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2018 NBA Draft Diary

  • Sources: 76ers Trade Khyri Thomas to Pistons

    Philadelphia’s No. 38 overall pick Khyri Thomas will be traded to Detroit, league sources say.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Sources: Kings Trade Gary Trent Jr. to Blazers

    Gary Trent Jr. is headed to the Blazers in a trade, league source tells ESPN.

    Portland will send Sacramento to two future second-round picks for Trent, league sources tell ESPN.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • #30 – Omari Spellman – Atlanta Hawks

    With the No. 30 pick in the NBA draft, the Atlanta Hawks selected Omari Spellman from Villanova University. .

    After 10 consecutive seasons reaching the playoffs, the Atlanta Hawks failed to win 25 contests in 2018. Gone are All-Stars Joe Johnson, Al Horford, Paul Millsap, Kyle Korver and Jeff Teague, all of whom the franchise groomed at various points during their decade of playoff bliss. Now the team is faced with a daunting rebuild under second year general manager Travis Schlenk and first year coach Lloyd Pierce.

    Spellman was the third Villanova player selected in the first round of this year’s draft behind Mikal Bridges (No. 10 overall) and Donte DiVincenzo (No. 17 overall). In his lone campaign with the Wildcats, Spellman appeared in 40 contests and averaged 10.9 points, eight rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game.

    The Hawks continue to add shooting to their rebuilding roster. With the No. 3 overall pick, the team selected Luka Doncic, who will be traded to the Dallas Mavericks for the rights to No. 5 overall pick Trae Young. The team used the No. 19 overall selection to draft shooting guard Kevin Huerter from the University of Maryland. In Spellman, the Hawks acquire a big man that shot 43 percent from the collegiate three-point line last season.

    In addition to Young and Huerter, Spellman will join a young Hawks core featuring point guard Dennis Schroder and forward John Collins, two of the team’s first round draft picks from prior years.

  • #29 – Dzanan Musa – Brooklyn Nets

    Initially thought to be a draft and stash prospect, the Brooklyn Nets selected Dzanan Musa with the 29th pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. The 19-year-old Bosnian star has been playing professionally in Europe for 3 years and is projected as one of Europe’s rising young stars. Musa is a scoring wing who has a good midrange game but will need to increase his proficiency from the 3 point arc to diversify his arsenal. Musa is not an elite defender, but has good size to contest shots at 6-9 for his position.

    The Nets, still lacking draft assets as a result of the infamous 2013 trade with the Boston Celtics, need to stockpile as many tantalizing young players as they can. With Musa, they have acquired a player with incredible upside for his age, and also has a good amount of experience playing professionally. Along with Caris LeVert, D’Angelo Russell, Brooklyn now has a trio of interesting young players who can handle the ball, drive and score in a variety of ways.

  • #28 – Jacob Evans – Golden State Warriors

    With the 28th overall pick, the Golden State Warriors selected Cincinnati Junior Jacob Evans.

    Evans represents a solid pick for nearly any NBA team. Evans fits in the mold of a potential 3-and-D role player. Evans improved in his time at Cincinnati, culminating in his junior year, where he scored 13 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. Evans spent three seasons at Cincinnati and rounded himself into a versatile two-way player who can bring a lot of value at the NBA level.

    Evans is a very cognitive player, especially on the defensive end. He has a better grasp of his limitations than most players at this stage of their respective careers and is able to maximize his individual defensive ability within a team concept. Evans generally makes the right rotations, double-teams at the right times and funnels his opponents to where his teammates are when he cannot contain the ball-handler on his own. With the right coaching, he could become a valuable defensive wing in an NBA rotation sooner than some anticipate.

    Additionally, Evans is more than just a shooter. He led his team in assists last season and has some skill as a playmaker. Evans will be more of a shooter and finisher in the NBA, but the ability to make the right pass, swing the ball when he isn’t open and take the ball off the dribble when necessary make him an intriguing prospect. This is especially true when you consider how valuable a player like Khris Middleton has become over the years, adding layers to his 3-and-D skill set each season.

    The Warriors aren't in need of an influx of talent but are happy to add Evans regardless.

  • #27 – Robert Williams III – Boston Celtics

    With the 27th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, the Boston Celtics have selected Robert Williams III.

    Although there were early week rumors that the Celtics might try to trade up, they’ve ultimately elected to find a difference-maker at the end of the first round instead. For a team that nearly reached the NBA Finals despite debilitating injuries to Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving, Boston’s roster didn’t need a wholesale change on draft night. But at No. 27, they’ll be more than happy to leave with the mysterious-but-talented Williams.

    Last year, Williams was viewed as a potential first-rounder before he returned to Texas A&M for his sophomore year. In 2017-18, Williams averaged 10.4 points and 9.2 rebounds on 63.2 percent from the field, fueling the Aggies to a 22-13 record. During this current pre-draft process, Williams looked poised to become a mid-first-round selection once again -- but his stock faded as the big night got closer. In fact, Williams even decided to watch the draft with his family, even though he was a green room invitee.

    His stock has undoubtedly dropped as of late, but this may end up being the steal of the draft -- naturally, he dropped right into general manager Danny Ainge's lap. Williams, 6-foot-10, is a freak athlete that'll bring a new look to an already fearsome defensive unit in Boston. At A&M, Williams won back-to-back SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors and averaged 2.5 blocks per game. Of course, he'll get the opportunity to learn from the hard-nosed Al Horford, a five-time All-Star and the defensive linchpin for Boston -- a win-win situation for all.

    Williams, 20, joins an extremely young core in Boston that also includes Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier and Jayson Tatum, among others.

  • #26 – Landry Shamet – Philadelphia 76ers

    With the 26th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers select guard Landry Shamet of Wichita State.

    Shamet, if he is able to fulfill his potential, should provide the Sixers with some much-needed shooting, as their rotation was noticeably starved for another deadeye sniper.

    A career 43.7 percent three-point shooter, Shamet sank 44.2 percent of his shots from downtown last season, and he did so while firing nearly six attempts from deep a game. Sliding Shamet at the guard position alongside franchise point guard Ben Simmons allows for another weapon at Simmons' disposal.

    Standing at 6-foot-5 and 21 years old, Shamet has the size to play either guard spot in the NBA (especially given Philadelphia's lengthy and versatile lineup). Along with his shooting ability, Shamet also led the American Athletic Conference with 166 assists last season. With Markelle Fultz still a question mark for Philadelphia, Shamet provides a secondary ball-handler and playmaker, whether in the starting lineup or in the reserve unit.

    The first round of the 2018 NBA Draft was a whirlwind for the Sixers, and they ultimately land two guards of very separate varieties: an upside-laden athlete in Zhaire Smith, and a skillful "veteran" rookie whose skillset is established.

  • #25 – Moritz Wagner – Los Angeles Lakers

    After acquiring a first-round pick in a mid-season trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Los Angeles Lakers drafted Michigan Center Mortiz Wagner with the 25th pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.

    The 6-foot-11 junior projects as a capable scoring option at the center position. Wagner can provide a lot on the offensive end as he can score down low, set screens effectively while also being able to pop out to shoot from the outside. At Michigan, Wagner put up 14.6 points, 7.1 rebounds per game while also shooting 39.4 percent from three-point range. While Wagner can shoot from distance and also can take the ball off the dribble in limited situations. While Wagner can provide value on offense and is a decent rebounder, he is not a defensive standout that can achor a team's defense.

    There had been a lot of speculation that Kevin Hueter would be available when the Lakers made their pick. Instead, Hueter is off the board and so the Lakers shift their focus to adding the talentend big man. Wagner projected as a late first round, early second round prospect that provides value on the offensive end. The Lakers currently have a strong core of talented guard and wing talent and have now bolstered their front court with Wagner.

  • #24 – Anfernee Simons – Portland Trail Blazers

    With the no. 24 pick in the NBA draft, the Portland Trail Blazers selected shooting guard Anfernee Simons from IMG Academy High School.

    Simons measures in at 6-foot-3, weighing 183 pounds. Simmons is one of the bouncier athletes in this draft. When he beats his man, which happens much more often than not, Simmons can make some highlight reel dunks, which makes his potential as a player all the more intriguing.

    Simons' handle and agility should make him a reliable scoring spark off the bench should his athleticism translate to the NBA. His athleticism and crafty footwork could make him a tough force to stop if he earns minutes in Portland's rotation. If Simons shows that he can play well on the NBA level, then the team won't have to worry much about losing Shabazz Napier if he travels elsewhere this summer.

    Better yet, Simons' athleticism should make Portland optimistic about his potential defensively. He will need to show consistent effort and he will need to fill out more to get an NBA-caliber frame, but his natural athleticism could very well improve Portland's already improved defense from this season.

    Simons has the ability to become quite the electrifying player, but in order for him to become one, he has to perfect his craft as a scorer. Simons' driving ability is already pretty solid, but he needs to improve his ability to shoot off the dribble. Since Portland has two of the league's purest scorers in Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, Simons will have some solid mentors to learn from.

    With his youth, Simons should not expect a big role right away with the Blazers. Since the team is focusing on the now, the pressure won't be on Simons to develop, but if he does, then Portland has a steal on their hands.

  • #23 – Aaron Holiday – Indiana Pacers

    With the 23rd selection in the NBA Draft, the Indiana Pacers decided to pick UCLA point guard Aaron Holiday.

    Spending three years with the Bruins, Holiday made his mark as a versatile floor general. In every season, he shot above 41 percent from deep and averaged over four assists and a steal per game.

    As a freshman he started all 32 games and was an aggressive player, but struggled to put the ball in the basket. Sophomore year was a change of pace with the emergence of then-freshman Lonzo Ball, but he stayed the course and still contributed with his highest field goal percentage at the school (48.5) during his time there.

    The 21-year-old's junior season was where he made a real jump. After Ball's departure to the pros, UCLA really leaned on him to be the go-to guy - and he delivered. Playing a PAC-12-high in minutes  (1,244), Holiday put up over 20 points and dished out nearly six assists per game. He can pull down rebounds when necessary and has the ability to be quite bothersome on the defensive end.

    As previously mentioned, Holiday made his money as a perimeter shooter while playing for the Bruins, but took a huge step forward in Year 3. That is evidenced by a dramatically increased three-point rate and free throw rate, as well as as conference-leading 20.8 points produced per game.

    This all goes without mentioning that Holiday is the younger brother of current NBA players Jrue and Justin.

    The Indiana Pacers got themselves a good one and added depth at the point guard position with this decision.

  • #22 – Chandler Hutchinson – Chicago Bulls

    With the 22nd pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, the Chicago Bulls selected shooting guard Chandler Hutchinson out of Boise State University.

    After shoring up their frontcourt with Wendell Carter Jr., the Bulls made a move to improve their backcourt depth by taking Hutchinson. While he was a late bloomer relative to other prospects, Hutchison had a more than stellar senior season with the Broncos, averaging 20 points, 7.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game while shooting 35.9 percent from three across 31 games.

    Asked to carry the load for the Broncos, Hutchinson more than obliged. He was great as a spot up shooter and showed flashes as a playmaker in the open court. Hutchinson also put in work on the defensive end, with great communication skills and good instincts on that side of the ball.

    He isn't the most athletic, nor is he an elite shooter, but Hutchinson improved his game every season at Boise State and the Bulls hope that is a trend that will continue in Chicago. He should form a nice trio with Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine in the Bulls' backcourt, if not a competent scoring one.

  • #21 – Grayson Allen – Utah Jazz

    With the 21st pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, the Utah Jazz selected Duke's Grayson Allen. Allen, a four-year senior with the Blue Devils, is one of the older players in the class at 22, with NBA-level athleticism and strong shooting.

    Allen is considered one of the top spot-up shooters in the class, with a strong free-throw percentage backing up his ability to shoot from NBA range. He should be a solid floor-spacer for Utah, with the potential ability as a secondary ball-handler. He's also known for a high level of intensity and effort - that may have manifested itself in a few high-profile incidents over his college career, but it also showed in a more positive way in his game-to-game play. Assuming he's matured and can hold off on any antics, that kind of thing should be well-received by the Jazz fanbase.

    Perhaps more importantly, Allen is a player almost certain to fit into a strong team culture in Utah. He should have no issues with Quin Snyder's relatively complex system, having already been successful utilizing lots of off-ball screening action at Duke with his shooting and cutting skill. He works hard on the boards and should add another plus in Utah's backcourt in that department.

    There are certainly questions about how certain parts of Allen's athletic profile will translate to the NBA. He's a better vertical athlete than some might think, but he struggles moving laterally and could have issues with some NBA guards. That could be a similar issue in terms of his ability to create his own shot at the next level, though that might not always be the top priority for him while sharing the floor with players like Donovan Mitchell or Ricky Rubio. He flashed the ability to draw contact and get to the line at Duke, but it's worth wondering whether that will translate as well. If a Jazz development staff that's had significant success with older players in the recent past can work some magic, Allen will be a high-floor player who fits well in a strong system and plays both ends of the floor.

  • #20 – Josh Okogie – Minnesota Timberwolves

    The Minnesota Timberwolves selected Georgia Tech’s Josh Okogie with the 20th overall pick of the 2018 NBA Draft.

    At the NBA level, Okogie probably projects as a shooting guard. Despite being 6-foot-4, Okogie has the physical tools and the ability to guard taller shooting guards. He was a pretty good defensive player in college and that will probably be one of his strengths in the NBA.

    On the offensive end, Okogie is a good shooter. He shot 38 percent from the three-point line last season as a sophomore. An outside shooter is something the Timberwolves will definitely welcome to the rotation. In terms of the rest of his offensive game, he might struggle a bit getting his shot off over taller wing defenders in the NBA. At the college level, he was able to get to the rim and score and it will be interesting to see if that translates to the NBA.

    Overall, he does project as a nice 3-and-D prospect. Defense and shooting are his strengths and lockdown defenders who can hit the three-ball are highly desired at the next level. It’s a bit difficult to imagine him getting regular rotation minutes right away for a playoff team but down the line he should emerge as a solid rotation player.

  • #19 – Kevin Huerter – Atlanta Hawks

    With the No. 19 pick in the NBA draft, the Atlanta Hawks selected Kevin Huerter from the University of Maryland.

    After 10 consecutive seasons reaching the playoffs, the Atlanta Hawks failed to win 25 contests in 2018. Gone are All-Stars Joe Johnson, Al Horford, Paul Millsap, Kyle Korver and Jeff Teague, each of whom the franchise groomed at various points during their decade of playoff bliss. Now the team is faced with a daunting rebuild under second year general manager Travis Schlenk and first year coach Lloyd Pierce.

    Huerter becomes the first Maryland player to be selected in the first round since center Alex Len was drafted by the Phoenix Suns in 2013. Huerter was projected to be available in the 16 to 24 range and the Hawks get a 6-foot-6 shooting guard, who has the ability to spread the floor.

    In two seasons at Maryland, Huerter averaged 12 points, five rebounds and three assists on 46 percent shooting from the floor. As a sophomore, Huerter connected on 73 three-pointers on a sparkling 42 percent accuracy from long range.

    The Hawks have been looking for consistent production from the two guard spot ever since Tim Hardaway Jr. left the team to join the New York Knicks in free agency last summer.

    Huerter 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, as well as dynamic guard Trae Young, who was selected with the fifth overall pick of this year’s draft (pending the trade with the Dallas Mavericks being finalized).

  • #18 – Lonnie Walker IV – San Antonio Spurs

    With the No. 18 pick in the NBA draft, the San Antonio Spurs have selected shooting guard Lonnie Walker IV out of the University of Miami.

    The Spurs were granted the highest pick they've had since drafting Tim Duncan No. 1 in 1997, so they went for the prospect with arguably the highest scoring potential that was still on the board. Walker, who measures at 6-foot-4.5 and 196 pounds, showed the ability to put the ball in the bucket when Miami entrusted him more with the offense, which could make him a Spurs-type player.

    On paper, Walker's stats are not too impressive, as he averaged 11.5 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.9 assists in his freshman year at South Beach, but his play on the court tells a different story. Walker did not get many opportunities to shine in the first half of his freshman year, but he flourished once Miami gave him more touches. Walker has displayed solid potential as a scorer with his ability to hit shots off the dribble as well as hesitate. This is helped by his smooth release and good footwork off screens.

    Walker's natural abilities should also make him a dependable player on the defensive end, which means that he should be a good fit in San Antonio. Walker is coming off surgery on his torn meniscus from last summer, so he may or may not be an injury risk. He also has issues with decision-making and his shot selection needs work, but who better to fix that than Gregg Popovich?

    San Antonio could use someone of Walker's abilities on the floor. The team is currently dealing with Kawhi Leonard's recent trade demand this summer, which, if they grant it, would probably mean that they will have to rebuild this summer. Walker may not have had the hype of a lottery pick, but his skills as a scorer could build a better future should the team blow it up.

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