0 NBA Draft Grades | DFS Karma

NBA Draft Grades

The NBA Draft has come and gone with teams hoping to find future stars, role players, and contributors. There were surprisingly few major trades to take place during the draft, especially considering the uncertainty surrounding guys like Kawhi Leonard, Andrew Wiggins, and more. Regardless, I am going to go over the first round of the NBA Draft, giving grades with a short analysis. If you want a more in-depth look at my thought process, feel free to send me a message on Twitter (@BalesSJustin).


1. Phoenix Suns - DeAndre Ayton, C, Arizona - Grade: A

It would have been nearly impossible to mess up this pick. Ayton does not necessarily have the elite upside of some of the other players, but he’s an NBA ready center that can dominate offensively from night one.

2. Sacramento Kings - Marvin Bagley III, PF, Duke - Grade: A-

The Kings did well to find someone who simply wanted to play for them. Bagley is an athletic four that will be a 20/10 player for the majority of his career. He has struggled defensively at times at Duke, which is why SacTown will likely keep him at the four.

3. Dallas Mavericks - Luka Doncic, SG, Slovenia - Grade: A+

Doncic is the “generational” talent that most scouts saw in this draft. He has the potential to play anywhere from point guard to power forward, displaying tremendous passing to go along with good size. His best attribute is his basketball IQ, though.

4. Memphis Grizzlies - Jaren Jackson Jr., PF, Michigan State - Grade: B+

Jackson comes with a tremendous jump shot for a big man to go along with great defense. He is not quite ready for the NBA, though, as his post game is far from polished. He does struggle with fouls, though. Jackson comes with elite upside for the fourth overall pick.

5. Atlanta Hawks - Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma - Grade: B-

Young is an elite shooter with passing skills. He’s small for the NBA, though, and he comes with quite a bit of risk. He’s arguably the biggest boom or bust prospect in this draft. Keep in mind, the Hawks also added a lightly protected 2019 first from the trade with Dallas.

6. Orlando Magic - Mohamed Bamba, C, Texas - Grade: A+

I felt there were five elite prospects in this draft, so getting one at six is a great pick. Bamba’s defensive prowess is known, as he can contribute immediately with blocks and rebounds. He has shown that he’s working on his offense, as well, and he could be the best player from this draft in a few years.

7. Chicago Bulls - Wendell Carter Jr., C, Duke - Grade: B

The Bulls played it safe here. Carter doesn’t have the upside that some of the other prospects possess, but he will be a starter in the NBA for the next 10 years. Chicago already has a high upside big man in Markkanen, so you can’t fault them for finding starts to go around him.

8. Cleveland Cavaliers - Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama - Grade: B+

Sexton is an athletic point guard that can score with the ball in his hands. He’ll need to work on his passing, but that will come with time. Sexton is a player that can potentially take over the team offensively if Cleveland’s future is without LeBron James.

9. New York Knicks - Kevin Knox, SF, Kentucky - Grade: B-

Knox is an extremely athletic player with good size. He is far from ready for the NBA, but he will find some success based solely around his athleticism. The only reason this grade was not higher was because Michael Porter Jr., who is a significantly better prospect, was still on the board.

10. Phoenix Suns - Mikal Bridges, SG, Villanova - Grade: B-

This would have been a better pick for the Philadelphia 76ers. Bridges is the perfect “3 and D” type of player, as he comes with great length and a tremendous jump shot. He’ll immediately help Phoenix, who has one of the worst defenses in the NBA.

11. Los Angeles Clippers - Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky - Grade: A-

It isn’t often that you can get a potential star outside of the top-10 in an NBA draft. That is the case with SGA, who has elite size, solid driving ability, and a decent jump shot. He will need to add weight to his frame and work on his court vision, but SGA has the potential to become something special.

12. Charlotte Hornets - Miles Bridges, SF, Michigan State - Grade: B-

Bridges is an athletic player that does everything well, but is not an elite player in any category. He’s also a bit of a tweener, as no one truly knows his position based on his size/skillset. Again, this grade drops a bit because of Michael Porter Jr.’s availability.

13. Los Angeles Clippers - Jerome Robinson, SG, Boston College - Grade: D

Robinson has good ball skills and he’s an elite shooter, but this is far too early for him with other options available. Robinson is going to be a scorer off the bench, who struggles defensively. He’s a low upside potential role player for LA.

14. Denver Nuggets - Michael Porter Jr., SF, Missouri - Grade: A+

At this point in the draft, Porter’s medicals can go out the window. He suffered a back injury, which is concerning, but he could be the most talented player in this draft. For a late lottery pick, it’s an easy risk to take.

15. Washington Wizards - Troy Brown Jr., SG, Oregon - Grade: C

Brown comes with some upside, but he also comes with quite a bit of risk. He’s a long shooting guard that has struggled with his jump shot. He’s more of a defensive player that can come in for either John Wall or Bradley Beal, but he isn’t particularly close to being NBA ready.

16. Philadelphia 76ers - Zhaire Smith, SG, Texas Tech - Grade: B-

Smith is arguably the most athletic player in this draft, but this fit makes no sense. Smith is a slasher that struggles with his jump shot, adding to the limited shooting in Philly. I’ll trust that they have a plan here, though.

17. Milwaukee Bucks - Donte DiVincenzo, SG, Villanova - Grade: B-

This is a tough pick to gauge. If DiVincenzo did not have such an elite March Madness run, he would never have been in the conversation. He did, though. He’s a solid shooter that has proven he’s willing to attack the rim, as well.

18. San Antonio Spurs - Lonnie Walker IV, SG, Miami - Grade: A

This is an elite pick for the Spurs. Walker would have been a lottery pick had there not been injury concerns. He does everything fairly well, but is not elite at anything. He also is not NBA ready, but the Spurs tend to bring the best out of their young players.

19. Atlanta Hawks - Kevin Huerter, SG, Maryland - Grade: B

The Hawks are clearly trying to add shooting, as Huerter is one of the best shooters in this draft. He simply lacks upside, and his ceiling is likely a sixth man. He will be a knockdown shooter, though, and makes an intriguing backcourt partner with Trae Young.

20. Minnesota Timberwolves - Josh Okogie, SG, Georgia Tech - Grade: A-

Okogie is an interesting prospect. He’s nowhere near NBA ready in terms of his offense, but he’s extremely athletic and can immediately help defensively. At worst, he should be a dominant defensive player. At best, he can become a solid all around starter.

21. Utah Jazz - Grayson Allen, SG, Duke - Grade: C+

There were better options here, specifically Aaron Holiday if Utah wanted a guard. It’s tough to truly fault them for finding another scorer, though. There offense was lacking at times last season, and it wouldn’t be surprising if Allen develops into a solid sixth man.

22. Chicago Bulls - Chandler Hutchison, SF, Boise State - Grade: B-

Hutchison is another safe pick by the Bulls. He’s an NBA ready prospect that can immediately help the team. He doesn’t feature great upside, though, which is a major concern. If they were looking to fill out their roster with safe options in this draft, they accomplished their goal.

23. Indiana Pacers - Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA - Grade: A

Holiday fills a void for the Pacers. He can play either guard position, and he’s ready to contribute immediately. He should also understand the NBA with two brothers (Jrue and Justin) already in the league. He’ll be a staple for the Pacers for years to come.

24. Portland Blazers - Anfernee Simons, SG, IMG Academy - Grade: C+

There’s very little known about Simons because he opted not to play in the NCAA this year. He’s a solid shooter, but far from NBA ready. I trust the Blazers more than the player here, as they are a team that has proven they can develop guards time and time again.

25. Los Angeles Lakers - Moe Wagner, C, Michigan - Grade: C-

It looks like the Lakers are going to make a run at players like LeBron James, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, or Chris Paul. If that’s the case, they did not need a scoring center, who struggles defensively. Robert Williams would have been the much better pick here, although Wagner will be ready to start fairly quickly if LA needs it.

26. Philadelphia 76ers - Landry Shamet, PG, Wichita State - Grade: B-

It’s odd that the Sixers would take a “point guard” with Ben Simmons, Markelle Fultz, and T.J. McConnell all on the team. With that being said, Shamet has a great jump shot and can spread the floor. It wouldn’t be shocking if he moves to more of a shooting guard role.

27. Boston Celtics - Robert Williams, C, Texas A&M - Grade: A+

Williams has virtually no offensive game, but he is an elite defender that can rebound. He’s also an athletic prospect that will be able to run the floor for easy transition dunks. He is a lottery talent that fell due to teams questioning his passion for the sport.

28. Golden State Warriors - Jacob Evans, SG, Cincinnati - Grade: B+

This is a great fit for the Warriors. He’ll never be a star, but he is a great shooter that will get clean looks because of the other players on the team. He also comes with good length, and he can immediately make an impact off the bench.

29. Brooklyn Nets - Dzanan Musa, SF, Bosnia - Grade: B-

Musa has quite a bit of upside for being selected this late in the draft. The Nets have announced that they plan on bringing him over immediately, although he isn’t quite NBA ready. He needs to add muscle to his frame, but he is a fairly well-rounded player that is best with his jump shot.

30. Atlanta Hawks - Omari Spellman, C, Villanova - Grade: C+

Spellman seems like the type of player that the Golden State Warriors would select. He comes with good size, and has a great jump shot for a big man. This pick is on par with taking two of the better shooters in the draft. It’s clear what the Hawks were trying to do.


By: Justin Bales (Twitter)

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