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 ESPN Insider, NBA: Who are the potential NBA stars in the 2018 draft class?

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PostSubject: ESPN Insider, NBA: Who are the potential NBA stars in the 2018 draft class?   Sun Jun 25, 2017 10:32 am

Who are the potential NBA stars in the 2018 draft class?

Chad Ford previews the 2018 draft, featuring Missouri forward Michael Porter Jr.

Jun 23, 2017

Chad Ford
ESPN Senior Writer

NBA teams are already prepping for the 2018 draft.

The 2017 draft was one of the deepest at the top we've ever seen, with as many as 10 or 11 potential All-Stars.

The 2018 draft is just as exciting or more at the very top, but after that it drops off dramatically.

Here's a sneak preview of what to expect.

1. Michael Porter Jr.

Missouri
Forward
Freshman
6-foot-10, 216 pounds

Porter is a prototypical NBA wing with great size, length and athleticism. He has a very good feel for the game, deep range on his jumper and the ability to be a playmaker.


He lacks elite strength and can be an inconsistent rebounder and defender, but he's a unique and potentially devastating offensive weapon.
2. Luka Doncic

Slovenia
Guard/forward
Age: 18
6-7, 190

Doncic might be the most highly regarded international prospect ever. At the age of 18, he's already playing a significant role on a EuroLeague final four team. That's unheard of.

He's an offensive whiz kid. He has an elite feel for the game and has no real weaknesses in his skill set. He can shoot, create his own shot and handle the ball.

He doesn't have elite athleticism, though he's not a bad athlete. Still, he's not of the caliber you typically find in a potential No. 1 pick.

He and Porter are the heavy favorites to go Nos. 1 and 2, in some order, with the league split basically 50-50 right now.


3. DeAndre Ayton

Arizona
Forward/center
Freshman
7-0, 220

Ayton was the No. 1 prospect in this class until Porter and Doncic passed him.

There's a lot there to love. Ayton has great size and length for his position. He's a terrific athlete who can score from anywhere on the floor, and he's a good shot-blocker.

He needs to get stronger and show more toughness in the paint, but the physical tools and skills are all there.
4. Mohamed Bamba

Texas
Center
Freshman
7-0, 216

Bamba has the chance to be a game-changing defensive presence in the NBA. He has a ridiculous 7-foot-9 wing span and he's a fluid athlete with quick feet. He's an elite-level shot-blocker who has some scouts comparing him to Rudy Gobert.

Bamba needs to get stronger and polish his offensive game, but he's going to be a nightmare on the defensive end.
5. Miles Bridges

Michigan State
Forward
Sophomore
6-8, 230

Bridges would've been a lottery pick in 2017 but opted to return to Michigan State for his sophomore season and improve his stock.

He has all the physical tools NBA scouts look for -- strength, length, athleticism -- and a pretty sophisticated offensive game. He can shoot with distance, post up and handle the ball a little.

He had a strong freshman season, but if he takes it to the next level as a sophomore, he should be a lock for the top five.
Storylines to watch

Here are four themes to help you look ahead to next year's draft:
1. A top-heavy freshman class

Freshmen continue to have a huge impact because of the one-and-done rule. NBA commissioner Adam Silver is trying to change that, but for now one-and-dones are the true stars of the draft.

In 2017, 11 freshmen went in the lottery. That's the most ever.
2017 NBA draft

Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball went No. 1 and No. 2 on a wild NBA draft night in Brooklyn.

• Draft recap: All 60 picks | Social buzz
• Sixers take Markelle Fultz No. 1
• Lonzo Ball heads to Lakers at No. 2
• Jimmy Butler to Wolves | GradesInsider
• Trade tracker: Draft night deals
• Ford's winners and losersInsider
• Embiid, Simmons take shots at Ball family

Another 16 freshmen went in the first round -- again, the most ever.

In 2018, we are projecting another 11 college freshmen -- Porter, Ayton, Bamba, Kentucky's Kevin Knox, Alabama's Collin Sexton, MSU's Jaren Jackson, Oregon's Troy Brown, Duke's Trevon Duval, Kentucky's Hamidou Diallo, WKU's Mitchell Robinson and Kentucky's Jarred Vanderbilt -- for the lottery.

Several other freshmen -- including Duke's Wendall Carter, Miami's Lonnie Walker, Villanova's Omari Spellman, UNLV's Brandon McCoy, Louisville's Brian Bowen, UCLA's Jaylen Hands and Kentucky's P.J. Washington -- are possible first-rounders as well.

One big question about next year's draft is the depth of the quality beyond the first four names above.
2. Somewhat depleted sophomore and junior classes

Only a small handful of the top players decided to skip the 2017 draft and return to college. Just about everyone with a shot at the first round threw his hat into the ring. Only two returning college players -- Bridges and Texas A&M's Robert Williams -- ended up cracking our projected lottery picks for 2018.

Still, there are interesting returning players: Michigan's Moritz Wagner, KU's Malik Newman, USC's De'Anthony Melton, Texas' Andrew Jones, Maryland's Justin Jackson, Duke's Marques Bolden and Miami's Bruce Brown could all end up in middle of the first round and possibly higher with excellent seasons.
3. A solid crop of international prospects

The 2017 international draft class was quite weak. France's Frank Ntilikina was the only international player to go in the lottery, to the New York Knicks with the eighth pick. Only three international players went in the first round.

The 2018 international class is stronger, with Doncic potentially going No. 1. Germany's Isaac Bonga, Latvian wing Rodions Kurucs, Belgium's Kostja Mushidi and Bosnia's Dzanan Musa are among the other potential first-rounders.
4. Wings rule the draft

In 2018, wings take five spaces in our top 10. Overall, we have five point guards, 12 wings (including three in the top five), seven power forwards, and six centers in our top 30.

The hunt for elite point guards will be especially difficult next year. We only have one ranked in the top 10 at the moment.
Draft pick inventory

Another key to look at as we assess the 2018 NBA draft: Who has their picks, who has multiple picks and who is out of the draft?

The Celtics could end up landing yet another high lottery pick via the Nets. They own Brooklyn's pick outright in 2018. Unless the Nets make significant improvements this summer, this could end up being another top-3 pick for the Celtics.

The Celtics also have a shot at landing the Lakers' pick in 2018. They received the pick from Philly as part of the swap of No. 1 for No. 3. If the Lakers' pick falls between Nos. 2-5, the Celtics get it. If the pick is No. 1 or Nos. 6-30, the Sixers get it.

(Sorry, Lakers fans, the lottery can't save you this time. The Lakers have no chance of keeping the pick next year.)

The only team that is completely out of the draft next year is the Nets (barring trades).

Here's a look at other picks in 2018 that will or could be on the move:

The Celtics own the Nets' pick.

The Celtics own the Lakers' pick if it falls between Nos. 2-5.

The Sixers own the Lakers pick if it falls at No. 1 or from Nos. 6-30.

The Suns own the Heat's pick if it falls between Nos. 8-30.

The Blazers own the Cavs' pick if it falls between Nos. 11-30.

The Hawks own the Wolves' pick if it falls between Nos. 15-30.

The Jazz own the Thunder's pick if it falls between Nos. 15-30.

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PostSubject: Re: ESPN Insider, NBA: Who are the potential NBA stars in the 2018 draft class?   Sun Jun 25, 2017 7:33 pm

Seems to be way more big man / forward heavy next year. I like Trevon Duval a lot though.

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