2017 NBA Draft Results: Team Grades and Analysis of Top Prospects – Bleacher Report
Frank Franklin II/Associated Press
The 2017 NBA draft has wrapped, and it’s safe to say that Thursday night’s selection process was an impactful and an interesting one.
Many saw the selection of Washington product Markelle Fultz at pick No. 1. The selection of UCLA’s Lonzo Ball by the Los Angeles Lakers at No. 2 was also fairly predictable. However, the rest of the night was full of surprises.
The Boston Celtics made former Duke forward Jayson Tatum the third overall selection after trading back so the Philadelphia 76ers could get Fultz. The Golden State Warriors, meanwhile, managed to trade into the early second round in order to grab a quality defender in Oregon’s Jordan Ball.
How did each team do overall? That’s what we’re going to examine here. We’ll assign grades to each team’s overall draft haul, and we’ll dive deeper into some of the top picks in the draft.
First, though, let’s take a look at how, exactly, the draft unfolded.
2017 NBA Draft
Atlanta Hawks (B+)
Atlanta should get better with the selections of Wake Forest’s John Collins, Oregon’s Tyler Dorsey and Alpha Kaba of France. Collins could be a bit of a project, but he’s a solid value late in Round 1.
Boston Celtics (A-)
The Celtics seem to have been locked in on Tatum for a while, so trading back and getting a future asset from Philadelphia was wise. The team essentially got a future first and the guy it would have taken at No. 1 anyway.
Brooklyn Nets (B)
First, the Nets traded the 27th pick to acquire D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov from the Los Angeles Lakers. Then, the team took a chance on former Texas center Jarrett Allen. If Allen is able to reach his full potential, this will be looked back on as a successful haul.
Charlotte Hornets (A)
Charlotte made one good move by ending former Kentucky scorer Malik Monk’s fall at No. 11 in the first round. They then made another good move by trading to acquire Florida State’s Dwayne Bacon. All-in-all, a good day for the Hornets.
Now, about that Dwight Howard deal…
Chicago Bulls (F)
Trading for today’s version of Howard was questionable. The Bulls’ trading of star Jimmy Butler was stupid. Former Arizona big man Lauri Markkanen may one day be a quality player, but he isn’t a game-changer like Butler can be. The players acquired from the Minnesota Timberwolves, Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine, are good but not great. LaVine is coming off a torn ACL.
Cleveland Cavaliers (n/a)
Dallas Mavericks (B)
The Mavericks got an intriguing, if inconsistent, prospect in former N.C. State point guard Dennis Smith. If he develops well, he could become a difference-maker.
Denver Nuggets (C)
Denver failed to trade for a difference-making veteran before or during the draft, and the selection of Syracuse’s Tyler Lydon isn’t exactly a tremendous consolation prize. However, he and second-round picks Vlatko Cancar and Monte’ Morris could prove to be solid role players.
Detroit Pistons (A)
Former Duke guard Luke Kennard has been rising as of late, and the Pistons got good value by snagging him at No. 12. He should quickly provide an offensive boost.
Golden State Warriors (A)
The Warriors already had the best roster in the NBA. Trading to acquire Bell makes it even stronger by giving the team another strong interior defender.
Houston Rockets (B+)
Germany’s Isaiah Hartenstein came into Thursday night as a potential first-round pick. The Rockets landed him in the second round. He isn’t likely to be a true difference-maker, but Hartenstein has the size to be an immediate contributor.
Indiana Pacers (B+)
Indiana added a trio of solid prospects in T.J. Leaf, Ike Anigbogu and Edmond Sumner. They also managed to hang onto Paul George, who may be used to acquire more assets before the offseason is over.
Los Angeles Clippers (B)
Guard Jawun Evans was a solid pick early in Round 2. Trading for a pick to select former South Carolina standout Sindarius Thornwell may have been an even better move. Thornwell, as a rare four-year player, is about as NBA-ready as they come.
Los Angeles Lakers (A)
The Lakers and Ball have seemed destined for each other for a while. However, just because Ball was the expected pick doesn’t mean he wasn’t also the smart pick. Adding shooting guard Josh Hart at the end of Round 1 was another smart move for a franchise that finally seems to be moving back in the right direction.
Memphis Grizzlies (B)
Nothing flashy here. Memphis looked to supplement its current roster by adding a pair of forwards in Ivan Rabb and Dillon Brooks. According to ESPN.com’s Marc Spears, Rabb nearly ended up with the Cavaliers.
Miami Heat (A)
Miami managed to beef up its frontcourt by adding Bam Adebayo to go along with Hassan Whiteside. This might not have been an eyebrow-raising addition, but it’s a smart one.
Milwaukee Bucks (B)
The Bucks got themselves an intriguing prospect in Michigan’s D.J. Wilson, an athletic big man with upside. Getting Sterling Brown from SMU is another move that could pay off.
Minnesota Timberwolves (A+)
Minnesota absolutely stole Butler from the Bulls. The fact the team was able to get back the 16th pick and turn it into Justin Patton makes it look like a masterwork.
New Orleans Pelicans (B)
New Orleans did some maneuvering in the draft before finally trading to acquire Duke product Frank Jackson. He isn’t likely to wow many folks coming out of college, but Jackson was a solid role player for the Blue Devils.
New York Knicks (B)
The Knicks chose to pass on guys like Malik Monk and Dennis Smith in order to grab Frank Ntilikina at No. 8 overall. This makes the pick risky, but the former French player fits what the team needed to add. Damyean Dotson and Ognen Jaramaz are both likely projects.
Oklahoma City Thunder (B+)
Credit the Thunder for going bold with the selection of Terrance Ferguson. He is raw and probably won’t make an impact in the near future, but he has incredible upside.
Orlando Magic (B)
The Magic got themselves a quality defender in Jonathan Isaac. He can immediately contribute on that end of the court, even if his offense needs some work. Adding Wesley Iwundu was also a solid, if unspectacular, move.
Philadelphia 76ers (B+)
Philadelphia deserves credit for going up and getting its man. There’s no telling yet if Fultz will be the best player out of this draft class, but the 76ers did what they needed to get the best player for them.
Phoenix Suns (A)
Grabbing Josh Jackson at No. 4 was a veritable no-brainer. The Suns then doubled up by adding another tough defender in Davon Reed. Adding Alec Peters late in Round 2 was smart.
Portland Trail Blazers (B-)
Zach Collins is an intriguing prospect with some upside, but the Trail Blazers paid way too much to move up and grab him. Adding Caleb Swanigan was the better value pick.
Sacramento Kings (A)
The Kings landed one of the better offensive prospects in Kentucky’s De’Aaron Fox. In addition, they added a volume of talent in Justin Jackson, Harry Giles and Frank Mason.
San Antonio Spurs (A)
Per usual, the Spurs drafted non-flashy but system-smart players in Derrick White and Jaron Blossomgame. Given the team’s track record, it wouldn’t be a shock to see one of the two become a future star.
Toronto Raptors (B+)
The Raptors took a risk with OG Anunoby, but if he returns to 100 percent health, he could prove to be a steal.
Utah Jazz (A)
The Jazz beefed up their backcourt depth in picking up Donovan Mitchell and Nigel Williams-Goss, and they also got a promising young prospect in Tony Bradley to spell Rudy Gobert. Ultimately, the Jazz filled some needs with solid players.
Washington Wizards (n/a)
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The Fultz Factor
Why did the 76ers feel the need to trade up and secure Fultz at No. 1? To put it simply, he was the right pick for the franchise. He can complement big men like Jahlil Okafor and Joel Embiid, and he should be able to bring out the best in former No. 1 pick Ben Simmons.
There were a few players in this draft who may have been worthy of the top overall spot, bur Fultz made the most sense for Philadelphia.
Tyler Blint-Welsh of the Los Angeles Times wrote the following of Fultz:
“The 19-year-old has John Wall potential on both ends of the floor, and his 41.3% three-point shooting gives the 76ers a much-needed perimeter threat. His playmaking ability, both on and off the ball, will help Ben Simmons ease into his role while his 7-foot wingspan is going to be useful as he develops into a defensive stopper.”
The flip side here is that Philadelphia is likely to be a great home for Fultz and his NBA development. The team is full of young talent Fultz can grow alongside for the foreseeable future. His selection at No. 1 obviously excited the Washington product.
“When I heard my name called … it was like God calling me,” Fultz said, via ESPN.com.
Don’t be surprised if Fultz helps turn the 76ers into a perennial playoff team in the near future.
Lonzo Anderson Ball appears to be the perfect fit for the Lakers and not just because of his name. He’s a high-profile kid who can revitalize the energy of the team. Oh, and he’s also a supreme talent on the court.
Ball’s ability to see the court is as good as anyone we’ve seen coming out of college in quite some time. No matter who the Lakers manage to put around him over the next few years, Ball’s ability to see and pass is going to make them better. That’s not something you can usually say about a rookie prospect.
For Ball, playing for his hometown team is a dream come true.
“I’m truly blessed to be able to play for my hometown,” Ball said, per Ian O’Connor of ESPN.com. “And I can’t wait to get on the court.”
If you’ve heard Lonzo’s father LaVar speak recently—and he’s been a bit hard to ignore—you might be convinced that the younger ball is the man who can turn the franchise around. He isn’t, at least not by himself, but he certainly gives the team a better foundation than it had coming into the draft.
Given the draw of the L.A. market, that foundation could be supplemented by stars like Paul George or even LeBron James in the next couple years.
The addition of Ball should definitely make the Lakers a more desirable destination next offseason.