Chad Ford at ESPN has compiled his draft grades for each team. Here is what he had to say about the teams smart enough to pick up a Wildcat:
– Utah Jazz: A
Analysis: I really like the Utah draft. Kanter has the ability to be a productive starting center in the league. And Burks is a very talented guard who, if he develops a jump shot, could become a star.
With the addition of Kanter and Burks plus Derrick Favors and last year’s lottery pick, Gordon Hayward, the Jazz have quickly rebuilt a strong young talent base while keeping a nice core of veterans around as mentors. The future looks very bright in Utah.
I wish the Jazz had pulled the trigger on a defensive guy like Singleton or Leonard with the 12th pick, instead of Burks, and packaged him with another piece in a deal with the Pistons for Knight. Kanter and Knight as the young core of the Jazz would have made them instant UK fan favorites.
– Detroit Pistons: A-
Analysis: Knight wasn’t the Pistons’ biggest need, but he was the best talent on the board when the Pistons selected and GM Joe Dumars didn’t hesitate to take him. I applaud that. Dumars can figure out how to fit Knight into a somewhat crowded backcourt, and teams typically fare better when they don’t worry about fit and take the best player on the board. Knight isn’t a sure thing, but he’s a hardworking, unselfish player with all the tools to be great if he puts it together.
I’m not in love with the Singler pick, but I also can’t argue definitively that there was a better prospect for the Pistons to take at No. 33. You can’t teach toughness and Singler has loads of it. If he ever becomes a consistent shooter, he could be a threat.
The Pistons have Tayshaun Prince, so that’s a plus, but he was very unhappy last year with the team and was looking to relocate. I hope he sticks around and serves as a mentor to Knight as he makes his transition into the league. Tayshaun is the perfect example of a pro’s pro and has achieved success at the highest levels of basketball. Also, one cool thing about Detroit is the possibility of Brandon getting his own slightly ambiguous Chrysler commercial, like Ndamakong Suh has.
– New York Knicks: B-
Analysis: New York went for defense and swung for the fences at the same time. Shumpert was one of the best perimeter defenders in the draft, with great size for a guard and explosive athleticism. If he can learn to run a team and shoot the ball, he can be a monster in the NBA. But right now, that’s a big if.
Harrellson is big and the Knicks need big. But his talent is pretty limited.
Ford was quite excessive in his praise for Iman Shumpert, the sporadically effective Georgia Tech guard who the Knicks took in the first round, but he seemed to be the only one. Knicks fans were at best furious and at worst catatonic after the 17th pick. Josh could serve the Knicks better as a second-rounder who wasn’t necessarily expected to be drafted than their first round selection. One plus for Jorts is that New York only has Ronny Turiaf as a true center on the roster. They do have a project seven-footer, Jerome Jordan, from Jamaica playing in Serbia, but he isn’t as developed in his game as Harrellson’s, even after spending some time in the professional ranks.
– Orlando Magic: B
Analysis: The Magic moved up and grabbed Harper, one of the best shooters in the draft. He has a little Rashard Lewis in his game with his ability to stretch the floor. He’s not going to be a star, but he could play a similar role to Ryan Anderson.
Liggins has a shot at sticking in the league thanks to his ability to lock down opposing players on the perimeter.
The Magic are a good team in need of a lock down defender. Plus, DeAndre plays with a toughness about him. Maybe he can teach that to Dwight Howard so he stops smiling all the time and finally gets on his teammates for sucking and losing to the Hawks in the first round. The Hawks? DeAndre Liggins ain’t losing to the Hawks. For that reason alone he should make the final roster.
In addition, if you look at these grades and think to yourself, ‘That thing Chad Ford said seems kind of dumb. I wonder if that will prove to be wrong in a few years’, then you should check out this post from The Big Lead. Some of the comments Ford made about the 2003 draft are laughable.