The grades are in. And, by most accounts, the Nuggets did themselves quite good during last Thursday night's NBA Draft.

I spent a lot of time leading up to the 2011 NBA Draft partaking in my annual mid-June ritual: watching retro NBA Drafts on NBATV. Call me crazy – or overly NBA-obsessed – but I just love watching the so-called "experts" giving their instant analysis of each pick. Sometimes, of course, they're dead on with their analysis.

But at least half the time, they are way off.

Players believed to be impact players are often never impact-full (like when the TNT analysts refer to Randy White as "the next Karl Malone" during their broadcast of the 1989 NBA Draft) and players deemed to be busts often turn out to be quite the opposite.

All of this is obvious to the average NBA fan, but its worth re-mentioning as we look at the "grades" given to the Nuggets for their work last Thursday. Because while the Nuggets universally fared well among the NBA punditry, we're a long way off from seeing whether or not Kenneth Faried and/or Jordan Hamilton will pan out as substantive NBA players.

My two cents (which is worth about two cents) is that the Nuggets did quite well on Thursday night. I was in the Pepsi Center media lounge along with Nate and all those in Denver who cover the Nuggets in the Post and on the radio, and the consensus in the room was that the Nuggets made the most out of the 22nd pick and their need to trade a soon-to-be disgruntled Raymond Felton. For the Nuggets to come away with Faried, Hamilton and Andre Miller proved to us all (again) that Masai Ujiri isn’t someone you want to be playing poker with. Since Hamilton seems to be a big-time wild card, I’ll give the Nuggets a grade of A-.

Faried and Hamilton met with the media on Sunday. Miller will be meeting with the media today. Let's hope we get to know them well over the next five days, because unfortunately that's all we'll get with this silly lockout looming Friday.

On to the grades…

2011 NBA draft results: Draft grades – ESPN
Chad Ford assesses the NBA draft performances of all 30 teams, giving the Nuggets a B:

I love Faried. He has great energy and can really rebound the ball. Faried probably won't be a star — he may not even be a starter. But given his relentless enthusiasm for playing defense, it's hard to see how he doesn't stick in the league.

2011 NBA Draft Grades: Nuggets Come Up Aces With Jordan Hamilton, Andre Miller Trade –
According to Tom Ziller, the Denver Nuggets did about as well as one could reasonably expect in his 2011 NBA Draft Grades, giving the Nuggets an A+:

Faried could very well start at power forward on opening night for Denver. And he could very well be a plus player from the start.

Draft Grades: MJ's old team scores; Bobcats' roster redundancy's Jeff Goodman gives the Nuggets a B+, saying:

Faried is a junkyard dog, and Hamilton is the polar opposite — a skilled offensive player who has no desire to defend. Hamilton is worth the roll of the dice at 26.

2011 NBA draft team grades – Sam Amick –
Sam Amick also gives the Nuggets a B+, writing:

The Nuggets had a need for another rugged rebounder and defender, and they filled it with Moorehead State's Kenneth Faried (No. 22). He is expected to be a longtime pro who cleans the glass in ways that few guys can, but his ceiling doesn't go far beyond that. 

Ball Don’t Lie’s 2011 NBA draft grades – Ball Don't Lie – NBA Blog – Yahoo! Sports
Kelly Dwyer breaks down all 30 first round picks, and gives Denver an A:

This deal is influenced by the addition of Andre Miller(notes) in a trade. Raymond Felton(notes) is a younger point guard with a lot to give, but Miller is a player Denver can count on down the stretch of close games to orchestrate wins, something that the Nuggets didn't have in the clutch last year.

Bill Simmons: The Sports Guy's draft diary for the 2011 NBA draft – Grantland
The Sports Guy breaks down the 2011 NBA draft, saying this about Faried:

If Faried doesn't end up having a meaningful moment for a contender at some point over the next eight years, I'm giving you a full refund for this column.

And on to a pair of other links…

One man's way to avert NBA's looming lockout scenario |
If you care at all about the future of the NBA, this article by David Aldridge is a MUST READ with some sensible solutions to solving the impasse between NBA owners and players.

Analysis: NBA lockout could do considerable damage to gains made this season
Chris Dempsey writes about the depressing realities should NBA owners indeed impose a lockout on their players this week.