NBA Draft Lottery Grades

Let’s give some initial draft grades to each lottery pick in the draft. Rather than giving out one grade for the team’s entire draft, I will only be hitting on the first fourteen picks and giving a brief breakdown of my initial thoughts.

1. Orlando- Paolo Banchero

Grade: A-

With this pick changing from Smith to Banchero at the last moment, the Magic decide to probably take the safest route. With their very young core in Cole Anthony, Jalen Suggs, and others, Paolo seems like the correct fit to come in and make an impact at the forward position. 

2. Oklahoma City- Chet Holmgren

Grade: A-

Of the top three picks, this was the most expected. Chet has the ability to playmaker and score that can develop while his defensive presence continues to grow. Coming alongside Josh Giddey and Shai Gilgeous Alexander, Oklahoma City is hitting all of the main stresses that the league is moving towards. 

3. Houston- Jabari Smith Jr.

Grade: A

With Orlando surprisingly choosing Banchero as the first pick, Houston is drafting a number one talent in this spot. His shooting ability and capability to guard multiple positions will only add to the young athletic pieces that the struggling Rockets now have. 

4. Sacramento- Keegan Murray

Grade: B-

I am someone who believes in drafting the outright best player and figuring out his role on the team after. I know Ivey did not want to be drafted by the Kings, so I would have traded the pick down. Murray is obviously a great player, but the Kings need a ticket seller at this point. On the positive side, he is a mature player who does not make many mistakes and can do a bit of everything.

5. Detroit- Jaden Ivey

Grade: A

The Pistons could not be happier to have Ivey fall to them here. After drafting Cade Cunningham’s first last year, they now have their backcourt for numerous years. This is a young team on the way up and Ivey’s explosiveness will only add to their success.

6. Indiana- Bennedict Mathurin

Grade: A+

Mathurin was my sneaky favorite player coming into the draft. His composure, leadership, and complete game are hard to pass up on. With Haliburton in the backcourt to stay, Mathurin’s offensive capabilities will only flourish. I could see this pick being the one that people look back on in a few years and say “Why did he not get picked sooner?”

7. Portland- Shaedon Sharpe

Grade: B-

Sharpe is the biggest question mark in the draft due to the fact that he has not played organized basketball in over eight months. His potentially potent shot-making ability would be a big help for the desperate Trail Blazer’s need for scoring. After picking up Jerami Grant the day before the draft, this may be Portland’s final season push to keep Dame around for more time.

8. New Orleans (from Los Angeles Lakers)- Dyson Daniels

Grade: C+

The Pelicans chose the best available player over the best team fit in this situation. With their crowded backcourt, Daniels could potentially find time on the court due to his ability to do a little of everything. Think of a little bigger Lonzo Ball role with the team if they keep the roster the same.

9. San Antonio- Jeremy Sochan

Grade: B+

While this choice may be considered a bit early, I just can see Sochan with a Spurs jersey on. His defense and intangibles will fit right into the Popovich system and give him time right away. The way I see him is a young Draymond Green without the pettiness and outspoken qualities that the Spurs drafting stereotype usually is seen as.

10. Washington– Johnny Davis

Grade: B

Davis has the ability to score at all three levels on the biggest stage and hold his own on defense. Ironically, Davis is now heading to play with Brad Beal, who is a similar size and playstyle. This could be a rocky fit, but if they can figure it out, Davis could most definitely have an impact.

11. New York to OKC- Ousmane Dieng

Grade: B+

Coming from the NZ Breakers, Dieng will provide even more youth and length to the roster. This team could be a scary, athletic, and must-watch team in a few years. While his stat is not too appealing, his size and potential are hard to pass up on if you have a young team anyway.

12. Oklahoma City (from LA Clippers)- Jalen Williams

Grade: C

Scoring three players out of the top twelve, OKC could pretty much select their favorite player on the board that was still left. They may have five out of their top eight players on the roster drafted in the last three years. Jalen Williams likely will not see much time this year due to the rising stars of Giddey and SGA but will be placed in a developmental spot moving forward.

13. Charlotte to Detroit- Jalen Duren 

Grade: B+

If the Pistons were to grade themselves, they would surely say A+ as Ivey and Duren were their two main priorities and they ended up somehow getting both. The Duren pick itself is decent, he is likely the most athletic big in the draft and will bring a similar skillset and nature as Isaiah Stewart, but a bit larger in stature.

14. Cleveland- Ochai Agbaji

Grade: C

Agbaji, being one of the oldest and mature players drafted simply knows how to win. Coming off of a national championship with Kansas, he will know how to find his spots and play within a system. While he is not necessarily a shot creator or playmaker, he has a knack for getting open and making the right play. With much of Clevelands guard and wing play being uncertain at this point, he seems to be a reliable pick when it comes to bench production.


  • calebanger

    Former college basketball player, sports enthusiast, and coach. Instagram: @calebanger Email:

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