The NBA draft is undoubtably the best draft of any professional sport. There aren’t 27 thousand rounds like the MLB, it doesn’t take a whole week like the NFL and its not hockey. The way a team drafts can define a teams legacy for the next 20 years. No one wants to be the general manager that decided to select Greg Oden over Kevin Durant or Sam Bowie over the great Micheal Jordan. Heaven forbid you be the guy that decided to take Darko Milicic with the second pick of one of the greatest draft classes of all time. the 2018 NBA Draft had a lot of promising and intriguing talent, its time to decide who had a great night and who made a Sam Bowie pick.
Phoenix Suns- Deandre Ayton, Mikal Bridges (trade rights), George King, Elie Oboko
Ok I know, this is a a pretty easy choice, having the number one pick usually means you are going to get a great talent. I want to praise GM Ryan McDonough for not over thinking the situation. Luka Doncic was an intriguing prospect for a team that will still be in rebuild mode next season. They ignored the intrigued and locked up the clear best player in the draft. Scouting reports for Deandre Ayton listed very few weaknesses, the lone problem was a supposed inability to protect the rim. What most people seem to forget is that Ayton played a large amount of time at the power forward position drawing him away from the basket and limiting his ability to be in a position to effect as many shots. The ability to improve defensively will come as he transitions to the center position.
For most teams Ayton would be enough but the Suns also pulled off a trade acquiring Villanova swing man Mikal Bridges. Bridges has the tools to be a versatile defender at the NBA level, especially guarding 1-3. Averaged 2.1 steals and 1.3 blocks per 40. He also brings offensive efficiency to a young team. Bridges time at Villanova allowed him playing on a winning team while not having to be the focus of the other teams attention. He is a perfect fit to play alongside Devin Booker and Josh Jackson.
Indiana Pacers- Aaron Holiday, Alize Johnson
The Indiana Pacers put themselves back on the map during the first round of the playoffs taking mighty Lebron James to game 7. Picking from the 23rd position usually it is not easy to find the perfect fit for whatever need you have but sometimes it does. UCLA Guard Aaron Holiday fell down the draft a bit and ended up in a perfect place. Indiana needed depth at the point and shooting guard spots and they got it with Holiday. Excellent blend of shotmaking and penetrating — 21.6 points per 40 minutes. Tremendous balance and touch. Made 2.8 3-pointers per 40 minutes at a 42.9 percent clip as a junior. Holiday will allow Victor Oladipo to play the off the ball more as well as get more rest and know that there will still be a scorer on the floor. Holiday has top 15 talent that the Pacers grabbed in the mid 20’s, look for Holiday to make and immediate impact…Donavon Mitchell like??
The Pacers also picked up mid-major phenom 6’8″ Point/Forward Alize Johnson with the 20th pick of the second round. Johnson a swiss army knife on the floor can give the Pacers depth at multiple positions. The Missouri Valley Conference 2x first team all conference player improved every year for the Bears including shooting 39% from three in 2018. I great grab for today’s NBA style.
Chicago Bulls- Wendell Carter, Chandler Hutchinson
I have wrote and talked about the development of the young core of the Chicago Bulls all season. With a healthy Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkenan I think they have the building blocks of an Eastern Conference playoff team in 2018-19. Sitting at #8 in the draft they could have taken some chances, maybe go with Micheal Porter Jr. or add a wing player like Kevin Knox or Mikal Bridges. They went with the steady hand of Wendell Carter Jr. Carter Jr. is a double double machine that has underrated shot blocking ability. Chicago picks up a big center who can slide in right next to Lauri Markkanen’s finesse game up front. He has excellent hands and touch around the basket. Carter compares very well to former Bull and Blue Devil Carlos Boozer.
Having a second first round pick allowed the bulls to take a gamble on a potential prospect gem in Boise State’s 6’7″ swingman Chandler Hutchinson. The 2018 Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year brings great size and length to the young Bulls. Hutchinson has the potential to move right into the Chicago rotation and give them valuable minutes on both ends of the floor. Chicago found a way to add two valuable rotational pieces that are NBA ready right now.
Honorable Mention : Denver Nuggets (Micheal Porter Jr. at #14 is a steal)