Deandre Ayton Goes First in NBA Draft, Hornets Acquire Miles Bridges

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PC: AZHook on Flickr 

Andrew Salmon
Sports Editor

The Phoenix Suns now have their man.

Teaming up with superstar-in-the-making Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton who is a freshman from the University of Arizona was selected first overall by the Suns in the 2018 NBA Draft last Wednesday.

Ayton, who averaged 20.1 points per game and 11.6 rebounds per game for the Wildcats last season, comes into the league with a high ceiling and lofty expectations; he’ll be anticipated to contribute to the rebuilding Suns from day one.

Still, Ayton’s eyes aren’t quite aimed at the stars. When asked what his idea of success would be in the NBA, Ayton replied that he simply wanted to secure a second contract. For past first-overall busts like Kwame Brown and Greg Oden, a second contract seems like a realistic and financially wise goal. Regardless, with Ayton’s post presence and absurd athleticism, expect Ayton to reach that second contract and many more after that.

With the second pick in the draft, the Sacramento Kings took Duke’s Marvin Bagley III. Bagley, who finished high school a year early to enroll at Duke last summer, should be a name any college basketball fan in the area should be familiar with. His superb length and shooting ability makes him a coveted rim-protector and scorer alike, easily comparable to Kevin Durant.

The 19-year-old European wonder boy, Luka Doncic, who seems to have literally no apparent weaknesses on the basketball court, was taken third overall by the Atlanta Hawks before being traded to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for their fifth overall pick, Oklahoma shooting sensation Trae Young, and a 2019 first round pick.

This came as a shock to many, as Young was not projected to be a top-five pick. While the sky is the limit for Young and his Curry-esque shooting abilities, there remain dire unanswered questions about his size and consistency. These, of course, were questions asked about Steph Curry when he was drafted as well.

It was, however, an absolute win for the Mavericks. With Dirk Nowitzki on his last leg, they needed a young player to take the reigns, and who better to take those reigns than another European player? With Dennis Smith Jr. at point guard and now-proven scorer Harrison Barnes at the wing, the Mavericks backcourt will be loaded for years to come. Expect them to make some waves in the upcoming years.

The Memphis Grizzlies traded up in the draft late to secure the fourth overall pick. They shipped off their starting small forward, Chandler Parsons, in a package deal that gave them the pick. They selected Michigan State freshman Jaren Jackson Jr. with the pick. A 6’11 power forward with shooting abilities, Jackson will be a corner piece of their franchise for years to come.

Moving down the list, the Charlotte Hornets selected Shai Gilgeous-Alexander from Kentucky with their 11th overall pick, then immediately traded him to the Los Angeles Clippers for Michigan State’s Miles Bridges.

Bridges, who flirted with the NBA last summer before deciding to return to school another year, is a draft pick that Hornets fans can finally feel excited about. His game is reminiscent of Draymond Green’s, who also went to Michigan State. They both play tough, lockdown defense, able to guard anyone on the court at any given time.

For a defensive minded Hornets team, this is the kind  of player that they can build around, and they’ll need to do just that: With Kemba Walker headed for free agency next season—and you can bet that he’ll be wanting to play somewhere else—it is important for the Hornets to draft a solid, young core over these next few years. Bridges is a great starting piece.

 For a complete list of NBA Draft picks, visit http://www.nba.com/draft/2018/board#/.

@ndrewisasalmon



Categories: Sports, Uncategorized

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