NBA Power Ranking Week 12: Draft Grades for Every Team

Oct 14, 2019; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) leads a fast break as forward Brandon Clarke (15) follows in the game against the Charlotte Hornets at FedExForum. Hornets won 120-99. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Week 12 is here. While this isn’t based on career projections, this ranking contains a grade of how every team’s rookies have done (or what the teams have done with their draft picks) so far this season.

  1. Milwaukee Bucks
    Record: 32-6
    Previous: 1

Milwaukee’s only draft night move was trading away the 30th pick, Kevin Porter, Jr., to the Pistons in a salary dump to get rid of Tony Snell. Porter was later moved to Cleveland, where he struggled before getting injured this season. The Bucks had no other draft picks.  

Grade: N/A

  1. Los Angeles Lakers
    Record: 29-7
    Previous: 2

It would have been hard not to give the Lakers a good grade considering they ultimately netted Anthony Davis by trading the fourth pick in Deandre Hunter. Their only other draft move was trading for Talen Horton-Tucker, the 46th pick in the draft.  

Grade: A 

  1. Boston Celtics
    Record: 25-9
    Previous: 6

Danny Ainge, it appears, made a few draft night mistakes. The team traded Matisse Thybulle with the 20th pick to ultimately get Grant Williams at No. 22, and he has struggled. Romeo Langford has been fine but has seen limited action. Brandon Clarke likely would have been the ideal selection. Second-rounders Carsen Edwards and Tremont Waters have each been non-factors this season.  

Grade: D

  1. Los Angeles Clippers
    Record: 26-12
    Previous: 5

The Clippers traded for 27th pick, Mfiondu Kabengele, but he has barely played this season. 45th pick, Terance Mann, has been fine while getting 9.2 MPG across 22 games played. 56th pick, Jaylen Hands, did not receive an NBA contract and is currently playing in the G-League. 

Grade: C

  1. Denver Nuggets
    Record: 25-11
    Previous: 3

The Nuggets’ only draft night move was trading for Bol Bol, who has not seen NBA action after signing a two-way deal. 

Grade: N/A

  1. Utah Jazz
    Record: 24-12
    Previous: 10

The Jazz ultimately came away from the draft with three bottom-10 draft picks in Jarrell Brantley, Justin Wright-Foreman, and Miye Oni. The three have combined for 17 minutes played. 

Grade: C

  1. Miami Heat
    Record: 26-10
    Previous: 4

13th pick, Tyler Herro, has been excellent as he’s averaging 13.3 PPG, which is sixth among rookies, while his 71 three-pointers made ranks second among rookies. Miami also traded for 32nd pick, KZ Okpala, who has barely played so far this season.  

Grade: B+

  1. Houston Rockets
    Record: 24-11
    Previous: 8

The Rockets made no transactions on draft night. However, UDFA Chris Clemons has been a solid find for the team. 

Grade: N/A

  1. Dallas Mavericks
    Record: 23-13
    Previous: 11

The Mavericks did not have a first-round pick as a result of the Luka Doncic-Trae Young deal. 37th pick, Deividas Sirvydis, had his international player rights traded to Detroit before he went back overseas.   

Grade: N/A

  1. Philadelphia 76ers
    Record: 24-14
    Previous: 7

Trading up from the 24th pick to get Matisse Thybulle has proven to be a great move for this team. The 76ers are 13-1 this season when Thybulle plays 20-plus minutes, but just 11-13 when he doesn’t. Ty Jerome, Carsen Edwards, Bruno Fernando, and Admiral Schofield were all selected and traded by Philly on draft night. All four have struggled with their respective teams this season. 

Grade: A-

  1. Toronto Raptors
    Record: 24-12
    Previous: 9

Dewan Hernandez, the 59th pick in the draft, was Toronto’s only draft pick. He has played just 11 minutes this season. UDFA Terrence Davis was a great find by the organization as he has excelled this season. 

Grade: C

  1. Indiana Pacers
    Record: 23-14
    Previous: 12 

Goga Bitadze has been excellent defensively with a 2.9 DPBM but is averaging just 3.1 PPG in only 9.8 MPG this season. If he can polish his offensive game, Bitadze could have a bright future in the NBA.  

Grade: C+

  1. Oklahoma City
    Thunder Record: 20-16
    Previous: 13

The Thunder made one enormous mistake on draft night: trading away Brandon Clarke to get Darius Bazley. Bazley has been okay, but Clarke has been of the best rookies in the NBA with a ridiculous 66.8 percent eFG.   

Grade: D-

  1. Orlando Magic
    Record: 17-20
    Previous: 18

The Magic took Chuma Okeke with the 16th pick. He’ll be out the entire season as he is recovering from a torn ACL. Orlando also traded their second-round pick, Talen Horton-Tucker, to the Magic. 

Grade: N/A

  1. Brooklyn Nets
    Record: 16-19
    Previous: 14

Brooklyn made a robust draft-night trade in shipping off 17th pick, Nickeill Alexander-Walker, to get Taurean Prince. They also sent Mfiondu Kabengele to the Clippers for Nic Claxton, who has played sparingly for Brooklyn this season.  

Grade: B-

  1. Memphis Grizzlies
    Record: 15-22
    Previous: 19

Ladies and gentlemen, here’s the first A-plus I’ve given to any grade-based post all season. Memphis went two-for-two in a big way on draft night. Ja Morant has been fantastic and is the favorite to win Rookie of the Year. Brandon Clarke is arguably an All-Rookie First-Teamer, too, as he’s shooting 63.7 percent from the field and 43.2 percent from deep this season for 12.6 PPG. Bravo, Memphis.   

Grade: A+

  1. San Antonio Spurs
    Record: 15-20
    Previous: 15

The Spurs took Luka Samanic at 19, Keldon Johnson at 29, and Quinndary Weatherspoon at 49. Those three have played for a combined two NBA minutes this season.

Grade: C-

  1. Portland Trail Blazers
    Record: 15-22
    Previous: 16

25th pick, Nassir Little, has been underwhelming in his rookie year, putting up 3.3 PPG on a 38.1 FG percentage in 13.0 minutes per game. 

Grade: C-

  1. Minnesota Timberwolves
    Record: 14-21
    Previous: 25

The Timberwolves traded the No. 11 pick to Phoenix to get Jarrett Culver at No. 6. Culver has been underwhelming as a rookie with a -3.3 BPM. 43rd pick, Jaylen Nowell, has played just seven games for Minnesota this season.   

Grade: C+

  1. Charlotte Hornets
    Record: 15-24
    Previous: 21

12th pick, P.J. Washington, has been excellent and is eighth among rookies in PPG and fourth in RPG. 36th pick, Cody Martin, and 52nd pick, Jalen McDaniels, have each played sparse minutes for the Hornets this season.   

Grade: B

  1. Chicago Bulls
    Record: 13-24
    Previous: 17

Seventh pick, Coby White, has had games where he’s been a spark plug off the bench with 20-plus points but hasn’t been consistent, shooting just 37.1 percent from the field. 38th pick, Daniel Gafford, has gone under the radar but was a solid pick as he leads all rookies with a 3.0 BPM this season. 

Grade: B

  1. Detroit Pistons
    Record: 13-24
    Previous: 20

15th pick, Sekou Doumbouya, has started the last three games for the Pistons after barely playing during the first 30 games of the season. He turned 19 right before Christmas, making him the youngest player in the NBA. 45th pick, Isaiah Roby, was traded to Dallas on draft night. 

Grade: B-

  1. New Orleans Pelicans
    Record: 12-25
    Previous: 24

The NBA is still awaiting the return of top pick Zion Williamson. Someone whom I’ve praised a lot is eighth pick, Jaxson Hayes. Hayes has played more than I expected this season, getting 19.7 MPG. 17th pick, Nickeill Alexander-Walker, has struggled so far this season. The Pelicans took Alen Smailagic with the 39th pick and shipped him to Golden State; Jordan Bone was selected with the 57th pick and traded to Detroit. Neither has made a significant impact on their team.  

Grade: B-

  1. Phoenix Suns
    Record: 14-22
    Previous: 22

Trading out of getting Jarrett Culver or Coby White to get Cameron Johnson was a head-scratcher at the time. Now, it hasn’t looked any better. Phoenix also traded for 24th pick, Ty Jerome, who has struggled after returning from an early-season injury.   

Grade: D-

  1. Sacramento Kings
    Record: 14-23
    Previous: 23

Boston possessed Sacramento’s first-round pick. The Kings took Justin James with the 40th, who has been solid in limited minutes. Vanja Marinkovic stole the 60th overall pick away from Tacko Fall and is currently playing overseas.  

Grade: C+

  1. Washington Wizards
    Record: 12-24
    Previous: 29

While seen as a reach at the time, Rui Hachimura is having a solid rookie season after he was taken ninth overall. Before going down with a groin injury, Hachimura was third among rookies in scoring, and second in rebounding. The Wizards also traded for 42nd overall pick, Admiral Schofield, who has struggled this season. 

Grade: B

  1. Cleveland Cavaliers
    Record: 10-26
    Previous: 26

Fifth overall pick, Darius Garland, has shown flashes of potential but has struggled to adjust to NBA defenses throughout the start of his career. Meanwhile, 26th overall pick, Dylan Windler, remains out indefinitely with a leg injury. Cleveland also traded for 30th overall pick, Kevin Porter, Jr.   

Grade: C-

  1. New York Knicks
    Record: 10-26
    Previous: 28

Third overall pick, R.J. Barrett, has been solid throughout his rookie season, putting up 13.7 PPG and 5.2 RPG on 38.9 percent from the field. The team also selected Kyle Guy 55th overall but traded him to Sacramento for Ignas Brazdeikis, who has seen limited action this season.   

Grade: B

  1. Golden State Warriors
    Record: 9-29
    Previous: 27

The bad: Jordan Poole has been arguably the worst player in the NBA this season, shooting 26.1 percent from the field and 23.9 percent from deep with an unsustainably atrocious -8.3 BPM. 

The good: 40th pick from Villanova, Eric Paschall, has exceeded all expectations this season and is third among rookies in points per game.

Grade: B-

  1. Atlanta Hawks
    Record: 8-29
    Previous: 30

I will say it again: fourth overall pick, Deandre Hunter, is just a glorified Trevor Ariza. Not a bad player, but nothing special. Meanwhile, Cam Reddish has frankly been bad since high school and has only 264 points on 282 shots this season. Not a great start for either rookie.  

Grade: D+

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