The 2018 NBA Draft has just wrapped up, and although we haven’t seen any of them step on the floor as NBA players, it’s clear that this class was just as deep as 2017, and it could completely change the landscape of the NBA for years to come. Teams like Phoenix and Sacramento got stars at #1 and #2 to add to their other stars (DeAaron Fox and Devin Booker), but all the way down the first round, teams have selected players that could be in the league for years to come, and it will be exciting to see the way these guys play out.
DeAndre Ayton, Colin Sexton, Marvin Bagley, Mo Bamba, Luka Doncic and several other players could all be in the running for Rookie of the Year, and it’s clear that we should all be incredibly excited about the future of the NBA, as it’s in the hands of some very talented players.
So sit back and read along as we look into the future of the 2018 NBA Draft Class, and we will analyze 20 of the top names in the draft, as we look at 15 players who we believe will become stars, and 5 that will unfortunately bust, whether it be due to a team over reaching, or too much expectations on the player's shoulders.
20 Bust – Trae Young
Coming into the draft, we all knew that Trae Young wouldn’t be one of the top players taken, but due to the reputation he cultivated at Oklahoma, he was one of the biggest names in the draft.
After being taken at #5 overall by the Hawks (through trades with Dallas), he’ll definitely struggle to lead the team.
At #3, Atlanta had the possibility of Mo Bamba, Luka Doncic and a number of talented big men, but instead opted for a trade that saw them get one of the more overrated players in the draft. While he’ll likely have a decent NBA career, he’ll always be considered a bust because of what Atlanta passed up.
19 Star – Lonnie Walker
The San Antonio Spurs, despite all of the controversy surrounding Kawhi Leonard are still one of the best franchises in the NBA, and like the Patriots in the NFL, they often turn under the radar draft picks into stars, and that’s exactly what is going to happen with Miami’s Lonnie Walker.
A Shooting Guard with all the talent in the world, Walker somehow fell under the radar all the way to #18.
No matter what happens with Leonard, Coach Pop remains one of the best in the game, and with so many veterans around him, Walker is going to find out just how to capitalize on his many strengths.
18 Star – Kostas Antetokounmpo
A few years ago, a guy with the last name Antetokounmpo might slide right under the radar, but after his brother Giannis rose to the top of the league to become an MVP candidate, this pick stands out in the second round, and while he may not be a big star, he’s got the potential to be a great player in the league.
Kostas doesn’t quite have the potential that his brother does, but playing under Dirk Nowitzki and alongside two young stars in Dennis Smith Jr. and Luka Doncic will definitely help, and Kostas will no doubt make his own mark on the league.
17 Star – Collin Sexton
We’ll talk about just how deep the big men are in this class, but there are several fantastic Point Guards too.
Outside of Doncic, the most potential comes from Alabama’s Collin Sexton, who could be the man to lead Cleveland into the future with LeBron James gone.
Sexton doesn’t posses the shooting prowess of Trae Young, but he is a much bigger, more intense player (and someone that can actually play D), and if his decent shooting stroke can develop over time, the Cavaliers may have a player that can lead them back into the playoffs, even without their hometown King.
16 Bust – Michael Porter Jr.
In terms of pure potential, Michael Porter Jr. could be considered one of the biggest stars in the draft, but his injury history is very checkered, to the point where he may miss the entirety of the upcoming season, and for that reason, we can’t see him living up to that lofty potential.
The Nuggets were right to take a chance on him at #14 (drafting him in the top 10 would have been a huge mistake), and if he can overcome his injury history, pairing him with Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray could make them very dangerous in the West, but we simply can’t see that happening.
15 Star – Aaron Holiday
The Holiday family have seen two players (Jrue and Justin) make it to the NBA, but in the 2018 Draft, the Indiana Pacers selected Justin, a Guard from UCLA, and if he is developed properly, he could be the best of all three.
Indy are building quite a team, with Myles Turner and Victor Oladipo leading the way. Holiday is another solid piece, and while it’s clear he won’t be at the level of Luka Doncic or Colin Sexton, he’ll be a great starter for years to come, and he’ll go down as one of the biggest steals in the draft.
14 Star – Luka Doncic
Luka Doncic was quite an unknown commodity heading into the NBA Draft, but many believe he is the biggest star in the draft, and after Dallas moved up to pair him with Dennis Smith, that prediction is almost certainly going to come true. The Guard from Slovenia has all the skills in the world, and while he’s not the most athletic player, he is quite accomplished for someone of his age, and competing in the NBA won’t intimidate such a professional, so watch for him to follow in Dirk’s footsteps as the biggest European name in the league.
13 Star – Wendell Carter
The Chicago Bulls have been horrendous over the past few years, but adding Wendell Carter means that they have quite a few good, young stars in their lineup, and having him there to anchor the pain will give them the consistency that they need to build to becoming a playoff threat once more. With Zach LaVine, Lauri Markannen and Kris Dunn among their future potential stars, Carter will join a young team that’s hungry for success, and if he is allowed the freedom to develop the way we’d expect, he will become a genuine two-way star, and it must be exciting for Bulls fans.
12 Bust – Jaren Jackson
The Memphis Grizzlies were a playoff threat for a consistent number of years, but as the game developed, they struggled to do so, and with the unfortunate injuries to Mike Conley, the team is now one of the worst in the league, and while Jaren Jackson is a safe pick at #4, he’s just not the one they need. With the likes of Mo Bamba, Wendell Carter and Colin Sexton all still on the board, they took the safe pick, and one day, we’ll look back on that as one of the biggest missed opportunities in Memphis Grizzlies franchise history.
11 Star – Miles Bridges
Miles Bridges was one of the most underrated prospects in this past draft, as his college teammate Jaren Jackson stole the spotlight (undeservedly in my opinion), but he has size, athleticism and a great offensive game, and the Charlotte Hornets have got yet another promising young player. With Kemba Walker likely playing his last season in Charlotte (it’s expected he’ll move on or be traded unless they can finally succeed), Bridges could become the centerpiece of this franchise going forward, but either way, he’ll be a valuable player going forward, with All Star potential.
10 Star – DeAndre Ayton
Early on, it looked like the #1 overall pick could have been one of many players, but as the drafted got near, it was clear that DeAndre Ayton would be the choice of the Phoenix Suns, and with Devin Booker, the pairing could be the next Shaq and Kobe (according to Booker anyway). We may need to halt the talk on Ayton being the next Shaq, but he has all the tools necessary to follow in the footsteps of the likes of DeMarcus Cousins, Joel Embiid and Karl-Anthony Towns as complete big men, and we think that he’ll be a star from year 1.
9 Star: Marvin Bagley
Duke has been producing top notch NBA prospects for decades now, and the latest in that long line is Marvin Bagley, drafted #2 overall by the Sacramento Kings, and while that sounds bad for his future, pairing him with DeAaron Fox may just be the key for this franchise to finally turn things around. Sure, it’s not going to happen right away, and the Kings may have to suffer through another lottery year, but Bagley has the potential to be a two-way star at the Power Forward position, and if he can develop the way that many NBA scouts believe he can, he could be one of the biggest stars to come out of the draft.
8 Bust – Mikal Bridges
Mikal Bridges was one of the biggest names coming into the NBA Draft, and it was believed he had the talent to go anywhere, but for some reason, he slipped out of the top 10.
He was drafted by his hometown 76ers, but was eventually traded away to Phoenix.
This is a fairly decent pickup for Phoenix, as Bridges is being added to a core that includes Booker, DeAndre Ayton and Josh Jackson, but the expectations for the future of this team will now be quite high, and unfortunately, Bridges just doesn’t have the talent to be the piece that puts this team back to the playoffs.
7 Star – Mo Bamba
The 2018 NBA draft was littered with great big men, and while DeAndre Ayton is the most likely to become an all-around star, Mo Bamba from Texas could be the next Rudy Gobert, and at #6, the Orlando Magic got a franchise-altering star. Pairing him with Aaron Gordon makes their frontcourt one of the best in the NBA immediately, and with a wing span that is matched by few in NBA history, Bamba will be a game-changer. If the Magic can somehow find a way to get great guard play in the near future, they could be back to the playoffs in no time.
6 Star – Kevin Knox
New York Knicks fans are some of the most fickle in the NBA, and after booing Kristaps Porzingis on draft night 3 years ago, they haven’t learned a thing, as they booed Kentucky’s Kevin Knox out of the building, despite the fact that he is quite a talented player. He isn’t as polished as some of the other players in this draft, but he has the ability to be a cornerstone of the Knicks franchise for years to come, even drawing comparisons to Jayson Tatum, and just like The Unicorn, Knicks fans will no doubt regret booing him on draft night.
5 Star – Chandler Hutchison
There are plenty of players from this past draft that come from big schools with big reputations, and while Chandler Hutchison isn’t one of those, he has the potential to be a big steal for the Chicago Bulls, who continue gathering plenty of young, potential talents.
Hutchison joins Wendell Carter from this class as yet another talented young player in Chicago, and while Hutchison doesn’t have the potential of Carter, he could be a great two-way player in the NBA, especially if the Bulls make his development an organizational priority, as he has the offensive game to be a starter for years to come in the NBA.
4 Bust – Grayson Allen
Grayson Allen was one of the biggest names heading into this draft, but that wasn’t because of his play on the court, it’s because of the antics displayed on court by the Duke product over his career, and ultimately, that kind of thing is going to cost him success in the NBA. Despite this, the Utah Jazz took a chance on him late in the first round, and while he has the talent to be a good player, he just doesn’t have the character and the drive necessary to become a star, and with Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert leading the team out in Utah, he just isn’t going to find success.
3 Star – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
Canadian basketball has never been hotter, as the Raptors are enjoying their best run ever, and as a country, they’ve sent plenty of good players to the NBA over the past few years, highlighted by Andrew Wiggins, but the next big name is the Clippers Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. The Guard may not have the shooting talent of Trae Young or the explosiveness of Colin Sexton, but he has the ability to do everything you need to succeed in the NBA, and if he’s given time to learn behind some of the veterans in LA, he could be their starting PG of the future.
2 Star – Zhaire Smith
Like a lot of players in this draft (due to several different reasons), Smith didn’t have the best numbers in college, but he’s a great defensive force who can play 2 different positions (Shooting Guard and Small Forward), and he’ll offer a lot of talent to this young Philadelphia 76ers team. His offensive game isn’t great, but he has the potential to become a ‘3 and D’ type player that’s become so popular in today’s NBA, and although he’s not going to rise to the level of Simmons or Embiid, he’s going to be very important for this franchise going forward.
1 Star – Anfernee Simons
Anfernee Simons is quite an interesting case, as he was the first American drafted straight out of high school since 2005, and that’s due to the scandal that rocked Louisville (the school he committed too), but despite that, he was still highly sought after. He fell all the way down to the Portland Trail Blazers at #24, and at just 19 years of age, he has plenty of time to grow and develop his game, and learning behind Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum will certainly help, and one day, he’ll be a great starter (whether that’s in Portland or elsewhere).
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