#NBA Post Draft Grades

Atlanta Hawks

Pick 12 Taurean Prince

Pick 21 DeAndre Bembry

Pick 44 Isaia Cordinier

 

Trading Jeff Teague to the Pacers opens up the point guard duties to Dennis Schroder, drafting Taurean Prince gives them insurance if/when Kent Bazemore leaves in free agency. DeAndre Bembry was one of my favorite players in this entire draft. He seems like a perfect fit into the Hawks pass heavy offense.

Now all eyes will be on the Al Horford free agency process, if the Hawks can keep him they will have all the tools needed to again make a run in the playoffs. However if Al leaves a replacement by the name of Dwight Howard should be considered.

Grade-B+

 

Boston Celtics

Pick 3 Jaylen Brown

Pick 16 Guerschon Yabusele

Pick 23 Ante Zizic

Pick 45 Demetrius Jackson

Pick 51 Ben Bentil

Pick 58 Abdel Nader

 

Per Marc Stein the Celtics were offered a package of Nerlens Noel, Robert Covington, and both picks 24 (Timothe Luwawu) and 26 (Furkan Korkmaz) for the 3rd pick (Jaylen Brown). Now the 76ers would have taken Kris Dunn with that pick and God only knows what Ainge would have done with 4 first round picks. Based on this Boston flunked the draft. Nerlens Noel was the ONLY player in the NBA that was top 20 in the league in both blocks and steals, not Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard nor runner up Draymond Green. If you put Nerlens Noel with first team all defense Avery Bradley that is something to build upon. It has become apparent that Boston’s treasure from Brooklyn is not worth a spit in the river, it also appears that the high end free agents the Celtics require to be relevant as far as championships go are not that interested.

Grade-F

 

Brooklyn Nets

Pick 20 Caris LaVert

Pick 42 Isaiah Whitehead

 

For not having anything entering the draft, Brooklyn wheeled and dealed its way into a potential steal in LaVert. Piecing him together with a solid point guard prospect in Whitehead as well as last years draft choice Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and suddenly the Nets have an intriguing young core in which to build around. Are they good enough for the playoffs next year? No, but the goal of this franchise should be just to get young valuable pieces and they have started that.

Grade-B+

 

Charlotte Hornets

No Picks

 

The Hornets traded for Marco Belinelli, to do that they sent the 22nd pick (Malachi Richardson) to Sacramento. Richardson was another player I was high on in this draft. It is not as if Charlotte was a shooter away from competing with Cleveland for Eastern Conference supremacy either. Al Jefferson may or may not be back and Jeremy Lin (one of their better postseason contributors) has already decided to opt out of his contract. Nicolas Batum is also an unrestricted free agent.  As of right now I’d say the Hornets are trending down. Keeping this first round pick and using it on a young asset should have been the plan.

Grade-F

 

Chicago Bulls

Pick 14 Denzel Valentine

Pick 48 Paul Zipser

 

I LOVE the Valentine pick, he is exactly the playmaking type player the Bulls needed. A jack of all trades kind of player. It is easy to see the youth movement is on in the Windy City. Keeping Jimmy Butler was also a win. It would have been easy to tank and trade him away for either Boston’s or Minnesota’s assets. With Butler leading the way now as the face of the franchise, Valentine and Portis being up and coming contributors the Bulls are poised for the future.

Grade-A

 

Cleveland Cavaliers

Pick 54 Kahlil Felder

 

Probably the most athletic under 6 foot tall guard to hit the NBA since Nate Robinson, Felder will get his minutes backing up Kyrie Irving. The Cavaliers offseason of parades and honeymooning will end July 1 when they will have to pay LeBron another 1 year max salary as well as let this player/gm decide on who else he wants to play with. Richard Jefferson deciding to come back for one more year is a good thing.Timofey Mozgov will more than likely not be returning so do they go with a familiar face in Anderson Varejao? The Cavs have more answers than questions though and keeping the King happy will only increase their chances to repeat.

Grade-B

 

Dallas Mavericks

Pick 46 AJ Hammons

 

Dallas’ mind is set on finding some stars to put with Dirk to give him one more championship run before his hall of fame career is over. The Mavs have set their eyes on Mike Conley and Hassan Whiteside. Whiteside will have plenty of suitors, basically every team in the Association could use his rebounding and rim protection. It seems Conley is interested in both the Mavs and Spurs. A return to the grindhouse is also a possibility. The pick of AJ Hammons is really good insurance if Whiteside does not pick Dallas. I thought Hammons could have been a late first round pick based on his size, for some reason he reminds me of a poor mans Duncan. I hope Carlisle can get everything out of him.

Grade-C+

 

Denver Nuggets

Pick 7 Jamal Murray

Pick 15 Juan Hernangomez

Pick 19 Malik Beasley

Pick 53 Petr Cornelie

 

The only thing missing from the Nuggets is having George Karl there to run the show. This roster should run run run in the altitude. Shooters and high flyers galore the playoffs should be in the very near future for the Nuggets. And if there is a team wanting to unload a disgruntled superstar the Nuggets have assets that aren’t unknown draft picks that they can use. As for the picks, Murray will fit in flawlessly next to Emmanuel Mudiay. Juan Hernangomez will put pressure on the Nuggets crowded front court to perform and Malik Beasley will be waiting in the wings or walking on air with Kenneth Faried catching lobs. This roster is loaded.

Grade-A+

 

Detroit Pistons

Pick 18 Henry Ellenson

Pick 49 Michael Gbinije

 

I know Stan Van Gundy was excited to get Ellenson at 18, the Pistons had him rated 10 on their board. In time Ellenson should morph into a stretch 4 small ball 5 player that the modern NBA seeks out. Gbinije too should be a playmaker down the road for Detroit. This is a team worth watching over the next few years. Van Gundy is building this team the same way he build the Dwight Howard Magic team that made a surprise NBA Finals appearance. The good news is fans can see the improvement this year, I believe you can expect them to climb the playoff ladder in the next year.

Grade-A

 

Golden State Warriors

Pick 30 Damian Jones

Pick 38 Patrick McCaw

 

I know that small ball positionless basketball led the Warriors to back to back Finals, but ultimately it was their downfall in Games 5-7 against the Cavs. So to address this issue the Warriors bring in another Vanderbilt Center in Jones and a big wing in McCaw, these two may not even make the roster depending on how things shake out. Festus Ezeli and Harrison Barnes are restricted, with Mareese Speights and Anderson Varejao are unrestricted. One big fish out there to pay special attention to is Kevin Durant. IF Durant decides to come to the Bay then these picks will be roster fillers, but if Durant does not come the Warriors will have to match offers and more than likely McCaw will not make the team.

Grade-C

 

Houston Rockets

Pick 37 Chinanu Onuaku

Pick 43 Zhou Qi

 

With all the uncertainty with the roster, selecting a player that has the risk reward of Zhou Qi does not make a lot of sense for me. Also, watching Dwight Howard walk and getting nothing for him when you have a limited amount of draft picks also makes no sense to me. Saying all that, I like the Onuaku pick. If the Rockets decide to quit on restricted free agents Terrence Jones and Domatus Motiejunas then putting Onuaku with last years pick (and former Louisville Cardinal) Montrezl Harrell in the frontcourt is not the worst case scenario. Both are relentless tough Pitino products that know how to play the game.

Grade-B-

 

Indiana Pacers

Pick 50 Georges Niang

 

The Pacers traded for Thaddeus Young and Jeff Teague, put them in a starting lineup with Monta Ellis, Paul George, and Myles Turner. This starting 5 should be one of the better units in basketball and one that challenges for a Top 4 seed in the Eastern Conference. Georges Niang improved every year while at Iowa State, this is very good value in the late stage of Round 2.

Grade-B

 

Los Angeles Clippers

Pick 25 Brice Johnson

Pick 39 David Michineau

Pick 40 Diamond Stone

 

Brice Johnson should be the first big off the pine in Lob City this upcoming season. Diamond Stone could also be in that mix as well, should be the second unit bigs now that Cole Aldrich and Jeff Ayres are unrestricted free agents. I will be honest I have no idea who David Michineau is and quite frankly don’t care. Nobody had this player on a draft board or mock draft all year long and that means the Clippers flunk that pick. Especially when Demetrius Jackson is still on the board.

Grade-C-

 

Los Angeles Lakers

Pick 2 Brandon Ingram

Pick 32 Ivica Zubac

 

The Lakers were in the almost perfect scenario, perfect would have been having your choice between Ingram and Simmons. Coming away with 1 of those players is exactly the franchise altering move the Lakers needed. Now that Kobe is gone, having Russell, Clarkson, Ingram, Randle and Nance, Jr. as your core is a really good spot to be in. The Lakers will undoubtedly be linked to every major free agent this side of James and Durant as well. They are expected to make a max offer to Hassan Whiteside. If that were to happen you would start to see the rebuild accelerate and expectations would begin to rise for the sudden “other team in LA”.

Grade-A

 

Memphis Grizzlies

Pick 17 Wade Baldwin

Pick 31 Deyonta Davis

Pick 35 Rade Zagorac

Pick 57 Wang Zhelin

 

Getting Baldwin and Davis for their first two selections seem like flawless fits into the grindhouse. The second half the draft leaves something to be desired, I may be wrong eventually but I don’t believe in the draft and stash philosophy. On this flipside, Memphis has 9 free agents and 8 are unrestricted, Restocking the roster may have been the plan for the Grizzlies. This group has been together for awhile and it may be the perfect time to blow up and start over.

Grade-C

 

Miami Heat

No Picks

 

With so much uncertainty in the roster, Miami having no picks is the equivalent to a disaster. Although they always seem to find a way with Riley pulling the strings this summer may end up not being all roses. Who the Heat can attract and retain will determine if this team can compete for a playoff spot next year.

Grade-F

 

Milwaukee Bucks

Pick 10 Thon Maker

Pick 36 Malcolm Brogdon

 

Milwaukee may have reached for Thon Maker, I know understatement of the year. They might have saved their draft for taking Malcolm Brogdon though. Brogdon should come in and play lock down defense on the wing and help take pressure off Middleton and Parker. If Maker shows any signs of what his youtube shows, then the Bucks will have a superhero. One offseason development to watch is if/when Greg Monroe gets shipped out of town.

Grade-C

 

Minnesota Timberwolves

Pick 5 Kris Dunn

 

Chicago’s refusal to unload Jimmy Butler may be the thing that puts the Timberwolves over the top and into championship contention in the near future. Minnesota now has an elite defense on all three levels of the court now and those players are all going to be in the upper echelon of two way players in all of the Association in the near future. Will Ricky Rubio get traded? If I were a betting man I would guess more than likely. All the T-Wolves have to do is follow Thibs leadership and sooner rather than later they will be in the hunt to win a Larry O’Brien trophy.

Grade-A

 

New Orleans Pelicans

Pick 6 Buddy Hield

Pick 33 Cheick Diallo

 

LOVE LOVE Buddy Hield going to New Orleans. He brings energy and shot making to a team that needs the floor spaced better for Anthony Davis. We have to take a wait and see on Diallo and how he will contribute. He was a highly touted recruit but Kansas was seriously loaded up front last year. From a surprise playoff berth to the lottery, it seems New Orleans is on a roller coaster. I blasted this franchise for trading Nerlens Noel for an injured point guard. I maintain that, however the draft yielding HIeld is a step in the right direction.

Grade-A

 

New York Knicks

No Picks

 

So the Knicks trade for Derrick Rose and most everyone seems to think that was a good idea. I guess 2 players that take 25 shots to get 25 points on the same team is a good thing. Other than Porzingis I’m not sold there is an asset from owner to waterboy.

Grade-is there an option lower than F?

 

Oklahoma City Thunder

Pick 11 Domantas Sabonis

Pick 56 Daniel Hamilton

 

Even though they had to sacrifice Serge Ibaka, I think that the correct move was made. Oklahoma City has to pull out all the stops to get Kevin Durant to stay. This trade did not move the needle either way on that front. This franchise is 2 decisions away from irrelevance and getting young pieces of value should be applauded.

Grade-A

 

Orlando Magic

Pick 41 Stephen Zimmerman

 

I am not exactly certain why the Magic gave up on Oladipo and put another big man in their already crowded and not very well spaced front court. In Zimmerman they have a prospect that I’ve seen in the lottery in some mock drafts. Again, another big man in a crowded rotation. Expect to see some movement this offseason via trade for the Magic, they are not through tinkering yet.

Grade-D

 

Philadelphia 76ers

Pick 1 Ben Simmons

Pick 24 Timothe Luwawu

Pick 26 Furkan Korkmaz

 

They got the hands down best overall player I have seen in a draft since LeBron. They tried to make a deal with Boston and for some reason the Celtics decided against that. I think the future is bright in Philly (I know fans you have been hearing that for too long now) but it is really close. With Simmons now on the roster they do not have the urgency for a ball dominant point guard. Just imagine how he and Iverson would have coexisted. But we’ll never see that, I think like the Magic that this roster is not how it will be come opening night.

Grade-A+

 

Phoenix Suns

Pick 4 Dragen Bender

Pick 8 Marquese Chriss

Pick 34 Tyler Ulis

 

When someone figures out what the Suns are doing let me know. Bender and Chriss are going to need time to develop, maybe with Chandler and Len still around for a few years they will have that time. In the meantime it seems that they will breakup the guard rotation of Bledsoe and Knight (who they just put together a year and a half ago). There seems to be no patience in Phoenix and they look like a team just reaching like a mad scientist now.

Grade-D

 

Portland Trailblazers

Pick 47 Jake Laymon

 

This is a good pick. Laymon will help spread the floor and play tough defense and make those hustle plays. He should be a glue guy just like he was for the Terrapins this season. Anytime you can get a good glue guy in the second half of the second round you have struck gold.

Grade-B

 

Sacramento Kings

Pick 13 Georgios Papagiannis

Pick 22 Malachi Richardson

Pick 28 Skal Labissiere

Pick 59 Isaiah Cousins

 

Demarcus Cousins tweeted about the Lord giving him the strength, he may not have to worry if some team can put together a package to acquire him. Just like the Suns, the Kings seem to be a mad scientist trying everything and hoping something sticks together. I really like the Richardson selection, but getting 1 out of 4 will never be good enough.

Grade-D

 

San Antonio Spurs

Pick 29 Dejounte Murray

 

With their one pick the Spurs probably found their next Ginobli, how year after year the Spurs do this and no one seems to catch on to who they are going to select is beyond me. Whenever Duncan, Ginobli, and Parker decide to hang it up the Spurs will be in very good hands. There is nothing to dislike about this organization top to bottom.

Grade-A+

 

Toronto Raptors

Pick 9 Jakob Poetl

Pick 27 Pascal Siakam

 

Two really good insurance policies in case Biyombo takes more money (deservedly so) elsewhere. Poetl is more likely to play now rather than Siakam, but the latter could really develop into a gem once his skills are honed. A side bar is Poetl is reunited with Delon Wright in what could be the beginning of a really good second unit. With Demar Derozan expected to resign north of the border the Raptors may continue to be the best competition to the Cavs for Eastern Conference supremacy.

Grade-B+

 

Utah Jazz

Pick 52 Joel Bolomboy

Pick 55 Marcus Paige

Pick 60 Tyrone Wallace

 

This team is this close to being elite. If and it is a huge if, they can all get healthy they could be somewhere around the Spurs and Warriors if you look at the metrics. Yes you read that right, when they are running on all cylinders they are that good. Taking Marcus Paige is very good for stability and insurance in case Trey Burke and Dante Exum don’t pan out. He should push them to become better all the while being ready to lead a team when called upon.

Grade-B-

 

Washington Wizards

No Picks

 

They will not get Durant, this is an aging front court in need of some energy. They may lose Bradley Beal too. Having no picks is worse than having picks and not picking well.

Grade-Another lower than F

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