2015 NBA Draft Grades

2015 NBA Draft Grades

Sat, 06/27/2015 – 4:04am

With the 2015 NBA Draft in the books, it’s time to take a look at which teams made the best and worst decisions on draft night.

NBADraft.net’s Michael Visenberg (West) and Jacob Stallard (East) break down the entire draft.

Atlanta
Draft Grade
Additions Analysis

B-
Tim Hardaway, Jr. (acquired for Kelly Oubre)
#50 Marcus Eriksson
#59 Dimitrios Agravanis
Obviously, the big acquisition from this draft for the Hawks was Tim Hardaway, Jr., which was kind of an odd addition as his volume shooting style isn’t very Popovich-ian and doesn’t seem to gel with the Hawk’s current style of play. Plus, Kyle Korver is coming off a career year and seems to be The Guy on the wing, despite his age. Granted, as a team looking for help right away, with Hardaway, you know exactly what you’re going to get, and it’s very solid. He’s better than the average pick that you will get at 15, but you sacrifice the upside of some of the guys you could have selected at #15 (like Kelly Oubre). Beyond Hardaway, the Hawks took a couple of draft-and-stash Euro prospects with their late picks. These two weren’t even really on the radar for international prospects. Both appear to be mildly skilled, but fairly unathletic, and while the decision to take draft-and-stash prospects when the Hawks’ roster is pretty crowded makes sense, these two are both relatively unknown, so it’s hard to see either one even making it to the NBA. Very perplexing draft for the Hawks, and not a lot of potential for these acquisitions. The end result will probably be somewhere between “mediocre” and “bad”.
Boston
Draft Grade
Additions Analysis
B
#16 Terry Rozier
#28 RJ Hunter
#33 Jordan Mickey
#45 Marcus Thornton
It’s tough to be too critical of the Celtics when they made considerable effort to move up into the lottery. They supposedly offered 6 picks to the Hornets to move up to 9 to grab Winslow. Despite widely being criticized, they got an excellent player at 16 with Terry Rozier, a player who was universally undervalued but in reality has a lot of upside. The problem is he comes in to a team with a log jam at the guard position with Marcus Smart, Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley. We graded Rozier out as a lottery talent in the summer and though he had a rocky season at Louisville, he’s a natural leader. They then picked R.J. Hunter, a player known for his shooting. Hunter fell further than many expected, but in reality his stock was greatly exaggerated. He’s a fairly one-dimensional player who posted poor percentages last year in that one dimension. A lot of scouts graded him as a second rounder, due to strength and defensive shortcomings. It’s hard to imagine him ever becoming a starter unless he vastly improves his body and shot creating ability. But playing alongside a high level set up man, he can be effective offensively. At #33, they made a very sound choice with Jordan Mickey. He’s a great defender with length at the power forward position. Finally, the Celtics picked Marcus Thornton of William and Mary in the mid-second round, who possesses incredible leaping ability. Unfortunately for the Celtics, trading up seemed like the best option, but nothing came together. They did however find quality value with some of their picks.
Brooklyn
Draft Grade
Additions Analysis
B+
#23 Rondae Hollis Jefferson,
#29 Chris McCullough,
#39 Jean Vaulet,
Steve Blake (acquired with #23 and #39 for Mason Plumlee and Pat Connaughton)
The big move of the night for Brooklyn was their trade centered around Mason Plumlee. They had been shopping Plumlee, who was stuck behind Brook Lopez. They got a player with a great deal of “role player potential”. Hollis-Jefferson, an excellent young defender with a MKG-esque awkward jumpshot. He could potentially start someday, but his perimeter and mid-range shooting is abysmal right now. Not a bad pick up at #23, however. He can serve as a defensive specialist right away, but he may not see starter’s minutes. McCullough was also a good pick, a young, raw power forward with good size and agility (something the Nets lack at the 4), taken with their second first round pick. Vaulet isn’t a pick of much consequence, as he won’t see the NBA floor for a while while playing overseas. And Steve Blake is an aging veteran who will probably be in a battle just for the backup point guard position. Hollis-Jefferson has some upside as a stopper, but it could be a while before we see if this trade was a positive one or a negative one. These moves towards youth signal one thing, this team appears heading for a major overhaul, if they are able to move some of their exorbitant contracts, that is.
Charlotte
Draft Grade
Additions Analysis

D
#9 Frank Kaminsky Kaminsky was a questionable pick when you consider that Justise Winslow slipped to them and the team is still in need of high level talent to compete. Reports had surfaced that they were taking Kaminsky long before the draft began. Well, so much for staying flexible. Frank the Tank obviously wasn’t a popular pick, but at the very least, the Hornets add a super-tall, and accurate shooting stretch 4 to a team that was last in the league in 3-point shooting last season. We graded Kaminsky out as a mid to late first round value, and feel that he’s most likely a high level rotational big in the league. Drafting him at 9 only works out if he ends up being a high level starter. This team has one of the worst track records of drafting and also developing talent. On the bright side, Kaminsky is not a player in need of development. If Kaminsky’s strength and post game translate better than we expect to the NBA, this pick looks great; if not, it’s sure to go down as another in a long line of questionable picks.
Chicago
Draft Grade
Additions Analysis
A-
#22 Bobby Portis Content to be patient and take the best player to fall to them with their lone pick at #22, the Bulls were rewarded with Bobby Portis, a versatile power forward who could’ve gone as many as 9 spots higher. He’s a long, smooth big man with a good face-up game and a respectable arsenal of post moves, and will likely be entrusted with starting duties once the ever-reliable Pau Gasol finally starts to lose a step. The Bulls have a good nucleus in place from last season, so they did well to just draft for talent, and Portis should be able to come in and contribute right away off the bench.
Cleveland
Draft Grade
Additions Analysis

B
#31 Cedi Osman
#36 Rakeem Christmas
#53 SirDominic Pointer
The Cavs traded out of the first round to get two picks in the second, and they made the most out of their modest selections. Osman went first, and he’s one of the most polished international players available. He’ll have a chance to come over and be a really skilled scoring threat at the small forward position. The Cavs then selected Rakeem Christmas, who only fell so far because of his age (at 6’10, he’s shorter than the prototypical center, but his 7’5” wingspan surely negates that). He dominated other prospects in 5-on-5 workouts at the combine, and really began to come into his own last season, as a senior at Syracuse. I think he has more developing left, and despite being a second rounder, could have starter potential as an NBA player. He doesn’t need to touch the ball a lot, and should be a great value pick who can take over for some of Cleveland’s aging backup big men. Finally, the Cavs made a surprise late selection in Sir’Dominic Pointer out of St. John’s. He was a good scorer in college but his lack of outside shooting may not be the best complement to Lebron James, who usually is at his best when surrounded by good perimeter shooters. Pointer has an NBA body and could develop into a solid bench scorer. All in all, an underrated trio of selections by the defending runner-ups, who already have a lot of talent in place.
Dallas
Draft Grade
Additions Analysis

B-
21. Justin Anderson,
52. Satnam Singh Bhamara
As the Dirk Nowitzki era in Dallas is slowly coming to a close, the Mavericks are looking for pieces that will help them remain competitive. These will more than likely come in Free Agency as opposed to the draft, as they still seem to be players in the LaMarcus Aldridge sweepstakes. What they did get at 21 is a standout athlete in Justin Anderson, and a player who improved his shooting greatly. He lacks ideal ball skills to step right in to replace say, a Monta Ellis, but could be a nice option for when Chandler Parsons needs a breather. Satnam Singh Bhamara, on the other hand, is no where near NBA ready but could provide the team some quality international marketing. It is certainly fantastic that he is the first player drafted from India after training at IMG Academy. He’s a real longshot, but at 52 the odds of striking gold are very slim anyway.
Denver
Draft Grade
Additions Analysis

A
7. Emmanuel Mudiay,
57. Nikola Radicevic
The Nuggets took a very noticeable step backwards this season and look to be in full on rebuilding mode. With Ty Lawson well on his way out the door, the Nuggets now have a viable replacement for him. We have been extremely high on Mudiay, who will have a chance to get valuable minutes right away. He is a top notch athlete, who missed time while with China’s Guangdong Tigers due to a severe ankle sprain. He will probably have the benefit of making some mistakes and having some of the pressure taken off of him with a rebuilding team, not to mention a potential chip on his shoulder after slipping to 7. Radicevic was the third player drafted from Spain’s Cajasol Sevilla, a teammate of Kristaps Porzingis and Guillermo Hernangomez. The Serbian is a combo guard with good size, though much like Mudiay he needs to work on his consistency as a shooter. While he definitely does not possess Mudiay’s athleticism and will likely need some work to get to NBA level on the defensive side of the ball, there is a chance he could turn into a back-up with more time in Europe. The team was said to be very high on Mario Hezonja, and apparently would have preferred him to Mudiay. But they may have had the top talent in the draft fall into their laps at 7.
Detroit
Draft Grade
Additions Analysis

B+
#8 Stanley Johnson
#38 Darrun Hilliard
The scuttlebutt we were hearing was that Stanley Johnson was the Pistons’ guy heading into the draft. They proved it by taking him, even though highly rated fellow small forward Justise Winslow was on the board. Both guys are tough, versatile defenders who are also aggressive on the offensive end, but Winslow helped lead his team to a National Championship. Ultimately, Johnson could end up the better small forward in 5 years, but the consensus is that Winslow is better. Johnson is a hard-nosed versatile defender and he should be able to make a positive impact for Detroit and should become the long-term solution at small forward, where Tayshaun Prince, is beyond ready to pass the torch. At 38, the Pistons made one of the more surprising selections of the draft, taking Darrun Hilliard of Villanova, who was safely flying below the radar. Hilliard isn’t the most explosive or flashy wing player, but he’s got good size, good defensive versatility, and a solid shooting stroke.
Golden State
Draft Grade
Additions Analysis
B+
30. Kevon Looney [An E40 style Warriors offseason recap: Did they pass up the best value in Looney? Nope. Do they have to trade away David Lee? Yup. Can Looney come in and contribute right away? Nope. Will fans eventually cheer his name in the Bay? Yup. Should they let Draymond walk in free agency? Nope. See if they can win again with their Big 3? Yup]…. When you are as deep a team as the reigning NBA Champions, you might as well roll the dice and take a gamble with your lone draft pick. Looney’s stock took a major hit, as some worried about his energy, his asthma condition and rumors that a hip injury could cost him time this season. Well, players have still had successful careers with asthma and Looney unquestionably brings energy as a rebounder, always a good sign. He absolutely needs to add weight to his frame and the hip injury will need to be monitored; it just is not easy to find a player with Looney’s absurd combination of length and skills at the 30th pick. There are many teams in which Looney might have been destined to become a “tweener”. On the Warriors, he will have a chance to fit into their “positionless” basketball with some work on his skill set and body. This seems like a very worthwhile bet by GM Bob Myers. The Warriors will likely look to move David Lee this offseason, however credit them for being patient about it as teams are sure to see more value in him after they strike out in free agency.
Houston
Draft Grade
Additions Analysis

A-
18. Sam Dekker,
32. Montrezl Harrell
The Rockets have been all about drafting value over need, which definitely seemed to be the strategy when drafting Dekker and Harrell. Dekker was a tournament darling for NCAA Tournament Runner-Up, who grew to near power forward size while still possessing a perimeter skill set. He is a solid athlete, though will likely have a difficult time getting to the basket at the NBA level. Even as a streaky shooter, Dekker still has some potential to become a solid role player who could even play next to Trevor Ariza and Corey Brewer at times. In Harrell, the Rockets get more depth at PF, along with a boost in intensity and athleticism. He should at least push some players as a back-up and has some major length along with above the rim ability. They will be hoping Harrell can harness this into becoming an energy defender and rebounder. They decided to pass on a point guard, which was a desire of James Harden. However, with the likely addition of ACB MVP Sergio Llull to the roster next year, the Rockets added some depth in a pair of juniors who should push to play.
Indiana
Draft Grade
Additions Analysis

B
#11 Myles Turner
#43 Joseph Young
In my opinion, Myles Turner is a High Reward, Not-Particularly-High-Risk player that the Pacers took at 11. He began to show some real flashes as an 18-year-old freshman near the end of last season. He’s already got a great combination of size and shooting, so whether or not his running form is corrected, he could be a real contributor for the Pacers. If Roy Hibbert is traded, I think the Pacers should feel good about Turner as the long-term successor. If Hibbert stays, Turner can likely come off the bench as he develops, and also play alongside Hibbert some at power forward. He has some real upside here, which could really make the Pacers’ young core dangerous. In the mid-second round, the Pacers took a talented, if undersized, shooting guard in Joseph Young. This guy put up all kinds of points against elite competition in college, and though he likely doesn’t have the size to make a career as a starting shooting guard, he could definitely find a spot as an instant-offense combo guard off the bench for the Pacers once Rodney Stuckey declines/moves on to another franchise. Solid draft for the Pacers after a disappointing, injury riddled year put them back in the lottery.
LA Clippers
Draft Grade
Additions Analysis


C
56. Branden Dawson The Clippers entered the draft without a pick and ended it by buying the rights to Branden Dawson from the New Orleans Pelicans. A large portion of their bench have expiring contracts, which could mean Dawson has a chance to scrap for a roster spot. His specialty has always been rebounding; he has a great nose for the ball and is a strong, scrappy athlete. What limits his upside seems to be the lack of lateral quickness and shooting ability to play on the perimeter, with him being severely undersized as a PF. At this portion of the draft, you are good with getting a no frills energy player to push guys in practice, which definitely is Dawson’s forte.
LA Lakers
Draft Grade
Additions Analysis

B+
2. DAngelo Russell,
27. Larry Nance Jr,
34. Anthony Brown
It seemed that Jahlil Okafor was linked to the Lakers ever since the conclusion of the lottery. In the morning of draft day however, Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report broke the story that the Lakers were leaning towards taking Russell and loved his star potential, along with the possibility of landing a Free Agent big man, making him the likely choice. Russell brings ball skills and fantastic vision, while he can also turn into a deadly shooting threat. He can play either guard spot, which should help him mesh well with either Kobe or breakout rookie, Jordan Clarkson. Russell is certainly an exciting pick for the Lakers, who would have a higher grade if not for their later selections. Nance is a nice athlete with an NBA pedigree, though could have a tough time finding a real NBA position. (Particularly if he posts any more disparaging tweets about Kobe). He is viewed by most as the first round’s biggest reach. Brown is seen as a potential “3-and-D” wing. The Russell pick will be what is ultimately remembered and he should bring a lot of excitement back to Laker land.
Memphis
Draft Grade
Additions Analysis

C+
25. Jarell Martin,
44. Andrew Harrison
Memphis had a promise in place and took Martin at 25. While he possesses some ball skills for a player his size, he has not shown much consistency as a shooter and lacks ideal power forward size. It seems that he will also have a really hard time defending NBA PF’s\. With players with much more length than Martin on the board, it seems like the only thing that could be a stretch in Memphis is this pick. Later on, the Grizzlies traded Jon Leuer to the Phoenix Suns for the draft rights to Kentucky combo guard Andrew Harrison. Harrison certainly has size and some ball skills, but will have to answer questions regarding his speed, shooting and attitude. With a deep backcourt, he will have his work cut out as far as making the roster. Their ability to keep Marc Gasol in the fold will make or break the team’s offseason and overshadow their draft.
Miami
Draft Grade
Additions Analysis

A
#10 Justise Winslow
#40 Josh Richardson
Things just seem to work out for some people (and teams). Pat Riley and the Heat didn’t earn this A grade through any display of scouting genius or maneuvering via trades. They simply pulled the trigger on a player that many assumed would be gone by their pick in Justise Winslow. It also helps when you have clueless teams such as Charlotte and Sacramento picking in front of you. Winslow didn’t drop from the 4-7 range to #10 because of any medical issue or poor combine result; the teams above Miami in some cases took other guys that they were dead-set on taking. And the Heat ended up with a player with one of the best upsides in this draft in Winslow, an ultra aggressive, super-athlete who, at age 19, has already succeeded at both the high school and college level. He could very well start from Day 1 and, though he doesn’t necessarily have a “superstar” type of game, he could succeed Dwyane Wade as the anchor of this team for the next ten years. Not bad for a #10 pick. In Round Two, the Heat took another safe prospect in Josh Richardson, a wing player who is good-but-not-great at scoring from any level. He’s got NBA size and put up good college numbers, so the Heat may have nabbed a future rotation player at pick #40. They could have used some more frontcourt depth, but Winslow and Richardson will certainly bolster the wings, especially if Wade doesn’t stay in Miami.
Milwaukee
Draft Grade
Additions Analysis

B-
#17 Rashad Vaughn,
Greivis Vasquez (acquired for future first rounder and #46)
Rashad Vaughn is a talented, young guard who rapidly climbed up draft boards in the days leading up to the draft. I like this pick, as Vaughn produced some nice numbers last season despite only being 18 (which he still is, making him one of the youngest players in this class). With some development, he could be a really nice shooting guard alongside Michael Carter-Williams. He certainly has some limitations, as far as his defense, and fitting into the team concept and making smart plays on offense, but he has a lot of growth left to do. After playing at a Mountain West school on the west coast, Vaughn is far from a household name, but I think the Bucks made a solid selection here. The Vasquez trade is a little more perplexing. Maybe Jason Kidd saw a little bit of himself in the versatile point guard, but he gave up entirely too much for a player who is very similar to his current point guard, Carter-Williams. Vasquez is who he has shown he is at this point in his career, so the loss of a first rounder and a second rounder is tough.
Minnesota
Draft Grade
Additions Analysis


A-
1. Karl Anthony Towns,
24. Tyus Jones
Minnesota took the safe bet in Karl-Anthony Towns and at the very least should have a versatile and productive big man. Towns shooting ability and defense are both top notch, with a developing post game and great physical attributes for a center. He very well could thrive in a more wide open game and seems to be a fantastic complement to Minnesota’s young pieces. The Wolves also traded the 31st and 36th picks (Cedi Osman and Rakeem Christmas, respectively) to Cleveland for the draft rights to Minnesota raised Tyus Jones. The reigning Final Four Most Outstanding Player lacks ideal NBA physical attributes, but makes up for it with an excellent basketball mind. Minnesota spent a majority of the season without a back-up point guard, with explosively athletic Zach LaVine more suited off of the ball. As a longterm back up, Jones should make hometown fans happy and most important, make his teammates happy with his ability to play mistake free and control the flow of the game.
New Orleans
Draft Grade
Additions Analysis

C+
None The Pelicans traded the rights to 2nd round pick Branden Dawson to the LA Clippers for cash considerations and their 1st round pick to the Rockets in the deal to land Omer Asik. So, not too many big things happen for the Pelicans on Alvin Gentry’s first draft night as coach of the team. While they can definitely use some help on the wing, Asik seemed to give Davis the ability to thrive with a true big man to defend opposing team’s centers. They appear to be a team on the rise with one of the elite superstars of the NBA. They will just have to wait until free agency, trade or next year’s draft to build around him.
New York
Draft Grade
Additions Analysis

B
#4 Kristaps Porzingis,
#19 Jerian Grant,
#35 Guillermo Hernangomez
In regards to the Knicks’ draft, one thing is for sure: they certainly didn’t cave to the pressure of the fan base. The Kristaps Porzingis selection at #4 was widely unpopular among Knicks fans, but it was also expected as many had bumped Porzingis up to #4 on their draft boards by the time the draft rolled around. There are some who say that the Knicks need to win now and that still-somewhat-raw Porzingis is not a player who will help you do that as much as Justice Winslow or Emmanuel Mudiay will. Many fans may be afraid that he’s simply an Andrea Bargnani 2.0. But he’s already got incredible size and a stellar jumper, so he’ll be able to at least contribute something as a rotation player from the get-go, and he has a lot of skills you would find in a guard, not a 7’1” post player. Porzingis is a tremendously unique player and the Knicks certainly didn’t make a cautious move by taking him. Was it the best move? Perhaps not. But it was one with a lot of potential reward. They then traded Tim Hardaway to get the 19th pick, which they used to select Jerian Grant, one of the few point guards in this draft with real starter potential. So the Knicks could very well have picked up two long-term starters in this draft. And finally, they parlayed two future second round picks into Guillermo Hernangomez, a Spanish big man with NBA-ready strength and size, who will spend the next few years developing and hopefully return to team up with former Sevilla teammate Porzingis. Three solid picks for New York. The loss of Hardaway isn’t too huge, though he played harder than anyone on the team last year. You hate to lose that.
Oklahoma City
Draft Grade
Additions Analysis

B+
14. Cameron Payne,
48. Dakari Johnson
The Thunder will look for Cam Payne to ultimately add some stability to their backcourt. He’ll start off as a back-up who can even play some minutes alongside Russell Westbrook. Payne was a late bloomer who has a vast array of offensive skills at his disposal, all while fitting the mold of pass-first PG. This seems to be a very solid value pick for the Thunder. Payne has some upside to be a very nice contributor once he gets up to NBA game speed. Dakari Johnson will be added to the stable of young Thunder big men, which should give him time to get into shape and learn the ropes. He has some below the rim center skills and certainly some physical characteristics that you like in a true 5. Ideally, the Thunder would like to sign Enes Kanter to a reasonable extension, though they at least have some big bodies who can come and mix it up if an agreement cannot be reached. Overall, a solid draft for the Thunder, who will hopefully have health on their side this coming season.
Orlando
Draft Grade
Additions Analysis
B+
#5 Mario Hezonja
#51 Tyler Harvey
The Magic snagged a potential gem at #5. Hezonja is a big, skilled, confident (maybe overly) wing player who will complement Victor Oladipo nicely. It would have been nice to acquire some post defense, but there really weren’t any good defensive centers available in the mid-lottery range. Hezonja can come in and energize this team and help drastically improve their struggling offense. He hasn’t been tested against a lot of American players, but scouts are confident he has all the tools to excel in the NBA. Tyler Harvey, picked in the late second round, has considerably less upside, but produced more. In fact, he led the nation in scoring as a senior at Eastern Washington, so he knows how to put the ball in the hoop. His lack of NBA size or athleticism will make t a challenge for him at the next level, but he could carve out a niche on the Magic bench as an instant-offense kind of guy off the bench. Solid draft for the Magic.
Philadelphia
Draft Grade
Additions Analysis


B-
#3 Jahlil Okafor
#37 Richaun Holmes
#47 Arturas Gudaitis
#58 JP Tokoto
#60 Luka Mitrovic
One would think that this is the year that Sam Hinkie’s master plan finally starts coming together. After two straight years of blatantly tanking since the roster blow-up following the 2012-2013 season, the 76ers were going to go into next season with a healthy Nerlens Noel, a hopefully soon-to-be healthy Joel Embiid, and several rookies from all the draft picks recently acquired for this year’s draft, including the #3 selection, the fruits of a second year of being absolutely awful. D’Angelo Russell was supposed to be the guy, the solution to a gaping hole at point guard after the trade that got rid of Michael Carter-Williams. But Philadelphia had their heart’s broken and missed out on Russell as the Lakers changed their minds in the final hour. Jahlil Okafor is a player most teams would be thrilled to get at #3, but a guy who plays center and only center, and would in no way be able to see the floor simultaneously with Joel Embiid. But Hinkie appears to be intent on keeping Okafor, who some rate as the best player in this draft. With their other selections, they took the following guys: power forward Richaun Holmes, a late bloomer with length and athleticism, J.P. Tokoto, an athletic small forward who is a skilled defender, and two European draft-and-stash big men, Arturas Gudaitis and Luka Mitrovic. Meanwhile, it would appear that, unless someone with an average amount of basketball talent is added this offseason, they will begin the 2015-2016 season with a starting backcourt of Robert Covington and Ish Smith, perhaps the most underwhelming starting backcourt in NBA history. Depending on whether Philadelphia moves one of their bigs, this pick could look a lot better in the coming months. And ultimately, Okafor could overtake Embiid and Noel and become the cornerstone for this franchise, as he may be a more sure thing than either of those guys. A questionable draft for Philadelphia, who got some bad luck at the start, and were not able to get back on track as the night progressed.
Phoenix
Draft Grade
Additions Analysis

B+
13. Devin Booker The Suns went from shooting 37.2% from 3-point range in 2013-14 to 34.1% this past season. Devin Booker projects as a shooting specialist at the very least, with potential to become a solid scoring guard. Booker was the youngest player drafted and is a dialed in distance shooter, with some ball skills and decent athleticism to go along with it. This was right around Booker’s draft range and he has the tools to be a nice value pick while helping the Suns with a need. They also traded the rights of 44th pick Andrew Harrison to the Memphis Grizzlies for Jon Leuer, which lands them a big man with some stretch capability. Not a bad night for the Suns.
Portland
Draft Grade
Additions Analysis

C
Mason Plumlee
41. Pat Connaughton
54. Daniel Diez
This is shaping up to be a rough summer for the fans in Rip City. It started with the Blazers trading long time swingman Nicolas Batum to the Charlotte Hornets for Gerald Henderson and the talented, though unproven young PF, Noah Vonleh. That move only seems to be the beginning of the end of the Blazers core, with LaMarcus Aldridge likely to leave, Arron Afflalo opting out of his deal, along with the free agency of starters Wesley Matthews and Robin Lopez. This may put the Blazers in position to land a smaller, big name Free Agent with their cap space, just not a lot of stability at this point in time for what will soon be the Damian Lillard show. With the 23rd pick, the Blazers drafted Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and then shipped him and Steve Blake to the Brooklyn Nets for Mason Plumlee and 41st pick Pat Connaughton. Plumlee should possibly ease the blow of losing Lopez, but he is more a bench grinder than a long term option. Connaughton is a really nice athlete who did a lot of the little things for Notre Dame, projected mostly as a spot-up shooter and bench energy option. Spaniard Daniel Diez was later acquired for cash considerations. Diez could ultimately contend for a roster spot, though the fact that he’s been compared to a “poor man’s Victor Claver” won’t exactly give the Rip City fan base a warm, fuzzy feeling. None of the additions creates a ton of hope, although both Plumlee and Connaughton are welcome additions to a roster in flux.
Sacramento
Draft Grade
Additions Analysis

F
6. Willie Cauley Stein This was more than likely a Mock Draft buster for a vast majority of people playing the home game (making mocks). With word coming out regarding potential problems with his ankle stemming from a foot injury he sustained as a sophomore at Kentucky, many felt that Cauley-Stein would slip deeper into the lottery. The Kings were able to look past that, seeing his athleticism and versatility on defense. Cauley-Stein was a major defensive force, and should be disruptive on that end of the floor. His lack of offensive polish and questions regarding his focus and dedication are real concerns. The Kings are really hoping they have an unpolished gem and that Cauley-Stein can possibly team with fellow UK alum Boogie Cousins to make an imposing front court duo. In our view WCS is still a project with late lottery value and choosing him at 6 over Emmanuel Mudiay or wing options such as Justise Winslow and Stanley Johnson will ultimately come back to haunt the Kings. This appears to be a franchise in complete disarray, with a star player and coach battling for control. GM Vlade Divac has come out following the draft saying the team just didn’t have a good handle on Mudiay and didn’t feel comfortable enough to select him. Unfortunate, because one of their established former scouts Shareef Abdur-Rahim who last year pushed for Elfred Payton over Nik Stauskas, was let go by the team. Abdur-Rahim likely had a solid handle on Mudiay. C’est la vie.
San Antonio
Draft Grade
Additions Analysis

C+
26. Nikola Milutinov,
55. Cady Lalanne
The Spurs are the team everyone envies’ for their track record of mining International talent. The pick of Nikola Milutinov is seen as a surefire draft-and-stash, which given his size and athleticism, could pay off as a decent rotational big man down the road. While we don’t view Milutinov as a first round talent, second guess the Spurs at your own peril. The fact that he’s under the Spurs coaching umbrella gives him a much greater chance for success. With Milutinov staying over in Serbia, it keeps him off of the books and frees up a bit of cap space, which the Spurs may need when they make a run at big name free agent targets such as LaMarcus Aldridge and Marc Gasol. Cady Lalanne is someone who stood out at the Portsmouth Invitational and could fight for a roster spot as the third back-up center. With Tim Duncan, Manu and TP all expected back for one more run, along with Kawhi Leonard, and a free agent acquisition, this draft strategy makes sense.
Toronto
Draft Grade
Additions Analysis

B
#20 Delon Wright
#46 Norman Powell
Delon Wright was a solid pick and a player we had rated in and around our top 20 all season. He’s essentially an inexperienced version of the player they gave away in Greivis Vasquez, only he comes cheaper and has more athleticism. In time he will become an adequate backup point guard to Kyle Lowry. Moving Vasquez and his contract was how they acquired the 46th pick. There they selected Norman Powell, a defensive oriented shooting guard who will also backup an established guard in DeMar Derozan. The trio of Lowry, DeRozan and combo guard Lou Williams will limit the minutes of these two, but both are solid Pac 12 prospects who produced in college and will likely become contributors at the next level. Decent value for the Raptors, although they traded away their veteran backup point guard for little in return, aside from cap space.
Utah
Draft Grade
Additions Analysis

A-
12. Trey Lyles,
42. Olivier Hanlan
The Jazz were responsible for selecting the draft’s entire Canadian contingent and definitely gained themselves some fans north of the border. They used their lottery selection on talented Kentucky face-up 4 man Trey Lyles, who reminds us of former Jazz All-Star, Carlos Boozer. Even if Lyles does not get to Boozer in his prime’s level, his ability to put the ball on the floor and his shooting ability, along with prototypical PF size, makes him a valuable commodity. He struggled with consistency and mainly played out of position in Kentucky’s offense, but he should flourish at his more natural position in due time. If he does not become at least a competent starter, we would be surprised. At the 12th pick, that would make him a tremendous value selection. Hanlan should also have a real chance to earn a spot on the Jazz as an adept scorer with good size for a PG. He has a great change of speed and could really flourish in a more wide open game. If he gains some necessary weight to take the physical challenge the NBA provides, Hanlan could turn into a very solid back-up combo guard. They might not turn into the Canadian Stockton-Malone, but Lyles-Hanlan both could turn into really strong selections for GM Dennis Lindsey and a team on the rise.
Washington
Draft Grade
Additions Analysis

B+
#15 Kelly Oubre
#49 Aaron White
Though they had to trade up to get him, the Wizards came away with a really enticing player in Kelly Oubre. His tremendous length and solid shooting ability give him great potential. Though he was inconsistent at Kansas, the kid is still only 19 and has plenty of time to put it all together. If he reaches his potential, a long-term perimeter of John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Oubre is a long and scary one that will really tear up opposing defenses. Oubre ill take some time, but he’s certainly worth the risk. In the second round, the Wizards took Aaron White of Iowa, a decidedly less exciting prospect. He provides versatility and a high basketball IQ, make him an ideal stretch 4 off the bench who also provides solid rebounding and team play. He may not have the strength and athleticism to thrive, but his ability to score in a variety of ways will create an opportunity for him.
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