Winners and losers from the NBA Draft

If Victor Wembanyama lives up to even close to the hype, the Spurs will have a generational talent for years to come. And while they are at the head of the class, some other grades deserve to be handed out.

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Victor Wembanyama

Victor Wembanyama and the San Antonio Spurs were the clear winners in the wake of Thursday’s NBA Draft, but there were some other high grades handed out.


There was only one winning team coming out of the NBA Draft on Thursday. Every other team feeling good about itself was a runner-up.

And the Spurs could have declared themselves the draft champions in May, when they strutted out of the lottery holding the keys to the No. 1 overall pick.

That’s the Victor Wembanyama effect.

Might the 7-4 French star turn out to be a bust? Maybe. But with his skills and the size he brings to the court, injury would seem to be the only deterrent.

Wembanyama not only should be an organizational game-changer for the Spurs, but he also should be a generational player to be talked about for years to come.

No player has come with this amount of hype since the Cavaliers landed LeBron James in 2003.

That’s why, when breaking down winners and losers from the draft, the Spurs are in a class by themselves.

WINNERS (other than the Spurs)

Rockets: Amen Thompson (No. 4), Cam Whitmore (No. 20)

Whitmore was the hard-luck prospect of the night. He was projected to go fourth or fifth leading up to the draft but slid to 20th because of medical concerns. Not only did the Rockets steal Whitmore, but they nabbed a high-ceiling player in Thompson, who some scouts think might be the second-best player in the draft. Grade: A.

Raptors: Gradey Dick (No. 13)

Dick adds a legitimate outside-shooting presence to a team that very much needs to space the floor better. The Raptors went into the draft knowing exactly what their weakness was, then addressed it. Dick’s fashion choice — a ruby-red jacket — to honor Kansas and Dorothy’s ruby-red slippers from ‘‘The Wizard of Oz’’ adds an instant bump to the grade. Grade: A.

Mavericks: Dereck Lively II (No. 12), Olivier-Maxence Prosper (No. 24)

The Mavs went into draft night looking like a team with no direction. But after they traded the contract of Davis Bertans, added Richaun Holmes, then nabbed these two first-round picks, Luka Doncic finally might have some help to overcome his poor defense. Grade: A-.

Jazz: Taylor Hendricks (No. 9), Keyonte George (No. 16), Brice Sensabaugh (No. 28)

Head of basketball operations Danny Ainge loves acquiring first-round picks and cashed in yet again. Hendricks is one of the top two-way big men to come out of the draft and will fit well with Lauri Markkanen’s offensive skills, and George and Sensabaugh bring some more scoring to a rotation that might become very dangerous. Grade: A-.


Suns: Toumani Camara (No. 52)

The Suns did their heavy lifting before the draft by acquiring Bradley Beal from the Wizards, but Camara was a reach even as late as he went because he’s a tweener. Trayce Jackson-Davis went five picks after Camara and has a chance to be a much better pro. Grade: D.

Magic: Anthony Black (No. 6), Jett Howard (No. 11)

This isn’t a knock on Black and Howard as much as it is a question about what the front office is doing. The Magic now list Markelle Fultz, Jalen Suggs, Cole Anthony and Black as point guards and Gary Harris, Anthony and Howard as shooting guards on their depth chart. It’s nice to have young, talented backcourt players, but not six of them for two spots. Hopefully, there’s a trade coming. Grade: D+.

BULLS: Julian Phillips (No. 35)

Forget that Phillips went scoreless when Tennessee lost in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament in the spring and let go of his inconsistent play from February through the end of the season. The fact is, Phillips just doesn’t fit in with what the Bulls need. They have enough high-energy wing defenders who can’t shoot from three-point range with any consistency. He’s a project at best. Grade: C-.

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