Brought to you by: Big Shucks
By Joel Montgomery
In a draft that overall was a lull compared to the depth and subsequent results we got from last year, this year’s NBA draft was only really highlighted by one major trade for a play at a player they probably couldn’t have landed otherwise; and that was none other than the Dallas Mavericks, trading their 5th pick with the Atlanta Hawks to nab their 3rd overall pick, and with that selection ended up choosing Euro-phenom Luka Doncic to be Dallas’ next pillar for their rebuilding process. Deandre Ayton ended up as the expected number 1 pick going to Phoenix, and Michael Porter Jr, a player many had rumored the Mavericks organization were keeping close tabs on, fell hard all the way to the Nuggets’ 14th pick. Here’s a rundown of all the lottery picks from this 2018 Draft:
- Phoenix Suns: Deandre Ayton, C, Arizona
- Sacramento Kings: Marvin Bagley III, PF/C, Duke
- Dallas Mavericks: Luka Doncic, G/F, Real Madrid/Slovenia (trade from Atlanta)
- Memphis Grizzlies: Jaren Jackson Jr., PF/C, Michigan State
- Atlanta Hawks: Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma (trade from Dallas)
- Orlando Magic: Mohamed Bamba, C, Texas
- Chicago Bulls: Wendell Carter Jr., C, Duke
- Cleveland Cavaliers: Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama
- NY Knicks: Kevin Knox, F, Kentucky
- Phoenix Suns: Mikal Bridges, G/F, Villanova (from Philadelphia)
- LA Clippers: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, G, Kentucky (from Charlotte)
- Charlotte Hornets: Miles Bridges, F, Michigan State (from LA Clippers)
- LA Clippers: Jerome Robinson, G, Boston College
- Denver Nuggets: Michael Porter Jr., F, Missouri
At the number one pick, Deandre Ayton doesn’t have to move very far, remaining in the state of Arizona from college to the pros. With high expectations for this rebuilding team after finally assembling some really promising young talent, the sky’s the limit for the Suns’ future.
The Mavericks decided to go big and get the guy they probably decided they wanted months ago, and passed up on Mo Bamba and Jaren Jackson to get the seemingly most NBA-ready prospect in this draft in Luka Doncic. Doncic excelled during his long tenure in one of the best basketball leagues in the world in the Euroleague—making a name for himself on Real Madrid since his younger teenage years. Mark Cuban and company have pinpointed their next unicorn right at the turning point of the franchise, with Dirk’s inevitable retirement coming ever closer. Dennis Smith Jr now has his right hand man in terms of raw young NBA potential; let’s see what they can do.
Michael Porter Jr., whose uncertainty pertaining to his health reliability and even his current condition ended up sliding Porter down further than any board projected. The front offices of the NBA seem to know something the rest of us don’t when it comes to Porter. Could his back injury be worse than it seems? While he did take a huge hit in draft stock and fell to the 14th pick, he actually ended up in a very solid situation in Denver. Being right on the cusp of the playoff race last season, the Nuggets look to keep moving forward revolving their team around emerging star Nikola Jokic and finally get back into the postseason this upcoming year. If Porter can prove the skeptics wrong and stay on the court, the Nuggets could be a surprisingly dangerous team out West.
Overall, despite the overall buzz and entertainment value dropping considerably after the aforementioned lottery picks, it’s impossible to predict how exactly these top picks as well as everyone down to pick 60 will impact the dynamics of their teams. This is just the beginning of franchise’s pushes to regroup and stockpile their squads in time for the upcoming new year. With free agents able to make verbal agreements in the coming days, there’s definitely a lot more for these franchises to make plays for, and more for us to keep our eyes on. The offseason fun is just getting started though, and this draft was just the appetizer.
Upcoming Important Dates
June 25 – 2018 NBA Awards, 8 PM CT on TNT
July 2 – Summer League begins