2012 NBA Draft Grades: Western Conference Edition


June 28, 2012; Newark, NJ, USA; Anthony Davis (Kentucky), right, is introduced as the number one overall pick to the New Orleans Hornets by NBA commissioner David Stern during the 2012 NBA Draft at the Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE

Dallas MavericksSelections: Jarred Cunningham, Oregon State (24th); Bernard James, Florida State (33rd); Jae Crowder, Marquette (34th).

The Mavericks made a nice deal with Cleveland that netted them two extra second-rounders. The good thing about stashing second-rounders is that Dallas has considerable more control when negotiating deals. Dallas took a huge gamble with Cunningham who could develop into a Russell Westbrook type scorer. They made this gamble because they don’t have a perimeter scorer on the roster. Jae Crowder is an undersized power forward that plays with a ton of energy and many pundits believe he is a potential steal.

Grade: C

Denver NuggetsSelections: Evan Fournier, France (20th); Quincy Miller, Baylor (38th); Izzet Turkyilmaz, Turkey (50th).

I don’t love the Fournier game because I don’t think he has the athleticism or the strength to take advantage of his one redeemable offensive quality — shot creation. Fournier isn’t a quality shooter.

Denver’s best pick, in my opinion, was Quincy Miller. When healthy, Miller can score in bunches. Draft Express lists his best-case scenario as a poor man’s Kevin Durant which is a pretty damn good comparison if you ask me.

Grade: B+

Golden State WarriorsSelections: Harrison Barnes, North Carolina (7th); Festus Ezeli, Vanderbilit (30th); Draymond Green, Michigan St. (35th); Ognjen Kuzmic, Boznia (52nd).

Harrison Barnes is an excellent addition to a backcourt consisting of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. The beauty of that arrangement is that each can shoot from the perimeter and create their own shot. Ezeli can play behind Andrew Bogut and Golden State won’t miss a beat defensively as Ezeli’s main strength is on the defensive end. Given the range, Draymond Green is a tremendous value as his shooting, passing and basketball IQ are all conducive to a long career.

Grade: A

Houston RocketsSelections: Jeremy Lamb, Connecticut (12th); Royce White, Iowa State (16th); Terrence Jones, Kentucky (18th).

I don’t understand Darry Morey’s draft ploy but he added three talented assets creating a confluence of players fit to package in any Dwight deal. Lamb, White and Jones remain some of the most versatile, talented players in the draft. Houston still hasn’t addressed their size though. Thats, uh, creative? I guess?

Grade: B-

Los Angeles ClippersSelections: Furkan Aldemir, Galatasaray (53rd).

I literally googled his name right after the pick.

Grade: D

Los Angeles LakersSelections: Darius Johnson-Odom, Marquette (55th); Robert Sacre, Gonzaga (60th).

Not much of a haul here. Two late round fliers. One guy would’ve gone higher if he was taller. The other guys is just good at being tall.

Grade: D

Memphis GrizzliesSelections: Tony Wroten Jr., Washington (25th).

Here’s my analysis of the pick for Fansided:

Wroten Jr. is a highly volatile pick. He has unheard of size for the point guard position so he shouldn’t have     trouble shooting over his shorter counterparts. The only thing is that he can’t shoot very well. His porous     shooting — Wroten made 48.8% of his shots last season (free throws, 3-pointers, 2-pointers) — needs to     be addressed.

Yeah. What he said.

Grade: B

Minnesota TimberwolvesSelections: Robbie Hummel, Purdue (58th).

I like Hummel simply because he has a tireless work ethic and he has 3-point range (38.9% shooting in four years at Purdue). The pick is not likely to pay off but you can’t go wrong with Hummel.

Grade: C

New Orleans HornetsSelections: Anthony Davis, Kentucky (1st); Austin Rivers, Duke (10th); Darius Miller, Kentucky (46th).

The A+ rating doesn’t mean that New Orleans had a perfect draft. That, simply, does not exist in the NBA. But they did acquire the best player in the draft who should make an immediate impact, a dynamic perimeter scorer that could play point (though I have my doubts) and a long wing that can play defense and knock down the occasional 3-pointer. For the first time since Chris Paul, New Orleans has a solid foundation to work with.

Grade: A+

Oklahoma City ThunderSelections: Perry Jones III, Baylor (28th).

If you’re Sam Presti the prospects of your team look a lot better. Oklahoma City was already one of the most freakish athletic teams in the league with an elite combination of length, speed, agility and an insatiable lust to get to the rim. Perry Jones III, knee injury concerns aside, is the perfect fit for Oklahoma City.

Grade: A

Phoenix SunsSelections: Kendall Marshall, North Carolina (13th).

I love the pick. Marshall assisted on an otherworldly 45.1% of North Carolina’s possessions last season. Yes, he turned the ball over 27.8% of the time but, as Sebastian Pruiti of Grantland noted in his point guard preview, that can be attributed to his over confidence in transition. Marshall threaded the needle in unnecessary spots instead of making the simple, productive pass. If he lowers his turnovers, his passing exploits will shine even more.

Grade: B

Portland Trail BlazersSelections: Daman Lillard, Weber St. (6th); Meyers Leonard, Illinois (11th); Will Barton, Memphis (40th).

I’m a huge proponent of Lillard’s game. His detractors cite his poor competition in the Big Sky as a potential warning sign which is a valid point up until the point you actually watch Lillard on tape. He is a defenses nightmare (especially in pick-and-rolls) as he can attack the recovering defense and pull up from 3-point land if you go under the screen. He scored an incredible 1.27 points per possession, per Draft Express, which is just … unreal.

I would have preferred Zeller because he’s more likely to make an impact. Leonard has a nice mid-range jumper, yes, but he has a lot to work on.

Grade: B+

Sacramento KingsSelections: Thomas Robinson, Kansas (5th).

As Charlotte and Cleveland engaged in trade talks and Houston frantically tried to trade up, Sacramento waited patiently. The move payed off big dividends as Robinson is basically the best conceivable fit with DeMarcus Cousins. He’s not going to implode like Andre Drummond. Robinson is going to arrive in Sacramento, play with a lot of energy and the pieces will fall wherever they like.

Grade: A

San Antonio SpursSelections: Marcus Denmon, Missouri (59th).

Denmon is an uber-efficient combo guard, whose scoring exploits only trailed J’Covan Brown in the Big 12 Conference. He can shoot from every angle of the floor but measuring at 6’3″ doesn’t bode well for his future success. I didn’t know he was in the picture but the Spurs could have done worse. If I had my way, though, San Antonio would’ve selected Scott Machado or Leon Radosevic.

Grade: B+

Utah JazzSelections: Kevin Murphy, Tennessee Tech (47th).

From what I’ve read on Murphy, this is a steal. When you add the fact that Utah only converted on 32.3% of their 3-point attempts last year Murphy’s sharp shooting becomes an even better fit. Jazz fans witnessed firsthand the value of floor spacing against the Spurs. You can’t achieve proper floor spacing without at least a couple of shooters though and Murphy (41.6% shooting from behind the arc) certainly fits the bill.

Grade: B+