Mock Drafts. We love them. They normally end up wrong but by god, we will read every last one of them to see which 19 year old our favorite team is picking. Below is my run at the 2018 NBA Draft and who I think each team should take and some additional thoughts at the end for your reading pleasure. Feel free to tear this apart on Twitter.
|1||Phoenix Suns||Luka Doncic – G/F – Real Madrid|
|2||Sacramento Kings||Deandre Ayton – C – Arizona|
|3||Atlanta Hawks||Mohammed Bamba – C – Texas|
|4||Memphis Grizzlies||Michael Porter Jr. – SF/PF – Missouri|
|5||Dallas Mavericks||Marvin Bagley III – PF – Duke|
|6||Orlando Magic||Trae Young – PG – Oklahoma|
|7||Chicago Bulls||Jaren Jackson Jr. – PF/C – Michigan State|
|8||Cleveland Cavaliers (via BKN)||Kevin Knox – SF – Kentucky|
|9||New York Knicks||Miles Bridges – SF – Michigan State|
|10||Philadelphia 76ers (via LAL)||Mikal Bridges – G/F – Villanova|
|11||Charlotte Hornets||Wendell Carter – PF/C – Duke|
|12||Los Angeles Clippers (via DET)||Robert Williams – C – Texas A&M|
|13||Los Angeles Clippers||Colin Sexton – PG – Alabama|
|14||Denver Nuggets||Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – PG – Kentucky|
|15||Washington Wizards||Anfernee Simons – SG – IMG Academy|
|16||Phoenix Suns (via MIA)||Aaron Holiday – PG – UCLA|
|17||Milwaukee Bucks||Lonnie Walker – SG – Miami|
|18||San Antonio Spurs||Keita Bates-Diop – SF – Ohio State|
|19||Atlanta Hawks (via MIN)||Troy Brown – SG – Oregon|
|20||Minnesota Timberwolves (via OKC)||Khyri Thomas – SG – Creighton|
|21||Utah Jazz||Dzanan Musa – SF – International|
|22||Chicago Bulls (via NO)||Donte DiVincenzo – SG – Villanova|
|23||Indiana Pacers||Mitchell Robinson – C – N/A|
|24||Portland Trailblazers||Chandler Hutchinson – SF – Boise State|
|25||Los Angeles Lakers (via CLE)||Shake Milton – SG – SMU|
|26||Philadelphia 76ers||Melvin Frazier – SF – Tulane|
|27||Boston Celtics||Jontay Porter – PF/C – Missouri|
|28||Golden State Warriors||Jacob Evans – SG – Cincinnati|
|29||Brooklyn Nets (via TOR)||Josh Okogie – SG – Georgia Tech|
|30||Atlanta Hawks (via HOU)||Grayson Allen – SG – Duke|
- LUKA!!! – Smoke screens are being made and many NBA writers have confirmed that they think the Phoenix Suns will be drafting DeAndre Ayton at #1. It’s hard to ignore the potential star that is Ayton, but I think we have to take a step back and really see what the Suns will look to do here. I’m not one for necessarily drafting need over best available, especially this high in the draft, but with Luke Doncic, I don’t believe Phoenix would be sacrificing anything. The much-heralded prospect has accolades to spare and confidence to burn. He’s a great fit on the perimeter alongside Devin Booker and Josh Jackson and can be looked at as the main distributor for an offense. Something Phoenix desires desperately. His Slovenian National team head coach is now calling plays for the Suns so let’s not overthink this. Luke is the pick here. He’s ready to go and the Suns have wing talent waiting for some leadership. Lock it in.
- If Phoenix turns in the card for Luka, then Sacramento is left with some choices. Add another big man to the pile or look at some trade options. I think they could engage multiple teams here including Atlanta and Dallas who are in the top 5. They would be in great position to add a player they eyed before jumping into the top 3 on lottery night and also gain other assets in return. But if I had to guess, they will take Ayton.
- Picks 3-5, teams recently removed from playoff trips with ownership groups that eagerly want to get back. Ding Ding! prime trade candidates. I believe Atlanta looks to add a big man to fit alongside John Collins and their young core. They are less likely to trade out in my opinion, given the 2 additional picks they have in this draft. Of course, they could package those for an established player. In the end, I think they make a somewhat surprising pick with Mo Bamba. Memphis and Dallas are both asset poor for the most part and could look to add more picks or young talent in return. If they stay put, Michael Porter Jr. should be the pick for Memphis. High upside and all-star potential. Marvin Bagley falling to 5 would be a best-case scenario for Dallas.
- Orlando should try and grab some excitement with Trae Young and hope to hit it big. Point Guard is a need and Young definitely has the talent to go this high.
- Chicago would love for Jaren Jackson Jr. to fall to them and I think he fits nicely with last years pick, Lauri Markkanen.
- Cleveland with the first WHOA! pick on the lottery with Kevin Knox. One of the youngest players in the draft, I think he is the right pick whether Lebron stays or leaves. Knox has the talent to be this high but a slow start to the season caused him to fall behind some other names.
- The Clippers are interesting to me. They have back to back picks at 12 and 13 and it seems they will miss out on the top few tiers of players in this draft. Sexton would be a great value for them but there are several ways I can see them going. If Miles or Mikal Bridges falls or Knox then LAC should go that route. If multiple fall, then I would take both and stockpile wing talent for the future. I also think using one pick to reach on Anfernee Simons is an alternative, depending on their level of confidence in the other prospects in that range.
- Washington is the most realistic team to first take a chance on the aforementioned, Simons. They are starved for playmaking and shooting from their bench guards and Simons could be a steal after a season or 2.
- Atlanta with 2 and Phoenix with 1 have some flexibility throughout the remainder of the first round. Each is primed for trades if a player falls and a playoff team wants to make a move up. (similar to Boston’s pursuit of Justise Winslow a few years ago) If they keep the picks I like Atlanta to bolster their wing depth by choosing from the plethora of SG/SF prospects left. Can’t have too many capable wings. Phoenix could look to stabilize the backcourt and bring in someone like Aaron Holiday who has experience and pedigree. They also hold the 31st pick which they could use for frontcourt help.
- San Antonio has their highest pick in quite some time this year with #18. Bates-Diop would be a solid option as a combo 3-4 wing and is a proven shooter. They could also look at a younger 2 guard like Troy Brown or Lonnie Walker (if available) if they think youth is the way to go.
- Chicago is the first team to take a flier on late riser Donte DiVincenzo. Overflowing with confidence, DiVincenzo would be a nice addition to the wing rotation and may prove to be better (definitely cheaper) than Zach Lavine. Regardless, Chicago should leave this draft feeling great about their roster and the potential they have in the wide-open Eastern Conference.
- Philadelphia at #26 has another chance to add more wing depth and could leave the draft and Free Agency with a top 4 or 5 roster in the entire NBA.
- It will be interesting to see where Boston goes with #27. If Mitchell Robinson is available he could be the pick. High upside but weird off-court questions. Jontay Porter is who I have them slotted to take. Porter was gaining lots of hype post-lottery and it seemed that he might sneak in the top 20 but after the combine, it was evident that his body and conditioning needs work. I think that’s enough to make him slide to the backend of the 1st round. Boston would be a great spot for him and he would get to sit behind Al Horford and really hone his defensive skills. Lots of upside down the line for him in this situation.
- Lastly, Grayson Allen has “Last pick of the 1st Round” written all over him. He has the athleticism and pedigree to possibly go higher but his on-court antics and age could cost him. Regardless, I believe he can be a solid rotation player for a team down the line. Watch out for a playoff team to snag him earlier if they think he could fit in their rotation immediately.
Stay tuned for updated versions of the Mock Draft as we get closer to draft day.