NBA Draft Grades: Western Conference

Dallas Mavericks-Grade B

Round 2: A.J. Hammonds C, Purdue (46)

The biggest question with Hammonds has always been his motor. If they are getting a motivated player this second round pick looks like a diamond in the rough. If not, getting him at 46 definitely softens the risk.

Denver Nuggets-Grade A

Round 1: Jamal Murray PG, Kentucky (7), Juan Hernangomez PF, Spain (15), Malik Beasley SG, Florida State (19)

Round 2: Petr Cornelie PF, France (53)

The Nuggets have quietly put together some very solid drafts recently and this one is no exception. Having arguably the best scorer in the draft fall to you at #7 on top of snagging two under the radar prospects in Beasley and Hernangomez is pretty fantastic. They needed shooting/offense which they got with all three and the smooth handling “Juancho” Hernangomez will be ready to join the team next season.  It might be time to start DVRing the Nuggets once again.

Golden State Warriors-Grade B

Round 1: Damian Jones C, Vanderbilt (30)

Round 2: Patrick McCaw SG, UNLV (38)

Drafted an adequate replacement for Festus Ezeli who projects to be an even better fit than his predecessor.  McCaw will have a very difficult battle for one of the 15 roster spots.

Houston Rockets- Grade B

Round 2: Chinanu Onuaku C, Louisville (37), Zhou Qi PF, China (43)

Two high upside low-risk 2nd round picks. Qi might pan out to be the best Chinese prospect since a certain big man named Yao.

Los Angeles Clippers-Grade B-

Round 1: Brice Johnson PF, North Carolina (25)

Round 2: David Michineau PG, France (39), Diamond Stone C, Maryland (40)

Johnson is a nice fill in for the probably departing Cole Aldrich but the real winner here is snatching center Diamond Stone with a mid 2nd round pick.

Los Angeles Lakers-Grade A

Round 1: Brandon Ingram SF, Duke (2)

Round 2: Ivica Zubac C, Croatia (32)

The Lakers brass redeems the past years record quite a bit with this draft. Brandon Ingram has the most superstar potential of anyone and fills a major need on the wing. Zubac is a young center with a lot of size and upside. Incredibly lucky he fell to the 2nd round.

Memphis Grizzlies-Grade B+

Round 1: Wade Baldwin IV PG, Vanderbilt (17)

Round 2: Deyonta Davis PF, Michigan State (31), Rade Zagorac SF, Serbia (35), Wang Zhelin C, China (57)

Preparing for the post Mike Conley era? Baldwin is hit or miss as far as being able to play point but if he makes the transition he’ll be an excellent addition. Also gives the Grizz shooting which is sorely lacking. We’re happy to stop the Deyonta Davis freefall who was projected to go as high as 9th to Toronto.

Minnesota Timberwolves A-

Round 1: Kris Dunn PG, Providence (5)

Minnesota had to be thrilled when the Celtics passed on Dunn at 3. Not only do they get the most explosive pg in the draft but they can finally move on from Ricky Rubio only promising to add even more assets to the team. The Minnesota revolution is beginning.


New Orleans Pelicans B+

Round 1: Buddy Hield SG, Oklahoma (6)

Round 2: Cheick Diallo PF, Kansas (33)

The pelicans get their shooter/playmaking threat with Hield who’s ready to go day 1 and Diallo is an athletic hard working big that will add more defense to the frontcourt. This draft will go a long way towards getting back into the playoff hunt out West.

Oklahoma City Thunder B+

Round 1: Domantas Sabonis PF, Gonzaga (11)

Round 2: Daniel Hamilton SF, Connecticut (56)

Ignoring the massive implications of the Ibaka trade and focusing strictly on the Domantas Sabonis pick, it’s hard to see anything other than a giant success. Sabonis is a competitive, highly skilled, rebounding big, adding, even more, depth to the frontcourt. He provides insurance on Mitch McGary’s development and there’s no pressure for minutes right away. Will really turn heads in summer league this year and even crack the rotation early. This also means bricktown will get regular visits from 7’3 folk hero Arvydas Sabonis.

Phoenix Suns A

Round 1: Dragan Bender PF, Croatia (4), Marquese Chriss PF, Washington (8)

Round 2: Tyler Ulis PG, Kentucky (34)

Phoenix Suns

Phoenix took advantage of the inept Kings front office and put all the cards on the table here. For an organization that struggles to bring in big name free agents, this was the right move, grabbing two of the youngest, highest, upside players in the draft. It is how a team like Phoenix is going to make a name in the West again. It may not work out but it’s a shot worth taking and it might be a turning point for a team that’s been irrelevant since Steve Nash.

Portland Trailblazers C

Round 2: Jake Layman SF, Maryland (47)

A quiet draft night with only one 2nd round pick.

Sacramento Kings D-

Round 1: Georgios Papagiannis C, Greece (13), Malachi Richardson SG, Syracuse (22), Skal Labissiere C, Kentucky (28)

Round 2: Isaiah Cousins SG, Oklahoma (59)

Trading Sacramento native Marquese Chriss made absolutely no sense for what they got back and seeing as how they then used their picks on centers was even more confounding. However if this does signal the kings intentions to move on from Demarcus Cousins, Papagiannis and Labissiere have high ceilings and could develop a nice complimentary game in the front court together. Richardson needs to develop but wasn’t a bad value pick at that spot.

San Antonio Spurs B+

Round 1: Dejounte Murray PG, Washington (29)

Spurs took advantage of Murray slipping and acquired a high ceiling, talented young prospect… Again. R.C. Buford has figured out this draft thing.

Utah Jazz C

Round 2: Joel Bolomboy PF, Weber State (52), Marcus Paige PG, North Carolina (55), Tyrone Wallace PG, California (60)

Multiple 2nd round picks, Utah did most of their work acquiring George Hill Pre-draft.


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