All season long, this wing class has been described as either inconsistent or lacking the usual complete player that defines classes and for the most part that is true. However, that does not mean if come draft night you should be disappointed if your team takes one. In fact, if anything this year this position in many ways defines the future of Wings in pro basketball and therefore, they will likely contribute to your team for years and years to come. So, lets meet the new wave of gifted wings about to enter the NBA.
5. Miles Bridges -Michigan State
One of the laziest narratives surrounding the 2018 NBA Draft is without question that Miles Bridges did not improve between his freshman and sophmore seasons at Michigan State. Bridges, the rare projected lottery pick who went back to school, may not of had a huge statistical increase or, have lead his team to a title like many projected but, he did refine multiple things to make himself a more diverse player. He may not project to be a star in the NBA however, he does have a lot of the makings of an extremely valuable role player. Think Jae Crowder in Boston, the ability to hit an open three while also having some off the dribble offence and can defend virtually all positions with his athleticism and basketball IQ. Miles Bridges has all the ability to be a fantastic role player, you just have to look at more than the basic stats.
4. Kevin Knox -Kentucky
Kevin Knox has all the tools to become the perfect wing in the modern NBA. Standing at six foot nine, Knox not only has great size and length but he also has a solid jump shot out to the three point line. He figures to be the exact kind of player you would want on your team in today’s NBA. Though it is unlikely he will ever develop to being the type of player who can be the best or even second best player on a championship level team, his ceiling is probably a fringe All Star. Much like Tobias Harris who can play at least two sometimes three positions, create off the dribble, shoot from range and even defend. Kevin Knox has a great future in the NBA and unlike many of his peers in this class, he has a role he can step right into and thrive in from day one.
3. Lonnie Walker IV -Miami
Lonnie Walker IV is one of the great wildcards of this draft. He has a very high ceiling but, a long way to go. Walker possesses everything you could want in a two/three hybrid in today’s NBA in terms of size, six foot five, athleticism and skill. The thing is, he continuously lacks consistency. Some nights, he looks like a top five pick while others he looks like a late first round question mark only going there due to athleticism. Walker possesses the always terrifying trait for general managers of disappearing. What’s scariest though is that when Walker is present and accounted for, the sky is the limit. His game is similar to OJ Mayo in a lot of ways from scoring to athleticism to even the questionable mentality. For Lonnie Walker IV the map is full of blue skies, the question is if he can figure out how to find them.
2. Mikal Bridges -Villanova
Mikal Bridges should be the poster boy for three and D wing prospects. Every single season at Villanova, Bridges improved as a shooter and every year his draft stock grew until finally leaving this year as a redshirt junior. Bridges out of high school, was virtually unknown and the fact he had to redshirt at Villanova can attest to that but, what he has clearly always had is an exceptional work ethic. The player most similar to Bridges in the NBA right now is probably Otto Porter with his ability to shoot so efficiently from three while on the other hand playing great defence. The thing is though for Miles Bridges, that is what his ceiling seems like now but, it is impossible to count out a player with the work ethic he brings to the table.
1. Michael Porter Jr. -Missouri
If Trae Young is the most polarizing prospect in this draft then, there is little doubt who sits in second place on the power rankings. Michael Porter Jr, Young’s AAU teammate, has had all the tools to dominate in the NBA for years and, his perennially high recruiting rankings and constantly increasing notoriety can prove that. However, now that he has finally made it to his draft, there are more questions than ever before. Can he stay healthy or is the back a permanent issue? Is he entitled and spoiled or is that just a classic draft rumour? All these questions and unfortunately for Porter, only time and his actions can answer them. In terms of a pro comparison, he has all the ability to be Kevin Durant from a great jump shot to the ability to attack off the bounce at seven feet tall. But, for Michel Porter Jr, the question is who from the 2007 he will embody more, Kevin Durant or Greg Oden. Luckily for Porter Jr he is used to questions, but the NBA community is wondering what kinds of answers he will have to all of them.