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2017 NBA Draft Grades: Ranking Every Team From Best To Worst

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Fadeaway World

Every year, 60 NBA players begin their NBA careers after months of heavy scrutinization by scouts and armchair geniuses (aka us bloggers). But now that the prospects are done being criticized (for now), we shall go after the front offices. Teachers give students grades based on performance, and just like that old streetball expression “You reach, I teach”, the GMs that REACH will be TAUGHT a lesson, by yours truly. Here we go, with our 2017 Team-By-Team NBA Draft Grades.

30. Chicago Bulls: D-

Not picking a random senior projected in the late 1st-round keeps the Bulls above an F here. I mean really- a bona fide all-star in Jimmy Butler has been traded for a disappointment and an athlete coming off a season-ending ACL injury. They also get #7, which is cool, but they use it on a guy with NO SKILLS outside of shooting and passing. He’s an unathletic big who can’t rebound and gives up points at a level that is impressively bad. They also give up their other first-rounder, which simply worsens the deal! Not only did they undersell their star player with multiple years left on their contract who wasn’t disgruntled, but they also gave up a pick to do it! I am disgusted by GarPax right now. You know, I think I’ve figured out why GarPax is still with the franchise.

Long ago, in the early 2010s, the Chicago owner saw a Smoky the Bear commercial. He was deeply moved, and when he heard that “Only he can prevent wildfires”, he took that message to heart. He proclaimed that fire should be outlawed in all levels of the franchise, and unfortunately, this was misheard as “no firing”. None of the front office guys who heard that are willing to bring that to light, though (as they rightfully feared for their jobs). So it appears as if no one will ever be fired again in the Chicago franchise, unfortunately for Bulls fans. Sorry about that, y’all.

PICKS

#7 Lauri Markkanen

TRADES

Bulls get - Pick #7, Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn

Timberwolves get - Jimmy Butler, Pick #16

29. Cleveland Cavaliers: D

They apparently had a deal done to get Ivan Rabb but missed the deadline. Huh, a team that just fired their GM made a logistical mistake? Hmm, how did that happen? (Obvious sarcasm is obvious)

PICKS - N/A

TRADES - N/A

28. Atlanta Hawks: D+

WHY- Good, solid picks. Nothing spectacular, but caught John Collins off the slide and picked up Tyler Dorsey to be a solid role player off the bench. Nothing crazy… except the Dwight trade, where they 1) Dropped 10 spots, 2) Got slightly more short-term money, and 3) Howard’s contract expires a year earlier than Plumlee’s. To summarize, Atlanta gets a lower pick to lose talent and take on more money. Only Collins keeps them over a D.

PICKS

#19 John Collins

#41 Tyler Dorsey

#60 Alpha Kaba

TRADES

Hawks get - Marco Belinelli, Miles Plumlee, Pick #41

Hornets get - Dwight Howard, Pick #31

27. Boston Celtics: C-

Boston didn’t trade for a star, despite one being moved and two others being shopped. They also didn’t take the consensus #1 prospect, beloved by fans, Markelle Fultz. No, they traded down and took Tatum, a scoring combo forward with immense scoring potential.

How will they function with two sieves (Tatum and Isaiah Thomas) on the court at times, sometimes with a Kelly Olynyk/Tyler Zeller-type player? Most of the Boston Boyz (Smart and Crowder should make a grunge rock boy band by that name) are good to great defensive players, but adding a big minus defender is always a question mark. Ojeleye falling that far was an absolute STEAL. Crazy at SMU, will be a great fit in at that 4 spot that was such a weakness for Boston all year. Ainge may not have realized that a Shooting Guard named Allen and Small Forward named Bird didn’t necessarily have Ray or Larry in front, and even if he did, it’s a crapshoot at that point. You really just have to wait and see at that point.

PICKS

#3 Jayson Tatum

#37 Semi Ojeleye

#53 Kadeem Allen

#56 Jabari Bird

TRADES

Celtics get - Pick #3, Future 1st-round pick in 2018 or 2019

76ers get - Pick #1

26. Indiana Pacers: C-

I didn’t love the Leaf pick because with the recent Paul George news, you’d think that you’d be looking for his replacement - not his compliment. OG Anonuby was there, Harry Giles was there, these high-potential guys were there… and instead they take a guy who may already be near his ceiling. Ike, on the other hand, can’t be much more different than Leaf... and I love it.

With where you are, with where your franchise is, you need the highest-potential player on the board. You are not a win-now team, you are a win-later team, and thus you want someone who can be a starter on the next great Indiana playoff team. Is TJ Leaf that? I don’t think so. With Ike, the frame of mind was right, but not the position. You have a young Franchise cornerstone already at that position! Although, at that point in the draft, it’s not THAT big of a deal. Also, I like Sumner as a backup PG, especially when the only asset you give up is money.

PICKS

#18 TJ Leaf

#47 Ike Anigbogu

#52 Edmond Sumner

TRADES

Pacers get - Pick #52

Pelicans get - Cash

25. Milwaukee Bucks: C-

DJ Wilson is a bit of a reach here, but I trust the Milwaukee front office more than most. If they want to take a bouncy, athletic young guy in the mid-first round, I won’t question it. They got Giannis, they got Thon, now they’re getting Wilson. He doesn’t necessarily fill a need- if you wanted a smaller-school player, I would’ve gone with Derrick White- a need and fits the mold. Sterling Brown is OK. I don’t necessarily love the pick- as a playoff team, they can afford to either fill a need or gamble, of which they did neither. Giles or Anonuby would’ve been great here, especially Giles. If he worked out, Giannis/Jabari/Giles/Thon would be CRAZY. And you could probably invent a funky lineup with all of them, along with Khris Middleton. Instead, they take a player who I can’t see ever starting.

PICKS

#17 DJ Wilson

#46 Sterling Brown

TRADES

1. Bucks get- Pick #46

76ers get - ???

2. Bucks get - ???

Clippers get - Pick #48

24. Miami Heat: C-

They selected a raw player who will be a backup for their “franchise player” Hassan Whiteside, which doesn’t really make sense for a near-playoff team that happens to reside in the Eastern half of the Association. I trust Pat Riley, but I’m not sure how much. It seems like they could’ve traded down and made the same selection while picking up further ancillary assets to build the team.

PICKS

#14 Edrice “Bam” Adebayo

TRADES - N/A

23. Houston Rockets: C

Eh. They didn’t get Paul George, or do anything else notable, for that matter.

PICKS

#43 Isaiah Hartenstein

TRADES

Rockets get- Future 2nd-rounder

Grizzlies get- Pick #45

22. New Orleans Pelicans: C

The Pellies essentially gave up Tim Frazier to trade up 9 spots and select Frank Jackson. I’m sure that if they were trading one-on-one with Charlotte they could’ve given up less, but I suppose that couldn’t be arranged. Frazier is a very good PG, but for whatever reason he’s only good in Mardi Gras Town when Jrue is hurt, so he did have to go, but this seems a bit weak.

PICKS

#31 Frank Jackson

TRADES

1. Pelicans get- Pick #52

Wizards get- Tim Frazier

2. Pelicans get- Pick #31

Hornets get- Pick #40, Cash

3. Pelicans get - Cash

Pacers get - Pick #52

21. Denver Nuggets: C+

I really believe in Monte Morris, and this system is one where he could especially thrive. Cancar is kind of a lottery ticket, and Lydon is an anti-Faried, which should make some Denver fans happy. I just don’t see why you need to inject 4 young players (don’t forget Lyles) into an already-crowded roster. So, if you bring back all the FAs, you’ll have

1 - Mudiay, Morris

2 - Murray, Harris, Barton, Beasley

3 - Gallinari, Chandler

4 - Faried, Hernangomez, Lyles, Lydon

5 - Jokic, Plumlee

That’s 14 guys, add in Arthur and you have 15 high-end rotation guys/prospects, as well as another who would easily suit up for most teams. This much depth simply is not sustainable, morale- and chemistry-wise. Why not stay and pick up Anonuby? Then you could more easily swallow letting one of your Hybrids go, add depth in a more important area, and don’t fill up the frontcourt. If anything, package picks and move up. Better talent is more valuable right now for the Mile High Ballers than more talent, which is the exact OPPOSITE of what trading down does.

PICKS

#24 Tyler Lydon

#49 VlatkoCancar

#51 Monte Morris

TRADES

Nuggets get - Trey Lyles, Pick #24

Jazz get - Pick #13

20. Detroit Pistons: C+ 

Meh. They needed a bench leader, they got one. They missed out on Monk, but they didn’t think he’d get that low anyway. This was pretty much just the most “meh” draft I’ve seen in a while.

PICKS

#12 Luke Kennard

TRADES - N/A

19. Memphis Grizzlies: B- 

Decent value, nothing exceptional though.Pretty much the NBA Draft equivalent of Andy Dalton, but with less recessive-gene hair.

PICKS

#35 Ivan Rabb

#45 Dillon Brooks

TRADES

Grizzlies get- Pick #35

Magic get- Conditional 2019 2nd-rounder

Grizzlies get - Pick #45

Rockets get - Future 2nd-rounder

18. Oklahoma City Thunder: B-

Nothing special here. It was widely expected, no real rumors, and they made the pick everyone knew they would. Solid pickup, should provide Westbrook more space for his manic drives.

PICKS

#21 Terrence Ferguson

TRADES - N/A

17. New York Knicks: B-

It seemed as if most mocks had New York taking Frank the French Tank… but most mocks didn’t have Markkanen going top-seven. Dennis Smith, Jr is an earth-shaking athlete with a shot, driving ability, and defensive potential. Ntilikina was the “safe pick”, but Smith’s upside is miles higher. Smith reportedly described himself to the Mavs as “Derrick Rose with a jump shot”, which sounds good- until you realize that he also may have D-Rose’s knees. He missed his entire senior year of High School with a torn ACL. Yeesh. Comparisons to fallen stars should never run that deep, and concerns of that nature may have been what knocked New York out of the running. Frankie Nill’s evaluation is as follows, here is how a-few-months-younger Jackson put it:

New York is reportedly “enamored” with Ntilikina, and it’s pretty easy to see why. His athleticism and build (6’5 with long arms), great performance at FIBA (22.7 points, 6.7 assists, 3.2 steals, 1.7 blocks, and 5 turnovers per 40 in 6 games, despite battling an illness through the first 3 and averaging just 7.3 PPG for the first half of the tournament), youth (he’s still just 18), passing, shooting, and defense make him the ideal floor general for the most dysfunctional franchise in the league. They are terrible on D, something Ntilikina is proficient at (remember the 3.2 steals and 1.7 blocks per 40 in the FIBA U18 tourney), and Phil Jackson just happens to be a master of overseas scouting (Kristaps Porzingis and Willy Hernangomez in successive drafts). In the previously mentioned FIBA U18 tournament, he shot just 42.4% from two (not great), but a ridiculous 58.6% from three. On pull-up jumpers, he shot an insane… wait for it… 1.727 POINTS PER POSSESSION! And it wasn’t just small-sample-size theater - he did that over 22 pull-up possessions in the tourney! He scored 31 in the championship game against Lithuania, showing some takeover skill that some doubted he had. There aren’t just strengths though- he does have some issues. He struggled to finish at FIBA (1-of-5 at the rim in the half-court), and wasn’t great at creating high-percentage two-point offense for himself (42.4% 2Pt%, as well as his struggles at the rim in the half court). He didn’t fare well against pressure (22.8% TO%). He may not be as talented as other top PG prospects, but is a safer bet, and is more of a “traditional point guard”, very similar to Jrue Holiday.

“Not as talented as the other PG prospects” and “Safer pick”. Is this really what NYK fans want to hear, on a night where they didn’t trade Porzingis? That they want the “safer pick” to pair with him? I personally believe that Phil trusted either 1) DraftExpress’ mock drafts, which I consider unlikely because he would probably read MySpace mock drafts (Do those exist?), or 2) That Ntilikina’s basketball IQ was significantly higher than Smith’s, and thus he could run the triangle better. Or maybe Dolan said “draft Frank” and left to play his concert, not expecting Smith to be there. I’m picturing it like a dad who gives his 16-year-old the keys, says to take 8th Avenue and takes off to work; There is a crash on 8th Ave, but he is scared to veer off of the designated course, so he takes the less-desirable route. Or maybe, as Nate Silver thinks, they plan to bring back Thanasis Antetokounmpo and have an all-European team of players whose names would single-handedly win a scrabble game. Ntilikina, Antetokounmpo, Porzingis, Kuzminskas, and Hernangomez. Anyway, no matter the reason, it seems as if New York choked away the pick. But, on the other hand, they didn't give away Porzingis for relatively anything, so… a B-?

PICKS

#8- Frank Ntilikina

#44 Damyean Dotson

#58 Ognjen Jaramaz

TRADES - N/A

16. Los Angeles Clippers: B 

Similar to Golden State, LA came in with no picks. They managed to leave with two, including and limited to Tourney star SindariusThornwell, as well was P&R Maestro Jawun Evans. Evans could be a great 6th man as a ballhandler off of the bench, but I’m not sure how much I trust Doc to demote/trade his son. That’s why I am slowly becoming more and more convinced that the Clippers are more than a bit worried about CP3 leaving. And that could only be so if they weren’t offering a fifth year…

PICKS

#39 Jawun Evans

#48 Sindarius Thornwell

TRADES

Clippers get - Pick #39

76ers get - Cash

Clippers get - Pick #48

Bucks get - ???

15. Toronto Raptors: B+ 

They didn’t do anything crazy but Anonuby fell to them and they jumped on it, which gets them my Kudos, with a catch- this is a TERRIBLE move if he didn’t pass his physical. If OG’s knee isn’t OK, he will not make an NBA impact. If its good to go, they got an absolute STEAL and they get a player who is immediately a more-athletic Demarre Carroll. He can guard AT LEAST 2-4, as well as some ones, which is always valuable- and his athleticism helps him to not be a complete zero on offense.

PICKS

#23 OG Anonuby

TRADES - N/A

14. Orlando Magic: B+ 

I LOVE Isaac, although it does seem suspiciously as if they are slowly giving up on Gordon, which is a big no-no for a player who has continually made strides on a yearly basis and is still on his rookie contract. Hopefully, this isn’t the case, but both are best served as PFs, so it sadly might be. They also picked up a possible future 1st and 2nd, as well as another 2nd. Also, Though Iwundu is clearly not a franchise-changing talent, he could eventually develop into a solid role player.

PICKS

#6 Jonathan Isaac

#33 Wesley Iwundu

TRADES

1. Magic get - Conditional 2019 2nd-rounder

Grizzlies get - Pick #35

2. Magic get- Conditional 2020 1st-rounder (OKC), 2020 2nd-rounder

76ers get- Pick #35

13. Washington Wizards: B+ 

If I were in the Wiz Kid front office, I would give up Edmond Sumner for Tim Frazier any day.

PICKS - N/A

TRADES

Wizards get - Tim Frazier

Pelicans get - Pick #52

12. Dallas Mavericks: B+ 

Dennis Smith, Jr is a dynamic prospect with seemingly limitless potential. If anyone can coax it out it’s Rick “Point Guard Whisperer” Carlisle. But not whisperer as in creepy, but as in teaching him stuff. In a whisper.Because of reasons unbeknownst to me.You know what, nevermind, this is getting weird. I’m knocking you down to a B+ because of a coach’s nickname that I invented.

PICKS

#9 Dennis Smith, Jr

TRADES - N/A

11. Los Angeles Lakers: B+ 

Los Angeles knew what they wanted and got it. The D’Lo trade was officially completed, they picked Lonzo, got a big, a shooting big, and a veteran sniper guard. Josh Hart will actually be a “veteran” on this team, which shows the overall youth; guys like Brook Lopez and Luol Deng will be more traditional leaders, though. Nice mix of youth and age, Lonzo is potentially transcendent, and the Lakers could be really, really fun.

PICKS

#2 Lonzo Ball

#27 Kyle Kuzma

#30 Josh Hart

#42 Thomas Bryant

TRADES

1. Lakers get - Brook Lopez, Pick #27

Nets get - D’Angelo Russell, Timofey Mozgov

2. Los Angeles Lakers get - Pick #30, Pick #42

Jazz get - Pick #28

10. Utah Jazz: A- 

Lyles wasn’t being used, so they really just traded their Break Glass In Case of Emergency prospect for a +11 in terms of draft position. Mitchell, a 6’3 scoring guard with a 6’11 wingspan, is one of my favorite guys in the draft. His size, if not vertically then horizontally, should give him a defense that is at least on par, maybe even supra-par.And his offense? Well, that was never in question. He is a highly effective scoring option on the wing. And that doesn’t even mention Williams-Goss, who will likely be the 3rd-string point guard immediately, as well as Bradley, who could conceivably take Jeff Withey’s roster spot immediately. Amazing draft by Dennis Lindsey & Co.

PICKS

#13 Donovan Mitchell

#28 Tony Bradley

#55 Nigel Williams-Goss

TRADES

1. Jazz get - Pick #13

Nuggets get - Trey Lyles, Pick #24

2. Jazz get - Pick #28

Los Angeles Lakers get - Pick #30, Pick #42

9. Phoenix Suns: A- 

Josh Jackson, who a lot of people (myself included) consider the #2 overall prospect, fell. He was best available, and THE best fit in the draft. Tough? Check. Lockdown D? Check. Athletic? Yup. And, just because he wants to, he’s a good passer too.

PICKS

#4 Josh Jackson

#32 Davon Reed

#54 Alec Peters

TRADES - N/A

8. Sacramento Kings: A- 

Seems like Sacramento actually likes big colleges. I mean, none of us were really sure, but, I think that this draft might be just enough to convince us.

All sarcasm aside, it seems as if the post-Boogie Kings want an atmosphere of guys who have played in winning environments, as evidenced by these four players (who attended Kentucky, North Carolina, Duke, and Kansas), who spent their time in college at the four winningest schools in NCAA history. Fox reminds many of John Wall with less range or a quicker Mike Conley, which is a relatively fair comparison, given that Ben Simmons was compared to LeBron. He is pretty skinny though, and to be successful, will need to add weight/strength. Giles and Josh Jackson were the consensuses top two prospects entering the draft, but Giles sustained a multitude of knee issues. If those hold up, he could hopefully return to his #1 recruit career path. Justin Jackson could be a good all-around player IF last year wasn’t a three-point fluke. If it was, he’ll have difficulty finding a niche. Frank Mason needs to prove that he can do more than shoot and playmaker in the NBA. All these guys have massive upsides, but all come with a catch. Be it strength, knees, shooting, or a tertiary skill, they’re banking on a lot. And led by 2nd-year player Buddy Hield, the bank is open.

PICKS

#5 De’Aaron Fox

#15 Justin Jackson

#20 Harry Giles

#34 Frank Mason

TRADES

Kings get - Pick #15, Pick #20

Trail Blazers get - Pick #10

7. Portland Trail Blazers: A- 

They did what Denver should’ve done- packaged excess assets to get more valuable ones. And not only did they get Collins at #10, they also picked up Caleb Swanigan at #26, a steal of a deal as well as a great fit for this offense-first Rip City squad.

PICKS

#10 Zach Collins

#26 Caleb Swanigan

TRADES

Trail Blazers get - Pick #10

Kings get - Pick #15, Pick #20

6. San Antonio Spurs: A

WHY- The Spurs always get steals and good grades. The Derrick White/JaronBlossomgame combination could eventually be a really good 1-2 punch off the bench, alongside perhaps Jonathan Simmons and/or Kyle Anderson (Who may be the most universally hated player by his own fans in the whole league, which is really saying something, because most SA fans are pretty chill.).

PICKS

#29 Derrick White

#59 Jaron Blossomgame

TRADES - N/A

5. Golden State Warriors: A

WHY- The Warriors entered the draft with a glaring need (rim protection) but no picks. They had money, though, and just disproved every teacher and parent that says “money doesn’t solve your problems”. This couldn’t have gone much better for the Dubs.

PICKS

#38 Jordan Bell

TRADES

Warriors get - Pick #38

Bulls get - $3.5 million

4. Charlotte Hornets: A

Monk was a consensus top-9 prospect who they got at #11, and they managed to move on from Miles Plumlee’s AWFUL contract. Dwight and Zeller is a really good center rotation, and a Kemba/Monk backcourt is a scoring DYNAMO; Hopefully, Batum/MKG/Zeller/Dwight can make up for their defensive woes.

PICKS

#11 Malik Monk

#40 Dwayne Bacon

TRADES

1. Hornets get - Dwight Howard, Pick #31

Hawks get - Marco Belinelli, Miles Plumlee, Pick #41

2. Hornets get- Pick #40, Cash

Pelicans get- Pick #31

3. Brooklyn Nets: A+

Sean Marks did it. After Billy King gave away everything, Sean Marks swung in like Peter Parker (Sorry, a Spider-Man commercial was on in the background) to save the day. He saw the opportunity and jumped on it, realizing that Brooklyn might not even get to the salary cap floor anyway, so why not take on Mozgov’s salary? At least he’s a veteran presence to bring in along with rookie Jarrett Allen- who could really benefit from Timofey’s tutelage- and the real prize, D’Angelo Russell. This was such a unique situation, on both sides, and Sean Marks wasn’t Lost in the Moment, as the song says, but was instead an opportunistic thief. Russell for cap space? And the team taking it on wouldn’t have used it anyway? Amazing. Last time that happened, Philly got Sauce Castillo and the swap rights on this year’s Kings pick (Which converted, further “confirming” the Process). Bad, spending money-rich teams taking on contracts is almost always a good thing.

D’Angelo is just two years removed from being the #2 overall pick following an amazing year at Ohio State and has really only had one year as a pro, because… Well, old Kobe exists. And the Prehistoric Mamba’s passing doesn’t. Last year was really his rookie year, and he showed MASSIVE improvement throughout the year, from an FG% in the mid-30s to 41%, shot 35% from three, improved by 4% from the stripe on more attempts, and added an assist-and-a-half. 15.6/3/5 for a second-year guy who was essentially denied his rookie year is pretty impressive. And what did Brooklyn really give up besides #27? HUGE win for the Nets, Kenny Atkinson and D’Angelo Russell should be amazing alongside CarisLeVert, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Jarrett Allen.

PICKS

#22 Jarrett Allen

#57 Aleksander Vezenkov

TRADES

Nets get - D’Angelo Russell, Timofey Mozgov

Lakers get - Brook Lopez, Pick #27

2. Philadelphia 76ers: A+

TRUST. THE. FULTZING. PROCESS. They got Fultz, a player who is seemingly a transcendent talent who can play both on-ball and off (when Simmons is on the court), as well as Jonah Bolden, a highly undervalued 3-and-D guy. Pasecniks is a fleet-footed big with nice touch who should be willing to be stashed. Could I go into more detail on Fultz? Yes, but I don’t want to beat a dead horse, mainly because I don’t want to get on PETA’s bad side. Mainly, I’m just freaking out about this possible new dynasty with depth even San Antonio would drool over, and all the NBA GMs are shaking in their boots right there with me.

PICKS

#1 Markelle Fultz

#25 Anzejs Pasecniks

#36 Jonah Bolden

TRADES

1. 76ers get- Pick #1

Celtics get - Pick #3, Future 1st-round pick in 2018 or 2019

2. 76ers get - Pick #25

Magic get - Conditional 2020 1st-rounder (OKC), 2020 2nd-rounder

3. Clippers get - Pick #39

76ers get - Cash

4. 76ers get - ???

Bucks get - Pick #46

1. Minnesota Timberwolves: A+++

They got their star, and they got him for a chap, and they didn't give up Rubio for anything. And they got pick #16 as well? Dang, Minnesota fleeced Chi-Town more than Jason and the Argonauts.

PICKS

#16 Justin Patton

TRADES

Timberwolves get - Jimmy Butler, Pick #16

Bulls get - Pick #7, Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn