The Central Division is home to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who stunned the Basketball world by winning their first-ever NBA championship in a thrilling 4-3 win over the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 Finals. But it’s also home to the Chicago Bulls, who piqued the interest of draft pundits due to the trade that had sent Derrick Rose to the New York Knicks just a day before the 2016 NBA draft. How did they fare, and how did their fellow Central Division teams do in last Thursday’s draft? We shall find out here, and you can also check out the first part in our draft report card series below:Part 1 (Atlantic Division)

Chicago Bulls

2016 Picks: Denzel Valentine (#14, PG, Michigan State), Paul Zipser (#48, Germany)

Playing for Michigan State in the NCAA, Valentine (19.2 points, 7.5 rebounds, 7.8 assists) stuffed the stat sheet much like a certain Earvin Johnson also did for the Spartans back in the late ‘70s.

And while he’s not necessarily the next Magic, his versatility, ball handling, and outside shooting should make the Bulls miss Derrick Rose a little less. Injury issues, however, may be a concern for the 6’5” Valentine.

Second-rounder Zipser, on the other hand, has draft-and-stash written all over him.


Cleveland Cavaliers

2016 Picks:Kay Felder (#54, PG, Oakland)

5’9” point guards usually don’t have much of a shot to crack an NBA lineup, but if backup guards Matthew Dellavedova and Mo Williams leave the Cavaliers, Felder might have a shot at becoming Kyrie Irving’s backup. He’s unusually athletic and can get to the line, but it goes without saying that NBA defenses are much tougher than the ones he scored over 24 points per game against in the Horizon Conference.

Still a very good value pick at #54, though.


Detroit Pistons

2016 Picks:Henry Ellenson (#18, PF, Marquette), Michael Gbinije (#49, SF/SG, Syracuse)

The Pistons are already set with Andre Drummond at center and Reggie Jackson at point guard, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Stanley Johnson are solid up-and-comers at the wing positions.

That leaves the power forward spot, where Ellenson might have a shot at starting as a stretch four in a couple years’ time. Not particularly athletic or strong, he still has lots of potential on the offensive end and as a rebounder.

Former Duke and Syracuse forward Gbinije has potential to make the lineup as a threes-and-D guy at both off-guard and small forward positions.


Indiana Pacers

2016 Picks: Georges Niang (#50, PF/SF, Iowa State)

We’d like to give the Pacers a better grade for trading their #20 pick to Brooklyn for veteran forward Thaddeus Young, but since that was an immediate pre-draft trade, they still get a solid grade for selecting Niang late in the second round. Though his size and most of his numbers scream “tweener,” Niang can shoot and pass quite well for someone who played power forward in college, and he has a good chance of adding valuable depth at both forward positions in the pros.


Milwaukee Bucks

2016 Picks:Thon Maker (#10, PF/C, Australia), Malcolm Brogdon (#36, SG, Virginia)

With the addition of Maker, the Bucks have effectively become a wet dream for any hoops pundit who loves the words “length” and “upside,” as he joins the likes of Giannis Antetokounpo and John Henson in a lineup of athletic freaks.

But where does this long, yet skinny 7’1”-216 forward/center fit in, considering the Bucks are starting Greg Monroe at the five and Jabari Parker at the four, with Henson providing quality relief at both positions? One can’t help but see this as a risky pick, despite Maker’s obvious potential. Denzel Valentine was still on the board, and could have put pressure on inconsistent point guards Michael Carter-Williams and Jerryd Bayless, had he been drafted.

If it’s any consolation for the Bucks, second-round pick Brogdon was a smarter selection — a 6’5” shooter and defender from Virginia with a high basketball IQ.


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