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The Good, Bad, And Ugly Of 2017 NBA Draft
A Royal Pain

The Good, Bad, And Ugly Of 2017 NBA Draft

Atlanta Hawks  : B+

John Collins, PF, Wake Forest
Tyler Dorsey, PG/SG, Oregon
Alpha Kaba, PF/C, France

They addressed two major questions through the draft, replacing Paul Millsap and a back up point guard. Although not as versatile as Millsap, Collins has the tools to be an effective NBA player. He can score and rebound. He will need to expand his range and learn to defend away from the basket as well. Dorsey will be best served as Schroder’s back up with a log jam at shooting guard. He has NBA talent and will be an upgrade over what they had. Kaba is raw and will likely stay overseas to develop but has some intriguing tools (strong, athletic, rim protector).

 

Brooklyn Nets  : C+

Jarrett Allen, PF/C, Texas
Aleksandar Vezenkov, SF/PF, Cyprus

Allen is an upgrade at power forward and should be in the starting line up sooner than later. Long & athletic with a nice touch around the basket. His length will help him on defense. Will need to get stronger. Vezenkov will definitely stay overseas to develop. Can really shoot the ball with deep range. Must improve ball handling and defense.

 

Boston Celtics  :D+

Jayson Tatum, SF, Duke
Semi Ojeleye, SF, SMU
Kadeem Allen, PG, Arizona
Jabari Bird, SG, California

There has to be a trade somewhere in the near future (?) I really like Tatum, he has a chance to be special. His versatility is very promising; can score, handle, rebound and the makings of a solid defender. Also think Ojeleye is a real sleeper (think PJ Tucker with a better offense). And where does Allen or Bird fit? The back court and wing are crowded. And with two power forwards set to hit free agency, why didn’t Ainge address that position? Plenty of players available when Allen and Bird were chosen.

*Grade can change if they use picks and/or current players to trade for another star (i.e. Paul George).

 

Charlotte Hornets  : A

Malik Monk, SG, Kentucky
Dwayne Bacon, G/F, Florida State

Charlotte added some talented players to their roster. Monk fell right into their lap. A terrific athlete, high flyer and he’s the best shooter in the draft. Good perimeter defender who plays the passing lanes well. Bacon has the potential to be a good 2 way player. Another athletic player with a wide wingspan. Has the strength to finish through contact. Must display same tenacity on defense as he does offense. First round talent that slipped to the second round.

 

Chicago Bulls  : B

Lauri Markkanen, PF, Arizona

Markkanen is a stretch four who is also comfortable playing around the basket. Decent handle for a player his size. At 7’0″, he must be a better rebounder. Will he be a liability on defense? Not sure this is the best situation for him though. There are two quality players in front of him in Bobby Portis and Nikola Mirotic. Minutes will be tough to come by. He could see minutes at center behind Lopez. Do they re sign center Cristiano Felicio?

 

Dallas Mavericks  : A

Dennis Smith Jr, PG, North Carolina State

With only one pick in the draft, the Mavericks made it count. They are in need of a player to get the fan base excited and a new face of the franchise with Dirk inching closer to retirement. Both checked off with Smith. He’s very athletic and a dynamic scorer. He attacks the basket & finishes above the rim. He needs to be a better defender though.

 

Denver Nuggets  : D

Tyler Lydon, PF, Syracuse
Vlatko Cancar, SF, Serbia
Monte Morris, PG, Iowa State

The Nuggets are in need of a small forward with Danilo Gallinari hitting free agency. Why not take North Carolina’s Justin Jackson (who went two picks later at 15)? You add Lydon (a stretch four with a good face up game) to a crowded power forward position (Faried, Chandler, Lyles and Arthur), just seems like a waste. Same situation for Morris (a heady PG with a high basketball IQ) with Nelson, Mudiay and Murray already splitting minutes. Denver also needs a backup center behind Jokic. North Carolina’s Kennedy Meeks or Arizona’s Chance Comanche were available late in the secondnd round. Although Cancar (a good shooter who attacks the rim) is a SF, he’s not ready to contribute yet and will be overseas for foreseeable future.

 

Detroit Pistons  : D

Luke Kennard, SG, Duke

I get Detroit taking a shooting guard because of Kentavious Caldwell-Popes pending free agency but this is a reach for me. Although Kennard is a good shooter with a crafty handle, is he your starter if Pope leaves? Will he be a liability on defense and can he create his own shot? I think he can be a solid bench player. But at 12, is that what you are looking for? At this point, swing for the fences on best potential player. Combo guard/forward Terrance Ferguson was that guy, although a raw talent, he offers versatility and upside Kennard does not have. This pick looks a whole lot better if they re sign Pope.

 

Golden State Warriors  : A-

Jordan Bell, PF, Oregon

This has gone under the radar but another shrewd move by the Warriors front office (see Patrick McCaw last year). They have some decisions to make regarding their front court. I do know that all won’t be back partly because of Bell. Not much of an offensive game but is a tenacious rebounder and defender (rim protector) who runs the floor well and can finish around the basket. Sounds like the perfect player for them.

 

Houston Rockets  : B

Isaiah Hartenstein, PF/C, Germany

This pick replaces Nene, who is a free agent. Hartenstein offers some versatility, runs the floor well for a guy his size and finishes above the rim. Good mid range shot for pick & pop. Good passer as well. Very fiery who must control his emotions which sometimes gets the best of him. Range is limited at this point. They had another pick but traded it to Memphis. I thought they had an opportunity to draft a shooting guard, a position they are thin at. Could have really helped themselves by taking SMU’s Sterling Brown or South Carolina’s Sindarius Thornwell.

 

Indiana Pacers  : C+

TJ Leaf, PF, UCLA
Ike Anigbogu, C, UCLA
Edmond Sumner, PG/SG, Xavier

Power forward was not an immediate position of need but nothing wrong with preparing for the future. Leaf is a stretch-4 who had nice touch around the basket. Decent handle and good passer. Has a natural feel for the game. Needs to get stronger. Won’t play much next season but should be ready to contribute in another year. Center was another position that did not need immediate attention but again, preparing is never a bad thing. Unless you have a position of immediate need you need to address and it was shooting guard. They traded for another pick and took Sumner, a combo guard better suited to play point guard. I would have targeted Syracuse guard/forward Andrew White, he offers better versatility at two positions of need (with Paul George’s pending trade). A missed opportunity to me.

 

Los Angeles Clippers  : D

Juwan Evans, PG, Oklahoma State

It’s more likely they keep point guard Chris Paul rather than shooting guard JJ Redick, so why not draft accordingly? Florida State’s guard/forward Dwayne Bacon and Oregon’s combo guard Tyler Dorsey were available. I actually like Evans as a player, he can score and dish it with the best of them. Could be some big changes this summer in Clipperland.

 

Los Angeles Lakers  : A

Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA
Josh Hart, SG, Villanova
PJ Dozier, PG/SG, South Carolina
Kyle Kuzma, PF, Utah
Thomas Bryant, C, Indiana

It all starts with Ball, a player with great vision and passing ability (Jason Kidd/Magic Johnson comparisons). Has a funky looking shot (think Kevin Martin) but makes them. Hart is tough as nails and does the dirty work too, not to mention he can score and defend. Dozier fills a need as Ball’s back up. He’s a versatile player who can do a little bit of everything. Kuzma is an intriguing prospect, he reminds me of Paul Millsap. Another versatile player. There was not much of a need for Bryant, a promising prospect with upside. They would have been better served drafting a small forward. Oregon’s Dillon Brooks, Clemson’s Jaron Blossomgame or Florida’s Devin Robinson were all available and better options.

 

Memphis Grizzlies  : B+

Ivan Rabb, PF, California
Dillon Brooks, SF, Oregon

They had a lot of holes to fill on their roster. They needed to add some depth at shooting guard, small forward, power forward and center. Hard to do when you have no draft picks. But the Grizzlies did not let that minor fact stop them and managed to trade for two picks. Rabb has a strong post game, a good rebounder with great hands. Must add muscle to his frame. Brooks is a slasher who finishes well at the basket. Good mid range game. Must find consistency on 3 point shot.

 

Miami Heat  : D

Edrice Adebayo, PF/C, Kentucky

Adebayo is a throwback player, very rugged and physical player who plays in the post. A very good rebounder and post defender. He runs the floor well and finishes with authority. Lacks range on jumper. Then why such a low grade you ask? Because he’s not a good fit with Hassan Whiteside. They are similar players and can’t really play together. A stretch 4 would have made much more sense for them. Michigan’s DJ Wilson or UCLA’s TJ Leaf would have fit much better next to Whiteside.

 

Milwaukee Bucks  : D

DJ Wilson, PF, Michigan

Wilson offers a lot of versatility and skills but they have enough of those players already. What they really need is a true center, a more rugged, physical man in the middle. Duke’s Harry Giles or North Carolina’s Tony Bradley would have been much better picks. I don’t get teams taking what they perceive as best available talent over talent at a need position (and I never will).

 

Minnesota Timberwolves  : B+

Justin Patton, C, Creighton

With everyone talking about the trade to get Jimmy Butler (and rightfully so), nobody seemed to notice they drafted a player in Patton that has tremendous upside. Him and Towns will eventually team together wreaking havoc on defense protecting the basket. He can rebound and score around the basket. His offensive skill set will allow his game to expand out to the 3 point line.

 

New Orleans Pelicans  : D-

Frank Jackson, PG/SG, Duke

Jackson is a solid player that offers versatility with potential upside. With that said, for team in need of serious perimeter/wing personnel, you don’t turn two picks into one. Their grade would have been a B+ had they kept the players they drafted, Florida State guard/forward Dwayne Bacon and Xavier combo guard Edmond Sumner. Jackson better turn out to what they expect him to to justify this move.

 

New York Knicks  : B

Frank Ntilikina, PG, France
Daymean Dotson, SG, Houston
Ognjen Jaramaz, PG, Serbia

Ntilikina has great size (6’5″) and length (7′ wingspan) for a point guard. Very good defender. Pass first mentality with a good feel for the game. Shot has improved but still needs work. Must get stronger so he can be a better finisher around the basket. Despite being only 18 and still learning the game, his decision making is beyond his years. Has great upside. Dotson is strong with a solid frame. Good 3-point shooter who is a solid defender and excellent rebounder. Must improve handle and add a mid range shot. Jaramaz is very quick and excels in the open court. A good athlete who likes to attack the basket. Solid defender who plays the passing lanes. Must improve his outside shot. I would have preferred if they drafted a wing player at 58. Clemson’s Jaron Blossomgame, Syracuse’s Andrew White and Florida’s Devin Robinson were all available and would have made more sense.

 

Oklahoma City Thunder  : B

Terrance Ferguson, G/F, USA

Ferguson has terrific size and athleticism. Has the ability to become a very good 2 way player. Good finisher and mid range game. Must improve ball handling and long range shot. Needs to get stronger. Still very young and raw but has potential.

 

Orlando Magic  : C

Jonathan Isaac, PF, Florida State
Wesley Iwundu, SF, Kansas State

They could have had a much better draft had they kept all their picks an addressed some needs. They traded away the 25th and 35th picks. Spots where they could have addressed depth issues at point guard and shooting guard. Isaac could be a special player. Great size & length. His versatility on offense makes him dangerous with an improving shot. Rebounds and defends well. Must add muscle to his frame. Iwundu has a toolbox full of skills but it’s his defense that takes center stage. He’s an elite athlete, good rebounder, solid handle and an underrated passer. Jumper must become more consistent. He needs to get stronger.

 

Philadelphia 76ers  : B+

Markelle Futlz, PG, Washington
Jonah Bolden, PF, Serbia
Mathias Lessort, PF, France
Anzejs Pasecniks, C, Latvia

Fultz is the real deal. Scoring comes easy to him but he also passes and rebounds. Very good handle, excellent in transition, can finish with contact and can shoot from distance. In order for him to reach his full potential, his decision making must be better and his defense needs to be a priority, not an afterthought. The rest of their draft is very puzzling. They needed to add depth in the backcourt and wing but instead drafted more front court players. Not sure what the plan is taking all those bigs on top of what they already have. This draft was about one thing, getting Fultz. Mission accomplished.

 

Phoenix Suns  : B+

Josh Jackson, G/F, Kansas
Davon Reed, SG, Miami
Alec Peters, PF, Valparaiso

Jackson has star potential. Elite defender and finisher at the basket. Explosive athleticism. Good rebounder and passer. Must get stronger. Consistency on jumper will determine how good he can be. Reed has gone under the radar. But don’t let that fool you, he is a knock down shooter who can defend and rebound. Must improve handle and mid range game. Peters is a rugged post player but can also step away and hit jumpers. They would have been better served taking a center. North Carolina’s Kennedy Meeks and Arizona’s Chance Comanche were available and better fits.

 

Portland Trailblazers  : A

Zach Collins, PF/C, Gonzaga
Caleb Swanigan, PF, Purdue

With plenty of perimeter firepower, they needed to sure up the front court. Collins has the tools to be a very productive player. Has great hands, good footwork, solid post moves, rebounds well, rim protector and runs the floor. Has a good face up game out to the 3 point line. He needs to learn to play defense without fouling. Swanigan is very underrated. Solid post moves and excellent rebounder. Added range to his jumper as well. Being undersized, can he guard his position? His effort says yes.

 

San Antonio Spurs  : A

Derrick White, PG/SG, Colorado
Jaron Blossomgame, SF, Clemson

I’ve learned to trust what Popovich is doing when it comes to the draft. Both Manu Ginobili and Patty Mills are free agents. Only one comes back (believe it will be Mills), White can fill either void. He’s a good passer, very good mid range game, 3 point threat and has a knack for creating contact. Needs to sure up his handle and more consistent decision maker. Blossomgame is a physical player who can score off the dribble and rebound. His calling card will be his defense because of his explosive athleticism. Has to sure up his jumper and pass it better. I think they would have been better served taking a big with their second round pick. In Pop I trust.

 

Sacramento Kings  : A

De’Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky
Justin Jackson, SF, North Carolina
Harry Giles, PF/C, Duke
Frank Mason, PG, Kansas

What a draft for the Kings. They turned the 10th pick into the 15th & 20th picks. Fox is a burner, great in transition and a tenacious defender. He has star power and leadership qualities. He must improve his jumper and get stronger. Jackson was a very good get. Potential to be a good 3 & D player. One of the best shooters in the draft and on ball defenders. Giles is the X-factor here. “IF” healthy, he’ll be a steal. His strengths are rebounding & defense. Solid post game & ability to finish. Mason does everything right. He may not have the sexy measurable teams want but he is fearless and has a high basketball IQ.

 

Toronto Raptors  : F

OG Anunoby, SF, Indiana

Although Anunoby is an elite athlete & potential lock down defender, the Raptors had a more pressing need. Both Serge Ibaka and Patrick Patterson (power forwards) are free agents. They had plenty of choices from Syracuse’s Tyler Lydon, Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan and Utah’s Kyle Kuzma. This may come back to haunt them.

 

Utah Jazz  : D-

Donovan Mitchell, SG, Louisville
Tony Bradley, C, North Carolina
Nigel Williams-Goss, PG, Gonzaga

Although I like each player individually, aside from Bradley, the other two picks did not make sense. Bradley has great length & wingspan. He protects the rim, very good offensive rebounder and finishes well around the basket. While Mitchell is athletic, good in transition and a good defender, shooting guard is crowded now. Williams-Goss just makes plays, has a high basketball IQ and wants the ball in crunch time but again, point guard was not a pressing need. Both Gordon Hayward & Joe Johnson (small forwards) are free agents. It’s conceivable they lose both, certainly one of them. Why not protect against that and draft a couple of them? Kansas State’s Wesley Iwundu and Florida State’s Dwayne Bacon were available.

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