2009 NBA Draft Grades: Which teams passed with flying colors?

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There was some exciting action during last Thursday’s NBA Draft. Ironically enough, more of the excitement was produced by trades outside of the actual draft.

Several teams created some cap space, unloaded aging/pricey talent, or simply stood pat. Others went for gold, trading up for early picks, or trading down to package a few.

Almost every team did something to get a little bit better for next season, though. See who did, and see who missed out.

Eastern Conference

Atlantic Division

Boston Celtics

Round 2 (58) Lester Hudson 6-3 190 PG/SG Tennessee-Martin

The Celtics addressed the Rajon Rondo trade rumors by drafting Hudson, who is an exceptional talent at the point guard position, despite not playing against top competition. Even if Rondo does stick around, Hudson could vie for some serious minutes due to his size and scoring ability.

Boston didn’t have a first rounder, and wasn’t able to further address their guard position, and wasn’t able to add any depth in the paint, either.

Grade: C

New Jersey Nets

NBA Draft Basketball

Round 1 (11) Terrence Williams 6-6 213 SG/SF Louisville

The Nets got an explosive and versatile talent in Williams, who could end up being the immediate replacement for the departed Vince Carter.

Williams is an outstanding athlete with good all-around offensive skills, and could instantly become a young, starting cornerstone for the Nets franchise.

Trade: The Nets shipped Vince Carter and Ryan Anderson to the Orlando Magic for Rafer Alston, Courtney Lee, and Tony Battie.

The Nets got rid of some money, brought in some depth at the point behind Devin Harris, while bringing Lee in as competition for Terrence Williams.

Grade: C+

New York Knicks

NCAA Syracuse Arizona St Basketball

Round 1 (8) Jordan Hill 6-10 232 PF Arizona

The Knicks got some more depth to shore up their inside game, which could allow Eddy Curry to become more expendable than ever, and could even mean a trade of David Lee. Hill can score well and plays solid defense, while his main knock is maintaining intensity and consistency.

But in a fast-offense like New York’s, his defensive liability won’t affect the outcome as it might on another team.

Round 1 (29) Toney Douglas 6-2 183 PG/SG Florida St.

The Knicks paid the Lakers three million dollars to make this pick. Douglas has good size and athleticism, and could be someone the Knicks could have running this offense.

Chris Duhon and Nate Robinson aren’t long-term answers, and Douglas could give them a good run for their jobs.

The Knicks do a fine job of adding some overall depth, while making other players with big contracts expendable.

Grade: C+

Philadelphia 76ers

Round 1 (17) Jrue Holiday 6-4 199 PG/SG UCLA

The 76ers can’t survive on Andre Miller forever, while young combo guard, Louis Williams hasn’t proven he can run the point.

Holiday will add depth at shooting guard to begin his career, but will slowly be molded as Miller’s successor.

Philadelphia addressed their guard’s youth and talent, but could have stood to land some more inside help.

Grade: C

Toronto Raptors

NBA Draft Basketball

Round 1 (9) DeMar DeRozan 6-7 211 SG USC

The Raptors went after their biggest hole on Thursday night, and it appears they came out with an answer. DeRozan gives them their first real threat at shooting guard since Vince Carter. DeRozan has a ways to go offensively, but is still athletic enough to produce on a consistent basis.

Improving his shot and knowledge of the game could result in him playing All-Star basketball.

If DeRozan pans out, the Raptors will have an elite player at every position, and could begin to seriously challenge in the playoffs.

Grade: B

Central Division

Chicago Bulls

Round 1 (16) James Johnson 6-8 257 SF Wake Forest

The Bulls nabbed another explosive small forward who can score, which could mean they’re going for a taller line-up (and letting Ben Gordan go), or they want to give up on Luel Deng’s injury issues.

Either way, the Bulls are inheriting a player that can make an immediate impact on both sides of the floor, and should notch around 20 minutes per game in his first year, regardless of any roster changes.

Round 1 (26) Taj Gibson 6-10 214 PF USC

Gibson has very effective on both ends of the floor, and potentially brings the Bulls some good scoring and some touch around the basket. Gibson is a rather fluid player, and could change Chicago’s entire dynamic by providing even a mediocre offensive game.

The addition of both Johnson and Gibson mean several players could be on their way out.

Grade: B

Cleveland Cavaliers

Round 1 (30) Christian Eyenga 6-6 210 SG/SF Congo

Eyenga is a long and athletic player with tremendous versatility. He’s still transitioning from playing mostly power forward, but his athleticism and ball skills are solid enough for him to run at a wing spot.

He provides good depth, and could be a project to fill the starting shooting guard spot eventually. However, he’ll probably be allowed to grow for a few years, overseas.

Trade: The Cavaliers got Shaquille O’Neal for Ben Wallace, Sasha Pavlovic, $500,000 and the No. 46 pick

The Cavs addressed two issues: A second scorer that can pick up the slack for LeBron James, and an inside presence on both sides of the floor.

O’Neal may be 37, but with James doing most of the work, this Cavs team would be a championship favorite.

Grade: A

Detroit Pistons

Round 1 (15) Austin Daye 6-11 192 SF Gonzaga

This was a ridiculous reach for Detroit. Daye’s stuck had plummeted leading up to the draft, and few scouts were raving about his potential anymore.

Daye is a good athlete with excellent length and versatility. However, he’s got a small frame and is on the frail side. He also needs to develop a killer instinct, as he has not shown he can lead a team.

It’s unlikely he’ll ever live up to this pick.

Round 2 (35) DaJuan Summers 6-8 243 SF Georgetown

Summers could be a big steal for Detroit, as he was expected to be a first rounder, and possesses good skills to go with solid athleticism.

He has the ability to grow into an impact player defensively, which could make Tayshaun Prince expendable. Considering Summers has been offensive potential, it’s fairly possible.

Round 2 (39) Jonas Jerebko 6-9 220 SF Sweden

Jerebko has the size and athleticism to do what Detroit wants him to do on both ends of the floor. He may lake fluidity in his movements, but he is very productive around the basket, and always finishes strong.

With the potential loss of Rasheed Wallace, the Pistons could use the depth at small and power foward.

Grade: B

Indiana Pacers

USA-NBA/DRAFT

Round 1 (13) Tyler Hansbrough 6-9 234 PF North Carolina

Tyler Hansbrough may not have the range that Troy Murphy has, but he can equal him in toughness and intensity on the boards.

Hansbrough will get immediate minutes as the top back-up to both Troy Murphy and Roy Hibbert.

Round 2 (52) AJ Price 6-2 193 PG UConn

Price is a solid point guard with decent athleticism and a good shot. However, there is already a logjam at the point for Indiana, so unless they ship Jarrett Jack or T.J. Ford, Price is unlikely to make the team.

They beefed up their interior offense, while adding a truly unique player when it comes to intensity and dedication to the game. Just by being on the roster, he will make his NBA team better.

Price could offer some long-term potential if he can survive the final cut. It appears Indiana is relying on Mike Dunleavy Jr. to make a healthy recovery from hsi knee woes, however, addressing the two guard spot would have made their draft better.

Grade: B-

Milwaukee Bucks

Bucks Draft Basketball

Round 1 (10) Brandon Jennings 6-1 170 PG USA

With their tenth pick, the Bucks showed they were serious about turning the corner, as they attempted to grab an elite point guard.

While it may take him some time to develop, Jennings was definitely the most talented point guard left on the board at the time, and was probably the most athletic in the entire draft.

He is a tremendous boom-or-bust pick.

This pick would ease the pain of losing Ramon Sessions, and could also make Luke Ridnour expendable or an immediate “back-up”, as Jennings himself put it.

Round 2 (41) Jodie Meeks 6-4 211 SG Kentucky

The Bucks nabbed Meeks, an electric shooter and scorer, with perhaps the thoughts of him succeeding like another second rounder (Michael Redd).

Meeks needs to work on creating his own shots, but should stick with the team and provide as a shooter off the bench.

Trade: Milwaukee was involved in a three-team trade that sent Richard Jefferson to San Antonio, with Milwaukee getting Amir Johnson, Bruce Bowen, and Kurt Thomas.

Bowen is contemplating retirement, Kurt Thomas is washed up, while Johnson is actually an interesting prospect with tangible value.

The trade puts Milwaukee $15 million under the cap for next season, while also freeing up a spot for second-year man Joe Alexander to step up at small forward.

Grade: B+

Southeast Division

Atlanta Hawks

Round 1 (19) Jeff Teague 6-2 175 PG Wake Forest

Considering they already shipped off Acie Law and Speedy Claxton for Jamal Crawford, Teague only has free agent-to-be Mike Bibby to worry about. If Bibby goes elsewhere, Teague could be the starter from day one.

He provides excellent size and athleticism for the position, while providing as a capable passer and a lights-out scorer.

Round 2 (49) Sergii Gladyr 6-6 190 SG Ukraine

Gladyr is a very focused shooting guard, with good versatility and a tremendous finishing touch around the rim. However, he doesn’t have elite athleticism or quickness, which may lessen his driving ability in his transition to the NBA game.

Trade: Acie Law and Speedy Claxton to Golden State for Jamal Crawford.

This gives Atlanta excellent depth and talent at both point guard and shooting guard, as Teague or Crawford could man the point, and both have enough skills and athleticism to play the two spot, as well.

The trade and draft send a clear message that Atlanta will bypass attempting to keep Mike Bibby in town. Let the rumors of him signing with Clevelend begin.

Now Atlanta just needs to hold onto Josh Smith and Marvin Williams.

Grade: A

Charlotte Bobcats

NBA Draft Basketball

Round 1 (12) Gerald Henderson 6-5 215 SG/SF Duke

Henderson is a solid guard with good athleticism, and a great understanding of the game. He has good experience from playing in the ACC, and brings a solid collection of skills to Charlotte, but no one attribute that stands out on it’s own. Henderson is a good piece to add to the puzzle, but the hope was for Charlotte to land an impact player in the lottery. Unfortunately, Henderson doesn’t have a ton of “star” potential.

Round 2 (40) Derrick Brown 6-8 225 SF Xavier

Is still putting the finishing touches on transitioning to the wing, but has the perfect body and size for an NBA small forward. Brown has developed a better outside shot, and could be a real steal in the second round if he can continue to polish his already solid offensive game.

After giving up on Adam Morrison and sending Matt Carroll packing, it’s clear the Bobcats wanted to move in a different direction at their guards and small forward spots. They added some good athleticism and scorers, as well as capable defenders.

They still need some more efficiency from their post game, but at least for now, their team is starting to come together.

Grade: C+

Miami Heat

Round 2 (60) Robert Dozier 6-10 215 SF/PF Memphis

After trading Marcus Thornton’s rights to the Hornets, Miami nabbed Memphis’s Robert Dozier with the final selection of the night.

Dozier wouldn’t fit for every team, but he’s very athletic for a big man, and has long arms. He could be used sparingly on defense until his offensive game comes around. Considering the Heat’s lackluster inside depth, he at least has a chance.

The problem with this draft is that Miami isn’t really thinking about the future. If they do in fact lose Wade to the 2010 free agency wave, then they’re crippling themselves. All they have right now to make a playoff run is Jermaine” O’neal and Wade, so unless they swing a big trade or sign a huge free agent, they won’t make up and ground on the other Eastern Conference playoff teams.

Grade: F

Orlando Magic

Without any picks in this year’s draft, Orlando made their splash via trade.

The Magic felt that it was already a long-shot that they could re-sing Hedo Turkoglu, so they made the next best move, and in a lot of ways, it might be the better one.

They traded Courtney Lee, Tony Battie, and Rafer Alston for Vince Carter and Ryan Anderson.

Carter is 32, but still plays young and is an athletic scorer and consistent shooter. He won’t make-up for Tukoglu’s creativity on offense, nor the size advantage Orlando had with Turkoglu, Rashard Lewis, and Dwight Howard all on the floor at the same time.

Ryan Anderson is a young, long body that can post-up offensively, and also has range on his shot going out to the NBA three. He showed glimpses of being able to start regularly in the league, and could develop into a fine role player for Orlando.

It’s clear that Stan Van Gundy feels more comfortable going forward with Jameer Nelson, over Rafer Alston, and he’s also confident that J.J. Redick and Mickael Pietrus can “get it done” in place of Courtney Lee.

While this makes a lot of sense, it’s still debatable whether or not this move makes Orlando a “better” team.

Grade: C+

Washington Wizards

Trade: Washington traded Oleksiy Pecherov, Etan Thomas, Darius Songaila, and their #5 pick to Minnesota for Randy Foye and Mike Miller.

It appears they’re putting all their faith in Gilbert Arenas, and banking on the fact that a healthy Washington team means a trip to the playoffs.

With Foye and Miller integrated into the already (projected) explosive offense, this team could be a lot more dangerous than people think. Miller’s addition could make Caron Butler expendable, while Washington continues to try to find ways to land Amare Stoudamire, or another dangerous big man, via trade.

Considering Arenas’ injury history and his lack of true point guard skills, it’s a surprise Washington passed up on Ricky Rubio. However, they did land Foye, who could easily be the successor at the point.

Grade: B+

Western Conference

Dallas Mavericks

Round 2 (56) Ahmad Nivins 6-9 242 PF St. Joseph’s

The Mavericks got Nivins four picks from the end of the draft.

Considering his good size and strength inside, he could prove to be quite a steal.

Nivins potential is looked at as poor because he stayed in school for all four years, but his senior season left quite an impression on scouts. He averaged almost 20 points and over 11 rebounds per game, while shooting over 61%, and also blocking 1.8 shots per game.

Nivins could prove to be a serviceable body and capable defender is his first year, as Dallas tries to groom him, as they had been doing with Brandon Bass.

Trade: Dallas shipped off B.J. Mullens, who they drafted with the 24th pick, and received Rodrigue Beaubois in return.

Mullens would have been a good investment for the future, but Beaubois is an interesting prospect, hailing from France.

Considering Dallas only has one point guard, J.J. Barea, under 32, adding some talent and youth to the position was essential.

Grade: C

Houston Rockets

Trade: Obtained Chase Budinger’s rights through Detroit, and gave up a future second-rounder and some cash.

Budinger could be a future replacement for a possibly departing Ron Artest, or he could be a future replacement for the often injured Tracy McGrady. Either way, the Rockets have a lot of depth at the wings, and grabbing a steal like Budinger only increases the competition.

Budinger is athletic and strong enough to make it in the NBA, but getting even tougher would only help him.

The Rockets did not have any draft picks outside of acquiring Budinger, and they’ll wish they had some.

With the on-going issues that Tracy McGrady has, and now the status of Yao Ming up in the air, Houston is suddenly without any star power. Throw in the likely loss of Ron Artest, and Houston’s best player is suddenly Aaron Brooks.

Houston needs to make a splash in free agency, or cut ties with Artest, trade McGrady, and hope Ming can be okay with a year off.

If that’s the case, Aaron Brooks can gain more experience, while Chase Budinger is thrown into the mix as a starter.

That, or the franchise will cave and stop being competitive.

Grade: D

Memphis Grizzlies

NBA-DRAFT/

Round 1 (2) Hasheem Thabeet 7-3 267 C UConn

Thabeet gives the Grizzlies instant defensive help down low, while allowing Thabeet to “come into his own” naturally on offense. With O.J. Mayo and Rudy Gay manning the wings, Thabeet won’t be demanded to make things happen offensively. If he can just relax and concentrate on defense, he and the Grizzlies could become very dangerous.

Round 1 (27) DeMarre Carroll 6-8 207 SF/PF Missouri

The Grizzlies got another guy they throw behind either Rudy Gay or Hakim Warrick.

Carroll has the toughness and tough to fight around the basket, while also showing in his senior year that he has the range to pop outside and shoot three’s.

Carroll needs to hit the weights if he wants to stay inside the paint in the NBA, but his good versatility may stop that from being a huge issue.

Round 2 (36) Sam Young 6-7 223 SF Pittsburgh

Young fell out of the first round, which was very surprising, considering his great size and excellent scoring ability.

Young’s movements aren’t always as fluid as GMs would like, but his athleticism is no worse than Arizona State’s James Harden. Quite honestly, it’s not an issue; it’s an asset.

The Grizzlies added some more depth at forward, while also having the option of throwing Young in at guard.

Memphis addressed their wings with two solid picks, while adding a potential elite shot-blocker to their post game.

Grade: B

New Orleans Hornets

Round 1 (21) Darren Collison 6-2 166 PG UCLA

When it comes to experience, getting to the hole, and leading a team, few are as good as Collison.

Consider him extra insurance for a Chris Paul injury, as well as one of the best back-up point guard prospects in the league.

His skills will allow Paul to rest late in games, and will eventually allow the Hornets to put two-point guard sets on the floor, if needed.

Trade: Sent their second round pick, Marcus Thornton, to Miami for two future second rounders.

New Orleans traded two future second round picks to Miami for the rights to Thornton. Thornton, ironically, actually has a lot of the same abilities as Dwayne Wade, and could easily turn into a solid starter in the league. He’s a bit under-sized for the NBA shooting guard position, but is athletic and a good scorer. He could prove to be a fine addition to a Hornets team that could use an offensive boost.

Grade: B-

San Antonio Spurs

Round 2 (37) DeJuan Blair 6-7 277 PF Pittsburgh

Blair doesn’t have the height NBA GM’s look for, but a ridiculous wingspan and good college production still leaves a lot of intrigue.

At 277 pounds, Blair is also probably a little heavy for his height, so the Spurs will want him to shed some weight. Regardless, San Antonio is all about defense and hard work: two things Blair knows better than almost every college prospect.

Round 2 (51) Jack McClinton 6-1 185 SG Miami (U)

The Spurs already have their do-it-all franchise point guard, but try picking out their back-up on their team.

For all intents and purpose, they don’t have one. McClinton doesn’t have the necessary size for a shooting guard, and doesn’t have elite point guard skills, which will make him more of a combo-guard.

He could eventually be used like Boston uses Eddie House.

Round 2 (53) Nando De Colo 6-5 185 PG France

De Colo has tremendous height and range for an NBA prospect, and could carve a niche behind Tony Parker as a back-up.

He’s exactly the kind of prospect the Spurs love; players who play hard, work on their defense, and have sound, well-balanced offensive games.

He could even be switched to shooting guard and be molded into a starter a few years down the road.

San Antonio grabbed some great defensive help, some offensive sparks, and three guys who can either help a little bit now, or at least will be a part of the franchise in 2-3 years.

Grade: B-

Northwest Division

Denver Nuggets

Round 2 (34) Sergio Llull 6-3 175 PG Spain

He may not be Ricky Rubio, but Llull can definitely play. He’ll probably go back overseas and work to get better. Besides, with Chauncey Billups in Denver, he won’t do much good sitting on the bench.

Trade: Denver traded a first round pick for Ty Lawson, who was originally drafted at the 18th spot (round one), by Minnesota.

Ty Lawson is the perfect player to mold behind Chauncey Billups, as he excels on both ends of the floor, and is a proven leader and performer.

Billups should still be around for a few years, but it’s realistic to think Lawson would be ready to take over in two years.

Grade: C+

Minnesota Timberwolves

Trade: T’Wolves send Randy Foye and Mike Miller to the Wizards for Oleksiy Pecherov, Etan Thomas, Darius Songaila, and the 5th rounder in the first round.

Timberwolves Waiting on Rubio Basketball

Round 1 (5) Ricky Rubio 6-4 182 Spain

Rubio is an electric passer and experienced leader in both half-court and full-court sets. He’s more athletic than advertised, and has good height and length for the position.

He’ll undoubtedly need to hit the weights, and extra conditioning can get him up to par with NBA-level point guards. Contrary to popular belief, his transition shouldn’t take too long, and I don’t see him going back overseas.

NBA Draft Basketball

Round 1 (6) Jonny Flynn 6-0 172 Syracuse

Flynn (and the rest) are borderline luxury picks, as the ‘Wolves don’t have a ton of depth at shooting guard or small forward. A true center was another project they could have tackled, or in a trade.

Still, Flynn is an athletic phenom, who can score at will, by shooting jumpers, or rising above defenders on his way to the rim. It’s unlikely Minnesota keeps more than two of the point guards they selected, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them trade both Flynn and Nick Calathes in the next year.

Round 1 (28) Wayne Ellington 6-5 200 North Carolina

Ellington is a bit under-sized for shooting guard, but with a stroke as fine as his, NBA team’s tend to look past height.

The Timberwolves lost most of their three-point shooting when they traded Mike Miller and Randy Foye to the Wizards, so Ellington will undoubtedly be used in his first year.

Round 2 (45) Nick Calathes 6-6 194 Florida

Calathes is attached to Greece, and it’s doubtful he’ll come back to the states to sit behind either Ricky Rubio or Jonny Flynn (or both?).

He has a great shooting touch and a sound feel for the game. With his height and great understanding of the game, he could be a good point guard down the road, or even could make the switch to shooting guard.

Round 2 (47) Henk Norel 6-11 226 Netherlands

Norel has good length and decent strength, but he’s definitely a project. Just another guy to stash overseas and see if he develops into something special.

Trade: Sent Ty Lawson to Denver for a first rounder.

They had enough point guards with the two back-to-back picks. Getting rid of Lawson was a good move, despite him being a very solid point guard.

They may have turned some heads with the point guard binge, but adding a shooter in Wayne Ellington, as well as the good, young talent at point guard makes them a better team. Now they just have to pick who they want to keep, and move on from there.

Grade: B-

Portland Trail Blazers

Round 1 (22) Victor Claver 6-10 218 PF Spain

Round 2 (33) Dante Cunninghame 6-8 230 SF/PF Villanova

Round 2 (55) Patrick Mills 5-10 175 PG St. Mary’s

One of the more surprising plummets of the 2009 draft. Mills is a clutch performer with the ability to change games with his shooting, passing, and overall management of a team’s offense.

He has excellent experience from playing with the national Australian team, and he’s put in solid performances in big games at the NCAA level. He may only be a second rounder, but he’ll be starting for someone within a few years, even if it’s not Portland.

Trade: Sent Jon Brockman (38th overall) to Sacramento for the rights to Jeff Pendergraph.

Brockman is a beast down-low, getting after every swatted ball, and out-rebounding most of the players on the court.

He’s ultra aggressive and more nimble on his feet than given credit for, as well. He doesn’t offer a ton offensively, and he’s not a gifted shooter, but he’s an energy guy that can definitely carve a niche somewhere in a rotation.

Pendergraph is more of an offensive threat with more versatility and athleticism. He hasn’t been able to develop a killer instinct, but has all the takent to be a star in the NBA.

Grade: B-

Oklahoma City Thunder

NBA Draft Basketball

Round 1 (3) James Harden 6-5 218 SG/SF Arizona State

Harden doesn’t have ideal size for the 3, and doesn’t have the outstanding athleticism desired for the 2. However, what he does have is a sick package of offensive skills, and a great knack for getting to the rim.

Harden is an extremely well-balanced player who can buckle down on defense, play the decoy, or take over games.

If Jeff Green can’t handle it, Harden will be fine as Kevin Durant’s “Scottie Pippen”.

Trade: Vaden traded for cash from Charlotte

Vaden was drafted by the Bobcats, then immediately traded to the Thunder for cash. Vaden has excellent range and is an effective scorer. However, his handle and shot-creating is only average.

Trade: Thunder get B.J. Mullens for the 25th pick in the draft, Rodrigue Beaubois.

The Thunder received B.J. Mullens in a trade with Dallas. This adds more youth and potential to their inside game. Unfortunately, it may be years until we know if it was a good move for Oklahoma City.

Adding Harden allows Durant to slide to his more natural small forward position, while Jeff Green can concentrate on growing as an inside force.

Grade: C+

Utah Jazz

Round 1 (20) Eric Maynor 6-2 165 PG VCU

Drafting Maynor doesn’t make a ton of sense for Utah, who already has an All-Star caliber point guard in Deron Williams.

However, Maynor’s handle and clutch ability make him an excellent back-up point guard, while his offensive prowess makes him a candidate for some time at shooting guard.

Round 2 (20) Goran Suton 6-10 249 PF/C Michigan State

Suton is a big man with a solid shooting touch, with range that is closing in on the NBA three.

Where he lacks athleticism or defensive prowess, he makes up for passion and timely scoring.

Suton is a project, but any big man with a fine stroke is worth taking a look at.

The Jazz didn’t really upgrade too much, but after retaining all of their restricted free agents, their “standing pat” could actually pay off.

Grade: C

Pacific Division

Golden State Warriors

NBA Draft Basketball

Round 1 (7) Stephen Curry 6-3 185 PG/SG Davidson

In Don Nelson’s high-octane offense, it doesn’t matter what you call Curry. He can be the point guard, shooting guard, or even the small forward.

The fact is, he’s on the court to get open and shoot the ball, as well as manage the offense from time to time.

He’s a dynamic offensive threat with endless range and a lightning quick release. He fits their offense perfectly.

Grade: B

Los Angeles Clippers

Round 1 (1) Blake Griffin 6-10 243 PF Oklahoma

Everyone knew Griffin was going number one, but most of us just didn’t want to believe it. For Griffin’s sake, of course.

Regardless of the Clippers’ history, as Griffin said himself, the slate must be wiped clean. With Zach Randolph now in Memphis, a huge space has been cleared open for Griffin to begin his legend in L.A.

If their team can actually stay healthy, the Clippers could provide quite the formidable line-up.

Grade: B+

Los Angeles Lakers

Trade: Drafted Toney Douglas with the 29th pick fo the first round, traded to New York for future 2nd rounder and cash

Douglas is a good offensive shooting guard with a ton of upside, but is under-sized, and was purely a pick for New York.

Trade: Drafted Patrick Beverly in the second round, then traded to Miami for future second rounder and cash

Beverly has good fundamentals and solid all-around skills, but is under-sized, and doesn’t have ideal athleticism.

Round 2 (59) Chinemelu Elonu 6-10 225 PF Texas A&M

Elonu has a ton of potential, but doesn’t have great experience, and isn’t overly gifted, offensively.

He might be able to help on the boards as a rookie, but there are probably too many big bodies in the way of playing time for him.

The Lakers really didn’t do anything in this draft, except for get some money. Adding Ron Artest to their team was their big splash.

Grade: D

Phoenix Suns

Suns Draft Basketball

Round 1 (14) Earl Clark 6-9 220 SF/PF Louisville

Clark has excellent size, length, and versatility. He truly has all the tools to be a star.

Unfortunately, he hasn’t found that killer instinct, and was never a consistent threat at the college level. He goes “off” in spurts, but had a bit of the “Rudy Gay” effect in the Big East, as he shied away from taking over the games or attracting too much attention.

That will have to change (much like it did for Gay) in the NBA.

Round 2 (48) Taylor Griffin 6-7 230 SF/PF Oklahoma

He may not have the size and offensive ability as his brother, Blake, but Taylor can throw elbows in the paint with the best of them.

He’s an extremely aggressive defenders, relentless on the boards, and an exciting and effective shot-blocker.

Griffin has good athleticism, but will have to get over his lack of size, and must improve his erratic shot.

Round 2 (57) Emir Preldzic 6-9 222 SG/SF Slovenia

Preldzi is a fluid offensive player with great versatility, and excellent size and length.

He needs to get stronger and more consistent, but his solid numbers against decent competition suggest he’s ready to compete in the NBA.

With all the turmoil in Phoenix’s front office, at least they’re drafting fundamentally sound players that could help keep this franchise competitive. With Shaq gone, Clark and Griffin could be in for a lot of playing time.

Grade: B-

Sacramento Kings

NBA Draft Basketball

Round 1 (4) Tyreke Evans 6-5 205 PG/SG Memphis

Many wondered why the Kings passed on Ricky Rubio and went with Evans. While it wasn’t an easy decision, Sacramento chose wisely, and ultimately because of Evan’s superior athleticism, size, and versatility.

Evans can push the ball with ease, is extremely fluid, and has the makings of a lockdown defender. Whether he begins his career at the point or opposite Kevin Martin, he should be an effective player.

Round 1 (23) Omri Casspi 6-8 227 SF Israel

Very similar to Hedo Turkoglu, Casspi is a good shooter with a solid handle. He’s able to take over games, both with his passing, as well as his shooting.

However, Casspi is still a growing and emerging player, and he has not yet developed the consistency an NBA player needs to be a star.

Trade: Sacramento received the 31st pick in the draft, Jeff Pendergraph, for Sergio Rodriguez, the 38th selection, Jon Brockman, and cash.

Pendergraph is an exciting talent that simply hasn’t tapped into his potential yet. The same can be said for Rodriguez, while Brockman is a pure energy guy.

The Kings drafted for pure value, and they definitely got it. Passing on Rubio may come back to bite them, though.

Still, they got some needed wing depth, and possibly a point guard for the future in Evans. Potentially, the Kings got three talented players that were considered threats for the lottery at one time or another.

Grade: B

About Kevin Roberts

Kevin is a graduate of Concordia University in Wisconsin, where he majored in Mass Communications. He has written for multiple fantasy sites, and has had articles featured on foxsports.com and cbssports.com.
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    Mike Miller makes Caron Butler “expendable” — you got to be kidding, right?