The 2019 NBA Draft might have been somewhat predictable at the top, but it left no shortage of the event's usual intrigue past pick No. 3. The draft annually sees players who have been lottery picks for the last 11 months fall out of the first round, while second-round talents are drafted in the lottery in a move that leaves both Draft Twitter and fans all over the country in a state of stunned silence.
Now that the draft is officially yesterday's news, it's time declare which teams came out of the draft positioned for dominance in the short and long-term, and which teams completely dropped the ball.
1. New Orleans Pelicans: A+
David Griffin is playing three-dimensional chess while the rest of the league is paying checkers. While the Zion Williamson pick at No. 1 could have been predicted by anyone with a functioning brain, turning the No. 4 pick acquired in the Anthony Davis trade into a rim-running center in Jaxson Hayes at No. 8, a sharpshooting 3-and-D guard in Nickeil Alexander-Walker at No. 17, and a promising draft and stash in Didi Louzada at No. 35 deserves the highest praise imaginable.
2. Memphis Grizzlies: A
With Mike Conley soon to be a member of the Utah Jazz, the Grizzlies wasted no time in drafting his replacement when they snagged Murray State's Ja Morant with the second overall pick. With the No. 23 pick they acquired by the Jazz in tow, Memphis moved up for Gonzaga's Brandon Clarke, a freakish athlete with tremendous hops and shot-blocking ability. Don't look now, but the Morant/Jaren Jackson Jr./Clarke core in Memphis could be up to something very soon.
3. New York Knicks: A-
Knicks fans might still be bitter that Zion Williamson slipped out of their grasp and ended up in New Orleans, but RJ Barrett, who could score 20 points a game with his eyes closed, isn't exactly the worst consolation prize. While Barrett finally gives the Knicks a young piece to build around, they added one of the steals of the draft in the second round with Michigan's Ignas Brazdeikis, who should contribute right away on a Knicks roster that lacks bona fide talent at this point.
4. Atlanta Hawks: B
You can never accuse Atlanta Hawks GM Travis Schlenk, who traded up for Trae Young last draft, of being boring or passive. Schlenk sent picks No. 8 and No. 17 to New Orleans to select Virginia's DeAndre Hunter, a high-floor player with versatility and an improving jump shot, but a low offensive ceiling. Duke's Cam Reddish could be a home run at No. 10, provided he learns how to harness all the talent he has and score with more consistency. Like it or not, Young, Hunter, and Reddish are now the Hawks' foundation.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers: B-
John Beilein and the Cleveland Cavaliers using the No. 5 pick on Vanderbilt point guard Darius Garland still seems as peculiar now as it did when it happened. While Garland should be an excellent player in this league, he's a serious injury risk. Will Garland mesh with another ball-dominant young guard in Collin Sexton? Seems unlikely. At least the Cavs made some excellent picks later in the draft, as Belmont sharpshooter and ace rebounder Dylan Windler, as well as USC's Kevin Porter Jr., at No. 26 and No. 30, respectively, represent great value.
6. Minnesota Timberwolves: B+
Ryan Saunders and the Minnesota Timberwolves got their man in the form of Texas Tech guard Jarrett Culver. A solid 3-point shooter with terrific perimeter defense and the ability to create his own shot, Culver should slide right into Minnesota's rotation and produce. While sending Dario Saric to Phoenix to get him was a big on the bold side, the Timberwolves leaving last night with Culver and Washington guard Jaylen Nowell is a solid day at the office.
7. Chicago Bulls: A-
Outside of the top three, one of the most frequently-mocked picks in this draft was North Carolina guard Coby White heading to Chicago. Given their lack of a standout point guard -- sorry, Kris Dunn - -and shooting, it was a no-brainer that the 6-5 White would head to the Windy City. While the White pick looks like a home run, drafting Arkansas center Daniel Gafford in the second round was a sneaky great find for the Bulls. The much-maligned front office of John Paxson and Gar Forman should be commended for some solid moves last night.
8. Washington Wizards: C
While the Garland pick looked a bit weird, Hachimura going No. 9 to the Wizards was the really puzzling selection. While Hachimura, the first Japanese player drafted in the NBA, has a solid game down on the low block and an improving shooting stroke, he was figured to go somewhere in the late teens or early 20s, not the Top 10. Hachimura should emerge as a good backup forward in Year 1 for Washington, but there was clearly better talent left on the board.
9. Phoenix Suns: C+
Former North Carolina forward Cameron Johnson, who is a year older than Devin Booker, can do one thing really well, as he was a 46% shooter from three last year. Unfortunately for Monty Williams and Phoenix, that doesn't warrant the Suns using the No. 11 pick in the draft on him. Ty Jerome at No. 24 was one of the better picks of the late first round, but the Johnson selection remains one of the more egregious in the 2019 Draft.
10. Charlotte Hornets: B+
Is this enough to make you stay, Kemba Walker? Kentucky's PJ Washington, who stayed in Lexington one more season to work on a jump shot, worked his way into the lottery with his combination of shooting, low-post presence, and physicality on defense. While he and Nevada's Cody Martin were nice additions, GM Mitch Kupchak stating that both picks would spend most of next year in the G League knocks the Hornets' draft out of the A range.
11. Miami Heat: C+
On a night where they had a lottery pick, the Miami Heat were in the news more for selecting Bol Bol in the second round and promptly selling him to the Nuggets. While No. 13 pick Tyler Herro, a self-described "walking bucket," can shoot it well from just about anywhere, a team in need of center and forward depth reaching for a guard at No. 13 can't get anything higher than a C+.
12. Boston Celtics: A-
While Boston GM Danny Ainge has been firmly in the crosshairs of the basketball media in the last few weeks, as the Celtics are days away from losing key players in free agency, Ainge still managed to pick up some nice talent in the first round this year. With über-talented but inconsistent Indiana guard Romeo Langford at No. 14 and SEC Player of the Year Grant Williams at No. 22, the Celtics should be extremely deep next year, with or without Kyrie Irving and Al Horford.