2018 NBA Draft: SEC Hoops Do Well in First Round

The SEC is proving yet again that is not just a football conference. While it is true that the Southeastern Conference produces the most NFL talent year in and year out, the same can be said of other sports as well.

The NBA draft recently concluded and there were seven players selected from the SEC. Five of those players got drafted in the 1st round. Let’s dive into who got drafted and where.

#8 Collin Sexton – Alabama (PG)

Sexton to the Cavs may have been a sexy pick at the time as his playmaking ability paired with LeBron’s greatness would have made for some exciting basketball. But, alas, LA Bron took his talents to the west coast. The electric freshman averaged 19.2 points per game last year. He has elite athleticism and the ability to finish at the rim. His head coach at Alabama and former NBA player, Avery Johnson, said that he is one of the best players he’s ever coached. Now the Cavaliers must hope that the 19-year-old will be able to handle the spotlight as a rookie.

#9 Kevin Knox – Kentucky (SF/PF)

The youngest player in the draft, Kevin Knox, went to the Knicks. He’s an athletic big man who can shoot. That’s the name of the game in the NBA nowadays. His play will compliment Kristaps Porzingis’s very well as they both can pop out and shoot the three. The one and done averaged 15.6 points and 5.4 rebounds last season, which was respectable enough to earn him the 9th overall pick, but Calipari thinks his best basketball is still ahead of him. If so, then New York could have one of the best big men tandems in the NBA for years to come.

#11 Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – Kentucky (PG)

He initially got drafted by the Hornets but was then traded to the Clippers for Miles Bridges. He averaged 14.4 points and 5.1 assists in his only season at Kentucky. He began his career in Lexington as a backup and ended it as the SEC Tournament MVP. He’s 6 ft 6 but has a 7 ft wingspan, so he projects well for the NBA. He will be able to create havoc in the lanes with his long arms.

#14 Michael Porter Jr. – Missouri (PF)

Despite playing in only three games, the talented 6 ft 10 forward has potential to be a star if he can stay healthy. He was one of the most coveted recruits in the nation before he committed to Mizzou. Porter’s high ranking had many people projecting him to go number one overall in the draft before he suffered a back injury that ended his season. Denver will be banking on him coming back fully healthy and becoming a key member of their rotation.

#27 Robert Williams – Texas A&M (PF/C)

Usually, 6ft 9 and 240 lbs is a bit undersized for an NBA big man, but Williams plays with power. He needs to polish up his offensive game, but he should get quality minutes as a rookie for Boston due to his shot blocking ability. ESPN’s Mike Schmitz thinks Williams could be one of the biggest steals of the draft. If he’s involved in more pick and rolls in the NBA, he should see an increase in his scoring. Boy genius Brad Stephens will undoubtedly find ways to get Williams involved on offense. That is if Williams can show up on time.

#41 Jarred Vanderbilt – Kentucky (SF)

The Wildcat got drafted by Orlando but traded to Denver. He has significant injury concerns that date back to high school. He has injured his left foot three times, so his sample size is small. His stats aren’t that impressive but when you look at his rebounding production when on the court then you start to see the kind of player he could be. Denver won’t have to rely on the big man much early on, so he can work on his game and stay healthy.

#45 Hamidou Diallo – Kentucky (SG)

An athletic wing that has some impressive leaping ability, which bodes him well as he’s already jumped from Brooklyn to Charlotte and landing finally with Oklahoma City. Diallo has some upside as an athletic guard, but he will be joining an already crowded backcourt. After a winding journey, I’m sure he is just ready to showcase his skills in the NBA.

 

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 (Photo Courtesy 12Up.com)

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