The NBA Draft is a lot of fun. We all get super excited about young players who, with a few exceptions at the very top of the heap, are very much a crap shoot. It's one reason why I really don't understand the fuss over trying to "tank" and "rebuild through the draft" when the results are so hit and miss with the vast majority of players.
This project -- grading past drafts -- that Tom Ziller is doing over at SB Nation.com is a great example of how random things are.
How many of you thought Nic Batum would turn out this good? Who would have guessed that Yi Jianlian and Joe Alexander would bust out?
Yes, ALL NBA players come through the draft. The trick is picking which ones will be good and which won't. Some teams have better or worse records at this art, but none are right ALL the time.
Ziller's project demonstrates that and is also a fun look back in time. Here's his 2007 grades and here's 2008.
A look at how the Suns graded out after the jump.
PHOENIX SUNS (2007)
Alando Tucker (29), D.J. Strawberry (59)
No-fault zone, though I cast a disappointed eye at trading the No. 24 pick to Portland for cash.
PHOENIX SUNS (2008)
Robin Lopez (15), Goran Dragic (45)
Dragic was a great second round pick-up, but Lopez has been a major disappointment, especially compared to the big men taken in the remainder of the first round. Lopez alone would have had Phoenix wavering between a 'D' and an 'F'; Dragic's success (even though he was eventually traded) makes up for it.
One thing to note in the 2007 draft was the Suns having the Hawks pick that was top-three protected. Atlanta had the fourth-worst record so when they "won" the lottery and jumped to the three spot, the Suns got hosed since that picked the following year was 15th.
Imagine, however, if the Suns had landed the 4th pick in the 2007 Draft. They were rumored to be very interested in Chairman Yi...but who knows. History is a bitch sometimes.
As for the 2008 grades, it's hard to argue with the "C" even though I like Robin as much (more) than most. The Dragic pick, however, did show some serious chops by the Kerr-led front office.
He called Goran the second-best point guard in the class behind only Derrick Rose. Westbrook might not agree with that, but then again, Russel isn't exactly a "pure point" either as evidenced by James Harden running the offense late in games for OKC.
I can't wait for the 2009 grades to see how Earl Clark turned out.
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