Dallas Mavericks

51. Melvin Ajinca, France

The Mavericks moved up a few spots in the second round and drafted a long, athletic wing from France. Ajinca struggled shooting the ball for much of the year, but proved in past years the ability to knock down the three ball. His athletic profile should allow him to develop into a solid NBA defender. Dallas can stash him, or bring him over to hopefully contribute right away on a cheap contract.

Denver Nuggets — A-

22. DaRon Holmes, Dayton

it was the worst kept secret of the 2024 draft, the Nuggets had a promise in place to select Holmes and following that rumor becoming public, they felt the need to move up from 28 to 22, to ensure they got the athletic big. He is an excellent fit for Denver and should give them immediate help with his shooting and explosiveness. The Nuggets did a good job of not only addressing a need but targeting a player with both readiness, and potential left to develop.

Golden State Warriors — B-

52. Quinten Post, Boston College

Post struggled at the combine with his lack of mobility and lift and is knocked off balance easily. If he can add strength and handle the speed of the NBA, the Warriors may have found another real contributor in the late second round. He is 24, and there are signs that he may not be an NBA athlete, but if they can get some production out of the lengthy 7-foot shooter, it will justify the move to get back into the second round to select him.

Houston Rockets — A

3. Reed Sheppard, Kentucky

The Rockets one pick could end up being a gem. Sheppard figures to fit into their team well as they have a young franchise center of the future, Alperen Sengun, and a roster consisting of a lot of athleticism, and Reed Sheppard (pictured) brings a high level shooter with winning traits. There was a lot of speculation that the Rockets would move the pick for an established veteran that could immediately help them take the next step towards contention. But apparently a deal to their liking never materialized. Credit them for exploring all options and making a very shrewd selection with a Steph Curry-lite type of prospect. Some may question how Sheppard and Van Vleet, two diminutive, score-first point guards will co-exist, but the fact that there are 10 years between them should make it a great fit as one reaches his twilight just as the other begins to blossom.

Los Angeles Clippers — A-

46. Cam Christie, Minnesota

Christie joins his older brother Max in Los Angeles, playing for the cross town Clippers. Cam has a picture perfect jumpshot and still has upside left to de3evelop from a physical standpoint. He’s very polished for his age, and while he most likely doesn’t have all star level potential, he offers excellent value and potential at the 46th pick.

Los Angeles Lakers — A-

17. Dalton Knecht, Tennessee
55. Bronny James, USC

Knecht’s age caused him to drop on draft night, and the Lakers, looking for immediate help and shooting, jumped at he chance to take him at 17. He should provide a nice upgrade to Austin Reeves, giving the Lakers solid value in a weak draft at the 17th pick. At 55, the team made history taking Bronny James. James has the prerequisite physical attributes, and it”s possible he just needs skill development to ultimately be an NBA level player. The Ken Griffey Jr. / Sr. moment will reach the NBA, which is monumental. And LeBron is still the second greatest NBA player of all time after Michael Jordan.

Memphis Grizzlies — C+

9. Zach Edey, Purdue
39. Jaylen Wells, Washington  St.
53. Cam Spencer, UConn

While taking Edey at 9 seems like a huge reach, there is a real possibility trading down to 15 or lower would have negated their chances to get Edey. His size could create some match up problems for opposing teams. But it remains to be seen how effectively he can handle switches and defend in space, and therefore playoff basketball may become a challenge to utilize him. Wells was a prospect that we had graded out as a late first rounder, so they got a player we were very impressed with at 39. He shows excellent catch and shoot ability, plus some defense and ball handling potential. Spencer struggled at the NBA Draft Combine, seemingly less effective outside of the UConn system, and has an adjustment period before he can be counted on for minutes. But there’s a lot to like about his determination and overall skill set.

Minnesota Timberwolves — A-

8. Rob Dillingham, Kentucky
27. Terrence Shannon, Illinois

While giving away 2 future firsts, one a 2030 pick swap (protected one overall) and an unprotected 2031, the Timberwolves grabbed the Spurs pick at 8. While Dillingham may have some off court, not to mention size concerns among teams, the talent level is extremely high. Diminutive, ultra quick point guards Brandon Jennings and Kemba Walker each entered the NBA as top 10 picks, and Dillingham could end up similar to either of them.  For a team in a small market, that is cap strapped, credit them for getting creative. In 6-7 years, one of the faces of the league, Anthony Edwards will be 28-29 years old, provided he’s healthy and still on the Timberwolves, those traded picks should not come back to bite them. It’s a calculated risk, but a smart one. They are getting ahead of things, by doing everything within their power to surround Ant-man with the necessary talent to keep him in the fold. Dillingham can learn behind Mike Conley and then ultimately replace him. Shannon was one of the absolute steals of the draft. He may ultimately prove to have been worthy of being taken with the pick they acquired at 8. Shannon’s stock took a nose dive due to the well documented legal case against him, of which he was exonerated. Shannon was among the most dominant players in college basketball, and should give Minnesota immediate contribution as a slasher, scorer and quickly make everyone wonder how he ended up falling to 27th, even with the court case.

New Orleans Pelicans — C+

21. Yves Missi, Baylor
47. Antonio Reeves, Kentucky

Missi at 21 filled a need at center and if he’s more ready than expected they may have done well here. The concern is that he needs so much time that the need for a center on a team with a short window to contend was not really addressed. Missi still has a long ways to go, and the flashes are really impressive as he can jump out of the gym, block shots and rim run. But the feel for the game is likely to take some time. Reeves ended up leading Kentucky in scoring and was third in the SEC. He’s extremely efficient shooting and has decent length. Where he struggles is with physicality and the fact that he’s an older prospect there is some concern he may never have great body strength. But at 47, he’s a very solid value with nice upside if he gets stronger.

Oklahoma City Thunder — C-

12. [Player Nikola Topic], Serbia
26. Dillon Jones, Weber State
38. Ajay Mitchell, UCSB

It’s hard to be too critical of an organization that has made great moves, not only acquiring one of the best young talents in the league via trade in Shai Gilgous Alexander, but the very smart selections of Chet Holmgren and jalen Williams. The Thunder won the most games in the West last year and have one of the best front offices in the league and an extremely bright future. All that being said we just were not very excited about the value that got with their picks. Topic is coming off an ACL injury and was slow on defense before. Jones is a highly skilled guard with real intrigue as a Giddey type of playmaker, but 26 was high for him by most accounts, and Mitchell is an intriguing scorer but his speed and athletic limitations creates concerns.If Topic can prove to have no issues with the injury and the speed of the NBA, he can be a Ricky Rubio level playmaker, but 12 seemed high during the season, and especially coming off a knee injury. Bub Carrington was available at 12 and may duplicate SGA too much, but that’s probably more of a positive than a negative.

Phoenix Suns — B

28. Ryan Dunn, Virginia
40. Oso Ighodaro, Marquette

The Suns zeroed in on a defensive player that could contribute next season with Ryan Dunn, moving down from 22 to 28. Dunn has the ability to become a lockdown defender with the versatility to defend in the post as well as on the perimeter. His offensive limitations and lack of feel for the game are concerns, but there’s no questioning his high level ability to defend and potential as an elite NBA athlete.Ighodaro is similarly limited offensively, but considering the Suns team, they have added two players that fit their short term needs well. Ighodaro can’t shoot outside of the paint, and is limited offensively, but brings a high level of athleticism and length to the frontcourt.

Portland Trailblazers — B

7. Donovan Clingan, UConn

Portland grabbed one of the most recognizable prospects in this year’s draft in sophomore UConn bigman Donovan Clingan. They’ll hope he provides them an upgrade over 25 year old DeAndre Ayton, who has proven to not been a great fit in Portland. With a 7’3 frame and 7’7 wingspan, Clingan is a true giant and shows a real passion for the game and surprisingly nimble feet and mobility. While seven seems a bit high to us for the two time champion, there was plenty of interest from other teams in this draft range.

Sacramento Kings — B+

13. Devin Carter, Providence

The Kings have made a habit of selecting high level guards at the end of the lottery, having drafted Tyrese Haliburton at 12 a few years back. Whether they have found one of the draft’s best players once again in that range remains to be seen, but Carter is perhaps the most athletic guard in the draft with a 6’9 wingspan allowing him to play bigger than his height.

San Antonio Spurs — B+

4. Stephon Castle, UConn
36. Juan Nunez, Spain
48. Harrison Ingram, North Carolina

The Spurs have long been known as one of the best teams at developing players, including rehabilitating their shots. While Castle’s jumper doesn’t have any huge mechanical flaws, he can definitely use a tune up with regard to getting his shot of quicker and adding range to it. He’s got the type of defensive ability and athleticism to compete right away at the NBA level, and his passing ability is innate. If the shooting comes around, he should fit right into the Spurs system and become an excellent pick at 4. Apparently, once the Hornets opted to take Tidjane Salaun at 6, the Spurs pulled the trigger on the Dillingham trade. Considering the traded picks wont go through for 6-7 years, this was more of a long term Wemby investment, and a recognition that the turnaround does not need to happen overnight. One more high pick (Cooper Flagg for instance) could really make a big difference for them. 36th pick Juan Nunez was not high on our rankings, but has good size and great PnR ability. North Carolina’s Harrison Ingram is a solid role player with heady defensive ability. Neither of their second round picks were high value picks, but either could thrive in the Spurs system in their roles.

Utah Jazz — A

10. Cody Williams, Colorado
29. Isaiah Collier, USC
32. [Player: Kyle Filipowski[, Duke

Utah Jazz CEO of basketball operations Danny Ainge hit a home run with this year’s draft selecting a player we believe has as much upside as any player in the entire draft at 10, with Cody Williams. Williams’ brother Jalen has been a revelation for the Oklahoma City Thunder and was drafted at 12, and Cody has the same body type at the same age, and actually performed better as a freshman than his older brother did as a sophomore at Santa Clara. The hits kept coming with two very nice value picks at 29 and 32 with Collier and Filipowski. Collier came into the year as the top rated high school prospect, and has incredible speed and passing ability. Filiipowski should fit right into the culture in Utah and shows a high floor with his focus and determination.


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