Grading the top 5 NBA draft picks

No. 3 draft pick Lamelo Ball is pictured. (Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Minnesota Timberwolves (No. 1): Anthony Edwards, SG, University of Georgia

What ultimately turned out to be a pick that caused little debate, Edwards was the right choice for Minnesota. A much better team fit than the two following selections, the swingman should step into the No. 3 scorer role behind Karl Anthony-Towns and D’Angelo Russell, right away. However, this pick still carries some boom-or-bust potential, primarily due to Edwards’ suspect jump shot. He has drawn some comparisons to Andrew Wiggins, which might be a bit scary following the Canadian’s disappointing run in Minnesota. On the flip side, Edwards’ potential is simply too high to pass up here. The Timberwolves made the right pick. Grade: A-

 

Golden State Warriors (No. 2): James Wiseman, C, University of Memphis

Wiseman has franchise cornerstone potential, and the fit in Golden State is perfect for his development. However, Wiseman simply has too many question marks to be worth the No. 2 selection. His athleticism will translate immediately into an above-average rim runner, especially with Stephen Curry and, hopefully, Klay Thompson around him. However, in an era increasingly unkind to traditional bigs, it is fair to wonder whether Wiseman will ever develop the shooting touch and elite defensive production needed to become a superstar. Still, the Warriors got the prospect they wanted, and, at least in the short term, Wiseman makes the most sense here. Grade: B-

 

Charlotte Hornets (No. 3): Lamelo Ball, PG

This pick is great for Charlotte. Sure, Ball has immense bust potential. At this point, the gamble is worth it for Buzz City. Perfect for a franchise devoid of superstar talent, Ball, in popular opinion, has the most upside in the class. His passing, unlimited shooting range and length (there aren’t too many 6-foot-7-inch floor generals in the league) should translate well, and he certainly has the potential to silence those who question his maturity and drive. Unless the feud between Ball’s father, Lavar, and Michael Jordan continues to fester, this will turn out to be a home run for the Hornets. Grade: A

 

Chicago Bulls (No. 4): Patrick Williams, SF, Florida State University

This was a bold selection; there is no other way of putting it. Passing up on Deni Avdija, Onyeka Okongwu and Obi Toppin in favor of a player that didn’t even start in college is a gamble. Williams shot up draft boards in recent weeks, as teams bought into his upside as a potential cornerstone as a small-ball four. While some might not agree, Williams fits well in Chicago. He should slide in seamlessly as Otto Porter’s future replacement, and if he pans out, the Bulls brass will be hailed as geniuses. However, for a team seemingly not far away from competing for a playoff spot, this selection was risky. This is the right idea, but the wrong guy. Grade: C+

 

Cleveland Cavaliers (No. 5): Isaac Okoro, PF, Auburn University

Okoro’s defensive prowess is unmatched in this draft, and there is no team in more dire need of help at the less glorious end of the floor than Cleveland. Whether or not this pick is a hit boils down to one thing: Okoro’s development as a shooter. If he can add a reliable jumper to his game, Okoro can become one of the coveted players at his position. However, on the flip side, a nonshooting, noncreating forward has very limited potential. Ultimately, this selection for Cleveland is a solid pick, although Avdija or Toppin might have been better. Grade: B-


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