This was a crazy, crazy draft. We knew who the first two picks would be, but then things got out of control quickly.
2016 NBA Draft Grades
No. 12 — Taurean Prince (SF, Baylor) (acquired for Jeff Teague)
No. 21 — DeAndre’ Bembry (SG, St. Joseph’s)
No. 44 — Isaia Cordinier (SG, France)
Traded No. 54 to Cavs for cash
Atlanta kind of half blew things up with the Teague trade and then made a pretty significant reach on Prince (who admitted he thought he’d be picked in the 20-25 range). Prince has potential and Bembry gives them a nice talent as well.
No. 3 — Jaylen Brown (SF, Cal)
No. 16 — Guerschon Yabusele (PF, France)
No. 23 — Ante Zizic (C, Croatia)
Traded No. 31 and 35 to Grizzlies for 2019 Clipper First-Round pick
No. 45 — Demetrius Jackson (PG, Notre Dame)
No. 51 — Ben Bentil (PF, Providence)
No. 58 — Abdel Nader (SF, Iowa State)
The Celtics were the stars heading into the draft with so many options. They underwhelmed. Brown likely could’ve been had in the 6-8 range, but Boston felt he was the best player once they decided not to trade the pick. Brown brings supreme athleticism to the front court and has a high ceiling. Not being able to make any moves meant drafting two players to stash with the other first-rounders, but Zizic has gotten decent reviews. Turning a pair of second-rounders into a first and getting good value in Jackson and Bentil helped Boston’s cause late to improve from a worse grade.
No. 20 — Caris LeVert (SG, Michigan) (acquired for Thad Young)
No. 42 — Isaiah Whitehead (SG, Seton Hall) (acquired for No. 55 and cash)
Entering the draft with just the No. 55 pick and coming out with a pair of solid prospects is everything Brooklyn hoped for. Moving Young makes the Nets worse now, but their goal is to just add assets and slowly improve.
Traded No. 22 to Kings for Marco Belinelli
So the No. 20 pick is worth Thad Young and then Charlotte decides that Belinelli is worth a selection two picks later? Almost impossible to justify.
No. 14 — Denzel Valentine (SG, Michigan State)
No. 48 — Paul Zipster (SF, Germany)
Obviously all the big news surrounded the Derrick Rose trade, and rightfully so. But the Bulls got a really talented, well-rounded player in Valentine. Denzel has drawn realistic comparisons to a smaller Draymond Green, which makes sense even if you ignore the Michigan St. ties.
Bought No. 54 from Hawks
No. 54 — Kay Felder (PG, Oakland)
The Cavs didn’t need to get into this draft. Everything is rainbows and lollipops for them right now, but getting a backup PG with Delly and Mo-Will probably on the way out the door doesn’t hurt. This kid can ball too. Think Norris Cole.
No. 46 — A.J. Hammons (C, Purdue)
Nothing flashy but a pretty solid value pick for Dallas, which needs a center. Hammons played very well against big men taken before him in this draft, so he seems like he should be able to help right away in the NBA.
No. 7 — Jamal Murray (SG, Kentucky)
No. 15 — Juan Hernangomez (PF, Spain)
No. 19 — Malik Beasley (SG, Florida State)
No. 53 — Petr Cornelie (PF, France)
Sold No. 56 to Thunder
Hernangomez is a wildcard, but snagging Murray and Beasley really helped Denver’s cause. Despite selecting Mudiay last year, the Nuggets are stacked with front court prospects. Now Murray and Beasley give them two more great looking back court prospects to pair with Mudiay. Each of them are very good scorers.
No. 18 — Henry Ellenson (PF, Marquette)
No. 49 — Michael Gbinije (SF, Syracuse)
Gbinije is a solid pick than can really help out, but the grade is about stealing Ellenson who was projected to go as high as No. 9 in some mock drafts. Ellenson in an inside-out big that can really handle and shoot the ball. Basically the opposite of Drummond.
Golden State Warriors
No. 30 — Damian Jones (C, Vanderbilt)
No. 38 — Pat McCaw (SG, UNLV) (Purchased from Bucks)
The Warriors actually did really well for themselves without much hype. Jones would have been a top-10 pick entering the season, and still has that type of potential. He also fills a position of need with Ezeli hitting free agency. McCaw was acquired at no risk and was a potential first-rounder, so this was another nice add.
No. 37 — Chinanu Onuaku (PF, Louisville)
No. 43 — Zhou Qi (C, China)
Both of these guys had first-round potential. Both of these guys also have big bust potential. We really just have to wait and see on Houston’s draft. Give the Rockets credit for swinging for the fences, but they also need to be prepared for failure.
Traded George Hill for Jeff Teague
Traded No. 20 for Thad Young
No. 50 — Georges Niang (PF, Iowa State)
The actual draft pick Indy made is pretty meaningless, but this is still an easy A. When Hill and No. 20 net you Teague and Young to pair with Paul George and Myles Turner, you’ve done very well. These trades potentially make the Pacers the second-best team in the East, especially if more is to follow.
Los Angeles Clippers
No. 25 — Brice Johnson (PF, North Carolina)
Traded No. 33 for No. 39 and 40
No. 39 — David Michineau (PG, France)
No. 40 — Diamond Stone (C, Maryland)
The Clippers could’ve done better taking players that would’ve helped them right away in the second-round, but overall they did just fine. Johnson is NBA-ready and fell right into their laps, while Stone offers good upside for the future.
Los Angeles Lakers
No. 2 — Brandon Ingram (SF, Duke)
No. 32 — Ivica Zubac (C, Serbia)
Ingram is the best scorer in the draft by far and could very well turn into the best player in the draft. He’s a perfect fit with the Lakers’ young core, and if a blockbuster trade ever presents itself, Ingram is the type of prospect that can make it work. He’s not going to be Kevin Durant, but he could be close. The comparison it legit.
No. 17 — Wade Baldwin (PG, Vanderbilt)
Traded future first-round pick for No. 31 and 35
No. 31 — Deyonta Davis (PF, Michigan State)
No. 35 — Rade Zagorac (SF, Serbia)
No. 57 — Wang Zhelin (C, China)
Trading a future first for a pair of second-rounders is never ideal, but in this case Memphis felt Davis slipped right to them. I expected Davis to fall further than his lottery projection, but not to No. 31. He’s a good rebounder with potential. The big win came in scooping up Baldwin, a PG with size and athleticism. He could be a backup or a Mike Conley replacement down the line.
No. 10 — Thon Maker (PF, Canada)
No. 36 — Malcolm Brogdon (SG, Virginia)
Sold No. 38 to Warriors
This was a huge shock to see Maker go this high. Coming out of HS we don’t even know exactly how old Thon is (he could be as old as 23). Pairing him with the Greek Freak is intriguing, to say the least. C seems like a neutral grade. Time to sit back and see what this kid is. Based on where he was selected the Bucks expect a lot.
No. 5 — Kris Dunn (PG, Providence)
Dunn was widely considered the third-best player in the draft. With John Wall type potential, the Wolves are in an easy win-win. Dunn fits their system and young core perfectly if they keep him, and is also a talent that can be the centerpiece of a Jimmy Butler deal if conversations re-emerge.
New Orleans Pelicans
No. 6 — Buddy Hield (SG, Oklahoma)
Traded No. 39 and 40 for No. 33
No. 33 — Cheik Diallo (PF, Kansas)
Hield over Murray was a little bit of a risk, but understandable with Eric Gordon still on the roster — a similar guard to Murray. We all know what Buddy Buckets brings to the table, but the key to his success will be developing other strong NBA skills outside of his shooting. Diallo had lottery type potential entering the season, so rolling the dice on him at No. 33 doesn’t hurt.
New York Knicks
Oklahoma City Thunder
Traded Serge Ibaka to Magic for Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova and No. 11
No. 11 — Domantas Sabonis (PF, Gonzaga)
Purchased No. 56 from Nuggets
No. 56 — Daniel Hamilton (SF, UCONN)
Holy crap did OKC rob Orlando here. Just glance at Ibaka’s numbers and you’ll notice he’s on the decline. If you watched the Thunder’s playoff run, the eye test tells us the same thing. So you get a budding star and former No. 2 pick in Oladipo, a role player in Ilyasova and a great looking prospect that provides size, shooting and rebounding??? Yes please! Can’t stress enough how big of a win this is for OKC. KD should be impressed.
Traded Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova and No. 11 to Thunder for Serge Ibaka
No. 41 — Stephen Zimmerman (C, UNLV)
Sold No. 47 to Blazers
Welcome to the other side of the spectrum. Orlando really, really screwed this up. There’s not really much else to say. Ibaka doesn’t seem like the best fit and they paid a monster price. To make matters worse, Serge becomes a free agent next summer and can decide to just walk away.
No. 1 — Ben Simmons (PF, LSU)
No. 24 — Timothe Luwawu (SG, Serbia)
No. 26 — Furkan Korkmaz (SG, Turkey)
Simmons is clearly a fantastic prospect and the Sixers should be stoked to have him. The pair of internationals they got in the 20’s are players that were protected to go higher and can definitely help a team win in the NBA. Imagine that? Philly winning. Only reason for not getting a solid A was not getting back into the top-8 picks to take one of the elite guards in the draft to pair with Simmons.
No. 4 — Dragan Bender (PF, Croatia)
Traded Bogdan Bogdanovic and No. 13 and 28 to Kings for No. 8
No. 8 — Marquese Chriss (PF, Washington)
No. 34 — Tyler Ulis (PG, Kentucky)
The Suns targeted Bender and Chriss and landed both. They played this perfectly, knowing the teams behind them were in the market for guards and striking a deal with the Kings to land both prospects. Ultimately it depends how each player develops, particularly Bender, but both have high upside. In terms of achieving draft goals this was an easy A. Ulis is a nice second-round flyer too.
Portland Trail Blazers
Purchased No. 47 from Magic
No. 47 — Jake Layman (SF, Magic)
Layman had potential as an early second-rounder. So for Portland finding an easy way to get into the draft and scoop him up towards the end is a nice add for them.
Traded Marco Belinelli for No. 22
Traded No. 8 to Suns for Bogdan Bogdanovic and No. 13 and 28
No. 13 — Georgios Papagiannis (C, Greece)
No. 22 — Malachi Richardson (SG, Syracuse)
No. 28 — Skal Labissiere (PF, Kentucky)
No. 59 — Isaiah Cousins (PG, Oklahoma)
The Kings were super active trading pretty much everything they had for new assets. Adding Richardson for Belinelli is a steal, even if you’re not high on Malachi. Trading back in the draft for Papagiannis at No. 13 wasn’t ideal, but the Kings made up for it with the next three picks. Labissiere has bust written all over him, but he’s worth a shot.
San Antonio Spurs
No. 29 — Dejounte Murray (PG, Washington)
Simple draft strategy and it was classic Spurs. Murray has the potential of a lottery pick with all the athleticism and size it takes to succeed in the NBA. He’s raw, but San Antonio seems like as safe a place as possible to grow.
No. 9 — Jakob Poeltl (C, Utah)
No. 27 — Pascal Siakam (PF, New Mexico State)
Toronto made a pretty big reach on Jakob, especially considering the Raptors are pretty well-off at center. He won’t be a bust, but there were players that fit a need with higher ceilings on the board. So what do they do next? Make an even bigger reach on another center. Oops.
Traded No. 12 for George Hill
Traded No. 42 for No. 55 and cash
No. 52 — Joel Bolomboy (PF, Weber State)
No. 55 — Marcus Paige (PG, North Carolina)
No. 60 — Tyrone Wallace (PG, Cal)
Hill is a better player than he gets credit for and fits a huge need for the Jazz. Considering the value of the No. 12 pick, the deal looks even better. Bolomboy has high upside for No. 52 as an elite athlete and rebounder. Utah also hedged its bets at PG by going that route with No. 55 and 60.
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