/2020 NBA Draft team grades: 76ers, Jordans Hornets lead way with highest marks; Knicks make shrewd moves – CBS Sports

2020 NBA Draft team grades: 76ers, Jordans Hornets lead way with highest marks; Knicks make shrewd moves – CBS Sports


  • 6. Onyeka Okongwu | USC | Fr | C | 6-9 | 245
  • 50. Skylar Mays | LSU | Sr | SG | 6-4 | 205

Drafting Onyeka Okongwu at No. 6 is a confounding selection on its face for Atlanta, which acquired Clint Capela in a trade just last season. But Okongwu was considered by some talent evaluators as the best big man in this draft, presenting good value at that position despite the current roster construction. As for Mays, the Hawks found an underrated combo guard who has the playmaking and shooting to be a potential fit next to Trae Young in the backcourt. Grade: B-

  • 14. Aaron Nesmith | Vanderbilt | Soph | SF | 6-6 | 213
  • 26. Payton Pritchard | Oregon | PG | 6-2 | 190
  • 47. Yam Madar | Israel | PG | 6-3 | 180

The draft’s best shooter is headed to Boston in Aaron Nesmith, and that should terrify the Eastern Conference. He’s an immediate injection of offensive punch who can catch, shoot and score at an elite level. The Celtics also added depth at point guard in two ways: first, with a veteran college guard in Payton Pritchard, and later with a developmental talent in Yam Madar. The position desperately needed depth, and Boston adequately addressed it. Grade: A-

  • 57. Reggie Perry | Mississippi State | PF | Soph | 6-10 | 250

The Nets were active on draft night, trading for Mississippi State big man Reggie Perry and also acquired Landry Shamet in exchange for the No. 19 overall pick. All told, it’s a strong night. Shamet gives the Nets a lights-out shooter to pair next to Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, and Perry is a productive big who could be a rotational center because of his rebounding instincts. Nice pluck late in the draft at a position that, ideally, you don’t want to spend a ton of draft capital on. Grade: B+

  • 3. LaMelo Ball | USA | PG | 6-6 | 180
  • 32. Vernon Carey Jr. | Duke | C | FR | 6-10 | 270
  • 42. Nick Richards | Kentucky | C | JR | 6-11 | 247 (via Pelicans)
  • 56. Grant Riller | Charleston | PG | SR | 6-3 | 190

Michael Jordan went and did his thing on Wednesday. He got the top-rated prospect on our Big Board in LaMelo Ball at No. 3, and to shore up the center position, he added a pair of blue-chippers in Duke’s Vernon Carey Jr. and Kentucky’s Nick Richards. But wait, there’s more! The Hornets also added four-year mid-major star Grant Riller, a lethal creator at the point guard position who could be a sixth man or even play off Ball because of his scoring efficiency. Talented offensive weapon at every level. Grade: A+

  • 4. Patrick Williams | Florida State | FR | SF | 6-8 | 225
  • 44. Marko Simonovic | Serbia | PF | 6-11 | 220

Look, I get it, Bulls fans. You think the Pat Williams pick was a reach. But you’re wrong. Williams for months now has been steadily rising as teams watch more tape on him. And despite not being a college starter, he has the physical tools, size and defensive playmaking to be one of the draft’s big booms. One scout I talked to recently even told me he was clearly a top-five player in this class if you were drafting on upside. He’ll take some time to develop, but Chicago had a nice draft led by him and polished off by Serbian big man Marko Simonovic. He’s another developmental prospect with great fluidity and mobility for his position who presents some real long-term upside. Grade: B+

  • 5. Isaac Okoro | Auburn | FR | SF | 6-6 | 225

The Cavaliers are clearly making an effort to maximize their young backcourt with the addition of Isaac Okoro. He’s a switchable defensive wing with a high IQ who should be able to help unlock some of the potential of Darius Garland and Collin Sexton. It was just one pick, but Cleveland went the safe route to find a player with a high floor who can play right away. Grade: A

  • 18. Josh Green | Arizona | Fr | SG | 6-6 | 210
  • 31. Tyrell Terry | Stanford | Fr | PG | 6-2 | 160
  • 36. Tyler Bey | Colorado | Jr | SG | 6-7 | 216 (from 76ers)

The Mavericks added shooting and defense — two things that fit perfectly alongside Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. Green has a ton of upside as a 3-and-D wing, Terry is one of the most exciting off-the-dribble 3-point shooters in the class and was talked about as a first-round talent. Bey is an active, versatile defender who should have a shot at cracking the roster. Dallas added to its bright young future with pieces that can also help them win in the short term. Grade: A-

  • 22. Zeke Nnaji | Arizona | Fr | C | 6-11 | 240
  • 24. RJ Hampton | USA | SG | 6-5 | 185 (from Pelicans, via Bucks)

Most draft evaluators thought Nnaji was a bit of a reach at 22 (he was No. 37 on the CBS Big Board), and while his offensive skills are tantalizing, he has a lot of work to do to play NBA postseason-level defense. Hampton was listed at No. 18 on our board, so Denver did well to swoop him up after a rough season in Australia. Overall, Hampton could turn into a special scorer and Nnaji could be a capable big man, but neither will likely contribute right away. And that’s fine with the Nuggets. Grade: B

  • 7. Killian Hayes | PG | France | 6-5 | 192
  • 16. Isaiah Stewart | Washington | C | FR | 6-9 | 250 (via Trail Blazers)
  • 19. Saddiq Bey | Villanova | SF | Soph | 6-8 | 216 (via Nets)
  • 38. Saben Lee | Vanderbilt | JR | PG |6-2 | 183 (via Jazz)

The Pistons were plenty active on draft night, and the biggest acquisition here is No. 7 pick Killian Hayes. Hayes gives the team a point guard for the franchise to build around long-term because of his 6-foot-5 frame, passing instincts and shot-creation. And to top it off, Detroit added 3-and-D wing Saddiq Bey, backup guard Saben Lee and young big man Isaiah Stewart to surround him. Well done, Pistons. Well done. Grade: A

  • 2. James Wiseman | Memphis | Fr | C | 7-1 | 240
  • 48. Nico Mannion | Arizona | Fr | 6-3 | 190
  • 51. Justinian Jessup | Boise St. | Sr | SG | 6-7 | 202

After all the discussion about trading the No. 2 pick, the Warriors went with Wiseman, who fills an immediate need as a lob threat and rim protector but has All-NBA upside. Mannion, a promising point guard, and Jessup, one of the best shooters in the draft, need some time to develop, but the Warriors have had great success cultivating talent through the G League. Grade: B

  • 52. Kenyon Martin Jr. | IMG Academy | SF | 6-6 | 210 (from Kings)

It seems like the Rockets never have draft picks, but they were able to get Martin, the son of the former NBA player of the same name, via trade. Martin is a tremendous athlete, but his shot needs some serious work and he probably won’t be able to contribute for a while. But in terms of second-round gambles, it isn’t the worst idea for an apparently rebuilding team. Grade: B-

  • 54. Cassius Stanley | Duke | FR | SF | 6-6 | 193

Indiana had just one pick in the draft but made it count by scooping up Duke one-and-done Cassius Stanley, a player we had a first-round grade on. Stanley wasn’t a traditional Duke one-and-done — he was a role player who played off the ball and thrived primarily as a defender — but he’s a nice 3-and-D addition with tremendous athleticism and defensive versatility. Tough to find players who check those boxes at this point in the draft. Grade: A

  • 33. Daniel Oturu | Minnesota | Soph | C | 6-10 | 240 (from Knicks, via Timberwolves)
  • 55. Jay Scrubb | John A. Logan College | SF | 6-6 | 200

It’s clear that the Clippers needed another big option, and Oturu is intriguing as a rim-protector with the ability to step out and hit 3-pointers. Scrubb was a bit of an anomaly coming from junior college, but he has clear skill as a scorer and pick-and-roll operator. The Clippers weren’t going to solve all their problems through the draft, but they picked up a couple assets that could be useful down the road. Grade: B

L.A. gave up the No. 28 pick, which turned out to be Jaden McDaniels, in the Dennis Schroder trade, so the champs sat out the 2020 draft. Grade: N/A

  • 30. Desmond Bane | TCU | Sr | SF | 6-6 | 215 (from Celtics)
  • 35. Xavier Tillman | Michigan St. | Jr | PF | 6-8 | 245 (from Kings)

If the Grizzlies hit a grand slam with Ja Morant and Brandon Clarke last year, consider this an RBI triple. Bane is one of the best shooters in the draft and was ranked No. 22 on our big board, while Tillman is a winning player with tremendous defensive upside and sneaky playmaking ability. Up-and-coming Memphis made some more good moves on draft night. Grade: A

  • 20. Precious Achiuwa | Memphis | FR | PF | 6-9 | 225

Pat Riley, that wily dog, made quite possibly the best use of his only draft pick. Achiuwa is a perfect scheme fit because of his switchability on defense and next-level athleticism. Miami will be able to switch at almost every position with Bam Adebayo and Achiuwa in the mix. Grade: A-

  • 45. Jordan Nwora | Louisville | JR | SF | 6-7 | 225
  • 60. Sam Merrill | Utah State | SR | SG | 6-5 | 205 (via Pelicans)

If you were to call out two players who would be great additions for this roster next to Giannis, chances are you’d probably wind up with the two players Milwaukee drafted. Jordan Nwora is an elite outside shooter with a quick release who can space the floor in Coach Bud’s system, and Merrill is a similar talent. Merrill is a career 42% 3-point shooter while Nwora, as a lead man on an ACC team last season, made 40.2% of his outside looks. Grade: A

  • 1. Anthony Edwards | Georgia | Fr | SG | 6-5 | 225
  • 23. Leandro Bolmaro | Argentina | SF | 6-7 | 178 (from Knicks)
  • 28. Jaden McDaniels | Washington | Fr | 6-9 | 200 (from Thunder, via Lakers)

Edwards was clearly the best fit for the Wolves out of the top three prospects and he has All-NBA scoring potential, but he’s anything but a sure thing. Bolmaro and McDaniels are both exciting young prospects, but none of Minnesota’s picks do anything to address its atrocious defense. Grade: B-

  • 13. Kira Lewis Jr. | Alabama | Soph | PG | 6-3 | 165

New Orleans traded away three of its four picks, but Lewis is a great fit as a lightning-quick point guard with scoring, playmaking and shooting ability. It will be fun to watch him alongside Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram. Grade: A

  • 8. Obi Toppin | Dayton | Soph | PF | 6-9 | 220
  • 25. Immanuel Quickley | Kentucky | Soph | SG | 6-3 | 188

2020 really is completely upside down land, because the Knicks and their new front office made some shrewd selections on draft night. Toppin is a winning addition, a guy who won National Player of the Year honors at Dayton. He can space the floor as a shooter but plays above the rim, too. And Quickley is a long guard coming offseason in which he made 42.8% of his 3s and has some of the best touch on his jumper that you’ll see from any guard. Not only did they not screw this up, they were brilliant. Grade: B

  • 17. Aleksej Pokusevski | Serbia | C | 7-0 | 205
  • 34. Theo Maledon | France | PG | 6-4 | 174 (from 76ers)
  • 37. Vit Krejci | Czech Rebuplic | PG | 6-8 | 195

    The Thunder’s international scouts clearly put their work in, as OKC came away with three Europeans. Pokusevski is already a darling of NBA Twitter with his guard skills in a lithe, 7-foot frame, while Maledon was groomed by former NBA champ Tony Parker. Krejci came almost completely out of nowhere, but a 6-8 point guard is always worth a look. These are three solid pieces to kick off the rebuild, if that’s the direction OKC decides to go. Grade: B+

  • 15. Cole Anthony | North Carolina | FR | PG | 6-3 | 190

The Magic lack creators on offense — and depth at point guard — so the addition of Cole Anthony is a two-fer. He’s a combo guard who can create and can not only make shots, but can make tough shots. On the move running off screens, pulling up off the bounce, he’s an all-around weapon who will help this Magic team on offense.  Grade: B

  • 21. Tyrese Maxey | Kentucky | SG | FR | 6-3 | 198
  • 49. Isaiah Joe | Arkansas | Soph | SG | 6-5 | 180
  • 58. Paul Reed | DePaul | PF | JR | 6-9 | 220

Daryl Morey’s barely been on the job in Philly long enough to stake out the best cheesesteak spots, but boy did he have himself a night. Maxey was a surprise faller to 21 who the 76ers wisely scooped up, and I love the second-round additions of Isaiah Joe and Paul Reed, two specialists: Joe as a shooter and Reed as a defender. Maxey’s creation abilities off the dribble will do wonders for this offense. Grade: A+

  • 10. Jalen Smith | Maryland | Soph | C | 6-10 | 225

Nobody could ever accuse the Suns of going by the book. Last year they shocked the draft world by taking Cam Johnson 11th overall (which has turned out pretty well), and Smith at 10 might have been even more unexpected. He has tremendous upside on both ends of the floor, but should a team with Deandre Ayton really take a center at No. 10 with some great wing options (Devin Vassell, Tyrese Haliburton, Aaron Nesmith) still available? Smith may end up being a good NBA player, but that doesn’t mean it was a good pick. Grade: D

  • 46. CJ Elleby | Washington St. | Soph | SF | 6-6 | 200

The Blazers traded the No. 16 pick in the Robert Covington deal, so that left them with Elleby, a prolific but inefficient scorer, in the second round. There were still some solid options available when the Blazers took him (Elleby was ranked 75th on our Big Board), so Portland could have done better in adding to its wing depth. Grade: C+

  • 12. Tyrese Haliburton | Iowa St. | Soph | PG | 6-5 | 175
  • 40. Robert Woodard | Mississippi St. | Soph | SG | 6-7 | 235 (from Grizzlies)
  • 43. Jahmi’us Ramsey | Texas Tech | Fr | SG | 6-4 | 195

Monte McNair’s first draft with the Kings was a rousing success, and it started by snatching up a falling Haliburton, who was ranked sixth in the CBS Sports Prospect Rankings. Sacramento followed that up with Woodard, a tremendous defensive wing prospect, and Ramsey, a straight bucket-getter and knock-down 3-point shooter. This was a great start for the new regime in Sacramento. Grade: A

  • 11. Devin Vassell | Florida St. | Soph | SF | 6-7 | 194
  • 41. Tre Jones | Duke | Soph | PG | 6-3 | 185

We’re not used to seeing the Spurs in the lottery, but they didn’t miss a beat by drafting Vassell, who might have the most upside of all the 3-and-D prospects in the draft. They also swooped up Jones, a first-round talent in our rankings, at No. 41, and it’s hard to imagine him failing in San Antonio’s system. Grade: A

  • 29. Malachi Flynn | San Diego State | PG | JR | 6-1 | 185
  • 59. Jalen Harris | Nevada | SF | JR | 6-5 | 195

Toronto’s never been afraid to take a stab at undersized guards — in fact between Fred VanVleet and Kyle Lowry, the Raptors have practically copyrighted it. That’s why I love the first-round gamble for them with Malachi Flynn. He’s not the most physically imposing lead guard, but he’s a tough two-way talent who can run the pick-and-roll and create offense at a high level. Adding Jalen Harris, a combo guard/forward who has some creation abilities and can really score it, further cements this class as a solid one. Grade: B+

  • 27. Udoka Azubuike | Kansas | Sr | C | 7-0 | 270
  • 39. Elijah Hughes | Syracuse | Jr | SF | 6-6 | 215 (from Pelicans)

The Jazz wanted a backup center for Rudy Gobert, but it’s hard to see how Azubuike (ranked No. 52 on our prospect list) fits into the modern NBA given his lack of footspeed and offensive deficiencies. Hughes, a scorer and shooter with defensive upside, is a solid second-round pick, but Azubuike is a bit of a head-scratcher. Grade: C

  • 9. Deni Avdija | Israel | SF | 6-9 | 215
  • 53. Cassius Winston | Michigan State | PG | SR | 6-1 | 185

The Wizards did a nice job of letting the board fall to them and being patient. Deni Avdija was a surprise slip to No. 9, and they pulled the trigger, giving them a combo forward who can make plays next to Bradley Beal. And Cassius Winston gives the team depth at point guard, which has been a weak spot on the roster. Two winning players with impressive past production and pedigree who should upgrade the roster in Washington. Grade: A

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