Winners And Losers From The 2018 NBA Draft
After an exciting night with plenty of trades, players rising and falling, and twists and turns the 2018 draft has ended and teams have begun to turn their eye towards free agency. Here’s a look at who won and lost the night.
Winner: Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks
The Mavericks, who have been treading water as a fringe playoff team since their 2011 title, made a huge move to grab arguably the draft’s best player at 3 when they traded up to get Luka Doncic. All they gave up was a protected first round pick to move from 5 to 3. Doncic provides the Mavericks franchise with their next potential superstar. Widely regarded as the best European prospect ever, Doncic can now learn from and succeed the best European player to play in the NBA, Dirk Nowitzki. With Dennis Smith to complement him, a committed owner in Mark Cuban, and one of the league’s best coaches in Rick Carlisle, the Mavericks provide a great fit for Doncic. It’s hard to imagine Doncic could have landed with a more stable and respected franchise in the top five picks.
Loser: Mo Bamba and the Orlando Magic
The Magic were probably livid when Trae Young went off the board at 5. He would have addressed the team’s two most glaring weaknesses: the point guard position and 3-point shooting. Instead, the team with a crowded frontcourt including long, athletic players like Aaron Gordon and Jonathan Isaac, went on to pick another long, athletic big man in Texas’ Mo Bamba. While Bamba could end up being a defensive anchor and centerpiece for Orlando going forward but as it stands now, the team is still looking for a solution at the point guard position. Bamba will take some time to develop, especially offensively, and in order to reach his potential (which is as massive as his 7’10” wingspan) he needs space and structure and he’d fit well with a point guard that could set him up with lobs for easy buckets near the rim. Unfortunately that kind of support, in terms of spacing and point guard play, isn’t currently on the Magic.
Winner: The Philadelphia 76ers
Mikal Bridges would have been a great fit for the Sixers but in trading him, the Sixers got an even more valuable asset that could help them for both their present and future. In return for Bridges, Philly got Zhaire Smith, a long, athletic wing from Texas Tech with a ton of potential. He won’t help the Sixers as much now as Bridges would but he has a higher ceiling and could end up being equal to or better than Bridges. However, the main prize from their trade with Phoenix is Miami’s 2021 unprotected first round pick. 2021 could be the first year that high schoolers can enter the NBA draft again and given Miami’s current situation, without a real star on their team and nearly capped out, that pick could return great value for the Sixers. It could also be a key trade piece in Philly acquiring another star like Kawhi Leonard. In other words, that pick could be used to help them win now or in the future.
Loser: Michael Porter Jr.
A year ago, Michael Porter Jr. was firmly in the conversation for the number 1 overall pick in this draft. In the week leading up to the draft, he was still rumored to potentially go as high as second overall to the Kings, but mystery surrounding his back and hip injuries during the season and throughout the pre-draft process caused him to slide in the draft and lose out on millions of dollars. Even the Clippers, who were linked to Porter Jr. and rumored to have been looking to trade up for him, passed on the forward not once but twice in the late lottery.
Winner: Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets ultimately ended up with with Porter at 14 and could have the steal of the draft. Porter still has all the talent that he did when he was projected to go near the top of the draft. While his injury issues could cost him some time on the court during his rookie year, he fills a position of need for the Nuggets and could very well end up being the best player from this draft. Pairing his size, athleticism, and shooting ability with Nikola Jokic, the NBA’s best passing big man, could be a devastating combination for defenses to handle going forward.
Winner: Robert Williams and the Boston Celtics
A projected lottery pick, Robert Williams potentially lost out on millions in his first contract with the fall to the Celtics at the 27th pick. However, there might not have been a better spot for him to fall to. Williams provides the Celtics with an athletic, rim running, and rim protecting center, the type of player they haven’t had for years. on the other hand, the Celtics provide Williams the chance to play for a championship contending team and develop under arguably the league’s best coach in Brad Stevens. The Celtics free-flowing offense will allow Williams to showcase his talents with plenty of lobs and opportunities for easy finishes at the rim.
Winner: Adrian Wojnarowski
The NBA tried to ban media members from leaking picks but Woj could not be stopped from dropping bombs on draft night. He broke out the thesaurus to work around the NBA’s restrictions and give everyone the scoop on who would get picked.
Some things will never change.
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