The NBA Draft was a night where all thirty teams could help or hurt their future. Sixty players get their names called and get a chance to prove themselves on the largest stage in basketball. Starting with the 76ers and ending with the Wizards, I present to you grades for every team’s draft night.
Mikal Bridges could’ve fit perfectly into the 76ers lineup, so it was surprising why they traded down to get Zhaire Smith. This draft leaves a major talking point for players such as JJ Redick and Markelle Fultz. Redick is up for Free Agency, and drafting guards(Milton +Shamet + Smith), leaves uncertainty towards Fultz. While I was making this Lebron had not signed with the Lakers. This is what I typed before Lebron signed with the Lakers. “This Draft really depends on how the Sixers handle Free Agency. If they can get Lebron, I might move the grade to an A. If they are left without Lebron, it drops to a C because you missed out on a small forward such as Mikal Bridges. For now, the grade can only be determined for me as a B.” I don’t think the Sixers had a good draft because they didn’t have a good Free Agency. Mikal Bridges fit perfectly into the rotation, but now they are stuck with Zhaire Smith. They also signed Redick which I noted before, and you question how Smith will fit into the system. I don’t like this draft from the 76ers.
The Bucks only had one pick in the draft but did well with it. Giannis Antetokounmpo can be the Bucks star, but you need players around him. At pick #17 the Bucks selected Donte DiVincenzo, who can provide 3-point shooting for the team. DiVincenzo lead the NCAA Tournament Finals with 31 points, to help Villanova win a national championship. He outscored the likes of Omari Spellman and Mikal Bridges in the game. If he can carry over his .401% shooting from 3, he will be an awesome fit for Milwaukee. This is exactly what the Bucks needed.
A lot of people are saying they should of went with Porter, but with him dropping that far down there must be something up with him. The injury must be more of a concern then what people are expecting it to be. That being said, Wendell Carter is a very safe option, but a pretty decent one. He is the type of player that will fit nicely next to stretch four, Lauri Markkanen. The Bulls are growing through youth, and have a pretty bright future. Over the next few years, we will get to see if Porter was the right choice or if the safe bet of Carter was the move for Chicago. Either way, I will give the Bulls a B- because the rookies look to be decent for the future but they probably could have done more with both the 7th and the 22nd pick.
The Cavaliers are looking to replace Kyrie Irving with Collin Sexton. For Alabama, Sexton put up 19.2 PPG with notable performances including a 40 point game against Minnesota, and a 30 point game against Deandre Ayton’s Arizona. He also showed off games including one against Texas A&M, where he had 23 points, 7 assists, and 4 rebounds. He had a game against Florida where he had 17 points, 6 assists, and 8 rebounds. Sexton doesn’t have much of a jump shot, and in college, he shot just .336% from the 3-point line. Either way, this was the best possible option for the Cavaliers at #8 and he shows a lot of potentials. The question has to be asked, is he the next Kyrie?
As you can see from the tweet above, ESPN analyst Jonathan Givony stated that questions lie on his knee, but he might end up being a steal. The Celtics got exactly what they needed for the future, a defensive power forward who can really do the nitty-gritty on the court. I seriously think Robert Williams can help Boston win a ring, and I am surprised to see Williams fall to the 27th pick. This is my steal of the draft and if all goes well it would be pretty funny that in two consecutive years, two steals were taken in Kuzma and Williams. Great draft for the Celtics and another player that will add to their young core.
The Clippers really have to get the old players off their roster. Milos Teodosic and Patrick Beverley are guards that are not important in the Clippers future. This draft, the Clippers did a great job of clearly stating how they wanted to rebuild. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jerome Robinson could be the possible starters for the Clippers for the next 5 years or maybe even longer, depending on how their careers pan out. If the Clippers can get rid of some older players, they are looking at a bright future. Therefore, they get an A- for a good start to a rebuild.
Jaren Jackson is one interesting selection at #4. He will be playing alongside Marc Gasol and Mike Conley which will also be interesting. This whole situation can be summed up as interesting. I would’ve liked to see some trades from the Grizzlies that involved Gasol and Conley, due to their age, but I guess it was not to happen. The Grizzlies are not really going into a direction but a lottery team each season. The team is full of old players, but then you also have some young guys as well. As I said three times before, the Grizzlies roster will be interesting.
Trae Young has potential, showing flashes of Stephen Curry in his college career. However, the Hawks had a chance to get Luka Doncic, who was exceptional in Europe. I’m not sure how this works out for the Hawks, as it all depends on potential and how the careers of Young and Doncic turn out. Other than getting Trae Young, the Hawks also drafted sharpshooter Kevin Huerter and stretch center Omari Spellman. In past years, stretch big men have done well, so look to see Spellman as a steal for the Hawks. Either way, the Hawks have a lot of potential on their team. They have a lot of good young players, but we need to see which ones take that next step. In my opinion, this was a very risky draft for Atlanta.
The Miami Heat need to realize they have to get younger. The Heat was 6th in the East, and that will not get you anywhere today in the NBA. Trading their 2018 1st for Goran Dragic was not beneficial to the Heat, because they only got older. Today in the NBA, you need a super team if you want to win a ring. The Cavaliers got Lebron James through the draft. The Warriors landed Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry, and Draymond Green through the draft. The upcoming superteams in the Celtics and 76ers have also rebuilt their teams through the draft. The Heat are not going to get younger, they are not going to get better if they don’t rebuild through the draft. And the problem is, they have dug themselves into a hole. They are also not going to have their own 2021 1st rounder, meaning they can only really tank for 2 seasons. To be honest, in this time period, you need to tank for about 4 seasons in order to become a championship contender. Think the Sixers and their process. They took many years and had to select numerous players through the lottery, including the likes of Dario Saric, Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid, Jahlil Okafor, Ben Simmons, and Markelle Fultz. The Heat need to start rebuilding through the draft, and they can’t do that if they do not have the picks. Therefore, they receive an awful grade of a D-.
The Hornets just traded Dwight Howard for Timofey Mozgov. I don’t understand why Mitch Kupchak made this trade. It doesn’t help the talent level of the Hornets, and it also doesn’t help the salary cap of the Hornets. In the draft, you expected the Hornets to make a splash. Whether that is in the form of trading Kemba Walker or in general blowing up the roster, we expected more. Miles Bridges will fit into the rotation, but it is hard to understand the Hornets’ identity. I just hope they trade Kemba Walker this offseason because otherwise, I don’t understand the Dwight Howard trade. Until I see improvement this offseason from the Sixers, I have to give them a C-.
I’m surprised with this pick because of Grayson Allen playing SG, the same position Donavon Mitchell plays. Then again I was surprised with Donavon Mitchell’s selection last year, and look how he turned out. However, I have to say the Jazz are building a really nice team. Mitchell is 21 and Gobert is 26, which gives the Jazz a very young and talented core. Grayson Allen provides offense just like Donavon Mitchell, and then you have Rudy Gobert who just won defensive player of the year. This team is looking awesome when it comes to the future.
I like their deal in the second round. They knew Gary Trent wasn’t going to help their team as they already had De’Aaron Fox, so they traded Trent for two future seconds. However, Marvin Bagley was a pretty confusing pick. Luka Doncic has felt like the go-to guy for the Kings, and people thought the Kings would pick him. They already have good young power forwards and centers, and they need improvement on the shooting guard position. Don’t get me wrong, Bagley has the potential to be a star but Doncic might just be a little bit better. Only time will tell with the Kings.
The Knicks had an excellent draft. When the Knicks fan shows up to draft night, they always expect to draft the player who everyone is talking about. Kevin Knox is not as known as Porter, so they had to boo him. There is clearly a massive issue if Porter drops to pick 14, instead of the projected 6-9. Ntilikina can be a great player for the Knicks, he just needs to shoot the ball more instead of hesitating. That is fixable going into his 2nd year so they can trust him at point guard. Therefore they don’t really need to draft a PG and can focus on the SF position. I also like the addition of Mitchell Robinson. He has shown signs of potential and could fit well next to Porzingis. Overall I thought the Knicks had a solid draft night.
Next year the Lakers will probably be the second best NBA team, only behind the Warriors. With the three picks the Lakers had, they selected Mortiz Wagner, Isaac Bonga and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk. All three players won’t play much minutes in the NBA, but have potential to play in the future. Last year the Lakers selected 3-point shooting Kyle Kuzma, and this year they selected Mortiz Wagner who can also shoot. Usually big men that can shoot behind the arc are successful. I think the Lakers did a great job in adding players to their stacked roster, and these players can all grow for the future.
I like Bamba as a player, but I do not think he is the right fit for the Magic. They need an offensive player, and have needed that for so long. They haven’t had an offensive super star since Dwight Howard. Last year, the Magic selected Jonathon Isaac who does not help the offense. A few years ago they selected Mario Hezonja, who just like Isaac doesn’t help out the offense. They are defensive players but can not take over a game through making shots. Bamba is a great defensive player, and proved that in college. But quite honestly they needed to get someone like Jaren Jackson, who can shoot 3’s. They need a guy who will spark the offense. I honestly think the Magic needed to trade up in this draft, because that is where the game changing players lied. I just don’t like the moves that the Magic are making, and I see them setting themselves up for another year of losing.
This could go down as one of the best drafts the Mavericks have ever had. They are about to have a lineup of Dennis Smith, Luka Doncic, and Deandre Jordan. Don’t forget Harrison Barnes as well. Fans thought the Mavericks were going to get Trae Young, but instead they traded up for Doncic. You can’t forget Doncic at times was projected the #1 overall pick, and of course at other times he was projected #2 or #3. That means we thought Doncic would go to the Suns, the Kings, or the Hawks. Instead, the Mavericks snag him. You also can’t forget Thanasis Antetokounmpo, brother of NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo. I am surprised that Thanasis dropped to the 60th pick. If I am a team that has a 50-60 pick, I am taking a chance on a guy who has the potential of his brother. We saw this with the Gasol brothers. Pau Gasol was the 3rd pick in the 2001 NBA draft. Then in 2007, his brother Marc Gasol was selected with the 48th pick. I see the same thing happening with the Antetokounmpo brothers. Giannis had just 6.8 PPG in his first season, so I see it taking time for Thanasis throughout his career. But I think the Mavericks will not regret taking him. Thanasis Antetokounmpo and Luka Doncic were two awesome selections that will affect the Mavericks in the future, and that is why they have earned an A+.
The Nets had the 29th pick, and with that pick they selected Dzanan Musa. They also selected Rodions Kurucs in the 2nd round, so they got a duo of Europeans. To be fair I don’t know much as I don’t watch a lot of Euro ball, but what I have read is that Musa is a guy who has got the size and the potential to be a nice player on the wing. What I have heard is that he needs to work on his physical tools, which is just like most NBA players. Kurucs is similar to Musa, but he has had some injuries which may be a problem throughout his career. Overall it was an alright draft for the Nets, with players that have the potential as long as they work on their physicals. I’ll give them a B- since I don’t know a lot about the players and because they have a pick again which is a first time in a while they have consecutive first round picks. By that I mean one in 2017 and one in 2018.
I just don’t know what’s wrong with Porter. If 13 teams passed up on him, the injury he currently has is probably worse then we think. Us NBA fans are surprised he dropped to pick 14, as even I had him at 7 in my mock draft. With that in mind, there has to be something more to the injury he has. I don’t see how Porter can bounce back from this, considering many teams passed up on him. We will see 5 years down the line if the Nuggets had a good draft, or just took too big of a risk.
The Pacers just lost Lance Stephenson, so they need a guard to pair with Oladipo. Aaron Holiday can do just that. Aaron has a very similar play style compared with his brother Jrue Holiday, as he can shoot and pass the ball while providing decent defense. If the Pacers were able to get Aaron Gordon in FA, they would’ve had a chance in the playoffs. I still think they can go deep as LeBron left the East, but they could of been contenders. I believe that Aaron Holiday can be a vital bench piece for the Pacers, especially when playing behind Oladipo.
The Pelicans repeat the same type of draft every year. They trade their first round pick, and are left with a selection late second round. They haven’t got a great player through the draft since Anthony Davis in 2012, and are slowly becoming a team that is on the older side. Tony Carr is alright, and I thought he would go a lot higher. But he is no top 10 player in the draft, which is what the Pelicans need. Carr does provide shooting, but I honestly see him playing a ton of time in the G-League. I think the best option for the Pelicans is just to cash out on Anthony Davis now, because they just can’t compete against the likes of the Warriors and the Lakers. The Pelicans need to make a move, because they no longer have a superstar in Cousins.
I expected Khyri Thomas to go in the first round, but to be fair he was still the 38th pick. Thomas can shoot the three, but he is also a solid defender so a decent pick for the Pistons. Bruce Brown is very similar to Thomas except that he can’t shoot that well. The Pistons did decent, but I am not sure if they had a game changer that can fit next to Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond. For now, the grade will be a C+.
The Raptors did nothing in the draft, so they earn the average at a C. I could’ve seen Lowry or DeRozan being traded, but I understand why the Raptors kept them. They don’t have to face LeBron in the East next year and actually have a chance to get to the Finals. They didn’t need to do anything in the draft, and therefore they are going to receive a C.
DeAnthony Melton and Vince Edwards are two players that will spend a lot of time in the G-League. Vince Edwards is perfect for the Rockets mentality, which is live and die by the 3-point shot. With Ariza gone, Edwards can fit in the system a few years down the line. In terms of Melton, he has to compete for minutes against Harden and Chris Paul. I imagine him playing seasons in the G-League and if he has improved, they will call him up. Both these players are risks but could turn out to be good risks.
I really like the addition of Lonnie Walker, and I think he can be awesome next to Dejounte Murray. Walker is very athletic, and he also has potential when it comes to his playmaking. Chimezie Metu was their selection at pick 47, and he could be a steal. He is in the right situation, the Spurs have done well with late second round players. He has the potential, he just needs to prove himself in the future for the Spurs. Overall a pretty above average draft for the Spurs, but not quite an A-.
The Suns did excellent in the draft, getting DeAndre Ayton and Mikal Bridges. Ayton was a pick we all expected coming into draft night, so that was fairly standard. However the Mikal Bridges trade was different. It was an excellent trade that the Suns made, and Mikal Bridges has a lot of potential. I talked about how I didn’t like this trade for the 76ers, however I liked it for the Suns. It gave them a good SF if Josh Jackson doesn’t work out. Either way, they are building a great young core. Ayton and Booker could be the next Shaq and Kobe, while the Suns also have some nice young pieces such as Jackson, Ulis, Bridges, and Chriss. I’m excited to see the Suns future.
The Wolves drafted Josh Okogie and Keita Bates Diop. I thought Keita would go a lot higher and I think he is an absolute steal. Keita has a tremendous rebounding ability, and in general has so much potential in the NBA. You also have Okogie with a 7 foot wingspan. He can be an awesome defender in the league. The Timberwolves have a core of Butler, Wiggins, and Towns. These two players can add to this roster, and possibly play as key bench pieces in future playoff runs.
I saw this funny quote on Hamidou Diallo. It was from CBS Sports, and it read, “Is he the best leaper in the NBA? Perhaps. But he’s going to have to learn basketball skills now.” Hamidou Diallo was a projected first round pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, yet he fell to the second round in the 2018 NBA Draft. Diallo will be the type of guy to compete in dunk contests, as he will probably have the highest vertical of any NBA player. It will be interesting to see how he develops, especially next to high flying PG Westbrook. Devon Hall and Kevin Hervey are risky picks, but they have a chance to pay off. Overall this was a risky draft for OKC.
I love the idea of selecting two guys that are 19 years old. They drafted Anfernee Simons and Gary Trent. I love Trent and think he will be a great basketball player, but I think that Portland should’ve picked a center, power forward or small forward. Then again when Trent is available at the 37th pick, it isn’t a bad idea to pick him. Simons is also a guard who looks accomplished all around. He has a good height and body of a guard, and I think he will excel in the league. This was one solid draft from the Trailblazers, I just don’t like how they selected two guards.
Jacob Evans might be a steal for Golden State. Last year they got Mr. Cash Considerations in Jordan Bell, and this time around they get Evans. He is a shooting guard that has an awesome jump shot, and is also a pretty good perimeter defender. He reminds me of a poor mans Klay Thompson, even though he still has many years to improve. In his first season, he will win a ring with a lineup of Curry, Thompson, Durant, Green, and Cousins. To say I’m upset Cousins signed with the Warriors is an under statement, especially because I am a Pelicans fan. Anyway, I think Evans will turn into a decent NBA player.
Im not a fan of Troy Brown, since he doesn’t look ready for the NBA. He has the height as a 6 foot 7 inch shooting guard, however he doesn’t have the athleticism that someone like Lonnie Walker has. I would’ve selected a lot of players over Troy Brown, maybe even trade down and get a player such as Robert Williams. If they don’t sign a guy such as Kyle O’Quinn, I don’t know why they traded Gortat. They need to make a move for a center, otherwise I am not sure if they can compete for a spot against the Warriors in the Finals.
That will be it for this long blog post, I hope everyone enjoyed!