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2018 NBA Draft Diary


  • #4 – Jaren Jackson Jr. – Memphis Grizzlies

    With the No. 4 pick in the draft, the Memphis Grizzlies select Power Forward/Center Jaren Jackson Jr. out of Michigan State.

    Jackson measures in at 6-foot-11, 236 pounds. In a league that values three-point shooting and versatility now more than ever, players like Jackson are very rare to come by. The Michigan State alum was widely regarded as one of the safer picks in this year's draft given that his skill set fits the modern NBA like a glove. Jackson proved to have a reliable three-point shot in the collegiate level, as he shot 39.6 percent from three, while also proving to be a defensive presence in the post, as he averaged 3.0 blocks a game.

    What makes Jackson all the more appealing as a young prospect is his all-around IQ as a player. Jacksons' ambidextrous abilities should serve him very well in the NBA. Jackson can finish with both of his hands in the post and he can block shots with both hands, which should make him an all-around menace on both ends of the floor. Jackson has also shown his feel for the game, as he's shown to be a good cutter and can run the floor well for a big. The all-around skills that he brings to the table have drawn comparisons to premier bigs in the league such as Al Horford and Myles Turner.

    Jackson should also have a high learning curve once he enters the NBA. Jackson will come into the league as one of its youngest players. He does need to add some mass, and his release isn't very pretty, but luckily he's going to a team that should provide a good mentor for him with all-star center Marc Gasol.

    Rumors were swirling before the draft that Memphis was dangling the fourth overall pick along with Chandler Parsons, but ultimately stayed put. They had good reason to keep the pick since that they now have a prospect like Jackson on the team. No matter where the Grizzlies go from here, their future is in good hands with Jackson onboard.

  • #3 – Luka Doncic – Atlanta Hawks

    With the No. 3 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, the Atlanta Hawks selected Luka Doncic, small forward, Real Madrid.

    It is being reported by The New York Times that the Hawks will send Doncic to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for the No. 5 overall pick with the contingency being that guard Trae Young is still on the board. The Mavericks will also reportedly send the Hawks another first rounder in the future.

    After missing the playoffs just once from 2001 to 2016, the Mavericks have failed to reach the postseason the past two campaigns. Dallas is attempting to reload while future Hall of Fame forward Dirk Nowitzki is still active. The team selected dynamic point guard Dennis Smith Jr. last season and signed swingman Harrison Barnes to a lucrative deal in 2016.

    Doncic is arguably the most NBA ready prospect in the draft from day one with multiple years of professional experience playing overseas. Doncic has a very high basketball IQ, possesses solid passing vision and is able to create his own shot.

    At 19, Doncic became the youngest MVP in Euroleague history this past season, leading Real Madrid to the championship where he was also named Euroleague Final Four MVP.

    Doncic was named Final Four MVP after the game as well, per Euroleague. During the Euroleague season Doncic averaged 16.9 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.6 per game in 30 contests.

    Doncic will join a young Hawks core of point guard Dennis Schroder and forward John Collins, two of the team’s first round draft picks from prior years.

  • Sources: Hawks Trade No. 3 Pick to Mavericks

    The Hawks are going to be drafting for Dallas at No. 3, league sources say




    Dallas will send a future first-round pick with various protections over the next five seasons to Atlanta along with No. 5 to acquire the third overall pick from Atlanta, league sources say



    Source: Marc Stein on Twitter

  • #2 – Marvin Bagley III – Sacramento Kings

    After a draft process that reportedly involved them also considering Luka Doncic and perhaps Jaren Jackson Jr., the Sacramento Kings appeared to narrow in on Marvin Bagley III of Duke. Bagley, a 6-foot-11 big man, played one year with the Blue Devils before making the leap to the NBA.

    Bagley is an intriguing prospect, one who combines elite athleticism with a high motor and the potential to stretch the floor with his shooting stroke. He's extremely quick both laterally and vertically, with as much potential as any player in this class if he can harness these athletic properties into basketball skills. His jump shot came and went at Duke, something he needs work on, and there are real questions about his ability to think the game, especially defensively. He doesn't have the length to project as a top rim protector at the NBA level unless he makes major strides mentally.

    Still, Bagley projects to step in to a productive role right away in Sacramento. He was one of the only players in the upper echelon of the lottery to show real interest in playing for the Kings, including providing medical information other agents withheld. The Kings could rue passing on a prospect of Doncic's stature, especially if the only reason they did so was concerns about ball-handling time with De'Aaron Fox. But they've got a high-ceiling player here who could become a star with the right physical and mental development.

  • #1 – Deandre Ayton – Phoenix Suns

    One of the few certainties heading into this year’s draft was that the Phoenix Suns would select Deandre Ayton with the first overall pick. In Ayton, the Suns get an elite center prospect with the potential to be a dominant player on both ends of the court.

    Ayton stands at 7-foot-0 with a 7-foot-5 wingspan. He has a big, muscular frame but still has plenty of room to continue developing his body. Ayton is also extremely athletic, coordinate and nimble for a player his size. While some have wondered whether a player with Ayton will be limited by the NBA’s continuing movement toward playing smaller and faster, there’s plenty of reason to believe he is worthy of the first overall pick. If Ayton can become a more consistent weak side defender, improve his consistency in making the correct rotations and improve on his rebounding fundamentals, he could become a Rudy Gobert level defensive anchor. No one should expect Ayton to reach Gobert’s level but it’s a possibility and that alone is arguably enough justification to draft him first overall.

    Additionally, Ayton has a diverse offensive game. He is an effective player in the post, can finish at the rim with either hand, he runs the floor well in the open court, is a constant lob threat and can stretch the court all the way to the three-point line. He isn’t necessarily elite at any single thing offensively but he has the potential to be an offensive threat from all over the court.

    There’s almost zero risk that Ayton will be a bust and plenty of reason to believe he could be a star-level player sooner rather than later. While there may be other players with higher upside in this draft, Ayton has the ability to contribute today and the potential to be a superstar in the future, which makes him a great addition for Phoenix.

  • Sources: Lakers Have Inquired on Spurs’ Leonard

    The Los Angeles Lakers have expressed interest in San Antonio Spurs All-Star Kawhi Leonard, league sources told Shams Charania of Yahoo. No specific proposals have yet been discussed.


    Source: Shams Charania of Yahoo

  • Sources: Several Teams Interested in Trading into Lottery

    Multiple teams remain active in trying to trade higher into the lottery, sources tell ESPN.


     

  • Sources: 76ers Considered Trading Markelle Fultz To Move Up In Draft

    The Philadelphia 76ers had internal discussions about packaging the No. 10 and 26 picks, along with former No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz, to move into the top five, league sources told The Athletic. The target was [Michael] Porter during these discussions. However, that thinking dampened with Porter’s back remaining a major question mark. If JJ Redick leaves in free agency, Fultz is the favorite to start at shooting guard.

    Source: Michael Scotto of The Athletic

  • Sources: Dwight Howard, Nets to Negotiate Buyout

    Dwight Howard and Brooklyn will negotiate a buyout to enter free-agency, league sources tell ESPN.




    Source: Chris Haynes on Twitter

  • Sources: Karl-Anthony Towns Has Not Asked For A Trade

    [Tom] Thibodeau and [Karl-Anthony] Towns have spoken on the phone this offseason, league sources told The Athletic, and there is expected to be more substantive dialogue in the coming weeks when Towns returns from his travels. According to several people familiar with the situation, there has not been an impasse between the two. Towns has not asked for a trade and the Wolves are not considering trading him. As contract extension talks kick off for Towns this summer, the communication only figures to increase.

    Source: Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic

     

  • Sources: Spurs Listening On Trade Offers For Kawhi Leonard

    Spurs are willing listeners on Kawhi Leonard trade proposals but haven't been proactive in chasing down offers, league sources tell ESPN. For now, make an offer and they'll add it to their board. Spurs and Lakers have had no dialogue on Leonard.




    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN

  • Sources: Bucks Looking To Trade Down, Unload Matthew Dellavedova

    The Bucks are pursuing trades using the no. 17 pick to dump point guard Matthew Dellavedova, who has two years and $19.2 million remaining on his contract, according to league sources. Milwaukee, however, is only looking to trade down in the draft, not to use a deal as an outright salary dump.

    Source: Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer

  • Sources: Multiple Teams in Discussion to Acquire No. 4 Pick

    The Memphis Grizzlies are in discussions with a number of teams to trade the No. 4 pick in Thursday's NBA draft, league sources tell ESPN. Any such trade would likely include forward Chandler Parsons, whose contract is considered an albatross because of his knee problems.

    The Grizzlies have several potential trade partners, as the Dallas Mavericks, Orlando Magic, Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Denver Nuggets, Boston Celtics and LA Clippers have shown varying degrees of interest in a deal, a source told ESPN.

    According to sources, the Grizzlies don't anticipate the most serious proposals to arrive until they are on the clock Thursday, shortly before 8 p.m. ET. While contingent deals can be made earlier, the Grizzlies and other teams might want to see which prospects are available at No. 4 before deciding on a deal.

    Source: Jonathan Givony of ESPN

  • Sources: Lakers to Acquire Second-Round Pick from 76ers

    The Lakers have acquired the 39th pick in Thursday’s Draft from the 76ers, league source tells ESPN. Lakers will send Philly its 2019 second round pick via Bulls and cash.




    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Sources: Kyle O’Quinn Declines Player Option

    New York Knicks center Kyle O'Quinn has declined his $4.2 million contract for the 2018-19 season to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, league sources told ESPN.

    O'Quinn, 28, had his best NBA season for the Knicks and should be among the better backup centers available in the summer marketplace.

    O'Quinn averaged 7.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and 58 percent shooting in 18 minutes per game for the Knicks.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN

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