OPUS Mag

Far from timid • Caveat Lector

2017 NBA Draft Grades - Every Team, Every Pick

2017 NBA Draft Grades - Every Team, Every Pick

Atlanta Hawks

19: PF John Collins (Wake Forest)

41: PG/SG Tyler Dorsey (Oregon)

60: PF Alpha Kaba (Serbia)

After 10 consecutive trips to the playoffs the Hawks are finally ready to begin rebuilding their franchise. With Dwight Howard gone and Paul Millsap likely out as well, the Hawks are thin up front so the John Collins pick makes sense. Collins has the potential to be an above average starter and he should get plenty of experience early if Millsap chooses to sign else in free agency. Dorsey showed signs of being a big-time player in the NCAA tournament but the Hawks should’ve taken a chance on a player with higher upside like Isaiah Hartenstein or Ike Anigbogu. Alpha Kaba has a cool name and I assume that’s all we’re going to remember him for.

Grade: B

Boston Celtics

3: SF Jayson Tatum (Duke)

37: SF/PF Semi Ojeleye (SMU)

53: PG Kadeem Allen (Arizona)

57: SG Jabari Bird (California)

The Celtics drafted arguably the best scorer and isolation player in the draft with Jayson Tatum. He should be a player that averages 20+ points a night for most of his career. The Celtics also got a steal in the second round in Semi Ojeleye. He gives the Celtics another forward that can defend multiple positions and makes Jae Crowder expendable. Kadeem Allen and Jabari Bird have a chance to make an NBA roster, but it likely won’t be with the Celtics who are already loaded on the perimeter.

Grade: A+

Brooklyn Nets

22: C Jarrett Allen (Texas)

57: Alexsander Vezenkov (Spain)

The Brooklyn Nets got who they wanted before the draft when they traded for DeAngelo Russell from the Lakers. Russell is still very young with a lot of untapped potential – he will have every opportunity to put up big numbers in Brooklyn. Jarrett Allen is someone who could develop into an elite rim protector down the line but will likely backup Timothy Mozgov for the foreseeable future. Vezenkov is probably a draft and stash pick so it may be a few years before he plays in the NBA.

Grade: B-

Charlotte Hornets

11: SG Malik Monk (Kentucky)

40: SG Dwayne Bacon (Florida State)

The Sacramento Kings saved Michael Jordan from ruining this pick by taking Zach Collins 10th, gift wrapping the Hornets a lethal scorer in Malik Monk. Monk was visibly upset he fell to 11 meaning he’ll have a chip on his shoulder as soon as he hits the summer league. Bacon was likely to go in the first round if he left Tallahassee. He’s a tremendous athlete with the potential to develop into a viable 3-and-D option.

Grade: A

Chicago Bulls

7: PF Lauri Markkanen (Arizona)

The Bulls made the biggest waves on draft night by trading Jimmy Butler to Minnesota in exchange for the rights to Markkanen, Zach Lavine and Kris Dunn. Markkanen really was the only option the Bulls had with the 7th pick; their roster currently has 8 guards. Markkanen.could develop into a poor man’s Dirk Nowitzki at best but this roster full of ball dominant guards is sure to stunt his development.

Grade: D

Cleveland Cavaliers

No pick in the draft

Dallas Mavericks

9: PG Dennis Smith (NC State)

The Mavericks desperately needed an upgrade at the point guard position and Dennis Smith gives them just that. Smith will be a part of Dallas’ core going forward along with Harrison Barnes and Nerlens Noel. Head coach Rick Carlisle has already projected Smith will be their starter on opening night so the Mavs appear ready to let him learn on the job. The Fayetteville, NC native should give the Mavs the dynamic playmaker they’ve lacked for years.

Grade: A

Denver Nuggets

24: SF Tyler Lyndon (Syracuse)

49: SF Vlatko Cancar (Serbia)

51: PG Monte Morris (Iowa State)

The Nuggets are pretty much set at every position so they did not have to draft for need. Lyndon could turn into a rotation player that can hit open shots – second round picks Cancar and Morris aren’t likely to make the roster. However, Morris has a slim chance if Denver is looking to buyout veteran point guard Jameer Nelson.

Grade: C

Detroit Pistons

12: SG Luke Kennard (Duke)

Stan Van Gundy went safe with the Kennard pick, choosing him over players like Justin Patton and Terrance Ferguson who have a much higher ceiling. Kennard will provide the Pistons with more three-point shooting and he could replace Kentavious Caldwell-Pope if Detroit loses him in free agency.

Grade: B-

Golden State Warriors

38: PF/C Jordan Bell (Oregon)

In typical Warriors fashion, Golden State bought their way into the second round and stole Jordan Bell before he could fall any further. Bell gives the Warrior an athletic rim-protector as well as someone who can switch ball screens. The rich get richer and richer.

Grade: A

Houston Rockets

43: PF Isaiah Hartenstein (Germany)

A skilled 7-footer who played professionally in Europe seems tailor-made for Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni’s system. Houston has made Ryan Anderson available in trade talks which means Hartenstein may be his replacement.

Grade: B-

Indiana Pacers

18: PF TJ Leaf (UCLA)

47: C Ike Anigbogu (UCLA)

52: PG Edmond Sumner (Xavier)

The Pacers need plenty of talent since their preparing for the rebuilding phase upon Paul George’s departure. Leaf may remind Pacers fans of former stretch-four Troy Murphy. Anigbogu is a few years away from being ready to contribute but he was too talented to pass on that late in the draft. Sumner was once high on scout’s draft boards before suffering a season-ending injury. If he can make a full recovery, Indiana will look to use him to help replace Jeff Teague if he leaves during free agency.

Grade: C+

Los Angeles Clippers

39: PG Jawun Evans (Oklahoma State)

48: SG Sindarius Thornwell (South Carolina)

Chris Paul may leave, Raymond Felton isn’t getting any younger and Austin Rivers is only wired to hunt for his shot. Thus, trading into the second round to select South Carolina native Jawun Evans was a great move by Doc Rivers. The Clippers drafted another South Carolinian in Sindarius Thornwell whose run through the NCAA tournament proved he was one of the best players in all of college basketball. The Clippers bench needed to get younger after relying on Paul Pierce, Ray Felton and Jamal Crawford too heavily in the postseason. Both Thornwell and Evans should be able to step in right away to provide quality minutes.

Grade: B

Los Angeles Lakers

2: PG Lonzo Ball (UCLA)

27: PF Kyle Kuzma (Utah)

30: SG Josh Hart (Villanova)

42: Thomas Bryant (Indiana)

Kuzma, Bryant and Hart were all good college players and solid draft picks but Thursday night was about one player for LA. Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka fulfilled Big Baller Lavar’s prophecy, drafting their new face of the franchise – Lonzo Ball. Zo is the perfect floor general for this Lakers team that wants to get out in transition as much as possible. If the Lakers can get Paul George this offseason and Brook Lopez improves upon his three-point shooting from last year, Lavar Ball’s playoff prediction may not be as ridiculous as some thought.

Grade: A

Memphis Grizzlies

35: PF Ivan Rabb (California)

45: SF Dillon Brooks (Oregon)

Rabb returned to California after teammate Jaylen Brown begged him to enter the draft with him last year when both were projected lottery picks. Rabb’s return to Cal dropped his stock in the draft but he fell to a Grizzlies team that fits him well. Brooks was a big shot maker at Oregon but he’s likely to spend most of the year in the G-league if he sticks with Memphis through training camp.

Grade: C

Miami Heat

14: PF Bam Adebayo (Kentucky)

Adebayo had a solid freshman year at Kentucky where he showed off his strength and athleticism but it’s difficult to project where he fits in on this Miami squad. The Heat already have 5 power forwards on their roster in addition to potentially adding Blake Griffin or Paul Millsap via free agency. Justin Jackson would’ve a lot more sense with this pick.

Grade: C-

Milwaukee Bucks

17: PF DJ Wilson (Michigan)

The Bucks can add DJ Wilson to the list of long, versatile athletes on their roster. At 6-11, Wilson can stretch the floor as well as guard multiple positions on the defensive end. He may see a lot of time in the G-league early but he should become a valuable player for Milwaukee in the future.

Grade: B

Minnesota Timberwolves

16: C Justin Patton (Creighton)

The Timberwolves were the biggest winners on draft night once the Jimmy Butler trade was finalized. Minnesota got a top 15 player in the league to pair with Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins without losing much at all. Butler gets reunited with Thibodeau, giving Minnesota a legit chance at contending out West for years to come. The Timberwolves also drafted Patton who fits well next to Towns but is still a year or two away from making an impact.

Grade: A+

New Orleans Pelicans

31: PG Frank Jackson (Duke)

Jackson probably would’ve been a first round pick if it wasn’t for his foot injury. Jrue Holiday is going to receive a ton of interest in free agency so the Pelicans had to draft a point guard. At Duke, Jackson proved he could score but he wasn’t asked to run the offense or create for others. With All-Stars Boogie Cousins and Anthony Davis on his team, scoring will be an afterthought for Jackson so improving as a creator should be a priority once he’s healthy.

Grade: C+

 New York Knicks

8: PG Frank Ntilikina (France)

44: SG Damyean Dotson (Houston)

58: PG Ognjen Jaramaz (Serbia)

Despite the many scumbag moves Phil Jackson has made since he’s been in New York, he has had success with foreign-born players. At 6-5 with a 7-1 wingspan, Ntilikina has elite size at the point guard position. Many would’ve preferred Phil draft a more well known guard like Dennis Smith or Malik Monk but it was reported that Jackson has been locked in on Ntilikina for a while. I would love to trash this pick but I have no clue how good Frank Ntilikina is or how good he can be. God bless Carmelo Anthony.

Grade: B-

 Oklahoma City Thunder

21: SG Terrance Ferguson (Australia)

OKC desperately needs to provide Westbrook with more shooters so this was an excellent pick especially considering Ferguson’s upside. The Texas native can jump out the gym and he already has a year of experience playing against grown men. The Thunder could’ve address the need for a backup point guard at this spot but taking the player with the most potential who also fills a need was just as good a move.

Grade: B

Orlando Magic

6: SF Jonathan Isaac (Florida State)

33: SF Wesley Iwundu (Kansas State)

Isaac has arguably the most upside of anyone in this draft but he also has as much bust potential as anyone in this draft as well. However, the Magic desperately need a star so Isasc was worth taking a chance on. Iwundu plays the same position as Isaac and will probably play more than Isaac in the beginning due to him being more NBA-ready. Plenty of talented, safer picks were available for the Magic to take with the 6th pick, therefore Isaac must pan out or Orlando could be looking at another five years of mediocrity.

Grade: B-

Philadelphia Sixers

1: PG Markelle Fultz (Washington)

25: C Anzejs Pasecniks (Spain)

36: PF Jonah Bolden (Serbia)

46: SG Sterling Brown (SMU)

50: Mathias Lessort (France)

After drafting Fultz, Philadelphia is hoping The Process is finally over. Fultz is a perfect fit for the Sixers on paper which is why they gave up a future draft pick to get him. The Sixers fate ultimately rests on the health of Joel Embiid. Fortunately for the Sixers, if Embiid can’t stay on the floor, they can still build around Ben Simmons and Fultz.

Grade: A

Phoenix Suns

4: SF Josh Jackson (Kansas)

32: SG Davon Reed (Miami)

54: PF Alec Peters (Valparaiso)

The Suns got their small forward of the future with the 4th pick in large part to Danny Ainge. Josh Jackson was good enough to go at #. He was a serious candidate to do so before the Celtics traded down. Jackson is a long, athletic do-it-all wing that has drawn comparisons to former Suns All-Star Shawn Marion. Phoenix now has a strong, talented young nucleus with a potential All-Star duo for years to come in Jackson and Devin Booker.

Grade: A

Portland Trailblazers

10. C Zach Collins (Gonzaga)

26. PF Caleb Swanigan (Purdue)

Portland traded two of their first round picks to Sacramento in an effort to draft a modern-NBA big man to pair next to Nurkic. Zach Collins is athletic, can block shots and he can space the floor with his shooting ability. Swanigan is a traditional back to the basket big man but he has become a much better shooter. He will provide low-post scoring off the bench similar to OKC’s Enes Kanter or Milwaukee’s Greg Monroe.

Grade: B+

Sacramento Kings

4: PG DeAaron Fox (Kentucky)

15: SF Justin Jackson (North Carolina)

20: PF Harry Giles (Duke)

Sacramento had a chance to reunite Fox with his college backcourt mate Malik Monk but in true Kings fashion they blew it. Fortunately for Sacramento fans, the Kings did make two other solid picks in Justin Jackson and Harry Giles. Even without Monk at his side, Fox should be a special player and the face of the Kings franchise. Jackson provides them with shooting and the versatility to play multiple positions. Giles’ upside is intriguing although it is uncertain if he can ever become the player many thought he could be before the injuries.

Grade: B

San Antonio Spurs

29: PG Derrick White (Colorado)

59: SF Jarron Blossomgame (Clemson)

White and Blossomgame are the prototypical late draft picks the Spurs turn into great role players. It’s easy to see Blossomgame becoming what Jonathan Simmons is today or White one having an impact similar to Patty Mills’. Furthermore, with Simmons and Mills set to become free agents, these draft picks may become their replacements in San Antonio’s rotation this upcoming season.

Grade: B

Toronto Raptors

23: SF OG Anunoby (Indiana)

The Raptors may lose Kyle Lowry in the offseason so a point guard would’ve made sense here but they may look to add one in free agency. Toronto is solid at pretty much every other position therefore they could afford to take a risk with Anunoby. OG is coming off an ACL tear which means he may miss the entire year. If he can make a full recovery, the physical tools are there for him to become a high-level perimeter defender.

Grades: C+

Utah Jazz

13. SG/PG Donovan Mitchell (Louisville)

28. C Tony Bradley (North Carolina)

55. PG Nigel Willams Goss (Gonzaga)

The Jazz are coming off their best season in years, but they are facing an interesting summer with three starters set to become free agents. With that in mind, Utah did a good job of adding talent that can help ease the pain of some potential losses. They traded up to get Donovan Mitchell who many believe can become a full-time point guard. His transition to the point becomes more important if George Hill does not resign. Tony Bradley gives the Jazz someone who can help on the boards in addition to giving Rudy Gobert a break as the center for the Jazz’s second unit.

B-

Washington Wizards

No pick in the draft.

Fiction Series: Playing With Fire - Chapter 7

Fiction Series: Playing With Fire - Chapter 7

Up Next: G Perico

Up Next: G Perico