• Xavier Sanders

The Grades Are In -- 2016 NBA Draft TEAMS Grades: Western Conference Teams


Dallas Mavericks

*Photo via the Indy Star

(A.J. Hammons C, Purdue)

Grade: C-

Thoughts: Hammon’s was a decent pickup for the Mavs. He has great fundamentals, finishes well around the rim and also has a decent shot. He has the talent and factors to be a dominant center in the league however, his work ethic has been questioned in the past. Hammons will need to set the tone during summer league and continue to build from there up until the season starts.

Houston Rockets

*Photo via Sports.es

(Chinanu Onuaku C, Louisville) (Zhou Qi C, China)

Grade: B-

Thoughts: Both picks will add to the Rockets frontcourt. It gives them more depth and pieces to work with long term. Onuku is solid, he’s a tremendous rebounder and have the skill set to make a great role player for the Rockets. He will need encouragement and leadership within his teammates to bring out his full potential. Zhou has the talent, he’s also skilled, only disadvantage is that he has a small frame. He will need to put on some weight to compete at his position in the league. I’m not really confident that he will suit up this coming season in Houston.

Memphis Grizzlies

*Photo via Freep.com

(Wade Baldwin PG, Vanderbilt)

(Deyonta Davis PF, Michigan State)

(Rade Zagorac SF, Serbia)

(Wang Zhelin C, China)

Grade: A

Thoughts: Great draft night for Memphis. They have an overall talented team and a good group of guys. Wade is a floor general, he understand the task at hand and has a competitive side to his game. Davis is a beast on the boards, he’s extremely athletic and also a tremendous shot blocker. Zagorac can shoot and Wang brings the gifted size that could cause problems. Overall, great selections, this should be an interesting season for the Grizz!

New Orleans Pelicans

*Photo via Getty Images

(Buddy Hield SG, Oklahoma)

(Cheick Diallo C, Kansas)

Grade: A

Thoughts: Buddy linking up with Anthony Davis will make them a force to be reckoned with. The Pelicans are a great fit for Buddy. He comes in “NBA ready” and should be able to contribute for them right away. Cheick brings heart, he’s athletic and also a true competitor. I predict playoffs. along with an outstanding season for the Pelicans.

San Antonio Spurs

*Photo via Bleacher Report

(Dejounte Murray PG, Washington)

Grade: A

Thoughts: I like this pick up for the Spurs! Murray can do it all. He athletic, he’s really good at attacking the basket, he finishes well around the rim and also handles the ball well under pressure. The good news is that Murray gets to improve his game under one of the best coaching staff’s in the business. Even if the Spurs are not Murray’s final stop, he’s going to learn so much with this organization. I predict Murray will be around this league for years to come.

Denver Nuggets

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(Jamal Murray PG, Kentucky)

(Malik Beasley SG, Florida State)

(Juan Hernangomez PF, Spain)

(Petr Cornelie PF, France)

Grade: A+

Thoughts: Great draft day for the Nuggets! This team is young, talented and they will be fun to watch next season. Murray being one of the best players in this draft is projected to heat it up this coming season. They filled just about all the gaps that were needed for there team moving forward. I don’t see them making a playoff run next season however, but I do see them winning more and building as a team for the future ahead.

Minnesota Timberwolves

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(Kris Dunn PG, Providence)

Grade: A

Thoughts: Great pick for the Timberwolves! Dunn has awesome court vision, he can score, he’s athletic and also a decent shooter. No to mention, he has the ability be a great defender. Dunn will fit in right away with the Timberwolves. I believe trades will be made this offseason at the point guard position that will favor Dunn. Overall, great addition to their team,

Oklahoma Thunder

*Photo via USA Todahy

(Domantas Sabonis PF, Gonzaga)

(Daniel Hamilton SF, Connecticut)

Grade: A

Thoughts: The Thunder are looking to get back to the Western Conference Finals. They added physicality/depth with their draft picks. Sabonis gets after it on the boards, while Hamilton has the potential to be versatile player when he gets going. With the offseason’s added pieces and possibly keeping their star players, the Thunder will be exciting again to watch next season.

Portland Trail Blazers

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(Jake Layman SF, Maryland)

Grade: C

Thoughts: The positive is that Layman comes in with experience. He will be a great role player for this team. This team is tough, they have the talent and were outstanding this past season. I just don’t know how much Layman helps them get to the next level.

Utah Jazz

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(Joel Bolombay PF, Weber St)

(Tyrone Wallace PG, California)

(Marcus Paige PG, North Carolina)

Grade: C

Thoughts: Second round picks, all three guys are talented and will come in and work hard. Paige brings it at the point guard position. He’s a very good ball handler, who's confident and reacts well under pressure. Bolombay is tough and will bring it down low. He’s a back to the basket type of player, who should progress at the NBA level. Tyrone is a lefty, who’s versatile, can score and has the size advantage to mix it up position wise.

Golden State Warriors

*Photo via Daillworlds.com

(Damian Jones C, Vanderbilt)

Grade: A

Thoughts: An “A” just for the Warriors having an outstanding season along with a great playoff run. What they did this year was amazing. Jones will help contribute towards their success., depending on how free agency plays out this summer for the Warriors. Jones has great speed up and down the floor for his size. Which goes hand-in-hand with the style of play the Warriors bring. He’s strong, physical and has the ability to bang down low if needed. It will be interesting to see how Jones adapts.

Los Angeles Clippers

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(Brice Johnson PF, North Carolina)

(David Michineau PG, France)

(Diamond Stone C, Maryland)

Grade: B+

Thoughts: Johnson is explosive, strong and finishes well at the rim and in transition. Michineau brings athletic ability, energy and he’s also a solid defender. Diamond helps out with the frontcourt. A guy that can compete and hold his own down low. Not sure if this will be the help needed to get the Clippers over the hump?

Los Angeles Lakers

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(Brandon Ingram SF, Duke)

(Ivica Zubac C, Serbia)

Grade: A

Thoughts: Ingram is the truth! He’s still young, growing and has a lot of potential. I don’t believe he will be the primary guy for the Lakers, however, I can see him playing a key role for them going forward. Zubac will need to improve his shot. He’s a true competitor that will help the Lakers front court. He’s physical and also has a solid post game. I see the Lakers making some noise next season!

Phoenix Suns

*Photo via Fansided

(Dragan Bender PF, Israel)

(Tyler Ulis PG, Kentucky)

(Marquese Chriss PF, Washington)

Grade: B-

Thoughts: Great pick ups for the Suns, it helps with their team's current needs. All three players are highly talented. Bender is still young, he has a lot of room for growth. He’s very talented at his position, he will just need to prove himself at the NBA level. Ulis is a very good point guard, he can put up numbers! Interesting to see how he will adapt at the NBA level. Chriss is a high- risk-high-reward type of player, and has a lot of room for improvement.

Sacramento Kings

*Photo via Fansided

(Georgios Papagiannis C, Greece)

(Skal Labissiere C, Kentucky)

(Isaiah Cousins SG, Oklahoma)

(Malachi Richardson SG, Syracuse)

Grade: D

Thoughts: I’m not really sure the vision the Kings front office had with their drafts selections. All solid players they picked up, I’m just not convinced it’s the right moves or enough to get the job done for next season.