The 2018 NBA Draft produced six picks from the Big 12, and all have an opportunity to make some noise on their current rosters.
Oklahoma point guard Trae Young and Texas Tech guard Zhaire Smith were both traded on draft night, which is a great sign that they are wanted. Even a trio of second-round picks have an opportunity to make an NBA roster with some luck.
We’re grading these players based on their fits and how likely they are to reach their potential with their new teams. Without further ado, here’s our draft grades for every Big 12 prospect.
Oklahoma G Trae Young – Atlanta Hawks (via Dallas)
Trae Young needed to go to a team where he isn’t the center of attention. We saw how that turned out for him down the stretch at Oklahoma. Unfortunately, one of the barest teams in the league ended up with him after he was drafted No. 5 overall. The Hawks only have one other offensive creator: point guard Dennis Schroder. With Young on the roster, Schroder is almost certainly gone. Atlanta did draft Maryland guard Kevin Huerter, who should ease the scoring load slightly. But still, Young has a tough task ahead, especially now that he will be compared to Luka Doncic for the rest of his career.
Texas C Mohamed Bamba – Orlando Magic
Mo Bamba was one of the safer picks in the draft, as his impressive frame and skill set will allow him to be an elite rim protector in the NBA. The only frustration with Bamba’s situation is he’s going to a franchise that hasn’t done a great job of maximizing talent. The hope is that new coach Steve Clifford, who developed Dwight Howard in Orlando, can do a better job.
Texas Tech G Zhaire Smith – Philadelphia 76ers (via Phoenix)
Zhaire Smith would have made plenty of sense in Phoenix, a team that’s in the midst of a rebuild. He would have been able to develop his game next to Devin Booker, one of the league’s brightest young guards. However, there will be immediate pressure to contribute to a contender in Philadelphia. His situation could work out, but fans will not be thrilled if he takes a while to develop.
West Virginia G Jevon Carter – Memphis Grizzlies
Few players in this draft ended up in a better position that Jevon Carter. The best defensive guard in the draft will play with one of the grittiest teams in basketball and learn from outstanding two-way guard Mike Conley. Carter is undersized, but he should learn plenty about how to play the game from Conley. Carter has the look of a player who will be in the NBA for close to 10 years because of his basketball IQ, but the Grizzlies will make sure of it.
Kansas G Devonte’ Graham – Charlotte Hornets (via Atlanta)
Charlotte’s roster is fairly wide open after all-star guard Kemba Walker. The Hornets want to run a Spurs-like system after hiring Spurs assistant James Borrego as coach. That could be a good situation for Graham, who can shoot and pass at a high level. Considering how bad 2017 draft pick Malik Monk looked, there could be minutes available at guard.
Kansas F Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk – Los Angeles Lakers (via Denver)
Svi Mykhailiuk should be in a good situation no matter what Los Angeles does this offseason. If LeBron James and Paul George come to L.A., Mykhailiuk’s experience and sure shooting will make him valuable. If not, the Lakers have a strong recent history of giving opportunities to underrated draft picks — just look at Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart. Mykhailiuk’s shooting and defense should keep him on the floor.