Let's get one thing out of the way: draft grades are as subjective as The Oscars. There may be criteria which are considered, but selecting between the nominees comes down to personal interest and gut feeling. There's enough proof and video footage to slant arguments towards any path the arguer would choose. You're reading this to be lead down the path I'm staring at.
Instant reaction to the draft places players in situations where I either feel they'll succeed, fail or fall somewhere in the middle, not living up to their best potential. A Big Board is a listing of players whose styles, upside and apparent talent intrigue me most. A post-draft recap would look at the surroundings and see how those might change based on the roles they'll play with new teams, the track record of development around them and the blockage or commitment to minutes where they'd be wise.
I'm all for being proven wrong, and generally am optimistic that every player is where they are for a reason. Only a handful of teams scored poor grades on draft night; the real answer for all 30 teams is "incomplete", as these are instant-reaction, way-too-soon judgments that writers get suckered into writing. As much as I try to stay above the fold, I can't help myself but to shake the crystal ball and believe I can see the writing more clearly than someone else. Hubris is not short in that regard.
Before going into the subjective rankings, I thought a fun project would be to look at the total overall grades from a statistical perspective: where the player was ranked in my Top 100 vs. their draft position. The difference (either positive or negative) would lead to each team getting a "net grade", then listing them in order of best to worst.
For example, the Cavaliers only had one pick: Isaac Okoro at 5th. Okoro was 16th on my board. That would give the Cavs an average pick grade of -11. Of course, not all picks carry that weight and I've admitted previously that market value of guys changes how they'd be valued. While Patrick Williams is 40th on my board, I understand that he should be taken above someone I ranked higher like Reggie Perry (25th) and, for that reason, won't rely solely on the data.
Still, let's look at the numbers:
There are multiple outliers and issues with something like this. First off, if you're in a position like Minnesota or Golden State atop the draft, you don't gain any points by taking the #1 player on the board. You can only lose points, like Charlotte did in my model, if the player selected there is below that point in my rankings. This statistical look only looks at those who outperform their draft slot in later rounds by getting a player I'd dub as a "steal".
Second, the numbers are thrown off for teams with only one pick. Indiana and Brooklyn vault higher for nailing only a second-round pick. It's the least-consequential selection and gets them the most points.
All that said, the rankings aren't too far away from how I really feel and will have strong correlation to my final outcomes. Those will, in summation, include the managing of assets, incoming-outgoing veterans and not just the movement of draft picks.
Let's dive into the real rankings, with commentary and points-adjusted.
The Biggest Gainers
These five teams all gained the most on draft night, through how they managed the cap, their rosters, added value in the draft and maneuvered across the board to set their team up for much more success than they'd otherwise be poised for, relative to their team-building goals.
Welcome: Seth Curry, Danny Green, Tyrese Maxey, Isaiah Joe, Paul Reed
See ya: Al Horford, Josh Richardson, 2025 First-Rounder, Picks 34 and 36
Philly entered the draft with three objectives:
Daryl Morey's first draft night in Philly checked all three boxes. Getting rid of a 2025 first-rounder was the only cost for dumping Horford, a huge win in and of itself. The Sixers would get smaller in the wake of such a move. Danny Green, a veteran whose contributions are under-appreciated after he shot poorly in the 2020 Playoffs, is the perfect fit with this team.
Swapping Richardson for Curry gives them the JJ Redick offensive threat they missed, a lethal shooting who can come off screens and create gravity. Curry, now playing for father-in-law Doc Rivers, will play in the same offense that helped Redick thrive with the Clippers, as well as Ray Allen with the Celtics. Richardson's defense will be missed, but this is a huge win. With Embiid and Simmons as elite defenders at their position, they can more than make up for Curry's shortcomings.
Then there's the draft picks themselves. Maxey is a tremendous value and upside gamble at 21st overall. He may not be a great shooter yet, but he has all the time in the world to turn into an efficient offensive player. Isaiah Joe is my steal of the draft; whoever ended up with Joe would be high on my list of winners. He should have a roster spot and could turn into something down the line. Reed is, at best, an athletic flier who could be a small-ball 5 on a roster suddenly thin in the post.
A great night for the Sixers, the biggest winners of the draft.
Welcome: Josh Richardson, Josh Green, Tyrell Terry, Tyler Bey
See ya: Seth Curry
Coincidentally, the Mavericks dealt Curry to the Sixers and are the other winner of the night. Such a win-win trade became evident once Terry was available at pick #31. Terry, a top-ten prospect in my opinion due to his sweet shooting and point guard upside, fills the Curry post of backcourt shooting specialist long-term. He'll need a year or two to evolve into that role and keep filling out his body, but the long-term potential of he and Doncic is, to be blunt, fucking terrifying.
What the Mavs really needed were wings and another swing 4 or 5 option. They got both. Upgrading Curry to Richardson improves their wing defense, and Josh Green is a 3-and-D specialist who can play bench minutes early due to how solid of an on-ball defender he already is. Tyler Bey has upside as an athletic 4 or 5, and can play to his strengths offensively thanks to Porzingis' presence. Home run of a draft in Dallas.
San Antonio Spurs
Welcome: Devin Vassell, Tre Jones
Vassell in San Antonio is my wet dream come true. The best help defender I've ever seen at the college level goes to a team that is technically excellent on defense. More than that, Vassell's shooting will become perfected under Chip Engelland's tutelage. The team that save Kawhi Leonard from becoming just an athletic beast now gets an elite defender with raw offensive upside, pure athleticism and great overall instincts. It's bafflingly perfect.
I know Spurs fans wanted a little more sex appeal with their picks and some offensive gusto. Jones is a first-round value at 41. He's a fantastic on-ball defender, a really good creator, high-IQ guy and elite locker room presence. Under Engelland, Jones will keep getting better as a shooter, which are strides he made this year. He's the heir apparent to the backup point guard spot and, in the Gregg Popovich system, could blossom into a Bryn Forbes, Patty Mills type of role.
Welcome: Landry Shamet, Reggie Perry
See Ya: 19th pick
The last week has clarified what the Nets really want to do: trade for a third star to put with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, most notably James Harden. Even if that doesn't come to fruition, Steve Nash's influence will force the Nets to play smaller, faster and more 3-point heavy. As they try to move into the NBA Title picture immediately, the 19th pick was just far enough away from the top-tier of this class to reliably factor into the picture this season. Once it was decided that going all-in on this season was their path, the pick became expendable.
To flip it for a 40 percent 3-point shooter like Landry Shamet is a massive gain. Shamet is Joe Harris insurance, a guy who can play with him and gives the Nets depth in the most important area of Nash and Mike D'Antoni's offense. I also really like Reggie Perry (25th on my board) as an upside play. He and Nic Claxton are tremendous frontcourt fliers they've taken, and with luxury tax or roster consolidation concerns coming their way, nailing these picks becomes super important.
Welcome: Desmond Bane, Xavier Tillman, Mario Hezonja
See Ya: 40th pick, future 2nd round picks (unannounced)
Entering the draft with only pick 40, Memphis felt like a team that needed to do more than sit there and wait. They indeed moved up, getting #30 from Boston for a future selection and eating some of Mario Hezonja (who at least fits on their roster).
The moves the Grizzlies made were as much about the quality of role players they added. Bane and Tillman are some of the most ready-to-go rookies and should find their way into the Grizzlies rotation. Bane is a shooter they need and Tillman is a frontcourt defender/ playmaker who tightens their rotation with JJJ, Valanciunas and Clarke. They also got a great Two-Way signing with Killian Tillie, just bonus points on an already spectacular night.
Had High Picks, Hit on High Picks
What to do of the teams who didn't make a ton of moves, had high picks and simply handled them the way they should? Those don't deserve purely neutral grades since they made their organization better on Wednesday night in a very meaningful way.
Golden State Warriors
Welcome: James Wiseman, Nico Mannion, Justinian Jessup, Kelly Oubre Jr.
The Klay Thompson news sucks. No positivity on draft night could've compensated for that level of suck. We'll try to be optimistic, knowing that the Warriors couldn't have altered their plan too much on draft night since the news was coming in quickly and not confirmed until the day after.
Wiseman was the right pick at #2. He fits their roster's need, has monstrous upside and is closer to contributing meaningfully than many think. He's switchable long-term and with his athleticism fits in well next to Steph and company. The Warriors had a Trade Exception bound to expire soon, so using it to acquire Kelly Oubre Jr. is about as good of a haul as they could get here and fits in well with this group. The guy averaged 17 a game last year; this isn't minced meat. It's meaningful additions that could've made the Warriors great with Klay healthy.
I'm also a HUGE Nico Mannion guy and think him falling to Golden State was perfect for both parties. He may be making an impact sooner than we thought in San Fran. I'm not a huge Jessup guy, but he's a shooter who could fill in a role in the Bay as an emergency 14th or 15th guy. He's worth monitoring and developing in Santa Cruz.
Welcome: Cole Anthony, two future MIL 2nd rounders
See Ya: 45th pick
Cole Anthony is a GREAT fit in Orlando. With he and Markelle Fultz, the two can play together. Neither may end up being starting-caliber. If both hit, the Magic avoid a rebuild. Why? Anthony is so so good offensively at his ceiling. It's a team that needs backcourt scoring and upside, and they finally got it. The right gamble at 15th.
The Magic have depth on their roster. Plenty of athletic young guys mean they didn't need the 45th pick. Chuma Okeke will essentially slide into this rookie class, providing a boost far beyond what they could've gotten 45th. Smart move to leverage Milwaukee's need for picks now into two seconds later.
New Orleans Pelicans
Welcome: Kira Lewis Jr., future 2nd from UTAH, future 2nd from CHA
See ya: 39th pick, 43rd pick
Ignore the 2nd round minutia; those one-for-one swaps are a wash. The Pelicans added a top-five player in this class IMO with Kira Lewis. He fits positionally, as the heir apparent to Jrue Holiday. He fits skill-wise, with up-tempo full-court play and deft control over the PNR in the half-court. He's young and can grow into his role, but has two years of high-level college hoops under his belt. I love this pick for New Orleans. A quiet night, but a great night nonetheless.
Welcome: Jalen Smith
This is a different grade than the Chris Paul trade. I'm a huge Jalen Smith fan! I had him 6th overall! There's optimism and pessimism about his fit in Phoenix.
The good news: he gives them a Ying to DeAndre Ayton's Yang, a switchy stretch-5 that can be inserted into matchups Ayton struggles in. He'll be with a great lob-passing point guard in CP3, surrounded by shooting and a coach willing to add X's and O's packages for his role players.
The bad news: minutes for Smith at the 5 aren't apparent with Ayton in town. He may be a backup or slotted at the 4 for a few minutes. I want to love this trade because, well, I don't view this pick as a reach. But the fit is still somewhat concerning. Any time you add a top-six guy on my board at the back-half of the lottery, it's a win.
Welcome: Precious Achiuwa
The Heat got my 19th best player at pick 20. They added frontcourt depth and athleticism to their culture. There's no need to play him right away, so he'll get much-needed development. A quiet but high-upside gamble from a team that can afford to do it.
I Love (Almost) All of It
These are a few teams who aced the draft for all but one minor blip on the radar.
Welcome: Zeke Nnaji, RJ Hampton
See ya: 2023 lotto-protected first-rounder
Whoever ended up with Hampton once he fell would be a winner. The Nuggets jumped on the opportunity to trade a future first for him at 24. The Bucks obliged and now Denver has the perfect long-term upside at the point they can take. Monte Morris won't be in the Mile High City forever; when he leaves, Hampton is great to play next to Murray. He can be a cutter around Jokic and a backup point handler when he's off the floor. Great fit and value.
While Nnaji is the energy backup to Jokic that replaces Plumlee, it's a tad of a reach at 22. I understand that after about 20 or 21, value was gone and leveled out between 22 and 35. It's an upside play that, at best, is a long-term backup to the Joker. I'd have been happier had they just taken Hampton at 22, but if they got their guy and are happy, that's all that matters.
Portland Trail Blazers
Welcome: Robert Covington, CJ Elleby, Enes Kanter
See ya: 16th pick, 2021 protected 1st rounder, Trevor Ariza, Mario Hezonja
On its face, two first-rounders for Covington and dumping Ariza's salary are a tad high. I'm not a huge CJ Elleby fan, either, so I'm not wild about that move.
Why am I so happy for the Blazers then? Covington is the PERFECT fit here. He can play the 3 or the 4 and gives them (finally) a plus-defender on the wings. As they build around Lillard, McCollum and Nurkic winning now, this is the aggressive move they need. He's better than anyone they could've gotten at 16, and if you view the Ariza inclusion as a salary dump that cost them a 2021 pick, it's easier to swallow. It's not easy, but easier. If that cost was a tad lower, I'd be all over this.
The Kanter addition was a late-announced move that went hand-in-hand with Boston and Memphis draft night moves, and is absorbed into their roster where he made awesome contributions 18 months ago. His arrival spells the end for Whiteside and gives them more value than Hezonja. Olshey manipulated both teams to include himself for a solid bench upgrade.
Welcome: Deni Avdija, Cassius Winston, future 2nd from OKC
See ya: 37th pick
Considering most experts thought Avdija would be gone before 9th and Winston would be a solid fit at 37th, to get Avdija at 9 and Winston at 53 is awesome. Add a future 2nd rounder to it and, on an asset-to-asset basis, this is great.
But the Wizards failed to address their biggest need: defense. Avdija is a good defender but not a really good on-ball one. They'll retain Davis Bertans in free agency most likely; if they do, there's limited ways to improve their defense on the market. Winston, while a solid value at a needed position, hinders their defense more than he helps. Love the values and talents, and Avdija is the win that matters. A path to improvement on defense is hard to find, though.
New York Knicks
Welcome: Obi Toppin, Immanuel Quickley, future 2nd rounder from LAC
Toppin in the Big Apple seemed inevitable for Leon Rose with the CAA connections. I'm not overly high on Toppin (14th) and think his age doesn't fit the Knicks timeline. But he does fit skill-wise and positionally; they need a scorer and a pick-and-pop option. I also love the Quickley pick. He's a great shooter and is bound to outperform draft stock with the legendary Kentucky rise. He's a point guard at heart miscast as a shooting-only guard at UK. He'll pleasantly surprise.
Rose managed assets well all night, moving around the 20s and 30s to position themselves well. Those wins after the lottery are enough to offset my mild pessimism about drafting a 22-year-old frontcourt scorer who can't create his own shot or play defense.
These are the teams who did well with only a select few late picks. There may not be much to gain from their night, but they took the right, calculated gambles with the small assets they had.
Welcome: Malachi Flynn, Jalen Harris
It would seem the Tampa Raptors are expecting, or at least covering their bases if it happens, Fred Van Vleet is gone. Malachi Flynn has been a great comparison and replacement all along. They play the same way and share many tendencies. Flynn would augment their bench if FVV stays and be an adequate long-term replacement. I'm somewhat surprised he stuck around until 29th, so good on the Raptors for getting their guy here.
Same goes with Jalen Harris, who I'm a big believer in, dropping to 59. Tremendous overall value thanks to how he scores it. It's a high-upside grab which, at 59, is all you can do. The Raptors are still thin at center, though I'm totally cool with them not reaching for one at 29 or going with position of need at 59. Deft navigation by Masai Ujiri.
Welcome: Cassius Stanley
I like this gamble for the Pacers. They need some upside on their wings and can let Cash develop. He's obviously a freak athlete, but is also a great kid who fits in well in basketball-crazed Hoosier land. To get him in the 50s was a blessing and is exactly what fringe playoff teams should do in these spots. Don't try to add an older guy with the hopes he helps right away. Nail what you need to on the upside trend and view these picks as nothing more. Two years from now, if the Pacers fall backwards, they'll be glad they invested in a guy like Stanley, who would be 21 and ready to prove if he can be a building block.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers made no moves on draft night; they shipped the 28th pick out before the draft for Dennis Schroeder. They don't need youngsters; flipping 28 and Green ahead of the draft was the right course for this team. This technically qualifies as no movement, but it was a good week for the Lakers.
Long-Term Moves Mean... Incomplete
There are a couple teams who pushed off their assets to assemble more future picks. It goes hand-in-hand with their modus operandi and timeline for competing. They took swings for the fences in certain areas, as was the plan. We'll judge this draft as a success even if only one swing hits it out of the park.
Welcome: Anthony Edwards, Leandro Bolmaro, Jaden McDaniels, Ricky Rubio
See ya: James Johnson, 33rd pick
The Timberwolves got the right guy 1st overall. Edwards comes with his worries and warts, but his upside and talent was undeniable. I'm so pleased they avoided the LaMelo Ball trap. They also made something of James Johnson's albatross expiring and didn't need to give up talent or many picks to make it happen. Really, they gave away 33 and moved back a few spots to get Bolmaro and McDaniels.
Here's why its an incomplete: none of the four additions are really well-known to how they'll impact the Wolves. At this stage in his career, is Rubio a backup or can he start/ play regular minutes with D'Angelo Russell? Bolmaro is a long-term flier who won't come over right away; with this many early picks, it made sense for the Wolves to take him. McDaniels is a flier I don't really like, but again, understand why a team in Minnesota's shoes is right to gamble on it.
As for Edwards, this draft was always the Wolves to lose. They got stuck taking the biggest risk and will live with it however it turns out. While I'm a big believer, that faith doesn't matter for much. Let's revisit this in a couple years.
Welcome: Killian Hayes, Isaiah Stewart, Saddiq Bey, Saben Lee, Trevor Ariza, Tony Bradley, Rodney McGruder
See Ya: Luke Kennard, Future 1st rounder to Houston, 2nd round considerations to Utah
The Pistons got three first-round picks in their loot, two of them new on the week. Isaiah Stewart (16th) came from Houston, costing them a future first (likely protected) and absorbing Trevor Ariza's contract. Saddiq Bey (19th) cost them Luke Kennard, but also netted Rodney McGruder. Kennard never fit in the team's long-term plans. If using their cap space (Ariza) and valuable assets (Kennard) help expedite the resetting process of this roster, those moves make sense.
Still, Kennard's scoring ability is tough to jettison elsewhere when bringing in less-polished offensive guys like Stewart and Bey. The Killian Hayes fit is ideal; he can grow as their long-term alpha while playing through those inefficiencies. Saben Lee is a high-value 2nd rounder who I'm a big fan of. McGruder and Bradley are young enough to still have some bloom on the rose.
My feelings on Bey and Hayes, two top-ten guys, almost offset my negative views on Stewart. There's a lot of long-term upside to Hayes, but this class of rookies will undoubtedly hinge on whether he becomes a star. They added good young role guys around him, though no stars ot help support his mantle.
Welcome: Onyeka Okongwu, Skylar Mays
Okongwu on a roster filled with centers? This reeks of "more moves coming"...
It's a good pick long-term, adding a rim protector and dunker to a long-term core that could use one. My complaint is that making the pick before the deal of the center loses them leverage; it tips their hand that one of Clint Capela, Dewayne Dedmon or John Collins needs to move. Even if its only one, there's still a blockade to minutes in their frontcourt.
I'm not a Mays fan and think they could've gotten more here. If they really liked him, I'd surmise he would've been available in the undrafted market.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Welcome: Aleksej Pokusevski, Theo Maledon, Vit Krejci, Al Horford, James Johnson, 2025 PHI first-rounder
See Ya: Terrance Ferguson, 53rd pick, future 2nd round pick
It's hard to separate the Dennis Schroeder and Chris Paul mega-trades from this night. All these moving pieces feel like one haul, and the Thunder took in a TON of first-rounders. Flipping Danny Green and Terrance Ferguson for other selections, and leveraging their multiple picks to trade up to snag Pokusevski, were draft-day deals.
I'm all over the place on it, but here's the deal: OKC absorbs Horford to get a pick. They don't care about his on-court impact. He may never play a game there. Pokusevski is someone I'm not high on, but I get why this is the time, place and organization to swing for him. That said, Maledon is the best value 2nd rounder in the draft. Give him time and he's the right fit next to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Absolutely love this long-term fit. The Thunder will bottom-out over the next year or two, and that's clearly their intention thanks to getting THREE international guys. This is the only the beginning for the Thunder, and it will be a few years before we see the fruits of their labors here.
Welcome: Udoka Azubuike, Elijah Hughes, cash considerations
See Ya: Tony Bradley, Ed Davis, 38th pick, future 2nd rounder to NOP, two future 2nds to NYK
It's the combo of cap-clearing and position-clearing. Utah rid themselves of two subpar centers in Bradley and Davis, consolidating into one subpar center in Azubuike. There's no better fit for him, joining a team who ONLY runs pick-and-roll defense he could be elite in. Still, there's limited upside to the pick, and I don't love spending a first-rounder on him here. Hughes isn't someone I'm a fan of, as Syracuse guys rarely pan out in the league.
The cost of shipping off Bradley and Davis to clear cap room? Two future seconds to the Knicks. I get why they needed to, but it will hurt eventually. They're both very average, mundane moves that don't move the needle much.
Los Angeles Clippers
Welcome: Luke Kennard, Daniel Oturu, Jay Scrubb
See Ya: Landry Shamet, Rodney McGruder, 57th pick, future 2nd rounder
The second-round movement is kind of a wash. I'm not high on either Oturu or Scrubb, and don't think Oturu fits with this team. He's an unproven volume shooter. Scrubb is a long-term upside gamble who won't be in the league for another year or two.
So this comes down to the Shamet-for-Kennard move. It's... solid. Kennard is more dynamic, though I'm not sure how much that matters within this team's offense. Ty Lue's playbook has been more spread than handoffs, a Kennard staple. Shamet may have been a better fit.
Welcome: Aaron Nesmith, Payton Pritchard, Yam Madar, future MEM 1st rounder
See Ya: Enes Kanter, 30th pick
I've written more in-depth elsewhere about the Celtics picks. Without rehashing, its a win-now move from Ainge to take more ready-to-go guys as opposed to any high-upside gambles on the roster. That means that Langford has pressure to become that guy. With Nesmith at 14, I like the fit just fine and understand it. He plays off their stars, adds a needed skill and is dependable.
But that put pressure, in my mind, to take at least one upside gamble elsewhere. Taking Payton Pritchard at 24, while clearly their guy, is poor management of best player available and sacrificed long-term upside. If they wanted impact, I'd have gone with Malachi Flynn or Tre Jones. If they wanted upside, Tyrell Terry and Theo Maledon were available. Pritchard there seems indefensible.
Moving out of 30 made sense for their roster, and is a solid move considering they got a future 1st for their troubles. I'd have liked Maledon a lot, though I get why this was the way to go: it also offloaded Kanter. Madar is a good 2nd round pick; I'm a fan long-term of his potential. But Pritchard? Sour taste in my mouth.
Welcome: Jordan Nwora, Sam Merrill
See ya: Two future 2nds to ORL
The Bucks got rid of the 24th pick earlier in the week to bring in Jrue Holiday. Right move. And now they need to fill out the roster with 2nd round picks as they're against the tax. They got swindled by the Magic to add pick 45, and took 60 from the Pels in the Holiday deal. No matter, they got the picks they needed.
Just... not the players. Merrill isn't someone I'm high on. He can be blanketed by their length, so there's a chance he has an impact. Nwora is a similarly shooting, offensive-minded guy but is a little soft and needs time. I'm surprised the Bucks didn't try to bundle these two to get into the mid-to-late 30s. No needle was moved here.
Beware of my Pessimism
I'll be honest, my evaluations on a few draft picks were breaking from consensus. I'll be alone on my island giving these teams lower grades for taking the guys they took. I'll stay there for now, but make sure you take my grades with a grain of salt in comparison to the norm.
Welcome: Tyrese Haliburton, Robert Woodard, Jahmi'us Ramsey, 2021 HOU 2nd, 2022 MEM 2nd
See ya: 35th pick, 52nd pick
I don't see Haliburton as a lottery pick. He almost fell out of it, which is understandable to me -- I had him 20th and as a high-end backup combo guard. The Kings are excited because he is a fit next to either Buddy Hield or De'Aaron Fox, and that's what the Kings want. He's consensus best available and fits. Playing him a max 16 minutes a game is the right role. But with other guys available at 12th, even with the Hali slide, I don't love drafting for backup.
Sacramento had four second-round picks coming into the draft. Maneuvering them to add two future 2nds was wise. While I'm not a fan of either Woodard or Ramsey, those are high-ceiling swings they could afford to take. A very bleh night that should be positive for those who are fans of Haliburton.
Welcome: Isaac Okoro
Okoro is a role player. I don't see the offensive upside to take him in the top-ten, let alone the top-five. But everyone else did, or at least thought he was a dominant enough defensive player that it wouldn't matter.
At least Okoro fits a position of need to see the floor early, is surrounded by shooting at the 1, 2 and 4 and is the right fit to maximize the value of their last two lotto picks, Collin Sexton and Darius Garland.
Welcome: Patrick Williams, Marko Simonovic
The good: I really like Simonovic. Long-term, he's a good backup stretch-5 with solid athleticism. Good draft-and-stash. Solid value with Dotson as an undrafted free agent, too.
The bad: Williams. I'm notoriously not a fan and had him 40th on my board. It's a high-upside gamble predicated on complete transformation of his offensive arsenal and consistency of his athleticism on defense. Arturas Karnisovas is on the hook for this one, so much of his tenure will be predicated on this pick. If he has the staff in infrastructure to transform Williams mechanically/ athletically and the patience to ween him along, this could be a solid get. But Chicago is the one place where patience disappears sooner than you think and fans can turn on the long-term plan. I'm intrigued, surprised, skeptical and worried all in one.
Welcome: LaMelo Ball, Vernon Carey Jr., Nick Richards, Grant Riller
See ya: 2024 second-round pick
Not one guy here was drafted above value according to my big board (Riller, drafted 56th, was 53rd on my board... basically a wash). Carey is a reach. Richards is a reach. They're two drastically different prospects and, based on if one of them hits and the other doesn't, there's no long-term plan for the position, just tons of talent grabs all over the place. I don't think any of the three were worth giving up a future 2nd rounder for; moving into this draft late made little sense.
This will come down to LaMelo and the patience or catering the Hornets give him. He could be their franchise alpha, and with Rozier or Graham in the backcourt he'll at least have a shooter next to him. But the Hornets don't have shooting elsewhere. I foresee a great deal of inefficiency, poor shots and rookie struggles for the third overall pick.
Welcome: Kenyon Martin Jr., future DET 1st (lotto protected), 2021 POR 1st rounder, 2021 LAL 2nd rounder
See Ya: Robert Covington, Trevor Ariza, 2021 2nd rounder, millions of dollars in cash
If we judge owners on how they mangle a solid situation, Tillman Fertitta gets a clear F.
If we judge general managers on their ability to execute ownership's plans and shield them from the harsh realities of making that decision... the Rockets still get an F.
They are clearly dodging the tax and care nothing about adding talent. They acquired two future first-rounders and an invaluable 2nd, all for ditching Covington, an invaluable piece next to James Harden. On its face? Decent value, I guess. But they got back no good youngsters and are ruining their leverage to still trade Harden or Westbrook. This is a poorly-planned, poorly-executed teardown. It's just so depressing to watch.