The 2015 NBA Draft was weird. Teams seemed to make taking players at positions they already had young players a priority, first rounders fell out of the draft, and the New York Knicks made moves that made sense. I blame Matthew Dellavedova. On to the grades:
A - Miami Heat and New York Knicks
Pat Riley and Phil Jackson are smart. Justise Winslow is the most likely future MVP and Riley got him with the 10 pick. There have been 4 other wings taken at #10 since 1998: Paul Pierce, Joe Johnson, Caron Butler, and Paul George. The odds seem ever in his favor. Riley doubled down by taking the top sleeper in Josh Richardson with the 40th pick. Jackson took a great long-term prospect with a perfect disposition for New York. The Jerian Grant pick-up at 19 was perfect for New York. Start the Jerianity. There is a reason Riley and Jackson have 318 rings between them.
The trade partners on Thursday night made every pick count in addition to the deal they made with each other. The Wolves did not screw up the first pick by taking Towns and took a smart player to backup Ricky Rubio in Tyus Jones. Meanwhile, the Cavs landed Macedonian Cedi Osman who will be ready to help in 2 seasons when his contract is up and Rakeem Christmas who should give them another rebounder/defender that can help sooner than later.
I cannot fault the teams for who they took in the top 7, but each team took a player that plays the same position as one of their best young players. None of the 4 teams have a two-way wing player to celebrate going forward and all chose to pass on Winslow. Russell, Okafor, Cauley-Stein, and Mudiay are all good prospects but every one of these picks seemed weird. Either way, they get a neutral grade. Two will probably regret their pick and two will look brilliant. Time will tell.
D - Boston Celtics
Why was Bill Simmons not available when Terry Rozier was picked? Rozier reminds me of Marcus Smart and Avery Bradley after each are mugged by the NYPD. He went about 30 picks too high. This was a worse reach than Bruno last year. The Celtics only avoid an F because I really like Jordan Mickey and think he will help them inside.
The Clippers had no picks in the draft. They have no money to spend. They just acquired Lance Stephenson because they are so desperate to get better. Their new logo looks like a Cubs' jersey got attacked by a goat. They get an "E" for empty.
F - Utah Jazz
I watched Trey Lyles play 20+ games this year and cannot tell you a definitive thing he does well or poorly. That seems an odd gamble at 12 for a team that just moved Enes Kanter because they had too many bigs. It is hard to criticize a second-round choice but the Jazz took another point guard in Olivier Hanlan. Maybe they thought he was French and could talk to Gobert. I think Utah now has 29 point guards on the roster and none are named Stockton.
G - New Jersey Nets
The Nets did a pretty good job of re-hydrating last night. They have been desperate for defense and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is a strong fit. Steve Blake was a nice add in shipping out Plumlee. McCullough and Vaulet are high risk/high reward guys with long-term potential. Overall, it was good to see the Nets look competent (other than if they had sucked bad enough the Hawks could have had Winslow!)
It is hard to champion what any of these 3 teams did because there is a lot of unknown. Detroit picked Stanley Johnson over Winslow but Johnson has a chance to be a stud and Darrun Hilliard was a nice pick in the second round. Van Gundy might have nailed it. The Blazers are clearly losers if Aldridge and Wes Matthews leave but they did a good job in being prepared for that by acquiring Plumlee. I like the selections of Connaughton and Daniel Diez. Both teams get an incomplete for now.
I am a huge fan of Billy Donovan but I think the Thunder blew an opportunity last night. Cameron Payne is a strong point guard prospect but needs the ball. Jerian Grant made more sense to me to play off the ball. The bigger beef is the selection of Dakari Johnson in the second round. Somewhere Scott Brooks snuck in the draft room and thought it was Kendrick Perkins. Kentucky has a great history of NBA big men. Johnson is sure to join Daniel Orton in that history.
They are back on the list because they still stink. They still do not have a single player on the roster that can shoot and defend their position. Jerami Grant is close but no one else really even projects to do so. They should change their name to the Brickers. I am a big fan of Brett Brown but count me officially off of the Hinkie bandwagon. The Sixers are building a solid intramural volleyball squad, though.
Well, that is a summary from across the league last night. On to 2016!