Draft grades: 30 team evaluations

Every year I hand out grades just hours after the draft. As a college professor in my day job, the exercise amounts to the equivalent of giving a student a final grade after the first day of class. There's so much we don't know about both the teams and how these players will fit with their respective teams. In other words, these grades are totally subjective and completely unfair. In truth, you can't grade a draft for at least two years.

So why do it? Because it gives us a great opportunity to get an instant reaction on the future of every team in the league. What I write today won't be the definitive word on this draft, but it's a great way to start the conversation.

Here's our take on how every team in the league did Thursday night:


Round 1: John Jenkins (23)

Round 2: Mike Scott (43)

Analysis: With just six players under contract for next season, the Hawks needed depth at every position. While they landed arguably the draft's best shooter and a power forward who put up big numbers in the ACC, I think they passed on players with much more upside than Jenkins.

In other words, they took the player ranked 36th on our Big Board at the 23rd pick. They reached for a need instead of the best player available. While I think both Jenkins and Scott will be solid NBA players, playing it safe gets you only a C.


Round 1: Jared Sullinger (21), Fab Melo (22)

Round 2: Kris Joseph (51)

Analysis: Danny Ainge has shown an uncanny ability to find good players later in the draft. He isn't always right (remember Marcus Banks or J.R. Giddens?), but he's had a number of terrific picks outside the lottery, including Rajon Rondo, Kendrick Perkins, Glen Davis, Tony Allen and Avery Bradley. I think he might have done it again this year.

Sullinger was ranked as a lottery pick on our Big Board the entire year. His upside might not be great, but he has a chance to be a wide body who can score in the paint and rebound. Melo is a legit shot-blocker and rebounder who, in time, might be a decent center at the next level.

I'm not a big fan of Joseph, but at No. 51, I'm not a big fan of anyone really. The grade can't be an A, however, because as Ainge acknowledged Thursday night, the Celtics aren't sure about Sullinger's back. If he requires back surgery right away or if his condition is chronic, this could easily be a bust of a pick.