Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson talks 2018 NBA Draft on the Chris Murray Report. Press Play Below To Listen!
Every draft has its winners and losers. While it takes years for the final buzzer to sound, to truly know which teams won draft night, the declarations of victory started immediately after the 76ers made Kostas Antetokounmpo (little brother of Giannis) the 60th and final pick.
For most rebuilding teams, winning the draft doesn’t necessarily mean an immediate improvement in the win column. It’s more about building for long-term, sustainable success.
The Atlanta Hawks are a good example. They were labeled a winner for sending no. 3 pick Luka Doncic to Dallas in exchange for no. 5 Trae Young plus a future first-rounder, and then adding two more floor-spacers in Maryland’s Kevin Huerter (no. 19) and Villanova’s Omari Spellman (30th). That not-quite-ready-for-primetime trio – plus the future pick — provide a solid foundation to build on in the modern, three-point-focused NBA.
However, just like the 2017 Utah Jazz (who stayed in the Western Conference playoff picture by drafting Donovan Mitchell at no. 13), some teams did make draft-night decisions that project to pay immediate dividends.
In short order, online betting sites will be posting 2018-19 win totals for the entire league. The exact number will vary slightly from site to site, and you should do yourself a favor and research sportsbooks before betting, but the following teams likely just gave their 2018-19 over/unders an unequivocal push upward.
First-overall pick DeAndre Ayton is going to provide an impact from day one. On a Suns team sorely lacking for a dominant post presence, Ayton could average 20 points and 10 boards a night as a rookie. While still improving, his offensive game is already versatile, possessing nice touch and expanding range. His once-in-a-generation combination of athleticism and size make him a beast on the boards.
The Suns didn’t stop there. They also added NBA-ready wing Mikal Bridges from Villanova, who will help in two areas the 2017-18 Suns were sorely lacking: three-point shooting (where they ranked dead-last at 33.4%) and defense (where they also ranked dead-last at 113.3 PPG).
Adding Ayton and Bridges to Devin Booker and Josh Jackson should mean their days at the bottom of the West are over.
The trade that sent Trae Young to Atlanta shipped Slovenian star Luka Doncic to Dallas. At the tender age of 19, Doncic was already the best player in the second-best basketball league in the world, becoming the youngest player ever to win EuroLeague MVP last year. The 6’8 guard has the playmaking skills of Ben Simmons plus a much better jumper. He makes up for a lack of athleticism with a tight handle and excellent body control. His ceiling might not be much higher than his current level, but that level is awfully high.
Dallas continued with its win-now mentality in round two by drafting Villanova junior and National Player of the Year Jalen Brunson. Like ex-teammate Josh Hart before him, the cagey, high-effort Brunson will be an instant improvement to a young backcourt.
If Marvin Bagley III was Duke’s frontcourt Ferrari, Wendell Carter Jr. (the no. 7 pick) was its dependable Volvo, scoring and rebounding efficiently without the flash. He’s been compared to Al Horford and already has the basketball IQ to contribute in almost every facet of the game as a rookie.
The Bulls took another well-developed player at no. 22. Boise State senior Chandler Hutchison, a 6’7 wing/two guard, is a safe 3-and-D prospect. An excellent athlete, his three-point percentage (35.9%) should go up since he won’t be asked to create off the dribble like he was with the Broncos.
There were higher-ceiling options available to Chicago at both spots – Michael Porter Jr, who fell to no. 14, stands out as one – but Carter and Hutchison will log immediate minutes and help Chicago eke out a couple more wins next year.