Wednesday , Jul , 05 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Grading the 2006 NBA Draft

Many thought it would be a crazy draft and it absolutely was. As if draft night wasn’t crazy enough, free agency has also had a lot of twists and turns. It was tough to see what many teams plans were on draft night, so I’ve waited a few days to grade them as things have become much clearer now. Here’s team by team grades, on just the players they drafted, not current NBA players they traded for.


Grading the 2006 NBA Draft

Toronto Raptors: Andrea Bargnani and PJ Tucker.
 
Analysis: In the long run Rudy Gay was probably the best choice here. The pick makes a lot more sense after trading Villanueva and getting a nice young guard in TJ Ford who will step in and be the starting, pass first point guard they needed. The hope is that Bargnani will bulk up and be able to play the four, because he cannot guard 3s at the NBA level. There may be some plans for Bosh to play the 5 in the future, because he’s much more capable of it than Bargnani. Tucker is a good defender, who makes passing up on Rudy Gay make some more sense.
 
Grade: B
 
Portland Trailblazers: Lamarcus Aldridge, Brandon Roy, Sergio Rodriguez, and Joel Freeland.
 
Analysis: Portland was by far the most active team on draft night, making a ridiculous six deals. As far as the draft goes, can’t argue with the talent they got. A few years from now, Aldridge will likely be a 15/10 guy, but he’s going be splitting time with Zach Randolph for many years to come, unless they find a taker on him. Roy’s a bit of a surprising pick considering they just took Martell Webster last year, but they could be considering putting Martell at the 3. Fernandez, considering they got him for cash, is a nice pick up and will battle for some of the minutes at the point guard spot. Freeland’s coming off of bagging groceries three years ago, and will likely need at least the same amount of time before he’s ready to come over.
 
Grade: A
 
Charlotte Bobcats: Adam Morrison and Ryan Hollins.
 
Analysis: Charlotte gets their scorer and marquee player in Adam Morrison. His intensity, work ethic, and desire to win at all times will make him a starter likely from day one. His defensive issues will be overshadowed some by the presence of Gerald Wallace and Emeka Okafor in the back court. Ryan Hollins is a nice pick up and with some work in the weight room could become a player in the rotation as a shot blocking specialist.
 
Grade: A-
 
Chicago Bulls: Tyrus Thomas and Thabo Selofosha.
 
Analysis: After draft night it was tough to tell what Chicago’s plans were. Now that they have Ben Wallace, and are about to get a nice young talent in JR Smith, it’s easier to tell what they are doing. With all the nice young talent they got in perimeter players, Chicago is going to make a run at Garnett, but even if they don’t get him – they’ve got a good squad on their hands. Tyrus is a great athlete with very good upside, but he measured in at 6’7 without shoes at the combine and has very little back to the basket skills. Their need was for a low post scorer, and Aldridge would have been perfect alongside Wallace. They dealt for 3 small forwards on the night after already having two good ones in Luol Deng and Andreas Nocioni, so some of them are on their way out.
 
Grade: B-
 
Atlanta Hawks: Shelden Williams and Solomon Jones
 
Analysis: On a team stockpiled with small forwards, going with two big men was a good move for Atlanta. However, they still need a point guard, but at 5 taking Marcus Williams or Rajon Rondo was a bigger stretch than taking Shelden Williams. Jones is a nice prospect that will need to put on some weight, but will be a nice back up on a team with a lack of big men. Shelden may have been a stretch at 5, but he’s a safe pick whose impact will be felt immediately.
 
Grade: B+
 
Minnesota Timberwolves: Randy Foye, Craig Smith, and Loukas Mavrokefalidis.
 
Analysis: After passing up on Foye, who seemed to bet the better fit for a team about to lose their starting point guard, the Wolves turned right around and swapped Roy for Foye. Foye’s the type of scoring guard that will be able to help Minnesota right away. Craig Smith is an undersized banger who will have to work to stay in the league. Loukas is a big guy who will likely stay overseas for a few years.
 
Grade: B
 
Memphis Grizzlies: Rudy Gay, Kyle Lowlry, and Alexander Johnson.
 
Analysis: They may call him the logo, but after this draft they should start calling him the thief. Getting Rudy Gay, and most likely Stromile Swift for Shane Battier is flat out robbery. His drafting hasn’t been too great since coming over to Memphis, but this one will definitely improve his track record. Gay’s a top three talent and has plenty motivation after slipping down to eight. Kyle Lowlry is a nice tempo pushing PG and Johnson is a nice young four with good upside.
 
Grade: A+
 
Golden State Warriors: Patrick O’Bryant and Kosta Perovic
 
Analysis: They wanted to get bigger, and that’s what they did in this draft. O’Bryant is a young 7 footer with good rebounding and shot blocking ability. He’s also a very good athlete, meaning he’ll fit right in with the up tempo style that Golden State wants to play. Perovic is a 7’2 center limited to mostly garbage buckets, but GS will retain his rights as plays overseas.
 
Grade: B
 
Seattle Supersonics: Saer Sene, Denham Brown, and Yoatem Halperin.
 
Analysis: Saer Sene makes himself a top 10 pick after averaging 3 points for his team and one good performance at the Nike camp. With Robert Swift and Johan Petro already on the team, this pick makes little sense. With guys like Ronnie Brewer, Rodney Carney, and Thabo Selofosha on board, it makes even less sense. Sene’s years from being ready, and Seattle shouldn’t have picked him. Denham Brown is a nice scorer who could work himself into the rotation in a year or so. Haleprin, like many of the 2nd round picks from overseas, likely doesn’t come over for a few seasons.
 
Grade: F
 
Orlando Magic: JJ Reddick and James Augustine.
 
Analysis: After all the bad back talk and DUI issues, JJ Reddick’s stock doesn’t take a dip at all. Even with Houston liking him at 8 a few months back, this was likely the highest he was going to go. He’ll be able to get himself plenty of open shots on a team with young big men Darko Milicic and Dwight Howard. This was the best situation for JJ, and he should thrive. Augustine may have the athleticism and size to stick with this team for at least a year until Fran Vasquez comes over.
 
Grade: B
 
New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets: Hilton Armstrong, Cedric Simmons, and Marcus Vinicius.
 
Analysis: Getting their guy Armstrong at 12, thought the Hornets may go with a SF at 15, but they went big again. They needed help down low, and Simmons and Armstrong will definitely bring that. Alongside Chris Paul they’ll find themselves with lots of scoring opportunities, and with the bulk of the low post touches going to David West, they won’t be counted on for much low post scoring, which works out well for them. Marcus is a tall and talented perimeter scorer, but his defense needs a lot of work.
 
Grade: A-
Utah Jazz: Ronnie Brewer, Dee Brown, and Paul Millsap.
 
Analysis: They didn’t get a center, but they did get a guy they were high enough to nearly trade up for in Ronnie Brewer. Brewer’s not the shooter that Utah needs, but he is a very versatile and tough player who should contribute right away. Dee Brown will be very comfortable playing behind his former college teammate and with his experience and quickness should earn some minutes. Millsap is a undersized beast on the boards, who could help make up for some of the rebounds Carlos Boozer gets if he’s traded.
 
Grade: A
 
Philadelphia 76ers: Ronnie Carney, Bobby Jones, and Eden Bavcic.
 
Analysis: They wanted to get better defensively, and they did. Not sure if they got any better in any other areas though, as Carney is nearly a mirror image to Andre Iguadala, and Bobby Jones is such an offensive liability it’s hard to see him staying on the court. Either way, big changes are on the horizon for Philly. Bavcic is basically an unknown 6’11 project that Philly basically
 
Grade: B
 
Indiana Pacers: Shawne Williams and James White.
 
Analysis: After Peja bolted for the Hornets, it’s a good thing they went for a SF in the draft, but they could have went about it better. Shawne is a young great prospect, but word is has some attitude problems. White’s a high level athlete, but needs some bulk and fine tuning on his offensive game. Shawne was taken a bit high, and they gave up a nice young power forward prospect and two future first rounders for James White, which is overpaying.
 
Grade: F
 
Washington Wizards: Oleksiy Pecherov and Vladamir Veremeenko.
 
Analysis: With both of their picks Washington went international with guys who don’t really fit a need or have an NBA ready game. They passed up too many guys who were more NBA ready.
 
Grade: F
 
Sacramento Kings: Quincy Douby.
 
Analysis: They get a back up point guard and one of the best shooters in the country. Quincy Douby has a lethal shot out to three point range, but just at 175 lb frame. His ability to put on weight is in question, and he could have some durability issues with the physical play in the NBA.
 
Grade: B-
 
New York Knicks: Renaldo Balkman and Mardy Collins.
 
Analysis: Coming into the draft, I knew that there wasn’t much the Knicks could do to help the mess that is their current team. Little did I know that Isiah Thomas would go out and take Renaldo Balkman, who would have been available in the second round, unless rumors of Suns liking him are true. Mardy Collins is a solid combo guard, but it’s unlikely he gets minutes in a crowded back court.
 
Grade: C
 
Boston Celtics: Rajon Rondo and Leon Powe.
 
Analysis: Rondo was the point guard the Celtics were highest on, so getting him for cheap at 21 is a great move. Leon Powe is a possible late round gem that will replace Al Jefferson nicely if he is indeed moved. The Telfair deal wasn’t a great one, but getting their guy at 21 makes up for it some.
 
Grade: A-
 
New Jersey Nets: Marcus Williams, Josh Boone, and Hassan Adams.
 
Analysis: Getting the best point guard in the draft at 22 is probably not something the Nets thought they’d be able to do. He’s got some off the court issues, mainly in the stomach area, but he’s a great pick. Boone’s got a big body, defensive mindset, and good hands, which should get him playing time in New Jersey as long as they don’t give him the ball and expect him to score. Hassan Adams is a great athlete, fitting right in with New Jersey’s running attack.
 
Grade: A
 
Cleveland Cavaliers: Shannon Brown, Daniel Gibson, and Ejike Ugboaja.
 
Analysis: The Cavs did a great job in this draft, getting a good point guard prospect who can hit jump shots, and a high level athlete who can also shoot the ball. These two players should immediately contribute to the Cavaliers, who lacked shooter this season. Odds are this is the only night that Ogboaja’s ever associated with the NBA again.
 
Grade: A
 
Los Angeles Lakers: Jordan Farmar and Danilo Pinnock
 
Analysis: Not only do the Lakers get a local guy at 26, but they get the first true point guard they’ve had in awhile. He’s a high basketball IQ guy, and as Luke Walton’s proved, they’re very valuable in the triangle. He’ll have to work on his outside shooting, but Farmar is a nice pick up for the Lakers. Pinnock likely stays in the NBDL in hopes that he can become a stopper at the one while working on his terrible outside shooting. The Lakers also traded their 51st pick, Cheick Samb, to the Pistons for Maurice Evans, who will be Devean George’s replacement.
 
Grade: B
 
Dallas Mavericks: Maurice Ager
 
Analysis: Ager’s a pure scorer, and Dallas could use that. He’ll come in and likely fill in the role of scorer off the bench that Finley would have been in had he not been cut. It’s very likely that he sees some good minutes during his rookie campaign.
 
Grade: B
 
Houston Rockets: Steve Novak and Lior Eliyahu
 
Analysis: Trading Rudy Gay and Stromile Swift from a team that needs athleticism just makes zero sense. Not much the Rockets could do to redeem themselves after that move, even though Novak is a very good shooter and Eliyahu is a nice prospect.
 
Grade: F
 
Los Angeles Clippers: Paul Davis and Guillermo Diaz
 
Analysis: With no first round picks, the Clippers made out surprisingly well in this draft. Paul Davis is a solid big man who will give some good hustle and rebounding with the occasional jump shot. Diaz is basically a bigger Nate Robinson, and he’s always fun to watch.
 
Grade: B+
 
Milwaukee Bucks: David Noel and Damir Markota
 
Analysis: Noel’s a great athlete with good defensive abilities and experience. Milwaukee liked him enough to give him a two year deal. Markota is a 6’10 shooter with an impressive touch from 3 point land and should be given the chance to earn a spot in training camp.
 
Grade: C
 
Detroit Pistons: Cheick Samb and Will Blalock.
 
Analysis: Samb’s got some nice leaping ability for a 7 footer, but he’s 220 lb and has no offensive skills. The chances of him making it in the NBA anytime soon are not very good at all. Will Blalock though is a steal at 60, don’t be surprised if he makes the team.
 
Grade: C+