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Discussion Question: How Long Will These Lockouts Last?

June 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

First it was the NFL, now the NBA is in a Lockout. It will be sad days for sports fans this fall if both the NFL and NBA are not in progress.

Were you surprised the NBA is in a lockout? How long do you think it will last?

I'm still hopeful the NFL's lockout will end soon. What are your thoughts on how much longer for the NFL Lockout?

Which lockout will have more of an impact on the league, its fans, etc.? So many questions, such an upsetting time for sports fans!

When will it all end?

Top NHL Free Agents

June 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

By Guest Blogger Catfizh:

Player Pos. 2010-2011 Team 10-11 Cap # 2011-2012 Team Catfizh
Brad Richards C Dallas Stars $7,800,000 1
Christian Ehrhoff D Vancouver Canucks $3,100,000 2
Kevin Bieska D Vancouver Canucks $3,750,000 3
Ilya Bryzgalov G Phoenix Coyotes $4,250,000 4
Brooks Laich C/LW Washington Capitals $2,067,000 5
James Wisniewski D Montreal Canadiens $3,250,000 6
Tomas Vokoun G Florida Panthers $5,700,000 7
Joni Pitkanen D Carolina Hurricanes $4,000,000 8
Andrei Markov D Montreal Canadiens $5,750,000 9
Tomas Fleischmann C/LW Colorado Avalanche $2,600,000 10
Tomas Kopecky C/LW Chicago Blackhawks $1,200,000 11
Tomas Kaberle D Boston Bruins $4,250,000 12
Ville Leino LW Philadelphia Flyers $800,000 13
Eric Brewer D Tampa Bay Lightning $4,250,000 14
Bryan McCabe D New York Rangers $5,750,000 15
Jussi Jokinen LW Carolina Hurricanes $1,700,000 16
Michal Handzus C Los Angeles Kings $4,000,000 17
Curtis Glencross LW Calgary Flames $1,200,000 18
Jason Arnott C Washington Capitals $4,500,000 19
Ed Jovanovski D Phoenix Coyotes $6,500,000 20
Alex Tanguay LW Calgary Flames $1,700,000 21
Tim Connolly C Buffalo Sabres $4,500,000 22
Milan Hejduk RW Colorado Avalanche $3,000,000 23
Roman Hamrlik D Montreal Canadiens $5,500,000 24
Simon Gagne LW Tampa Bay Lightning $5,250,000 25

*NOTE:  Some of these players have signed/resigned with teams since the post was written.

Markov, Brewer and Tanguay previously re-signed with their respective teams.  And Bryzgalov has signed with the Philadelphia Flyers.

 

My thoughts on the Knicks Selection of Iman Shumpert (You May Be Surprised)

June 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

By Guest Blogger Howard Ticker:

I’m not going to lie, when I first heard the Knicks selected guard Iman Shumpert from Georgia Tech with the 17th pick in the NBA draft, I was very upset.

Personally, I wanted Chris Singleton and was very shocked they passed up on him. Singleton is a 6 foot 9, 230 pound forward who can defend 3 positions. He was also on the All-Defensive team his final two years at Florida State. Of course, Singleton went the next pick to the Washington Wizards.

Shumpert is four inches shorter, 20 pounds lighter, and not as strong. No surprise, after Shumpert’s name was called the Knicks fans booed.

However, in terms of need, they drafted a kid with size, the ability to play both guard positions and someone who enjoys playing defense. Something most Knicks players cannot do. The Knicks ranked 28th in league in defense, allowing 105.7 points per game. A defensive stopper is exactly what they need as the team tries to become a legitimate championship contender.

This is exactly what I want to hear until I heard what Washington Wizards General Manager and President Ernie Grunfeld said about Singleton. “We like Chris. We like his energy, enthusiasm and competitiveness. We thought he was one of the best defensive perimeter players in college basketball last year. He’s big. He’s strong. He’s long and he’s very active. He can guard multiple positions. We didn’t think he’d be there at 18, but we’re glad he was.” A lot of analyst and scouts believe he may be the steal of the draft.

After the draft, many NBA scouts said Shumpert still hasn’t shown he is a true point guard, and some even had him in the second round. So what do I think of this pick after hearing that?

I hate it, so I did some research on this guy until I liked it.

I like what Coach Mike D’Antoni said about him. He said he has shut down defense and could stay in front of the 3 best players in the world in Derrick Rose, Dwayane Wade, and Lebron James. Say what!? If this is true I’ll take him.

He has freak athleticism with a 42 inch vertical and a wingspan of nearly 7 feet. He shot lights out in his pre draft work out and D’Antoni liked his shooting stroke. “He had one of the best workouts that I’ve seen in a lot of years. He’s a little bit of everything. He can play point, he can play the 2, he can guard some 3s. He’s an exciting young man. His personality and his ability to work hard are big factors, and we’re excited about having him.”

Another bright side is he can come in and give our guards a rest and take some pressure off our other players with his defensive ability. He should play at times with Chauncey Billups to give Landry Fields (another surprising pick which had a great rookie season) a rest. Fields is expected to be the Knicks starting shooting guard this season. With Shumpert mainly playing point guard, Toney Douglas will be able to stay at shooting guard. He thrived towards the end of the year last year as shooting guard instead of point guard. Shumpert said, “Those guys being able to score the ball like that, I don’t think they should have to play all the defense, too. The first thing I’m going to do is come in and defend people, take pressure off peoples’ legs.” I love that he said this because he can also take the pressure off Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire on defense at times with his length, athleticism, and long arms. Thinking about it now, I do like the pick. When the Knicks were on the clock they could choose from Shumpert and Singleton. Both of which are very athletic defensive specialist. It was smarter for them to go for a defensive-minded guard over a defensive-minded forward because he wouldn’t be able to get as much playing time behind Anthony and Stoudemire. D’Anthoni said, “Singleton is more of a 3, 4 and I think we have two pretty good players there. When it’s kind of a toss-up, you look at the Knicks and what serves them better. We thought that a guy that could defend the 1, 2 and some 3 was better. That’s hard to find.”

So okay coach D’Antoni. I think you did a good job of convincing me he was the right pick over Singleton. I hope you are right. The Knicks, who never have had trouble putting the ball in the basket should have no problem with a guy who averaged 2.87 steals a game at Georgia Tech, eighth-best in the NCAA.

 

Summer Change for the Caps

June 27, 2011 in Uncategorized

By Guest Blogger Rob Yunich:

The wrestler Triple H used to be known as the "cerebral assassin," paying homage to his brain power and the element of surprise. One could argue that Washington Capitals General Manager George McPhee should be known by the same moniker. Over his tenure with the Caps, which began in 1997, nary a leaked rumor has escaped from his troops, often leading to surprising announcements of player movement.

That was reinforced leading into Friday's draft, when the Caps traded for Blackhawks winger Troy Brouwer — a deal completed two days in advance but kept secret until the announcement. Brouwer is the perfect player for Coach Bruce Boudreau's system that was unveiled midway through last season, but one that didn't yield the desired results as the Caps were swept by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round of the playoffs.

Brouwer possesses so-called sandpaper, the ability to score 20 goals and kill penalties. If this sounds like Brooks Laich, it is, but that doesn't mean the popular player won't be returning to Washington. (More on that in a second.)

The only exception to McPhee's leak shutdown seems to be when players aren't going to return. The latest casualty purportedly is goalie Semyon Varlamov, who either will find another NHL job or head back to Russia. My bet is that Matt Bradley and Boyd Gordon won't be back, and neither will any of the players acquired last season (Scott Hannan, Marco Sturm and Jason Arnott). Dennis Wideman, who also joined the Caps last season, still has a year left on his contract.

Laich is too good, too influential in the locker room and, perhaps most importantly, too well-suited for the team's system to not return. He's not going to break the bank and wants to stay with the Caps. Besides, he earned a respectable amount of votes for the Selke Trophy (for defensive forward), something needed more on the team. McPhee will find a way to bring Laich back.

More and more, though, the player who sticks out like a sore thumb on the roster is Alex Semin. Granted, he's only signed for one more year, but with the acquisition of Brouwer, and more roster turnover coming in the next week or two (unrestricted free agency signings begin Friday), this is the time to deal Semin. If the Florida Panthers will take on Brian Campbell's inflated contract, somebody out there will be willing to pay Semin $6.7 million for the 2011-12 season.

Last February, I called for a major change of culture for the franchise. Although there haven't been sweeping changes in terms of personnel or coaches, the entire system was overhauled and things are turning around. Yes, their playoff fate was telling — and was most likely the driving force behind what we're seeing now.

But hockey's "cerebral assassin" still has some moves up his sleeve — and be sure that they will definitely help the Caps move closer to their stated goal: winning a Stanley Cup.

You can read more of Rob's work at Storming the Crease.

 

Dodgers File For Chapter 11, Future Still Looks Bleak

June 27, 2011 in Uncategorized

The Dodgers have filed for bankruptcy after Major League Baseball refused to allow the new TV deal, that would have given the team the cash to make their June 30th payroll. I realize some Dodger fans, and baseball fans are upset with Selig for not allowing that deal to occur, but I think he made the right move.

Frank McCourt's TV rights deal was a bad deal for both the Dodgers and baseball and only was made to benefit Frank McCourt and ensure he could maintain possession of the team. His deal sacrificed the Dodgers TV rights at a below market value for a longtime, and would have been a bad deal for a low market team like the Royals much less an iconic team in the 2nd largest TV market like the Dodgers.

While some people have some sympathy for McCourt's situation, I believe he is the problem for this team and don't think that the Dodgers should have to pay for their mistakes. McCourt's bad financial decisions on and off the field have led the Dodgers to the point where they need to be monitored by Selig. He has approved bad contract after bad contract, that has led to a ton of 'dead money' over the last few years. From 2009-2014 the Dodgers will have spent over $60 million in players for not to being on their roster. That is just unsustainable to sign all of their actual players, while paying for players they don't want. In addition if the reports are true the McCourts have borrowed at least $100 million against the Dodgers, but not to pay for team operations. That is completely irresponsible and one of the biggest reasons for why L.A. is in the hole that they are in.

Now I don't like the idea that the team will need to make bad baseball decisions simply because the ownership can't afford to pay his bills, but let's be honest they were making bad baseball decisions long before this occurred. And while it is a bit unfair, it wouldn't be fair for the Dodgers 5 years from now to have a lower payroll than they should because they gave up their TV rights at a well-below market rate. Hopefully for the team's sake McCourt will look to sell a majority stake of the team, but giving his impending divorce proceedings it will be harder to find a buyer. If the Dodgers do have to start selling players, the good news is that they have some players with value (Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Jonathan Broxton etc.) that should allow them to both save money and acquire some quality prospects. It could make the next year or two rough in Dodger Town, but it is the best for the team as long as McCourt is at the helm.

Discussion Question: What Does the Hiring of "Experienced" Managers Mean?

June 27, 2011 in Uncategorized

Call them experienced, call them the better option, or call them old.  Whatever you want to call them, there seems to be a new trend in baseball to hire "experienced" Managers to run young ballclubs.

The Marlins have hired 80 year-old Jack McKeon and the Nationals have hired 68 year-old Davey Johnson.

So how long will these Managers "manage"?  How will they do with their respective teams?  And what does this new trend all mean for the game of "baseball"?

 

Discussion Question: Will Roy Oswalt's Injury Allow The Rest of the East to Catch Up to Philly?

June 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

Roy Oswalt will be out now till at least August, and puts a serious dent into the Phillies four Aces strategy. Now the question becomes will it be enough to slow down the Phillies, so that the Braves catch them in the standings?

My take is no, as they still have 3 top pitchers, and one of the best offenses in the game, but it does put a chink in their armor overall. This will make it even more pressing for Philly to add a right-handed bench bat (or two) and a reliever by the July 31st trade deadline.

What do you think? Could Oswalt's injury send Philly reeling?

5 Reasons Why I Love The Davey Johnson Signing

June 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

I am absolutely ecstatic about the Nationals inking Davey Johnson, not just for this season but for the next two as well. I think he is a great fit for this team and franchise, and is the type of guy who can right the ship after the Riggleman debacle. Here are my top 5 reasons why I love this signing.

1. Johnson is a winner:

While managing in part of 14 Major League seasons, Johnson has had a winning percentage below .500 just 3 times, and two of those were in seasons where he only managed part of the year. A Johnson led team has only finished below 2nd place in their division twice in his career. He has a .564 career managerial record and a World Series title with the Mets back in 1986.

2. Johnson had success as a player as well:

It's rare to find managers in baseball who had successful Major League careers, but Johnson is one of the exceptions to that stigma. He won't be entering Cooperstown (at least as a player), but he was a 4 time All-star, 3 time Gold Glover, and a starter on two World Series Champions. That is a pretty impressive pedigree for a manager and shows his strong desire for his team to play their best. I really like the idea that these young players can now go to a manager who has not only been successful as a coach, but in the field as well and get pointers.

3. Johnson has some experience managing younger talent:

The Nationals future will be defined with how their young talented players like Danny Espinosa, Jordan Zimmermann, Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon and others develop. Which makes having a manager that can nurture them extremely important. Johnson has experience with young talent, including managing the last two summers in the Collegiate Florida League, where young college players go to further develop their games. He also previously managed Team USA in the 2008 Summer Olympics to a bronze medal. The team included a rising College Junior by the name of Stephen Strasburg, and was filled with upper minors talent.

4. This signing rights a wrong done to Johnson the last time that he managed in this area:

Davey Johnson came to the Baltimore Orioles as their manager (he previously played for them) in 1996. At the time the Orioles hadn't been to the postseason since their W.S. victory in 1983. Johnson preceded to lead the Orioles to back-to-back ALCS appearances, including a 1st place finish in 1997. Despite the success, Orioles owner Peter Angelos fought constantly with his winning manager, which led to Johnson turning in his resignation the same day he was named Manager of the Year. The Orioles franchise was never the same again, and has yet to post a .500 record a single time since Johnson left. Now Johnson can come back to the area where he originally made a name for himself as a player, and also found some success as a manager.

5. Johnson is the right man to fix the damage done with Riggleman's resignation:

Given his previous experiences, I have every faith in Johnson's ability to get the most out of this team and not allow the recent issues affect this season. Johnson brings a winning attitude and track record, and he will demand the best out of his players. He might not be a fiery manager who will yell and scream, but he'll command respect. And he also saves face for a franchise who looked quite loss after losing their manager. While I liked Riggleman, I firmly believe the Nationals came out ahead with this move, which I never expected.

Why Nats & O's Could Be Looking to Make Double Splash – Part II

June 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

In Part I I looked at the likelihood of the 28 other teams bidding on either Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder next offseason and the results weren't promising. Only a handful of teams make sense, and most of them come with a fair share of question marks. Although most would say that it would be improbable for both of the Beltway teams to land a major slugger next year, I don't think it is impossible.

Why It Makes Sense For the Nationals:

Don't look now, but the Washington Nationals have actually collected the makings of a very good future team. For at least the next 4 seasons the Nationals have RF Jayson Werth, SS Ian Desmond, 2B Danny Espinosa, C Wilson Ramos, SP Stephen Strasburg, SP Jordan Zimmermann, and RP Drew Storen under team control (and in most cases it is even longer). In addition they could have top prospects CDerek Norris, LF Bryce Harper, and OF/INF Anthony Rendon ready by 2013 (if not sooner). Star 3B Ryan Zimmerman is a free agent after 2013, but he should be in line for an extension ensuring another spot long term. In fact the Nationals even have excess talent at some positions, and would really only be left with holes at 1B and CF. This means the time is now to strike for the Nationals and adding a premium bat like Pujols/Fielder could allow this team to contend as soon as next season.

In terms of money the Nationals are looking pretty good as they have yet to exceed $70 million in payroll since moving to Washington, despite having one of the richest owners, a new ballpark, partial ownership of a TV network, and one of the largest media markets in the country. Given all that the Nationals have going for them they could easily operate at a $100+ million budget, and if this team was contending and selling out games, a $120 million budget would be possible. Right now even with pay raises and Arbitration raises the Nationals should be somewhere in the $60 million range. While they'd need to spend $5-10 million to fill other holes, that would still leave plenty of money for one of the two big first basemen. The Nationals could also add a bit more room to their budget, by then being able to deal incumbent 1B Adam LaRoche. While the Nationals won't get much return since he is injured, there should be enough of a market for him that they save most of the $9 million they still owe him.

Now the question is who will be the Nationals top target. While Pujols has the bigger name, this latest injury and age could make Fielder the more desirable choice. The Nationals have a long history of working with Scott Boras, so that could give them an advantage in the negotiations as both sides respect each other. Fielder would also give the Nationals a left-handed batter to go along with Harper, to breakup the righties Zimmerman, Werth and Rendon. While there are obvious concerns about Fielder's longterm viability in the field, he's shown enough to allow you to believe that he can handle 1st for at least 4-5 more years.

Why it makes sense for the Orioles:

The Orioles might not have a core group of hitters as say the Nats, they aren't without their options in the lineup. C Matt Wieters, CF Adam Jones, RF Nick Markakis and top prospect SS Manny Machado, give Baltimore a solid group to build around. In addition they have an impressive collection of young arms led by SP Brian Matusz, SP Chris Britton, SP Jake Arrieta, SP Chris Tillman, and top prospect SP Dylan Bundy. Together the Orioles have a pretty good group going forward and if they can add 1-2 key at bats, they can find the complimentary players to put around them.

The Orioles might not have all the financial advantages of say the Nationals, but they have a good number of them. Baltimore has already shown that they can maintain a payroll in the $80-90 million range, and they are projected to be well under that threshold for next year. The Orioles can also clear another big chunk of change for next season if they look to move Jeremy Guthrie and Luke Scott, who are entering their final year of arbitration. If they do that Baltimore will not only have enough money to land one of the two big bats, but they could add a complimentary free agent or two.

With money not an issue the question remains, do the Orioles go for the younger bat in Fielder or the high prestige of Pujols. You could make a case that either player will need the DH role down the road, but I think Pujols makes slightly more sense here than Fielder (though Fielder with that short left-porch could be dangerous). Pujols will likely come at a bit less, in both years and dollars. And his higher prestige could even resonate more with Baltimore's dedicated but frustrated fan base. Adding Pujols would be a huge boost to morale of both the team and the city and could help lead to this team once again being a legitimate threat in the American League East.

 

 

 

 

 

NBA Draft Grades

June 24, 2011 in Uncategorized

Atlanta Hawks: D-

The Hawks traded away their first round pick (18th overall) as part of the deal for Kirk Hinrich. In the second round they landed center Keith Benson, but unless they make some moves they might not have room for him on the roster.

Although you'd think Hinrich would make this draft look better, remember the 18th pick was only a part of that deal as they traded Jordan Crawford and Mike Bibby (whom was bought out meaning cap space) as well. They overpaid, and now they are without even a solid player from this draft class.

Boston Celtics: B

Boston swapped 1st round picks and ended up with PF JaJuan Johnson and a future 2nd rounder. They also picked up E'Twaun Moore in 2nd round.

Overall I thought Boston did really well, instead of reaching for a player they moved back and picked up a future pick, and still landed a guy that makes sense for them. Johnson helps add to the lack of size in beantown right now, and he is a solid defender. Moore was a great pickup in the late 2nd round. While most teams were going with Euroleague reaches at that point, hoping they'd develop into something 3-4 years from now, the Celtics took a guy who can play this year. Moore will never be a starter, but he can be a solid role player and should be like a 4th guard on the team. Given the importance of their starting guards having that quality depth is important so you can rest them more in blowouts.

Charlotte Bobcats: B

Despite having two top 10 picks and saving some money in their trade, I hesitate to give Charlotte an A for this draft. Overall I like both Bismark Biyombo and Kemba Walker, but Brandon Knight was sitting there at number 7, and I think he is better than both Walker and Biyombo. If the Bobcats took Knight at 7, they would only have to hope the Pistons don't take Biyombo at 8, to land him as well. And even if the Pistons took Biyombo, you still have a number of promising players on the board, like say one of the Morris twins.

To me both Biyombo and Walker were slight reaches and the Bobcats didn't roll the dice on Knight, which is enough of a knock in my book. I also didn't understand dealing their 2nd rounder Jeremy Tyler for just cash considerations. I absolutely hate that as a rebuilding team, especially when Tyler could have some upside (and def. has size) which is lacking on this roster.

Chicago Bulls: B-

I like the Bulls trading up to get a high upside guy in Nikola Mirotic, but I worry it might be 3+ years before he comes over. If it is just one season that is fine, but any longer than that and I don't really get it. Adding Jimmy Butler gives them a capable wing player who can guard both the 2 and the 3. It's a solid draft considering they were drafting so late.

Cleveland Cavaliers: C+

I know the Cavs had two of the top 4 picks, but I thought their draft strategy was flawed from the very beginning. Sure they landed PG Kyrie Irving and PF Tristan Thompson, but I think they could have done so much better. For me Derrick Williams was the best player in this draft and considering that the Cavs had nothing at SF, he made the most sense. By taking him at 1 the Cavs ensured themselves that they would either get a PG (Irving or Brandon Knight) or a Center (Enes Kanter) at 4. Instead by taking Irving they had to reach for Thompson over Knight since he was no longer a need.

I also don't like it because if you currently look at the Cavs roster their 4 best players are PG's Baron Davis and Ramon Sessions and PF's J.J. Hickson and Antwan Jamison, and those are the two positions you addressed with the 1st and 4th picks. Now Irving should be better than Sessions and Davis, and they can now go on the trade block, as will Jamison, but the point is the upgrade won't be too much next season. And this is still a team without any real production from their SG, SF and C.

Although not as important their 2nd round strategy was also really bad. They traded away a quality player in Justin Harper (while he was another 4, he could be a stretch 3 as well) for two 2nd rounders. And while they traded a redundant guy, they could have taken a guy like Kyle Singler, Tyler Honeycutt, Jeremy Tyler etc. who would have filled an actual need. Maybe they wouldn't be starters, but I think they could crack the rotation. As for the other 2nd rounder they took a Euro guy who might not ever come over. With again guys who could maybe crack the least talented roster in the NBA still on the board.

Dallas Mavericks: B

While I like the pickup of Rudy Fernandez for them, I was a big fan of Jordan Hamilton and would have just kept him as a quality role player. Fernandez is more of a sure thing, but I don't see this as anything but an average move for Dallas.

Denver Nuggets: B+

Not only did the Nuggets swap an unhappy player, for one that should be a better fit in the Raymond Felton-Andre Miller swap, but they picked up an extra 1st rounder. I love both of the Nuggets 1st rounders Kenneth Faried and Jordan Hamilton so they get high marks for me. The one thing I don't understand is how Hamilton fits in, as Denver is quite deep at the 3. Regardless it is a good player to pick up, that should give them trade flexibility later this season.

Detroit Pistons: A-

I love the Brandon Knight pick in the first round as I think he is an impact player in this league. By taking him the Pistons can move Rodney Stuckey to the 2, and now have a nice little core with Greg Monroe as well. I wasn't as impressed with Singler at the top of the 2nd, but he has some ability and has a low floor (he won't be a bust).

Golden State Warriors: A-

I'm a huge fan of their draft overall. I love Klay Thompson and think that he and Stephen Curry will basically have a 3-point shooting contest each night. While some people don't like Thompson, because they don't see the upside, I really disagree. He's not exceptionally quick or athletic, but he is an excellent shooter with outstanding basketball intelligence. In the 2nd round they landed Charles Jenkins and traded cash for Jeremy Tyler, adding a PG and a big man, which I thought was great. The additions of Jenkins and Thompson will likely allow the Warriors to deal Monte Ellis this season for hopefully another piece.

Houston Rockets: B

I really liked all three of the Rockets picks in F Marcus Morris, PF Donatas Motiejunas, and SF Chandler Parsons, and I like the acquisition of Johnny Flynn as well (though they gave up a future protected 1st round pick). What I don't understand is where are all these guys going to play. The Rockets were pretty set at SF and PF (not to mention PG), so I just don't know where they all fit in. Maybe they will look to make current PF Jordan Hill more of a center and possibly Motiejunas as well, but that could be a reach of a projection. The Rockets have a ton of good players, but could be best served by packing some for a more impact player or a true center.

Indiana Pacers: B

I like their trade for George Hill, but they gave up both of their draft picks to do it. There will be some risk involved, but this was a playoff team, so who knows it could pan out.

LA Clippers: C

I know the loss of the top pick stings for the Clippers, but they had no way of knowing that would happen and they had to rid themselves of Baron Davis. LA did redeem themselves with a pair of solid 2nd rounders in Travis Leslie and Trey Tompkins (who were teammates at Georgia). Both have some solid upside and should be good role players for the Clippers.

LA Lakers: C+

The Lakers had 4 2nd round picks, but only the first two deserve a mention (they did pick up a future 2nd rounder for one), in PG Darius Morris and SG Andrew Goudelock. Morris has some legitimate upside and could develop into a solid starter 3 years from now, but Goudelock is likely a 12th man at best. It would have been better if the Lakers added some size, and they might regret that.

Memphis Grizzlies: B+

The Grizzlies only had a 2nd rounder, but they might have hit a homerun in Josh Selby, who is a combo guard with quality starting upside. He could end up a steal of this draft class, so great move by Memphis.

Miami Heat: B

The Heat traded up from the 2nd round to land PG Norris Cole and I think they made a smart move. A lot of guards were off the board and getting the guy they wanted was key. Cole could develop into a better guy to run this offense than Chalmers and gives them some decent upside.

Milwaukee Bucks: B

They added some talent in 3-way trade and still landed a quality prospect in Tobias Harris. Add that with a solid 2nd rounder in Jon Leuer and I'd call it a pretty good day for them.

Minnesota Timberwolves: B+

Mainly this grade is due to landing Williams, but their multiple trade backs, brought them value in a future 1st rounder and a ton of cash. Also they netted Malcolm Lee who should replace Johnny Flynn.

New Jersey Nets: B

I like the Nets pick of Marshon Brooks, despite it not being the biggest need, and Jordan Williams was great value in the 2nd round. The pick I don't get was the 31st pick, as he is a good Euro player, but won't be over in the next few years. The Nets need to show they can win right now and I think there were role players on the board that could have helped.

New York Knicks: C

I like both Iman Shumpert and Josh Harrellson (and just giving up cash to get the latter), but thought that there were way to many better options on the board at 17 than Shumpert. This was a big risk and one that could come back to bite them.

New Orleans Hornets: F

They didn't have a pick in this draft and the trades they made didn't net them any big pieces.

Oklahoma City Thunder: B

I like the Reggie Jackson pick, but he is really redundant on this team. Maybe that means Maynor is on his way out, but right now it is a bit of a head scratcher. Good value for the pick though.

Orlando Magic: B-

While they didn't have a 1st rounder I thought the Magic did good in acquiring two young role players in Justin Harper and DeAndre Liggins. Both should give them good bench depth and help this team out going forward.

Philadelphia 76ers: D+

I see Nikola Vucevic as a huge reach for the 16th pick and feel that LaVory Allen was not even worth being drafted in the 2nd round. I really question this draft and feel that it was a huge misstep.

Phoenix Suns: B

I really like the Suns pick of Marikeff Morris and thinks he will be an instant upgrade on this team.

Portland Trailblazers: B-

I actually like the Nolan Smith pick, and feel that he can be a solid backup guard for Portland. This wasn't a great draft, but I thought Smith had 1st round value.

Sacramento Kings: C+

Their part in the 3 way trade made zero sense, since they lost draft position and in my book the better player, but afterwards I thought they rebounded. Jimmer Fredette is a bit of a risk, but I also am a believer in him. I think he can play and compliments Tyreke Evans very well. I also liked adding a pair of solid 2nd rounders in Honeycutt and Isiah Thomas.

San Antonio Spurs: A-

They gave up George Hill for Kawhi Leonard and David Bertans, but I think it was worth it. Leonard helps them this year, and Bertans is a great stash player, even if it takes 2 years. In addition they picked up a young PG in Cory Joseph who will replace Hill as the backup to Tony Parker.

Toronto Raptors: B

Jonas Valanciunas should make this pick an A, but there is at least some question as to whether or not he can be bought out this year. If the Raptors need to wait a year than this pick was a bit of a waste.

Utah Jazz: A-

I thought the Jazz did well in playing the field and taking the top center and waiting to see what PG would fall to them. I really like Kanter and thinks he gives Utah another legit big. While I'm sure the Jazz were hoping for Jimmer or Kemba, landing Alec Burks is pretty good. Utah came out of this draft with two guys who should be quality starters by year two and that is a win.

Washington Wizards: B+

The Wizards did well landing 3 quality players in this draft in PF Jan Vesely, SF Chris Singleton and PG Shelvin Mack, but I don't see this as an overall win. Vesely has some real holes in his game, and he at times looks like a SF in a PF's body. Singleton is a great defender, but the Wizards needed a scorer that Wall could distribute to. And while Mack is a good pick, he will be only a bench player in Washington. I would have liked to have seen them possibly go for Hamilton or Tyler with their 18th and 34th picks. It's not an awful draft, but I don't know if it is a great one either.