Team-by-team NBA draft report card



There weren't any magical names or players that were going to excite fans and management so much that they'd find it difficult to sleep Wednesday night.

But as the 2006 NBA draft strolled to a close, a lot of teams found help in spots of need, and set themselves up for free agency and future trades once July 1 hits and the new basketball fiscal year begins.

The Toronto Raptors, as expected, opened the draft by selecting Italian 7-footer Andrea Bargnani, the first European ever to go No. 1 overall and only the second international player following in the footsteps of Yao Ming in 2002. However, a lot of people believed they failed to maximize the pick because Bargnani could very well have fallen to the fourth pick or further.

The craziness of the draft was best reflected by the Portland Trail Blazers, who made six trades on the night to add four first-round draft choices  LaMarcus Aldridge, Brandon Roy, Sergio Rodriguez and Joel Freeland  and two second-round draft choices to a team that already had nine players born in 1981 or later. They took Tyrus Thomas with the fourth pick for the Chicago Bulls, who had snatched Aldridge to deal down. We'll detail all the Blazers moves later as we break down each team.

In between Aldridge and Thomas, the Charlotte Bobcats took the NCAA's leading scorer Adam Morrison at No. 3 and after Thomas, the Atlanta Hawks carried out the one move everyone knew  Duke's Shelden Williams at No. 5. Then Minnesota took Brandon Roy, and in the reputed first lottery move ever that rhymed, they traded Roy to Portland for Randy Foye.

The University of Connecticut placed four players in the first 23 picks  Rudy Gay (8), Hilton Armstrong (12), Josh Boone (23) and one of the big surprises of the draft came when point guard Marcus Williams fell all the way to 22 from an anticipated lottery spot. Nonetheless, that allowed the Huskies to join the 1999 Duke team (Elton Brand, Corey Maggette, Trajan Langdon, William Avery) and the 2005 North Carolina squad (Marvin Williams, Raymond Felton, Sean May and Rashad McCants) as the only teams to place four players in the first round.

Even though Gay was taken by the Houston Rockets, he was surprisingly dealt to Memphis for Shane Battier, and as expected the Golden State Warriors took 7-footer Patrick O'Bryant.

If Marcus Williams was the biggest fall out of the lottery, then Seattle taking young 7-footer Sear Sene  their third consecutive first-round 7-footer  was the biggest rise in stock at No. 10.

Then again, when the New York Knicks are involved, they have a lock on surprises considering they drafted South Carolina's Renaldo Balkman, a defensive-oriented guard whom many believed would have a ways to go just to get drafted in the second round, let alone go No. 20 overall.

But who's to say what Knicks president and coach Isiah Thomas is thinking ... certainly nobody can be certain to understand.

Who's to say what anybody was thinking ... but soon enough, we'll find out. Or ... at least we'll think we understand. Having said that, let's move on to our subjective report card for the 2006 NBA draft.

Atlanta Hawks

First round (Overall pick No. 5): Shelden Williams, F, 6-9, 250, Duke
Second round (Overall pick No. 33): Solomon Jones, F, 6-10, 230, South Florida

The skinny: The Hawks wanted to get bigger up front to complement all their athletic players, and they particularly accomplished that with Williams. They still need a point guard and must believe they can address that in free agency or via trade. We'll see. But for now, this looks like the Hawks may be up to something positive for a change. Grade: B

Boston Celtics

First round (7): traded it to Portland with Raef LaFrentz and a future second-round pick for Sebastian Telfair.
First round (21 from Phoenix): Rajon Rondo, PG, 6-1, 175, Kentucky

The skinny: Telfair and Rondo appear to be only part of the equation as Celtics president Danny Ainge is loading up to take a run at Allen Iverson or another high-scoring veteran to pair with Paul Pierce. On the surface, this doesn't look good and a young team needing veteran leadership only got younger. But we'll give them the benefit of the doubt on what could happen. Grade: C-minus.

Charlotte Bobcats

First round (3): Adam Morrison, F, 6-8, 210, Gonzaga
Second round (50): Ryan Hollins, C, 7-0, 230, UCLA

The skinny: Obviously, Michael Jordan and Bernie Bickerstaff concluded they wanted a player who could help now, and Morrison, the Division I scoring champ, is ready to play. He's a great competitor and gives them the solid scoring threat they've lacked. They'll be better, and Hollins added some depth. Grade: B-plus.

Chicago Bulls

First round (4 from Portland): Tyrus Thomas, F, 6-9, 230, LSU
First round (13 from Philadelphia): Thabo Sefolosha, G-F, 6-6, 220, Switzerland

The skinny: The Bulls sought to get more athletic and better defensively and quite frankly, they couldn't have done better than what they did. And they still have salary cap space to make a move in free agency if they are so inclined. Thomas is the most gifted athlete in the draft, will block shots and run the floor while playing dogged defense for coach Scott Skiles. The long and lean Sefolosha carries the weight of knowing he was considered the best perimeter defender in the draft. Yeah, this was a great one with better things to come. Grade: A.

Cleveland Cavaliers

First round (25): Shannon Brown, G, 6-4, 210, Michigan State
Second round (42): Daniel Gibson, G, 6-2, 190, Texas

The skinny: The Cavs needed shooting to take the pressure off LeBron James and they got it with their first two picks. Brown not only is a terrific shooter, but he's a great perimeter defender and should help them immediately. Gibson is a very good long-range shooter, so they've added some depth and scoring potential. Grade: B-plus.

Dallas Mavericks

First round (28): Maurice Ager, G, 6-5, 205, Michigan State
Second round (58, J.R. Pinnock traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for a 2007 second-round pick)

The skinny: The way the Mavs build a roster, it's almost as if they could have no draft picks and still outmaneuver teams in free agency to have a better draft nice. Ager was a steal. Donnie Nelson and his staff strike again with another guy who will help the team down the road. Grade: B.

Denver Nuggets

Second round (49): Leon Powe, F, 6-8, 240, California.

The skinny: All things considered, acting general manager Mark Warkentien did great getting Powe with their only pick. He's a tough guy with touch, and if the lose Nene, Kenyon Martin, or both (which isn't likely), he's a nice young player to develop in their spot. He's not just a wide body, he's a very skilled player who could have gone in the first round. Grade: B.

Detroit Pistons

Second round (51 from Los Angeles Lakers for Maurice Evans): Cheick Samb, C, 7-1, 195.
Second round (60): Will Blalock, PG, 6-0, 205, Iowa State.

The skinny: Samb may be the skinniest player drafted in the NBA this century, and with Blalock, they got a tough-minded, strong point guard who struggles shooting from the perimeter. They still need help in their depth and the draft didn't help much, particularly when Samb can't give them anything compared to some athleticism and defense Evans brought to the table. Grade: C.

Golden State Warriors

First round (9): Patrick O'Bryant, C, 7-0, 260, Bradley
Second round (38): Kosta Perovic, C, 7-2, 240, Serbia and Montenegro

The skinny: Warriors president Chris Mullin was determined to add size, and now we'll see if they deal out of some of their inflated salaries to refine their skill level. O'Bryant is a year or two away and Perovic may or may not be around yet. Grade: C-plus.

Houston Rockets

First round (8): traded Rudy Gay and forward Stromile Swift to Memphis for forward Shane Battier
Second round (32): Steve Novak, F, 6-10, 225, Marquette

The skinny: A lot of people love Battier as a complementary player who plays good defense and can occasionally hit the open shot. But for a team lacking so much in athleticism outside of Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady, giving up a potential major star in young Gay and a big athlete in Swift seems like a bigger stretch than the sheets on Yao's mattress. Grade: C.

Indiana Pacers

First round (17): Shawne Williams, F, 6-9, 230, Memphis
Second round (45): Alexander Johnson, F, 6-9, 240, Florida State

The skinny: The Pacers weren't messing around trying to find position players, they took the two best "big" athletes they could possibly get when they drafted, and that's a good thing. Sure, they still need a point guard and maybe an outside shooter, but this is just the start. They did fine. Grade: B.

Los Angeles Clippers

Second round (34): Paul Davis, C, 6-11, 270, Michigan State
Second round (52): Guillermo Diaz, G, 6-3, 190, Miami

The skinny: Without a first-round pick and after a generation in the lottery, the Clippers did well with a pair of seconds. Davis gives them another much-needed wide body to help Elton Brand up front, and Diaz can flat fill it up from the perimeter. Grade: B.

Los Angeles Lakers

First round (26): Jordan Farmar, PG, 6-2, 180, UCLA
Second round (51, draft rights to Cheick Samb): traded to Detroit for Maurice Evans.
Second round (58 from Dallas for 2007 second round pick): J.R. Pinnock, G, 6-5, 200, George Washington

The skinny: Farmar was a great pick at that spot and he'll fit in quickly in the triangle offense because he's smart and instinctive. Evans is a shorter version of Devean George, but gives them some athletic depth. Ditto for Pinnock. Grade: B-minus.

Memphis Grizzlies

First round (8 from Houston for Shane Battier): Rudy Gay, F, 6-9, 225, Connecticut, plus the contract of veteran 6-9 forward Stromile Swift
First round (24): Kyle Lowry, PG, 6-0, 185, Villanova

The skinny: President Jerry West was determined to make his team more athletic and tougher, and did it with both of these picks. Gay truly has superstar potential, but his blase demeanor leaves questions. Ironically, that was the same story with Swift when they let him go via free agency to Houston, and now they have him back. Obviously, they're gambling on the talent level rising with coach Mike Fratello, plus Lowry is truly the classic tough little point guard. This helps. Grade: A-minus.

Miami Heat

No picks

The skinny: Most everybody was hanging out in South Beach, while general manager Randy Pfund manned the phones, half-heartedly wondering what it would take to get into the draft ... too much for not enough. That's OK, they've got the 2006 NBA championship trophy  what's everybody else have? Next season's roster will be resolved through free agency. Grade: C.

Milwaukee Bucks

Second round (39): David Noel, F, 6-6, 230, North Carolina
Second round (59 from San Antonio): Damir Markota, F, 6-10, 225, Croatia

The skinny: Noel gives them a potential contributor because of his experience and skill but he's limited, and Markota is young, but is the classic rangy shooter. They didn't have first-round pick because they made an awful trade giving up their 2006 No. 1 and Desmond Mason for Jamaal Magloire. Bad deal and they couldn't get it back if they threw in Noel. Grade: D-plus.

Minnesota Timberwolves

First round (6 from Portland): Randy Foye, G, 6-4, 215, Villanova
Second round (36): Craig Smith, F, 6-7, 250, Boston College
Second round (37): traded to Philadelphia.
Second round (57): Loukas Mavrokefalidis, C, 6-11, 260, PAOK (Greece)

The skinny: The Timberwolves may have solved their problem of finding a partner for Kevin Garnett in the person of Foye. Compared to Dwyane Wade for his skills and leadership, he'll help their pathetic backcourt; and after four years in the Big East, Smith may have the maturity and skill to help add some much-needed toughness up front. They've still got a long way to go to get back in the hunt, but this is a start. Grade: B.

New Jersey Nets

First round (22): Marcus Williams, PG, 6-3, 205, Connecticut
First round (23): Josh Boone, F, 6-11, 240, Connecticut
Second round (54): Hassan Adams, G, 6-4, 220, Arizona

The skinny: Somehow, some way, Nets president Rod Thorn was able to pull this off. Despite picking where they did, they got a lottery talent in Williams to develop behind Jason Kidd and spell him for increasing minutes. Josh Boone is a terrific shot-blocker and will rebound  and Hassan Adams gives them defense and savvy off the bench. They needed depth and surprisingly got it in the draft. They'll probably add one more piece in free agency. Grade: A.

New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets

First round (12): Hilton Armstrong, F-C, 6-11, 240, Connecticut
First round (15): Cedric Simmons, F, 6-9, 240, North Carolina State
Second round (43): Marcus DeSouza, F, 6-8, 225, Brazil

The skinny: The Hornets wanted to add size up front to their athletes that can score, and they were thrilled to get Armstrong and Simmons. It might even allow David West to slip in at big guard if they want to go big on occasion since he has such good ball-handling skills. For a team that was falling apart a couple of years ago even before Katrina uprooted them, there is optimism from the draft just hours after coach Byron Scott was extended through 2009. Grade: B-plus.

New York Knicks

First round (20): Renaldo Balkman, G-F, 6-6, 210, South Carolina
First round (29): Mardy Collins, G, 6-6, 220, Temple

The skinny: Just when it appeared things couldn't get more bizarre for the Knicks, they took Balkman with their first pick. Chances are, they couldn't have signed him as a free agent if they liked him enough  because it's not like teams were cutting in line to get him. In fact, there is no doubt they could have gotten him at 29. The good news is he's a tough defensive guy, and Collins is the same way, except with a more polished game after four years of playing for John Chaney. It's easy to understand where Isiah Thomas was going with these selections, perhaps Larry Brown's parting words were, "Go for defense." Grade: C-minus.

Orlando Magic

First round (11): J.J. Redick, G, 6-5, 205, Duke
Second round (41): James Augustine, F, 6-10, 235, Illinois
Second round (44): Lior Eliyahu, F, 6-9, 230, Galil Eliyon (Israel)

The skinny: Redick gives them the kind of exceptional perimeter shooting they need if everything else is going to run out of the post with Dwight Howard and Darko Milicic. Augustine could give them some help up front. That's contingent on Redick, the all-time 3-point leader in NCAA history and the ACC's all-time scoring champ, has had his back problems fixed and is moving well. And Eliyahu  the first Israeli player ever drafted  isn't ready and probably will remain there for a couple more years for further development. Grade: C-plus.

Philadelphia 76ers

First round (16 from Chicago): Rodney Carney, G-F, 6-7, 210, Memphis
Second round (37 from Minnesota for future second): Bobby Jones, F, 6-7, 215, Washington
Second round (56 from Toronto for future considerations): Eden Bavcic, F, 6-11, 225

The skinny: If they want to alter the persona of the team with athleticism and defense, then they got the right guys in Carney and Jones. Both players pride themselves in being as physical and versatile as anybody on the floor, and their tough-mindedness is what coach Maurice Cheeks needs. This is a nice start as they apparently prepare to move Allen Iverson. Bavcic can shoot, but needs to get stronger. Grade: B.

Phoenix Suns

First round (21): traded rights to Rajon Rondo and contract of Brian Grant to Boston for future first round pick
First round (27): traded rights to Sergio Rodriguez to Portland for cash considerations

The skinny: OK, we get it. You like your roster, and you unloaded Grant's expiring $1.8 million deal and got cash in return. But you just bought the team a year ago, lack depth and that's what caught up with you this season  even if Atlanta's pick in next year's draft looks to be exceptional. You are very close to seriously challenging for the NBA title and this is not a time to get cheap. Once owners challenging for a title teams start focusing on the bottom line instead of the free-throw line, it's when they start getting dunked on. Grade: C-minus.

Portland Trail Blazers

First round (2 from Chicago): LaMarcus Aldridge, F-C, 6-11, 240, Texas
First round (7 from Minnesota through Boston): Brandon Roy, G, 6-6, 215, Washington
First round (27 from Phoenix): Sergio Rodriguez, PG, 6-3, 175, Madrid
First round (30 from Detroit): Joel Freeland, F, 6-10, 240, Fadesa (Spain)
Second round (31): James White, G-F, 6-7, 210, Cincinnati

The skinny: With such an extraordinarily young roster, and five draft picks, there is no truth to the rumor that coach Nate McMillan is getting pre-school certification before training camp. In reality, it didn't seem as if they needed to make the trades to get the players they wanted. Perhaps it wasn't worth the risk. Anyway, it does figure that some of these youngsters will be packaged to help move problematic and overpaid young veterans Darius Miles and Zach Randolph out of town. They are coming off their worst season in 33 years, a horrendous dip in attendance, and the team is for sale. This will be an interesting summer. Grade: B.

Sacramento Kings

First round (19): Quincy Douby, G, 6-3, 180, Rutgers

The skinny: The Kings needed another shooter and Douby is primo. The Big East's scoring leader, he can shoot from anywhere and handles the ball well. But he's not a point guard. He'll have to be in the game when they're running the offense off Brad Miller or Ron Artest. Nonetheless, he's ideal to give Mike Bibby a breather and develop his playmaking ability. Grade: B.

San Antonio Spurs

Second round (59, Damir Makota dealt to Milwaukee for future considerations).

The skinny: Not much effort in this draft, added Matt Bonner and Erik Williams for Rasho Nesterovic before the draft and will be somewhat active in free agency. Grade: C-minus.

Seattle SuperSonics

First round (10): Saer Sene, C, 7-0, 240, Senegal (Pepinster, Belgium)
Second round (40): Denham Brown, F-G, 6-6, 220, Connecticut
Second round (53): Yotam Halperin, G, 6-5, 210, Slovenia (Tel Aviv, Israel)

The skinny: The selection of Sene screams that they really didn't want to add another athlete considering he's the third consecutive 7-footer they've drafted in the first round and fourth since 1998. Brown could be a solid bench player, and Halperin joins Eliyahu as the only Israelis ever drafted. It's always tough to know where the Sonics are coming from, other than trying to pinch pennies. Grade: D-plus.

Toronto Raptors

First round (1): Andrea Bargnani, F-C, 7-1, 250, Benetton, Treviso
Second round (35): P.J. Tucker, F, 6-5, 225, Texas
Second round (56, Edin Bavic traded to Philadelphia for future considerations).

The skinny: It's hard to tell just yet if Bryan Colangelo's draft debut with the Raptors was a success or not, but it seemed obvious they didn't want to gamble losing Bargnani by trading down. Tucker gives them some toughness and another scorer they need. The bigger question is where do they go from here with their front line of Bargnani, Chris Bosh, Charlie Villanueva and Rasho Nesterovic  presuming they make a deal for a point guard. Grade: B-plus.

Utah Jazz

First round (14): Ronnie Brewer, G-F, 6-7, 220, Arkansas
Second round (46): Dee Brown, G, 6-0, 180, Illinois
Second round (47): Paul Millsap, F, 6-9, 260, Louisiana Tech

The skinny: This looks like a great draft for the Jazz. Brewer gives them a terrific athlete to play on the wing with Andrei Kirilenko and run the break with Deron Williams. And it's interesting that they brought in Williams' running mate from Illinois in Brown  giving them more quickness. And finally, they took a terror on the boards in Millsap, the only player in NCAA history to lead Division I in rebounding three consecutive seasons  and, of course, from Karl Malone's alma mater. Grade: A.

Washington Wizards

First round (18): Olexsiv Pecherov, F-C, 7-0, 220, Ukraine (Paris Basket Racing)
Second round (48): Vladimir Veremeenko, F, 6-10, 230, Russia

The skinny: Obviously, Ernie Grunfeld's staff spent a lot of time in the former Soviet Union during the European basketball season. Both are the classic rangy, sweet shooting, soft rebounding big men. Granted, if they just want a team to run the floor, pass, cut and run the screen and roll, this should work. Otherwise, this is a team without one iota of toughness and defense. They passed on plenty of guys who went later. Grade: C-minus.


Sultan of Swat
Staff member
Nice raport Card my friend, I'm very glad on the selections that the Raptors did, and the winners of the draft have to be the Ney Jersey Nets and the Memphis Grizzlies. What I don't understand is that the Warriors drafted two Center, I don't mind the second round selection, but drafting Patrick O'Bryant doesn't make to much sence to me.


It seems accurate. Who is Lior Eliyahu? I think they Magic could have gotten a better player with the 44th pick.