Joel Embiid Should be Considered an MVP Candidate
It is only January and a lot of people are talking about either James Harden or Giannis Antetokounmpo to win the MVP, but what about Joel Embiid?
Every basketball player at a young age dreams about being drafted and playing in the NBA one day and shaking the commissioner's hand. The NBA Draft took place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Thursday Night. Who will be a future hall of famer, who will be a bust, and who will be a champion?
The lottery picks seem to cause the most drama in the NBA Draft. There really wasn't too much drama with the lottery picks in the 2018 NBA Draft. The draft was really deep in 2018. Who was taken 1-14, how did those teams do, and how can they make an impact?
1. Phoenix Suns- DeAndre Ayton, Center, Arizona: Ayton being taken with the number one pick is no surprise. He could be a dominant low post player for the next decade. Ayton has the ability to take over games down low. During his freshman season, he averaged 20.1 PPG, 11.6 RPG, and 1.9 BPG. Some people question his defensive integrity, but Ayton will be a solid rim protector in the NBA. He could lead the Phoenix Suns to the promise land one day. The Suns have Devin Booker and Josh Jackson as key pieces to the future.
2. Sacramento Kings- Marvin Bagley, Center, Duke: Bagley will be a double-double machine at the NBA level. He averaged 21 PPG and 11.5 RPG during his freshman season at Duke. Bagley will be the face of the franchise one day and he represents himself well on and off the court. De'Aaron Fox will have a fun time playing with him. Bagley struggles on the defensive end and he will need to adjust quickly at the NBA level. He should have a successful NBA career.
3. Atlanta Hawks (being traded to Dallas Mavericks)- Luka Doncic, Point Guard, Slovenia: Doncic is a very talented European player. He is an excellent play maker and shooter. Doncic played in the EuroLeague and the team he played on was Liga ACB. He averaged 14.5 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 4.6 APG, and 1.1 SPG. Doncic was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks but he will be traded to the Dallas Mavericks. Trae Young will be heading to the Atlanta Hawks and Atlanta will also receiver a 2019 protected lottery pick. This was a great move by the Dallas Mavericks and Luka Doncic will be mentored by Dirk Nowitzki. I don't understand what the Hawks did here honestly.
4. Memphis Grizzles- Jaren Jackson Jr., Forward, Michigan State: Jackson Jr. is a raw 19-year-old prospect, but he has a lot of upside to his game. Jackson Jr. is an elite defender and athlete, but he needs to work on his offense. Jackson Jr. averaged 10.9 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 3.0 BPG, and 0.6 SPG. His dad played in the NBA and he was a 1999 NBA Champion with the San Antonio Spurs. The Grizzles made a good selection in the long run, but it may not show up in the short run. He will be one of the key cornerstone pieces in the Memphis Grizzles rebuild.
5. Dallas Mavericks (being traded to Atlanta Hawks)- Trae Young, Point Guard, Oklahoma: Young was an electrifying player during his freshman season at the University of Oklahoma. He averaged 27.4 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 8.7 APG, and 1.7 SPG. Young shoots a lot especially from three-point land. Even though he did average 8.7 APG, I question whether or not he makes his teammates better. Young was drafted by the Mavericks, but he will be traded to the Atlanta Hawks. The front office in Atlanta believes he can be someone like Steph Curry, but Young is far away from being that kind of player.
6. Orlando Magic- Mohamed Bamba, Center, Texas: The Orlando Magic turned back the clock in the 2018 NBA Draft. Bamba is a very dominant center and he has a large wing span. The centers the Magic have drafted in their franchise history. In 1992, they drafted Shaq with the first pick and in 2004, they drafted Dwight Howard. Shaq is in the hall of fame and Howard will be when he retires. The Orlando Magic were fortunate Mohamed Bamba was available. He would have been a top-three pick any other year. Bamba will dominate down low for the next decade. He averaged a double-double at the University of Texas during his freshman season with 12.9 PPG and 10.5 RPG. Bamba is also a beast defensively. He averaged 3.7 BPG and 0.8 SPG.
7. Chicago Bulls- Wendell Carter Jr., Power Forward, Duke: The Bulls front court is going to be one of the best in the business very season. Lauri Markannen was a beast for Chicago during his rookie season. They hope Carter Jr. turns out to be the same player. He has very good offensive skills and Carter Jr. is a solid defensive player. He averaged 13.5 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 2.0 APG, 2.1 BPG, and 0.8 SPG.
8. Cleveland Cavaliers- Collin Sexton, Point Guard, Alabama: Sexton's hard work could please Lebron James into staying with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Collin Sexton is an explosive player and he is a solid defender. He was able to steal an NCAA Tournament game against the Virginia Tech Hookies. Sexton can develop into a killer instinct player and he will bring energy to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Sexton averaged 19.2 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 3.6 APG, and 0.8 SPG during his freshman season at the University of Alabama.
9. New York Knicks- Kevin Knox, Small Forward, Kentucky: The New York Knicks didn't make a bone headed pick for the first time in a while. Kevin Knox can develop into an elite player. He can knock down shots and play defense. Knox can develop into a go-two scorer for the Knicks and it is something they desperate need. During his freshman season at the University of Kentucky, he averaged 15.6 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 1.4 APG, 0.3 BPG, and 0.8 SPG.
10. Philadelphia 76ers (being traded to Phoenix Suns)- Mikal Bridges, Small Forward, Villanova: It seemed as if Mikal Bridges was going to be playing in his own backyard at the Wells Fargo Center for the next few seasons. Instead, he will be traded to the Phoenix Suns for Zhaire Smith (16th overall pick, shooting guard from Texas Tech).The 76ers will also receive a 2021 pick from the Phoenix Suns. Bridges is a knock down shooter and the 76ers needed that. He is also an underrated defender. Now, it will be the Suns pleasure to add Bridges along. He will be competing in three-point shootout contests for years to come. Bridges played a big role in Villanova's title run during his junior year. He averaged 17.7 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 1.9 APG, 1.1 BPG, and 1.5 SPG.
11. Charlotte Hornets (being traded to Los Angeles Clippers)- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Point Guard, Kentucky: I for sure thought the Hornets were going to keep Gilgeous-Alexander around just in case that they would trade away Kemba Walker. Now that Gilgeous-Alexander got traded away, it seems as if Walker is going to stay around in Charlotte. The Hornets also received two future second round picks. Gilgeous-Alexander will be traded to the Los Angeles Clippers and he will be the point guard of the future. The Clippers are looking to rebuild after trading away Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. Gilgeous-Alexander is a solid defender and pass first point guard. He is an underrated scorer and Gilgeous-Alexander can develop into an all-star one day. He averaged 14.4 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 5.1 APG, 0.5 BPG, and 1.6 SPG during his freshman season at the University of Kentucky.
12. Los Angeles Clippers (being traded to Charlotte Hornets)- Miles Bridges, Small Forward, Michigan State: Bridges could have been a top five pick. Even being selected 12th overall, he will make an impact at the NBA level. Bridges can jump out the building and play defense. He still needs to improve offensively. Bridges was drafted by the Los Angeles Clippers but he will be traded to the Charlotte Hornets. The Hornets need a player like Bridgers and he will make an impact right away. Bridges averaged 17.1 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1.5 BPG, and 0.7 SPG during his sophomore season at Michigan State.
13. Los Angeles Clippers- Jerome Robinson, Shooting Guard, Boston College: Not a lot of people had Robinson being drafted this high. He is a solid shooter and a decent defender. It is clear that the Clippers plan on having Robinson and Gilgeous-Alexander as their backcourt of the future. Robinson averaged 20.7 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 3.3 APG, and 0.9 SPG during his junior season at Boston College.
14. Denver Nuggets- Michael Porter Jr., Small Forward, Missouri: Porter Jr. could have easily been a top five pick, maybe the number one overall pick, but his back injury that kept him out most of his freshman season at the Unviersity of Missouri was a red flag for a lot of teams. The Denver Nuggets decided they are going to take a chance on him. If Porter Jr. stays healthy, he could be the best player in this draft. The Nuggets just missed the postseason by one game last season in a tough western conference. In just three games, Porter Jr. averaged 10 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 0.3 APG, 0.3 BPG, and 1 SPG.