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2018 NBA Draft Diary


  • #17 – Donte DiVincenzo – Milwaukee Bucks

    Donte DiVincenzo put himself on the map with his breakout performance in the 2018 National Championship, scoring 31 points and winning the Most Outstanding Player award. The Milwaukee Bucks, needing spacing around Giannis Antetokounmpo, nabbed the sharpshooter with the 17th pick in the draft.

    DiVincenzo's shooting ability and high basketball IQ should fit nicely with new coach Mike Budenholzer's pace and space offense and will be able to provide rebounding help and toughness at the guard position. One of Milwaukee’s biggest issues last season was spreading the floor, finishing 24th in three-point percentage. DiVincenzo will give them a scoring option off the bench that can stretch the floor. Posting a 42" vertical leap at the Combine, DiVincenzo is a superior athlete who competes on defense and will benefit from the long-armed Bucks frontcourt behind him.

    DiVencenzo has already played in several high stakes games including two National Championship games and was not afraid of the moment, likely a factor in the Bucks’ selection. He projects to be a longtime rotation player with a lot of room for growth.

  • #16 – Zhaire Smith- Phoenix Suns

    The Philadelphia 76ers reportedly traded the rights to Mikal Bridges to the Phoenix Suns for the 16th overall pick, which was used to select Zhaire Smith, as well as a 2021 first round draft pick.

    Smith was a freshman small forward out of Texas Tech who has plenty of athleticism. Last season, Smith averaged 11.3 points, five rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. Where Smith stands out is on the defensive end. He has the size, speed, mobility and instincts to be a plus-defender, which is rare among players at this stage in their respective careers. The downside is that Smith doesn't necessarily have the size to reasonably guard most power forwards, though he can certainly hold his own in limited situations.

    Smith should be a nice addition for Philadelphia, which already has several big wing players. The team is built around Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, but Smith adds even more athleticism and upside for the young up-and-coming squad. Smith is also a solid passer and he can take the ball off of the dribble. However, Smith's jumper can be a bit inconsistent at times, which is something he will need to work on moving forward. He also needs to work on becoming a more effective player in pick and roll situations. However, with his elite athleticism and notable skill set, it's not hard to undestand why the 76ers had interest in making a deal for him.

    This is a nice grab for the 76ers, who saved some cap space and acquired a future first rounder in the deal.

  • #15 — Troy Brown — Washington Wizards

    The Washington Wizards will select Troy Brown from Oregon with the 15th overall pick.

    In his only season at Oregon, Brown averaged 11.3 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.6 steals and 0.2 blocks per game. He shot 44.4 percent from the field, 29.1 percent from three and 74.3 percent from the free throw line.

    The Wizards looked to bolster their bench more and just did by selecting Brown.

    He is a great player in transition and a very talented passer. He picks offensive apart with his great defensive instincts. Brown also has great athleticism.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Np8RpGuVzwY

    Brown is also a great rebounder in traffic and can finish difficult shots in traffic. He is a great dunker and could possibly be in the NBA Dunk Contest in the future. What I love about him is he is just a great overall defensive player and creates havoc on that end of the floor. The only knock is that he does not shoot the ball well from three, as he shot below 30 percent from last season. He will need to improve his three point shooting. He has great speed and athleticism and also has really good basketball IQ.

    He is a great fit for what the Wizards are building, and fits Scott Brooks' system overall \plus can learn a lot from John Wall and Bradley Beal.

    Brown may not contribute right away for the Wizards, but he is the ideal pick to help bolster the bench that needs improving, and could possibly be a sixth man type down the road for the Wizards.

     

  • Sources: 76ers Trade Mikal Bridges to Suns

    Sources: Philadelphia is trading Mikal Bridges to Phoenix for Zhaire Smith.



    Sources: Suns have traded Zhaire Smith and 2021 Miami first-rounder to 76ers for Mikal Bridges.



    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • #14 – Michael Porter Jr. – Denver Nuggets

    With the No. 14 pick in the NBA draft, the Denver Nuggets selected forward Michael Porter Jr. from the University of Missouri.

    Leading up to the draft, there was much speculation that Porter could have gone as high as the second overall pick, but after teams got a look at his medical records, his perceived value began to fall. Porter slid all the way to the Nuggets, who record-wise, were the best team that missed out on the playoffs.

    Porter measures in 6-foot-10.75, 211 pounds. The sample size was very small since Porter had to miss the majority of his freshman season, but the potential is definitely there for the Missouri alum. Porter's scoring prowess makes him have one of the highest ceilings in a loaded draft class this year, which could make him one of the greatest draft-day steals of all time if he reaches it.

    If Porter reaches his ceiling, then he is undoubtedly a perfect fit in Denver. The Nuggets, who were arguably a healthy Paul Millsap from making some noise out West, desperately need a go-to scorer to pair with their young core. Porter's ability to score from anywhere on the court should make him the perfect complement to Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and Gary Harris.

    His ability to put the ball in the bucket should make him a keeper, but his athleticism is what could make him a potential franchise cornerstone. Porter has a fair amount of quickness for a guy his size, which could make him one of the league's best two-way players.

    Unfortunately, Porter's question marks make him as much of a high risk as he is a high reward. His medical records evidently turned teams off after he was believed to be selected in the top 10, and there has been a lot of chatter that he may not be the most motivated basketball player. Perhaps falling all the way down to 14th could give him all the motivation he needs.

    The Nuggets received a lot of flak when they traded Donovan Mitchell's draft rights for Trey Lyles and the rights to Tyler Lydon at last year's draft, but now they may have made up for all of that by getting Porter.

  • #13 – Jerome Robinson – Los Angeles Clippers

    After trading for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, the Los Angeles Clippers selected Boston guard Jerome Robinson with the 13th pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.

    Count the Clippers among lottery teams that passed on Michael Porter, Jr. and looked elsewhere. Robinson is versatile guard thatcan score from all over the court. Robinson can score from the outside and has a strong handle allowing him to play either guard position. Robinson put up 20.7 points and 3.3 assists per game and 40.9 percent from three-point range. Like any standout scorer, Robinson can score from distance and around the rim. While he can score at a high level, Robinson is not known for his defensive abilities and will need to improve in this area to be a true impact player at the next level.

    Robinson is a bit undersized (listed around 6-foot-5) to play the small forward position. However, the Clippers, under Doc Rivers, have never been shy about using undersized wings at the small forward. For example, the team has gotten away with playing Austin Rivers and Jamal Crawford at small forward over the years. According to reports, the team may have already decided to move on from guard Milos Teodisic making Robinson a capable player offensive player to place besides defensively minded point guard Patrick Beverley.

     

  • #12 – Miles Bridges – Los Angeles Clippers

    After acquiring the 12th pick in a mid-season trade with the Detroit Pistons, the Los Angeles Clippers drafted Michigan State Power Forward Miles Bridges with the 12th pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. While Bridges was selected by the Clippers, he is being traded to the Charlotte Hornets, according to reports.

    Bridges is a 6-foot-7 forward that can be slotted in either position. Bridges is certainly undersized at the four but has the overall game and rebounding ability to be effective down low. Bridges is also a deadly shooter and projects as a solid floor spacer for Charlotte. He also can take the ball off the dribble and finish at the rim with either hand. While he is not an elite playmaker at this point, he has the skill set to improve in this area, which could make him an impact player sooner rather than later.

    Bridges may not have the upside of some other players who were still on the board but there is little doubt that he could become a very effective player. Last season Bridges averaged 17.1 points per game, seven rebounds per game while shooting 36.4 percent from three-point range.

  • #11 — Shai Gilgeous-Alexander — Charlotte Hornets

    The Charlotte Hornets have drafted Shai Gilgeous-Alexander out of Kentucky with the No. 11 pick overall.

    However, he will be traded to the Clippers.




    Gilgeous-Alexander is an excellent pick. He is very talented and averaged 14.4 points, 5.1 assists, 4.1 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 0.5 blocks per game. He also shot 48.5 percent from the field, 40.4 percent from three and 81.7 percent from the free throw line.

    He makes his teammates better and is a very good defensive point guard -- one of the better in this draft class. He has great court vision, finishes in transition very well and will be a great asset to the Hornets or Clippers. He is also a solid finisher in traffic and has great basketball IQ.

    What I love about his game the most is his defense at the lead guard position. Not many point guards are this good defensively at this age and he has room to improve as he adds muscle to his frame. Gilgeous-Alexander projects to be a solid contributor at the next level and should bring a lot of value to the Clippers as soon as next season.

  • #10 – Mikal Bridges – Philadelphia 76ers

    With the 10th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers select Villanova forward Mikal Bridges.

    20 minutes later they traded him to the Phoenix Suns for the draft rights to Zhaire Smith and a 2021 Miami HEAT unprotected first-round pick.

    What appeared to be a storybook ending for Bridges turned upside down while he was in the middle of his media session in New York City, donning a Sixers' draft hat and all.

    Despite his move from Philly to Phoenix, Bridges is still coming off a season being named a third-team All-American and winning his second national championship under Jay Wright as a Wildcat. Bridges adds the ability to step in and contribute alongside already established Devin Booker and 2018 number one overall selection, DeAndre Ayton. Last season, Bridges shot 43.5 percent from beyond the arc, and was lauded as Villanova's defensive specialist. Standing 6-foot-7 with a 7-foot-1 wingspan, Bridges possesses the ability to switch across multiple positions on the defensive end.

    Going into next season, the Suns will feature a core of Booker, Ayton, Josh Jackson and a rangy Bridges as they look to move forward their rebuild process. With the scoring of Booker and Ayton, the defensive versatility of Jackson and Bridges, and cap space to boot, the Suns all of a sudden have one of the better looking young cores in the league.

    Draft night in the NBA can be a whirlwind, Bridges learned the hard side of the business only 20 minutes into his new career.

  • Sources: Hornets Trade Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to the Clippers

    Clippers have acquired Gilgeous-Alexander in a trade with Hornets, league sources tell ESPN.




    Clippers will send the 12th pick and two second-round picks to Hornets for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, league sources said.



    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN

  • #9 – Kevin Knox – New York Knicks

    With the ninth selection in the 2018 NBA Draft, the New York Knicks selected Kevin Knox.

    The Knick entered the draft needing to walk away with a prospect who, at the very least, would be a solid rotational player. With Knox, they got exactly that.

    During the predraft process, Knox saw his stock rise pretty dramatically. The Knicks selected Knox with their pick despite the fact that Michael Porter, Jr. was on the board. Knicks fans in attendance were chanting for Porter to be the team's selection, but the franchise opted to pin its hopes on the one-year man from Kentucky.

    In his lone season playing for John Calipari, Knox, who is listed at 6-foot-9, averaged 15.6 points per contest along with 5.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists. He shot 34.1 percent from behind the three-point line and brings a fair amount of offensive versatility playing alongside Kristaps Porzingis.

    In hindsight, Knox probably had an idea that he was headed to New York. During his availability session the day before the draft, he spoke glowingly about Madison Square Garden and said he'd welcome the challenge of performing under the bright lights.

    He'll now have the chance to prove it.

    Heading into the draft, there was a fair amount of discussion pertaining to the Knicks and the fact that, of all teams, they seem to have the most on the line in this year's draft. While that may seem a bit dramatic, the truth of the matter is that Porzingis is on record as having let the team know that he is willing to forgo signing a rookie extension and instead wants to see the franchise make immediate moves to turn their fortunes around.

    With the 2018 draft, newly installed general manager Scott Perry made his first selection as the head honcho in New York, and with his track record littered with examples of his fingerprints being on high value picks, Knox will now have the opportunity to be a positive entry on Perry's resume.

  • #8 – Collin Sexton – Cleveland Cavaliers

    With the eighth pick in the NBA Draft via the Brooklyn Nets, the Cleveland Cavaliers selected freshman guard Collin Sexton out of Alabama.

    A standout for Avery Johnson in his lone season with the Crimson Tide, Sexton made the most of his short time at the college ranks, earning co-SEC Freshman of the Year honors along with Kentucky forward Kevin Knox.

    With his usage rate near 33 percent, Alabama's offense ran through Sexton the entire year. According to Basketball Reference, his 18.9 points produced per game average was the number one in the conference.

    Going with the basic statistics, Sexton averaged over 19 points on 44.7 percent from the field in 33 games.

    The biggest knocks on Sexton's game are his size and jump shot. He measured in at just 6-foot, one-and-a-half inches at the NBA Draft Combine in May and is listed at 183 pounds, though his wingspan is 6-foot-7 and a quarter-inch. The three-ball is a work in progress (33.6 percent overall, 24.2 percent vs. conference opponents) as well.

    In spite of that, however, Sexton is one of the most competitive players in the 2018 draft class. His relentlessness makes him stand out from the rest of the crowd. He forces his way into the paint and is constantly in attack mode.

    Sexton got to the line 252 times and had a rather high free throw percentage (77.8 percent) for a college player. The figure ranked him second in the SEC and seventh in the NCAA overall among all of his peers, not only players from his class. There is a "dog" in Sexton that other players don't have. You can just see it in his eyes and how he plays.

    After losing Kyrie Irving one summer ago, the Cavaliers - pending a potential trade down the line, of course - have their future superstar point guard and are ready to move forward.

    Whether that's with LeBron James or not remains to be seen. Stay tuned...

  • #7 – Wendell Carter Jr. – Chicago Bulls

    With the seventh pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, the Chicago Bulls selected Wendell Carter Jr. out of Duke University.

    Carter, 19, averaged 13.5 points, 9.1 rebounds and 2 assists per game in his lone season with the Blue Devils. One of the more versatile players in the draft, Carter is a do-it-all forward that can defend multiple positions. Carter spent most of his time in the frontcourt alongside forward and second overall pick Marvin Bagley III.

    Slightly overshadowed by Bagley, Carter, standing 6-foot-10 and near 260 pounds, held his own and was an absolute workhorse at Duke. Offensively, he has a diverse game -- Carter can bang down low with other bigs or step outside and shoot the ball. Defensively, he can guard multiple positions and is a good shot blocker, totaling 76 blocks across 37 games.

    Carter will join last year's seventh overall pick, Lauri Markkanen, in Chicago as the Bulls continue to rebuild their roster. Together, Markkanen and Carter could be a dominant frontcourt duo for the Bulls for years to come.

  • #6 — Mo Bamba — Orlando Magic

    The Orlando Magic will select Mo Bamba from Texas with the sixth pick in the NBA Draft.

    In his only season at Texas, Bamba came out firing. He averaged 12.9 points, 10.5 rebounds,  3.7 blocks, 0.8 blocks, 0.5 steals per game. He shot 54.1 percent from the field, 27.5 percent from three and 68.1 percent from the free throw line.

    Let's talk about wingspans for a second, Bamba has a 7-foot-10 wingspan.

    He had a very productive freshman year, and Texas has a history of very productive players coming out of their system. With Bamba, the Magic add another talented player to their already talented front court and fill a potential void in the future. They now have two young core pieces to build around with Bamba and Jonathan Isaac.

    Bamba's game is going to translate very well. The Magic have not had a forward this dynamic in a long time. He is very athletic and skilled at the rim. He is also great at getting rebounds and just dominates the board, something the Magic haven't had since Dwight Howard. He is going to be the future for the Magic for a long time and Magic fans should be pleased with him sliding to the number six pick. He fits Steve Clifford's system very well and will now play alongside Nikola Vučević with a dangerous and lethal front court.

    He is not the traditional stretch four (shooting the three ball), but he will still be very productive in today's NBA.

  • #5 – Trae Young – Dallas Mavericks

    The Dallas Mavericks and Atlanta Hawks pulled off the first big trade of draft night by swapping the No. 3 and No. 5 picks. In the proposed deal, the Hawks will select Luka Doncic and trade him to the Mavericks who will send Trae Young in return.

    Trae Young is an exciting player who lit up the NCAA this season. He is an explosive scorer who can get to the rim at will and finish as well as knock down jumpers all the way out to the three-point line. He’s drawn a lot of comparisons to Stephen Curry due to him being a pure shooter.

    He’s also a very good playmaker, and that’s something that the Hawks are going to need especially if they move on from Dennis Schroder this summer. He’s a very intriguing prospect and he has the chance to be a high-level point guard in the NBA, perhaps even an All-Star. Defensively, he still has much to work on though. His size might hurt him a bit when going against some of the NBA’s bigger point guards. But other than that, he should be an exciting new part of the Hawks’ rebuilding movement.

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