Verge previews: NBA DRAFT 2018


  • The Phoenix Suns are set to make the first pick in the NBA Draft for the first time franchise history. The Suns have drafted as high as second twice, most recently selecting Armen Gilliam with the No. 2 pick in the 1987 NBA Draft. Phoenix also used the second pick to select Neal Walk in 1969. That year, the Suns lost a coin flip with the Milwaukee Bucks to determine which expansion team would pick first. The Bucks wound up selecting Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
  • The Sacramento Kings are picking second for the third time in the common era of the NBA Draft (1966-present). The Kansas City Kings previously selected Otis Birdsong (1977) and Phil Ford (1978) with the No. 2 pick. This year, the Kings will have their highest pick since selecting Pervis Ellison with the top overall pick in 1989.
  • The Atlanta Hawks are picking third for the fifth time in the common era and the first time since selecting Al Horford at that slot in the 2007 NBA Draft. Atlanta also selected Pete Maravich (1970), Marvin Webster (1975) and Pau Gasol (2001) at No. 3. In addition to the third pick, the Hawks own the 19th and 30thpicks in the first round.
  • The Memphis Grizzlies are picking fourth for the fourth time franchise history. The Grizzlies previously selected Antonio Daniels (1997), Drew Gooden (2002) and Mike Conley (2007) at No. 4. This is the highest pick for Memphis since selecting Hasheem Thabeet with the second pick in 2009.
  • The Dallas Mavericks (fifth pick) will make their second straight lottery selection, having landed Dennis Smith Jr. with the ninth pick in 2017. Dallas has not made back-to-back picks in the lottery since drafting Cherokee Parks with the 12thpick in 1995 and Samaki Walker with the ninth pick in 1996.
  • The New York Knicks (ninth pick) are picking in the lottery for the second straight year. In 2017, they drafted France’s Frank Ntilikina with the eighth pick. The last time the Knicks made back-to-back lottery selections was in 2008 (Danilo Gallinari) and 2009 (Jordan Hill).
  • The LA Clippers are set to make two picks (Nos. 12 and 13) in the first round for the first time since selecting Chris Wilcox (eighth) and Melvin Ely (12th) in 2002. Their last lottery pick came in 2010, when they chose Al-Farouq Aminu with the eighth pick.
  • A record 18 college freshmen were selected in the 2017 NBA Draft, four more than in 2016. The top freshmen for the 2018 NBA Draft include Deandre Ayton (Arizona), Marvin Bagley III (Duke), Mohamed Bamba (Texas), Troy Brown (Oregon), Wendell Carter Jr. (Duke), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Kentucky), Jaren Jackson Jr. (Michigan State), Kevin Knox (Kentucky), Michael Porter Jr. (Missouri), Lonnie Walker (Miami) and Trae Young (Oklahoma).
  • Arizona’s Deandre Ayton and Duke’s Marvin Bagley III were teammates for one season in high school at Hillcrest Prep in Arizona (2015-16). Ayton was a junior and Bagley was a sophomore. Bagley eventually reclassified and enrolled at Duke in the fall of 2017.
  • Arizona’sDeandre Ayton (Bahamas) has a chance to become the second Bahamian player selected with the first overall pick, joining Mychal Thompson in 1978. The most recent player from the Bahamas to be drafted was Buddy Hield, the sixth pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.
  • Six players listed at 6-10 or taller are among the most highly regarded prospects: Arizona’s Deandre Ayton (7-1), Duke’s Marvin Bagley III (6-10) and Wendell Carter Jr. (6-10), Texas’ Mohamed Bamba (7-0), Michigan State’s Jaren Jackson Jr. (6-11) and Texas A&M’s Robert Williams (6-10). The last time six players 6-10 or taller were all drafted in the top 10 was 2007: Greg Oden, Al Horford, Yi Jianlian, Brandan Wright, Joakim Noah and Spencer Hawes.
  • If Missouri’s Michael Porter Jr. is selected in the top 10, he will be the first such player from the school since Keyon Dooling was drafted 10thby the Orlando Magic in the 2000 NBA Draft. The last player from Missouri to go in the first round was DeMarre Carroll (27th) in 2009.
  • Jaren Jackson Jr. of Michigan State is the son of Jaren Jackson, who played 12 seasons in the NBA with nine different teams. The elder Jackson was a member of the San Antonio Spurs’ 1999 championship team. The younger Jackson, who doesn’t turn 19 until Sept. 15, is one of the youngest players in this year’s draft class.
  • Alabama’s Collin Sexton can become the first member of the Crimson Tide to be selected in the first round since Gerald Wallace in 2001. Alabama has not had a player selected in the top 10 since Antonio McDyess went second in 1995.
  • Villanova’s Mikal Bridges is trying to become the school’s fourth lottery selection in the last 22 years, joining Kerry Kittles (1996, eighth), Tim Thomas (1997, seventh) and Randy Foye (2006, seventh).
  • The top international players (who didn’t play for a U.S. college) for the 2018 NBA Draft include Luka Doncic (Slovenia), Rodions Kurucs (Latvia), Dzanan Musa (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and Elie Okobo (France).
  • Luka Doncic has a chance to become the highest pick ever from Slovenia. Bostjan Nachbar was selected with the 15thpick in the 2002 NBA Draft, the highest for a Slovenian player.
  • Last year, two international players (who didn’t play for a U.S. college) were selected in the first round: France’s Frank Ntilikina (eighth pick, New York Knicks) and Latvia’s Anzejs Pasecniks (25thpick, Orlando Magic).
  • Of the 60 players who were drafted in 2017, 33 spent time in the NBA G League during the 2017-18 season, including 13 first-round selections. They ranged from the No. 6 pick (Jonathan Isaac, Orlando Magic) to the 59thpick (Jaron Blossomgame, San Antonio Spurs).
  • Twenty of the 30 players selected in the second round of the 2017 NBA Draft appeared in at least one game during the 2017-18 season. That group included the No. 45 pick, Memphis Grizzlies forward/guard Dillon Brooks, who was the only rookie drafted in either round in 2017 who played all 82 games this season.
  • Since the NBA Draft Lottery began in 1985, four of 33 No. 1 overall picks have won an NBA championship with the team that drafted them: David Robinson (San Antonio Spurs, 1987), Tim Duncan (Spurs, 1997), LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers, 2003) and Kyrie Irving (Cavaliers, 2011). James’ title with the Cavs came in his second stint with the team.

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