Ranking Each Team’s Performance In The 2016 NBA Draft

Brad Penner/USA Today Sport

The 2016 NBA Draft has come to a close. There were a good amount of trades that were made during the draft including a huge deal involving Serge Ibaka. At first glance (and a second glance), it seemed like the Thunder were the obvious winners in that trade as they had received Victor Oladipo along with Domantas Sabonis and Ersan Ilyasova in return.

Today, we decided to grade each team’s performance in the draft today.


Atlanta Hawks

Selections: #12 Taurean Prince, #21 DeAndre Bembry, #44 Isaia Cordinier

The Hawks had a solid draft. Reaching for Taurean Prince at the 12th pick was a little alarming, but getting DeAndre Bembry at pick 21 was definitely one of the highlights for Atlanta.

Grade: B+


Boston Celtics

Selections: #3 Jaylen Brown, #16 Guerschon Yabusele, #23 Ante Zizic, #45 Demetrius Jackson, #51 Ben Bentil, #58 Abdel Nader

When you have 8 picks in a draft, you are expected to come out with some extremely talented players. Jaylen Brown wasn’t as bad as a pick as some people are making it out to be, but the other 1st round picks were very disappointing. They saved the draft by stealing Demetrius Jackson and Ben Bentil in the 2nd round, but they still didn’t earn themselves too great of a grade.

Grade: B-


Brooklyn Nets

Selections: #20 Caris LeVert, #42 Isaiah Whitehead

The Nets reached in the 1st round for the often injured Caris LeVert. Caris is a spectacular talent, but doesn’t deserve a top 20 pick. I love what they did in the 2nd to move up to get the hometown kid in Isaiah Whitehead. Isaiah could’ve easily been a 1st round pick, they stole him.

Grade: B


Charlotte Hornets

No selections made.


Chicago Bulls

Selections: #14 Denzel Valentine, #48 Paul Zipser

Denzel Valentine is a great player. We know he can do it all on the court. But, they already have Doug McDermott for their future. With Jimmy Butler still on the roster, I’m not sure where Valentine fits. If JB is traded, this pick makes more sense. Zipser is very athletic and Chicago has lacked a supremely athletic player for a while.

Grade: B+


Cleveland Cavaliers

Selections: #54 Kay Felder

You have to love when a championship team moves into the draft and gets a steal like this. Kay Felder, while small, is a terrific point guard and is the right kind of kid to join a title winning team.

Grade: A


Dallas Mavericks

Selections: #46 A.J. Hammons

We’ve heard about the character problems that Hammons has. Still, with the 46th pick, Hammons has the talent to make the risk you are taking seem worth it.

Grade: A-


Denver Nuggets

Selections: #7 Jamal Murray, #15 Juan Hernangomez, #19 Malik Beasley, #53 Petr Cornelie

Denver did a pretty good job today. Jamal Murray is an incredible player and the Nuggets got lucky to have him fall to them. Hernangomez is very raw, but has the talent. Malik Beasley is a terrific shooter and, again, I was shocked to see him drop to pick 19. The Nuggets succeeded in the draft today.

Grade: A


Detroit Pistons

Selections: #18 Henry Ellenson, #49 Michael Gbinije

Ellenson is alright. He has a nice shot, but has awful athleticism. The 18th pick in the draft is still pretty early for me. I would’ve liked to see the Pistons go after more of a brute in the paint who could back-up Andre Drummond. Gibinije has a nice jumper, is extremely fast, and should be able to fit into any system.

Grade: B


Golden State Warriors

Selections: #30 Damian Jones, #38 Patrick McCaw

The Warriors have already gotten better. Around the 20th pick, we saw Adrian Wojnarowski tweet that he thought Damian Jones was one of the most talented players left on the board. The Warriors were lucky to get Jones with the last pick in the 1st. McCaw is a nice shooting guard who has the handles to play some point. He works well in that Golden State system.

Grade: A


Houston Rockets

Selections: #37 Chinanu Onuaku, #43 Zhou Qi

This was very disappointing. You would’ve liked to see them get a point guard who could impact the team immediately. Onuaku and Qi were just underwhelming picks for a team that lacks solid depth.

Grade: C


Indiana Pacers

Selections: #50 Georges Niang

The Pacers made trades to acquire Jeff Teague and Thaddeus Young. Because of that, they only had one pick in the draft and it was a late second round pick. I love how they drafted Georges Niang. It’s obvious that the Pacers want to win now and Niang will immediately be able to come into that rotation and contribute.

Grade: A


Los Angeles Clippers

Selections: #25 Brice Johnson, #39 David Michineau, #40 Diamond Stone

The Clippers had a glaring need at SF prior to the draft. It was unfortunate for the Clippers to see Luwawu go #24th, right before the Clippers, to the 76ers as he’d be the perfect fit for them. Instead they settled to get Brice Johnson. Johnson is talented and might be a nice player off their bench, but you still wished they at least made some sort of effort to fix a major weakness.

Grade: C+


Los Angeles Lakers

Selections: #2 Brandon Ingram, #32 Ivica Zubac

You can’t complain about the Brandon Ingram pick. We knew it was coming and it was the perfect pick for the team. Zubac isn’t particularly popular which made Lakers fans a bit confused with the pick, but it sounds like he’ll be coming over immediately to help out with the team. Overall, you can’t be too upset with their draft.

Grade: A-


Memphis Grizzlies

Selections: #17 Wade Baldwin, #31 Deyonta Davis, #35 Rade Zagorac, #57 Wang Zhelin

Wade Baldwin is an impressive young kid. I think he was picked a bit early, but he still is very talented. The Grizzlies did well by picking him. It’s exceptional that they got Deyonta Davis in the 2nd round and that is the highlight of their draft, no question.

Grade: B+


Miami Heat

No selections made.


Milwaukee Bucks

Selections: #10 Thon Maker, #36 Malcolm Brogdon

It’s unbelievable to think that the Bucks actually got bigger, but Thon Maker did just that. Maker has one of the highest ceilings out of any player from this draft. There are some concerns about his age which makes the pick risky, but for the Bucks it might be worth it. Brogdon is one of those players that you’ll just love on your team. He’s very intellectual and will just do whatever the team needs.

Grade: A-


Minnesota Timberwolves

Selections: #5 Kris Dunn

Kris Dunn is great, don’t get me wrong. But, this post should say ‘No selections made’. The Timberwolves were offered Jimmy Butler for Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine. Because Minnesota said no, you have to say that this was an unsuccessful draft.

Grade: C


New Orleans Pelicans

Selections: #6 Buddy Hield, #33 Cheick Diallo

The Pelicans had one of the best drafts out of everyone. They drafted a guard who can score like no one else in Buddy Hield. Also, they had drafted Cheick Diallo who is already a great rim-protector who can realistically start for the Pelicans in the near future.

Grade: A+


New York Knicks

No selections were made.


Oklahoma City Thunder

Selections: #11 Domantas Sabonis, #56 Daniel Hamilton

The Thunder acquired Domantas Sabonis, Victor Oladipo, and Ersan Ilyasova in return for Serge Ibaka as mentioned above. That alone, makes them the clear winners of this draft. But to top it off, they decided to pick Daniel Hamilton who proved in UCONN that he can do it all on the court. He was one of the best rebounders in the NCAA, and he was a guard.

Grade: A+++


Orlando Magic

Selections: #41 Stephen Zimmerman

They traded their future in Victor Oladipo along with their lottery pick this year for Serge Ibaka. Ibaka is a great defender, but he’s no one you can build a team around. Such a disappointing night for Magic fans.

Grade: F


Philadelphia 76ers

Selections: #1 Ben Simmons, #24 Timothe Luwawu, #26 Furkan Korkmaz

If I was just grading the 76ers’ first two picks, they’d have an A+. Every Sixers fan was feeling very excited after we had drafted Timothe Luwawu. But then Colangelo had to go and pick Furkan Korkmaz, just another foreign player who may not come over. Why didn’t he pick Dejounte Murray or any other point guard for that matter? While the Sixers got the best player from this draft, there is still some disappointment from fans.

Grade: B+


Phoenix Suns

Selections: #4 Dragan Bender, #8 Marquese Chriss, #34 Tyler Ulis,

I definitely wasn’t as impressed in the Suns’ draft as many analysts were. Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss were fine picks, but they play the same position! You already have Alex Len on your roster, so what is the goal here? To add onto that, they drafted Ulis when they already had plenty of point guards. Sure, they may trade Eric Bledsoe, but it still wasn’t as good of a day for the Suns as many had thought.

Grade: B


Portland Trail Blazers

Selections: #47 Jake Layman

The Portland Trail Blazers went out of their way to pick Jake Layman, a pretty good all-around player. He’s very athletic and there must’ve been something that Portland saw from him. I personally see him as just a longer Pat Connaughton, but maybe they saw something I did not see.

Grade: B-


Sacramento Kings

Selections: #13 Georgios Papagiannis, #22 Malachi Richardson, #28 Skal Labissiere, #59 Isaiah Cousins

It’s weird to think it, but I was much more impressed by their last three picks than their first. DeMarcus Cousins hasn’t always been a happy man in Sacramento so it confuses me to see them pick someone like Papagiannis 13th overall. Malachi was a great pick for the Kings who will try to break their curse of drafting promising shooting guards who fail. Even though Skal had a terrible year, you can’t complain when seeing a team draft him as late as 28th overall.

Grade: B+


San Antonio Spurs

Selections: #29 Dejounte Murray

Of course. Of course the Spurs go and get Dejounte Murray. Murray, on many mock drafts, was in the lottery. To see the Spurs get the 2nd best point guard in the draft (you could argue) at the 29th pick just makes all non Spurs fans angry.

Grade: A


Toronto Raptors

Selections: #9 Jakob Poeltl, #27 Pascal Siakam

Jakob seems to be like a mini Jonas Valanciunas who has the potential to be a little better defensively. You would’ve liked to see Toronto go after a guard in case they lose DeMar DeRozan, but you can’t argue with their picks too much.

Grade: B+


Utah Jazz

Selections: #52 Joel Bolomboy, #55 Marcus Paige, #60 Tyrone Wallace

I really liked the Jazz’s draft. They had three of the last 9 picks. They got Bolomboy, an incredibly athletic big man who was the best rebounder in this draft and Marcus Paige who showed us what he can do in the NCAA Tournament. Tyrone Wallace is an athletic guard from Cal who has the skills. His shot is very weak, but he’s still talented. Those three picks make the Jazz one of the clear winners from the 2016 NBA Draft.

Grade: A


Washington Wizards

No selections made.


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