The impact and production of the 2019 NBA Draft class has already been on display. Zion Williamson was an All-Star selection, while Ja Morant, RJ Barrett, De’Andre Hunter and Matisse Thybulle played key roles on playoff teams. Cameron Johnson was a top-7 player on an NBA Finals squad.
The disappointments of this class are also on display, from Jarrett Culver failing to develop for the Minnesota Timberwolves to the San Antonio Spurs fumbling the 19th pick on Luka Samanic. Some decisions were questionable at the time, while others looked fine but turned sour.
We have two seasons of data on the 2019 NBA Draft class. What grade have all 30 teams earned with how they used their picks in the draft?
In the slides to follow we will analyze how each team in the NBA used its picks in the 2019 NBA Draft. Our grading system is not merely looking for quantity or even overall quality, but specifically how a team did with the picks it had. The Golden State Warriors get more credit for taking Jordan Poole at 28th than the New York Knicks get for taking RJ Barrett at third, as the expected return on the third pick is much higher.
Trades, made before or after the draft, are largely not figured into the calculus here, although in the case of the Milwaukee Bucks — who traded out of the draft completely — we will comment on it. Undrafted players count only if their team identified them immediately and signed them in the summer of 2019. The overall rankings of players two years later is the opinion of the author, and the same rankings were used to produce the 2019 NBA Redraft here.
The average grade for a team is C+, so to reach an A a team has to maximize the potential of each of its draft picks. We’ll start with a team earning the rare and coveted “A+” grade for their work in the 2019 NBA Draft, adding a pair of top-10 players, including one future star.