NBA Draft Grades 2018: Scores for Overall Results, Trades and Team Decisions

Maurice Moton@@MoeMotonFeatured ColumnistJune 24, 2018

PHOENIX, AZ - JUNE 22:  (L-R)  George King, Mikal Bridges, Deandre Ayton, and Elie Okoo of the Pheonix Suns pose together following press conference at Talking Stick Resort Arena on June 22, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

NBA Teams made possible franchise-altering decisions Thursday. We won't know the effects of the 2018 draft for some time, but the selections stir up some intriguing storylines and short-term possibilities.

As expected, the draft brought the usual scenarios: a prominent prospect slipped a few spots, there were aggressive trades and some teams may have come away from high-value steals after the first round.

One particular club finished the night as a clear-cut winner. It's too early to call out losers, but one team came up with a head-scratcher in the opening round.

Which second-rounder landed in an ideal spot to contribute as a rookie? How did each team grade out on an early glance?



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NBA Draft Team-by-Team Grades and Picks

Atlanta: A

No. 5 Trae Young, Guard

No. 19 Kevin Huerter, Forward

No. 30 Omari Spellman, Forward 

Boston: C 

No. 27 Robert Williams, Center

Brooklyn: C+

No. 29 Dzanan Musa, Forward

No. 40 Rodions Kurucs, Forward

No. 45 Hamidou Diallo, Forward

Charlotte: B

No. 12 Miles Bridges, Forward

No. 34 Devonte' Graham, Guard

No. 55 Arnoldas Kulboka, Forward 

Chicago: A-

No. 7 Wendell Carter Jr., Forward/Center

No. 22 Chandler Hutchison, Forward, Guard

Cleveland: A

No. 8 Collin Sexton, Guard 

Dallas: A

No. 3 Luka Doncic, Guard/Forward

No. 33 Jalen Brunson, Guard

No. 56 Ray Spalding, Forward

No. 60 Kostas Antetokounmpo, Forward

Denver: A-

No. 14 Michael Porter Jr., Forward

No. 41 Jarred Vanderbilt, Forward

No. 43 Justin Jackson, Forward

No. 58 Thomas Welsh, Center

Detroit: A-

No. 38 Khyri Thomas, Guard

No. 42 Bruce Brown, Guard

Golden State: B 

No. 28 Jacob Evans, Guard/Forward 

Houston: C 

No. 46 De'Anthony Melton, Guard

Indiana: A- 

No. 23 Aaron Holiday, Guard

No. 50 Alize Johnson, Forward

Los Angeles Clippers: A 

No. 11 Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Guard

No. 13 Jerome Robinson, Guard

Los Angeles Lakers: C+

No. 25 Moritz Wagner, Forward

No. 39 Isaac Bonga, Center

No. 47 Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, Guard

Memphis: A

No. 4 Jaren Jackson Jr., Forward

No. 32 Jevon Carter, Guard

Miami: N/A

Milwaukee: B 

No. 17 Donte DiVincenzo, Guard

Minnesota: B+

No. 20 Josh Okogie, Guard

No. 48 Keita Bates-Diop, Forward

New Orleans: B+

No. 51 Tony Carr, Guard

New York: A-

No. 9 Kevin Knox, Forward

No. 36 Mitchell Robinson, Center

Oklahoma City: C+

No. 53 Devon Hall, Guard

No. 57 Kevin Hervey, Forward

Orlando: A-

No. 6 Mohamed Bamba, Center

No. 35 Melvin Frazier, Guard 

Philadelphia: B-

No. 16 Zhaire Smith, Guard 

No. 26 Landry Shamet, Guard

No. 54 Shake Milton, Guard 

Phoenix: A 

No. 1 Deandre Ayton, Center

No. 10 Mikal Bridges, Forward 

No. 31 Elie Okobo, Guard

No. 59 George King, Forward

Portland: D 

No. 24 Anfernee Simons, Guard

No. 37 Gary Trent Jr., Guard 

Sacramento: A

No. 2 Marvin Bagley III, Forward

San Antonio: B 

No. 18 Lonnie Walker IV, Guard

No. 49 Chimezie Metu, Forward 

Toronto: N/A

Utah: B

No. 21 Grayson Allen, Guard

No. 52 Vincent Edwards, Forward

Washington: D

No. 15 Troy Brown, Forward

No. 44 Issuf Sanon, Guard


Breaking Down Draft-Day Decisions

Suns Emerge as Draft-Day Winners

Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

The Phoenix Suns came away with the best draft haul, and it goes beyond Deandre Ayton at No. 1. They also acquired Mikal Bridges via trade with the Philadelphia 76ers. He's a versatile swingman, who can guard multiple positions and knock down shots at a high clip. The Villanova product converted on 51 percent of his attempts from the field and 44 percent beyond the three-point line.

The Suns sent Zhaire Smith and a first-round pick in the 2021 draft to the Sixers for the former Wildcat. Essentially, Phoenix landed two top-10 prospects in Ayton and Bridges.

Both players could crack the starting lineup. Ayton will fill the center spot over 35-year-old Tyson Chandler. In today's NBA, it's beneficial to have an abundance of wing assets. Bridges could push for a spot at either forward position in a rotation with Marquese Chriss and Josh Jackson.

The trade for Bridges robbed NBA fans of a feelgood story about a local product joining his mother, who works for the Sixers organization, but the Suns secured two quality components for a brighter future.

Don't sleep on French baller Elie Okobo, who can add a spark off the bench as a shooter and distributor. He shot 39 percent from three-point territory and averaged nearly five assists per game for Pau-Lacq-Orthez in France's LNB Pro A league.


Portland Trail Blazers Head-Scratchers

NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 19:  Head Coach Terry Stotts of the Portland Trail Blazers speaks with the media before the game against the New Orleans Pelicans in Game Three of Round One of the 2018 NBA Playoffs on April 19, 2018 at Smoothie King Center in New
Layne Murdoch/Getty Images

The Portland Trail Blazers finished the 2017-18 season as the No. 3 seed. They have the pieces in place to compete with the existing roster but decided to draft two players who cannot immediately fill needy roles or advance this team further in the postseason.

The Blazers should have targeted a versatile defender capable of guarding multiple positions or added a pass-first guard to the backcourt for depth.

Portland selected Anfernee Simons at No. 24 out of IMG Academy. He may develop into a decent contributor, but what can he do to push this squad forward in the upcoming campaign? The 19-year-old takes a leap from organized high school basketball to the NBA. It's going to take time to figure out where he fits in the lineup rotations.

The Blazers acquired Gary Trent Jr. in a trade with the Sacramento Kings. He could add to the team's ability to score, especially beyond the arc, but it's not an area where the roster struggled during the previous campaign. Portland ranked 16th in three-point makes and 11th in percentages behind the line.

Secondly, the roster needs a quality passer who could play alongside elite scorers Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum when they are not sharing the court. 

Did the Blazers swing and miss on their picks? Time will tell, but they could have done better with their decisions Thursday.


Most Underrated 2nd-Round Pick Set to Make an Impact 

Paul Sancya/Associated Press

The Detroit Pistons picked up two guards four selections apart in the second round, and both have the skill sets to contribute immediately. As the league moves away from the traditional five positions in the starting lineup, we are seeing players fill specific roles.

Creighton guard Khyri Thomas gives maximum effort on both ends of the court. Despite his height (6'3"), he profiles more as a 2-guard who can defend both positions in the backcourt and stretch defenses with his shooting range.

Thomas doesn't have the court vision as a distributor to hold down a spot at the 1, but head coach Dwane Casey can utilize him in a lineup next to a pure passer or combo guard to maximize his strengths in 20-25 minutes as a rookie.

Fellow rookie guard Bruce Brown falls under the same category if he develops a three-point shot. He's a decent passer with the ball in his hands. Keep an eye on both second-round guards in Detroit. 


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