Monday, June 30, 2014

2014 Draft Review and Grades: Pacific Division

The first big piece of the NBA offseason has came and gone, with every team in the NBA having their chance at adding pieces to their roster through the draft.  There were some puzzling picks (Bruno Caboclo anybody?) and some savvy moves as there are every year.  This year's draft lived up to its level of hype from an entertainment standpoint and it should be fun to watch the moves play out.  The next step is the addition of any undrafted free agents before the summer leagues start in Orlando (July 5-11) and Las Vegas (July 11-21).  With about a week until then, let's take a division-by-division look at what each team has done with this year's draft class so far, and assign some grades.

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Golden State Warriors: No picks
UDFA: SG Travis Bader, PG Aaron Craft, G Walt Lemon, 
PF Rob Loe, F James McAdoo, SG Davon Usher

Thanks to the trade of salaries to Utah last summer that allowed the team to sign Andre Iguodala, the Warriors didn't have any picks this year.  Rodney Hood and Alessandro Gentile were drafted in their pick slots.  As far as UDFA go, the Warriors could have a couple of solid upside guys in Travis Bader, James McAdoo and Rob Loe.  Bader is a great shooter, and McAdoo has an NBA-ready body.  Those two could find themselves in the D-League come fall.


Los Angeles Clippers: #28 - SG CJ Wilcox
UDFA: SF Cameron Clark, PF Shawn Jones

Most believe that the Clippers reached quite a bit for Wilcox, who is already 24 and is a one-dimensional player, especially just a year after spending a first round pick on G/F Reggie Bullock.  The Clippers have frontcourt depth issues, which they chose to ignore with players like Jarnell Stokes and Johnny O'Bryant still on the board.  Wilcox is a very good shooter, but it feels like they could have done more with the pick.  Cameron Clark is a solid addition to the Summer League roster and could draw a shot at an NBA roster with a strong showing.


Los Angeles Lakers: #7 - PF Julius Randle; #46 G Jordan Clarkson
UDFA: SF LaQuinton Ross, PG DeAndre Kane, PG Anthony Ireland, F Roscoe Smith

I like what the Lakers did here, adding the best player left on the board at #7, and a guy with the potential to be a big-time scorer, in Julius Randle.  The worries about his foot seem to have gone away after the Lakers sent him to a few different doctors in the last couple of days.  If one or both of Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill find new homes this offseason, expect Randle to start from day one in LA.  I also like the Clarkson move, as you could argue he's probably not much worse than some guys who played off of LA's bench last year.  All they gave up to get him was cash.  Not much to lose for a guy who some people had going in the first round.  Clarkson will need to develop his jump shot, but has the body and athleticism to break into the Lakers' rotation at some point this season.  LaQuinton Ross had been mentioned as a 2nd round pick and has good scoring potential.  If the Lakers add big money to the roster this year, he could be a cheap option to round out the bench.


Phoenix Suns: #14 - SF TJ Warren; #18 - PG Tyler Ennis; #27 - SG Bogdan Bogdanovic; 
#50 - F/C Alec Brown
UDFA: PG David Stockton

It doesn't feel like the Suns got any starters with their three picks, but added depth and free agency insurance.  Ennis could find playing time if Eric Bledsoe leaves in the offseason and should be a very serviceable backup if Bledose returns.  He'll have the luxury of organizational patience to develop at an appropriate pace.  Things are less certain for the Suns on the wings, but Warren could be afforded the same time and patience if PJ Tucker is back or the Suns add a different veteran forward.  Bogdanovic is likely to stay in Europe for a year or two, making him a smart pick at 27.  Brown has upside as a sharpshooting big, but has enough to develop that it's hard to see him not spending the majority of his year in the D-League.  It's hard to see David Stockton playing anywhere in the US next season.


Sacramento Kings: #8 - SG Nik Stauskas
UDFA: C Sim Bhullar, G Joe Jackson, F Brendan Lane, F Eric Moreland, SF Nick Wiggins

The Kings have drawn some criticism for picking SGs in back-to-back drafts.  However, they lack depth throughout the roster, and even if McLemore rebounds from a poor rookie season they can still play both for quality minutes by using Stauskas at PG or McLemore at SF.  Stauskas seems like a low risk pick, because at the very worst you can spot him up in the corner as a last resort.  Not a bad move for a team so desperate for shooting.  


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