Atlanta Hawks- Taurean Prince, Deandre Bembry, Isaia Cordonnier
Why: The Hawks traded Jeff Teague for the number 12 overall pick. It seemed like fair value at the time then the Hawks took Taurean Prince. The biggest problem I have with Prince is that right away he does not have a skill that can easily translate to the NBA. He has the right size, and it is clear the Hawks are looking for players to defend LeBron James, but this kid played in a zone for his entire college career. They then take Bembry who is a very similar player, and also is more NBA ready, who they took at pick 12, but certainly cannot play next to Prince. They are basically hoping for one of those two picks to hit or to shuffle and rotate them as wing defenders.
Boston Celtics- Jaylen Brown, Guerschon Yabusele, Ante Zizic, Demetrius Jackson, Ben Bentil, Abdel Nader
Why: The Celtics could not grab a veteran superstar, but they did add a ton of assets. Yabusele was a personal favorite as a foreign prospect, and some questioned whether Zizic would be the best foreign prospect in the class, and he very well may be. Brown is a strong wing defender with an NBA body at age 19. He may have been a small reach, but in terms of fit on today’s Celtics roster, he was probably the best pick. Nader is a throw away, but Bentil and Jackson should be used as rotational pieces in the NBA.
Brooklyn Nets-Caris LeVert, Isaiah Whitehead
Why: The trade of Thaddeus Young was good and bad. Good in that they acquired a first round pick for a piece that was only going to push them from awful to pretty bad. It was bad in that they used the pick to reach for LeVert, who has ankle issues, and drafted Whitehead later who has almost the same role. If one of these two can emerge as a ball handler and a starter in the NBA it will be a big win for a team that once did not have a pick until 52. Still, there is a good chance the two cannot play together, and both have a variety of questions.
Charlotte Hornets- Marco Belinelli
Why: The trade comes out as Malachi Richardson for Belinelli. Belinelli is only locked in for two years, whereas Richardson will be locked in for four years. In terms of age, upside, abilities any way you look at this the Hornets should have rather taken Richardson. To pass on him for a veteran coming off of a bad year looks pretty bad.
Chicago Bulls- Denzel Valentine, Paul Zipser
Why: Am I the only one who thinks that Valentine was drafted with the thinking that they were going to pull off a Jimmy Butler trade? All reports coming out say the Bulls were willing, but their price tag was a bit too high. Valentine can play with Butler, but both will want to be ball handlers, and Valentine is nowhere near the defender Butler is. It makes losing Derrick Rose easier adding a ball handler, and Valentine may already be better than Doug McDermott. Zipser is a potential draft-and-stash and has the upside of a guy who can take Mike Dunleavy’s job. Until we see what happens with Butler, this one is to be continued.
Cleveland Cavaliers- Kay Felder
Why?: The Cavs were going to win regardless after their last week. Still, this is a legitimate win. Felder is NBA ready and is a baller with decent upside, despite his size. Matthew Dellavedova is projected to leave via free agency this year. He will not be missed, and may have been upgraded with the addition of Felder.
Dallas Mavericks- AJ Hammons
Why: This would be a win had they not lost their first round pick for Rajon Rondo. Hammons is a solid pick for when they got him. The Mavs need a center and he can come in for rotational minutes. He can score and protect the rim and is already 23 so he can play immediately.
Denver Nuggets- Jamal Murray, Juan Hernangomez, Malik Beasley, Petr Cornelie
Why: Jamal Murray is going to be a solid NBA player. He fits as a shooter next to Emmanuel Mudiay. He also does not need to start right away thanks to Gary Harris. Murray can be a ball handler and a sixth man on the bench , while they figure out his ceiling. Hernangomez is a good add for a team looking to move on from Danilo Gallinari. He also is on a team in no rush to win now with him, so his progress can be tracked and not rushed. Beasley should get every opportunity to make Will Barton expendable, and the Nuggets should be able to add to the class by losing Barton and Gallinari via trades.
Detroit Pistons- Henry Ellenson, Michael Gbinije
Why: No one knows what Ellenson will become. His upside was as a shooter who can play both front court positions. On the Pistons he will either come off of the bench as a center who can shoot, or can fit in the Van Gundy “four shooters and a center” scheme. Gbinije was solid value for when selected and can come off of the bench next year. If Ellenson can be a starter and show any defense next to Drummond it is a huge win. Only time will tell on that one.
Golden State Warriors- Damian Jones, Patrick McCaw
Why: These two picks are strong for the 73-win Warriors. McCaw is a 6’7” point guard. Who would be better to teach him than Shaun Livingston? Jones may have to be thrown into immediate minutes at center with Andrew Bogut, Festus Ezeli and Anderson Varejao all potentially gone. Jones is a strong rim defender and fits into the Warriors scheme.
Houston Rockets- Chinanu Onuaku, Zhou Qi
Why: No one knows what either of these two will be. Injury and playing time questions effected Onuaku. For Qi, it is his age, and the fact that he is over 7-foot tall and is just barely over 200 pounds. They swung for some upside here and no one can definitively say if either will fail or work.
Indiana Pacers- Jeff Teague, Georges Niang, Thad Young
Why: Call me crazy but the fit of Teague on this team feels really strong. He can penetrate next to Monta Ellis, Paul George and Thad Young who all have a decent shot. Young also turns George back into a full time small forward. Niang is a bench player but can fit into the stretch four role next to George and can provide instant offense.
Los Angeles Clippers- Brice Johnson, David Michineau, Diamond Stone
Why: Without knowing almost anything about Michineau the Clips still win. Stone has a ton of upside, but lacks defense and awareness to pass on offense. Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan are two of the best pieces you would want to give Stone to help him progress. Johnson will be able to help next year as the bench power forward. He should give great energy and adds depth to a team with almost none.
Los Angeles Lakers- Brandon Ingram, Ivica Zubac
Why: There still is a chance that Ingram will be the best player in the draft. They added a starter immediately and may have added two starters in this draft. Zubac has a ton of upside and is as big as any center in this class. Landing two starters that fit with Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell would be a huge win.
Memphis Grizzlies- Wade Baldwin, Deyonta Davis, Rade Zagorac, Wang Zhelin
Why: I had Deyonta Davis as the 9th rated prospect and he went in the second round. Baldwin is a perfect selection with the pending loss of Mike Conley coming. Zagorac has potential to be a shooter with size, something the Grizzlies have not had for a while. Still, if it were just Baldwin and Davis it would have been one heck of a haul.
Miami Heat- N/A
Why: The Heat wanted no parts of this draft and did not need to get involved.
Milwaukee Bucks- Thon Maker, Malcolm Brogdon
Why: They reached like crazy for Thon Maker, but the upside is easily there, and they hit on the Greek Freak, so it is tough to knock the selection. Brogdon is a strong selection and a great fit for a long defensive team. Still, if they miss on Maker it will not make up for drafting a solid role player in round two.
Minnesota Timberwolves- Kris Dunn
Why: Everybody seemed to know the Timberwolves were getting sick of Ricky Rubio. Add to that no one seemed to think Zach LaVine can be a primary ball handler as a starter, and this was a need. Dunn fits into what Tom Thibodeau wants to do which is bring the defensive intensity. The T-Wolves will now have a ton of length and defense between Dunn, Andrew Wiggins and Karl Towns.
New Orleans Pelicans- Buddy Hield, Cheick Diallo
Why: Buddy was a great fit here and makes the draft a win. He now gives the Pelicans ability to let Eric Gordon walk away without any concern of where to get his scoring from. No one knows what Diallo is, but he does not have to play next year on this roster.
New York Knicks- N/A
Why: Because I did not want to be too hard on the Derrick Rose trade when they may only have him for one year.
Oklahoma City Thunder- Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova, Domantas Sabonis, Daniel Hamilton
Why: The Thunder pulled one over on the Magic. Throughout the season Ibaka looked very expendable and his role became similar to that of someone like Ilyasova during the regular season. Ibaka is obviously a better player and rim protector, but has one year left on his deal. The Thunder not only added Ilyasova who helps with outside shooting, they added a rookie Sabonis who could make for a huge duo next to Steve Adams looking forward. Oh yeah, they also added Oladipo, a strong wing defender in the meantime. If you see odds greater than 6:1 for the Thunder to win a championship you might as well throw a little something on it.
Orlando Magic- Serge Ibaka, Steven Zimmerman
Why: Adding Ibaka and Zimmerman are great fits into their scheme. The problem is it seems like they gave up a little too much for Ibaka. Next to Vucevic, Ibaka is a perfect fit. Zimmerman could be Ilyasova, but has a lot of work to become a player of that level. The Magic added a player to win now with, and drafted a player no where close to helping them win. They could be stuck in mediocrity unless Elfrid Payton or Aaron Gordon can prove to be legitimate scoring threats.
Phoenix Suns- Dragan Bender, Marquese Chriss, Tyler Ulis
Why: Many thought the Celtics would debate Bender or Chriss as the third overall pick and the Suns walked away with both of them. They drafted the most upside in the entire draft and are a team with the roster construction that gives the idea to swing for the fences credibility. Ulis is the fifth Kentucky guard on the roster, but you would assume Archie Goodwin will be let go, and he will be an upgrade in the backup point guard role.
Philadelphia 76ers- Ben Simmons, Timothe Luwawu, Furkan Korkmaz
Why: I was big on Luwawu and his ability to translate pre-draft. He has solid length and should end up being a strong 3-and-D player who is a body to throw at LeBron James. Korkmaz will not be NBA ready next year, but has the upside of a knock down shooter with athleticism in a way that could be compared to JR Smith. They added two wings who may be able to play next to each other with two late first round picks. Oh, they also got that Ben Simmons guy who could be alright.
Portland Trail Blazers- Jake Layman
Why: They didn’t give up much, but they probably could have waited until Layman went undrafted and tried to sign him after the draft. He also is not near as athletic as Pat Connaughton, who was drafted last year. Seems like a bit of a reach.
Sacramento Kings- Georgios Papagiannis, Malachi Richardson, Skal Labissiere, Isaiah Cousins
Why: I get trading out of a Marquese Chriss pick. They have Willie Cauley-Stein, DeMarcus Cousins, and Kosta Koufos, it was unneeded. Then they drafted a center with their 13th overall selection. A huge project at that, which probably told Cousins that they added his replacement of the future. The other three picks were not bad, and Richardson vs. Ben McLemore should be fun to watch. Labissiere was value, but it is doubtful he can play the three, and now is thrusted into a confusing front court with no stability, something he needed. Cousins is a defensive guard who should come off of the bench being his peak upside.
San Antonio Spurs- Dejounte Murray
Why: All of the talk about Murray was that if he went to a good coaching system he could be a top ten player in this class. Well he went to a good coaching staff. The Spurs must be laughing as the entire league goes foreign this year, and the Spurs grab the best college player available on the board.
Toronto Raptors- Jakob Poeltl, Pascal Siakam
Why: Poeltl is fine, but you are not drafting much upside with him. They then drafted Siakam over Skal Labissiere and Deyonta Davis. In terms of upside that is insane. In terms of downside, still kind of crazy. Siakam fits the role that Bismack Biyombo played, but it is not like they are getting the exact player, and Siakam is a much more poor version of Biyombo.
Utah Jazz- George Hill, Joel Bolomboy, Marcus Paige, Tyron Wallace
Why: They could have added Teague for Hill, but opted for Hill. I know contracts are involved, but I would have taken Tegaue over Hill in most situations. They then drafted three players that I did not have in the top 60. It was nice to see Paige and Wallace drafted as a college basketball enthusiast, but neither have the upside of someone who will perform on an NBA level. It feels like they wasted three picks here, and lost their lottery pick for Hill.