There you have it: the first-ever picture of Devin Ebanks on Silver Screen and Roll. Here's hoping for plenty more. By the way, the last Laker to wear jersey number 3? Yep, Trevor Ariza. Trevor was a second-round pick, too. No pressure or anything, Devin.
On the whole, people seem happy with the Lakers' selection of Ebanks and Derrick Caracter last night. Second-round picks are lottery tickets. Maybe once in the history of a franchise, you hit the jackpot with a Manu Ginobili or Mark Price. A little more often you can find useful pieces like Eric Snow or Kevin Duckworth. Most of the time you get nothing and move on with your life. So picking up a couple guys who could plausibly become serviceable NBA players? Hey, not bad.
This afternoon I decided to get a little more exact about measuring the conventional wisdom as it pertains to the Lakers' selections, so I surveyed seven "draft grade" pieces I found floating around the Internet. Each piece assigns a letter grade to the drafts of the 30 NBA teams. Using the four-point grading scale we all know and love, I averaged the grades handed out to the Lakers to determine their overall GPA. It was exactly like being a teacher but without the joy of ruining kids' futures with a stroke of the pen.
Please don't think this is at all scientific. For one thing, some of the evaluators were looking only at the aggregate talent coming in, whereas others examined how well a team used the picks available to it. What's more annoying is that most evaluators didn't specify which system they were using. Chad Ford of ESPN, for instance, writes that the Lakers "made the most of their second-round picks, landing first-round talents late in the second," but then gives them a C+. I believe the response that comes to mind is LOL WUT.
So that's a nuisance, but whatever. Three of the seven evaluators gave the Lakers an A. The lowest grade was a C, slapped down by Kurt Helin of Pro Basketball Talk. Adding a third of a point for a "+" grade and deducting a third for a "-" gives the Lakers a final grade-point average of 3.14, or somewhere between a B and a B+. Here are links to the seven pieces I surveyed, along with a brief chunk of commentary from each.
Chad Ford, ESPN - Grade Given to Lakers... C+
Ebanks is one of the best on-ball defenders in the draft. . . . Caracter kept his nose clean after leaving Louisville for UTEP and put up great numbers. His personal issues caused his stock to drop, but if he turns it around, this is a terrific pick for L.A.
Kelly Dwyer, Yahoo! Sports - Grade Given to Lakers... A
I've fallen for this trap before, getting enthused about guys I've actually heard of being taken in the second round, and then Pete Mickael goes ahead and flames out. But Caracter has a legitimate post game, and Ebanks can help defend at the end of the bench.
Tom Ziller, NBA FanHouse - Grade Given to Lakers... A
Both [Ebanks and Caracter] are former lottery-pick prospects who lost stock in college but still managed to produce. The rich get richer.
Adi Joseph, NBADraft.net - Grade Given to Lakers... A
No team had a better second round, and there's a lot to be said for that. . . . At Nos. 43 and 58, respectively, both [Ebanks and Caracter] were great values. What more can you ask for from the defending champs?
Chris Mannix, Sports Illustrated - Grade Given to Lakers... B
Devin Ebanks is a solid wing defender with limited offensive skills. . . . [Caracter] could become a solid backup to Pau Gasol.
Kurt Helin, Pro Basketball Talk - Grade Given to Lakers... C
Ebanks can defend, but he’s going to need to knock down some outside shots to really have a chance of making the roster.
Matt O'Brien, SB Nation - Grade Given to Lakers... B-
Let's get this out of the way: Ebanks might be the worst shooter in the draft. But he is 6-foot-8, a nightmare on the defensive end, and a relentless rebounder. . . . Caracter, meanwhile, is a talented post player dogged by motivation issues, but is well worth the risk that late in the draft.
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