Grading the NBA Draft

Kieran Light ’21

On November 18, the NBA held its draft for incoming rookies at the ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut.

Today, I will be grading the top three picks and one draftee that just might surprise you.

Anthony Edwards, SG (pick #1, Minnesota Timberwolves): B+

Edwards is probably the most ‘boom or bust’ pick from this entire draft. Edwards has many positives to his game that can perfectly complement the two stars already in Minnesota, but they require lots of development.

That’s the million-dollar question: does he have the mentality to work harder than the next guy? Just hours before the draft, Edwards said, “To be honest, I can’t watch basketball… I’m still not really into it.”

This sparked plenty of speculation amongst fans. In his defence though, we can’t expect a Kobe-like work ethic from a 19-year-old kid.

James Wiseman, C (pick #2, Golden State Warriors): A

This 7’1” center is the perfect fit for a Warriors team getting most of their stars back from injury.

Wiseman is a fantastic shot-blocker and rebounder, and he can catch a lob like no one else in this draft. Even throughout the Warriors’ fantastic dynasty—in which they went to five straight finals and won three—the Warriors always lacked a true presence in the paint.

The only major question with Wiseman is whether or not he has enough experience since he was only able to play three college games before being suspended by the NCAA.

Despite the suspension, he’s been training for the draft, so he’s got the body, the mind, and the technique of a true star.

(L-R) LaMelo Ball, James Wiseman, and Anthony Edwards

LaMelo Ball, PG (pick #3, Charlotte Hornets): A

Where do I start with Ball? Well, all I can say is that he’s come a long way since lighting up the internet with his deep range back in high school.

Since then, he’s grown from a mere 5’10” to a gargantuan 6’8”. For comparison, the average height of an NBA point guard is 6’0”.

Ball, who averaged 17 points, nearly 7 assists, and a whopping 1.6 steals while playing professionally in Australia, is a perfect fit for a Hornets team that needed a great point guard.

On top of that, he’s going to an environment that will make him one of the main contributors. Altogether, this makes him a top candidate for Rookie of the Year.

Obi Toppin, SF (pick #8, New York Knicks): A++

Rookie… of… the… Year. For the past 21 years, the Knicks have been a dumpster fire of an organization, but let’s give credit where credit is due.

Under newly appointed President of Basketball Operations Leon Rose, they have assembled a great young roster for the future. Toppin is a fantastic scorer with athleticism that is unmatched by anyone else in this draft class.

The high-flying forward is third in field goal percentage by an AP Player of the Year, even ahead of the great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The two ahead of him are young superstar Zion Williamson and Hall of Famer Bill Walton. The future is bright for Toppin.

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