Blakely’s NBA Draft Report Card
Blakely’s NBA Draft Report Card
BOSTON – The NBA draft is a thing of the past now for the Celtics, who owned more than 13 percent of the draft board.
As expected, the Celtics did not use all eight of their picks for themselves. And not surprisingly, the Celtics used multiple picks to select foreign-born players who may wind up playing another year or two overseas before joining Boston’s roster.
The roster additions certainly didn’t score many points with fans who were looking for a larger haul than what the Celtics were able to acquire Thursday night.
But how bad was it?
The only way to get a true feel for how rough things were for the Celtics, is to see how Boston’s offseason training camp compares to others.
So here’s a look at all the teams that were involved in the draft on Thursday night, as well as their grades.
Players added: Taurean Prince, F, Baylor (1,12 FROM UTAH); Deandre Bembry, SF, (1,21); PG Isaia Cordinier (2,44).
Prince is a 3-and-D player who brings a lot of skills to the floor that Atlanta had with DeMarre Carroll a couple seasons ago. Bembry has the kind of versatility that could take some of the playmaking pressure off of Dennis Schroeder and Isia Cordinier is one of the more under-rated athletes in this draft. All and all, it was a good night for the Hawks. GRADE: B+
Players added: SG/SF Jaylen Brown (1,3); PF Guerschon Yabusele (1, 16); PF/C Ante Zizic (1, 23); Deyonta Davis (2, 31; traded to Memphis); Rade Zagorac (2,35; traded to Memphis); Demetrius Jackson (2,45); Ben Bentil (2,51); Abdel Nader (2,58).
The Celtics take Brown who is arguably the best athlete in this draft and will provide some depth and make their small-ball units not quite so small. They added a couple of draft-and-stash players in the first round who provide talent down the road while still allowing them to have financial flexibility. But what really made this draft impressive for the Celtics was the fact that they were able to land a couple of first-round caliber talents in middle to latter stages of the second round with Ben Bentil and Demetrius Jackson. GRADE: B+
Players added: Caris LeVert (1,20 FROM INDIANA); Isaiah Whitehead (2, 42 FROM UTAH)
This is going to be a painful rebuild for the Nets, and this draft did very little to make that process any smoother. LeVert can flat-out shoot the ball when healthy, something he did not do with any consistency in college. Meanwhile, Whitehead is a decent pick-up in the middle of the second round who provides some much-needed depth to a roster that looks extremely shallow. GRADE: C
Players added: Denzel Valentine (1, 14); Paul Zipser (2, 48)
The Bulls need more talent and toughness which is exactly what they’ll get in Valentine, arguably the most versatile player in this draft. Knee concerns led to him slipping a few spots to a Bulls team that desperately needs him. Zipser was a nice pick-up as well. GRADE: B
Player added: Kay Felder (2,54 FROM ATLANTA)
I absolutely love, love, love this pick. For starters, the Cavs add one of the most dynamic players in college basketball last season, a guy who led the nation in assists and was fourth in scoring. His 5-foot-9 stature is the biggest knock on his game. But his playmaking and shot-making skills seem an ideal fit for the Cavs especially if Matt Dellavedova leaves via free agency this summer. GRADE: A-
Player added: A.J. Hammons (2,46)
This is not a bad pick and to a certain degree, it does address one of the Mavericks’ offseason needs. But Hammons has good skills for a 7-footer and should do enough to make the roster. But beyond taking up a roster spot, I can’t see him providing much to the Mavs anytime soon. GRADE: C+
Players added: Jamal Murray (1,7); Juan Hernangomez (1,15); Malik Beasley (1,19); Petr Cornelie (2,53)
You can count the Nuggets among the biggest winners on draft night. They land one of the best shooters (Murray), a high-energy guy who is a hybrid forward (Hernangomez) and more shooting with Beasley and Cornelie. They needed more shot-makers and that’s exactly what they came away in this draft! GRADE: A
Players added: Henry Ellenson (1,18); Michael Gbinije (2, 49)
Ellenson is a high-value pick here who gives the Pistons a really good offensive option, but his defense leaves a lot – A LOT – to be desired. Gbinije will try and compete for a roster spot, but his next basketball stop will likely be overseas or in the D-League. GRADE: B
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
Players added: Damien Jones (1,30); Patrick McCaw (2,38)
The Warriors are bracing themselves to take a couple of hits via free agency, with the center position being where they’ll feel it the most. That’s why adding Damien Jones at the end of the first makes a lot of sense in terms of his talent and the potential role he will get a shot at playing immediately. McCaw is a player-for-the-future pick and if he does stick, will likely spend most of his time with the Warriors’ D-League affiliate. GRADE: B
Players added: Chinanu Onuaku (2,37); Zhou Chi (2,43)
Onuaku is one of the better rebounders in this draft, the kind of pick that will help soften the blow of losing Dwight Howard. Zhou could use some – OK, a lot – more weight to his frame, but his length and skillset make him an intriguing pick who is more than worth taking a flyer on in the middle of the second round. GRADE: B+
Player added: Georges Niang (2,50)
Considering the Jeff Teague trade made by the Pacers leading up to the draft, you had a feeling Thursday night would be a bit anti-climactic. Niang (20.5 points, 39.5 percent on 3s) was a big-time scorer in college, but his defensive shortcomings will make it extremely difficult for him to make the Pacers roster. GRADE: C
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
Players added: Brice Johnson (1,25); David Michineau (2, 39 FROM NEW ORLEANS); Diamond Stone (2, 40 FROM NEW ORLEANS).
Doc Rivers needs guys ready to step in and compete for minutes from Day One, something that’s a given from Johnson. You don’t love his wiry frame for a big, but his intensity, effort and overall compete level bode well for his chances of helping the Clippers sooner rather than later. Diamond Stone has the potential to be among the better second rounders in this draft. GRADE: B
LOS ANGELES LAKERS
Players added: Brandon Ingram (1,2); Ivaca Zubac (2,32)
The Lakers took Ingram with the second pick, as expected. And like Simmons to Philly with the top pick, Ingram to the Lakers alone made for a successful draft. But getting Zubac to slide to them in the second round is huge. He has the potential to come in and make an immediate impact for Los Angeles which is something you can’t say about many second-rounders in this draft. GRADE: A-
Players added: Wade Baldwin (1,17); Deyonta Davis (2,31 FROM BOSTON); Rade Zogorac (2,35 FROM BOSTON); Wang Zhelin (2,57)
For weeks the word out there was that Baldwin would not slip past the Grizzlies at No. 17. Getting him was good, but landing Davis – a player many thought was a lottery pick – in the second round may wind up being one of the biggest steals of this draft. He gives the Grizzlies some much-needed athleticism and youth in their frontcourt with plenty of room to grow. GRADE: B+
Players added: Thon Maker (1,10); Malcolm Brogdon (2,36)
A collective WTF! could be heard throughout the NBA when the Bucks took Maker with the 10th overall pick – not the 10th pick in the second round, but 10th overall. I know the Bucks love length but this was far and away the biggest reach of the night. But to the Bucks credit, they redeemed themselves somewhat in landing Brogdon who has the potential to be yet another second round steal. GRADE: C-
Player added: Kris Dunn (1,5)
The Timberwolves had lots of interest from others in Dunn, but keeping him made a lot of sense for this young, on-the-rise Timberwolves squad. It won’t be long before he’s replacing Ricky Rubio as the playmaker for this team, the kind of playmaker whose strength – defense – vibes well with head coach Tom Thibodeau. GRADE: B
NEW ORLEANS PELICANS
Players added: Buddy Hield (1,6); Cheick Diallo (2,33 FROM LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS)
Losing Eric Gordon will certainly create a void on the Pelicans roster, a void that Hield is more than capable of filling. And Cheick Diallo is a bit of a project, but getting a player with his upside in the second round makes him a high-risk, low-reward gamble. Still, with so many point guards/playmakers in this draft and that being a clear need for this team, it’s a little disappointing that they didn’t add one. GRADE: B-
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
Players added: Domantas Sabonis (1, 11 FROM ORLANDO); Daniel Hamilton (2, 56 FROM DENVER)
Sabonis provides another low-post scoring option in the post who offensively at least, is an upgrade over Steven Adams. But Sabonis, while somewhat physical in college, will have a much tougher time playing that brand of basketball at the NBA level. Still, losing Ibaka will hurt the Thunder for sure. But Sabonis, while a different kind of player, can still be a contributor for a Thunder team that’s all about winning an NBA title now. GRADE: B
Player added: Stephen Zimmerman (2,41)
Similar to the Indiana Pacers, draft night took a backseat to what they were able to accomplish via trade as the Magic acquired Oklahoma City’s Serge Ibaka. But unlike the Pacers, the Magic used their second round pick on a guy who might actually contribute as a rookie. GRADE: B+
Players added: Ben Simmons (1,1); Timothe Luwawu (1,24); Furkan Korkmaz (1,26)
Drafting Simmons alone made this a good night for the Sixers. But in adding a pair of international players in Luwawu and Korkmaz, the Sixers improved their overall team athleticism too by snatching a pair of players with middle-of-the-first round talent near the end of the first. GRADE: A
Players added: Dragan Bender (1, 4); Marquese Chriss (1, 8 FROM SACRAMENTO); Tyler Ulis (2,34).
The Suns had trouble deciding who they would take between Bender and Chriss at the No. 4 spot, so they wound up getting both in a trade with the Kings. Bender and Chriss each have as much upside as any player in this draft. And Ulis would have been a top-10 pick if the 5-9 guard were a little taller and there weren’t concerns about his hip. Still, his talent is well worth a high second round selection. GRADE: A
PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS
Player added: Jake Layman (2, 47 FROM ORLANDO).
Layman had a nice career at Maryland and held his own in workouts, but at no point did you get a feel that he was gaining any traction in the eyes of NBA teams as anything more than a player who at best, was a role player at this level. Don’t be surprised if Layman finds a more lucrative deal overseas and doesn’t even report to training camp with the Blazers which makes this pick essentially useless in terms of improving one of the better up-and-coming teams in the NBA. GRADE: D
Players added: Georgios Papagiannis (1,13 FROM PHOENIX); Malachi Richardson (1, 22 FROM CHARLOTTE); Skal Labissiere (1, 28 FROM PHOENIX); Isaiah Cousins (2,59)
And once again the Kings walk away from the draft leaving everyone scratching their heads asking the same question … what were they thinking? They trade away Marquese Chriss, a Sac-town kid who by the way has the most upside of just about anyone in this draft for a center (you got DeMarcus Cousins and Willie Cauley-Stein) a streaky shooter (Rudy Gay’s still around, remember?) and a stretch big (Labissiere) who doesn’t really stretch the floor that well and isn’t that big. GRADE: D.
SAN ANTONIO SPURS
Player added: Dejounte Murray (1,29)
And once again the Spurs catch everyone playing checkers while they get their chess game on. Murray is one of the better athletes in this draft who in time could potentially be the heir apparent to Tony Parker at the point. Like most Spurs draft picks, he’ll pay his dues in practice, spend some time in the D-League and eventually see his way on to the floor and serve as yet another reminder as to why the Spurs are the best run franchise in the NBA. GRADE: A-
Players added: Jakob Poeltl (1,9); Pascal Sikam (1,27)
With no assurances of re-signing Bismack Biyombo, the Raptors doubled down on adding size (Poeltl) and athleticism (Sikam) to their frontcourt. Sikam may have gone a little higher than expected, but his rim-running ability along with a knack for rebounding makes him an ideal fit for Toronto going forward. GRADE: B+
Players added: Joel Bolomboy (2, 52); Marcus Paige (2, 55 FROM BROOKLYN); Tyrone Wallace (2,60)
You get the feeling that the Jazz weren’t exactly looking to make waves in the draft this year. Heck, these picks barely register as a ripple. Bolomboy is the only one of this trio of picks that has a shot at making the roster, although it’s a slim one mind you. They have their core group already and this draft doesn’t affect that one way or another. GRADE: C-