The night of the 2018 NBA Draft has come and gone so now, it is time to unnecessarily determine winners and losers without any of the players playing a game! Did your team find its next star or, blow an opportunity? Find out next as we rank the five teams that were the biggest winners on Thursday.
1. Deandre Ayton- Arizona (Bahamas)
10. Mikal Bridges- Villanova
31. Elie Okobo- Pau-Lacq-Orthez (France)
59. George King- Colorado
Earlier last week, I said that Thursday was one of the biggest days in Phoenix Suns history as, not only did they have four picks but, they also had the number one overall selection. It is safe to say that before any of their picks play a game, the Phoenix Suns killed it. Not only by most peoples accounts was Deandre Ayton the best player in the draft but, to use their stockpiled assets to also acquire Mikal Bridges was a phenomenal move. Bridges will be a fantastic compliment alongside Devin Booker and Josh Jackson on the Suns wings for years to come. Throw in Elie Okobo, who I personally believe has all the tools to become a really good NBA point guard and most had going in the early 20s, in the second round and that is an absolute steal for this organization. Lastly, George King is a really good player out of Colorado who will at the very worst be a two way player next season but more than likely should slide in as a 11th or 12th man right away. So, for an organization as desperate as Phoenix was for talent heading into the draft, to pickup four roster players is an absolute win. For one of the few times so far in 2018, the Phoenix Suns are heading home with a win, something they can certainly build on into their future.
4. Jaren Jackson Jr- Michigan State
32. Jevon Carter- West Virginia
Thursday Night was a great one for the Memphis Grizzlies. With their first selection, fourth overall, they selected Jaren Jackson Jr. Jackson Jr has the type of skill set at over seven feet tall that NBA executives point to as the future of the big man in pro basketball. His ability to both shoot and defend while also being very athletic can not only play alongside Marc Gasol in the present but, in the future can be a serious building block for the Grizzlies to enjoy. However, in the second round is where Grizzlies fans may be even happier. With the selection of Jevon Carter, the Grizzlies found the perfect player to join the ‘Grind House’. Carter is a fantastic wing defender with the ability to shoot and though a little undersized, will absolutely not only make an NBA roster but, should be apart of the Grizzlies rotation for years to come. By adding two players who will certainly be a part of their future on Thursday night, the Grizzlies took the first step in the long road back to being the proud franchise they were just a few seasons ago.
7. Wendell Carter Jr- Duke
22. Chandler Hutchison- Boise State
The 2018 NBA draft for the Chicago Bulls will likely be remembered as one in which they very low key did a fantastic job. The Bulls had two first round selections and with them, got two players who will contribute immediately. Wendell Carter Jr, has all the tools to one day become an Al Horford level player but right now, has a very high floor, meaning that even at his worst, he will still be a very effective NBA Player. Same goes for the Bulls second first round pick, Chandler Hutchison. Hutchison is your prototypical three and D guy, very similar to Trevor Ariza who, do not be surprised if he is starting very early for the Bulls. Yes, that is right, there is a distinct possibility the Bulls picked up two day one starters, an absolute win for a franchise trying to make its way back to the top of the NBA landscape.
3. Luka Doncic- Real Madrid (Slovenia)
33. Jalen Brunson- Villanova
In the 2017-18 NBA season, the Dallas Mavericks were openly tanking and somehow, it is all going to work out for them. With their first selection, the Mavericks traded up to acquire Luka Doncic, a Slovenian phenom who has spent his teenage years dominating the second best (after the NBA) professional basketball league in the world. Doncic is the perfect fit alongside the explosive Dennis Smith Jr as he can take some of Smith Jr’s passing responsibilities and let him focus more on scoring. But, not only did the Mavs add the perfect compliment to their main piece, they also added Jalen Brunson who will be a phenomenal character guy in the locker room who can help instill the winning attitude that Dallas has ignored for the past few seasons. I guess, sometimes tanking works, look no further than the 2018 Dallas Mavericks.
14. Michael Porter Jr- Missouri
41. Jarred Vanderbilt- Kentucky
58. Thomas Welsh- UCLA
The Denver Nuggets have to be considered a winner of the 2018 NBA Draft. To get a talent with the potential of a Michael Porter Jr at the 14th overall pick is virtually unheard of. Even if he has injury concerns, the pros far outweigh the cons when it comes to a talent the size of Porter Jr. Though the Nuggets will likely have to have him sit out part of the season or be on a minutes restriction, this is a long term investment in the future of their franchise. Although Porter Jr by himself would have been a great draft, to also get another high upside guy in Jarred Vanderbilt in the second round is fantastic value. Though Vanderbilt will likely spend a lot of 2018-19 in the G-League, he has all kinds of potential. Lastly, Thomas Welsh is a really good player with high character who has a chance to crack the Nuggets rotation in the not too distant future. The Denver Nuggets may have just gotten their franchise’s superstar on Thursday night, only time will tell but, at least on this day, the Nuggets are certainly winners, for now.