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July 1, 2007

NBA Draft Grades: Pacific 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 Pacific 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.

Pacific Division:
Golden State Warriors | Los Angeles Clippers | Los Angeles Lakers | Phoenix Suns | Sacremento Kings

Golden State Warriors
Draft Grade: C
It's not exactly clear what the Warriors were trying to accomplish here. They seemed to have some very nice momentum from their playoff run. They had a core to continue to cause damage in the West, but instead decided to take a step backward and cut costs. Brandan Wright is obviously a supreme talent, but it's questionable how well he will fit into Don Nelson's system. The Warriors need help on the glass, and Wright's 200 pound frame doesn't give them much of that. Like Patrick O'Bryant, he seems like a guy that needs to be coddled.

It already seemed like there often weren't enough balls to go around last year, and Marco Belinelli isn't of much value unless someone is creating shots for him by the dozen.

Rd
Sel#
Player
Pos
School/Organization
1.
8.
Brandan Wright (from Charlotte)
F
North Carolina
1.
18.
Marco Belinelli
G
Climamio Bologna
2.
46.
Stephane Lasme
F
Massachusetts

Los Angeles Lakers
Draft Grade: C
There wasn't going to be a lot the Lakers could do to help themselves here. Kobe Bryant's trade demand is the top storyline surrounding this franchise. The Lakers already drafted a point guard last year in Jordan Farmar, and Javaris Crittenton is hardly going to be much help right now. On the plus side, he will give their D-League team a nice boost. He has the upside to develop into a contributor down the road, but will probably need the two full seasons the developmental league can offer in order to iron out the wrinkles in his game.

At No. 40 and No. 48, the Lakers selected two players who agreed to stay overseas and not take up a valuable roster spot next year - Sun Yue and Marc Gasol. Yue, who played in the ABA these past two seasons and was drafted over many proven NCAA players, has the potential to help the Lakers draw from the massive Asian population on the West Coast. He has the passing ability of a point guard, but has questionable perimeter shooting and defensive skills on the wing. Gasol has developed himself into a legit - albeit slightly outdated – talent. He played in the very strong ACB league last season, and could be a solid rotation player when the Lakers decide to call on him in a year or two.

Rd
Sel#
Player
Pos
School/Organization
1.
19.
Javaris Crittenton
PG
Georgia Tech
2.
40.
Sun Yue
G
Beijing Aoshen, China
2.
48.
Marc Gasol
C
Akasvayu Girona, Spain

Phoenix Suns
Draft Grade: D
We're not sure what to think of Phoenix anymore. Do you give them props for being able to compete at such a high level despite having an owner who is developing a worse reputation than Donald Sterling? Or do you wonder how long it's going to be before agents stop sending their players into workouts every year only to see them sell their picks off one by one? How good would the Suns be if their front office was allowed to build a bench through the draft? These are all questions that Phoenix fans might be asking themselves, especially when Steve Nash starts slowing down in a few years and players like Sergio Rodriguez, Rajon Rondo and Rudy Fernandez enter their prime.

The Suns still made two picks this year in Alando Tucker and D.J. Strawberry. Both are 6-5 swingmen with superb athletic ability, terrific defense, an excellent work ethic, questionable ball-handling skills, and even more questionable perimeter shooting skills. How they fit into Phoenix's style of play is anyone's guess. Mike D'Antoni has had a tendency to shy away from players who struggle to create – and make - their own shots.

Rd
Sel#
Player
Pos
School/Organization
1.
29.
Alando Tucker
F
Wisconsin
2.
59.
D.J. Strawberry (from Portland)
G
Maryland



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