NBA draft recap: Pick-by-pick grades, analysis

AJ Neuharth-Keusch, and Michael Singer
Ben Simmons (LSU) greets NBA commissioner Adam Silver after being selected as the No. 1 overall pick to the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA draft.

The 2016 NBA draft has come and gone, as some of the world's most talented young players prepare to embark on their once-in-a-lifetime NBA journeys, while other find themselves on the outside looking in. USA TODAY Sports takes a look at all 60 selections, providing pick-by-pick analysis and grades for each player and team.

1. Philadelphia 76ers

Pick: Ben Simmons, forward, LSU

Grade: A

Analysis: Ben Simmons has as much upside as anyone in the draft, and he could wind up a perennial All-Star, but there were legitimate questions about his leadership at LSU. The last time the 76ers had the No. 1 pick they took Allen Iverson. That worked out pretty well. Trust the process, as they say.

2. Los Angeles Lakers

Pick: Brandon Ingram, forward, Duke

Grade: A

Analysis: Standing at 6-10 with a 7-3 wingspan, the athletically gifted 18-year-old has drawn Kevin Durant comparisons since appearing in the national spotlight during his lone season at Duke. He has all of the tools necessary to become an All-NBA talent, and if he adds some muscle to his sub-200 pound frame, he could just be the next franchise player in Los Angeles.

3. Boston Celtics 

Pick: Jaylen Brown, forward, Cal

Grade: B+

Analysis: The Celtics owned what was arguably the most coveted pick in the draft, and they used it on one of the most athletic frontcourt players available. Despite rumors that the Celtics were shopping the pick to the 76ers and the Chicago Bulls, they took Brown, who provides elite athleticism on the wing. He could also fit perfectly with Brad Stevens' defensive schemes. 

4. Phoenix Suns 

Pick: Dragan Bender, forward, Croatia

Grade: B+

Analysis: The addition of this year's top international prospect should be a difference-maker in the Suns' frontcourt ... eventually. Despite Bender's 7-1 frame, he's versatile enough to play either forward position or center, but there will surely be an adjustment period for the 18 year old Croatian. Could he be this year's Kristaps Porzingis?

5. Minnesota Timberwolves

Pick: Kris Dunn, guard, Providence

Grade: A+

Analysis: There might not be a better fit than Dunn in Minnesota under first-year coach Tom Thibodeau. Dunn is a versatile, powerful combo guard who will mesh perfectly with Andrew Wiggins on the wing. He was a two-time Big East Player of the Year and was also the two-time Big East Defensive Player of the Year. His effort on defense no doubt caught Thibodeau's eye.

6. New Orleans Pelicans

Pick: Buddy Hield, guard, Oklahoma

Grade: B

Analysis: Hield was the one of the best players in all of college basketball last season, but now comes a whole new test. He's a knock down shooter who can spread the floor for All-Star forward Anthony Davis, and his year-by-year improvements at Oklahoma are encouraging, but — behind guys like Eric Gordon, Tyrke Evans and Jrue Holiday — is he enough of an all-around talent to make an immediate impact for the lowly Pelicans?

7. Denver Nuggets

Pick: Jamal Murray, guard, Kentucky

Grade: A-

Analysis: The Nuggets were one of the worst three-point shooting teams in the NBA last season, and Murray's outside shot immediately improves their perimeter game. He's an NBA-ready offensive player, no doubt, but questions persist about his athleticism and defense. Regardless, the Nuggets took the best talent available.

8. Sacramento Kings (traded to Phoenix Suns)

Pick: Marquese Chriss, forward, Washington

Grade: A

Analysis: In the first eight picks, the Suns snagged the two best bigs not named Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram. For a team whose top talent lies in the backcourt, the addition of a 6-10, 230 forward with three-point range and elite athleticism is a homerun. That said, Chriss is still a significant project who can't be counted on to contribute immediately.

9. Toronto Raptors

Pick: Jakob Poeltl, center, Utah

Grade: B+

Analysis: The Raptors, who finished No. 2 in the Eastern Conference, needed a player who could contribute immediately, and not a project. Poeltl is a legitimate back-to-the-basket scorer and excellent rebounder who will provide frontcourt insurance in case Bismack Biyombo leaves in free agency.

10. Milwaukee Bucks

Pick: Thon Maker, center, Australia

Grade: B-

Analysis: To go along with the trend of young, lanky talent overflowing in Milwaukee, the Bucks took the 7-1, 215 pound Sudanese-Australian significantly earlier than expected. What he lacks in experience, he makes up for in size and athleticism. Maker is a big risk taken this early, but the Bucks (hello, Greek Freak) have shown they're not scared of a project.

11. Orlando Magic (traded to Oklahoma City Thunder)

Pick: Domantas Sabonis, forward, Gonzaga

Grade: B

Analysis: Serge Ibaka was traded to the Magic for Ersan Ilyasova, Victor Oladipo and the rights to Sabonis. The Thunder are getting an NBA-ready big, who comes out after an extremely productive year at Gonzaga. Even better? He dominated against Utah's Jakob Poeltl when the two prospects met in the NCAA tournament.

12. Utah Jazz (traded to Atlanta Hawks)

Pick: Taurean Prince, forward, Baylor

Grade: B

Analysis: If the Hawks had any plans to replace DeMarre Carroll, who they noticeably missed this season, Prince is their guy. From the 6-8 frame to the three-and-d capabilities, Prince doesn't necessarily have the makings of a star, but he could contribute as a role player from day one.

13. Phoenix Suns (traded to Sacramento Kings)

Pick: Georgios Papagiannis, center, Greece

Grade: C

Analysis: Papagiannis likely could've been had later in the draft, but the Kings weren't willing to miss their opportunity to grab the 7-2, 240-pounder. You can't teach size, but in the case of the Kings, Papagiannis could potentially clog the lane with DeMarcus Cousins' interior game. It's the second straight year they've taken a center in the lottery.

14. Chicago Bulls 

Pick: Denzel Valentine, guard, Michigan State

Grade: B+

Analysis: The AP National Player of the Year is headed to Chicago, which makes all the more sense after the departure of Derrick Rose. With such a high basketball IQ, proven maturity and court vision, he's an all-around talent whose a good fit in Chicago. But can he keep up athletically?

15. Denver Nuggets

Pick: Juan Hernangomez, forward, Spain

Grade: A-

Analysis: Hernangomez is a draft-and-stash possibility who has good size, excellent strength and a good motor. As a stretch-4, he's ideal for the current mold of the NBA, and the Nuggets have proven that they're not scared of international talent.

16. Boston Celtics

Pick: Guerschon Yabusele, forward, France

Grade: B+

Analysis:  If you hadn't heard of Yabusele before draft night, it's time to start listening. He's a bit undersized at the power forward position at 6-8, but with the small ball revolution sweeping the league combined with Yabusele's three-point shooting ability, strength and physicality, he could be a steal for the Celtics. But when?

17. Memphis Grizzlies

Pick: Wade Baldwin IV, guard, Vanderbilt

Grade: A

Analysis: Baldwin is a combo guard who could contribute immediately with the Grizzlies, especially with Mike Conley set to hit the free agency market. He's a good shooter with value on the defensive end, but isn't a particularly gifted athlete. Some projected him as a lottery pick, and — if nothing else — he's good insurance for the Grizzlies.

18. Detroit Pistons

Pick: Henry Ellenson, forward, Marquette

Grade: A

Analysis: Ellenson had lottery potential, so the Pistons nabbing him with the 18th pick could turn out to be a steal. He's big and he's skilled from the outside — an ideal fit for today's NBA. A nice addition to a frontcourt with Andre Drummond, Marcus Morris and Tobias Harris.

19. Denver Nuggets

Pick: Malik Beasley, guard, Florida State

Grade: B

Analysis: Beasley had an excellent freshman season at FSU with averages of 15.6 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. He already has a solid shooting stroke and is known for his slashing ability. The Nuggets evidently overcame concerns about offseason stress fracture surgery in his right leg.

20. Indiana Pacers (traded to Brooklyn Nets)

Pick: Caris LeVert, guard, Michigan

Grade: B

Analysis: LeVert is a highly talented, long, athletic guard with three-point range. The only problem? His health, as he was plagued by injuries in his junior and senior seasons at Michigan. He could be a steal for the Nets if he can remain on the court.

21. Atlanta Hawks

Pick: DeAndre Bembry, forward, St. Joseph's

Grade: A-

Analysis: Bembry wasn't as highly touted as some of the other prospects, but he's a versatile, underrated athlete who could fit seamlessly into the Hawks' rotation and pair well with Prince, who the Hawks grabbed earlier in the draft. Bembry's also an elite passer. The fact that Al Horford might hit free agency makes this a logical pick.

22. Charlotte Hornets (traded to Sacramento Kings)

Pick: Malachi Richardson, forward, Syracuse

Grade: B

Analysis: Richardson shined on the NCAA's biggest stage in this year's tournament, and with his proven ability to either pull up from the perimeter or put the ball on the floor, he has plenty of upside for the Kings.

23. Boston Celtics

Pick: Ante Zizic, center, Croatia

Grade: B-

Analysis: Zizic has good athleticism for his size (6-11, 250 pounds) and couples that with a good motor, but he struggles away from the basket. He could be a prime draft-and-stash candidate for the Celtics.

24. Philadelphia 76ers

Pick: Timothe Luwawu, guard, France

Grade: B+

Analysis: A long, athletic wing who can jump out of the gym? Sure, the Sixers will gladly take that, even if his perimeter shooting isn't where it needs to be yet. He might not have an immediate impact for a team that just spent their first overall pick on Ben Simmons at the same position, but his value is certainly there.

25. Los Angeles Clippers

Pick: Brice Johnson, forward, North Carolina

Grade: B

Analysis: Johnson has excellent athleticism and significant potential, but he relied more on his length and leaping ability than an all-around skill set, and he didn't take a single three-pointer during his four years with the Tar Heels. He also needs to to bulk up as Blake Griffin's backup, but he has solid value taken this late in the first round.

26. Philadelphia 76ers

Pick: Furkan Korkmaz, guard, Turkey

Grade: A-

Analysis: Korkmaz is an excellent scorer with outstanding offensive instincts, but his defense is still a work in progress. A good ball-handler with slashing ability, the 76ers can afford to be patient with him given that they're not close to contention.

27. Toronto Raptors

Pick: Pascal Siakam, forward, New Mexico State

Grade: C+

Analyis: The 6-10, 230-pound power forward averaged 20.3 points, 11.6 rebounds and 2.2 blocks last year with New Mexico State. He wasn't projected to go in the first round due to his lack of polish on the offensive end, but he offers depth for a Raptors team who might lose Bismack Biyombo this offseason.

28. Phoenix Suns (traded to Sacramento Kings) 

Pick: Skal Labissiere, center, Kentucky

Grade: B-

Analysis: The Kings finally ended Labissiere's precipitous fall. Some projected the Kentucky forward as a lottery pick, but he underwhelmed this past season, averaging just 6.6 points and 3.1 rebounds. He's a longterm project for Sacramento, but it could pay off in the long run.

29. San Antonio Spurs

Pick: Dejounte Murray, guard, Washington

Grade: A

Analysis: Murray, at 6-foot-5 with a ton of upside, is a phenomenal pick at 29 for the San Antonio Spurs, who will be looking for a long-term replacement for the aging Tony Parker. He needs to improve his consistency and take better care of the ball, but he won't need to contribute too much right away. The talent is there.

30. Golden State Warriors

Pick: Damian Jones, center, Vanderbilt

Grade: B+

Analysis: With Warriors center Festus Ezeli and Anderson Varejao likely entering free agency, Jones, who some projected to go earlier in first round, provides adequate insurance. Don't let his 7-foot, 250 pound frame fool you, he's a top-tier athlete. With the final pick in the first round, the Dubs got plenty of value.

31. Boston Celtics (traded to Memphis Grizzlies)

Pick: Deyonta Davis, forward, Michigan State

Grade: B+

Analysis: Whenever you can land a lottery-projected player in the second round, it's a steal. Davis is one of the best shot blockers in the draft and showed some signs of a solid midrange jumper during his lone season with the Spartans. That said, Memphis' need wasn't at the power forward spot.

32. Los Angeles Lakers 

Pick: Ivica Zubac, center, Serbia

Grade: A-

Analysis: Zubac could be a draft-and-stash candidate, but the Lakers should consider it a steal to get that kind of size (7-1, 240 pounds) in the second round. He's not overly athletic and has had a history of injuries, though.

33. Los Angeles Clippers (traded to New Orleans Pelicans) 

Pick: Cheick Diallo, forward, Kansas

Grade: B

Analysis: Diallo had a disappointing freshman season at Kansas, but as a high motor, athletically gifted guy who can be versatile on both ends of the floor, the upside is there. He has a chance to learn from one of the best at the position in Anthony Davis, too.

34. Phoenix Suns

Pick: Tyler Ulis, guard, Kentucky

Grade: B

Analysis: Ulis, who stands at just 5-9 and weighs no more than 160 pounds, fell further than some thought, but he could thrive when paired with fellow Wildcat Devin Booker in the Suns' backcourt. There was also a question about a lingering hip issue that may have affected his stock. His floor IQ is outstanding though and he's shown that he can knock down the three ball.

35. Boston Celtics (traded to Memphis Grizzlies) 

Pick: Rade Zagorac, forward, Serbia

Grade: C+ 

Analysis: The Grizzlies needed a wing who can score the ball, and that's exactly what they get with this pick. He has good size and can get to the basket, but he struggled with his three-point shot overseas. It'll take time to see how he adjusts to NBA competition.

36. Milwaukee Bucks 

Pick: Malcolm Brogdon, guard, Virginia

Grade: A

Analysis: Brogdon, the ACC Player of the Year last season with the Cavaliers, is a long, versatile defender who fits perfectly into the Bucks' defensive plans.

37. Houston Rockets

Pick: Chinanu Onuaku, forward, Louisville

Grade: B

Analysis: With Dwight Howard all but gone in Houston, Onuaku might just find himself on the floor sooner rather than later. At 6-10, 245, and with the ability to block shots and control the paint defensively, his lack of offensive skill is something that can be overlooked.

38. Milwaukee Bucks (traded to Golden State) 

Pick: Patrick McCaw, guard, UNLV

Grade: B+

Analysis: McCaw is a long, versatile guard who can knock down the three ball. He should find a spot in the Warriors' rotation given how much they switch on defense.

39. New Orleans Pelicans (traded to Los Angeles Clippers)

Pick: David Michineau, guard, France

Grade: C-

Analysis: Don't expect to see much of Michineau — who averaged just 5.6 points on 43.4% shooting last season in France — on the floor for the Clippers any time soon.

40. New Orleans Pelicans (traded to Los Angeles Clippers)

Pick: Diamond Stone, forward, Maryland

Grade: B

Analysis: Stone has a lot of upside after one year in College Park, but his athleticism remains a question when progressing at the next level. But at 6-10, 250, and with a knack for physicality in the paint, the Clippers made the right choice.

41. Orlando Magic

Pick: Stephen Zimmerman, center, UNLV

Grade: C

Analysis: Zimmerman, despite his 7-0, 240-pound frame, will have to wait to see the floor after the Magic traded for Serge Ibaka earlier on Thursday.

42. Utah Jazz (traded to Brooklyn Nets)

Pick: Isaiah Whitehead, guard, Seton Hall

Grade: B

Analysis: Whitehead, who led Seton Hall to a Big East Tournament title, has good size (6-foot-5), but is inefficient from the field (37.9%). Even so, the Nets need all the help they can get in the backcourt.

43. Houston Rockets

Pick: Zhou Qi, center, China

Grade: B

Analysis:The 7-foot-2 forward from China will stay overseas this season, but — with three-point shooting ability and shot-blocking prowess — he has plenty of upside as a draft-and-stash guy. If he adds some strength, he could make an impact sooner rather than later.

44. Atlanta Hawks

Pick: Isaia Cordinier, guard, France

Grade: C

Analysis: He's an elite athlete who can play above the rim in the half court or in transition, but he struggles with his jumper at times. He needs some time to develop.

45. Boston Celtics

Pick: Demetrius Jackson, guard, Notre Dame

Analysis: B

Analysis: Jackson had a wide draft range, but he wasn't expected to fall this far. He won't see much playing time early, but he has the potential to develop into a solid backup in Boston behind Isaiah Thomas and Marcus Smart. He doesn't have the size (6-foot-1, 190), but Thomas has proven that to be trivial.

46. Dallas Mavericks

Pick: A.J. Hammons, center, Purdue

Grade: C

Analysis: Hammons has great size (7-foot, 280 pounds) and good touch at the basket, but he has some inconsistencies and never seemed to live up to his potential with the Boilermakers, and — at 23 years old — there are some questions about his much upside he has.

47. Orlando Magic (traded to Portland Trail Blazers)

Pick: Jake Layman, forward, Maryland

Grade: C-

Analysis: As a pure-shooting, athletically gifted 6-foot-9 wing, Layman fits the bill in Portland. But he lacks consistency and versatility, and didn't make much of an offensive impact during his time at Maryland.

48. Chicago Bulls

Pick: Paul Zipser, forward, Germany

Grade: B

Analysis: He's a versatile player who can play both forwards and guard, but he still doesn't have much experience despite being 22 years old. But, given time, the 6-foot-7 forward could turn into a three-and-d player.

49. Detroit Pistons

Pick: Michael Gbinije

Grade: B

Analysis: If you can look past Gbinije's age (24) and focus on his athleticism and passing ability, he certainly has the talent to add some value on the wing for Detroit. It might not be right away, but his versatility is enough to give him a roster spot.

50. Indiana Pacers

Pick: Georges Niang, forward, Iowa State

Grade: B

Analysis: Niang was a four-year starter with the Cyclones and he has plenty of potential if he can stay in shape. Nonetheless, he was one of the best all-around players in the country last season, averaging 20.5 points, 6.2 rebound and 3.3 assists. Solid pick for Indiana.

51. Boston Celtics

Pick: Ben Bentil, guard, Providence

Grade: B+

Analysis: Bentil is a steal as the 51st pick. He's slightly undersized for a power forward (6-foot-8, 230 pounds), but has an all-around offensive skill set and the innate ability to stretch the floor. His defense could use some work, though.

52. Utah Jazz

Pick: Joel Bolomboy, center, Weber State

Grade: C

Analysis: Bolomboy jumped in the draft boards after a huge showing at the draft combine. He's very athletic and has a high vertical jump. His biggest weakness is his strength.

53. Denver Nuggets

Pick: Petr Cornelie, forward, France

Grade: C

Analysis: Keeping up with the trend of foreign bigs, Cornelie — a 6-11, 230 pound stretch four from France — is headed to Denver. The only question is: As a likely draft-and-stash, when will he actually head to Denver?

54. Atlanta Hawks (traded to Cleveland Cavaliers)

Pick: Kay Felder, guard, Oakland

Grade: B+

Analysis: Felder is a decent pick-and-roll player with a good jump shot, although not great from three-point range. He is a good defender, but — at just 5-foot-9, 175 pounds — obvious questions surround his size.

55. Brooklyn Nets (traded to Utah Jazz)

Pick: Marcus Paige, guard, North Carolina

Grade: C

Analysis: At 6-2, 165, the 22-year-old Paige will have trouble finding playing time with Utah. His decrease in scoring after his sophomore and junior seasons with the Tar Heels isn't encouraging, either.

56. Oklahoma City Thunder

Pick: Daniel Hamilton, forward, Connecticut

Grade: C

Analysis: Excellent passer and rebounder, but not a a particularly gifted shooter or scorer. He'll have to add to his offensive repertoire to see playing time.

57. Memphis Grizzlies

Pick: Wang Zhelin, center, China

Grade: D

Analysis: Zhelin stands at 7-0, 250 pounds, but after various injuries derailed him last season in China, and with his height his biggest strength, don't expect to see him in NBA action any time soon.

58. Boston Celtics

Pick: Abdel Nader, forward, Iowa State

Grade: C-

Analysis: Nader didn't play much until his senior season at Iowa State after transferring from Northern Illinois as a junior. A longshot to make the team in Boston.

59. Sacramento Kings

Pick: Isaiah Cousins, guard, Oklahoma

Grade: A

Analysis: Cousins shot 41.1% from beyond the arc in his senior season with Oklahoma to go along with per game averages of 12.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists. As the second-to-last pick in the draft, his versatility, athleticism and ability to shoot from the perimeter make him a great pick for Sacramento.

60. Utah Jazz

Pick: Tyrone Wallace, guard, California

Grade: C+

Analysis: The lefty can play both guard positions. He's very athletic and has a high scoring ability. A bit of a tweener, but his averages of 15.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.4 assists during his senior season with Cal can't be ignored.