NBA First Half Awards
With the season just over halfway done, let's look at the major awards. Feel free to disagree but it's James Hardens world right now and we're just living in it.
With the NBA Draft in a little over a month away, the NBA Lottery results were reveled on Tuesday Night in Chicago. The Phoenix Suns claimed the number one overall pick for the first time in franchise history. The Sacramento Kings will have the number two pick and the Atlanta Hawks will have the number three pick.
The Memphis Grizzles will have the fourth pick and the Dallas Mavericks will have the fifth pick to round out the top-5.
The rest of the NBA Draft lottery order is as follows: 6. Orlando Magic 7. Chicago Bulls 8. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Brooklyn Nets) 9. New York Knicks 10. Philadelphia 76ers (from Los Angeles Lakers) 11. Charlotte Hornets 12. Los Angeles Clippers (from Detroit Pistons) 13. Los Angeles Clippers 14. Denver Nuggets
Here is my NBA Lottery Mock Draft: 1. Phoenix Suns: DeAndre Ayton, PF/C, Arizona. The Suns are in a rebuilding phase and they haven't made the postseason since the 2009-2010 season and that was when the Suns made it to the Western Conference Finals. Ayton is going to be a franchise changing player. He is a beast in the low post and Ayton will be tough to stop. Ayton averaged 20.1 PPG 11.6 RPG and 1.9 BPG during his freshman season at the University of Arizona.
2. Sacramento Kings: Luka Doncic, Guard, Slovenia. Sacramento hasn't been very good for over a decade and bad drafting has to do with it. Doncic could be the number one overall pick, but the odds are it will be Dayton and Doncic will fall into the Kings lap with the number two pick. Doncic could be the best European prospect ever, but time will tell. He averaged 14.5 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 4.7 APG, and 1.1 SPG last season with EuroLeague, Liga ACB.
3. Atlanta Hawks: Marvin Bagley III, Center, Duke. The Atlanta Hawks were bad for the first time in a while. They finished with a 24-58 record and they missed the playoffs for the first time since the 2006-2007 season. Bagley III is very gifted offensively, but his defense can cause be a concern at the NBA level. He will be a franchise player no doubt. Bagley III averaged 21 PPG and 11.1 RPG in his freshman season at Duke.
4. Memphis Grizzles: Wendell Carter Jr., PF, Duke. The Grizzles didn't have much talent down low during the 2017-2018 season. For the first time in a while, they weren't very competitive especially in a tough western conference. Carter Jr. would change this team's makeup. He averaged 13.9 PPG 9.1 RPG and 2.8 BPG in his freshman season at Duke.
5. Dallas Mavericks: Michael Porter Jr. SF, Missouri. Porter had injuries that plagued his freshman season at Missouri. He was the number two recruit in the 2017 class according to ESPN.com for a reason. Porter has all-star potential. He averaged 10.0 PPG and 6.7 RPG, and Porter can be the Mavericks next franchise changing player like Dirk Nowitzki was.
6. Orlando Magic: Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma. Young is a player who is a shoot first point guard rather than a past first point guard. He was explosive during games. I think he will be a very good shooter, but not a franchise changing player. Young is a wannabe Steph Curry and Young doesn't have the passing capability and ability break down defenses like Curry does. Orlando also needs a player who can knock down shots. Young averaged 27.4 PPG 3.9 RPG and 8.7 APG during his freshman year at Oklahoma.
7. Chicago Bulls: Mohamed Bamba, C, Texas. With the Chicago Bulls acquiring Lauri Markkanen on a NBA Draft Day trade last season with the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Chicago Bulls have a golden opportunity to build a very tall front court for the future and it could be very difficult to stop. Markkanen is 7'0” and Bamba is 6' 11”. He averaged a double-double during his freshman season at the University of Texas. Bamba averaged 12.9 PPG 10.5 RPG and 3.7 BPG.
8. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Brooklyn Nets): Jaren Jackson Jr., PF, Michigan St. Jackson Jr. struggled at times during his freshman season at Michigan State. He could have used another season in college, but Jackson Jr. has a lot of upside. He is 6'11” and Jackson Jr. could help out the Cleveland Cavaliers right away. This pick will also be huge for the Cavaliers because it will depend whether or not Lebron James is still in town. Jackson Jr. averaged 10.9 PPG and 5.8 RPG.
9. New York Knicks: Miles Bridges, SF, Michigan St. With the Knicks in a rebuilding stage, they need as much help as they can get, but New York should go with the best player available and Bridges would be that guy. In his sophomore season at Michigan State, he averaged 17.7 PPG and 7.0 RPG. His shot isn't exactly that hot, but he is very good at attacking the rim and playing good defense. Bridges can one day be the second star to Kristaps Porzingis.
10. Philadelphia 76ers (from Los Angeles Lakers): Mikal Bridges, SF, Villanova. With Bridges playing some college games at the Wells Fargo Center, the 76ers are more than likely familiar with him and it would be an easy transition for Bridges. He would be a knock down shooter for the 76ers and it is something they need since Ben Simmons can't shoot and J.J. Reddick is their only outside threat and Philadelphia may not even re-sign him. Bridges would be a very good sixth-man for Philadelphia, but he could also start some games as well. Bridges averaged 17.7 PPG and 5.3 RPG during his junior season at Villanova. He played a major role in Villanova's championship run.
11. Charlotte Hornets: Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama. With Kemba Walker being an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2018-2019 season, it is very possible that the Hornets trade Walker this summer or let him walk next summer. This will be the pick that Charlotte takes Colin Sexton because is he very explosive and he can create his own shot. Sexton averaged 19.2 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 3.6 APG, and 0.8 SPG during his freshman season at Alabama. He could be the Donovan Mitchell of this year's NBA Draft.
12. Los Angeles Clippers (from Detroit Pistons): Kevin Knox, SF, Kentucky. Kevin Knox might be one of the most underrated players in the entire NBA Draft. He is a knock down shooter. Knox is another player that's a part of John Calapari's one-and-done system at the University of Kentucky. Knox averaged 15.6 PPG 5.4 RPG and 0.8 SPG during his freshman season.
13. Los Angeles Clippers: Gary Trent Jr., SG, Duke: Trent Jr. was Duke's third or fourth best player during his freshman year. He averaged 14.5 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 1.4 APG, and 1.2 SPG. Trent Jr. will have the ability to score at the NBA level. He could be drafted higher than people anticipate him to be.
14. Denver Nuggets: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky. The one thing the Denver Nuggets don't have is a true point guard, although I don't think it would be a surprise if Denver were to trade out of the pick either. The Nuggets missed the playoffs by a game in the western conference with a 46-36 record. They would have the sixth seed in the eastern conference. The Nuggets don't have to make too many offseason adjustments, but getting a pass first point guard would be a good thing for the,. Gilgeous-Alexander played only one season at Kentucky. He averaged 14.4 PPG 4.1 RPG and 5.1 APG.