Photo Courtesy: USA Today

Previewing the 2018 NBA Draft

June 21, 2018 - 10:35 am

By Austin Medina 

Every year there are teams in the lottery looking to add the next big star. There appears to be a great number of talent in this year’s draft, but will any of them be all-time greats? Draft night always involves two things.

Firstly, teams seem to always reach for players, taking them at spots regarded as “too high.”

Secondly, many of the teams slotted at their respective places will trade up and down, picking at different numbers.

Lets look at the needs and perfect fits for the lottery teams in the 2018 NBA Draft.

1) The Phoenix Suns need a lot of help. They have to prove to Devin Booker, who is a free agent after the 2018 season that the front office knows what they are doing.

The pick: Deandre Ayton, Center, Arizona

2) The Sacramento Kings are not shy to take a chance on players in the draft. Willie Cauley-Stein, Skal Labissiere, and Harry Giles are all indicative of that. Yet the Kings have shown interest in Michael Porter Jr, who has played less than 60 minutes of collegiate ball. The Kings need instant talent, and taking Porter this high would be irresponsible.

The pick: Marvin Bagley III, Power Forward, Duke

3) The Atlanta Hawks have had a fall from grace since their 60-win season in 2014. Its been reported that they want to move on from point guard Dennis Schroder, which would provide an instant need at point guard. As flashy as Trae Young is, the Hawks may not want to gamble here and should take a league-ready player.

The pick: Luka Doncic, Guard, Slovenia

4) The Memphis Grizzlies are in a tough predicament. They would love to have Ayton, Bagley III, or Doncic, yet it’s unlikely they will be available. The other two projected top-5 prospects, Mo Bamba and Jaren Jackson Jr, have refused to work out or share medicals with Memphis. Look for this pick to be traded with Chandler Parsons’ $49.2 million contract as there are many teams looking to move up and trade with Memphis. 

The pick: Mo Bamba (to Knicks), Center, Texas

5) The Dallas Mavericks should look to replace Nerlens Noel with a freakish prospect. Adding a talent next to Dennis Smith Jr is key for Dallas moving forward.

The pick: Jaren Jackson Jr., Power Forward, Michigan State

6) The Orlando Magic have consistently butchered the point guard position. Whether it was drafting Elfrid Payton or trading for Emmanuel Mudiay, the Magic never had their franchise point guard. This pick should be flashy and a player who can put points up.

The pick: Trae Young, Point Guard, Oklahoma

7) The Chicago Bulls can offer Jabari Parker a max contract, as he’s a restricted free agent and the Bucks would be foolish to match. That said, the Bulls would have little cap space moving forward which is never a good formula for a young core. Adding a small forward at a much cheaper price makes more sense.

The pick: Michael Porter Jr., Small Forward, Missouri

8) The Cleveland Cavaliers may end up trading this pick. Whether for Kawhi Leonard or Kemba Walker, the Cavs appear to have high hopes of retaining LeBron James. For the sake of argument, let’s say LeBron leaves Cleveland. The Cavaliers will need some pop offensively and there’s a perfect player for that.

The pick: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Guard, Kentucky

9) In a projected trade with the Knicks, the Grizzlies obtain the 9th pick in exchange for the 4th and getting rid of Chandler Parsons contract. After shedding nearly $50 million, the Grizzlies can look for a young playmaker to play alongside Marc Gasol. Here they get a player who they wanted at #4, but knew would drop.

The pick: Wendell Carter Jr., Power Forward, Duke

Some other tidbits for this year’s draft to consider are:

Will the 76ers at #10 look to trade their pick in a potential Kawhi Leonard deal?

What will the Clippers do with picks #12 and #13? Take both Miles and Mikal Bridges?

Which European star will the Spurs draft at #18?

Will the Lakers draft LiAngelo Ball after trading for the 39th pick?

Will the Warriors be able to draft another steal, as they did Jordan Bell?                            

Where will Maryland forward Kevin Huerter be drafted?

Tune in Thursday night at 7pm to see which player your team picks in the 2018 NBA Draft.