NBA Draft report card: Who picked perfectly and who had a disaster?

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Pictured here, NBA Draft picks Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green and Evan Mobley.
Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green and Evan Mobley were among the most exciting lottery picks in the NBA Draft.

The NBA Draft always provides shocks and excitement, and this year was no different. From a big Russell Westbrook trade to surprise picks, this draft was action packed. Let’s take a lot at how teams performed with their lottery picks in the 2021 NBA Draft.

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1. Detroit - Cade Cunningham - A+

I couldn’t be more on board with this pick. Cade has been the number one prospect in this class for over a year and was the no-brainer selection for Detroit. All they had to do was not stuff it up, and they didn’t.

2. Houston - Jalen Green - A

I didn’t go with the full A+ here because I had Evan Mobley a smidge higher than Green, but Houston made a very strong pick at number two by taking Green, who played in the G League last season. 

A dynamic scorer and athlete who needs to work on defence, but a great pick nonetheless.

3. Cleveland - Evan Mobley - A+

Hard to go wrong here, and they didn’t. Mobley has significant defensive upside, but he is also a solid offensive option who can develop some shooting, and he is an excellent passer already. 

Cleveland was wise not to trade out here.

4. Toronto - Scottie Barnes - C

I’m not even sure Barnes will be a top 10 player in this draft, so to take him at four over Jalen Suggs is highly questionable for me. 

It is hard to doubt Toronto's President of Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri, but in my opinion Barnes is a very limited pick here at four.

5. Orlando - Jalen Suggs - A+

I’m giving this an excellent grade because the Magic snagged a top four player with pick five. Yes, they have a bunch of point guards, but that doesn’t matter. You don’t draft for fit on what could be the NBA’s worst team. A home run pick with Suggs falling into their lap.

Seen here, Jalen Suggs was taken by Orlando Magic with pick five in the NBA Draft.
Orlando Magic will be thrilled to have taken Jalen Suggs with pick five. Pic: Getty

6. Oklahoma City - Josh Giddey - A

Some people hate this, but I love it. I had Giddey at six on my board. He has a claim to be the draft’s best passer - he led the NBL in assists at 18, he rebounds well, and he sees the court at an elite level. Fantastic selection.

7. Golden State - Jonathan Kuminga - C

Not only am I down on Kuminga as a player and wouldn’t have picked him in the top 10, but he makes no sense on the Warriors who need contributions immediately. 

He has struggled to shoot and has shown questionable basketball IQ, and that will not work in Golden State. Just look at their pick from last season, James Wiseman.

8. Orlando - Franz Wagner - B+

Not sexy, and there are a few guys I had ahead of him, but not many. This is an excellent pick by Orlando, and they have done exceedingly well in the draft, in my opinion. Wagner is a defender on the wing who passes the ball well and has some upside as a shooter.

Franz Wagner looks to be another strong pick up for the Orlando Magic. Pic: Getty
Franz Wagner looks to be another strong pick up for the Orlando Magic. Pic: Getty

9. Sacramento - Davion Mitchell - D

It’s the Kings, so I shouldn’t be too surprised by a weird move, but Mitchell at nine does not work for me at all. He is old. He is small. He cannot shoot, despite one year as a 40% three-pointer. 

This feels like the Kings have been swayed by Baylor’s National Championship run. This pick makes no sense. To pick a backup point guard at number nine does not work for me at all.

10. Memphis - Ziaire Williams - D+

Williams had a disastrous season in college, battling through injury issues and a prolonged stretch on the road. I guess Memphis is trusting their development as Williams was a highly ranked high school player. But, those highly ranked high school players who struggle in college rarely do well in the NBA. 

There were many players available here I would’ve preferred.

11. Charlotte - James Bouknight - C

The Hornets aren’t really in a position to go with a pick for fit, but they could’ve at least gone with the best available player or a player that fit. Bouknight is neither to me. He can score, but he shoots poorly; he isn’t a passer, he takes questionable shots and has some defensive concerns. He is a good rebounder, but he isn’t worthy of a selection this high in my mind.

Centre James Bouknight is pictured here after being drafted by Charlotte in the NBA.
Centre James Bouknight looks to be somewhat of a confusing pick up for Charlotte. Pic: Getty

12. San Antonio - Josh Primo - D-

Yes, Primo is young, but pick 12 is an outrageous reach. He shot well at Alabama, but with so many good prospects on the board, taking a guy who could’ve legitimately been available in the second round is insane to me.

13. Indiana - Chris Duarte - C-

Duarte can shoot, but he is also older than Jayson Tatum. I don’t see the point in investing in a guy who is 24 already at this point when you don’t have title aspirations (which the Pacers don’t). He is a backup for them now and probably into the future.

14. Golden State - Moses Moody - B+

I had Moody as a clear top 10 pick, so the Warriors had a great selection fall into their laps. A solid shooter and creator who can also defend on the wing. He should be in the rotation very early on.

Seen here, Golden State Warriors Draft pick Moses Moody.
The Golden State Warriors look to have picked up a very handy prospect in Moses Moody. Pic: Getty

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