2018 NBA Draft Grades

See how your team fared in this year's NBA draft.

The draft is always a fascinating experience. There are so few days that produce such optimism and despair at the same time. Did your team grab the next cornerstone of the organization or did they pass on the unpassable? Now that the draft is complete and teams have made their mistakes we must dive into how they did. Here are the draft grades for all 30 teams.

Atlanta Hawks – C+

1st Round: Trae Young (5th), Kevin Huerter (19th), Omari Spellman (30th)

2nd Round: N/A

The Hawks had a great opportunity to get some key building pieces for their future; instead, they used their three first round picks on prospects that still have a ton of question marks. Both Young and Huerter have slender frames, don’t defend well, and will be bullied off the ball easily. They have a long way to go in their development and by no means are a sure thing. If they do develop like the Hawks plan, then they could have the next iteration of the Splash Brothers. Spellman is an intriguing big man who has essentially no post game. He can stretch the floor, rebound, and play defense. His feel for the game still has a long way to go for him to make a true impact. The Hawks had some chances to really turn their franchise around and instead of using that money to plant the cornerstone of their new home; they used the money on a bunch of lottery tickets.

Boston Celtics - B

1st Round: Robert Williams III (27th)

2nd Round: N/A

By most accounts, Robert Williams III was projected to go middle of the first round. He was the next ranked big after the group taken in the top ten and far ahead of any big man taken outside the top ten. The Celtics were in need of a young, athletic big man and that is exactly what they got in Williams. He is a very good rim runner and a freak athlete. He isn’t afraid to dunk over any opponent and he does a good job of blocking shots. The concern is that he is a complete liability on offense if he isn’t dunking the ball. He frequently misses doing a lot of the little things which is a crucial aspect of the Celtics success. If Williams can develop into the next DeAndre Jordan the Celtics got an absolute steal. The concern is that he develops into the next Kenneth Faried.

Brooklyn Nets – C+

1st Round: Dzanan Musa (29th)

2nd Round: Rodions Kurucs (40th)

The Nets have made it clear that they want long versatile wings on their roster. This is exactly what they got. Musa is an impressive scoring wing who can shoot from outside or finish with either hand at the rim. Kurucs is similar with his high-level ball handling and touch around the rim. Neither of these guys will have anything but a negative impact on defense though. Their fundamentals need a lot of work and they both often lose engagement. With that said, the Nets have tried to increase their pace and shoot as many threes as possible over the past few years. Both Musa and Kurucs will be able to help with that.

Charlotte Hornets – B-

1st Round: Miles Bridges (12th)

2nd Round: Devonte’ Graham (34th), Arnoldas Kulboka (55th), Hamidou Diallo (45th)

The Hornets have constantly struggled to find that two-way wing whether it was with the broken shot of Kidd-Gilchrist or the failed Nicolas Batum experiment. Bridges has shown the ability to attack the rim at will and score from outside. His great athleticism makes him a decent defender and a good weak-side shot blocker. Graham will add a mature leadership presence coming off the bench behind Walker while Diallo can provide immediate wing defense and athleticism. Kulboka is a nice stash prospect who will likely need another two years before coming over. He is already a good shooter but needs to work on handling the physicality of the game. If the Hornets move off of Walker early and Bridges is forced to become the primary scorer, I could see this failing rather quickly.

Chicago Bulls - B

1st Round: Wendell Carter (7th), Chandler Hutchison (22nd)

2nd Round: N/A

The emergence of Lauri Markkanen last year was an absolute delight for the Bulls. Pairing him with a do-it-all big man in Wendell Carter will only help their development. Carter doesn’t do one particular thing excellent but does almost everything really well. He has a solid post game but can also stretch the floor when he gets his footwork right. He can switch some on the perimeter but also help protect the rim. Hutchison will be able to help fill their depleted wing depth as well. He has an incredible work ethic and only wants to keep getting better. He can shoot it from outside and play solid defense. Neither of these prospects can do much when it comes to creating their own shot and need to improve on their decision making. Too often the play would be rushed or the pass would be forced and lead to an unnecessary turnover. In order for Carter and Hutchison to succeed, the Bulls will need to see improvement from their playmakers.

Cleveland Cavaliers – B

1st Round: Collin Sexton (8th)

2nd Round: N/A

Sexton is one of the most fun players in this draft. He is uber-competitive, extremely hard-working, and plays with a very high energy. His defense got better as the year went on and he did a great job of attacking the rim and being a pure scorer. As a point guard though, his point guard skills were lacking. His playmaking struggled and he often appeared as if he was playing with blinders on. Missing the extra pass or playing out of control was by no means a rare occurrence. Cleveland needed point guard help and an infusion of energy, passion, and desire which is exactly what Sexton can provide.

Dallas Mavericks – A

1st Round: Luka Doncic (3rd)

2nd Round: Jalen Brunson (33rd), Shake Milton (54th)

This grade was essentially locked in after they were able to trade up two spots and select the (in my eyes) best player in this draft. Doncic is a great scorer and an even better passer. He has a great feel for the pick-and-roll and is a natural leader. In the second round, they were able to pick up a mature, well-rounded point guard in Brunson and a scoring guard in Milton. The Mavericks now have a very young and exciting backcourt with Smith, Doncic, Brunson, and Milton. I would have liked to see them take a big man or wing but their avoidance of those positions tells me that they will likely look to max out a center like Capela or Cousins and play a lot of small ball.

Denver Nuggets – A-

1st Round: Michael Porter Jr (14th)

2nd Round: Jarred Vanderbilt (41st), Thomas Welsh (58th)

Michael Porter Jr was once considered the best player in the country and the likely number one draft pick. The Nuggets were able to pick him with the last pick of the lottery. I’m not the highest on Porter but this is an incredible value. He is able to use his size and length to shoot over any opponent and has all the tools to be a good defender. The reason why he fell to the Nuggets though is the health of his back. There must have been enough in those medical reports to scare teams away. If Porter is unable to stay healthy it will be an absolute shame but if it ends up not being an issue at all, the Nuggets could be rewarded for taking the risk. In the second round, they were able to find some wing defense in Vanderbilt who can guard any position and plays with an extremely infectious energy level. The pick of Welsh surprised me. Not much upside or skills that translate to the NBA. He will be able to spot up some for jump shots but will otherwise be a non-factor.

Detroit Pistons – A

1st Round: N/A

2nd Round: Khyri Thomas (38th), Bruce Brown Jr (42nd)

After not having a first-round pick, the Pistons ended up with an incredible second round. They were able to trade with the 76ers to get the rights to Khyri Thomas and then selected Bruce Brown Jr a few picks later. Thomas is one of my favorite players in this draft who I had ranked as my 13th best prospect. The fact that he fell to 38th and then acquired for a couple future second-round picks is very puzzling. Thomas is one of the best defenders in this class who can even battle with some big men due to his lower body strength. He is a good shooter from three, can attack the basket, and showed improved playmaking abilities throughout the year. Brown is another prospect that fell further than initially thought at the start of the year. He is a very good defender and intelligent player but struggled with consistency and injuries this year. The Pistons were able to find two very talented players despite not having a first-round pick.

Golden State Warriors – B

1st Round: Jacob Evans (28th)

2nd Round: N/A

After winning the Finals, the Warriors made it clear that they were on the hunt for an infusion of energy on the wing. They were remarkably thin in terms of depth this year. Evans will help with this from day one. He is a mature 3-and-D player. His defensive intensity is contagious and the combination with his high basketball IQ makes him an intimidating defender. Offensively he is a consistent shooter from outside but struggles to create his own opportunity. Playing off the ball on offense and being a defensive impact will fit the Warriors beautifully.

Houston Rockets – B

1st Round: N/A

2nd Round: De’Anthony Melton (46th)

After sitting out a year, Melton needed to go to a stable organization that wouldn’t ask too much of him. Melton is a very good defender who creates turnovers and is a good shot blocker. He uses his length and athleticism to lock down opponents and grab a surprising amount of rebounds. He will need to improve his shooting to play off of Harden and Paul but he won’t be asked to play outside of himself.

Indiana Pacers – B+

1st Round: Aaron Holiday (23rd)

2nd Round: Alize Johnson (50th)

The Pacers were able to find their point guard in Holiday and bolster their wing depth with Johnson. Holiday is a mature ball handler who can get hot for 30 points. He sees the floor well, is a solid passer, and has some pretty impressive basketball DNA. He will be able to be the primary ball handler or play off of Oladipo when he needs to take over games. Johnson has shown a lot of improvement and potential of what his game could turn into. His strong rebounding and playmaking will help their offensive versatility. The Pacers were a game away of upsetting the Cavaliers in the playoffs. After this draft, they have only improved.

Los Angeles Clippers – C

1st Round: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (11th), Jerome Robinson (13th)

2nd Round: N/A

For a franchise that has struggled to find a good wing, it would seem to make sense to draft a wing in a draft that is loaded with them. Instead, the Clippers took two guards to add to their rotation of Williams, Teodosic, Beverley, and Rivers. The only reason that the grade isn’t worse is that I enjoy how talented both these players are. Gilgeous-Alexander is a good defender with great length. His desire to improve is second to none and Doc Rivers has experience handling players of a similar ilk. Robinson just had one of the best seasons in ACC history and is an exceptional offensive talent. The Clippers need help on the wing and to not take a wing with either pick is a wasted opportunity.

Los Angeles Lakers – C+

1st Round: Moritz Wagner (25th)

2nd Round: Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (48th)

One thing the Lakers were clearly focused on was improving their shooting with no concerns for their defense. Wagner is an impressive offensive talent that can shoot from anywhere or utilize his ever-improving post-game. He has improved his rebounding but provides very little defensively. Svi is of a similar mold but the wing version of Wagner. He might be the best shooter in this class and is also a surprisingly good rebounder; the defensive ability just isn’t there though. The Lakers ranked second last in three-point shooting last year and clearly felt that it was something that needed to be addressed.

Memphis Grizzlies – B+

1st Round: Jaren Jackson Jr (4th)

2nd Round: Jevon Carter (32nd)

Even though the grit-and-grind era is over, these are two players that could easily bring it back. Jackson may end up being the best overall big man in this draft. As one of the youngest players, he is an incredible piece to build around. He is a great defender and has shown success shooting from outside. Carter is one of the toughest, hard-nosed defenders in this draft as well. He won’t light up the stat sheets but he will do all of the little things correctly. The fit of Gasol and Jackson seems a little sloppy to me so I wouldn’t be surprised if we didn’t see Gasol in Memphis for too much longer. However, if they do stick with both of them, be prepared for two of the best rim protectors in the league playing side-by-side.

Miami Heat - Incomplete

1st Round: N/A

2nd Round: N/A

Milwaukee Bucks – B+

1st Round: Donte DiVincenzo (17th)

2nd Round: N/A

The Bucks needed help with their backcourt depth and energy. DiVincenzo is a very confident and athletic point guard. He can shoot from outside, attack the rim, defend opponents on the perimeter, and block shots at the rim. He plays with a very high sense of confidence but never plays outside himself or the team concept. Milwaukee just got a lot younger, more athletic, and a hell of a lot more fun to watch.

Minnesota Timberwolves – A-

1st Round: Josh Okogie (20th)

2nd Round: Keita Bates-Diop (45th)

The Timberwolves were in desperate need of cheap wing depth which they directly addressed. Okogie is a high energy defender. He runs the floor really well and loves locking down his opponent. He has shown some ability to shoot from outside but needs to become much more consistent. Bates-Diop was thought of as an option at 20 for the Timberwolves but somehow fell and they were able to get him at 45. His length and two way versatility will help the Timberwolves from day one.

New Orleans Pelicans - C

1st Round: N/A

2nd Round: Tony Carr (51st)

It was a rather dull draft for the Pelicans but they were able to address an area of need, scoring guard. Rondo and Holiday proved to be a very good pairing in the playoffs but they didn’t have another guard besides Holiday that could get buckets. Carr is a very good scorer that can light it up once he gets going. In college, he was rather inefficient and a non-factor on defense. Hopefully, this was due to the lack of surrounding support and will be something he can work on once he is in an NBA system.

New York Knicks – B

1st Round: Kevin Knox (9th)

2nd Round: Mitchell Robinson (36th)

The Knicks addressed two areas of need on the wing and another athletic big man. Knox is a good scorer who can attack the rim and potentially shoot from outside. My concerns with him are that he often gets disengaged on both ends of the floor when he isn’t directly involved. Robinson is a freak athlete and a great rim protector. After a very discouraging recruiting process I worry about his maturity and willingness to improve.

Oklahoma City Thunder – C

1st Round: N/A

2nd Round: Devon Hall (53rd), Kevin Hervey (57th)

The Thunder needed depth, plain and simple. They were able to pick up two wings that can do a bit of everything. They don’t demand the ball and have more of an impact when running through screens. Their high basketball IQ alone should be enough to earn them spots in the rotation.

Orlando Magic – B

1st Round: Mohamed Bamba (6th)

2nd Round: Melvin Frasier (35th), Justin Jackson (43rd)

John Hammond is at it again. The Magic took some of the longest players available despite need or current roster construction which I don’t entirely object to considering the dumpster fire of a roster they have. Their main focus was clearly defense as all three are excellent defenders. The roster now consists of a gluttony of big men who all struggle to score. Seeing them go with at least one offensively minded guard would have been nice to see but at least they had a vision they stuck to and were able to get three talented prospects.

Philadelphia 76ers – D-

1st Round: Zhaire Smith (16th), Landry Shamet (26th)

2nd Round: Isaac Bonga (39th), Ray Spalding (56th), Kostas Antetokounmpo (60th)

This draft needs to be a warning to all other NBA teams that it is absolutely essential to have a General Manager at the time of the draft. With the tenth pick, the 76ers selected Mikal Bridges which was a perfect fit: great defender who was a great shooter. Instead of keeping him (by the way his mom works for the franchise too), they traded him for the 16th pick Zhaire Smith and a 2021 first round pick. Smith is a great athlete and a good defender but can’t shoot at all. Shamet is a good shooter but that is essentially where his game ends. Bonga is a draft-and-stash player who likely needs another two years to develop. Spalding and Antetokounmpo will likely have little to no impact on the team. In a key year where the team needed to win now by adding defense and shooting, they gave away the perfect fit for pieces that barely do either.

Phoenix Suns – A+

1st Round: Deandre Ayton (1st), Mikal Bridges (10th)

2nd Round: Elie Okobo (31st), George King (59th)

While I still think Doncic should have gone first, the Suns had an incredible draft. Ayton fits great in their rotation and is a great scorer and even better athlete. After the Suns were able to fleece the 76ers by getting Mikal Bridges they picked up a great scoring guard in Okobo and a strong wing in King. This was a draft that the Suns had to get right and they essentially nailed every pick.

Portland Trail Blazers – C-

1st Round: Anfernee Simons (24th)

2nd Round: Gary Trent Jr (37th)

The Trail Blazers draft made very little sense to me. They need help on the wing and have struggled to find a consistent option there. Instead of addressing that need to help their great scoring but defensively deficient guards they draft two guards who are great at scoring but defensively deficient. Simons is a great scorer and athlete but is a project. He is very slender, doesn’t handle defensive pressure well, and plays essentially zero defense. Trent is a very good shooter and, well, that’s about it. He doesn’t play defense or creates for others. These picks didn’t help the Trail Blazers make the jump that they were so primed to make.

Sacramento Kings – C

1st Round: Marvin Bagley III (2nd)

2nd Round: N/A

The Kings were in a prime spot to take a transcendent player in Doncic but instead opted for an athletic big man that struggles shooting and is worse on defense. Bagley was a dominant college player but that was against guys who were fractions of what he will face in the NBA. He is a very good athlete who does well scoring at the rim and rebounding. Based on that alone I won’t be surprised when he is recording 20 points and 10 rebounds a game. With that said, he’s not going to make his team better and they now have a myriad of big men that they don’t seem to know what to do with. The only saving grace with this is that Bagley works his ass off every day. He plays so hard and wants to be the best. I hope that this gets him in gear on defense and helps him develop a shot but right now I’m not sold.

San Antonio Spurs – B+

1st Round: Lonnie Walker IV (18th)

2nd Round: Chimezie Metu (49th)                                  

In vintage Spurs fashion, a lottery talent falls to them. Walker is a really nice fit with the Spurs. He reminds me a lot of a younger Danny Green. He can shoot, defend, and attack the rim. As Green ages and Kawhi likely moves on, Walker will be a great wing to develop and lean on in the years to come. In the second round, they were also able to snag a solid big man in Metu. He is a good rim protector and can explode off the floor. He has a surprising ability to create off the dribble and could see some solid minutes as Pau continues to age.

Toronto Raptors - Incomplete

1st Round: N/A

2nd Round: N/A

Utah Jazz – B-

1st Round: Grayson Allen (21st)

2nd Round: Vincent Edwards (52nd)

The Jazz were able to add some wing versatility with both their picks. Allen is an impressive shooter and was one of the best athletes at the combine. He showed his improved playmaking abilities as the year went on as well. Edwards also excels when playing off the ball and finding the open spots around the arc. Neither of these guys can play much defense though. Allen struggles because he just is bad at it. He works hard but almost seems to have never been properly taught how to play defense. Edwards really lacks the required awareness to be effective. Based on what the Jazz have done as an organization though, it wouldn’t shock me if they are able to turn them into competent defenders.

Washington Wizards – B-

1st Round: Troy Brown (15th)

2nd Round: Issuf Sanon (44th)

Wizards were able to continue to bolster their versatile wing depth by taking Brown. He is a really good defender and has a high basketball IQ. His shot is still too segmented and needs to become more fluid for him to be a real threat from outside. Sanon will be a draft-and-stash prospect for a few years. I would have liked to see the Wizards take another guard that could help off the bench here. The addition of Brown will help their rotation and at times they may be able to go very small with Wall, Beal, Brow, Oubre, and Porter.

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