Now that the mock drafts are dead, the fashion show is done, all the crying parents have come and gone and Woj and Shams are back in the holster for a few hours, let us see what Postseason Advent has wrought:
ATLANTA Grade: A+. General manager Travis Schlenk is already a proven risk-taker and hyperactive dealmaker, and we love guys like that … for a while. He moved picks all over the place, trying to reduce and then add to inventory, drafted well for all his needs and even did his former employers in Oakl—er, San Francisco a solid by selling them a second-rounder for money and a second-round pick in 2061. The Hawks are young, intrepid and are an interesting though still plenty flawed, as in lovably weird, team. They need to be rewarded.
BOSTON Grade: D. Would be a solid F en route to academic probation in a Montessori school but drafted a player who used science to prove that the Earth was round, a major intellectual advance for their roster. Could still be a compulsory expulsion if the crackpot rumors about them being interested in Chris Paul as the Type-A Kyrie turn out to be true.
BROOKLYN Grade: F. Nothing is worse than interviewing fans at a draft. Negates everything else the Nets did.
CHARLOTTE Grade: C. Took P.J. Washington so that John Calipari could write off his trip to Brooklyn, but without Kemba Walker it will all seem so … well, hollow.
CHICAGO Grade: C-. Drafted Coby White from North Carolina but he failed to make fans forget how actively they detest Gar Forman and John Paxson. Maybe that’s too much to ask of a seventh pick.
CLEVELAND Grade: B. Everyone approves of Darius Garland and Dylan Windler, so if this helps future interim head coach Lindsay Gottlieb in three years, all the better.
DALLAS Grade: A. Got the night off. Never a bad thing.
DENVER Grade: BB. Drafted Bol Bol, and even if it was just to get the suit, it was a coup for Tim Connelly. Would have been an A-, but the TV voiceboxes fixated on Bol being invited to the Hell Room and not drafted as a crime against the nation, so it became a tedious storyline even though Bol handled his disappointment like a true and honorable Bol.
DETROIT Grade: B. They already have Blake Griffin at Sekou Doumbouye’s position, but the teenager was much valued and may be a worthwhile addition to the list of historical 15th picks that includes Kawhi, Giannis and Steve Nash, just to name three players who are better than he is likely to be.
GOLDEN STATE Grade: $. Took guard Jordan Poole, fiddled with Atlanta and then New Orleans to get Serbian center Alen Smailagic, but nobody wants to know anything about anything except Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson and if Joe Lacob’s luxury tax bill is high enough to force his son Kirk to live in his car, so in the end, nothing happened here. Well, Eric Paschall might be Draymond Lite, but let’s not lose our minds.
HOUSTON Grade: U. As in new uniforms, which they hauled out to mask their lack of draft capital and their Chernobylesque roster. If they can move Chris Paul, this becomes an A. If not, well, see you kids in hell.
INDIANA Grade: G. Goga Bitadze is just fun to say, and so is Fran Fraschilla, who is among the very few people on earth who knew who he was before Thursday.
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS Grade: F. See the Toronto grade to find out what Jerry West and Steve Ballmer are up against.
LOS ANGELES LAKERS Grade: SC. For salary cap, which someone better figure out soon.
MEMPHIS Grade: A. No credit for Ja Morant, who was the brainiest of no-brainers. Credit for Brandon Clarke, a nifty little steal at 21. Total remakes have started in worse ways.
MIAMI Grade: C. Had Bol Bol for 15 seconds. Keeps Tyler Herro. Beats me.
MILWAUKEE: Grade: Feh. No pick, so the task is to get Khris Middleton back somehow. Maybe they could timeshare Christian Yelich.
MINNESOTA: Grade: Meh. Jarrett Culver is interested but flawed. Still, tell me what they do with Andrew Wiggins and what they must endure to move him.
NEW ORLEANS Grade: Z. Not just for the obvious reason, but because the meek inherited a nice chunk of earth this offseason, even figuring out how to bamboozle the Los Angeles Lakers while trading them one of the game’s foundational pieces. General manager David Griffin has traded as well as anyone could in such a vulnerable position, drafted well, and given the Pelicans a distraction past King Cake Baby.
NEW YORK Grade: C. The fans love R.J. Barrett for lots of perfectly good reasons, but would you trust either the Knicks or their fans to open a can that was already open, let alone grade basketball talent? Of course you wouldn’t. It’s scary to think how such a sensible pick could go wrong, but this is what being a Knick is.
OKLAHOMA CITY Grade: *. Looking to get under the tax.
ORLANDO Grade: V. Must pay Nikola Vucevic. Okay?
PHILADELPHIA Grade: B. It’s bold for the Sixers to go back to Washington to get a player with suspect shot mechanics, but people like Matisse Thybulle. But this is the reward the team deserves for rendering Dribblin’ Ben Franklin.
PHOENIX Grade: Phoenix. Most people hated them trading down to get Cam Johnson with only Dario Saric as the sweetener. But how else do you get to be the Suns?
PORTLAND Grade: ?. Did they steal Nassir Little, or was Little’s a legitimate slide? Here’s your answer: You spend too much time on things like this and really need to start getting more regular doses of Vitamin D. Also, if possible, try dating.
SACRAMENTO Grade: Ignas Brazdeikis. This pick screamed Vlade Divac, right up to the moment he was banished to KnickWorld. “Banished from the Kings to the Knicks” is not a sentence one types often. Other than that, the Kings did what you would expect with the 40th and 60th picks—nothing worth raving about.
SAN ANTONIO Grade: I. As in international. Took in Luka Samanic, one more non-native, which in Pop culture has typically meant good news. Also drafted the first Quinndary in league history.
TORONTO Grade: Professorship with tenure. Kawhi Leonard went to watch the Blue Jays and spent a while batting the breeze when with one of the foul line kids while the rest of the league angsted through the draft. If he’s still leaving, he was a gloriously weird way of showing it. If he’s staying, that kid replaces Drake because while anyone can sing, only a wizard can get Kawhi to defrost at an Angels-Jays game.
UTAH Grade: PhD. Already won their draft with Mike Conley.
WASHINGTON Grade: INC. Drafted well with Rui Hachimura at 9, but their front office, which has never spoken to him, is still an abandoned Jiffy Lube.
In short, all these grades are as valuable as any others, and this was just a pop quiz anyway. Money-burning season is coming, and that’s why we all bought in to this sport to begin with. So until the draft is outlawed, good day everyone, and we wish you all the luck you deserve.
Heh heh heh.
Ray Ratto can’t wait for tonight’s NHL draft and the ill-fitting gray suits on uncomfortable-under-TV-lights prairie lads.