Re-Drafting Luka Doncic, Trae Young and the Entire 2018 NBA Draft 1st Round

Jonathan Wasserman@@NBADraftWassNBA Lead WriterApril 15, 2019

Re-Drafting Luka Doncic, Trae Young and the Entire 2018 NBA Draft 1st Round

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    Todd Kirkland/Associated Press

    The strength of the 2018 draft class was one of the NBA's bigger storylines this season.

    A re-draft would result in teams choosing differently. Would the Phoenix Suns still take Deandre Ayton knowing how quickly Luka Doncic's game has translated? Do the Atlanta Hawks stick with Trae Young following his monster second half? How far would Kevin Knox fall? 

    The perception of many of June's first-round picks has changed since summer league. 

    We used the original order for the re-draft and ignored trades that took place after the lottery.

1. Phoenix Suns: Luka Doncic

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    Already a top-25 scorer with eight triple-doubles, Luka Doncic goes No. 1 in a re-draft. 

    Questions asking whether he'd be able to create separation against NBA wings have vanished. And those were the only legitimate predraft questions that presumably led the Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Hawks to originally prefer someone else. 

    Between his size, ball-handling, shot-making, playmaking, age (20) and comfort level in the clutch, Doncic has the chance to become one of the game's most impactful offensive players. 

    There may be some overlap with Devin Booker but not to the point where passing on the draft's best player would be advised. 

2. Sacramento Kings: Jaren Jackson

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    Chuck Burton/Associated Press

    Jaren Jackson Jr. didn't have the second-best rookie season, but a re-draft takes long-term potential into account. And signs point to him reaching a ceiling that's higher than Deandre Ayton's, Marvin Bagley's and Trae Young's. 

    Already with per-36 minute averages of 1.2 threes and 1.9 blocks, he's one of a few NBA players able to stretch the floor and protect the rim.

    But he also averaged more points in Memphis (13.8) than he did at Michigan State (10.9), flashing improved scoring skills on face-up moves and back-to-the-basket post-ups.

    Ayton would receive serious consideration, but Jackson, who's over a year younger, still offers more upside based on his superior scoring versatility and defense.

3. Atlanta Hawks: Trae Young

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    John Amis/Associated Press

    Seemingly written out of the Rookie of the Year debate entering the season, Trae Young went on to join Oscar Robertson and Damon Stoudamire as the only rookies to average at least 19.0 points and 8.0 assists.

    After struggling the second half of last season at Oklahoma, leading to rumbles of skepticism, Young flipped the script this year by improving each month, averaging 23.6 points and 9.1 assists in his last 34 games. 

    By 2020, there won't be many guards with equally elite shot-making and passing skills. The fact they've translated this quickly is what's been so surprising and impressive.

    In a re-draft, the Hawks make sure to add Young again—they just won't receive the Dallas Mavericks' future first-rounder on the side.

4. Memphis Grizzlies: Deandre Ayton

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    Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

    DeAndre Ayton had a No. 1-overall-caliber season, but this draft class isn't like most. He'll fall a few spots in a re-draft and become a value pick for the Memphis Grizzlies.

    He averaged a double-double while shooting 58.5 percent and diminishing predraft concerns about his ability to add value defensively. 

    The next step for Ayton, other than continuing to improve in rim protection, will be expanding his shooting range. Regardless, he's on track toward becoming one of the game's top post scorers, finishers and rebounders.

5. Dallas Mavericks: Marvin Bagley

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    Rocky Widner/Getty Images

    Marvin Bagley made a second-half push for first team All-Rookie votes. He averaged over 17.0 points in February, March and April, unleashing his athletic ability and budding offensive skills, including a jump shot, post game and face-up moves.

    A versatile scorer and interchangeable big man, he practically split time playing center (54.0 percent) and power forward (45.0 percent).

    Kristaps Porzingis' shooting and rim protection would ultimately make him the ideal frontcourt partner to pair with Bagley, although predraft concerns about his defense and touch didn't seem as alarming this year in Sacramento. 

6. Orlando Magic: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

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    Kelvin Kuo/Associated Press

    The Orlando Magic won't waste time with Mohamed Bamba in a re-draft. Already set up front, they'll plug a hole with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in the backcourt, where he offers enough skill versatility and size/length to play and defend either backcourt spot.

    He shot 47.6 percent this season, an impressive feat of efficiency for a rookie guard. It's a terrific sign, given the predraft questions about his lack of explosion and whether it would hold him back. 

    Perimeter shooting development could ultimately determine how valuable Gilgeous-Alexander becomes, but he looked plenty competent when set, having made 51 threes at a 36.7 percent clip and 80.0 percent of his free throws.

7. Chicago Bulls: Wendell Carter Jr.

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    Ben Margot/Associated Press

    At No. 7, the Chicago Bulls would again view Wendell Carter Jr. as the best player available.

    Thumb surgery cost him the final three months, but he did enough prior for the Bulls to justify taking him again, particularly if Gilgeous-Alexander goes top-six. 

    A physical presence around the basket, Carter should be a solid fit alongside perimeter-oriented Lauri Markkanen. Although, the Bulls' franchise center should have enough touch to eventually stretch the floor and knock down threes.

8. Cleveland Cavaliers: Mitchell Robinson

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    Jason DeCrow/Associated Press

    The class' leader in player efficiency rating, Mitchell Robinson makes a monster jump in a re-draft to No. 8 from No. 36.

    He finished No. 2 in the NBA in shot-blocking (2.4 per game) playing just 20.6 minutes. Since 1989-90, only eight other rookies averaged as many blocks, including Joel Embiid, Tim Duncan, Shaquille O'Neal, Alonzo Mourning, Dikembe Mutombo and David Robinson. And except for Embiid, the other five mentioned all did it over 30.0 minutes a night.

    Robinson's quickness, length and timing translated to remarkable defensive playmaking, both around the rim and the perimeter. And his ultra athleticism consistently led to easy baskets, with the 7'1" big man sporting a 69.4 field-goal percentage. 

    He'd give the Cavaliers a rim protector to rebuild with next to Kevin Love. 

9. New York Knicks: Michael Porter Jr.

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    Kevin Hagen/Associated Press

    At No. 9, the New York Knicks miss out on the class' franchise players and choose to avoid the questions about Kevin Knox's rough rookie year.

    They might as well swing for the fences on one of the few potential stars remaining. Once viewed as a No. 1 overall candidate, Michael Porter Jr. is back practicing after missing the regular season recovering from back issues.

    The 6'10" combo forward creates mismatches with his size, face-up scoring and three-point shooting. He becomes a steal in the real draft and re-draft by staying durable.

10. Philadelphia 76ers: Kevin Huerter

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    Aaron Gash/Associated Press

    The Philadelphia 76ers re-draft Kevin Huerter for his fit and early success shooting, passing and playing team defense.

    He comes off as an ideal complement to more ball-dominant stars like Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.

    Huerter finished at 38.5 percent from three, demonstrating a balanced, convincing release on spot-ups and off screens. But he also added 2.9 assists, a number that reflects some secondary playmaking ability.

11. Charlotte Hornets: Mohamed Bamba

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    John Raoux/Associated Press

    With the Orlando Magic opting for a guard and Mitchell Robinson now a top-10 pick, Mohamed Bamba slips in a re-draft.

    A stress fracture in his tibia also creates new concern. But at No. 11, the Charlotte Hornets won't settle on a lower-upside role player. Bamba still has the highest ceiling among available prospects based on his unique mix of size, wild length and a skill set that includes promising shooting touch.

    He made 21 threes through his first 47 games while blocking 3.0 shots per 36 minutes. The Hornets could use a new defensive-minded anchor in the middle whether Kemba Walker returns or not. 

12. Los Angeles Clippers (via Pistons): Collin Sexton

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    Tony Dejak/Associated Press

    Gilgeous-Alexander played himself out of the Los Angeles Clippers' draft range, so they'll settle on Collin Sexton, who quietly averaged 18.8 points in February, 22.4 points in March and 20.2 points in April.

    He surprised this year with 40.2 percent three-point shooting. However, his 3.0 assists to 2.3 turnovers suggest the Clippers may still want to look for another point guard via trade or free agency. Sexton needs work on using his dribble to set up teammates. 

    But he's already a feared, three-level scorer in his first NBA season. Sexton could take over for Lou Williams in L.A. when the veteran eventually slows down.

13. Los Angeles Clippers: Kevin Knox

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    Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

    Kevin Knox slips in a re-draft after shooting 37.0 percent. But he's also still 19 years old and the poor situation in New York wasn't suited for rookie efficiency.

    The Los Angeles Clippers would give Knox a better situation with more talent.

    The 6'9" forward flashed scoring versatility by making 1.7 threes per game, pull-ups and runners, though he'll need to improve his finishing around the basket in Year 2.

14. Denver Nuggets: Mikal Bridges

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    Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

    The Denver Nuggets should see a role player in Mikal Bridges, a plus contributor this season for a 19-win Phoenix Suns team.

    He still doesn't offer much as a shot-creator or playmaker, but his defense and shooting should continue to drive his value.

    On a better team in Year 2, Bridges would figure to finish well above the 33.5 percent mark from three he shot as a rookie. 

Nos. 15-20

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    Landry Shamet
    Landry ShametAssociated Press

    15. Washington Wizards: Miles Bridges

    Bridges' role and minutes were limited in Charlotte, but he'll receive more touches and freedom in Washington. He's already one of the league's premier athletes with promising shot-making skill, driving ability and defensive versatility. 


    16. Phoenix Suns: Landry Shamet 

    A 40.4 percent three-pointer shooter in Philadelphia and 45.0 percent sniper with the L.A. Clippers, Shamet has already established himself as a useful specialist. He'd be a re-draft target for the Suns after they finished last in the NBA in three-point shooting. 


    17. Milwaukee Bucks: Lonnie Walker

    Walker spent more time in the G League, and he should be better prepared for NBA action as a sophomore. Compared to Milwaukee's original pick Donte DiVincenzo, Walker offers greater upside fueled by explosive leaping, perimeter shot-making and developing shot-creation skills.


    18. San Antonio Spurs: Rodions Kurucs

    A steal for the Brooklyn Nets with the No. 40 pick, Kurucs won't slip out of the re-draft's first round. Able to score by shooting, driving and cutting, the 6'9" forward's game screams offensive versatility. He'd add forward depth in San Antonio with Rudy Gay entering free agency.


    19. Atlanta Hawks: Allonzo Trier

    Originally undrafted, Trier took advantage of an opportunity with the Knicks, who gave him the green light to showcase his advanced shot-creation and shot-making. He'd give Trae Young another scoring weapon to feed and the Hawks a player who can generate his own offense. 


    20. Minnesota Timberwolves: Zhaire Smith

    Smith deserves credit just for returning to the floor after fracturing his foot and suffering an allergic reaction that led to significant weight loss. In limited action toward the season's end, Smith reminded teams about his athleticism, activity at both ends and developing three-ball and passing. He'd play a similar scrappy role for the Wolves that Josh Okogie, their original pick, occupied for them this season. 

Nos. 21-30

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    Jalen Brunson
    Jalen BrunsonAssociated Press

    21. Utah Jazz: Anfernee Simons

    Simons went off for 37 points in Portland's regular-season finale, a possible sign of what's to come once his body and game are further along. He's 19 years old, explosive and loaded with scoring potential, though it may still take another season or two until he's a full-time player. At No. 21, Simons is simply the most intriguing long-term prospect on the board for Utah. 


    22. Chicago Bulls (via Pelicans): Aaron Holiday

    The Bulls could target Holiday to upgrade their point guard depth. He hasn't had a chance to play big minutes in Indiana, so he'd benefit by joining Chicago's rotation. Signs point to a scoring ball-handler, capable of catching fire and digging in defensively.


    23. Indiana Pacers: Troy Brown

    The Pacers wouldn't put stock in Brown's rookie season. They should see enough potential in the 19-year-old's two-way versatility on the wing, where Indiana could use more depth following Victor Oladipo's crushing injury. Brown checks boxes as a driver, passer, shot-maker and defender, though each area of his game requires plenty of improvement. 


    24. Portland Trail Blazers: Jalen Brunson

    Doncic has overshadowed Brunson in Dallas. Originally a second-rounder, he quietly had a productive, efficient rookie season, answering questions about his lack of speed and athleticism. He figures to have a long career as a serviceable point guard, and the Blazers could use another behind Damian Lillard


    25. Los Angeles Lakers (via Cavaliers): Robert Williams

    Williams never figured to play many minutes in Boston, though even in limited action, he's made plays just by tapping into his physical tools and athleticism around the basket. He'll add rim protection and easy buckets in L.A., even if his skills never develop.


    26. Philadelphia 76ers: Josh Okogie 

    Okogie's offense is lagging, but he carved out a rookie role in Minnesota for his defense and toughness. He could do the same with the Sixers by bringing physical pressure and intensity off the bench.


    27. Boston Celtics: Grayson Allen

    Allen's 40-point eruption in Utah's final regular-season game served as a reminder of his microwave scoring. Given his style and history, he'll likely continue making tough shots and frustrating mistakes. He's designed for the sixth-man or spark role off the bench.


    28. Golden State Warriors: Jerome Robinson

    Limited rookie action hurts Robinson's re-draft stock. He scored enough in the G League to hold first-round value, however. Robinson has a tough pull-up game from the second and third levels, plus 6'5" size to get his shot off.


    29. Brooklyn Nets (via Raptors): Dzanan Musa 

    Musa's 19.5 points per game in the G League led to the Nets drafting him again. He's still 19, and at 6'9", his ability to create and make traditional and unconventional shots remains enticing enough to wait on. 


    30. Atlanta Hawks (via Rockets): Hamidou Diallo

    Diallo's shooting must improve, but it's worth betting on at No. 30, given his explosive athleticism and developing scoring skills. He'd receive more minutes and shots in Atlanta after seeing limited action with OKC and its G League affiliate.


    Stats courtesy of Sports Reference and RealGM.


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