2006 NBA Draft Grades

Atlanta Hawks- The selection of Shelden Williams, the forward from Duke, with their first round pick was a good move. Williams, like many Duke players, is wise beyond his years and polished enough to lead a young team. However, Duke alumni have not had great luck in the league and Williams has the misfortune of landing on one of the youngest and most selfish teams in the league. Look for Williams to move out of Atlanta first chance he gets. Forward Solomon Jones from South Florida is a big body off the bench for the Hawks this season and could develop into a solid sixth man.
2006 NBA Draft Grade: B-

Boston Celtics- Boston was active in the draft day trade market, ending up with forward Leon Powe of California and guard Rajon Rondo when all was said and done. Powe has two ACL surgeries under his belt, making him a potential bust, but Powe is a solid rebounder and grinds it out like few coming out in the 2006 NBA Draft. Rondo is a solid defender and passer, but has a non-existent jump shot and negligible scoring ability. The Celtics get some defense in 2006, but little scoring help.
2006 NBA Draft Grade: B-

Charlotte Bobcats
Forward Adam Morrison of Gonzaga is a great pickup for Charlotte, who is looking for a few more young pieces to make a solid nucleus for the next dozen or so years. In 2006, expect Morrison to develop into a team leader and a dynamic presence on the Bobcats roster.
2006 NBA Draft Grade: B

Chicago Bulls
Forward Tyrus Thomas is incredibly talented and was in the running for the first pick in the 2006 NBA Draft. Thomas will give the Bulls yet another athletic body and someone big enough to be a presence in the paint. In a trade with Philadelphia, the Bulls got forward Thabo Sefolosha from Switzerland, who is yet another athletic European shooter who instantly helps out the Bulls in 2006.
2006 NBA Draft Grade: B+

Cleveland Cavaliers
Guard Shannon Brown and guard Daniel Brown give LeBron James and the Cavaliers some more depth at the backcourt positions, though neither is overwhelming enough to take pressure off of James. Shannon Brown is a tweener at guard and Daniel Brown is athletic but not polished at either of the guard positions to be NBA ready.
2006 NBA Draft Grade: B-

Dallas Mavericks
The Mavericks’ lone pick, guard Maurice Ager of Michigan State, may be a solid selection at some point but I would be leery of Ager like past Spartans guards (read Shawn Respert, Mateen Cleeves). Ager is hard working but the Mavericks are looking more for talent than someone to outwork the other player and the rookie guard may be buried on the Mavericks bench in 2006. 2006 NBA Draft Grade: C+

Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets’ only draft selection in 2006, or at least the only one that they kept, was George Washington University guard Danilo Pinnock. Pinnock will make a good role player for the Nuggets in 2006 but won’t overwhelm anyone.
2006 NBA Draft Grade: C

Detroit Pistons
The Pistons only had one selection in the 2006 NBA Draft, with the last pick overall. Detroit used it wisely by selecting guard Will Blalock from Iowa State. Blalock is a well rounded point guard who can step in right away in 2006 to help the Pistons get back to prominence, though his shooting ability is lacking.
2006 NBA Draft Grade: B-

Golden State Warriors
Centers Patrick O’Bryant and Kosta Perovic give Golden State some big bodies in the paint, with O’Bryant able to start right away for the Warriors and Perovic lined up to be a solid backup center. O’Bryant can make some plays in the paint, but at the very least he can rebound and block shots, while Perovic is a bit of a stiff in the paint and can do little more than rebound. However, his six fouls will help out the Warriors at some point in the season.
2006 NBA Draft Grade: B

Houston Rockets
Forward Steve Novak of Marquette is an outstanding shooter and a solid talent who will give Houston an outside threat to compliment Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady. Houston also picked up Lior Eliyahu from Orlando, but he won’t be ready for the NBA for a year or two.
2006 NBA Draft Grade: B

Indiana Pacers
Indiana reached by taking Shawne Williams in the mid-first round of the 2006 NBA Draft, but they made up for it a bit with their second round selection of James White. Williams benefitted from good surroundings in Memphis and may struggle to fit into the NBA. White is a great athlete and could eventually surpass Williams as the better professional player. The Williams pick was a reach and the Pacers could have moved down or moved out of the first round entirely.
2006 NBA Draft Grade: B-

Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers selected Michigan State center Paul Davis in the second round, giving them a solid interior backup for the 2006 season. Davis is a steal at the mid-second round because of his hard work ethic, big body, and NBA-ready mentality. Guard Guillermo Diaz from Miami is a decent perimeter player and his talent may develop in a few years to crack an NBA starting lineup. However, right now, neither player is ready to play any sustained minutes in their rookie years.
2006 NBA Draft Grade: B-

Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers did not do well in 2006, with UCLA guard Jordan Farmar not yet ready for the NBA and center Chuck Samb a raw international prospect. While Farmar’s potential could be cultivated in the NBA, it seems unlikely that he will do anything too spectacular in the league.
2006 NBA Draft Grade: C-

Memphis Grizzlies
The Grizzlies had a solid 2006 NBA Draft, with guard Rudy Gay giving them a great play maker for years to come. As well, guard Kyle Lowry and forward Alexander Johnson give the Grizzlies some depth off their bench and might make Memphis more versatile as early as the 2006 season.
2006 NBA Draft Grade: B

Miami Heat
Miami did not have any picks in the 2006 NBA Draft but they will settle for the 2006 NBA Finals championship.
2006 NBA Draft Grade: I

Milwaukee Bucks
The Milwaukee Bucks, already filled with underachieving athletic types, drafted yet another athletic tweener for their team in 2006. North Carolina forward David Noel is a quick slasher whose athletic ability makes him dangerous. However, he doesn’t fill the possible need for a point guard, or a shooter, or a backup center.
2006 NBA Draft Grade: D+

Minnesota Timberwolves
The Timberwolves picked up guard Randy Foye to help make plays from the back court for Kevin Garnett (or whomever ends up being the play maker for the Wolves in 2006). Forward Craig Smith is a solid defensive player and an outstanding team player who will give the Wolves maximum effort every minute he is on the floor.
2006 NBA Draft Grade: B+

New Jersey Nets
The Nets got two great prospects in Marcus Williams and center Josh Boone, along with a decent second round pick in forward Hassan Adams. Williams slipped to the Nets to their surprise and he will be an immediate help in the backcourt, while Boone gives the Nets a big NBA-ready center for the 2006 season, though he will be doing a bit of learning on the job. Hassan Adams has the benefit of sitting on the bench and learning and his athleticism will give the Nets another fresh body to rotate during the 2006 season.
2006 NBA Draft Grade: A-

New Orleans Hornets
New Orleans got two great draft picks in the 2006 NBA Draft by selecting Connecticut center Hilton Armstrong and forward Cedric Simmons, along with forward Marcus Vinicius Vieria de Souza. Armstrong is a well rounded player who can back down defenders in the paint, Simmons is a versatile forward who can make some plays, and de Souza has the potential to be a very good professional. Along with second year player Chris Paul, these draft picks will end up being very solid for the next couple of years while they are still together.
2006 NBA Draft Grade: A

New York Knicks
The Knicks did not do well in the 2006 NBA Draft, as the first round selection of Renaldo Blackman from South Carolina was a big reach. Blackman was a solid player on a poor team at South Carolina (though they were winners of the NIT) and is a hard worker, but he is certainly not first round material. They made up for it a bit by selecting guard Mardy Collins in the second round, which gives them some more depth in the backcourt. But the Blackman pick is inexcusable for one of the biggest basketball towns in the United States.
2006 NBA Draft Grade: C-

Orlando Magic
Guard J.J Redick is an outstanding shooter but like past Duke shooters (i.e. Trajan Langdon) he will struggle in the NBA’s game of play making rather than playing HORSE with weaker college competition. Forward James Augustine was a good pick up for the Magic because of his hard work inside and center Ryan Hollins gives the Magic some depth off the bench.
2006 NBA Draft Grade: B-

Philadelphia 76ers
The 76ers made out pretty good in the 2006 NBA Draft, trading for forward Rodney Carney of Memphis and selecting Bobby Jones of Washington in the second round. Carney is a versatile, well rounded player that could start for the Sixers by mid season. Jones will be a solid sixth man type for Philadelphia because of his outstanding defensive ability and his offensive game will develop in time despite scouts’ concerns.
2006 NBA Draft Grade: B

Phoenix Suns
Phoenix dealt away their one draft pick, guard Rajon Rondo, to the Boston Celtics, leaving them no draft selections in the 2006 NBA Draft. The Suns have a great young nuclear for next season that will only get better overall from their playoff run this season.
2006 NBA Draft Grade: I

Portland Trail Blazers
The Trail Blazers had a terrific draft, considering the multitude of needs that Portland had coming into the 2006 NBA Draft. In a deal with the Chicago Bulls, the Blazers picked up forward LaMarcus Aldridge at the top of the 2006 NBA Draft, giving them a big athletic body in the paint for the youngest team in the league. As well, Portland picked up guards Brandon Roy and Sergio Rodriguez in the first round of the draft. Roy is a creative guard who can make plays and Rodriguez is a seasoned foreign player who can give the Trailblazers a back court leader. Forward Joel Freeland of England will give them a big body off the bench in a year or two when he is finished playing overseas. Aldridge, Roy, Rodriguez, and Freeland are a great nucleus for the Trailblazers by the 2007 and 2008 NBA seasons.
2006 NBA Draft Grade: A

Sacramento Kings
Rutgers guard Quincy Douby adds another scorer to the Kings in 2006, though his size should make him a point guard. The Kings certainly do not need another selfish player on their team, but look for Douby’s career to be made or broken early on when he has to decide between scoring on bad teams or working with his team to win games.
2006 NBA Draft Grade: C+

San Antonio Spurs
Croatian forward Damir Markota gives the Spurs further evidence of their international reputation, but Markota is no Manu Ginobli or Tony Parker. Markota is the typical European player, tall, lanky, and a perimeter player. But Markota is not gifted enough to stand out in the NBA but will be aided by playing off the bench early on.
2006 NBA Draft Grade: C

Seattle SuperSonics
The SuperSonics used their three draft picks in the 2006 NBA Draft to select some major projects, which is disconcerting to Seattle fans who want to see quick results. Center Saer Sene of Senegal is extremely raw though he is physically strong, Denham Brown is athletic but not easily fit into one position, and guard Yotam Halperin is a big point guard but looks like a bench player rather than a stand out NBA import.
2006 NBA Draft Grade: C+

Toronto Raptors
With the first pick overall, the Raptors selected forward Andrea Borgnani. Borgnani, a 7 foot tall forward, can shoot, is athletic, and can be a cornerstone for the Raptors for the next decade. As well, he has played in over 100 professional games overseas and many international exhibitions. His experience, talent, and determination will make him a great player in the league. However, the question is whether he will be good enough to have warranted the #1 pick in the 2006 NBA Draft. The return on that investment may come in four or five years.
2006 NBA Draft Grade: B+

Utah Jazz
Utah picked up some solid guards in the 2006 NBA Draft, selecting Ronnie Brewer and Illinois Guard Dee Brown to shore up their back court. Forward Paul Millsap will be a solid presence for the Jazz off the bench in 2006, with the possibility of being a solid bench player in his career.
2006 NBA Draft Grade: B

Washington Wizards
The Wizards are looking to the overseas basketball market, drafting Oleksiy Recherov and forward Vladimir Vermeenko to provide talent insuring a solid roster a few seasons down the road. However, neither does them a lot of good in 2006 and Wizards fans will hope that the team continues to gel after their playoff run in 2005.
2006 NBA Draft Grade: C-

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