Columns Front Office Writers Joe Heisman NBA Sports

2018 NBA Draft grades

The NBA Draft has concluded and now teams are looking ahead to free agency. How did these teams draft this season though?

Eastern Conference

Atlanta Hawks: B

Players drafted: Trae Young PG, Kevin Huerter SG, Omari Spellman PF

Whether you like Young or not, the Hawks did trade down to grab him, which makes things better. That fits more into Young’s range. They will have to trade Dennis Schroeder to clear the point guard spot for Young in the coming weeks. Kevin Huerter and Spellman were taken at solid times in the draft and will help spread the floor with their three-point shooting.

Boston Celtics: A+

Players drafted: Robert Williams PF

The Celtics patiently waited for their pick at 27 while players started falling for numerous reasons. Williams was a projected lottery pick that they were able to get late in the first round. This is a great fit for Boston because they could use some depth and athleticism in their frontcourt and got extremely good value with the pick.

Brooklyn Nets:  D+

Players drafted: Dzanan Musa SF, Rodions Kurucs PF

Musa and Kurucs aren’t bad picks mind you, but the Nets are still getting dinged by trading away all of their first-round picks the last few years to the Celtics. This is a team that should’ve been drafting in the lottery but has been struggling to rebuild because they don’t own their own picks.

Charlotte Hornets: B

Players drafted: Miles Bridges F, Arnoldas Kulboka F

Charlotte originally drafted Shai Gilgeous-Alexander but traded down a pick to the Clippers to get Bridges. This fits his range, fills a need and gave the Hornets more assets. The Hornets’ front office deserves some credit for getting the Clippers in a bidding war with other teams for Gilgeous-Alexander (Suns were also rumored to move up) and got the trade done.

Chicago Bulls: B-

Players drafted: Wendell Carter PF/C, Chandler Hutchison SG/SF

The Bulls maybe didn’t get a future all-star but got a solid player in Carter, who can stretch the floor and protect the rim with incredible timing. The question is: How long can Carter and Markkanen play on the floor together. Hutchison was a great pickup later in the first round as a good scoring wing. If he develops his three-point shot, this pick could be a steal.

Cleveland Cavaliers: A-

Players drafted: Collin Sexton PG

With a lot of the top prospects off the board, the Cavs took one of the best available. They need a point guard and Sexton can be an impact from day one. He needs to work on his jump shot but the other facets of his game are solid. His work ethic is second to none, as Alabama coaches had to kick him out of the gym because he was there so much.

Detroit Pistons: B

Players drafted: Bruce Brown G

Detroit used their first-round pick to acquire Blake Griffin. They won’t regret that decision. With their second-round pick, Brown presented good value and could turn into a solid contributing combo guard.

Indiana Pacers: A

Players drafted: Aaron Holliday PG, Alize Johnson PF

The Pacers needed a point guard to play alongside Victor Oladipo and they got a nice fit. Holiday can play off-ball and shoot, which is essential because of Oladipo’s knack for handling the ball. WIth Holiday the floor will be spread for Oladipo and Turner. The current Pacers will also love Holiday’s passing ability. Alize Johnson provides frontcourt depth.

Miami Heat: N/A

The Miami Heat didn’t have a pick in this draft.

Milwaukee Bucks: B

Players drafted: Donte DiVincenzo G

Getting more outside shooting was a must for the Bucks and they got a player who can help that in DiVincenzo. He is also athletic with the ability to turn into a good defender. If he can provide a spark off the bench, Milwaukee will be really happy with their decision.

New York Knicks: B

Players drafted Kevin Knox F

The Knicks reportedly fell in love with Knox after a joint workout with Miles Bridges. Knox dominated the workout and impressed. He’s a big wing, who can shoot the three, but does need to improve that area of his game. Hopefully for the Knicks he can provide another player to take some pressure off of Kristaps Porzingis.

Orlando Magic: C

Players drafted: Mo Bamba C, Melvin Frazier F

Orlando didn’t address their biggest need in guard play but instead further addressed the forwards and center positions. Bamba is really long and athletic but he may not be able to play in crunch time, much like similar centers Rudy Gobert and Hassan Whiteside. Melvin Frazier is a really athletic forward but needs to hone his offensive games.

Philadelphia 76ers: C

Players drafted: Zhaire Smith G, Landry Shamet PG, Khyri Thomas G

The 76ers could have drafted a whole lineup in this draft. They selected Mikal Bridges, who’s mom works for the team, and then traded him to the Suns for Zhaire Smith. Smith is an undersized, athletic “3 and D” player.  Landry Shamet and Khyri Thomas can provide some insurance and depth at the guard spot. They had a lot of picks but trading down for Smith seemed bizarre because Bridges fit their needs.

Toronto Raptors: N/A

The Toronto Raptors did not have a pick in this draft.

Washington Wizards: D

Players drafted: Troy Brown G, Issuf Sanon PG

Washington had some head-scratching picks in this draft. They drafted Troy Brown, who will have a hard time fitting in on the perimeter in the NBA with the lack of a three-point shot. Then in the second round, the Wizards drafted someone who was not on many draft boards in Sanon.

Western Conference

Dallas Mavericks: C

Players drafted: Luka Doncic G, Jalen Brunson PG, Shake Milton G, Ray Spalding PF, Kostas Antetokounmpo PF

The Mavericks traded up for Doncic, but there has to be questions of how to best use Dennis Smith Jr. and Doncic at the same time. Other than that they loaded up on guards, who may not be able to get that much playing time at the moment. They did trade with the 76ers for Spalding and Antetokounmpo which are both players that will need to be worked with.

Denver Nuggets: A+

Players drafted: Michael Porter Jr. F, Jarred Vanderbilt Thomas Welsh C

Denver missed the playoffs by a game last season and lucked out with Michael Porter Jr. falling to them at number 14. While he fell because of back and hip issues, taking a player at number 14 who has that type of potential is worth the risk. He can also fill in at small forward, an area of need for the Nuggets. Vanderbilt is a good offensive rebounder and energy player. Welsh won’t have much of an impact but the first pick was so good that the Nuggets are happy, if Porter Jr. can stay healthy.

Golden State Warriors: B

Players drafted: Jacob Evans G/F

Evans is a great “3 and D” prospect but doesn’t need to shoot better to really fit the mold. He will benefit playing in the pros, as in college at Cincinnati, not much of an offense was run. Evans fits a need for a bench wing player for Golden State and can spell Klay Thompson.

Houston Rockets: B

Players drafted: De’Anthony Melton G

The Rockets got good value in Melton and can hope that he will be a good bench guard to help give breaks to James Harden and Chris Paul if he re-signs.

Los Angeles Clippers: B+

Players drafted: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander G, Jerome Robinson G

While their pick of Gilgeous-Alexander was great, they traded up one pick to get him. He will be a great defender and solid shooter who can run the pick and rolls with DeAndre Jordan all day. Robinson was drafted a little bit early than many thought but is a great offensive prospect.

Los Angeles Lakers: B

Players drafted: Moe Wagner PF/C, Isaac Bonga PG, Svi Mykhailiuk G/F

Wagner is a big who can stretch the floor but has liabilities defensively. He can be a good role player. Isaac Bonga was a surprise pick but Mykhailiuk is an elite shooter who might be able to make the roster if he hits shots.

Memphis Grizzlies: A-

Players drafted: Jaren Jackson Jr. PF, Jevon Carter PG

Jackson will compliment Marc Gasol down low very well. The Grizzlies have needed a good four-man for a while and the fact that he can shoot so well is just a bonus. He will have an impact from the first game on. Carter was maybe drafted a little earlier than expected but he fits the mindset of “Grind City”.

Minnesota Timberwolves: C

Players drafted: Josh Okogie G, Keita Bates-Diop F

Minnesota drafted Okogie a little too early but he can develop into a good “3 and D” prospect with some nice athleticism as well. Keita Bates-Diop was a steal in the second round. These players will be forgotten on the Timberwolves’ bench.

New Orleans Pelicans: A

Players drafted: Tony Carr G

The Pelicans need good guard play, and for DeMarcus Cousins to stay healthy, if they are going to advance further in the West. Carr won’t start but can help the guard play stay consistently good when Rajon Rondo (if he signs) and Jrue Holiday go to the bench.

Oklahoma City Thunder: C

Players drafted: Devon Hall G, Kevin Hervey F, Hamidou Diallo G

The Thunder didn’t pick until late in the night but got some decent players. Hall is a good defender and shooter, something they need more of. Hervey will provide frontcourt depth. They traded for Diallo, who is one of the best athletes in the class, although his defense needs to be better.

Phoenix Suns: A

Players drafted: DeAndre Ayton C, Mikal Bridges G/F, Elie Okobo PG, George King G

Ayton was the sure-fire first overall pick and the Suns made the right choice. He can fill the huge need down low for the Suns. They traded for Mikal Bridges and got good value with him but it will be interesting to see how the team works out with Devin Booker, T.J. Warren and Josh Jackson all playing the wings already. Getting a developmental point guard like Elie Okobo was necessary in the second round.

Portland Trail Blazers: B-

Players drafted: Anfernee Simons G, Gary Trent G

The Blazers got some guard depth and some shooting with Trent. It is still unclear as to what the team’s plans are going forward.

Sacramento Kings: A

Players drafted: Marvin Bagley PF

Sacramento traded their second round pick Gary Trent to the Trail Blazers but got everything they could’ve wanted in Bagley. He was the only top prospect to work out for the Kings and joins some young, promising talent. He will start at the four with De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield and Willie Cauley-Stein flanking him.

San Antonio Spurs: B+

Players drafted: Lonnie Walker IV G, Chimezie Metu PF

The Spurs got a good combo guard in Walker and got an athletic frontcourt player in Metu. They may never be all-stars but could be successful in the Spurs’ system. Both were great value picks.

Utah Jazz: D

Players drafted: Grayson Allen G, Vincent Edwards F

Allen was drafted too early but the Jazz have experience in taking good combo guards. He is athletic and can shoot, although his defense leaves a lot to be desired. He may not get the most playing time as a rookie with Rubio and Mitchell taking a lot of them. Edwards is a versatile player but could have been signed as an undrafted free agent. Either way they didn’t replace Derrick Favors who might leave in free agency.

 

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