The No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA draft remains ludicrous, and the Luka Doncic-Trae Young swap remains a crucial part of recent NBA history.
The 2018 nba redraft is a blog post that discusses the top 10 picks from the 2018 NBA draft. It also includes an article on the swap between Luka Doncic and Trae Young, which has been seen as one of the most crucial parts of recent NBA history.
Three seasons after a draft is a fair amount of time to reflect on which picks worked out and which ones didn’t. A deal that will alter the NBA landscape for at least another decade was the greatest narrative of the 2018 NBA Draft. Only a few lottery selections have turned into franchise-changers, and it seems that a sizable portion of the first-rounders are already on their way out of the NBA. When looking back at that draft, the No. 1 overall selection remains as absurd as it was at the time, and the Luka Doncic-Trae Young trade between the Dallas Mavericks and Atlanta Hawks is a league-wide what-if moment.
It’s still hard to believe Luka Doncic wasn’t selected first overall.
Before the 2018 NBA Draft, Collin Sexton, Marvin Bagley III, Trae Young, Deandre Ayton, Luka Doncic, and Mohamed Bamba pose for a picture. | Getty Images/Mike Lawrie
The Phoenix Suns completed the 2017-18 season with a record of 21-61, earning the first overall selection in the draft. Deandre Ayton, a center from Arizona, was ultimately chosen by the Suns.
Along with Devin Booker and Chris Paul, Ayton appeared in the NBA finals in 2021 and became a valuable postseason player. After one season with the Wildcats, he was regarded as a prototype contemporary big, an athletic specimen with two-way ability as a perimeter scorer and rim defender. At his lone season in Tuscon, Ayton averaged 20.1 points and 11.6 rebounds. Some regarded him as the greatest talent in the draft, and Phoenix’s selection of him with the first overall choice wasn’t a huge miscalculation.
Doncic, on the other hand, is clearly a generational talent that emerged from the 2018 draft. He joined the competition as a 19-year-old who had already conquered the world’s second-best league. He wasn’t a sure thing — no prospect is — but he was as near as you could get after establishing himself as Europe’s greatest player. Despite having the talents and intangibles to thrive in the NBA, he was drafted fifth overall.
In his first three seasons, Doncic has averaged 25.7 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 7.7 assists while being awarded Rookie of the Year and making two All-NBA first teams.
Trae Young was traded by the Dallas Mavericks to the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for Doncic.
The Atlanta-Dallas Doncic-Young trade was the most significant transaction before, during, and after the draft. Young was envisioned by the Hawks as their version of Steph Curry, a long-range shooter capable of unlocking a whole offense. Dallas was delighted to switch places with Atlanta and slide to No. 5 in order to pick Doncic.
Young has grown into a potential MVP contender, but the Slovenian will always be the greatest player and best selection in the 2018 draft. Both sides received what they wanted, thus it wasn’t a terrible trade for either side. Doncic is just a superior player overall.
There was a considerable drop off after Doncic, Young, and Ayton.
Between Ayton and Young, the Sacramento Kings selected Marvin Bagley III at No. 2. Jaren Jackson Jr. finished fourth and has star potential, but he has yet to show that he can remain healthy. Kevin Knox and Mo Bamba finished sixth and ninth, respectively. The Chicago Bulls selected Wendell Carter Jr in the seventh round, and he currently plays for the Orlando Magic.
Collin Sexton (No. 8) has transformed himself into a score-first (score-only) point guard. Mikal Bridges (No. 10) and Miles Bridges (No. 12) have grown into role players, but their potential seems to be exhausted. Michael Porter Jr. (No. 14) has showed glimpses of offensive promise in Denver, while Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (No. 11) is one of the league’s top ten starting point guards. Still, the Missouri product’s ailments are a worry, and he has yet to show much on defense. Jerome Robinson (No. 13) is presently unsigned by an NBA team.
Donte Divincenzo (17), Kevin Huerter (19), and Aaron Holiday (23) are all rotation players who have made a name for themselves. Second-round selections Jalen Brunson, Devonte Graham, Bruce Brown, De’Anthony Melton, and Shake Milton are all playing roles for various teams.
But it’s a long way from Doncic, Young, and Ayton to Gilgeous-Alexander, who now seems to be the draft’s fourth-best player. Young will almost certainly be mentioned with Doncic as a future MVP candidate. Ayton played a key role in Phoenix’s journey to the 2021 NBA Finals.
The Suns won the bronze medal with the first overall selection, which offers a good lesson regarding NBA drafting: always choose the best player available. If that were the case, Doncic, Booker, and Chris Paul might lead Phoenix to an NBA championship. Instead than hoping Bagley can still grow into an NBA player, Sacramento could have Young. There are a slew of more instances of reaches and bad fits.
Although hindsight is 20/20, Doncic’s status as the top overall prospect seemed to be quite obvious in 2018.
Basketball-Reference provided all statistics and the draft order.
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The what pick was trae young is a question that has been asked recently. Trae Young and Luka Doncic were traded for each other, and it remains a crucial part of recent NBA history.
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