2014 NBA Draft: Grading every Big Ten pick

2014 NBA Draft: Grading every Big Ten pick

A total of seven Big Ten prospects were selected in Thursday’s NBA draft. Michigan’s Nik Stauskas was the first player to come off the board at No. 8 overall, while Iowa’s Roy Devyn Marble was the final Big Ten prospect selected at No. 56. After every draft, comes plenty of draft grades. Here is a look at how some of the top sites graded last night’s Big Ten NBA Draft picks.

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No. 8: Michigan SG Nik Stauskas (Sacramento)

Marc Spears, @SpearsNBAYahoo, Yahoo Sports: “Viewed as merely an elite shooter after his freshman season at Michigan, Stauskas proved his game has more dimensions as a sophomore. The 6-foot-6 guard replaced Trey Burke as Michigan’s primary playmaker this past season, routinely beating his defender off the dribble via high pick-and-rolls and either finishing himself or setting up a teammate for an open look. He averaged 17.5 points and 3.3 assists, all while maintaining the 44 percent 3-point shooting that he displayed the previous year. Stauskas isn’t a great defender or rebounder, but he’s skilled enough offensively to be more than a role player at the NBA level. Look for him to make an impact with his shooting right away off the catch and dribble while eventually expanding his all-around game the way he did in college. Grade: B

My take: It was a bit surprising that Stauskas was selected ahead of Vonleh, but Sacramento got the top shooter in the draft. Stauskas is a guy who made a huge leap from his freshman to sophomore season, which should be appealing to any NBA team. With his ability to shoot it from the outside, as well as to create his own shot off the dribble, Stauskas should be able to come in and make an impact right away. Grade: B+


No. 9: Indiana PF Noah Vonleh (Charlotte)

Chad Ford, @chadfordinsider, ESPN: Vonleh slid because teams worried he wasn’t going to maximize his obvious physical talents. He can shoot, run the floor and play in the post, but questions about his motor and toughness and conditioning caused him to slide a bit. He’s a steal here, albeit a bit repetitive with Cody Zeller.” Grade: B+

My take: This was one of the top steals of the draft. Many mocks had Vonleh going No. 4 overall to the Orlando Magic, so for the Hornets to snag him all the way down at No. 9 is a huge victory for an up-and-coming organization. In Vonleh, the Hornets get a proven rebounder and a guy who is skilled on the offensive end with the ability to score down low or step out and hit a 15-foot jumper. He has ideal size for his position, at 6-9 and 240 pounds, and the athleticism and skill-set to become a top NBA power forward. Grade: A


No. 15: Michigan State PF Adreian Payne (Atlanta)

Sean Deveney, @SeanDeveney, Sporting News: Adreian Payne is a senior, which, to some, means he should eat dinner at 4:30 and qualify for a discounted bus pass. We’re not buying it. Payne is a tough, hard-nosed big man who can shoot, and though the Hawks needed a small forward, those are easy to find.” Grade: B (Team Grade)

My take: Yes, Payne is 23 years old, but I still believe he was the Big Ten’s most NBA-ready player. He has great size (6-10, 240 pounds), he can play both inside and outside, and, most importantly, he is mentally tough having played four years under Tom Izzo. This is a guy who can be a mismatch for opposing teams, as he can back down smaller defenders in the post, or he can create his own shot against bigger defenders. This was a home-run pick for an Atlanta team that needed to make a splash to get them over the hump in the East. Grade: A


No. 19: Michigan State SG Gary Harris (Denver, from Chicago)

Chris Mannix, @ChrisMannixSI, Sports Illustrated: “Harris is a quality pick. If Harris can stay healthy and rediscover the shooting stroke from his freshman year at Michigan State (his three-point accuracy declined to 35.2 percent as a sophomore from 41.1 percent), his two-way play will get him on the floor.” Grade: B+ (Team Grade)

My take: Outside of Brazilian Bruno Caboclo being selected No. 20 to Toronto, this was my biggest shock of the first round. Harris was projected to go somewhere in the 10-14 range, and he ended up falling all the way to No. 19 to the Chicago Bulls, before being traded to Denver. In Harris, the Nuggets are getting an elite-level athlete who can shoot, take it to the basket, and defend. Harris played for a loaded Michigan State team last season and led them in scoring as a sophomore, averaging 16.7 points per game. Yes, Harris is slightly undersized for an NBA 2 guard, but he is a high-charterer guy with a ton of talent who is ready to come off the bench and contribute right away. Grade: A-


No. 21: Michigan PF Mitch McGary (Oklahoma City)

Reid Forgrave, @ReidForgrave, Fox Sports: “McGary is a bit of a gamble with that troublesome back, but if he’s healthy, this could be a huge pick that fills a need. He’s a big, high-energy guy who looks great alongside Serge Ibaka.” Grade: B

My take: This was a gamble pick, because outside of his outstanding performance in the Wolverines’ 2013 Final Four run, we really don’t know how McGary’s game will translate to the NBA level. What we do know is that this is a high-energy guy who is a strong rebounder and can run the floor very well for his position. I said all along that McGary will fit best on a roster that is already well-established, and that’s exactly how it turned out with him heading to Oklahoma City. He will get the chance to run pick-and-rolls with Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. You can’t ask for more than that, right? Call it a risk, but I like this pick by the Thunder. Grade: B+


No. 40: Michigan SF Glenn Robinson III (Minnesota)

Matt Moore, @MattMooreCBS, CBS Sports: Kind of a weird fit with Shabazz Muhammad on the team, but if his shot normalizes, this could be a steal.” Grade: B+

My take: This is a guy who I pegged as being a late first-rounder or early second-rounder, so to see him fall all the way down to No. 40 was a bit surprising. In Robinson, the Timberwolves get a guy with terrific athleticism and an NBA-ready skill set. The biggest knock on Robinson is that he disappears at times in games, but he isn’t going to be expected to go in and be an immediate starter from day one. The 6-6 former Michigan standout has the size and frame of a combo forward, but he played the 4 in John Beilein’s system. He will need to make the transition to small forward, or perhaps even shooting guard, at the NBA level. Overall, this was a solid value pick here in the middle of the second round. Grade: B


No. 56: Iowa SG Roy Devyn Marble (Iowa)

Adi Joseph, @AdiJoseph, USA Today: “Marble is an unremarkable scorer with a basketball pedigree. But he has some upside to develop into a solid bench player because of his NBA body.” Grade: C+

My take: I was rooting for at least one more Big Ten player to be drafted after Robinson, at No. 40, and it turned out that guy was former Marble. Marble was one of the Big Ten’s top scorers this past season, and he can create his own shot. He will need to develop his strength and defensive skills if he is going to find a spot in Orlando’s rotation going forward. Overall, the Magic needed a spark on the offensive end, and they got a guy capable of giving them just that in Marble. Grade: B


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