2012 NBA Draft Grades: Eastern Conference Edition

June 28, 2012; Newark, NJ, USA; Harrison Barnes (left) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (right) laugh as they stand on stage before the 2012 NBA Draft at the Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE

Atlanta Hawks
Selections: John Jenkins, Vanderbilt (23rd); Mike Scott, Virginia (43rd).

The Hawks reached a bit for the one-dimensional Jenkins because of their pressing need for perimeter shooting. Atlanta was the 21st most proficient shooting team in the basketball and Jenkins’ pure shooting stroke should make an impact. Finding Mike Scott with the 43rd pick is an excellent move as he can produce immediately. Scott isn’t a 3-point shooter by any means but he can score effectively from the post and when he’s facing up. Nice value pick.

Grade: B

Boston Celtics
Selections: Jared Sullinger (21st); Fab Melo, Syracuse (22nd); Kris Joseph, Syracuse (51st).

In my pick-by-analysis for Fansided, I rated Boston’s adept selection of Sullinger as an A+. I stand by that rating. Sullinger’s basketball acumen, rebounding, ability to score with his back to the basketball more than outweighs the conspicuous red flags in his way. Fab Melo is a bit of a project and I don’t see him developing into anything more than a potent shot blocker. Kris Joseph is merely an athletic body that Boston hopes will pan out in the future (unlikely).

Grade: B+

Brooklyn Nets
Selections: Tyshawn Taylor, Kansas (41st); Ilkan Karaman, Turkey (57th).

Ilkan Karaman is from Turkey. He’s athletic and he can shoot. He also has tattoos. Cool.

Grade: Inc.

Charlotte Bobcats
Selections: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky (2nd); Jeff Taylor, Vanderbilt (31st).

I may be in the minority but I love the Michael Kidd-Gilchrist pick. It’s a lot easier to develop an effective offensive repertoire rather than an insatiable desire to play defense. Offense comes natural to most players. The opposite is true for MKG as he prefers the burden of defending the most talented scorers in the league instead of creating for himself. Put MKG in transition with a full head of steam while defenders back-pedal and try to find their defensive assignments and he’s deadly. I’m willing to let his offensive game slide because, well, he’s flipping 18-years-old.

Selecting Taylor was a blatant adherence to the best player available strategy; Taylor was ranked as the 15th best prospect according to Draft Express. He’s like MKG without the athleticism or the benefit of age. Their skillset becomes a little redundant, no?

Grade: A-

Chicago Bulls
Selections: Marquis Teague, Kentucky (29th).

Despite his propensity to turn the ball over Marquis Teague has the ability to run an NBA offense. His shooting isn’t much of a threat though his quickness and agility give him an advantage over most NBA point guards.

Grade: B+

Cleveland Cavaliers
Selections: Dion Waiters, Syracuse (4th); Tyler Zeller, North Carolina (17th).

I realize that Waiters has been on everybody’s radar for awhile now but that still doesn’t convince me that he was the right pick. The comparisons to Dwayne Wade don’t seem warranted. Sure, he’s fundamentally sound in pick-and-rolls, he finishes well at the rim and he limits turnovers. His shooting is even more advanced than Wade. But, when you glance at his body of work, Waiters isn’t the type of athlete that can get to the rim consistently like Wade. When he gets to the rim, he’ll finish. I just have my doubts if he’ll get to the rim.

I love the Zeller pick. Mobile big men that actually run the floor are a rare commodity. But why did they have to give up three picks to move up seven spots? The early second-rounders hold inconspicuous value and by flipping the 33rd and 34th picks, Cleveland eliminated their chances to cash in on some good values.

Grade: B

Detroit Pistons
Selections: Andre Drummond, Connecticut (9th); Khris Middleton, Texas A&M (39th); Kim English, Missouri (44th).

A pretty sound draft from Joe Dumars. The player they coveted most fell to them at ninth. His volatility is a lot more palatable at the ninth pick rather than top five. Drummond is athletically gifted, his post game is a little lacking, and seems to be a good fit alongside Greg Monroe. Khris Middleton was projected to be a first-round pick last year before injuries obfuscated his path. He’s a solid mid-range shooter. Middleton’s 3-point shooting took a noticeable nose dive though.

Kim English will pack the scoring punch, albeit in a more efficient manner, left behind from Ben Gordon. Just like Spurs’ draft pick Marcus Denmon, English makes a ton of shots despite relying heavily on 3-pointers.

Grade: A

Indiana Pacers
Selections: Miles Plumlee, Duke (26th).

Indiana opted to go the safe route though safe in this instance will likely be nothing spectular. Plumlee can rebound and he’s good at being tall. Which is good, I guess. But given the choice between the risk/reward Perry Jones III and a player billed as the “next Jeff Foster” isn’t it pretty simple? How will Plumlee possibly vault Indiana into a championship contender unless he was saving his arsenal of Hakeem Olajuwon post moves?

Grade: D

Miami Heat
Selections: Justin Hamilton, LSU (45th).

Miami is deep into the luxury tax. The fact that they traded out of their first-rounder for the cost-efficient 45th pick shows that the front office is cognizant of their cap situation. Now they have the luxury of stashing Hamilton away in Europe with no cap ramifications.

Grade: Inc.

Milwaukee Bucks
Selections: John Henson, North Carolina (14th); Doron Lamb, Kentucky (42nd).

Henson slipped into their hands and Milwaukee rightly snatched one of the best defensive big men in the draft. Henson swatted a shot on 9.6% of North Carolina’s possessions and backs up that interior defense with impressive rebounding rates as well. He has a long ways before he becomes a threat offensively but he’ll join Ekpe Udoh as a fearsome defender down low. His addition foreshadows the loss of either of Drew Gooden or Ersan Illyasova. Doron Lamb will come in immediately and score the ball predominately from the perimeter. He was the second best shooter in the draft.

Grade: A-

New York Knicks
Selections: Kostas Papanikolaou, Olympiakos (48th).

Believe it or not, I actually approve of New York’s draft. Kostas what’s-his-last-name won’t alleviate the Knicks’ pertinent flaws but when he arrives into the NBA, he’ll do everything pretty well.

Grade: B

Orlando Magic
Selections: Andrew Nicholson, St. Bonaventure (19th); Kyle O’Quinn, Norfolk State (49th).

Orlando made it a point to shore up their size in the event that Dwight Howard leaves. If Howard sticks around, size will still be of utmost importance. Dwight has been on an island around a litany of perimeter shooters. This is one of the primary fault’s of Orlando’s philosophy; there aren’t enough big man that can give him some valuable rest. Nicholson isn’t a pure big man but he can score in the post on either side of the floor because of his dexterity. He can also spot up from the perimeter a la Ryan Anderson or David West. Kyle O’Quinn gives Orlando even more depth.

Grade: B+

Philadelphia 76ers
Selections: Moe Harkless, St. John’s (15th); Arnett Moultrie, Mississippi St. (27th).

I’ll just disregard’s Philadelphia’s questionable selection of Moe Harkless. Philadelphia is already over reliant on the mid-range portion of the floor and adding another non-shooter only constricts the court further. They needed size and blatantly ignored a need (and it’s not like there wasn’t good big men at 15 either). Finding Moultrie at the 27th pick was a fortunate break.

Grade: B-

Toronto Raptors
Selections: Terrence Ross, Washington (8th); Quincy Acy, Baylor (37th); Tomislav Zubcic, Cibona Zagreb (56th).

Toronto reached on Ross. He filled a need which is good but getting a nice return on perceived value would’ve been nice. The No. 8 pick was highly coveted and trading back into the 11-16 range could’ve netted them an extra pick and Ross. Then they draft the wrong Quincy in the second-round. Acy is three years older and he has a lower ceiling. Miller’s stock fell due to injury concerns but DX still ranked him as a top 20 prospect. They passed on (best-case scenario) a poor man’s Kevin Durant for Hakim Warrick.

Grade: D

Washington Wizards
Selections: Bradley Beal, Florida (3rd); Tomas Satoransky, Sevilla (32nd).

Beal is Washington’s real prize of this draft. A potential Eric Gordon-type weapon that can shoot and attack coupled with the speed of John Wall is a decent way to improve the 26th-ranked offense. Whatever Satoransky accomplishes is icing on the cake.

Grade: A

Topics: 2012 NBA Draft, Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Bobcats, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards

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