Win Some, Lose Some (NBA Style)
The 2018 NBA Draft started off hot and early in a wild trade that sent third overall pick Luka Doncic to the Dallas Mavericks for Oklahoma freshman-phenom Trae Young. Here are some of the winners and losers of the draft.
Phoenix Suns: The Suns had the grueling job this year of not messing up the first overall pick. After selecting University of Arizona center Deandre Ayton, it’s safe to say they made the right choice. While Ayton may not be as flashy as a Bagley, Doncic and Young, he has virtually zero bust-potential. At 7-foot-1-inch, the PAC-12 Player of the Year seems to be built for the NBA. The Bahamian averaged 20.1 points and 11.6 rebounds in his year at Arizona. The Suns night didn’t stop there, as they flipped Zhaire Smith, their 16th overall pick, for Mikal Bridges, the 10th overall pick. Bridges seemed to be a better fit for Phoenix, as he averaged 17.7 points and 5.3 rebounds in his junior year at Villanova University.
Staying in Arizona!
The Phoenix Suns select center Deandre Ayton with the No. 1 pick. pic.twitter.com/VLuPNefePI
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 21, 2018
Atlanta Hawks: The Atlanta Hawks started out Thursday night with a blockbuster move right out the gate. The Hawks selected Doncic, a Slovenian sharpshooter with immediate impact potential, with the third overall pick. They immediately flipped him for Young, the player they had been locked on all along. Young, who lead the NCAA in both scoring (27.4 ppg) and assists (8.7), has tremendous upside. The superstar Sooner dazzled in his one-and-done season at Oklahoma, but many wonder if his talent will translate. Atlanta also received a 2019 first round pick in the Doncic deal, and drafted sharpshooter Kevin Huerter out of University of Maryland and Villanova’s Omari Spellman.
Dallas Mavericks: While it’s unsure now who won the trade between the Mavericks and Hawks, both teams seemed to benefit from it and had exceptional later picks. The Mavericks gained a star in Doncic, and seem to be preparing for a post-Dirk Nowitzki era, drafting seasoned players in Jalen Brunson and Ray Spalding. Brunson, a two-time national champion at Villanova, as well as the 2018 player of the year, should make an immediate impact for the Mavericks.
Oklahoma City Thunder: While the Thunder didn’t have a first round pick this year, they did the most with the least this draft. OKC selected Virginia 3-and-D guard Devon Hall with the 53rd pick, and big-time scorer Kevin Hervey with the 57th. Both Hall and Hervey were seniors at their respective schools, and have plenty of experience to bring to the Thunder squad. Hall helped lead University of Virginia to the number one-seed overall in the country, while Hervey averaged 20.5 ppg and 8.5 rpg at University of Texas-Arlington. The steal for the Thunder however, was the post-draft acquisition of University of Kentucky guard Hamidou Diallo from the Hornets. Diallo was selected 45th by Charlotte, and while he had a disappointing season as a Wildcat, his athleticism is off-the-charts. Hopefully OKC can mold Diallo the way it has its other draft-stars.
Cleveland Cavaliers: The Cavaliers entered this year’s NBA draft in a difficult situation. They had just been swept by Golden State in the finals, and are on the verge of losing the greatest player in the world to free agency. If there was ever a time to try and convince Lebron James to stay, Thursday night was the night. Trading their pick for a star or drafting a future-star to compliment James and convince him to stay seemed like a necessity for the Cavaliers. Instead, Cleveland selected 6-foot-2-inch point guard Colin Sexton out of the University of Alabama. While Sexton could eventually become a solid starter for the Cavaliers, he doesn’t exactly scream all-star. In the event James leaves, Sexton just doesn’t show the skills to lead the Cavs himself. He also doesn’t compliment The King, as he and James are both ball-dominant.
Miami Heat: The Heat did not make a single pick on Thursday night, crowning them obvious losers of the draft. This is the second time in three years the Heat haven’t made a single selection, mainly due to the Goran Tragic deal they made with the Phoenix Suns. Miami sent Phoenix two first-rounders in exchange for the point guard, one being the 16th overall pick on Thursday, the other owned by Phoenix in 2021.