2018 NBA Draft: Team Grades

Our resident basketball scout grades each team’s performance on 2018 NBA Draft night.

Atlanta Hawks:
  • 3rd pick: Luka Doncic
    • Trade: Rights to Luka Doncic to Dallas
    • Receive: Trae Young and 2019 first round pick
  • 19th pick: Kevin Huerter
  • 30th pick: Omari Spellman
  • 34th pick: Devonte Graham
    • Trade: Rights to Devonte Graham to Charlotte
    • Receive: Two future second round picks

Atlanta quickly brought the drama to draft night by trading the rights to Doncic to get Trae Young and the Mavericks’ 2019 first round pick, a move that has been widely panned. The remainder of their draft was better/safer, adding shooting and an upside pick in Spellman. They also added a couple minor assets with the Graham trade.

Final Grade: C-

Boston Celtics:
  • 27th Pick: Robert Williams

In one of the bigger surprises of the night, Robert Williams fell far out of the lottery and into the laps of the Boston Celtics, who do not deserve such luck. The Celtics needed to improve their athleticism at Center and Williams does that and then some.

Grade: A

Brooklyn Nets:
  • 29th pick: Dzanan Musa
  • 40th pick: Rodions Kurucs

The Nets took a chance on two international players in the same draft, an almost unheard of strategy. Both players have potential that ranges from a guy with some scoring upside to a complete disaster. I would lean more towards complete disaster.  

Grade: D+

Charlotte Hornets:
  • 11th pick: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
    • Trade: Rights to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to LA Clippers
    • Receive: Miles Bridges and two second round picks  
  • 55th pick: Arnoldas Kulbolka
    • Trade: Two future second round draft picks to Atlanta
    • Receive: Devonte Graham

The Hornets used their 11th pick as leverage against the Clippers beautifully. They arguably received the better prospect AND gained two additional second round picks, which they essentially used later to trade for Devonte Graham. Overall a solid day for Charlotte.

Grade: A-


Chicago Bulls:
  • 7th pick: Wendell Carter
  • 22nd pick: Chandler Hutchison

The mysterious Hutchison promise was indeed made by the the Bulls. He and Wendell Carter will fit well next to Lauri and offer some versatility. Solid draft and the future looks good for the Bulls.

Grade: A

Cleveland Cavaliers:
  • 8th pick: Collin Sexton

Sexton has areas to improve, especially with the consistency of his shot, but he is a fierce competitor and great athlete. The Cavs needed a point guard but he likely will not be enough to sway LeBron James’s decision.

Grade: C+

Dallas Mavericks:
  • 5th pick: Trae Young
    • Trade: Rights to Trae Young and 2019 first round pick to Atlanta
    • Receive: Luka Doncic
  • 33rd pick: Jalen Brunson
  • 54th pick: Shake Milton
    • Trade: Shake Milton to Philadelphia
    • Receive: Ray Spalding and Kostas Antetokounmpo

Giving up a first round pick to get the highest ceiling guy in the draft is worth it. They also picked another first round talent in the second round, solidifying their backup point guard position with Brunson, and have two OK projects in Spalding and Antetokounmpo.

Grade: A

Denver Nuggets:
  • 14th pick: Michael Porter Jr.
  • 43rd pick: Justin Jackson
    • Trade: Justin Jackson and future second round pick to Orlando
    • Receive: Jarred Vanderbilt
  • 58th pick: Thomas Welsh

The Nuggets getting Michael Porter Jr. at 14 is intriguing, but their draft was unremarkable thereafter. Teams were obviously scared away by what they saw on his medicals, but if he can stay healthy the Nuggets could come away with a steal.

Grade: A

Detroit Pistons:
  • 42nd pick: Bruce Brown
  • Trade: Two future second round picks to Philadelphia
  • Receive: Khyri Thomas

The Pistons entered this draft with one second round pick and left with two solid guards. One of them, Thomas, was projected to be a first rounder in a lot of mocks because of his 3-and-D potential. Give credit to Detroit for its willingness to go after a guy who fell to the second round.

Grade: A-

Golden State Warriors:
  • 28th pick: Jacob Evans

One of the quietest picks sent into Adam Silver of the entire night, and one of the best picks of the night. Evans will offer 3-and-D versatility to the Warriors immediately.

Grade: A

Houston Rockets:
  • 46th pick: D’Anthony Melton
  • Trade: Cash considerations to Utah
  • Receive: Vincent Edwards

A lot of mocks had Melton going in/near the first round, which did seem too early for my taste. But taking a chance on a good athlete and defender, hoping his shot will develop over time is worth it at pick 46.

Grade: B

Indiana Pacers:
  • 23rd pick: Aaron Holiday
  • 50th pick: Alize Johnson

The Pacers addressed a need in gaining a ball-handler and shooter with Aaron Holiday. His upside is limited and could top out as a backup point guard, but that should come with longevity.

Grade: B

LA Clippers:
  • 12th pick: Miles Bridges
    • Trade: Miles Bridges and two second round picks to Charlotte
    • Receive: Shai-Gilgeous Alexander
  • 13th pick: Jerome Robinson

The Clippers got taken advantage of in a trade with the Clippers — I would have kept Bridges and the two picks and passed on Gilgeous-Alexander personally, but they must be quite high on the point guard. The Robinson pick is a bit of a reach, but he will provide scoring off the bench. The Clippers could have used their two picks a little more wisely.

Grade: D

Memphis Grizzlies:
  • 4th pick: Jaren Jackson Jr.
  • 32nd pick: Jevon Carter

SAFE. In my mock draft I said that Jaren Jackson Jr. was the safest of all the bigs going early, and you know what you will get with Jevon Carter. The Grizzlies will be better next year, but their future is still in question with Conley and Gasol aging. 

Grade: B

Miami Heat:

No Picks

Milwaukee Bucks:
  • 17th pick: Donte DiVincenzo

The Bucks got what they needed: shooting and athleticism at guard. Giannis should have one more reliable shooter at his side who can take some of Jason Terry, Eric Bledsoe, and Tony Snell’s open outside shots.

Grade: A

Minnesota Timberwolves:
  • 20th pick: Josh Okogie
  • 48th pick: Keita Bates-Diop

Okogie is a raw athlete that needs to improve and there were better players available at 20. However, the Wolves were fortunate to have a potential first rounder in Keita Bates-Diop fall all the way to 48. KBD should offer some versatility and be an improvement over Taj Gibson.

Grade: B

New Orleans Pelicans:
  • 51st pick: Tony Carr

Not much to say here. Pelicans came into the draft with only the 51st pick and left with Tony Carr. His lack of athleticism and ability to create space limits his upside.

Grade: C-

New York Knicks:
  • 9th pick: Kevin Knox
  • 36th pick: Mitchell Robinson

The Knicks took two young players with upside. It could be a few years before we find out what these players’ true potential is. The Knicks are in a rebuild, so that is okay.   

Grade: B-

Oklahoma City Thunder:
  • 53rd pick: Devon Hall
  • 57th pick: Kevin Hervey
  • Receive: Hamidou Diallo pending Charlotte and Nets trade

In a similar situation as the Pelicans, the Thunder had only two second rounders in the draft, but they took advantage of by getting one of the best athletes in this draft in Diallo. Hall could serve as a role 3-and-D player in the future. The Thunder did the best they could with what they had in this draft.

Grade: A

Orlando Magic:
  • 6th pick: Mohamed Bamba
  • 35th pick: Melvin Frazier
  • 41st pick: Jarred Vanderbilt
    • Trade: Jarred Vanderbilt to Denver
    • Receive: Justin Jackson and future second round pick

Magic, well done. Props for not reaching on Sexton or Gilgeous-Alexander to fill a need. They took the best player available and also got Frazier in the second round on top of trading for a versatile Jackson and second round pick. The Magic’s draft is full of upside.

Grade: A+

Philadelphia 76ers:
  • 10th pick: Mikal Bridges
    • Trade: Mikal Bridges to Phoenix
    • Receive: Zhaire Smith and 2021 first round pick
  • 26th pick: Landry Shamet
  • 38th pick: Khyri Thomas
    • Trade: Khyri Thomas to Detroit
    • Receive: two future second round picks
  • 39th pick: Isaac Bonga
  • 56th pick: Ray Spalding
  • 60th pick: Kostas Antetokounmpo
    • Trade: Ray Spalding and Kostas Antetokounmpo to Dallas
    • Receive: Shake Milton

The two players the Sixers should have kept they traded away. They gained a project in Zhair Smith and some assets with a 2021 first round pick and two second round picks. They tried to address shooting needs with two athletically deficient players in Shamet and Milton.

Grade: C-

Phoenix Suns:
  • 1st pick: DeAndre Ayton
  • 16th pick: Zhaire Smith
    • Trade: Zhaire Smith and 2021 first round pick to Philadelphia
    • Receive: Mikal Bridges
  • 31st pick: Elie Okobo
  • 59th pick: George King

The Suns came away from the draft with what could be three future starters and one potential All-NBA player. Two top 10 talents, a guy in Okobo that has offensive upside, and even a versatile wing in King. The Suns got the best players possible while filling team needs.

Grade: A+

Portland Trail Blazers:
  • 24th pick: Anfernee Simons
  • Trade: Two future second round picks and cash considerations
  • Receive: Gary Trent Jr.

This Simons pick is tantalizing in its potential while also raising questions about the future of Lillard and McCollum. Simons likely will not contribute much next year, while the Blazers needed immediately help in other areas.

Grade: C-

Sacramento Kings:
  • 4th pick: Marvin Bagley
  • 37th pick: Gary Trent Jr.
    • Trade: Gary Trent Jr.
    • Receive: Two future second round picks and cash considerations

The Kings locked in on Bagley as the draft neared and rightfully so. He will bring offensive firepower and youth to an already young team. Adding a small asset like Trent is never bad either.

Grade: B+

San Antonio Spurs:
  • 18th pick: Lonnie Walker
  • 49th pick: Chimezie Metu

Lonnie Walker could be the steal of the draft after falling out of the lottery. The reason for the fall could be related to injury concerns,  but Popavich did not mind.

Grade: A

Toronto Raptors:

No Picks

Utah Jazz:
  • 21st pick: Grayson Allen
  • 52nd pick: Vincent Edwards
    • Trade: Vincent Edwards
    • Receive: Cash considerations

Allen seems to fit the gritty culture that Quin Snyder has formed in Utah and will add needed outside shooting to surround Donovan Mitchell. However, Allen’s upside is limited and the pick may have been a slight reach.

Grade: C

Washington Wizards:
  • 15th pick: Troy Brown
  • 44th pick: Isuuf Sanon

The Wizards added a player in Brown to add depth to a position they already seem to have depth in. This makes some wonder about the future of Otto Porter, Beal, and Oubre. Brown needs to improve his outside shooting significantly but he is young and athletic.

Grade: D+


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