Roundtable Discussion: 2018 NBA Draft Winners and Losers

Roundtable Discussion is a new feature of the site. This segment focuses on a series of sports issues involving the NBA, MLB, NFL, NHL, collegiate athletics and much more. In the sixth episode, writers Steven Abramo and Sam Hengeli discuss the winners and losers of this week’s NBA Draft.

Just as the title reads, this post is all about Thursday’s NBA Draft. Instead of the standard dialogue form for the previous five segments, though, we’re changing it up a bit. Sam and Steven, respectively, will list out the two teams that won and lost on draft night, including a specific player on each side. Let’s get is started.

Winners

Sam Hengeli:

Phoenix Suns: The Suns won the draft last night by making the safe pick in Arizona product Deandre Ayton. But, then, they were able to get a potential second-round steal in Elie Okobo, who is a solid point guard from France. Very successful draft night Phoenix.

Dallas Mavericks: The Mavericks were big winners as they were able to snatch potentially the best player in the draft in Luka Doncic. With Doncic, the Mavericks are set up for the post-Dirk Nowitzki era and will have a new face of the franchise for years to come.

Lonnie Walker IV: Lonnie Walker was seen as a potential lottery pick and the Spurs snatched him up with the 18th pick. The Spurs’ track record of developing players is superb, and with Kawhi Leonard demanding a trade, Walker can potentially develop quicker and may become a new face of San Antonio’s organization.

Steven Abramo: 

Phoenix Suns: Kudos to Phoenix for not botching the pick that was predetermined in mid-May. Deandre Ayton can do it all, and he now becomes the anchor to the Suns’ young core with Devon Booker, Josh Jackson, and TJ Warren. In addition, Mikal Bridges (10th) and Elie Okobo (31st) should provide quite the offensive punch off the bench.

Dallas Mavericks: Dallas gambled, swapping picks with Atlanta to select Slovenian sensation Luka Doncic. The pick definitely sets the Mavericks up perfectly for the future. Doncic is a wing with guard-like passing who has a penchant to score. Dallas followed that up by drafting National Player of the Year point guard Jalen Brunson out of Villanova 33rd overall. Brunson is incredibly sound who has the battle scars to prove it. He is a competitor and should fit in nicely behind Dennis Smith Jr.

Trae Young: Coming into the draft, I thought Young needed to land on a team that would understand his strengths and weaknesses. To me, Young found that with Atlanta. The Hawks will likely give the electric point guard free range on offense, which means the Dennis Schroder era is likely over.

Losers

Sam Hengeli: 

New York Knicks: New York missed out on an opportunity to take Villanova swingman Mikal Bridges ninth overall, but instead selected Kentucky forward Kevin Knox, who wasn’t projected in the top of any mock drafts. If the Knicks wanted Knox, they should have traded down and received more future picks as a result. Also, taking Mitchell Robinson in the second round is risky considering he didn’t play a single game in college or overseas this season.

Washington Wizards: Considering that they already have two ball-dominant guards in John Wall and Bradley Beal, drafting Troy Brown from Oregon was redundant, especially since he shot just 29 percent from three.

Michael Porter Jr.: During his high school and AAU days, Michael Porter Jr. was seen as the consensus No. 1 pick in this year’s draft. However, that changed when a back injury cost him almost the whole season, limiting him to only two games of action: averaging 10 points and 6.7 rebounds per game with a 33.3 FG% (10/30) and 30 3P% (3/10). It was surprising to see Porter not just fall out of the top 10, but almost out of the top 15.

Steven Abramo: 

Portland Trail Blazers: Portland made a smart decision taking two wings to play behind C.J. McCollum; the problem is they hit on only one. The Blazers used their 24th pick on IMG Academy standout Anfernee Simmons, who entered the draft as no more than a second-rounder. While he has tremendous upside, his skillsets won’t serve Portland right away. Their second-round selection, however, Duke shooting guard Gary Trent Jr., is a player that can catch fire and has potential off-the-bench.

Brooklyn Nets: Brooklyn pulled the chair out from everyone on draft night by selecting two European prospects – 6’9” Croatian wing Dzanan Musa (29th) and 6’9” Latvian forward Rodions Kurucs (40th). Both of them look to be draft-and-stash players, so I’m not sure how this accelerates the Nets’ rebuild.

Jerome Robinson: Robinson thrived as a scorer at Boston College, averaging 20 points per game on 40 percent 3-point shooting. However, his measurables are severely lacking. He’ll need a year or two to fill out his frame in order to become an impact player for the Clippers. Personally, I think his body of work was deserving of being a late first-round pick.

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