NBA Draft: Grades For Every Team

Featured Image by: Gregory Payan/AP Photo

Written by Ben Pfeifer


Well, my mock draft sucked and so did the mock of every other analyst. This NBA draft was crazy and surprising, and here is how I think every team did.


Atlanta Hawks – B

The Hawks had a very solid NBA draft. The Hawks traded Jeff Teague and ended up with the 12th pick in the draft. Atlanta didn’t select any superstars or future Michael Jordans, but all of their players are good players who fit their needs. The Hawks took Taurean Prince, a solid high motor forward with the 12th pick. This may have been a bit high but he was a player of need. At 21st they took DeAndre Bembry, a solid wing who can defend all positions. The Hawks also took developmental player Isaia Cordinier. The Hawks had a very solid draft.


Boston Celtics – C

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Jaylen Brown (Young Kwak/Associated Press).
The Celtics had all of the potential in this draft to turn it around. They could have traded for a star like Jimmy Butler, or pick a player who can make a big impact immediately. But Danny Ainge screwed it up. Jaylen Brown is a phenomenal talent, but isn’t a good shooter or defender. The Celtics picked five players but traded Deyonta Davis, a second round steal. Sure the players they took are solid, but this night could have been so much better for Boston.


Brooklyn Nets – B –

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Caris Levert (Andy Lyons/Getty Images).
The hometown Nets did not have any picks coming into this draft, but did a good job to acquire some picks. Thaddeus Young was traded for eventually Caris Levert, who’s injury concerns are overshadowed by his top 10 talent. Isaiah Whitehead is a very solid combination guard and a hometown kid. The Brooklyn Nets quietly had a decent draft.


Charlotte Hornets – D

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Marco Belinelli (Derick E. Hingle/USA Today Sports).
The Hornets ended up with Zero players drafted. The only pick they had, the 22nd, was traded for Marco Belinelli. Don’t get me wrong Marco is a solid guy, but there was a lot of talent available at this pick, and the Hornets could have made a pick that would have had more of an impact than Belinelli.


Chicago Bulls – B-

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(Bob Leverone/Getty Images)
Chicago has officially gone into full rebuild mode. Derrick Rose is gone, and do not be surprised if Jimmy Butler is gone in the upcoming weeks as well. But, the Bulls drafted the AP player of the year Denzel Valentine. He has incredible upside, but there are questions with his knees and his ability to stay healthy. But clearly Chicago isn’t concerned. Expect Valentine to play good year one.


Cleveland Cavaliers – B+

The Cavs bought Kay felder off of the Atlanta Hawks. He is an incredible talent, described by some as a “5’9 Domimique Wilkins”. Cavs got a very good player.


Dallas Mavericks – C

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A.J. Hammons (Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Pres).
The Mavericks only had one second round pick. But with that, they drafted A.J. Hammons, a very solid player with loads of potential. Look for the Mavs to begin a rebuild soon enough.


Denver Nuggets – A

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Jamal Murray (USATSI).
Denver had a very good draft. They had three first round picks, and I think that they made each of them count. The Nuggets really need floor spacing to make room for Mudiay, and they did that. Jamal Murray is maybe the best offensive player and shooter in the class, and has potential to be a star. Juan Hernangomez is a great stretch four, and the most NBA ready international player. Malik Beasley is a great shooter with role player potential. Even though this isn’t baseball, Denver hit a home run tonight.


Detroit Pistons – A –

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Henry Ellenson (Calvin Mattheis).
Detroit was able to land my favorite big man, Henry Ellenson, at the 18th pick. This is what you call a steal. He is an amazing inside scorer, rebounder, and has solid handles for a big. His athleticism is a question, but the Pistons could make him something special. Detroit also took Michael Gbinije in the second, a solid scorer and role player.


Golden State Warriors – B+

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Damian Jones (Jim Brown/USA Today Sports).
Somehow, the Warriors ended up having a very good draft. They got Damian Jones at 30, who is an incredible talent with injury concerns and a need because of their weak center spot. The Warriors also traded for Patrick McCaw who is an incredible talent, a great defender on the wing, and a solid shooter. The Warriors made their insane roster even better.


Houston Rockets – C+

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Chianu Onuaku (Scott Utterback/The CJ).
Houston picked two centers in the second round. This is good with Dwight Howard most likely leaving this offseason. Zhou Qi is an intriguing prospect (remember the last time Houston took a Chinese Center). Chinanu Onuaku is a very good hustler and rebounder, and has potential to be a great role player.


Indiana Pacers – B+

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Thaddeus Young (David Zalubowski/Associated Press).
The Pacers only selected one player, a stretch four in Georges Niang. He is a solid player, but the Pacers got so much value out of draft picks. They traded their 20 pick for Thaddeus Young. He is a very good stretch four who is athletic and a good defender, and the Pacers really needed a power forward. Also the Pacers used the draft in a three-team trade to acquire Jeff Teague, a huge upgrade at point. Watch out for Indiana next season.


Los Angeles Clippers – B

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Brice Johnson (KWWL).
The Clippers had a solid draft. They took Brice Johnson, who plays well above the rim and will be perfect in Lob City. The former All American had one of the most all around games in the class could end up being a steal. Diamond Stone is young and immature, but his offensive capabilities could also make him a steal.


Los Angeles Lakers – A

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Brandon Ingram (Ted Richardson/AP Photo).
Brandon Ingram is already in place to be the next great Laker. He is an incredible scorer, and an athletic freak. He will be able to make an instant impact on the Lakers this year. Subtly the Lakers picked up Ivica Zubac, who many saw as a first round talent. Zubac could potentially replace the trash can that is Roy Hibbert.


Memphis Grizzlies – B+

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Wade Baldwin (USATSI).
Memphis made some great picks tonight. Wade Baldwin is a sleeper who fell to the 17th pick. He has a crazy wingspan and is extremely athletic. With point guard Mike Conley potentially leaving, Baldwin could be an ideal replacement. They also traded for Deyonta Davis, who is a great defender with superstar potential.


Miami Heat – N/A

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Pat Riley (Al Diaz/The Miami Herald).
Miami had no picks and made no trades this draft. Look for Pat Riley to pull out his wizard voodoo magic and sign Kevin Durant this offseason.


Milwaukee Bucks – C+

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Thon Maker (Under Armour).
A lot of people thought that Thon Maker would fall in the draft, but the Bucks nabbed him at the 10 spot. This was a shock to many, myself included, but the Bucks are confident in him. He has potential to be a freakish player, and that potential will land him a nice contract. Also, Milwaukee landed a steal in Malcom Brogdon who is a very solid shooter, defender, and leader.


Minnesota Timberwolves – B

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Kris Dunn (Stew Milne/Associated Press).
Minnesota only selected one player, but that player is the best guard in the draft. Kris Dunn is an athletic freak with great vision and a solid jump-shot. He is like John Wall with Kyrie Irving’s shooting and quickness. Wow! Dunn will help the Timberwolves roster, and boost their future dynasty chances. I think Minnesota could have filled a bigger need here, but Dunn was the best player available.


New Orleans Pelicans – A –

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Buddy Hield (Mark D. Smith/USA Today Sports).
The Pelicans drafted Buddy Hield who is the best shooter in the class, and has serious potential to be a legitimate number two player to Anthony Davis. If Buddy can develop, the Pelicans could easily become a playoff team in a few seasons. Also, Cheick Diallo  has the best motor in the draft and will be an awesome backup.


New York Knicks-N/A

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The Knicks made no selections or trades in this draft. But hey, they have Derrick Rose… right?


Oklahoma City Thunder – A

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Victor Oladipo (USA Today).
Somehow, the Thunder managed to potentially win the draft without making a single selection. The Thunder gave up Serge Ibaka but acquired Victor Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis, and Ersan Ilyasova. Sabonis could turn into a better version of Ibaka, and can play right away. Victor Oladipo is a young athletic freak with loads of potential.  By the way, whats the over under on dunks by the Thunder backcourt this season? Most importantly, this trade could help incentivize Kevin Durant to stay, and help the Thunder win a title.


Orlando Magic-C –

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Serge Ibaka (USA Today).
Orlando traded away the future of their franchise tonight for a player that has hit his ceiling. Sure, they got physicality on the inside but Sabonis is the definition of toughness and physicality. I dont understand this move for Orlando.


Philadelphia 76ers – A+

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Ben Simmons (Getty Images).
I really did not want to give any team an A+, but the 76ers really deserve it. Besides drafting Ben Simmons, who if you did not know is a once in a lifetime talent and a future star. The rest of the draft was great as well. They stole Timothe Luwawu, an incredible athletic two way player from France, and Furkan Korkmaz who is an insane scorer from Turkey. The future is so bright in Philly, and 76ers general manager Bryan Colangelo is the new mayor of Philadelphia.


Phoenix Suns – A-

The Suns had an awesome haul tonight. The Suns drafted international sensation Dragan Bender, and an all-around beast in Tyler Ulis. Also, they traded for Marquese Chriss, arguably the best power forward in this draft class. There are so many pieces Phoenix has, and they could really make a big splash this season.


Portland Trailblazers – C

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Jake Layman (Patrick Semansky/AP Photo).
The Blazers drafted Jake Layman, a solid shooter who could be a good role player. Not much else to say.


Sacramento Kings-C+

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Malachi Richardson (Mark Albert/Icon Sportswire).
The Kings traded Marquese Chriss, who is an incredible talent. Then, they drafted Georgios Papagiannis, a develomental player who most did not think would go anywhere near the first round. But they also took Malachi Richardson, an incredible scorer who has immense talent. Out of the trade they lastly got Skal Labissiere, who has potential to be one of the best players in the class. This draft is for the future for sure.


San Antonio Spurs – B

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Dejounte Murray (Ted S. Warren/Associated Press).
The Spurs drafted exactly how you would expect them to; simple, not flashy, and effective. They took Dejounte Murray who could become an excellent player and player to take over for Tony Parker. The Spurs did all they really needed to this draft.And it would make sense that the Spurs got a top 15 prospect at 29….


Toronto Raptors – B

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Pascal Siakam (Kevin Jairaj/USA Today Sports).
There was one thing that the Raptors needed to do, which was to upgrade the four spot, and they did. They took Jakob Poeltl, who is a great all around four who could make an instant impact at the glass on both ends. The Raptors also picked Pascal Siakam, a solid player who could be good in the future. Now, Toronto needs to focus on keeping DeMar DeRozan.


Utah Jazz – B –

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Marcus Paige (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images).
The Utah Jazz made a trade to gain stability at the point guard position, and George Hill certainly gives them that stability. This could be the stability they need to make it over the hump. Also, they took Marcus Paige and Joel Bolomboy in the second round, who are two sleepers that can contribute.


Washington Wizards-N/A

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Washington had no picks tonight. Nothing to say here.




















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