Over the next few days I will be recapping each team's draft and grading them based on a whole bunch of factors. These will be division-by-division articles and today we have the Southeast Division.
If your favorite team gets an unfavorable grade please don't take it too personally...I have nothing against any of these teams but if they had an awful draft I'm gonna say it.
Pick 16: F AJ Griffin, Duke
Pick 51: G Tyrese Martin, Uconn
In: 2 Million in cash
Atlanta has been shopping Clint Capela and/or John Collins recently, but they kept both through draft night and stayed at 16 to draft Griffin. Assuming they keep at least one of those guys, a wing player becomes their #1 need and the Duke product was slipping beyond his projection. There are definitely questions about Griffin's burst after suffering multiple injuries over the last few years but the potential is obviously in there somewhere. As long as he can stay healthy, he's probably the best shooter in this entire draft class. Martin was a good scorer in college but time will tell on wether or not he can play at the highest level. Atlanta only made two picks but they made the right selection at 16 to stop Griffin's slide down the board.
Side Note: The Hawks traded for Dejounte Murray as I am writing this and didn't have to give up ether of their big men. Trae Young and Murray will be fun.
Pick 15: C Mark Williams, Duke
Pick 40: G Bryce McGowens, Nebraska
Out: Pick 13, 2 2nd Round Picks
In: 2023 1st Round Pick, 3 2023 2nd Round Picks, 2024 2nd Round Pick
Williams just made too much sense for Charlotte. They've needed an impact center for years, Duren would most likely be off the board and he's a local kid. Williams should be the perfect player to help them finally solve the problem at big man, as his long wingspan will be perfect with LaMelo Ball and Miles Bridges(maybe?). He'll be a lob threat on offense and take his shot blocking skills to the defensive end. I also liked the Hornets trading out of their pick at 13 to gain multiple future picks. McGowens fell a little further then he was supposed to and Charlotte did a good job taking the upside on his athleticism. He's not the most polished player by any means, but athleticism and length aren't things you can teach and he has both of those already. Guard is a position that the Hornets need some depth at so I like taking him at 40.
Pick 27: F Nikola Jovic, Mega Mozzart
After being a Jimmy Butler shot away from the NBA Finals last year, the Heat really didn't need to focus on the draft as much as free agency. With one pick, they took a similiar route to most contending teams and went for a player with a super high ceiling who may not contribute right away. Jovic certainly fits that title, although his passing and unique skill set could see him getting time sooner rather then later. Jovic slipped a little but this was probably around the range he should have been taken. Similar to the Bucks grade...
Pick 1: F Paolo Banchero, Duke
Pick 32: F Caleb Houstan, Michigan
In: Future 2nd Round Pick, Cash
After weeks of reporting that the Magic would be taking Jabari Smith with the 1st pick, they pulled a uno reserve card on draft night and selected Banchero. I believe this was the right move, both because of little Duke bias and the fact that he has the lowest ceiling of the 3. You can't really go wrong between Smith and Banchero but when Paolo's biggest concern is related to his defense, I think I'll take him. I touched on this in the mock draft we did before the draft but I can almost say in 100% certainty that his defense will not be a huge issue in the NBA and that's implying that he won't improve at all on the defensive end over his whole career. Orlando now has a plethora of big men to choose from and they have almost completed their young core. I can't say that I enjoyed Orlando's second pick the same, as it rated as a huge reach in relation to my draft rankings. I thought it was not a smart move when Houstan decided to declare for the draft so him going this high made me a little speechless. He had a really inconsistent freshman season and I'm worried about his first step the most. I probably would rate the Banchero pick alone in the A range but the Houstan Pick in the C range so, let's compromise?
Pick 10: G Johnny Davis, Wisconsin
Pick 54: C Yannick Nzosa, Unicaja
Washington is in a strange period right now between contention and everything else, but they made the exact right pick at #10. People have called me crazy but I actually had Davis ranked as the 5th best player in this entire class, so getting him at 10 obviously classifies as great value in my eyes. First off it fills a need for Washington as Davis could fill their vacant PG position, serve as depth as the off ball guard or fill the vacant wing spot. But in terms of just Davis the player, I think he would be much higher rated in the NBA world if he wouldn't have been so hobbled by injuries last year. Sure, that could be seen as a concern, but it's not like it was one huge long-term issue. He scored at a super high clip in some of the biggest environments last season and he's no negative on defense ether. He's a good playmaker for his size and I could honestly see him being in the ROTY conversation if he gets enough minutes as a rookie. Nzosa is a low risk/high reward guy who will fit into the revolving door at center. This grade is based off the player himself and the value I think they got.