The 2018 NBA draft is over, with 13 of the 30 first-round selections being one-and-done guys, and two seniors being selected — Grayson Allen and Chandler Hutchison — tied the all-time low for seniors chosen in the first round.
Now it’s time to break down the picks and offer our way-too-early grades for players who have yet to play a single minute of NBA basketball. For the most part, the draft stayed true to form: There were an assortment of trades and over-drafted and under-drafted players. Michael Porter Jr. slipped to No. 14 because the health of his back remained a concern, but did the Nuggets hit a home run by grabbing him? Did Dallas give up too much to acquire Luka Doncic? And who will be this class’ unicorn?
With all that in mind, here are Yahoo Sports’ 2018 draft grades.
Atlanta Hawks: A-
The Hawks got their guy by trading for Oklahoma’s Trae Young, acquiring a protected 2019 first-round pick from Dallas in the process. Young, the first player in college basketball history to lead the country in points and assists, will play the two-man game with John Collins, but more than anything, the openness of the NBA game will benefit his style. No. 19 pick Kevin Huerter from Maryland was one of the best pure shooters in the draft. At 6-7, he is a far better playmaker than what he showed at Maryland, one NBA executive told Yahoo Sports. Don’t sleep on No. 30 pick Omari Spellman from Villanova. He is a versatile big who can shoot and has the skills and motor to succeed.
Boston Celtics: A
Boston got a super talent at No. 27 in Robert Williams, whom many feel had lottery talent. Williams is a strong rebounder with soft hands and has some Clint Capela to his game in terms of shot-blocking and rim-running ability. Questions about his motor and desire are why he slipped in the first round.
Brooklyn Nets: B+
At 6-9 and still just 19 years old, No. 18 pick Dzanan Musa, from Bosnia and Herzegovina, is a sensational scorer who can fill it up in a hurry. He handles the ball well and plays with swag and pizazz. The Nets grabbed Latvia’s Rodions Kurucs in the second round. Kurucs can shoot and is fearless, but his thin frame needs some work.
At least one NBA coach is all-in on Michigan State forward Miles Bridges, saying, "I love him." The reason why? Believes he is a winner who will become a consistent shooter, capable defender and potentially — major rebounder as a pro. #NBADraft
— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) June 18, 2018
Charlotte Hornets: B+
Did the Hornets surrender their point guard of the future in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander? Time will tell. Charlotte did, however, get a really productive three-four man in Miles Bridges. One of the best and most powerful athletes in this class, Bridges will be able to defend, rebound and finish from Day 1. He’s also a good area rebounder and intelligent cutter.
Chicago Bulls: B+
A couple of NBA executives likened Duke’s Wendell Carter Jr. to Al Horford. Carter’s 16 double-doubles rank second all-time for a freshman in Duke history. He can shoot and understands the value of running the floor. Boise State’s Chandler Hutchison — taken at No. 22 — is a Trevor Ariza-type of wing who can make winning plays as a defender. He is an active rebounder and capable 3-point shooter.
Cleveland Cavaliers: B-
Alabama’s Collin Sexton is a relentless defender who attacks the paint. Does he perhaps entice LeBron James to return? Unlikely, but that’s OK. If Sexton improves as a jump shooter, his entire offensive game will open up and his quickness will become that much more effective.
Dallas Mavericks: A
Luka Doncic is the best player in this draft, and the Mavs pulled off a shrewd deal. Just as Dirk Nowitzki’s career winds down, the Mavericks get their new franchise cornerstone in the 19-year-old EuroLeague MVP. A point-forward with elite offensive skills as a creator, passer and shooter, the Slovenian also plays with the necessary swag and fearlessness to thrive at this level. Dennis Smith Jr. will love sharing ball-handling duties with Doncic because Smith can simply become a scorer whenever the Mavs need a bucket. Dallas also added another point guard in Villanova’s Jalen Brunson in the second round. What Brunson lacks in athleticism and size, he makes up for with intelligence, passing and shooting. Late in the second, the Mavs also got Dayton’s Kostas Antetokounmpo, the brother of Giannis Antetokounmpo. He’s a long shot to contribute, but if he’s one-fifth of the Greek Freak, he may have a shot.
Denver Nuggets: A
Missouri’s Michael Porter Jr. fell in Denver’s lap at No. 14 because of health concerns, and the Nuggets couldn’t be more excited. Blessed with guard dexterity, the 6-10 Porter is a smooth scorer with Tracy McGrady or Paul George potential. Had he not hurt his back at Missouri, the 20-year-old wing would have been in the conversation for the No. 1 overall pick. The Nuggets also did well in grabbing former UCLA center Thomas Welsh at No. 58. Welsh, who is 22, is a high IQ 7-footer with a shooting stroke made for the pick-and-pop game.
Detroit Pistons: B-
Despite not having a first-round pick, Detroit did well at No. 38 with Creighton guard Khyri Thomas, who can shoot (41 percent from three) and use his near 6-11 wingspan to disrupt passing lanes and hound ball-handlers. As one NBA coach told Yahoo Sports: “I like him; really good player. Great kid with tremendous talent and upside.” Bruce Brown from Miami, selected at No. 42, is another quality guard who can efficiently score and lock it down defensively.
Golden State Warriors: B
Cincinnati’s Jacob Evans is a hard-nosed wing who connected on 37 percent of his threes last season while playing solid defense. One of the premier defenders in this class, he is in the Jordan Bell mode with his winning motor and mindset, and he could contribute quickly.
Houston Rockets: B
Houston got a legit top-20 talent at No. 46 in 20-year-old USC combo man De’Anthony Melton, who recorded 5.1 assists per 40 minutes. Melton attacks the paint and uses his near 6-9 wingspan to his advantage as a rebounder and defender. A stellar athlete, he should be a functional NBA player immediately.
Indiana Pacers: B-
UCLA’s Aaron Holiday isn’t a pure point guard, but you don’t necessarily need one with a playmaker as deft as second-team All-NBA guard Victor Oladipo. Holiday has to improve as a decision-maker (3.8 turnovers per game), but he has the chops to make others better, averaging almost six assists per game last season. A good finisher around the rim, Holiday averaged 20.3 points and was first-team All-Pac 12 and first-team All-Defensive Pac-12. One former NBA coach said he was a tough and fiery competitor. The Pacers also got Missouri State big man Alize Johnson at No. 50. Johnson is a high-motor forward who hit 39 percent of his threes last year.
Los Angeles Clippers: A-
The Clippers get their point guard of the future by trading with Charlotte to move up to No. 11 to take Kentucky’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, a versatile 6-foot-6 playmaker with a 7-foot wingspan who plays with great pace and tempo. He can also guard three spots. Not stopping there, L.A. continued to bolster its backcourt by taking versatile scorer Jerome Robinson from Boston College at No. 13.
Los Angeles Lakers: B
At No. 25, the Lakers nabbed Michigan forward Moritz Wagner, a skilled pick-and-pop machine with swag. Can he switch onto guards? Probably not. But at 25, the Lakers acquired an offensive-oriented big man who can face up, score and rebound in space. German point-forward Isaac Bonga is a good draft-and-stash candidate in the second round. Kansas’ Svi Mykhailiuk, the 17th pick in the second roiund, can flat-out play. Still just 20 despite being a senior, Mykhailiuk is a terrific cutter and great shooter who broke the KU single-season record by nailing 115 3-pointers.
Memphis Grizzlies: B-
Michigan State’s Jaren Jackson Jr. is a shot-blocking menace who connected on nearly 40 percent of his threes last season. He is, however, very limited offensively and processes the game slowly in terms of his feel as a scorer. West Virginia’s Jevon Carter at No. 32 is a nice pickup. Carter is a hounding defender and highly capable scorer and playmaker out of the pick-and-roll. Mike Conley Jr. should appreciate Carter’s presence as a secondary ball-handler.
The #Bucks wanted Donte DiVincenzo all along — he was extremely high on their big board. Why? They value his fearlessness, rebounding ability, playmaking and overall toughness. https://t.co/iY1MXV1kN2
— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) June 22, 2018
Milwaukee Bucks: B
Donte DiVincenzo is the perfect fit for Milwaukee. He can play both guard positions, defend and shoot (40 percent on threes last season). A natural attacker who excels in the open floor, “The Big Ragu” will blend in well alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton.
Minnesota Timberwolves: B
It is clear what Minnesota wanted from this draft: long, active wings who can defend and score. With his impressive wingspan and 42-inch max vertical, No. 20 pick Josh Okogie is a physical specimen. He can score (18 points per game at Georgia Tech), but Okogie’s real contribution — at least early on — will be on the defensive end. He’s quick enough to guard ones and twos, and big and strong enough to guard threes and perhaps smaller fours, alleviating some of the defensive pressure on Jimmy Butler. The Wolves also nabbed Big Ten Player of the Year in Keita Bates-Diop, a really long but not athletic wing whose experience and versatility should lead to minutes as a rookie.
New Orleans Pelicans: C-
Tony Carr, selected at No. 51, is a nice guard who plays the game with feel and skill. The Penn State product struggles laterally and with creating his own shot and has turnover issues, but as a change-of-pace guy running the pick-and-roll, he has a chance. It comes down to whether his 6-8 wingspan allows him to become a plus defender.
New York Knicks: C
Kentucky’s Kevin Knox was the third-youngest player in the draft and has some tools. But the ninth overall pick shot just 34 percent from deep last season. He is a bit erratic and with Michael Porter Jr. still on the board, the Knicks took the less talented wing in Knox. Project center Mitchell Robinson in the second round is interesting. A green but extremely talented 20-year-old, he is a bouncy shot-blocker who has a dose of Hassan Whiteside to him.
Oklahoma City Thunder: B-
Kentucky’s Hamidou Diallo, selected at No. 45, has a chance to be a really good player. An engaged defender who flies up and down the floor, Diallo should benefit from flanking Russell Westbrook. Devon Hall and Kevin Hervey are quality second-round finds as well. Hall is a pure 3-and-D guy who learned to play the right way at Virginia. UT-Arlington’s Hervey is a really solid four who can do a lot of things. He rebounds and can make a three, and the Thunder are hoping he can invert the floor as a passer.
Orlando Magic: A
Texas’ Mohamed Bamba might be the unicorn of this class. With his 7-10 wingspan, the nation’s second-leading shot-blocker (3.7 per game) can face up from the high post and has already made significant strides as a shooter. Bamba could be a game-changing big man in the modern era. Melvin Frazier from Tulane is a great pick at No. 35. His 7-1 3/4 wingspan, 8-9 standing reach and 40 1/2-inch vertical will fit nicely next to the freakish length and athleticism of Bamba, Jonathan Isaac and Aaron Gordon, should he re-sign this summer.
Philadelphia 76ers: B
Mikal Bridges would have been ideal, but the trade for Texas Tech swingman Zhaire Smith certainly makes sense. A physical defender and excellent rebounder, Smith’s biggest challenge will be improving as a creator off the bounce to help offset his sub-optimal 6-5 frame as a small forward. The good news? He is an elite NBA athlete as a leaper and with his lateral quickness. The Landry Shamet pick at No. 26 is a good one. Shamet, from Wichita State, is a knockdown shooter who can play some pick-and-roll as well. Second-rounder Shake Milton out of SMU is a good playmaker and multi-positional defender.
Phoenix Suns: A
Phoenix did well. Arizona’s Deandre Ayton is a future All-Star and fills a need at center. No. 10 pick Mikal Bridges will pay immediate dividends as a shooter (43 percent on threes) to spread the floor for Devin Booker. Bridges can also rebound and guard three or maybe even four positions. French point guard Elie Okobo, taken in the second round, is a herky-jerky scorer like Goran Dragic who maintained a 63.4 true shooting percentage in 35 LNB Pro A games last season.
Portland Trail Blazers: C
Anfernee Simons is an enigma in that he didn’t play college basketball after decommitting from scandal-marred Louisville. A great athlete who can shoot a little bit and get to the bucket, Simons is a three-year project who can develop behind Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. In the second round, Portland got a fine wing in Duke’s Gary Trent Jr., a burly scorer who understands how to use his frame and get to his spots.
Sacramento Kings: B
An immensely talented offensive player who runs the floor with ease, Duke’s Marvin Bagley III displays great touch around the rim and understands how to attack angles. A high-level athlete, Bagley must show more effort defensively while expanding his range to the 3-point line. The upside to running the pick-and-roll with PG De’Aaron Fox is intriguing.
San Antonio Spurs: B+
It’s fitting that the Spurs got Miami’s Lonnie Walker IV — a legit top-10 talent — at No. 18. Walker, a high-character player, needs to become a more consistent shooter and better ball-handler and decision-maker, but he has all of the physical attributes (6-10 wingspan and 40-inch max vertical) to excel as a combo man alongside Dejounte Murray. This is the first time since 1997 — when the Spurs took Tim Duncan first overall — that the franchise has had a draft choice inside the top 20. So, maybe the sky isn’t falling in San Antonio after all.
Utah Jazz: B
Grayson Allen, selected at No. 21, answered a lot of questions about his maturity and steadily moved up draft boards. A legitimate NBA athlete with a 40-plus inch vertical, he attacks closeouts well, finishes in the open floor and rebounds. Allen and Donovan Mitchell will feed off one another because both guys can attack and shoot, while also rebounding among the trees.
Washington Wizards: B-
No. 15 pick Troy Brown Jr. is a potential 3-and-D ace, but he shot just 29 percent from deep during his only collegiate season at Oregon. Still, Brown can become an ideal running mate for John Wall and Bradley Beal, and he could potentially make Kelly Oubre Jr., who is entering the final year of his deal, expendable should the Wizards not be able to afford him. In the second round, Washington selected Issuf Sanon from the Ukraine.
Note: The Toronto Raptors and Miami Heat didn’t have any draft picks.
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