Posted: Wednesday June 29, 2005 11:37AM; Updated: Wednesday June 29, 2005 12:16PM
NBA Draft Grades (cont.)
Picks: Andrew Bogut (1), Ersan Ilyasova (36)
Two very solid picks at their respective spots, and ones that could help reshape the Bucks' frontcourt. Andrew Bogut, obviously, is a safe pick at No. 1. Marvin Williams might blow up to become a bigger superstar, but it's hard to blame GM Larry Harris for taking a true 7-footer who will help more immediately -- especially when Michael Redd is about to become a free agent. As for Ersan Ilyasova, he's a talented prospect in the Andrei Kirilenko mold whom some had slated to go late in the first-round. All in all, a solid draft for the Bucks.
Picks: Rashad McCants (14), Bracey Wright (47)
They need shooters, especially with Latrell Sprewell on his way out, and Rashad McCants certainly fits the bill. The fact that he just helped lead UNC to the NCAA title also probably didn't hurt his chances with GM Kevin McHale. But McCants carries a reputation as something of a head case, and the T'wolves can ill afford any more players with agendas or issues. If he doesn't pan out, they could regret having passed on Antoine Wright or Granger. As for the second round pick, Bracey Wright is a solid prospect but many consider him too short (6-3) to play shooting guard in the NBA.
New Jersey Nets
Picks: Antoine Wright (15), Mile Ilic (43)
On a team with Jason Kidd, Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson, the addition of Wright isn't going to get fans jumping up and down. But Wright is another solid athletic swingman who should fit right in with their up-tempo style. Rod Thorn could have opted for a high school phenom with amazing upside such as Green, but they want to win right away. Ilic, meanwhile, is a highly-regarded big man who, like Nenad Krstic, could be sent overseas for more development. Hard to argue with these picks, though Granger (or Green) could someday make them look bad.
New Orleans Hornets
Picks: Chris Paul (4), Brandon Bass (33)
They desperately needed a point guard to replace Baron Davis, and they got maybe the best one in the draft in Chris Paul. He should fit in well with Byron Scott's Princeton-style offense, while maybe picking up some pointers on how to run an NBA team from the former Lakers point guard. With their second-round pick, they got a solid power forward prospect and popular local player in former LSU star Brandon Bass to back up P.J. Brown.
New York Knicks
Picks: Channing Frye (8), David Lee (30), Dijon Thompson (54-traded to Phoenix)
Isiah Thomas got his wish (thanks to Raptors president Rob Babcock) and landed a much-needed true center in Channing Frye. The skilled, sweet-shooting big man from Arizona should fit Thomas' spread-the-court vision, though he'll have to shed his tag for being soft. David Lee is a bit more questionable at No. 30, especially since the Knicks already have Michael Sweetney, but Lee is an athletic, smart player and a good citizen who will work hard. Dijon Thompson is going to the Suns as part of the Richardson trade, but the Knicks are getting back an even better (and more exciting) prospect in Nate Robinson.
Picks: Fran Vazquez (11), Travis Diener (38), Martynas Andriuskevicius (44-traded to Cleveland)
Fran Vazquez was a safe pick for a team that needs a big man to help out Dwight Howard. Though more of a power forward than center, the Spaniard rebounds and blocks shots, and at 22, might be ready to step in and help immediately. But the Magic might regret passing on a guy like Granger, especially if Grant Hill goes down with injury again. Diener is small, but he can shoot the ball and make plays. Marcin Gortat, a Polish center acquired from the Suns in a trade, is an intriguing prospect in need of more seasoning.
Picks: Louis Williams (45)
They didn't have their first-round pick, having traded it to Denver in '02 as part of the Kenny Thomas deal. They used their second-round pick on Louis Williams, another high school scoring machine who should have gone to college. Williams is a fine athlete but he will need time to develop, perhaps in the NBDL, before his selection here can be adequately evaluated.
Picks: Nate Robinson (21-traded to New York), Marcin Gortat (57-traded to Orlando)
What do they have against draft picks? Last year they traded their pick to the Bulls (which turned out to be Deng). This year they used their pick on Nate Robinson, a 5-9 jet in the Earl Boykins mold, and traded him to the Knicks as part of the Quentin Richardson trade that netted them Kurt Thomas in return. Then they traded their second-round pick Gortat to the Magic for cash. Seriously, GM Bryan Colangelo wanted Thomas to shore up his team's frontcourt and he did pick up a decent prospect in Thompson as part of the deal.
Portland Trail Blazers
Picks: Martell Webster (6), Linas Kleiza (27-traded to Denver), Ricky Sanchez (35-traded to Denver)
They did the logical thing by trading down and still getting the stud prospect they wanted in Martell Webster. Though he's not going to step right into their hole at shooting guard, he's got an NBA-ready body and is more mature than fellow prep phenom Gerald Green. They then parlayed their second first-round pick (Kleiza) and their second-rounder (Sanchez) into a trade with the Nuggets that yielded Jarrett Jack, a solid point prospect to back up and push Sebastian Telfair. But if Deron Williams or Paul turn out to be better than Telfair some day, GM John Nash will look bad no matter what.
Picks: Francisco Garcia (23)
GM Geoff Petrie likes versatile wing men who can shoot the deep ball, and Garcia can stroke it. He also comes from a winning program at Louisville, which is a plus. But the Kings already have Peja Stojakovic, so Garcia is not likely to play much right away. Andriuskevicius and Chris Taft could someday prove to be studs, but Petrie knows enough to go for the best player available.
San Antonio Spurs
Picks: Ian Mahinmi (28)
Leave it to these guys to come up with an international prospect who doesn't even have a bio in the 216-page NBA Draft Guide. But, hey, after Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker, who can argue with them? Speaking of Parker, Ian Mahinmi is a French power forward who is considered a terrific prospect, but one who is still probably years down the road from ever playing in San Antonio. Of course, the Spurs can afford to wait. But, again, wouldn't Stoudamire or Diener been great choice as a spot-up shooter to make foes pay for double-teaming Tim Duncan?
Picks: Johan Petro (25), Mickael Gelebale (48), Lawrence Roberts (55-traded to Memphis)
Viva La France! With their first two picks, Johan Petro and Mickael Gelabale, they have now tied the Spurs for most Frenchmen on an NBA roster. Seriously, they probably would have loved to have bagged local favorite Robinson with the first pick, but Petro is a legit 7-foot prospect who could be insurance in case Jerome James departs as a free agent. Gelabale, meanwhile, is a big rangy guard who will play in the NBA sometime in the future. As for Lawrence Roberts, he was traded to the Grizzlies. Seattle has had pretty good success drafting in recent years, so we'll give them the benefit of the doubt here. Grade: B
Picks: Charlie Villanueva (7), Roko Ukic (41), Uros Slokar (58)
Why is GM Rob Babcock getting ripped? These moves are pretty solid. Charlie Villanueva might play the same position as Chris Bosh, but he's athletic and versatile and he comes from a winning college program. You can't have enough good big men. At least Babcock can't be blamed (again) for drafting based more on need than on talent. Also, his other picks in Joey Graham and Ukic were right on the mark for those spots. Some believed the Raps would take Ukic at 16. Yet Babcock managed to get him anyway while also filling a need for an athletic, defensive-minded small forward in the form of Graham. Granger might turn out to be a better player than Graham, and make Babcock look bad again, but it's hard to say that for sure right now.
Picks: Deron Williams (3), C.J. Miles (34), Robert Whaley (51)
It cost them a lot to trade up with the Blazers, but they got their man. Deron Williams might not be the next Jason Kidd, but he could be an Andre Miller type with a long NBA career. They also picked up a good prospect in C.J. Miles in the second round, though after the DeShawn Stevenson experience Jerry Sloan probably isn't too happy about having to deal with another high school kid. Still, they filled a huge need at point guard and picked up two other athletic prospects. Not bad.
Picks: Andray Blatche (49)
No first rounder, having sent it to the Magic in '01, along with LaRon Profit, for the rights to Brendan Haywood. But GM Ernie Grunfeld might have scored a coup in the second round, getting Andray Blatche with the No. 49 pick. Some have compared the New York area high schooler with Kevin Garnett for his long frame and face-up game. He'll probably never be near that good, but if he turns out to be half the player it will be a slam dunk for the Wizards.