2019 NBA Draft Results: Team Grades and Analysis of Top Prospects

Jake RillAnalyst IJune 21, 2019

Duke's Zion Williamson smiles during an interview after being selected by the New Orleans Pelicans as the No. 1 pick overall during the NBA basketball draft Thursday, June 20, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Julio Cortez/Associated Press

The first few selections of the 2019 NBA draft brought no surprises but plenty of talent. Now, some of the top young players in the sport will prepare to become professional basketball players.

Zion Williamson (New Orleans Pelicans), Ja Morant (Memphis Grizzlies) and RJ Barrett (New York Knicks) were unsurprisingly the first three selections Thursday night, and each has the potential to become a special player in the NBA.

Here's a team-by-team look at this year's NBA draft, evaluating how each franchise fared on an important night to acquire talent.

        

2019 NBA Draft Results

           

Team Grades

Atlanta Hawks (A)

The Hawks started the night by making a great move, trading up to the No. 4 pick for Virginia forward De'Andre Hunter, one of the best defensive players in the class who should quickly make an impact. They also selected Duke forward Cam Reddish at No. 10, and his all-around game should also boost Atlanta's rotation.

       

Boston Celtics (B+)

It was a busy first round for the Celtics, who made multiple trades while also adding young talent. They selected Indiana guard Romeo Langford with their first pick at No. 14, and while he'll need time to develop, he could turn into a strong player. They also added Tennessee forward Grant Williams (No. 22), who has shown he can battle for rebounds despite being 6'6".

        

Brooklyn Nets (C)

The Nets traded away both of their first-round picks, so while their draft grade is average, it should help their future free-agency score as they cleared cap space to add some top-tier free agents. Their top pick was Georgia center Nicolas Claxton at No. 31, the first pick of the second round.

        

Charlotte Hornets (B)

The Hornets added a trio of solid players in the class—Kentucky forward PJ Washington (No. 12 pick), Nevada guard Cody Martin (No. 36) and San Diego State forward Jalen McDaniels (No. 52). Washington is the best of the three, as he is a solid shooter who also plays good defense and could become a key contributor for Charlotte.

       

Chicago Bulls (B+)

North Carolina guard Coby White was a strong selection at No. 7 for the Bulls, and he has a lot of potential to become a great player in the NBA. He has plenty of offensive skills and can continue to develop with time. Chicago also added a solid forward, Arkansas' Daniel Gafford, in the second round.

        

Cleveland Cavaliers (B+)

The Cavs entered the draft with two first-round selections. They then added another Thursday night and came away with three strong offensive players in Vanderbilt guard Darius Garland, Belmont forward Dylan Windler and USC guard Kevin Porter Jr.

The No. 5 pick, Garland, is the best player in the haul, and he possesses dynamic offensive ability that should greatly improve Cleveland's offense.

        

Dallas Mavericks (B)

The Mavs added one player who fills a team need. Nebraska forward Isaiah Roby (No. 45) should quickly become a contributor for Dallas, and he has a lot of potential to become even better with time. This was a smart move for the Mavericks with their lone selection of the night.

       

Denver Nuggets (B+)

The Nuggets may have selected only one player, but it could turn out to be a steal. They acquired the No. 44 pick to select Oregon center Bol Bol, who some projected to be taken in the first round. It's possible he could turn out to be a bust, as there's a lot of unknown surrounding the center who played just nine games in his only college season. However, he could also turn into a strong NBA player.

       

Detroit Pistons (A-)

French forward Sekou Doumbouya was a great pick by the Pistons at No. 15, as the 18-year-old could develop into a great NBA big man. It likely won't happen right away, but this is a solid move with an eye toward the future. Detroit also added two solid players in Lithuanian guard Deividas Sirvydis (No. 37) and Tennessee guard Jordan Bone (No. 57) in the second round.

        

Golden State Warriors (C)

While the first two picks the Warriors made were questionable, they added a solid potential bench player later in the second round to boost their grade. Michigan guard Jordan Poole (No. 28) and Serbia center Alen Smailagic (No. 39) are both players who will take a while to develop. However, Villanova forward Eric Paschall (No. 41) could be a good choice for Golden State in the near future.

       

Houston Rockets (N/A)

No selections

         

Indiana Pacers (B+)

Georgia center Goga Bitadze was a fine pick by the Pacers at No. 18. He can serve as a solid backup to Myles Turner while learning and developing in Indiana's system. The Pacers also added a solid contributor in T.J. Warren in a trade with the Phoenix Suns.

       

Los Angeles Clippers (A-)

The Clippers added a player who was a potential top-20 pick at No. 27, trading up to draft Florida State forward Mfiondu Kabengele, a defensive stalwart who could prove to be a steal in the late first round. They added another former Seminole in the second round, forward Terance Mann, who could become a solid bench player.

    

Los Angeles Lakers (B+)

While the Lakers didn't have any picks at one point, they still came away with a high-potential player who may make this a successful night. Iowa State guard Talen Horton-Tucker (No. 46) could have been selected higher, and he could develop into a strong contributor for Los Angeles.

       

Memphis Grizzlies (A)

The Grizzlies would have gotten a high grade just for selecting Murray State's Ja Morant, the best point guard in this year's class, at No. 2. They also traded into the No. 21 pick for Gonzaga forward Brandon Clarke. These are two players who should help Memphis improve over the next few seasons.

      

Miami Heat (B)

The Heat's first addition was a solid one as they selected Kentucky guard Tyler Herro at No. 13. This was a selection that made sense. He does a lot of things well, especially offensively, and his shooting skill should become an asset for Miami.

      

Milwaukee Bucks (N/A)

No selections

         

Minnesota Timberwolves (B+)

Minnesota traded up to the No. 6 spot to take Texas Tech guard Jarrett Culver, who was a solid choice to add to its lineup. He had a lot of success in college that should translate to him becoming a strong NBA player. The Timberwolves also added a solid player in the second round, taking Washington guard Jaylen Nowell at No. 43.

       

New Orleans Pelicans (A+)

The Pelicans added a new franchise star with the No. 1 pick, selecting Duke forward Zion Williamson while also acquiring another pair of first-round picks to draft Texas center Jaxson Hayes (No. 8) and Virginia Tech guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker (No. 17). It's been a busy time for New Orleans since it agreed to trade Anthony Davis to the Lakers, and the draft proved to be a good step into a new era.

      

New York Knicks (A-)

With the No. 3 pick, the Knicks made the right choice by drafting the best available talent on the board, Duke guard RJ Barrett. They later added a solid player, Michigan forward Ignas Brazdeikis, at No. 47 in the second round. Consider this a solid night for New York.

    

Oklahoma City Thunder (C+)

The Thunder's lone addition from the draft is forward Darius Bazley (No. 23), who didn't play college basketball and instead interned for New Balance and prepared for the NBA. It's unclear how his game will translate to the pros, especially as he is a bit undersized.

      

Orlando Magic (C)

The Magic added one player in the draft, selecting Auburn forward Chuma Okeke with the No. 16 pick. He is going to miss some time after tearing his ACL in the NCAA tournament, so this is a grade that could go either way in the future depending on how he recovers and develops.

       

Philadelphia 76ers (C-)

The 76ers entered the night with five picks, but they traded three away and selected only two players—Washington forward Matisse Thybulle (No. 20) and Iowa State forward Marial Shayok (No. 54). The former is going to take some time to develop, while the latter likely won't be a contributor for Philadelphia.

        

Phoenix Suns (C)

It was a surprising move that the Suns traded down from No. 6 to No. 11 and then took North Carolina forward Cameron Johnson. There were better players on the board at this point, and it didn't fill Phoenix's largest hole at point guard. However, it added a point later in the draft, trading up to No. 24 to take Virginia's Ty Jerome, who could be a solid player.

      

Portland Trail Blazers (A-)

Talk about making the most of your only pick in the draft. The Trail Blazers snagged North Carolina forward Nassir Little at No. 25. This is a guy who has a ton of potential, and it was the perfect choice by Portland that late in the first round.

   

Sacramento Kings (C+)

Not a flashy night for the Kings, as they didn't add a player until the No. 40 pick. But they picked up three solid players in the second round, taking Wyoming forward Justin James (No. 40), Virginia guard Kyle Guy (No. 55) and Serbian guard Vanja Marinkovic (No. 60). Perhaps one of these players develops into a contributor for Sacramento.

       

San Antonio Spurs (B)

While the Spurs may have reached a bit by selecting Croatian forward Luka Samanic at No. 19, they made up for it by drafting Kentucky guard Keldon Johnson at No. 29. Johnson has a lot of potential, so that was a strong selection late in the first round. The Spurs made a nice move by adding Mississippi State guard Quinndary Weatherspoon at No. 49.

       

Toronto Raptors (B-)

The Raptors made the most of their only pick in the draft, adding Miami forward Dewan Hernandez at No. 59. He has potential and was worth Toronto taking a risk with the penultimate selection of the night.

       

Utah Jazz (B)

The Jazz traded their only first-round pick, but they added a trio of solid players in the second round in College of Charleston forward Jarrell Brantley (No. 50), Hofstra guard Justin Wright-Foreman (No. 53) and Yale guard Miye Oni (No. 58). All of these were solid moves late in the night for Utah.

       

Washington Wizards (B+)

It turned out to be a solid night for Washington as it added Gonzaga forward Rui Hachimura with the No. 9 pick and acquired Tennessee guard Admiral Schofield at No. 42. These are both players who come from strong college programs and could have a smooth transition to the NBA.

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