On Thursday, the NBA and its fans were all focused on a few hours that could see a number of teams look drastically different next season. The NBA Draft is a time where kids become pros and teams become trade partners looking for the right combination of moves and selections to get themselves out of the lottery next summer. Some franchises on Thursday appeared to do a good job.
The Mavericks made a huge trade with the Hawks and both teams got their man. The Clippers were active and overhauled their backcourt and the Nuggets, at number 14, took a chance on a player who just a year ago could have been the top pick in this year's draft.
Here are your winners and losers from the first round of the 2018 NBA Draft.
Winner: The Dallas Mavericks
They gave up a lot to get him, but the Mavericks got their man in Luka Doncic. He's a dynamic talent out of the Euro league, and while we don't know just how much he'll impact the NBA, insiders believe he has the potential to be better than anyone and could have been the number one pick. Essentially, the Mavs got him at number five by giving a protected first-rounder in 2019.
This guy is the next coming of Dirk Nowitzki and Dallas would love another Dirk in their system. There's really no worry he won't pan out, it's just a matter of how good he'll be and it giving up Trae Young and a draft pick to get him was the right call.
Loser: Kevin Knox
How you know Kevin Knox is going to become an All-Star pic.twitter.com/fvKw6cLh2r— New Era Knicks (@NewEraKnicks) June 22, 2018
There's something about being drafted by the New York Knicks that makes it hard on players. Kevin Knox was not necessarily the player most fans in New York wanted, but to be booed the way he was by the crowd was ruthless, especially when you consider the Knicks fans have a history of doing this and often being wrong, as they were with Porzingis.
Knox handled the early rejection well, but he'll now have to prove himself over the course of the season to show that the Knicks didn't make a mistake. Knox will be a good player for the Knicks and should be a strong forward when he matures.
Winner: Michael Porter Jr. and the Denver Nuggets
Michael Porter Jr. is officially off the market.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 22, 2018
The Denver Nuggets select Porter Jr. at No. 14 overall! pic.twitter.com/lO7MkKHvi7
There was a real concern Michael Porter Jr. would fall out of a draft lottery spot. He didn't, and went to the Denver Nuggets at number 14 and could surprise the entire league if he can stay healthy. Denver poured over his medical information prior to taking him and Porter dropping to them.
He has a great ability to shoot the ball and make plays. He's a lot like a young Kevin Durant. He loves scoring and will be a great addition to the Nuggets. The Nuggets now have a very motivated player.
Winner: Los Angeles Clippers
With two picks, the LA Clippers completely revamped their backcourt. A team that essentially needed to start over after losing Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, they made a trade with the Hornets to land possibly the best point guard and ball-handler in the draft in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and then drafted Jerome Robinson with the 13th pick after sending number 12 to the Hornets.
By adding a great point guard and a potentially elite scorer, the Clippers significantly improved their team in a matter of 15 minutes. The key here is that there is more coming from the Clippers who now have too many guards. If they don't make a move, this could become a bit of a loser.
Winner/Loser: The Atlanta Hawks
The Hawks have their man.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 22, 2018
Trae Young is selected No. 5 overall and is reportedly headed to Atlanta. pic.twitter.com/p4NUU7dzFs
Getting an elite shooter in the NBA is always a huge asset, and while the Hawks got potentially the best shooter in the draft, they also landed a player who may be expected to do too much too soon. If this was only about the pick, it would still be a winner, but because the Hawks gave up Luka Doncic to get him, it's a huge risk.
Young potentially lacks the physical ability to make an impact immediately, and he may not be as explosive as Steph Curry, the player he's most compared to. But, the Hawks also got another first-rounder from the Mavs and if Young comes anywhere close to Curry, the Hawks might have hit the home run of the 2018 NBA Draft.
Loser: Washington Wizards
The pick of Troy Brown Jr. was puzzling. A team that needed a big man instead took a defense-first wing who likely won't be a starter on the roster. He came off the board far earlier than projected and this could prove costly for the Wizards when there were quite a few good options left.