NBA Draft 2020: Draft Grades for Every Team

Story posted November 23, 2020 in Sports, CommRadio by Alex Rocco

The NBA Draft has come and gone, and it featured many surprises. Let’s take a deeper dive into how each favorite team drafted.

 

Atlanta Hawks

6. Onyeka Okongwu, C, USC
50. Skylar Mays, SG, LSU

Entering the draft, the Hawks had a major need at the shooting guard position, which led many to think a guard was going to be the pick here. However, at the sixth overall pick, the Hawks selected Onyeka Okongwu. Okongwu has all the potential to be a star, but the Hawks have a loaded frontcourt with Clint Capela and John Collins. In the second round, they grabbed shooting guard Taylor Mays from LSU. Mays is a good shooter and playmaker. 

Grade: C+

 

Boston Celtics

14. Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt
26. Payton Pritchard, PG, Oregon
47. Yam Madar, PG, Israel

The Celtics could have gone in many different directions. Ultimately, they decided to get depth on the wing and at point guard. At pick No. 14, they drafted arguably the best shooter in the draft in Aaron Nesmith. Nesmith can catch, shoot and score at an elite level. The Celtics also added depth at point guard. They took a veteran in Payton Pritchard and a developmental player in Yam Madar.

Grade: A

 

Brooklyn Nets

57. Reggie Perry, PF, Mississippi State

The Nets made a few trades on draft night. They acquired Landry Shamet in exchange for the No. 19 overall pick. Shamet gives the Nets a lights-out shooter to pair next to Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Reggie Perry, meanwhile, is a productive big who could be a rotational center.

Grade: B

 

Charlotte Hornets

3. LaMelo Ball, PG, U.S.A.
32. Vernon Carey Jr., C, Duke
42. Nick Richards, C, Kentucky (via Pelicans)
56. Grant Riller, PG, Charleston

Michael Jordan and the Hornets nailed this draft. They got arguably the best player in the draft in LaMelo Ball. They also shored up the center position with the selections of Vernon Carey Jr. and Nick Richards. The Hornets also got Grant Riller, who is a great playmaker and could be a future sixth man.

Grade: A+

 

Chicago Bulls

4. Patrick Williams, SF, Florida State
44. Marko Simonovic, PF, Serbia

Many Bulls fans were upset with the selection of Patrick Williams, but Williams has great physical tools and is an excellent defender. Chicago also added Serbian big man Marko Simonovic, who has good mobility for his size. Both prospects will take a while to develop, but the upside is there.

Grade: B-

 

Cleveland Cavaliers

5. Isaac Okoro, SF, Auburn

In the last two drafts, the Cavaliers have selected young guards Collin Sexton and Darius Garland. This year, their goal was to maximize the potential of their backcourt, and with the selection of Okoro, they have done that. Okoro has a high IQ and plays great defense.

Grade: A

 

Dallas Mavericks

18. Josh Green, SG, Arizona
31. Tyrell Terry, PG, Stanford
36. Tyler Bey, SG, Colorado (from 76ers)

The Mavericks need to find players that complement Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, and in this draft, they did exactly that. Green can be a potential 3-and-D wing. Terry is one of the best 3-point shooters in the draft, and many had him going earlier than he did. Bey is a good defender who is very versatile.

Grade: A

 

Denver Nuggets

22. Zeke Nnaji, C, Arizona
24. RJ Hampton, SG, U.S.A. (from Pelicans, via Bucks)

The Nuggets reached at No. 22 when they took Nnaji. His offense is great, but his defense is extremely lackluster. Hampton, meanwhile, was considered a steal in many people’s eyes. He has the potential to be a special scorer.

Grade: B

 

Detroit Pistons

7. Killian Hayes, PG, France
16. Isaiah Stewart, C, Washington (via Trail Blazers)
19. Saddiq Bey, SF, Villanova (via Nets)
38. Saben Lee, PG, Vanderbilt (via Jazz)

The Pistons were among the most active teams in the draft. Hayes gives the Pistons a franchise point guard who they can build around, as he is a great passer and shot creator. Detroit will be surrounding Hayes with 3-and-D wing Saddiq Bey, backup guard Saben Lee and young big man Isaiah Stewart.

Grade: A

 

Golden State Warriors

2. James Wiseman, C, Memphis
48. Nico Mannion, PG, Arizona
51. Justinian Jessup, SG, Boise State

After some debate about trading down, Wiseman ended up being the Warriors’ pick at No. 2, and he fills a need as a lob threat and rim protector who also has All-NBA upside. Mannion, a promising point guard, and Jessup, one of the best shooters in the draft, are going to take time to develop.

Grade: B

 

Houston Rockets

52. Kenyon Martin Jr., SF, IMG Academy (from Kings)

In the past few seasons, the Rockets have not had many draft picks, and this year was the same, as their only selection was at 52nd. Martin is a great athlete, but his shot needs a lot of work.

Grade: C+

 

Indiana Pacers

54. Cassius Stanley, SF, Duke

The Pacers had only one selection, but they made the most of it by selecting Stanley. Stanley has great athleticism and also features 3-and-D potential.

Grade: A-

 

Los Angeles Clippers

33. Daniel Oturu, C, Minnesota (from Knicks, via Timberwolves)
55. Jay Scrubb, SF, John A. Logan College

The Clippers wanted to upgrade at the center position, and that’s what they did when they selected Oturu. He is a good rim protector and can hit 3-pointers. Scrubb is a good scorer and pick-and-roll operator who may crack the roster.

Grade: B-

 

Los Angeles Lakers

Grade: N/A

 

Memphis Grizzlies

30. Desmond Bane, SF, TCU (from Celtics)
35. Xavier Tillman, PF, Michigan State (from Kings)

Bane is one of the best shooters in the draft and is an excellent fit next to Ja Morant. Tillman is a player who knows how to win, and he also has the potential to be a great defender and playmaker.

Grade: B+

 

Miami Heat

20. Precious Achiuwa, PF, Memphis

Despite only having one pick in the draft, the Heat made the most of it by selecting Achiuwa.  Achiuwa fits excellently in the Heat's scheme, as he can switch on defense and has next-level athleticism.

Grade: A+

 

Milwaukee Bucks

45. Jordan Nwora, SF, Louisville
60. Sam Merrill, SG, Utah State (via Pelicans)

The Bucks did an excellent job of surrounding superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo. Both Nwora and Merrill are excellent shooters that have quick releases and will help space the floor. 

Grade: A

 

Minnesota Timberwolves

1. Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia
23. Leandro Bolmaro, SF, Argentina (from Knicks)
28. Jaden McDaniels, PF, Washington (from Thunder, via Lakers)

Edwards was the best fit for the Timberwolves out of himself, Ball and Wiseman. Edwards has great potential, but he’s anything but a sure thing. Both Bolmaro and McDaniels are young, but they play very little defense, which is something that the Timberwolves are lacking in.

Grade: C+

 

New Orleans Pelicans

13. Kira Lewis Jr., PG, Alabama

The Pelicans traded away three of their four picks, but with the one selection they had, they nailed it. Lewis Jr. has great speed with good scoring, playmaking and shooting ability. It will be fun to watch him and Zion share the court.

Grade: A+

 

New York Knicks

8. Obi Toppin, PF, Dayton
25. Immanuel Quickley, SG, Kentucky

2020 is truly a crazy year, as the Knicks finally had a great draft. Toppin won National Player of the Year last season, and he can do it all on offense. The Knicks also got Quickley, who is an excellent shooter and can help space the floor for guys like RJ Barrett and Mitch Robinson.

Grade: A

 

Oklahoma City Thunder

17. Aleksej Pokusevski, C, Serbia
34. Theo Maledon, PG, France (from 76ers)
37. Vit Krejci, PG, Czech Republic

The Thunder decided they wanted to go international this year, as every player they selected was European. Pokusevski has guard skills and is 7 feet tall. Maledon was trained by former NBA champ Tony Parker. Krejci was a bit of a random pick, but this 6-foot-8-inch point guard is very intriguing. 

Grade: B

 

Orlando Magic

15. Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina

The Magic entered the draft lacking playmakers and point guard depth. Anthony fills both of those needs. Anthony is a combo guard who can create and can not only make shots but also make tough shots.

Grade: B+

 

 

Philadelphia 76ers

21. Tyrese Maxey, SG, Kentucky
49. Isaiah Joe, SG, Arkansas
58. Paul Reed, PF, DePaul

New general manager Daryl Morey did an excellent job in his first draft with the team. Maxey was a steal at No. 21. Morey smartly made the right decision and picked him up. The second round saw the additions of Isaiah Joe and Paul Reed. Joe is a very good shooter, and Reed is a very solid defender.

Grade: A+

 

Phoenix Suns

10. Jalen Smith, C, Maryland

The Suns’ selection of Smith is very confusing. Smith has tremendous upside on both ends of the floor, but the Suns already have a budding star in Deandre Ayton, who plays the same position as Smith. The Suns needed help on the wing, and they failed to upgrade there.

Grade: D

 

Portland Trail Blazers

46. CJ Elleby, SF, Washington State

The Blazers traded the No. 16 pick for Robert Covington, leaving Elleby as the lone selection. Elleby is a high-volume scorer but is also very inconsistent. There were better guards still on the table, so Portland could have done better in adding to its wing depth.

Grade: C

 

Sacramento Kings

12. Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State
40. Robert Woodard, SG, Mississippi State (from Grizzlies)
43. Jahmi'us Ramsey, SG, Texas Tech

Monte McNair had an excellent first draft as the new general manager of the Kings. The draft started with a bang when they scooped up a falling Haliburton. The Kings followed up with Woodard, who plays great defense, and Ramsey, who knows how to put the ball in the basket.

Grade: A

 

San Antonio Spurs

11. Devin Vassell, SF, Florida State
41. Tre Jones, PG, Duke

The Spurs are in unfamiliar territory, as the last time they were in the lottery was 1997. Vassell, who might have the most upside of all the 3-and-D prospects in the draft, was an excellent pick and someone who will fit right into the Spurs system. They also grabbed Jones, who was falling, but he is another guy who fits into the Spurs system.

Grade: B+

 

Toronto Raptors

29. Malachi Flynn, PG, San Diego State
59. Jalen Harris, SF, Nevada

The Raptors are known for developing undersized guards, as they have done it before with Fred VanVleet and Kyle Lowry. They are hoping it works again with Flynn. He is not physically imposing, but he is tough and can create offense at a high level. Harris, meanwhile, can score the ball well and has some playmaking ability.

Grade: B-

 

Utah Jazz

27. Udoka Azubuike, C, Kansas
39. Elijah Hughes, SF, Syracuse (from Pelicans)

The Jazz had a hole at backup center, but Azubuike’s game does not translate well to the NBA, as he is slow and not good on offense. Hughes is a better pick, as he is a bucket getter and has good potential on the defensive side of the ball. 

Grade: C-

 

Washington Wizards

9. Deni Avdija, SF, Israel
53. Cassius Winston, PG, Michigan State

Avdija was a surprise fall, and the Wizards gladly took him. He is a combo forward who adds playmaking ability next to Bradley Beal and John Wall. Winston gives the team depth at point guard, which has been a weak spot on the roster.

Grade: A-

 

Alex Rocco is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email him at afr5646@psu.edu.