A few random samplings from draft report cards from years past by leading draft experts.  Mind you, I’m not trying to play “Gotcha!” with folks I think provide us with some generally helpful services in handicapping the draft.  But in a week when all of us think we’ve figured out the magic bullets for our team, it warrants looking at how frequently conventional wisdom diverges from reality.  

Draft Express, 2005 NBA Draft

•    Milwaukee: A
Andrew Bogut and Ersan Ilyasova
Comment: While Ilyasova has been a nice surprise, Bogut has been a profound disappointment – though there’s still time for a young center to blossom.

•    Atlanta: C
Marvin Williams and Salim Stoudamire
Comment: DE was prescient here.  Though Williams was regarded as a kid with freakish potential and Stoudamire was coming off a terrific NCAA Tournament, neither has helped the Hawks emerge from their doldrums.  

•    NOOCH: A
Comment: At the time, DE wrote, “Possibly the best player in this draft in Chris Paul fell right into their lap at #4”  Needless to say, DE, themselves, gets an ‘A’ for their clairvoyance.

•    New Jersey: A+
Antoine Wright and Mile Ilic
Comment: Wright was one of those players who shined in “workouts.” It’s still too early to call him a “bust,” particularly since he’s been playing behind a bunch of veterans, but Wright's athleticism hasn't translated into much NBA success.

Overall: Johan Petro, Wayne Simien, and the tandum of Green and Gomes were all heralded as ‘A’ and ‘A+’ picks, but the whole of DE’s report card was reasonably solid.  DE continues to be one of the better draft resources for junkies. 

Marty Burns [SI.com], 2003 NBA Draft

•    Chicago: C
Kirk Hinrich, Mario Austin, and Tommy Smith
Comment: Hinrich was another victim of the “lousy workout” syndrome.  

•    Dallas: D
Josh Howard, Xue Yuyang
Comment: Speaking of syndromes, Howard was a victim of the collegiate senior syndrome.

•    Los Angeles Lakers: B
Brian Cook, Luke Walton
Comment: That seems about right, don’t you think?

•    Los Angeles Clippers, C
Chris Kaman, Sofoklis Schortsanitis
Comment: Coming off a disappointing season, Burns’ grade might not be so far off, though, by and large, I think Kaman has outperformed his expectations even if his contract is excessive.  Personally, I’d give Kaman a B because functional centers are a rare breed in this league.

•    Atlanta: B
Boris Diaw, Travis Hansen
Comment: Burns’ says, “[W]ill Knight regret passing on point guard Leandrinho Barbosa?”  You bet.  Good call on Burns’ part for recognizing Barbosa’s value before anyone else. He reiterates this later by praising Phoenix. “The Suns then worked a trade with the Spurs, giving up a future first-rounder for the rights to Barbosa, a 6-3 guard from Brazil who is considered a rising stud.”

Overall: Burns’ unspectacular collection of reviews underrate quite a few guys who have blossomed into quality NBA players: David West, T,J, Ford, Dwyane Wade to some extent, Chris Bosh, and Kyle Korver. 

Chad Ford [ESPN.com], 2004 NBA Draft

•    Chicago: B+
Ben Gordon, Luol Deng, and Chris Duhon
Comment: To get three draftees who ultimately emerge as an integral part of a team’s rotation two years later is a rare feat for any franchise.  At the time, Ford wrote, “I like what the Bulls did.”  What’s not to like?  In retrospect, we’d have to give Chicago an ‘A+’, but Ford wasn’t too far off, though it's fair to say no team had a finer draft relative to their position in 2004.  

•    Cleveland: A-
Luke Jackson
Comment: Whoops.

•    Los Angeles Clippers: A
Shaun Livingston, Lionel Chalmers
Comment:  What to say here?  I think most of us were ecstatic with Elgin Baylor’s choice at the time, though the grumbling started about 15 months ago when Devin Harris began to put his handprint on a superb Dallas team.  

•    Sacramento: B-
Kevin Martin, Ricky Manard
Comment: In Ford’s defense, I don’t think there was anyone who grasped the monster that is Kevin Martin at the off-guard position.  

•    Portland: C-
Sebastian Telfair, Viktor Khryapa, Sergey Monya, Ha Seung Jin
Comment:  The Blazers had three first-rounders in 2004 and came away with nothing. Ford rightly called bullshit on the Telfair hype.

•    Seattle: A-
Robert Swift, David Young
Comment: Another in the series of big men busts for Seattle.  

Overall: Chad Ford had a nice 2004 Draft.  He made the correct evaluations on Andre Iguodala, the Orlando Troika, Trevor Ariza, Harris and wasn’t too far off on his ‘B+’ picks.  However, Ford's Mel Kiper strategy, whereby you dish out countless 'B' and 'C', ensures that he's never more than a letter-grade away from reality.