The NBA Draft is almost upon us. An opportunity for struggling franchises to redirect their future, and a day that can change the course of the league as we know it.
The 2018 draft is full of talent. Talent that is desperately needed for many of the teams picking in the top 10 after the great tank race to end the 2017/18 regular season. Get this right and a team can go from lottery to playoffs.
Pressure on front offices is huge. You really don’t want to be that guy who passed on a Hall of Famer, or the guy who decided to trade up to take a player who barely played in his rookie year (looking at you, Sixers).
Here are a few of the most exciting players in the 2018 NBA draft…
DeAndre Ayton – Centre
Ayton is a 7’1” centre, with a 7’5” wingspan making him a dominant force in the paint on both ends of the floor. Ayton averaged over 12 rebounds per 36 minutes during the last season to go with a couple of blocks.
The Arizona freshman is widely expected to be the number one pick in the draft. Ayton has spoken before about playing with superstar-in-the-making, Devin Booker, he could be a franchise changing player for the Suns.
Already a prolific scorer, Ayton can stretch the floor and has everything to be a complete modern NBA centre.
Luka Doncic – Shooting Guard
Doncic is just 19-years-old, but he got his hands on the EuroLeague MVP trophy a few weeks ago. He happened to guide his team, Real Madrid, to EuroLeague victory, too. His draft stock has remained high and could yet see him go as the number one overall pick.
Phoenix recently named Igor Kokoshov, who coached Doncic in the Slovenian National Team last year, as their new coach. Whether that has any impact on the Suns’ decision regarding the number one pick will remain unknown until draft day.
Doncic stands at 6’7” and has the tools to be a complete player in the NBA. Averaging over 20 points, seven rebounds and six assists per 36 minutes this season shows just that.
Trae Young – Point Guard
Trae Young has been compared to Steph Curry, which can’t be a bad thing. Young hits 3.5 threes per 36 minutes, along with 8.8 assists. A natural shooter with the ability to make plays seems perfect for the NBA in 2018.
Depending on where you look, Young falls somewhere between four and 10 on draft boards. His 27.8 points per 36 makes him the best scorer in the draft, but his 6’1” height is a concern defensively.
There’s no doubt Young is one of the draft’s most exciting talents. As we have seen with his regular turnovers, though, he is still raw, and perhaps a bit too much of a gamble to go in the top five.
Michael Porter – Small Forward
Porter was the consensus number one pick until injury derailed his season. The Missouri, 6’10” small forward is a gamble for any team who takes him now, having played a mere three games during the last season.
While his ceiling remains immensely high, his fitness means we are unlikely to see Porter go before seventh or eighth. Perhaps he will be left with the hope of Cleveland on his shoulders post LeBron.
Mo Bamba – Centre
Mo Bamba broke a combine record this year, registering a wingspan of 7’10”. The Texas freshman is a blocking machine, averaging 4.4 denials per 36 minutes to complement his 12.6 rebounds.
Bamba falls around four or five on most draft boards. Whoever picks him up will have a player readymade for the NBA, and capable of being a really effective defensive force from the off. His offensive play requires some honing, however.
We can be sure to see plenty of Bamba highlight reels next season.