Draft Grades: Spurs steal the show

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foxsports admin

This year's NBA Draft was supposed to be boring. The 2009 class was considered the least talented since the dreadful class of 2000. We knew exactly who was going first for months, and there were no crazy trade rumors involving that top pick. Things don't always play out as they should, though. The 2009 draft will be known for the plethora of major trades leading up to it. In a very short span, we saw Shaquille O'Neal, Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson all land on teams that were already contenders. We also saw the fifth pick of the draft being traded and a bevy of other, smaller deals. So who won? Who lost? It's a year where no team earned an F, but only one earned an A+. And hey, the Los Angeles Clippers even got an A for passing a multiple-choice test with only one possible answer.
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Note: These grades reflect the dealings of the NBA Draft. No trades that did not involve a draft pick are included.

Atlanta Hawks

Picks: (19th) Jeff Teague, (49th) Sergiy Gladyr
Analysis: Teague is a great fit for the Hawks system. With Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford, the Hawks can afford to take a score-first point to replace Mike Bibby. The Hawks are a fast-paced team and the former Demon Deacon should only help that. They could have added more immediate help in the second round though.
Grade: B+

Boston Celtics

Pick: (58th) Lester Hudson
Analysis: The Celtics didn't have a lot of options with the third-to-last pick in the draft, but they got some instant value in the 24-year-old Hudson. There may have been better players on the board than the former Tennessee-Martin product, but Hudson also could have gone earlier.
Grade: B

Charlotte Bobcats

Picks: (12th) Gerald Henderson, (40th) Derrick Brown
Analysis: These are two great, ready-to-play picks for a team that desperately needed some help on the wings. Henderson should be a long-term starter and Brown provides great versatility, capable of guarding three positions. They also sold Oklahoma City the rights to the No. 54 pick, Robert Vaden.
Grade: A

Chicago Bulls

Picks: (16th) James Johnson, (26th) Taj Gibson
Analysis: In need of a back-to-the-basket scorer and some defensive help, Chicago brings in two guys capable of just those things. There were more talented options available at each spot, but you have to like a team knowing what it needs to succeed. And Johnson may end up a star in his own right.
Grade: A-

Cleveland Cavaliers

Picks: (30th) Christian Eyenga, (46th) Danny Green
Analysis: The biggest surprise of the first round came at the end of it: Eyenga received little hype coming into the draft. But he's an athletic project who could turn into something special. Green should be an instant role player. But disregarding their cap situation, the Cavaliers should have taken someone ready to contribute in the first.
Grade: C-

Dallas Mavericks

Picks: (25th) Rodrique Beaubois (via Oklahoma City), (45th) Nick Calathes (via Minnesota), (56th) Ahmad Nivins (via Portland)
Analysis: Beaubois could end up being an excellent pick in a few years. He's an athletic point guard with incredible length and the potential to be a solid starter, at least. Trading away B.J. Mullens may come back to haunt them. Calathes is a skilled, big combo guard suited for Europe. Nivins might be a nice reserve if he makes the roster.
Grade: C+

Denver Nuggets

Pick: (18th) Ty Lawson
Analysis: Lawson is a very good pick who might have been a lottery talent but slipped in a draft loaded with point guards. He might be the fastest player in the draft and should provide a great change of pace to Chauncey Billups. The Nuggets sold Houston the rights to the 34th pick, Sergio Llull.
Grade: B

Detroit Pistons

Picks: (15th) Austin Daye, (35th) DaJuan Summers, (39th) Jonas Jerebko
Analysis: The Pistons made the three best picks of the second round in Summers, Jerebko and Chase Budinger. They then traded Budinger, the steal of the draft, to Houston. And Daye (promised early in the process) was an exceptionally poor first-round choice with so many better fits and better players available.
Grade: C-

Golden State Warriors

Pick: (7th) Stephen Curry
Analysis: Curry is an outstanding fit for the Warriors, a combo guard who plays in contrast to Monta Ellis and should work pretty well with him on offense. Neither will play defense, but that hasn't been a big priority in Golden State. Word is the Curry choice may have been made by Phoenix and the Warriors may ship him off with promising forward Brandan Wright and center Andris Biedrins, (which would be a bad trade for them).
Grade: A-

Houston Rockets

Picks: (32nd) Jermaine Taylor (via Washington), (34th) Sergio Llull (via Denver), (44th) Chase Budinger (via Detroit)
Analysis: The team with no picks of its own made a major splash in the second round. The Rockets got two ready-to-play wings and a nice project point for three cash packages and a future second-rounder. Three possible first-round talents in the second round, that's called great maneuvering, especially in the Budinger steal.
Grade: A

Indiana Pacers

Picks: (13th) Tyler Hansbrough, (52nd) A.J. Price
Analysis: Indiana remained true to its conservative ways, which has to be frustrating for fans hoping to build a contender. Hansbrough has the chance to be a nice player for years. His heart and knack for scoring should keep him in the league for a long time. But the 13th pick just seems about 10 spots too high. Price probably would have went undrafted and wasn't the best point guard on the board.
Grade: C-

Los Angeles Clippers

Pick: (1st) Blake Griffin
Analysis: How do you grade this? On one hand, the Clippers didn't mess up. They took the future stud. Griffin was the only player in this draft who looked like a sure thing. On the other hand, it can't be an A+ because they didn't make any other moves and Griffin can't be called a steal.
Grade: A

Los Angeles Lakers

Pick: (59th) Chinemelu Enolu
Analysis: The defending champs sold the 29th pick, Toney Douglas, to the Knicks. Then they traded the 42nd pick, Patrick Beverly, to the Heat for a future second- rounder and cash. They could have used one of those combo guards. Instead, they end up with the raw, underwhelming Texas A&M forward.
Grade: D

Memphis Grizzlies

Picks: (2nd) Hasheem Thabeet, (27th) DeMarre Carroll, (36th) Sam Young
Analysis: The Grizzlies wanted to improve their rebounding, defense and overall toughness. In those regards, this was a great draft. Thabeet certainly makes a lot of sense here and has tremendous potential. Carroll and Young will compete for playing time but each brings something to the table.
Grade: A-

Miami Heat

Picks: (42nd) Patrick Beverley, (60th) Robert Dozier
Analysis: Both players are pretty good fits for what the Heat need, but neither was a great pick by any means. Beverley is a combo guard who just got done with a year in low-level Ukraine. Dozier, a former Memphis Tiger, can defend. The Heat also got two future second-rounders for the 43rd pick, Marcus Thornton.
Grade: B-

Milwaukee Bucks

Picks: (10th) Brandon Jennings, (41st) Jodie Meeks
Analysis: Jennings was a great value pick at 10th. He's got the potential to develop into one of the best point guards in the league, and his stock was hurt by his decision to eschew college in favor of Europe. Meeks, on the other hand, wasn't even close to the best shooting guard available.
Grade: B

Minnesota Timberwolves

Picks: (5th) Ricky Rubio (via Washington), (6th) Jonny Flynn, (28th) Wayne Ellington, (47th) Henk Norel
Analysis: The least-talked about storyline of the draft is that Rubio may stay in Spain for a year or two, which won't please Minnesota fans. Esteve Rubio, his father, is quoted on "With this pick, it's possible Ricky plays a year or two more in Europe." But he's still a tremendous value at 5th, and Flynn and Ellington are also very solid picks. Trading Randy Foye is part of this grade, but it was still a very good draft.
Grade: B+

New Jersey Nets

Pick: (11th) Terrence Williams
Analysis: For starters, the Vince Carter blockbuster isn't part of this grade. Williams has the look of a very good NBA role player. But you have to wonder if Gerald Henderson wouldn't have been a better fit for a team that is going to need scoring next year. The Nets' youth movement is nice to see, though.
Grade: C

2009 NBA draft

For more analysis of the draft, check out

New Orleans Hornets

Picks: (21st) Darren Collison, (43rd) Marcus Thornton (via
Analysis: Your best player is a lightning-quick 6-foot point guard. You're a playoff team near contention. Why would you draft a lightning-quick 6-foot point guard? With that said, Collison is a nice backup, and Thornton's scoring ability is almost enough to look the other way on the first-rounder.
Grade: C+

New York Knicks

Pick: (8th) Jordan Hill
Analysis: The fans booed, but Hill is a great value here, a true power forward who is an upgrade from Al Harrington at the position. He's got the ability to become an absolute stud, and at the least should be a poor man's Jermaine O'Neal. The Darko Milicic trade was nice, though not included in the grade.
Grade: A

Oklahoma City Thunder

Picks: (3rd) James Harden, (24th) B.J. Mullens, (54th) Robert Vaden (via Charlotte)
Analysis: The Thunder came into the night with two open spots in their future starting lineup: shooting guard and center. So they filled them. This is a case where a team drafts for need but gets two really good values in the process. Even Vaden may make the roster.
Grade: A

Orlando Magic

Picks: None
Analysis: We're not factoring in the Vince Carter trade because it didn't involve a pick, but if we were, the grade here would be an A.
Grade: N/A

Philadelphia 76ers

Pick: (17th) Jrue Holiday
Analysis: Holiday was expected by many to go several spots higher than this. But there wasn't any real reason for it. While he does have potential, Holiday is a true project who seems to have bust written all over him after doing very little with plenty of opportunity at UCLA last season.
Grade: D

Phoenix Suns

Pick: (14th) Earl Clark, (48th) Taylor Griffin, (57th) Emir Preldzic
Analysis: The Suns got one of the 10 most talented players in the draft with the 14th pick. The concerns over Clark's intensity seem to be a stretch. But drafting Griffin 48th seemed a little odd, as Blake's older brother probably shouldn't have been drafted.
Grade: B-

Portland Trail Blazers

Picks: (22nd) Victor Claver (via Dallas), (31st) Jeff Pendergraph (via Sacramento), (33rd) Dante Cunningham, (55th) Patrick Mills
Analysis: The Blazers already had a loaded roster, so they weren't looking to add much right now. Claver has a lot of talent and won't require a contract for a few years. Pendergraph and Cunningham are both solid value prospects to stow away in the NBDL. Mills should have been taken 20 spots higher.
Grade: A-

Sacramento Kings

Picks: (4th) Tyreke Evans, (23rd) Omri Casspi, (38th) Jon Brockman (via Portland)
Analysis: On one hand, the trio adds much-needed toughness to a very soft team. On the other hand, Evans isn't a true point guard and will struggle to get shooters like Kevin Martin and Francisco Garcia involved. They should have went with Rubio. Casspi should be a nice addition on the wing, though. Brockman: NBA, really?
Grade: C-

San Antonio Spurs

Picks: (37th) DeJuan Blair, (51st) Jack McClinton, (53rd) Nando De Colo
Analysis: How do these guys just fall into the Spurs' lap? Blair is a perfect fit alongside Duncan and could start next season. That alone deserves an A. But then you factor in McClinton, a potential Eddie House clone, and De Colo, a brilliant passer with potential, and you have an A+ draft with no first rounders.
Grade: A+

Toronto Raptors

Pick: (9th) DeMar DeRozan
Analysis: You can't fault a team for taking the best player available at a position of need. But DeRozan may not be the ideal fit. The Raptors can win as soon as next year if they resign Marion, and DeRozan may still be a year or two away. Then again, his athleticism might translate quicker than expected.
Grade: B+

Utah Jazz

Picks: (20th) Eric Maynor, (50th) Goran Suton
Analysis: The Jazz failed to address their need for help on the wings and took two players with very limited upside. Maynor is a nice player who should be a nice backup, but they could have afforded to gamble on a small forward with big potential. Suton lacks NBA-level athleticism and quickness.
Grade: C

Washington Wizards

Picks: None
Analysis: The Minnesota trade that gave away the fifth pick and three bigs for Randy Foye and Mike Miller is looking less desirable now that we know Rubio would have been available. But the Wizards did what they needed to do to win now. Selling the 32nd pick, Jermaine Taylor, also might have been foolish.
Grade: B-
Tagged: Heat, Jazz, Timberwolves, Bucks, Nets, Wizards, Raptors, Mike Bibby, Knicks, Grizzlies, Suns, Kings, Thunder, Monta Ellis, Jamal Crawford, Kevin Martin, Shaquille O'Neal, Joe Johnson, Mike Miller, Eddie House, Chauncey Billups, Hawks, Celtics, Francisco Garcia, Randy Foye, Darko Milicic, Cavaliers, Brandan Wright, Andris Biedrins, Nuggets, Pistons, Warriors, Rockets, Jermaine O'Neal, Richard Jefferson, Al Harrington, Clippers, Vince Carter

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