NBA Draft Grades: Which Teams Had the Best and Worst Drafts

Washington, Miami, and Minnesota dominated the two draft nights, while Atlanta, New Orleans, and Detroit have some questions to answer.
2024 NBA Draft winners and losers
Bub Carrington landing in Washington is one of our favorite picks of the draft.

The 2024 NBA Draft is in the books, which means it's time to name winners and losers. We get these articles are highly subjective... the majority of our winners and losers are based off of the big board we created pre-draft.

That said, there are a handful of teams that found either great fits or terrible fits based on team needs and whether the team is in win-now mode or is in rebuild mode.

Here are our favorite and least favorite drafts of 2024:

What Teams Had the Best Draft?

Washington Wizards

Our 2nd ranked prospect in the class landed in Washington’s lap after Atlanta decided to go with Risacher with the 1st overall pick. Sarr has a high ceiling standing at 7’1 with defensive chops that could make him one of the league’s top rim protectors. An outside shot to work with combined with an athletic frame, Alex Sarr is a steal at #2 for Washington.

However, their best pick of the draft came at pick 14, when they swung for their guy - Carlton “Bub” Carrington. They traded up with Portland to get their playmaker of the future. With Jordan Poole’s inconsistency and Deni Avdija now with the Blazers, Carrington will be able to have the ball in his hands all season long with big time minutes and therefore big time production.

NBA spacing and some tweaks to his shot should make him one of the best players in this class - meaning Washington is back on track.\

Miami Heat

The Heat stayed put and got two of their favorite prospects in this cycle it seems, with Kel’el Ware and Pelle Larsson heading to South Beach. We will start with the second rounder Larsson, who shot nearly 43% from 3 during his final season at Arizona. Pelle is a system fit for Coach Spo, as he knows how to play without the ball and can defend the 1-3 at a high level. Kel’el Ware was an unlikely pickup for the Heat who just signed Bam Adebayo to a long derm deal.

Ware hit 40% of his 3s with minimal sample size last season at Indiana, but his ability to stretch the floor and protect the rim intrigued Miami as more teams are investing in backup big men that can stretch the floor.

Although the Ware experiment could flare up in front of their eyes, I’m interested to see how Herro and Butler can integrate Ware into this Miami system that needs more scoring from its frontcourt.

Minnesota Timberwolves

Did anyone have a better draft than the Wolves? Minnesota addressed every need in its book. A scoring guard, athletic wing with offensive potential, and a reliable wing that is a low-maintenance, high-energy type of guy. GM Tim Connely traded two first rounders in the 2030s for Rob Dillingham - the most electric ball handling-scorer in this draft class. He followed that up by selecting Terrence Shannon Jr. out of Illinois. TSJ can jump out of the gym and, similar to Anthony Edwards, has a 1v1 scoring ability that is unmatched. Cam Spencer brings veteran leadership and consistency to the locker room and should instantly play bench minutes for this team. Overall an A+ draft for the Wolves who filled every one of their needs.

Phoenix Suns

The Suns traded back in the first round and selected the best perimeter defender in this draft class. Ryan Dunn brings an incredible skill set on the defensive end with his 7’1 wingspan, racking up 3.6 stocks per game last season at Virginia (his 2.3 BPG ranked 7th among Power 5 players).

While his shot will be something to monitor (20% 3PT at Virginia last season), his defensive potential is through the roof. 2nd round selection Oso Ighodaro is a playmaking big man that averaged nearly 3 assists with Marquette last season.

While these two players are non-shooters at the moment, Ighodaro brings playmaking skills at the center spot that the Suns haven’t had in recent years, while Dunn has that Mikal Bridges-like frame that has been missing ever since the trade. 

Yves Missi draft grade
Missi has some upside but will likely need at least one season to developBen Queen

Which Teams Had the Worst Drafts?

New Orleans Pelicans

While the Pelicans’ second round selection in Antonio Reeves didn’t put them on the “hate list”, drafting Yves Missi with the 21st overall pick was puzzling. Missi doesn’t space the floor or bring playmaking skills, making for a big man with minimal potential down the road.

Potentially needing a year or two in the G-League, New Orleans is back at square one and didn’t address their main concern in this draft - a floor spacing forward.

Los Angeles Clippers

The LA Clippers draft classes since 2020? Daniel Oturu, Jay Scrubb, Keon Johnson, Jason Preston, Brandon Boston, Kobe Brown, Jordan Miller, Moussa Diabate, and now - Cam Christie.

None of these players have truly made an impact for LA over the years and now with Christie, a 6’7 shooter who has minimal potential as anything more than a serviceable 3 & D player, it looks as if they are paying too much attention to the Paul George, superstar boat, rather than trading up to invest in a long-term high risk high reward prospect.

Although the Clips haven’t made the NBA Finals since building a “super team”, they haven’t selected inside the top 20 since 2018 - when they selected SGA.

Detroit Pistons

While Ron Holland could become a great two-way forward for Detroit, his fit with Ausar Thompson is extremely worrying. Both are poor shooters that make their money off of cutting into open lanes for rim finishes.

While Holland is a versatile forward that can rebound and defend, his playstyle is too close to Thompson’s to warrant back-to-back top five picks going to the same playstyle.

Atlanta Hawks

Zaccharie Risacher can play a 3 & D role from Game 1 for Atlanta, but does he truly have more to his game in order to lead this team to the promised land in the Eastern Conference? His lack of wingspan, athleticism, or playmaking chops worries me as there hasn’t been a 1st overall selection with more question marks in more than a decade.

Nikola Djurisic at 43 was a solid pick for the Hawks as he brings a similar 3 & D skillset, but why select two of the same players when they could have had a serviceable 3 & D at 43 (such as Djurisic) and then a game-changer with huge upside in Castle, Clingan, or Sarr at #1 overall? A head-scratcher from Atlanta.

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