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2019 NBA Draft Grades: Pick-by-pick evaluations for every first- and second-round selection – CBS Sports

There were two big stories of the 2019 NBA Draft. The first was Zion Williamson, the No. 1 overall pick who could alter the course of the New Orleans Pelicans franchise. The second was the tremendous number of trades, with plenty of teams moving up and moving down throughout the night.

Our NBA experts kept track of every pick, assigning grades for each team’s selection. Some teams came away with clear-cut home runs, while others seemed to be taking much bigger risks.

Check out our draft tracker here to review all of the picks. One note: Listed picks are based on which team officially owns the selection and will be responsible for it, so trades (check them all out here) such as the move of No. 4 from the Lakers to the Pelicans to the Hawks will be explained after the selection is made.

Round 1 Picks and Grades (by Gary Parrish)

1. New Orleans Pelicans: F Zion Williamson, Duke

He is the Incredible Hulk of basketball. We have never seen a player quite like Williamson. He is a special talent, but forget that: He is worth the hype, and he will be worth that in many millions of dollars to the New Orleans Pelicans. They lose Anthony Davis and immediately gain a new face of the franchise. The only pick that could have been made here. Grade: A

2. Memphis Grizzlies: PG Ja Morant, Murray State

This is the right pick. The Grizzlies are in a rebuilding phase, and picking second and getting Ja Morant is very, very good. He has the potential to be a star and replace Mike Conley, who didn’t want to be in a rebuild. Grade: A

3. New York Knicks: SG RJ Barrett, Duke

I’m going to keep this simple: When you make the pick you’re supposed to make, the pick that is the best option, I’m going to give it an A. I think Barrett is quite clearly at least the third-best prospect in this draft. And let’s not forget: He was the No. 1 prospect for this draft at this time a year ago. Grade: A

4. Los Angeles Lakers: SF De’Andre Hunter, Virginia

This pick is headed to the Atlanta Hawks, courtesy of the New Orleans Pelicans thanks to trades that aren’t official yet. What you expect him to be is a player who can step in and be a threat from 3 and defend on the perimeter. Here is a guy who dominated the national championship game. He’s the fourth-best player in this draft, and it’s nice to see the NBA catch up to that. Grade: A

5. Cleveland Cavaliers: PG Darius Garland, Vanderbilt

Garland was the rare player whose draft stock actually improved as he sat with an injury as a freshman. There were a lot of directions the Cavaliers — who will pair Garland with Collin Sexton if they keep both — could have went. But Garland truly is the best available prospect available. Grade: A

6. Phoenix Suns: SG Jarrett Culver, Texas Tech

The Timberwolves were the ones to select Culver after an unofficial trade with the Suns. They probably could have went after the high-speed playmaker of Coby White, but Culver is probably the safest pick to make at this point. His ceiling may not match White’s or others’, but he’s going to be solid. Grade: B

7. Chicago Bulls: PG Coby White, North Carolina

This is a guy nobody projected to be a one-and-done player, so the idea that he goes in the top half of the lottery is pretty remarkable. Roy Williams put the ball in his hands and let him show he can be a primary ball-handler. That’s what the Bulls need more than anything. Great pick. Grade: A

8. Atlanta Hawks: C Jaxson Hayes, Texas

The Pelicans made this pick after a trade with the Hawks. I don’t mind this pick, but his lack of shooting is a problem building around Zion Williamson. Hayes is a lot of things — upside play, rim-protector, dunker — but he’s not a shooter. Grade: C

9. Washington Wizards: PF Rui Hachimura, Gonzaga

There’s no obvious selection here at No. 9, but Hachimura is a fine choice. He’s got a big wingspan and a good jumper, and he fits as a stretch four. The fact that he’s only played basketball for a few years and keeps improving is a really good sign, even if there were better talent plays here. Grade: B

10. Atlanta Hawks (from Dallas): SF Cameron Reddish, Duke

I leave open the possibility that Cam Reddish could become an All-Star. But there’s no way I’d take him in the top 10. He wasn’t effective inside or outside the arc on offense and frequently disappeared in games. There are a lot of red flags. For him to reach that ceiling, he’s going to have to do something he’s never done before. Grade: D

11. Minnesota Timberwolves: SF Cameron Johnson, North Carolina

This pick was made by the Suns, who traded 6 for 11 and Dario Saric. The Suns did this because they’ve got all this youth. Johnson’s a guy who’s as ready to play. But what a stunning move. No one expected him to be this high. Johnson was not even one of the 24 players invited to the official draft green room. This is wild to me. Grade: D

12. Charlotte Hornets: PF PJ Washington, Kentucky

He could have entered the 2018 NBA Draft and been a borderline first-rounder. But he came back and improved his stock. Most players don’t do it like he did: He figured out his shot and made himself into a space-creating forward. Grade: B

13. Miami Heat: SG Tyler Herro, Kentucky

He’s someone who can dribble, pass and shoot and has good size. His free-throw shooting shows that he could really translate to the NBA as a 3-point shooter even though he wasn’t great from beyond the arc. But he’s not just a shooter. He deserved to be a lottery pick. Grade: B

14. Boston Celtics (from Sacramento via Philadelphia): SG Romeo Langford, Indiana

It’s a bit of a surprise, but I think it’s an OK pick. He’s a good player, and there were only a couple guys I had above him left. His freshman season at Indiana was disappointing, but he was hurt. This is a long-term play. He won’t be very impactful in Year 1, especially with all the perimeter talent the Celtics have. Grade: C

15. Detroit Pistons: PF Sekou Doumbouya, France

The Pistons probably didn’t think he’d be available here, and neither did I. Doumbouya has a top-10 skill set, and he is 18 with so much potential. He’s a great talent defensively but also growing into it as an offensive player. This is a play for the 2021-22 season. Grade: A

16. Orlando Magic: PF Chuma Okeke, Auburn

If you told me four minutes before he tore his ACL that Okeke would be drafted this high, I would have believed you. He showed a ton of catch-and-shoot ability, and he was playing very well in the NCAA Tournament. But he probably will miss all or most of his rookie season. Grade: D

17. Brooklyn Nets: SG Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Virginia Tech

The Pelicans made this pick as part of a trade with the Hawks, who owned it. When I was covering the Maui Invitational with a ton of great players this past fall, Alexander-Walker’s name came up with more than any other. He checks a ton of boxes and does a lot of things well, and he fits the Pelicans’ needs next to Zion Williamson. Great pick. Grade: A

18. Indiana Pacers: C Goga Bitadze, Georgia

Brandon Clarke, Nassir Little — they were higher on my board. But I think this is the right pick for the Pacers, even had it in my mock draft. He’ll back up Myles Turner and/or Domantas Sabonis and have plenty of chance to grow. Grade: A

19. San Antonio Spurs: PF Luka Samanic, Croatia

A year ago, he looked like a lottery talent. But this comes across as a surprise — he seemed more likely to be the Spurs’ pick in 10 spots or a second-rounder. But the Spurs, they’ve earned the benefit of the doubt. Grade: C

20. Boston Celtics (from LA Clippers via Memphis): SF Matisse Thybulle, Washington

The 76ers traded up with Boston to make this pick. I’ll be honest. I don’t get it. The 76ers needed to add shooting, and here they trade up to add a non-shooter in Thybulle. He can be a great defender, but he played in a zone in college. I’m not sure why you trade up for this guy on this roster. Grade: D

21. Oklahoma City Thunder: PF Brandon Clarke, Gonzaga

The Grizzlies traded into this spot specifically to take Clarke. This pick makes a ton of sense. He’ll join Jaren Jackson Jr. to make a fearsome shot-blocking duo, and Jackson can help compensate for Clarke’s lack of ideal height and length for the position. With Ja Morant and Clarke, the Grizzlies are now stacked. Grade: A

22. Boston Celtics: PF Grant Williams, Tennessee

What is he exceptional at? He’s exceptional at playing basketball. He’s not as tall or athletic, no, but he played in the most athletic league in the country and got where he wanted to get. Look back at a recent drafts — at a different position: The same things people say about Grant Williams, they said about Fred VanVleet, Jalen Brunson. NBA GMs are learning: Just take guys who are awesome at basketball. Grade: B

23. Utah Jazz: SF Darius Bazley, high school

This pick was made by the Grizzlies, and I don’t mind it. I will say I’d take a swing on Nassir Little over one on Bazley. But this is a result of great workouts and how taking a year off doesn’t hurt prospects. Bazley spent the year “interning” with New Balance instead of playing college basketball. He bet on himself, and he’s a first-rounder. Grade: B

24. Philadelphia 76ers: PG Ty Jerome, Virginia

The Suns traded up into this spot, and they did so to take the point guard that they passed up earlier when they passed on Coby White to trade down. Jerome’s the best point guard left. He has a great head on his shoulders on the court and won a national title. We’re talking about a 6-5 guard who can play either backcourt spot, dribble, pass, shoot and defend well. Grade: A

25. Portland Trail Blazers: SF Nassir Little, North Carolina

Little’s over/under on pick position was 12.5. He went WAY deeper than anyone expected. At this point in the draft, I don’t even care about fit or whatever, you just take the roll of the dice on the guy who was the MVP of the 2018 McDonald’s All-American and Jordan Brand Classic games. A year ago, he was projected to be the No. 2 pick. He’s a good value here, even though he didn’t make an impact at UNC. Grade: A

26. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Houston): SG Dylan Windler, Belmont

I don’t know how much input John Beilein had in the draft prospect as a first-time NBA head coach, but Windler and Darius Garland make a lot of sense with what Beilein showed a preference for at the college level. He’s a great shooter with great size who can play either wing spot, though he probably doesn’t have as much potential as others available. Grade: B

27. Brooklyn Nets (from Denver): PF Mfiondu Kabengele, Florida State

This pick was made by the Clippers. I am surprised Kabengele slipped out of the top 20. He showed that there was no reason to be concerned with his knees and reportedly excelled in workouts. He’s got the potential to be an elite defensive presence and a steal in this class. Grade: A

28. Golden State Warriors: SG Jordan Poole, Michigan

This doesn’t make sense to me. With so many upside guys on the board, if you’re Golden State, I’d want to get someone with greater upside or someone who can help me next season. I’m not sure Poole’s either one of those things. Grade: D

29. San Antonio Spurs (from Toronto): SG Keldon Johnson, Kentucky

This is a great spot for a talented player. He might be the best prospect available, and the Spurs are perhaps the best place for a guy with potential to develop. Grade: A

30. Milwaukee Bucks: SG Kevin Porter Jr., USC

The Cavaliers made this pick, trading into the slot. This is exactly what I would do with the 30th pick, particularly if I had two other picks: take a flier on a guy with huge potential. Porter has top-10 potential. The questions are mostly off the court — no fault of his own, as this young man has been through a lot in his life. Hopefully Cleveland helps him find the structure he needs to maximize his talent. Grade: A

Round 2 Picks and Grades (by Kyle Boone)

31. Brooklyn Nets (from New York via Philadelphia): PF Nicolas Claxton, Georgia

Claxton is a high IQ big who improved his stock dramatically as one of the best performers at the NBA Combine. He’s a versatile defender whose game is perfectly suited to be a productive modern NBA big. Grade: B

32. Phoenix Suns: SF KZ Okpala, Stanford

Okpala is going to Miami courtesy of a draft night trade with the Indiana Pacers. He’ll bring defensive versatility with long, wiry arms and a 7-foot-1 wingspan. Grade: B

33. Philadelphia 76ers (from Cleveland via Orlando and New York): PG Carsen Edwards, Purdue

The Celtics, who traded for this pick, could use a microwave scorer. And Edwards brings that to Boston. He’s a microwave scorer who can fill it up off the dribble, off the catch and running off screens. Grade: A

34. Philadelphia 76ers (from Chicago via Los Angeles Lakers): C Bruno Fernando, Maryland

He’ll join the Hawks, who moved into this spot when they saw him available. Love this fit for Fernando. He’s one of the most physical rebounders in this draft class, and in Atlanta he won’t be tasked to be a high-end producer on offense. Grade: A

35. Atlanta Hawks: SF Marcos Louzada Silva, Brazil

Louzada Silva is headed to New Orleans after this pick was traded from Atlanta on draft day. He’s a productive 3-point shooter with some upside to potentially be a productive wing with some development. Grade: B

36. Charlotte Hornets (from Washington via Orlando, Denver and Atlanta): SF Cody Martin, Nevada

With an excellent frame and positional versatility, Cody Martin brings combo guard skills to the Hornets who are in need of upgrading their backcourt talent. Grade: C

37. Dallas Mavericks: SF Deividas Sirvydis, Lithuania

Detroit acquired this pick — and Sirvydis — from Dallas on draft night. A 19-year-old from Lithuania, he’s a forward with guard skills who is capable of creating his own shot and lighting it up from 3-point range. Grade: B

38. Chicago Bulls (from Memphis): C Daniel Gafford, Arkansas

Chicago needed to add depth at center, and in Gafford, the Bulls get a rim-running big who can finish lobs and protect the rim. His upside offensively is limited, but he’ll be a productive second-unit player early. Grade: C

39. New Orleans Pelicans: C Alen Smailagic, Serbia

After having Smailagic on their G League roster, the Warriors acquired this pick from New Orleans to make sure he didn’t get picked up before they could get him. He’s an intriguing developmental big with upside, but still has a ways to go to being a productive NBA player. Grade: D

40. Sacramento Kings (from Minnesota via Portland and Cleveland): SF Justin James, Wyoming

Sacramento is getting a productive four-year college player in James who averaged a conference-high 22.1 points per game last season in the Mountain West. While his efficiency is a concern, his scoring instincts are not. Grade: B

41. Golden State Warriors (from Atlanta via Los Angeles Lakers, Cleveland and Indiana): PF Eric Paschall, Villanova

Yes, yes, yes. This is a dream fit. Paschall’s a great 3-point shooter and a projectable role player who can be productive on a cheap deal for the Warriors, who enter the offseason in need of players fitting that exact mold. Grade: A

42. Philadelphia 76ers (from Sacramento via Brooklyn and Milwaukee): SG Admiral Schofield, Tennessee

Due to a trade, Schofield was picked by the Sixers but will start his career a Washington Wizard. He played four years in college and has an NBA-ready frame. Grade: A

43. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Miami via Charlotte): SG Jaylen Nowell, Washington

Josh Okogie was a hit last year for Minnesota late in the first, and Nowell should be a similar hit midway through the second. He’s an aggressive scorer who can prove his value as a plus-offensive player. Grade: B

44. Miami Heat (from Atlanta, via Charlotte): C Bol Bol, Oregon

He’s headed to Denver as part of a draft night trade with the Heat, who got the pick from another trade. This gives the Nuggets a high-upside, high-risk prospect to invest in. At this point in the draft, it’s good value even if he’s a bust. Grade: A

45. Detroit Pistons: SF Isaiah Roby, Nebraska

Roby was one of the big risers at the NBA Combine because of his ability to put the ball on the floor and shoot it from the perimeter. He should fill a need for Dallas and give them someone with major upside in time. Grade: B

46. Orlando Magic (from Brooklyn via Memphis and Charlotte): SG Talen Horton-Tucker, Iowa State

The Lakers didn’t have a pick in the draft, but were able to acquire a first-round talent in the middle of the second in Horton-Tucker via a trade with the Magic. Horton-Tucker’s still raw, but his long-term potential and unusually long wingspan make him worth the investment. Grade: A

47. Sacramento Kings (from Orlando via New York): SF Ignas Brazdeikis, Michigan

Sacramento made this pick and agreed to trade him to New York, giving the Knicks their second one-and-done player in this draft. Brazdeikis is a hard-nosed, competitive forward who has intriguing upside as a floor-spacer after shooting 39.2 percent from 3 last season. Grade: B

48. Los Angeles Clippers: SF Terance Mann, Florida State

The Clippers assembled a playoff team built on gritty players who compete hard on both ends of the floor, making Mann a decent fit in L.A. If he continues his improvement as a 3-point shooter he could be a nice rotation player. If not, he probably won’t make the cut. Grade: C

49. San Antonio Spurs: SG Quinndary Weatherspoon, Mississippi State

Leave it to the Spurs to get one of the best second round steals. He ranked second in scoring and tenth in 3-point shooting in the SEC last season. Grade: A 

50. Indiana Pacers: PF Jarrell Brantley, College of Charleston

The Pacers traded No. 50 to Utah, so Brantley is headed to Salt Lake City. The four-year player from College of Charleston is a combo forward who brings a prolific scoring background to the NBA. Grade: C

51. Boston Celtics: PG Tremont Waters, LSU

With so much uncertainty surrounding Boston — especially at the point guard position — Waters brings great value as a steady-handed ball-handler capable of doing everything an NBA starting point guard can do. At the very least, a great insurance piece at an important position. Grade: A

52. Charlotte Hornets (from Oklahoma City): PF Jalen McDaniels, San Diego State

Charlotte’s selection of Jalen McDaniels continues a theme of the front office’s goal to address depth in the frontcourt. He needs to improve as a shot-blocker and shooter to reach his potential, but he at least has intriguing perimeter skills for a player his size. Grade: C

53. Utah Jazz: PG Justin Wright-Foreman, Hofstra

Utah is banking on a brilliant pedigree in Wright-Foreman, who finished top 5 in the NCAA Division I in scoring each of the last two seasons. If anything can translate, it might be his stellar stroke from the 3-point line. Grade: B

54. Philadelphia 76ers: SF Marial Shayok, Iowa State

After transferring from Virginia to Iowa State, Shayok showed himself to be one of the best players in the Big 12 as a do-it-all scorer and physical rebounder from his position. He’s not an elite athlete and tends to be turnover prone but has some upside as an offensive weapon. Grade: C

55. New York Knicks (from Houston): SG Kyle Guy, Virginia

The Knicks and Kings agreed on draft night to send Guy to Sacramento. The Kings are getting a proven winner who led Virginia to a national title while leading the team in scoring. Grade: B

56. Los Angeles Clippers (from Portland via Detroit and Orlando): PG Jaylen Hands, UCLA

This pick was acquired by the Nets. With Brooklyn’s point guard position in flux entering the offseason, the Nets get a two-year starter in Hands who, at UCLA, shot 37.3 percent from 3 and improved significantly as a facilitator in his second season. Grade: B

57. New Orleans Pelicans (from Denver via Milwaukee): PG Jordan Bone, Tennessee

In a draft night trade, the Pistons picked up Bone’s draft rights from the Pelicans to give them an experienced floor general who is still developing. Bone’s a speedster who can push the pace and shoot it well from 3. Grade: B

58. Golden State Warriors: SG Miye Oni, Yale

The Warriors sold this pick to the Jazz on draft night, per reports. Oni gives Utah another scorer from the wing who can light it up from 3 and can create his own shot off the dribble — something he did often at Yale. Grade: A

59. Toronto Raptors: PF Dewan Hernandez, Miami

With Toronto’s frontcourt situation still fluid, the Raptors snagged a high-energy big in Hernandez who brings physicality and effort. He sat last season at Miami but still has tons of potential. Grade: B

60. Sacramento Kings (from Milwaukee): SG Vanja Marinkovic, Serbia

Is Marinkovic a good pick? Time will tell. But he’s more of the same for the Kings, who drafted two wings earlier in the draft at the same position and virtually the same size. Grade: C

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