyone to make the league. He's very limited defensively, however, so he's unlikely to ever be more than a spot-up shooter off the bench.
NEW ORLEANS HORNETS | GRADE: A
Round 2: Darius Miller (46)
Analysis: Getting their hands on Davis assured the Hornets an A- regardless of whatever else they did in the draft. He's got the chance to be a superstar. As for Rivers, I'm skeptical but I will say this: He landed in the perfect situation for him. Head coach Monty Williams cares about Rivers. Williams is a great coach, and will demand the best out of him. I think the Hornets will go out of their way to develop him and to put him in a position to succeed. So often the success or failure of NBA prospects depends on what team they go to. I can't think of a better home than New Orleans alongside a guy who should be a dominant NBA big man. As for Miller, he's got a chance to be a nice rotation player who can come off the bench, defend and hit spot up threes.
NEW YORK KNICKS | GRADE: B
Round 1: None
Round 2: Kostas Papanikolaou (48)
Analysis: The Knicks didn't have a first-round pick, but nabbed the second best international prospect in the draft. Papanikolaou wowed scouts at the Euroleague Final Four when he led his team to a championship and shut down Andrei Kirilenko on the defensive end. He won't come to the NBA for several years, but when he does, he could be an Omri Casspi-type scrappy forward.
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER | GRADE: A
Round 1: Perry Jones (28)
Round 2: None
Analysis: If Perry Jones had gone in the lottery, I probably would've given the team who drafted him a C. But at 28? Grab him! Once again the Thunder showed why they are smarter than most of the league. Jones was sliding because of a potential meniscus issue in his left knee. If it's serious, I understand. But knees are repairable. Jones is an elite athlete who never really found his niche at Baylor. He has the perfect mentor in Kevin Durant in OKC. You have to love it when players with his potential get put into the best possible position to succeed. I'm sure Jones was upset he slid so far in the draft. He shouldn't have. The Thunder are the perfect incubator for his talent.
ORLANDO MAGIC | GRADE: B-
Round 1: Andrew Nicholson (19)
Round 2: Kyle O'Quinn (49)
Analysis: In GM Rob Hennigan's first NBA draft, he decided to play it safe and ended up with two solid picks. Nicholson has a little David West in him. He's a big who can get after it in the paint and step out and hit jumpers. In fact, I'd say Nicholson is an even better shooter. He really needs to get in a NBA weight room, but he's got a chance to outperform his draft slot. I'm not sure how he fits next to Ryan Anderson (they're very similar players) but thought he was a solid get here. I could say the same about O'Quinn.There's nothing fancy about his game. Like Nicholson, he's not a great athlete. But he's long and can get it done in the post. I wish the Magic had added more athleticism (I felt like Teague would've been a stronger, albeit riskier, selection here) but you can't blame a guy who's been in the job for a week for being conservative.
PHILADELPHIA 76ERS | GRADE: B+
Round 1: Maurice Harkless (15)
Round 2: Arnett Moultrie (27, from Heat)
Analysis: The Sixers added a lot more athleticism to one of the most athletic teams in the league. Harkless is a slashing forward who reminds scouts of a young Trevor Ariza. Landing a shooter was a more pressing need, but all of the top shooters were off the board by 15. Moultrie is a bouncy rebounding machine who can stretch the floor with his jumper. However, I'm not sure either guy will ever live up to their athletic potential. Doug Collins is going to be a bit frustrated with their basketball IQ. But I like their potential a lot. I also thought that the Sixers paid a very small price to land Moultrie. A future lottery-protected first who will likely land in the awful 2013 NBA Draft is a bonus (wonder if the Heat had done their homework on what was coming next year). You don't find athletes like Moultrie this far down in the draft.
PHOENIX SUNS | GRADE: C
Round 1: Kendall Marshall (13)
Round 2: None
Analysis: I think Marshall will be a solid NBA player. He might be the best passer in the draft, but his lack of lateral quickness may limit him to role player duty in the pros. If Steve Nash stays, he'll be a nice backup. If he leaves, the Suns will still need to find a starting point guard on the free agent market.
PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS | GRADE: B+
Round 2: Will Barton (40)
Analysis: I've been Lillard's biggest fan all year and think he's a great fit in Portland. They really needed a point guard, and I think with time, he could be very good. He shoots the ball well, attacks the basket and plays very hard. He'll need to continue to develop his floor vision, but his work ethic is tremendous, and I think he'll find a way to succeed. I'm not as crazy about Leonard. I see the upside, and I see the need. But I think he's a bigger project than people think. I wouldn't expect dividends on this pick for several years, Blazers fans. Barton was a nice get in the second round. He's got a great midrange game, is a good athlete and has a scorer's mentality. I wouldn't be surprised if he, in a few years, supplanted Wes Matthews as the starting two guard in Portland.
SACRAMENTO KINGS | GRADE: A
Round 1: Thomas Robinson (5)
Round 2: None
Analysis: The Kings were patient and it paid off. After Davis, Robinson was the second guy on their board, and through some serious luck, they landed him at No. 5. I think he's a great fit in Sacramento alongside DeMarcus Cousins. Between the two, they should dominate both on the defensive and offensive glass. Pairing him with Cousins also takes pressure off him to produce right away on offense. While I know Robinson would've preferred to be the face of the franchise in Charlotte, developmentally, the Kings are a better fit.
SAN ANTONIO SPURS | GRADE: A-
Round 1: None
Round 2: Marcus Denmon (59)
Analysis: I really like this pick for the Spurs. Denmon is the sort of efficient combo guard who could thrive in the Spurs' system. He shoots it well, defends and can even play the point in a pinch. I'm not expecting huge things from him, but could see him as a rotation player in San Antonio down the road.
TORONTO RAPTORS | GRADE: C+
Round 1: Terrence Ross (8)
Analysis: The Raptors had a disappointing night. They were hoping that either Waiters or Barnes would be there, but when both were taken, I think the Raptors might have reached a bit. I like Ross, and on certain teams I would've liked him a lot. But I don't think either he or DeMar DeRozan are small forwards. Ross does bring the shooting DeRozan lacks, but it would've been nice if the Raptors could have found help at either the one or three. Given how badly the Rockets wanted into the Top 10 (they were after Drummond and Rivers), I think I would've swapped this one for a few picks from Houston. They still could've landed Ross and picked up another asset as well. Acy is a great athlete and plays with lots of intensity, but he's undersized for his position. Zubcic is a nice prospect on paper as a big point forward, but he's yet to show great production in Europe.
UTAH JAZZ | GRADE: B+
Round 1: None
Round 2: Kevin Murphy (47)
Analysis: The Jazz have a knack for finding talented players from small schools, and I think they might have found another one in Murphy. He was one of my sleeper picks in the second round. He was a big-time scorer in college, is an excellent shooter with deep range (a big need for them in the backcourt) and is very poised. I think this is a nice pick at No. 47.
WASHINGTON WIZARDS | GRADE: A-
Round 1: Bradley Beal (3)
Round 2: Tomas Satoransky (32)
Analysis: I love the Beal pick for the Wizards. He was a perfect fit for them and has a chance at being the second-best player in the draft. The Wizards need a shooter and Beal has the chance to be special. Paired with John Wall, Trevor Ariza, Emeka Okafor and Nene, I think the Wizards could make a run at the playoffs next year. I thought the Satoransky pick was a bit of a reach, however. I can't believe they passed on Draymond Green with that second round pick.