THE NBA DRAFT REPORT
Go ahead and raise your hand if you've fully digested all the trades and all the picks made last night at the 2018 NBA Draft .... yeah, right! Now, go ahead and raise your hand if you believe that ESPN analysts Jay Bilas and Chauncey Billups - and we happen to like both of these gents - made it sound as if every single dude selected inside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Thursday night is gonna be a perennial all-star.
No kidding, it took Bilas/Billups till about the 50th pick in the draft to drop some negative comments on anyone hailing from this class and maybe someone should have let them know that makes for some bad TV. Heck, we wanted to hear some criticism - especially because the '18 Draft was hardly a blockbuster group in the first place and there might only be a handful of players that make a solid impact on their teams in the upcoming 2018-19 season (and beyond).
Still, we're left to address a batch of "real storylines" ... so here goes:
- Arizona C Deandre Ayton was a safe/sound pick at #1 ... but was he the correct choice for the Phoenix Suns?
Hey, we're not gonna lie: Ayton has a gym bag full of tools and we watched him dominate Pac-12 games at times last year but don't the Suns want to be a run-run team and is that the best fit for the 7-foot-1 Ayton? Folks, we knew all along this would be the numero uno pick but - in retrospect - Phoenix probably should have traded down and gotten a couple of top 10-like choices. Meanwhile, nice of Phoenix to swoop down and trade for original Philadelphia draftee Mikal Bridges (Villanova) who had mom doing handstands (she works for the 76ers) before the stunning news ... why didn't ESPN interview her after that bombshell trade?
- The trade of top five picks Luka Doncic from #3 Atlanta to #5 Dallas for G Trae Young remains a head-scratcher even if the Hawks also obtained an additional 2019 protected first-round pick. Doncic was called the single-best player in this draft by more than a few "experts" last night, so why deal away a top-flight talent that falls onto your lap? P.S., anyone that believes Young will be the "second coming" of Stephen Curry better not hold his/her breath!
- How many teams - if any - are gonna regret not drafting Missouri F Michael Porter, Jr.?
No question that a whole slew of NBA teams felt angry and distrustful of the Porter camp for possibly covering up medical news regarding his surgically-repaired back (to say nothing of his recent hip woes that forced the Mizzou one-and-done guy to cancel recent workouts). Still, will he wind up being the glittery star of this 2018 draft when all's said and done - and will the Denver Nuggets who picked Porter at #14 - be the biggest winners of the night? Folks, maybe this 6-foot-11 former high school star will be a 22-to-25 ppg scoring stud in the league where they play for pay, but we wouldn't have touched 'em either with all the red flags.
- Finally, forget about the likes of Atlanta and Phoenix - teams that had a gazillion picks last night - and what about a couple of teams that really drafted wisely?
Orlando held onto the #6 pick and landed C Mo Bamba (Texas) - no doubt the most eloquent draftee on the night - and snagged underrated/undervalued two-guard Melvin Frazier (Tulane) with the draft's 35th overall pick and both quickly will revive Magic fortunes ... while the Los Angeles Lakers hit a home run with pick No. 25 C Moe Wagner (Michigan) and also applaud second-round selection shooting guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (Kansas) as both were stars at big-time hoops programs and will be instant impact at this next level.