2018 NBA Draft Winners and Losers
The 2018 NBA Draft is one of the most polarizing events in sports. With its fair share of trades and general unpredictability it makes for can’t miss television. An NBA Draft can go one of two ways; the first, like 2007: No.1 Greg Oden, Portland No.2 Kevin Durant, Seattle. Or, the second, 2008, not memorable.
Winner- Phoenix Suns
The Suns battled youth and inconsistency; resulting in the worst record in the NBA last year with 21 wins and 61 losses. They won NBA Draft Lottery and received the number 1 overall pick. With that pick the Suns drafted their franchise big man 7’1 Deandre Ayton, a freshman out of University of Arizona. Ayton averaged nearly 20 points a game to go along with 11 rebounds.
Next, the Suns used their #16 pick where to draft the soon-to-be traded Zhaire Smith, which means Mikal Bridges, the captain of NCAA Champions Villanova, headed to Phoenix. It’s time for the Suns to start taking steps towards contention, adding a player like Ayton to go along with Devin Booker and Josh Jackson gives a team a nice young core to build around.
Loser- New York Knicks
It seems every year the Knicks draft pick is highly scrutinized, even booed, as with the selection of one of the leagues brightest stars Kristaps Porzingis. As Knicks fans chanted “We Want Porter”, they were all taken aback when Kentucky freshman forward Kevin Knox was announced as New York’s draft pick.
The Knicks then took a chance on forward Mitchell Robinson who committed to play at Western Kentucky twice before opting to sit out and prepare for the NBA draft. In a city always in search of a star, it seems Porter coming to the Knicks was destined to happen. Knox is a talented player. Fans will see if he can win them over like Porzingis has.
Winner- Dallas Mavericks
The Mavericks got one of the steals of the 2017 NBA Draft when point guard Dennis Smith Jr. fell to them at number 9. Smith went on to have a great rookie year as Dallas looks to transition into a new era of basketball.
Luka Doncic had been tied to the Mavs leading up to the draft, when it was clear that Marvin Bagley was off to Sacramento, Dallas had to make a move. Atlanta would draft Doncic at 3 in exchange for Trae Young the number 5 pick. Doncic is the most decorated European prospect we’ve ever seen leading FC Barcelona to the EuroLeague title as well as MVP Honors at just 19.
The Mavs also drafted Jalen Brunson, a smart playmaking guard from Villanova. Dallas has a talented young backcourt to build around as well as Harrison Barnes. They may be contenders.
Loser- Philadelphia 76ers
If it wasn’t clear the Sixers were positioning themselves to make a run at a big time free agent it is now. Philly initially drafted hometown hero Mikal Bridges before flipping him to Phoenix in exchange for Texas Tech guard Zhaire Smith. Smith was a relative unknown when he enrolled just a year ago but impressed enough to vault his way into the first round. The athleticism is there for sure, he’s just a bit of a project at this point but could be a solid player.
Philadelphia found themselves on the clock again picking at 26 in the 2018 NBA draft where they selected Landry Shamet a guard from Wichita State. This seemed as a bit of a reach considering the other guards who were available. Granted, this will likely allow the 76ers to be super aggressive when free agency begins.
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