NBA Draft Recap – Grading Picks and Woj’s Terminology

As I have said time and time again, the 2018 draft is the deepest since 2003. The players in the lottery will be vying for the rookie of the year award while the players at the end will be playing vital roles for playoff teams.

This year’s draft edition was action-packed with; deceiving trades, laugh-out-loud tweets, Jay Bilas over-using the words “potential” and “wingspan”, and Chauncey Billups making delusional player comparisons.

1. Deandre Ayton (Phoenix)

The Suns could not take their eyes off of the physical specimen, Deandre Ayton. Ayton is walking distance from his college classes. The Suns will appreciate their best big men since Amare Stoudemire, who is fundamentally a David Robinson starter kit.

Draft Pick Grade: A

Woj Tweet: None.

Woj Tweet Grade: F. Be better Woj.

2. Marvin Bagley (Sacramento)

Bagley will be an immediate go-to frontcourt scorer that was forced to play Willie Cauley-Stein and Skal Labissiere in that role. The Kings will add a transition big who can play either position. Doncic is the better player and Jackson Jr. may be the better pro prospects, but neither aspired to land in Sac-City. Bagley hopes to lead Sacramento to the promised land for the first time

Draft Pick Grade: B

Woj Tweet: None.

Woj Tweet Grade: F. I prefer Shams as a reporter.

3. Luka Doncic (Atlanta to Dallas)

Dirk Nowitzki passes the European torch to Luka after 21 years. Dallas is the perfect spot too, being the only organization that can build around a Euro star. Doncic will mesh well in the backcourt, relieving Smith Jr. of ball-handling duties while not being overworked. Of course, skipping over Bamba means Cuban will aim high and sign Demarcus Cousins to the max or Dwight Howard, fresh off his release from the Nets, to the MLE.

Draft Pick Grade: A-

Woj Tweet: None

Woj Tweet Grade: F.

4. Jaren Jackson Jr. (Memphis)

This draft could have been completely altered if Jaren Jackson Jr. never sent his medical records to Memphis, which he ultimately did the day of the draft. Memphis decided to settle on the shot-blocking big who brings a unique style of offense to the table. He can play the 4 next to Marc Gasol right away and eventually supersede him at the 5.

Draft Pick Grade: A-

Woj Tweet: “Memphis is locked in on selecting Jaren Jackson Jr.”

Woj Tweet Grade: A. ‘Locked in on’ sounds like Robert Pera was really sure of himself.

5. Trae Young (Atlanta)

Bootleg Hampton’s 5, Warriors lite, mini-Golden State. Whatever you want to call them, they are explicitly molded in the shape of the champions. Trae Young plays the role of Steph Curry, Kevin Huerter is Klay Thompson’s understudy, and Taurean Prince and John Collins mirror Draymond and Iggy’s every move. The new general manager, Travis Schlenk, even studied under Bob Meyers in Oakland.

Draft Pick Grade: A

Woj Tweet: Hawks GM Travis Schlenk gets his man in Young

Woj Tweet Grade: B. This tweet is like when I come home with a project that I worked hard on, but not too hard on. The result is about what I expected.

6. Mo Bamba (Orlando)

As a Bulls fan, I was begging the Magic pulled a vintage move and passed on Bamba. It is because Bamba represents everything the modern big man is supposed to be. Yes, he can block shots, rebound the ball, and step out for a shot. Not only can he do those things, but he can block shots and turn them into transition plays, rebound the ball with four defenders draped on his shoulders, and hit a three off a pick and pop. Bamba is super-human.

Draft Pick Grade: A

Woj Tweet: “Orlando is focused on selecting Texas center Mo Bamba with the sixth pick.”

Woj Tweet Grade: C+. Bamba is a fascinating person and player and deserved a more risque tweet.

7. Wendell Carter (Chicago)

Things did not exactly bounce Chicago’s way but they left with a nice big man anyway. They made a middling pick at 7, a high risk would have been Porter Jr. and a cautious pick would have been Mikal Bridges. Carter falls somewhere in the middle, as an old-school big man that can step out and stretch the floor once in a while and has more nimble movement than you expect. He is not a dominant shot-blocker, nor is he a liability. He will imminently replace Lopez as the starting center next to The Finnisher.

Note: The Carlos Boozer comparison of Wendell Carter courtesy Chauncey Billups added about 15 years to my life.

Draft Pick Grade: B-

Woj Tweet: Chicago is zeroing in on Wendell Carter with the seventh overall pick

Woj Tweet Grade: A-. Zeroes in on sounds like Gar/Pax were befuddled by their choice, which was definitely the case.

8. Collin Sexton (Cleveland)

Cleveland needed to ship this pick off for a proven star or pick a potential star who can play right away. Sexton can play right away, and while he is no Kyrie, he will surely be a better playmaker than Jordan Clarkson and a superior shot-creator to George Hill. He even started out his Cavs career by recruiting Lebron.

Draft Pick Grade: A

Woj Tweet: “Cleveland prefers Collin Sexton with the No. 8 pick.”

Woj Tweet Grade: B.

9. Kevin Knox (New York)

Kevin Knox heard the Knick fans collective disappointment Knox’s name was blared by Adam Silver and not Porter Jr.’s. They should be content with Knox though, he is an NBA-ready scorer, with NBA-ready stature. Standing 6’9’’ with a 7’0’’ wingspan, Knox has the potential to stifle opponents on the other end. I am captivated by Knox’s fit in the Big Apple, he will add a much-needed secondary scoring option to take the weight off of Kristaps’ scrawny build. He could end up a Bernard King-like scorer for New York.

Draft Pick Grade: A

Woj Tweet: “New York has been focused on Kentucky’s Kevin Knox with the ninth pick.”

Woj Tweet Grade: A. There is a level of discreteness with a heightened sense of glare that makes ‘focused on’ a descriptive term by Woj.

10. Mikal Bridges (Philadelphia to Phoenix)

Philadelphia originally made this pick and the ship seemed to be smooth-sailing, with Bridges spelling Covington and serving as his eventual predecessor. Surprisingly, Bridges was shipped off to Phoenix for Zhaire Smith and future benefits (second-rounders). Bridges will supply ammo to the defensive-starved Suns’ team that just got a little worse at it by adding subpar rim-protector, Ayton (who was called out by Joel Embiid for his lackluster defense). Devin Booker, Dragan Bender, and Marquese Chriss all rate as albatrosses on defense. Josh Jackson and Mikal Bridges will be drawing top perimeter defensive assignments and some.

Draft Pick Grade: A

Woj Tweet: “Sixers are targeting Villanova’s Mikal Bridges with No. 10.”

Woj Tweet Grade: B. Woj kept it simple and sometimes simple is the best.

11. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Charlotte to LAC)

The Los Angeles Clippers added a point guard that Mike Schmitz absolutely loves (he called him potentially the best point guard in the draft). Gilgeous-Alexander, whose parents were both freakish athletes, is living proof that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. He possesses lightning-quick speed, exceptional athleticism, length, and pure basketball IQ, to form an intriguing basketball player. While the comparisons to Shaun Livingston and MCW make sense because of their long limbs, Gilgeous-Alexander is unique in his own right. He will add a defensive mindset and offensive versatility to a team with an undersized combo guard, Lou Williams, and a shot-blocking center, who really wants to get paid.

Draft Pick Grade: A

Woj Tweet: None.

Woj Tweet Grade: F.

12. Miles Bridges (LAC to Charlotte)

The underrated tweener out of Michigan State has rim-rocking ability. He is so much more than just a dunker though, he adds a crisp jumper from deep and mid-range, and great cutting ability. His wingspan limits his defensive potential but he has a strong work ethic. As Charlotte looks to unload Nicolas Batum for picks, Bridges is their small forward for the foreseeable future.

Draft Pick Grade: A

Woj Tweet: None

Woj Tweet Grade: F.

13. Jerome Robinson (LAC)

Robinson reminds me of a stretched-out Randy Foye. His talent is clear; he was second in the ACC player of the year voting. Despite being a late draft riser, Robinson has a multitude of talents. He is a better passer than most people think, according to his coach at Boston College. So why wasn’t his passing aptitude maximized in school? The driving rationale for his less than stellar assist total was because he had no one on his team to dish to. His team went just 9-22 on the season. Nevertheless, Robinson will be a featured scorer and passer on the second unit in LA right away, playing next to Austin Rivers.

Draft Pick Grade: A

Woj Tweet: None.

Woj Tweet Grade: F.

14. Michael Porter Jr. (Denver)

Denver has hit on picks they weren’t supposed to. They have grabbed Jamal Murray 7th, Gary Harris 14th, and Nikola Jokic 59th. They can finally afford to take a risk and try to move out of basketball hell. Porter Jr. is a tailor-made risk too. He made a concerted effort to create his own luck and land in Chicago by refusing to send his medical records anywhere else. The news that he couldn’t get out of bed petrified potential suitors in the lottery and he firmly ended in the Nugget’s lap. Porter Jr. adds much-needed small forward help that employed just two last season, Torrey Craig and Wilson Chandler.

Draft Pick Grade: A

Woj Tweet: “Denver has cleared the way to choose Michael Porter Jr. with the 14h pick.”

Woj Tweet Grade: A. Clearing the way sounds like Jokic just parted the red sea for Porter Jr. to walk (or limp) his way to mile high city. Epically awesome, Woj.

15. Troy Brown (Washington)

This is a boom-or-bust pick for Washington. It is not that Brown is not a solid player, but the Wizards have a logjam at the 3 position. Kelly Oubre had a mini-breakout year, posting career highs in every major category and Otto Porter is hooked for another 3 years and nearly $80 million. The Wizards are deeply entrenched in both these guys’ futures, yet drafted a 3 for the third consecutive year. Maybe they are pointing to Boston’s wing dominance and saying “See! We need wings!” If they have a trade cooking; Otto Porter for Demarcus Cousins, I actually am more partial to this draft pick.

Draft Pick Grade: : D+ (for now)

Woj Tweet: “Washington is locked on Troy Brown with the 15th pick.”

Woj Tweet Grade: B. For Boring.

16. Zhaire Smith (Phoenix to Philadelphia)

The high-flying wingman is a nice addition to Philly’s young core. He is an athletic boost to a team that is strong in every category besides native athletic ability. Ersan Ilyasova, J.J. Redick, Marco Belinelli, Justin Anderson, T.J. McConnell, and Robert Covington are not exactly known for their high-jumping ability. Zhaire Smith could end up having a K.J. McDaniels or Leandro Barbosa role on this Sixers team. While he is an athletic beast, he needs to refine his offensive skill especially his ball-handling since he is a forward stuck in a guard’s body. Nevertheless, Smith being chosen is an impressive accomplishment considering he is the first unranked player in the ESPN Top 100 to ever be drafted in the first-round.

Draft Pick Grade: B-

Woj Tweet: “Phoenix is determined to select Zhaire Smith with 16.”

Woj Tweet Grade: C. They seemed pretty intent on choosing the Texas Tech star until they traded him.

17. Donte DiVincenzo (Milwaukee)

DiVincenzo adds a much-needed scoring boost off the bench to the 27th ranked scoring bench. Of course, Donte will add gritty defense to a team with a lack of defensive identity. He will supply transition athleticism and shooting to Budenholzer’s pace and space offense. He will play a combined role of 2014 Kent Bazemore and Kyle Korver for Budenholzer and be an immediate help to a team looking to win a playoff series for the first time since 2001.

Draft Pick Grade: A

Woj Tweet: None.

Woj Tweet Grade: F. Woj missed out on a huge chance to incorporate “The Big Ragu” or the “Michael Jordan of Delaware” in 280 characters. He was caught looking at a strike three.

18. Lonnie Walker IV (San Antonio)

Lonnie Walker IV will fit seamlessly into the machine that is San Antonio. Walker has the ability to play either the 2 or the 3 and with the increasing possibility, Kawhi is leaving will step into a starting role sooner rather than later. Danny Green has a year remaining on his contract, last year’s first-round pick, Josh White, may not be ready. While still vastly undeveloped and raw, Walker will have to take leaps and bounds in his overall progression as a basketball player in his rookie year,

Draft Pick Grade: B

Woj Tweet: “The Spurs are fixated on Lonnie Walker with the 18th pick.”

Woj Tweet Grade: A. The term ‘Fixated on’ seems ideal for the player that believes the world is an illusion.

19. Kevin Huerter (Atlanta)

I don’t envision Huerter as a carbon copy of Klay Thompson, but I think he is the closest thing we have seen since Thompson entered the league. What is most crazy about Kevin’s situation is that he intended just to test the waters in this draft, expecting to be rated as a second-round talent. He ended up rising up draft boards because of his exceptional shooting drills, combine numbers, and workouts. Huerter falls into a great situation into the bootleg Warriors team in Atlanta.

Draft Pick Grade: A

Woj Tweet: “Atlanta has zeroed in on Maryland’s Kevin Huerter with the 19 pick.”

Woj Tweet Grade: B-. This would count as a redundancy but it’s past form while the last one was ‘zeroing in on’. Woj just dodged a bullet.

20. Josh Okogie (Minnesota)

Okogie is a 3-and-D player who is not a firm shooter but is highly athletic and displayed real scoring chops this past season. He will be a Thibodeau favorite right away and with Jamal Crawford leaving Minnesota, Okogie should easily garner 15+ minutes his rookie season. Of course, Thibodeau hates playing rookies so he could be glued to the bench for the whole year and no one would blink an eye.

Draft Pick Grade: B

Woj Tweet: None.

Woj Tweet Grade: F.

21. Grayson Allen (Utah)

While the controversial Duke star won’t surprise like Donovan Mitchell did last season, he can be a key role-player to a contender. Considering Alec Burks fell out of favor and the rotation in the playoffs and Rodney Hood was shipped to Cleveland, the Jazz needed a backup shooting guard. Allen was projected to be a lottery pick two years ago and a wooden award finalist in consecutive years. The talent is there and if he gets rid of his nagging label as a bad teammate, he can be a boon for Utah.

Draft Pick Grade: B+

Woj Tweet: “Utah Jazz have no plans to pass on Grayson Allen with the 21st pick.”

Woj Tweet Grade: A-. It sounds like the Jazz were teetering on passing on the star because of his attitude or Woj is simply not a huge fan of Allen. Either way, Woj gets the point across.

22. Chandler Hutchison (Chicago)

Hutchinson draws comparisons to Trevor Ariza because of his lockdown mentality. His defensive rating of was first in the Mountain West. When attacking the rim downhill, Hutchinson maintains great awareness. He knows exactly when to jump stop and perform a Rondo-fake or when to explode up and over smaller defenders.

Draft Pick Grade: A-

Woj Tweet: “Bulls are on Boise State’s Chandler Hutchison. He was shut down in workouts with Chicago promise.”

Woj Tweet Grade: A. Woj speaks the truth, Chicago promised Hutchison they would pick him in months in advance of the draft.

23. Aaron Holiday (Indiana)

After Lonzo Ball and Bryce Alford left Westwood for professional ranks, Holiday got his chance to shine. He did not let the opportunity pass him up either. He scored the most points in the Pac-12 on his way to Pac-12 All-First Team. The point guard has a wide frame and long arms, capable of being a star on both ends of the floor like his brother, Jrue. He also may be the best ball-handler in the class and is a world-class distributor. Holiday will imminently take over backup minutes from Joe Young and eventually render Darren Collison trade bait.

Draft Pick Grade: A

Woj Tweet: “Pacers are focused on Aaron Holiday at 23.”

Woj Tweet Grade: D-. This marks the third time Woj used this one. Maybe he got bored.

24. Anfernee Simons

Picking Anfernee Simons is a sign. No, it doesn’t mean aliens exist, the world is ending, or the moon landing was a hoax. Instead, it signals C.J. McCollum or Damian Lillard will be dealt either this year or the next. The two have proven lethal next to each other, but the addition of a young talent like Simons will push one of them out of the limelight. Simons excels as a 2-guard, who splits some time at the 1. He has drawn comparisons to McCollum because of his combo-guard ability and his capacity to create his own shot.

Draft Pick Grade: B

Woj Tweet: “Portland has a laser on Anfernee Simons.”

Woj Tweet Grade: A+. This tweet stood out at first sight and marked the first time laser was used to describe basketball, besides in the description of a player’s jump shot.

25. Moritz Wagner (LAL)

Wagner rates as the 3rd best shooter in the country. Wagner is one of Nowitzki’s padawans, a 6’11’’ shooter who also has nimble feet in the post. His journey from Berlin in 2014 to the final four in 2018 was scripted like a Hollywood movie. It only makes sense that he ends up in the city of angels. If the Lakers do end up with Lebron or Kawhi, Wagner can step in and be a spot-up shooter. If not, Ingram and Lonzo can look to Wagner when their shot is not falling for a consistent threat from deep.

Draft Pick Grade: A-

Woj Tweet: “The Lakers are unlikely to resist Mo Wagner with the 25th pick.”

Woj Tweet Grade: A. Woj somehow followed up the laser with his first double negative. Truly exquisite work.

26. Landry Shamet (Philadelphia)

Even with talents like; Cleanthony Early, Fred VanVleet, and Ron Baker making their way through the cornfields of Wichita, Shamet stands out as Wichita’s State’s most hyped star. He can play the 1 or the 2 with relative ease, but will not see immediate playing time playing in Philly. Instead, he will be playing for the 87ers in Delaware, working on his one-on-one defense and his vision as a floor general. That is unless he can beat out either Markelle Fultz or T.J. McConnell for the backup spot.

Draft Pick Grade: B

Woj Tweet: “The Sixers are enamored with Landry Shamut at the 26th pick.”

Woj Tweet Grade: D-. At first, I was beguiled by the word ‘enamored’, then I backtracked and noticed the botched spelling of ‘Shamet.’

27. Robert Williams (Boston)

Robert Williams surely would have been picked in the top-10 had he declared for the draft a year ago. His stock took a complete and utter tailspin tonight. Williams, blocking 4.1 shots per 40 minutes, still has the potential to be a defensive intimidator. Remember, Clint Capela was taken 27th just three short years ago.

Draft Pick Grade: A+

Woj Tweet: “Boston is tantalized by Robert Williams with the 27th pick.”

Woj Tweet Grade: B-. ‘Tantalized by’ raises the hair on my skin and creates goosebumps all over my body. Half of me kind of loves it but the other half is a little creeped out.

28. Jacob Evans (Golden State)

Once Pat Mccaw was viciously undercut by Vince Carter mid-season, the Warriors backup wing play became bleak. In the playoffs, Golden State was forced to play Nick Young big minutes once Iggy went down with an injury. Omri Casspi also proved to be a disaster of a signing, being released towards the end of the season. Ultimately, their outstanding wing issues almost cost them a run at the finals. Evans, while unathletic, will add a legit 3-and-D option to a team desperately (very relative) in need of one.

Draft Pick Grade: A

Woj Tweet: “The Warriors are locked on Jacob Evans at No. 29.”

Woj Tweet Grade: C-. Redundancy here by Woj, his creativity has clearly stagnated.

29. Dzanan Musa (Brooklyn)

The Bosnian scoring machine, as Mike Schmitz donned him, has the potential to be a gunner in the NBA. In the form of J.R  Smith, Nick Young, and Jamal Crawford, Musa is a player the coach winces when he shoots, yet it seems to drop in half the time. The Nets add him to a super weird foundation of Jarrett Allen, Caris Levert, Spencer Dinwiddie and D’Angelo Russell. I like his fit as the scorer off the bench.

Draft Pick Grade: B+

Woj Tweet: “Brooklyn will select Dzanan Musa.”

Woj Tweet Grade: D-. He tweeted something but it really amounted to nothing.

30. Omari Spellman (Atlanta)

I am surprised that Spellman fell this far. The Hawks are going with their version of Kevon Looney with this pick. Even with Dewayne Dedmon opting in for his final season, Spellman will receive big minutes from the get-go. Miles Plumlee is the only other true center on the roster.

Draft Pick Grade: A

Woj Tweet: None.

Woj Tweet Grade: F. Ends the first round with a dud.

In the end, Seth Davis described the night perfectly, “Woj has some…Woj stuff for us,” and just like that, an eventful night was wrapped up into one sentence. Hopefully, we get more of the same next year.

I will deliver a more in-depth look at each prospect and their fit with their future team, along with projected statistics, in the coming days. For these players, the next stage is Summer League, where they display and enhance their skills in front of hundreds of executives and scouts.

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