With the 2020 NBA draft in the rearview mirror, below is a look at how each team fared based on their selections, trades and overall progress.
But first: during an unprecedented time amid the coronavirus pandemic, the draft, which was delayed five months, took place virtually. Who were the winners and losers from the night? LaMelo Ball is heading to the NBA and, yes, you have to give praise to his dad. The Golden State Warriors were dealt some bad news, but they stuck to their draft plan. Not being selected on draft night doesn't mean you have no chance at an NBA career: these guys became some of the best in the game.
Now, back to the report cards:
1. Charlotte Hornets (A+). Owner Michael Jordan couldn't botch this one. With the Timberwolves and Warriors picking conservatively with Anthony Edwards and James Wiseman at Nos. 1 and 2, that left the Hornets with Ball, a 6-7 point guard who can immediately bring star power. The Hornets also capitalized on Duke big man Vernon Carey Jr. falling with the 32nd pick. They also nabbed point guard Grant Riller, another borderline first-round talent, with the 56th pick.
2. Sacramento Kings (A). The steal of this draft might be Iowa State point guard Tyrese Haliburton at No. 12. Then the franchise went out and made a major splash with great second-round selections and acquisitions. They hauled in Mississippi State's Robert Woodard (No. 40) and Texas Tech's Jahmi'us Ramsey (No. 43) – all late draftees that could've easily been first-rounders.
3. Miami Heat (A). For a team that just reached the NBA Finals, this was as good of a scenario as possible. Attaining Memphis power forward Precious Achiuwa, a top-10 talent, at No. 20 is a steal. He's the ideal player to mesh with Bam Adebayo and Miami's young nucleus.
WINNERS AND LOSERS: Hornets make splash with LaMelo Ball; Knicks have a logjam
NEVER DRAFTED: Here are 10 best undrafted stars.
4. San Antonio Spurs (A). Florida State’s Devin Vassell staying on the board helped the Spurs draft a 3-and-D player who can fit in with solid outside shooting and perimeter defense. Drafting All-American Tre Jones of Duke at No. 41 follows the savvy selections of franchise icons Tony Parker at No. 28 and Manu Ginobili at No. 57. Jones is an elite defender who is arguably better than his brother, Memphis Grizzlies guard Tyus Jones.
5. New York Knicks (A-). Much can be made about New York passing up on several elite guards to bolster a lackluster backcourt, especially when there’s a logjam in the frontcourt. But general manager Scott Perry made the right call in picking national college basketball player of the year Obi Toppin at No. 8. Toppin was a top-four talent that fell to New York and he’s the ideal fit for the lights of Madison Square Garden —New York native, a highlight-reel dunker, and a hard-working player who can play 38 minutes a game right away. New York’s other pick, Immanuel Quickley of Kentucky at No. 25 (after a trade) , wasn't a home run. But not many are that late in the draft.
Even with the Knicks' crowded frontcourt, Obi Toppin could prove to be a savvy pick at No. 5 in the draft. (Photo: Aaron Doster, USA TODAY Sports)
6. Detroit Pistons (A-). Detroit's new general manager Troy Weaver went to work in this draft, making a smart pick at No. 7 for Killian Hayes and then trading to get Isaiah Stewart of Washington at No. 16 and Saddiq Bey of Villanova at No. 19.
7. Orlando Magic (A-). The Magic only had one pick and they made a good one. Cole Anthony (North Carolina) was arguably a top-eight talent who fell into Orlando's lap. The 6-3 guard shows flashes of an in-his-prime Derrick Rose and could pair with (or replace) former No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz in the backcourt.
8. Boston Celtics (A-). Vanderbilt’s Aaron Nesmith, arguably the best shooter in the draft, was taken at No. 14. That selection gives the C’s a volume shooter who can make an immediate impact. Picking Pac-12 player of the year Payton Prichard at No. 26 was a shocker considering the other point guards on the board at the time, but it’s a Brad Stevens pick in fitting a heady floor general into his system. Then they went with Yam Madar of Israel at No. 47.
9. Philadelphia 76ers (B). Trading Al Horford, a bad fit on the Sixers’ roster, to acquire a band of solid guards, was the right call for new coach Doc Rivers’ squad. Kentucky’s Tyrese Maxey isn’t a potent shooter, but he has a knack for scoring. Arkansas’ Isaiah Joe was one of the best shooters in the NCAA ranks. Overall solid job for new GM Daryl Morey.
10. Denver Nuggets (B+). Not a bad draft day for Denver, going with two underrated pieces in R.J. Hampton at No. 24 after the top-tier talent fell out of the top-20 as his decision to play in Australia over the NCAA did not pay off. They nabbed Arizona 7-footer Zeke Nnaji, an underrated big who can space the floor andrebound well, at No. 22.
11. Minnesota Timberwolves (B). Picking Anthony Edwards at No. 1 was the safe bet. But they didn't take LaMelo Ball, a riskier player who could bring a huge reward. Minnesota also was positioned to trade the top pick for several other elite players. Still, Edwards is a dynamic offensive talent with score-at-will ability. Acquiring Leandro Bolmaro from Argentina was a nice pickup, but Bolmaro is planning to stay overseas for at least another season. Trading to get Jaden McDaniels at No. 28 was a solid move.
12. Golden State Warriors (B). The news of Klay Thompson injuring his leg certainly shakes things up, but securing 7-footer James Wiseman at No. 2 was a solid move for the franchise looking to rebound in 2020-21. Wiseman provided a small sample size in his few games at Memphis, but he’s got 20-and-10 capability and All-Star potential.
13. Washington Wizards (B). Washington lucked out and got a player projected to go as a top-four pick for the last several months in Deni Avdija of Israel at No. 9. He’s the best international talent in the draft and could be a star. His versatility as a big will help right away.
14. Oklahoma City Thunder (B). In a major draft-day trade, the Thunder made deals with the Sixers and Mavericks to come away with a plethora of future picks. GM Sam Presti has stockpiled 17 first round draft picks through 2026, signaling an emphasis on rebuilding through the draft — albeit just not this year. Their big pick, at No. 17 acquired via trade, went to Aleksej Pokusevski. The 7-footer is a raw talent at 18 but there will be ample time to develop in OKC.
15. Toronto Raptors (B). The Raptors made the most of their two picks, first selecting an undersized guard in All-American Malachi Flynn of San Diego State. Uniquely Flynn shows flashes of Fred VanVleet, once an underrated and undersized crafty guard who played for a mid-major. Toronto’s other pick, Jalen Harris, adds insurance to the bench.
16. Dallas Mavericks (B-). Dallas had better picks it could’ve secured, but ultimately they filled roster holes with the available picks and that seems smart given where the team’s ascension is right now. That less risky approach paved way for the addition of Arizona’s Josh Green at No. 18 and Sanford’s Tyrell Terry at No. 31. Both players can score in different ways and add shooting to a roster that loves the three-ball. These players will fit in nicely.
17. New Orleans Pelicans (B-). This wasn’t a big draft for the Pels after last year’s splash with Zion Williamson at No. 1. They picked Alabama’s Kira Lewis Jr. at No. 13, and that’ll be a key piece to an already young and budding roster poised to take off in 2020-21.
18. Memphis Grizzlies (C+). Desmond Bane of TCU is a 6-6 guard with strength who can defend and drain three-pointers, making him a steal at No. 30. Michigan State’s Xavier Tillman (No. 35) was the other pick, acquired in a trade.
19. Cleveland Cavaliers (C). The Cavs made a solid pick at No. 5, with Isaac Okoro being perhaps the best defender in the entire draft. But it seems as though they made the pick based on filling out their roster alongside Collin Sexton and Darius Garland —two guards who aren’t elite yet. Toppin or Avdija would have been better bets at this pick.
20. Milwaukee Bucks (C). The effort to sway Giannis Antetokounmpo to re-sign will have to be done via trades — and Milwaukee wasn’t successful in that department on draft night. Selecting Louisville’s Jordan Nwora will give coach Mike Budenholzer a needed young weapon. The Bucks also picked Sam Merrill (via trade), a really solid guard from Utah State, with the 60th pick. But nothing special happened Wednesday for this team.
21. Atlanta Hawks (C). Atlanta’s move to pick USC big man Onyeka Okongwu made sense given the team’s defensive woes last season. But they need more defense along the perimeter. This was a good pick, just not a great pick at No. 6. Guard Skylar Mays of LSU at No. 50 isn’t a bad pickup in the second round.
22. Los Angeles Lakers (C). The Lakers traded away their No. 28 pick ifor Dennis Schroder from Oklahoma City. Not a bad draft day pickup.
23. Utah Jazz (C). Utah found its backup for Rudy Gobert in Kansas big man Udoka Azubuike, an underrated 7-footer who blossomed under coach Bill Self. They took Elijah Hughes from Syracuse at No. 38 via a trade.
24. Portland Trail Blazers (C-). The only major pick was at No. 46 with CJ Elleby of Washington State. They traded away the No. 16 pick, Isaiah Stewart, to Detroit. In exchange, Portland landed Robert Covington from Houston in the three-way deal.
25. Indiana Pacers (C-). Their only pick was Cassius Stanley, an athletic and defensive-oriented player from Duke, with the No. 54 slot.
26. Brooklyn Nets (D). New coach Steve Nash was interviewed on draft day, telling ESPN he wants to build the Nets into a championship team, but there weren’t any major pieces added to that culture. The Nets traded their No. 19 pick for Landry Shamet in a three-way deal with the Clippers and Pistons. Then they added Reggie Perry, a 6-10 big man from Mississippi State.
27. Houston Rockets (D). Going with the son of former No. 1 pick Kenyon Martin with your only draft pick at No. 52 doesn’t scream out for a high grade. But it will look better if the 6-7 Martin Jr. can develop quickly.
28. Chicago Bulls (D). The Bulls shocked everyone in the draft by selecting Patrick Williams, a 6-8 wing with loads of upside, at the No. 4 slot. But this is a classic example of a team picking a player based on need instead of talent. That’s the type of pick a team can make at No. 8, but not No. 4. Instead, the Bulls selected him over three players with actual franchise-altering potential. Marko Simonovic (No. 44), a 6-11 Serbian, wasn’t that great of a pick, either.
29. Los Angeles Clippers (C-). The Clippers made some trades to land Luke Kennard in exchange for Shamet, then ended up with Jay Scrubb, a junior college standout who could become a key bench player, with the No. 55 pick.
30. Phoenix Suns (F). What were the Suns doing in this draft? After making a big move to acquire Chris Paul, there were plenty of roster voids. The frontcourt wasn’t necessarily one of those holes, however, so drafting forward Jalen Smith at No. 10 —when there were several more talented pieces out there — makes little sense. Especially because Smith is expected to be Deandre Ayton’s back-up. Vassell or Nesmith would've been much smarter picks for the Suns' young nucleus.
Follow college basketball reporter Scott Gleeson on Twitter @ScottMGleeson.
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