Western Conference Draft Grades
Golden State Warriors: B+
Selections: Stephen Curry (No. 7)
Comment: Curry was the player who made the most sense for the Warriors: a solid decision-maker, playmaker and possible future point guard. He will boost the team's basketball IQ. Curry makes so much sense for the Warriors that it doesn't look like they want to trade him to Phoenix as part of a possible deal for Amar'e Stoudemire.
Los Angeles Clippers: B
Selections: Blake Griffin (No. 1)
Comment: You can't criticize this pick, but you can't really praise it, either. The Clippers did what they said they were going to do, and by the looks of things, it seems to add up. There's still that issue of Griffin not being a sure thing, however.
Los Angeles Lakers: D (hey, how often can you give the Lakers a bad grade on anything?)
Selections: Toney Douglas (No. 29) traded to New York, Patrick Beverley (No. 42) traded to Miami, Chinemelu Elonu (No. 59)
Comment: The Lakers had no interest in paying a guaranteed salary to a player who might not even make their team. Apparently, they didn't have much interest in Beverley, either, despite the fact Beverley was said to play pretty well at a 21-team workout in the Bay Area weeks ago.
Phoenix Suns: C
Selections: Earl Clark (No. 14), Taylor Griffin (No. 48), Emir Preldzic (No. 57).
Comment: There's no doubt about Clark's talent level, it's his motor that most are worried about. Clark showed at times that his athleticism can set him apart. But his tendency to sometimes float through games is worrisome.
Sacramento Kings: A-
Selections: Tyreke Evans (No. 4), Omri Casspi (No. 23), Jeff Pendergraph (No. 31) traded to Portland for Jon Brockman (No, 38) and Sergio Rodriguez
Comment: Give Kings general manager Geoff Petrie credit. He felt Evans was a better future pro and better fit for Sacramento than Ricky Rubio and he went in that direction. He's going to take some heat for passing on Rubio, but Petrie's track record is solid. Evans is an immediate talent upgrade for the Kings and has a chance to be a starter.
Denver Nuggets: A-
Selections: Acquired Ty Lawson (No. 18) from Minnesota for a future first-rounder, Sergio Llull (No. 34) traded to Houston for cash.
Comment: Not bad when you head into the draft without a first-round pick and wind up getting the starting point guard off the NCAA championship team. Whether or not Lawson can be a starter at the NBA level is unknown. But for the time being, he'll be a nice backup for Chauncey Billups.
Minnesota Timberwolves: D
Selections: Ricky Rubio (No. 5), Jonny Flynn (No. 6), Ty Lawson (No. 18) traded to Denver for future first-rounder, Wayne Ellington (No. 28), traded Nick Calathes (No. 45) to Dallas, Henk Norel (No. 47).
Comment: General manager David Kahn said he believes that Rubio and Flynn, two natural point guards, can play together. That can't help but be met with sincere and legitimate skepticism.
Oklahoma City Thunder: B+
Selections: James Harden (No. 3), Rodrigue Beaubois (No. 25) traded to Dallas; acquired Robert Vaden (No. 54) from Charlotte.
Comment: The Thunder seem to have two areas of need: Shooting guard and center. Make that one. Harden was the best two-guard in the draft, and while he might not be the most spectacular wing player you'll see, he's got the makings of a good, solid starting off guard for the next decade.
Portland Trail Blazers: B
Selections: Victor Claver (No. 22), Dante Cunningham (No. 33), Jon Brockman (No. 38) traded to Sacramento for Jeff Pendergraph (No. 31) and Sergio Rodriguez, Patrick Mills (No. 55)
Comment: Claver and Pendergraph have the potential to give the Blazers some scrappiness and athleticism up front (that is, once Claver arrives; he's already stated his intentions to stay in Europe one more year). They also run the floor well enough to help the Blazers in transition. Mills could end up being the steal of the draft.
Utah Jazz: B+
Selections: Eric Maynor (No. 20), Goran Suton (No. 50)
Comment: What Maynor lacks in athleticism he makes up for in savvy and know-how. In other words, just the kind of player coach Jerry Sloan can work with.
Dallas Mavericks: B
Selections: B.J. Mullens (No. 24) traded to Oklahoma City; acquired Rodrigue Beaubois (No. 25); acquired Nick Calathes (No. 45) from Minnesota, Ahmad Nivins (No. 56).
Comment: According to Dallas owner Mark Cuban – on Twitter – Beaubois "got within one inch of Blake Griffin on the touch-the-top-of-the-backboard test. The guy is crazy athletic, 6-10 reach." That's good enough for a B.
Houston Rockets: B
Selections: Acquired Jermaine Taylor; acquired Sergio Llull (No. 34) from Denver for cash; acquired Chase Budinger (No. 44) from Detroit for a future second-rounder.
Comment: Many had Budinger going in the first round so he could be a nice little gift for the Rockets. At the very least, he should give the Rockets another perimeter shooter and hit them with a bit of athleticism.
Memphis Grizzlies: B-
Selections: Hasheem Thabeet (No. 2), DeMarre Carroll (No. 27), Sam Young (No. 36).
Comment: Despite all the discussion about Thabeet, he isn't likely to be a star and he probably won't be a bust, either. Without any improvement, he should be among the league's better shot-blockers right away. But it will take some work for him to become a 10-point, 10-rebound guy in the pros. Young should bring a scorer's mentality and some grittiness to Memphis.
New Orleans Hornets: B-
Selections: Darren Collison (No. 21); acquired Marcus Thornton (No. 43) from Miami for two future second-rounders.
Comment: It was obvious in the postseason that Chris Paul needed a backup, a player to take some of the minutes-load off him. Collison, who has the potential to be a nice perimeter defender, will get every opportunity to take some of Paul's load. It is a little troubling that Collison's production in college went down from last year to the season before.
San Antonio Spurs: A-
Selections DeJuan Blair (No. 37), Jack McClinton (No. 51), Nando De Colo (No. 53).
Comment: Wouldn't you know it, the Spurs got two players who figured to go much higher in the draft. Blair is a big-time rebounder and McClinton is an explosive scorer with long range.