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Wednesday, June 27
Updated: June 28, 3:17 AM ET

Team-by-team draft grades


Grade: A
SF Shareef Abdur-Rahim, 6-9, 5th year
Well, it was a great night for the Hawks even before the draft began, as soon as they acquired Abdur-Rahim from the Grizzlies for the No. 3 pick, Lorenzen Wright and Brevin Knight. Atlanta can now put a 20-10 guy like Shareef up front with Theo Ratliff and Toni Kukoc -- not bad at all. Atlanta didn't get any other players, even though the point guard need could have been filled with the 27th or 34th pick. The Hawks took one of the top ones around, Jamaal Tinsley, at 27, but dealt him to Indiana for a future first-rounder, then took Terence Morris at 34 and sent him to Houston for the same thing. Still, a successful night.

Grade: B
SF Joe Johnson, 6-8, So., Arkansas
SF Kedrick Brown, 6-7, Okaloosa-Walton CC (Fla.)
SG Joseph Forte, 6-4, So., North Carolina
The Celtics really needed another scorer to go with Antoine Walker and Paul Pierce, and Johnson has the abillity to be that guy. He has a perimeter game and can face up to the basket, and Boston can use him at small forward, where he creates matchup problems, and Pierce moves to the two-spot. However, until Boston gets a center, there will be issues. Brown is a junior college forward who can play inside, but he's so young and so inexperienced, he's a project. He's also rumored to be headed to Portland in a trade. Forte was a scorer in college and could get free agent Bryant Stith's minutes right away.

Grade: C
PF Kirk Haston, 6-10, Jr., Indiana
The Hornets had one pick, and Haston was it. Wow. Some wondered if Haston would return to school for his final year and leave the draft. They questioned his strength and complete lack of defensive skills. Yet, the Hornets saw something and grabbed him at No. 16. Haston is a scorer in the Keith Van Horn mold, yet not as good from the outside. But if used the right way, we suppose he could see time, though the Hornets currently are deep up front. A strange pick.

Grade: A
C Eddy Curry, 6-11, Thornwood HS (Ill.)
C Tyson Chandler, 7-1, Dominguez HS (Calif.)
SF Brian Skinner, 6-9, 3rd year
SF Sean Lampley, 6-7, Sr., California
Wanna get younger? Apparently the Bulls did. A few years of losing and rebuilding did nothing because the Bulls parted with the top pick from two years ago, Elton Brand, to get Chandler. Of course, now Tim Floyd has two big men to mold. Chandler, who the Clippers drafted No. 2, isn't the strongest low-post player, as his 225 pounds suggests. But he can block shots and take his game outside. He'll play small forward while Marcus Fizer is the starter at the four-spot. Curry, meanwhile, is big in every way, should be a rebounding machine right away, and like Chandler, is a bit raw. Brand was 20 and 10 every night, but he's not a center, he's 6-8. These new kids are centers. Also acquired in the deal was Skinner, who has played 93 games in three years and has excellent rebounding-per-minute numbers. He might be playing a lot of minutes here. Lampley led the Pac-10 in scoring, but he might not stick around here.

Grade: B-
C DeSagana Diop, 7-0, Oak Hill Academy (Va.)
SG Jeff Trepagnier, 6-4, Sr., Southern Cal.
PF Michael Doleac, 6-11, 3rd year
The Cavs could always root real hard for Zydrunas Ilgauskas to get healthy enough to play, but who really believes that will happen? So Cleveland got itself a legit 7-footer in Diop, a 300-pounder who can run the floor but will take some time to develop, mainly on offense. The Cavs drafted 7-footer Brendan Haywood but dealt him to Orlando for veteran Doleac, who is tall but plays smaller when you watch him try to rebound. Trading Haywood for him is a bit curious. Meanwhile, Trepagnier joins a group of Cavs little guys, but he's very athletic and can defend, so he could make some noise.

Grade: C
SG Kyle Hill, 6-2, Sr., Eastern Illinois
A little guy who scores a lot, Hill has the misfortune of going to a team that has many guaranteed contracts -- and little need for a 6-2 shooting guard. But, if Howard Eisley moves on and Hill has a good camp, who knows. But that was it on a quiet night.

Grade: C+
PF Ousmane Cisse, 6-8, St. Jude HS (Ala.)
PG Omar Cook, 6-1, Fr., St. John's
A Mali native who has project written all over him, Cisse went No. 47 and was Denver's lone pick. Well, maybe the Nuggets will be really active in free agency. In Cook, they get a player more ready to step in and play next season. Cook was drafted by Orlando at No. 32 after leading the nation in assists. Will he supplant Nick Van Exel, a guy who himself was drafted early in Round 2? Not right away, but Antonio McDyess wouldn't mind a pass-first point guard.

Grade: B+
PF Rodney White, 6-9, Fr., Charlotte
PF Mehmet Okur, 6-11, Turkey
Based on how much Rodney White's stock seemed to rise recently, the Pistons got a steal at No. 9. White can play both forward spots and figures to be a scorer, which is great news for a team that allowed Jerry Stackhouse to hoist up what seemed like half his team's shots. White could find himself playing a lot real soon. Then there's Okur, who didn't do much scoring or rebounding in Turkey. He originally tried to get drafted last season and withdrew his name. Not too many more people know his name now.

Grade: B
SF Jason Richardson, 6-6, So., Michigan State
SF Troy Murphy, 6-11, Jr., Notre Dame
SG Gilbert Arenas, 6-3, So., Arizona
With the fifth pick in the draft, the Warriors passed on Shane Battier and Eddie Griffin to take Richardson, which frankly was a surprise. Richardson is an athletic swingman who could play shooting guard with Larry Hughes playing the point, giving the Warriors high-fliers at a number of spots. Richardson doesn't have a great outside shot, and some question his maturity, but then again this might be the perfect team for him if that's the case. Murphy is another good fit for Golden State. Arenas is another early-entry candidate, but is pretty mature and can score. He could find a role on this team.

Grade: A-
PF Eddie Griffin, 6-9, Fr., Seton Hall
SF Terence Morris, 6-9, Sr., Maryland
You have to hand it to the Rockets. They had three first-rounders when the evening began (Nos. 13, 18, 23), and somehow convinced the Nets to take all three for talented but angry big man Eddie Griffin, who went No. 7. Griffin has a temper, sure, but he slipped in this draft. The Rockets should be pretty happy with this shotblocker/rebounder. In Morris, acquired from Atlanta for a future pick, the Rockets get even more frontcourt depth, which is always good. Solid effort considering Houston didn't draft either guy.

Grade: B
PG Jamison Brewer, 6-4, So., Auburn
PG Jamaal Tinsley, 6-3, Sr., Iowa State
No help up front, but since Reggie Miller can't play forever, the Pacers had other needs. Of course, both these guys are really point guards. Brewer was a rebounding madman who doesn't shoot real well. Tinsley was a lottery possibility for awhile, so the Pacers have to love getting him from Atlanta for a future pick. But if you play Jalen Rose at the point, and Travis Best is still here, where do these kids play?

Grade: A
PF Elton Brand, 6-8, 3rd year
The thinking here is quite simple, actually: How many young kids can one team have? The Clips have a bunch, and throwing Chandler into the mix wouldn't have helped. Brand is a mature veteran who crashes the boards and scores down low, something the team really needed. He'll make Lamar Odom better, Michael Olowokandi better, Darius Miles better. The Clips might not be a playoff team still, but they got much better on draft day by grabbing Brand.

Grade: B
C Ken Johnson, 6-11, Sr., Ohio State
A defensive presence right away, Johnson is a guy who can make the team and play some minutes backing up Alonzo Mourning. Forget about an offensive presence, but Johnson does block and alter shots, though at 235 pounds he's not a wde body at all. But considering it was the No. 49 pick, you can't complain.

Grade: B-
SF Andre Hutson, 6-8, Sr., Michigan State
Another team with only one pick, and a late second-rounder at that, Milwaukee gets an interior player -- but a short one. The Bucks really could use a 7-footer, like most teams, but should give Hutson, a hard worker, a chance. You can't draft Lew Alcindor at No. 52.

Grade: B
C Loren Woods, 7-1, Sr., Arizona
One of the great mysteries of the draft was watching poor Woods slip in the draft. The NBA took away Minnesota's top pick, but in Woods this team really gets a first-rounder, or a guy who has that kind of ability. Woods went at No. 46. Amazing. Now he isn't Shaq by any means, but he's also sure to make a squad which relied upon Reggie Slater, Rasho Nesterovic and Dean Garrett in the paint. Yuck.

Grade: C+
SF Richard Jefferson, 6-7, Jr., Arizona
C Jason Collins, 6-11, So., Stanford
SG Brandon Armstrong, 6-4, Jr., Pepperdine
When the Nets selected Seton Hall's Eddie Griffin with the No. 7 pick, the NYC crowd was happy, because a team lacking toughness was getting some. Then, inexplicably, the Nets sent Griffin packing, to the Rockets for depth, which is another team need. Let's face it, the Nets have needs. However, it's questionable whether any of their needs were solved here. Jefferson doesn't have the size of current small forward Keith Van Horn, but he might be able to step in and contribute right away, especially if Van Horn is dealt. Collins and Armstrong went higher than expected, and Collins' injury-filled history is perfect for this M*A*S*H* unit.

Grade: C-
SF Michael Wright, 6-7, Jr., Arizona
C Eric Chenowith, 7-1, Sr., Kansas
Well, the New York crowd really had a lot to root for on this night. The Knicks don't exactly need more depth, and we don't think we're going out on a limb when we say both these guys are likely to not be Knicks come October. Wright is an undersized power forward who won't make Gotham forget Larry Johnson. Chenowith is ... well ... he's tall. Our momma always said if you can't say anything nice about someone, then...

Grade: B
C Steven Hunter, 7-0, So., DePaul
C Brendan Haywood, 7-0, Sr., North Carolina
Desperate for size to go with Tracy McGrady and Grant Hill, Orlando did get guys with size in Hunter and Haywood. Hunter, who shoots well and blocks shots, might be a bit of a project. Is he that much better than John Amaechi? Haywood, however, is more polished. Still, the Magic have been talking about getting Antonio Davis for months and this draft, despite adding 14 feet, shouldn't change that goal. Maybe Hunter and Haywood will be the guys fouling Shaq in next year's Finals.

Grade: B
C Samuel Dalembert, 6-11, So., Seton Hall
PF Damone Brown, 6-9, Sr., Syracuse
C Alvin Jones, 6-11, Sr., Georgia Tech
The Sixers, as you may have noticed in the Finals, are a team in desperate need of outside shooting. So naturally, they take a center in the first round. Dalembert gets compared to Theo Ratliff quite a bit, and if Philly can get that kind of production, it's a good pick. What does this mean for Todd MacCulloch? In Brown, still no perimeter help, but another useful big body for when Tyrone Hill walks. Same with Jones, who is a fine shotblocker. If Philly plans to find outside shooting somewhere else, and this trio or part of it was for depth purposes, then it could've been a decent night. But if Dikembe Mutombo starts spotting up at the arc, duck.

Grade: C
PF Alton Ford, 6-9, Fr., Houston
Ford played a year at Houston, but hardly looks NBA-ready. That's fine, though, since the Suns don't have much room to start with. When Rodney Rogers opted to stay in Phoenix, that changed things, and since the team had its lone pick at No. 51, not much was expected. That's pretty much what happened. The Suns need to trade to improve.

Grade: B
PF Zach Randolph, 6-9, Fr., Michigan State
C Ruben Boumtje Boumtje, 7-0, Sr., Georgetown
Randolph puts the wide in wide body. He's 50 pounds heavier than 7-footer Tyson Chandler and will need to work hard to get minutes on a team like this. But the Blazers will have enough big bodies that Randolph can sit awhile and watch. Boumtje Boumtje is a very poor man's Mutombo Mutombo with less ability on offense, but remember that Dikembe was once a top pick. Boumtje Boumtje went No. 50. These guys could help in a few years, when Arvydas Sabonis and others finally limp away.

Grade: B-
SF Gerald Wallace, 6-7, Fr., Alabama
SG Maurice Jeffers, 6-4, Sr., St. Louis
The Kings have the big free agent prize out there in Chris Webber, and they didn't get a replacement on draft night. Wallace spent one year in school and he didn't even average double figures on points. Put Wallace alongside a good point guard on the break and he'll score, but this remains a raw kid. Jeffers is not likely to make the team. The Kings also pulled off a coup when they dealt Jason Williams and Nick Anderson for Mike Bibby and Brent Price. All we can say is ... wow.

Grade: B-
PG Tony Parker, 6-0, France
PF Robertas Javtokas, 6-10, Lithuania
SF Brian Bracey, 6-7, Sr., Oregon
The Spurs aren't a young team, and they ended up getting three players from this draft, two of them from Europe. At the point, Parker could be a solution fast. The last first-round pick, Parker needs to prove himself on the NBA level, but the Spurs are willing to take a look and will pay first-round money to see it. Javtokas actually played eight games for Arizona in 1999-00, and went to high school in Ohio and North Carolina, but he's Lithuanian. Bracey isn't foreign, but the final player drafted is a long shot to stay on this team. Three players, but maybe no impact this upcoming season.

Grade: B
PF Vladimir Radmanovic, 6-9, Yugoslavia
PG Earl Watson, 6-1, Sr., UCLA
The key here is Radmanovic, who saw his stock soar because he's so versatile. The Sonics will be making big changes, as many expect Gary Payton to have a new address next season. So to Rashard Lewis and potentially Radmanovic, who might be NBA-ready this fall, the pressure's on. Radmanovic can't be worse than Vin Baker the last few years, could he? Watson is a point guard, so if Payton moves on ... geez, think Sonics fans would notice?

Grade: B
PF Michael Bradley, 6-10, Jr., Villanova
The Raptors got one player, and he's a big man who can score. He's no Antonio Davis, who's likely to move on, but he can score right away. He led the nation in field goal percentage last year, and if he gets stronger, he could make a difference fast. Not a bad pick for this team.

Grade: B
PG Raul Lopez, 5-11, Spain
C Jarron Collins, 6-10, Sr., Stanford
Will Lopez be the next John Stockton? Not likely, but Lopez has earned raves in Spain for his play, his pass-first attitude and toughness. Don't look for Lopez to leave Spain in the next year or so, which is fine since Stockton probably has another year or two himself. But this could be the kind of pick that you remember in a few years, since Lopez was well regarded. Collins went 35 picks after his brother, and won't be sticking around Utah for long.

Grade: A
SF Pau Gasol, 7-1, Spain
SF Shane Battier, 6-8, Sr., Duke
PG Will Solomon, 6-1, Jr., Clemson
SF Antonis Fotsis, 7-0, Greece
One of the draft's big winners, without a doubt. Remember, this franchise isn't only thinking about wins, they need to sell tickets in a new community. While nobody in Tennessee knows Gasol, they all know Battier, who was a smart choice since he was most NBA ready of anyone. Battier and Gasol are the new forwards here, and there are other changes as well -- they dealt Mike Bibby to Sacramento for flashy point Jason Williams (remember, selling tickets...). The Grizz, or whatever they'll call themselves, may not get better, with Gasol's huge potential critical to the franchise's future. As for Solomon, he definitely could fit in here at a guard spot. Fotsis is tall and thin and probably staying in Greece, but at only 19 we could see him later.

Grade: A
C Kwame Brown, 6-11, Glynn Academy HS (Ga.)
SF Bobby Simmons, 6-7, DePaul
Michael Jordan had the top pick in the draft, and took the guy he wanted. Say whatever you want about the first high schooler ever taken this high, but Jordan got the chance to put his stamp on the franchise, and he did. Brown impressed everyone with his ability in recent workouts, becoming a consensus top choice. He's not just big, he can play the floor game and is a solid athlete. Is he ready to play 30 minutes a night right away? Not likely, since he's all of 18, but most observers agree he has a nice future. Simmons came from Seattle for the rights to a player from Belgrade that Washington selected when Jordan was winning championship No. 5. They won't miss him and Simmons is ready to play right away.

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