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The 2018 NBA Draft is over and there were as always some winners and losers. In betting terms, Golden State is still +140 to win their third straight NBA title, but Phoenix has jumped a bit to +25000 and the Lakers have jumped already from +1600 to +500 from Bovada. Of course, the Lakers' increase has more to do with the thought that LeBron James will move from Cleveland to Los Angeles on July 1 when NBA free agency begins. Ultimately, the odds are not going to move as much after the NBA Draft, because these players are not likely to contribute much in their first season. However, after July 1, when free agency starts, you could have some major changes on teams around the league.
But as far as the Draft goes, instead of going through each team, let's just discuss the "Winners" and "Losers" from this draft.
The Hawks had the third pick and had a chance to take Euro star Luka Doncic, one of the best players to come overseas in recent years. They took Doncic at three but traded him to Dallas for the fifth pick. They took Oklahoma gunner Trae Young with that pick and while Young has a chance to be a poor man's Steph Curry, Doncic could be a superstar. They also drafted Maryland wing Kevin Huerter with the 19th pick and Omari Spellman from Villanova at 30. Both were reaches, especially Spellman, who was considered a mid-second rounder. Huerter is a solid player but on the thin side.
The Wiz desperately need an athletic big man and they wound up with Troy Brown, a 6-7 guard from Oregon with the 15th pick. They passed on the very athletic Zhaire Smith from Texas Tech and 6-10 Robert Williams from Texas A&M. Brown is a versatile player who shot just 29% from beyond the arc. They also passed up on Keita Bates-Diop with the 44th pick to take point guard Issuf Sanon from the Ukraine. Sanon is an 18-year old who is at least a year away from coming to the NBA, while the 6-7 lengthy forward Bates-Diop could help right away off the bench.
So there were four European players picked and the Nets selected two of them. They took a solid offensive player in Dzanan Musa from Bosnia with the 29th pick. He has good length but is very thin and will struggle to defend right away. They also chose Rodions Kurucs with the 40th pick, who is 6-10 from Latvia, who is very athletic but not very skilled. The previous front office put the Nets here with bad deals so this will be the last year they will pay for their sins.
Los Angeles Lakers:
The Lakers picked Mo Wagner from Michigan (out of Germany) was the 25th pick in the draft. Seven-footers who can shoot have a role in this league, but can he do anything else? He can't rebound or pass and defensively he's going to struggle. They took Isaac Bonga with their 39th pick from Philadelphia. The German is likely to stay in German for at least a year. Sviatoslav Mykhaiiluk from Kansas at 47 isn't a bad selection. He can flat out shoot it, but doesn't do much else.
Charlotte drafted three players and moved down to take their first pick. So the Hornets grabbed Miles Bridges with the 12th pick, guard Devonte' Graham from Kansas with the 34th pick from Atlanta and Arnoldas Kulboka with the 55th pick. This wasn't an exciting draft as Bridges should give them some defense and scoring, but isn't really elite at any skill level. He's also a bit of a tweener at 6-7, 230 while Graham should be a three-point specialist. Kulboka is a 6-10 shooter and stash candidate overseas.
Portland needed some help up front so what did they do? They grabbed two guards in Anfernee Simons at No. 24 and Gary Trent Jr. at No. 37. Simons is the key as the fans and team will have to wait on him. He's coming from IMG Academy so he's not going straight to college. Trent Jr. should be able to give them something off the bench because he can really shoot it.
Winners in this Draft:
Dallas was able to trade to get Luka Doncic from Atlanta with the No. 3 pick. But that's not all. They also grabbed a heady point guard in Jalen Brunson at 33 from Villanova; an athletic big man in Ray Spalding at 56 and Greek Freak's little brother in Kostas Anteokounmpo in the last pick in the draft. Doncic is a 6-8 playmaker who can shoot from everywhere. Brunson posted a 63.5 true shooting percentage last year but is probably not athletic enough to be an impact player. But he's smart enough to be a quality bench player.
Who doesn't like Mohammed Bamba? He might not be a star but he has a 7-10 wingspan and blocked 3.7 shots per game at Texas. He made just 14 threes in college but in workouts, he showed potential as a 3-point shooter. At worst, he'll be a great shotblocker and dunker. The Magic also grabbed an athletic guard in Melvin Frazier at 35. He could end up being a steal because he's an impact defender and an improving scorer. Justin Jackson was a slight reach at 43 from Maryland, who was injured most of his sophomore season.
It's hard not to like Phoenix but not just because they grabbed Deandre Ayton with their first pick of the draft. He's going to be a big-time player on the offensive end and rebounder, but defense needs some improving. With a 7'5 wingspan at 7-1, at least he has the gifts. They also traded for 3&D prospect Mika Bridges, who was originally drafted by Philadelphia. He's an efficient shooter and excellent defender. They also took French combo guard Elie Okobo with the 31st pick, which could turn out to be a steal.