The only surprise when it came to the first pick was that Adam Silver didn’t come out sooner. After a few more minutes of waiting, the New Orleans Pelicans made official what everyone in the basketball world has known for months: Zion Williamson is the top pick in this year’s draft.
The Pelicans got the superstar that will lead their new era. After moving on from Anthony Davis, Williamson will be the new face of the team. He brings to New Orleans his exciting game which he showcased in his only year in Duke where he averaged 22 points and nearly nine rebounds per game.
Williamson is a beast of an athlete. He has an unreal vertical leap and hangtime. But He’s more than just dunks. Williamson is a hard working, high-IQ player that any team would be lucky to have. He will slot in next to Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram to form a great young core in the Bayou.
The next two picks were also no brainers. The Memphis Grizzlies drafted their new point guard of the future, Ja Morant, with the second pick.
After moving on from Mike Conley, the Grizzlies selected the dynamic point guard from Murray State. Morant was a double-double beast in his final collegiate season. He put up 24 points and 10 assists a game as a sophomore. He joins last year’s pick, Jaren Jackson, Jr. as foundations of the team.
The New York Knicks did exactly what everyone wanted them to do. They didn’t get cute with their pick. Instead, they selected the best player available, RJ Barrett, with their third pick.
New York got a killer scorer in RJ Barrett. The freshman out of Duke posted 22.6 points per game alongside Williamson last season. He will bring the same mentality to the Knicks who are looking to rise out of the bottom of the East.
The draft got interesting after the first three picks. The Atlanta Hawks, a team that traded down last season, used one of their top 10 picks to move up. Before the draft, they traded the eighth pick and other assets to the Pelicans for the fourth pick.
Atlanta has acquired New Orleans No. 4 pick in the draft for No. 8 and 17 and 35, league sources tell ESPN. Pelicans are sending Solomon Hill, No. 57 pick and a future second-round pick.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 20, 2019
With the fourth pick, the Hawks selected NCAA Champion, De’Andre Hunter from Virginia. Hunter will join the back court composed of last year’s picks Trae Young and Kevin Huerter. He will bring a strong defensive mentality to the Hawks.
With the fifth pick, the Cleveland Cavaliers took a risk in drafting point guard Darius Garland. The Vanderbilt product missed most of last season with a knee injury so it was difficult to fully assess his game. That makes two straight years that the Cavs have selected high-scoring point guards after selecting Collin Sexton in last year’s draft.
The Phoenix Suns traded away the sixth pick to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Dario Saric and the 11th pick. Minny ended up picking Jarrett Culver out of Texas Tech.
Minnesota has traded No. 11 and Dario Saric to Phoenix for the No. 6 pick in the draft, league source tells ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 20, 2019
With the seventh pick, the Bulls got point guard Coby White out of North Carolina. The Pelicans tried to move the eighth pick which they got from Atlanta. But with no takers, they ended up drafting Texas big man Jaxson Hayes. The Wizards drafted Japanese sensation Rui Hachimura out of Gonzaga with a surprise pick at ninth while the Hawks nabbed Duke forward Cam Reddish with the 10th pick.
Here is the complete list of First Round picks in the 2018 NBA Draft:
1. New Orleans Pelicans – Zion Williamson
2. Memphis Grizzlies – Ja Morant
3. New York Knicks- RJ Barrett
4. Atlanta Hawks – De’Andre Hunter (from LA Lakers, via New Orleans Pelicans)
5. Cleveland Cavaliers – Darius Garland
6. Minnesota Timberwolves – Jarret Culver (via Phoenix Suns)
7. Chicago Bulls – Coby White
8. New Orleans Pelicans – Jaxson Hayes (via Atlanta Hawks)
9. Washington Wizards – Rui Hachimura
10. Atlanta Hawks – Cam Reddish (from Dallas Mavericks)
11. Phoenix Suns – Cameron Johnson (from Minnesota Timberwolves)
12. Charlotte Hornets – PJ Washington Jr.
13. Miami Heat – Tyler Herro
14. Boston Celtics – Romeo Langford (from Sacramento Kings via Philadelphia 76ers)
15. Detroit Pistons – Sekou Doumbouya
16. Orlando Magic – Chuma Okeke
17. New Orleans Pelicans – Nickel Alexander-Walker (from Brooklyn Nets via Atlanta Hawks)
18. Indiana Pacers – Goga Bitadze
19. San Antonio Spurs – Luka Samanic
20. Philadelphia 76ers – Mattise Thybulle (from LA Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies, via Boston Celtics)
21. Memphis Grizzlies – Brandon Clarke (via Oklahoma City Thunder)
22. Boston Celtics – Grant Williams
23. OKC Thunder – Darius Bazely (from Memphis Grizzlies)
24. Phoenix Suns – Ty Jerome (from Philadelphia 76ers via Boston Celtics)
25. Portland Trail Blazers – Nassir Little
26. Cleveland Cavaliers – Dylan Windler (from Houston Rockets)
27. LA Clippers – Mfiondu Kabengele (from Denver Nuggets, via Brooklyn Nets)
28. Golden State Warriors – Jordan Poole
29. San Antonio Spurs – Keldon Johnson (from Toronto Raptors)
30. Cleveland Cavaliers – Kevin Porter Jr. (from Milwaukee Bucks, via Detroit Pistons)
Photos from NBA.com