Projected Landing Spots for Players likely to be traded

  1. Tyreke Evans – Current Team: Memphis Grizzlies – Projected Landing Spot: Philadelphia 76ers

Markelle Fultz hasn’t been healthy basically the entire season, so the 76ers have been seriously lacking depth at both guard positions. The 76ers need some more production at both guard positions and they especially need more production off of the bench. That is why Evans is the ideal fit for the 76ers. Evans is a terrific scorer and he would be a terrific rental to make sure that Philadelphia makes the playoffs this season. The 76ers would likely have to give up a 1st round pick in order to acquire Evans, but they would only likely give up their own non-lottery selection for Evans which would be worth it if the team makes the playoffs.

2. DeAndre Jordan – Current Team: Los Angeles Clippers – Projected Landing Spot: Cleveland Cavaliers

There are a few teams that could trade for DeAndre Jordan at the trade deadline, but the team that seems most likely to make a deal is Cleveland. The Cavaliers don’t have much at the center position right now as Tristan Thompson hasn’t been very productive this season. However, Jordan would provide the Cavs with an elite interior presence as he is terrific on the glass as well as being an elite defender. Cleveland probably won’t give up the 1st round pick from Brooklyn. However, the Cavaliers could give up their own 1st round pick as well as Thompson and Iman Shumpert. Maybe that would be enough to persuade the Clippers to move on from Jordan and his big contract.

 

3. Lou Williams – Current Team: Los Angeles Clippers – Projected Landing Spot: Boston Celtics

The Celtics one area of weakness is at the shooting guard position where Marcus Smart hasn’t been very effective this season. However, if the Celtics really want to win the East this year then they need to make a big splash via trade especially to find a new shooting guard. Lou Williams would be an ideal fit as he is a terrific scorer and he would provide an upgrade to a Boston lineup that is already filled with talent. Williams is a free agent after this season so he would likely just be a rental for the remainder of this season. However, if Boston sends Marcus Smart and another player or draft pick in a deal for Williams then the Clippers might be willing to trade him away.

 

4. Kemba Walker – Current Team: Charlotte Hornets – Projected Landing Spot: Indiana Pacers

Charlotte has been struggling even with Kemba Walker as their franchise cornerstone, but now rumors have it that they might be willing to move on from him. Walker is not just a rental player as he is under contract at a really modest price through the 2018-2019 season. It would certainly take a lot for the Hornets to trade away Walker, but if there is team that has the ability to acquire him then it would be the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers could include young players like T.J. Leaf and Myles Turner in a deal for Walker. However, they would likely have to include at least one 1st round pick and a young prospect along with veteran players like Darren Collison and Al Jefferson. Indiana has plenty of players that could entice the Hornets to trade away Walker, but it would take a huge package of players and picks in order to do so. Acquiring Walker would give the Pacers a dynamic duo in the backcourt for many years to come as the team already has proven shooting guard Victor Oladipo.  This would be a risky trade to make for Indiana as they would likely have to give up some promising young players, but it would probably make the team better even long-term.

 

5. Rodney Hood – Current Team: Utah Jazz – Projected Landing Spot: Detroit Pistons

Rodney Hood is having the best season of his young career as he is averaging a career-high 16.4 points per game for the Jazz. However, the Jazz have a somewhat crowded backcourt which means there isn’t too much of a role for Hood. One team that could really use Hood is the Detroit Pistons. The Pistons have a major need at shooting guard after trading away Avery Bradley in the Blake Griffin deal. Hood would provide a significant upgrade at shooting guard for Detroit and he is under contract through the 2018 season so he wouldn’t just be a rental player for the team. The one player that Detroit could trade to Utah in this deal is young small forward Stanley Johnson who is only 21 years old. Johnson has tons of upside, but he has yet to make a real impact as an NBA player. Utah has a need at small forward and maybe they could develop Johnson into the player that many people thought he would be. Either way, Hood would be a great addition for Detroit as they try to make a playoff run in the eastern conference. However, we’ll see if the Jazz would be willing just to accept Johnson in a deal for Hood or if they would want something else from the Pistons in return.

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3 Losers of NBA free agency

  1. Utah Jazz

It has been a rough offseason to say the least for the Utah Jazz as they lost 2 of their top 3 players both in free agency. The main loss was Gordon Hayward who was the franchise player for the Jazz for several years and he made the team a legitimate contender in a tough western conference. However, he took less money in order to sign with the Boston Celtics and reunite with his former college Brad Stevens. Utah also lost starting point guard George Hill who had a career year with the Jazz last season. Hill ended up leaving for Sacramento in free agency and the Jazz ended up trading for Ricky Rubio who is a decent point guard, but he isn’t nearly as reliable as Hill was. Utah won’t be an awful team since they still have star center Rudy Gobert and they still have some good veteran players with Joe Johnson and Ricky Rubio. However, I’m losing Hayward and Hill was a huge blow to their playoff chances and now they will have to rebuild their roster once again.

2. Indiana Pacers

The Pacers are heading towards a very lengthy rebuild after basically self-destructing their entire roster this offseason. The Pacers started the process by trading star player Paul George to the Thunder for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. I don’t blame the Pacers for trading away George since he made it clear that he was going to leave in free agency after next season. However, the Pacers could have waited to trade him during the season and they also could have definitely gotten much more in return than they did. Oladipo and Sabonis are good young players, but the Pacers should have at least received 2 more 1st round picks in return for George. Indiana also lost all-star caliber point guard Jeff Teague for nothing in free agency and they downgraded at the position by signing Darren Collison. The team also is likely to lose key role player C.J. Miles in free agency which shows that the Pacers are accepting the fact that they won’t compete for a few years at least. I don’t blame Indiana for letting George and Teague leave this offseason, but the issue is that they barely got anything in return which means the rebuild process will take much longer as a result.

3. Atlanta Hawks

The Atlanta Hawks are another team that are just at the beginning of what appears to be a very long and painful rebuilding process. Atlanta has basically given away the only quality veteran talent that they had left this offseason. The Hawks traded away quality center Dwight Howard for unproductive veteran players Marco Belinelli and Miles Plumlee. However, the worst part of the offseason was letting star power forward Paul Millsap leave for nothing and they didn’t even offer him a contract to remain in Atlanta. The Hawks still have promising young guards Dennis Schroeder and Kent Bazemore on their team, but the rest of their roster is awful. Also, Atlanta hasn’t added anything in free agency to make their team even competitive. The Hawks are going in the same direction as the 76ers did several years ago as Atlanta is planning on being terrible for several years and acquiring draft picks to try and build their team up again. Atlanta got a lot worse this offseason and that seems to have been their plan all along.

3 Winners of NBA free agency

  1. Golden State Warriors

The Golden State Warriors didn’t really make any big additions to their roster in free agency. However, the Warriors did have an impressive free agency period just based on they were able to keep their championship roster from this past season the same heading into next season. Stephen Curry was re-signed to a 5-year/$201 million max contract which wasn’t a shock at all. Also, the team the re-signed Kevin Durant to a team-friendly 2-year/$53 million contract which is a really steep pay cut for Durant considering that he is one of the top players in the NBA. However, that pay cut allowed the Warriors to bring back key role players Andre Iguadola, Shaun Livingston, and David West. It appeared that at least one of those guys was going to leave in free agency, but instead everyone stayed and it makes the Warriors the favorites to win the NBA title once again this season. If that wasn’t enough success, Golden State also added Omri Casspi and Nick Young on cheap deals in free agency and that makes the team even deeper. There isn’t a real weakness on the Warriors anymore as they probably have the best overall roster in the NBA.

2. Oklahoma City Thunder

Oklahoma City just wasn’t quite the same last season after Kevin Durant left and it put more pressure on NBA MVP Russell Westbrook to have to carry the team to the playoffs. Now, the Thunder are once again a legitimate contender in the western conference after acquiring superstar small forward Paul George in a trade with the Pacers. It is even more remarkable that the Thunder didn’t have to give up much to get him as they only traded away Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. George will take a lot of the pressure off of Westbrook for next season and that duo should be able to compete with any other team in the west. Also, Oklahoma City was able to re-sign quality starting guard/forward Andre Roberson to a cheap 3-year/$30 million deal. The team did lose Taj Gibson in free agency, but they replaced him with former Raptors power forward Patrick Patterson on a 3-year deal. Oklahoma City is ready to be a serious contender at least for next season with the addition of Paul George and it would be even better if they could come to terms on an extension with him before he hits free agency after next year.

3. Denver Nuggets

The Denver Nuggets aren’t the type of team that usually pulls off big signings in free agency, but they certainly landed a big free agent this year by signing former Hawks power forward to a 3-year/$90 million contract. Millsap is the consistent veteran player that the young Nuggets team needs and he is still a very productive power forward even at 32 years old. Sure, Denver lost Danilo Gallinari in free agency, but Millsap is actually an upgrade over what Gallinari was during his time in Denver. The Nuggets now have one of the best frontocurt duos in the NBA with Millsap and star young center Nikola Jokic and this appears to be a team that is ready to make a major playoff push immediately.

 

Stephen Curry re-signs with Golden State

It’s not much of a shock, but 2-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry is re-signing with the Golden State Warriors as he signed a 5-year/$201 million deal to remain with the team. Curry has been the key to leading the Warriors to 3 straight NBA finals appearances and 2 titles within those 3 seasons, so he certainly deserves the huge contract that he just received. Even though he did hit free agency it would have been a major surprise if he had gone elsewhere as the Warriors and Curry had mutual interest in him staying with the team long-term. Curry is only 29 years old, so Golden State will be the team to beat for many years to come and I would be surprised if he even plays for another team besides Golden State in his NBA career. It is a big investment for the Warriors to make, but it was an easy decision since Curry has certainly earned the big deal with his outstanding production for the Warriors.

Grade: A

Grading the Chris Paul trade to the Rockets

The Los Angeles Clippers traded star point guard Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets in exchange for Sam Dekker, Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, DeAndre Liggins, Darrun Hilliard, Montrezl Harrell, Kyle Wiltjer, and a 2018 1st round pick.

 

Clippers grade:

This is a devastating loss for the Clippers to lose Chris Paul as the team did everything that they could to try and keep him. However, Paul informed the Clippers that he was going to re-sign with the Rockets in free agency so the Clippers had no choice except to sign and trade Paul in order to not lose him for nothing. Acquiring Lou Williams and Patrick Beverley will help fill the void at the point guard position for the Clippers after the departure of Paul. Beverley and Williams are decent point guards, but neither will help to replace Paul. The 2018 1st round pick that the Clippers received should help them rebuild and possibly find another guard to replace Paul. Also, the Clippers received a couple of decent role players with Sam Dekker and Montrezl Harrell that should give the Clippers more depth in the frontcourt. The other 3 players that Los Angeles received are just benchwarmers at best and they probably won’t even make the Clippers roster next season. Overall, it is good that the Clippers at least got something in return for Paul since they were going to lose him to the Rockets in free agency anyway. However, it is still a major loss for the Clippers and it won’t be easy to replace him.

Grade: C-

Rockets grade:

The Houston Rockets have been looking for a star player to pair with James Harden and it seems that they have finally found the perfect player by acquiring Chris Paul. This trade will help make the Rockets a true finals contender in the very crowded western conference. It is not ideal to give up a 2018 1st round pick for Paul especially since he was already going to sign with Houston in free agency anyway. However, this trade is worth it because it makes the Rockets an immediate contender to overtake Golden State in the western conference. Paul only has 1 year left on his contract with the Rockets which means that he might go elsewhere after next season. The Rockets are a playoff team for sure, but with the addition of Paul they should be a top 5 NBA team at least for next season.

Grade: A

5 NBA Teams on the decline this offseason

  1. Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers have been a playoff team every year for the past 6 seasons after the team drafted star power forward Blake Griffin in 2009 NBA draft and traded for star point guard Chris Paul in 2011. Now, the Clippers are in serious danger of losing their two top players this offseason as they have already lost Chris Paul and that makes it even likelier that Griffin will sign elsewhere. Los Angeles would barely be a playoff team even if they retain Griffin, but if they lose him then it could be devastating for the Clippers. The Clippers appear on their way to a somewhat lengthy rebuild after trading away Chris Paul and they are in a position that they might not even make the playoffs next season.

2. Atlanta Hawks

Atlanta was one of the top teams in the NBA just two seasons ago in 2014 when they had the best record in the eastern conference with 60 wins. Also, the Hawks haven’t missed the playoffs since the 2006 season. However, this is a team clearly on the decline as they have traded away Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver, and Dwight Howard all within the past year. Paul Millsap was the player that made the Hawks a playoff team last season without much talent around him, but Atlanta is in danger of losing him in free agency this offseason. If Millsap leaves in free agency then the Hawks probably wouldn’t be a playoff team because there just isn’t much talent left on their roster. Point Guard Dennis Schroder has emerged as the franchise player for the Hawks moving forward, but if Millsap leaves then there will literally won’t be much talent on the roster at all. Atlanta has been getting rid of their key veteran players the past few years and now the Hawks are clearly a decline and it appears that they are faced with a lengthy rebuild.

3. Chicago Bulls

The Bulls already showed that they are moving in a different direction after they traded Jimmy Butler to the Timberwolves during the draft. Chicago still has Dwayne Wade and Rajon Rondo on their roster, but they probably won’t be enough to be able to lead the Bulls to the playoffs anytime soon. Chicago has some very talented young players with Kris Dunn, Zach Lavine, and Lauri Markkanen, although none of those guys are going to make this a good team immediately. Chicago probably won’t make the playoffs for the next couple of years, yet they have some good young talent that they can build around for the future even though it might take a few years to get their team back on the right track.

4. Indiana Pacers

Indiana is in an extremely tough situation right now because they are certainly a playoff team heading into next season as they are currently constructed. However, starting point guard Jeff Teague is a free agent this offseason and it would be a big loss if he were to leave. Also, the Pacers star player Paul George has expressed his intent to leave Indiana once he becomes a free agent after next season. The Pacers would probably receive a lot in return for Paul George if they trade him soon, but it would still put the team into a rebuilding situation where they probably wouldn’t be a competitive team for a few years. Indiana is still a playoff team as of right now, but if Teague and George leave soon as expected then this is clearly a team on the decline.

5. Toronto Raptors

This is a big offseason to say the least for Toronto as they could lose both Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka in free agency. Toronto might still be a borderline playoff team without those guys as they will still have DeMar DeRozan on their roster. However, the Raptors wouldn’t be one of the top teams in the eastern conference like they have been the past couple of seasons. We’ll see what happens for the Raptors in free agency, but this is a team that will probably lose at least one of their really key players and that would be devastating for a team that is already showing signs of decline.

2017 NBA Draft 1st round grades

  1. Philadelphia 76ers – Markelle Fultz – Point Guard – Washington

I really like this selection for the 76ers. Sure, they gave up a lot to move up 2 spots in the draft in order to get Fultz. However, Fultz gives the 76ers a tremendous scorer that they haven’t had in awhile and now they have a really good trio of young players with Fultz, Joel Embiid, and Ben Simmons. The future is bright in Philadelphia and don’t be surprised if they sneak into the playoffs next season if their 3 top players can all stay healthy.

Grade: A

2. Los Angeles Lakers – Lonzo Ball – Point Guard – UCLA

Lonzo Ball is perhaps the most well-rounded player available in the NBA draft. He isn’t a great shooter, but he has good offensive ability. Also, he rebounds and passes the ball very well for a point guard. If Ball can become a better shooter then he will be a star in the NBA, but he is a very good all-around player with tremendous potential to be even better. The Lakers suddenly have three really good young players to build around with Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Julius Randle.

Grade: A

3. Boston Celtics – Jayson Tatum – Small Forward – Duke

This guy is an impact player that already is a very talented offensive player and a solid rebounder as well. Also, he has the length and athleticism that gives him the potential to be a good defender for the Celtics. Tatum is an impact player that should be an upgrade over Jae Crowder at the small forward position. However, this pick likely also means that the Celtics won’t pursue star Utah small forward Gordon Hayward in free agency.

Grade: A

4. Phoenix Suns – Josh Jackson – Small Forward – Kansas

Josh Jackson certainly is a dynamic player that has a chance to be a star player at the NBA level. He is already a tremendous athlete and he is a really good scorer as well. However, he needs to develop a jumpshot in order to be truly successful for the Suns. Jackson is a good defender and he is one of the most well-rounded players in this draft overall. Phoenix could be getting a great player and the only thing that he’s missing from becoming great is his lack of a consistent jumpshot.

Grade: A-

5. Sacramento Kings – De’Aaron Fox – Point Guard – Kentucky

De’Aaron Fox is my favorite player in this draft and he can really score points in bunches at times. Also, he is a good defender and he can pass and rebound somewhat well. Fox isn’t a great shooter, but if he can develop that area of his game then he would definitely be a great NBA player. Sacramento is also a good situation for him since he can possibly learn from a veteran point guard like Darren Collison and then Fox could at least be a solid starting point guard in a few years.

Grade: A

6. Orlando Magic – Jonathan Isaac – Small Forward – Florida State

Jonathan Isaac is a very athletic player with tremendous potential to be a very good NBA small forward. Isaac is a defensive specialist that has the ability to defend quick players out on the perimeter very well. He has very average offensive ability and it will be great for Orlando if he is able to score 15 points per game at some point. This is a great pick for the Magic especially since he is able to do many things very effectively.

Grade: A-

7. Chicago Bulls(From Minnesota) – Lauri Markkanen – Power Forward – Arizona

The Bulls are clearly in a rebuild mode after trading star player Jimmy Butler to the Timberwolves on draft night. However, Markkanen is a great selection to start the rebuilding process as he has the potential to be a very good offensive player for many years. Markkanen is 7 feet, but he moves well for his size and he is a terrific shooter as he shot 42.3% from 3 last season at Arizona. Markkanen isn’t the type of player that spends much time around the basket, yet he is an average defender and he will have no problems scoring at the NBA level. He reminds me a lot of Dirk Nowitzki and Frank Kaminsky as players that shoot 3-pointers very well for guys their size. This is a very good pick for Chicago as this will provide a player that can score effectively from the power forward position.

Grade: A

8. New York Knicks – Frank Ntilikina – Point Guard – France

I’m not quite sure how this pick will turn out for the Knicks and it is really unknown what type of player that Ntilikina will become at the NBA level. He is a really good defender and he has good ball-handling skills as well. However, it is a mystery as to how he will perform on the offensive side of the ball. I compare him to Ricky Rubio of Minnesota since they both pass the ball effectively, but neither are very good offensive players. There is no doubt that Ntilikina has high potential, but this is a risky pick since he might not adjust to the NBA level very well.

Grade: C+

9. Dallas Mavericks – Dennis Smith Jr. – Point Guard – North Carolina State

This guy has as high of potential as any other player in this draft and he is a proven scorer as he averaged 18.1 points per game last season at North Carolina State. However, Smith is a very risky pick at this spot since his effort isn’t always there and his consistency is a concern as well. This guy has a chance to be a star player in the NBA if his effort level is consistent and if he commits himself to becoming a better defender. Either way, he should be a good starting point guard for Dallas and he will be a much needed scorer for them.

Grade: B

10. Portland Trail Blazers(From Sacramento) – Zach Collins – Power Forward – Gonzaga

The Trail Blazers badly need help at the power forward position and Zach Collins has probably the biggest potential of any power forward in this draft. Collins never got the opportunity to be a starter during college at Gonzaga because of how talented their frontcourt was. However, Collins is an athletic big man that has good offensive ability and he should develop his offensive game even further if he can develop a more consistent jumpshot. Collins probably won’t make an immediate impact right away, but he has the potential to be a very good power forward within a few years.

Grade: B+

11. Charlotte Hornets – Malik Monk – Point Guard – Kentucky

The Hornets needed another scorer to go along with Kemba Walker and they certainly found probably the best scorer in this draft by selecting Malik Monk out of Kentucky. Monk will make an impact right away most likely as a role player, but he reminds me a lot of Jamaal Crawford as both players can light it up offensively. However, Monk is similar to Crawford because neither player commits to playing defense. If Monk can get a lot of playing time then he will have the ability to score a lot of points. We’ll see if his defensive ability gets a little bit better, but he has the potential to be a star player for the Hornets.

Grade: A

12. Detroit Pistons – Luke Kennard – Shooting Guard – Duke

Luke Kennard is a really smart player that is a tremendous shooter especially from 3-point range. However, Kennard is probably as good of a player as he’ll ever be and he doesn’t have very high upside. Also, he doesn’t have the explosiveness or athleticism to be a very good defender at the NBA level. Kennard probably won’t ever be an all-star player, but he could be a solid starter and he will certainly be a very good role player for the Pistons at least.

Grade: B

13. Utah Jazz(From Denver) – Donovan Mitchell – Shooting Guard – Louisville

Mitchell is a very good defender that has a decent ability to score as well. He isn’t a great shooter, but if he can improve that part of his game then he could be an all-star caliber player. He will mostly be used as a defensive specialist for Utah, but he does everything somewhat well and he is one of the most athletic players in the draft.

Grade: A-

14. Miami Heat – Bam Adebayo – Center – Kentucky

Bam Adebayo is a mystery pick because I really didn’t see him going this high in the draft mostly because his offensive capabilities are very limited. However, Adebayo is one of the best defensive players in the draft and he will be a force around the basket. Miami isn’t a great fit for Adebayo either since they already have Hassan Whiteside who is basically the same type of player and Whiteside is already the unquestioned starter at center. Adebayo could be a good role player early on for Miami, but they have much bigger needs than at center right now and Adebayo probably won’t have a chance to be a starter as long as Whiteside is with the Heat. Overall, this pick is a reach for the Heat and they could have found a better fit because they didn’t need another shot-blocking center on their roster.

Grade: C-

15. Sacramento Kings(From Portland) – Justin Jackson – Small Forward – North Carolina

This is a solid pick for the Kings in this spot because they are getting a player that will be able to start immediately. Jackson has low upside as an NBA player so don’t be expecting him to turn into a superstar at any point. However, Jackson could be a good starting small forward in the NBA for awhile and at least he will be a very good role player. Jackson is just an average shooter for a small forward and that could limit his offense in the NBA as he’ll have to be more creative in finding ways to score points. Jackson is ready to play right away and he will give some more stability at small forward for the Kings since Rudy Gay is expected to leave the team in free agency.

Grade: B+

16. Minnesota Timberwolves(From Chicago) – Justin Patton – Center – Creighton

Justin Patton is a high energy player that will fit in well on a very young and talented Timberwolves roster. Patton could be a good role player for Minnesota for many years to come and if he continues to develop then he certainly has the potential to possibly be a decent NBA starting center. Patton is an extremely athletic player for his size and he has figured out ways to be a good scorer around the basket. However, Patton really needs to become a better rebounder and he needs to become a more physical player near the rim. Patton still has a long ways to go before he is a solid NBA player, but he has the talent to be a decent role player coming off the bench for Minnesota.

Grade: B

17. Milwaukee Bucks – D.J. Wilson – Power Forward – Michigan

D.J. Wilson wasn’t even a starter for most of his college career at Michigan and he didn’t really start playing well until late last season and that was when his draft stock majorly improved. Wilson isn’t an above average offensive player, but he did show some potential as a shooter last season at Michigan. Wilson is just a well-rounded player that doesn’t really specialize in one area of his game. He doesn’t project well as a starting power forward in the NBA, but he could be a good role player for many years.

Grade: B-

18. Indiana Pacers – TJ Leaf – Power Forward – UCLA

TJ Leaf didn’t get as much recognition as he probably deserved last season at UCLA because he was overshadowed by star point guard prospect Lonzo Ball. However, Leaf was just as productive of a player as Lonzo Ball was last season at UCLA. Leaf is a good shooter for someone of his size and he has the ability to score inside the paint and he is a really good mid-range shooter as well. Leaf will probably need to bulk up in order to be a starting power forward in the NBA and his lack of strength will hurt him as a defender in the NBA. However, Leaf has solid offensive ability and athleticism for his size and he is an intriguing player with tons of potential to be a good starting forward if he can improve his defense.

Grade: B+

19. Atlanta Hawks – John Collins – Power Forward – Wake Forest

The Atlanta Hawks appear to be heading towards a somewhat lengthy rebuild especially if star power forward Paul Millsap leaves in free agency which he probably will. However, they might have found a player in the 1st round that has the potential to eventually be a good replacement for Millsap. John Collins proved to be one of the best offensive players in the nation last season as he averaged 19.2 points per game in probably the best conference in all of college basketball. Collins already has a very good scoring ability around the rim and he started to get a better mid-range shot as well. If he can develop a more reliable jumpshot then Collins has the potential to be a terrific offensive player in the NBA. Collins also is a very good rebounder already and he figures to hold his own in that area at the NBA level. The main concern for Collins is his defensive ability and that is something that he will need to improve upon to become a reliable NBA power forward. Collins might not be a starter right away, but this is a great pick for Atlanta as he has the potential to be a very good starting power forward within a few years.

Grade: A

20. Sacramento Kings(From Portland) – Harry Giles – Power Forward – Duke

Harry Giles was a highly recruited player coming out of high school a couple of years ago and it seemed that he would be the number 1 overall pick in the NBA draft. However, he slipped down the draft boards because he has torn the ACL in his both of his knees in just a few years. Giles had terrible production during his time at Duke as he averaged just 3.9 points per game in limited playing time last year at Duke. Giles might be the most talented player in this entire draft, but there is a legitimate question about if he will be able to stay healthy in the NBA or if he will ever be close to the same player that he was in high school. If he can return even close to the type of player that he was before college then this might be the best pick in the entire draft. However, there is also a risk for the Kings that he might not even be a productive role player for them. I think this is a really good pick for the Kings to make at this point in the draft, but there obviously is a major risk associated with this pick which is why I’m not giving it an A grade.

Grade: B+

21. Oklahoma City Thunder – Terrance Ferguson – Shooting Guard – Australia

Terrance Ferguson is probably one of the most raw players available in this draft and he wasn’t very productive as he averaged 4.6 points per game during his one season in pro basketball in Australia. However, Ferguson also has the potential to be a very good starting shooting guard in the NBA. He already is known for having a very good jumpshot and he has shown flashes of his tremendous athleticism as well. Ferguson is an inconsistent defensive player at this point, but he has the potential to become a good defender. Ferguson isn’t a very good all-around prospect, but as long as he continues to develop his scoring abilities then he has a chance to at least be a good role player. Ferguson probably won’t make much of an immediate impact at the NBA level and he probably needs to start his career in the NBA G-League in order to develop. There is no doubting Ferguson’s potential, but it is unknown if he’ll ever become a solid NBA role player at least.

Grade: C+

22. Brooklyn Nets – Jarrett Allen – Center – Texas

The main thing that Jarrett Allen has is outstanding physical tools that project really well to the NBA level. He has the length and athleticism to be a very good shot-blocker and he should also be a good interior defender. However, the main issue for Allen is that he doesn’t have the size necessary to try and stop big NBA centers near the basket. Also, he relies too much on scoring near the basket and if he doesn’t add more size then he won’t contribute much offensively since he can’t rely on his athleticism alone to be able to score. This guy has a long way to go on both sides of the ball before he is ready to be a starting center in the NBA. However, if he can just add some more strength and maybe get a decent mid-range jumpshot then he could be the eventual solution at center for Brooklyn.

Grade: B

23. Toronto Raptors – OG Anunoby – Small Forward – Indiana

This guy could have probably been a lottery pick in the draft if a knee injury hadn’t prematurely ended his last season at Indiana. Anunoby might be the best defensive player in this draft as he has the athleticism to go up against any small forward in the NBA. If he can recover from his knee injury effectively then this could be a great pick for the Raptors. However, there are some major concerns about his offensive ability and if he can ever be an above average offensive player. Anunoby doesn’t have a good jumpshot at all and he was an awful free-throw shooter last season at Indiana. Anunoby should definitely be a good role player based solely on his elite defensive ability. However, he will need to develop his offensive ability if he is ever going to be a good starting small forward. Either way, Anunoby is a great pick at this point and this point in the draft and he could push for a starting spot within a couple of years.

Grade: A

24. Denver Nuggets(From Utah) – Tyler Lydon – Small Forward – Syracuse

It appears that Danilo Gallinari might be leaving the Nuggets in free agency and now drafted a small forward in the 1st round of the draft that has a very similar playing style to Gallinari. Tyler Lydon is an excellent 3-point shooter for someone of his size and he has also showed an ability to block shots during his time at Syracuse. Lydon needs to strengthen up if he wants to compete at the NBA level, but he is a good shooter that provides some potential in other areas as well. I’m not sure if he’ll ever be an effective starter in the NBA, but he is a good depth player at small forward for the Nuggets.

Grade: B-

25. Philadelphia 76ers(From Orlando) – Anzejs Pasecniks – Center – Latvia

I really don’t like this pick much for the 76ers as Pasecniks has a lot of upside, but he might not even make it to the NBA anytime soon. Pasecniks is a good scorer and he has remarkable athleticism for someone his size which is probably why NBA scouts thought he was a 1st round pick. However, he is a major work in progress as he doesn’t have the size or physicality to be able to compete defensively at the NBA level especially around the basket. Pasecniks also is an awful rebounder and he doesn’t figure to make much of an impact in that area. This pick mostly makes no sense for Philadelphia because the team is stacked with young talent in the frontcourt and Pasecniks would most likely just be a benchwarmer for awhile. Also, I’m really wondering why the 76ers would even trade for the rights to this guy since he might not even play in the NBA for awhile and they gave up a 1st round pick in 2020 just to acquire him. Pasecniks will probably continue to play in Europe for a few years at least and he might never decide to play in the NBA especially for a 76ers team that doesn’t have a role for him. This could end up being just a wasted pick and a terrible trade for the 76ers.

Grade: F

26. Portland Trail Blazers – Caleb Swanigan – Power Forward – Purdue

Swanigan was arguably the best player in the Big Ten conference last season and that is a conference that is one of the top conferences in all of college basketball. Swanigan is a physical player that makes his living almost entirely right around the basket. That is why his offensive abilities might be limited at the NBA level. However, he is definitely the best rebounder in this entire draft and if nothing else he could provide that as a decent role player at the NBA level. He might have trouble finding playing time with Portland since the Trail Blazers drafted Zach Collins 10th overall in this year’s draft. However, Portland knows what they are getting with Swanigan and he should be a decent role player very soon.

Grade: C

27. Los Angeles Lakers(From Brooklyn) – Kyle Kuzma – Power Forward – Utah

Kyle Kuzma wasn’t considered to be even close to a 1st round prospect not too long ago, but an impressive showing at the NBA combine really improved his draft stock. Kuzma is a very athletic power forward that is an effective scorer despite not having a consistent jumpshot. Kuzma has proven that he has the potential to be a good defensive player, but he was often an inconsistent defensive player during college. The Lakers already have plenty of young depth at the power forward position, so I’m not quite sure what role that Kuzma will have for the next few years. Los Angeles will probably just send him to the NBA G-League so that he can continue to develop a more consistent jumpshot. If he can develop his offense further then the Lakers might be getting a good role player. Kuzma wasn’t very productive in college overall which is why I’m shocked that he went this high in the draft. However, Kuzma does have the athleticism necessary to maybe provide some depth to the Lakers.

Grade: C

28. Utah Jazz(From Los Angeles Lakers) – Tony Bradley – Center – North Carolina

The Utah Jazz had a big need for depth at the center position behind star player Rudy Gobert and they might have just found a decent backup in the 1st round of the draft by selecting Tony Bradley out of North Carolina. Bradley didn’t play a ton of minutes while in college, but he was very effective when he did receive playing time. He is known to be a terrific interior defender and a terrific rebounder as well. Bradley won’t provide much offensively at all, although he does have the size and physicality to get some easy baskets inside the paint. Don’t expect Bradley to ever be a starting center in the NBA especially since he isn’t a player that has the conditioning to be able to play a lot of minutes every game. However, Bradley should provide the Jazz with a high energy player that will make a big impact defensively when he is in the game.

Grade: B

29. San Antonio Spurs – Derrick White – Point Guard – Colorado

Derrick White was one of the most underrated players in all of college basketball last season as he was quietly one of the best players in the Pac-12 as he averaged 18.3 points per game for Colorado. White played his first 3 seasons at division 2 school University of Colorado-Colorado Springs before transferring to Colorado. White is a terrific shooter and he is also a good passer which is obviously important for a point guard. This is a great pick for the Spurs since they are desperate for point guard depth right now. Starting point guard Tony Parker is likely to be out until January and backup point guard Patty Mills might be leaving in free agency. White might have to play a lot early on for San Antonio and he might just be the point guard of the future that the Spurs need. Either way, this is a great pick for the Spurs late in the 1st round of the draft and he has the potential to be the Spurs new starting point guard within the next few years.

Grade: A

30. Los Angeles Lakers(From Utah) – Josh Hart – Shooting Guard – Villanova

The Lakers needed more depth at the shooting guard position after they traded away D’Angelo Russell prior to the draft. They found some quality depth late in the 1st round though as they drafted Josh Hart out of Villanova. Hart played 4 years at Villanova and he ended up winning a national championship there during his junior year. Hart is an outstanding shooter and a very good defender as well. However, his lack of athleticism is the main reason that he wasn’t drafted until the last pick of the 1st round. Hart will be a good role player at worst for the Lakers and he should provide an immediate impact to a team in need of a shooting guard.

Grade: A