Big Dominate the Top of the Draft Class in Another Loaded Draft

Staff Writer: Ramon Elortondo 

 

Last year’s draft was quote, “The best draft class since 2003” said by the G.O.A.T in LeBron James. The 2018 class will not disappoint though, and it could be just as good if not better than last year. There is talent at all positions. Towering big men that can anchor defenses and protect the paint, great wing players, and all-star point guards that light up the stat sheet. There is still a lot of time left until the draft, and a lot of things could happen. Players could make their case and slide up spots that today we think wouldn’t, but let’s take a look at what could happen on draft night. 

Phoenix SunsLuka Doncic, PG, International– Doncic has been described as the best European talent to ever come to the states. He’s got it all. He can shoot the three, has amazing play-making ability and can defend. Arguably the best player in this draft, the problem is we just can’t get too confident in him. A lot of analyst say Ayton is the best prospect and it was hard for me to decide who the top pick would be, but the decision was finally made when I found out that the Suns hired his Slovenian head coach. Igor Kokoskov was the Jazz assistant head coach as well. I believe it is a perfect marriage for the two, and Coach Kokoskov will know exactly what to do with Doncic. He was playing against inferior talent, and although he’s led his team to championships, Luka is going to be entering a whole other level of athletic ability when he reaches the NBA. I believe he will be a superstar in this league.  

“I was watching highlights on YouTube and I can’t see how he wouldn’t dominate in the NBA. He’s got it all. A 6’8″ point guard in today’s NBA, Doncic is going to be so good watch!” said Michael Burke, a Woodstock sophomore, convincingly about the international prospect.  

Sacramento Kings– Deondre Ayton, C, Arizona– He is a 7-foot-1 forward averaged 20.1 points and 11.6 rebounds in 33.5 minutes this season while helping the Wildcats win the Pac-12 regular-season title and Pac-12 Tournament title. His physical gifts make him unique and provide an opportunity for superstardom. With the NBA shifting to such a perimeter game, I have my doubts that he is the top pick, but Ayton can guard the perimeter with his athletic ability, and knock down free throws, so he won’t have to come out of games in the closing minutes. He’s got the talent, but is he a winner? Ayton got bounced in the first round of the tournament, but he’s got the skillset to dominate in the league.  

 

ayton

Ayton got bounced in the first round of the tournament this year. The freshman is considered the best talent in this class by many. Photo gathered by Dani Salame.

Marcus Foo, alumni at Woodstock is a fan of the Kings and he had this to say about his team acquiring the second pick in the lottery, “Honestly, we got so lucky to have the second pick, but I’m not mad. Ayton or Doncic would be nasty with (De’Aaron) Fox at the point.”  

Atlanta Hawks– Marvin Bagley III, Duke- There’s concerns that Bagley’s game won’t transfer well to the NBA. Although they already have a athletic big in John Collins, the Hawks can’t pass on the potential of the Duke star. He’s an offensive superstar with freakish athleticism, the problem is he relies on that a lot. Marvin imposed his athleticism on pretty much everyone he faced in college knowing his competition just couldn’t keep up. That won’t happen in the NBA. He’s still talented enough to be a future superstar for the rebuilding Hawks. He buried 40% of his three-point attempts, which could mean he’s more than just a back to the basket big. If he can develop a consistent jumper, Bagley could become a matchup nightmare at the next level. He’d immediately bolster the Hawks’ frontcourt next to John Collins.  

 

bagley

Marvin put the team on his back during the tournament averaging over 20 points all year. Photo gathered by Dani Salame.

“If you think Marvin Bagley won’t dominate for the Hawks you’re wrong. He killed people in college, why wouldn’t he in the NBA,” said Drew Ramsey, a Woodstock Junior.  

Memphis Grizzlies– Mohamad Bamba, C, Texas– The most intriguing prosper in this year’s draft is the freakishly athletic center with the.  7’10” wingspan. Bamba has all the ability in the world to potentially be the best big in this draft. His high ceiling gives him the capability to be Rudy Gobert with a nasty jump shot. In interviews with teams, all that is being said is how mature Mo is. Mo Bamba immediately brings high-end defensive prowess with his long wingspan. He led the country in blocks. If he fills out a bit physically, he would dominate.  

Mo Bamba

Mo Bamba set the record for longest wingspan ever at the NBA combine, reaching 7’10”. He has the most upside out of any of the centers this year. Photo gathered by Dani Salame.

Dallas Mavericks– Jaren Jackson Jr., PF, Michigan State-  Jackson has relative youth and potential on both ends of the floor that are appealing, and make him an attractive, flexible piece to build around for a team still in the early stages of its rebuild. Jackson is probably a couple seasons away from making consistent contributions but possesses a critical duality for modern bigs. He can step out and shoot from outside, while also defending in space and protecting the rim. 

Orlando Magic– Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma- Young’s high-end shooting ability and unique flair for the game give him some real upside despite a lack of standout physical traits. He’s slippery off the dribble and showed flashes of special talent early in the season, able to score from deep, initiate offense and find teammates off the drive. Defensively, Young will be a question mark, but if he maximizes his ability to shoot and play make, the defensive end of the court could be overweighed by his offensive skill.   

young

Trae Young began the season leading his team past big name schools, but once they figured out that it was a one man team basically, his numbers began to drop. He still finished the season leading the country in points and assist. Photo gathered by Dani Salame.

Alex Kelly, a Woodstock junior, is a huge college basketball fan and knows everything about top prospects. He said, “If Young can have some help around him unlike what he had at Oklahoma, he could actually be nasty in the NBA. He’s got to put on some weight to be able to take the blows and bruises of an 82-game season, but offensively, he’s good and would be awesome for the Magic.” 

Chicago Bulls– Michael Porter Jr., SF, Missouri- The knock on Porter is that he only played three collegiate games and didn’t really show out in those games. He got bounced in the first round of the tournament as well. You could say that he had no rhythm and his body was ready for game play, and for that reason he played poorly. Flashes of brilliance were still there though. The once thought of as a top pick fell to seventh for the Bulls, but Porter is today’s game perfect player. A plyer who can knock down a jumper from the perimeter, guard all positions, and be athletic enough to run the floor in a fast pace NBA. Yes, there still are question marks, but Porters upside could make him a steal for the Bulls. 

Cleveland Cavaliers– Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama- Collin is a fearless backcourt player that the Cavs could use to convince Lebron in staying. His defensive tenacity set him apart from other guards, as well as his competitive spirit. He’s not the steadiest floor general but the Cavs need a young point guard for the future. Collin Sexton is the best available.   

sexton

Collin Sexton is the player that nearly led his team to a victory over Minnesota when he dropped 40 points. The most impressive part was, he only had two teammates with him. Photo gathered by Dani Salame.

New York Knicks– Mikal Bridges, SF, Villanova- The 6-foot-7 wing averaged 17.7 points per game and 5.3 rebounds. The Knicks could use Bridges desperately. He has the ability to knock down outside shots, but also a dynamic athlete that competes on the other side of the ball as well.   

Philadelphia 76ers– Miles Bridges, F, Michigan State- Bridges’ unique game won’t make sense with every personnel group, but may be an ideal fit for the Sixers, who play more of a fluid positional style with Ben Simmons at the point and could use another athlete to run the floor. He’s a strong, powerful player who thrives in transition and can knock down open shots. 

Charlotte Hornets– Kevin Knox, SF, Kentucky- Knox is a risky pick, he offers upside for a team like the Hornets that appear stuck in the rebuilding stage forever. He is a dynamic scorer with the ability to become a modern day small ball four. He’s got a lot of maturing to do, but it’s not like the Hornets are any closer to winning a championship so Knox could be the perfect pick instead of a safe pick.  

Los Angeles Clippers– Wendell Carter Jr., C, Duke- Carter is a versatile big who could replace Deandre Jordan in the future. The Clippers got lucky that Carter fell, being expected to be taking much earlier in the draft. Carter can knock down a jump shot and bring energy on the defensive end. He lacks upside and maybe that’s why he fell all the way down to 12. Carter will be a great piece to build around for the second tier LA team.  

Los Angleles Clippers– Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky- He’s not ready for big minutes but given L.A.’s current setup, he wouldn’t be forced into major minutes. Given his size, length and instincts as a defender, Gilgeous-Alexander should become a valuable player in today’s league, able to help move the ball, match up against bigger wings and help space the floor as his shooting improves and his confidence grows. He showed major improvement over the course of the season at Kentucky, so much that I think the Clippers will take him with their second pick in the lottery.  

Denver Nuggets– Robert Williams, C, Texas A&M- The Nuggets traded away their pick last year that became Donnavon Mitchell, which will be a tough pill to swallow considering the rookie year he had. Williams offers a team with a Unicorn of their own, Jokic, an excellent complimentary player due to his amazing athleticism. He did skip the combine and that has left teams confused on his commitment to basketball. Robert showed at times a lack of effort in college but watch out if that was just a phase. He’s got some of the most extreme athletic tools that will be making highlight real alley-oop lob finishes.  

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: