The NBA Draft is an event designed to benefit people who are coming soon. Why wait to see what hope will be like when you announce that you have not been misquoted for only 30 seconds in his professional career? This is the nature of the beast.
Ahead of Friday’s game between the Mavericks and the Suns, with No. 1 (Deandre Ayton) and No. 3 (Luke Doncic) picks from the 2018 NBA Draft, The Sporting News has decided to take a step further. We evaluate the players in the group based on what we have seen. (It is crazy enough to work.)
More than three years have passed since the event, here are the winners and losers aligned in the 2018 NBA Draft.
Winners of the NBA Draft 2018
Wonderful. The Mavericks acquired Doncic in a recent trade deal with the Hawks, sending Trae Young with a future choice that turned Cam Reddish to Atlanta in exchange for a Slovenian star. Doncic has been impressive in his first three seasons combined, with 25.7 points, 8.4 rebounds and 7.7 assists per game. Dallas surprisingly gave Doncic a five-year, $ 207 million supermax rookie last season. He has to be the face of permission for a long time.
Oh, and don’t forget about Jalen Brunson. The Mavs found Villanova’s former guard at No. 33 overall. He is sending off high scores (15.3), assists (5.0) and rebounds (4.7) on every game this season.
After Doncic escaped with the Rookie of the Year award 2018-19, it looked like the Hawks had made a serious mistake. Who cares about future elections when you have a future MVP sitting there?
Well, that was an exaggeration. Young has been one of the most deadly weapons in the league, which can break the defenses against his scoring and passing. Atlanta also caught Kevin Huerter in the first line, and has already shown he can be a key figure in the winning team. Reddish still has a bit of a question, but it has highlighted the impressive potential.
The Suns left many fans and readers confused on the eve of the day when they took Ayton to the first round because Igor Kokoskov, the Phoenix coach at the time, had a close relationship with Doncic after leading Slovenia to the Eurobasket gold medal in 2017. Above all, there were concerns. about choosing a traditional adult instead of the first football player.
Ayton has suffered a lot as a rookie, especially in self-defense, but he has been instrumental in raising the Sun to become a competitor. He did well in the 2021 NBA playoffs, 15.8 points and 11.8 rebounds per game where he shot 65.8 percent off the field.
Phoenix also acquired Mikal Bridges in trade with Philadelphia, leaving Zhaire Smith with a future choice that turned out to be Tre Mann. Bridges is now one of the best 3-D leaders in the NBA, and he should do well as he enters his early years.
Michael Porter Jr. and the Denver Nuggets
No one doubted Porter’s skills, but the teams were concerned about his medical history. He missed the entire 2018-19 season after undergoing surgery on his back, and currently has another back problem. Injuries may interfere with his work.
With that being said, the Nuggets were wise to take advantage of Porter, especially considering he had a 14-point lead. He scored 19.0 points in every game in 2020-21 and burned 44.5 percent from three points. That’s why Denver offered him the opportunity to extend his five-year contract in September.
If Porter can be healthy – and that is great – he will take part in the search for the Nuggets competition.
NBA Draft 2018 losers
Marvin Bagley III and the Sacramento Kings
The Kings went with Bagley on No. 2, and … yikes. The 22-year-old did not react to Luke Walton’s change. Bagley’s assistant, Jeff Schwartz, tore up the front office this season, saying it was “confusing” that Bagley did not receive a single minute.
“It makes sense [the Kings] does not have its plans for the future, however, it has provided funding for last year and this summer depending on the ‘cost,’ ” Schwartz said. “Instead, they chose to retaliate but did not pay him, a complete move against their ‘value’ dispute. This is a lesson learned from the mismanagement of the Royal Family.”
Everything is going well! A solid choice!
Do you know how the Sun got Bridges in that business? The 76ers would love to have someone like that on the list right now, huh?
Smith battled health problems as a member of the Sixers, playing all 13 games in two years. He was sold to Pistons in November 2020, and later removed by Detroit. This was just a mistake for Philly.
New York Knicks
When it comes to missing, we have to bring Kevin Knox a choice. (Sorry to kill the good vibes, New Yorkers.)
The Knicks elected Kentucky ahead of No. 9, and the following three were selected – gulp – Mikal Bridges, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Miles Bridges. It’s always silly to break teams to not pick up a hidden game stone all the time if Draymond Green or Manu Ginobili goes into the second half, but both players were consistent and available to the Knicks.
We will give New York a bit of credit for getting Mitchell Robinson at No.
ESPN NBA Draft broadcast
We face the same challenges a few years later. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and The Athletic’s Shams Charania are constantly revealing what NBA chief executive Adam Silver has already announced. Then, the options are sold out, and no one watches the broadcast where they can look where the players are going, especially wearing the hats of the organizations that originally listed them.
There has to be a better way to do this.