2016 NBA Draft grades: Pick-by-pick analysis of all 60 selections
The 2016 NBA Draft has come to an end, but now the fun part begins: figuring out who helped their team going forward, and who will be in the same position next year.
With that, it’s time to reveal our FOXSports.com 2016 NBA Draft grades.
Please note that some grades involve trades that aren’t official yet. So players are on the teams they’re expected to go to, not the ones they were drafted by.
As we learned in their series with the Cavs, the Hawks are still a long way from being competitive with the top team in the East, and it could get worse if Al Horford leaves during free agency.
To Atlanta’s credit, however, it used its two first-round picks on guys who can contribute right away. That is no small feat in a draft with as little depth as this one.
Cordinier is an athletic guard who could be a nice fit in the long-term.
My goodness did Boston have a great night.
The Celtics used the third pick on arguably the third-best player in this draft (Brown), who also happens to fill an immediate need for them (wing scoring). Yabusele should be able to develop into a physical presence down low, and Zizic might be the second-best "true" international prospect in this draft behind only Dragan Bender. He’ll need time, but could develop into a big-time rotation player.
What put Boston over the top, however, was adding two first-round-caliber talents (Jackson and Bentil) in the second round. Jackson specifically might be the steal of the draft, as an ultra-quick guard who averaged 18 points at Notre Dame and tested off the charts at the Combine.
I’m not sure how Danny Ainge did it, but he got five guys who could one day be rotation players in Boston.
When you’re as bad as the Brooklyn Nets are, you simply need good players, and at the very least, that’s exactly what LeVert and Whitehead are.
Still, these selections feel weird.
LaVert is a first-round talent who couldn’t stay healthy throughout his college career, and probably could have been acquired in the second round. Meanwhile Whitehead is a local legend who is staying at home to play in Brooklyn, which isn’t necessarily a good thing.
With Nic Batum and Courtney Lee both hitting free agency, the Hornets needed perimeter scoring, and decided that trading for Marco Bellineli was a better alternative than drafting an unproven college player.
Hard to argue with their logic here.
With Derrick Rose now a Knick, how you feel about the Bulls’ draft really depends on whether you believe Valentine can step into Rose’s shoes as a primary playmaker or not.
I do, and think this is a flat-out steal for the Bulls.
Valentine isn’t a traditional point guard, but is a playmaker in every sense of the word, a guy who can handle the ball, pass and rebound well for his size. There’s a reason he was the National Player of the Year this season.
As long as Valentine can stay healthy (which isn’t a given), he should have a long and productive career in the NBA.
Felder could be a nice replacement in the Cavs’ rotation if Matthew Dellavedova leaves — or is forced to leave — during free agency.
At the same time, let’s be honest: They get an A+ because they’re the NBA champions, and for Cleveland, the best move will be to make as few moves as possible.
Take your shirt off, J.R. Smith, and enjoy this one!
The Pistons had no real needs in this draft (their biggest priority is developing their young, exciting core), so more power to them for going out and getting two players who eventually could be contributors on their roster.
Ellenson specifically could be a big get, as a versatile big man (with nice offensive game) off the bench. Considering he was projected as a late lottery pick, Detroit could have done a lot worse at No. 18.
All the Pacers’ big moves came pre-draft when they acquired Jeff Teague and Thaddeus Young, so it’s hard to really evaluate them here.
In terms of their draft, well, Indiana wants to play faster under Nate McMillan, and the one thing Niang can do is get buckets.
Playing defense, on the other hand, is another story altogether.
No picks = No grade.
Serious question, do you think Pat Riley even watched the draft Thursday night? Or just hung out on a yacht in Biscayne Bay drinking wine all night?
There’s no other way to put it: The selection of Maker wasn’t just the most confusing of the night, but one of the most befuddling in recent memory.
Just to completely wrap our heads around it, here’s what you need to know about the selection: Milwaukee used a top-10 pick on a player who’s never played past high school (and didn’t dominate while there), reportedly could be much older than the 19 he’s listed as, and likely could have been acquired either later in the first round or in the second. I just don’t get it.
Brogdon is a solid second-round addition, but it’s still hard to focus on him when Maker went 26 spots ahead of him.
Technically this gets an "N/A" but credit the Knicks for this: There are few guys with superstar potential in this league, and they used draft week to go out and get one.
Will Derrick Rose ever return to his MVP form? Who knows. But there’s also no doubt that New York is better today than 72 hours ago.
It’s hard to blame Orlando for trading its first-round pick, Domantas Sabonis, after drafting him at No. 11 since: 1) He netted them Serge Ibaka, and 2) They had no true needs, other than developing the guys they already have on their roster.
Additionally, it’s hard not to like their second-round selection of Zimmerman, a guy with lottery talent who could become a solid rotation player.
I know we’re supposed to be critical of all things 76ers, but in one man’s humble opinion, they nailed this draft.
Not only did they get the best player available (Simmons), but also added an athletic running mate on the wing (Luwawu) and arguably the best shooter not named Jamal Murray or Buddy Hield in this draft (Korkmaz). Many mock drafts had him going in the mid-teens, so getting him 10 spots later was a steal.
Add these three to the core big guys Philly already has, and for the first time in a long time, the 76ers could be really interesting.
With the almost certain departure of Bismack Biyombo in free agency, the Raptors needed front court depth, and they got it with these two picks.
While Poeltl is a different player altogether from Biyombo, he should come in and be able to provide offense from Day 1.
Siakam meanwhile eventually could take on more of a Biyombo role as an "energy and hustle" guy, after averaging almost 12 boards a game in college last year.
Easy night for Scotty Brooks and Co. and quiet week overall.
Our hunch is Washington is more concerned with the guys it has on its roster than adding any new ones.
Frankly, it’s hard to know what the heck the plan is in Dallas, in both the present and the future. Because of that, it’s also hard to fairly grade the Mavs’ draft, but in doing so, well, it ain’t pretty.
The Mavs’ only selection was Hammons, a decent center prospect, but one whose size (7-0) and lack of athleticism don’t play well in the modern NBA.
Frankly, I’d be stunned to see Hammons on the Mavs’ roster within three years. He’ll be lucky to make it to opening night.
This draft doesn’t necessarily look sexy on paper, but just wait until next winter: The Nuggets will be one of the more fun, young teams in the NBA.
In terms of the pieces, Murray and Beasley will make for good, young running mates with Emmanuel Mudiay. Frankly (as John Calipari said earlier this week), I wouldn’t be surprised to see Murray lead all rookies in scoring.
Hernangomez is the prototypical modern NBA "4", a guy who can attack the rim and also step out and hit jumpers.
Love, love, love this draft from Golden State.
With both Festus Ezeli and Marreese Speights hitting free agency, the Warriors need to replenish their front court. When you add Jones with last year’s first-round pick Kevon Looney, Golden State has done that. Jones specifically could be a steal — a guy who is athletic enough to run with the Splash Brothers and physical enough to bang down low with the likes of San Antonio and Oklahoma City.
The fact that Golden State acquired McCaw, a defensive-minded guard who thrives in the open court, only added to the appeal of this draft.
Few teams had a better night than the Warriors.
In theory, a guy like Onuaku — one of the best shot blockers in college basketball last year — should be good for a team that played as little defense as Houston did last year. The problem is, I’m not sure Onuaku will be ready to play in the NBA next year, if at all.
Add in Zhou, a player who might not come over next year, or at all, and this draft left a lot to be desired.
Even though Houston had only two second-round picks, it seems like they could have been used more effectively.
(Note: Credit to Houston for signing Gary Payton II following the draft. He’s the tough-minded, defense-first guard they need.)
While all the pre-draft talk focused on adding perimeter scoring (with the possibility that Jamal Crawford leaves in free agency), one of the bigger factors that wasn’t discussed was adding front-court depth behind DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin.
Well, the Clippers did that in spades, and the pick of Johnson is especially impressive. He’s a grinder who doesn’t care how many points he scores, the exact kind of player the Clippers need.
As for Stone, he’s a first-round talent with a second-round attitude. But if the Clippers can keep him in line, he could be a solid rotation player for years to come.
GM Doc Rivers helped out Coach Doc Rivers big-time Thursday night.
This was a two-player draft and the Lakers got the second-best player. And while Ingram is far from a finished product, he is one more young piece for coach Luke Walton to work with.
Meanwhile Zubac is a first-round talent who fell to the second round.
It wasn’t a loud statement for the Lakers, but it was a productive night.
This draft doesn’t look flashy on paper, but it does fill the Grizzlies’ two biggest needs. They needed a point guard in case Mike Conley leaves in free agency and needed some front-court depth with Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph both over 30.
They got that in Baldwin and Davis, with Davis being an especially smart play.
The former Michigan State Spartan won’t be ready to contribute right away. But when he is, watch out. He has the size and physicality to eventually step in and be Randolph’s replacement in the paint.
Nobody loves Kris Dunn more than me, but did the Wolves really need another point guard? Or would they have been better served to bring in shooting either with Jamal Murray or Buddy Hield?
To me, the answer is the latter, but at the same time, it’s tough to question Tom Thibodeau’s track record.
It’s also time to wonder if Ricky Rubio’s clock in Minnesota is ticking.
The Pelicans haven’t done much right since drafting Anthony Davis, but they served their superstar well on draft night.
Hield is the type of player who should be able to step in and immediately get points in the NBA, while Diallo is a "hustle and energy" guy who can help Davis on the boards.
The Pelicans aren’t a true contender in the West yet (or anything close), but they took a step in the right direction.
I love this draft for Oklahoma City. I’d ask it to marry me if I could.
The reason it’s so perfect is that by acquiring Sabonis, what Oklahoma City essentially is saying is this: We believe the best way to beat the Warriors is to beat them up. And in acquiring Sabonis, one of the best volume rebounders in the draft and a kid quick enough to defend more athletic forwards, they have another big, athletic body to put in the front court alongside Enes Kanter and Steven Adams.
Add the ultra-athletic Victor Oladipo (acquired from Orlando) on the wing and the Thunder enter next season as the favorites out West.
(As for Hamilton: Well, I wish him luck riding buses in the D-League next year.)
It feels kind of weird for Phoenix to draft both Bender and Chriss (since their games are so similar), but maybe the Suns’ plan is to grab both and hope one turns into a legitimate NBA star (the good news is, Phoenix has no designs on winning anytime soon, so both should have plenty of time to develop).
However, the reason the Suns get an A- is their pick-up of Tyler Ulis in the second round.
Sure, it plays up the moniker of the "Kentucky Suns" even further (there are now five former John Calipari players on their roster). At the same time, Ulis will bring immediate toughness and leadership to a super-young team.
Even if he’s only a backup, Ulis immediately makes Phoenix better simply by being in their locker room. The fact that he’s best friends with budding star Devin Booker doesn’t hurt, either.
The Blazers had just one pick, and used it on a guy who probably won’t be in the NBA for very long.
Yes, Layman was a projected first-round pick coming into the year. But after watching him against elite talent at the Nike Skills Academy last summer (and in the Big Ten this year), I think he might want to consider getting his passport updated.
This was a directionless draft for a directionless organization.
Yes, Richardson and Labissiere could develop into serviceable NBA players (and Richardson could one day be a star), but that is three or four years down the road. And with DeMarcus Cousins closing in on 26 years old, Sacramento doesn’t have three or four more years to waste waiting for everyone else around Boogie to develop.
If I were Cousins, I’d walk into the owner’s office and demand a trade tomorrow.
This was just another example of the Spurs doing Spurs-y things.
Yes, they only had one pick, but used it on the most athletic point guard in the draft and one with quite possibly the highest upside as well.
Don’t be surprised to see Murray scoring 20 points in a playoff game to beat your favorite team three or four years down the road.
As a team that just missed the playoffs last year, the Jazz don’t have a lot of needs … but at the same time, I don’t see any of these guys making their opening night roster either.
Yes, they were all second-rounders, but it feels like the picks could have been used more resourcefully.
A photo posted by Tyler Ulis (@tulis3) on