2018 NBA Draft Recap and Grades

June 23, 2018

by Alan Lu

60 picks were made on June 21st, and the 2018 NBA Draft is now over.  We reviewed each of the teams’ selections.  Some have fared better than others, but for the most part, most of the teams seemed to get what they needed at this event.  Here is the recap and grades for the 28 teams that participated in the 2018 NBA Draft.

 

Atlanta Hawks

5. Trae Young, G, Oklahoma (originally drafted by Dallas)

19. Kevin Huerter, G-F, Maryland

30. Omari Spellman, C, Villanova

Future 1st Round Pick (top 5 protected) (via trade with Dallas)

The Hawks made a surprising trade down move as they opted to trade Doncic to Dallas to get Trae Young and a future 1st round pick.  They passed on taking a player that could perhaps be the best in this draft, but they were able to get another solid playmaker and add another asset in acquiring an extra first round pick to their stable.

Trae Young is a gifted shooter and scorer that possesses solid facilitation skills, and he is a player that may have the skill set to fit the modern NBA.  On the other hand, he also has a tendency to force the issue too much on offense, and his less than ideal athleticism or defensive skills could be pose as some minor concerns.  But he is a very talented player that could develop into an All-Star at the next level.

Kevin Huerter is a skilled, versatile player that can shoot and pass the basketball, and his ability to produce on offense combined with possessing good athletic gifts could enable him to comfortably fill any role that’s asked of him.  He will need to improve his defense, but his strong offensive skills could allow him to develop into a solid role player in the NBA.

Omari Spellman was another solid pickup that the Hawks made at 30.  He’s a tough, mobile big man that can stretch the floor as he shoots the ball really well from beyond the arc, and he also is an above average rebounder and interior defender that will play the game with tenacity.  He may not be an explosive athlete nor may project to be a primary shot creator, but Spellman’s shooting ability and overall skill could enable him to be an integral piece to Atlanta’s puzzle in their team building process.

Draft Night Grade: B (t-9th)

 

Brooklyn Nets

29. Dzanan Musa, G, Cedevita (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

40. Rodions Kurucs, F, FC Barcelona (Latvia)

Dzanan Musa is a skilled scorer that can get buckets from anywhere on the floor, and he also is an above average playmaker that can deftly handle the basketball.  While he may not possess elite athleticism, he is an above average athlete that can ably create shots for himself and his teammates.  However, his shot selection can be suspect at times, and he will likely need to improve his defense.  But if he can improve upon his weaknesses, Musa has the potential to develop into a solid starter that could excel as a complementary scorer in this league.

Rodions Kurucs is a tall, athletic forward that has a versatile set of skills, and he could contribute in a lot of different ways on both ends of the floor.  He can do a little bit of everything, he could project into being an above average shooter and playmaker, and he is also a good shot blocker for a player his size.  However, he will need to continue to improve his outside shot, and he will have to be a more disciplined defender in order to maximize his full potential. 

On the downside, he still hasn’t received many minutes in the Spanish ACB League and he has been hampered with some injuries, but Kurucs is still a talented player that could project into a 3 and D role, and over time he could potentially develop into a key role player on an NBA team.

Draft Night Grade: B- (22nd)

 

Boston Celtics

  1. Robert Williams, F-C, Texas A&M

The Celtics were able to get a quality big man to add to their crew, as Robert Williams is a vastly athletic big man that has a tremendous motor, and he is a highly energetic player that is a solid defender.  Williams is a very good rebounder and shot blocker, and his foot speed could allow him to excel as a rim runner on the offensive end. 

On the downside, his offensive skills may still be a bit underdeveloped, and he will need to improve his jump shot and he has trouble creating his own shot.  But still, Williams’ athleticism, defense, and energy should allow him to be a solid role player in the NBA, and for a player that was considered to go in the late lottery for much of the year, this was a solid pickup for Boston at 27.

Draft Night Grade: B+ (4th)

 

Charlotte Hornets

12. Miles Bridges, F, Michigan State(originally drafted by LA Clippers)

34. Devonte’ Graham, G, Kansas

55. Arnoldas Kulboka, F, Capo d’Orlando (Lithuania)

Miles Bridges is a tough, physical combo forward that shoots and defends well, and his ability to guard multiple players could prove to be an asset for him at the next level.   He also is a good athlete that also does a very good job of scoring in transition, and he can finish numerous plays above the rim.  On the other hand, he lacks an elite first step off the dribble, and he will need to add more ball handling moves to improve his ability to score on isolation plays.  Still, he is a good all-around player that could develop into being a solid starter in the NBA.

Devonte’ Graham is a good shooter that can effectively run the team at the point, and he could project into being an above average defender at the next level.  Though he may not be overly explosive, Graham could project well into a backup role, due to his ability to shoot and defend when he is on the court. 

Arnoldas Kulboka is a tall, skilled swingman that has solid floor spacing skills, especially from beyond the arc, and he could project to be a shooting specialist in the NBA.  He also is a good athlete that will run the floor to get scores in transition,  He may struggle to create his own shot consistently off the dribble and he will need to improve his defense, but Kulboka’s shooting ability and above average athletic gifts could enable him to succeed as a role player whenever he’s ready to step into the league.

Draft Night Grade: B (t-9th)

 

Chicago Bulls

7. Wendell Carter Jr., C, Duke

22. Chandler Hutchison, G-F, Boise State

Last year when the Bulls surprisingly dealt Jimmy Butler to the Timberwolves, people starting doubting the new, bold direction that they decided to go in.  But a year later, things are now looking up for Chicago.  Lauri Markkanen had a solid rookie season, and Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn have continued to show growth in their games, as both could be stalwarts on the Bulls for years to come.

Wendell Carter Jr. is a tough, physical bruiser that has a solid all-around game.   He is a good low post scorer, he has stretch big potential, and he also is a good passer that tends to make sound decisions when he is on the court.

He also rebounds the ball very well, and he also is a good shot blocker.  However, he can have trouble defending quicker opponents out on the perimeter due to his lack of elite lateral mobility.   Still, Carter was a solid pick for the Bulls at 7, and he could develop into being a solid starter in the NBA.

Chandler Hutchison is an athletic swingman that can shoot and score the basketball, as he can instantly help his team get buckets, and he also has some playmaking skills.   He is coming off a very strong senior season, and while he will need to show if he can create his own shot against NBA level defenders, Hutchison is a good all-around player that should be able to contribute right away, as he could end up being a very good role player in this league.

Draft Night Grade: B (t-9th)

 

Cleveland Cavaliers

  1. Collin Sexton, G, Alabama

He is a fast playmaker that can really get into the lane to score the basketball, and he possesses elite athleticism and foot speed.  He also has the potential to develop into an above average outside shooter and playmaker, though he will still need to work on those things, as he can be inconsistent with his jump shot, and he can be solely too scoring focused at times. 

But Sexton is a really intriguing prospect that has the ability to develop into being an impact player, and his superb athleticism and scoring ability could be a core piece for the Cavs to have both next year and for their future.

Draft Night Grade: B (t-9th)

 

Dallas Mavericks

3. Luka Doncic, G-F, Real Madrid (Slovenia)(originally drafted by Atlanta)

33. Jalen Brunson, G, Villanova

56. Ray Spalding, F-C, Louisville (originally drafted by Philadelphia)

60. Kostas Antetokounmpo, F, Dayton (originally drafted by Philadelphia)

Luka Doncic is a very smart, highly skilled basketball player that can comfortably run the point as well as play off the ball, as he is a tremendously gifted facilitator that can rack up assists for his team.  He can also score the basketball in a variety of ways, and he is also a solid rebounder, especially for his size.  He may not be an elite athlete, but he will find ways to be an effective defender.  Doncic has a knack for making everyone else around him better, as he could potentially end up being the best player to come out of this draft.

Jalen Brunson is a smart, fundamentally sound playmaker that can shoot and score the basketball, and he also does a good job of distributing the basketball on offense.  He is a shot maker that can efficiently make them from all over the floor, and he also tends to make sound decisions when he is on the court.  He does not possess elite physical tools and he will need to improve defensively, but Brunson’s strong offensive skills should allow him to be a very effective role player in the NBA.

Ray Spalding is a very athletic big man that plays with a very good motor.  He possesses solid rebounding and defensive skills, and his shot blocking prowess and interior defense could help the Mavericks right away.  He will likely need to expand his skill set offensively, but he can score as a rim runner, and he also can get some scores in the post.  With his skill set, he could be a good rotation player for Dallas.

Kostas Antetokounmpo is another very athletic big man that is also a good defensive player, and he is a high motor player that excels at blocking shots when he is on the floor.  He can also finish numerous plays above the rim.  However, he will need to improve his skill set offensively, as he will have to work on his jump shot and playmaking skills.  In a favorable scenario, he could end up developing into becoming a good rotation player for an NBA team.

Draft Night Grade: A (2nd)

 

Denver Nuggets

14. Michael Porter Jr., F, Missouri

41. Jarred Vanderbilt, F-C, Kentucky (originally drafted by Orlando)

58. Thomas Welsh, C, UCLA

Before the season started, Porter Jr. was considered to be an enormous talent that looked to be a potential top pick candidate for this year’s draft.  However, he injured his back in the first game of the season, and while he valiantly decided to come back to help Missouri down the stretch, he looked rusty, as he struggled to make shots consistently despite showing a great willingness to take them in abundance.

Regardless, Porter is still an intriguing talent that could develop into a primary scoring option in this league.  He is a versatile player that can score the basketball in a variety of ways, and he also has some playmaking skills.  He also rebounds and defends well, and he has the ability to defend multiple positions.  Porter will need to show that he is healthy and he will need to improve his shot selection.  If he can, he could end up developing into an All-Star for the Denver Nuggets someday.

Jarred Vanderbilt was a highly touted-recruit whose freshman season was hampered due to foot and ankle injuries, as he was limited to just 14 games this year.  When he did play, the results were mixed.  He did not appear to be anywhere close to the offensive player he was said to be, and he really struggled with his jump shot this year.

But he did show some defensive skills, and he could be a versatile defender that could defend multiple positions, as he can guard opponents both out on the perimeter as well as in the post.  Vanderbilt is also a tremendous rebounder, as he may be the best rebounder in this draft. 

His perhaps atypical skill set leaves him in a quandary.  He is sorely lacking in perimeter skills on offense, but he is also undersized to play inside.  Still, Vanderbilt is a very athletic basketball player that can really rebound the basketball, and that could enable him to potentially develop into a variation of a Luc Mbah a Moute type in the NBA.

Thomas Welsh is a tall center that rebounds the ball well, and he also is a good mid-range shooter.  He also has some low post skills, and he is a very good free throw shooter.  However, he is only a fairly average athlete, and he will need to improve his passing ability and defense.  Welsh might be a lower ceiling prospect as he may not have as much upside as the other players, but his ability to make mid-range jumpers and rebound could allow him to be a backup center in the NBA.

Draft Night Grade: C+ (24th)

 

Detroit Pistons

38. Khyri Thomas, G, Creighton (originally drafted by Philadelphia)

42. Bruce Brown, G, Miami (Fl)

Khyri Thomas is a tough, gritty combo guard that can do a little bit of everything.  He is a bucket getter that can fill up the nets, and he also is a good defender that can get numerous stops for his team.  He is not a pure point guard, and he will need to improve his ball handling and and court vision, but Thomas was a good pick for Detroit at 38.

Bruce Brown is a tall, athletic combo guard that can aggressively attack the basket to garner scores, and he is also a good rebounder and defender that will actively guard his man.  He will need to improve his jump shot and assertiveness on offense, and he also missed considerable time due to a foot injury.  But Brown is a player that may possess considerable upside, as his ability to score the basketball and potential to run the point makes him an intriguing pickup at 42.

Draft Night Grade: B (t-9th)

 

Golden State Warriors

  1. Jacob Evans, G-F, Cincinnati

This was a solid pickup for the Warriors at 28, as Evans is a tough, gritty swingman that shoots the ball well, makes smart decisions on the court, and he is also a solid defender.  He may not be an elite ball handler or shot creator, but he is a fundamentally sound player that always tends to be in the right spots, and Evans could develop into being a solid role player, as he could help bolster Golden State’s bench right away.

Grade: B (t-9th)

 

Houston Rockets

46. De’Anthony Melton, G, USC

52. Vince Edwards, F, Purdue (originally drafted by Utah)

After putting together a good freshman season, Melton’s year was disrupted as he was ineligible to play for USC due to being under investigation from the NCAA, and so he decided to leave for the draft. 

Melton is an athletic point guard that possesses solid physical tools, and he could be one of the better defensive players at his position.  Melton plays taller than his size, and he can play either guard spot.  On the other hand, Melton was also a fairly low volume offensive player in college, and it remains to be seen if he can develop his shooting ability to get it to a satisfactory level in the association.

He is an intriguing prospect who could claim a rotation spot due to his versatility, and Melton’s athleticism, defense, and ability to score and pass the basketball could enable him to be an effective role player in the NBA.

Though it was a little surprising that he was drafted considering that he was not invited to the combine this year, Vince Edwards is a productive combination forward that can shoot and pass the basketball, and he also is a good rebounder and defensive player.  He does not possess elite physical tools or shot creation ability, but he is a smart basketball player whose versatility could enable him to be an effective rotation player in this league.

Draft Night Grade: C+ (23rd)

 

Indiana Pacers

23. Aaron Holiday, G, UCLA

50. Alize Johnson, F, Missouri State

Aaron Holiday is an athletic point guard that shoots and defends well, and he also can get numerous buckets off the dribble.  On the other hand, he is not overly explosive, so he can struggle to consistently get his shot off against more athletic opponents.  While he can be an effective distributor at the point, he also can tend to play too wildly at times, as he can be quite turnover prone.  Right now, Holiday could project well into a backup role.

Alize Johnson is a skilled, versatile combo forward that really helped himself by having a strong combine showing.  He has a unique skill package as he can play all three frontcourt positions, he can make shots from all over the floor, and he also is a very good rebounder.  Though he’s not really a shot blocker, he plays hard on defense.  He’s a good, but not a great athlete, but he may have the skills and versatility to excel as a solid role player in the NBA.

Draft Night Grade: C- (26th)

 

Los Angeles Clippers

11. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, G, Kentucky (originally drafted by Charlotte)

13. Jerome Robinson, G, Boston College

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is an athletic combo guard that can comfortably run the point, and he is a skilled basketball player that can get to the hoop to get points and assists for his team.  He will need to show teams that he can consistently knock down outside shots at the next level, but his versatility and skill level should enable him to be a solid starter in the NBA.

Jerome Robinson had a solid junior season, and he is a tall, athletic combo guard that can shoot and pass the basketball.  He will need to improve his rebounding and defense, and he will need to show teams that he can defend upper echelon players on a consistent basis.  At 13, it may likely have been a reach for the Clippers to take him, but Robinson could be a good complementary role player in the association.

Draft Night Grade: C (25th)

 

Los Angeles Lakers

25. Moritz Wagner, F-C, Michigan

39. Isaac Bonga, G-F, Fraport Skyliners (Germany)

47. Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, G-F, Kansas

Moritz Wagner is a mobile, very skilled big man that can really shoot and score the basketball.  He had a terrific NCAA tournament this year, and he can get buckets in a variety of ways to help his team.  He is a very good shooter, he excels at scoring in the post, and he also is a more than capable scorer off the dribble.

On the other hand, he will likely need to improve his rebounding and defense, and he might not project to be a shot blocker or a rim protector at the next level.  Still, Wagner is a gifted scorer that plays a smart brand of basketball, and he was a good get for the Lakers at 25.

Isaac Bonga is a very athletic, tall playmaker that can play multiple positions.  He may be fairly unpolished as an overall player, and he will need to improve his jump shot as well as to cut down on the number of turnovers committed, but his solid physical tools allow him to be a rangy defender.  He profiles to be a point forward that has solid defensive potential.  If he can continue to improve over time, he could end up being a very good complementary player in the NBA.

Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk is a gifted shooter that can really knock down threes, and he also is an above average athlete that runs the floor well, as he can also get buckets in transition.  On the other hand, he is not really a complete player, as he may struggle to consistently create his own shot, and he may be about average as a playmaker and defender.  But what stands out is his strong ability to space the floor from beyond the arc, and at best, he could develop into a Jason Kapono type of player in this league.

Grade: B (t-9th)

 

Memphis Grizzlies

4. Jaren Jackson Jr., F-C, Michigan State

32. Jevon Carter, G, West Virginia

Jaren Jackson Jr. is an athletic, skilled big man that projects to be a solid player on both ends of the court.  He is a very good three-point shooter that can space the floor, he can score in the post, and he also is quite adept at scoring on off-ball motion plays.

He also is a very good rebounder and shot blocker, and he could end up being one of the best defensive players in this draft.  On the other hand, Jackson will need to improve his passing ability, and he will need to play with more discipline, as he will have to cut down on the number of fouls committed to increase his ability to stay on the floor.  If he can make those improvements, Jackson could end up making one or more All-Star teams in the NBA.

Jevon Carter is a tough, gritty playmaker that may be the best defensive point guard in this draft.  He will really get after it on the defensive end, as he will bring constant ball pressure, and he can get many steals and stops to help his team.  Offensively, he does a good job of taking care of the ball, and he is also a good shooter, but he may have trouble consistently scoring on the move.  With his skill set, Carter should project into being a reliable backup point guard in the NBA, as he could end up being a savvy veteran that may end up being in the league for a long time.

Draft Night Grade: B (8th)

 

Miami Heat

They had no picks, so their score is incomplete.

Draft Night Grade: I

 

Milwaukee Bucks

  1. Donte DiVincenzo, G, Villanova

Donte DiVincenzo had a really strong NCAA tournament and combine showing, and he had a solid season to help lift Villanova to win another championship.  He capitalized on playing well in the National Championship game, as he scored 31 points, and he managed to end up getting drafted 17 by Milwaukee.

In addition, he also could project to be a solid role player in the NBA.  He is an athletic swingman that shoots and passes the ball well, and he is a smart basketball player that makes sound decisions when he is on the floor.  He also has tremendous leaping ability, which enables him to finish plays above the rim and get rebounds.  On the other hand, he can have his struggles defensively, as he can have trouble guarding quicker players.  He will need to improve his defense, but DiVincenzo could be a very good complementary player, as he could end up being one of the steals of this draft.

Grade: B (t-9th)

 

Minnesota Timberwolves

20. Josh Okogie, G-F, Georgia Tech

48. Keita Bates-Diop, F, Ohio State

Josh Okogie is a tough, physical wing player that has solid athleticism to go along with having a very long wingspan, and he really helped himself at the combine due to posting terrific measurements as well as having played well in the scrimmage games.

He is an athletic scorer that excels at driving to the basket to get his buckets, and he also is a fairly good shooter from beyond the arc.  He was the primary scorer on an ACC team this year, and Okogie is only 19 despite having played two years in college basketball.  Okogie is a very talented player that has the skills to be the steal of the draft; that is if Thibodeau is willing to play rookies for the upcoming season.

The Timberwolves also made another very good pick at 48, as they drafted a first round talent in Keita Bates-Diop.  Bates-Diop had a strong redshirt junior season, and he is a versatile player that can do a little bit of everything when he is on the floor.  His ability to make shots and defend are what will likely allow him to stay on the floor in the NBA, as he could develop into a solid complementary player in the mold of a DeMarre Carroll type in the association.

Draft Night Grade: B+ (5th)

 

New Orleans Pelicans

  1. Tony Carr, G, Penn State

Tony Carr is an athletic, skilled combo guard that can shoot and score the basketball, and he also led his team to win the NIT championship this year.  At times, he can display suspect shot selection and he will also need to improve his defense, but with continued development, he could end up being a good player in the NBA.

Draft Night Grade: B (t-9th)

 

New York Knicks

9. Kevin Knox, F, Kentucky

36. Mitchell Robinson, C, N/A (USA – New Orleans, LA)

Kevin Knox is an athletic, toolsy forward that can shoot and score the basketball.   He especially excels at knocking down mid-range jumpers, and he has shown that he can effectively make threes when he’s in a rhythm.

However, Knox can be too streaky as a shooter at times, and he can struggle to score on isolation plays as he may struggle to get all the way to the hoop.  He will need to improve his ball handling, and he will need to add strength to be able to handle stronger players in games.  But if Knox is able to reach his full upside, he could be an All-Star level player akin to a Rashard Lewis type of player in this league.

Mitchell Robinson is a very athletic big man that sat out this season after initially intending to play for Western Kentucky this year in college basketball.  That decision didn’t seem to help his draft standing however, as questions about his readiness and perhaps off-court behavior may have caused him to slip to the second round.

Even so, he is a talented player that may possess a unique skill package.  Robinson is a very good rebounder and shot blocker that could project to be a rim protector in the NBA.  He also can score inside and out, as he can finish numerous plays above the rim, and he also has some floor spacing capabilities, as he can hit a three every once in a while.  He also passes the ball decently for a big man, as he can throw solid outlet passes. 

Robinson will need to continue to improve his offensive skills, but his ability to contribute in many different ways combined with his upside could potentially make this pick a very good one for the Knicks at 36, especially if they are patient and take the time to develop his overall game.

Draft Night Grade: B (7th)

 

Oklahoma City Thunder

45. Hamidou Diallo, G-F, Kentucky (originally drafted by Brooklyn)

53. Devon Hall, G, Virginia

57. Kevin Hervey, F, Texas-Arlington

Hamidou Diallo is a very athletic wing player that excels at attacking the basket to garner scores, and he also is an above average defender that has the physical tools to develop into a shutdown defender.  However, he will need to improve his jump shot and rebounding, and he can be too inconsistent in games.  But if he can work to improve his shooting and shot selection, and be more of a consistent player in games, Diallo could end up being an energetic role player in the NBA.

Devon Hall had three pedestrian seasons before having a breakout senior year at Virginia.  Though he played at a slow paced team in college, Hall is a good shooter that can also pass the basketball.  He is also a smart player that tends to make good decisions when he is on the floor.  He may lack elite physical tools, but Hall is a player that could project into a 3 and D role in this league.

Kevin Hervey is an athletic, skilled combo forward that can bring versatility and a high basketball IQ to the Thunder.  He can score in a variety of ways, and he also plays with a good motor.  He also is a good defensive player that can guard multiple positions.  On the other hand, he has been dealt with some knee injuries, and he’s not an overly explosive athlete.  He had a very good combine showing, and if he can continue to shoot the ball well, he should end up being a solid role player in the NBA.

Draft Night Grade: B (t-9th)

 

Orlando Magic

6. Mohamed Bamba, C, Texas

35. Melvin Frazier, G-F, Tulane

43. Justin Jackson, F, Maryland (originally drafted by Denver)

Mohamed Bamba is a smart, defensive minded center that could be the best defensive player in this draft class.  He has a tremendously long wingspan, and he is a superb rebounder and shot blocker that can really protect the paint to help his team. 

Offensively, he can score on a lot of hustle plays, but he will still need to develop the rest of his game on this end of the floor.  He can score in the post, but he will need to add more strength and post moves.  He has shown the willingness to shoot jumpers, but he had trouble knocking down outside shots consistently at Texas, although reports have stated that he has since improved at this skill. 

Bamba is a very good player that could step in and be a solid starter right away, but his ceiling may depend on how well he can establish and develop his offensive skills.  If he can become more of a scorer in this league, Bamba could end up being a perennial All-Star in this league.  If not, he still could contend to win defensive player of the year awards similar to a Rudy Gobert type of player in the NBA.

Melvin Frazier is a very long, athletic swingman that can shoot and score the basketball.  He can make shots in a variety of ways, and he also had a solid combine as he measured well and played well in the scrimmage games.  He also is a pretty good defender.  However, he may need to be more of a consistent shooter and he may need to improve his rebounding.  But as he has a solid blend of length, athleticism, and scoring ability, Frazier could end up being a good player in the NBA as he may have been one of the steals of this year’s draft.

After having a good freshman season last year, Maryland’s Justin Jackson decided to test the waters, had a reasonably good combine showing, and then decided to return to school.  However, he only played 11 games this year, as he missed the rest of the season due to a torn labrum. 

When healthy, Jackson is a tough, physical combo forward that can knock down threes, rebound, and defend when he’s on the court.   He will need to improve his ball handling and get his jump shot back to form, and he’s a good, but not a great athlete, but if things work out for him, he could end up being a good role player akin to a Luc Mbah a Moute type in this league.

Draft Night Grade: A- (3rd)

 

Philadelphia 76ers

16. Zhaire Smith, G-F, Texas Tech (originally drafted by Phoenix)

26. Landry Shamet, G, Wichita State

54. Shake Milton, G, SMU(originally drafted by Dallas)

2021 Unprotected 1st Round Pick (from Miami via Phoenix)

Zhaire Smith is a young, hyper-athletic swingman that possesses great physical tools, and he may have one of the highest upsides in this draft.  He can score the basketball in a variety of ways, and he can especially score on off-ball motion plays.  

He can score on a lot of highlight reel worthy dunks, and he is also a good rebounder and defender.  He will need to improve his ability to create his own shot off the dribble, but Smith is a very talented player that could end up being a solid starter in this league.

Landry Shamet is a skilled combo guard that is one of the best shooters in this draft, and he is one of the best at making spot-up jumpers off the catch.  He also can comfortably play either backcourt position, he is a smart decision maker that has a good feel for the game, and he also is a better than advertised athlete, as he also measured well at the combine.

On the other hand, he still isn’t an overly explosive athlete, as he may have trouble consistently scoring on isolation plays, and he also can struggle to guard quicker players on the defensive end.  But Shamet is a versatile player whose solid offensive skill set should allow the Sixers lots of different lineup combination options, and Shamet has the smarts and skills to end up being a solid role player in the NBA.

Shake Milton is a tall combo guard that also has very good offensive skills.  He is a good playmaker that passes and handles the ball well, and he also is an excellent shooter, much like Shamet.  Milton can play either backcourt position, he can knock down shots off the dribble, and he also looks to be an above average defender. 

However, he’s not an overly explosive athlete, so he may have trouble getting all the way to the basket on isolation plays.  He missed some time late in the season due to a right hand injury, and though he played at the combine scrimmage games, he didn’t fare well, as that may have caused him to slide in the draft.  Still, Philly is getting a solid role player at 54, and Milton will likely add value as a versatile combo guard that can shoot and pass the basketball.

Draft Night Grade: B+ (6th)

 

Phoenix Suns

  1. DeAndre Ayton, C, Arizona

10. Mikal Bridges, G-F, Villanova (originally drafted by Philadelphia)

31. Elie Okobo, G, Pau-Orthez (France)

59. George King, G-F, Colorado

The Phoenix Suns took the number one rated player on the board, DeAndre Ayton, and Ayton is a tremendously skilled, athletic center that brings strong scoring and rebounding skills to his team.  He is a versatile scorer that can make a wide array of shots when he is on the floor, and he also passes well out of the post.  He also can block some shots to protect the paint.   But sometimes, he can be a bit undisciplined defensively, which can lead him to commit fouls.  Overall though, Ayton is a terrific talent, and he could end up being a multi-All-Star in the mold of a LaMarcus Aldridge type in this league.

Mikal Bridges was initially drafted by Philly, and then was dealt to Phoenix for Zhaire Smith and a 2021 first round pick.  Bridges was a solid pickup by Phoenix, as he is a smart, skilled swingman that has very good all-around skills.  

He is a good shooter that also defends well, and he has a knack for making sound plays when he is on the floor.  He has a wide range of skills, but he may struggle to get all the way to the basket consistently on isolation plays.  But with Ayton there, Bridges could develop into a very good complementary player in the NBA.

Elie Okobo had a very good season this year in the French League, and he has shown significant improvements as a shooter and scorer on offense.  He is an athletic, defensive minded point guard that plays with a great motor, and he has worked hard to be a more dynamic playmaker when he is on the floor. 

Sometimes he can play too fast which can lead him to be a bit turnover prone, and he will likely need to add strength to be able to defend stronger opponents better.  Even still, Okobo has the skills to be a solid role player, and with continued development, as he could develop into a starting point guard in the NBA.

George King is a tough, physical swingman that could project into a 3 and D role in the NBA.  He shoots the ball well, he can get some scores off the dribble, and he also can score out of the post.  He also is a good rebounder and position defender, and he had strong showings in both the Reese’s College All-Star game and the Portsmouth Invitational, which helped him earn a combine invite.  On the other hand, he may struggle to score more on the move, so he may project more to be a spot-up shooter at the next level.  King is a good, but not a great athlete, and even so, he has the smarts and skills to end up being a good role player in the NBA.

Draft Night Grade: A (1st)

 

Portland Trail Blazers

24. Anfernee Simons, G, IMG Academy (USA – Altamonte Springs, FL)

37. Gary Trent Jr., G-F, Duke (originally drafted by Sacramento)

Anfernee Simons spent the past year in prep school, so there hasn’t been much to go off.  But from what I’ve seen, Simons is a very athletic combo guard that can shoot and score the basketball, and he can consistently create his own shot off the dribble on offense.  He also handles the ball well, and he can get his fair share of rebounds.

On the other hand, he can be too scoring focused on offense, and he will need to show teams that he can effectively run the point at the NBA level.  He also will need to improve defensively, and he will need to increase his effort and awareness on that side of the ball.  Simons is a talented, but raw prospect, but if he is able to reach his full potential, he could be like a Dennis Schroder type of player in the association. 

Otherwise, he could still be a microwave type of scorer if he doesn’t develop his point guard skills, as at worst, he could be akin to a poor man’s Monta Ellis type in the NBA.  As he was picked at 24, Simons may be the classic high upside, boom or bust type of pick to gamble on, which could work as the Blazers were able to swing a trade to get another pick in case if he doesn’t pan out for Portland.

Gary Trent Jr. is an athletic, scoring wing player that can shoot the basketball, and he had a solid showing at the combine.   He also runs the floor well, as he can get numerous scores in transition, and he can ably create his own shot off the dribble to get extra buckets.

However, doubts if the rest of his game may persist.  He can tend to look for his own shot too much as he may not look to pass the ball enough, and he also didn’t grab many rebounds.  He played on a team that played in a lot of zones defensively, but when he would play man-to-man, he showed that he can ably hold his own on the defensive end. 

Right now, Trent’s value lies in his ability to shoot and score the basketball, and it’s possible that he could develop the other facets of his game as time goes on.   As the Blazers acquired him at 37, it was a good move as Portland can add more depth, and they will get another shooter that could bolster their bench.

Draft Night Grade: B (t-9th)

 

San Antonio Spurs

18. Lonnie Walker, G, Miami (Fl)

49. Chimezie Metu, F-C, USC

Lonnie Walker is an athletic, talented combo guard that can shoot and score the basketball.  He also is a good defender that will use his activity to help get steals for his team.  He will need to work on his passing and ball handling skills however, and he will also need to improve his ability to crash the glass.  But Walker could project to be a scorer that could bring above average defense, as he could be like a Jeremy Lamb type of player in this league.

Chimezie Metu is a very athletic big man that could project into being an energetic, rim protector in the NBA.  He can get numerous scores on off-ball motion plays, and he is a rim runner that has some floor spacing capabilities, as he may be able to hit a three every once in a while. 

However, he will need to improve his rebounding, and he will need to add strength to be able to handle stronger opponents when defending them.  But Metu could potentially develop into being a very versatile role player for San Antonio, as he could end up being a useful role player in the mold of a Richaun Holmes type in the NBA.

Draft Night Grade: B (t-9th)

 

Sacramento Kings

  1. Marvin Bagley III, F-C, Duke

The Kings opted to pass on Doncic, and they do have a lot of big men on their roster in Zach Randolph, Kosta Koufos, Skal Labissiere, Willie Cauley-Stein, and Harry Giles.

Even so, Marvin Bagley III is a tremendously skilled big man that can really score the basketball.   He is a very athletic player that is a strong finisher around the basket, and he is quite adept at scoring off the dribble as well as in the post.  He also has some floor spacing capabilities, as he could potentially develop into a good spot-up shooter if he can adjust to the NBA three-point line. 

Also, Bagley is a really good rebounder, and he passes and handles the ball well, especially for his size.  However, he will need to improve his defense, as he had trouble defending opponents off the dribble, and he did not block many shots for someone as tall and athletic as he is.  Still, Bagley is an immensely talented player that could end up making multiple All-Star teams in the NBA due to his strong offensive skills and athletic gifts.

Draft Night Grade: B (t-9th)

 

Toronto Raptors

They had no picks, so their score is incomplete.

Draft Night Grade: I

 

Utah Jazz

  1. Grayson Allen, G, Duke

Grayson Allen is a very divisive prospect, and in games, he often would be too streaky, as he could have some really good games, and then follow that up with some terrible performances. 

When he is on his game, he is a very athletic combo guard that can shoot and score the basketball, and Allen can ably distribute and defend when he is on the court, as he is quite adept at drawing charges.  When he is off his game however, Allen can tend to miss jumpers, play too recklessly on offense, and he can tend to have trouble guarding quicker players on the defensive end.

He may be too inconsistent to become a reliable full-time starter, but Grayson Allen is a talented player that could help a team shoot and score in a platoon role similar to E’Twaun Moore.  In a deep draft as this one, this pick looks to be a reach, but Allen could still develop into an effective role player for the Jazz.

Draft Night Grade: D+ (27th)

 

Washington Wizards

15. Troy Brown, G-F, Oregon

44. Issuf Sanon, G, Union Olimpija (Ukraine)

Troy Brown is a combo forward who possesses solid physical tools, but he may be fairly unpolished as an overall player right now.  He is a good playmaker that passes and handles the ball well, and he has good court vision.  However, Brown may struggle to consistently shoot or score the basketball, and he will need to work on his jump shot.  He also is not be an elite ball handler, as he may have trouble consistently creating his own shot, and he can be turnover prone.

He also is a good rebounder, and he could project to be a fairly good defensive player, as he will tend to put himself in the right spots on that end of the floor.  Brown will need to improve his ability to shoot and score the basketball, but his athletic gifts combined with his versatility could enable him to eventually develop into being a solid role player in the mold of a Trevor Ariza type in this league.

Issuf Sanon is probably the youngest player in the draft, and he was able to get some minutes in the Adriatic League this year.  Right now, he very much looks to be a project player.  While he has a variety of skills and is an above average athlete that plays hard, he doesn’t seem to do any one thing especially well, and he will need to improve his jump shot.  Most likely, he is a stash pick that will need time to develop, but even so, at best he might project into being a backup point guard in the NBA.

Draft Night Grade: D (28th)

 

All in all, watching the NBA draft was a fun night, as I was able to watch the event at Buffalo Wild Wings downtown with my friends from Seattle’s NBA Meetup group.  I also appreciated the tweets from Woj @WojESPN, as he made some very clever tweets to make the event more fun for the viewers.  In the following months, I will work to put out more scouting reports on 2019 players.  It was a fun year, and thank you for reading.