Explanation: The Hawks probably could have gotten a player that would have really helped their team at No. 15. Instead they traded back for the two second-rounders and No. 19, which they turned into Hardaway (their big prize of the draft). He’s a good shooter and a nice bench player, but there were better options in the draft.
Boston Celtics: Terry Rozier (No. 16), R.J. Hunter (No. 28), Jordan Mickey (No. 33), Marcus Thornton (No. 45).
Explanation: I like Hunter at 28. It fills a need (shooting) and was later than he was expected to be taken. The rest was very sketchy. Mickey is decent, but why not go for a big at No. 16? Instead they used the pick on Rozier, another Marcus Smart/Avery Bradley type. I like Rozier as a player, but how the hell do you fit those guys into the rotation with Isaiah Thomas … let alone with Hunter and James Young? The Celtics needed to make a trade and failed. They tried to move up to No. 9 to take Justise Winslow, but “felt the price was too high.” The Celtics now have 10 guards.
Brooklyn Nets: Steve Blake, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (No. 23), Chris McCullough (No. 29), Juan Vaulet (No. 39).
Explanation: The Nets had to give up Mason Plumlee to make this happen, otherwise they’d get an A. The loss of Plumlee hurts, but I feel RHJ is severely underrated and will be a very good pro. He can’t shoot, but he’s very good at everything else, and has All-Defense potential. McCullough was a nice scoop. He tore his ACL last season, which potentially dropped him from the lottery. He’s still a mystery, but the Nets needed homerun potential and they got it.
Charlotte Hornets: Frank Kaminsky (No. 9).
Explanation: MJ just loves to take the best college player. How’d Adam Morrison work out? Kaminsky won’t be out of the league in three years, but he’s a role player. And Charlotte turned down a HAUL from the Celtics to snag “Frank the Tank.” The Hornets are having a solid offseason, though. They’ve acquired Nicolas Batum from the Blazers for Gerald Henderson and Noah Vonleh, and also grabbed Jeremy Lamb from the Thunder for next to nothing.
Chicago Bulls: Bobby Portis (No. 22).
Explanation: The Bulls were probably looking for a wing, but Portis just fell into their laps. Portis was supposed to be taken somewhere between No. 13-16, but slipped until Chicago finally made the right move. This kid is going to be Kenneth Faried. Never stops going and does everything well.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Cedi Osman (No. 31), Rakeem Christmas (No. 36), Sir’Dominic Pointer (No. 53).
Explanation: The Cavs just get a completely neutral grade. They made a lot of moves, but never really did anything at the same time. Had they kept Tyus Jones at No. 24, they would have received a higher grade, but they shipped him to the Wolves. The Cavs are obviously trying to spend a lot of money this summer, so they likely didn’t want a first-round pick on the books. Osman will be overseas for a while and Pointer won’t make the team. Christmas is the only guy we potentially see on the team as a role player.
Dallas Mavericks: Justin Anderson (No. 21), Satnam Singh Bhamara (No. 55).
Explanation: The Mavs did well for themselves with both picks. Justin Anderson is a really solid 3-and-D player, and as a junior last season, he figures to be ready to contribute right away. Bhamara is a MASSIVE center from India. I can’t pretend I know much about him. He’s a long shot, but I respect the gamble.
Denver Nuggets: Emmanuel Mudiay (No. 7), Nikola Radicevic (No. 57).
Explanation: Winslow may have been the better pick here, but Denver decided to roll the dice. Mudiay is one of the biggest mysteries in the draft. He’s a big, strong, fast guard with a ton of potential. He won’t be better than Russell, but the D-Rose comparisons are obvious when you watch him play. Radicevic is another point guard, but he’ll be stashed overseas for a few more years. Time will tell if we see him in the NBA, but that’s pretty standard at No. 57.
Detroit Pistons: Stanley Johnson (No. 8), Darrun Hilliard II (No. 38).
Explanation: The Pistons blew it. Johnson will be a good player, but the odds are stacked against him being a better player than Winslow, who was available. Maybe they’ll look like geniuses in a few years, but right now it looks like they made the wrong choice. Hilliard was taken way too high at No. 38 to top things off.
Golden State Warriors: Kevon Looney (No. 30)
Explanation: The Warriors got to sit back and just take the best player on the board at the end of the round. Usually it’s some lottery potential guy that slips – and that’s exactly what happened. Looney has crazy upside, but might need hip surgery, which would cause him to miss significant time. Great pick if they keep him, but with money about to get tight, they may have to ditch him at some point in time.
Houston Rockets: Sam Dekker (No. 18), Montrezl Harrell (No. 32).
Explanation: There was a lot of talk about Houston trading out of the first-round, but they wound up having a great draft. I’m not sold on Dekker, but he seems like in time he could fill that Chandler Parson’s role they just lost. And I think they may have done even better in the second-round. Harrell is a very athletic big with a 7’4’’ wingspan. I wouldn’t blink if you told me he winds up being a top-15 player in this draft class in five years.
Indiana Pacers: Myles Turner (No. 11), Joseph Young (No. 43).
Explanation: The Pacers took the best player with the best fit with each pick. Tough to hate on that philosophy. Tuner has a ton of upside, and if he reaches his potential, could be a feared rim-protector and a special offensive weapon. Young is a big time scoring point guard. He’s not elite, but certainly has the talent to be on the floor. This isn’t a second-rounder that just falls right out of the league.
Los Angeles Clippers: Brendan Dawson (No. 56)
Explanation: Forget Dawson, we probably never see him in a Clippers uniform. This grade would be a C like the Cavs for being neutral, but don’t forget, the Clippers first-round pick went to Boston for Doc Rivers. So they missed out on R.J. Hunter, while Doc is in L.A. destroying the Clippers’ roster.
Explanation: The Lakers killed the draft. Nance and Brown are two players that can come in and certainly be role players around the new core of Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson and the best player in this draft – Russell. Make no mistake about it, D’Angelo Russell is going to be a superstar. I can’t wait to watch him play, he’s going to dazzle in the NBA.
Memphis Grizzlies: Jarrell Martin (No. 25), Andrew Harrison (No. 44).
Nothing great about these picks, but nothing bad. Memphis seems to have gotten a couple of decent players that both should make their team. Maybe the highly recruited Harrison can be a better NBA player than he was in college. Definitely worth a shot. The Grizzlies biggest win was acquiring Matt Barnes for nearly nothing the day before the draft. He fits right into their rotation, giving them even more wing depth.
Miami Heat: Justise Winslow (No. 10), Josh Richardson (No. 40).
Explanation: Pat Riley should be sending the Hornets a gift basket for not accepting the trade offer from Boston for the No. 9 pick. It allowed Winslow to become the steal of the draft. He fits right in to what we figure will be a veteran roster and should take his time to grow. This guy has superstar potential. Reminds me of when Paul Pierce fell to No. 10, although Pierce was more of a sure thing. They could have given the No. 40 pick away for free and still gotten a perfect grade from me. They may have just gotten lucky, but that’s usually how I got my A+ grades too.
Milwaukee Bucks: Rashad Vaughn (No. 17).
Explanation: Vaughn is a total gamble. He didn’t play well at UNLV and then got injured, so he wasn’t high in demand. But we’ve also seen he’s a very capable scorer. Time will tell on this one, but my gut tells me there were better players on the board.
Explanation: This one’s pretty obvious. Yes, I do think Russell is the best player, but Towns is an amazing fit. He’s the perfect athlete to combine with Andrew Wiggins AND he gets to learn under the wing of Kevin Garnett. Not much more you could ask for … but Minnesota still gave their fans more anyway. Jones will be an ideal backup point guard in the league. His size hurts, but he’s a very good player and always cool under pressure. The Wolves went above and beyond.
New Orleans Pelicans: The Pelicans didn’t make any moves or picks, but they still have Anthony Davis, so I guess they get an A?
New York Knicks: Kristaps Porzingis (No. 4), Jerian Grant (No. 19), Guillermo Hernangomez (No. 35).
Explanation: It was extremely fun to watch Knicks fans react, but this wasn’t a bad draft at all. The Knicks probably should have tried to move up to No. 3 for Okafor, but they also probably lacked the assets. Porzingis is very likely the highest upside that they were left with. He also just scares the crap out of everyone because there’s always a bust factor with international guys. We just have to see what happens, but I get a little bit of a different feeling from this kid. Getting Grant for Hardaway was a huge win for the Knicks. They now have a very talented point guard with size to plug into the triangle. Hernangomez could be a solid player too. The only thing left for the Knicks? Just freaking trade Carmelo already!
Oklahoma City Thunder: Cameron Payne (No. 14), Dakari Johnson (No. 48).
Explanation: OKC also had an awesome draft. I thought they needed a wing over a point guard in Payne, but I suppose they could play Westbrook off the ball some. These small school guards tend to come in and work their ass off until they find a role. Johnson was a steal. I had him going in the first-round of my mock draft. A 7-footer from Kentucky that seems like he can play? No clue why he went No. 48 but the Thunder will look very smart soon.
Orlando Magic: Mario Hezonja (No. 5), Tyler Harvey (No. 51).
Explanation: As I said with Porzingis, international talent is always a risk this high. Hezonja has a chance to be a very good player with his elite athleticism and great shooting touch. He also immediately becomes one of the most cocky players in the NBA, which says a lot. If anything, he’s exciting.
Explanation: Ok, don’t overreact. I do like Okafor. There’s a scenario here where Embiid or Noel gets traded and Okafor develops into a star (or one where Okafor is traded for a need). But as it stands, Philly needed to find a way to come out of this draft with Russell. They didn’t. The current roster is a mess and all of their other draft picks sucked.
Phoenix Suns: Devin Booker (No. 13).
Explanation: Booker could be the best shooter in this draft, which will be a huge help for the Suns. The fact is he’s 18-years old. We’ll see if he can come anywhere close to a Klay Thompson type, or simply just sticks to being a catch and shoot guy. Still a great pick by the Suns, but we’re going to have to wait this one out and see what Booker turns into. This pick reminds me a lot of the Celtics taking James Young at No. 17 last year.
Portland Trail Blazers: Mason Plumlee, Pat Connaughton (No. 41), Daniel Diez (No. 57).
Explanation: The Blazers are a mess. We can now be sure LaMarcus Aldridge is leaving with the moves they’ve made recently. I like Plumlee, but not as much as I like Hollis-Jefferson – who he was moved for. The draft picks are decent … maybe Connaughton turns into something. Aside from Plumlee, don’t forget the additions of Henderson and Vonleh from the Batum trade. Portland is in a total rebuild with Damian Lillard the only mainstay.
Sacramento Kings: Willie Cauley-Stein (No. 6).
Explanation: I’m a huge WCS fan. The Kings didn’t get suckered into passing on him because of any rumors, so credit them for that. He has a LONG way to go on offense, and maybe he never gets there. But he’s an elite shot blocker and can defend all five positions. I don’t see how this kid doesn’t become Tyson Chandler.
San Antonio Spurs: Nikola Milutinov (No. 26), Cady LaLanne (No. 55).
Grade: B (but probably an A+ in five years)
Explanation: I’m kidding about the five years part … I think. The Spurs are just focused on bringing the band back together while attempting to add a free agent on top. Milutinov should be overseas for a while. I know nothing about him, but the Spurs like him so he’s good. As an A-10 guy, I’ve seen a lot of LaLanne. He’s a long shot blocker with raw athleticism. Will he make the Spurs? Would be pretty tough to see happening, but who knows.
Toronto Raptors: Delon Wright (No. 20), Norman Powell (No. 46), 2017 first-rounder from Bucks (top-15 protected).
Explanation: The Raptors moved Grevis Vasquez for a first-round pick and then drafted a better backup point guard in Wright. That’s a great move, especially once they get their hands on that draft pick down the line. Powell has some promise to be a good player too, although they could have looked for a big like Dakari Johnson with that second-rounder.
Utah Jazz: Trey Lyles (No. 12), Olivier Hanlan (No. 42).
Explanation: Lyles could be one of the surprises in this draft. Nobody had a good feel on what he was at Kentucky since he was buried behind so many other stars and constantly playing out of position. I expect him to be a much better NBA player than college player. Hanlan is a promising point guard as well, a guy with first-round potential worth taking a shot on.
Washington Wizards: Kelly Oubre (No. 15), Aaron White (No. 49).
Explanation: Washington gave up a pair of second-round picks to move up four spots to select Oubre, but if they feel he’s the guy, than that’s not a big deal. Oubre has a lot of promise and athleticism, we’ll see if he makes good on it. White would be a surprise to see on the team next year. But they are in need of help at both forward positions.
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