Like every draft in every sport, the NBA Draft is an extremely inexact science. Projecting how 18/19/20 year olds will develop their skills and adapt to life on and off the court as a professional basketball player is extremely hard, and being able to map out exactly how everything will go down in a player’s career is damn near impossible.
That’s reflected in the wide variance we see in output from draft picks every year, as well as the uneven development we see from draft classes from year-to-year. It’s difficult to know whether a rookie will develop into a superstar or simply be what they are, but the best thing you can say about the class of 2018 draftees is that they all appear to be solid NBA players as rookies. That’s not to say this will go down as the greatest class of all-time or that any of them will reach their full potential, but it’s exceedingly rare for the first five picks to all have long careers in the Association as — at minimum — solid rotation contributors in front of them.
Prior to the 2018 draft, I looked back through recent draft history to determine what can be reasonably expected of players from each draft slot, in hopes of tempering expectations that every top 10 pick should be a star-caliber player. In reality, the top pick should be a franchise-changing star, the second and third picks can reasonably be expected to be a quality starter and possible All-Stars, and the fourth and fifth picks, hopefully, are future starters. The thing is, you rarely achieve those things in every draft, as there are hits or misses.
This season, that appears to be the case. It’s admittedly very early to take victory laps for any of these teams, but health pending, the Suns, Kings, Mavericks, Grizzlies, and Hawks all hit on their picks to varying degrees.