2016 Eastern Conference NBA Draft Grades

In this article, I will take a close look into each team’s draft selection, and provide a brief explanation of why I gave them the grade I did. A few teams completely dominated the draft. but others went down a questionable road. 

Philadelphia 76ers:

Draft Selections: Ben Simmons/Timothe Luwawu/Furkan Korkmaz

Grade: A+

Philadelphia has battled draft critics for the last few seasons, but they knocked this draft out of the park. Ben Simmons gives the franchise a sense of direction, and may clog up the frontcourt for the time being, Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor should bring them a good player or draft pick in the future. Many of their fans were hoping to get a top point guard prospect, but Boston, Phoenix, and Minnesota would not bite. Philadelphia used those two late first round picks to take two excellent international players. Luwawu and Korkmaz both have the ability to come and over and contribute from the start. They look to be much better three-and-D wings than what Philadelphia currently has.

Boston Celtics:

Draft Selections: Jaylen Brown/Guerschon Yabusele/Ante Zizic/Rade Zagorac/Demetrius Jackson/Ben Bentil/Abdel Nader

Grade: B+

Boston came into the draft with a plethora of picks, and for the most part, Boston did extremely well. Jaylen Brown will provide a brusing combination with Jae Crowder, a pick you know was made to combat LeBron James. Many fans were disappointed by the selections of Yabusele and Zizic, but both players could come over this season and contribute. With Boston looking to get a star in free agency, I expect them to keep them in Europe for at least another year to keep cap available. In the second round, Jackson and Bentil are the only two I see actually seeing the court in the NBA. Zagorac looks to be a lifer in Europe, while Nader likely will not last past summer league. Boston had a great first round, but their second round was questionable at best.

Toronto Raptors:

Draft Selections: Jakob Poeltl/Pascal Siakam

Grade: B+

Toronto was coming into the draft looking to improve their frontcourt depth, and that is exactly what they did. The addition of Poeltl makes it for Toronto not to have to resign Bismack Biyombo, and keep all of their money flowing towards DeMar DeRozan. Poeltl is still learning the game of basketball, but the improvements he has shown over the last two years in college give you a good feeling he will continue his development into a stud at the next level. Siakam has a lot of questions due to playing at a mid-major, but his ability to score should not be overlooked, and provides a younger option if Luis Scola looks for a new team this offseason.

Milwaukee Bucks:

Draft Selections: Thon Maker/Malcolm Brogdon

Grade: C

As a Milwaukee Bucks fan, I was extremely disappointed with the selection of Thon Maker at 10. Had they traded down, I could live with it, but until the age thing is worked out, I will root for him, but do not have much faith in him. He is an intriguing prospect, that matches the freakish athletic abilities of Milwaukee’s core, but they are looking to make a playoff push this season, and aker is a long way away from contributing. Brogdon was a perfect selection in the second round. He already steps in as one of the older players on the Buck’s roster. He will provide leadership, distribution, and defense off the bench. If he can find a consistent three point shot, he could be a steal in the draft.

Orlando Magic:

Draft Selections: Stephen Zimmerman

Grade: D

This is not a shot at Stephen Zimmerman, this is a shot at the trade Orlando pulled off. Orlando fell for the trap. Oklahoma City was looking to unload his contract, and Orlando gave u a lot for a free agent after this season. Victor Oladipo has his flaws offensively, and was not meshing well in Orlando, but trading him and Sabonis stunts the growth of this franchise. Ibaka will be a good mentor for Aaron Gordon defensively, but Ibaka has become a liability on offense the past two years, and Orlando was already struggling to create offense. He will bring some toughness to the frontline, which is why I was surprised Zimmerman was selected, as he is scrawny and not a very tough player. Overall, Orlando gambled, and I do not think this draft will go down in good memory for the franchise.

Atlanta Hawks:

Draft Selections: Taurean Prince/DeAndre Bembry/Isaia Cordinier

Grade: B

I was a little surprised Atlanta did not take a big man to potential replace Al Horford if he left. The Prince selection was one to replace the loss of DeMarre Carroll, and likely Kent Bazemore. He comes in on a cheap deal, and will provide the same abilities from the start They could have gotten him, with their second selection in the first round, and gambled with another high potential lottery guy, but Prince looks to be a good role player at the worst in the league. Bembry will provide a good scoring punch off the bench. He will need to work on stretching the floor consistently if he ever wants to be better than a role player. Cordinier will likely spend a few seasons in France completing his development before Atlanta offers him a contract.

Chicago Bulls:

Draft Selections: Denzel Valentine/Paul Zipser

Grade: B

Chicago was trying desperately to trade for Kris Dunn, but they were looking for an unreasonable offer in return. Valentine will be able to step into the league, and be a three-and-D wing. He is not the best defender, but he does give good effort. Chicago really lacked a do it all role player, and Valentine will bring that to the team. Hopefuly his knee checked out, so we do not have another Derrick Rose saga. Zipser is a great small forward prospect, who likely will be kept overseas for a year or two, as the small forward position needs to prove who is worth keeping around.

Detroit Pistons:

Draft Selections: Henry Ellenson/Michael Gbinije

Grade: B+

I was expecting Detroit to add a little nasty to their frontcourt in the first round, but could not pass up Ellenson falling all the way to 18. Ellenson will help to continue spacing the floor for the Pistons off the bench, while providing a tremendous rebounding presence. He has a lot of work to do on his overall defense, but his skill set fits well with Andre Drummond, making a potential deadly duo in the frontcourt. Gbinije was rumored to be looked at as a late first round pick, but Detroit got him in the middle of the second round. He is a bit older, but he will provide outside shooting to the bench. Detroit did not have many needs so adding the best player available in each selection made them have a great draft.

Brooklyn Nets:

Draft Selections: Caris LeVert/Isaiah Whitehead

Grade: B

Brooklyn came into the draft with only one second round pick, and they managed to leave with two in this draft, and one more in next year’s draft. For a franchise has devoid of young talent. and draft assets this is pretty big. LeVert was an unexpected pick, but if he can stay healthy, he can be an electric scorer for the Nets as a possible starter, or key bench piece. Whiteside, a Brooklyn native will help with scoring as well. He does lack consistency, but provides a good all-around player. who will be given free reigns in a franchise looking for an identity.

Indiana Pacers:

Draft Selections: Georges Niang

Grade: C+

I thought the trade for Thaddeus Young was a good trade for the Indiana Pacers. Young will provide a deadly transition attack, rebounding, and a high effort defensive player. He will help Indiana continue pushing themselves further and further into the playoffs. Niang was a good all-around player at Iowa State, I just do not know if he could separate himself in the NBA and find a role within a team. Being good at a little bit of everything, but not elite is never an easy transition for players, so it will be interesting to see if he can make the roster or not.

Charlotte Hornets:

Draft Selections: None

Grade: D

Charlotte traded their only draft pick to the Sacramento Kings for Marco Belinelli. Even though this was a weaker draft class in terms of star power, Belinelli has never been worth a first round pick, and has dropped in efficiency the past few seasons. I do not see him being a plus for Charlotte, and does not help their core get back to the playoffs.


Cleveland Cavaliers:

Draft Selections: Kay Felder

Grade: C

Kay Felder was raved about by Golden State’s Draymond Green, and Golden State was looking to sign him as undrafted free agent, but Cleveland paid Atlanta cash to select him. With Matthew Dellavedova about to hit free agency, Felder provides a similar skill set at a fraction of the price. His smaller size will make it difficult for him to thrive in the league, but if he can drain three’s in the league he will be fine.

Washington Wizards:

Draft Selections: None

Grade: N/A

New York Knicks:

Draft Selections: None

Grade: N/A

Miami Heat:

Draft Selections: None

Grade: N/A

By: Mac Crowe, @Mac_Truck17


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