Grading Each Pick in the 2021 NBA Draft

Grading Each Pick in the 2021 NBA Draft

NBA Draft

Grading Each Pick in the 2021 NBA Draft


11. Charlotte Hornets: James Bouknight, Guard, UConn

After receiving a lot of top ten buzz, I was surprised when James Bouknight fell to Charlotte at 11. Nonetheless, this was a solid pick. Besides LaMelo Ball, none of Charlotte’s guards are under contract for much longer, and I believe Bouknight is a solid fit with Ball. He has the tools to be a solid defender, and I like his fit as either a secondary ball-handler off the bench, or a tertiary in the Hornets starting lineup between Ball and Hayward. Bouknight doesn’t have the passing chops for a full-time on-ball role, nor does he have the off-ball shooting or relocation just yet, but the Hornets are in a position to give him a healthy diet of off-ball dribble hand-offs while coming off screens.

Grade: A-

12. San Antonio Spurs: Joshua Primo, Wing, Alabama

Many despised this pick, but I don’t. Sure, there were some better prospects on the board, and San Antonio probably should’ve gone with someone who had a little more upside, and many would call this a reach, but I still don’t hate this selection. I was much higher on Josh Primo than consensus, as I believe he brings the baseline 3&D skills and pairs them with solid upside at such a young age. Not to mention, I had Primo going top-20, so although it was in fact a reach, I don’t believe teams could’ve waited around too much longer if they wanted Primo.

Grade: B-

13. Indiana Pacers: Chris Duarte, Wing, Oregon

Chris Duarte is one of the best pro-ready prospects in this entire draft class. He brings plenty of versatility from behind the arc, excellent team defense, along with an underrated handle and slashing ability. It is worth noting he’s already 24, and I do think lottery is a bit too high for him, but I’m still a big fan of Duarte, and he should be able to contribute immediately.

Grade: B

14. Golden State Warriors: Moses Moody, Wing, Arkansas

The Warriors land my fourth ranked prospect at the back-end of the lottery. Moody brings 3&D skills to make a contribution right out of the gate, but he also has underrated upside as a shot creator and playmaker. It will take some time, as he’s currently a poor finisher with subpar athleticism, and he’ll need to tighten up his handle and receive more on-ball reps, but Moody is a high-floor, high-ceiling prospect, and he’s excellent value at this point in the Draft.

Grade: A+

15. Washington Wizards: Corey Kispert, Wing, Gonzaga

The Washington Wizards are in a tough spot. They need guard depth, wing depth, and overall another star to compliment Bradley Beal and take this team over the top. Now I don’t believe Corey Kispert brings any star equity, nor do I believe he was a top-15 prospect in this class, but he’s an extremely safe prospect thanks to his knockdown shooting, elite off-ball movement, and some of the value he brings as a finisher and team defender.

Grade: B-

16. Houston Rockets: Alperen Sengun, Big, Besitkas

Before you get too mad at this grade, keep in mind I did bump it down a little bit simply due to the fact that I believe Houston overpaid for this pick. Nonetheless, I still don’t love this pick, but I would also be lying if I said it was a terrible selection. Sengun is a tricky prospect to evaluate. He dominated the Turkish League at a young age, dominating with his post-play, free throw shooting, and passing ability. However, Sengun will need to develop a three point shot in order to maximize his offensive potential and trump his negative defensive value.

Grade: C+

17. New Orleans Pelicans: Trey Murphy lll, Wing, Virginia

Trey Murphy began getting overhyped when he was receiving lottery rankings from many later in the process, but I’m still a fan of his game. He is an older prospect with a fairly limited skillset, bringing elite catch and shoot ability, off-ball movement, a high motor, and versatile perimeter defense. However, it’s a translatable skill set, and he’ll bring some much needed spacing in New Orleans.

Grade: B

18. Oklahoma City Thunder: Tre Mann, Guard, Florida

Some people do question the fit given how many young ball-handlers the Thunder already have, but I like the idea of a multi-ball-handler system for this team. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is amazing, but you’re not winning a title running a heliocentric offense around him. Plus, this value is just too good. I had Mann ranked fifth on my big board.

Grade: A+

19. Charlotte Hornets: Kai Jones, Big, Texas

Kai Jones is one of the most intriguing prospects in this years class. At his ceiling, he’s an extremely versatile defender that can guard 1-5 and bring high-level perimeter skills for a big on offense. However, if he never develops his raw offensive skill set, and he doesn;t improve his discipline on defense, he could bust. Nonetheless, I did view him as a lottery prospect, so this is solid value and a good time to take a swing on him. Plus, I really like the fit.

Grade: A-

20. Atlanta Hawks: Jalen Johnson, Forward, Duke

On one hand, Jalen Johnson has a solid amount of upside, and I don’t hate his fit on this Hawks team. They’ve got room for a versatile forward that will fit well in a small-ball five role when necessary given all their shooting at the guard and wing positions. However, I was a lot lower on Johnson than consensus, and I believe there were a handful of better prospects on the board.

Grade: C


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