NBA Southeast Division
Atlanta Hawks: A-
#5. Trae Young
Since his rookie season in 2018, Young has been Atlanta’s franchise centerpiece. He’s developed into an all-star caliber player and despite the team’s recent disappointment, don’t forget that he led Atlanta to the Eastern Conference finals without a second star. The only thing that keeps this pick from a perfect grade is the infamous Luka-for-Trae swap, which saw the Hawks pass on a generational talent in Doncic. Nonetheless, this is a great pick for Atlanta.
Charlotte Hornets: A
#3. Lamelo Ball
Anyone who had seen Lamelo Ball’s talent coming into the league and didn’t recognize him as a future star has been proven wrong. It only took Ball until his sophomore season to make an all-star appearance, with averages of 20 points, six rebounds, and seven assists per game. While Charlotte has failed to build a winner around Lamelo in his three seasons with the team, the $260 million investment the Hornets made in him likely indicates they believe they can.
Miami Heat: A
#14. Tyler Herro
Tyler Herro has always been known for his scoring prowess, but not many expected it to translate as well as it did to the NBA level. Herro immediately put up double-digit scoring numbers and has become a 20-point-per-game scorer over the past couple of seasons, winning Sixth Man of the Year in 2022. Rumors state Herro could be on the move with the Heat looking to bring in Damian Lillard. Regardless, Herro will have been a great pick for Miami at 14th overall.
Orlando Magic: A
#1. Paolo Banchero
Not many knew Paolo Banchero would be taken first overall in 2022, but after a season, Banchero has cemented himself as the best player in this draft class. Not only did he maintain a 20-point scoring average as a rookie throughout the season, but his buckets translated to success for Orlando. As the season went on, the Magic got better, finishing the year 23-19. Moving forward, Banchero should lead Orlando to much more success, while becoming a superstar in the process.
#9. Rui Hachimura
Hachimura never reached the potential that he obviously had with the Wizards. While he was a solid role player when taking the court for Washington, he never played more than 57 games in four seasons with the team because of injuries. He never quite fit in in Washington either without much playmaking or defensive help around him, and was eventually flipped to the Lakers where he has been given more opportunities to shine.