2017 NBA Draft Recap and Grades

June 25, 2017

By Alan Lu

60 picks were made on June 22nd, and the NBA draft is now over.  Teams made their selections, and some of them made trades with each other, and each of them may have appeared to come away with something interesting.  Some of them may have fared better than others; others may have been worse off as a result.  Here is how I think each team fared in this draft, as I assigned 28 of these teams a grade.

 

Atlanta Hawks

  1. John Collins, F-C, Wake Forest

This was a good value pick made by Atlanta.  They recently traded away Dwight Howard, and they selected a talented big man that possesses solid inside scoring and rebounding skills.   John Collins is an athletic big man that is a very good scorer in the paint, especially when he is either in the post or looking to score on hustle plays.  He also rebounds the basketball very well, as he will actively crash the glass on both ends of the floor.

On the downside, he will need to improve his perimeter skills, especially as a passer, as he did not collect many assists throughout his career.  Also, he may need to improve his defense, as he can be undisciplined on this end at times.

But with John Collins’ ability to score and rebound in the paint, combined with his athleticism, the Hawks could be getting an impact player that could contribute and excel right away.

  1. Tyler Dorsey, G, Oregon

He is an athletic combo guard that can really shoot and score the basketball.  He may need to show that he has the playmaking skills to run the point, but he had a solid showing at the combine that suggested he may be able to, and Dorsey has the smarts, skills, and intangibles to succeed as a very good role player in the NBA.

  1. Alpha Kaba, F-C, Mega Leks (France)

While there were other talented players that could have been had at this spot, this looks to be an adequate pick for the Hawks at 60, as Kaba could be a worthwhile draft and stash selection for them.  Alpha Kaba is an athletic big man that can really rebound the basketball, and he has shown improving perimeter and defensive skills.  He will need to continue to improve and be more consistent in games, but this was an intriguing selection here.

On the Dwight Howard-Miles Plumlee, Marco Belinelli trade that involved picks 31 and 41:

Well, the Hawks manage to get Dwight Howard off their books, which may be a very good thing if they are looking to rebuild.  On the downside, they end up getting Miles Plumlee’s sizeable contract on their hands, though he and Belinelli could contribute as role players off the bench.  But they also moved 10 spots down the draft, which may not have been ideal for them.

Draft Night Grade: C+

 

Boston Celtics

  1. Jayson Tatum, F, Duke

    It was likely going to be between him or Josh Jackson, and when Jackson cancelled his workouts to Boston, Tatum was poised to be the pick here at 3.  With that in mind, it looks to be a solid choice by the Celtics.

Tatum is a solid all-around player that excels at scoring the basketball, as he can do so off the dribble as well as in the post, and he can also shoot it.  He is a good playmaker and defender, and he also rebounds very well.  He is a solid, but not an outstanding athlete, but he can make numerous plays above the rim.  Most likely, he is a player that can help Boston both now and in the future, and he will be willing to contribute regardless of what role is asked of him.

  1. Semi Ojeleye, F, SMU

He is a very athletic, versatile combination forward that can score from anywhere on the floor, and he also can rebound the basketball.  He will likely need to improve his defensive skills, but Ojeleye is a late bloomer that is just now playing his best basketball, and he could end up being a solid player in the NBA.

  1. Kadeem Allen, G, Arizona

While it was not expected for Allen to get picked in the draft, this could end up being a fairly good pick for Boston here.  Kadeem Allen is an athletic combo guard that will compete on every possession, and he is a fairly good shooter and scorer when he elects to do so.  He also will play aggressive defense.   He may need to clean up on the turnovers on offense, but he could compete to be the backup point guard for Boston.

  1. Jabari Bird, G-F, California

While it was not expected for Bird to be drafted either, this also could end up being a fairly good pick for the Celtics, as they take him at 56.  Jabari Bird is an athletic swingman that shoots the ball very well, and he can score in a variety of ways.

He is a high-character player that will also compete on every possession, and he also is an above average playmaker, and has the tools to excel defensively.  He will need to improve his rebounding and position defense, and has been sidelined with injuries previously, but Bird could potentially contribute off the bench for the Celtics.

In analyzing Boston trading the 1st overall pick (the rights to Markelle Fultz) to Philadelphia for the 3rd overall pick (the rights to Jayson Tatum) and a future first round pick:

They did end up parting ways with likely the best player in the draft, but the Celtics are a very good team that continues to add more assets to their team, which may always be a good thing.  Jayson Tatum is a solid player that can do a little bit of everything, and he can provide them with extra scoring, and some defense on the wings.

Draft Night Grade: B+

 

Brooklyn Nets

 

  1. Jarrett Allen, C, Texas

The Nets made a solid value pick in selecting Allen at 22.  Jarrett Allen is an athletic big man that possesses good inside scoring, rebounding, and shot blocking skills.  He can ably score in the post, or on hustle plays, and he may project to be a plus-level rim protector at the next level.  On the downside, he may need to improve his perimeter skills, but this was likely a solid pickup for the Nets at this spot.

  1. Aleksandar Vezenkov, F, FC Barcelona (Bulgaria)

Vezenkov is a smart, sound offensively skilled player that can shoot and pass the basketball.  He tends to make good decisions when he is on the floor, and he also moves well off the ball on offense.  Plus, he is a solid playmaker that passes the ball well as he has good court vision.  He will also actively crash the glass, and he tends to be in the right spots defensively.

However, he may only be an average athlete and defensive player, as he does not possess elite physical tools.  He also may struggle to consistently create his own shot on offense, especially against more athletic players.  But Vezenkov can really space the floor, and he could end up being as solid role player when he makes his way to the NBA.

On the trade involving D’Angelo Russell, Timofey Mozgov for Brook Lopez and 27 (rights to Kuzma):

This looks to be a solid trade for Brooklyn, as they added a really talented player that was once considered a cornerstone piece to a franchise a couple years back in acquiring D’Angelo Russell.   Russell was embroiled in the infamous controversy involving Nick Young and Iggy Azalea, and soon ended up out of favor with the people of Los Angeles as well as his team.

But Russell still is an athletic point guard that can shoot and score the basketball, and he could be a difference maker if he can put his past behind him.  Mozgov was likely cap filler to make the deal work, but he could provide some rebounding, energy, and interior defense in limited minutes.  While they had to part with Brook Lopez and a late first round pick, getting Russell could prove to be a good gamble on the Nets’ end.

Draft Night Grade: B+

 

Charlotte Hornets

  1. Malik Monk, G, Kentucky

The Hornets made a great selection as they managed to stop Monk’s free fall by selecting him at 11.  Malik Monk is a terrific shooter that can really score the basketball, and he is also a very good athlete.  On the other hand, his other skills may not be nearly as good in the other areas, and it is uncertain as to whether or not if he can play the point in the NBA, or if that matters.  But what is certain, is Monk’s tremendous ability to shoot and score at will, and the Hornets may have acquired the best shooter in this draft.

  1. Dwayne Bacon, G-F, Florida State

He is a very athletic swingman that can score and pass the basketball.  He can tend to be inconsistent and mistake prone, but he is a talented playmaker that could add some significant punch to the Charlotte Hornets’ team.

On the Dwight Howard-Miles Plumlee, Marco Belinelli trade that involved picks 31 and 41:

Dwight Howard individually may be a good player, but it’s hard to tell how much this will move the needle for Charlotte.  He has not been a serious contending team since he helped lead the Orlando Magic to the 2009 NBA Finals, though Howard always has been a very athletic center that has put up solid numbers year to year.

He is not the most offensively dynamic player though and he can struggle to guard pick and rolls, and his contract is enormous and hard to move.  The Hornets did get 31 out of this deal, in which they would later trade, and in the short term, they make a move to bolster their chances to make the playoffs.

Trading 31 (Frank Jackson) to New Orleans for 40 (Dwayne Bacon) and cash considerations:

This was a minor deal that involved a swap of second round picks and cash.  Both players are talented, and both teams benefit from getting the players they want.

Draft Night Grade: B

They made a tremendous pick by selecting Malik Monk, but a slew of average trades made by the Hornets may have hampered their grade somewhat, but they still come out ahead of the pack.

 

Chicago Bulls

  1. Lauri Markkanen, F-C, Arizona

The Bulls get a good prospect in selecting Arizona’s freshman big man, Lauri Markkanen, as he is a great shooter that can really space the floor and score the basketball.  He is also a smart player that plays team basketball.

On the downside, he is not an elite athlete, and his other skills may not be nearly as good as his offensive skills.  But Markkanen’s terrific ability to score whether if it’s off of jump shots, in the post, off the dribble, or on hustle plays, combined with having adequate playmaking skills could enable him to be a solid pro in the NBA.

As for their moves, it does not look good for Chicago in the early going, though there is more hope for the Bulls in their coup of young talent in the Butler trade than in their latter trade when they opted to part ways with Bell.

Bulls trade Jimmy Butler and 16 (the rights to Justin Patton) to Minnesota for 7 (Lauri Markkanen), Kris Dunn, and Zach LaVine.

It’s not certain if the Bulls received nearly enough in return.  Jimmy Butler is a terrific basketball player that is one of the best players in the NBA, and he may be one of the top 5 defensive players in the game right now.  He is a cornerstone piece as he can really score and defend, and he is a high character player that plays team basketball.

In the meantime, Kris Dunn is coming off a really disappointing rookie season as he failed to shoot, score, or make plays at nearly the level that he was projected to bring, as he was projected by some to be an early Rookie of the Year candidate.  But minutes can be had for Dunn in Chicago if Rondo ends up leaving the Bulls for another team, and Dunn’s athleticism and defensive skills could make him salvageable as a Patrick Beverley type in the future.

Meanwhile, the Bulls did get a nice coup in getting Zach LaVine for their team, as he is a super athletic combo guard that can shoot and provide scoring punch, and he also has some playmaking skills.  He’s coming off a knee injury, but the Bulls hope that he can recover and improve as a playmaker and defender.  Markkanen is a solid prospect, but it’s uncertain if he will be a future All-Star or just a very good role player in the NBA.

Bulls trade 38 (the rights to Jordan Bell) to Golden State for cash considerations.

This trade is bad for the Bulls for a number of reasons.  There was a considerable amount of talent available at this spot, they did not receive any future picks in return, and they helped the defending champions, the Golden State Warriors replenish by helping their competitor add a very athletic, shot blocking rim protector that could potentially be a starter for them in the future.

The Bulls elected to save money, but it’s never wise to give the best team in the NBA even more assets that could allow them to build upon their potentially inevitable dynasty.

Draft Night Grade: C-

They did end up making a good pick despite perhaps leaving higher upside players on the board, but their trades left them with a very unimpressive haul that may very well leave them having the worst night among all of these teams.

The Bulls even managed to make a terrific Warriors’ team even better by giving them an extra talented player to their fold, while getting very little in return.  Their coup out of the Butler trade was not great either, but the players they received in that deal at least has a chance to perhaps make an impact for them down the road.  But with the night they had, the Bulls may end up wishing they had a do over here.

 

Cleveland Cavaliers

They sat out of the 2017 NBA Draft, and unlike the defending champions Golden State Warriors that defeated them in this year’s NBA Finals, the Cavaliers did not end up trading into this draft.

The Cavs did not get to add players through this draft, but maybe there may be undrafted free agents that could potentially make their team, though that may be quite a long shot.

Draft Night Grade: I

 

Dallas Mavericks

  1. Dennis Smith Jr., G, NC State

Solid pick for Dallas by taking Smith at 9.  Dennis Smith Jr. is a very athletic, offensively skilled player that has tremendous amount of upside, as he can really score the basketball, and he is a solid playmaker that can create shots for himself and others.

On the downside, he is not very consistent from game to game, and he does not always show a great motor when he is on the floor.  When he is motivated, he can look like a future All-Star, but that may be a considerable if.  But he is also a very gifted basketball player, and he will likely be a very good piece for the Mavericks to add to their team both in the short term and for the future.

Draft Night Grade: B+

 

Denver Nuggets

  1. Tyler Lydon, F, Syracuse

This looks to be a good pick made by Denver.  Lydon is an athletic combination forward that shoots the ball very well, and he can score on hustle plays.  He is also an unselfish player that makes good passes when he is on the floor.

However, he may not be a great shot creator, and Syracuse has had trouble churning out elite defenders, as their players may tend to struggle to adjust from playing a 2-3 zone to playing man-to-man.   Still, Lydon is a smart, skilled offensive player that shoots the ball well, and when he is dialed in, he can be an effective role player when he is out on the floor.

  1. Vlatko Cancar, F, Mega Leks (Serbia)

This looks to be a solid, draft and stash pick made by Denver here.  Cancar is a good shooter that is a smart position defender, and he could very well profile into a 3 and D type of player when he gets to the NBA.  On the downside, he may only be an average athlete and he may not be a great shot creator, but his smarts and skills could make him an effective role player in this league.

  1. Monte Morris, G, Iowa State

Denver may have gotten a steal by selecting Monte Morris at 51.  Morris is a smart, skilled playmaker that makes smart decisions with the basketball, and he also is a good shooter that can score in a variety of ways.  He is also a plus-level defender that will bring great ball pressure, and he will also get after it on the glass.

On the downside, he can be streaky with his jump shot, and he may not be a dynamic playmaker, as he may be more of a game manager.   But late in the second round, this looks to be a very good get here for the Nuggets.

On Denver trading away 13 (rights to Donovan Mitchell) for 24 (Tyler Lydon) and Trey Lyles:

The Nuggets did trade away a lottery pick to move down considerably in the first round, and they ended up acquiring two forwards that may potentially duplicate each other in the process.  But this could turn out to be a pleasantly good move for Denver as a result.

Both are talented, versatile forwards, as Lyles is an athletic big man that is a versatile defender, and he actually shot the ball well as a rookie before regressing noticeably on offense this past year.  Lydon was a fairly good get late in the first round, as he is an athletic combo forward that can score in a variety of ways, but it is uncertain if he can adjust to man-to-man defense in the NBA.

Draft Night Grade: B

 

Detroit Pistons

  1. Luke Kennard, G-F, Duke

He is a very skilled offensive player that can really shoot and score the basketball.  Kennard possesses high basketball IQ, and he tends to make sound plays when he is on the floor.  On the downside, he may only be an average athlete and is not a very good defensive player, but Kennard could provide plenty of floor spacing for the Pistons.

Draft Night Grade: C

 

Golden State Warriors

  1. Jordan Bell, F-C, Oregon

This is a very good pick for Golden State.  Jordan Bell is a vastly athletic big man that plays with a high motor, and he is a very good shot blocker that is one of the best rim protectors in the draft.  He is a first round talent that helped lead Oregon to the Final Four, and he is a solid finisher around the basket as well as a good passer on the floor.   This was a very good choice for the Warriors here, as they get to replenish their team.

Thoughts on their trade involving 38 (Jordan Bell), as they made a deal with Chicago and parted ways with cash:

This was a tremendous deal by Golden State.  They get a very athletic big man that is a terrific shot blocker in getting Jordan Bell, and Bell is a high motor player that is one of the best defensive players in this draft.   With Zaza and Javale McGee being free agents, Jordan Bell could potentially end up being a starter for the Warriors in the near future.

Draft Night Grade: A

The Warriors come away with the best night among all of these teams, as they manage to get the steal of the draft in trading into the 2nd round to take Jordan Bell out of Oregon.  The rich get richer, and they add a player that could be a future starter for them.

 

Houston Rockets

  1. Isaiah Hartenstein, F-C, Zalgiris (Germany)

This looks to be a solid pick by Houston, as they stop Hartenstein’s free fall.  They get a tall, shooting big man that can rebound and block shots, and Hartenstein is a mobile player that can bang in the middle.  He is not an elite athlete and can be foul prone, but Hartenstein is a smart, skilled player that can help them now, or in the future if they decide to stash him.

Thoughts on Houston trading away 45 (Dillon Brooks) to Memphis for a future 2nd round pick:

This does not appear to be a very good move in the short term, as they could use extra players to add to their team right now, but the Rockets do get a pick in the future.

Draft Night Grade: C+

They made a very good selection by taking Hartenstein at 43, but trading away the 45th overall pick for a future pick does not look good now, especially when that player that ended up being taken at that spot could have been a potential contributor for Houston.

 

Indiana Pacers

  1. T.J. Leaf, F, UCLA

This was a solid pick by Indiana by selecting Leaf at 18.  While others may have been more down on his upside, Leaf is a very skilled offensive player as he can score the basketball in a variety of ways.  He projects into a modern-day big man, as he can make shots off the dribble, in the post, and he can also step out and hit the three.  But he also can play small forward as well, as he also possesses solid perimeter skills.

Plus, he is a solid athlete that can make plays above the rim, and he also is a good playmaker for a player his size, as he can ably pass and handle the basketball.  Leaf will need to improve his defensive skills, but he excels in most of the other facets of the game, and this looks to be a very good selection that was made by the Pacers.

  1. Ike Anigbogu, C, UCLA

Many draft analysts were projecting Ike Anigbogu to go in the mid first round, which would likely have been a significant reach for him, considering that he is quite raw on offense, and he can be quite undisciplined defensively, as he may commit bad fouls, and fouls at a high rate.

But he is also a very athletic big man that rebounds and blocks shots, and he is a strong finisher around the basket.  Anigbogu is also considerably younger than most prospects, so he could perhaps develop into a solid rim protector over time.   And considering that many feel his defensive potential to be quite high, he could prove to be a really good second round pickup over time.

At pick number 17, he might have been too risky for teams to take, especially considering there were also other solid players on the board at that spot.  But at pick number 47, Anigbogu makes sense here, as he may have the size, physical tools, and upside to pan out as a starter sometime in the future.

  1. Edmond Sumner, G, Xavier

This was a good get for the Pacers, as they ended up acquiring Sumner.  Edmond Sumner is an athletic combo guard that can play either position, and he can really attack the basket to garner scores.  He has the potential to develop into a plus-level defender, and he is also a solid playmaker.  On the downside, he has been oft injured, as he has had multiple knee injuries.  But late in the draft, Sumner could be worth the gamble for the Pelicans.

Thoughts on them acquiring Edmond Sumner:
This seems to be a good acquisition for the Pacers here, as they add an athletic, skilled combo guard that could help them offensively.  Sumner has quite the injury history, but he could end up being a solid role player for them, especially if he stays healthy.

Draft Night Grade: B

 

Los Angeles Clippers

  1. Jawun Evans, G, Oklahoma State

He is a speedy playmaker that is a solid facilitator when he is on the floor.  Evans excels at attacking the basket, as he can get buckets or assists for his team.  Plus, he can apply considerable ball pressure to get his team steals and stops.  On the downside, he is undersized and he will need to be a more consistent shooter, but he could end up being a solid pro in the NBA.

  1. Sindarius Thornwell, G-F, South Carolina

This was a great pick by the Clippers by getting Thornwell at 48.  Sindarius Thornwell can really score the basketball, as he can attack the rim relentlessly to do so.  He is also a good defensive player, and he also is a plus-level playmaker and rebounder.  He may need to improve his outside shot, but this looks to be a terrific pickup by the Clippers here.

On the Clippers getting Evans and trading away cash:

This is a very good deal for the Los Angeles Clippers.  They get a talented point guard that has starter potential in the NBA or could be a very good backup, and they give away minimal assets as all they had to trade was cash.  This was a solid move by the Clippers, here.

On trading cash for the 48th pick (rights to Sindarius Thornwell):

This is a very good move by the Clippers, as they get one of the steals of the draft.  Thornwell had a tremendous senior season, as he is an athletic swingman that can really score the basketball, and he also is a solid defender.   Thornwell can really stuff the stat sheet.  He may need to improve his jump shot, but he could end up being a very good contributor right away for his new team.

Draft Night Grade: A-

This was a very good draft night for new Los Angeles Clippers executive, Jerry West.  His team was not expected to make picks in this draft, yet came away with two solid players that could help them both now and in the future.

 

Los Angeles Lakers

  1. Lonzo Ball, G, UCLA

This is a very good pick made by the Lakers here at this spot.  Ball is an outstanding playmaker that can really push the pace, and he is a creative facilitator that can set up all sorts of scores for his teammates.  He has terrific court sense and vision, and he possesses a great basketball IQ.

He is also a good shooter and help defender, but he will also need to improve his position defense and be more of an assertive, take charge player in crunch time.  Still, Lonzo Ball looks to be a solid cornerstone piece, as he could be the franchise player that his predecessor Russell was unable to be in Los Angeles.

  1. Kyle Kuzma, F, Utah

Kyle Kuzma had a solid junior season on a fairly mediocre Pac-12 team, as he is a blue-collar combination forward that rebounds the basketball well.   He has a solid motor, but he struggled with his jump shot and on the defensive end noticeably this past season.

But in the combine, he was perhaps the definitive star in the one game that he played in, as he really stood out on both ends of the court.   Kuzma shot the ball incredibly well from downtown, and he also excelled as a low post scorer, as well as on off-ball motion plays.  He also played good defense, as he would play passing lanes, and also block shots to protect the paint for his team.

At the end of the season, Kuzma was looking to be a borderline second round pick.  But after a tremendous game that he played at the 2017 NBA Draft Combine, Kuzma suddenly looked more and more like a potential first round pick, and sure enough he became one.  If he can play like how he did at the combine, Kuzma could end up being a uniquely skilled big man that may be a solid role player in the NBA.

  1. Josh Hart, G-F, Villanova

He is a very smart, skilled offensive player that excels at shooting and scoring the basketball.  Hart makes sound decisions when he is on the court, and he is a gifted scorer off the dribble.  He is also a solid passer and ball handler, and he also tends to be in the right spots defensively.  He is a good, but not a great athlete, and he may be a bit undersized to play on the wing, but Hart’s strong offensive skills should help the Lakers considerably.

  1. Thomas Bryant, F-C, Indiana

He is an athletic, skilled big man that can make shots from all over the floor.  He shoots well, especially for a player his size, as he can stretch the defenses.  He also is a solid finisher around the basket, and he also is a good low post scorer.  He will need to improve his rebounding and defense, but his offensive skills and athleticism could enable him to succeed in the NBA.

On the trade involving Brook Lopez and 27 (rights to Kuzma) for D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov:

The Lakers seemed to give up quite a bit in this trade, and it was almost as if they gave up on Russell, as the young point guard will be just in his third season soon.  Perhaps it may have been the Nick Young-Iggy Azalea controversy, or Russell’s play not quite meeting expectations, as he had elicited some superstar comparisons when he was a draft prospect.

Meanwhile, the Lakers get a good low post scorer in Brook Lopez, but it is uncertain as to how well his style of play may fit in today’s age with his suspect ability to rebound or protect the paint, as well as not possessing great perimeter skills.  Kuzma could be the wildcard in this trade as he had a strong combine, but his tape on the season appeared to look less than stellar.

If Lopez may nowadays be a rich man’s Zaza Pachulia, then at the very least, they get Mozgov’s hefty contract off the books, as Timofey Mozgov’s contract was one of the worst in the NBA this past season.

In evaluating the Lakers getting 30 (rights to Josh Hart) and 42 (rights to Thomas Bryant) for 28 (rights to Tony Bradley):

This was a really good trade for the Lakers.  They manage to get one of the steals of the draft in getting a very productive swingman from Villanova, Josh Hart, as Hart is a smart, high-character player that can shoot and score the basketball.

Meanwhile, Thomas Bryant is an offensively skilled center that has good athleticism, shooting skills, and ability to score inside the paint, as he was considered a first round prospect at the start of the season.   It can be argued that both may be better prospects than the one they are giving up (Bradley), so this trade may work out very well for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Draft Night Grade: B

 

Memphis Grizzlies

  1. Ivan Rabb, C, California

He is an athletic big man that can really rebound the basketball, and he also can finish plays around the basket.  Rabb will need to add considerable strength, and he will have to improve his defense, but he may have the skills to end up being a solid player in the NBA, as it was a surprise that he slid this far down the draft.

  1. Dillon Brooks, G-F, Oregon

Another solid pick by Memphis, as Dillon Brooks is an athletic, skilled swingman that can shoot and score the basketball.  Sometimes, he can overtly try to force the issue, which can lead him to shooting slumps, but Brooks plays with a lot of poise, and he could end up being a solid role plaer in the NBA.

Thoughts on Grizzlies acquiring 35 (Ivan Rabb) from Orlando by giving up a future second round pick:

Rabb looks to be a solid prospect, and this looks to be a good piece that the Grizzlies have added to their roster.

Thoughts on Houston trading away 45 (Dillon Brooks) to Memphis for a future 2nd round pick:

This was a good move for Memphis.  They add Dillon Brooks, a skilled scorer that also may be a fairly good playmaker on offense, and they get a player that can add some scoring punch to their team.

Draft Night Grade: B+

 

Miami Heat

  1. Bam Adebayo, C, Kentucky

Bam Adebayo is a good prospect, as he is a very athletic big man that can finish many plays around the basket, and he also is a solid rebounder, shot blocker, and defender.  He sets solid screens for his team on offense, and he has very good hands to catch passes.

On the downside, he is not a tremendously skilled player on offense, as he does not have much of a face-up game, nor does he have a diverse set of post moves on offense.  It may also be uncertain as to how well he can defend pick and rolls at the next level.  Picking Adebayo at 14 may have been a slight reach considering that many big men were considered to be first round prospects in this draft, but selecting Adebayo allows the Heat to have a rim protector on the floor at all times.

Draft Night Grade: C+

 

Milwaukee Bucks

  1. D.J. Wilson, F-C, Michigan

While this may be a reach for Milwaukee, the same could’ve been said on their past moves, and they have managed to pan out in the past, as they have come away with Giannis Antetokounmpo, Malcolm Brogdon, and Thon Maker in their recent draft history.  D.J. Wilson is a long, athletic big man that shoots the ball well, and he is a solid outside shooter that can make numerous threes for his team.

He also is a good shot blocker that can provide adequate defensive skills.  However, Wilson does not rebound the ball well despite being having very good size and athleticism to play inside.   But definitely, Wilson can provide solid floor spacing and some defensive skills, and he could be a good role player for the Bucks.

  1. Sterling Brown, G-F, SMU

This was a fairly good pick here by the Bucks.  Brown is an athletic swingman that is a good shooter and position defender, and he also can attack the rim and make plays with the ball in his hands.   However, he may not be outstanding at any one particular area, but he could be an effective role player in the NBA.

On acquiring 46 (Sterling Brown) from Philadelphia:

This looks to be a good move by Milwaukee.  They get a solid 3 and D type of role player in getting Sterling Brown, and Brown is a good athlete that can attack the rim and facilitate to help his team on offense.  They will likely be getting a good, solid role player that can contribute right away.

On trading the 48th pick (Sindarius Thornwell) for cash considerations:

This does not look to be a very good move by Milwaukee, especially considering Thornwell is a player that could help them right now.  Thornwell had a tremendous senior season as he lead South Carolina to a Final Four appearance, and he could have given the Bucks a boost as a scorer and defender off the bench.  But the Bucks get cash, which may help them a little.

Draft Night Grade: C

 

Minnesota Timberwolves

  1. Justin Patton, C, Creighton

This may be a fairly good pick for Minnesota.   Justin Patton is a very athletic big man that can rebound and block shots, and he is a terrific finisher around the basket.  He has great hands to catch passes, and he moves very well off the ball.  Patton is a high motor player, and he can also hit an occasional jump shot, as he could maybe even develop into a stretch big if he works hard on offense.

However, he is also quite raw on offense.  Patton struggles to consistently create his own shot on offense, and he may not consistently excel as a shooter when he is on the floor.  His team struggled considerably when his team’s starting point guard, Maurice Watson Jr. went down for the year due to a knee injury.  But still, though he may project to be a high risk, high reward type of pick, Patton is an interesting talent, and he may possess a ton of upside as a player for the NBA.

On the trade in which Minnesota received Jimmy Butler and 16 (rights to Justin Patton) for 7 (Lauri Markkanen), Kris Dunn, and Zach LaVine

This looks to be a very good deal for Minnesota.  Though competing against Golden State in the Western Conference will be awfully tough (and likely will be for many years to come as long as the Warriors’ core is intact), the Timberwolves added solid pieces to their mix, well, mostly by adding Jimmy Butler.

Jimmy Butler is one of the best players in the game today, and he is a very smart, athletic swingman that can really score and defend when he is on the court.  He has a great feel for the game, and he is a determined basketball player that can help his team get numerous wins instantly with his ability to produce and make contributions on and off the court.

Patton is a very athletic, but raw big man that has a ton of upside, at best he could end up being a better shooting DeAndre Jordan, at worst, he could be another Adreian Payne type.  While it may have been a slight reach to take him at 16, it may be a good gamble for Minnesota to take, even though there were other intriguingly talented players on the board.

They may have given up several notable assets to get Butler and Patton, as they give up a really good shooting big man in Markkanen, an incredibly athletic combo guard that can provide solid scoring punch in Zach LaVine (though he is coming off a knee injury).  They did manage to part ways with Kris Dunn, who was coming off a disappointing rookie season, which for now looks to be a good thing, considering that they now free up even more playing time for Ricky Rubio and Tyus Jones.

The downside is that the Timberwolves don’t have elite shooters on their team, and it is uncertain if they will all fit together, but having a core of Jimmy Butler, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Andrew Wiggins should make Minnesota a very interesting team that could soon be on their way to making the playoffs.

Draft Night Grade: B+

 

New Orleans Pelicans

  1. Frank Jackson, G, Duke

He is a young, very athletic combo guard that can shoot and score the basketball.  On the downside, he will need to improve his playmaking skills significantly, and he can tend to be an undisciplined defender on the other end of the floor.  But if he is able to put his skills altogether, he could end up being a very good player in the NBA.

Trading 40 (Dwayne Bacon) to Charlotte for 31 (Frank Jackson) and cash considerations:

This was a minor deal that involved a swap of second round picks and cash.  Both players are talented, and both teams benefit from getting the players they want.

Trades involving 52 (Edmond Sumner), as Washington gets Tim Frazier:

This was a minor deal in which Washington received a backup point guard that can get assists, but does little else.  New Orleans seems to get the better of this trade as they get an athletic, but oft-injured combo guard that can play either backcourt position that may have a significant level of upside, if healthy.   But then, they later traded this pick to the Pacers.

Draft Night Grade: C+

 

New York Knicks

  1. Frank Ntilikina, G, SIG Strasbourg (France)

Frank Ntilikina is a tall, versatile combo guard that can score in a variety of ways, and he is also a gifted playmaker that can really get into the lane and dish it out to his teammates to get assists.  He also is a good defensive player as he can play passing lanes.    He will need to be a more consistent player, but he has a ton of talent, and he could end up being one of the best players taken in this draft.

  1. Damyean Dotson, G, Houston

A while ago, he was dismissed due to some serious allegations he faced when he was in Oregon, as this could have presented as a significant red flag to NBA teams.

But Damyean Dotson played very well in Houston, and had a terrific Portsmouth Invitational showing, and so far he has put his best foot forward moving on from his early days in college basketball.

As a player, Dotson’s skills look to be promising.  He is an athletic swingman that shoots the ball very well, and he is also a good scorer off the dribble.  He is an unselfish player that makes smart decisions with the ball in his hands, and he will also get after it on the glass.

Dotson is a talented player that can shoot and score the basketball, and if he refrains from getting into off-court incidents, he could end up excelling as a solid role player in the NBA.

  1. Ognjen Jaramaz, G, Mega Leks (Serbia)

He is an athletic combo guard that plays very hard, and he will compete on every possession.  Jaramaz is an aggressive scorer that will attack the rim to get numerous buckets off the dribble, and he will drive relentlessly to the basket in doing so.  He also is a decent playmaker that handles the ball well, and he also can force numerous turnovers with his ability to pressure the basketball on defense.

However, he will need to improve his jump shot considerably, and he can tend to play wildly on offense at times.  But Jaramaz is a tenacious competitor that has a playing style that is perhaps similar to Frank Mason III, except he currently does not shoot as well as Mason.  Still, Jaramaz is a really competitive player that could end up excelling as a role player in the NBA.

Draft Night Grade: B

 

Oklahoma City Thunder

  1. Terrance Ferguson, G-F, Adelaide (USA)

American-born swingman Terrance Ferguson opted to pass up the opportunity of teaming up with Markkanen and Arizona, and he instead decided to join the Adelaide 36ers, a team that plays in Australia’s top league the NBL.  Ferguson struggled in limited minutes there as he did not receive considerable playing time, but he is an intriguing talent that has shown a lot of promise prior to this season.

Ferguson is a very athletic shooter that can really knock down shots from all over the floor, and he also has shown the ability to defend his opponents.   He did not have the benefit of getting significant playing time this year, however.  It’s uncertain if Ferguson could contribute much in the short term, but he could be a solid long-term piece due to his solid athletic gifts and ability to shoot the basketball.

Draft Night Grade: B

 

Orlando Magic

  1. Jonathan Isaac, F-C, Florida State

Solid pick for the Magic here.  Jonathan Isaac is a vastly athletic big man that can shoot, rebound, and defend, as he has a high motor.  He is a rangy defender that can block shots, and he also has the feet to guard opponents out on the perimeter.

He has the potential to really excel as a scorer, but he must refine his ability to consistently score off the dribble as well as in the post.  But Isaac has a ton of upside, and he is a very good piece for the Magic to have as they will add him to their team.

  1. Wesley Iwundu, G-F, Kansas State

He is a very athletic swingman that plays like a point forward, and he is a solid playmaker that can aptly create plays for others.  He also excels as a scorer off the dribble, and he is also a good defensive player.  He will need to improve his jump shot and be more assertive on offense, but Iwundu could be a solid role player in the NBA.

1st Round pick in 2020, 2nd Round pick in 2020 (in exchange for trading away pick #25)

The Magic did a very job of collecting assets, as they get multiple future picks in exchange for trading away a late first rounder from this year’s draft.  Sure, there were talented players that could have been had at this spot, but the Magic needs to continue to rebuild for the future, and this may have been a step in the right direction.

Thoughts on them getting a future 2nd round pick out of pick 35 (Ivan Rabb, to MEM):

Well, there were talented players that could have been had at pick 35, but the Magic do get to add a future asset, which may or may not help them sometime down the road.

Draft Night Grade: B

 

Philadelphia 76ers

  1. Markelle Fultz, G, Washington

While they gave up quite a bit to get the first overall pick, Fultz is most likely, the best player in the 2017 NBA Draft.  He is a tremendously gifted scorer and facilitator that shoots the ball well, and he also may be an above average defensive player.  He is also a smooth athlete, and he can play either backcourt position.  The 76ers did a great job of adding another core piece to their franchise.

  1. Anzejs Pasecniks, C, Gran Canaria (Latvia)

Pasecniks is an athletic center that is a solid finisher around the basket, as he can aptly score on hustle plays.  He possesses a very good motor, and he has worked hard to improve his jump shot, as he has shown the potential to be a stretch big in the future.   Plus, he also has played well this past season in the very tough, Spanish ACB League.

However, he is not a great shot creator, as he mostly gets scores off the catch as either a catch and finish or a catch and shoot type of player on offense.  He also may be neither a great playmaker, rebounder nor shot blocker, as he has not posted great rates statistically in those categories.  But Pasecniks could end up being a solid contributor right away with his ability to score at the rim, knock down jumpers, and due to possessing solid athletic gifts and motor when he is on the floor.

  1. Jonah Bolden, F-C, FMP Beograd (Australia)

This was a solid pick by Philadelphia.   Bolden is a very athletic big man that shoots the ball well, and he has flourished in the Adriatic League this past season.  There are questions about his motor and defense however, but if he puts his skills altogether, he could end up being one of the best surprises in this draft.

  1. Mathias Lessort, F-C, Nanterre (France)

This was a solid pick by Philly by taking Lessort at 50.  Lessort is a very athletic big man that defends very well, and he can finish plays around the basket.   While he will likely need to improve his face-up game, his potential to excel as both a perimeter and post defender is very intriguing, as he may have the skills to end up being a solid role player in the NBA.

On the 76ers trading 3 and a future 1st round pick to get Fultz:
See above in the Fultz paragraph.

On the 76ers trading a 2020 first round pick and a 2020 2nd round pick to get 25 (the rights to Anzejs Pasecniks):

This was a lot to give up from the 76ers end, but they are hoping and banking on the idea that it is worth it.  Anzejs Pasecniks had a productive season this past year in the Spanish ACB League, as he is a long, athletic, energetic big man that can finish many plays around the basket, and he also has shown a developing jump shot.  But Pasecniks may struggle to create his own shot, and he may not be an elite rebounder or defender.   Drafting him at 25 may be a reach, especially considering that there were other talented players that could have been had in this range, but Pasecniks could end up being an effective contributor in the NBA right away.

On the 76ers trading 39 (Evans) and getting cash:

This does not look to be a very good deal here.  Jawun Evans is an athletic playmaker that could be an impact player for Philadelphia, and all they received was some cash, not even some picks in return.

Draft Night Grade: C+

They made solid picks in this draft, and they absolutely nailed their first overall pick by getting Markelle Fultz, but a slew of questionable trades may lower the draft night grade considerably as a result.

 

Phoenix Suns

  1. Josh Jackson, F, Kansas

Talent wise, Josh Jackson may be one of the best players in this draft.  He is a tremendously athletic, versatile swingman that plays with a point forward like mentality, and he is a rangy defensive player that can use his length, athleticism, and instincts to absolutely stifle opponents.  He also can get numerous scores off the dribble, and he is a dynamo at scoring in the open floor.

However, there are concerns about his maturity stemming from some off-court incidents that he was embroiled in at Kansas, and Jackson reportedly canceling numerous workouts from Boston including one in mid-flight does little to ease or alleviate that.  Jackson also is an inconsistent shooter and is an abysmal free throw shooter, so he may need to clean up his stroke, and he can play too wildly on offense at times.

But for Phoenix, Jackson can get considerable playing time that he may not have been afforded in Boston.  As he may be the most athletic player in the draft, along with being one of the best defenders in this class, Jackson could end up being a solid player for years to come.

  1. Davon Reed, G-F, Miami (Fl)

He is a smart, fundamentally sound player that can do a wide array of things when he is on the court.  He is a fairly good shooter that can score off the dribble, and he is also a solid facilitator.  He can also guard his man well.  He may not be outstanding at any one area, but he could be a good role player in the NBA.

  1. Alec Peters, F, Valparaiso

While numerous draft analysts were expecting him to be picked earlier, this actually seems to be a more appropriate range for him to go in this draft instead.  Peters is a skilled combo forward that can shoot and rebound the basketball, and he is a smart player that has a good feel for the game.

However, he may only be an average athlete at best, as he may struggle to guard more athletic players at the next level, and he also had a foot injury late in the ear.  If he pans out, he could end up being a decent role player in the NBA that could provide some floor spacing off the bench.

Draft Night Grade: B-

 

Portland Trail Blazers

  1. Zach Collins, F-C, Gonzaga

Portland may have given up a bit much to get Collins, but Zach Collins is an intriguing talent that could give the Blazers an interesting dimension to their team.

He is an athletic big man that is a versatile scorer, as he can score on hustle plays, in the post, and he can also hit a three on occasion.  Collins is also a very good rebounder and shot blocker.

On the other hand, he came off the bench this year though on a really good Gonzaga team, and he can be undisciplined defensively, as he can pick up quick fouls.  Whether or not that he was not a starter this past year matters may be another thing entirely, but Collins is a solid prospect that may have a ton of upside.

  1. Caleb Swanigan, F-C, Purdue

This was a very good pick made here by Portland.  Caleb Swanigan is a smart, offensively skilled big man that can get strong scores in the post, and he also has significantly improved his jump shot.  He is a very good passing big man that sees the floor well, and he is also an excellent rebounder that possesses both great strength and a solid motor.

However, he may not be an elite athlete, nor possesses elite length to play inside.  He will also need to improve his defense, as he can tend to have lapses on that end of the floor.  But Swanigan is a high IQ basketball player that has a wide array of skills and plays with great energy, and he could end up being a solid complementary player in the NBA.

On trading 15 (rights to Justin Jackson) and 20 (rights to Harry Giles) for 10 (Zach Collins):

Trading two first round picks to take a player at 10 seems to be a bit much, especially since one of them was the best player on a National Championship team this past season.  Granted Zach Collins is a talented big man that can score, rebound, and block shots, and he has a lot of potential, but he also came off the bench, though he played for a really good Gonzaga team.

Whether the latter one of him coming off the bench matters is another question, but it is possible that Portland could have had a similarly talented big man at 20, or by selecting Swanigan at 26.  On the flip side, Portland really wanted Collins, and time will tell to determine if this move will pay off considerably for them.

Draft Night Grade: C+

They made solid picks in the first round, but they may have given up too much to get their guy at 10, which may lower their draft night grade as a result.

 

Sacramento Kings

  1. De’Aaron Fox, G, Kentucky

Solid pick by the Kings by taking Fox at 5.  De’Aaron Fox is a speedy, athletic playmaker that can really attack the rim to garner scores and assists for his team.  He is also a standout defender that can really lock down his man.  He will need to improve his jump shot considerably, but this looks to be a solid choice taken here by Sacramento, as Fox could be poised to be one of the best players in this draft.

  1. Justin Jackson, G-F, North Carolina

This was a very good pick here by Sacramento.  Justin Jackson is an athletic swingman that can really defend his man, as he is a savvy position defender that can use his length, athleticism, and smarts to help his team get many stops.  He also is a very good shooter that can space the floor.  He may not be a tremendous shot creator, but he can get some scores off the dribble, and he could likely end up being a solid complementary player in the NBA for many years to come.

  1. Harry Giles, F-C, Duke

This was an intriguing pick made by the Kings.  Giles is a very athletic and talented, but oft-injured big man that did not see many minutes at Duke in his lone year in college basketball, but he did show some interesting skills.  He can really rebound the basketball, and he can be a very good inside scorer and defender when he is focused.  Giles will need to be more consistent and stay healthy, but this could prove to be a solid pickup for Sacramento at this spot.

  1. Frank Mason III, G, Kansas

He was a very productive player this past season at Kansas, and he is a quick, attack minded combo guard that can really excel as a scorer off the dribble.  Mason also is an adequate shooter and playmaker, and he will also get after it on defense.  He is undersized to play the point, but he may have the skills, smarts, and toughness to succeed in this league.

Thoughts on Sacramento trading 10 (rights to Zach Collins) for 15 (rights to Justin Jackson) and 20 (rights to Harry Giles)

The Kings appeared to get solid value in return for dealing down to get 15 and 20, and they seemed to make good picks that can help them rebuild for the future.  Justin Jackson is an athletic 3 and D type of player that has great intangibles and solid athleticism, and Harry Giles is an upside pick that could pan out if he stays healthy, and continues to make strides in his overall game.

Draft Night Grade: A-

 

San Antonio Spurs

  1. Derrick White, G, Colorado

This was a solid pick by San Antonio.  Derrick White was a late bloomer that had a tremendous career in Division II basketball, and then he went on to have a really good senior season at Colorado.  He is a combo guard that can play either backcourt position, and he is a smart, skilled basketball player that can do a little bit of everything.  He is a fundamentally sound player that will fit in very well with the Spurs both now and in the future.

  1. Jaron Blossomgame, F, Clemson

This was a solid draft selection by the Spurs, as they manage to get Blossomgame at 59.  Jaron Blossomgame is an athletic combo forward that excels at attacking the basket to garner scores, and he also is an adequate defensive player due to possessing solid length, athleticism, and instincts.  He will need to improve his jump shot, as that fell off this year, but he could end up being a good rotation player for them over time.

Draft Night Grade: B+

 

Toronto Raptors

  1. OG Anunoby, F, Indiana

The Raptors made a very good pick here, as they selected OG Anunoby at 23.  He is a very athletic combination forward that is a tremendous finisher around the basket, and he also is a stout defensive player.  He will need to be a more consistent shooter, improve his shot creation ability, and manage to stay healthy, but Anunoby could be a high impact, energetic player in the mold of a Gerald Wallace type.

Draft Night Grade: B+

 

Utah Jazz

  1. Donovan Mitchell, G, Louisville

He is a vastly, athletic combo guard that can score and defend when he is on the floor.  On the downside, he is not the most consistent player nor shooter, and he can be fairly mistake prone at times.  He is also undersized, and it is uncertain if he has the court vision to play the point.  But Mitchell’s athleticism and scoring skills make him a good pick for Utah at this spot.

  1. Tony Bradley, F-C, North Carolina

In a draft that was loaded with reasonably talented big men, Bradley seems to blend in with the pack, with the exception that he was a freshman on a National Championship team.

He is a decently skilled big man that can finish plays around the basket, and he also may be an adequate low post scorer.  Bradley can also rebound and defend, and he can block shots on occasion.

However, Bradley can also play too wildly on both ends of the floor, and he can be too inconsistent, as he may struggle to make solid plays for long stretches.  He is a good, but not an elite athlete, an adequate, but not an elite shot blocker, but Bradley could perhaps end up being a decent backup to Favors and Gobert in Utah.

  1. Nigel Williams-Goss, G, Gonzaga

This was a solid get for the Nuggets as they took Nigel Williams-Goss here at 55.  He is a smart, skilled point guard that has a good head on his shoulders, and he is a steady playmaker that can shoot and score the basketball.  On the downside, he does not have great athleticism at the point guard position, which could hurt him defensively at the next level.  But Williams-Goss may have all the makings to be a successful backup point guard in the NBA.

In analyzing Utah trading away Trey Lyles and 24 (rights to Lydon) to get 13 (rights to Donovan Mitchell):

Well, the Utah Jazz trade away a young combination forward that has solid athletic tools, and could excel as a defensive specialist in Lyles, but he had regressed considerably on offense, and he has not proven to be a reliable shooter or scorer in this league, despite having shot the ball well from beyond the arc as a rookie last ear.

By moving 11 spots to get the 13th overall pick, this was a solid move by the Jazz, and they are able to add some scoring punch and depth to their team by taking Donovan Mitchell.  He may be undersized to play out on the wing and it’s uncertain if he can play the point, but Mitchell’s ability to score combined with his vast athletic gifts make him an intriguing fit with Utah.

In evaluating Utah getting 28 (rights to Tony Bradley) for 30 (rights to Josh Hart) and 42 (rights to Thomas Bryant):

This does not appear to be a very good trade for Utah.  They do get a reasonably athletic, but unpolished big man, but there were a lot of talented big men in this draft, as well as players at other positions.  It can be argued that the Lakers acquired more skilled players with both of their selections in taking Hart and Bryant.  Bradley may project to be a low post scorer and rim protector in the future, but he was too inconsistent this past year, and he may be a second round talent that likely was picked a bit too high.

Draft Night Grade: C

 

Washington Wizards

Trades involving 52 (Edmond Sumner), as Washington gets Tim Frazier:

This was a minor deal in which Washington received a backup point guard that can get assists, but does little else.  New Orleans appeared to get the better of this trade as they get an athletic, but oft-injured combo guard that can play either backcourt position that may have a significant level of upside, if healthy.   But then, the Pelicans dealt the 52nd overall pick to Indiana.

Draft Night Grade: I

That is my analysis on how each of the 30 teams fared in the 2017 NBA Draft, as I analyzed their picks and trades to assign each of them a draft night grade.  Time will tell to see which of these moves will have paid off, and which ones will not have.  Anyways, it’s been a very good season, and thank you for reading.

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