NBA draft classes typically need a few years before a true evaluation can occur.
Regardless of how many immediate post-draft analysis articles are written.
So while it is enjoyable (or not) to read about whether or not your team drafted the next steal or bust an hour after the draft, those labels cannot truly be assigned until a few years down the road.
This is exactly where we are at with the 2018 NBA Draft class.
These players still have time to develop and grow their game, but the bust label is officially looming.
3. Kevin Knox II
Looking through the 2018 draft, there are few players that could be considered a bust.
The fifth pick from the top five will be discussed later.
But the 2018 draft was one of the better classes in recent memory.
The 2018 NBA draft is stacked
10. Mikal Bridges*
12. Miles Bridges
27. Time Lord
36. Mitchell Robinson
42. Bruce Brown
*In Conference Finals pic.twitter.com/dpQnTcrXDh
— StatMuse (@statmuse) June 21, 2021
There are also a bevy of role players scattered throughout the first and second rounds.
This is part of the reason why Kevin Knox II is a potential draft bust.
The New York Knicks selected him ninth overall for the potential of what he could become.
Knox was still 18 years old when he entered the draft with a long wingspan and translatable shot mechanics.
However, the Knicks have not seen much on their return.
He has yet to turn 23 years old but has seen his playing time decrease every season since his rookie year.
After averaging 28.8 minutes per game in 75 games his rookie year, Knox has only appeared in five games this season while averaging 3.6 minutes.
He is shooting 37 percent from the field and 35 percent from three for his career while averaging 8.3 points per game.
Knox still has time to develop but has not lived up to his status as a top-10 pick.
2. Zhaire Smith
Next up is the 16th overall pick from the draft, Zhaire Smith.
Smith was involved in a draft-night trade between the Phoenix Suns and Philadelphia 76ers that swapped Smith for Mikal Bridges.
A move Philadelphia certainly regrets to this day.
Bridges has developed into one of the best two-way players in the NBA on a championship contender.
— Kellan Olson (@KellanOlson) November 27, 2021
He is one of the most disruptive defenders in the league and has shown flashes of expanding his offensive game this season too.
Smith is no longer in the NBA or the G League.
To be fair to Zhaire, he had an unfortunate start to his professional career.
He fractured his foot during training camp in August.
A month later he suffered a severe allergic reaction that caused him to lose a lot of weight and greatly increased his recovery time.
Smith returned to appear in six games that season and seven games the following season but never caught on.
He averaged 3.7 points in 11 minutes per game while shooting 38 percent from the field and 32 percent from three.
It was an unlucky start to his career but being out of the league after three years is not good for a near lottery pick.
1. Marvin Bagley III
Lastly, we have the one top-five pick who has not become a valuable member of his team, Marvin Bagley III.
The 6-foot-11 rangy power forward out of Duke was taken one pick before Doncic and three ahead of Young at second overall.
Sacramento had just taken De’Aaron Fox the previous year and he was coming off a promising rookie season.
But the Kings would probably take Doncic or Young 10 times out of 10 if the draft could be re-done.
Bagley is not necessarily a bad player – he made the All-Rookie team and has averaged 14 points and 7.4 rebounds per game on .499/.313/.661 shooting splits.
He also hit 34 percent of his 2.5 triples per game last season, showing he can extend his game to the perimeter.
But Bagley has had some problems off the court with the Kings organization.
The Kings tried to trade him during the offseason and informed him just before the season opener he would not be part of the rotation.
Bagley allegedly refused to check into a November 8 game against the Suns as well.
Multiple sources told me that Marvin Bagley III refused to check into Sunday's game when Luke Walton called upon him in the second half vs. the Suns.
I didn't report it, wanting to first talk to the Kings coach.
Walton said he & Marvin are in communication and has to be ready pic.twitter.com/m3E6JxaeVk
— Sean Cunningham (@SeanCunningham) November 11, 2021
He has started to play more minutes since Luke Walton was fired.
Including 35 minutes against the Los Angeles Lakers in a win in late November where he scored 13 points.
He also grabbed seven boards and dished out four assists while making all five of his shot attempts.
Bagley still has time to develop into a quality NBA player.
But for being the second overall pick, he has not lived up to the billing.