Recapping a Wild NBA Draft Night – Winners, Losers, and More!
The 2018 NBA Draft has come and gone.
DeAndre Ayton was not surprisingly taken first overall by the Phoenix Suns, the Brooklyn Nets drafted two international dudes with unprouncable names, and Trae Young wore a suit jacket with shorts a la LeBron James. As you can probably assume, the NBA Draft was one wild night for the League and we have officially welcomed a new class of bright and talented young rookies into professional basketball.
Oh, and LiAngelo Ball did not get drafted.
Let’s jump right into it and recap the crazy night of festivities!
Big Winners – Phoenix Suns
The Phoenix Suns needed to hit the lottery, no pun intended, and make a big splash at this June’s draft. They did exactly that, first by drafting DeAndre Ayton an offensively gifted centre out of Arizona who passes the eye test with his physical tools and has the skillset to develop into a superstar on the NBA level. The Suns followed that up by trading the draft rights of Zhaire Smith to the Philadelphia 76ers along with a future first round pick for Villanova’s Mikal Bridges, the draft’s best ‘3-and-D’ prospect. Bridges provides great size and the ability to guard multiple positions, while being an offensive threat at all times from beyond the arc.
The Suns would then draft guard Elie Okobo out of France with the first pick of the second round. Okobo has tremendously improved his game over in France over the past year, providing the Suns with a solid playmaking and shotmaking ability, as well as great size at the one. Matching these three assets with the likes of Devin Booker, Josh Jackson, and even Marquese Chriss if he is able to take major strides over the next couple of years puts the Suns on the right track in their development process.
Honourable Mentions: Denver Nuggets, Dallas Mavericks, Chicago Bulls
Big Losers – New York Knicks
While Kevin Knox is a phenomenal prospect out of Kentucky, Michael Porter Jr. was just waiting to get popped by the Knickerbockers. Yet, in typical Knicks fashion, New York passed on one of the most offensively gifted talents seen in the NBA Draft in years for Knox.
This by no means is a knock on Knox, but more so a compliment for the skillset and tools that Porter comes with. Hell even Commissioner Adam Silver was surprised.
Was it just me or did Adam Silver sound surprised when he announced Kevin Knox? pic.twitter.com/NNSUc9jPqR
— Knicks Film School (@KnickFilmSchool) June 22, 2018
The Knicks would follow up that pick by selecting relatively unknown big man Mitchell Robinson, an incredible raw centre who is a project that some would call “a year away from being a year away”. With the likes of Gary Trent, Jarred Vanderbilt, Khyri Thomas, and Keita Bates-Diop, the selection was a definite head scratcher.
Honourable Mentions: Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, Toronto Raptors
Most Likely to Succeed – Lonnie Walker IV
Due to some medical concerns, Lonnie Walker IV slipped into the hands of the San Antonio Spurs at No. 19.
Those darn Spurs!
An explosive and athletically gifted guard with length and a wide array of skills, Walker could become one of the biggest steals of the 2018 draft. At 6’4” he is more so a streaky shooter at this point in his development, but projects to develop a complete offensive game, with a fairly valuable perimeter shop. Kawhi Leonard may be on his way out, but the Spurs may have just found a big part of their future in Walker.
Best Tweet of the Draft – Joel Embiid
Chauncey Billups just had to throw the first overall pick under the bus by comparing him to Philadelphia 76ers superstar Joel Embiid.
Don’t compare Ayton to me either… I play DEFENSE
— Joel Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) June 22, 2018
DeAndre Ayton may very well become one of the best players of the 2018 draft class, but its best to keep Embiid’s name out of any sort of discussion until the Bahamian big man develops some semblance of a defensive game.
Until then, Embiid wins this round.
Top Under-the-Radar Pick – Grayson Allen
Donovan Mitchell definitely thought so.
Fresh of an exciting playoff run, the Utah Jazz are looking forward to what their future holds. Now, they add Duke senior guard Grayson Allen to the mix. An intense and competitive personality, Allen is a great shooter and a solid passer who will bring a winner’s mentality over to a young, yet talented Jazz squad – not to mention a little bit of Blue Devils’ edge.
Allen is the real deal and has worked his way through college to get to this moment and he will become a very important piece to the puzzle in Utah.
Top WTF Moment – Gee Wiz
When you have Lonnie Walker IV, Zhaire Smith, and Donte DiVincenzo all available, the obvious decision is to draft Troy Brown out of Oregon. Now Brown isn’t a bad basketball player, but unlike the three aforementioned names, he does not possess a carrying tool that could help him become separate himself from the rest of the draft class. Walker is an explosive playmaker, Smith is an athletic freak with some ‘3-and-D’ aspirations, while DiVincenzo can shoot.
Meanwhile Brown, yeah he’s a little athletic. Yeah, he can make some plays and is a capable scorer, but he by no means has shown that he deserves to be a top-15 overall pick in a fairly deep draft.