Who will boom and who will bust in the 2018 NBA draft class and why Trae Young’s shorts-suit matters
It’s NBA draft season which means it’s prime time for stories about hard work, phrases such as “high ceiling,” “stretch four,” and “chip on my shoulder” to be said until exhaustion, and for people in fancy suits to tell us who “drafted well” before anyone has any idea if a player’s career will pan out or not. It’s a great time for teams like the Phoenix Suns who, for one night, can try to forget they lost 61 games last year.
The NBA teams have done their homework on these guys but no matter how many hours of tape you watch or how many questions you ask about their personal life, just like Lebron playing defense, inevitably, someone will flop. In fact not just one someone, but several someones will bust just like the housing bubble did in 2008 (RIP that recession). Don’t believe me? Take a gander at these names; Jan Vesely, Yi Jianlian, Mouhamed Sene, Luke Jackson, Patrick O’Bryant, Marcus Fizer, Dajuan Wagner, Jonny Flynn and I.M. Anidiot. All of those were top 10 picks who you’ve never heard of but at some point an entire organization decided they would be their team’s best possible draft pick. (Except I.M. Anidiot, that’s not a real name, did I get you?) So how can these teams possibly figure out which guys will be Michael Jordan and which will be Sam Bowie? As an aside, who do you think feels worse? The Portland Trail Blazers for picking Bowie over Jordan in the 1984 draft, or the Trojan’s for accepting the Trojan horse into their city? I agree, it’s a toss up. So below I dive deep into the underbelly of the top 5 picks to determine who will fall flat on their faces like a drunk guy at a frat party or who will blossom into another star who in five years you hope won’t join the Warriors.
#1 Pick: Deandre Ayton
Why he will be a star: At 7’1, 250 lbs, Ayton easily looks like he could be mistaken for 7’2.5, 275 lbs. He’s so big that analysts and announcers will become bored with saying “monster” or “beast” midway through his rookie season and opt for a more unique nickname like “Oliphaunt” which are those giant elephant-like creatures in Lord of The Rings (#nerdalert). Why Oliphaunt? Because they are big, scary and when things go right they can put the whole squad on their back. If that nickname sticks, you heard it here first.
Why he will bust: In the first round of the NCAA tournament against 13th seeded Buffalo, The 7’1, 250 lbs Ayton played more like he was 6’11.5 and 235 lbs. That game was supposed to be David vs Goliath but instead David not only beat Goliath, but he pantsed him and stole his girlfriend and now his kids, by law, have to call David, “dad.” Also, it’s hot in Phoenix and I’m pretty sure Oliphaunts like it better in the cold.
My call: I’d probably pick him #1 too.
#2 Pick: Marvin Bagley III
Why he will be a star: The first time I made my grandmother’s stuffing, she would have been proud that I tried but upset I used her recipe and that I was her grandchild. The second time I made it, she would have begun to tell people I was her grandchild again but wouldn’t have served it to her Mahjong friends. The third time I made it, she probably would have said it was perfect and then doctored it up a bit before serving to company. Marvin Bagley the first was not a professional athlete, Marvin Jr. played for the Arizona Rattlers in the arena football league, and Marvin Bagley III? Except for Joe Pesci in My Cousin Vinny, the third time's a charm.
Why he will bust: Jordan, Lebron, Durant, Kobe, Magic. What do they all have in common? Short hair, no hair or on its way out (sorry not sorry Lebron). Bagley’s hair is as problematic as any previous ACL tear. If he doesn’t trim before game one, we could have a Greg Oden meets Darco Milicic situation here and ain’t nobody got time for that.
My call: The former Duke will make a fine King.
#3 Pick: Luka Doncic
Why he will be a star: Can’t you hear it now? “Doncic, for the win!” There is no denying, Luka Doncic is a superstar name. Why was Anthony Bennett the biggest bust ever? Because he’s got a name suited for an understudy for an off-off Broadway production. But Luka Doncic, now that’s a name that gets the people going.
Why he will bust: For a reason I can’t explain, Doncic has the Adam Morrison effect. What’s the Adam Morrison effect? It’s when you look at a player and for some reason he makes you think about Adam Morrison. Morrison was almost as ugly as he was bad in the NBA and that’s not what you want out of a top 5 pick.
My call: He will bust harder than Busta Rhymes busts his rhymes.
#4 Pick: Jaren Jackson Jr.
Why he will be a star: Jaren. Jackson. Jr. Triple J or J-Trip as people will soon call him. I’m big with names and Triple anything is good: Triple Crown, Triple-Double, Triple X. Also, the NBA is a 3-point league so having the word Triple in your nickname should add 3-4% points to his 3-point game which could tip the Bowie-Jordan scale towards the Jordan side.
Why he will bust: He was born on a September 15th which I think everyone would argue is a little too close to 9/11 for comfort. Assuming all else is equal, would you rather draft a player born within five days of one of the worst national tragedies ever or someone born within five days of a celebratory day like Christmas? Lebron James? Born on December 30th. Coincidence? I think not.
My call: Dude falls flat like unleavened bread you’d carry with you if you were escaping slavery enroute to 40 years of desert wandering.
#5 Pick: Trae Young
Why he will be a star: A bold draft pick should wear a bold suit on draft day and that’s just what Trae Young did rocking the maroon shorts-suit last Thursday night. And just like eating pizza for breakfast, I don’t like it, I love it. It’s the middle of the summer and if anything, Trae Young isn’t crazy, everyone else is for wearing pants. A few years ago the Free the Nipple campaign made headlines and all the power to that, go ahead and free the nipple but I’m right behind Trae Young on this one. So let’s all put our differences aside and work together so we can #freetheknee. Plus Lebron rocked a shorts-suit in the NBA finals and while they lost, doing things like Lebron is definitely not a bad thing.
Why he will bust: How many times are you going to hear the term “chip on his shoulder” with regards to Trae Young? Almost as many times as Young turned the ball over at Oklahoma. How many chips can one guy possibly have on his shoulder? A heck of a lot if you’re 7’2 but not so many if you’re only 6’2. Boom! Roasted.
My call: Have you ever had a homemade chocolate chip cookie, fresh out of the oven with a little vanilla ice cream on top? Yeah, think the opposite of that.
I guess only time will tell here but I’m as confident in my picks as any NBA GM should be in theirs.