It’s late, it’s been a long night, and I have a 12-year-old’s birthday party to host at a trampoline park at 10 a.m. So this is going to be quick hits and grades for each team after the NBA Draft came to a close late on Thursday night (or was it Friday morning?).
Here we go.
New Orleans Pelicans – Not only did the Pelicans swing PF Zion Williamson at No. 1, which would probably be enough for an A+, but they also added Jaxson Hayes (center of the future), Nickeil Alexander-Walker (one of my favorite guards in the draft), and Marcos Louzada Silva, a small forward. Add in former Lakers Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart, and the fact they still have $30 million left to play with, and the Pelicans were easily the toast of the night.
Memphis Grizzlies – They moved Mike Conley to the Jazz and drafted PG Ja Morant at No. 2, who should immediately start at point guard. Add in PF Brandon Clarke, who they traded up to get at 21 and everyone seems to love because he’s simply a great basketball player, and the Grizzlies are on the right track. Especially with Jaren Jackson Jr. already on board.
Atlanta Hawks – I considered an A+ for the Hawks, who moved up to the No. 4 pick to get SF De’Andre Hunter, and then followed that up with Duke F Cam Reddish and added PF Bruno Fernando. I guess it all comes down to how Reddish works out, but there’s a very good chance he is much better than he was at Duke last year. Either way, the Hawks’ young nucleus of Trae Young, John Collins, Hunter, Reddish and Kevin Huerter is pretty dang exciting.
Boston Celtics – I personally love what the Celtics did, but then again, I’m from Indiana, so I might be a little biased. They made Indiana’s SG Romeo Langford a lottery pick at 14, locked up PF Grant Williams at No. 22 and then snagged Purdue PG Carsen Edwards and PG Tremont Waters in the second round. I think Romeo is a much better player than he showed at Indiana last year (thumb injury), and Edwards also has a ton of potential. And Williams is rock solid. The Celtics are kind of a mess right now with Kyrie Irving, Al Horford and Marcus Morris all potentially leaving town, but I’m not sure they could have had a better night based on where they were picking.
Cleveland Cavaliers –The Cavaliers are a walking disaster, but they had a good night, picking up PG Darius Garland at 5, SF Dylan Windler at 26, and then taking troubled sleeper Kevin Porter Jr. with the last pick of the first round. If Porter can stay out of trouble and live up to his potential, he could end up being the steal of this draft. And if Collin Sexton continues to frustrate everyone, Garland will come in handy.
Denver Nuggets – Denver didn’t do much last night, but they did get center Bol Bol at number 44, which is a potential steal. Sure, he’ll have to prove he wants to dedicate himself to the game and avoid (foot) injuries, but the Nuggets could redshirt him for a year, let him learn from Nikola Jokic, and look really smart if Bol pans out. Bol’s slide down the draft board was painful to watch, but maybe it will end up being inspirational to him in the long run. I’m pulling for him.
Portland Trail Blazers – While SF Nassir Little’s fall to 25 wasn’t quite as painful to watch as Bol’s slide, it wasn’t fun to watch, either. In the end, the Blazers put a stop to the madness and got a guy who could end up being a Top 10 player from this class. There’s no risk associated with Little at 25, and he might already be better than Moe Harkless.
Indiana Pacers – Pacer fans weren’t thrilled, from what I could tell, but I thought getting big man Goga Bitadze at No. 18 was solid. And maybe he’ll use that whole media slight when he was seated next to Zion as motivation.
Miami Heat – The Heat swiped sharpshooter Tyler Herro one pick in front of the Celtics and nabbed F KZ Okpaka at 32, which I thought was a bit of a steal. Good night.
Minnesota Timberwolves – They got SG Jarrett Culver at No. 6, which I was fine with, even though they possibly should have gotten a point guard instead (Jeff Teague has one year left on his deal), and then got SG Jaylen Nowell with the 43rdpick, which was a fine get.
New York Knicks – The Knicks scored F RJ Barrett with the No. 3 pick, which was a no-brainer, and then tagged on F Ignas Brazdeikis, who was the Big 10 Freshman of the Year. But the Knicks still have plenty of holes to fill, and I’m getting more excited about C Mitchell Robinson with each passing day.
Oklahoma City Thunder – They didn’t do much, but added New Balance employee F Darius Bazley, who is intriguing.
San Antonio Spurs – They got PF Luka Semanic at 19, SG Keldon Johnson at 29, and finished up with Quinndary Weatherspoon at 49, who could end up being a sleeper. Gregg Popovich will make the most of these picks, and I like all three of them.
Toronto Raptors – The Raps snagged C Dewan Hernandez with the 59thpick after he was declared ineligible for Miami last season over a hotel room incident. I’m not sure they could have done anything more with their lone pick.
Dallas Mavericks – The Mavs added PF Isaiah Roby with the 45thpick, and it wasn’t a bad one.
Charlotte Hornets – The Hornets added Kentucky forward PJ Washington with the 12thpick, F Cody Martin at 36 and F Jalen McDaniels with the 52ndpick. They didn’t shock the world, but I think they did well with what they had.
Chicago Bulls – The Bulls got Kris Dunn insurance with PG Coby White and his awesome hair at No. 7, and C Daniel Gafford with No. 38. The White pick was very solid and Gafford could end up being a solid backup center.
Los Angeles Lakers – The Lakers got G Talen Horton-Tucker with the 46thpick in the draft and he’s a really interesting prospect. The Lakers have had trouble getting their high draft picks to work out over the last few years, but maybe the mid second-rounder will stick. He’s a defensive specialist.
Philadelphia 76ers – The Sixers got SG Matisse Thybulle with the 20thpick, and while some folks didn’t love it, I thought it was a good spot for him. And then they went with Iowa State guard Marial Shayok with the 54thpick, after he blossomed for the Cyclones last season.
Washington Wizards – The Wiz took PF Rui Hachimura at No. 9, which turned some heads, but Bobby Portis may be gone, and Hachimura averaged 19.7 points and 6.5 boards for Gonzaga last year. Maybe they took him too early, but I liked their pick of SF Admiral Schofield out of Tennessee at No. 42. He is really strong and can score, board and hit 3-pointers. They could have had a worse draft, but I do wonder if they’ll regret taking Hachimura so early.
Golden State Warriors – The banged up Dubs added SG Jordan Poole, who wasn’t projected to be a first-round pick, but is a decent shooter with very limited upside, then followed him up with project PF Alen Smailagic at 39, and finished off the draft with shooter F Eric Paschall at 41. Paschall might be the best of their three picks, and I just don’t feel like the Warriors got guys who will help fill the holes left by Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant’s injuries.
Orlando Magic – The Magic took Auburn PF Chuma Okeke with the 16thpick and he should miss most of the season due to a torn ACL. Maybe he’ll pan out down the road, but Magic fans looking for immediate help didn’t get it last night.
Phoenix Suns – I’m not sure where to begin here. The Suns traded T.J. Warren and a second-round pick to the Pacers for cash, and then traded the sixth pick to the Timberwolves for Dario Saric and the 11thpick, which they then used to draft sharpshooting guard Cameron Johnson from North Carolina. They already have Devin Booker, which makes the Johnson pick a head scratcher, especially when he went way higher than any of us thought he would. Most of my Rotoworld colleagues suggested I give the Suns an F- or even a G, but I didn’t take the bait. The embattled franchise and fanbase has been beaten down enough, and a simple F should suffice.
The Rockets and Bucks did not draft any players on Thursday.