The NBA 2018 Draft was held in Brooklyn in the Barclays Center on June 21st, 2018. It was the last draft before the new lottery odds came into force. The lottery took place on May 15th, 2018 and the order of the draft picks were decided.
The Phoenix Suns had bagged the #1 draft pick, by virtue of having the worst record in the NBA that season. The Sacramento Kings had the #2 pick and the Atlanta Hawks rounded up the top 3 picks.
This draft class was loaded with some top quality talent that had come into the league both from different continents and mostly from the college circuit. Players like DeAndre Ayton, Trae Young, Jaren Jackson Jr. had led the players from the college level while Luka Doncic was a very sought after target from Europe.
On draft day, The Dallas Mavericks traded their #5 pick for the #3 pick of the Atlanta Hawks and traded away their 2019 first round pick as well, which was protected from 1 to 5. The Philadelphia 76ers traded their #10 pick for the Suns' #16 pick and the 2021 Miami first round pick as well.
DeAndre Ayton was selected first overall by the Phoenix Suns, while the Sacramento Kings selected Marvin Bagley III. Atlanta Hawks drafted Luka Doncic and traded him to the Dallas Mavericks for Trae Young and the future 2019 first round pick.
Memphis Grizzlies chose Jaren Jackson Jr. in the 4th pick and Orlando Magic selected Mohamed Bamba to round off the top 6 selections. With most of the regular season done, let us look at the top 5 rookies from the class of 2018 this season.
#5 Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Los Angeles Clippers)
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was drafted 11th in the 2018 NBA draft by the Los Angeles Clippers and was an instant favourite for both the fans and Doc Rivers in the rotation. The 20-year-old guard is widely considered as one of the best players in the draft as his stature, standing at 6 feet 6, is something most teams prefer at the point guard position.
His defensive game was already pretty good and has been great even in the NBA, his 7 feet wingspan coming in handy, whether it is swatting shots or stealing the ball. He was pretty much NBA ready coming into the draft and fell to the 11th spot.
His most advanced skill is his ability to create pick and roll situations, with the ability to switch onto bigger players due to his size. His passing ability, as well as his finishing at the rim, are great for a rookie coming into the league.
This season, he has played 75 games for the Clippers, averaging 26 minutes a game and has shot an efficient 46.8% from the field. His 3 point shooting needs some more work as he taking just 1.7 shots a game from beyond the arc, making 36.5% of them.
He is also scoring 10.4 points a game, along with 3.2 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 1.1 steals a game. His game is improving with each day and while the defence is already there, his offensive game is only getting better day by day.