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  • Writer's pictureRyan Weiner

NBA Draft Review

Sorry for the long wait everyone! But, I am back and better than ever. Anyways, back to business. NBA Draft Day is finally here, and I cannot wait! Although there are not any standout prospects this year, I think there will certainly be a few Allstars in this class. So, I am going to review each of the 30 first round picks, and talk about any surprises or trades that happen. Now, let's get to the draft grades.

The Top 10 of this year's draft featured players from numerous different backgrounds. While some like LaMelo Ball (left) and Deni Avdija (right) played in international leagues like the NBL and IPL, respectively, others like Obi Toppin (center) went through the traditional college basketball route.

1st Overall Pick- Minnesota Timberwolves select Anthony Edwards: Although there was no clear cut number one overall pick for this year, Edwards was definitely the best fit for the T-Wolves. He has an insane vertical leap, and complements current Minnesota PG D'Angelo Russell. Although his shot is lacking, he can play well without the ball in his hands, which is what Minnesota needs. Draft Grade: A-

2nd Overall Pick- Golden State Warriors select James Wiseman: This was likely the most obvious pick out of the top 5. Although Klay Thompson just recently got injured again, there is no need to fret for the Warriors. Wiseman is the best pick for them, and is a solid center. However, I am not sure how he fits with the modern NBA style, as he lacks the ability to shoot. But, all in all, the most safe pick for Golden State. Although he hasn't played an organized game in a while, expect big things from Wiseman. Draft Grade: B+

3rd Overall Pick- Charlotte Hornets select LaMelo Ball: This has been long awaited. LaVar Ball's dream has come true. He finally has three sons in the NBA (I know Gelo is in the G-league but still). Despite the constant barrage of insults he has continued to be a devastating scorer and an elite player at multiple levels. Obviously the NBL is not as good of a league as the NBA, but Ball was dominant there and showcased his elite scoring ability. Watch out NBA, here LaMelo comes. Draft Grade: A

4th Overall Pick- Chicago Bulls select Patrick Williams: Quite honestly, this is laughable. No disrespect to Williams, but he is just simply not a top 4 player. He wasn't the best player at Florida St., and only recently climbed the big board. But, he averaged less than 10 points in college last season, and he DID NOT START A SINGLE GAME. However, his defense and hustle is spectacular, and he has a lot of upside in that regard. But, significant improvements are needed from him to be considered the "right guy" at this pick. Draft Grade: D+

5th Overall Pick- Cleveland Cavaliers select Isaac Okoro: Although this is a reach, it is a less, and more understandable reach. The Cavaliers are a solid fit for Okoro. His long arms allow for him to be a great pickpocket as well as a solid post defender. Additionally, Okoro's ability to be a rim-runner is something that the Cavs currently lack. Overall, although they didn't select the best player available, the Cavaliers filled a big hole. Draft Grade: B

6th Overall Pick- Atlanta Hawks select Onyeka Okungwu: The Hawks need a big man, and Okungwu has the talent to be their guy. Unfortunately, Clint Capela is likely not the future center of the team, and they will probably trade him later this offseason. But, Okungwu, who played with earlier pick LaMelo Ball in high school, fits the description. He should fit in well with Trae Young, John Collins and the rest of the Hawks, who have made some great moves to put themselves into playoff contention. Draft Grade: A+

7th Overall Pick- Detroit Pistons select Killian Hayes: I'm not really a fan of the French basketball player. Although the two are obviously different, he is giving me heavy Frank Ntilikina vibes, and I don't like that. This pick just didn't Gmake a lot of sense, as the point guard isn't one of their needs. Combine this with the fact that there are plenty of shooting guards and small forwards, both of which the Pistons need, and this pick really isn't great. Draft Grade: C

8th Overall Pick- New York Knicks select Obi Toppin: Ugh. As a Wizards fan, I was really hoping he would slip towards my team. But, respect to the Knicks for getting a great fast break player and defender. However, this pick doesn't make a lot of sense in terms of filling the needs of the team. New York has an excess of small and power forwards and Toppin only adds to that. But, Toppin is a natural leader, and may be the centerpiece of the Knicks' rebuild. Draft Grade: B+

9th Overall Pick- Washington Wizards select Deni Avdija: Avdija has an interesting story, and he comes from the humble beginnings of an Israeli Kibbutz. Obviously, he played international ball before becoming the top prospect he is today. The Wiz are getting a steal here, and I think Avdija was a top 5 prospect in the draft. He will likely make an immediate impact on a team who is looking to make the playoffs again after missing it the last two years. Draft Grade: A

10th Overall Pick- Phoenix Suns select Jalen Smith: I'll admit this is a bit of a reach. But, he's a Maryland Terrapin and I refuse to diss him too hard. Smith is an elite shooter for a big, and can defend the paint like nobody else. Although he is light, his second year in college helped him get bulkier and develop his game. Now, Smith is able to use his slim size as an advantage to slip by larger defenders. Being in Phoenix, should learn big things from leaders like fellow big DeAndre Ayton, Devin Booker and Chris Paul. Draft Grade: C+

In the middle of the draft, the first couple trades started to take place, with three out of the ten players getting traded. First, power forward Isaiah Stewart got dealt from Portland to the Detroit Pistons. Right after, European center Aleksej Pokusevski got sent from the Timberwolves to the Thunder. A few picks later, former Villanova Wildcat Saddiq Bey got sent from the Brooklyn Nets to the Detroit Pistons as well.

11th Overall Pick- San Antonio Spurs select Devin Vassell: For a team that needs just about everything, Vassell fills a hole in the Spurs lineup. He shoots the ball very well, and can be dangerous just about anywhere on the court. Although Patrick Williams went before him, Vassell was the best guy on the Seminoles last season. Coach Pop can do a lot with a guy like him, and Vassell will hopefully lead the Spurs back to the playoffs. Draft Grade: B

12th Overall Pick- Sacramento Kings select Tyrese Haliburton: How did he slip so far! Haliburton is a really solid defender and pairs very well with De'Aaron Fox. It seems like the Kings are counting on Buddy Hield leaving, because it would make no sense to take him otherwise. Despite this, he was the best player available for the Kings, and my intuition tells me that he will be a great pick for the future of this fast developing young core. Draft Grade: B+

13th Overall Pick- New Orleans Pelicans select Kira Lewis Jr.: An underrated prospect, Lewis slipped under the radar of a lot of mocks this year. Do not confuse him for a reach or a bust. Lewis is a great pick and roll player to mesh with Zion Williamson, and will fit the hole left by the loss of Jrue Holiday. Much like Colin Sexton, another Alabama point guard from previous years, he is an elite transition player with great speed and defense. Do not sleep on this man. Draft Grade: A

14th Overall Pick- Boston Celtics select Aaron Nesmith: Nesmith is lights out. Quite possibly the best shooter in the draft, Nesmith will make any defender regret not guarding him tightly. GM Danny Ainge has been on fire in recent years, and I have no doubt he just hit again. Nesmith is likely the future small forward of the team, and will fill the role of Gordon Hayward after his departure to Charlotte. Take notes kids, this is how you properly plan for the future. Draft Grade: A-

15th Overall Pick- Orlando Magic selects Cole Anthony: One word. Nine letters. Say it with me. Overrated. The fascination teams have with Anthony is odd to me considering it's likely that he peaked in high school. Although the Magic need a point guard, there are other, more dire holes that could've been filled by better players available like Saddiq Bey or Precious Achiuwa. That being said, Anthony is a great scorer and I'd like to see him develop into the great player people think he can become. But there were numerous better options for this pick. Draft Grade: C+

16th Overall Pick- Portland Trail Blazers select Isaiah Stewart: For their second rookie pick, the Trail Blazers needed to get a big. So, they went and traded for a great center. Stewart was a highly touted high school player who struggled and flew off the radar a bit during his time at the University of Washington. I'm glad Detroit addressed one of their biggest needs, and I think Stewart can become the next Andre Drummond. However, the free agents signings the Pistons made after the pick makes me wonder what his role will truly be on the team. Note: Stewart will be going to the Detroit Pistons through a trade, and the grade will reflect this. Draft Grade: B+

17th Overall Pick- Minnesota Timberwolves select Aleksej Pokusevski: This seems like a bit of a reach. Only averaging 10 points while playing last season in Greece, Aleksej may not be all that great of a player. There's going to need to be a lot of development from the young big man in order for him to be an effective NBA player. I'm just confused and struggling to find what makes him stand out. Note: He will be going to the Oklahoma City Thunder through a trade Draft Grade: C

18th Overall Pick- Dallas Mavericks select Josh Green: A standout athlete, Green is a great fit for the Mavericks. At Arizona, he was a lob man and liked to push the pace in transition. Green is still a bit raw, and may take a little bit of time to develop into the player the Mavericks want. There is a lot of upside in his game, and the Mavs made the right choice going for another big to compliment Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. Draft Grade: B+

19th Overall Pick- Brooklyn Nets select Saddiq Bey: Robbery alert! The Pistons get a great player here and there is a lot to like. Most mocks had Bey going in the range of 12-14, and it was about time that he was selected. Winning the Julius Erving award last year for being the best SF in college football, Bey was Villanova's star player and likely would have led them far into March Madness. He is a complete player with a great shot. Great player to trade for. Note: Bey will be sent to the Pistons in a trade Draft Grade: A+

20th Overall Pick- Miami Heat select Precious Achiuwa: And the steals continue. Achiuwa was a great prospect throughout high school and his year at Memphis, where he carried the team despite not having James Wiseman for the majority of the season. Although a lot of people do not think Achiuwa fits with the team, the Heat need depth at the center and power forward spot, and he fits that well with his bully-ball tactics. It is possible that he makes an immediate impact in South Beach, and his high energy style matches the vibes of the team. Draft Grade: A

The last few picks of the first round saw some of the elite talent from the NCAA get selected, including first team All-American Payton Pritchard (middle) and second team All-American Udoka Azubuike (right). Another player of note is former Kentucky guard Tyrese Maxey, who led the Wildcats in scoring last season.

21st Overall Pick- Philadelphia 76ers select Tyrese Maxey: Another late steal. Another great pick. A dominant player at Kentucky, Maxey showcased his talents and proved that he is first round talent. As new GM Daryl Morey takes over, expect more shooters and smaller guards like Maxey to be taken to match his play style. There's not much more to say other than Philly nailed this pick and got a stud. Draft Grade: A+

22nd Overall Pick- Denver Nuggets select Zeke Nnaji: There is a lot of upside in Nnaji, and he would be a complimenting playmaker alongside Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic. One of the highest IQ players in this class, Nnaji has a remarkable passion for the game and is a great rim runner. Denver is often overlooked and people forget that have been great when it comes to drafting talent. It seems that they have done it again. Draft Grade: A

23rd Overall Pick- New York Knicks select Leandro Bolmaro: I don't know too much about Bolmaro, but he is a mix of a few players from his home country of Argentina, most particularly Manu Ginobili. Interestingly enough, Ginobili is an inspiration and mentor to Bolmaro, as he has numerous relationships with his family. Note: Bolmaro is going to the Timberwolves through a trade Draft Grade: B-

24th Overall Pick- Milwaukee Bucks select R.J. Hampton: A highly touted high school player, Hampton chose to go to the NBL like earlier pick LaMelo Ball. Although this was controversial, Hampton developed a lot in New Zealand and dominated in the NBL. He is a great playmaker and handles the ball well. Looking forward to see what he does in the league alongside the other young talent in Denver. Note: Hampton will be going to the Nuggets through a trade Draft Grade: A-

25th Overall Pick- Oklahoma City Thunder select Immanuel Quickley: This seems like a reach. Quickley is not a good enough player for this draft spot, and it doesn't make too much sense for the Knicks to reach for a point guard when there are other better ones available. This seems like a classic Knicks move, although I would love to see them prove me wrong. Note: Quickley will be going to the Knicks via trade Draft Grade: C

26th Overall Pick- Boston Celtics select Payton Pritchard: Still a little confused here. Although it makes sense that Boston would pick up another point guard to backup Kemba Walker, I think they chose the wrong one. Don't get me wrong, Pritchard was a standout at Oregon and I'm sure he'll be a solid player somewhere. But, when there's guys like Nico Mannion, Tre Jones, and Cassius Winston out there, Pritchard doesn't seem like the guy for Boston. A lack of athleticism also concerns me, which makes it hard for me to like this pick. Draft Grade: C-

27th Overall Pick- Utah Jazz select Udoka Azubuike: This pick also shocked me, but nI like it in a few ways. A great post scorer and rebounder, Azubuike constantly improved at Kansas in all aspects. Azubuike sent shots flying out of bounds and bullied opponents in the post all throughout his college career, which might be his greatest aspect. Should Rudy Gobert leave the Jazz, Azubuike will be ready to step up. Draft Grade: A-

28th Overall Pick- Los Angeles Lakers select Jaden McDaniels: Like his college teammate and earlier draft pick Isaiah Stewart, McDaniels was a star in high school. He has a spectacular high flying ability that allows him to run the fastbreak offense well. Basketball runs in his family too, as his cousin is Michigan coach Juwan Howard. Additionally, he has a great defensive ability. But, watch out for his slim stature, which could be detrimental to his play if he doesn't use it to his advantage. Note: He will be going to the Timberwolves due to a trade Draft Grade: B

29th Overall Pick- Toronto Raptors select Malachi Flynn: A standout at San Diego St. Flynn led the Aztecs to become one of the best teams in all of college basketball last year. His shot and playmaking ability put him ahead of others, and they could support the Raptors as a solid backup to current point guard Fred VanVleet. Also, he will be a great fit with Pascal Siakam, as his pick and roll game is elite. Love this pick. Draft Grade: A

30th Overall Pick- Boston Celtics select Desmond Bane: This is a really nice trade for the Grizzlies. Bane is a lights out shooter who really can work well in many different offenses. Although he's at the end of the first round, there is zero reason to sleep on Bane. He has thrived through adversity and I won't be surprised if he becomes a large name in the next five years. Note: He will be headed to Memphis because of a trade Draft Grade: A-

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