There were interesting draft choices followed up by a ton of trades, see if your team won their division!
Atlantic: Boston Celtics
Having the most draft picks out of their division certainly helps Boston’s case here, however every pick the Celtics made was a quality draft choice. Romeo Langford is not a great perimeter threat, but he knows how to score and was thought by many as a top ten pick. That wasn’t even the best pick of the night for Boston as they then pick power forward Grant Williams at 22, then trade for point guard Carsen Edwards, two players who can start opening night. Then to top it off they grab a solid point guard in Tremont Waters who can be provide some valuable minutes off the bench or be a solid G league player. The runner up for the best in the division would be the Brooklyn Nets who were able to come away with steals with their picks and didn’t even have a first round pick. Nix Claxton was someone who flew up draft boards this offseason, and was in lottery pick conversation, especially after the NBA Combine which he performed well at.
Central: Cleveland Cavaliers
Do not misunderstand Cleveland winning this for Darius Garland being a good pick for them, it was a horrible move. NBA teams usually should pick the best player available rather than drafting for need, but Garland is not far off from Jarrett Culver, who was available at five and made much more sense at that spot. Collin Sexton was more than a suitable starting point guard for the Cavaliers last season, and now with two ball-dominant point guards, it just puts the team in an odd situation. Credit must be given though, Cleveland had arguably the biggest steals of the draft with Dylan Windler and Kevin Porter Jr., both who are great scorers, more so Windler who is one of the top five most underrated prospects in this draft class. The Detroit Pistons had the most picks in their division with four, but all of their first three picks were developmental players who are not going to be huge contributors to a team that is supposed to take the next step as a top team in the Eastern Conference. Detroit’s best move of the night was trading for Jordan Bone, who has elite speed, quickness and explosiveness, and uses that to get to the hoop with ease, along with being a great passer. His shooting needs work but Bone will eventually see himself as a starting point guard in the NBA.
Southeast: Atlanta Hawks
Not only did they have the best draft of their division, the Hawks had the best draft in the entire league. Both De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish are two of the top five wings in this draft class and Atlanta was able to grab both along with Bruno Fernando, who has all-star potential as a big man if he doesn’t let his basketball IQ mishaps happen as much as they did when he was at Maryland. This whole division had the best draft out of the entire conference as Miami got a great shooter/scorer in Tyler Herro and a lengthy scorer in KZ Okpala. Rui Hachimura and Admiral Schofield are both going to bring a very physical and gritty game to Washington, it’ll be very interesting to see how current head coach Scott Brooks uses them.
Northwest: Minnesota Timberwolves
It was a very lackluster draft by this entire division, a big part of that being that three teams in the division only had one draft pick (Denver, Portland, Oklahoma City). Minnesota got a great pick with Jarrett Culver and was able to draft Nowell in the second round who shot 44% from three in his final season at Washington. Both Denver and Portland had great picks, with the Nuggets trading for Bol Bol and the Trail Blazers picking Nassir Little, both players respectively were steals at the spot they were chosen at. Utah and OKC went more on the developmental side and chose players who are going to need time to possibly develop into players who can contribute minutes, however Jarrell Brantley was a great pick up for the Jazz and can be their next Paul Millsap within time.
Pacific: Phoenix Suns
Even though they were both traded for, the players Phoenix got through the draft, top all other teams in their division with a honorable mention to the Los Angeles Clippers because they traded for a lottery pick talent in Mfiondu Kabengele from when the Nets picked him at 27. Phoenix arguably has this year’s least athletic draft class in the NBA and none of that even remotely matters. Cameron Johnson and Ty Jerome are hardworking, great teammates, have great character, but can actually ball (unlike a Ron Baker type of player who’s a hard worker but just flat out can’t play). Johnson was viewed by many as a reach at 11, but Phoenix didn’t want to be like every other team and just pick some typical wing/power forward or reach for a point guard, so they decided to draft the best shooter in this class. Jerome is another top five underrated player in this class who can do everything you want in a guard and more which includes lock down positions 1-3, score, shoot, run any offense, pass, and play off the ball. Phoenix will probably try this offseason to sign a top free agent to play point guard, but if push comes to shove, a Ty Jerome and Devin Booker backcourt would work completely fine and can be one of the top duos in the West if Jerome is given the opportunity.
Southwest: Memphis Grizzlies
An argument could be made for the Pelicans here, nonetheless, Memphis’ picks are the most NBA ready prospects out of this conference. As much hype as Zion Williamson and Jaxson Hayes received during this NBA Draft process, they both need to develop so many things. Williamson needs to find either a handle, jumper, or post moves/mid-range game. Hayes needs to find an offensive game and gain more weight, because while he’s a great shot blocker, he has little offensive skillset including no perimeter shot, and don’t get caught up with all the “scouts” and “analysts” that love to call many undersized centers and power forwards nowadays “fluid athletes”. Obviously they’re “fluid athletes” if they weigh 200-220 pounds at seven feet tall and have barely any weight to move with. It would be different if Hayes could stretch the floor, then Williamson could play inside and Hayes play outside on offense, but neither of them nor Jahlil Okafor can shoot, so New Orleans is going to have to figure that dilemma out. Nickeil Alexander-Walker is a talented player but needs to figure out if he’s a point guard or shooting guard, while Marcos Louzada Silva was a great pick for the Pelicans and could end up being better than Alexander-Walker. For Memphis, Ja Morant is a complete point guard and only improving, while Brandon Clarke is an elite defender and finisher who is going to be used all over court as a great multi-purpose player. The Spurs didn’t do as good as either New Orleans or Memphis, however, they did pick Luka Samanic at 19, which our NBA Mock Draft accurately predicted.