The ping pong balls have dropped into their places. The suits have been tailored and will be dry cleaned. Dreams will come true. The 2018 NBA Draft will be memorable for multiple reasons.
2018 1st Round NBA Draft Order:
- Phoenix Suns
- Sacramento Kings
- Atlanta Hawks
- Memphis Grizzlies
- Dallas Mavericks
- Orlando Magic
- Chicago Bulls
- Cleveland Cavaliers (via Nets)
- New York Knicks
- Philadelphia 76ers (via Lakers)
- Charlotte Hornets
- Los Angeles Clippers (via Pistons)
- Los Angeles Clippers
- Denver Nuggets
- Washington Wizards
- Phoenix Suns (via Heat)
- Milwaukee Bucks
- San Antonio Spurs
- Atlanta Hawks (via Timberwolves)
- Minnesota Timberwolves (via Thunder)
- Utah Jazz
- Chicago Bulls (via Pelicans)
- Indiana Pacers
- Portland Trail Blazers
- Los Angeles Lakers (via Cavaliers)
- Philadelphia 76ers
- Boston Celtics
- Golden State Warriors
- Brooklyn Nets
- Atlanta Hawks (via Rockets)
Need to know facts going into the Draft:
- The Golden State Warriors are the best team in the NBA and they have a decent pick in the first round (#28). A hit for them in this draft would be huge, considering Klay Thompson or Draymond Green may have to go someday because of salary cap reasons. No way the Warriors would give up Stephen Curry or Kevin Durant.
- The Boston Celtics have been rumored to want to move up in this draft. There’s a lot of amazing players that are projected to go in the Top-5. Don’t be surprised if they pull off a draft day trade.
- The Phoenix Suns have to draft DeAndre Ayton. This a player you cannot pass up on. Yes, Ayton’s team lost to Buffalo in the first round of the NCAA Tournament but that does not define him as an individual. This guy is big time and deserves to be the Number One Pick.
- The Atlanta Hawks are a terrible basketball team. They need hits at multiple points in this draft. Their point guard, Dennis Schroder has been made available for trade. He is the most intriguing asset they have at only 24 years of age. Schroder has a career average of 12.9 PPG (points per game), 4.8 AST (assists per game), and a 43.4 FG%. This is a player who has been on an abysmal basketball team for years and could use a fresh start.
- The Brooklyn Nets just added Dwight Howard (center) while also shipping out a player with a terrible contract in Timofey Mozgov. The Hornets acquired Mozgov who still has two years and 32.7 million left on his contract. Charlotte also acquired two second round picks and cash but they lost the trade. The Hornets continue to make terrible decisions- but that’s a story for another day. Howard may be aging (32 years old) but averaged 16.6 PPG, 12.5 REB (rebounds), and 131 blocks in 81 games last season for Hornets. The Brooklyn Nets have opened up cap space and made themselves a player during the 2019 free agency season. Howard may help attract free agents especially if he is willing to fill his role.Potential Hits and misses:
- DeAndre Ayton will be an absolute hit in this draft. He should be the Number One Pick for many reasons. Ayton is the type of big man people dream about. He grabs rebounds, blocks shots, and clogs up the post. The type of guy I’d take on my team every single day and twice on Sundays.Ayton averaged 20.1 PPG, 11.6 REB, and 1.9 Blocks in 35 games for the Arizona Wildcats in the 2017-2018 season. Ayton won PAC-12 Player of the Year for the Wildcats. Shooting a very nice 61.2 FG%, Ayton needs to improve on the 73.3% from the free throw line. Although, that is awful good for a big man.
This is the type of player I am expecting to be in the Hall of Fame someday. He will be the most dominating big man since Shaq. This is no Greg Oden. You can quote me on that.
- Mo Bamba will be a top 10 pick in this draft and deserves to be. With a 7’10 wingspan, Bamba is sure to be a force defensively. Bamba had a 54.1 FG% but only shot 68.1% from the free throw line and 27.5% from the three point line. This player has so much upside and only played one year in college like Deandre Ayton. Coming from the University of Texas, Bamba is no stranger to the bright lights.Most NBA teams want big guys who can shoot the three point ball while being able to do work in the post. Bamba who is listed at 7’0 (225 lbs.) is not a player any team can pass up on. You can teach three point shooting but you can’t teach size and strength. Bamba should be (but won’t be) the 2nd “big man” off the board. And don’t be surprised if you see him in Springfield, MA someday either.
- European Luka Doncic is expected to be a top 10 pick in this draft as well. For the amount of hype he is getting, I think he’s going to be a bust. Doncic will be lucky if he averages 15 points per game in his career.Doncic is 6’8 and only 19 years young but I don’t expect great things from him. People talk about him like he’ll be the next Manu Ginobili or greater. I think he’ll be lucky if he’s as good as Nikola Mirotic.
- Trae Young is also a player I’m not too high on. LeBron James loves the kid, but LeBron is virtually the coach and general manager of most his teams and is not great at identifying talent. See: 2017-2018 Cleveland Cavaliers roster.Young is player that can score in bunches but I don’t think will be on a championship roster. He is a player that I can see bouncing around to many different teams in his career, but not the right ones. For his sake I hope he proves me wrong but he’ll be lucky if he’ll be Evan Turner someday.
- Marvin Bagley, the 6’11 (PF/C) from Duke is sure to be a hit. A lot of mock drafts project him to be the number two pick. Duke University is a fantastic college program and Bagley put up great numbers there. Bagley averaged 21 points, 11.1 rebounds, playing in 33 games for Duke. Bagley is another freshman who is similar to Ayton, by winning ACC Player of The Year. A left handed shooter by nature, Bagley made 62.7% of his free throws which obviously needs to improve. There is always room for improvement and the sky is the limit with this kid.Celtics potential moves prior to this Draft:
- The most rumored proposal throughout this offseason is the Boston Celtics acquiring Kawhi Leonard from the San Antonio Spurs. Leonard sat out the better portion of last season with an injury and had difficulties with coach Gregg Popovich. This is not a player I would suggest the Celtics trading Jayson Tatum for.Leonard will be 27 in the upcoming season and only played 9 games last season. If I had to propose two different trades I would possibly consider for Kawhi, they wouldn’t make Green Teamers happy.
The first trade I would kind of endorse is Kyrie Irving for Kawhi Leonard straight up. Both of these players are All-Star caliber (when healthy) and the money works out. Fans are worried if Leonard would subscribe to Brad Stevens’ system but I don’t think that would be a problem. Stevens is younger (by far) and more adaptable (at this point) to great talent on the roster than Popovich.
Trade number two would consist of Jaylen Brown and the Kings pick for Leonard. Brown will be a great player in this league but he will never be Kawhi in his prime. And Kawhi still hasn’t even hit the prime of his life or his career. Leonard is a polished player while Brown still needs work. That is ultimately the reason why I would consider this trade.
- If the Celtics want to move up in this draft, they certainly have the fire power to do so. Boston currently holds the 27th pick and has expendable players like Terry Rozier and Marcus Morris. Rozier wants a bigger role and if Kyrie Irving and Marcus Smart stay, Rozier won’t have a role on the Celtics. “Scary Terry” as he was known throughout the playoffs, is a very streaky player. Plus, great offensively and needs work defensively. Morris is expendable, simply because the Celtics have too many players that can play small forward or power forward.The 2018 NBA Draft will be one with surprises and miscues. But, before the draft there is only potential. Will these players live up to the hype? Or will they crumble like soggy Saltines? Time will only tell.