The 2018 NBA Draft did not disappoint fans. It consisted of some great headlines, including Deandre Ayton being the first overall pick, Trae Young jumping into the top five picks, and Michael Porter Jr. falling all the way to 14th overall. Overall, the NBA Draft was great once again.
However, some teams definitely did better in this years draft than others. With that being said, we are going to dive right into the winners and losers of the 2018 NBA Draft.
The Dallas Mavericks became winners very early in this draft because of two words: Luka Doncic. After the Hawks took Doncic with the 3rd overall pick, the Mavs immediately went out and got their guy by trading Atlanta the 5th overall pick and a future first round pick to get the rights to Doncic. Dallas is in rebuilding process and Doncic is the perfect guy to build around. At only 19, Doncic dominated European basketball and was named the youngest EuroLeague MVP ever. He can score from everywhere on the floor, is an incredible playmaker for his teammates, and is the perfect guy to change the culture for the Mavericks.
While Doncic is the main reason the Mavs are winners in this draft, they also did some nice things in the second round. Dallas took the reigning National College Player of the Year in Jalen Brunson. Brunson is a natural leader who scores and creates well for other. With backup point guards Seth Curry and Yogi Ferrell entering free agency, it looks like Brunson is the backup point guard the Mavericks are rolling with.
The Mavericks also went and got the last pick of the draft and took an intriguing player in Kostas Antetokounmpo. Antetokounmpo, younger brother of NBA star Giannis, did not dominate in his only year at Dayton but Dallas will make the 6’10 forward a project they will try to develop.
The Suns are winners in this draft not for their top overall pick in Deandre Ayton (which was a good and the correct pick), but for what they did later on. Phoenix picked up the Sixers 10th overall pick of Mikal Bridges for their 16th pick in Zhaire Smith and a future first round pick. I believe the Suns are the definite winners of this trade and are getting a great 3-and-D guy in Bridges. Bridges shot 44% from behind the three-point line and will quickly earn a starting spot for his two-way abilities.
The Suns also got a solid pick in the second round by picking up French point guard Elie Okobo. Okobo is a solid creator and a volume scorer that will get a chance to develop as Phoenix rebuilds.
The Nuggets are winners in this draft because somehow, someway, they got a top five talent with the 14th pick. Michael Porter Jr., despite his injury concerns, was an incredible pick-up at this point in the draft for Denver. They are fringe playoff team with great talent in Paul Millsap, Jamal Murray, Gary Harris, and Nikola Jokic, and by adding an incredible wing scorer like Porter, the Nuggets are certainly headed in right direction.
The Hawks might have gotten more exciting in this draft, but they also are a horrible team rebuilding that could have used more solid picks. Trae Young, who they got in the Luka Doncic trade, could turn into a star but must become much more efficient and show he can guard anyone at all. Atlanta then follows up picking Young (who is not a horrible pick but is very risky) by selecting Kevin Huerter. Huerter could turn into a good 3-point threat, but I feel he lacks the intangibles to become much more than that. Not to mention, they JUST took a shoot-first guard, why not address another position? The Hawks did okay in this draft, but for where they got these guys, I am not a fan.
The Clippers might know something I don’t, but there back-to-back lottery picks did not make any sense to me. Selecting Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was alright, but they could have taken Michael Porter Jr. Not to mention they already have guard depth with Patrick Beverly, Milos Teodosic, Austin Rivers, and Lou Williams. They then follow that pick up by selecting another guard in Jerome Robinson. Robinson dominated at Boston College but there were definitely players with more upside than him. LAC definitely missed out on better talent with these two picks.
The Trail Blazers weren’t looking to add much in this draft but there two picks didn’t make much sense. Portland is ran by the backcourt duo of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, two of the most talented guard in the league. So what do the Blazers do? They select guards in Afernee Simmons and Gary Trent Jr. Why I ask? Portland is a playoff team that has no good wing talent, why not try to add there? Portland didn’t have much to lose by drafting poorly, but they definitely didn’t gain anything in this draft.