2018 Rare Reminder NBA/WNBA Draft
The National Basketball Association draft is upon us and dozens of young prospects will fulfill their professional dreams. Here’s how the first 18 selections of the 2018 NBA draft would pan out if we entered The Land of Make Believe, in which professional general managers chose between the gifted players that starred at the five local schools this past winter.
Welcome to the second annual Bizzaro Basketball Draft…
1. Phoenix Suns- Michael Mozzicato (F- Wethersfield): A proven scorer with an automatic jumper and length to finish inside. Rangy athlete with an impressive wingspan and the lateral quickness to succeed on the defensive end. Great wing-complement to Devin Booker in the desert.
2. Sacramento Kings- Noah Budzik (G- Cromwell): Super smooth talent that plays with pace and an abundance of confidence. Curry-type range with ability to go on scoring barrages and can finish over bigger athletes at the rim. The next Mike Bibby in Sacramento.
3. Atlanta Hawks: DeAaron Lawrence (G- Middletown): Explosive athlete that can jump out of the gym and is a tenacious defender with quick hands. Limitless offensive arsenal with ability to create off the bounce and the stroke to light it up from beyond the arc.
4. Memphis Grizzlies: Andrew DiMatteo (F/C- Rocky Hill): Gritty, though big man with a soft touch around the rim. Strong base on defense and does not back down from any challenges. The type of player that every roster needs.
5. Dallas Mavericks: Reese Reyes (F- Cromwell): Unselfish player that will do anything the team needs. Size and strength to play multiple position and has high basketball acumen. Very few, if any, weakness in his game.
6. Orlando Magic: Jimmy Sullivan (F- Wethersfield): Modern-day big that excels inside and has versatility to space the floor. Long frame makes it nearly impossible to get shots over him and allows him to yank down rebounds.
7. Chicago Bulls: J.P. DeCastro (G- Newington): Gym rat that will not be outworked on or off the court. Effortless pull-up jumper and is fearless at finishing at the cup. Basketball IQ just went up in the Windy City.
8. Cleveland Cavaliers: Will White (G- Rocky Hill): Confident, hardnosed athlete who is a creator in space and can shoot from the parking lot. Energizer on both ends that plays with passion and emotion. Could lure LBJ back to ‘The Land’ for another title run.
9. New York Knicks: Gabe Charleston (C- Cromwell): Blossoming big man who has a sky-high ceiling. Has already shown glimpses of greatness with his ability to protect the rim and finish with power on the offensive end. Knicks get leaner and meaner.
10. Philadelphia 76ers: Ryan Robinson (G- Rocky Hill): Floor general with the heart of a lion. Exceptional handles and sets up teammates in scoring position with his precision passes. Ideal fit with young Brotherly Love bunch.
11. Charlotte Hornets: James Holley (F- Newington): Swiss Army knife talent that plays with intelligence and pace. Arguably the best on-ball defender in the draft, making him a value on any team, especially a Hornets team that surrendered 108 points per game last season.
12. Los Angeles Clippers: Nick Arcata (G- Wethersfield): Experienced all-round point guard that does all the little things well. Great distributor but not afraid to put his head down and attack the basket. Draws comparisons to Andre Miller.
13. Los Angeles Clippers: Derek Tenney (G- Wethersfield): The ultimate team-player. Can do it all offensively and adds defensive versatility, excelling in man and playing passing lanes extremely well. Developed a knack for taking over late in games.
14. Denver Nuggets: Nick Wright (G- Cromwell): Mr. Do-It-All that can fill multiple roles. Impacts game on the defense end and can play inside and out on offense. Deceptive length and strength will be valued at the next level.
15. Washington Wizards: Jordan DelMastro (F- Rocky Hill): Fundamentally sound player that is not afraid to bang down low and will stretch a defense with perimeter skills. Great hands and smooth in transition. Will have a long career at the next level.
16. Phoenix Suns: Riley Donovan (F- Rocky Hill): The jack of all trades. Can score, pass, and rebound with efficiency and will guard any position of the floor. Length and jumping abilities are special. Only entering his prime, which is scary for opponents.
17. Milwaukee Bucks: Mason Romano (C- Newington): Lengthy frame allows his to dominate around the rim. Underrated touch from outside the key and his upside is through the roof. Anthony Davis-type body with potential skills to match.
18. San Antonio Spurs: Brennen Maxfield (G- Middletown): High-energy sparkplug that hustles on both ends of the court. Deadly spot-up shooter from beyond the arc and a perfect fit in The Alamo.
Girls Basketball Bonus: The WNBA draft took place in March, but here’s a look back to how it would have panned with the local stars.
1. Las Vegas Aces: Nikki Lukens (G- Rocky Hill): The complete package. Creative off the dribble and a lockdown perimeter defender. Can score at will but is unselfish with the ball and has a team-first mentality. A can’t miss prospect who will form a terrific 1-2 punch with Kayla McBride.
2. Indiana Fever: Nicole Gwynn (G- Wethersfield): Uber-talented prospect just entering her prime. Can take over games on both ends of the floor due to her boundless energy. Great finisher at the cup and has superb lateral quickness on the defensive end. Sky is the limit.
3. Chicago Sky: Jenna Serrantino (G- Cromwell): Point producer that can fill it up from the inside and out. Efficient, fierce competitor who has thrived in big moments and will fit in well with Amber Stocks’ style on the fast-rising Sky.
4. Chicago Sky: Ashanti Frazier (G-Newington): Natural instincts on the floor and excels with the ball in her hands. A basketball junkie with excellent vision and an attacking nature. Young prospect that won’t back down from a challenge.
5. Seattle Storm: Grace Moore (F- Rocky Hill): Athletic ability is off the charts and brings instant energy. Wizard in the paint with a special ability to work her way to the bucket and finish once she’s there. Ready for the next level and could be heir apparent to Sue Bird in the Emerald City.
6. Dallas Wings: Grace Fisher (F- Rocky Hill): Solid at all phases of the game with Cheryl Ford-type skill set. Finisher with terrific mid-range jumper and willing passer from the top of the key. Tough competitor with All-Star potential.
7. Washington Mystics: Amanda Fudge (G- Middletown): Slasher with bulldog mentality that finds teammates and can step back and knock down shots. Floor general with a knack for creating and making buckets in crucial moments.
8. Indiana Fever: Vanessa Stolstajner (G/F- Cromwell): Up-and-coming prospect that took her game to another level this winter. Can score in bunches and plays with a maturity beyond her years. Star in the making.
9. Connecticut Sun: Cheyenne-Monè Smith (F- Wethersfield): Loads of skill on both ends of the court. Confident athlete that thrives against elite competition and in big moments. Connecticut retains one of its most talented prospects.
10. New York Liberty: Dominique Highsmith (F- Middletown): Instant contributor that has a rare combination of strength down low and quickness on the perimeter. All-world athlete and an all-star talent.
11. Los Angeles Sparks: Olivia St. Remy (C- Newington): Fundamentally sound team-first player that gathers rebounds in bunches. Doesn’t need the spotlight and willing to sacrifice for the team. Might be the missing piece the Sparks need to get back on top.
12. Phoenix Mercury: Kelsea Corcoran (G- Cromwell): Knock down shooter and moves extremely well without the ball. Plays with an edge and will be an ideal weapon alongside the legend Diana Taurasi in Phoenix.
13. Las Vegas Aces: Isabella Samse (G- Wethersfield): Budding prospect with a non-stop motor and endless energy. Underrated shooter that can drain threes with the best of them and is disruptive on the defense end. Exciting to watch.
14. Indian Fever: Lizzy Denardo (G- Rocky Hill): Blend of talent, toughness, and swagger. Heady defensive player with great vision and can knock down shots from distance on the offensive end. A fan favorite.
15. Atlanta Dream: Silvana Barcomb (G- Middletown): Solid on both ends of the court. Good with the rock in her hands and a steady finisher around the rim. Consistent production from night to night.
16. Atlanta Dream: MacKenzie Dunn (F- Middletown): Rising star that plays both ends of the court. Effective outside shot makes her a duel threat inside and out. A fit on any roster.
17. Minnesota Lynx: Alice Kelly (F- Wethersfield): Plays with a poise and confidence beyond her years. Always in the right spot at the right time and is going to be a force at the next level for an already loaded Lynx squad.
18. Dallas Wings: Sadie Budzik (G/F- Cromwell): Great athlete that understands the game and is only going to get better with more minutes. She’s just reaching her potential.
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Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin