A year ago, the Chicago Bulls dealt Jimmy Butler for a package that included the No. 7 pick. That selection wound up being Lauri Markkanen, who became an All-Rookie First Team pick.
Hoping to complement the Finnish forward with the same pick, the Bulls took Wendell Carter Jr. out of Duke. The 6-foot-10 center's defense and rebounding (9.1 rebound, 2.1 blocks per game) should pair well with Markkanen, who became the fastest in NBA history to reach 100 3-pointers made.
Even as Cleveland prepares for the possibility of life without LeBron, the Cavaliers solidified a piece of its future with the eighth overall pick. With it, they selected Alabama point guard Collin Sexton (19.2 ppg).
If James does indeed depart via free agency, Sexton should be up to the challenge. He famously keyed Alabama's near-win against Minnesota -- despite the Crimson Tide playing 3-on-5 over the final 10 minutes.
The spotlight might shine brighter on the New York Knicks' NBA Draft moment than any other. Into that glare and the No. 9 pick stepped Kevin Knox, a long and athletic forward whose tools fit the modern-day skill set required to play position-less basketball.
At 6-foot-9 and 213 pounds, Knox is long and quick enough to bother opponents on defense. If his 3-point shooting can improve (34.1 percent), the Knicks may have their perimeter complement to All-Star Kristaps Porzingis.
As the Draft continued, one burning question began to gather steam: how far would Michael Porter Jr. fall? The former top-ranked high school prospect saw his Draft stock fall following back surgery that limited his college career to just nine games.
The 6-foot-10 forward tried to restore his value in the pre-Draft process, working out for several teams among the top 10. At one point, he was under serious consideration to go second overall.
Instead, Porter Jr. continued to slide past the Philadelphia 76ers (Mikal Bridges), Charlotte Hornets (Shai Gilgeous-Alexander) and LA Clippers (Miles Bridges, Jerome Robinson).
Finally, Denver leaped at the chance to take Porter Jr. with the last pick of the lottery at No. 14.
If healthy, Porter Jr.'s versatility could help the young Nuggets -- a team that missed the playoffs by one game -- into the Western Conference postseason mix.
As already witnessed near the top of the Draft board, trades can alter the fates of team and players in an instant.
That chain reaction occurred again in the middle of the first round. When Philadelphia selected Villanova star Mikal Bridges 10th overall, it seemed like the perfect fit. The 6-foot-9 Bridges -- who can shoot and defend -- would look great alongside the Sixers' star duo of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.
The off-the-court connection appeared even more seamless. Bridges' mother works within the 76ers organization and he grew up in Philadelphia before starring at Villanova. Philadelphia seemed poised to welcome one of its own to their fast-blooming "process."
Instead, Philadelphia dealt the home-grown prospect to Phoenix in exchange for the 16th pick (Zhaire Smith) and a future first-round pick.
Though he won't enjoy the homecoming he initially imagined, Bridges (17.7 ppg, 43.5 3-point pct.) should fit in nicely with the Suns.
Overall, eight trades were completed on Thursday night with several more reportedly pending. Kentucky and Duke each had four players taken in the NBA Draft, while talent born outside the United States accounted for three of top 11 picks and seven of the top 31.
The majority of the 2018 Draft talent will see their first NBA action next month at the various NBA Summer Leagues. After that, the focus shifts to the 2018-19 season, when their impact will will be felt in the box score, standings and, for some, the NBA playoffs.