Michael Porter Jr.-Size, skill, speed…a combination that is normally rare but common in the NBA. Porter takes those traits and makes the game look easy when amongst his so-called peers. A player that will be able to rebound and push it on the break with enough awareness to know when to get to the rim and when to give it up for a teammate’s even better look; Porter fits the mold of future superstars. The blue print is out there to follow; Giannis Antetokounmpo being the high, Lamar Odom being the low. Drive and character will be the only thing that may hold him back, so his first year playing in the NCAA will be telling. For now, Porter remains atop the list of Upside.
Porter will turn 20 days after the draft and age is another significant indicator of future success. However, given his abilities, that may not be enough to ding him.
Luka Doncic-Looking to the past, the best teams in the NBA have their best playmaker on the wing…with elite size. Doncic has the tools and skill level to join those ranks. More advanced than Gordon Hayward at the same age, Doncic gets his work done in one of the best non-NBA leagues and has been since he was 16 years old! In this past season, Doncic shot 37% from 3PT, but more importantly 84% from the FT line which any stat-geek will tell you is a better indicator of future success as a 3-Point shooter in the NBA. In just under half a game, Doncic put up a solid line of 7.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.2 assists (3:1 Asst:TO). To give that some context, Kristaps Porzingis (Fellow Massive Upside Player) averaged 10.7 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 0.4 assists in the same league before moving on to the NBA.
Turning 19 a few months prior to the draft, Doncic has as high of an upside as anyone in this draft class. He may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but he brings an exciting brand of basketball along with an unbridled passion that keeps fans engaged.
Marvin Bagley-Lefties make everything look better. Bagley’s re-class throws him from the top of the list in 2019 into the mix for the most upside of 2018.A threat on both ends of the floor around the rim, Bagley can also put points on the board from the perimeter. Ball handling and 3PT shooting are not his forte, yet, but are emerging skills that will determine how high up he ends.
He’ll be 19 on the night of the draft, so the re-class does not alter much. The talent level is intriguing, and the lack of southpaws plays favorably for no other reason than aesthetics…and maybe shot-blocking potential.