As you can all tell by now, I was very excited for the NBA Draft. Throughout the night, I wrote down my instant reactions to each pick and gave teams a letter grade for how I felt about their pick.
- New Orleans Pelicans – Zion Williamson: Grade A+
Explanation: Even if it’s the most obvious choice in the history of mankind, I can’t understate how great Zion is. Zion is going to be an all timer and there is no plausible argument against him.
2.Memphis Grizzlies – Ja Morant: Grade A-
Explanation: I know it’s a bit nitpicky to grade him as an A- when he is most likely going to be an all star and makes perfect sense for Memphis. I’m not as in love with him and he’s not full proof due to his poor mechanics and low defensive ability, but I still think Ja is going to be pretty awesome.
3. New York Knicks – RJ Barrett: Grade A-
Explanation: Similar to Ja, I agree with the Knicks taking RJ, I just can’t give an A+ to a top pick who isn’t an absolute sure thing like Zion. Still not a lot to debate to this point.
4. Atlanta Hawks (Via Lakers and Pelicans) – De’Andre Hunter: Grade B
Explanation: It may feel like I’m contradicting myself if Hunter’s fifth on my Big Board and I relatively like him. However, I don’t like the idea of trading up for a high floor but low ceiling prospect. We were only sure about the top three guys, and having multiple picks seems more valuable to me. But I still don’t hate the move.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers – Darius Garland: Grade C+
Explanation: So will the Cavs give up 140 points per game this year? Will they ever throw a pass when their guards are Garland, Sexton, and Jordan Clarkson? I can almost feel Larry Nance’s pain right now. I generally like Garland and it’s his talent and shooting ability that prevented me from dropping this grade to a D. However, the Cavs were the one team I did not want him to go. He does not fit at all with Colin Sexton and I can already see the problems. Side note: Woj said the Cavs feel like they have their Lillard and McCollum now. Um so do they want to be the Trail Blazers? Is their ultimate aspiration a team that at their very best can make the Conference Finals in a depleted bracket.
6. Minnesota Timberwolves (Via Phoenix Suns) – Jarret Culver: Grade B-
Explanation: I’m not a huge Culver guy, evidenced by my ranking of him at eighth, but I can’t totally crap on the pick. Culver has some of the ball handling and defensive chops that Minnesota has craved, so I can live with trading up for a guy who fills your needs. Also, just learned that Culver is a Christian and his father, a pastor, has the best voice I’ve ever heard.
7. Chicago Bulls – Coby White: Grade B-
Explanation: It’s a reach plain and simple, as Coby is just not all he’s hyped up to be in my opinion. But yet again, I can live with a pick if it fills the team’s need, and the Bulls desperately needed a point guard. He was the best one available, so the pick remains logical.
8. New Orleans Pelicans (Via Atlanta Hawks) – Jaxson Hayes: Grade C-
Explanation: I’ll be the one to play devil’s advocate against the Pelicans hype train. I was really disappointed by this pick. I thought Cam Reddish would have fit really well with the young New Orleans core, and I had Hayes ranked all the way down at 19. He has no ball skills and is lost and raw on defense. Yet, I can’t say I don’t understand the pick at least a little bit. They need a center to pair with Zion, and I understand the appeal of a freaky athlete like Hayes being paired with Zion to create a lob city scenario. It’s still a reach and I feel like he’s going to be a bench guy when all is said and done.
9. Washington Wizards – Rui Hachimura: Grade C+
Explanation: Again, another reach and I don’t love the fact that Rui struggles with defense and passing (It’s not like the Wizards already struggled with those, am I right?). He is a high character guy and a relatively safe pick who will contribute at some level even in the worst scenario, so I do see Washington’s logic in needing to secure a known commodity with all the flux and chaos that surrounds their franchise.
10. Atlanta Hawks – Cam Reddish: Grade A-
Explanation: He slipped farther then I thought he would in the draft, and the fact that Atlanta was able to still get him at ten AND trade up for the guy they really like is impressive. I can already visualize the starting lineup of Trae Young, Kevin Huerter, Cam Reddish, De’Andre Hunter, and John Collins in Atlanta. I think with the current state of their franchise, Atlanta could afford to take a high risk, high reward guy like Cam.
11. Phoenix Suns (Via Minnesota Timberwolves) – Cameron Johnson: Grade D-
Explanation: I’ll admit this is a frustration grade. I loved Cam … at potentially the 24th pick to the Sixers, not at number 11. Not for a team that traded down to get a shooter when they desperately needed a point guard. Not for a team that is young and could stand to get a high potential player, not a baseline shooter. They stole my guy and they won’t even make it work. So you get a D- Suns, take that!
12. Charlotte Hornets – PJ Washington: Grade B-
Explanation: Typical blah Hornets’ pick. I think he’s good. I think that at the very least he can score inside over mismatches and that he can be an average defender. However, I can’t justify passing on Brandon Clarke right here. He’s amazing and the Hornets needed to take a big swing on a high upside guy, not a safe, “Hey at least we can’t totally fail” player. At least it wasn’t Luke Maye.
13. Miami Heat – Tyler Herro: Grade F
Explanation: I hate it. I hate it. I hate it. He was ranked 30th on my board, as he will not be able to defend, pass efficiently, and his shot is good, but not at the elite NBA level it would need to be in order for him to be worth his hype. Terrible pick.
14. Boston Celtics – Romeo Langford: Grade D+
Explanation: Sorry Trevor. I know he fills a gaping need and he has the talent to be an all star, but he’s also a selfish, disengaged player that is much more likely to be traded by February of next year. Yet another reach so far tonight.
15. Detroit Pistons – Sekou Doumbouya: Grade A
Explanation: I love it. Sekou has slipped way too far, with the talent to be one of the draft’s five best players but the athleticism to at the very least not fail, and on top of all that, the Pistons desperately needed a wing like him.
16. Orlando Magic – Chuma Okeke: Grade B-
Explanation: Dangit Orlando!!! Why, why do you have to make me give a middling grade to a prospect I love. Chuma is an awesome shooter and I’m confident he can bounce back from that ACL tear, but the Magic have needed a point guard for a decade and they already have a plethora of versatile wings like Jonathan Isaac and Aaron Gordon. It’s a reach, even if I love the prospect.
17. New Orleans Pelicans – Nickeil Alexander-Walker: Grade C-
Explanation: Geez I feel like the anti-Pelicans guy now. How can you pass on Clarke or Thybulle there? I feel like both would fit in perfectly with their young core, while NAW just creates a backcourt log jam with Lonzo and Jrue. Not a good pick even if he slid from most projections.
18. Indiana Pacers – Goga Bitadze: Grade C
Explanation: Positives: Goga was one of the most talented players available and definitely should have been drafted higher. Negatives: The Pacers already have Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner, young big men that already didn’t fit together. How does another plodding center make that situation any easier?
19. San Antonio Spurs – Luka Samanic: Grade D+
Explanation: Uhh, is there anything else to say besides I think he’s kind of soft and not very good. I ranked him 53rd and I have a lot of trouble believing in him. The single reason that I didn’t give an F is due the Spurs’ history with European success. Still waiting for my man Brandon Clarke.
20. Philadelphia 76ers (Via Boston Celtics) – Matisse Thybulle: Grade A+++
Explanation: Dreams really do come true. I ranked Thybulee at number ten on my board, and I raved about his other worldly defense. I don’t care if he’s not a great fit, I freaking love this guy.
21. Memphis Grizzlies (Via Oklahoma City Thunder) – Brandon Clarke: Grade A+
Explanation: Finally!!! My guys!!! I ranked him 4th on the board for a reason. He is going to be a star, I guarantee it. He and Jaren Jackson Jr. should already be one of the best defensive frontcourts in the whole league. I couldn’t love this pick any more.
22. Boston Celtics – Grant Williams: Grade C
Explanation: Ehh, don’t hate it, don’t love it. It’s probably a reach and he definitely would have been available at no.24. But he’s a near perfect replacement for Marcus Morris, and I think he can serve in their rotation. I’d rather Matisse, but that’s me 😉
23. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Jazz and Grizzlies) – Darius Bazley: Grade D-
Explanation: Why. I. Hate. The. Thunder. They believe in overhyped, athletes over actually skilled basketball players who value team basketball and character. Only reason it’s not an F is the kid’s upside. But I just can’t get over this. The Thunder just always become more dislikable.
24. Phoenix Suns (via Celtics and 76ers) – Ty Jerome: Grade A
Explanation: I love this one for a multitude of reasons. A) Ty Jerome embodies everything I love about basketball, b) he can ease the backcourt load off of Devin Booker, and c) Boston just traded out of the first round for useless assets and gave up Ty Jerome and Matisse Thybulle, two of the best steals in the draft. It’s a beautiful thing.
25. Portland Trail Blazers – Nassir Little: Grade A
Explanation: Great pick. He fell way lower than anyone thought, and he can definitely contribute to a Portland team dying for better wings. I’m not a huge fan of his, but Portland is getting great value from this draft position.
26. Cleveland Cavaliers – Dylan Windler: Grade B-
Explanation: I mean the Cavs have already forfeited defense altogether, so you might as well take the best shooter left. He’s a likable guy and I’m okay with reaching at this point in the draft. Only major gripe is that Nicolas Claxton was still available.
27. Los Angeles Clippers (Via Brooklyn Nets) – Mfiondu Kabengele: Grade C-
Explanation: A reach as I ranked him in the 30s, and I don’t understand why you trade for a towering center when you already have Montrezl Harrell and Ivica Zubac. I would’ve liked this pick a lot more if it was a scoring wing like Louis King or Isaiah Roby.
28. Golden State Warriors – Jordan Poole: Grade FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF
EXPLANATION: WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU DOING JOE LACOB??? EVEN BOL BOL OR KEVIN PORTER JR. WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER! I DIDN’T EVEN HAVE HIM RANKED! THIS IS HORRIBLE! (Btw I may or may not have passed out after writing this).
29. San Antonio Spurs – Keldon Johnson: Grade C-
Explanation: I’m pretty low on his potential and he is a really boring prospect that lacks a standout trait. Perfect guy for the Spurs, but they probably should have taken Nicolas Claxton.
30. Cleveland Cavaliers (Via Milwaukee Bucks) – Kevin Porter Jr.: Grade F
Explanation: I’m sorry, I just think he’s a horrible prospect. The Cavs’ 2020 defense is about to be a sieve on a level we never could have imagined. Horrible draft for the Cavs and it’s salt in the wound that they had to trade up to grab poor character, horrible effort prospect. I couldn’t care less about his “upside.”
31. Brooklyn Nets – Nicolas Claxton: Grade A
Explanation: Finally. Claxton has some incredible upside as a playmaking center, and at the very least he’s a high energy big who protects the rim at an elite level. An absolute steal by Brooklyn who continue to look very dangerous going into next year.
32. Miami Heat (Via Suns and Pacers) – KZ Okpala: Grade C+
Explanation: I still can’t believe the Suns gave the Pacers this pick and TJ Warren for freaking cash. And I can’t believe Miami gave the Pacers three second round picks for this one. Cash for TJ Warren and three second round picks. Unbelievable. I don’t love Okpala, but picking him at 32 is rather reasonable given his upside and length.
33. Boston Celtics (Via Sixers) – Carsen Edwards: Grade A
Explanation: I love Carsen and it hurts that the Sixers had to give him to our rivals (it’s worth it for Matisse, but still). Only reason I can’t give the Celtics an A+ is that they already drafted Romeo, and I don’t like the idea of him hoarding minutes over Carsen.
34. Philadelphia 76ers (Via Celtics) – Bruno Fernando: Grade D-
Explanation: Awful. He’s not without talent and there could have been worse picks, but the last thing the Sixers needed was a center, let alone one that can’t shoot. Why couldn’t this pick have been Carsen Edwards.
35. New Orleans Pelicans (Via Hawks) – Marcos Louzada Silva: Grade F
Explanation: Didn’t even have him on my board and had little to no idea who he was. The definition of an unnecessary pick. He would have been available as an undrafted free agent.
36. Charlotte Hornets – Cody Martin: Grade D-
Explanation: He’s an older player who relies on isolation scoring, what more do I need to say? Horrible pick.
37. Detroit Pistons (Via Dallas Mavericks) – Deividas Sirvydas: Grade D
Explanation: A way too ambitious trade up for a very unathletic forward even when guys like Isaiah Roby, Luguentz Dort, Talen Horton-Tucker, and Louis King were still available. The draft is getting frustratingly incompetent at this point.
38. Chicago Bulls – Daniel Gafford: Grade D-
Explanation: He has very little upside due to his complete lack of shooting, on ball shooting, and reliable switchability. In addition, he makes no sense long term with a Bulls team that already has Lauri Markannen and Wendell Carter.
39. Golden State Warriors (Via Pelicans) – Alen Smailagic: Grade F
Explanation: I am absolutely flabbergasted by the run of picks in the 2nd round tonight.
40. Sacramento Kings – Justin James: Grade F
Explanation: Repeat: flabbergasted.
41. Golden State Warriors – Eric Paschall: Grade B+
Explanation: Oh thank goodness, I was getting worried. There’s still a hope for intelligence in the NBA. Paschall has many flaws, but he fits the Draymond mold as a smart, big bodied defender who also flashes potential on offense.
42. Washington Wizards (Via 76ers) – Admiral Schofield: Grade A
Explanation: Admiral will succeed at some level. He’s too intense, strong, and sweet shooting to fail. Only reason I can’t give the Wiz an A+ for stealing him this late is the fact that they already drafted Rui, who for all intensive purposes is in the exact same mold of a player as Admiral.
43. Minnesota Timberwolves – Jaylen Nowell: Grade F
Explanation: I’m sorry guys. I have no idea who the heck this is and I checked just about every mock draft imaginable. Completely inexplicable.
44. Denver Nuggets (Via Miami Heat) – Bol Bol: Grade A-
Explanation: I would have said you’re crazy if you told me I would give a pick of Bol an A tonight. But when a guy drops this far, you just have to take him at some point. The high upside is totally worth it for a second round pick.
45. Detroit Pistons – Isaiah Roby: Grade A+
Explanation: I had him ranked 24 for his great ability to create off the dribble at his size. He’s going to be a really solid player and maybe even a top tier one. Excellent pick and a great night for the Pistons so far.
46. Los Angeles Lakers (Via Magic) – Talen Horton-Tucker: Grade B-
Explanation: Good value as he should have been taken in the 30s and he can contribute to the Lakers immediately with his defense, but his lack of jump shooting does not project him as a complementary teammate to LeBron.
47. Sacramento Kings – Ignas Brazdeikis: Grade B+
Explanation: He can score and simply tries too hard to be a minus on defense. His expressive on court attitude also fits the culture the Kings are building around Fox. Only misgiving is that their was still some better talent available.
48. Los Angeles Clippers – Terrance Mann: Grade B+
Explanation: Very Clippers-esque player. He’s athletic, hungry, and flies around the court trying to do everything he can for his team. Don’t be shocked if he’s a useful asset in a couple of years.
49. San Antonio Spurs – Quinndary Weatherspoon: Grade C-
Explanation: I didn’t like him very much, but a lot of more qualified people did so I can’t be totally confident in how I speak of him. I still think that there were more talented players available however.
50. Utah Jazz (Via Pacers) – Jarrell Brantley: Grade F
Explanation: If anyone can explain to me why this pick wasn’t Louis King from Oregon I will give them large sums of money.
51. Boston Celtics – Tremont Waters: Grade A-
Explanation: I’m a huge believer in Waters as the prototypical backup point guard who can run an offense without any problems. I do have a problem with the Celtics drafting three point guards in one draft, especially when my least favorite of the three was the lottery pick, but oh well.
52. Charlotte Hornets (Via Thunder)- Jalen McDaniels: Grade C+
Explanation: Plenty of upside, but only as a lockdown, switchable defender. The offense will most likely never be there. I’m thoroughly convinced I’ll never be excited by a Charlotte pick.
53. Utah Jazz – Justin Wright-Foreman: Grade B-
Explanation: I don’t love the tiny, isolation scorer as a prospect, but I like the fit for Utah. He has the potential to run their second unit offense, which is much needed considering they traded away depth for Mike Conley.
54. Philadelphia 76ers – Marial Shayok: Grade B
Explanation: I didn’t really scout him much but he was a beast when the Cyclones played Ohio St. and Trevor really likes him. Those are two good signs to me.
55. New York Knicks – Kyle guy: Grade D
Explanation: Ah this is too good to be true. Kyle Guy and his overrated style of play just because he’s a white guard who can shoot are going to the Big Apple. Mass comedy should ensue and I can’t wait.
56. Brooklyn Nets (Via Clippers) – Jaylen Hands: Grade F
Explanation: One of the worst attitudes I’ve ever seen from any college player. So bad that I didn’t even bother scouting him. This should have been Louis King.
57. Detroit Pistons (Via Atlanta Hawks) – Jordan Bone: Grade C
Explanation: At this point, it’s okay as long as teams draft the guys they really like. Bone has the athleticism and handle to be a solid backup, but I’m not going to be happy unless someone drafts Louis King.
58. Utah Jazz (Via Warriors) – Miye Oni: Grade B+
Explanation: A player from Yale going to the sterotypically smart Utah Jazz? Awesome. I don’t think he’s as great as others do, but taking a guy who I recognize is something at this point.
59. Toronto Raptors – Dewan Hernandez: Grade F
Explanation: (Insert complaint about this guy who I didn’t scout being drafted over Louis King)
60. Sacramento Kings – Vanja Marinkovic: Grade (Not worthy of one)
Explanation: Horrible showing by the General Managers tonight, who passed up this entire list you’re about to read: Zach Norvell Jr., Zylan Cheatham, Louis King, Luguentz Dort, Jontay Porter, Terrence Davis, Jalen Lecque, Naz Reid, John Konchar, Sagaba Konate, Jaylen Hoard, Shamorie Ponds. Justin Robinson, DaQuan Jeffries. All those guys are better basketball players than half of the second rounders that were taken tonight, especially all those random European players no one had heard of. It was entertaining, perplexing, and ultimately infuriating. Oh well, on to free agency!!!