NBA Draft: Grades for all 30 teams in the 2021 NBA Draft

Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images
Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images /
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NBA Draft
NBA draft Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images /

NBA Draft Grades: Central Division

Chicago Bulls: Ayo Dosunmo (38)

The Chicago Bulls moved what became the eighth overall pick in the Nikola Vucevic trade, and therefore had to wait until the second round to get their chance. They used it on Ayo Dosunmo, a combo guard who went to nearby Illinois. He will play hard on every possession and is a tenacious defender, but his shot is very streaky and there were better guards on the board like Jared Butler and Sharife Cooper.

Grade: D+

Cleveland Cavaliers: Evan Mobley (3)

The Cleveland Cavaliers went into the draft with a single draft pick, having traded their second years ago for Kyle Korver. They made the absolute most of that pick, taking a player in Mobley who could easily be the best player in the draft in five years. He is a defensive difference-maker and can fit in just about any lineup. A slam dunk at No. 3.

Grade: A

Detroit Pistons: Cade Cunningham (1); Isaiah Livers (42); Luka Garza (52); Balsa Koprivica (57)

There was a lot of chatter that the Pistons were taking their time evaluating other prospects and fielding trade offers, but at the end of the day, they took the best player on the board in Cade Cunningham, who is not perfect but is on track to be great. They had previously traded their own second-round pick but had picked up a few extras in other deals.

Isaiah Livers fell due to injury but was onetime a first-round talent and is worth the flier at 42. Luka Garza was college basketball’s best player last year, and the dichotomy between his offensive impact and defensive failures is as wide as Lake Michigan. Balsa Koprivica was a draft-and-stash, but he was absolutely not worth a draft pick given his current projection.

Grade: A

Indiana Pacers: Chris Duarte (13); Isaiah Jackson (22)

The Pacers looked at their current roster, ready to compete for home-court advantage in the Eastern Conference, and added the best fit they could find in Oregon’s Chris Duarte, a 24-year-old 2-guard who can absolutely play. Duarte can handle, pass, shoot, finish and defend at a high level. The upside is limited, but it was a reasonable pick even if Moses Moody was still on the board.

Isaiah Jackson was likewise a reasonable pick at slot No. 22, but completely unfathomable for the Pacers to trade up to take him. They used Aaron Holiday, a legitimate rotational guard, to move up from 31 to 22 to take the Kentucky center. The Pacers already used a first-round pick two years ago on a center in Goga Bitadze, which was already inexplicable because they had Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner. Now they go four deep at the league’s most replaceable position. Insane.

Grade: C-

Milwaukee Bucks: Sandro Mamukelashvili (54); Georgios Kalaitzakis (60)

The Milwaukee Bucks decided to corner the market on players with difficult to pronounce names. After trading down with the Houston Rockets from 24 to 31, they pulled off an early draft-night trade with the Indiana Pacers to flip 31 into 54, 60 and two future firsts. That will help the Bucks financially, but it means they won’t get a player ready to help them now in any way.

Mamukelashvili is a stretch big who can handle and run, but he’s going to be cooked defensively. Kalaitzakis was a deep pull as a draft-and-stash from Greece; maybe Giannis gave them an inside scout? Neither player will make an impact anytime soon, and there’s a good chance not at all. The Bucks essentially traded out of this draft. (Also, put some money on the odds of the fourth Antetokounmpo brother, Alex, joining the Bucks in Summer League).

Grade: C