FULL disclosure, I am well aware that about 12 minutes into the NBA Draft every single mock draft will be up in flames. With so much uncertainty surrounding the top of the table, we could be in for a draft night to remember with no one really sure of anything. With the 2018 NBA Draft, just hours away here are my final predictions on how the madness will unfold.
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Pick #1 Phoenix Suns – DeAndre Ayton, C, Arizona
Last Rank: #1 (level)
DON’T buy into the rumours that DeAndre Ayton won’t be going number one. There aren’t many certainties in this draft but this is one of them. Promising times are ahead in Phoenix.
Pick #2 Sacramento Kings – Marvin Bagley, PF, Duke
Last Rank: #4 ( 2)
I’M convinced that Bagley is going to be taken 2nd overall. Will it be by the Kings? Maybe. There is every chance that someone like Memphis convinces Sacramento to trade down in an effort to snare Bagley though.
Pick #3 Atlanta Hawks – Luka Dončić, SG/SF, Real Madrid
Last Rank: #2 ( 1)
ANOTHER pick that could be on the move is Atlanta’s No. 3. Rumours are swirling around the Hawks trading down in an effort to take Trae Young. If Doncic is still on the board when they are on the clock though the Hawks could A) draft the star or B) demand a king’s ransom for someone to take the pick. Win-win.
Pick #4 Memphis Grizzlies – Michael Poter Jr, SF/PF, Missouri
Last Rank: #8 ( 4)
I’VE have given up hope on Porter becoming a Cavalier. Instead, I think he is destined to be taken early even though injuries are still a concern. As long as doctor’s give him the all clear though, he’ll become a Grizzly.
Pick #5 Dallas Mavericks – Jaren Jackson Jr, PF, Michigan State
Last Rank: #5 (level)
SPARTANS teen Jaren Jackson has bounced all over the place in mock drafts. Some think he’ll go 3rd to Atlanta, others have him sliding to the Bulls, but I think he goes to Dallas. I spoke yesterday about his fit with the Mavericks timeline and he addresses a need too.
Pick #6 Orlando Magic – Mohamed Bamba, C, Texas
Last Rank: #3 ( 3)
IF Bamba is on the board here then I think Orlando won’t let him fall any further. Trae Young will be hard to pass up and to be honest, they might draft Young regardless of who is available here. For now, I think they buy into the hype.
Pick #7 Chicago Bulls – Mikal Bridges, SG/SF, Villanova
Last Rank: #9 ( 2)
SOMETIMES perfectly laid out plans get thrown into flux. Mikal Bridges has been mocked going to the 76ers in what would be a perfect fit. However, I think Chicago will spoil the party and take the Nova champ at No. 7.
Pick #8 Cleveland Cavaliers (from Brooklyn Nets) – Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma
Last Rank: #6 ( 2)
I’VE made it clear that I prefer Collin Sexton from a Cavs perspective if they are going to target a point guard. I don’t think I’m going to get my wish though and instead Cleveland takes the smooth shooting freshman.
Pick #9 New York Knicks – Kevin Knox, SF/PF, Kentucky
Last Rank: #15 ( 6)
THERE are a bunch of different directions the Knicks could go here. A point guard of the future is high up on the shopping list, but Knox’s scoring upside should sway them to go a different route.
Pick #10 Philadelphia 76ers (from Los Angeles Lakers) – Miles Bridges, SF/PF, Michigan State
Last Rank: #11 ( 1)
MILES Bridges is one of the biggest unknown’s in this year’s class. The lottery lock (is he still a lock?) has been linked to about five different lottery teams and his landing spot will be dictated by what others do. I think Philly will happily snap up the Spartans forward at 10.
Pick #11 Charlotte Hornets – Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama
Last Rank: #12 ( 1)
NOTHING is out of the question for Charlotte after dealing Dwight Howard away yesterday. It could be the first in a flurry of moves and I’m anticipating Kemba Walker being on a different team by night’s end. Therefore locking up the floor general of the future in Sexton is a good get.
Pick #12 Los Angeles Clippers (from Detroit Pistons) – Wendell Carter, PF/C, Duke
Last Mock Draft: #13 ( 1)
CARTER deserves to be taken higher than this, but with the ‘safe’ label being thrown around it’s likely that he will slide down the draft order. LA won’t let him slide any further and they will have a serious steal on their hands.
Image from clipsnation.com
Pick #13 Los Angeles Clippers – Lonnie Walker IV, SG, Miami
Last Rank: #7 ( 6)
TAKING a swing on Walker with their second of two straight picks gives them a chance to take a flier on someone. I am of the firm belief that the two picks will be on the move in an effort to move up, but if not then Lonnie Walker is hard to ignore.
Pick #14 Denver Nuggets – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG/SG, Kentucky
Last Rank: #16 ( 2)
THE combo guard from Kentucky has been linked to Denver for ages and unless the Clippers steal him a few picks before the Nuggets will be chuffed. His ball handling and playmaking will help right away.
Pick #15 Washington Wizards – Robert Williams, PF/C, Texas A&M
Last Rank: #13 ( 2)
I love the idea of putting a super athletic rim runner into the Washington frontcourt. He can take over from Marcin Gortat one day and if he lives up to the hype then the Wiz have a serious talent on their hands.
Pick #16 Phoenix Suns (from Miami Heat) – Zhaire Smith, SG, Texas Tech
Last Rank: #14 ( 2)
SMITH is destined to be drafted around this range with a few teams higher a chance to draft him. I like the fit in Phoenix and the uber-athlete could be a serious talent in the Suns’ backcourt.
Image from underthebuss.net
Pick #17 Milwaukee Bucks – Donte DiVincenzo, SG, Villanova
Last Rank: #17 (level)
BY no means do I think the Bucks should spend a pick this high on DiVincenzo, but he is gathering steam with every day that passes. The championship game hero has playmaking talents, something that Milwaukee is crying out for, but I still think this is too high.
Pick #18 San Antonio Spurs – Melvin Frazier, SF, Tulane
Last Rank: #20 ( 2)
I’M a big fan of Frazier’s upside. If you want a 3-and-D type of player than you can easily find one in this range and I think Pop will make a smart investment in the Tulane wing.
Pick #19 Atlanta Hawks (from Minnesota Timberwolves) – Élie Okobo, PG, France
Last Rank: #19 (level)
NOTHING changes from my previous mock draft. If the Hawks land Doncic at No. 3 this changes things, but for now, the French-born Okobo is heading to ATL.
Pick #20 Minnesota Timberwolves (from Oklahoma City Thunder) – Kevin Huerter, SG, Maryland
Last Rank: #26 ( 6)
ARGUABLY the best pure shooter in this draft Kevin Huerter is going to get plenty of interest from plenty of sides. He is a lethal threat who will help the T-Wolves space the floor from day dot next season.
Pick #21 Utah Jazz – Troy Brown, SG, Oregan
Last Rank: Not Ranked
BROWN hasn’t got a lot of love in my previous mock drafts. The Oregan guard has shown flashes of creativity and at nearly 6′ 7″ his size makes him very, very intriguing. He can carve out a reserve role in Utah without any worries.
Pick #22 Chicago Bulls (from New Orleans Pelicans) – Chandler Hutchinson, SG/SF, Boise State
Last Rank: #22 (level)
ONE of the ‘locks’ of the draft for weeks has been Boise State’s Chandler Hutchinson heading to Chi-town. There is plenty to like about him with huge scoring potential and he can help speed up the Bulls rebuild if he flourishes.
Pick #23 Indiana Pacers – Jerome Robinson, PG/SG, Boston College
Last Rank: Not Ranked
ANOTHER fast, late riser Jerome Robinson could very well be taken higher than this. However, if he’s not gone by No. 23 then Indiana will happily make room for him. He showcased the ability to play on and off the ball in college giving Oladipo a perfect running mate in the backcourt.
Pick #24 Portland Trailblazers – Mitchell Robinson, C, Chalmette High School
Last Rank: #25 ( 1)
SALARY constraints make this pick SUPER important for the Trailblazers. There is a real chance that they dump a contract and this pick elsewhere, but my guess is they take the raw big man who could develop into something special.
Image from hoopshype.com
Pick #25 Los Angeles Lakers (from Cleveland Cavaliers) – Jacob Evans, SF, Cincinnati
Last Rank: #24 ( 2)
LA has both of their eyes focused on free agency and acquiring assets at this spot. However, if you are going to go after big names you need contributors on cheap deals. The versatile Jacob Evans is one such player.
Pick #26 Philadelphia 76ers – Kyhri Thomas, PG/SG, Creighton
Last Rank: #28 ( 2)
IT would be tempting to take a shooter this late and if the draft pans out differently that’s exactly what Philly could do. If Thomas is left on the board though then he’s worth drafting, especially given his immense defensive talents.
Pick #27 Boston Celtics – Grayson Allen, SG, Duke
Last Rank: #27 (level)
ONCE Boston makes this pick we should have a decent idea if they are going to be bringing Marcus Smart back or not. My guess is they let him walk and give some reserve minutes to Grayson Allen who can be a nice shooter/scorer off the bench.
Pick #28 Golden State Warriors – Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA
Last Rank: #23 ( 5)
BACKCOURT talents is what the Warriors will probably covet late in the first. Once again a bunch of different avenues could mean different players are taken, but the best point guard remaining is a smart investment.
Image from orlandopinstripedpost.com
Pick #29 Brooklyn Nets (from Toronto Raptors) – Anfernee Simons, PG/SG, IMG Academy
Last Rank: Not Ranked
BROOKLYN is still a few years away from doing anything special. Therefore taking a chance on high boom or bust guys isn’t the worst plan of attack. Anfernee Simons epitomizes that label and is a nice fit at 29.
Pick #30 Atlanta Hawks (from Houston Rockets) – Josh Okogie, SG/SF, Georgia Tech
Last Rank: #29 ( 1)
I have seen Okogie’s draft slot range from the low teens to the late 30’s. I think squeezing into the first round is the right place for him with Atlanta choosing him to help defend perimeter talents right away.