The SportsCrew | 2016 NBA Draft Grades
Draft Grades for 2016 NBA Draft
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2016 NBA Draft Day Grades

2016 NBA Draft Day Grades

The Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat, New York Knicks and Washington Wizards will not be featured in this article, since none made picks on draft night.

Atlanta Hawkshawks

Acquired: Taurean Prince (No. 12), DeAndre’ Bembry (No. 21), Isaia Cordinier (No. 44), $2.4 million (from Cavs)

Sent Out: Jeff Teague, No. 54 overall (Kay Felder to Cavs)

Draft Grade: B-, As the franchise heads in a new direction, the Hawks were looking for versatility, especially in the wake of Kent Bazemore and they got it via the draft.

Boston Celticsceltics

Acquired: Jaylen Brown (No. 3), Guerschon Yabusele (No. 16), Ante Zizic (No. 23), Demetrius Jackson (No. 45), Ben Bentil (No. 51), Abdel Nader (No. 58), 2019 Clippers first-round pick

Sent Out: No. 31 (Deyonta Davis), No. 35 (Rade Zagorac)

Draft Grade: C, It is hard to distrust any decision GM Danny Ainge makes, but with eight picks in the draft it was never going to be an easy situation for the Celtics to parse through. It seems like they may have outsmarted themselves a bit and ended up keeping themselves in purgatory for the time being with a bunch of solid, yet unspectacular players. The team did genuinely end up with five players that could play in the NBA at some point, plus another first rounder. But man, does this return feel light given what could have been here.

Brooklyn Netsnets

Acquired: Caris LeVert (No. 20), Isaiah Whitehead (No. 42)

Sent Out: Thaddeus Young, No. 55 (Marcus Paige)

Draft Grade: C+, It is worrying that Caris LaVert is far from a finished product, working with frightening foot woes. Whitehead is a gift to the fans of a bad team, as the Brooklyn product could turn into a star in his hometown even if he’s not all that great. The grade really falls into Thad Young who is a smart veteran and good basketball player, but his absence on the 2016-17 Nets will cost the team wins in ways that won’t reflect in an improved lottery standing.

Chicago Bullsbulls

Acquired: Denzel Valentine (No. 14), Paul Zipser (No. 48)

Sent Out: Nothing

Draft Grade: A, Nothing sexy here from Chicago, but two really solid NBA talents. Valentine is quite the get, and a great fit for what Fred Hoiberg’s system he has been trying to implement in Chicago. The real kicker here is what they sent out, nothing, meaning Jimmy Butler is staying in town.

Cleveland Cavaliers cavs

Acquired: Kay Felder (No. 54)

Sent Out: $2.4 million

Draft Grade: B+, The Cavaliers bought No. 54 overall for $2.4 million to select Kay Felder, a diminutive point guard out of Oakland. I liked the pick here from Cleveland, as I think there’s a chance Felder becomes an NBA player as a microwave backup point guard who can score. He’s an explosive athlete, and he shoots it well off the dribble.

Dallas Mavericksmavs

Acquired: A.J. Hammons (No. 46)

Sent Out: Nothing

Draft Grade: B-, Hammons represents a solid selection at No. 46 at a position of need, center. He needs to work on his body and his ability to defend on the perimeter, but he’s highly skilled and could find his way onto this roster in 2016-17. Particularly, he’s a good shot-blocker and possesses the potential to consistently knock down shots from the outside.

Denver Nuggetsnugs

Acquired: Jamal Murray (No. 7), Juan Hernangomez (No. 15), Malik Beasley (No. 19), Petr Cornelie (No. 53)

Sent Out: No. 56 (Daniel Hamilton)

Draft Grade: B+, In what you can call an unexpected-rebuild the Nuggets have been in an unfortunate spot not being able to reel in a knockout star. Furthermore,  than this draft really consisted about one thing for Denver: addressing their need for shooting around Emmanuel Mudiay and Nikola Jokic. Yeah, this team is still in a transitional phase, but the players selected here will probably help them through that.

Detroit Pistonsdetroit

Acquired: Henry Ellenson (No. 18), Michael Gbinije (No. 49)

Sent Out: Nothing

Draft Grade: A-, The Pistons just took care of business in this draft. No steals, no reaches. Just solid values and fits.

Golden State WarriorsGSW

Acquired: Damian Jones (No. 30), Patrick McCaw (No. 38)

Sent Out: $2.4 million

Draft Grade: B, Jones at No. 30 and McCaw at No. 38 are not only good values, but they’re great fits for what Golden State does. Just simple, smart moves for the Warriors as they look to get back to the NBA Finals next season.

Houston Rocketshouston

Acquired: Chinanu Onuaku (No. 37), Zhou Qi (No. 43)

Sent Out: Nothing

Draft Grade: B-, With the loss of Dwight Howard who signed with the Hawks, the Rockets really needed to add some depth at their interior positions. That’s just what they did as Houston grabbed a pair of analytic darlings in Onuaku and Zhou inside. Onuaku is a terrific rebounder and is quite young for a center at 19. He’s also a solid rim protector, another skill that Zhou bring to the table along with shooting.

Indiana Pacerspacers

Acquired: Georges Niang (No. 50), Jeff Teague, Thaddeus Young

Sent Out: No. 20 (Caris LeVert), George Hill

Draft Grade: A+, Niang will give Indiana some reinforcements down low to back up newly acquired Thaddeus Young. Really solid work from the Pacers here as they revitalized their roster adding former Hawk PG, Jeff Teague. They do give up George Hill and No. 20 to get there, but that’s fine, especially if they can sign Teague to an extension. The Pacers got tangibly better with these smart moves by Mr. Bird and Co.

Los Angeles Clippersclips

Acquired: Brice Johnson (No. 25), David Michineau (No. 39), Diamond Stone (No. 40)

Sent Out: No. 33 (Cheick Diallo)

Draft Grade: A-, Johnson is great value at pick 25, and fits what the Clippers seemingly always need in off-the-bench impact players. He will only go as far as Doc lets him, as Coach Rivers is skeptic to let youngsters play big important minutes off the jump. Still, good value this low, especially if Stone can make the team. Despite underwhelming skills outside the paint, his rebounding numbers should hopefully transition well.

Los Angeles Lakerslakers

Acquired: Brandon Ingram (No. 2), Ivica Zubac (No. 32)

Sent Out: Nothing

Draft Grade: A, They are an obvious winner on draft night, snagging Ingram at pick 2 who is a prototypical fit in the modern NBA due to his ability to attack switches offensively, defend multiple positions and shoot it from distance. He should be perfect for what Luke Walton wants to do. Then, they went and picked up Zubac, a terrific center who scouts believe has a shot to become a starting center in the NBA one day due to his sheer size and length to pair with tremendous skill level.

Memphis GrizzliesA Grizz

Acquired: Wade Baldwin (No. 17), Deyonta Davis (No. 31), Rade Zagorac (No. 35), Wang Zhelin (No. 57)

Sent Out: 2019 lottery protected Clippers first-round pick

Draft Grade: A+, Memphis had a great night as they grab a very versatile player in Baldwin who can play both guard positions due to his length and could become a dominating defender. They find themselves with great value at pick 31 in Deyonta Davis who seemed to fall with concerns about his motor. Rade Zagorac who they had gotten as a piece of the trade with the Clippers fills their need for a creative wing player who can score both off the dribble and spotting up from deep.  It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the Grizzlies look back at this draft and have three genuine contributors in three years all only for the price of one first round exit and a low-end first round pick.

Milwaukee BucksA Bucks

Acquired: Thon Maker (No. 10), Malcolm Brogdon (No. 36), $2.4 million

Sent Out: No. 38 (Patrick McCaw)

Draft Grade: B+, There was some question about whether Thon Maker was 19 or 42. All joking aside, a lot of people have knocked this pick as a reach, but at 7-foot-1 Maker has above-average handles for a player his size, can jump through the roof, and is an improving shooter from every range. Thon arguably has the biggest ceiling outside of the top two picks in Simmons and Ingram. It was not too long ago that the Bucks drafted another player that was harshly criticized for being so raw and unknown in the first round named Giannis Antetukonmpo. It’s a stretch to say that Maker can develop into anything resembling the Greek-Freak, but how far of a stretch is it really? Speaking off stretches, just think if the backcourt of Giannis, Middleton, and Maker all touched hands from fingertip to fingertip. They would likely reach close to half court, imposing defensive prowess they would possess.  Early in the second round the team selected Malcolm Brogdon who is a tremendous pick that will likely contribute to their cause early and often as a defender and backcourt role player.

Minnesota TimberwolvesA Wolves

Acquired: Kris Dunn (No. 5)

Sent Out: Nothing

Draft Grade: B+, The Timberwolves reportedly spent the early part of the evening trying to lure in Jimmy Butler, even after selecting Dunn at No. 5. The wiry Providence point man felt like the most popular guy in the draft heading into Thursday, and due to his four-year status with the Friars will make him an immediate Rookie of the Year candidate. Dunn still has quite a bit to round out with his game, but that doesn’t make him any less than a potential stud.

New Orleans PelicansA pelicans

Acquired: Buddy Hield (No. 6), Cheick Diallo (No. 33)

Sent Out: No. 39 (David Michineau) and No. 40 (Diamond Stone)

Draft Grade: A, With Eric Gordon taking his often-injured talents to Houston, Hield should step in right away and fill that void of deadly shooter from outside. While he does need to round out his game some especially at the NBA level, he definitely fits a need in a backcourt with the below-average shooting of Tyreke Evans. It’s not out of the question he wins rookie of the year in 2017. Diallo is more of a lottery ticket, a hard-working big man who runs the floor better than any other in the country and has potential defensively in terms of switching screens and protecting the weakside of the rim.

Oklahoma City ThunderA thunder

Acquired:  Domantas Sabonis (No. 11), Daniel Hamilton (No. 56), Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova

Sent Out: Serge Ibaka, cash

Draft Grade: B+, Ibaka was moved for an abundance of talent after failing to meet his lofty levels of production in 2015. They pick up a really strong guard prospect in Oladipo, a terrific floor-spacing four-man in Ilyasova, plus get the rights to Sabonis, who should be able to help immediately in their frontcourt in Ibaka’s absence. That’s a lot of talent for one piece, even one as skilled as Ibaka. Particularly, Sabonis and Steven Adams should pair to make for the most annoying pair of frontcourt players in NBA history due to their fiery demeanors. Plus, Oladipo is coming off of possibly his most efficient season of his career and has averaged 16 points per game over his first three years.

Orlando MagicA magic

Acquired: Stephen Zimmerman (No. 41), Serge Ibaka

Sent Out: Domantas Sabonis (No. 11), No. 47 (Jake Layman), Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova

Draft Grade: D, The number of players in the NBA who can tangibly be paired with Nikola Vucevic to create an adequate defense is low, but Ibaka is one of those players due to his ability to protect the weak side of the rim. As far as player types go, he’s pretty much exactly what the team needed.Ibaka has one year left on his deal, and the Magic essentially dealt five years of control on Oladipo and then four plus the potential for four more on Sabonis to make the move. That’s a ton of long-term value for a player in Ibaka who regressed a bit last season. Until we know if they can restructure Ibaka’s deal, it is really hard to gauge how effective this move is for the short-and-long term quality of the team.

Philadelphia 76ersA 76er

Acquired: Ben Simmons (No. 1), Timothe Luwawu (No. 24), Furkan Korkmaz (No. 26)

Sent Out: Nothing

Draft Grade: A+, This is essentially a home run draft for the Sixers. They get their guy in Simmons at No. 1, a franchise game changer who can become an all-star at the next level. He has his questions, a poor jump shot as well as taking plays off in college. Hopefully the 76ers will be good enough to keep him engaged at the next level, but in a win now mode, they took some questionable stash-and-hold type players with their next two picks.  Luwawu looks like a real comer as a lithe all-around swingman, though, and Korkmaz could really contribute at this level once he gets his legs under him.

Phoenix SunsA suns

Acquired: Dragan Bender (No. 4), Marquese Chriss (No. 8), Tyler Ulis (No. 34)

Sent Out: Georgios Papagiannis (No. 13), Skal Labissiere (No. 28), Bogdan Bogdanovic, and a future second-rounder

Draft Grade: A-, With several picks in this draft, the Suns seemingly did what the Celtics couldn’t. First they took a player in Bender who fits what they want to do perfectly. hen, they moved No. 13, No. 28 and Bogdanovic to move up and grab Chriss, a home run swing, upside player that could really work out as a stretch-four next to Bender if he grows into his role as a center. At pick 34, they grabbed an absolute gamer in every sense in Ulis who will find himself a role in the NBA. That is how you’re supposed to get things done with a lot of picks in the draft, we all thought Ainge was a god in terms of a asset dueling GM, maybe he should take notes.

Portland TrailblazersA blazers

Acquired: Jake Layman (No. 47)

Sent Out: cash

Draft Grade: C, The Blazers bought into the draft to grab Layman, a 6-9 combo forward who can really shoot it from deep. You can’t really knock the pick if the owner is willing to pay. Layman works if you want to go in and think you see a potential fit in your scheme, but I believe there were some better prospects on the board at this point in the draft.

Sacramento KingsA kings

Acquired: Georgios Papagiannis (No. 13), Malachi Richardson (No. 22), Skal Labissiere (No. 28), Bogdan Bogdanovic, Isaiah Cousins (No. 59)

Sent Out: Marquese Chriss (No. 8), Marco Belinelli

Draft Grade: C+, From the first slot, the team chose a winsome-yet-raw Greek center in Papagiannis, yet another big man for a team already featuring DeMarcus Cousins (who tweets at the wrong times apparently) and Willie Cauley-Stein. With veteran Kosta Koufos already on the roster, Georgios may not come over for several years.

San Antonio Spurs A spurs

Acquired: Dejounte Murray (No. 29)

Sent Out: Nothing

Draft Grade: A-, Not your typical Spurs-y pick here, but per usual some believe this is a steal at pick number 29. He definitely has some deficiencies in his game as he finishes poorly at the rim, while not being that adapt at outside shooting either. He does have really solid ball-handling skills, and the former two problems can be worked on at the NBA level, especially in the Spurs system which is one of the best at developing young talent.

Toronto RaptorsA raptors

Acquired: Jakob Poeltl (No. 9), Pascal Siakam (No. 27)

Sent Out: Nothing

Draft Grade: B-, With Bismack Biyombo getting a monster deal thanks in part to his postseason performance (he should really thank Valanciunas for getting injured) with the Magic. The pick that nabbed Jakob Poeltl for the Raptors was a very solid one that fills a positional need. Poeltl is a superb athlete, and one that should play well in Toronto sooner rather than later. Nevertheless, their second pick, which although also fills their front court need was sort of a reach. Siakam is an all-energy, motor type player that is long, but he has the game of a 6-9 center to pair with stiffness in his mobility and leaping ability and somewhat below average hands. While the latter pick was questionable to say the least, in the end the Poeltl pick takes precedent.

Utah JazzA jazz

Acquired: Joel Bolomboy (No. 52), Marcus Paige (No. 55), Ty Wallace (No. 60), George Hill

Sent Out: Taurean Prince (No. 12)

Draft Grade: B, The three second round picks are fine, but if they can get George Hill to sign an extension this can be thought of as a perfect draft day for the Jazz. They really have a superb need at the point guard position, especially with back up PG Trey Burke signing a deal with Washington. Giving up the No. 12 pick to reel in George Hill fit their need perfectly with an underrated asset, who can help contain some of basketball’s best players that reside at the PG position in the Western Conference.

Find me on twitter: @zaksauer

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