The 2018 NBA Draft gets underway Thursday at the Barclays Center, as teams look to restock for the future, while the world’s best young players find out where their professional careers will begin.
Coverage of the draft starts Thursday at 7 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on ESPN. Fortunately, even if you don’t have cable or can’t get to a TV, you can still easily watch the draft live on your computer, phone or streaming device by signing up for one of the following cable-free, live-TV streaming services:
Hulu With Live TV: In addition to a Netflix-like on-demand streaming library, Hulu now also offers a bundle of live TV channels, including ESPN. You can sign up for “Hulu with Live TV” right here, and you can then watch a live stream of the game on your computer via the Hulu website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Hulu app.
If you can’t watch live, “Hulu with Live TV” also comes with 50 hours of Cloud DVR storage (with the ability to upgrade to “Enhanced Cloud DVR,” which gives you 200 hours of DVR space and the ability to fast forward through commercials).
Sling TV: ESPN is included in the “Sling Orange” channel package. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial, and you can then watch live on your computer via the Sling TV website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Sling TV app.
If you can’t watch live, you can get 50 hours of cloud DVR storage as an additional add-on.
WatchESPN: You can also watch the draft live on your computer via ESPN.com, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the WatchESPN app. You’ll need to sign in to a cable provider in order to watch this stream, but if you don’t have that, you can sign up for one of the above options and then use your Hulu or Sling TV credentials to sign in and watch on ESPN’s platforms.
As for the No. 1 overall pick, the general belief among most pundits seems to be that Arizona big man DeAndre Ayton will be staying in-state to play with the Phoenix Suns.
“It’s pretty rare,” Suns general manager Ryan McDonough said. “I think this is my 16th draft in the NBA and you could probably count on one hand the number of guys with his size, athleticism, footwork, balance, touch. It’s a unique package. The fact that he hasn’t been playing the game all that long makes it all the more impressive.”
After that, it’s anyone’s guess what happens.
Luka Doncic is perhaps the most divisive player among the elite prospects. The 19-year-old Slovenian is fresh off winning the EuroLeague MVP and EuroLeague Final Four MVP with Real Madrid, something unheard of for a player his age. He’s extremely skilled, and he’s been putting up big numbers against legitimate professionals rather than college players, but many seem convinced he lacks the athleticism to excel at the NBA, suggesting his ceiling is lower than other potential Top-5 picks.
Another player who could seemingly fall anywhere inside the Top 10 is Michael Porter Jr. He has all the tools to be a future superstar–6-foot-11, 7-foot wingspan, athletic, can shoot the 3, can score off the dribble–and was consistently in the conversation for the No. 1 pick until he missed almost his entire freshman year at Missouri with a back injury. The talent is undeniable, and worthy of any selection after Ayton, but the lingering injury concerns could end up hurting his stock.
Of course, the most interesting storyline of the night may not revolve around any of talented teenagers in suits. It may revolve around someone who’s been wearing one for most of the past year: Kawhi Leonard. There have been a bevy of rumors about him wanting out of San Antonio, and if the Spurs indeed end up trading him like many believe will happen, Thursday night would be a good time for it to happen.
And even if Kawhi stays put for now, draft night will still be home to plenty of trades. We saw Jimmy Butler, D’Angelo Russell and others moved on draft-day trades last year, and there will assuredly be plenty of movement again this year.
Put it all together, and Thursday night will serve as the perfect remedy for basketball fans already missing the NBA.