2016 NBA Draft

Update On Unsigned 2016 Draft Picks

Over a month has passed since the 2016 NBA draft, and most of the 60 players selected in June – including first overall pick Ben Simmons – have been signed by their NBA teams, or have lined up overseas deals. Still, there are several players whose immediate futures have not yet been determined.

As our list of draft pick signings shows, there are still five first-rounders who have yet to either sign a contract with their NBA team or to strike a deal with an international club. Of those players, four were top-11 picks, so it’s likely just a matter of time until they sign their rookie-scale contracts. Only 15th overall pick Juan Hernangomez is a question mark — a recent report suggested he’d probably join the Nuggets immediately, but it’s not set in stone yet.

In the second round, eight of 30 draftees have unresolved situations, and many of those outcomes are more difficult to predict. Celtics draftee Abdel Nader, for instance, could end up signing with Boston, being joining the team’s D-League affiliate, or heading overseas as a draft-and-stash prospect.

We’ll pass along updates on 2016’s draft picks as they become available. For now, here’s the full list of players whose situation for the 2016/17 has yet to be resolved:

First Round:

  1. Los Angeles Lakers: Brandon Ingram, SF (Duke)
  2. Boston Celtics: Jaylen Brown, SF (California)
  3. Milwaukee Bucks: Thon Maker, PF (HS)
  4. Oklahoma City Thunder: Domantas Sabonis, PF/C (Gonzaga)
  5. Denver Nuggets: Juan Hernangomez, F (Estudiantes)

Second Round:

  1. Milwaukee Bucks: Malcolm Brogdon, SG (Virginia)
  2. Utah Jazz: Joel Bolomboy, PF (Weber State)
  3. Cleveland Cavaliers: Kay Felder, PG (Oakland)
  4. Utah Jazz: Marcus Paige, PG (North Carolina)
  5. Oklahoma City Thunder: Daniel Hamilton, SG (UConn)
  6. Boston Celtics: Abdel Nader, F (Iowa State)
  7. Sacramento Kings: Isaiah Cousins, SG (Oklahoma)
  8. Utah Jazz: Tyrone Wallace, PG (California)

2016 NBA Draft Pick Signings

Free agent signings and trades have dominated headlines in the NBA world over the last week, but teams around the league are also taking care of the rookies they drafted last month, signing them to their first NBA contracts.

For first-round picks, those contracts are fairly rigid, having essentially been predetermined. The NBA’s rookie-scale structure dictates that first-rounders will be signed to four-year deals, which include two guaranteed years, then team options in years three and four.

The value of those contracts depends on where a player was drafted. This year, No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons is in line for a four-year deal worth in excess of $26.6MM, which represents the maximum allowable 120% of his scale amount. No. 30 pick Damian Jones, on the other hand, figures to sign a four-year contract worth just under $6MM. The full breakdown of this year’s first-round rookie salaries and contracts can be found right here — if you see a first-rounder listed below as “signed,” you can assume his contract looks like that, unless otherwise indicated.

Second-round picks, meanwhile, aren’t assured of two guaranteed seasons, though some players will receive them. Teams can sign second-rounders to whatever amount they choose, using cap room or various exceptions. Those players who immediately join their NBA teams figure to get a minimum salary or something slightly above the minimum. We’ll make a note of contract details for second-rounders below, as they become available.

Finally, some second-rounders – and perhaps even some first-rounders – won’t sign in the NBA immediately, heading overseas to refine their games while their NBA teams retain their rights. We’ll make note of that below too, wherever it’s applicable.

Here’s a breakdown of 2016’s draft pick signings. This list will be updated as more draftees sign their first NBA contracts:

Round 1

  1. Philadelphia 76ers: Ben Simmons, F (LSU): Signed
  2. Los Angeles Lakers: Brandon Ingram, SF (Duke): Signed
  3. Boston Celtics: Jaylen Brown, SF (California): Signed
  4. Phoenix Suns: Dragan Bender, PF (Maccabi Tel Aviv): Signed
  5. Minnesota Timberwolves: Kris Dunn, PG (Providence): Signed
  6. New Orleans Pelicans: Buddy Hield, SG (Oklahoma): Signed
  7. Denver Nuggets: Jamal Murray, G (Kentucky): Signed
  8. Phoenix Suns: Marquese Chriss, PF (Washington): Signed
  9. Toronto Raptors: Jakob Poeltl, C (Utah): Signed
  10. Milwaukee Bucks: Thon Maker, PF (HS): Signed
  11. Oklahoma City Thunder: Domantas Sabonis, PF/C (Gonzaga): Signed
  12. Atlanta Hawks: Taurean Prince, SF (Baylor): Signed
  13. Sacramento Kings: Georgios Papagiannis, C (Panathinaikos): Signed
  14. Chicago Bulls: Denzel Valentine, SG (Michigan State): Signed
  15. Denver Nuggets: Juan Hernangomez, F (Estudiantes): Signed
  16. Boston Celtics: Guerschon Yabusele, PF (Rouen): Will play overseas
  17. Memphis Grizzlies: Wade Baldwin, G (Vanderbilt): Signed
  18. Detroit Pistons: Henry Ellenson, PF (Marquette): Signed
  19. Denver Nuggets: Malik Beasley, SG (Florida State): Signed
  20. Brooklyn Nets: Caris LeVert, G (Michigan): Signed
  21. Atlanta Hawks: DeAndre’ Bembry, SF (St. Joseph’s): Signed
  22. Sacramento Kings: Malachi Richardson, G/F (Syracuse): Signed
  23. Boston Celtics: Ante Zizic, C (Cibona Zagreb): Will play overseas
  24. Philadelphia 76ers: Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, G/F (Mega Leks): Signed
  25. Los Angeles Clippers: Brice Johnson, PF (North Carolina): Signed
  26. Philadelphia 76ers: Furkan Korkmaz, SG (Anadolu Efes): Will play overseas
  27. Toronto Raptors: Pascal Siakam, PF (New Mexico State): Signed
  28. Sacramento Kings: Skal Labissiere, PF/C (Kentucky): Signed
  29. San Antonio Spurs: Dejounte Murray, G (Washington): Signed
  30. Golden State Warriors: Damian Jones, C (Vanderbilt): Signed

Round 2

  1. Memphis Grizzlies: Deyonta Davis, PF/C (Michigan State): Signed
    • Three years, $3.923MM; fully guaranteed
  2. Los Angeles Lakers: Ivica Zubac, C (Mega Leks): Signed
    • Three years, $3.245MM; first two years are guaranteed
  3. New Orleans Pelicans: Cheick Diallo, PF/C (Kansas): Signed
    • Three years, minimum salary; first two years are guaranteed
  4. Phoenix Suns: Tyler Ulis, PG (Kentucky): Signed
    • Four years, $4MM; first two years are guaranteed
  5. Memphis Grizzlies: Rade Zagorac, SF (Mega Leks): Will play overseas
  6. Milwaukee Bucks: Malcolm Brogdon, SG (Virginia): Signed
    • Three years, $2.99MM; first two years are guaranteed
  7. Houston Rockets: Chinanu Onuaku, C (Louisville): Signed
    • Three years, minimum salary; fully guaranteed
  8. Golden State Warriors: Patrick McCaw, SG (UNLV): Signed
    • Two years, minimum salary; fully guaranteed
  9. Los Angeles Clippers: David Michineau, PG (Chalon): Will play overseas
  10. Los Angeles Clippers: Diamond Stone, C (Maryland): Signed
    • Two years, minimum salary; fully guaranteed
  11. Orlando Magic: Stephen Zimmerman, C (UNLV): Signed
    • Three years, $2.993MM; first year is fully guaranteed
  12. Brooklyn Nets: Isaiah Whitehead, SG (Seton Hall): Signed
    • Four years, $4.586MM; first two years are fully guaranteed
  13. Houston Rockets: Zhou Qi, C (Xinjiang): Will play overseas
  14. Atlanta Hawks: Isaia Cordinier, SG (Denain): Will play overseas
  15. Boston Celtics: Demetrius Jackson, PG (Notre Dame): Signed
    • Four years, $5.47MM; first year guaranteed
  16. Dallas Mavericks: A.J. Hammons, C (Purdue): Signed
    • Three years, $2.606MM; fully guaranteed
  17. Portland Trail Blazers: Jake Layman, SF (Maryland): Signed
    • Three years, $2.556MM; first two years are guaranteed
  18. Chicago Bulls: Paul Zipser, SF (Bayern Muenchen): Signed
    • Four years, $3.832MM; first two years are guaranteed
  19. Detroit Pistons: Michael Gbinije, G/F (Syracuse): Signed
    • Three years, $2.606MM; first year guaranteed; second year partially guaranteed
  20. Indiana Pacers: Georges Niang, F (Iowa State): Signed
    • Three years, $2.606MM; first year guaranteed; second year partially guaranteed
  21. Boston Celtics: Ben Bentil, PF (Providence): Signed
    • Three years, minimum salary; first year partially guaranteed
  22. Utah Jazz: Joel Bolomboy, PF (Weber State): Signed
    • Three years, $2.556MM; first year guaranteed; second year partially guaranteed
  23. Denver Nuggets: Petr Cornelie, PF (Le Mans): Will play overseas
  24. Cleveland Cavaliers: Kay Felder, PG (Oakland): Signed
    • Three years, minimum salary; first year is guaranteed
  25. Utah Jazz: Marcus Paige, PG (North Carolina): Signed
    • Two years, minimum salary; first year partially guaranteed
  26. Oklahoma City Thunder: Daniel Hamilton, SG (UConn): Will play for Thunder’s D-League affiliate
  27. Memphis Grizzlies: Wang Zhelin, C (Fujian): Will play overseas
  28. Boston Celtics: Abdel Nader, F (Iowa State): Will play for Celtics’ D-League affiliate
  29. Sacramento Kings: Isaiah Cousins, SG (Oklahoma): Signed
    • One year, minimum salary; partially guaranteed
  30. Utah Jazz: Tyrone Wallace, PG (California): Will play for Jazz’ D-League affiliate

Timberwolves Sign Lottery Pick Kris Dunn

The Timberwolves have signed point guard Kris Dunn, the fifth pick in last month’s draft, the team announced in a press release. Terms of the contract were not disclosed but assuming Dunn received the standard 120% of his scale amount, he would make $3,872,520 in his first season and $19,302,919 through the remainder of his four-year rookie contract.

Dunn was the first point guard chosen in the draft after a stellar career with Providence. The two-time Big East Player of the Year and conference Defensive Player of the Year averaged 16.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 2.5 steals as a junior last season.

The 6-4 Dunn will compete for minutes with Ricky Rubio and Zach LaVine, though either could be traded by the start of the season to open up playing time for Dunn. Minnesota has shopped Rubio and head coach Tom Thibodeau is optimistic his trade value will increase from teams who failed to sign a starting point guard in free agency.

The Timberwolves and Bulls were engaged in draft-night trade talks involving Dunn and Jimmy Butler, per several reports, but couldn’t agree on a deal. Chicago wound up agreeing to terms with free agent point guard Rajon Rondo.

Pacers Acquire Jeff Teague; George Hill To Jazz

JULY 7: The Pacers, Jazz, and Hawks have all issued announcements formally confirming that the three-way swap is official. Teague goes to Indiana, Hill heads to Utah, and Atlanta gets the rights to Taurean Prince, the 12th overall pick in last month’s draft.

JUNE 22: The Pacers, Jazz, and Hawks have agreed to a three-way trade, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, who reports that Indiana will acquire Atlanta point guard Jeff Teague and send George Hill to Utah in the deal. The Hawks, meanwhile, will get the No. 12 overall pick in tomorrow’s draft from Utah, says Wojnarowski.NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Charlotte Hornets

Teague, 28, has been the subject of trade rumors this year despite having an All-Star appearance on his résumé. With just one year left on his contract, Teague has become somewhat expendable in Atlanta due to the continued development of fellow point guard Dennis Schröder, who has made no secret about his desire to be the starter going forward

Teague, who said earlier this month that he played the 2015/16 season with a torn patellar tendon in his knee, still appeared in 79 games, averaging 15.7 points and 5.9 assists, and shooting 43.9% from the field and 40% from three-point range. According to Wojnarowski, the Pacers intend to try to extend Teague’s contract beyond the 2016/17 season. The veteran point guard will be eligible to restructure his deal beginning on July 13th.

In Hill, meanwhile, the Jazz are acquiring a solid defender who can also contribute on the offensive end, particularly from beyond the arc. In 74 regular-season games, Hill averaged 12.1 points, 3.5 assists, and 4.0 rebounds per game, to go along with a 40.8% mark from three-point range. The 30-year-old was also solid in Indiana’s first-round playoff loss to Toronto, increasing his three-point percentage to 48.1% for those seven games. He’ll team with Dante Exum at the point in Utah, and his arrival may push Trey Burke to the trade block.

Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution suggests (via Twitter) that the trade won’t become official until July, which makes sense if no other pieces are involved. That would allow the Jazz to use their cap space in July to absorb Hill’s $8MM salary without moving any other players. From the Pacers’ perspective, Teague’s salary – which will increase to $8.8MM due to his 10% trade kicker – is only a marginal increase on Hill’s.

As for the Hawks, they’d clear Teague’s salary while taking on a cap hold of just under $2MM for the No. 12 overall pick. The move would reduce the guaranteed salaries on Atlanta’s books for 2016/17 to about $44MM, not including the cap holds for their two first-rounders or pending free agents, giving the team plenty of room to re-sign Al Horford and potentially pursue another free agent or two as well.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Hornets Acquire Marco Belinelli From Kings

JULY 7: The Hornets have formally confirmed in a press release that they’ve acquired Belinelli from the Kings in exchange for the rights to Malachi Richardson, the No. 22 overall pick in this year’s draft.

JUNE 23: The Hornets and Kings have agreed to a trade that will send the No. 22 overall pick to Sacramento in exchange for veteran shooting guard Marco Belinelli, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (Twitter links). The deal that will make Belinelli a Hornet can’t be processed until July, but Charlotte will be selecting a player for the Kings at No. 22 tonight.

"<strongThe deal comes as a bit of a surprise, since Belinelli hasn’t exactly been at his best during the last two seasons in Sacramento. In 2015/16, he scored in double digits for the team, but shot just .386 from the field and .306 from three-point range. Both marks were the worst of his nine-year NBA career.

Still, the Hornets are apparently confident that Belinelli, a 37.9% career three-point shooter, can bounce back and give them more positive value than the No. 22 overall pick could have. The 30-year-old is under contract for two more seasons, with a salary of $6.33MM in 2016/17 and $6.606 the following year. If he comes back strong next year, that’s not a bad price for a bench scorer and outside shooter.

The Hornets only currently have $46MM in guaranteed salary on the books for next season, so they should have plenty of room to absorb Belinelli’s salary under the cap in July. The move also gives the team some insurance in case Courtney Lee signs elsewhere as a free agent.

As for the Kings, they’ll clear a little salary and are now armed with two first-round picks. We heard earlier this evening that Sacramento is exploring deals involving the No. 8 pick. Acquiring a second first-rounder could give the club a little more ammunition to attempt to move up, and would still allow the team to add a first-round rookie tonight if it decides to move that No. 8 pick for future selections.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pacers Acquire Thaddeus Young From Nets

Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports Images

Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports Images

JULY 7: The swap sending Young to the Pacers in exchange for the rights to No. 20 overall pick Caris LeVert and a future second-round pick is now official, according to a Nets press release.

JUNE 23: The Pacers have agreed to acquire Thaddeus Young from the Nets in exchange for the No. 20 overall pick in tonight’s NBA draft and a future protected second-rounder, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reports (on Twitter). The scribe had reported earlier that several Western Conference teams had been aggressively pursuing Young, who Brooklyn was looking to deal to the highest bidder in an effort to land a first round pick, which it nabbed from Indiana in the swap.

This is the second big  move by Indiana in the past two days, with the team landing point guard Jeff Teague from Atlanta in a three-team trade on Wednesday. It certainly appears that team executive Larry Bird is serious about retooling his squad for new coach Nate McMillan.

For Brooklyn, flipping Young for a first-rounder clearly signals that the franchise is shifting into full-rebuild mode. Given the Nets’ lack of talent, it is a bit puzzling why they would give up on Young, who is under contract for three more seasons at a fairly reasonable rate. Young, 28,  is slated to earn $12,078,652 next season, $12,921,348 in 2017/18 and $13,764,045 the final year.

In 73 appearances for Brooklyn this past season, Young averaged 15.1 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 33.0 minutes per outing. His shooting line was .514/.233/.644.

Southeast Notes: Wall, Durant, Batum, Ibaka

John Wall thinks fan overreaction may have discouraged Kevin Durant from considering the Wizards in free agency, relays J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic. Because Durant hails from the Washington, D.C., area, the Wizards were once thought to have a chance at landing him, but they aren’t among the seven teams expected to meet with Durant after free agency begins on Friday. “A lot of people will be devastated. But at the end of the day he never promised us anything,” Wall said. “Every day, everybody said KD-to-DC, coming to our games wearing all the Kevin Durant stuff, he didn’t like it at that time because you should cheer for the team that you got.”

There’s more news out of the Southeast Division:

  • Of the Hornets‘ five free agents, Nicolas Batum is most likely to return next season, according to Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Bonnell sees a 70% likelihood that Batum remains with in Charlotte, and GM Rich Cho has said keeping him is the team’s top offseason priority. Bonnell believs the Hornets will need to offer a five-year deal at more than $20MM per season to be sure of re-signing Batum. For the rest of the team’s free agents, Bonnell puts the chances of keeping Marvin Williams at 50%, Jeremy Lin at 40%, Al Jefferson at 25% and Courtney Lee at 20%.
  • The Magic made good on their promise to be aggressive in trying to acquire veteran help when they pulled off a deal for Serge Ibaka, writes Cody Taylor of Basketball Insiders. The trade may have been necessary because of the impending free agency of shooting guards Evan Fournier, who will hit the market this summer, and Victor Oladipo, who was shipped to Oklahoma City in the deal and will become a free agent in 2017. The Magic didn’t expect to re-sign both, according to Taylor, and didn’t want to lose them without getting something in return.
  • French shooting guard Isaia Cordinier, who was taken by Atlanta with the No. 44 pick in the draft, will probably play next season in France and join the Hawks for 2017/18, tweets Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress. Givony says Cordinier had a draft promise from a team in the late 30s or early 40s, but that team changed its mind and took someone else (Twitter link). Cordinier was expecting to join that franchise immediately and had asked other teams not to draft him (Twitter link).

2016 NBA Draft Grades: Southwest Division

The 2016 NBA Draft is now squarely in the rearview and teams have already begun signing their selections. Sometimes, taking the best available player isn’t the best course of action and it is wiser to nab a player who fits a clear need, which should always be considered when rating how each front office performed in the draft. We at Hoops Rumors will be taking a look at how each team fared on Draft night. Here’s a look at the Southwest Division:

Dallas Mavericks

Team Needs: Center, Frontcourt Depth, Star Player

Draft Picks:

The Mavs were without a first-round selection because of their ill-fated 2014 Rajon Rondo trade. They used their only selection on an efficient 280-pound center, who has the potential to be one of the steals of the draft. Hammons followed up three mediocre seasons at Purdue with a strong senior season where he sported a 31.3 player efficiency rating.

Overall Draft Grade: Given what the Mavs had to work with, they made out pretty well. Conditioning and attitude have been a major issues for Hammons. He landed in a good spot with Rick Carlisle and he should be able to enter Dallas’ rotation at some point during the 2016/17 season. I give the Mavs a “B” for making a good selection with their only pick.

Houston Rockets

Team Needs: Wings, Point Guard, Defense

Draft Picks:

The Rockets were without a first-rounder because of the Ty Lawson trade they made last offseason, but they were still able to add talent in the second-round. Onuaku is an unpolished 19-year-old who will take a few years to reach his potential. Qi is a shot-blocking 7’2″ center with a 7’6″ wingspan. He’ll need to bulk up to play any minutes at the NBA level, but he’s likely going to play overseas for a year or two, so that should give him time to get there.

Overall Draft Grade: You could argue that the Rockets should have taken Patrick McCaw with the No.37 pick, who went one spot later and was traded to the Warriors. Instead, the team doubled-down on the center position. Both prospects will need time to develop and there’s a decent chance that one or both of them will never establish themselves in the league. The selections indicate that GM Daryl Morey is playing the numbers game, taking two gambles—lottery tickets if you will—and hoping one of them pays off. I can understand the logic behind it, but I can only offer a mark of “C-” for it.

Memphis Grizzlies

Team Needs: Small Forward, Shooting, Depth

Draft Picks:

Baldwin at No.17 was a great pick for this team. He’s a tremendous athlete who can score from long-range. He gives the Grizzlies a potential long-term replacement for Mike Conley should he bolt in free agency. He also has the length to play shooting guard should Conley re-sign with the team, as I discussed in our Mock Draft.

Davis has the potential to become one of the best defensive players in this draft. He’ll need time to reach his potential, but he’ll certainly challenge for minutes off the bench next season.

Zagorac could be a starter in this league if he pans out, but that’s a big if. Zhelin is an even bigger if. He’s an extremely raw  7’0″ center with an average wingspan. Both players lack athleticism and both will spend time overseas before attempting to make the jump to the NBA.

Overall Draft Grade: The Grizzlies saw 28 different players suit up for them last season, as I mentioned in the team’s Offseason Outlook. When healthy, they are a top-10 team in the league and one of their goals heading into the draft should have been adding depth. They executed that plan by trading for two early second-rounders and adding a few players who may be able to crack the rotation next season. They didn’t address adding a long-term option on the wing, however, there wasn’t a player available at No.17 who could contribute immediately and play the three. I give Memphis a “B+” for its draft.

New Orleans Pelicans

Team Needs: Depth, Perimeter Defense, Shooting

Draft Picks:

Hield is a great fit in New Orleans and he has the ability to become a star in the league, as Arthur Hill of Hoops Rumors detailed in our Mock Draft. Assuming the Pelicans don’t re-sign Eric Gordon, the No.6 overall pick should begin the season as a starter. The team could have went with Jamal Murray here, but Hield is arguably more NBA ready right now. The Anthony Davis-Hield combination should blitz defenses for years to come.

Diallo had an up-and-down freshman campaign at Kansas and had he stayed in school for another year, he would have likely been a lottery pick in the 2017 draft. He’ll need time to develop, but they team shouldn’t need him to play any significant minutes with Omar Asik and Alexis Ajinca ahead of him on the depth chart. The team traded its two second-rounders for Diallo, but he has the potential to become one of the league’s best second-round picks ever.

Overall Draft Grade: The Pelicans’ lack of depth was exposed last season because of various injuries to the team’s core, as I discussed in their Offseason Outlook. New Orleans only added one player who is expected to contribute next season, but both players are good selections for the franchise’s long-term outlook. The team earns a grade of “B” for its efforts.

San Antonio Spurs

Needs: Long-term Answer at Point Guard, Depth

Draft Picks:

Basically just apply every I wrote for the Raptors in our Mock Draft and apply it to R.C. Buford and the Spurs. Smart GMs are always looking down the road, attempting to acquire players who can thrive for the franchise long-term. Murray has the potential to be a All-Star in this league. He has a terrific first step, he can get to basket with ease and he’s an electric playmaker. He should be able to guard both point guards and shooting guards at the next level due to his 6’11” wingspan. Murray will need to bulk up and while his jumpshot isn’t broken, it’s not his greatest attribute. He’ll have time to develop within San Antonio’s system and the team will give him a great opportunity to reach his potential.

Overall Draft Grade: The Spurs were very fortunate to have Murray fall to them at No.29. The Raptors, Kings or Sixers (twice) could have easily taken him late in the first-round, but instead, they each went in a different direction. Murray has the potential to haunt teams that passed up on him for years to come. The Spurs get an “A+” for nabbing the 19-year-old.

2016 NBA Draft Grades: Atlantic Division

The 2016 NBA Draft is now squarely in the rearview and teams have already begun signing their selections. Sometimes, taking the best available player isn’t the best course of action and it is wiser to nab a player who fits a clear need, which should always be considered when rating how each front office performed in the draft. We at Hoops Rumors will be taking a look at how each team fared on Draft night. We’ll begin with a look at the Atlantic Division:

Boston Celtics

Team Needs: Star player, Outside Shooting, Frontcourt Depth

Draft Picks:

The Celtics entered Thursday night’s draft with their eyes on landing a star player in exchange for the No. 3 overall pick. While names like Kevin Love, Jimmy Butler, Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor were mentioned in connection with Boston, team executive Danny Ainge was unable or unwilling to make a blockbuster trade in exchange for the top three selection. Given the build-up and speculation attached to this year’s draft for the Celtics, it’s difficult not to be disappointed by the end result for Ainge’s squad.

Instead of acquiring a player who could be plugged into the starting lineup from day one, the team selected versatile wing scorer Jaylen Brown out of the University of California. While Brown may not be a ready-made star for the team, he is arguably the third-best player in the entire draft and fits a clear need for the Celtics. He’ll require some time to acclimate to the NBA game and to add some bulk to his frame before paying dividends for Boston, but he was a solid pick as a fallback option.

Boston’s other two first-rounders, Guerschon Yabusele and Ante Zizic, are almost assuredly going to end up as draft-and-stash players. I like the addition of Yabusele, who has the ability to evolve into a force in the paint area for Boston. His offensive game will need serious work, but he projects as a solid hustle player off the bench down the line for the Celtics. I’m not as bullish on the selection of Zizic, who may evolve into a solid rotation player for the team in a few years. It’s no so much I am down of the big man’s game, but with Dejounte Murray and Deyonta Davis still on the board, I feel the team missed out on not nabbing one of that duo given their much greater upsides.

While the Celtics may have disappointed some with their first round choices, the team knocked it out of the park with their work in the second round. Both Demetrius Jackson and Ben Bentil were projected by many, including myself, to be first-rounders, which makes landing them at picks No. 45 and No. 51 overall flat out steals. Fantastic additions who should both be solid rotation players for coach Brad Stevens.

Overall Draft Grade: I feel the need to give the Celtics two grades for their 2016 NBA Draft. If grading based on the hope and expectation the team would flip the No. 3 pick for a star player, then the team gets a firm “D.” But despite not acquiring a true star player Thursday night, Boston nabbed a number of talented and promising young pieces who can help the team. For that work I give Ainge and the Celtics an overall mark of on “A.”


Brooklyn Nets

Team Needs: Talent, Point Guard, Scoring, Rebounding, Defense

Draft Picks:

The Nets entered the Draft without a selection thanks to their ill-advised dealings with the Celtics. The franchise is devoid of talent and in need of virtually everything one can think of in relation to a basketball team. GM Sean Marks was determined to acquire a pick in this year’s big event and found a willing trade partner in Indiana who eagerly shipped Brooklyn the No. 20 overall pick in exchange for forward Thaddeus Young.

Dealing Young and bottoming-out to rebuild through the draft would be a wise strategy at this point for the Nets if the team owned its next two first-rounders. But with Boston able to swap first round picks next year and owning Brooklyn’s 2018 first round pick outright, parting ways with a solid contributor like Young who was signed to a fairly reasonable contract makes little sense to me. If Brooklyn had done more with the No. 20 pick I may be singing a different tune. But landing oft-injured Michigan guard Caris LeVert, who likely could have been obtained in the second round, is a puzzler for me, especially given some of the other players who were available at that slot.  It’s going to be a very long season in Brooklyn unless the team pulls off a few stunners in free agency.

Overall Draft Grade: I like LeVert’s potential, but he was a major reach at pick No. 20 and was not worth parting ways with Young for. I am still shaking my head at the move by Marks and give the team an “F.”


New York Knicks

Team Needs: Talent, Point Guard, Center, Shooters, Frontcourt Depth

Draft Picks:

  • None

New York did not have a first-rounder thanks to the Andrea Bargnani trade, which was a disaster for the Knicks in every imaginable way. The Knicks REALLY could have used their pick, which was ultimately used by Denver to select Kentucky’s Jamal Murray. For those keeping score, the Knicks sacrificed a shot at Murray (or Jakob Poeltl, who was taken by the Raptors after Denver exercised its right to swap picks) in exchange for 71 total games of Bargnani. Ouch!

The team would have been well-served to have acquired a second-round pick given the available depth but team president Phil Jackson was unable to land one, which is another major missed opportunity for New York. The Knicks have already been active in signing undrafted free agents, so missing out on joining the second round isn’t quite as glaring as it may have otherwise been.

Overall Draft Grade: The Bargnani trade was one of the worst in franchise history and the failure to acquire another pick land New York an emphatic “F.”


Philadelphia 76ers

Team Needs: Talent, Scoring, Outside Shooting, Point Guard

Draft Picks:

  • No. 1 Overall — Ben Simmons, F (LSU)
  • No. 24 Overall — Timothe Luwawu, G/F (Mega Leks)
  • No. 26 Overall — Furkan Korkmaz, SG (Anadolu Efes)

The Sixers finally landed the elusive No. 1 overall pick and surprised no one when they chose former LSU forward Ben Simmons with it. While there was some pre-draft debate regarding the merits of former Duke swingman Brandon Ingram, Simmons is the consensus top player in this year’s crop and Philly didn’t overthink its pick. Simmons will join an overcrowded frontcourt in Philadelphia, but given his versatility, coach Brett Brown should have little difficulty finding a spot on the floor for the young player.

Philadelphia was reportedly interested in acquiring another lottery pick and was rumored to be pitching a deal to the Celtics involving Nerlens Noel in exchange for the No. 3 overall pick. The Sixers’ draft would have been phenomenal if the team had been able to nab Boston’s pick and added point guard Kris Dunn, who would fill a MAJOR team need. But the two parties could not come to terms and team executive Bryan Colangelo was forced to stand pat and select two international backcourt players with picks No. 24 and No. 26 instead.

I like the additions of Timothe Luwawu and Furkan Korkmaz, but feel the team would have been far better off taking Dejounte Murray or Notre Dame’s Demetrius Jackson with one of those selections. The team needs backcourt help desperately and even if Luwawu and/or Korkmaz are wearing a Sixers jersey next season, it is doubtful they will be ready to contribute much initially.

Overall Draft Grade: The selection of Simmons was a no-brainer and adding Luwawu and Korkmaz could pay off down the line, but by not selecting talent ready to contribute immediately late in the first round, Philly may have missed out on a strong opportunity. I give the Sixers an “A-” for their efforts.


Toronto Raptors

Team Needs: Frontcourt depth, outside shooting, backcourt depth

Draft Picks:

The Raptors are more than likely going to lose Bismack Biyombo to free agency this summer, so landing froncourt help was vital for the team. Nabbing former Utah big man Jakob Poeltl was an excellent way to accomplish this. Poeltl is a mobile big man who can rebound and defend and should quickly step into Toronto’s rotation. Poeltl flirted with joining the NBA last season, but remaining in school for another year did wonders for his game. He is perhaps the most NBA-ready big man in the entire draft and kudos to GM Masai Ujiri for landing him.

Former New Mexico State power forward Pascal Siakam is a ferocious rebounder, but he was a reach at No. 27 overall. There were a number of talented players available who were rated higher on most draft boards available at that slot and I think this will be a pick the team ends up regretting at some point down the line. Especially since Deyonta Davis, Skal Labissiere, Damian Jones and Cheick Diallo, all of whom I have rated higher than Siakam, were still readily available when Philly was on the clock late in the first round.

Overall Draft Grade: I love the pick of Poeltl, who may be the best center in the draft, at pick No. 9. He fills a clear need and should be able to contribute from day one. The team missed out on more talented players with much higher upsides with pick No. 27. If I was grading just for Poeltl it would be an “A+,” but the Siakam pick lowers the grade to a “B+.”

Recap Of 2016’s Draft-Day Trades

The 2016 NBA offseason fun began in earnest earlier this week, when the Pacers, Hawks, and Jazz agreed to a three-way trade involving Jeff Teague and George Hill, and the Bulls sent former MVP Derrick Rose to the Knicks in a five-player deal. But things really kicked into another gear on Thursday. In total, 11 trades were either finalized or agreed to on draft day, including nine during the draft itself.

We’ve got a complete breakdown of Thursday’s trade action, sorted by which deals are official and which won’t be finalized until July:

Official:

Magic acquire Serge Ibaka from Thunder

Suns acquire draft rights to Marquese Chriss from Kings

  • Suns acquire draft rights to F Marquese Chriss (No. 8 pick).
  • Kings acquire draft rights to C Georgios Papagiannis (No. 13 pick) and F/C Skal Labissiere (No. 28 pick), rights to Bogdan Bogdanovic, and Pistons’ 2020 second-round pick.

Grizzlies acquire draft rights to Deyonta Davis from Celtics

  • Grizzlies acquire draft rights to F/C Deyonta Davis (No. 31 pick) and F Rade Zagorac (No. 35 pick).
  • Celtics acquire Clippers’ 2019 first-round pick (includes protections).

Pelicans acquire draft rights to Cheick Diallo from Clippers

  • Pelicans acquire draft rights to F/C Cheick Diallo (No. 33 pick).
  • Clippers acquire draft rights to G David Michineau (No. 39 pick) and C Diamond Stone (No. 40 pick).

Warriors acquire draft rights to Patrick McCaw from Bucks

  • Warriors acquire draft rights to G Patrick McCaw (No. 38 pick).
  • Bucks receive $2.4MM in cash.

Nets acquire draft rights to Isaiah Whitehead from Jazz

  • Nets acquire draft rights to G Isaiah Whitehead (No. 42 pick).
  • Jazz acquire draft rights to G Marcus Paige (No. 55 pick) and cash.

Trail Blazers acquire draft rights to Jake Layman from Magic

  • Trail Blazers acquire draft rights to F Jake Layman (No. 47 pick).
  • Magic acquires a 2019 second-round pick and $1.2MM in cash.

Cavaliers acquire draft rights to Kay Felder from Hawks

  • Cavaliers acquire draft rights to G Kay Felder (No. 54 pick)
  • Hawks acquire $2.4MM in cash.

Thunder acquire draft rights to Daniel Hamilton from Nuggets

  • Thunder acquire draft rights to G Daniel Hamilton (No. 56 pick).
  • Nuggets acquire cash.


Not yet official:

Pacers to acquire Thaddeus Young from Nets

  • Pacers acquire F Thaddeus Young.
  • Nets acquire No. 20 overall pick (used to select G Caris LeVert).

Hornets to acquire Marco Belinelli from Kings

  • Hornets acquire G Marco Belinelli.
  • Kings acquire No. 22 overall pick (used to select G/F Malachi Richardson).
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