The 2018 NBA draft has come and gone, and now one night of excitement gives way to four months of anticipation waiting to see the top picks in action next season. Fortunately, there will be the Las Vegas summer league to satiate our basketball thirsts. Let’s take a look at some of the noteworthy picks and players to keep an eye on in the summer league and in the regular season.
Deandre Ayton, C
With the first pick in the 2018 NBA draft, the Phoenix Suns selected the big man from
in state Arizona to join Devin Booker as young faces of the franchise. When asked about his expectations Ayton replied that he wants to form “Shaq and Kobe part two” with Booker. Look for Ayton to be one of the most talented offensive rookies this year, and with only Booker to help him shoulder the offensive load in Phoenix, he’ll get a good share of touches with production expected to follow.
Marvin Bagley III, PF
Bagley had an outstanding career at Duke, and the Sacramento Kings hope that the success will continued for the franchise that has not had much success in the past. Bagley is very athletic for his size (6’11) and like Ayton, he will be asked to take on a huge part of his team’s offense. He averaged 25 points per game in college and his game is still developing. His defense does need work.
Luka Doncic, SG
Doncic comes all the way from Slovenia, where he was the youngest ever Euroleague MVP at 19 years old. He dominated that league in a way that past stars like Kristaps Porzinges and Dirk Nowitzki never did. Doncic appears to be the most complete player in this years draft, with his scoring ability being a touch more refined than his defense. He will get a chance for Nowitzki to mentor him in Dallas, after the Mavericks traded the fifth pick in this years draft and a future protected first round pick to move up.
Trae Young, PG
Trae lead the NCAA in scoring last season for Oklahoma, and his style of play and production have lead to comparisons to Stephen Curry. Atlanta was able to get the man they wanted while adding to the future arsenal of pics which will help the Hawks in their rebuild. Young is a terrific scorer, he has range and creativity with the ball in his hands, but his defense is lacking. Look for young to be one of the most electric and exciting rookies this season.
Mohamed Bamba, C
I’m really excited to see what Bamba can do in the league after seeing what he did at Texas, especially on defense. He puts his 7’9 wingspan to good use with almost four blocks per game. If he can fill out his 6’11 frame and get some strength in his legs to bully people in the paint he could be a really special talent.
Collin Sexton, PG
The Cleveland Cavaliers started their campaign to retain Lebron James by drafting the electric Collin Sexton out of Alabama. Sexton thrilled in the SEC tournament and the NCAA tournament with late game heroics and athletic plays one after another. Sexton can do it himself, or facilitate, and he is an energetic defender.
Kevin Knox, SF
Just like two years ago when they drafted Porzinges, fans booed as Adam Silver called Knox’s name for the Knicks. Porzinges gave him some good advice saying those boos will quickly turn to cheers once he steps on the court. Knox is a versatile big man who can play inside out or from the other side of the arc and provide a much needed lift on defense in New York.
Michael Porter Jr. SF
Before a back injury derailed his entire season at the university of Missouri, Porter Jr. was one of the top NBA prospects. In high school, he looked to be one of the best shooters around, as well as a gifted natural scorer. He appeared in only three games for Missouri, so it will be interesting to see how he fares against the talent level in the NBA. If he can return to health and continue to grow his game, the Nuggets will have gotten a steal here at the 14th pick.