NBA Western Conference Draft Grades8 min read
Los Angeles Lakers
Who They Got: Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart, Thomas Bryant
The Lakers made a no-brainer by taking Ball with the #2 pick, instantly giving them production on the scoring end and with incredible floor vision. With the other three picks they were given, including the ones through their trade with Utah, I thought they did a solid job, getting two dynamic big men in Kuzma and Bryant, while also getting a defensively-gifted perimeter guy in Josh Hart who can hold his own on the offensive end as well. Good job overall by the Lakers.
Who They Got: Josh Jackson, Davon Reed, Alec Peters
I REALLY like Jackson going to Phoenix. Pairing up Jackson with rising star Devin Booker is now going to take a lot of pressure off Booker on the defensive end, giving him the opportunity to be even further let off the leash and wreak havoc on the offensive side. As for Reed and Peters, I think similar to the Lakers they got some pieces they can develop to help them compete in the West. Reed has real upside in becoming a premier 3 and D guy that is so highly sought after in the league right now, and Peters lit up the Horizon League while playing at Valparaiso, getting All-Conference honors three years and winning Conference Player of the Year last year. His addition gives them height and drive and kick ability to shooters like Booker and (eventually) Reed. Good draft day for the Suns.
Who They Got: De’Aaron Fox, Justin Jackson, Harry Giles, Frank Mason III
I am a little conflicted with Sacramento’s draft day decisions, admittedly. De’Aaron Fox was another no-brainer with the fourth pick, giving them scoring ability right off the bat, and in theory trading their tenth overall pick to get both Justin Jackson at 15 and Harry Giles at 20 was a solid get; I still feel that taking Malik Monk instead at number 10 would have given them a really dangerous backcourt with already established chemistry given that Fox and Monk were teammates at Kentucky. I personally think that Monk is going to be a superstar in this league, and I think that paired with Fox he would be able to complement his game and grow him into a star-type player as well. With the roster they have now, I just don’t see Fox developing they way he should be to become a guy that can help the Kings compete for even a playoff spot in the West. All this being said, Justin Jackson is a very good player, and Harry Giles was projected at one point in his very young career to be the number one overall pick in the draft, but multiple knee injuries obviously took that away from him. If both Jackson and Giles pan out to be solid players, than there is no arguing that the Kings made right with their trade. Frank Mason is not a bad pick, either. He was a great leader and overall talent in college playing at Kansas, and I think his game will transition well to the NBA, with my opinion that the Kings aren’t going to ask too much out of him. You can’t complain really if your four picks are guys out of Kentucky, North Carolina, Duke, and Kansas, either.
Who They Got: Jimmy Butler, Justin Patton
I don’t think that anyone is arguing that the Timberwolves were the biggest winners of this years draft. They practically committed highway robbery to get Jimmy Butler from the pathetic Chicago Bulls, not only getting rid of Bad Knees Lavine and sorry Kris Dunn, but somehow convincing Chicago to give them their 16th overall pick too, getting a 7-footer who shot almost 80 percent(!!!) from the floor last year at Creighton. Real, REAL good day for the state of Minnesota.
Who They Got: Dennis Smith Jr.
Dennis Smith Jr. is a real powerful and flashy guard, but the question for Dallas is going to be is he powerful and flashy enough to help them compete in the West. Taking Malik Monk would do wonders more for them in my opinion, but the way Smith Jr played against Duke twice last year propels the argument that he is going to be a pretty decent NBA player in his own right.
New Orleans Pelicans
Who They Got: Frank Jackson
I really don’t like Frank Jackson. He didn’t show me anything in his lone year at Duke, and I think he is going to have to get a lot stronger and showcase much more talent than he did at Duke to not struggle on the professional level.
Who They Got: Tyler Lydon, Vlatko Cancar, Monte Morris
I like Tyler Lydon, I think he is a guy who can stretch the floor and provide offense on multiple fronts. Cancar is a highly touted foreign player from the notable Mega Leks team out of Serbia who can stretch the floor as well, and Monte Morris was a 4-year guy who has special three point ability. Decent picks for where they were in the draft, but they didn’t get anything that will greatly impact the team moving forward.
Portland Trail Blazers
Who They Got: Zach Collins, Caleb Swanigan
Really didn’t like Portland trade up to get Collins. While Collins is not a bad player, I just really don’t see him becoming the superstar that Portland thinks he’s gonna be, let alone worth the number 10 pick. As for Swanigan, he obviously put up great numbers last year at Purdue, but he is going to go up against much bigger and better competition in the NBA, and not having a lot of basketball experience in general is going to hinder how quickly he develops on the professional level in my opinion.
Who They Got: Ivan Raab, Dillon Brooks
I really like who the Grizzlies were able to get with the position they had in this year’s draft. Raab is a very dynamic guard who was projected to be a first rounder last year but instead decided to stay in college for another year where his production dropped a little. They were able to trade with the Rockets for Brooks, who was an obvious stud for the Oregon Ducks during his career there. Like the picks.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Who They Got: Terrance Ferguson
All the scouting reports on this guy talked about how much he can really shoot, especially from behind the arch. Looking at some of his highlights shown during draft coverage, he can drive and throw the ball down as well. He even showed some of the same angry-enthusiasm that his new teammate Russell Westbrook is famous for. I think being paired up with such a dynamic guard in Westbrook is going to do wonders for his development.
Who They Got: Donovan Mitchell, Tony Bradley, Nigel Williams-Goss
I personally am under the impression that none of these guys are going to find success on the professional level. While great players and scorers in their own rights in college, I just think they aren’t dynamic enough to bring any real impact to this Utah club. That on top of Utah giving up picks to get Bradley makes me not like their draft night even more.
Los Angeles Clippers
Who They Got: Jawun Evans, Sindarius Thornwell
The Clippers weren’t given a whole lot to work with on draft night, but were able to get two decent picks in Evans and Thornwell. Thornwell, who lead his underdog South Carolina team all the way to the Final Four last year, is a big high energy guy who can play both ends of the floor. I personally think Evans’ height is too much for his skill to compensate for, but he fills the Chris Paul mold, as Paul has been rumored to be looking to leave the club in the near future.
Who They Got: Isaiah Hartenstein
I think Houston knew they weren’t going to get anything that could immediately fill a need in this draft, so they went out and got the kid from Germany, who is another guy people were comparing to Porzingis for obvious reasons. Trading away Brooks dropped the grade on this one for me even though the Rockets weren’t given a lot to work with in the first place.
San Antonio Spurs
Who They Got: Derrick White, Jeron Blossomgame
Grade: P for Popovich
I have no real grade for who they got, I just know that Pop and the Spurs as a whole are really smart when given the opportunity to get guys in the draft, so I’m sure they are going to find a way for these guys to produce for them.
Golden State Warriors
Who They Got: Jordan Bell
Grade: C for Cuck (more like a B+/A-)
Completely cucked the once again pathetic Chicago Bulls here. If a team is willing to buy the rights of the 38th pick for the rookie max, you would assume that the team in question thinks that guy’s pretty, pretty good to quote the gawd Larry David. But the Bulls front office are complete and utter morons, so we shipped his rights to them for cash to spend in free agency, probably to get a geezer like Andre Iguodala, and Bell is probably going to end up being a stud in typical Bulls fashion.
Most players in the draft don’t end up doing anything, but some end up being superstars as everyone knows, so it will be interesting to see how these guys pan out and if my grades hold any weight, because in all reality I know absolutely nothing in comparison to the guys in charge of actually drafting these guys.