The NBA Draft is a fun time for fans, a busy time for general managers and a stressful but exhilarating time for young kids looking to secure their future in basketball. Every year clubs make wise choices and others falter; this year was no exception. While not every GM would get it right, the good news was, sixty young men would change their lives forever and on this particular Thursday evening, a great number of them were projected to be NBA difference-makers.
The Dallas Mavericks, Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets and LA Clippers all made big trades while teams like the Phoenix Suns went the obvious route and took the smart choice when their time came to have NBA Commissioner Adam Silver call out a name. The Denver Nuggets took a chance that could pay off in a major way other teams made minor splashes or strange choices. Below are the best and worst of the first round.
Best: Phoenix Suns
The best decision the Suns made was not being tempted to potentially make the worst one. Such a poor team needed a franchise player and if Deandre Ayton can out-perform defensively what the naysayers think, that combined with his offense is as close to a slam dunk as anything. Devin Booker and Ayton have the potential to become the next Kobe/Shaq duo in the NBA and you simply don’t pass that up.
Staying in Arizona!
The Phoenix Suns select center Deandre Ayton with the No. 1 pick. pic.twitter.com/VLuPNefePI
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 21, 2018
Ayton is the ideal new-age center in the NBA. He’s got power, offensively flexibility and he can shoot the ball from a distance with a great touch that teams would love to have in all their big men. Unlike Shaq, he can shoot free throws too.
A kid who went to school in Arizona and played ball in Arizona gets to stay in Arizona. Easy choice.
Best: The Dallas Mavericks
They gave up a lot to get him, but the Mavericks got their man in Luka Doncic. They also potentially got the best player in the entire draft and a replacement for Dirk Nowitzki when he finally calls it a career. Doncic is an elite talent out of Europe who has been playing against a different level of talent than everyone else in this draft and that could pay-off huge for the Mavericks who may have drafted an All-star from the get-go.
— NBA Draft (@NBADraft) June 21, 2018
That he was still available at No. 3 was not surprising thanks to the depth of this draft, but he could have gone earlier with little argument and that Atlanta would then trade him to the Mavs for Trae Young who could be a great point guard but is also a question mark at the next level is interesting if not potentially regretful. Both teams got their man so we won’t suggest Atlanta made a mistake here, but Young isn’t guaranteed to be the next Steph Curry while there’s little doubt that Doncic will be an impact player.
It was easy to see this was the man the Mavericks wanted all along and they paid a price to get him but long-term, no one will care. It will be worth it.
Worst: Knicks Fans
How you know Kevin Knox is going to become an All-Star pic.twitter.com/fvKw6cLh2r
— New Era Knicks (@NewEraKnicks) June 22, 2018
There are a lot of things to love about the NBA Draft but how some of the fans react when these young kids are being selected by a team that has done their homework and poured hours of time into the selection is baffling. Yes, teams will make mistakes but the Knicks got a good player in Kevin Knox. That Knicks fans would mercilessly boo him just shows that the fans in New York can be harsh just to be harsh.
Knox handled the early rejection well but he’ll start the season with a huge chip on his shoulder and have to show he deserved to be selected where he was. Talk about unfair pressure. Maybe the fans wanted someone else (Michael Porter Jr.), but if they really knew something about Knox, they’d know he has the smallest of chances of not panning out. He’s got long reach, can run the floor and shoots well. He’s going to be a good player for the Knicks.
Best and Worst: Los Angeles Clippers
If the Clippers don’t have other moves coming, what they did at the draft will be questioned. With guards already in their system, they drafted two with picks No. 11 through and No. 13.
They are a re-tooling team that lost Chris Paul and Blake Griffin so a shake-up might have been expected. Will they start moving roster pieces with guards like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jerome Robinson coming in? Gilgeous-Alexander might have been the best point guard in the draft so that’s not a pick one should criticize. It’s what the team does next that really matters.
Best: Michael Porter Jr. and the Denver Nuggets
Michael Porter Jr.’s medical concerns saw him drop like a stone down the draft board. Even at No. 14, where the Denver Nuggets were selecting, he was a slight risk. It wouldn’t have surprised people if the Nuggets had passed. Instead, they poured over medical results and felt he was ready. If they’re right, they got a player who could be a massive home run.
Michael Porter Jr. is officially off the market.
The Denver Nuggets select Porter Jr. at No. 14 overall! pic.twitter.com/lO7MkKHvi7
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 22, 2018
Porter Jr. has a great ability to shoot the ball, loves to score and can make plays, often being compared to a player like Kevin Durant. Wouldn’t that be something?