One of the craziest weeks in recent NBA history concluded with a wild 2017 draft.
We saw a superstar player finally moved, teams trading up and down, and a record 16 freshmen selected in the first round.
There’s a lot to process after two rounds, so let’s hand out draft grades for all 30 teams.
Atlanta Hawks: A-
The Hawks traded veteran center Dwight Howard on Tuesday and could lose All-Star power forward Paul Millsap to free agency this summer. Therefore, adding frontcourt depth was needed for Atlanta, and selecting Wake Forest center John Collins was a solid choice.
Boston Celtics: A+
Tatum is the most NBA-ready scorer in this draft, which makes him an ideal fit for the Celtics, who only have All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas as a go-to scorer on their roster right now.
The Celtics’ three second-round picks also drew rave reviews from draft experts.
Brooklyn Nets: A
Texas center Jarrett Allen is a good defender and a solid rebounder. He’s a little raw offensively, but he has the tools to be a rim protector right away. The Nets traded franchise center Brook Lopez to the Lakers on Tuesday, so they needed to upgrade at that position, and Allen certainly was one of the best options at No. 22.
Let’s not forget the Nets acquired 2015 No. 2 pick D’Angelo Russell from the Lakers in the Lopez trade. Russell has 20-points-per-game potential, and he should flourish in Brooklyn with less pressure on him to succeed compared to L.A.
Charlotte Hornets: B+
Malik Monk falling to No. 11 was fantastic value. The Kentucky shooting guard is an excellent shooter and can score in a variety of ways. He and Hornets point guard Kemba Walker should make for an exciting backcourt duo.
Chicago Bulls: F
The Bulls traded Jimmy Butler and the No. 16 pick to the Timberwolves for 2016 No. 5 pick Kris Dunn, former first-round choice Zach LaVine and the No. 7 selection. Dunn had an injury-plagued rookie season, and if he doesn’t realize his potential and become an elite point guard, this trade could go down as a very bad one for the Bulls.
Chicago used the No. 7 selection to draft Arizona center Lauri Markkanen, who has the least upside of any top-10 pick by far. Monk would have been a much better fit for the Bulls. Chicago was one of the worst shooting teams in the league last season, and Monk would have addressed that weakness and provided much-needed scoring in Butler’s absence.
Trading an elite scorer for so little and not drafting a dynamic offensive player to replace him earns the Bulls a failing grade.
Cleveland Cavaliers: N/A
The Cavs didn’t have a pick Thursday night. This is what happens when you move first-round picks to acquire guys like Kyle Korver at the trade deadline.
Dallas Mavericks: A
The Mavs were fortunate North Carolina State point guard Dennis Smith Jr. fell to them at No. 9. He’s a top-five talent, and his 48-inch vertical at a pre-draft workout was the perfect display of his impressive athleticism.
Smith scored 18.1 points and dished out 6.2 assists per game for the Wolfpack, and he should fill a huge need at point guard for a rebuilding Dallas squad.
Denver Nuggets: C+
The Nuggets traded down from No. 13 in a deal with the Jazz and took Tyler Lydon at No. 24. They also got Jazz power forward Trey Lyles in the trade. Instead of taking Donovan Mitchell, OG Anunoby or Bam Adebayo, the Nuggets acquired two players who don’t project to be impact players. Denver failed to get better while other Western Conference teams around them improved.
Detroit Pistons: B
The Pistons shot just 33 percent from 3-point range last season, which was the third-worst mark in the league. Duke guard Luke Kennard, whom Detroit selected at No. 12, is one of the best long-distance shooters in this draft class.
Golden State Warriors: B+
The Warriors didn’t have a pick going into the night, but they bought a second-round selection (No. 38) from the Bulls to take Oregon’s Jordan Bell, who defends well and has excellent athleticism. Patrick McCaw proved to be a valuable bench player on the Warriors’ 2017 championship team after being a second-round pick last year, so Golden State is hoping to hit another home run with Bell, and they just might.
Houston Rockets: B
German forward Isaiah Hartenstein was projected to be a first-round pick in many mock drafts, and the Rockets were able to snag him in Round 2 at No. 43. That’s good value for Houston.
Indiana Pacers: C-
T.J. Leaf has 3-point range, hitting 41 percent of his shots from beyond the arc at UCLA last season, but how much of that Lonzo Ball setting him up with excellent shots? Probably a lot, but Leaf does have a fundamentally strong offensive game and is capable of scoring from the low-post and midrange, too. Leaf is a below-average defender, though. His athleticism and strength need work.
Indiana also failed to impress with its two second-round picks.
Los Angeles Clippers: C+
The Clippers didn’t have a first-round pick. They used one of their two second-round picks on Sindarius Thornwell of South Carolina, and he was one of the Gamecocks’ best players in their surprising 2017 Final Four run. This pick was bought from the Bucks.
Los Angeles Lakers: A-
Lonzo Ball is a fantastic playmaker, and those skills, combined with his size, have drawn him comparisons to Penny Hardaway and Jason Kidd. The Lakers needed a true point guard, and Ball fits the bill. He’s also a quality scorer, although his shooting form and percentages must improve.
Ball gives the Lakers some much-needed star power, too, which they’ll need to attract marquee free agents in the next few years. Elite players such as Indiana Pacers forward Paul George, who has been linked to the Lakers, enjoy playing with a pass-first point guard such as Ball.
Kyle Kuzma at No. 27 and Josh Hart at No. 30 also were good value picks for the Purple and Gold.
Memphis Grizzlies: B
Ivan Rabb has first-round talent and might have been a low lottery pick if he left the University of California as a freshman in 2016. Drafting him at No. 35 overall was solid value for Memphis.
Miami Heat: B+
Bam Adebayo is a tremendous interior defender and a rebounding machine. He also has 3-point range, which is essential to playing center in 2017. It’s going to be tough for teams to out-rebound Miami with Adebayo and Hassan Whiteside hitting the glass, but how well will they mesh on the court?
Milwaukee Bucks: B+
It wouldn’t be a draft without the Bucks adding a player with ridiculous length. D.J. White, whom Milwaukee selected at No. 17, could be insurance for Jabari Parker if the former Duke star continues to suffer from injuries. White, who played two seasons at Michigan, was one of college basketball’s most improved players in 2016-17.
Minnesota Timberwolves: A
The T-Wolves traded the No. 7 pick, 2016 No. 5 selection Kris Dunn and guard Zach LaVine to the Bulls for Jimmy Butler and the No. 16 selection, which they used on Creighton center Justin Patton. Butler and Patton for that package is a huge win for the Timberwolves, who added two good pieces to a talented young core highlighted by former No. 1 overall picks Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.
Minnesota is a team on the rise and should have a great chance to end its league-long 13-year playoff drought next season.
New Orleans Pelicans: N/A
The Pelicans didn’t have any 2017 draft picks. They used their first-round selection in the deal that brought All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins to New Orleans before the trade deadline.
New York Knicks: C+
Frank Ntilikina was the Knicks’ pick at No. 8, and he’s a good fit for Phil Jackson’s much-maligned triangle offense. Ntilikina’s real strength is on defense, though, as he’s an elite athlete with excellent length and size at 6-foot-5 and 190 pounds. He should be able to overpower small point guards.
North Carolina State point guard Dennis Smith Jr. has more upside and is more NBA-ready, but the Knicks must like what Ntilikina can bring them on the defensive end of the floor.
Oklahoma City Thunder: C+
Terrance Ferguson was good value at No. 21, but he’s a raw talent who isn’t expected to make a huge impact as a rookie. That doesn’t seem to fit the Thunder’s win-now plan.
Orlando Magic: A
Jonathan Isaac, the Magic’s pick at No. 6, could be the best player in this draft. His raw talent is incredibly impressive, and few swingmen in this draft are more athletic. He needs to add weight and strength, but his length and quickness should help him attack the basket and score over NBA big men. His length, reach and leaping ability will give the Magic much-needed rim protection, too.
Isaac best compares, from a skill and body-type standpoint, to Brandon Ingram, the Lakers’ No. 2 pick in 2016.
Philadelphia 76ers: A
The 76ers desperately need a franchise point guard, and they got a fantastic one in Washington star Markelle Fultz. Philly originally owned the No. 3 pick, but they used that selection and another first-round pick they previously had acquired to move up two spots in a trade with the Celtics.
Fultz gives the 76ers an impressive young core that includes former No. 1 pick Ben Simmons, star center Joel Embiid and guard Robert Covington. The 76ers could be a playoff team next season if Embiid and Simmons stay healthy. Fultz’s scoring and playmaking abilities should play a huge part of Philly’s success in 2017-18.
Phoenix Suns: B+
The Suns needed to add a versatile perimeter defender, and Kansas’ Josh Jackson fits the bill. He might be the most NBA-ready defender in the draft, and he’ll bring much-needed toughness and leadership to a young Phoenix roster. Jackson also posted 13 double-doubles last season, the most ever by a Kansas freshman.
Phoenix certainly is building a talented roster with recent high draft picks.
Portland Trail Blazers: B+
The Blazers traded up to No. 10 to draft Gonzaga center Zach Collins, and at No. 26, they selected Purdue forward Caleb Swanigan. Both players add toughness, rebounding and interior defense to a Blazers team that should be playoff-caliber next season.
Sacramento Kings: A
The Kings began the night as the only team with two top-10 picks, and after filling a glaring need at point guard by taking Kentucky’s De’Aaron Fox at No. 5, Sacramento traded the No. 10 pick to the Portland Trail Blazers for Nos. 15 and 20. The Kings selected talented North Carolina swingman Justin Jackson at No. 15 and Duke forward Harry Giles at No. 20.
Giles once was the top recruit in America, but injuries have limited him to less than 30 games over the last two seasons. He does have tremendous potential, though, and could among the biggest steals of the draft if he stays healthy.
The Kings have been one of the worst-run franchises in sports over the last five or so years, but they now have a good collection of talented young players to build around moving forward. Fox and 2016 No. 6 pick Buddy Hield could form one of the most exciting young backcourts in the league.
San Antonio Spurs: B
Colorado point guard Derrick White fills a positional need for the Spurs, who still have to find a long-term replacement for veteran playmaker Tony Parker.
Toronto Raptors: B+
Indiana’s OG Anunoby is a two-way talent who should earn plenty of minutes as a rookie because of his excellent perimeter defense. The Raptors, who might lose All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry in free agency, needed to add some backcourt depth.
Utah Jazz: B+
The Jazz traded up to No. 13 in a deal with the Nuggets to select Louisville shooting guard Donovan Mitchell. He averaged 15.6 points per game for the Cardinals last season, and his offensive talent, combined with his elite athleticism, could be quite useful for Utah if it loses veterans George Hill and/or Gordon Hayward in free agency. Mitchell is an NBA-ready defender, too.
Washington Wizards: N/A
The Wizards didn’t have a 2017 draft pick. They used their first-rounder to acquire Bojan Bogdanovic from the New Jersey Nets before the trade deadline.
Thumbnail photo via Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports Images
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