- Chad Ford, ESPN Senior Writer
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After 58 picks and several trades Thursday night, ESPN Insider Chad Ford handed out his draft-night grades:
Round 1: Boris Diaw, SG, France (No. 21)
Round 2: Travis Hansen, G, BYU (No. 37)
This was the best draft the Hawks have had in some time. They got the guy who could turn into the perfect complement to Jason Terry in Boris Diaw. A 6-foot-9 point forward, Diaw can handle the ball while Terry lights up the scoreboard. Hansen is a solid second pick. Combine his maturity with great athleticism, strong defense and a nice shooting touch, and the Hawks found a guy who could make a major contribution to their backcourt.
Round 1: Marcus Banks, G, UNLV (No. 13)
Round 1: Kendrick Perkins, C, Ozen HS (No. 27)
Round 2: Brandon Hunter, F, Ohio (No. 56)
Deals: Acquired Banks, Perkins in trade with Memphis for Troy Bell and Dahntay Jones
I promised that I'd give the Celtics an "F" if they took Banks and Perkins at No. 16 and No. 20. They traded down for Perkins and got him in a more reasonable range, so I upped the grade a bit. I like Banks' toughness and his ability to get to the basket, but I'm not sure he's that big an upgrade over J.R. Bremer. Perkins and Hunter give the Celtics plenty of beef in the paint, but both guys are undersized for what they do. In the end, I wonder if the Celtics will get any better this year because of the draft.
Round 1: Kirk Hinrich, G, Kansas (No. 7)
Round 2: Mario Austin, F, Mississippi St. (No. 36)
Round 2: Tommy Smith, F, Arizona St. (No. 53)
Deals: Traded Matt Bonner (No. 45) to Toronto for future second-round pick.
The Kirk Hinrich pick is a bit of a head-scratcher. I love Hinrich, but I'm not sure how he fits with Jamal Crawford. They needed a bigger two guard who could score and defend. They passed on Mickael Pietrus, a player who could've given them that. Still, Hinrich's versatile enough to play the point and the two. He's got a sweet outside shot and he'll really push the ball. But are we in for yet another point-guard war in Chicago this year? I like Austin in the second round, though I wonder if he'll ever see the light of day behind Tyson Chandler and Eddy Curry. Tommy Smith is another nice pick in round two, though he may be nothing more than a younger version of Eddie Robinson.
Round 1: LeBron James, G, St. Vincent-St. Mary HS (No. 1)
Round 2: Jason Kapono, F, UCLA (No. 31)
They get an "A" for LeBron, but I thought they really passed up on a chance to get better in the post. I think Jerome Beasley was a real sleeper here and would've been a nice complement to Carlos Boozer. Kapono will give them a nice shooter. He's the exact yin to Darius Miles' yang.
Round 1: Josh Howard, F, Wake Forest (No. 29)
Deals: Traded Xue Yuyang (No. 57) to Denver for future second-round pick.
They got a steal with Josh Howard late in the first. He's the type of all-purpose guy who's thrived in Dallas the past few years. I'm a little surprised they left more physical post players such as Mario Austin, Zaur Pachulia and Malick Badiane on the board, but Howard is a real talent at No. 29.
Round 1: Carmelo Anthony, F, Syracuse (No. 3)
Round 2: Sani Becirovic, G, Italy (No. 46)
Deals: Acquired Xue Yuyang (No. 57) from Dallas for future second-round pick.
They got the right guy at No. 3 and took a calculated risk to grab Sani Becirovic in round two. Carmelo Anthony will be a star and should give them some immediate drawing power at the box office. However, the Nuggets' job has just begun. They've got to surround Anthony with talent this summer (Yuyang doesn't count) to make this draft truly a success.
Round 1: Darko Milicic, F, Serbia-Montenegro (No. 2)
Round 1: Carlos Delfino, G, Italy (No. 25)
Round 2: Andres Gliniadakis, C, Greece (No. 58)
How many teams with the best record in their conference end up with the best big man in the draft and a draft-night steal in Carlos Delfino? By now, you know about Darko, but Delfino will also be important down the road. He's tough, a strong shooter and plays aggressive defense. He reminds me a lot of Michael Finley. He could play an immediate role on the Pistons if he stays here next year. Gliniadakis was a nice pickup at the end of the draft. He's a 7-footer who can actually play. The Pistons will leave him in Greece for a few years and bring him over when he's ready.
Golden State Warriors
Round 1: Mickael Pietrus, G, France (No. 11)
Round 2: Derrick Zimmerman, G, Mississippi St. (No. 40)
I like the Pietrus pick; he was the best guy left on the board. But where does he fit? Typical Warriors. With Jason Richardson, Jiri Welsh and Mike Dunleavy already swinging between the two and three, where does Pietrus find minutes? Zimmerman was a solid second-round pick.
Round 1: No pick
Round 2: Malick Badiane, F, Germany (No. 44)
The Rockets made the most of their only pick. The team knows a thing or two about African players and they believe Badiane could be a force in the paint someday. He'll probably spend the next year or two playing in Europe, but down the road he could give them a big defensive presence down low.
Round 1: No pick
Round 2: James Jones, F, Miami (No. 49)
Jones is a nice second rounder. He has size, athleticism and a sweet stroke. But do the Pacers need another small forward?
Los Angeles Clippers
Round 1: Chris Kaman, C, Central Michigan (No. 6)
Round 2: Sofoklis Schortsanitis, F, Greece (No. 34)
The Kaman pick makes sense at one level. They know they're going to lose Michael Olowokandi and they're pretty sure that free agents won't be flocking to sign with them. But is Kaman a good fit? He doesn't want to play there and he doesn't fit their style of play. Their second-round pick was a steal at No. 34. Will Schortsanitis replace Elton Brand if he bolts this summer? More likely, he'll head back to Greece for another year or two before trying to bruise and pummel the NBA.
Los Angeles Lakers
Round 1: Brian Cook, F, Illinois (No. 24)
Round 2: Luke Walton, F, Arizona
They got two very talented, veteran college players who should step right in and contribute. Cook is a good fit in the Lakers' system. He's got a lottery-pick game and if he can convince Phil Jackson to actually play him, he could replace Robert Horry. Walton is the smartest player in the draft and you know what Jackson thinks of smart players. He could end up playing point forward for the team in year one.
Round 1: Troy Bell, G, Boston College (No. 16)
Round 1: Dahntay Jones, G, Duke (No. 20)
Deals: Acquired Bell and Jones from Boston for Marcus Banks and Kendrick Perkins
I can't fault the Grizzlies for liking Troy Bell and Dahntay Jones. They're both proven players and great athletes who can contribute immediately. However, they gave up two first-round picks to draft, essentially, two second-round picks. I don't agree with that. I think Bell will be a nice addition if he can crack the point guard rotation. If he can't, what was the point?
Round 1: Dwyane Wade, G, Marquette (No. 5)
Round 2: Jerome Beasley, C, North Dakota (No. 33)
It's tough to criticize Pat Riley for passing on Lampe when 24 other teams did the same thing. Wade was the most ready to contribute now, and that was important to Riley. He should be able to step in right away and play together with Eddie Jones. The only knock on the pick is that Wade won't give them much-needed perimeter shooting. But his athleticism, defense and maturity make up for that. Beasley is a great second-round pick. He'll have to work harder than he's ever worked to play with Riley, but that effort could turn him into the steal of the second round.
Round 1: T.J. Ford, G, Texas (No. 8)
Round 2: Szymon Szewczyk, F, Germany (No. 35)
Deals: Traded Keith Bogans (No. 43) to Orlando for cash considerations
T. J. Ford? If Gary Payton and Sam Cassell don't come back, it could be a good pick. But with the franchise for sale, will the 6-foot point guard turn this team around? I'm just not sold. If Payton and Cassell stay, what was the point? Szymon Szewczyk is a nice player to get for future use. He'll head back to Germany, but in another year or two he could come back and be a force.
Round 1: Ndudi Ebi, F, Westbury Christian HS (No. 26)
Round 2: Rick Rickert, C, Minnesota (No. 55)
The Wolves passed on some talent that could help them right now (Josh Howard, Mario Austin) to take a kid that's at least three years away. Ndudi Ebi has the upside to be worth the risk down the road. But for a team like the Wolves -- who need to make that next step in the postseason -- Ebi gives zero relief. Ditto for Rick Rickert, who already gets the official label of draft bust.
New Jersey Nets
Round 1: Zoran Planinic, G, Croatia (No. 22)
Deals: Traded Kyle Korver (No. 51) to Philadelphia for cash considerations
Did Byron Scott really say that the Nets had Zoran Planinic rated as the top point guard in the draft? Planinic is good, but that may be going a bit far. The great thing about Planinic is his versatility -- taking Planinic is like drafting three guys. He has the experience and the basketball skill to make an impact in year one.
New York Knicks
Round 1: Mike Sweetney, F, Georgetown (No. 9)
Round 2: Maciej Lampe, F, Poland (No. 30)
Round 2: Slavko Vranes, F, Serbia-Montenegro (No. 39)
Drafting Sweetney, another undersized power forward on a team filled with them gets a C, even if we do like the Georgetown product. But landing the other guy you thought about taking at No. 9, Maciej Lampe, was a huge draft steal. I've seen Lampe play enough to know that his slide wasn't warranted. Lots of teams dropped the ball on him. If he can work out his contract issues with Real Madrid, he'll make Knicks fans happy. Slavko Vranes, at 7-foot-6, is the perfect round two gamble.
New Orleans Hornets
Round 1: David West, F, Xavier (No. 18)
Round 2: James Lang, C, Central Park Christian HS (No. 48)
David West is a solid pick. He'll contribute a little in year one, get some rebounds and block some shots. He's a poor man's P.J. Brown. They didn't shoot for the moon on this pick, nor did they stick out their necks. So they get an average grade.
Round 1: Reece Gaines, G, Louisville (No. 15)
Round 2: Zaur Pachulia, F, Turkey (No. 42)
Round 2: Keith Bogans, G, Kentucky (No. 43)
Deals: Acquired Bogans from Milwaukee for cash considerations.
This is the best draft the Magic have had in years. Gaines was the guy they wanted at No. 15 and he's a perfect fit in Doc Rivers' system. Landing Zaur Pachulia in round two was another big coup. Pachulia has the size and back-to-the-basket game the Magic have coveted for a while. If I'm Orlando, I do whatever it takes to get "Za-Za" over now. The quicker he starts playing in the NBA, the quicker he'll be ready to contribute. Keith Bogans was also a nice late-round pick-up. There's a pretty good chance he makes that team in Orlando.
Round 2: Willie Green, G, Detroit (No. 41)
Round 2: Kyle Korver, F, Creighton (No. 51)
Deals: Acquired Green in trade with Seattle for Paccelis Morlende (No. 50) and cash
Kyle Korver may be one of the better shooters in the draft, but he can't create his own shoot and can't play a lick of defense.
Round 1: Zarko Cabarkaba, F, Serbia-Montenegro (No. 17)
Round 1: Leandrinho Barbosa, G, Brazil (No. 28)
Deals: Acquired Barbosa from San Antonio for a future first-round pick.
I love the Barbosa trade at the end of the first round. GM Bryan Colangelo saw him work out on Wednesday and fell in love. With Barbosa's upside, the Suns got yet another late-round steal. I'm not as high on the Cabarkapa pick. It seems to me that Brian Cook or Maciej Lampe were both better players. They passed on both to redeem a promise to Cabarkapa. Sometimes those things can be pretty painful.
Portland Trail Blazers
Round 1: Travis Outlaw, F, Starkville HS (No. 23)
Round 2: Nedzad Sinanovic, C, Bosnia-Herzegovina (No. 54)
Travis Outlaw may be a lottery pick after a couple of years in school, but right now he's a second-rounder. He can't contribute and won't for years. Meanwhile, the Blazers passed on several guys (Lampe, Barbosa, Pachulia, Cook) with just as much upside.
Round 1: No pick
Round 2: No pick
They traded their only second-round pick for Darius Songailia. It was probably worth it. Sogailia had a great year on one of the best teams in Europe and should be able to step in and help the Kings next year.
San Antonio Spurs
Deals: Traded Leandrinho Barbosa (No. 28) to Phoenix for future first-round selection
They traded their only pick to Phoenix for a future pick.
Round 1: Nick Collison, F, Kansas (No. 12)
Round 1: Luke Ridnour, G, Oregon (No. 14)
Round 2: Paccelis Morlende, G, France
Deals: Acquired Morlende from Philadelphia for Willie Green
The Sonics had major needs to fill at the point and at power forward. While both of their choices were solid, I think they could've done better. I would've grabbed Cook over Collison at power forward and taken Gaines over Ridnour at the point. Maybe Ridnour will be the next Steve Nash and Collison will be the next Austin Croshere. But right now, I just don't see it. Morlende is a down-the-road pick. He has talent, but he'll develop it in Europe for the next few years.
Round 1: Chris Bosh, F, Georgia Tech (No. 4)
Round 2: Matt Bonner, F, Florida (No. 45)
Round 2: Remon Van de Hare, C, Spain (No. 52)
Deals: Acquired Bonner from Chicago for a future second-round pick
Bosh has the chance to be a special player. It seems like the Raptors would've been better off sending him to Seattle or somewhere else for more veteran players, however. Still, they got the right guy at No. 4. The selection of Van de Hare, a true Euro stiff in the second round, hurt their grade.
Round 1: Aleksandar Pavlovic, G, Serbia-Montenegro (No. 19)
Round 2: Maurice Williams, G, Alabama (No. 47)
Pavlovic gives them the shoot-the-lights out scorer they've coveted for years. Alabama's Mo Williams was a steal in round two. Both players could end up contributing in Utah next season.
Round 1: Jarvis Hayes, G, Georgia (No. 10)
Round 2: Steve Blake, G, Maryland (No. 38)
Hayes is a good shooter, but in extending Jerry Stackhouse's contract, where does he fit? Stackhouse, Larry Hughes and Juan Dixon all play the same position. As for Steve Blake? So, let's see, Blake, Dixon ... How long before Chris Wilcox and Lonny Baxter end up in a Wizards uniform? Maybe the Wiz will win the Final Four next year.
No, Cleveland didn't receive the top marks from ESPN Insider Chad Ford. Who did?