The month of July is here with fireworks, free agency, and NBA Summer League basketball. I enjoy the time to view the rookies who are learning the speed of the game at the NBA level.
The NBA draft was filled with glitz and glamour; the outfits are getting more and more exciting year after year. Point guard Trae Young who was drafted fifth overall by the Dallas Mavericks then traded to the Atlanta Hawks for the third pick overall Luka Doncic dressed up in the short suit. Chicago Bulls drafted Wendell Carter Jr. with the seventh pick the film Black Panther-inspired his attire.
I am already looking back and dissecting this draft. Every team claimed where they drafted was a good draft pick. As each team should but I will disagree. Particularly with the top five picks.
You will have to give this class time. Case in point, Fourth overall pick by the Memphis Grizzlies Jaren Jackson Jr. and the ninth overall selection by the New York Knicks Kevin Knox are only 18 years of age. Growth and maturity will come; it is not fair to handicap their career early on. There was hype, there is wingspan and more wingspan, but very few finished products were drafted in this year’s draft.
Deandre Ayton was deservedly the number one overall pick for the Phoenix Suns. Michael Porter Jr. I get it. It is a back injury at what point do you say he is worth the risk? I will not be shocked if he is the steal of the draft for years to come taken 14th overall by the Denver Nuggets who have talent around porter to cover his flaws at the moment, you cant you blame teams on passing on him.
Picks number one through five I would select over in this manner, with remarks from summer league play.
1. Phoenix Suns
Again, Ayton is deservedly the number one pick. Physically he can play in the NBA immediately. He can dribble, pass and shoot for a player his size. A true inside-out threat. The weakness I have seen in his game in Summer League play as of now, more is power needed just an effort, his body language for a future franchise center can better.
2. Sacramento Kings
Luca Doncic should have been crowned a king. Doncic is a creative open-floor playmaker. He has Elite instincts on both ends. My question when I see holes in his game is will he get stuffed by the defense of a lengthy Kevin Durant? He will need to improve in creating his shot.
3. Atlanta Hawks
Marvin Bagley would be perfect in “Hotlanta.” One of the better rim-runners in this draft. Quick off his feet with an excellent second jump. Powerful finisher. Bagley is a 63 percent free throw shooter. A trip to the gym specifically to improve his numbers at the charity stripe is needed.
4. Memphis Grizzlies
Michael Porter Jr. was a projected number one overall pick in the draft. His injury history prevented it. Porter will not play in Summer League, from the brief moments I have seen him play at the University of Missouri he is Light on his feet when healthy. Though selected by the Denver Nuggets, Porter’s basketball IQ will improve with all the young talent around him.
5. Dallas Mavericks
Jaren Jackson Jr. is an underrated lottery pick. He is a Lockdown defender who can switch 1-5. He plays in a deep stance on the perimeter and reliable rim protector. It has been hard to point out stand out flaws however his game is raw. He can be a Foul-prone defender who lacks a degree of discipline; it will diminish when the game slows down for him.