Draft Review – Eastern Conference

» June 30, 2008 6:46 AM | By xphoenix87

Wrapping up my draft coverage here, I’ll be talking about each team’s draft individually. Now that the trades have settled down and we know who actually ended up where, we can take a look and see how each team made out. First, I’ll be looking at Eastern Conference teams. A few notes before we get going.

- I don’t give team grades. I give thumbs up or thumbs down. If I really, really liked a team’s draft, I’ll give them two thumbs up, and if I really hated it, I’ll give them two thumbs down. I have to have a really strong opinion of a team’s draft to do that though. For the most part, I either have a positive or negative opinion. I don’t think in terms of grades. If I’m undecided, I’ll give a team an “On the Fence.”

- I’m concerned with who received good value for their picks. For instance, obviously the Bulls had a better draft than the Magic, they picked first and Orland picked 22nd. However, if Chicago didn’t pick the right guy and Orlando got good value for their pick, I’ll like Orlando’s draft more, despite the fact that the player they got might be less talented. Make sense? Good, On to the teams!

Atlanta Hawks

No Picks

-Gee, that was easy.

Boston Celtics – On The Fence

Picks: J.R. Giddens (30), Bill Walker, (47), Semih Erden (60)

- On the one hand, I think they reached on Giddens. He would’ve been there later, and I’m not sure he deserves that spot anyway. He would’ve been a borderline first round pick even without his off-court issues. To pass on guys like Chris Douglas-Roberts and Mario Chalmers at that position is very odd. On the other hand, they did take Walker, one of my favorite second round picks. He’s got lottery potential if he stays healthy, and the Celtics certainly don’t need him to play immediately. He could pay dividends for them in a few years.

Charlotte Bobcats – Two Thumbs Down

Picks: D.J. Augustin (9), Alexis Ajinca (20), Kyle Weaver (38)

- Even though I gave Charlotte a terrible rating, I’m not as down on the Augustin pick as some people are. He was the best point guard I watched last year until Derrick Rose went crazy for a few weeks during the tournament. Augustin will have trouble guarding people, but he’s a great offensive player who has a very good jumpshot and excellent floor vision. I don’t think Raymond Felton is the answer in Charlotte, so while it might not have been a pressing need, it isn’t a terrible pick. However, the Ajinca pick WAS terrible. No way are you going to convince me that this guy is worth the 20th pick in the draft. They could’ve had Kosta Koufos, De’Andre Jordan or Darrell Arthur there, no way he was the best pick available. Here’s what this draft means though, the Bobcats are stuck with Nazr Mohammed and the injury-prone Emeka Okafor and Sean May as their only viable post players…again. They won’t have enough cap room to offer much more than the mid-level exception to any big man, so help probably isn’t coming that way. For the second straight year they’ve refused to address their frontcourt deficiencies, and that earns them the double thumbs down.

Chicago Bulls – Thumbs Down

Picks: Derrick Rose (1), Omer Asik (36)

- I’ve ranted and raved about this a lot, so I won’t bore you with too much more of it. Everything that everyone has been saying about Rose reeks of people talking themselves into a pick. He’s not Chris Paul. I repeat, DERRICK ROSE IS NOT CHRIS PAUL. Stop it. Rose is a very good point guard prospect, he’s not a world-changing prospect. Michael Beasley is as versatile and dominant a talent as has come through college basketball in years. Beasley is the better prospect, he’s the better fit, and he’s the better pick. Derrick Rose was the wrong pick — period. Added to that mistake is the fact that they traded 3 second round picks for Omer Asik, a guy who just signed a 5-year contract in Europe, and may never play in the US.

Cleveland Cavaliers – Thumbs Up

Picks: J.J. Hickson (19), Darnell Jackson (52), Sasha Kaun (56)

- Needing to add some youth to their aging frontcourt, the Cavs picked two guys with a good chance to contribute. Hickson is a bit raw, but he’s a load inside with an NBA-ready body at 19. I think he’s at worst a Jason Maxiell type, and the Cavs could certainly use that. I was a bit surprised they passed on Kosta Koufos here since they’d reportedly been in love with him, but Hickson probably has the higher ceiling and lower chance of being a bust. Darnell Jackson at 52 is a great value at that point in the draft. He might not ever make it in the league, but he’s got a better chance than most guys in his position.

Detroit Pistons – Thumbs Down

Picks: Walter Sharpe (32), Trent Plaisted (46), Deron Washington (59)

- I’ll admit, I haven’t seen a whole lot of Sharpe playing, but I know he’s a bit of a project who was ranked as a late second-rounder on most boards. While I like the fact that they picked up Plaisted, a talented guy who was hurt by some bad measurements at the combine, I don’t think they should’ve given up D.J. White to pick those two players. Also, there were better options sitting there at 32, like De’Andre Jordan or CDR.

Indiana Pacers – Thumbs Down

Picks: Brandon Rush (13), Roy Hibbert (17)

It’s important to note that I’m analyzing the Pacers’ picks here, not the Jermaine O’Neal/T.J. Ford trade, which I thought was a great trade. No, the issue I have with the Pacers’ draft is that they had a great talent (Jerryd Bayless) slip to them at 11, but they didn’t keep him. Instead, they traded him to Portland for a backup point guard (Jarrett Jack) and a lesser prospect at a position where they don’t need help (Brandon Rush) because their best player plays that position (Danny Granger). How does that make any semblance of sense? Hibbert at 17 isn’t a bad pick. I thought they should’ve gone for someone with a bit higher ceiling (Kosta Koufos or Darrell Arthur maybe), but Hibbert is a pretty solid pick that they didn’t reach for. If they would have kept Bayless, this would be a fine draft, but trading him away was foolish.

Miami Heat – Two Thumbs Up

Picks: Michael Beasley (2), Mario Chalmers (34)

- They get credit for not screwing up and taking Beasley, easily the best player in this draft. He’ll be able to fit in on this team regardless of what their roster looks like because he’s extremely versatile and brings a ton to the table. He’s the rare efficient, high-volume scorer, and he’s also a fantastic rebounder who could average a double-double right away. Then, they managed to snag Mario Chalmers at tremendous value late in the draft. Yes, they had to give up 2 future second round picks to get him, but that’s a small cost to pay for a very solid guy who was projected in the mid first round. Tremendous job by Miami to take the right guy, then go out and trade for another guy who was a great value and fit a need (guard play).

Milwaukee Bucks – On The Fence

Picks: Joe Alexander (8), Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (37)

- I’m torn here. On one hand, Alexander was maybe my favorite player in the draft. He’s probably the best athlete in this class, he’s got a phenomenal work ethic, and he was coached by two of the best college coaches out there. He’s still learning the game, but I think he’s more skilled than people give him credit for. He’s a tremendous prospect, and I loved him for the Bucks. However, the trade for Richard Jefferson confuses me. Sure, you want to have someone Alexander can play behind so he can learn the game, but Jefferson has 3 years left on his contract at $15 mil a piece. You’re committed to playing him, is Alexander going to get a chance? I’m not sure about this one. Mbah a Moute doesn’t seem like a good pick to me. He’s also a SF, and there were better players on the board (CDR, Ante Tomic, Bill Walker, Richard Hendrix).

New Jersey Nets – Thumbs Up

Picks: Brook Lopez (10), Ryan Anderson (21), Chris Douglas-Roberts (40)

- Now, I’m not a big Lopez fan. However, at that point in the draft he was clearly the best available guy, and he gives them another piece in their frontcourt rebuilding efforts. He’s a skilled scorer, he’s got size, and he’s a decent defender. I think he’ll make a good tandem with Sean Williams. Anderson is a tougher pick to understand. He’s a reach at this spot, and he duplicates a lot of the same skills that Yi has. It just seems like a redundant pick and one that wasn’t a good value. However, their draft is saved because the steal of the draft, CDR, fell into their laps at #40. He’ll be able to come in and contribute immediately behind Vince Carter. I wrote before the draft about how I love Douglas-Roberts, he’s a natural scorer and an above-average defender. I have no idea how he fell so far, he’s a great piece for them.

New York Knicks – Thumbs Up

Picks: Danilo Gallinari (6)

- Forget whoever is on their current roster. Don’t worry about if he can play immediately. The Knicks situation is not going to be fixed overnight. They’ve got huge issues on that team and it’s going to take them a little while to sort them out. Meanwhile, they needed to take the best prospect available regardless of position, and they did so. Gallinari is a fantastic player who should be their starting SF for years. He’s got a bit of Toni Kukoc in him, a bit of Hedo Turkoglu, and a bit of Manu. They kept talking about his shooting ability at the draft because, hey, he’s European, shooting is always their strength, right? Actually, the best part of Gallinari’s game is that he’s a fantastic ball-handler at 6′10 who uses his right and left hand almost equally well. He’ll get to the rim and draw a lot of fouls, and you love players who can do that. He’s also got very good court vision, and he plays well off the ball. The question with him is defense, and we’ll have to see if he can work to iron out that weakness in his game.

Orlando Magic – On The Fence

Picks: Courtney Lee (22)

- We knew this pick was coming, but…um…don’t you need frontcourt help instead of another mediocre guard? Lee is a decent prospect, and he can play defense and shoot from deep, but he’s not going to be a world-shaker. Courtney Lee is not the guy who puts you over the top. Didn’t you just draft J.J. Redick at shooting guard a few years ago too? The two areas where Orlando really needs help (point guard and a frontcourt compliment to Dwight Howard), had players available who were good value (Arthur, Chalmers). Was Lee really a better pick than one of those two?

Philadelphia 76ers

Picks: Marreese Speights (16)

- Well, the Sixers’ big need was definitely a power forward to compliment Dalembert, and they got one. Way back at the beginning of the college basketball season, people were talking about Speights as a guy who had the potential to be the #1 pick. His work ethic and lack of concentration at times got in the way of that, and he clearly isn’t at that level, but at this point in the draft he’s a good risk to take. He’s got an NBA body and a very high skill level, especially for a guy so young. The concern is that he coasts too much, and he had some conditioning problems at Florida. Strong pick at this point though, this could look like a steal in a few years.

Toronto Raptors – On The Fence

Picks: Nathan Jawai (41)

- I know very little about Jawai, so I can’t give this much of a rating. He’s a very strong big man with good athleticism, but he’s still learning the game and is a few years away from doing anything in the league. It’s a decent risk for the Raptors at this point, because you’re not getting any sure things here, and Jawai has potential.

Washington Wizards – Thumbs Down

Picks: JaVale McGee (18)

- On the one hand, McGee is a terrific athlete, a legit 7-footer with huge wingspan and some explosive leaping ability. On the other hand, he’s rail thin, has very limited offensive skills, and doesn’t play good defense. He’s a big-time boom/bust pick, with lots of potential but a huge likelihood that he will do nothing at all in the league. At this point in the draft, there were better players available. They could have had Kosta Koufos, Donte Green, Darrell Arthur or Chris Douglas-Roberts. McGee wasn’t a great value at that spot, and he’s another high-risk center prospect for a team that didn’t really need that.

BallerBlogger contributing writer ‘xphoenix87′ is a college student who dreams of one day writing about sports for a living. Since that’s not gonna happen, he’ll do this instead.

4 Responses to “Draft Review – Eastern Conference”

  1. Hoffman Says:


    Great work!

    I can’t wait to see your Western Conference review.

  2. Tsunami Says:

    X – yes, I agree with Hoff – this is great stuff.

    I can’t wait to see your Western Conference stuff too.

    Is it just me, or does Chicago STILL lack any low post scorers?

  3. xphoenix87 Says:

    Yup, they’ve still got no one who can legitimately post you up and make you pay. Good luck finding someone on the free agent market too. The only unrestricted free agent post scorer is Antwan Jamison, and he’s not coming for the mid-level exception. You might be able to get Craig Smith (he’s a restricted free agent), but I doubt it, and is he really an answer anyway? Also, good luck getting a good big man by trading Hinrich, his value has never been lower.

  4. A-Train Says:

    You know this was an incredibly weak draft–most of these guys won’t be in the NBA three years from now.

    Last year, the Warriors took Marco Belinelli with the 18th pick. And he, allegedly, was the best Italian player–the “scout” on NBADraft.net wrote when describing him: “The top Italian guard prospect for at least 10 years.”

    Ok. And we saw what he did last season: he averaged 7 minutes per game.

    Then we can also look at Andrea Bargnani, who was taken *cough* number one overall in 2006. What has he done thus far? His per-36-minutes averages are: 15 points (on 40% shooting) and 5 rebounds.

    Let’s forget the numbers. Watch Bargnani. Has he done anything remotely special? Can we say “this guy is going to be really good in a few years”? No.

    Jeryd Bayless, Eric Gordon, Joe Alexander, etc. all have a better shot at developing in the league. Good foreign players are rare.

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