When committing to Duke, Wendell Carter Jr. thought he would be the best one-and-done Blue Devil available for the 2018 NBA Draft. Unfortunately, 2018 #2 overall pick Marvin Bagley graduated high school early and joined him for their one-year college basketball experience. Carter’s stat line of 13.5 ppg and 9.1 rpg fell short of Bagley’s production of 21.0 ppg and 11.1 rpg. The lesser regarded Dukie can’t be too upset going to the Chicago Bulls with the 7th overall pick. Then again, former Duke players haven’t had the best success in the NBA so perhaps he should be concerned.
Marvin Bagley III capped off an impressive freshman year at Duke by earning ACC Player-of-the-Year and consensus 1st Team All-American honors. Based on his accomplishments, he deserved to be considered as the top pick of the 2018 NBA Draft. However, that distinction went to Arizona center Deandre Ayton instead. With the 2nd overall pick, the Sacramento Kings couldn’t pass on the former Blue Devil power forward. Given his size and skill set, Bagley should be able to avoid becoming a bust. I just worry his performance might suffer when he doesn’t get the recognition he craves playing in the shadow of nearby stars Steph Curry and Kevin Durant. Oh yeah, there’s also a guy named LeBron who just took his talents to the same state.
Heading into the 2018 NBA Draft, the prohibitive favorite as the #1 pick is Arizona’s Deandre Ayton. From there, the likely #2 to #4 picks are Duke’s Marvin Bagley, Michigan State’s Jaren Jackson and international phenom Luka Doncic, respectively. Despite any excitement surrounding these players, the free agency of LeBron James and trade request by Kawhi Leonard will dominate fan interest going into the 2018-19 NBA season. This year’s draft lacks a guaranteed superstar so each and every team should be willing to use their picks to get into the James/Leonard sweepstakes. I don’t have the foresight to predict all of the possible iterations so I’ll simply offer my 2018 NBA Mock Draft based on the current draft position of each team.