Bleacher Report recently published their redraft of the 2018 NBA draft class. No big surprise, Luka Doncic was drafted number one overall. Doncic was the easy choice, considering he’s won Rookie of the Year, been selected to two All-Star games, and named to two All-NBA teams.
Going number one overall to the Phoenix Suns, Doncic would have been paired with Devin Booker. The two would have made an electric backcourt for the Suns. Though both need the ball in their hands often, the way perimeter players have taken over the NBA sharing the rock wouldn’t be an issue. Picture Doncic setting up Booker for a 3-pointer off a drive on pick-and-roll. It would be beautiful.
Jalen Brunson, though, moved way up from his original draft position of 33rd overall. The former Villanueva guard has proven to be a more than capable backup for Doncic. In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Brunson start for a few teams across the league.
For that reason, Bleacher Report had Brunson drafted at 17th overall by the Milwaukee Bucks. It’s a sensible pick for a title contender like the Bucks, who have always been in search of capable point guards, especially before they acquired Jrue Holiday. Brunson is a proven winner, the type of player that elevates championship contenders, even at a young age and in a small role. There’s a case to be made for Brunson going ahead of Wendell Carter Jr., who Bleacher report has going 14th to the Denver Nuggets.
The Dallas Mavericks are big losers in this exercise, missing out on generational talent like Doncic. But the consolation prize isn’t too bad. Bleacher Report has Shai Gilgeous-Alexander falling to the Mavericks at the fifth pick. It’s fun to picture Gilgeous-Alexander in a Mavericks uniform, even if it would mean a slower rebuild around him. He doesn’t elevate Dallas as quickly as Doncic has, but he’s still a great young player to build a contender around.
The fact that both Doncic and Brunson moved up in Bleacher Report’s redraft shows what a quality draft the Mavericks had in 2018. Doncic was an easy pick, despite what the Suns and Sacramento Kings thought, but nabbing Brunson in the early second round was quality scouting. The 2018 Mavericks’ class was a masterclass in drafting, and the organization should be applauded for it.