MANILA, Philippines – As expected, the 2018 NBA Draft was filled with its fair share of twists and turns. Mock drafts were busted and fans were left either shouting in joy or agony as their teams picked what they feel are the next building blocks of their future.
Here, we break down this year's winners and losers.
Winner: Dallas Mavericks
Drafted: Trae Young, traded to Atlanta Hawks for Luka Doncic and a 2019 first-round pick
In one of the early heists of the night, the Dallas Mavericks swooped in and traded up for combo-guard Luka Doncic, the reigning Euroleague MVP and Euroleague champion at just 19 years old and one of the most highly-touted European prospects ever. In exchange, they drafted streaky shooter Trae Young for the Atlanta Hawks and threw in their first-round pick for next year.
Accordingly, the internet blew up.
I would not have the guts to trade Luka Doncic. — Tom Westerholm (@Tom_NBA) June 21, 2018
The Hawks when Luka Doncic undoubtably becomes the next Dirk pic.twitter.com/F9AIXLfewP — Liberty Ballers (@Liberty_Ballers) June 21, 2018
Others saw parallels from the early 2000s.
17 years ago the Hawks traded a 20 year old Pau Gasol on draft night. Tonight they do the same to 19 year old Luka Doncic. — Darius Soriano (@forumbluegold) June 21, 2018
Luka Doncic #3, picked by Atlanta. Mmmhh, sounds familiar... Congrats @Luka7Doncic! #NBADraft — Pau Gasol (@paugasol) June 21, 2018
Doncic’s resume is as eye-popping as his 6-foot-8 point guard frame and he’s not even done with his teenage years.
Just a reminder: Luka Doncic turned 19 this season. He avg'd 20.3 PTS, 7.6 REB, 6.5 AST & 1.6 STL per 36 MIN, while posting a .592 TS%, for Real Madrid. He won both the EuroLeague & Spanish ACB titles, as well as EuroLeague MVP, EuroLeague Finals MVP & Spanish ACB MVP. — Andy Bailey (@AndrewDBailey) June 21, 2018
One legend to another in the making, perhaps?
Thank you Legend!! https://t.co/mv7fNZyJ9K — Luka Doncic (@luka7doncic) June 22, 2018
Loser: Atlanta Hawks
Drafted Luka Doncic, traded to Dallas Mavericks for Trae Young and a 2019 first-round pick
Look, Trae Young is not a bad player by any means. The 6-foot-2 19-year-old averaged 27.4 points and 8.7 assists in 32 games with Oklahoma this year.
However, was the lure of another first-round pick so tempting that the Hawks were willing to give up a 6-foot-8 point guard with proven MVP credentials and maturity at just 19 years of age? The answer, as we all know now, is yes.
Now, the Hawks are stuck with two shoot-first point guards in Young and Dennis Schroder. All was well for Atlanta. Was.
Winner: Denver Nuggets
Drafted Michael Porter, Jr. with the 14th overall pick
While many analysts expected the 6-foot-11 5-star prospect to slide down the draft after dealing with a lower back injury, no one expected him to slide down this far.
Just years after getting a huge steal in Nikola Jokic – a 41st overall pick who’s now averaging 18.5 poitns, 10.7 rebounds and 6.1 assists – Denver again got the steal of the night as Porter fell right on their lap. They now boast a tall frontline of Jokic, Paul Millsap and Porter, who prefers to play small forward even at 6-foot-11.
He doesn’t move like his height suggests, anyway.
Michael Porter Jr has SUPERSTAR potential.. Praying the back injury is in the past pic.twitter.com/QO2s4N9ctC — Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) June 22, 2018
Scouts had Porter going as high as first overall, with some projecting him to be picked by the Sacramento Kings at second even after the back injury. Now at 14th, the former Mr. Basketball USA and Naismith Prep Player of the Year can just take his time and not deal with too much expectations that comes with being a top pick.
Loser: Orlando Magic
Drafted Mohammed “Mo” Bamba with the 6th overall pick
What is it with the Orlando Magic and their seemingly unending desire to draft big men? They decided to go with the 7-foot-1 Mo Bamba heading into draft night already with an extremely crowded front court of Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon, Bismack Biyombo, Jonathan Isaac, Maresse Speights and Khem Birch.
Meanwhile, they don’t even have a starter-quality point guard, as only the aging DJ Augustin and Shelvin Mack are there to carry the offense.
Bamba’s 7-foot-10 wingspan will not be enough to free up the logjam they have created for themselves. Unless they trade away Vucevic, Isaac and/or Biyombo, this selection raises more questions than answers.
Winner: Sacramento Kings
Drafted Marvin Bagley III with the 2nd overall pick
At a loaded draft like this year, there really isn’t a justification for any error when you have a top 3 pick. And the Sacramento Kings uncharacteristically made a good move, drafting the 6-foot-11 stud Marvin Bagley III second overall.
In his only season at Duke University, the 19-year-old Consensus First-Team All-American averaged 21 points and 11.1 rebounds at an astounding 61% shooting clip with a 40% three-point norm to boot.
Explosive. Instinctive. Productive. Marvin Bagley III is ready for the NBA. pic.twitter.com/yqdrIJ5Ujm — NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) June 18, 2018
Aside from fixable defensive woes, there really isn’t much left to say about his skill and school lineage. It’s Duke. They produce top-level basketball talent. Period.
Duke has now had a player drafted in the top 3 in each of the last 5 years. Marvin Bagley III joins Jabari Parker (2014), Jahlil Okafor (2015), Brandon Ingram (2016) and Jayson Tatum (2017). That’s the longest such streak by any school all-time. pic.twitter.com/MZFyjekH8k — ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 21, 2018
Oh, and he can really rap, because pure talent apparently infects other areas of the human body.
Marvin Bagley III ( @mb3five) has BARS. Top NBA prospect drops exclusive track "Thoughts in the A" ahead of the NBA draft From B/R x @JCPenney pic.twitter.com/CmFYCS3uUu — Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 20, 2018
Loser: Cleveland Cavaliers
Drafted Collin Sexton with the 8th overall pick
This is NOT how you make LeBron James stay.
Instead of trading the 8th overall pick for proven, NBA game-ready talent, the Cleveland Cavaliers stayed put and drafted Collin Sexton, an All-American Honorable Mention and Freshman of the Year.
So the Cavs traded Kyrie for Collin Sexton — Chris Smoove (@Chris_Smoove) June 22, 2018
The last remaining remnant of the Kyrie Irving trade… will even wear his number as a reminder.
Collin Sexton says he will wear No. 2 with the Cavs, per @CavsFredMcLeod pic.twitter.com/JZXox8RIDR — Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 22, 2018
At least we know, he doesn’t back down from any challenge.
this is the only reason you need collin sexton on your basketball team pic.twitter.com/z1SmWA8k5n — Harry Lyles Jr. (@harrylylesjr) June 22, 2018
However, after carrying the Cavs all year long in all ways imaginable, we’re not sure that 33-year-old LeBron also wants to add “rookie babysitter” to his resume at this point in his career. – Rappler.com