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Now that the NBA draft is complete, let’s take a look at how teams faired making their picks. The grades are based on filling team needs with overall talent and potential of picks as well as fit. Here’s each team’s overall draft grade.
Atlanta Hawks: B+
Trae Young is the key, he’ll need to perform up to his potential in order for Atlanta to be relevant again. He will also generate much needed excitement and bring fans to the arena. Omari Spellman will add toughness, rebounding and perimeter shooting. Kevin Huerter is more than a shooter, he can put it on the floor and make plays for others.
Boston Celtics: A+
With only one pick, you have to get it right. They hit a homerun with Robert Williams. He’s exactly what they needed: a superb athlete who can run the floor, rebound and block shots. He’ll catch lobs too. Coach Brad Stevens will get the most out of this underachiever.
Brooklyn Nets: C-
Let me start off by saying I like both players they selected. The problem is Dzanan Musa and Rodions Kurucs are very similar players, so these picks felt redundant. For a team that sorely needed help up front, they did zero to address it.
Charlotte Hornets: B+
Does trading away potential future point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander mean Kemba Walker is staying put? We’ll see. I like that they added a couple of versatile forwards in Miles Bridges and Arnoldas Kulbolka. Their current forward tandem is the worst in the league. DeVonte Graham will be a solid backup at the point position.
Chicago Bulls: A
They made both picks count. Wendell Carter Jr will compliment last year’s pick, Lauri Markkanen. Carter will surprise some with his offense. Rebounding and defense are his strengths. Chandler Hutchison will bring steadiness and versatility to the wing.
Cleveland Cavaliers: B+
Collin Sexton is a fierce competitor. He’ll defend and attack the basket with equal aggression. He’s an underrated leader. If he finds a consistent jumper, he’ll be hard to defend with his quickness.
Dallas Mavericks: B+
They got their guy in Luka Doncic, who has the potential to be a star. Jalen Brunson is solid in every aspect of the game and will be the perfect backup behind Dennis Smith. Here’s where they lost me: at pick 54, they take Shake Milton, a good combo guard. They did flip him for forwards Ray Spaulding and Kostas Antetokounmpo. They are in dire need of help in the middle. Why not take a chance on 7’1”/255 Brandon McCoy who is raw but full of potential? A missed opportunity.
Denver Nuggets: B+
They picked the biggest risk/reward player in Michael Porter Jr, who can be the best player in this draft if he stays healthy. The other two picks were a bit of a surprise with center Tim Welsh (not projected to be drafted) and Jarred Vanderbilt. A backup point guard would have made more sense (Shake Milton was available at 40 or 41).
Detroit Pistons: C
Although combo guard Khyri Thomas and shooting guard Bruce Brown are talented players, they were not necessarily needed. Both will be buried on the depth chart early on. More wing help and depth at center were more pressing needs. There were options at 38 and 42 to address them too (small forward Rodions Kurucs and forward/center Chimezie Metu).
Golden State Warriors: A
The rich get richer. This is a smart move for a team that has no glaring needs. Guard/forward Jacob Evans is a terrific defender who can finish and knock down threes. Perfect fit for this system. They will have a year to groom Andre Iguodala’s replacement.
Houston Rockets: B+
They made two smart picks at need positions. De’Anthony Melton is a dynamic scorer with playmaking skills. He’ll be the perfect backup to Chris Paul. Wing Vincent Edwards is very versatile with a high basketball IQ who’ll add quality depth off the bench.
Indiana Pacers: C-
They completely ignored need, which was wing and center depth. I’ll cut them some slack on point guard Aaron Holiday, as their current point guards are entering the last year of their deals. But forward Alize Johnson was a reach, he’ll join an overcrowded power forward position. Both Vincent Edwards and Kevin Hervey were available and much better fits.
LA Clippers: C+
They get their future point guard in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who has a calm demeanor and smooth game. Shooting guard Jerome Robinson is talented but there’s a road block of players at that position. Curious pick when power forward was a bigger need.
LA Lakers: B
Moritz Wagner was a good pick up to help absorb the probable loss of Julius Randle. He has a sneaky inside game and can hit threes. Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk can shoot the ball and you can never have enough shooters. Isaac Bonga is a freak athlete and very versatile but a wing is not needed if you believe the reports about free agency. They have zero centers on this roster.
Memphis Grizzlies: B
They take one of the most versatile players on the draft in forward Jaren Jackson Jr. He will compliment center Marc Gasol. Point guard Jevon Carter is a pest on defense and can knock down shots but shooting guard needed more attention. They had plenty of players to choose from.
Milwaukee Bucks: D-
The problem with the Bucks is they are playing out of position because they don’t have any true power forwards on the roster. Not matter how much I really like Donte DiVincenzo, it was a bad pick. There were options to choose from. I just don’t get it.
Minnesota Timberwolves: B-
Keita Bates-Diop was a solid pick. He’s a versatile player and offers quality depth at both forward positions. Although Josh Okogie offers defensive impact, his shooting needs a lot of work. There were plenty of shooters available at 20 who were better fits.
New Orleans Pelicans: F
This team needs wing help. Someone who could also help spread the floor. With only one pick, how do you ignore that? Even at 51, there were players available that had terrific value. Great season, awful draft.
New York Knicks: B+
Small forward Kevin Knox has potential. His size and length on the wing is an advantage. He can knock down shots and put it on the floor. He can defend as well. Taking Mitchell Robinson, a raw 7’1” athletic player with a high ceiling, is something they almost never do.
Oklahoma City Thunder: C
Taking both Devin Hall and Hamidou Diallo seemed like overkill. Diallo has more potential, so he was the right choice. Small forward Kevin Hervey is a talented player who can score and tebound. They still need depth behind center Steven Adams.
Orlando Magic: C+
Mo Bamba was a surprise pick here. Bamba has the potential and work ethic to be great, especially on defense. They still need a point guard and never addressed the position. Why take two wing players in Melvin Frazier and Justin Jackson when there is a logjam there? Makes no sense.
Philadelphia 76ers: C+
It didn’t start off good when they traded away a perfect fit in guard/forward Mikal Bridges for super athletic Zhaire Smith. But they recovered to take guards Landry Shamet and Shake Milton, both of whom are capable shooters.
Phoenix Suns: A
DeAndre Ayton was a no brainer with the first pick and a franchise type talent. It got better when they traded for guard/forward Mikal Bridges, a 3 and D player. Point guard Elie Okobo is quick and a good shooter that will add depth. Small forward George King was a luxury pick. He has some versatility.
Portland Trailblazers: C
Guard Anfernee Simons is ultra talented with loads of potential. He still may be a couple years away from contributing but was just too good to pass up. Gary Trent Jr is one of the best shooters in the draft and will add depth behind CJ McCollum.
San Antonio Spurs: B+
Leave it to the Spurs to get a lottery talent outside the lottery in Lonnie Walker IV. A super athlete with a defensive mindset. They also got versatile bigman Chimezie Metu, which was a must for a thin frontcourt. Not much of a scorer but will rebound, defend and is a sneaky playmaker.
Sacramento Kings: A
With only one pick, the Kings had to make it count. They absolutely did with taking forward Marvin Bagley III. He is a multi skilled player with franchise talent. He can score from anywhere inside the three point line and rebounds at a high rate.
Utah Jazz: C
Shooting guard Grayson Allen is a pure shooter but he can put it on the floor and be a playmaker as well. With that said, they really needed to add some beef up front with Derrick Favors pending free agency. They almost have to re-sign him, right?
Washington Wizards: C+
Troy Brown is a very good offensive player that excels in the open court. He also plays defense and it helps to have his size and length. He’ll add quality depth. Point guard Issuf Sanon is a head scratcher though. They need more depth at center and there were options available at 44.