July 1, 2007

NBA Draft Grades: Northwest Division

NBA DRAFT GRADES
EASTERN CONFERENCE
WESTERN CONFERENCE
Rivals.com has partnered with NBA Draft expert Jonathan Givony and his staff at DraftExpress.com to analyze the results of Thursday's draft. Givony hands out grades for each team, and we have grouped them by division. Below, please find the grades for the Northwest Division.

This report card was based off three things:

I: How well the team satisfied its needs or filled gaps on the roster with the hand they were dealt.
II: How much value teams received from the picks they had.
III: Subjective opinions on the player(s) they landed and how well they fit with the team's style of play, the direction they are headed and what we know about the organization.

Draft Grades Methodology:

A: The team probably could not have done any better considering the situation.
B: The team did well in filling their needs, getting fair value from their pick and getting a prospect that fits their system and the direction the franchise is heading.
C: The team had an average draft, not great - but also did not embarrass their fans.
D: The team should have done a better job with the picks they made.
F: The team did a terrible job and their fans have every reason to be angry.

Northwest Division:
Denver Nuggets | Minnesota Timberwolves | Portland Trail Blazers | Seattle Supersonics | Utah Jazz

Portland Trail Blazers
Draft Grade: A
For the second year in a row, Portland gets an A for effort, an A for creativity, and an A for going out and finding value when the rest of the league was content to stand pat.

Greg Oden was an obvious pick that takes this team's potential to a whole new level. Rudy Fernandez is an absolute steal at No. 24 - if he ever comes to the U.S. He is now slotted in an inexpensive area in the rookie scale. Petteri Koponen's intangibles embody the culture that GM Kevin Pritchard has been talking about for some time—and he'll be stashed to develop overseas for another season as well.

Josh McRoberts was considered a top-10 pick coming into this season, and he still has that kind of ceiling if the light bulb comes on for him. Being one of Greg Oden's teammates could help both players make a smoother transition to the NBA smoother. Their games complement each other well. Taurean Green was fantastic value at No. 52 and might already be considered one of the best third point guards in the league. All in all, this was another great draft for the Portland Trailblazers.

Rd
Sel#
Player
Pos
School/Organization
1.
1.
Greg Oden
C
Ohio State
1.
24.
Rudy Fernández (from Phoenix)
SG
DKV Joventut
1.
30.
Petteri Koponen (from Phila.)
PG
Honka Playboys, International
2.
37.
Josh McRoberts
PF
Duke
2.
52.
Taurean Green
PG
Florida

Seattle SuperSonics
Draft Grade: C
Sam Presti and Co. began the project of restructuring their new roster with a bang, trading away an [aging] 26-point per game scorer for a very solid role player in Jeff Green. This might have been the most value Seattle could have received for Allen. The Sonics are starting to build a nucleus that will compete for a championship down the road — even if taking on Wally Szczerbiak seems to nullify that to a certain extent.

Joakim Noah at No. 5 probably would have made this trade make a little more sense, but we really can't make a final judgment until we see what Presti ends up doing with Rashard Lewis this summer. Right now this roster has a lot of holes, particularly at the shooting guard position. Trading the 31st pick for a future second-rounder and cash shows the kind of financial restrictions that Seattle is under - something that has to be disappointing for Supersonics fans.

Rd
Sel#
Player
Pos
School/Organization
1.
2.
Kevin Durant
F
Texas
1.
5.
Jeff Green (from Boston)
F
Georgetown

Utah Jazz
Draft Grade: A
A team with a very good track record in the draft seems to have made more solid moves, despite drafting fairly low. Morris Almond fills a need as a perimeter shooter, has great value at No. 25, and also has the type of character and intangibles that the Jazz covet. Kyrylo Fesenko is a bit of a mystery to most people at No. 38, but he also fills a need as a rebounder inside and has the toughness to endear himself to Jazz fans - and especially Coach Jerry Sloan. Fesenko is not afraid to take or dish out pain, and will give Utah plenty of youthful energy running the floor and crashing the offensive glass. He's not exactly a great fit as far as his off-the-court habits go, but there is still time to iron out those things if he shows the desire to stick in the league.
Rd
Sel#
Player
Pos
School/Organization
1.
25.
Morris Almond
G
Rice
2.
38.
Kyrylo Fesenko (from Phila.)
C
Cherkaski Mavpi, Ukraine




 

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