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July 1, 2007

NBA Draft Grades: Central Division

Rivals.com has partnered with NBA Draft expert Jonathan Givony and his staff at DraftExpress.com to analyze the results of Thursday's draft. Givony hands out grades for each team, and we have grouped them by division. Below, please find the grades for the Central Division.

This report card was based off three things:

I: How well the team satisfied its needs or filled gaps on the roster with the hand they were dealt.
II: How much value teams received from the picks they had.
III: Subjective opinions on the player(s) they landed and how well they fit with the team's style of play, the direction they are headed and what we know about the organization.

Draft Grades Methodology:

A: The team probably could not have done any better considering the situation.
B: The team did well in filling their needs, getting fair value from their pick and getting a prospect that fits their system and the direction the franchise is heading.
C: The team had an average draft, not great - but also did not embarrass their fans.
D: The team should have done a better job with the picks they made.
F: The team did a terrible job and their fans have every reason to be angry.

Central Division:
Chicago Bulls | Cleveland Cavaliers | Detroit Pistons | Indiana Pacers | Milwaukee Bucks

Chicago Bulls
Draft Grade: A+
The rich get richer. Joakim Noah is a proven winner with the best motor in this year's draft. He's the perfect big man for Scott Skiles' style of play, and they somehow managed to snatch him all the way down at No. 9. Noah is ready to contribute right away, and should become a crowd favorite at the United Center. Many are questioning whether he fits their need for a low-post scorer, but the Bulls don't have three years to wait on Spencer Hawes. If Noah had a great back-to-the-basket game, he obviously would have been long gone by the time the Bulls picked. Noah will pick up 12-14 points a game just by running the floor and hitting the offensive glass every night. At No. 49, the Bulls got fantastic value with a player that probably would have gone in the top 20 (likely to Washington at No. 18) had he kept his name in last year's draft. Instead, he stayed in school and became a better player. The Bulls snatched him up in the late second round to help fill a need at the center position. He should develop into a solid backup center. At No. 51 the Bulls got a Jannero Pargo clone in JamesOn Curry. Anything they get out of him will be pure gravy at this point in the draft.
Joakim Noah
Aaron Gray
JamesOn Curry
Oklahoma State

Milwaukee Bucks
Draft Grade: Incomplete
There is really no way to evaluate this pick at this early juncture. We don't know how Yi Jianlian's camp will react to him being drafted by Milwaukee in spite of their wishes. The Chinese player's representatives were hoping to go to a much bigger media market. If all goes well, this could look like a decent pick in a few years. It makes a lot of sense basketball-wise for him to start as a backup in a smaller market, where he won't have as much pressure on him. At No. 56, the Bucks got very good value in Sessions. Some people had him slotted as high as the late first round. He fills a distinct need and has the talent to develop into a solid backup point guard.
Yi Jianlian
Guangdong Tigers
Ramon Sessions

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