2014 NBA Draft First Round Grades

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

A quick look at how well NBA teams did with their first round picks.

1 Cleveland Cavaliers: Andrew Wiggins

[B-] It is as difficult to be upset with the Cavs taking the best athlete in the draft as it is to mess up this pick. I am not sold that Wiggins has the right personality to walk into a messy Cavs locker room, but he certainly has the ability to be a star.

2 Milwaukee Bucks: Jabari Parker

[A] Milwaukee fell to this spot after actually attempting to win. Their roster was not built well, but they were also harmed by injuries. Parker is the leader in the clubhouse for Rookie of the Year. If Bucks stay healthy, they could contend for playoff spot.

3 Philadelphia 76ers: Joel Embiid

[A] If any team knows how to handle injuries, it is Philadelphia. They just landed the best overall prospect in the draft and best "true" center prospect in several years. Now they just hope nothing breaks.

4 Orlando Magic: Aaron Gordon

[D+] Gordon is an athletic phenom, but he does not have a guaranteed position. Julius Randle is the better power forward prospect and playing Gordon at small forward is a mistake. Passing on pairing Exum with Oladipo is a huge surprise.

5 Utah Jazz: Dante Exum

[A-] Utah now has a logjam in Trey Burke, Alec Burks, and Gordon Hayward, but no way to complain about this choice. A perfect fit with former Hawks assistant Quin Snyder leading the Jazz, Exum lands in a place where he can excel in a combo guard role as he develops.

6 Boston Celtics: Marcus Smart

[B+/A+] If this pick is paired with Rondo getting dealt, it is an A+. If Rondo stays around, there will be a lot of bricks being fired in the back court. A lot of teams got it right tonight and this is one of them.

7 Los Angeles Lakers: Julius Randle

[A-] Randle has the perfect mentality for Los Angeles. He enjoys the spotlight and it will not dissuade him from going to work. The Lakers land a player with Zach Randolph potential whose offensive rebounding will translate immediately on the court.

8 Sacramento Kings: Nik Stauskas

[B-] Sacramento needed shooting and get a player who can play shooting guard, but also could be a combo guard. He is a great athlete who could be a star if he develops on the defensive end.

9 Charlotte Hornets: Noah Vonleh

[B] Vonleh was a productive freshman, although still raw. He should be close to what Charlotte hoped Biyombo would be and may find his way to the court sooner than later.

10 Orlando Magic (trade with Philadelphia): Elfrid Payton

[C-] Payton is a very good defender who is a bit of a project. Needing a player to pair with Oladipo in the backcourt, Payton will not help with the team's shooting woes.

11 Chicago Bulls (trade with Denver): Doug McDermott

[D+] Dougie McBuckets is going to provide bench scoring for Chicago, but he is not worth giving up #16 and #19. I like the fit, but hate the trade. It is a huge win for McDermott as Thibodeau is the ideal fit to help him improve on the defensive end.

12 Philadelphia 76ers (via Orlando): Dario Saric

[A-, I guess] I don't know how to grade a team who has decided to build an NBA2K team for 2018. Saric is a potential star  when he comes over in a couple of years. Philadephia may have the rights to 57 players by then--none of whom are actually good at putting a round ball inside a ring.

13 Minnesota Timberwolves: Zach LaVine

[D-] LaVine is a project who had a good 10 games to start his career before falling apart. He has a chance to be really good...for another team. He certainly does not help Minnesota secure Kevin Love.

14 Phoenix Suns: T.J. Warren

[C+] A bit of a reach, but I like the fit. Phoenix needs more depth with players ready to contribute and Warren will likely help bring immediate scoring off the bench.

15 Atlanta Hawks: Adreian Payne

[B] I would have preferred to see Atlanta bring in James Young or Gary Harris who had no business falling out of lottery, but Payne will provide as much immediate help as anyone who was available. There are not many human beings who can make threes and defend centers. Payne can.

16 Denver Nuggets (via Chicago): Jusuf Nurkic

[B-] A solid choice by the Nuggets who were linked to take Nurkic at 11. It looks like they landed a player they wanted while grabbing another pick. Not sure if Nurkic will be able to translate his game to NBA, but his production at a young age certainly justifies this selection.

17 Boston Celtics - James Young

[A+] Danny Ainge wins the draft. He may have landed 2 future All-Stars. Young has star potential and at worst he will knock down shots and be a great teammate while providing effort and length on the defensive wing.

18 Phoenix Suns - Tyler Ennis

[A] Another great fit as Ennis will earn playing time right away. A player who knows how to win and is not afraid of big moments, Ennis gives the Suns a second young player with unusual maturity. Ennis and Warren could both be leaders of a second unit early on.

19 Denver Nuggets (via Chicago): Gary Harris

[A+] The Nuggets are going to be unanimously championed for their trade from 11. They landed 2 players at 16 and 19 that would have been justified at 11. Harris is a top-10 player in a loaded draft whose film belies his dropping after the combine.

20 Toronto Raptors: Bruno Caboclo

[E] I cannot give an F to a player who I have never seen. Did he play in the World Cup today? This pick makes absolutely no sense this high. Maybe the most surprising pick I ever remember in the draft.

21 Oklahoma City Thunder: Mitch McGary

[F] My least favorite prospect. Whenever you can get a guy who is older than most juniors in the draft and played about 10 quality basketball game in their career you have to do it, right?

22 Memphis Grizzlies: Jordan Adams

[C+] Adams compares to a less lengthy Tony Allen, but this is a little bit of a reach for me. The fit makes sense and he will do well in Memphis. Grizzlies would have been better served by getting a better shooter.

23 Utah Jazz: Rodney Hood

[A-] The Jazz cleaned up in this draft. Great acquisition of talent for a team in need of more seasoned players than projects. Both picks emphasize that the Spurs tree now spreads to Salt Lake City.

24 Miami Heat (trade with Charlotte): Shabazz Napier

[A] It is fun to make fun of Lebron's tweets. After the jokes subside, Miami just got a lottery-caliber point guard at 24. I think he is an upgrade on an exposed Mario Chalmers and could earn a starting gig sooner rather than later.

25 Houston Rockets: Clint Capela

[A+] The Rockets nail this selection. They can stash Capela overseas while chasing big free agents. Capela could turn out to be the next Bismack Biyombo, but odds are better that he is closer to Serge Ibaka.

26 Charlotte Hornets (via Miami): PJ Hairston

[A-] Charlotte needs scoring and shooting. Hairston brings both and has the potential to defend. Great choice by the improving Hornets who have made two selections that can compete for rotation minutes and have money for free agency.

27 Phoenix Suns: Bogdan Bogdanovic

[A] Bogdanovic is probably ready to compete in a rotation, but he may take another year to develop overseas. A player similar to Goran Dragic, Phoenix may have drafted his apprentice.

28 Los Angeles Clippers: CJ Wilcox

[C+] Wilcox can shoot and the Clippers need shooting. It makes sense from a fit standpoint, but it is a little bit of a reach. C.J. is very average beyond his shooting ability, but has not glaring weaknesses.

29 Oklahoma City Thunder: Josh Huestis

[C] Personally, I am a fan of Huestis and see how he fits a need for Oklahoma City. It is difficult to justify what the Thunder have gotten out of the 21 and 29 picks. They may have selected 2 players who could offer little more than what they got out of Steven Adams and Jeremy Lamb last year--which was not much. They could have done better.

30 San Antonio Spurs: Kyle Anderson

[A+++] What is Kyle's ring size? Keep him away from Diaw's french fries and Anderson will incredibly earn minutes for the defending champions. The Spurs just play a different game than everyone else.

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