NBA Draft Grades 2019: Full Results, Analysis and Reaction

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistJune 21, 2019

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 20: Zion Williamson poses with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver after being drafted with the first overall pick by the New Orleans Pelicans during the 2019 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center on June 20, 2019 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. 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 Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Sarah Stier/Getty Images

The first three selections of the 2019 NBA draft went as expected with Zion Williamson, Ja Morant and RJ Barrett, but the remainder of the night featured a flurry of trades.

And was it ever entertaining.

During the lottery alone, five prospects donned a hat they'll not require much longer. The most notable was De'Andre Hunter, who NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced at No. 4 overall for the Los Angeles Lakers but realistically the Atlanta Hawks.

Jarrett Culver, Jaxson Hayes, Cam Reddish and Cameron Johnson also knew they'd be headed elsewhere.

The trade-fueled drama continued with the Philadelphia 76ers and Memphis Grizzlies moving up a couple of spots in the first round. Later, the Sixers sent Jonathan Simmons to the Washington Wizards.

Not everything was so positive, though. Potential lottery picks Nassir Little and Bol Bol endured much longer waits than expected, and Bol didn't hear his name announced until the second round.


2019 NBA Draft Picks


2019 NBA Draft Grades

Note: Players involved in proposed tradessuch as Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers and the swaps involving Atlanta, Brooklyn and New Orleansare reflected properly within the grades as of the 2019 draft ending.

Atlanta Hawks (Grade: A): SF De'Andre Hunter (4), SF Cam Reddish (10), Bruno Fernando (34)

Entering the draft, Atlanta's long-term outlook at small forward was not an encouraging one. That perception has dramatically shifted with Hunter and Reddish, who project as respectable complements for Trae Young and John Collins.

Boston Celtics (A): SG Romeo Langford (14), PF Grant Williams (22), G Carsen Edwards (33), PG Tremont Waters (51)

Thursday was all about risk management for Boston, which is preparing to possibly lose Kyrie Irving and Al Horford in free agency. Langford is a promising downhill scorer and Edwards has outstanding range, while Williams is a physical, versatile post player. Waters is a feisty defender and good passer who could be a reserve.

Brooklyn Nets (A-): F/C Nic Claxton (31), PG Jaylen Hands (56)

Charlotte Hornets (B): PF PJ Washington (12), SF Cody Martin (36), PF Jalen McDaniels (52)

Chicago Bulls (B+): G Coby White (7), F/C Daniel Gafford (38)

Julio Cortez/Associated Press

Long pegged as Chicago's likely pick, White ended up falling to the perimeter-needy franchise. The combo guard set a North Carolina freshman record with 106 threes in 2018-19and the Bulls mustered a league-low 9.1 triples per game. Gafford pads Chicago's mediocre frontcourt depth with decent rebounding and defense.

Cleveland Cavaliers (B+): PG Darius Garland (5), F Dylan Windler (26), SG Kevin Porter Jr. (30)

The Cavs hired an offensive-minded coach in John Beilein and spent Thursday night stocking up on scorers. Garland averaged 27.6 points as a senior in high school, Windler notched 21.3 per game for Belmont last season and Porter showed an aggressive mentality in his lone college campaign. How those players develop on defense will shape the final perception of this haul.

Dallas Mavericks (B)PF Isaiah Roby (45)

Denver Nuggets (B+): C Bol Bol (44)

Detroit Pistons (A): F Sekou Doumbouya (15), F Deividas Sirvydis (37), PG Jordan Bone (58)

Senior advisor Ed Stekanski managed to turn Jon Leuer into Tony Snell, an intriguing stretch 4-type player in Doumbouya and four second-round picks in a trade with Cleveland. That's a sensational night for the Pistons, who used some of that additional draft capital to land Sirvydis and Bone.

James Edwards III @JLEdwardsIII

Per a source, the #Pistons traded a 2024 second-round pick, got in Cleveland trade, and cash for Tennessee point guard Jordan Bone.

Golden State Warriors (B+): SG Jordan Poole (28), PF Alen Smailagic (39), PF Eric Paschall (41)

Poole offers high-potential shooting to a roster thatdespite having Stephen Currylegitimately needs it. Golden State severely lacked perimeter options when Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson were unavailable; Poole could help change that in a small yet meaningful way. Smailagic, incidentally, played for the Warriors' G League team in 2018-19 but wasn't NBA-eligible until now.

Houston Rockets (n/a): No picks

Indiana Pacers (B-): C Goga Bitadze (18)

With a looming extension for Domantas Sabonis, it's understandable why Indiana targeted Bitadze. However, the Pacers have a serious need to improve the backcourtespecially with Victor Oladipo sidelined. They're banking on a long-term win.

Los Angeles Clippers (B+): C Mfiondu Kabengele (27), G/F Terance Mann (48)

Los Angeles Lakers (B-): G/F Talen Horton-Tucker (46)

The Lakers traded into the second round to snag Horton-Tucker, a Big 12 All-Freshman Team honoree last season. Physical stature is the primary appeal, given his 6'4", 240-pound frame and 7'1" wingspan. If he improves as a shooter, teams will be forced to respect a more complete offensive game.

Memphis Grizzlies (A): PG Ja Morant (2), PF Brandon Clarke (21)

BROOKLYN, NY - JUNE 20: Ja Morant speaks to the media after being selected second overall by the Memphis Grizzlies during the 2019 NBA Draft on June 20, 2019 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agree
Melanie Fidler/Getty Images

One day after agreeing to send Mike Conley to the Utah Jazz, the Grizzles picked his replacement. Morantwho registered 24.5 points and 10.0 assists per game in 2018-19should immediately step into the starting lineup. Clarke will be a high-energy defender behind Jaren Jackson Jr., the 2018 first-rounder.

Miami Heat (C): SG Tyler Herro (13), SF KZ Okpala (32)

Pat Riley apparently hates second-round picks, sending three of them to Indiana for the rights to Okpala. At least Herro has the potential of being a dead-eye shooter and quality defender.

Milwaukee Bucks (n/a): No picks

Minnesota Timberwolves (B+): SG Jarrett Culver (6), G Jaylen Nowell (43)

New Orleans Pelicans (A): F Zion Williamson (1), C Jaxson Hayes (8), SG Nickeil Alexander-Walker (17), SF Marcos Louzada Silva (35)

If the biggest strengths of these players translate to the pros, New Orleans upgraded its defense immensely. Williamson averaged a combined 3.9 steals and blocks last year, and Hayes swatted 2.2 shots per game. Alexander-Walker offers three-and-D upside, too.

New Orleans Pelicans @PelicansNBA

.@Zionwilliamson’s reaction to seeing New Orleans celebrate his pick! #PelicansDraft https://t.co/PQGdBtVVTK

New York Knicks (B+): G/F RJ Barrett (3), F Ignas Brazdeikis (47)

Oklahoma City Thunder (C+): SF Darius Bazley (23)

Bazley took a unique path to the NBA, choosing not to play anywhere after graduating high school. The once-Syracuse commitwho is represented by Rich Paul, LeBron James' agentinstead had an internship with New Balance and trained for the draft. The Thunder are hoping Bazley can provide an efficient long-range shot, something they mostly lack outside of Paul George.

Orlando Magic (B): F Chuma Okeke (16)

Philadelphia 76ers (B+): SF Matisse Thybulle (20), F Marial Shayok (54)

The Sixers added a whole bunch of defense. Thybulle won Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year with 3.5 steals and 2.3 blocks per game, and Shayok is an intelligent player with a great wingspan. Whether the duo is efficient in limited offensive touches will dictate if they're rotational or situational pieces.

Phoenix Suns (C+): SF Cameron Johnson (11), PG Ty Jerome (24)

Though widely considered a first-round talent, Johnson hadn't attracted much lottery attention. He was a sensible choice for Phoenix, which desperately needs shooters. Johnson posted a scorching 45.7 three-point clip as a senior. Jerome fits nicely alongside Devin Booker and could halt the Suns' revolving door at the position.

Portland Trail Blazers (A): SF Nassir Little (25)

During the draft broadcast, ESPN analyst Jay Bilas repeatedly called Little a top-10 prospect. If the UNC forward lives up to that billing, Portland grabbed an absolute steal at No. 25 overall. On value alone, Little gives the Blazers a top grade.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Nassir off the board Blazers select Nassir Little with the No. 25 pick https://t.co/oMPKJhyAJU

Sacramento Kings (B+): SG Justin James (40), G Kyle Guy (55), SG Vanja Marinkovic (60)

San Antonio Spurs (A-): PF Luka Samanic (19), G/F Keldon Johnson (29), SG Quinndary Weatherspoon (49)

While nobody blinked an eye at San Antonio taking an international player, Samanic is the organization's first overseas draftee since 2015. Johnson was a high-value option at 29 and may help address the Spurs' noticeable void at small forward.

Toronto Raptors (A-): C Dewan Hernandez (59)

Utah Jazz (B): PF Jarrell Brantley (50), PG Justin Wright-Foreman (53), SG Miye Oni (58)

Washington Wizards (B): F Rui Hachimura (9), Admiral Schofield (42)

Hachimura made history as the first Japanese player ever selected in the first round of the NBA draft. Schofield, meanwhile, has considerable three-and-D upside after hitting 40.5 percent of his threes since the beginning of the 2016-17 season.


Follow Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.