NBA Draft Grades: Eastern Conference

Atlanta Hawks- Grade C

Round 1: Taurean Prince F, Baylor (12), DeAndre Bembry SF, St. Joseph’s (21)

Round 2: Isaia Courdinier SG, France (44)

The Hawks acquired the 12th pick via the Jeff Teague deal earlier this week and were able to turn that into Taurean Prince, the all-purpose wing from Baylor. Prince and Bembry are both NBA ready and will provide some insurance in case Bazemore’s time is over in the ATL, but Prince still seems like a reach at 12. They had several players left on the board and missed an opportunity to address their frontcourt holes with Horford’s free agency decision looming. Courdinier is an athletic draft and stash but won’t be paying dividends for awhile.

Boston Celtics- Grade B-

Round 1: Jaylen Brown SF, California (3), Guerschon Yabusele PF, France (16), Ante Zizic C, Croatia (23)

Round 2: Demetrius Jackson PG, Notre Dame (45), Ben Bentil PF, Providence (51), Abdel Nader PF, Iowa State (58)

Boston came into the draft with a mountain of picks and surprisingly used most of them. Brown is a solid prospect but it’s hard to see how he fits onto this roster already deep with wings. Yabusele is a bruising, throwback power forward with 3-pt range and Zizic is a high motor athletic big giving the Celts front line another unique option. Also snagging ultra-athlete Jackson in the 2nd round was a welcome surprise for a player thought to go in the mid to late 1st round range. All in all still feels a little disappointing Ainge wasn’t able to make a major move, especially with all these assets.

Brooklyn Nets- Grade C+

Round 1: Caris LeVert SG, Michigan (20)

Round 2: Isaiah Whitehead SG, Seton Hall (42)

LeVert has lottery talent but major injury problems in college.  If he proves he can stay healthy during an 82 game season, Brooklyn will be major winners. Whitehead is a local kid with nice value for a 2nd round pick.

Charlotte Hornets: No Picks

Chicago Bulls-Grade C

Round 1: Denzel Valentine SF, Michigan State (14)

Round 2: Paul Zipser SF, Germany (48)

The Bulls look to be on the verge of a complete overhaul and the playmaking Valentine will fit nicely into Hoiberg’s system. The problem is they’ve essentially traded away knee problems for more potential knee problems in Valentine who was drawing Brandon Roy comparisons (not in a good way) before the draft. Paul Zipser is an underrated draft and stash who could join sooner rather than later.

Cleveland Cavaliers- Grade B

Round 2: Kay Felder PG, Oakland (54)

Good value for a 2nd round point guard most scouts think highly of. Possible replacement for free agent to be Dellevedova.

Detroit Pistons- Grade B

Round 1: Henry Ellenson PF, Marquette (18)

Round 2: Michael Gbinije SF, Syracuse (49)

The Piston were more than happy to take advantage of Ellenson’s slide to 18, getting the inside size/scoring threat that’s been missing off their bench. Will take some time figuring out his role in the rotation but it’s a problem Stan Van Gundy is very capable of solving.

Indiana Pacers-Grade B-

Round 2: Georges Niang SF, Iowa State (50)

Indiana did most of their damage pre-draft, bringing in Jeff Teague and Thaddeus Young but got a solid polished wing that can score. Not bad for one of the last players taken.

Miami Heat No Picks

Milwaukee Bucks-Grade D-

Round 1: Thon Maker PF, Australia (10)

Round 2: Malcolm Brogdan SG, Virginia (36)

The only thing preventing this from being an F was Brogdan’s selection in the 2nd round. Milwaukee took getting weird with it to a whole new level drafting Maker (a projected 2nd round pick) 10th overall. A physical specimen yes, but it’s hard to even understand how good a player can be without seeing him play against even decent high school talent much less college or euro league talent. This is such a shot in the dark they can’t even take credit for it if it does pan out. Oh, and by the way, anyone got an actual age of this kid (man)?

New York Knicks- No Picks

Orlando Magic-Grade C-

Round 2: Stephen Zimmerman C, UNLV (41)

The controversial Serge Ibaka trade will surely be debated for the next few seasons, especially considering giving up the 11th overall pick in addition to Oladipo/Ilyasova. Fortunately, Zimmerman can help alleviate some of the sting and getting him at 41 is an absolute steal.

Philadelphia 76ers-Grade A-

Round 1: Ben Simmons PF, LSU (1), Timothe Luwawu SF, France (24), Furkan Korkmaz SG, Turkey (26)

They finally have a dynamic player they can begin to build around and with Simmons’ passing skills, He should elevate everyone’s game around him once they make some needed personnel changes. Luwawu could end up being the best 2-way player in the draft and Korkmaz has dynamic scoring abilities albeit a couple years away from being ready. Two late first round picks with incredibly high upside to go with a franchise cornerstone is not a bad way to spend your draft night.

Toronto Raptors-Grade B-

Round 1: Jakob Poeltl C, Utah (9), Pascal Slakam PF, New Mexico State (27)

Poeltl is a polished and skilled big they should be able to plug in right away, where he fits, however, is another question. Insurance for the oft-injured Valanciunas perhaps? Slakam was a reach in the first round but could help with depth after Biyombo bolts town.

Washington Wizards No Picks

 

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