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Friday, June 29, 2012

2012 NBA Draft Grades (Part Two)

Houston Rockets - Jeremy Lamb (12), Royce White (16), Terrence Jones (18)

Grade: B+

The Rockets swapping picks with Milwaukee might have gotten them Lamb. No way of knowing, but the Suns could have easily taken him at 13. Lamb was a great pick here and could develop into a good starter.

With the other two picks, the Rockets added to their logjam of forwards, but it wasnt without adding even more talent to their roster. By now they have such a large crop at forward that they can pick and choose whatever style they want. Motiejunas, Patterson, Morris, White, Jones, Scola, Adrien, Leuer, and Brockman bring the total to 9 power forwards. The Rockets obviously have to make a few trades, but both of the picks are solid. Im not a huge fan of either guy, but good value was obtained here. Now they need to turn that value into something.

I think the Rockets might have intended of flipping White to the Celtics, but once Sullinger slipped, Ainge was fine staying put. Otherwise, I cant really explain why they'd go with White over Zeller.

Indiana Pacers - Miles Plumlee (27), Orlando Johnson (36)

Grade: D-

Larry Bird had announced that he would stay on for the draft before stepping down as team president and its funny to think about Miles Plumlee being his last mark on the organization. Unless you are a Pacers fan. Plumlee is a fourth big IF he turns out. Thats not what you target in the first round of a deep draft. Seems like the Pacers were going with their old "best white guy available strategy" but they even failed on that - passing on Shurna to get Plumlee.

Orlando Johnson just seems like one of those names that we won't remember in three years. With Doron Lamb and Tyshawn Taylor on the board, I cant support this selection.

Los Angeles Clippers - Furkan Aldemir (53)

Grade: B-

Clippers only had a late draft pick and used it on a Euro. Aldemir is a solid player overseas, but he isnt super skilled or very athletic. Good basetball player, not necessarily a good NBA guy.

Los Angeles Lakers - Darius Johnson-Odom (55), Robert Sacre (60)

Grade: B+

During the run of international prospects, Lakers stay American looking for potential quick fixes for next year. They traded the Mavericks for Odom, whom they hope will have the reverse affect Lamar Odom had when he was traded from Los Angeles to Dallas. Really though, DJO is a nice value pick here.

Sacre is worth a flyer on too. He's tough, can hit free throws, is a 7fter, and would have been a better player in the old NBA. I see no reason why this guy couldnt be a 3rd center on a NBA roster.

Memphis Grizzlies -  Tony Wroten (25)

Grade: C

Memphis swings for the fences for the second straight year after taking Selby in the 2011 draft. Selby and Wroten, if they both pan out, could actually complement each other pretty well. They are both combo guard types, but Wroten is more of the passer while Selby is a shooter. Selby would be an undersized 2 guard, but with Wroten, they could switch on defense to allow Selby to cover the PG.

That'd be a fun backcourt to watch if they were to work out, but the chances arent very high. Memphis has been taking risks in hopes of finding starter quality players to take over for some of their big contracts in their starting 5. They can't afford to pay them forever, so theyre hoping guys like Wroten and Selby can take over while in their rookie deals. However, Im just not sure Wroten ever realizes how to play. He certainly isn't ready to contribute now, especially to a team without the shooters to space the floor for him (and their post guys need shooters around them too). Marquis Teague would have been a better pick here as would a few others.

Miami Heat - Justin Hamilton (45)

Grade: F

Trading back from 27 can't be blamed on the front office, as Arison most likely just wanted to save money, but this draft looks terrible on paper. At 27 they had Perry Jones and Festus Ezeli on the board. They trade back and allow the Thunder to take Perry Jones, which definitely could come back to haunt them.

The actual pick at 45 was a waste as well. Justin Hamilton wasn't even a good player in college. Teams are suddenly looking for role players in college to fill role playing roles in the NBA just like when NFL teams draft pure special teamers (not talking kickers and punters. talking gunners, etc). Yes, Hamilton is fit for being a role player, but he is fit for being an NBA player. He's like a guy I wrote about here except he was never any good at any level. I dont understand why teams are suddenly taking these guys when just a few years ago Brian Zoubek couldn't get drafted.

Milwaukee Bucks - John Henson (14), Doron Lamb (42)

Grade: C+

I have no problem with Henson in the late lottery, but the only thing the Bucks didnt need was another skinny shot blocker. They now have Dalembert, Sanders, Udoh, and now Henson under contract. None of them can score, none of them are very strong, yet all of them can block shots. Bucks seem OK with being mediocre for the next ten years to come.

This grade gets bumped up because Henson might have been the last guy in that third tier and they took Doron Lamb in round 2. Lamb was my best player available at the time and he can mesh with both Jennings and Ellis in a backcourt. He gives the Bucks some versatility, shooting, and defense. All three things they need out of their two guard.

Minnesota Timberwolves - Robbie Hummel (58)

Grade: C+

I don't think much of Hummel as an NBA player, but its hard to be critical of the 58th overall pick. Hummel can actually bring something to a team, which you can't say about other picks around this area. Hummel will provide an example of toughness, hard work, and leadership while playing smart basketball. He's a practice player that every team would love to have wearing their pennies.

New Orleans Hornets - Anthony Davis (1), Austin Rivers (10), Darius Miller (46)

Grade: A+

Davis was obviously going to be the pick even if the most incompetent of all GMs was on the clock. I love pairing Austin Rivers with Davis. Davis does everything great but score, while Rivers is a great scorer who struggles elsewhere. Rivers gives the Hornets a face to their second unit and an alpha dog type. They got two cornerstones in this draft who were also the #1 and #2 high school players last year. Talent.

Adding Darius Miller, Davis' teammate, was another solid move. He fits the Lance Thomas equation where he has learned to play a role his entire college career, but has NBA talent dating back to his days in high school. He should have no problem making the 2012 New Orleans Hornets roster.

New York Knicks - Kostas Papanikolau (48)

Grade: B

Lots of Knicks fans were clamoring for a point guard, but looking at how the rest of the draft went, not a single point guard was taken. That should tell you that the talent wasn't there. Knicks got a good talent in Papanikolau who should stay overseas and develop for a few seasons. It would have been nice to get a contributor now, but thats just not the reality at #48. Knicks fans have been spoiled in recent years. Simply getting a NBA talent is good enough.

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