The top 7 prospects have gotten all the hype but this draft class has plenty of talent beyond the top of the lottery and the wing position is especially deep. The 2018 draft class has long been thought of as a big-man heavy class with some franchise altering talents at the power forward and center positions but as the season progresses and the top prospects come into better focus it is clear that the wings are on the rise and help give this draft good depth through the first round.
In the era of position-less basketball (or 3 position basketball: ball handlers, wings and bigs) versatile wing players are extremely valuable and hard to find. Luckily, for NBA teams in need of a wing, this class is loaded. Nearly half of the 30 first round picks this year could be wings, with plenty of talent in the second round as well.
A few of these players are underrated and not getting the draft hype they deserve but look for a lot of these names to start moving up draft boards in the near future.
- Michael Porter Jr. – Missouri – Fingers crossed that he comes back healthy and hungry to prove himself. Has the talent to be a #1 scoring option at the next level.
- Kevin Knox – Kentucky – A high upside prospect who shows flashes but disappears too often. Young for his class and still putting it all together but could pay off big in a few years.
- Mikal Bridges – Villanova – Classic 3&D wing who has shown an improved all around scoring game. An absolute menace on the defensive end, Bridges could step in and contribute on day 1.
- Troy Brown – Oregon – A versatile player who can really defend, run the court and play above the rim. Not the greatest shooter but has decent form and will continue to improve.
- Lonnie Walker IV – Miami – Big upside but a long way to go, Walker has great physical tools and a chance to develop into an All Star level player….but it might take some time.
- Dzanan Musa – Bosnia – One of the best scorers in this class. Can light it up from 3 and make plays off the bounce. Lacks ideal length and projects as an average defender.
- Kris Wilkes – UCLA – Silky smooth and hugely underrated. Wilkes can score from 3 levels and shows flashes of being a go-to scorer. Could rise up draft boards with a strong second half of the season.
- Miles Bridges – Michigan State – A big name player with a lot of talent but overrated on many boards. Can defend and rebound at a high rate but still figuring things out on the offensive end.
- Chandler Hutchison – Boise State – Small school senior with NBA length and a ton of versatility. Plays a complete game and should be NBA ready early in his career.
- O’Shae Brissett – Syracuse – A fluid athlete with ideal size. Has a good dribble-drive game and can score in the mid range.
- Zhaire Smith – Texas Tech – Long and athletic with a great feel for the game. A committed defender and rebounder who has plus athleticism and an underrated shooting stroke. A gamer.
- Gary Trent Jr. – Duke – Might be the best three point shooter in this class. Not the best athlete but has strength, high BBIQ and that sweet three point shot.
- Kostja Mushidi – Belgium – A well built wing with great length and strength. Doesn’t get a lot of pub but he’s certainly on the radar of NBA scouts. Can really defend and does all the little things well. If his 3 point shot is legit he’ll have a long NBA career.
- Isaac Bonga – Germany – From a talent standpoint he could be a lottery pick but he lacks experience and could take a few years to develop. Has plenty of upside.
This group has a nice mix of NBA ready players and high upside guys that could take a few years to contribute but have a chance to develop into stars. Some of the Freshmen on this list such as Wilkes and Brissett could opt to stay in school but if they have strong showings in February and March look for them to test the NBA Draft waters.
With good depth, high upside talent and the emergence of some young, underrated players, the wing position in the 2018 draft class is definitely on the rise.