Perhaps it’s still too early to talk about the class of 2018. Some of them have already shown glimpses of greatness, while others are still struggling to adjust to the perks and demands of being an NBA player.
However, judging by what we’ve seen thus far, it’s pretty safe to state that some players have done a far better job than others at contributing to their respective teams.
Moreover, regardless of if other players end up being stars, there are a handful of players that are clearly more talented than others. That’s why today, we’re going to rank the class of 2018 by tiers:
Josh Okogie, Anfernee Simmons, Troy Brown Jr, Robert Williams, Jalen Brunson, Grayson Allen, Hamidou Diallo, Lonnie Walker, Kevin Knox
Tier 6 features the most disappointing players of this class, guys that had it all to make an immediate impact, but whose health or inconsistent performances have prevented them from taking a step forward, like Robert Williams, Troy Brown Jr, Anfernee Simmons or Kevin Knox.
However, it also features some players that have proven to be steady contributors right out of the gate even though nobody was expecting them to succeed so quickly, like Josh Okogie and Jalen Brunson. None of these guys is likely to be a superstar, though.
Mo Bamba, Mikal Bridges, Donte DiVincenzo, Michael Porter Jr, Omari Spellman, Moritz Wagner, Shake Milton, Aaron Holiday, Landry Shamet
Tier 5 has some guys that are talented enough to play a huge part on their team’s rotations, but that is still a couple of years away from fulfilling their true potential or just need a better environment to develop their talents, like Mo Bamba, Wendell Carter Jr, and Moritz Wagner
Moreover, players like Shamet, Holiday, Milton, and DiVincenzo have proven to be NBA ready now this season. They won’t back down from a challenge and are able to contribute in multiple areas of the game. Porter Jr, on the other hand, could still break out into an All-Star but needs to stay healthy.
Marvin Bagley, Jaren Jackson Jr, Miles Bridges, Kevin Huerter, Mitchell Robinson, Wendell Carter Jr, Duncan Robinson
A couple of players on Tier 4 are All-Star caliber players. Marvin Bagley Jr and Jaren Jackson Jr have all the tools to be some of the most dominant two-way big men in the league in no time. Miles Bridges’ athleticism and scoring ability also make him an intriguing prospect.
When it comes to Huerter and Duncan Robinson we find two players that aren’t likely to be stars but their skills and relentless work ethic will help them have a long and successful career in the NBA, either as Sixth Men or as a third scoring option.
In Carter Jr’s case, he can become a solid rim-runner and rim-protector, while Mitchell Robinson even has Defensive Player of the Year kind of upside.
Deandre Ayton, Collin Sexton, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Kendrick Nunn, Devonte’ Graham
Tier 3 features players that should be perennial All-Stars for many years to come, like Deandre Ayton, who had arguably the most underrated rookie season ever just because of Luka Doncic and Trae Young, but has the ability to be a 25-12 kind of guy for over a decade.
Collin Sexton’s career got off to a rocky start after some of his teammates complained about his lack of playmaking, but it seems like the game is finally starting to slow down for him. He’s not a true point guard but can bully most players in the paint and is a fearless scorer.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has already outplayed his Draft stock. He’s proven to be one of the most NBA-ready prospects in years with his lockdown backcourt defense, playmaking and scoring outbursts. The Thunder got a major steal.
Kendrick Nunn came out of the blue as an undrafted free agent, but settled quickly into the NBA and has been an invaluable source of offense for the Miami Heat. He’s not a true point guard but can score in bunches and won’t back down from any challenge.
And last but not least, Devonte’ Graham has really come together this season. He put himself in the map as an instant-offense kind of player and his playmaking is also far ahead of what we expected thus far. He’s outplayed Terry Rozier as the Hornets’ starting point guard and is one of our candidates for Most Improved Player.
This one may be kind of controversial, but Trae Young has to be on a tier of his own. He’s already a superstar, one of the most unstoppable scorers and playmakers in the league and he’s just getting started.
Obviously, he must improve a lot in the defensive end if he wants to take his Atlanta Hawks to the next level, as he’s one of the worst defenders in the league. However, his offensive skillset is just too good to put him with the rest of his class.
Young has unlimited range and has proven to come huge in the clutch thus far on his young NBA career. He’ll be one of the league’s top-tier entertainers for many years to come.
Luka Doncic is the best player in his class and it’s not even close. That’s no disrespect to Trae Young whatsoever, it just shows how incredibly good he is.
We all expected Doncic to be great but none expected him to be this good this fast. He’s a once-in-a-lifetime kind of talent and has the potential to take the Dallas Mavericks to Championship contention in no time.
Doncic has shown the ultimate point-forward skills. He’s got that combination of Larry Bird and LeBron James – offensive-wise, at least – that makes you want to watch him over and over.
Needless to say, his defense is still a work in progress, but if he manages to – at least – become a solid post defender like James Harden, we’re going to see him turn into one of the greatest players in the history of the game.