Posted: Thursday July 01, 1999 10:31 AM
Sports Illustrated pro basketball writer Marty Burns covered the NBA Draft in Washington D.C. on Wednesday. He offers his grades for each team's selections and trades.
Atlanta: C-. Jason Terry is a good replacement for Mookie Blaylock, but the Hawks needed a more proven scorer. Trading Jumaine Jones will be unpopular, but at least they got something in return (a first-round pick).
Boston: A-. With the 55th pick, where you're lucky if the guy you pick can walk and chew gum, the Celtics got a highly-rated shooting guard (Kris Clack) for in case Ron Mercer leaves.
Charlotte: A. The Hornets got the point guard they desperately needed (Baron Davis) and a power forward (Lee Nailon) that was rated much higher than he went.
Chicago: B+. The Bulls filled some needs with some good frontline players, but it seems like they should have been able to do more through trading the first pick, possibly landing Elton Brand lower.
Cleveland: B. They filled three of four needs (Andre Miller at point, assuming Brevin Knight is out, shooting guard Trajan Langdon and backup center A.J. Bramlett), but they still desperately need a scoring small forward.
Dallas: B+. Considering what they had to work with, Leon Smith (acquired from the Spurs) is a highly-rated prospect, and Gordan Giricek, who they gave up for him, had only recently even become a draft candidate.
Denver: B. James Posey is a player who can help immediately -- can you name the Nuggets' small forward? -- but they didn't address their most immediate need: shooting guard.
Detroit: A-. The Pistons were in need of a replacement for Joe Dumars, and considering Melvin Levett is a tough, similar, sharp-shooting player, he's a great gamble with only one, low-second round pick at their disposal.
Golden State: A-. They got a proven veteran point guard in Mookie Blaylock and a decent prospect to take over for him in Vonteego Cummings.
Houston: C. The Rockets got a decent prospect in Kenny Thomas, but they needed to do something more for their perimeter shooting and, possibly, at point guard.
Indiana: B. The Pacers will get a potentially great player in Jonathan Bender, whose athleticism will be a great addition, but they're going to miss Antonio Davis' veteran leadership and scoring off the bench.
L.A. Clippers: B. The Clips didn't address their point guard need, but it's not their fault Steve Francis and Baron Davis were gone, and Odom is possibly the best player in the draft.
L.A. Lakers: C. They have a potential diamond in the rough in Devean George, but he's also a big question because of his background, and John Celestand is not the long-term answer at point.
Miami: A-. They filed their two most immediate needs: a long range shooter at the two (Rodney Buford) and a small forward (Tim James) who can create a shot.
Milwaukee: D. The Bucks were one of the worst rebounding teams last year and got no help inside; Galen Young is a shooting guard -- and a long-shot at best.
Minnesota: A. For a team that needed shooting, Wally Szczerbiak is probably the best shooter in the draft, and Will Avery and Louis Bullock are great shooters who could play off-guard if the team re-signs Terrell Brandon.
New Jersey: C. New Jersey got a guy who could have gone higher in Evan Eschmeyer, but they already have three big men in Jim McIlvaine, Rony Seikaly and Jayson Williams.
New York: D. Frederic Weis might turn out to be a player, but they didn't get anybody that can help them immediately at center or point guard.
Orlando: A-. The Magic gave up a reliable veteran in Horace Grant, but Bo Outlaw and Derek Strong can replace him. In return they get a potential superstar in Corey Maggette.
Philadelphia: C. Biggest needs were at small forward and point guard, but the Sixers got two decent sleepers in Jumaine Jones (from Atlanta) and Todd MacCulloch.
Phoenix: B-. The Suns needed a power player most of all, which they didn't get, but Shawn Marion fills lesser need, that of a slashing scorer.
Portland: N/A. No picks. Rumors of a possible trade involving guard Isiah Rider for Atlanta shooting guard Steve Smith seem far fetched at best.
Sacramento: D-. The Kings needed a small forward or a shooting guard, but Ryan Robertson is a reach, even at No. 45. What about Rodney Buford? Melvin Levett? Kris Clack?
San Antonio: C-. Drafting late in each round is a crapshoot, but Leon Smith was probably worth more than a couple second round picks.
Seattle: D-. Definitely needed help at small forward and shooting guard, but instead they went for insurance for free agent Vin Baker by trading a possible future cornerstone, Maggette.
Toronto: A-. Didn't get the point guard they wanted, but they got a quality veteran in Antonio Davis and the best center in the draft, Aleksandar Radojevic.
Utah: C. If they're going to keep the same old team together, fine, but they're going to need to add more scoring than just Quincy Lewis.
Vancouver: B-. Grade could change depending what the club does with Steve Francis, who doesn't seem thrilled to be there and seemingly plays the same position as incumbent Mike Bibby.
Washington: B. The Wiz made a logical pick with "Rip" Hamilton but raised eyebrows with the selection of Calvin Booth over A.J. Bramlett and Todd MacCulloch.
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