Obviously Ford is not the end-all-be-all of the NBA draft. If he were, he'd be a scout for an NBA team. Regardless it is interesting to hear his perspective. Here are his draft grades:
The 2010 NBA Draft began as one of the most predictable in recent memory. Then, starting after pick No. 10, a flurry of trades made everyone's head spin, as draftees bounced from team to team for the rest of Thursday night.
In my day job as a college professor, I don't give final grades after just one day of class. But as an NBA analyst, that's essentially what I have to do when handing out draft grades just hours after teams have made their selections. The truth is, there is still so much we don't know about the 2010 draft class and how the players will fit with their respective teams. In other words, the ultimate draft grades won't be known for at least a couple of years.
But before that, it's only natural to wonder how each team performed. So while this isn't the last word, it's a snapshot of how things look right now.
Here's my take on how every team in the league did on Thursday:
ATLANTA HAWKS GRADE: B
Round 1: Jordan Crawford (27, obtained from New Jersey)
Round 2: Pape Sy (53)
Analysis: The Hawks had a lot of success last year with a fellow named Crawford. Jamal Crawford won sixth man of the year as a volume scorer who often lit up opposing defenses. His namesake, Jordan Crawford, can do the same. He has deep range, will attack the basket and is always hunting for his shot. With Jamal in the last year of his contract, Jordan looks like he could be a nice replacement down the road.
As for Sy, let's just say that even by the low standards that we have for international "stash" picks, this one caught us by surprise. Sy is a point forward with skills, but this pick felt like a reach -- even at No. 53.
BOSTON CELTICS GRADE: A-
Round 1: Avery Bradley (19)
Round 2: Luke Harangody (52)
Analysis: Celtics president Danny Ainge has shown an uncanny ability to find good players later in the draft. He isn't always right (remember Marcus Banks and J.R. Giddens), but he's found a number of terrific players outside the lottery, including Rajon Rondo, Kendrick Perkins, Tony Allen, Ryan Gomes and Glen Davis, and I think that he may have done it again this year.
Just a year ago, Bradley was ranked as ESPNU's No. 1 college prospect coming out of high school. He has all the tools to be a terrific scorer but got stuck in a strange situation at Texas last season. He's not a pure point guard, but the Celtics already have one of those guys. He can slash to the basket as well as hit the midrange jumper, and what the Celtics really love is his terrific defense on the ball.
Getting Harangody should pay off. Harangody wouldn't make every team, but he reminds me of Brian Scalabrine, who found a measure of success in Boston. While he's far from a sure thing, he really knows how to play and put up huge numbers at Notre Dame.
CHARLOTTE BOBCATS GRADE: F
Round 1: None
Round 2: None
Analysis: Charlotte traded this pick in 2008 to the Nuggets for the draft rights to Alexis Ajinca, who has been a bust so far for the Bobcats (though they knew he would be a project). The Bobcats would have had the 16th pick in the draft this year and Luke Babbitt ended up going at No. 16. Given that many believe Babbitt could be a valuable rotation player, I'd say the trade didn't work out.
CHICAGO BULLS GRADE: Incomplete
Round 1: None
Round 2: None
Analysis: The Bulls traded away their 17th pick along with Kirk Hinrich and lots of cash to the Wizards. The idea was to create more cap space to pursue two "max" free agents this summer. A number of people around the league believe that this trade now makes the Bulls the odds-on favorite to land LeBron James and Chris Bosh.
If this deal means the Bulls end up getting LeBron and Bosh or one of those players and another free agent, then the grading scale doesn't go high enough. Is there an A+++++?
CLEVELAND CAVALIERS GRADE: C+
Round 1: None
Round 2: None
Analysis: Cleveland traded this pick to the Wizards as part of the deal that brought Antawn Jamison to Cleveland. At first the trade seemed like a home run for the Cavs but that was before Jaimson and the Cavs struggled in the playoffs. Now Jamison's contract looks like a serious impediment to the Cavs' attempt to rebuild the team for LeBron.
At No. 30, there isn't much talent left on the board. Still, if you asked the Cavs today whether they would rather have (a) the 30th pick and Jamison's cap room or (b) Jamison himself, I think they'd choose the former.
DALLAS MAVERICKS GRADE: B-
Round 1: Dominique Jones (25, obtained from Memphis)
Round 2: None
Analysis: I like that the Mavericks got aggressive and got up into the first round to get Jones, one of the best scorers in college basketball last year. He's a creative slasher who thrives getting to the basket.
On the down side, he is a bit undersized, isn't a lights-out shooter and is just an average athlete. Scouts have been divided on him, with some calling him the draft's sleeper and others a bust. The truth is probably somewhere in between.
I'm a little confused about fit, since Jason Terry and Rodrigue Beaubois play similar roles for the Mavs already.
DENVER NUGGETS GRADE: C
Round 1: None
Round 2: None
Analysis: The Nuggets haven't used their own first-round pick since 2005. This year's pick went to Minnesota a year ago for the draft rights to Ty Lawson, who had a very solid rookie season and looks like he could become an important fixture in Denver. It's very doubtful they would've found as much talent this year at No. 23.
DETROIT PISTONS GRADE: A-
Round 1: Greg Monroe (7)
Round 2: Terrico White (36)
Analysis: The Pistons started the night addressing a major need and ended the night swinging for the fences with one of the best young talents in the draft.
Taking Monroe at No. 7 wasn't the Pistons' original hope, as they wanted DeMarcus Cousins. But Monroe was the second-best big man on the board, and he brings a lot to the table. He's the draft's best-passing big man, he competes on the boards and he has some sophistication to his offensive repertoire. On the other hand, he doesn't have the elite athleticism or length that the Pistons really desire.
With their second-round pick the Pistons went the opposite direction. White isn't as skilled or fundamentally sound as Monroe, but he was one of the draft's best athletes and has the versatility to play both backcourt positions. Had he not had an off year, he would've been a potential lottery pick based on his physical tools, so getting him at No. 36 was a steal.
While Pistons president Joe Dumars certainly didn't solve all their problems in the draft, they did take another important step in rebuilding the team.
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS GRADE: D+
Round 1: Ekpe Udoh (6)
Round 2: None
Analysis: I like Ekpe Udoh and so do a lot of NBA scouts and general managers. But taking him at No. 6 felt like a major reach, especially when you consider the Warriors' current roster. In previous years, the Warriors have selected Brandan Wright and Anthony Randolph in the lottery -- both, like Udoh, are thin, athletic players who can rebound and run the floor.
Udoh may be more polished than Wright and Randolph. He's an accomplished shot-blocker and rebounder and he has a more sophisticated offensive game. But he's also already 23 years old, while Wright is just 22 and Randolph is only 20. Given all that, and given the uncertainty in the Warriors organization, Udoh looks like a classic candidate to disappoint.
HOUSTON ROCKETS GRADE: B
Round 1: Patrick Patterson (14)
Round 2: None
Analysis: The Rockets ended up selecting one of the most solid players in the draft. Patterson is meat and potatoes and never flashy -- a good rebounder who works hard and competes on both ends. The Rockets have had a lot of success with players like Patterson in recent drafts (see Carl Landry, Chuck Hayes). While Patterson may never be a star, or even a starter, I expect he'll be in the league a long time.
INDIANA PACERS GRADE: B+
Round 1: Paul George (10)
Round 2: Lance Stephenson (40), Magnum Rolle (51, obtained from Oklahoma City)
Analysis: For the past few years, Pacers execs Larry Bird and David Morway have not been swinging for the fences in the draft. Instead they have tried for singles and doubles and, for the most part, they've connected -- the results have been solid, but not game-changing.
This year, with the Pacers in desperate need of elite talent, they took a different tack, really going for it with an upside pick. In fact, George has as much upside as anyone in the draft not named Wall, Favors or Cousins.
George reminds some scouts of Tracy McGrady, believe it or not -- as T-Mac was, George is a great athlete with terrific size for his position who can shoot from range and really finish at the basket. At the same time, he hasn't consistently used those tools to dominate, which has led some scouts to compare him, less flatteringly, to Nick Young. His two seasons at Fresno State were underwhelming. Watching George play can leave you exhilarated and frustrated at the same time.
You could say similar things about Stephenson. He isn't the terrific athlete or great shooter that George is, but he has an NBA body and a power game that's well suited to the league. He too can dazzle you in moments and have you pulling your hair out at other times.
Rolle was a roll of the dice at 51. He's a terrific athlete and shot blocker who seldom dominated in college the way his talent suggested he could.
If George and Stephenson get it, Bird and Morway have hit a couple of home runs in the draft.
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS GRADE: A
Round 1: Al-Farouq Aminu (8), Eric Bledsoe (18, obtained from Oklahoma City)
Round 2: Willie Warren (54)
Analysis: There is no "A" in Clippers, but for the second straight year, I think they nailed the draft -- at least on paper. Blake Griffin never played a regular-season minute for the Clippers last season after a knee injury, and perhaps the curse of the Clippers will continue with this group. But on pure talent and upside, the Clippers had a great draft.
Aminu is a talented rebounder who runs the floor like a deer. His offensive game is developing and as he continues to improve, he could be a "wow" player.
Bledsoe is also a great pick at 18. Had he gone to a school that didn't have John Wall as the starting point guard, I think he would've gone much higher -- he has more upside than, say, Jonny Flynn. With Baron Davis wearing down, it's the perfect time to start grooming his replacement.
As for Warren, I've never seen a player's stock fall so far so quickly. After being ranked in our top 10 at the start of the season, he plummeted into the late second round. But he has talent, and if he gets humbled by this turn of events and adds to his game, he could have a long career.
LOS ANGELES LAKERS GRADE: C+
Round 1: None
Round 2: Devin Ebanks (43), Derrick Caracter (58)
Analysis: The Lakers made the most of their two second-round picks, landing first-round talents late in the second.
Ebanks is one of the best on-ball defenders in the draft. He can guard four positions and often was assigned to shut down the other team's best scorer. On offense, his midrange game is solid, but he really needs to improve his outside shot. When you think of Ebanks, think of former Laker Trevor Ariza.
After leaving Louisville for UTEP, Caracter kept his nose clean and put up great numbers. His personal issues caused his stock to drop, but if he turns it around, this is a terrific pick for L.A.
MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES GRADE: C
Round 1: Xavier Henry (12), Greivis Vasquez (28)
Round 2: None
Analysis: The draft didn't begin well for the Grizzlies, who had hoped that Fresno State's Paul George would slide to them at No. 12. When the Pacers took him at No. 10, Memphis went to its backup plan of Henry.
If Rudy Gay leaves as a free agent this summer, Henry may be his replacement as a wing who can step right in and spread the floor. While Henry is a bit undersized to play the 3 full-time, Memphis should be able to utilize him in a number of ways.
Vasquez is more of a mystery. He's a big point guard who is a fearless competitor, but his lateral speed is abysmal, with his feet appearing to be in quicksand when he's on the defensive end. So no matter how creative he is as a playmaker, whom can he guard?
MIAMI HEAT GRADE: B
Round 1: None
Round 2: Dexter Pittman (32), Jarvis Varnado (41), Da'Sean Butler (42), Latavious Williams (48)
Analysis: To understand the Heat's draft, you have to go back to their trade on Wednesday that sent Daequan Cook and the No. 18 pick to the Thunder for a second-round pick. The move cleared nearly $3 million from the Heat's projected payroll, furthering their efforts toward their goal of creating enough space to make a run at two "max" free agents this summer in addition to Dwayne Wade. While the team still wants to find a place to send Michael Beasley, they're moving in the right direction.
In the second round, picks are essentially cap neutral because the league fills empty roster spots with minimum "cap holds" and because second-round picks are considered minimum contracts under the cap until an actual deal is signed. So grabbing four second-rounders will help Miami fill out its roster.
Can they play? Somewhat. Pittman is a talented big man with a future if he can lose another 25 pounds. Varnado is the best shot blocker in the draft. Butler would've been a first-round pick had he not torn his ACL in his final college game. Williams was a defensive specialist in the D-League and has plenty of room to grow. I think you'll see all four players make the roster.
MILWAUKEE BUCKS GRADE: B
Round 1: Larry Sanders (15)
Round 2: Darington Hobson (37), Jerome Jordan (44), Keith Gallon (47)
Analysis: The Bucks began their summer makeover two days before the draft when they traded for Corey Maggette and Chris Douglas-Roberts. On draft night they continued by taking Sanders, a young, athletic shot blocker. The Bucks don't have a lot of size or athleticism on their roster and at No. 15, Sanders had as much upside as any big man left on the board.
Taken in the second round, Hobson and Gallon are intriguing. Hobson is a point forward who can play three positions. Gallon reminds some of Glen Davis -- though he's actually bigger than Big Baby. Like Davis, Gallon is very skilled for his size.
MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES GRADE: B-
Round 1: Wesley Johnson (4), Lazar Hayward (30, obtained from Washington)
Round 2: Nemanja Bjelica (35, obtained from Washington), Paulo Prestes (45)
Analysis: Last year the Timberwolves puzzled many by taking two point guards in the lottery. This year GM David Kahn topped himself by taking three small forwards in the draft and trading for a fourth.
One of them, Johnson, has a chance to be really good. He has great size and athleticism for his position, with rebounding and shooting ability. To top it off, he's the type of person you want to build around. On the other hand, his motor can run a little slow and he'll disappear at times.
Hayward may be a bit more of stretch. He's really a 4 in a 3-man's body. He's tough and aggressive and he can shoot with range, but he's undersized and not a great athlete. Bjelinca is a point forward with great ballhandling and passing skills. But he too lacks great athleticism, and he needs to add weight.
The head scratcher was the Wolves' decision to trade the 16th pick and Ryan Gomes for Martell Webster. The Wolves not only gave up two significant assets (Gomes' contract wasn't guaranteed, which made it valuable), but Webster has been marginal in his career so far. How the Wolves plan to play more than two of these guys along with Corey Brewer remains to be seen.
NEW JERSEY NETS GRADE: B
Round 1: Derrick Favors (3), Damion James (24, obtained from Atlanta)
Round 2: None
Analysis: In terms of gossip and scuttlebutt, the 48 hours before the draft were pretty wild for the Nets. Apparently unhappy with their options for the No. 3 pick, the Nets began leaking a number of rumors and half-truths in order to trade the pick. First they contended they were taking Wes Johnson in an effort to get Minnesota to trade with them. Then on draft night, stories of an offer of Danny Granger for the No. 3 pick emerged out of New Jersey in an effort to inflate the value of the pick.
In the end the Nets took Favors, and if they keep him, Nets fans should be excited, as he's a terrific prospect. But the Nets seem to see him as more an asset than a cornerstone of the franchise. The possibility that Favors is traded some at some point this summer remains real.
Favors has as much talent as any other player in the draft, but he's not ready to compete at a high level just yet and the Nets want to be a playoff contender now. However, if the Nets can't trade him for a player who can help carry the team, they should keep him and be patient about helping him develop his enormous upside.
James is more of a "now" pick. The four-year senior has the toughness and experience to help right away. Think James Posey.
NEW ORLEANS HORNETS GRADE: A-
Round 1: Craig Brackins (21, obtained from Oklahoma City), Quincy Pondexter (26, obtained from Oklahoma City)
Round 2: None
Analysis: The Hornets traded the 11th pick and Morris Peterson to the Thunder for the 21st and 26th picks in a move that might become critical to keeping superstar point guard Chris Paul. New Orleans was over the luxury tax line and had a mandate to get under. Moving Peterson and the pick will save them nearly $7 million next season, plus the tax, enough to relieve the pressure to trade a player like Paul or Darren Collison.
With their two picks, the Hornets also did a good job. Brackins is a versatile forward who can score inside and outside. Pondexter is a big-time athlete who reminds me a little of Desmond Mason. Both could play important rotation roles for the Hornets next season.
NEW YORK KNICKS GRADE: D
Round 1: Andy Rautins (38), Landry Fields (39)
Round 2: None
Analysis: The Knicks had a pretty weird draft.
I can understand taking Rautins somewhat. Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni loves shooters and Rautins is the J.J. Redick of the draft.
But drafting Fields is puzzling. Yes, he's a great athlete who was one of the best scorers in the Pac 10 last year. But he was not ranked in our top 100 and I couldn't find another scout who had him in the top 60.
Maybe the Knicks know something that we don't, but with so much talent left on the board, it feels as though New York may regret its decisions eventually.
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER GRADE: B+
Round 1: Cole Aldrich (11, obtained from New Orleans)
Round 2: Tibor Pleiss (31, obtained from New Jersey via Atlanta), Ryan Reid (57, obtained from Indiana)
Analysis: The Thunder have, the past several years, deftly used their salary cap space to make deals and collect assets. They did it two more times this week when they acquired a future first-round pick from Miami for practically nothing except agreeing to absorb Daequan Cook's contract (and then turned the pick from Miami into a future first-round pick from the Clippers). Then on Thursday, they got the No. 11 pick from the Hornets by agreeing to send them two picks and to take back Morris Peterson into their cap space.
The Thunder's target at No. 11 was Aldrich, a true rebounding, shot-blocking center. Aldrich fits a need for the Thunder in the middle, where he could provide some of the kind of defense that Joel Przybilla has given the Blazers.
Pleiss is also intruging. He's huge, active on the defensive end, and improving slowly on offense. He's stated he wants to return to Germany, but the word out of OKC on Thursday night was that they'll try to convince him to stay and develop in the U.S.
Reid was the most random pick I've ever seen in the late second round, having averaged just 6.8 ppg as a Florida State senior last season. He's a tough, physical defender, but everyone was shocked when he was taken.
ORLANDO MAGIC GRADE: B-
Round 1: Daniel Orton (29)
Round 2: Stanley Robinson (59)
Analysis: The Magic had a good draft, potentially striking gold at No. 29 and No. 59 in the draft. But Orlando has a lot of work ahead, because while both Orton and Robinson have the raw tools to succeed, but they're far from being ready to really contribute.
Orton is a physical defender in the paint who dropped on draft boards because of concerns about his knees. Robinson is one of the best athletes in the draft, but his skill set is still a work in progress. I expect them both to have at least a full year in the D League before we hear from them again.
PHILADELPHIA 76ERS GRADE: A-
Round 1: Evan Turner (2)
Round 2: None
Analysis: The 76ers snagged the best player in college basketball and have to be thrilled. Turner's versatility and ability to lead in big moments are the stuff that makes players great. His lack of elite athleticism and his high turnover rate are some cause for concern, but most see him with similar upside to Brandon Roy.
More problematic is Turner's fit in Philly. He and Andre Iguodala are similar players and both are at their best with the ball in their hands. I think it's likely that the Sixers will try to find a trade for Iguodala this summer. If they can replace him with a shooter, Turner could be the guy who turns the Sixers back into a contender.
PHOENIX SUNS GRADE: C
Round 1: None
Round 2: Gani Lawal (46), Dwayne Collins (60)
Analysis: With Amare Stoudemire about to test the free agent waters, the Suns attempted to shore up their front line with two tough, athletic rebounders. Neither Lawal nor Collins is great on the offensive end, but they'll add toughness to Phoenix in the paint.
PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS GRADE: B
Round 1: Luke Babbitt (16, obtained from Minnesota), Luck_The_Fakers_Luck_The_Fakers_Luck_The_Fakers_Lu ck_The_Fakers_Luck_The_Fakers_Luck_The_Fakers_ Williams (22)
Round 2: Armon Johnson (34)
Analysis: I love Blazers GM Kevin Pritchard, as do most Blazers fans, in part because he's given us a number of exciting draft moments over the past few years. But nothing tops what happened on Thursday when Blazers owner Paul Allen fired Pritchard immediately before the draft and yet, in a bizarre twist, asked Pritchard to conduct the draft for the Blazers before leaving.
Even on his way out the door, Pritchard was his characteristically aggressive self. He swapped Martell Webster to Minnesota for the draft rights of No. 16 pick Luke Babbitt and Wolves forward Ryan Gomes. Not only did the move save the Blazers money, it also gave them a player in Babbitt that Pritchard had coveted for months.
With their other first-round pick, Pritchard made a more debatable decision. Williams is an excellent talent, but there are conflicting reports about his health. If he has to miss significant time in his rookie year, his selection here looks like too much of a gamble.
Johnson is a solid second-round pick in Pritchard's never-ending quest to find Portland its point guard of the future.
It seems strange to say farewell to Pritchard, but I have a feeling we'll be seeing him in a different draft war room by this time next year.
SACRAMENTO KINGS GRADE: A
Round 1: DeMarcus Cousins (5)
Round 2: Hassan Whiteside (33)
Analysis: For a second straight year, I think the Kings had a terrific draft.
Some GMs believe Cousins has more talent than anyone else in the draft. And as a fifth pick, it would be hard to find a better value. If Cousins can overcome the maturity issues he displayed at Kentucky, he could be a monster contributor, scoring in a variety of ways, rebounding and providing tough, physical defense in the paint. Guys with his ability don't come along every day.
Whiteside is very intriguing as a second-round pick. He's a long, lanky shot-blocker who, in his best moments, reminds me a bit of Marcus Camby. In his worst moments, he's more like Patrick O'Bryant. As a lottery pick he would have been a huge risk, but as a second-round pick, he's all upside.
SAN ANTONIO SPURS GRADE: B+
Round 1: James Anderson (20)
Round 2: Ryan Richards (49)
Analysis: The Spurs always seem to find a way to grab some bargains. This time they get one of the most dominant scoring, NBA-ready players in the draft in Anderson, as a hamstring injury limited his ability to work out and caused him to fall to San Antonio, where he could get minutes at the 2 immediately.
Richards is more of a project. He wowed everyone in workouts but has limited experience playing at a high level. I expect the Spurs to send him to the D League for a year just to get some games under his belt.
TORONTO RAPTORS GRADE: B+
Round 1: Ed Davis (13)
Round 2: Solomon Alabi (50, obtained from Dallas)
Analysis: The Raptors were trying like crazy to move up in the draft only to have a consensus top-eight pick fall into their laps at No. 13. With Chris Bosh likely out the door, Davis is a solid replacement. He doesn't have any of the offensive talents of Bosh, but he is a long, athletic big man who will crash the boards and run the floor. He needs to bulk up, but eventually he and Andrea Bargnani should complement each other nicely in the frontcourt.
Alabi appears to be a steal for the Raptors. He slid after teams became concerned about a medical report from the NBA draft combine. But his camp said that teams misunderstood the situation and he'll be fine. If he is, the Raptors stole a 7-foot shot blocker in the late second round.
UTAH JAZZ GRADE: B
Round 1: Gordon Hayward (9)
Round 2: Jeremy Evans (55)
Analysis: GM Kevin O'Connor agonized over whom to take at No. 9. Utah's target had been Greg Monroe, but the Pistons took him at No. 7, leaving the Jazz to decide between a group of players that they felt were pretty even.
In the end Hayward won out. The Jazz needed a wing with Kyle Korver hitting the free agent market and believed that of all the players left on the board, Hayward had the most upside. His versatility, basketball IQ and defensive ability convinced O'Connor that he could be a star, though to reach his full potential, Hayward will have to rediscover the shooting stroke he had as a college freshman. If he does, he could be special.
As for Evans, his playing weight in college was 190 pounds, which is very slight for a power forward. He's put on weight in recent weeks while training with Tim Grover, but even this far down in the draft, he seems like a stretch.
WASHINGTON WIZARDS GRADE: A-
Round 1: John Wall (1), Kevin Seraphin (17, obtained from Chicago), Trevor Booker (23, obtained from Minnesota)
Round 2: Hamady N'diaye (56, obtained from Minnesota)
Analysis: The Wizards are counting on Wall to save the franchise, and he has the talent to do it. Wall is a special athlete who plays under control even at full speed, a fearless player in clutch situations and a good floor leader. He needs to improve his jump shot and cut down on his turnovers, but he was made for the NBA.
Seraphin, a big, physical forward who is still learning to play offense, will come to the Wizards as part of the Hinrich trade. Booker is another tough guy who likes to bang in the paint.
Overall the Wizards added speed and toughness to a roster full of young players (and Gilbert Arenas). Washington won't be great next year, but given time, Wall has the talent to lead the team to a championship.
Chad Ford covers the NBA for ESPN Insider