NBA Draft Grades 2020: Scores for Overall Results, Trades and Team Decisions

Jake RillFeatured Columnist INovember 21, 2020

NBA Draft Grades 2020: Scores for Overall Results, Trades and Team Decisions

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    Steve Reed/Associated Press

    The dust has now settled on the 2020 NBA draft, which took place Wednesday night, nearly five months later than originally scheduled. As teams now shift their focus to free agency and further construct their rosters for the 2020-21 season, the prospects who were drafted will prepare for their rookie NBA season.

    At the top of the draft, things went as expected. Shooting guard Anthony Edwards went No. 1 to the Minnesota Timberwolves, center James Wiseman went No. 2 to the Golden State Warriors and point guard LaMelo Ball went No. 3 to the Charlotte Hornets. After that? There were trades, surprises and more on an exciting draft night.

    While each team made the decisions it believed would help them the most, some appeared to have fared better than others. Of course, we won't know for sure until we see how these rookies develop in the years to come. However, we can project which teams likely did the best in this year's draft.

    Here are grades for each team's draft, followed by a closer look at several teams that fared the best.

NBA Draft Grades

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    James Crisp/Associated Press

    Atlanta Hawks: C+

    Boston Celtics: A-

    Brooklyn Nets: B-

    Charlotte Hornets: A+

    Chicago Bulls: C

    Cleveland Cavaliers: B

    Dallas Mavericks: B

    Denver Nuggets: B+

    Detroit Pistons: B-

    Golden State Warriors: A

    Houston Rockets: C+

    Indiana Pacers: B

    Los Angeles Clippers: B-

    Los Angeles Lakers: n/a

    Memphis Grizzlies: A-

    Miami Heat: B+

    Milwaukee Bucks: B

    Minnesota Timberwolves: B+

    New Orleans Pelicans: A

    New York Knicks: B-

    Oklahoma City Thunder: B+

    Orlando Magic: B+

    Philadelphia 76ers: B

    Phoenix Suns: D

    Portland Trail Blazers: C

    Sacramento Kings: A+

    San Antonio Spurs: A

    Toronto Raptors: B+

    Utah Jazz: C+

    Washington Wizards: A

Hornets Add Potential Superstar, Face of Franchise

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    Rick Rycroft/Associated Press

    When the Hornets were on the clock at No. 3, their decision was easy. Anthony Edwards and James Wiseman were already off the board. Plus, LaMelo Ball was arguably the most talented player in the draft class anyway. It was the right move for Charlotte to select the 19-year-old point guard with a ton of potential and high expectations.

    Whether or not Ball lives up to the hype remains to be seen. But he could end up being the superstar face of the franchise that the Hornets have lacked for years. And it should be exciting to see how they build around Ball and what players they complement him with moving forward.

    That wasn't all that Charlotte did right on draft night. It also came away with a pair of players in the second round who likely should have gone earlier—Duke center Vernon Carey Jr. (No. 32 pick) and College of Charleston point guard Grant Riller (No. 56).

    Carey impressed in his lone season with the Blue Devils, averaging 17.8 points and 8.8 rebounds in 31 games and earning first-team All-ACC honors. Riller was a four-year starter at Charleston who may have been drafted higher had he played for a more well-known program.

    Over the past 16 seasons of the franchise, the Hornets have made the playoffs only three times and they haven't won a postseason series. Now, they have young pieces in place, most notably Ball, who could help lead the team to unprecedented success in the future.

Early Steal Highlights Kings' Strong Class

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    Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

    Quite a few mock drafts had Iowa State point guard Tyrese Haliburton being a top-10 pick. So when the Sacramento Kings were on the clock at No. 12, it was a bit of a surprise that Haliburton was still on the board.

    But it also gave Sacramento the opportunity to add a talented guard who will join De'Aaron Fox in a strong backcourt rotation. Haliburton had a breakout sophomore season at Iowa State, averaging 15.2 points, 6.5 assists and 5.9 rebounds in 22 games while earning second-team All-Big 12 honors. The 20-year-old could quickly carry over that success in his rookie season with the Kings.

    Sacramento also added a pair of talented players in the second round, acquiring Mississippi State forward Robert Woodard (No. 40 pick) and Texas Tech guard Jahmi'us Ramsey (No. 43). Both could have been drafted earlier, as they're experienced players who competed against tough competition in top conferences.

    The Kings haven't made the playoffs since 2006, but they're continuing to stockpile young talent and appear to be trending in the right direction. Don't be surprised if Sacramento takes another step forward in 2020-21, especially if Haliburton quickly lives up to potential, and perhaps even gets back into the playoffs with this exciting young core that it has assembled.

Vassell a Great Fit in San Antonio

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    Gerry Broome/Associated Press

    A 3-and-D player coming off a breakout sophomore season at Florida State, Devin Vassell should fit in well playing for head coach Gregg Popovich and the Spurs. Vassell is exactly the type of player that San Antonio needed after missing the playoffs for the first time since 1997 this past season.

    In 30 games for the Seminoles last season, Vassell averaged 12.7 points per contest and shot 53.2 percent from 3-point range. It wouldn't have been surprising to see him get selected in the top 10, so the Spurs got great value by drafting him with the No. 11 pick.

    San Antonio has had success drafting players in the second round before (Manu Ginobili was the No. 57 pick in 1999), and Duke point guard Tre Jones could end up being a steal at the No. 41 selection. Jones, who is the younger brother of Grizzlies guard Tyus Jones, had two strong years with the Blue Devils and is a great defender in the backcourt.

    The Spurs didn't have the most picks in the draft, but they acquired two solid players with their pair of selections. Vassell should quickly become an integral part of San Antonio's rotation and Jones has a lot of upside, so it was a successful draft night for the Spurs.

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