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The Nine Players in the 2018 NBA Draft Who Will Not Fail

Chris Vernon of ‘The Ringer NBA Show’ shares a list of the prospects he is 100 percent positive will not suck. Throw your mock drafts out. They won’t help you here.

Getty Images/Ringer illustration

I believe that the draft does not have to be nearly as hard as many teams will make it. I’m not interested in what the mocks say about where a guy should go. Five years will pass and when we look back at this 2018 draft, we’ll see a long line of players who fail to have real careers in the NBA. In the moment, the selections will not seem ludicrous because the mocks have brainwashed us to believe that the best prospects are listed in the correct range and order. So when I hear people say, “That is too high [or too low] to take [Player A],” I immediately cringe. Too high or too low according to what?

I care about one thing when it comes to the draft: getting a player who does not suck. Some of these guys will be stars, some might end up just being role players, but I am 100 percent confident none of them will fail. Enough with the small talk. Time to put my money where my mouth is. Vernodamus is here to save the day. These players will not suck (and if they do, I will absolutely blame the situation and the coaching):

Marvin Bagley III

I seriously wonder if I have different eyeballs than everyone else. There is a 0 percent chance that Bagley is not awesome in the NBA. I’m not sure that he has ever played in a game in his life where he was not the best player on the floor. Coach K said the following regarding Bagley: “He is not a good runner; he’s an amazing runner. And then he’s an amazing repeated jumper. In other words, he doesn’t really take time to even land, he just pops right back up. He wants to learn, he has no demons, he’s a great kid, he’s smart, and has an incredible motor. He never has a bad day. He’s a treasure, really. He’s going to be one of the great players in the NBA during his time.” Coach K also said that in his 38 years at Duke he has had only one other player like him: Kyrie Irving. I honestly have no idea how he is not the consensus first pick in the draft.

Luka Doncic

I have expressed my worry that Doncic might not have the athleticism it takes to be a massive star in the NBA. That being said, he is smart, he plays hard, and he can dribble, pass, and shoot. I’m positive he is not going to be a failure. He is too good at basketball to fail. He also has a massive tiger tattoo on his forearm, which is a big plus. More than anything, I have warmed up to him more and more since the word that NBA teams have cooled on him, because that means he is probably amazing.

Wendell Carter Jr.

This is a little reminiscent of when Al Horford and Joakim Noah were in the same draft in 2007. I loved both of them and thought there was no chance that either of them would fail. It was just a matter of how good they were going to be. Bagley is the best prospect in the draft in my opinion, but Carter is also a beast. His fundamentals are ridiculous, he is huge and has a massive wingspan — and his shot looks as good as any player’s in the draft. A smart big that can run the floor, plays hard, and can shoot 3s? Those guys don’t fail.

Collin Sexton

I love Sexton. He is smart, he is lightning fast, and he plays every game like it is his last game on earth. An absolute fighter who routinely plays his best against the best competition. You need guys like Sexton in the NBA playoffs. I think his ceiling is much higher than most people seem to think, and I know, no matter what, I will love having this guy on my team.

Miles Bridges

He can dribble, pass, and shoot. He is a freak athlete. He is a smart kid that comes off great in all of his interviews. He is tough as nails. You can have the guys that you think are going to be good, and I’ll take the one that I know will be. Miles Bridges is a perfect example of why teams and analysts miss in the NBA draft. He will absolutely be better than many players taken in front of him and you can see it from a mile away.

Jacob Evans

Cincinnati won a school-record 31 games, and Evans was the best prospect on the team. His sophomore season he was a finalist for the Jerry West Award, which goes to the best shooting guard in the country, and his junior year he was a finalist for the Julius Erving Award, which goes to the best small forward in the country. Cincy coach Mick Cronin had this to say about him: “He is a winner. He shoots a high percentage. He’s an elite defender. He blocks shots. He guards point guards. He rebounds. He just does so many things, and he’s a coach on the floor. He’s such a smart player.” Umm, sold.

Donte DiVincenzo

At one point during this draft process, someone asked me, “If we saw DiVincenzo drop 31 in the title game, be great all season, and test physically off the charts, then why in the hell is he supposed to go late first round?” Great question, anonymous guy! The answer is because that is where the mock draft consensus has him slotted, and the mock draft consensus is dumb. He’s a big-time competitor, super athlete, can shoot the cover off the ball, and in the biggest game of the season, he looked like the best player on maybe the best college team I have ever seen.

Rawle Alkins

Brooklyn in the house! Alkins was a high school force of nature who won three city titles and two state championships in New York. He had a foot issue that hampered his career at Arizona, but this kid has so many attributes that I love. Unstoppable motor, built like a linebacker, good-looking shot, and do-or-die playing style. He has been projected too low since this process started. Alkins will be a fan favorite wherever he plays. You want a Marcus Smart, Tony Allen, or P.J. Tucker–type player when you need a big play in a big game. I see that with Alkins.

Jevon Carter

You do not want to be guarded by Jevon Carter. Bob Huggins called him “the best defensive player I have ever coached.” Whoa. Carter reminds me of the kind of guy who is playing in the park where the winner stays on the court, and you could leave for six hours and come back and his team would still be playing. He was conference defensive player of the year twice, and national defensive player of the year last year. He affects every game that he plays in. Bona fide bulldog. Every roster in the NBA could use a guy like him.