This article was done by both myself and Eric Fischer. Special thanks to Eric for helping to get this done efficiently and with great quality! How did we do for your team? Let us know in the comment section!
While the picks for the Atlanta Hawks had great value, particularly with sophomore John Collins from Wake Forest, perhaps their best move in the draft happened before the draft even began when they traded Dwight Howard to the Charlotte Hornets. Collins averaged 19.2 ppg and 9.8 rebounds per game and will look to have an immediate impact in the Hawks frontcourt. The Hawks then used the 41st pick they received from the Hornets to add some depth to the SG position and took sophomore Tyler Dorsey who will add depth behind Marco Belinelli, another piece of the Dwight Howard trade. Alpha Kaba was the last pick of the draft and he will most likely not be on the team this upcoming season.
Overall Grade: B
I will try to be as unbiased as I can with grading the Boston Celtics as they are the team that I root for. I really liked the Jayson Tatum pick and especially like that Danny Ainge was able to move down in the draft to take him thus netting the Celtics even more future draft picks. Tatum will fit in well with the young core Ainge is building and also gives the Celtics the ability to deal Jae Crowder. While I liked the Tatum pick and knew all about him, I was very happy with the 37th overall pick; SMU stretch forward Semi Ojeleye. Ojeleye may not have the height (6’ 7”) nor the length (6’ 10”) to play power forward in the NBA, but he is 235 pounds and looks strong enough to be considered ‘NBA ready’. He also boasts a 40.5 vertical leap and has a highlight reel filled with high- flying slams. The Celtics then selected two shooting guards in an attempt to find one that, hopefully, is able to compete for a roster spot. They took Kadeem Allen from Arizona with the 53rd overall pick and Jabari Bird from California with the 56th overall pick. Allen is a 6’ 3” three and D type player while Bird is bit taller at 6’ 6” and looks to attack the rim more than Allen. Both of these players have potential to eventually backup Jaylen Brown off the bench once Avery Bradley departs from the team.
Overall Grade: A-
The Brooklyn Nets don’t have a lot going for them (and won’t for some time), but Jarrett Allen out of Texas was a steal with 22nd pick and as a Celtics fan, I am disappointed that the Nets were able to acquire the 6’ 11” freshman who averaged 13.4ppg as well as 8.4 rebounds per game for a Texas team that struggled. The real value Allen offers is his ability to run the floor which he will look to do plenty of with newly acquired D’Angelo Russell. At the end of the day, Allen may actually turn out to fit better with the Nets than the man he will look to replace; Brook Lopez. To top it all off Allen was well composed during his interview and appears to be a quality individual as well. The Nets only had one other pick which they used to ‘draft and stash’ Spanish forward Aleksandar Vezenkov who will most likely not play in the NBA this year.
Overall Grade: B+
In a draft that could go down as best Charlotte has had since taking Kemba Walker, the Hornets added another dynamic scorer in Kentucky SG Malik Monk. Monk can do it all on the offensive side, shooting 45% from the floor and 39.7% from behind the arc. Monk averaged just under 20 points per game. Monk started the year as one of the top college prospects in the country and could go down as the steal of the draft, falling to the 11th pick. Monk will have to step up defensively as he will be probably playing the 2-guard spot alongside Kemba Walker. With their second round pick, the Hornets selected Dwayne Bacon with the 40th pick. Bacon may not have had the best start to his career after being introduced as Dwayne Wade by Hornets GM Rich Cho. Bacon will look to be a role player, assuming he is on the roster. It’s worth noting that Charlotte traded the 41st pick along with Miles Plumlee and Marco Belinelli to acquire Dwight Howard and the 31st pick.
Overall Grade: A-
The Chicago Bulls executed a trade that has been anticipated for quite some time when they moved All- Star guard Jimmy Butler to the Timberwolves in exchange for Kris Dunn, Zach Lavine, and the 7th overall pick from Finland; Lauri Markkanen. The trade was a HORRIBLE deal for Chicago because Kris Dunn was very underwhelming last season despite being the 5th overall pick and Lavine is coming off a season in which he tore his ACL which is huge for someone who makes their living with their quickness and high- flying ability. Markkanen was incredibly efficient for Arizona in his only year there shooting 54.5% from the field and 42.3% from three point range. Look for Markkanen’s game to resemble that of New York (for now) forward Kristaps Porzingis. The Bulls used their 16th overall pick on Creighton center Justin Patton which was a peculiar pick given that they already acquired a 7 footer in Markkanen. Overall this draft was very poor for the Bulls from both a selection standpoint as well as a trade that will leave them in a tanking situation which will most likely not be appreciated by Dwayne Wade and Rajon Rondo.
Overall Grade: D
Cleveland did not have a draft pick in this year’s draft. That being said, I firmly believe they missed a couple opportunities that their main competition, the Warriors, did take such as buying out draft pick contracts (see GSW below). Mortgaging the future to win now may be slowly creeping up on the Cavaliers as up and coming teams in the East such as Boston, Charlotte, and Milwaukee all got significant pieces in the draft to fill needs.
Overall Grade: N/A
The Dallas Mavericks had only one pick in the 2017 NBA Draft and they used it to take PG Dennis Smith Jr. from NC State. Smith Jr. averaged 18.1 ppg, 6.2 assists per game, and shot 50.9% from the field and just under 36% from three point range in his lone season with the Wolfpack. He joins a team that is an odd mix of seasoned veterans like Dirk Nowitzki, Wesley Matthews, and Harrison Barnes and unproven talent like Nerlens Noel, Yogi Ferrell, and Seth Curry. The addition of Smith Jr. also gives the Mavs flexibility to deal players such as J.J. Barea and Devin Harris. Personally, I believe that Dennis Smith Jr. and his Russell Westbrook esque explosiveness will lead to him being in conversation for the best PG to come out of this draft class. The one thing I took issue with for the Mavericks in this draft was not being able to package a deal that would have gotten them at least another pick in the draft.
Overall Grade: B+
Call it realistic, call it blah, the Denver Nuggets didn’t really do anything to make the jump to contender status, adding Tyler Lydon from Syracuse with the 24th pick. The Nuggets had two 2nd round picks and used them on International hooper Vlatko Cancar and Monte Morris from Iowa State. Lydon is a standout sharpshooter with numbers to back it up, shooting 52.3% from the floor and 39.2% from behind the arc. It is a curious pick, given that Denver has abundance of guys that can play the 4. The second round picks will most likely not be huge contributors to the team, but congrats on being drafted gentleman.
Overall Grade: C+
Detroit had just one pick in this years NBA Draft, and used it to take the dynamic breakout SG from Duke, Luke Kennard. Kennard had a breakout season at Duke, including a 43.8 three point percentage as well as showing his all around skill that took pressure off of the Duke freshman group and Grayson Allen. Kennard is a guy that Detroit can build their team around, with his ability to shoot, as well as create for others with his sound ball handling and defense. Will Detroit be an NBA Playoff team this year? Probably not. Did they pick perhaps the best fit for their team? Yes.
Overall grade: A-
Golden State Warriors:
For the second straight year, Golden State bought a player from the team that drafted him, this year taking Oregon PF Jordan Bell. Bell has drawn many comparisons to Defensive Player of the Year, and teammate Draymond Green. In fact, Green felt a little heat, reportedly having some words with Warriors GM Bob Myers and an intense FaceTime conversation with Bell himself. If Bell can reach the levels of the comparisons that he is receiving, the Warriors just got even better.
Overall Grade: A
The Rockets did not have a first round pick in this year’s draft and took German center Isaiah Hartenstein with the 43rd overall pick. Hartenstein is extremely unknown and averaged only 3.2 minutes per game last season and averaged just one point per game. At 7’ and 225 he certainly has the size to be a decent center in the league, but he has a long way to go before the young 19 year old will be able to play in the NBA. The Rockets then traded their 45th overall selection, Oregon junior Dillon Brooks, to the Memphis Grizzlies for a future second round pick. It is hard for me to give the Rockets a good grade out of this draft, but I will give them the benefit of the doubt with Hartenstein given that he is a player that fits a position of need for the Rockets.
Overall Grade: C
With the 18th and 47th picks of the draft, the Pacers took a pair of UCLA teammates; TJ Leaf (18th overall) and Ike Anigbogu (47th overall). Leaf is a 6’ 10” PF whose play focuses on shooting from mid range. In the NBa he will be expected to expand that range into three point territory. Leaf is unique in his ability to run the floor where he excelled with Lonzo Ball’s passing skills. Leaf will be buried on the bench behind Turner and Jefferson but those are two players that will have a lot of knowledge to share with him as he develops his game. As for Anigbogu, he will most likely compete for a roster spot with Leaf as they are just about the same size and play the same position. The only difference is Leaf is more athletic than Anigbogu while Anigbogu is more of a physical presence inside and plays like a more traditional big man. The final pick for the Pacers came at 52 overall with Edmond Sumner from Xavier. The 6’ 5” point guard averaged 15 ppg and 5 assists per game, but his lackluster 3 point shooting limits what he can do in regards to splitting time at the 1 and 2 positions in the NBA. Overall, I like this draft for the Pacers as they drafted players who will compete for roster positions and have the ability to develop. I am a bit surprised they did not draft anyone from the SF position to try to develop for Paul George’s inevitable departure. Perhaps drafting forwards would have served them better rather than taking two PF/C when they already have Myles Turner and Al Jefferson dominating minutes at those positions.
Overall Grade: C+
Los Angeles Clippers:
The Clippers clearly saw the writing on the wall and correctly anticipated Chris Paul opting out of his contract for the upcoming season and used the 39th overall pick to take sophomore point guard Jawuan Evans from Oklahoma State University. At an even six feet tall, Evans is one of the smallest players but makes up for his size with a 6’ 4” wingspan. Evans predominantly used his physicality to score 19 ppg during his time at OSU. He will need to improve his three point shooting and improve on his 6.5 assists per game if he is to have an impact with the Clippers. The other draft pick the Clippers had was the 48th overall pick which they used to take senior shooting guard Sindarius Thornwell. Thornwell won the SEC player of the year and led his Gamecocks to their first Final Four appearance in school history. At first, I was perplexed at the Clippers decision to take a 6’ 5” shooting guard despite Blake Griffin’s inevitable departure, but when I found out that Thornwell boasts a 6’ 10” wingspan and 212 pound frame which allowed him to corral 7.1 rebounds per game in college, the pick makes perfect sense. Both picks may not be the most conventional but they both fill areas of need for the Clippers as they will look to rebuild for the future. The fact that there picks both occurred as late as they did is a good haul for the Clippers in this draft.
Overall Grade: B+
Los Angeles Lakers:
The Lakers may have won the Draft, landing 3 1st round picks in this draft. Starting with the Big Baller himself, Lonzo Ball, PG from UCLA. I’m sure every single basketball column written about the Draft has Lonzo’s incredible basketball IQ, amazing athletic ability and so forth. Lonzo is a stud, who will arguably be the most watch rookie since LeBron James with probably just as many people rooting for him to fail. I am intrigued to see if his jump shot will improve with NBA coaching. That being said, Lonzo deserves all the credit and accolades of being the second pick of the draft. However he wasn’t the only pick the Lakers had, with Utah Forward Kyle Kuzma being taken 27th and Villanova Guard Josh Hart. Starting with Kuzma, the man who helped make Utah Utes basketball relevant, went for 16.4 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 2.4 assists and shot 55% or better all 3 years at Utah. It should be interesting to see how Kuzma fits into a Lakers team in rebuild. Last is Josh Hart, a former National Champion at Villanova. Hart may be one of the best “Big Moment” players being in the Top 5 of NCAA Tournament Active Scorers. Don’t count Hart out of making a splash on this roster.
Overall Grade: A+
Like the Nuggets, the Grizzlies are stuck in Western Conference limbo and are good enough to be somewhat relevant but not good enough to contend. Using two second round picks Memphis added Pac-12 star Ivan Rabb and Dillon Brooks. While both were solid players at California and Oregon, respectively, and have potential to be solid role players, these two draft picks seem to lack the starpower to take the Grizzlies anywhere further than they were.
Overall Grade: B-
The Miami Heat had just one selection in the draft and they used the 14th overall pick to take center Bam Adebayo from Kentucky. The freshman is listed at 6’ 10” but has an impressive wingspan of 7’ 3”. Many experts have had mixed feelings about the pick, but I think that he has the potential to be something like teammate Hassan Whiteside. He has the length and athleticism to run the floor and is also very capable on the defensive end averaging 1.5 blocks per game in his lone season with Kentucky. He even lacks a mid- range game and shoots under 70% from the free throw line, but at 19 years old those two facets can easily be improved on.
Overall Grade: B
Once again the Bucks front office has taken a first round selection that makes fans and analysts a bit confused, but at least they are consistent. If anyone has been paying attention to what the Bucks have been building, 1st round pick DJ Wilson fits the mold to the letter. Wilson stands 6’10” and has the ability to stretch the floor much like teammate, and 2016-17 Most Improved Player, Giannis Antetokounmpo and 2016 first round pick Thon Maker. Wilson shot 63% from inside the arc this past season and was the hero of an unexpected Michigan Wolverine run in the NCAA Tournament. Wilson will also fit in the Bucks defensive scheme to wear down opponents and use length offensively to fill gaps. Second round pick Sterling Brown, a guy who has the potential to be the same level draft steal that Malcolm Brogdon was last year. He may not win Rookie of the Year like Brogden, but is another defensive grinder who has the same bounce as former Laker, NBA champion, and sibling; Shannon Brown. The Bucks are on the rise and this draft gave them two role players who could be key contributors.
Overall Grade: B+
Minnesota only drafted one player who, barring injury, will not be a starter in the near future. However, the Timberwolves may have had one of the best draft nights in the NBA after acquiring the 16th pick and Jimmy Butler from Chicago. This addition alone makes the T-Wolves go from ‘Pretender’ to ‘Contender’ with a projected lineup of (newly acquired) Teague, Butler, Wiggins, Anthony-Towns, and Dieng. As for the actual pick, Creighton C Justin Patton will have plenty of time to develop and learn from KAT.
Overall Grade: A
New Orleans Pelicans:
With the Pelicans frontcourt being log jammed with talented players like Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, and even Dontas Motiejunas it should come as no surprise that the Pelicans drafted point guard Frank Jackson from Duke. The 6’ 4” guard doesn’t have any flashy numbers (10.9 pg, 2.5 rebounds per game, and 1.7 assists per game) but he was the most efficient scoring guard in college basketball converting at a rate of 53.9% from the field and 39.5% from deep. Jackson will look to compete for minutes on a Pelicans team that has one solidified guard in Jrue Holiday and a host of players, such as Jordan Crawford, Tim Frazier, Quinn Cook, and E’Twaun Moore, in a similar situation Jackson will be in in terms of competing for minutes.
Overall Grade: C
New York Knicks:
The New York Knicks passed on Dennis Smith Jr. with the 7th pick in the draft and took Belgian point guard Frank Ntilinka. I believe that Smith Jr. will be the best point guard out of this draft class. Perhaps Ntilinka will develop over the next few years and surprise me, but for now I will say that this pick was a mistake by Phil Jackson. Ntilinka has the physical attributes of a good two way player but for now this pick is a perplexing one given the fact that Dennis Smith Jr. was still available and that Ntilinka is a risky pick. The Knicks used their next pick at 44 overall to select Damyean Dotson from Houston. Dotson looks to be of the same mold as Ntilinka which makes this pick an odd one. He is 6’ 5” with a 6’ 9” wingspan which is nearly identical to Ntilinka’s 6’ 5” height and 7’ wingspan. Dotson is more of a rebounding guard than a passing one and averaged 6.9 rebounds per game compared to just 1.1 assists per game. He is also able to create his own shot so he will definitely benefit from having Carmelo Anthony to mentor him for as long as Carmelo is able to stay with the Knicks. The Knicks used their final pick to draft their second international play and THIRD guard when they used the 58th overall pick to take 6’ 4” Serbian guard Ognjen Jaramaz. Jaramaz only has a wingspan of 6’ 5” but he averaged 3.7 assists per game last season which is more than Ntilinka and Dotson combined (1.5 and 1.1 respectively). While I don’t have a problem with any of these picks individually, I think the Knicks left a lot of talent on the board with the 7th overall pick and then drafted two players that are nearly identical to the first one they took which made this draft another wasted one in the eyes of many fans. The Knicks have a lot to figure out for the future, but the recent departure of Phil Jackson is a good start.
Overall Grade: D
Oklahoma City Thunder:
The Oklahoma City Thunder had only one draft pick which they used to take another explosive guard/forward to potentially pair with Westbrook in a couple of years. Terrance Ferguson elected to skip college and play in Australia where he demonstrated explosiveness attacking defenders, but lacks dribbling skills as well as consistent defensive play. Ferguson is a young 19 years old though and shows a lot of potential. He likely won’t see the NBA this year and this was clearly a pick where Thunder GM Sam Presti rolled the dice with the 21st overall pick.
Overall Grade: C
The Orlando Magic used the 6th pick in the draft to select Florida State forward Jonathan Isaac. Isaac is a defensively minded, 6’ 11” forward with a 9’ wingspan who does a little bit of everything. He averaged 12 point per game on 59.3% shooting (34.8% from deep), 1.2 assists, 7.8 rebounds 1.2 steals, and 1.5 blocks per game as well. Isaac’s physical toolset allows him to guard the 1-4 position in the NBa, but at just 205 pounds he needs to bulk up in order to be able to hang with the physicality of the NBA, but at nearly 20 years old he has plenty of time. The next pick for the Magic came at 33 overall where they selected Wesley Iwundu from Kansas State. The 6’ 7” and 205 pound forward has a wingspan of 7’ 1” and was a rare oddity for this draft in that he was a senior this past season. However, he used his senior season to his advantage and improved dramatically from three point range shooting 38% (shot just under 29% his first three years). He also gained the experience of being the leader of the Kansas State Wildcat squad and led them to an improbable NCAA tournament berth. Iwundu will be valuable to the Magic because he is able to push the ball in transition and is able to handle the ball in ikc and roll situations. Both of these layers will serve the Magic well as Isaac will most likely be the Magic’s 6th man and Iwundu will eventually take the place of players like Jeff Green and Terrence Ross.
Overall Grade: B+
The Philadelphia 76ers surprised nobody when they selected Markelle Fultz with the number one overall draft selection. While Fultz has demonstrated he is a hard worker (he did, of course, play JV basketball just 2 seasons ago) by averaging 23 points per game and just under 6 assists and rebounds per game, he does worry me a little in that he was the best player, by far, on a Washington Huskies team that was not very good. Fultz has everything going for him in a system that will look to him for stay healthy and run the point. The 76ers used the 36th overall pick on Jonah Bolden. The 6’ 10” Australian is best known for his shooting ability and makes about 40% of his three point attempts. If he is able to demonstrate further consistency, he may be a good player for the young Philadelphia team to lean on for outside shooting down the road. With the 50th pick, the 76ers selected Mathias Lessort from France. Lessort is of good NBA size; 6’ 9” and 250 pounds, and what he lacks in shooting ability, he more than makes up for with a high motor averaging 10 points and 7 rebounds in just 23 minutes per game. The 76ers are set up very well for the future and this draft added one very solid piece and two potential hopefuls for the future. However, aside from Fultz, I think the 76ers could have done a little better with their selections as they could have tried to move up a pick or two in the draft to take either Frank Mason III or Ivan Rabb.
Overall Grade: B-
I truly believe the Phoenix Suns got one of the steals in the draft in one of its second round picks, but more on that in a bit. The Suns used the 4th pick of the NBA Draft to take Kansas star Josh Jackson. Jackson can score inside the arc at will and is an excellent compliment to Devin Booker. However, the most impressive attribute about Jackson is his ability to defend the perimeter, at 6’7” he could sure up the Suns who were 28th in defensive rating. Davon Reed from Miami (FL) could also prove to be an asset with his 3 point shooting, shooting 40% this last season and his ability to be a lockdown guy on the other end of the court, much like Trevor Ariza, Draymond Green and Khris Middleton. While Reed could definitely be a star in his own accord, I believe one of the true steals of the draft, should he make the team, is Valparaiso F Alec Peters. Having watched Peters play in the Horizon League, who plays against my school, Green Bay, his film doesn’t do his ability justice. Peters can stretch the floor and score from anywhere. Ranked by DraftExpress as the #2 Senior in the Draft, Peters had his senior season cut short by injury, but could still be a special player at 6’9”.
Overall Grade: A
Portland Trail Blazers:
Another team that had an opportunity to improve their roster and seemingly didn’t in this draft was the Portland Trail Blazers. Portland has been reeling since Batum, Aldridge, and Matthews all left and had a real chance to put some pieces around Lillard and McCollum. Portland did see the emergence of Center Jursuf Nurkic before his injury which makes adding two PF/C type players in Gonzaga’s Zach Collins and Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan a bit of a head scratcher. While Collins was arguably one of the best players of the Zags National Championship appearance team and is a physical player, his stats don’t tell the true story. On the surface a 10 ppg and 5 rpg, and coming off the bench is not impressive. However Collins was only the 6th man because Gonzaga’s other big man, Karnowski decided to stay for his senior campaign. Collins’s “Per 40” statline is much more impressive scoring 23.2 ppg and 13.7 rpg. Caleb Swanigan is another bruiser who is undoubtedly a solid player who can dominate the paint on both ends. Portland probably could have taken a 3-and-D wing player or two, but individually these are good picks, just confusing on the fit.
Overall Grade: C
When I first saw the list of the guys Sacramento had taken, I had to make sure I wasn’t looking at a college all-star roster. De’Aaron Fox (5), Justin Jackson (15), Harry Giles (20), and Frank Mason III (34). The story writes itself on this group of super studs. Honestly, the only question mark is Harry Giles, who at the 20th pick, might be a bit of a gamble considering he didn’t make his debut until late December. That being said, in an interview with Jim Rome on 6/27 Kings Head Coach David Joerger had nothing but high praise for the Duke star, saying he started the year as one of, if not the top player coming out of high school and that “he didn’t forget how to play the game.” Joerger also had an interesting comment about his new rookie class, specifically Frank Mason III, pointing out his ability to out-battle one and done’s to remain on top at Kansas. He also pointed out that for the most part these guys have been the big dog their entire basketball careers and should be interesting to see how they are able to adjust and battle from the bottom.
Overall Grade A+
San Antonio Spurs:
The San Antonio Spurs have had a lot of success in finding guards late in the NBA draft (see Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili) and they looked to continue that success with 29th overall selection Derrick White from Colorado. The 6’ 5” combo guard played in division 2 before transferring to Colorado where he made the Pac- 12 first team honors. White developed into becoming the primary shot creator for the Bison and scored just over 1,000 points last season. White will look to one day take on some of the minutes that Parker and Ginobili will soon be leaving behind as Parker will look to come back from a ruptured quadricep tendon and Ginobili ponders retirement. The Spurs then drafted Jaron Blossomgame with the 59th overall pick. Blossomgame was red-shirted his freshman year due to a compound leg fracture he suffered his senior year of highschool. However, Blossomgame bounced back well culminating in his winning of the Most Improved Player in the ACC his junior year. Blossomgame is the second oldest draft pick at 24 years old and doesn’t average any flashy numbers, but Gregg Popovich is always able to develop players to reach their maximum potential so the SF/PF should have a decent chance to improve his skills.
Overall Grade: B
The Toronto Raptors had one pick in this draft and used it to pick up Indiana Hoosier F OG Anunoby with the 23rd pick. Having watched the Big Ten with the eyes of a hawk (no pun intended) this guy was one of the best in the conference. The man has received comparisons to Andre Iguodala in the sense that OG is a defensive beast. He’s no slouch offensively either and at 23, once he returns from his ACL injury, could make a solid compliment to Demar DeRozan, and whoever the point guard in Toronto will be.
Overall Grade A-
The Utah Jazz traded up twice to get their man, once with the Nuggets to get Donovan Mitchell at 13, and Tony Bradley from the Lakers at 28. The Jazz also took Nigel Williams-Goss in the second round. Starting with Mitchell, the lengthy 6’3” SG could possibly replace Gordon Hayward, should he leave Utah in free agency. Mitchell is a 3-and-D guy who uses his 6’10” wingspan to his advantage on both ends. Mitchell has quite the impressive highlight reel and the fact that he fell to the 13th pick could make him quite the steal. Tony Bradley is almost a clone of Rudy Gobert and should get minutes behind the big man. Lastly, Williams-Goss gives something that the Jazz haven’t had in awhile, a solid backup point guard. Williams-Goss is a known leader who, at the very least, should get a few looks at minutes.
Overall Grade: B+
Washington didn’t have a pick, and didn’t make a trade to get back into the draft. Should be interesting to see how Washington attempts to keep up with the big boys in the East.
Overall Grade: N/A
You must be logged in to post a comment Login