4. Memphis Grizzlies: Mo Bamba
Andrew Waters- Contrary to the popular consensus about the Grizzlies’ draft decision, I believe that they will not select former Michigan State Spartan Jaren Jackson Jr. The team already has a developing and intriguing young talent in Ivan Rabb, who managed to shoot the ball at 56 percent from the floor. That’s why the team should select Texas big man Mo Bamba.
Bamba has the capability to become the new face of the Grizzlies. At 7’1” with a ridiculous 7’10” wingspan, he has the physical tools to become one of the league’s best interior defenders and shot blockers. On the offensive end, Bamba has shown abilities in transition baskets and opportunities cutting inside. He also has the flashes to become a reliable stretch big, in due time. With Grizzlies center Marc Gasol being an older side of 33, it’s time to enter the new regime of dominant big men that have been the staple of the franchise has been the staple of the franchise since its inception.
5. Dallas Mavericks: Jaren Jackson Jr.
Stephen Sears - Mavericks go with the best player available and the heir to Dirk Nowitzki’s throne in Dallas with Jaren Jackson Jr. Jackson is considered by many to be one of the safest picks in this draft as we know exactly what he will bring to the table. Dallas will be extremely glad to see him fall into their laps.
Jackson does just about everything on the basketball court extremely well. Being able to defend the rim and shoot from the perimeter makes him the quintessential big man in today’s modern NBA. He’s already an amazing physical specimen at just 18 years old and has plenty of time and potential to groom into an even more polished and elite athlete and scorer.
6. Orlando Magic: Trae Young
Jonathan DeLong - This will be the Magic’s fifth top six selection in the last six years. After the Magic declined to pick up the option on Mario Hezonja’s contract, it appears combo forwards Aaron Gordon and Jonathan Isaac will be the only members of that group on the roster for the 2018-19 season. Neither are high usage players and should be expected to function more as glue guys on the offensive end of the court. The Magic need someone to step in that can put the ball in the basket.
Trae Young fits that bill to a T. The former Sooner led the nation in both scoring and assisting as a freshman by averaging 27.4 points and 8.7 assists per game. He’s a dynamic play maker both in transition and in the half court. His gravity on offense will open more scoring opportunities for Gordon and Isaac and Young can set them up for easy buckets thanks to his passing proficiency. Young’s biggest weakness his is defensive ability and effort, but that can be mitigated to an extent by his sharing the court with strong defenders like Gordon and Isaac. DJ Augustin is currently the only point guard under contract with the Magic, so Young should immediately step into a prominent role.