Five Polarizing Players Entering the 2018 NBA Draft
- Trae Young: If you’re in tune with Ball is Life and the other outlets promoting prep athletes, you might have heard Young touted as “The next Steph Curry.” Before he ever took the court at Oklahoma, the point guard gained millions of views and left the internet speechless with his knack for pulling up from NBA range and knocking down shots with ease. The Edmond product possesses a slight build like Curry at 6-foot-3, 180 pounds, a lightning-quick trigger from deep and otherworldly court vision, which allows him to whip cross-court passes reminiscent of Steve Nash. During his lone year with the Sooners, the fantastic floor general led the nation in both points and assists despite being the one-man show on a team devoid of shot creators and finishers at the rim. Though his lack of size, strength and defensive shortcomings will all be exposed in the NBA, Young’s ability to space the floor and excite crowds with Curry-esque feats should propel him to success.
- Marvin Bagley III: Never mind that Bagley reclassified in order to enter the NBA Draft a year early, the kid can flat out play. You’ve heard the rumblings about him being a straight-line tweener who only goes left and lacks a consistent jump shot, but trust me, this kid is a monster. For one, at 6-foot-11, he has the handle to go coast-to-coast and muscle his way to the basket for buckets. He’s also a quick leaper who battles on the boards ferociously and seems to elevate his play in prime-time moments. I honestly see him as Michael Beasley had Beasley mentally translated to the NBA quicker and played with a relentless motor. In essence, the sky's the limit for this bouncy big man as he continues to round out his game.
- Mikal Bridges: I’m pretty late on Bridges, having not watched film on him until this year. I’ll tell you one thing though: From five minutes of watching him slash toward the rim and explode over defenders for dunks, use his long wingspan to create turnovers, and quickly come off screens to knock down catch-and-shoot jumpers, I was sold. His NBA ceiling is like Otto Porter’s if Porter had a killer instinct and the mentality of a go-to guy. If we’re talking about potential, mental toughness and skill level, Bridges is arguably the safest pick in the draft.
- Wendell Carter: Despite not being the most explosive athlete on the floor, Carter really doesn’t have any holes in his game. The versatile big man has the range to knock down 3s with consistency, strong legs and long arms built for snagging rebounds and challenging shots at the rim, and a soft pair of hands used to catch tough passes in the lane and finish at the cup skillfully. If there’s a player who’s extremely polished and ready for the physicality of the league, it’s Carter. With a skill set similar to Zach Randolph’s, he could honestly morph into Z-Bo 2.0.
- Luka Doncic: There are a lot of basketball pundits succumbing to the hype surrounding Doncic. I just don’t happen to be one of them. Yes, he’s extremely skilled for his age, has incredible court vision and plays with a mature pace. Yes, he’s dominated the competition overseas despite playing against grown men as a mere teenager. But no, I don’t think he’s worthy of a top-five draft pick and I don’t see him having better careers than anybody on this list or DeAndre Ayton or Mohammad Bamba. I see him more as an upgraded version of Joe Ingles, which is really good, but top five? Not in my book, playa.