The 2019 NBA Draft came and went, with 60 picks being made in what was a very long and chaotically-eventful evening. How did all 30 teams fare when it was all said and done? Find out below.
We were warned, weren’t we?
Before the night even began, there were several rumors of trade ups, trade downs, trade outs, and everything in between, with word swirling that many of the top teams were interested in moving their NBA Draft picks.
The first three picks — Duke’s Zion Williamson, Murray State’s Ja Morant, and Duke’s RJ Barrett — went according to plan, with the Pelicans, Grizzlies, and Knicks grabbing their franchise cornerstones as expected.
By the time that the fourth pick was on the clock, though, a torrent of trades and chaos unfolded that would go on to be truly indicative of how the entire night would go. Trade rumors turned into actual trades, trades that were made all throughout the night.
Some teams had better nights than others, both in terms of players that were selected and picks that were traded. Some players seemingly went too high, others too low, and some trades were heavily lopsided. As is the nature of the NBA, “value” is interpreted differently among all 30 front offices.
Some of the night’s winners and losers are quite obvious, with viewers and those keeping up with the draft online fully understanding what pick and/or what trade was shocking or not, so some of what’s discussed here won’t be eye-opening. But, some other teams didn’t come away as well as they could’ve, and some teams were sneaky surprises.
This piece will grade teams based on not only who they picked and where they picked them, but also how — and if — they got the most out of their draft capital on Thursday night. Each pick has value, and it’s up to the front offices to extract the most value possible. Whether that involves a consolidation trade to move up, or a trade that moves back in a manner to pick up extra assets, there are ways to make the most out of a pick. Of course, simply picking a prospect that fits the organization’s outlook is innately valuable, but as long as it’s within reason — some prospects picked tonight, such as De’Andre Hunter and Cameron Johnson, are linked to the trades that delivered them to their current teams, and as I’ll delve into, those teams failed to manage value wisely. For a sense of how I personally value some of the prospects, I’ve written about them in length previously, and while most of this stuff is basically subjective, there’s an objective element to it, nonetheless.
Now, let’s start with one of the night’s biggest losers, the Atlanta Hawks.