The NBA Draft was Thursday night in Brooklyn, N.Y., and USA TODAY High School Sports tracked the landing spot of players who were selected to the American Family Insurance ALL-USA Boys Basketball Teams when they were in high school.
Ben Simmons, forward, LSU
Pick: No. 1 overall, Philadelphia 76ers
ALL-USA history: Simmons, originally from Melbourne, Australia, was named the ALL-USA Player of the Year in 2014-15 and a third-team choice as a junior in 2013-14 for Montverde (Fla.) Academy. He led the Eagles to a 56-1 record in his last two seasons and back-to-back titles in the DICKS’ Sporting Goods High School Nationals. He averaged 28 points, 11.9 rebounds and 4.0 assists as a senior.
Analysis: Simmons has as much upside as anyone in the draft, and he could wind up a perennial All-Star. Simmons is listed at 6-foot-10, 225 pounds, but he has point-guard skills or at least point-forward skills. That makes him unique in the way that Magic Johnson was for the Los Angeles Lakers as a 6-9 point guard, or even LeBron James, who is 6-8 and can play every position.
“I just play,” he said. “I’ve got to keep my focus. I can’t worry too much about the pressure because that’s how you lose focus. I’m excited to get to Philly and get to work.”
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.
Pick grade: A
Jaylen Brown, forward, Cal
Pick: No. 3 overall, Boston Celtics
ALL-USA history: Was named to the ALL-USA first team in 2014-15 as a senior at Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.). Led team to a 30-2 record and state AAAAAA championship — averaging 28 points and 12 rebounds, including the deciding free throws in the state championship — and a berth in the DICK’S Sporting Goods Nationals.
Analysis: The Celtics owned 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 Bulls, they took Brown, who provides elite athleticism on the wing. He could also fit perfectly with Brad Stevens’ defensive schemes.
Pick grade: B+
Henry Ellenson, forward, Marquette
Pick: No. 18 overall, Detroit Pistons
ALL-USA history: Named to the third team in 2014-15 after averaging 27.5 points and 11.7 rebounds for Race Lake (Wis.)
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.
Pick grade: A
Cheick Diallo, forward, Kansas
Pick: No. 33 overall, Los Angeles Clippers (traded to New Orleans Pelicans)
ALL-USA history: Named to second team in 2014-15; averaged 18.5 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks per game for Our Savior New American (Centereach, N.Y.)
Analysis: Diallo had a disappointing 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.
Pick grade: B
Tyler Ulis, guard, Kentucky
Pick: No. 34 overall, Phoenix Suns
ALL-USA history: Named to the third team in 2013-14 at Marian Catholic in Marion, Ill.; averaged 23.3 points, 6.8 assists and 2.8 steals per game.
Analysis: Ulis, who stands just 5-9 and 160 pounds, fell further than some thought, but he could thrive when paired with fellow Wildcat Devin Booker. There was also a question about a lingering hip issue that may have affected his stock. His floor IQ is outstanding though.
Pick grade: B
Diamond Stone, C, Maryland
Pick: No. 40 overall, New Orleans Pelicans
ALL-USA history: Named to the second team in 2014-15; led Dominican (Milwaukee) to four consecutive state titles, averaging 24.6 points and 11.8 rebounds a game as a senior.
Analysis: Stone has a lot of upside after one year in College Park, but his athleticism remains a question when progressing to the next level.
Pick grade: B