Draft winners

Orlando: The Magic won big, acquiring Vince Carter from the Nets for Rafer Alston, Tony Battie and Courtney Lee. Carter is still one of the league’s premier shooting guards. That acquisition all but assures Hedo Turkoglu’s exit, but Carter is more dynamic than Turkoglu. He can get to the basket, finish with authority, he can hit the three and run the offense if need be. He’s the perfect complement for Dwight Howard.

Cleveland: The Cavaliers draft-day acquisition (it was approved on draft day) of Shaquille O’Neal, keeps them right near the top of the Eastern Conference. With the Celtics expecting Kevin Garnett back at 100 percent and the Magic getting Carter, things could get crowded at the top. Getting O’Neal, who had an excellent season for the Suns, could put the Cavs back in the driver seat.

Memphis: Grabbing Hasheem Thabeet was just what the Grizzlies needed. He’s the best shot blocker in college basketball and should emerge as one of the best in the NBA. Adding him to a roster that includes a talented Rudy Gay and a versatile O.J. Mayo could make the Grizzlies a sleeper.

Utah: The Jazz found their backup for Deron Williams in Eric Maynor. He’s not the most athletic player, but he is a winner.

Golden State: Knicks fans are still trying to recover from losing Stephen Curry to the Warriors. Curry will thrive in Golden State’s system. Monta Ellis’ days are probably numbered.

Atlanta: Wake Forest point guard Jeff Teague has great quickness and should blend in nicely with Atlanta’s youth movement. With Mike Bibby not expected back, Teague makes great sense.

Draft losers:

Minnesota: Ricky Rubio blew off a new conference, which means there is talk he will stay overseas. Yes, they traded Ty Lawson, which was the plan all along. But to draft Jonny Flynn and Rubio, two point guards? That doesn’t make sense unless they had a trade in their back pocket. Flynn will emerge as a fine point guard, but a few years from now, spending three first-round picks on three point guards in one draft will haunt them.

New Orleans: I figured they would have went for a big with the 21st pick. But they took a poing guard in Darren Collison. Backup point guards can be had via free agency. Unless Tyson Chandler is back in the Hornets good graces, this move is a head scratcher.


Nets: Terrence Williams is one of the best athletes in the draft. He’s a great defender. The only thing in question is his offensive versatility. If he can extend his range, the Nets may have a keeper. But moving Vince Carter all but assures the Nets that they won’t make the playoffs. Shedding themselves of Carter, Richard Jefferson and Jason Kidd in an 18-month span raises a lot of questions. The Nets grade will be complete after next summer.

Clippers: They took the best player in college basketball in Blake Griffin. Now what will they do with him?