By Patrick Lynch
Last Thursday marked one of the most important nights for NBA: The Draft.
Every year, teams come to find diamonds in the rough that will help them compete for future championships.
This year’s draft included many front court players. It doesn’t seem to be the model to win championships today, but with a heavy load of talent coming from those positions, the league could see another change in play.
Five out of the first ten draft picks were either centers or power forwards, all of them having tremendous upside.
Deandre Ayton was selected with the first overall pick by the Phoenix Suns. Ayton has drawn comparisons to players like Shaquille O’Neal, Shawn Kemp and David Robinson. Days before the draft, Ayton mentioned that along with Devin Booker, the Suns young shooting guard, the two could become the next Shaq and Kobe duo.
Power forward Marvin Bagley III was chosen second overall in the draft, taken by the Sacramento Kings, and is looked at as one of the players with the highest upside. Bagley was one of four Duke players that were drafted.
One of the most interesting picks and players in the draft was selected sixth by the Magic, Mohammed Bamba from Texas. Bamba was projected to be a first round pick before the NBA Combine in April but with impressive combine numbers and workouts with teams, his stock was rising drastically. Another plus side to his pick is he measures at a wingspan of seven feet, ten inches, which set an NBA record. Executives around the league say that Bamba is a project but could have a huge impact for a team on both ends of the floor.
The Atlanta Hawks were very successful during the entire draft, and it began with their first-round pick. The Hawks picked Luka Doncic, a 19-year-old European League MVP, but traded his rights to the Dallas Mavericks for point guard Trae Young. Young led the NCAA in points per game and assists per game. The Hawks’ second pick was the sharpshooter from Maryland, Kevin Huerter.
Both Young and Huerter fit well into today’s NBA scheme because of their shooting abilities. Last season at Maryland, Hurter shot .417 from 3-point range, while Young led the nation in total points. The Golden State Warriors have built a dynasty off three pointers, leading teams around the league to adapt the same style.
One big question mark in the draft came with Michael Porter Jr. and where he would land. Coming into his freshman year, Porter was the number two overall player before breaking his back in preseason. Most teams thought Porter could end up being one of the best players in the draft years down the line, leaving the Denver Nuggets to pick him at 14.
This year’s draft had the most talent that scouts have seen in years. All lottery teams could feel safe picking the best player available, maybe other than Trae Young, and that’s only because of his size.
Other notable players drafted in the first round were Kevin Knox, Jaren Jackson Jr., Wendell Carter and Collin Sexton.
You can expect all these players to be playing in the NBA Summer League starting July 2.