Boom or bust. That is the question that is coming ahead of every player selected in the 2018 NBA draft. From Deandre Ayton to Kostas Antetokounmpo, everyone has something to prove. Now the question is what general managers and scouts had the ability to accurately scout and project the careers of these rookies. There is always such a big potential for players to not reach their potential. It could be because of injury which has held back some really good players in the league. Players such a Greg Oden come to mind. The lack of talent prospect falls right on the shoulders of the scouts and general manager for not being able to see everything that they lacked.
Then there are the players who were steals. Sometimes there is just a player who is way better than anyone could have expected. This usually depends on the quality of the draft and how the players at his position, or just in general, who were picked before him performed. Most recently it was Donovan Mitchell who was a steal with the 13th pick in the 2017 draft. The players who were taken before him who did not have nearly as good of a season were Luke Kennard, Frank Ntilikina, Malik Monk, and Jonathan Isacc. Not to say that those players cannot have a good career moving forward, but as of right now they have not lived up to their Draft Day hype. This is the list of players from the 2018 NBA Draft who are either going to be busts or steals.
20 Bust: Luka Doncic - Dallas Mavericks (via ATL)
After a trade with the Atlanta Hawks, the Dallas Mavericks moved up 2 spots in the draft to get this man who is from the Euro League. Now there are no doubting his career achievements abroad. He has won championships and an MVP. He was truly a special talent in that league.
While the Euro League is widely considered to be the second-best league in the world, it is no NBA.
The NBA will prove to be a much great challenge for him and one that I do not believe he will be ready to live up to. Get ready to see him in the G-League soon.
19 Steal: Michael Porter Jr. - Denver Nuggets
Michael Porter Jr. has already collected some real hardware. He was the McDonald's MVP, Gatorade National Player of the Year, Mr. Basketball USA, USA Today Player of the Year, and the Naismith Prep Player of the year. Two other great players have also won those awards. Those being LeBron James and Alonzo Mourning. That is already a plus for him. Now there are a lot of questions moving forward due to his back surgery and most recently his hip injury before the draft. That is what made him slide to number 14 but the Nuggets have a real star caliber player in Porter.
18 Bust: Trae Young - Atlanta Hawks
Trae Young is going to be very bad in the league. It is no wonder the Hawks were so high on him. They are not exactly known for the ability to make great draft picks. Trae was a great player to start the college season, but then he fell off. It all comes to fruition when his team got knocked in the first round to Rhode Island. He did lead the college world in points and assists, but I do not see that carrying over to the NBA. He has shown a lot more inconsistency and poor decision making than he did make good decisions.
17 Steal: Mikal Bridges - Phoenix Suns (via PHI)
Mikal will be the better of the two Bridges selected in the draft. He has shown real flashes of greatness and going to the Phoenix Suns where they have next to no talent. He is sure to get plenty of playing time there and should develop very quickly into a starting role on that team.
It was sad to see Philly trade him away because that is his home and his mother works for that team but there was no real space for him to play and develop on that team.
That is why for Phoenix to trade from him and put him in a situation where he can become something, he will be considered a steal in this draft.
16 Bust: Kevin Knox - New York Knicks
Kevin Knox looks like he could be something. The Kentucky player has shown signs of being a quality player in the league. He will have time to shine in New York while Porzingis is rehabbing his knee. But the pressure of New York and it most likely being dubbed his team for at least a couple of months will do him in. He will be expected to up his scoring numbers and his overall value for the team. But New York is not a patient town or team so he could not be given the time to develop into what they need.
15 Steal: Anfernee Simons - Portland Trail Blazers
Anfernee Simons is from the IMG Academy and probably went unnoticed to most teams and fans. Taken at 24 to the Blazers, he has real boom possibilities. Although he might spend a bit of time in the G-League, he will develop quickly and by the end of this season, he will be the man off the bench for Damian Lillard. He played very well for the IMG Academy and has plenty of potential to move on up. What out for his name in 2-3 years as one of the great picks from this draft. He is without a doubt the real deal.
14 Bust: Wendell Carter Jr. - Chicago Bulls
Wendell Carter Jr. has the potential to be one of the best bigs taken in the 2018 NBA draft. Unfortunately, he went to the Bulls who have not shown much of a track record of developing bigs well. He is going into a situation where he will probably come off the bench at first to Robin Lopez but should overtake him in no time.
The issue is that he most likely will not develop into the big man that they need to stay versatile in today's league.
Wendell got the benefit of playing next to Bagley in college and he stayed in his shadow all season. There is no shadow for him to hide behind in the big leagues.
13 Steal: Lonnie Walker IV - San Antonio Spurs
Lonnie Walker went to the Spurs and should be seen as the replacement for Kawhi Leonard as soon as they figure out where they are going to ship him. He is coming out of the University of Miami which means he knows how to play with a lot of grit and is ready to learn the way of the Spurs. I believe he is ready to buy into Gregg Popovich and could be great in the league. It would not be the first time they got someone out of the lottery and still was able to kill it. Guys like Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili are the main examples. Not to mention they have the ability to get the most out of every player on their roster.
12 Bust: Collin Sexton - Cleveland Cavaliers
Collin Sexton on the Cavs will not be a great fit unless LeBron comes back. He is a great defensive player but does not have a great offensive game. The best player comparison that comes to mind is Patrick Beverly. Sure, he is a feisty player who is going to go out and give his all, but that will not always translate. He does not carry the ability to lead a team and will definitely need a great player on his team to mask his many deficiencies. Collin will for sure be a bust with much better players than him coming later in the draft.
11 Steal: Aaron Holiday - Indiana Pacers
Aaron will be the 3rd Holiday brother to enter the NBA but he will be the best of all three of them. Jrue has had a nice year down in New Orleans and carved out a nice starting position for himself. Justing has been bouncing around the league a bit in his career so far.
The Pacers are just the situation in which Holiday could thrive.
There are not high expectations on him and he will be playing along with a hungry Victor Oladipo and a center in Myles Turner who will be looking to have a bounce-back season.
10 Bust: Zhaire Smith - Philadelphia 76ers (via PHX)
Zhaire Smith is going to find himself in a hard spot to develop. They will either believe in him or they will believe in Markelle Fultz. They gave up a lot for Fultz as well so it has to pay off or someone else is going to lose a job. The burner accounts were a big reason why Bryan Colangelo was fired but a bigger one was he traded up to 1 to draft Fultz, and in a re-draft, he probably does not even go in the top-10. That is what is going to happen with Zhaire as well. He is not going to be a great player in this game and the main reason is he does not have the space to develop.
9 Steal: Robert Williams - Boston Celtics
Robert Williams has the real steal and boom potential. He was drafted 27th to the Celtics and will most likely start more games than he comes off the bench this season. Right now he is just a board crashing defender. Under the tutelage of Brad Stevens, he can become so much more. Playing alongside Al Horford he can learn how to be an All-Star center. He can learn how to become a tough and gritty center with Marcus Morris teaching him a few things. Robert Williams is in the perfect position for him to be one of the best centers in the league in 5 years.
8 Bust: Jerome Robinson - Los Angeles Clippers
Jerome Robinson was just a hope taking at this spot. The Clippers drafted 2 guards in this draft and neither will pan out for them. We will get to the second one is a second.
The Clippers are mostly hopeful with this draft pick that they can develop him into the player that they need but overall he lacks the drive and talent to be an upper-echelon player in this league.
He will not be worth this draft selection in 3 years. Sorry Clipper fans but you are in stock for a few more years of being mediocre. Maybe next year you can have more luck.
7 Steal: Josh Okogie - Minnesota Timberwolves
Josh Okogie will be a lockdown player in this league. He will learn a lot from playing alongside Jeff Teague and Jimmy Butler about being a defensive nightmare when it comes to guarding the top guards or forwards in the league. Not to mention the defensive mind that is Tom Thibodeau. He already has the instincts and reflexes to be great defensively. He can also lean on Andrew Wiggins and figure out how to be an offensive force as well. He will be vital in helping them get to the playoffs again and make it winning the first playoff series in over a decade.
6 Bust: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander - Los Angeles Clippers
Shai could have been great on another team. Had he gone a pick sooner or later he would have been on the Suns or the Hornets. Both would have been great spots. But because he got drafted to the Clippers, alongside Jerome Robinson, he is going to be forced to play at a level he is not ready for. He is coming out of Texas Tech, which historically has not given great talent to the NBA, which did not have a great season in the NCAA this year. He will not go down as a great player. Again, sorry Clippers fan.
5 Steal: Donte DiVincenzo - Milwaukee Bucks
Donte DiVincenzo is the man who had one amazing NCAA game during march madness and decided to declare for the draft. In a month he climbed the draft boards with his impressive character and draft combine ability.
He went from being projected as a late second round pick to being a late lottery pick.
He is going to the Milwaukee Bucks where they have Eric Bledsoe starting, but they do not have a solid shooting guard slotting at this point. He is going to light it up from deep during his NBA career and should at some point win the 3-point contest.
4 Bust: Jaren Jackson Jr. - Memphis Grizzlies
Jaren Jackson Jr. really climbed draft boards the closer it came to the draft. Originally he was going to be a late lottery pick, then he flew up and got selected 4th overall. The Grizzlies could have a star, but there is a reason a lot of draftees withheld their medical information from the team.
He is going to come off the bench to Marc Gasol for the foreseeable future.
He will not be able to develop under J.B. Bickerstaff who has made a career of being assistant coaches and interim head coaches. Do not look for Jaren Jackson to get a lot of votes to come when the rookie of the year votes start coming in.
3 Steal: Jacob Evans - Golden State Warriors
He was drafted by the Warriors. Need more? They have done extremely well in the last two years with the 2nd round draft picks that they made. With Pat McCaw and Jordan Bell, they have quite the young force coming into the league. Jordan Bell could develop into a better, more athletic, version of Draymond Geen who will not have to be as dirty. Pat McCaw avoided having something seriously wrong with him after being undercut by Vince Carter late in the season when he landed right on his back. Fortunately, he will be okay and ready to play at the start of the season.
2 Bust: Miles Bridges - Charlotte Hornets
This man will for sure be a bust. Taken by the Hornets who are one trade away from being in a full rebuild, he is going to have to fight for a role on the team between Nicolas Batum, Frank Kaminsky, Jeremy Lamb, Marvin Williams, Michael-Kidd Gilchrist, and Cody Zeller. All those players are playing the position that Miles Bridges needs to get some play time to develop.
He is going to be a bust and the Hornets are going to regret getting him in such a loaded draft.
We can just go ahead and add him to the ever-growing list of players that MJ drafted that he should never have.
1 Steal: Jalen Brunson - Dallas Mavericks
Taken in the second round, Jalen Brunson is ready to be great. The Mavs have their starter in Dennis Smith Jr. They might even have their shooting guard in Seth Curry. They do not have a great backup point guard. That is the perfect role for Jalen. They are looking to be competitive this year. He is going to be an immediate impact player. There is a reason why he won the Player of the Year award this year for his play at Villanova. Oh yeah, he is a champion by the way so he knows the work that goes into getting that silverware.