As much fun as it is to give grades the night of or the morning after a draft, it is complete conjecture and virtually meaningless.
The grader knows how players performed in college or overseas, as well as how NBA teams fared in the previous season, but it is unrealistic to predict how young players will adjust to the new lifestyle in the NBA. Whether it’s the hefty contracts, new friends, instant fame, new teammates, a new coaching style … there are many variables that ultimately lead to a player’s success or failure in the League.
It is only fair to let some time pass before assessing whether players did or did not pan out with their new teams. Five years seems like a good amount of time to dole out NBA Draft grades that actually mean something, and this will hopefully be the first of many retrospective draft grades I’ll provide.
Grading the 2007 NBA Draft
In 2007, it was Greg Oden who went number one overall but has only played eighty-eight games in his NBA career. Kevin Durant, of course, went #2 and has been by far the best player taken in ’07.
Marc Gasol was the clear sleeper of the draft.
Despite the successes of K.D. and Gasol, 2007 may have actually been the Year of the Bust. There are only a few All-Star caliber players and an excess of draft picks who only lasted a few years in the NBA, if they even made it past the summer leagues.
Atlanta Hawks – B
- Al Horford – 3rd pick, F/C-Florida
- Acie Law IV – 11th pick (from Indiana Pacers), G-Texas A&M
With two of the top eleven picks, Atlanta was in arguably the best position of any team in the league to improve its roster through the draft.
Al Horford started seventy-seven games as a rookie and has averaged nearly 15 points and 10 rebounds per game since then. With the exception of the 2011-2012 season, in which he was limited to only eleven games due to an injury, he played an average of nearly seventy-seven regular season games per season.
Horford has been a consistent role player who nearly puts up a double-double on a nightly basis. He panned out to be in the top three of the players classified as “forward/center” from the ’07 draft along with Florida teammate Joakim Noah and Marc Gasol.
Acie Law IV, on the other hand, was a complete bust.
Law only played two seasons for Atlanta, during which he averaged 4.2 and 2.9 ppg. He never played more than 56 games in a season and had career averages of 4.2 ppg, 1.2 rpg, and 1.6 apg. Law only scored twenty points or more once in his career, bounced around five different teams, and last played in the NBA in the 2010-2011 season for the Golden State Warriors.
Boston Celtics – C
- Gabe Pruitt – 32nd pick, G-Southern California
- Glen Davis -35th pick (from Seattle Supersonics via trade), F-Louisiana State
Given that the Celtics’ two picks (one via a trade with Seattle) were both in the second round, Boston’s draft cannot be judged too harshly.
They selected an average bench player in Glen Davis, and Pruitt was only in the NBA for two seasons and averaged only two points per game in sixty-two games during that stretch. He played roughly seven minutes per game, which meant that he was on the court during garbage time.
Glen “Big Baby” Davis has managed to stay in the league and remain relatively productive. He lasted four seasons in Boston and was a member of their NBA Title-winning team in the 07′-08′ season. He has proven to be mostly a 10 ppg and 5 rpg role player over the past two seasons but exceeded those marks with his 19 ppg and 9 rpg in last year’s NBA Playoffs.
Brooklyn Nets (then the New Jersey Nets) – D
- Sean Williams – 17th pick, F/C-Boston College
The Nets’ only draft pick in 2007, Sean Williams turned out to be a bust. While he is still in the NBA, his number of games played has gone down each season from seventy-three his rookie year to eleven in 2011-2012.
Williams was a member of the Nets for three seasons and scored his career high of 22 points in a game while in New Jersey. He was on the Boston Celtics’ roster for last year’s playoffs but played only six minutes in two games. His career averages are 4.2 points per game and 3.4 rebounds per game.
Charlotte Bobcats – C
- Jared Dudley – 22nd pick (form Toronto Raptors), F-Boston College
- Jermareo Davidson – 36th (from Minnesota Timberwolves to Golden State Warriors to Charlotte Bobcats via trade), F-Alabama
Dudley is currently a starter for the Phoenix Suns and averages 9 points and 4 rebounds per game. Davidson never made it beyond the NBA summer leagues.
Chicago Bulls – A
- Joakim Noah – 9th pick (from New York Knicks), F/C-Florida
- Aaron Gray – 49th pick (from Golden State Warriors), C-Pittsburgh
- JamesOn Curry – 51st (from Denver Nuggets), G-Oklahoma State
Given that two of Chicago’s three draft picks in ’07 were in the final twelve picks, their draft grade should only seriously consider the first pick at ninth overall.
It is safe to say that without Joakim Noah’s presence on the Bulls, Chicago would not be one of the NBA’s top teams. He has grown into a forward/center who can average a double-double while doing a little bit of everything. His passion and enthusiasm for the game certainly provide a spark for Chicago.
The other center that the Bulls drafted in 2007, Aaron Gray, has not been nearly as productive as Noah in the NBA but he earned the starting position in the Toronto Raptors roster forty times last season. He played a very minor role for Chicago in his two full seasons as a Bull and averages 4 points and rebounds per game.
Curry only played in one NBA game in his career and not only was it not for the Chicago Bulls, but he did not accumulate any stats. He played preseason games for Chicago in the 2007-2008 season and one for the Brooklyn Nets last season.
Cleveland Cavaliers – N/A (No draft picks)
Dallas Mavericks – F
- Reyshawn Terry – 44th pick (from Orlando Magic via trade), North Carolina
Renalidas Seibutis – 50th pick (from Miami Heat), G-Lithuania
Even though Reyshawn Terry helped the North Carolina Tar Heels win the national title in 2005, he didn’t accomplish nearly as much at the next level. He played in the summer league after being drafted in 2007 but never made Dallas’ team and was playing in Europe by 2008.
Similarly to Terry, Seibutis played on the Mavericks’ summer league team but was out of the NBA by 2008.
Denver Nuggets- N/A (No draft picks)
Detroit Pistons – A
- Rodney Stuckey – 15th pick (from Orlando Magic), G-Eastern Washington
- Arron Afflalo – 27th pick, G-UCLA
- Sammy Mejia – 57th pick, G-DePaul
Detroit made the most of its two first round picks in 2007. With the exception of Sammy Mejia, who was waived from the NBA Development League by October 2007, Detroit’s picks turned out to be solid role players and starters in the NBA.
Rodney Stuckey is still on the Pistons and averages 15 points, 4 assists, and 3 rebounds per game while starting for Detroit.
Arron Afflalo played only two seasons as a Piston but developed into a solid guard in Denver. In the past two seasons as a Nugget, Afflalo has averaged 14 ppg, 3 rpg, and 2 apt.
Golden State Warriors – B
- Brandan Wright – 8th pick (from Charlotte Bobcats via trade), F-North Carolina
- Marco Belinelli – 18th pick, G-Italy
- Stephane Lasme – 46th pick (from New Jersey Nets), F-Massachusetts
Wright currently plays for Dallas and averages 6 points and 3 rebounds per game. Belinelli is a member of the New Orleans Hornets and scores 12 points per game along with 3 rebounds per game. Lasme was only in the NBA for two seasons and averaged 5 points per game.
Houston Rockets – B+
- Aaron Brooks – 26th pick, G-Oregon
- Carl Landry – 31st pick (from Memphis Grizzlies to Seattle Supersonics to Houston Rockets via trade), F-Purdue
- Brad Newley – 54th pick (from Cleveland Cavaliers), G-Australia
Houston’s first two picks in the 2007 draft are now productive bench players in the NBA.
Brooks played four seasons in Houston and at his peak in the ’09-’10 season he started all eighty-two regular season games, averaging 19.6 points per game and 5.3 assists per game. During the NBA lockout, Brooks went to China to guarantee that he could play last season.
At his best, Carl Landry averaged 18 points and 7 rebounds per game for the Sacramento Kings. Landry has settled into his role as a 12 ppg and 5 rpg player.
Newley played in the Rockets’ summer league and then went to Europe to work on his game, never actually making it to the NBA.
Indiana Pacers – F
- Stanko Barac – 39th pick (from Sacramento Kings to Miami Heat to Indiana Pacers via trade), C-Bosnia
The Pacers did not have any draft picks in ’07 but did trade for Stanko Barac, who never left Europe for the NBA.
Los Angeles Clippers – C+
- Al Thornton – 14th pick, F-Florida State
- Jared Jordan – 45th pick, G-Marist
Al Thornton played three seasons as a Clipper and averaged 17 points and 5 rebounds per game in his second year in the league. He is now with the Golden State Warriors and has cooled off to average 12 ppg and 4 rpg over his career.
Jordan has bounced around the NBA and in Europe but has only played in summer league and preseason games in the NBA.
Los Angeles Lakers – C
- Javaris Crittenton – 19th pick, G-Georgia Tech
- Sun Yue – 40th pick (from Charlotte Bobcats), G-China
- Marc Gasol – 48th pick, C-Spain
Crittenton played only one season with the Lakers and last played in the NBA in the 2010-2011 season. He averaged 5 points and 2 rebounds per game in his 113 games in the league.
Yue only played one season in the NBA but did win a ring with the Lakers. He only played ten games for Los Angeles and scored only six points in that span.
NBA teams always take a risk when taking international players but Marc Gasol may have been the steal of the draft as the 48th selection. He has spent his entire career with the Memphis Grizzlies, averaging 15 ppg, 7 rpg, and 3 apg, and he was named a Western Conference All-Star in 2012.
Memphis Grizzlies – B+
- Mike Conley, Jr. – 4th pick, G-Ohio State
Conley has averaged 12 points and 5 assists per game in the NBA and is still the starting point guard for Memphis.
Miami Heat – C
- Daequan Cook – 21st pick (from Denver Nuggets to Phildelphia 76′ers to Miami Heat via trade), G-Ohio State
The Heat had two draft picks in 2007 but traded both of their selections and acquired Daequan Cook out of Ohio State. He spent three seasons in Miami, averaging roughly seven points per game and two rebounds per game.
Cook was on the 2012 Western Conference Champions, the Oklahoma City Thunder, and appeared in sixteen playoff games for OKC.
Milwaukee Bucks – C+
- Yi Jianlian – 6th pick, F-China
- Ramon Sessions – 56th pick (from Houston Rockets), G-Nevada
The Bucks took a leap of faith with the sixth overall pick by taking Yi Jianlian from China. In his rookie and only season in Milwaukee, he averaged 9 ppg and 5 rpg. He is currently a member of the Dallas Mavericks and his minutes per game have decreased to only seven–a major drop from the 32 per game that he was playing as a member of the New Jersey Nets.
Ramon Sessions played two seasons in Milwaukee and now plays for the L.A. Lakers as an upgrade from Derek Fisher. His career averages are 11 ppg, 5 apg, and 3 rpg.
Minnesota Timberwolves – C-
- Corey Brewer – 7th pick, F-Florida
- Chris Richard – 41st pick (from Philadelphia 76′ers), F-Florida
Minnesota drafted a pair of Florida forwards in the 2007 NBA Draft.
Brewer spent his first four seasons in Minnesota before going to play in Dallas, then Denver. He has averaged 9 ppg, 3 rpg, and 2 apg in the NBA.
Chris Richard was a Timberwolf for two years before playing his final season in the NBA in 2009 as a Chicago Bull. He played in seventy games in his career, averaging two points and three rebounds per game.
New Orleans Hornets – D
- Julian Wright – 13th pick, F-Kansas
- Adam Haluska, – 43rd pick, G-Iowa
Julian Wright played for three seasons as a Hornet and one for the Toronto Raptors. He averaged 4 points and 2 rebounds per game and last played in the NBA during the ’10-’11 season.
Haluska has only played in NBA preseason games for the Hornets and the Dallas Mavericks.
New York Knicks – C-
- Wilson Chandler – 23rd pick (from Chicago Bulls), F-DePaul
- Demetris Nichols – 53rd pick (from Chicago Bulls to Portland Trailblazers to New York Knicks via trade), F-Syracuse
Chandler was a Knick for four seasons and now plays for the Denver Nuggets. His career averages are 14 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists per game.
Nichols bounced around a handful of teams in the NBA and played very limited minutes for the Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks.
Oklahoma City Thunder (then the Seattle Supersonics)- A+
- Kevin Durant – 2nd pick, F-Texas
- Jeff Green – 5th pick (from Boston Celtics via trade), F-Georgetown
Durant was far and away the best player in the 2007 NBA Draft. He won his third straight scoring title in the ’11-’12 season and led the Thunder to the NBA Finals last year. He is a three-time All-Star, three-time NBA First Team member, and was the NBA Rookie of the Year in 2008.
As if getting KD wasn’t enough, Seattle also drafted Jeff Green, who averaged 14 ppg and 6 rpg. He last played in the NBA in the ’10-’11 season for the Boston Celtics.
Orlando Magic – F
- Milovan Rakovic – 60th pick (from Dallas Mavericks via trade), F-Serbia
Rakovic played in the NBA summer league but never made it to the NBA.
Philadelphia 76ers – B
- Thaddeus Young – 12th pick, F-Georgia Tech
- Jason Smith – 20th pick (from Miami Heat via trade), F/C-Colorado State
- Derrick Byars – 42nd pick (from Indiana Pacers to Portland Trail Blazers to Philadelphia 76′ers via trade), G/F-Vanderbilt
- Herbert Hill – 55th pick (from Utah Jazz via trade), F/C Providence
Young has spent his entire career as a 76er. He averages 13 ppg and 5 rpg and is a frequent starter for Philadelphia.
Jason Smith played two seasons in Philly before going to New Orleans, where he started 29 times in the ’11-’12 season and he averaged 9 points and 5 rebounds per game.
Byars’ first regular season in the NBA was last year for the San Antonio Spurs.
Hill played summer league games for the 76′ers but never made it in the NBA.
Phoenix Suns – D
- Alando Tucker – 29th pick, F-Wisconsin
- D.J. Strawberry – 59th, G-Maryland
Tucker was only in the NBA for three seasons and averaged only 4 points per game. He last played in the 2009-2010 season for Phoenix.
Strawberry only played one season in the NBA, in which he averaged two points per game.
Portland Trail Blazers – C-
- Greg Oden – 1st pick, C-Ohio State
- Rudy Fernandez – 24th pick (from Cleveland Cavaliers to Phoenix Suns to Portland Trail Blazers via trade), G-Spain
- Petteri Koponen – 30th pick (from Dallas Mavericks to Philadelphia 76′ers to Portland Trail Blazers via trade), G-Finland
- Josh McRoberts – 37th pick, F-Duke
- Taurean Green – 52nd pick (from Toronto Raptors), G-Florida
Greg Oden had just finished a fantastic freshman season at Ohio State and was the number one selection in the 2007 NBA Draft. However, injuries prevented him from having the NBA career that seemed so promising. In his two seasons in Portland, he averaged 13 points and 9 rebounds.
Rudy Fernandez played three seasons as a Trail Blazer before becoming a member of the Denver Nuggets. Over the course of his career, he has averaged 9 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 assists per game.
Petteri Koponen never played in the NBA. Josh McRoberts is still in the NBA with the L.A. Lakers and has averaged 5 points and 4 boards per game.
Lastly, Taurean Green only played seventeen games in the NBA, averaging 2 points per game.
Sacramento Kings – B-
- Spencer Hawes – 10th pick, C-Washington
Hawes played for Sacramento for three seasons and is now a member of the 76′ers. He has averaged nine points and six rebounds during his career.
San Antonio Spurs – C
- Tiago Splitter – 28th pick, F-Brazil
- Marcus Williams – 33rd pick (from Milwaukee Bucks), F-Arizona
Splitter has played the past two seasons in the NBA for the Spurs. He averages seven points and four rebounds per game.
Williams was out of the NBA by 2009.
Toronto Raptors – F
- Giorgos Printezis – 58th pick (from San Antonio Spurs via trade), F-Greece
The Raptors did not have any draft picks in ’07 but acquired the rights to Printezis, who never played in the NBA.
Utah Jazz – D
- Morris Almond – 25th pick, G-Rice
- Kyrylo Fesenko – 38th pick (from New York Knicks to Philadelphia 76′ers to Utah Jazz via trade), C-Ukraine
Almond briefly appeared for the Jazz but spent most of his time in the NBA in the D-Leauge.
Fesenko played 135 games in the NBA, averaging two points and two rebounds per game.
Washington Wizards – B-
- Nick Young – 16th pick, G/F-USC
Domonic McGuire – 47th pick, F-Fresno State
Young has spent most of his time in the NBA with the Wizards and has averaged 12 points per game in the league.
Domonic McGuire plays for the Golden State Warriors after three seasons in Washington. He averages 3 points and 4 rebounds per game.
Now it’s your turn. What grades do you agree/disagree with? What do you think was the best/worst pick of the 2007 draft? Comment below.