The NBA season is still very young so it is certainly early to make a final judgment on the class of 2018. Some rookies have already managed to impress while others have gotten off to a slow start. The early indications suggest that the lottery picks will make for a strong class, and while they may not all turn into All-Star players, they are likely to be solid contributors to their respective teams.
Based on what we have seen from their pre-draft playing days, pre-season as well as the first month of the season - there will likely be a number of franchise players in this draft as long as their progression remains on track. There are many players who may appear underwhelming as of now, but it's no surprise since most prospects need time to develop, as well as the right situation that allows them to flourish. Needless to say, the first round picks are showing promising signs early on with a bright future awaiting them.
But as we all know, every draft is bound to also have some busts so it will be intriguing to see which players fail to reach their potential. The average NBA player only plays four to five seasons in the league, so many names will be out of the league by the time their rookie contract expires - and possibly playing in the G-League for another opportunity in the NBA. Here are the early impressions for every first round pick from the 2018 NBA Draft, officially ranked from 30th to 1st. This is not a re-draft, but merely ranking the rookies by their performances so far. The list is fluid and is bound to change, as young players progress at their own pace. For now, let's rank the rookies based on what we've seen so far.
29 Omari Spellman - Atlanta Hawks
Unlike many fellow rookies, Omari Spellman is in fact getting the minutes to show his worth on the court - although he has yet to prove to be any better than his initial selection at 30 by the Atlanta Hawks.
Playing 18.6 minutes off the bench, Spellman has been a net negative on offense and far from a positive contributor on the other end. He will need to make significant improvements to continue playing such minutes beyond the 2018-19 NBA season.
28 Anfernee Simons - Portland Trail Blazers
Anfernee Simons is a raw prospect who has the potential to end up being far greater than his 24th overall selection by the Portland Trail Blazers. But based on what we have seen from him thus far, it is no surprise that Simons fell through the rankings as he looks to be some years away from being a solid NBA player. As he develops, he can very well prove he was worth a higher pick, but for now, he has to rank near the bottom.
27 Troy Brown Jr. - Washington Wizards
Troy Brown Jr. has the biggest drop among all first round picks in this assessment, given that he was drafted 15th overall by Washington and he's ranked all the way down here at 28. In limited action with the Washington Wizards, Brown hasn't looked quite as good as his high ranking in the draft - falling out of the rotation and being assigned to the G-League.
In his defense, the Wizards weren't exactly the perfect situation at the moment given all the heat within their locker room. He would have been better off on nearly every other team right now, including the reigning champions.
26 Moritz Wagner - L.A. Lakers
In an ideal world, every rookie would have the opportunity to be healthy for training camp and ready to go once the regular season starts. Unfortunately for Moritz Wagner, he got injured during the second game of the Summer League - causing him to miss out the remainder of the tournament and some more months of action. Now that he has recently been cleared to return to the court, Wagner has found himself outside of the Los Angeles Lakers' rotation - although he will likely get some minutes as the season unfolds.
25 Jacob Evans - Golden State Warriors
Jacob Evans is another rookie who is currently struggling to earn many minutes at the moment, which isn't an idea start for a young player in need of development. Given that he is on the Golden State Warriors, Evans will have to be patient in order to get an opportunity as the team is currently stacked all-around.
Evans would have made a little more sense on other teams, but being on the most stacked roster in NBA history, he really won't get a chance to make much of an impression for a while.
24 Robert Williams - Boston Celtics
Much like Evans, it's still too early to project how Robert Williams' career is going to play out, especially given that he is on a stacked team like the Boston Celtics. Averaging just 3.6 minutes to date, Williams has already demonstrated what made him an intriguing prospect in the first place during his two years with the Texas A&M.
Known for his energy and hustle off the bench, Williams has already provided the Celtics with some spark off the bench although he will need many more minutes to be truly effective.
23 Grayson Allen - Utah Jazz
For four years, Grayson Allen had been an integral part of Duke and featured in the 2015 NCAA Championship triumph. He is viewed as NBA ready with expectations that he will be able to immediately contribute to his team. And while that has yet to take place as his minutes have been limited, it wouldn't be surprising to see him break out once he gets comfortable in his new journey. He hasn't been able to garner many minutes for the Jazz, but likely would've gotten more on another team.
Dzanan Musa - Brooklyn Nets
Dzanan Musa hasn't featured much for the Brooklyn Nets thus far as the player is deemed to be a project in the works, but he has balled out for their G-League team. And if his performances for the Long Island Nets are any indication of what to expect from him in the future, then it's safe to say that the Nets found a gem with the 29th pick.
Nets fans will have to be a little patient, but with what he's shown so far, he's looking like he could be a draft steal.
22 Chandler Hutchison - Chicago Bulls
Chandler Hutchison hasn't received many minutes so far with the Chicago Bulls, while also struggling with back spasms that led him to miss multiple games. Once he is fully healthy, Hutchison will likely see an increase in minutes - allowing the rookies to show his talents on the court. Seeing how high the Bulls appear to be on their rookie, they would be thrilled to have him again in a re-draft as he is coming off a tremendous seasons with Boise State.
21 Zhaire Smith - Philadelphia 76ers
With the 16th pick of the Draft, the Phoenix Suns took Zhaire Smith from Texas Tech, then traded him to the 76ers for Mikal Bridges. The team had expected him to be a long-term project with hopes of Smith reaching his full potential, but the process may be delayed as it had been previously with multiple Sixers rookies. Smith is set to miss his entire rookie season after having an allergic reaction to sesame, which caused him to lose approximately 20 pounds. Despite the early setback, Smith is still talented enough to be taken with the 21st pick by the Utah Jazz in a re-draft.
20 Josh Okogie - Minnesota Timberwolves
Josh Okogie rose quickly as a prospect to become a lottery pick. In 2016, he was nowhere to be found in mock drafts although his sophomore year at Georgia Tech earned him buzz around the NBA. The Minnesota Timberwolves would still likely draft Okogie with the 20th selection despite an underwhelming start to the season. He will have to improve his shooting percentage going forward, otherwise Okogie may not see an increase in minutes.
19 Jerome Robinson - Atlanta Hawks
Jerome Robinson is an intriguing talent. Having only averaged 5 minutes as a member of the Clippers thus far, Robinson has yet to put his talents on display, which causes the drop off in his rankings (he was drafted 13th overall). But there is no doubt that he is a very talented player, and has proven to be so during his assignment in the G-League. But of course those great games will have to transition into the NBA regular season to justify his high selection.
18 Lonnie Walker IV - San Antonio Spurs
While Lonnie Walker IV has yet to make his NBA debut, the San Antonio Spurs are well-known for having some of the best scouts in the game. They have drafted a number of impressive players with late picks, so Spurs were more than willing to wait for Walker to recover from his injury - believing that he could be the steal of the Draft. He has recently been assigned to the Austin Spurs from the G-League, and could make his regular season debut in the upcoming weeks.
17 Landry Shamet - Philadelphia 76ers
25 teams passed on Landry Shamet before the Philadelphia 76ers scooped him up with the 26th pick. And given his contributions to the team, it's safe to say that several teams will come to regret their decision. Shamet has been impressive on both ends of the court, providing the 76ers with much needed depth off the bench. He is already earning over 20 minutes per game, while adding some offense at a shooting clip over 40% - which are respectable numbers for a rookie early in his career.
16 Aaron Holiday - Indiana Pacers
As the 23rd pick of the NBA Draft, Aaron Holiday has already exceeded expectations for the Indiana Pacers despite only having a minor role on the team. It is likely that he would have had increased minutes on a different roster and looking back on it a few years from now, we'll likely be saying Holiday should've been taken higher. Holiday makes a big jump from his draft position to our rookie rankings due to his impressive play in the young season and it will be intriguing to see how his development unfolds.
15 Donte DiVincenzo - Milwaukee Bucks
As a member of the impressive Milwaukee Bucks, Donte DiVincenzo is already contributing off the bench and he's playing over 15 minutes a game. While his numbers are modest overall, DiVincenzo's impact has been greater than the boxscore indicates. DiVincenzo will eventually get more and more minutes for the Bucks, or may possibly be dangled as trade bait for the Bucks as they try and emerge as championship contenders. Either way, he looks like a solid pick for Milwaukee.
14 Michael Porter Jr. - Denver Nuggets
Michael Porter Jr. is one of the few first round picks that has yet to make his debut although he is expected to return sometime this season. While ideally every team wants to assess its young players early on - preferring for them to be at full health - the Nuggets believed in Porter having high potential when they selected him, so we don't see anything changing in that department.
Coming off an impressive season with the University of Missouri, Porter could push the Nuggets to be become an even better team if the hype is demonstrated on the floor.
13 Kevin Huerter - Atlanta Hawks
Originally drafted 19th overall, several teams likely would've gone in a different direction if they foresaw the early dividends Huerter is paying for the Hawks. Not only has he been among the most impressive rookies of his class, but he would have also been able to immediately contribute to the team which is currently fighting for a playoff spot. Obviously the Hawks are in no way close to even being a playoff contender, so Huerter's performance has been overlooked, but he sure looks like a good pick for the rebuilding Hawks.
12 Miles Bridges - Charlotte Hornets
It is very likely that the Los Angeles Clippers would've kept Miles Bridges rather than trading him to Charlotte if they could do it all over again. While there is potential that he turns out to be better than his spot at 12, Bridges has been as good as advertised thus far - contributing to an impressive team with all-around talents. He will have to continue impressing when given minutes in order to earn a bigger role on the roster although it's safe to say that he has all the tools to do so.
11 Kevin Knox - New York Knicks
New York Knicks fans have always set the highest expectations when it comes to their draft selections - as many tend to get booed on draft night - and Kevin Knox had some question marks around him. With his short stint as a Knick so far, he hasn't been nearly as good as anticipated with some fans already questioning his long-term fit. He would have to drop down a few spots in the draft ranking at the moment although Knox still has potential to prove all doubters wrong.
10 Mikal Bridges - Philadelphia 76ers
With the 10th pick, the Philadelphia Sixers would still likely take Mikal Bridges although the only difference would be their willingness to keep him on the roster. Shortly after being selected in the draft, Bridges was traded to the Phoenix Suns where he has already had a number of solid showings for the team. The 76ers could have certainly used a player with his talents and may end up regretting giving up on him so early in his NBA journey.
9 Mohamed Bamba - Orlando Magic
Prior to the 2018 Draft, Mohamed Bamba had been hyped as a potential number one pick although his buzz decreased following the pre-draft workouts. While Bamba has proven to still be a little raw for the Orlando Magic, there's still plenty of time for him to live up to his pre-draft billing. And if Bamba proves to be as good as initially advertised - then the league will certainly be on watch. But he is a raw product who needs time to develop as his career could play out either way at the moment.
8 Wendell Carter Jr. - Chicago Bulls
Most of the lottery picks have lived up to the hype thus far, including Wendell Carter Jr who has had strong showings for the Chicago Bulls. Given his start to the season, it wouldn't be surprising to see Carter end up as one of the top five best players from this class. For now we have him slotted at no.8 in our rookie rankings, but with a little patience, we could very well see him jumping into one of the top five rookies of his draft class.
7 Shai Gilgeous-Alexander - L.A. Clippers
Taken by the Charlotte Hornets with the 11th pick, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was traded immediately afterwards to the Los Angeles Clippers. The team has been fortunate to have him on the team as he has been among the most impressive all-around rookies, ranking in the top 10 in most statistical categories and he's had a knack for getting a steal at the right time. The Clippers are surpassing expectations this season, and a lot of that has been because of their rookie first rounder exceeding rookie expectations.
6 Marvin Bagley III - Sacramento Kings
From being the 2nd pick to 6th on our rookie rankings, Marvin Bagley III falls through the ranking due to lack of minutes on the Sacramento Kings. His role hasn't been quite as big as many fellow rookies, affecting his overall production on the court. It is possible that he will end up being as good as his spot selection, although he has been outshined so far. It will be interesting to watch his development over the course of the season, as he may end up being talked about as the top rookie by the end of the year.
5 Collin Sexton - Cleveland Cavaliers
Taken with the 8th pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers, Collin Sexton has been among the few bright spots for the team early into the season. Being in the top five in both scoring and assists among rookies, Sexton's year has been even better than the team had anticipated. Add in the fact that he has been one of the best three point-shooters thus far, it's easy to see why Sexton would go higher if teams had the opportunity to go back to June of 2018.
4 Jaren Jackson Jr. - Memphis Grizzlies
Luckily for the Memphis Grizzlies, Jaren Jackson Jr. seems to have been the right pick for them at 4th overall. With a brilliant start to the season, the team has exceeded all expectations thus far as they look to return to the postseason. Jackson has been a major contributor to their current return as he has fit in well with the team. As one of the most versatile players in the lottery, it's been a perfect match for both sides thus far.
3 Trae Young - Atlanta Hawks
So far in this season, Trae Young has been inconsistent with his performances although he has already displayed as to why he was a top five pick in the first place. Young has been among the better rookies thus far - although he will need to improve his three point shooting in the near future. As we'll recall, Young was taken fifth overall by Dallas before being traded to Atlanta, but his promise so far has shown he'd have been worthy of being a top 3 pick.
2 Deandre Ayton - Phoenix Suns
The first overall pick of the 2018 Draft Deandre Ayton has been as good as advertised. It is no slight to him that he comes at number two in our early season rookie rankings since he has lived up to the hype thus far. If the Phoenix Suns had passed on Ayton in the initial draft, there is no doubt that the Sacramento Kings would have selected him instead of Marvin Bagley III due to his superior ability on both ends of the floor.
1 Luka Doncic - Dallas Mavericks
A lot of fans and media figures questioned the Phoenix Suns' decision to pass on Luka Doncic since not only does he have an incredible ceiling, but he is already a proven player with an impressive resume at the age of 19.
It is possible that the Suns may have based their decision on need rather than overall talent, but it appears that they will come to regret this decision since Doncic has been by far the most impressive rookie. And the Hawks may regret trading Doncic to Dallas after drafting him third overall.