NBA Draft Grades: Picks 1-15

NBA Draft Grades: Picks 1-15
June 27, 2014, 12:00 pm
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CSNHouston Staff

Now that the NBA Draft is over, CSN's Jason Passehl and Matt Catagnus dish out their grades. First up: picks 1-15.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Andrew Wiggins, F, Kansas
Grade: A+

JP: Never a forgone conclusion... the Cavaliers play it safe and take Andrew Wiggins, the player always assumed to go first overall. Even before the draft started Wiggins was seen as the premier talent with the most potential. Hard to argue against it, he'll give their team some much needed excitement.

2. Milwaukee Bucks: Jabari Parker, G, Duke
Grade: A+

MC: The Bucks snag their franchise cornerstone of the future in the Duke forward. Parker will play the 4 position next to the "Greek Freak" and instantly average 15-20 points per game. He was their guy from the beginning, and it is a great fit.

3. Philadelphia 76ers: Joel Embiid, C, Kansas
Grade: B+

JP: Tough situation for the Sixers at 3. They left their team bare entering the season, in hopes of positioning themselves to get Wiggins or Parker. Joel Embiid's injury leaves them in an eerily situation to last season, where Nerlens Noel was left unable to play all season. It's not an easy pick to make, but Embiid has star potential and they had to take the risk.

4. Orlando Magic: Aaron Gordon, F, Arizona
Grade: A

MC: This may have surprised on the surface, but with the Magic holding another pick at 12 the focus was always going to be on a big man. Gordon is quite possibly the most athletic player in the entire draft. He's a do-it-all type prospect who can defend multiple positions.

5. Utah Jazz: Dante Exum, G, Australia
Grade: A-

JP: I like this pick for Utah, although it does make you wonder what their plans are for Trey Burke. Dante Exum offers them a face they can market, a versatile player that should help them find a new identity.

6. Boston Celtics: Marcus Smart, G, Oklahoma State
Grade: B+

MC: Smart's presence almost certainly means Rajon Rondo will be on the move. The question with the Oklahoma State guard has always been how well can he shoot at the pro level. Until he shows he can consistently knock down shots, this isn't a home run selection.

7. Los Angeles Lakers: Julius Randle, F, Kentucky
Grade: B

JP: Lakers fans were kicking themselves when the Celtics took Marcus Smart. A dynamic point guard that would've been a dynamic combination with Kobe Bryant. Julius Randle isn't a bad silver medal though, he's a banger that is essentially the opposite of Pau Gasol. He'll bring them a toughness they need to be players in the West.

8. Sacramento Kings: Nik Stauskas, G, Michigan
Grade: C

MC: The grade isn't a reflection as much on Stausksas but rather the Kings' current roster. Sacramento needed a point guard in the worst way and Stauskas isn't that. The Michigan product, however, is far and away the best shooter in this draft class. There just might not be enough

9. Charlotte Hornets: Noah Vonleh, F, Indiana
Grade: C-

MC: Vonleh was expected to go higher, but this selection essentially admits that selecting Cody Zeller a year ago was a mistake. Doug McDermott would have made more sense as another option on a team that could use more scoring threats.

10. Philadelphia 76ers: Elfrid Payton, G, Louisiana-Lafayette (Traded to Orlando)
Grade: B-

JP: This pick was a head-scratcher... until the details about Elfrid Payton being traded to Orlando came out. It's a great fit for Orlando, Payton doesn't offer up much in terms of offense, but he's a good, classic point. Orlando drafted a starting PF and PG in one draft, not too shabby.

11. Denver Nuggets: Doug McDermott, F, Creighton (Traded to Chicago)
Grade: A+

MC: The Bulls got one get one of the steals of the entire draft by selecting McDermott at 11. Chicago is desperately in need of guys who can put the ball in the basket. The answer: bring in the fifth all-time leading scorer in NCAA history. People don't call him "Dougie McBuckets" for nothing.

12. Orlando Magic: Dario Saric, F, Croatia (Traded to Philadelphia)
Grade: D

JP: I like Dario Saric, but I hate this pick. Philadelphia did absolutely nothing in this draft to make themselves more appealing in the immediate future. Fans had to endure one of the toughest seasons in the team's history, and with so many eyes on the NBA draft, the Sixers elected to take two players that won't be helping the team anytime soon.

13. Minnesota Timberwolves: Zach LaVine, G, UCLA
Grade: D

MC: LaVine rose up draft boards because of his freakish athleticism and ability to shoot from long range. However, he's extremely raw and disappeared for long stretches towards the end of UCLA's season. Minnesota needs someone who can contribute now. LaVine is not that person.

14. Phoenix Suns: T.J. Warren, F, North Carolina State
Grade: A-

MC: The Suns have quietly turned the fortunes of their franchise around in quite a hurry. Warren is the second best pure scorer in this draft class. Phoenix adds another player who does a bunch of different things at a 6-8. Warren will be a consistent pro for many years to come.

15. Atlanta Hawks: Adreian Payne, F, Michigan State
Grade: B+

JP: I'm not sure if Adreian Payne was viewed as filling a need for the Hawks, but I thought he was one of the best players still on the board. He's a big body and has a great personality, he's the kind of guy you want on your team, and hate when he plays against you.