The 2018 NBA Draft has come and gone, and everything under the sun made draft night fun. The NBA didn’t want reporters to tweet picks beforehand, so vaunted draft sleuth Adrian Wojnarowski found a loophole. Joel Embiid destroyed the No. 1 overall pick on Twitter, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander shut the show down with a jaw-dropping outfit.
But not everyone can be a winner. Some have to lose. Here are out top winners and losers from a relatively fun draft night.
Before the draft, The New York Times reported the league office instructed reporters from ESPN, Turner Sports, and Yahoo! “not to disclose draft selections on social media before they were officially announced.” That meant Adrian Wojnarowski, whose bread and butter is disclosing draft picks on social media before the official announcement, would be neutered for the night.
Wrong. The New York Times’ Marc Stein broke the bubble by leaking the first pick — whom everyone knew would be Deandre Ayton — ahead of schedule. So Woj blasted back, but did so in a way that didn’t necessarily disregard the league’s mandate.
He used phrases like “focused on,” “lasered in,” “prefers,” and “fixated on” to describe teams’ plans to select a player. Our personal favorite?
Source: The Lakers are unlikely to resist Mo Wagner with the 25th pick.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 22, 2018
Winner, winner, chicken dinner.
Loser: Deandre Ayton via Joel Embiid
Yes, Ayton went No. 1 overall in this year’s draft and subsequently can’t really lose in any way, shape or form. Unless one of the best players at his position dragged him on Twitter, which is exactly what happened.
Don’t compare Ayton to me either... I play DEFENSE— Joel Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) June 22, 2018
Joel Embiid absolutely blasted Ayton’s defense, an area which could and should be improved over the course of his career. And to make matters worse, Draymond Green piled on, too.
It’s OK, Deandre. You’re still the No. 1 pick.
Winner: The suits
First of all, shoutout to Wendell Carter Jr. for pulling off this dope Black Panther-inspired all-black draft night outfit.
Second of all, no one had a better outfit than Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Period. End of story.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander came through DRIPPIN’ pic.twitter.com/lNVJzOPAF9— SLAM Magazine (@SLAMonline) June 21, 2018
See other outfits, including Trae Young’s suit shorts here:
Loser: Michael Porter Jr.
Listen, I’m rooting for MPJ. He was just a clean bill of health away from being a legitimate top-three pick in this year’s draft. But Porter Jr. doesn’t have a clean bill of health. He has a spine that doctors compare to a jelly doughnut. A jelly damn doughnut.
And because of that gelatinous, doughy spinal situation, Porter fell all the way to the Nuggets at pick No. 14. Teams usually offer 120 percent of the rookie scale during contract negotiations. If Porter would have went, say fourth, at 120 percent, he would have made about $5.86 million next season. At 14, he’ll make $2.86 million.
Winners: Robert Williams and the Boston Celtics
Bobby Dubs was definitely supposed to go earlier than pick No. 27. The man was a complete machine at Texas A&M, averaging almost a double-double as a sophomore. But there were reportedly some questions about his off-court habits and an injury to his knee. So instead of being a lottery pick, he slid all the way down to the damn Celtics.
Danny Ainge does it again. The rich get richer, as the Celtics add the #12 player in the ESPN 100 all the way down at #27. Concerns about his off-court habits, and some question marks about his knee, sunk Robert Williams' stock, but this might end up being the steal of the draft.— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) June 22, 2018
Williams is of the Clint Capela mold, and he could be Boston’s center in the post-Al Horford world. The rich keep getting richer, and the Celtics are filthy rich.
Losers: All the teams without first-round draft picks
Winner: Lonnie Walker IV
Walker is an electrifying prospect who drew comparisons to Dwyane Wade. The Spurs are ridiculously good at molding draft prospects into their best selves.
The consensus here is the Spurs are going to turn Walker into a star. He could have ended up on a number of other teams. Instead, he fell to one of the most well-run organizations in the history of pro sports.
Loser: Lonnie Walker IV’s hat
IT DOESN’T FIT.
Winners: Cleveland and Collin Sexton
The Cavaliers got the guy they wanted, regardless of whether LeBron James stays in Cleveland or not. And Sexton projects to step into a Cavs jersey, likely directly into the starting point guard slot, and contribute immediately, no matter who’s around him.
SB Nation’s Kristian Winfield did an incredibly dope summation of Sexton’s abilities as a guard, including carrying Alabama in a wild, never-before-seen 3-on-5 game last season. Cavs fans should be psyched. Sexton projects to be a stud.
Winner: The Holiday family
The Indiana Pacers selected Aaron Holiday with the 23rd overall pick, and aside from his abilities as a guard, he also comes from a legitimately athletic bloodline. His older brothers, Justin and Jrue, are solid NBA players, with Jrue being the standout as an all-star and one of the best defenders at his position.
It's pretty special to see Aaron Holiday's brothers, Jrue and Justin, support Aaron on draft night after being selected by the Pacers! pic.twitter.com/NUoOeMUqtU— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) June 22, 2018
Holiday has some shoes to fill, but it looks like he’s ready to contribute whenever his number is called.
Loser: Mikal Bridges’ mom
It was supposed to be a family reunion. The 76ers drafted Mikal Bridges 10th, keeping him in Philly close to both Villanova where he played in college AND his mother, who is the Global VP of Human Resources for Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment, the company that owns the Sixers.
But the Sixers turned around and traded Bridges to the Suns, WHILE he was answering questions about what it meant to be playing in Philadelphia. It was heartbreaking, but it’s part of the business.
Winner: Phoenix Suns
Yup, not only did the Suns land the No. 1 overall pick, but they traded for Mikal Bridges, too. That’s a pretty decent group of young, versatile players to choose from: Bridges, Deandre Ayton, Devin Booker, Josh Jackson, TJ Warren, Marquese Chriss, Dragan Bender, and Elfrid Payton.
Now, Phoenix just has to figure out a way to make it work. This isn’t a bad start. The Suns just have to build on it.