With the draft come and gone, and fewer big trades than I expected, its time to give each team a grade. For those of you who read my old blog, you’ll know I don’t give out letter grades. I don’t see much difference between a B and a B+. And the letter grades can all mean different things, anyway. Are they grading how well the team did at the spot they had or are they grading the talent level they got?

I started using the grades I do when my oldest daughter was in grade 1 and instead of letter grades, they got Exceeds Expectations, Meets Expectations, Approaching Expectations and Needs Improvement. I think that makes much more sense for grading the draft.

And for the first time ever, there wasn’t a team that got a Needs Improvement grade, which might be an indication that the level of management has improved over the years (but that’s another column)

Since this is long, let’s get right into it. Since this is a Raptors website, I’ll do the Raptors first and then grade the rest.

TORONTO: Incomplete

20. Bruno Caboclo
37. DeAndre Daniels
59. Xavier Thames

Trades: Traded rights to Xavier Thames to Nets for cash and future considerations.

First off, my big disappointment was that Tyler Ennis was taken by Phoenix just two spots before the Raptors chose, but that’s not the Raptors fault. There was talk afterwards that the Raptors had worked out a deal for him, but nothing came of that. All Raptor fans should be praying that Phoenix re-signs Eric Bledsoe, because then the Suns just might entertain trading Ennis to the Raptors.

Quite frankly, it reminded me far too much when the Grizzlies were still in Vancouver, and my friend and I got our hearts set on a guy named Steve Nash, who we both felt was a winner and vastly underrated. Vancouver had a second pick at 22 and there was some hope Nash would fall that far. Instead, he was drafted by a Phoenix team that already had two very good point guards on the roster, one a hyper-athletic shoot-first point guard (Kevin Johnson) and the other a smooth floor general (Jason Kidd). The similarities are eerie.

As for Bruno Caboclo, he was not someone I had written about in my prospecting series.

Or had considered writing about.

Or had heard of.

After his name was called, I quickly scanned the Draft Express mock draft, and he wasn’t there and his profile is a scouting video from one game. To say he wasn’t on a lot of people’s radar is an understatement. And those that had heard of him thought he was a second round pick, at best.

That’s not to say it was a bad pick. Not in the least. There are many who felt that they took him too high and should have used their second round pick, but those people don’t realize two things. The first is that other teams may have been targeting him, which is why the Raptors had a deal for the 22nd pick, to draft both Ennis and Caboclo. Apparently both Phoenix and San Antonio were interested in him, and were picking before 37.

Secondly, where a person is picked doesn’t matter nearly as much as how good that player becomes. If the Spurs had taken Manu Ginobili 30th instead of 57th, would it really matter that they passed up on guys who didn’t come close to being as good as Ginobili became?

If Ujiri felt Caboclo was the best player available and there was a chance that he would be gone at 37, then you pick him and screw the pundits. I’d much rather see my GM do what he felt was the best thing rather than the most acceptable thing. Too many GMs play it safe and that’s not how you build contenders.

Brazilian Basketball player Bruno Caboclo drafted 20th over all by the Raptors arrives on Porter Airlines  from Newark NJ at Billy Bishop Airport in Toronto. Toronto Star reporter Isabel Teotonio (in Red) talks to Bruno as he arrived.

And it’s not as if the Raptors passed up a likely star to grab Caboclo. I know a lot of fans would have liked to have seen the Raptors pick Shabazz Napier at 20, but there’s a reason he lasted until 24 despite his NCAA heroics. He’s an undersized point guard who doesn’t make his teammates better and has trouble finishing at the rim. The likelihood of anyone being drafted after Caboclo becoming anything more than a decent role player is slim (according to draft history) so why not take a risk and draft someone who could end becoming a star?

Now, that said, I know so little about Caboclo that I don’t feel comfortable giving the team a grade, at this point. From what little I’ve seen he could be great, or he could be a bust. The right guys seem to be raving about him, so I’m willing to withhold judgement for now. Not because I have faith in Ujiri. That would be naive considering how little draft history Ujiri actually has. Before Caboclo, he’s only had two first round picks, Kenneth Faried and Evan Fournier (Ujiri did NOT draft Ty Lawson, despite many Raptor fans belief he did- that was before he was hired) and of his two second round picks, one (Quincy Miller) hasn’t done much and the other (Izzet Turkyilmaz) hasn’t played a minute in the NBA, yet.

The reaction by many basketball fans (both Raptor and otherwise) is further proof that the internet is full of idiots. There’s a big difference between not knowing who a player is and knowing he was a bad pick. People have to realize that.

I would dearly have liked to have seen Ujiri get the Greek Freak last year (something he was trying to do) and then pick the Brazilian Freak this year. Seeing those two play together would have been a sight.

With their 37th pick, they took DeAndre Daniels and I’m not all that impressed. I thought Spencer Dinwiddie, Glenn Robinson III or Nikola Jokic would have been better choices, but we’ll see.

59th picks are lucky to even make the team, so, while I am a big fan of Xavier Thames’ name, trading him doesn’t really matter.

Philadelphia: Exceeds Expectations

3. Joel Embiid
10. Elfrid Payton
32. K.J. McDaniels
39. Jerami Grant
47. Russ Smith

Trades: Philadelphia traded Elfrid Payton to Orlando for Dario Saric (12th pick), a 2017 1st round pick and a future 2nd round pick. Traded Russ Smith to New Orleans for something.

No team, not even the Raptors, took a bigger swing for the fences than Philadelphia. Embiid was a consensus number one pick up until a week before the draft who had been compared by numerous scouts to Hakeem Olajuwon. There wasn’t a player who scouts felt could make a bigger impact than Embiid. Whether he is physically able to is the big question. The navicular bone which Embiid broke is the same one that stunted the careers of Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Yao Ming (Ilgauskas in the middle of his career and Yao at the end), but it’s also the same bone Kevin McHale, Michael Jordan and Kevin Martin broke and none of them had any ill effects after healing from their injuries.

Dario Saric isn’t coming over for a couple of years, but he’s got the potential to be one of the best players from the draft (I discussed him more here). In fact, the Sixers could have two of the best players from the draft in five years, and for a rebuilding team, that’s huge. The problem, of course, is that neither player will be on the team when next season starts, but team building is a marathon, not a race.

The Sixers could have taken players that were more NBA ready, but if you’re rebuilding, you need to collect the best talent.

K.J. Daniels was a player I covered in the prospecting series. I wasn’t a fan of him at 20, but at 32, I think it’s a very good pick. Jerami Grant was a possibility for the first round, but fell, I’m guessing, because his shot is broken. I think there were some better prospects available, but it doesn’t take away from their earlier accomplishments.

Orlando: Exceeds Expectations

3. Aaron Gordon
12. Dario Saric
56. Roy Devyn Marble

Trades: Orlando traded Dario Saric, a 2017 1st round pick and a future 2nd round pick to Philadelphia for Elfrid Payton (10th pick)

The first (mild) surprise of the draft was Orlando taking Gordon over Exum, who most mock drafts had going 4th, and then trading Saric’s rights for Elfrid Payton. There are certainly questions about spacing issues, since they traded away their best three point shooter (Afflalo) earlier in the day, but both Gordon and Payton were favourites of mine and guys who I thought had been underrated (although apparently not, since both were drafted higher than initially expected).

Both Gordon and Payton have the makings of monster defenders and guys who other players love to play with, but not against. Both are high IQ and team-first guys who have all the intangibles a coach would want.

I’m not sure whether it was worth trading a future first round pick, but I’m assuming there are restrictions on it. And keep in mind this grade does not include the trade of Aaron Afflalo earlier in the day. I think they got way too little back for a good, solid shooting guard who can hit from three and play defense.

Charlotte: Exceeds Expectations

9. Noah Vonleh
24. Shabazz Napier

Trades: Charlotte traded Shabazz Napier for P.J. Hairston (26th pick) and probably something else I’m not aware of.

Charlotte finally did something right in the draft! A lot of pundits felt Charlotte was going to draft a shooter, but with Stauskas gone one spot earlier, and McDermott not a good fit, the Hornets took the player with possibly the most upside left who should also fit in nicely with their current roster.

Vonleh is a physical specimen who should compliment Al Jefferson nicely in the front court, who has also shown a burgeoning outside game that the Hornets so need.

And while I listed Hairston as a player to avoid, I think on a team like Charlotte, with strong personalities that won’t accept poor behaviour, he could flourish. It’s also rare for a 26th pick to have the talent and NBA ready game that Hairston does.

Charlotte very well could have two starters from this draft.

Phoenix: Exceeds Expectations

14. T.J. Warren
18. Tyler Ennis
27. Bogdan Bogdanovic
50. Alec Brown

Trades: None (Arrghhh!)

I’m still bitter that Phoenix ended up taking Ennis two spots ahead of Toronto, but they did a very nice job drafting. T.J. Warren’s tweener game shouldn’t be a problem in Phoenix’s system, and they need frontcourt scoring, something Warren should help with.

I’ve said enough about Ennis, but suffice is to say, he’s a good pick, especially if Bledsoe leaves.

Bogdan Bogdanovic was one of my sleepers and a guy I figured San Antonio would end up drafting. He’s probably not quite ready for the NBA, yet, but that’s fine for a team with three first round picks.

Utah: Exceeds Expectations

5. Dante Exum
23. Rodney Hood

Trades: None (Arrghhh!)

Exum unexpectedly dropped and Utah couldn’t have been more fortunate. I like Gordon, but he wasn’t a good fit in Utah where scoring is desperately needed. It’s unclear how much Exum will be able to score, but a backcourt of Trey Burke and Exum should give others more open shots and keep the ball moving. Exum will take time to develop, but Utah is in no hurry and he could turn into a star if he fulfills his potential.

Rodney Hood won’t be a star, but he can shoot and that’s something Utah needs, and they didn’t pass on anyone they will probably regret to draft him.

San Antonio: Exceeds Expectations

30. Kyle Anderson/strong>
58. Jordan McRae

Trades: None

While I liked Kyle Anderson’s talent, I was wary of the fact that he’s only slightly more athletic and speedy on the court than I am. When San Antonio drafts someone, though, it’s generally stamp of approval. In all the years I’ve been doing this Draft Report Card, I’ve come to automatically give San Antonio an Exceeds Expectations, just based on history.

I’m not quite sure how Anderson fits in San Antonio’s lineup, but his passing skills will certainly be well utilized.

Brooklyn: Exceeds Expectations

Trades: Bought the rights to Markel Brown (44th pick), Xavier Thames (59th pick) and Cory Jefferson (60th pick)

So how does Brooklyn, who just had three late second round picks, none of whom might make the team next year get an Exceeds Expectations? Because they started the night without any draft picks at all (and none for the next 35 years, if my math is correct) but used the fact their owner is mega-rich (even compared to NBA owners) to buy into the draft. And that’s the only way the Nets are going to get young talent.

Detroit: Exceeds Expectations

38. Spencer Dinwiddie

Trades: None

Detroit only had one second round pick after giving their first round to Charlotte1, but they used it on easily the best player available. Dinwiddie not only has a great name, he probably should have gone about five to ten spots earlier.

1. Detroit basically traded their 9th pick to Charlotte for taking Ben Gordon and his salary for an extra year so Detroit could overspend on both Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings, neither of who played well or fit in on the roster.

Geez, it’s a wonder Joe Dumars lasted so long.

Chicago: Meets Expectations

16. Jusuf Nurkic
19. Gary Harris
49. Cameron Bairstow

Trades: Chicago traded the rights to Jusuf Nurkic and Gary Harris for the rights to Doug McDermott (11th pick).

While they gave up a lot to get Doug McDermott, he’s exactly the type of player the Bulls need. Defense, they’ve got plenty of, but without Derrick Rose, they have absolutely no scoring, especially after trading away Loul Deng.

I’ve never been sure about McDermott’s future in the NBA, but he’s not Adam Morrison. I think he will be, at least, a decent player. And I think he’s going to be better than that.

Teams that trade up usually end up getting the better deal and I think that might be the case for Chicago.

One last note, though. There was discussion that Chicago drafted McDermott to play alongside free agent Carmelo Anthony, and I don’t see that at all. Both players are scorers who need the ball to be effective and who don’t excel on the defensive end. What Carmel needs is to play alongside a Andrei Kirilenko-type who can defend both the small forward and power forward position (taking the toughest check) and who can hit the jumps hot, but doesn’t need the ball to be effective. That doesn’t describe McDermott, who would make more sense as a sign-and-trade player for Carmelo than a running mate.

Milwaukee: Meets Expectations

2. Jabari Parker
31. Damien Inglis
36. Johnny O’Bryant III
48. Lamar Patterson

Trades: None

Milwaukee almost got an exceeds expectations solely on the announcement of Jabari Parker that he wanted to be a Buck for life. Parker may not end up being the best player from this draft, five years from now, but he’s exactly the player the Bucks need. His defense isn’t great (I’m being kind) but Brandon Knight, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Ersan Ilyasova and LARRY SANDERS!, who should eventually be his fellow starters, all are above average defensively, so Parker should be covered. What they desperately lack, though, is scoring, which Parker should be able to do well from his first game on.

I especially like pairing Parker with Ilyasova, as both players are neither prototypical small forwards or power forwards, but their games should compliment one another.

Damien Inglis is a player with a great physical tools that needs to develop, but he’s got lots of promise and I thought San Antonio might take him at 30.

I think there were better players available at 36 than Johnny O’Bryant, but he’s got skills that should allow him to make the roster.

Denver: Meets Expectations

11. Doug McDermott
41. Nikola Jokic

Trades: Denver traded the rights to Doug McDermott for the rights to Jusuf Nurkic (16th pick) and Gary Harris (19th pick).

I’m normally against trading down because, for the most part, all you’re doing is trading for worse players. While Denver got some talent with their two picks, especially Harris, who fell to 19, I would have liked to have seen them draft Zach LaVine, who has star potential and would have fit in well on Denver’s roster, especially playing beside the equally athletic Ty Lawson.

LaVine should end up becoming a better player than Harris, and although Jokic will help them at the center position (have they finally figured out JaVale McGee’s negative basketball IQ isn’t getting any better?), LaVine is a player they might end up regretting not taking.

Cleveland: Meets Expectations

1. Andrew Wiggins
33. Joe Harris
45. Dwight Powell

Trades: None

I know there are questions about whether Wiggins has the mentality to dominate, but, at worst, Wiggins is a top flight defender who should be able to easily score in transition, rebound and hit the occasional jumper. One player that I’ve never seen brought up that should be germane to a conversation about Wiggins is Kawhi Leonard. He has an even more quiet personality than Wiggins, but it didn’t stop him from winning Finals MVP and being a star on the rise.

I think Wiggins has much more potential than Leonard.

And Wiggins is exactly what this Cleveland team needs. The last thing the Cavs needed was a Jabari Parker-type player who is yet another scorer on a team with Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters. What they need is a team-first guy who will play defense and score when needed. Eventually, Wiggins may end up taking over the team, but there won’t be any power struggles for it.

Joe Harris is a decent player, but I’m not sure he was the best available.

Boston: Meets Expectations

6. Marcus Smart
17. James Young

Trades: None

I think Marcus Smart has the potential to be a very good point guard, but I’m not sure how he fits on Boston unless Rajon Rondo is traded, and by drafting Smart, Boston may have lowered Rondo’s value. Boston obviously has moves to make, so we;ll have to wait and see how the pieces fall together.

James Young is a nice player, but I think Gary Harris might end up being the better player.

Lakers: Meets Expectations

7. Julius Randle
46. Jordan Clarkson

Trades: None

Most mock drafts had Randle going to the Lakers and that’s who they drafted. That’s pretty much the definition of meeting expectations. I’ve never been a huge fan of Randle, but the Lakers need young talent and Randle has the potential to be a good power forward and will only benefit playing with Kobe.

Julius Clakson is a pretty good prospect with some potential.

Minnesota: Meets Expectations

13. Zach LaVine
40. Glenn Robinson III
43. Alessandro Gentile

Trades: None

Considering LaVine probably should have gone higher and has great potential, the only reason Minnesota didn’t get an Exceeds Expectations was because of LaVine’s sourpuss reaction. I understand you might not have wanted to go to Minnesota, but considering it was just a few minutes later that Isaiah Austin was near tears for being simply allowed to have his name called out and go up to the podium to shake hands with Adam Silver, it strikes me as more than a little petulant.

And it’s also the last thing T-Wolves fans really needed to see, considering they’re probably about to see another All NBA player get shipped off to a better team.

Glenn Robinson probably could have gone in the first round and no one would have blinked, so getting him at 40 is good.

I have no idea who Alessandro Gentile, but I love his last name.

Memphis: Meets Expectations

22. Jordan Adams
35. Jarnell Stokes

Trades: None

While I think they picked Jordan Adams WAY too high (he’s a decent player, but I don’t see him having much upside at all), I think they got a steal in Jarnell Stokes, who could end up being the better player of the two.

Miami: Meets Expectations

26. P.J. Hairston

Trades: Miami traded P.J. Hairston to Charlotte for Shabazz Napier

LeBron obviously wanted Shabazz Napier, but they could have just as easily used Hairston.

Houston: Meets Expectations

25. Clint Capela
42. Nick Johnson

Trades: None

After trading away Asik earlier, the Rockets desperately needed a backup center, and although Clint Capela technically fits that description, he’s at least a year or two away from contributing. That said, he’s got as much or more potential than anyone else available at the 25th spot. Houston could have got a player who might have helped them immediately, but Capela should be a good gamble.

New York: Meets Expectations

34. Cleanthony Early
51. Thanasis Antetokounmpo
57. Louis Labiyre

Trades: None

Cleanthony Early was a darling of Bill Simmons and company, but I think he got picked about right. Thanasis Antetokounmpo is Giannis’ big brother, but that’s about all he brings.

New Orleans: Meets Expectations

Trades: Traded something (presumably) for Russ Smith (47th pick)

He’s the 47th pick. What do you expect?

Sacramento: Approaching Expectations

8. Nik Stauskas

Trades: None

This grade has nothing to do with Stauskas himself, who I think will be a very good player, and everything to do with why Sacramento would have picked him. They were the only team in the league to have three 20 ppg scorers, were one of the worst defensive teams in the league and the absolute worst passing team, and they go out and draft another scorer. Yes, they needed three point shooting, but hey also need someone to play defense and get the ball to everyone else.

Plus they already have a promising young shooting guard in Ben McLemore.

Elfrid Payton or Zach LaVine would have made way more sense.

I mean, if they wanted three point shooting, they should never have waived Jimmer Fredette, who isn’t great at a lot of things, but he is a fantastic shooter.

Atlanta: Approaching Expectations

15. Adreian Payne
43. Walter Tavares

Trades: None

Adreian Payne should be a pretty good player, and he was a sleeper of mine, but I don’t know if he’s the best player available and I don’t know where he fits on the Hawks roster. They already have plenty of outside shooting and plenty of power forwards.

Oklahoma: Approaching Expectations

21. Mitch McGary
29. Josh Huestis
55. Semaj Christon

Trades: None

While I think Mitch McGary will be a decent role player, I thought Oklahoma not only picked him too high, passed up on players that would have helped them more, but also I’m not sure how he fits on the Thunder.

With Rodney Hood, P.J. Hairston and Kyle Anderson available, all who would have helped Oklahoma more, McGary will now end up being the fifth big man for the Thunder.

Clippers: Approaching Expectations

28. C.J. Wilcox

Trades: None

C.J. Wilcox has good physical tools and can shoot from three, but he’ll get lost behind several Clipper players and there were players available that not only were better, but would have helped them more, like K.J McDaniels and Jarnell Stokes. The Clippers biggest weakness is defense and especially interior defense, and Wilcox does nothing to improve that.

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  • DC

    “Incomplete” is a cop-out. GMs don’t have the benefit of a rear-view mirror when they make draft decisions – which is what you and some others want before judging their performance. The GM’s performance on draft night should be judged on whether he made the best decisions for the future of the team based solely on the information and choices available to him.

    • Truth Teller

      The GM’s performance on draft night should be judged on whether the player performs in the future.

      NOT whether he made the best decisions for the future of the team based solely on the information and choices available to him. Thats stupid. No one knows how much research MU did with this pick.

      • DC

        “The GM’s performance on draft night should be judged on whether the player performs in the future.”

        Then no grades should be given now for ANY team.

        • #TankNation

          You’re right on that count!

        • Truth Teller

          Yes, but how else is ESPN going to generate the clicks during the offseason

    • stooley

      well, guess what, the information that was available to the GM isn’t available to us, or the author of this article.

      • DC

        Ujiri spoke to the press following the draft and described what information the team had on Caboclo.

        • DC

          As did Casey.

  • Mexiballer

    Incomplete is a total cop out. Why does every other team get a grade except for one. Is it because you dont know much of anything about their first round pick? Neither does anyone else. Shouldn’t that be information to help you make a grade. Isn’t your grade based on what a team did to upgrade it’s team?

    • arsenalist

      I don’t think it’s a copout. They’ve drafted a complete unknown. Unlike the Hoffa pick where Araujo was actually a known quantity and dismissed immediately by everyone based on evidence, Caboclo has a clean slate and literally nothing to judge him on. This is the ultimate potential pick which can go either way.

      • golden

        Not sure cop-out is the right word, but incomplete is more a reflection of the writer’s lack of knowledge, not the pick. Every pick can go either way and does. If you’re going to put yourself out there as a so-called expert, then have the balls to grade the pick – just like MU had the balls to make it.

        Also, what’s up with this trend of calling everybody on the internet an idiot?

        • #TankNation

          That’s exactly it. He doesn’t have enough knowledge to grade Toronto’s pick. At least he’s honest about it, which is far better than pretending to know even when he doesn’t. This isn’t about having the balls; it’s about the author trying his best to make a semi-accurate appraisal of how each team fared. If he doesn’t know, then fine, so be it; he never pretended to know to begin with.

          Also, your quip on people on the internet calling everyone else an idiot: it happens when people see stupid comments on forums, and so they call it like they see it. Case in point, idiot.

          • golden

            Actually, an internet blogger doesn’t have enough knowledge to grade ANY pick. He hasn’t seen these guys up close. He doesn’t truly understand the culture of the teams they are going into. He can’t predict future teammates and coaches. So, the real idiocy is handing out draft “grades” within a week of the draft, when even the GMs, insiders, and so-called experts are always proven wrong a few years down the road. The outcome won’t be known for years, and even then it becomes subject to to many other events, so how the heck can you even assess a grade at time zero?

            • Mexiballer

              I agree. That’s why I was wondering…with so many unknowns… why give a grade to every other team and not Toronto.

              • Feather Ruffler

                Because every other player referenced were on mock drafts, had prospect profiles and adequate amounts of video to form an opinion (even if only a preliminary one). Bruno is a complete unknown, and in my opinion that warrants an incomplete.

            • #TankNation

              I agree.

          • Mexiballer

            When and where have I called anyone an idiot. Let alone everyone an idiot?

          • Tinman

            No one knows how any of the picks will work out. History states a few of these can’t miss picks will disappoint. No one has enough knowledge of any of these COLLEGE prospects.
            This is not 2019 and we are relooking at the 2014 draft and saying what if it were redone today. This is stating what you think now of the pick and INCOMPLETE is a COPOUT.

            • #TankNation

              So basically you just advocated for idiocy. And failing to do so represents a lack of commitment. Pretty sure you’ve got your priorities mixed up bud.

              • Tinman

                the Raptors chose an unknown at 20 – Tim knows the other prospects still available.
                You do not choose incomplete. You either like the gamble or grade it a below expectations.
                The Raptors have chosen their 3 picks. The draft is COMPLETE. Do you like the gamble or disappointed. Not how you’ll feel in 3 years. Now !

                • #TankNation

                  You’re making no sense.

        • DerekHologram

          Calling people idiots is the technique morons use to try and disguise their ignorance.

      • DC

        Given Tim W’s insistence that an elite player is a sine qua non on a contending team, would think he would be one of the first to applaud a draft decision that gives the Raptors a decent chance of developing one.

      • Tinman

        But as someone familiar with the writer, Tim has a way of hedging his bets. Hindsight is his biggest strength.
        ESPN, SI, FOXSPORTS – they all gave us a grade. The draft is over. It is completed! Masai, with the 20th pick, took a complete unknown, with scouted potential still available.
        Myself, I like it. Give it an A for conviction alone. History might prove me wrong, but that is what I grade it. Grading it as an incomplete, is a copout. Tim is hedging his bets as usual. It allows him to criticize the pick in the future.
        Grow some balls!!!!

        • DDayLewis

          You’re on the internet demanding for a writer you don’t know to give you a fictitious letter grade based on almost no information.

          • Tinman

            You either like the gamble, or wish he chose a more known commodity.
            Incomplete? Incomplete? How many years must we wait for a grade?

            • DDayLewis

              You’re a cool guy.

            • Feather Ruffler

              Chill bro.

          • Tinman

            Wouldn’t an unknown qualify as below expectations?
            TOTAL COPOUT !

      • Mexiballer

        I agree, as you say “Caboclo has a clean slate with literally nothing to judge him on.” Should that not be considered in a team’s draft grade, that they drafted a player with literally nothing to judge him on? Masai was the only person that had a little something to judge him on, but very little.

    • Rap fan 2

      It’s way too early to give the draft a report card. We need to wait a few years before we can honesty evaluate the draft. I’m expecting two thirds of the players drafted will no longer be playing in the NBA in a few years.

  • DerekHologram

    “Totally blew the best draft in years” is the Raptors grade.

    • #TankNation

      We’ll see..

    • Mexiballer

      I honestly can’t say for sure that none of our picks wont develop into something worthwhile. But I have to ask the question…We had three picks in a very deep draft and what did we come away with? The only answer I come away with is…”I dont know…maybe nothing.”

      • DerekHologram

        He reached for both picks and sold the third one. Total abject failure. However, we are not allowed to conclude that for years. Meanwhile, Masai gets to pretend he is some sort of genious until the results come in, and the entire Toronto media is lined up to protect him.

  • RapthoseLeafs

    Tim … you sure do like the long winded reports. Never-the-less … I appreciate the post.

    In regards to Toronto, I’m leaning towards a grade of C to C-

    Not because I have inside knowledge on Cabana Boy or Cabalo … or whatever. And not because I’m the self-deprecating individual who likes being an idiot. More because I think this choice brings a PR problem for the club. Suffice to say, almost all the “analysts” are weighing in with a “wtf” was Toronto thinking. While I doubt Lowry’s Free Agency will hang on this pick, just like Lebron ain’t deciding to stay because Miami now has Napier. It could play into Lowry’s mind, or it may be instilled into those neurons, by teams courting him.

    As I always argue – not well at times – Toronto faces the Canadian curse. And until one – JUST ONE – player changes that perception, Raptors will continue to experience that “swimming upstream” persona. As such, this 20th pick of a complete unknown, in a draft loaded with talent, could further impact the curse.

    Which brings me to the “he might’ve been taken shortly after” theme for the night, that to me sounds more like the PR department calling in favours from the media. Should Lowry pick up and move on – which I still believe will happen – it could be a tough year for fans. Unless Toronto does some kind of sign&trade with Kyle that nets us more then just draft picks.

    I won’t judge the Massiah just yet, but this pick could be one unnecessary strike to absorb for him. And yes, it could be a home run too.

    [ “If Ujiri felt Caboclo was the best player available and there was a
    chance that he would be gone at 37, then you pick him and screw the
    pundits.” ]

    There is an underlying irony here with your statement. If Cab was to go 36, would there not have been at least a few players (amongst those 15 guys – after Toronto made their 20th) that would be considered “the best player available”. Even if he went 30th to San Antonio (as rumours suggested), that leaves 9 guys. Surely there is someone who would be considered the best player available.

    Here’s hoping Masai hit a home run, with the ball still in mid flight.

    • RapthoseLeafs

      One important question that seems to resonant with Toronto picks. .

      Will being picked 20th – more so because he’s an unknown – in probably the best draft since 2003, affect Caboclo in such a way as to impede his progress? Toronto fans can turn fast, and if Cabby can’t handle the expectations, will this become a fail like it has in the past.

      • #TankNation

        Well if he can’t handle expectations, then he shouldn’t be in this business anyways.

      • http://skritch.blogspot.com/ Nathan Ng

        The thing is, people’s expectations seem to be out of whack. It’s the 20th pick! Even in a draft this deep, after you get past the first say 10 guys it’s a crapshoot. Worst case scenario: total bust. So Masai picks a bust… with the 20th pick — and we’re going to go nuts because of that? I get that drafting well is a key component of building a contending team. But whiffing on the 20th pick is a lot different in degree than missing on a pick in the low teens or single digits.

    • #TankNation

      Yeah, “surely there (was) someone who would be considered the best player available”. That player was Bruno. I don’t understand what the “underlying irony” here is.

      And the ball isn’t in mid flight. It’s more like the hitter just made contact with the ball.

      • RapthoseLeafs

        [” It’s more like the hitter just made contact with the ball. “]

        Yes … my analogy was too far along. Contact, or more likely “up to bat” sounds better.

        As to the “underlying irony”, it was more about what Tim espouses in his posts – picking the best player. Which in the case of Cabby, the Raptors were initially aiming to pick him with their 37th pick. Logically looking at that, one would assume Masai figured there were better guys ahead. Did he panic, and grab Cab too soon? Are we being revisionary, in order to accommodate the PR fall-out.

        I don’t think we’ll know for some time.

        • #TankNation

          Or maybe the best player available at 37 (Bruno) could have also been the best player available at 20?

  • GoingBig

    “specimen who should compliment Al Jefferson nicely”
    – complement is the spelling – especially when putting together a basketball team.
    There is no I in Team or Complement

  • GoingBig

    Incomplete? The writer chose that grade for the Raptors Draft efforts?
    I thought there were 4 options?
    – Exceeds Expectations, Meets Expectations, Approaching Expectations and Needs Improvement

    What expectations are we talking about?
    Fan expectations
    – Needs Improvement. It was disappointing to miss Tyler Eniss(or similar level talent) and to wind up with a nobody(possibly-maybe-let’s-wait-a-few-years superior to Eniss). Long term? There is no long term – the team has not improved today from the draft. Masai took a hit.

    NBA media expectations
    – Needs Improvement. Ujiri should have wrapped Caboclo in shiny tinsel made of endless videotape ribbons and Caboclo’s heart-tugging & kitten-hugging stories. The Raptors lost some media shine they got from the play-offs. That lost shine would be wiped out should Lowry return & the Raptors make the playoffs again. That Raptors Square is THAT GOOD media-wise.

    Raptors players’ expectations
    – Meets Expectations. They are concerned & concentrated on Lowry’s possible departure. This is background noise to the real story. And they don’t have to worry about losing positions

    Long Term Franchise value expectations
    – Meets Expectations. With JV and TRoss still developing they still have time to develop an asset. Could be a piece that can be used to get an elite level player or shore up the bench

  • Mexiballer

    I just watched the post work out presser for Cabloco and Ujiri. Bruno seems like a nice kid. It brought back much of the frustration and disappointment I felt on draft night and confirms that this was a complete shot in the dark gamble that was made out of frustration of losing Tyler Ennis at 18.

    Is this pure speculation that the decision to move Bruno from 37th to 20th within minutes was borne out of frustration? No.

    Masai said this after the pick on draft night.

    “You start to hear different things. Its so hard to trade to get picks. When you start to hear that the guy could be gone at certain places and we started to hear in the late 1st round…it just sometimes…it gets “frustrating”…where you dont get the picks that you want and you lose a guy…and that happened to us earlier.” With Tyler Ennis.

    Masai said today in his own words that picking Bruno is an “outright gamble” because “there is no data in terms of his playing experience”
    and “a lot of these other kids have played in college and played in Europe..they have experience in some kind of way…with this kid( Bruno) theres barely any of that…and thats why I say the honest truth is it is an “outright gamble.”

    Masai also said..”he’s five years from five years from being ready…but we’ll take it what ever it is.”
    What? Why would you take that? And why would you say that. Because We The North???

    To me this draft pick was a screw up and there is obviously no good way that Masai can come out and say “we screwed up.” So instead he has to come out and put on the brave face and say…”hey…we will take it what ever it is.”

    As a Raptor fan I thought the the pressers were embarrassing today. It doesnt look good on anyone.

    If someone had told you before draft night that the Raptors had three picks in a deep draft and instead of making three good choices and coming away with something solid to build on they decided to use their top pick to do an admitted outright gamble on

    -an 18 year old kid who has only been playing basketball for 5 years

    -an 18 year old kid who is a complete unknown

    -someone who has never been to combine

    -someone who has never been to an NBA workout or played against and with other NBA prospects

    -someone who the Raptors know very little about themselves

    -someone who the Raptors say…”there is no data in terms of his playing experience”

    -someone who Masai said is going to play in the D league

    -someone who is underweight and lacks strength

    -someone who only played a few minutes a game off the bench when he did play for his team in Brazil

    What would you have thought? I would have thought that there is no way way that the steady handed Masai would make a move like that when he had a great opportunity to potentially put a couple of more pieces in place to moce this team another step up the ladder to become a winning franchise.

    Thats why I am still shocked and ranting about this move. The pressers today brought back the feeling that I had on draft night. Unbelivable!

    • DDayLewis

      You should start your own blog. The amount of writing you’ve done in complaining about this pick over the last three days has rivalled everything we’ve penned here at RR.

      But in all seriousness, could you maybe calm down just a little bit? Masai gambled on a 20th pick. It could work, or it can’t. Can’t you just accept what happened and see how it plays out?

      • Mexiballer

        I had planned on doing that until I saw the pressers today. I plan on doing that again. Seeing how it plays out and pulling for Bruno that is. I will go back to that.

        • DDayLewis

          Look, you’re clearly in your rights to freak out, but here are your options:

          1. Freak out, be less happy
          2. Not freak out, be more happy

          It’s a sports team taking a shot with a draft pick. Don’t go nuts over it.

          • Mexiballer

            I agree. Im not as freaked out in real life as it appears in print. Its only a game and Im only a fan. And its not so much the draft pick itself that has me venting, as much as it is the idea that I had about Masai making calm steady decisions and the idea that that may not be the case. but its all good. Its happened. I accept that Masai has swung for the fences. Thats all.

            • DDayLewis

              That’s good to hear.

          • dwnin2

            BINGO – we have winner

    • OakTree

      I don’t know, man.

      I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. There’s no one with Bruno’s athletic profile in the second round. He aces the eye test. He looks like a first round pick.

      I was as surprised as anyone by the pick, but, with as little footage as I’ve seen, I’m definitely intrigued.

      He has some range on his jump shot. I don’t know what you see, but his release looks pretty smooth to me.

      He shoots free throws at a good percentage.

      There’s a couple of highlights with him driving left, also. Some guys can’t do that, and I sure as hell wouldn’t draft someone who couldn’t do that in the first round.

      I just don’t see any glaring red flags. Maybe I haven’t looked hard enough, but his game looks legit.

      Masai seems to think he’s worth the risk, and from what I’ve seen of Bruno’s actual game (not the BS you’re talking about), he could be right.

      I don’t think I’ll ever blame Masai for this pick. I can see the potential. And from what Masai says about the kid’s character and work ethic, it seems like a good bet to me.

      After the initial shock, I’m ready to go ahead and roll out the red carpet for Bruno.

      • Mexiballer

        Im a Raptors fan. I’ll roll the red carpet out for Bruno. The more support he’s given the better the chance he has.

      • Alex Vostrikov

        no red flags? how about experience?
        pls, there are hundreds of athletes like him. basketball IQ, is something that doesn’t come on its own.

    • IceManLikeGervin

      Point blank Masai fucked up the draft as everything he touches doesn’t turn to gold http://www.denverpost.com/ci_23385867/masai-ujiris-track-record-not-impressive-offer-flee . Blind support of anyone is foolish & unwise…..now watch Lowry walk to Miami as a free agent…..

    • Feather Ruffler

      It’s the 20th pick…It’s not like he passed up Wiggins, Parker and Embiid to get Saric or something. It’s…the…20th…pick…

  • OakTree

    I really didn’t like what the 76ers did with their #3 pick, and I think it will haunt them down the road.

    Embiid has had multiple stress fractures this year from a relatively light college workload (compared to the NBA). For me, the red flag couldn’t be any bigger and brighter.

    He’s a guy that needs to add weight to a frame that’s struggling to hold up the weight that’s already on it. I just don’t see it as a gamble worth taking, especially when the 76ers threw away a season to get a #3 pick in a good draft.

    I feel for Embiid, he seems like a good kid. But I don’t think he will ever play a full NBA season, and that’s not worth a #3 pick. (He is getting paid now, so that makes me feel not as bad for him.)

    Also, there’s the fit. He doesn’t. Noel is already on the roster, and they’ve already traded assets for Noel and waited a year (under contract) for him. The investment in Noel on the part of the 76ers has been substantial, and I think they have to see that through. Now they’re looking to invest a similar amount into a player that basically duplicates what they’ve already got in Noel. And they probably can’t be an effective front court tandem either.

    If I were drafting in that spot it would have been between Exum, Gordon and Randle, and I probably would have been leaning towards Gordon or Randle. Or, I might have traded down for McDermott, Stauskas, or Vonleh, if it were an option.

    For me, a team needs to draft a player that’s both the best player available and a good fit in order to get “exceeds expectations”.

    Philly did not do that, not by a long shot.

    • IceManLikeGervin

      By the time Philly stops tanking their franchise (players) won’t know how to win……they tanked last season in order to draft 2 players who won’t play for them this season…76ers fans are getting fucked over big time….they are getting BC’d!!

  • IceManLikeGervin

    Masai most likely drafted Bruno in order to trade him to Phoenix & to play with his good friend Barbosa (who told the Suns all about Bruno as per Casey) but the deal reportedly didn’t work out because the Suns asked for TRoss in the deal so Masai seemingly got stuck with Bruno by trying to outhink himself, so, now the Raptors have their media heads out in full force pr spinning this draft story from TV to the web on the fan base. Pick a lie and stick to it……it’s like throwing sh!t against the wall to see what sticks….it still stinks in the end….

    Brampton Guardian http://www.bramptonguardian.co

    The Raptors also toyed early in the day on a trade with the Memphis Grizzlies which would have given Toronto a second first-round pick.

    The deal, according to league and team sources, would have been contingent on the Raptors being able to acquire two of their most sought-after draft picks.

    They wanted to explore the possibility of getting both Ennis and Switzerland big man Clint Capela, both of whom might have been available when Toronto made its pick. (with files from Doug Smith/Torstar Network)

    • DDayLewis

      This is some #illuminati shit

      Also, where is the plane? And what do you know about Benghazi?

      • IceManLikeGervin

        Save that illuminati drama for your momma….ask Tatoo where the plane is…what do you know about Benghazi?

        Media =s Medium =s Hypnotizing Minds…

        Critical thinking is a must no matter with whom you place your trust- recognize game or remain mentally lame……

        It was reported that the Suns asked for TRoss in the potential Ennis deal and that killed it. As well Doug Smith said the Raptors had targeted Ennis & Capela in the 1st round- is he lying?

        Now drafting Bruno in the 1st round that’s some Basketball Beyond Borders (Masai’s pet basketball project) illuminati all through your body type of shit (Tupac voice).

        • DDayLewis

          Yup. The ability to think is definitively critical. Otherwise you’d sound silly!

        • dunkmycat7

          I know you are taking a lot of crap here but as per my posts when this happened i’m 100 % with you. And got ripped for it too..All this rationalizing in the media makes me laugh out loud as everyone rushes to defend this ridiculous “vanity” pick when the Raps needed so much NOW.
          And why should we blindly trust and have faith in Masai ?
          Just like we did BC ?
          My parents always told me trust was EARNED and he hasn’t done that yet. Do we all think the is smarter than 29 other GMS ?And are we using out of control Leandro Barbosa as a standard for evaluating talent ?Really?
          Just take look at how many teams in the East improved significantly – and the Raps have the only “incomplete”. in the NBA. Great. The pick is so off the charts NOT ONE NBA analyst has a clue about this guy.
          Just one point -you don’t do yourself any favours quoting Doug Smith. Lamest of the Lame, a total defender of EVERY bad move BC ever made and the first to run to MU’s defense.
          Other than that – you GO Iceman. I applaud your scepticism.

    • OakTree

      It may be that the Suns were trying to acquire Caboclo, and that was what allowed Masai to deduce that Caboclo wouldn’t be available at 37.

      However, your failed trade theory makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Why would Masai draft a guy for another team if the trade hadn’t already been agreed on?

      As for the Memphis trade:

      I think that when getting Ennis didn’t work out, it became prudent for the Raptors to get some additional cap space for the free agency period (just in case those Lowry to Miami rumblings are true). That means they need the cap space afforded by declining Salmons option.

      With Ennis on the roster, they didn’t need the cap space. Without Ennis, they needed the cap space. That’s why the Memphis deal didn’t happen.

      So, this free agency period the Raptors should have some additional money to spend, either on replacing Lowry, or on a big wing, depending on how everything works out.

      • IceManLikeGervin

        Masai tried to trade Bruno in a package to the Suns for Ennis…..do the math…he tried but failed..a deal may still happen- time will tell…

        Lowry is gone to MIAMI for 10 milion a season as the Big 3 all opt’d out as did Haslem only people under contract are Norris (who may soon be a Raptors player) & Shabazz (rookie deal). Where would you go- TDot or Miami? Free agency will be a whole nother story……I hope the Raptors can attrack some real not potential talent…..time will tell.

        Raptors were never getting Ennis at #20 that’s the point….they would have had to trade up in order to ensure drafting Ennis and Masai didn’t trade up. If Ennis was the target what is Shabazz Napier? How much better is Ennis than Napier- if at all?

  • IceManLikeGervin

    All the blind Masai supporters click on this link http://www.denverpost.com/ci_23385867/masai-ujiris-track-record-not-impressive-offer-flee if you care to dare……..Blind support of anyone is foolish & unwise as critical thinking is a must with no matter whom you place your trust…..didn’t y’all learn from BC?

    • DDayLewis

      Awesome column! Now I hate Masai!

      I mean, if a random columnist provides little more than drivel on a Web page, with no arguments to back any of his points, and no central thesis to tie his mental scraps together, then I’m sold!

      And all that from someone who openly admits that he knows little about the NBA! In the first line, no less!

      • IceManLikeGervin

        No one is talking about hating Masai or anyone else except you this is about being held accountable for one’s actions ie draft picks- nothing more nothing less. Summer League can’t get here fast enough for this draft pick to be exposed…..2 years from being 2 years away……all while learning to speak english….

        • DDayLewis

          Except nowhere in his column does he mention draft picks. And while we’re on that subject, the two first-rounders he drafted in Denver were Evan Fournier (20) and Kenneth Faried (22). Those are two quality NBA players. Fournier just netted Arron Afflalo in return, while the Nuggets are in talks to extend Faried.

          What facts were put forth by the article? That he didn’t get a good return from the Melo deal? That’s a harsh stance to take, considering he got back three young NBA players in return, plus multiple draft picks. And considering that Melo was unequivocal about going to New York only, Masai had no leverage whatsoever, yet he landed all those assets.

          Or are you perhaps referring to the playoff failures? I guess his Nuggets teams never did get past the first round. But then again, he traded away a superstar in Melo, and kept the team afloat in the Western conference. How many teams out West can boast that?

          And why do you want this pick t be exposed? If you’re a fan of the Raptors, wouldn’t you want the players on the team to succeed? Or does being vindicated about your convictions about Ujiri come first?

          • IceManLikeGervin

            And? Evan Fournier is a fringe rotation player who may be out of the league once his rookie contract is up. KF is a solid hustle guy nothing more nothing less. I assume everyone but Masai knew Ennis would be selected before #20. Not to mention there where better players available than DeAndre Daniels (GRob III, Jerami Grant) in the 2nd round. Raptors could have drafted Thanasis Antetokounmpo @ #37 (he is young, raw, has long arms & length) if the highly coveted (sarcasm) Bruno wasn’t there. On top of that Masai trades away Xavier Thames (who is a tough skilled baller that will be in the NBA) to ‘Fuck Brooklyn’ for $$$$….Masai’s words are hallow & shallow……..smdh

            The facts on the Melo deal speak for themselves time is the best judge….no matter how you try to spin it.

            Lets see if the Raptors can do as well in an Eastern Conference where half of the Conference isn’t in tank mode especially if (when) Lowry leaves. Can[t wait to see who Masai signs as free agents….

            Masai was high on Solomon Alabi too…….lol

            I want the pick to be exposed because it was a shitty pick point blank no matter the pr spins in the wind to the contrary the Raptors didn’t have multiple 1st round picks to play with unlike Utah & Phoenix. Summer league will be a serious wake up call for the fans that support this pick…

            Fan is short for fanatic (look up that definiton). I’m a supporter of the Raptors.

            Still no Canadians on a team trying to be marketed as Canada’s team unlike Cleveland (AB, TT, AW & DP), Sac (Bhullar, NWiggins, Stauskas), Bos (JAnthony, Olynyk), SA (CoJo & Bonner), NYK (Dalembert), Lakers (Nash, Sacre), Magic (ANicholson)- fail……

            • DDayLewis

              There’s not much use in debating anything with you because you’re simply hell-bent on shitting on Masai. If that’s what you want to to, which is eschew common sense for blind hatred, then go for it.

              • IceManLikeGervin

                I don’t hate anyone or anything on the Raptors I dislike the draft pick and all the bs pr spinning behind it- comprehend? Tell a lie long enough and people will believe it…..

                Fyi- I went to Nathan Hale HS in Seattle with Masai and played for coach Burnley on the basketball team…..I actually know Masai…

                • DDayLewis

                  What BS spin has been put on it? People telling you to reserve judgement when there isn’t anything yet to judge isn’t spin. That’s common sense.

                  Thats cool. May I ask why you insist on posting that link to the Denver Post columnist on this comment thread with the general cast of doubt over Masai’s abilities?

                • IceManLikeGervin

                  The Raptors were targeting Ennis & Capela (Switzerland) in the 1st round & potentially Bruno @ #37 or #59. But when Suns drafted Ennis @ #18 Masai tried to draft Bruno (because Suns were interested in him too via Barbosa as per Casey) to entice a trade that didn’t work out when the Suns reportedly asked for TRoss to be included in any deal for Ennis. A future trade may still happen for Ennis- time will tell. Anyways, Masai got stuck with Bruno and is now trying to spin it in the media as a good potential pick for the future via the Raptors talking media heads (Matt, Jonesy, ESmith, Sherm, etc). The only guy who seemed genuine in any sort of initial draft reaction was Jack Armstrong everyone else was piling on the bs about length, wingspan & potential. Potential gets folks fired!! The post draft presser with Masai & Casey is very telling that something wasn’t right with the draft.

                  Because no one should be given blind faith in their decisions especially one that is asking fans/supporters for money in the form of tickets, merchandise and so forth… this isn’t rocket science it’s basketball & you don’t need a college masters degree to understand basketball or be able to cognitively speak on it.

    • johng_3

      Your mad trolling. You haven’t even seen him play yet. Bruno is only 19 and is going to be a project player that we are developing for the future. And didn’t our team just win the division title last season under
      Masai’s first year with the franchise’s most season wins. So I have trust
      in the moves that Masai and the management makes.

      • IceManLikeGervin

        I have seen the DraftExpress video plus a few more and know this kid is as raw as sushi. Long arms & length does not make a basketball player ala Solomon Alabi. Like I said before summer league will expose this pick. The team won the Atlantic in BC’s 1st season as well when it too was the weakest Division in the NBA as was the Atlantic this past season then slowly fell back in the subsequent seasons to a non playoff team. As well the Raptors lost to Nets in the 1st round of the playoffs- a team that finished under them in the Atlantic. You can trust him moves if you like…I say question everything. A fool will fall for anything…..

    • raptorstand

      Rudy fing Gay , Andre Bargfingiani. Anything before , current , or future does not matter. He walks on water in my eyes. Love this pick Bruno is going to be great !!!

  • Feather Ruffler

    Why all the negativity? As we are all Raptors fans here, let’s get on board the Bruno train. The draft happened, we can’t change that, we have a new rookie in Toronto (which is exciting as we missed out last year, Buycks/Stone notwithstanding) so let’s just cheer the guy on. And the icing on the cake is that Bruno seems like a really nice kid so… GO BRUNO !!!