With March Madness in full swing (UMBC anyone?) and the 2018 NBA Draft fast approaching, I thought it was a good time to unveil our first mock draft for 2018, but this version will be lottery only.
The order is based on NBA standings as of March 17.
Where will the stars of tomorrow land in the 2018 NBA Draft? Find out below…
1. Phoenix Suns- DeAndre Ayton
As a 7’1″ 260 pound behemoth with 6% body fat and a 40 inch vertical, Ayton has all of the physical gifts to be a generational NBA center. Add in the fact that he has a reliable jump shot, post game, developing turnaround jump shot, ability to dominate the glass and pass out of a double-team. Ayton flashes the sort of gifts and potential to be one of the best players in the NBA. He feels like a 2018 version of (yes I am saying it) Hakeem Olajuwon. He is not without his faults, he could become better at stepping out and defending guards on switches or defending the pick-and-roll, but he is a special player and franchise cornerstone.
2. Memphis Grizzlies- Luka Doncic
Doncic is possibly the highest touted European prospect ever. At 19 years old, he is averaging 15-5-5 in the second most competitive league in the world and exhibits a feel for the game way beyond his years. At 6’8″ Doncic has the ability to be the lead or secondary ball handler for an offense and see the floor a play or two ahead. He can play a 1 through a 3 and be the lead table setter or scorer when called upon.
3. Atlanta Hawks- Marvin Bagley
Marvin Bagley is the best player in the ACC as a freshman and exhibits incredibly body fluidity and a quick first step for his size, and the rare second jump ability and springiness to be able to dominate the offensive and defensive glass. He can score in the post and while a work in progress, he has great form on his jump shot and could develop that into being yet another weapon to add to his offensive game and arsenal. He is not a great rim protector and seems to fall somewhere in between a 4 and a 5 at the NBA level at this point, but his ceiling is through the roof like an Anthony Davis.
4. Orlando Magic-Colin Sexton
The Orlando Magic franchise is lacking direction at the moment and it is hard to say who they are truly building around moving forward. One thing that is for sure is that they need a point guard of the future, and the uber athletic and shifty Colin Sexton may be the safest bet for success on the NBA level.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers- Mohamed Bamba
The Cavaliers will have the entirety of the future of their franchise up in the air this off season as LeBron James enters free agency once again. A roster with or without LeBron will have numerous holes, but the biggest is a rim protecting center to help anchor one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA. Bamba’s freakishly long wingspan, reach and natural shot blocking instincts make him a candidate to become and All-NBA defender in the near future.
6. Dallas Mavericks- Jaren Jackson Jr
Jaren Jackson Jr. is very young and raw (he doesn’t turn 19 until September), but as a guy who has flashed the ability to be an elite shot blocker (3.1 per game) and an elite three-point shooter (39%), he possesses the ideal skill set for an NBA center in 2018 and a combination of talents that is pretty rare. He could have as high a ceiling as almost any player in this stacked class, but he may require more time than others to reach some level of that potential on an NBA level.
7. Sacramento Kings- Michael Porter
Porter was once seen as the top dog in the 2018 draft class with his special combination of ball handling ability, quickness, athleticism and shooting off of the dribble ability. A back injury that caused him to miss almost the entirety of his freshman season and a short, underwhelming sample size will affect his draft positioning. He can be an All-Star combo forward, but he struggles at letting the game come to him and settling for difficult shots at times.
8. Chicago Bulls- Trae Young
While he cooled off a bit in the final two months of the season, Trae Young has dominated college basketball at the point guard position more than anyone in recent memory. Leading the nation in scoring (27.4) points and assists (8.8) per game is an incredible feat. He has way more Steph Curry in his game than any point guard entering the league since Curry and could be a special player on the next level with his ability to get off shot off anywhere and shoot anywhere from 30 feet in. He will deal with more length and speed on the NBA level and will have to develop more strength and creative space creating moves, but he could end up being a star.
9. New York Knicks-Mikal Bridges
Mikal Bridges is the exact kind of glue guy you want to build around a team around in 2018. A long, active and athletic two-way player who will attack the offensive glass, be a 3-and-D an slash to the rim while providing constant energy. He would be a perfect fit for a Knicks team lacking in those abilities.
10. Charlotte Hornets-Miles Bridges
Bridges has a fully developed NBA body and powerful frame at 6’7″ 230 pounds and utilizes it effectively. He is a great slasher going to the rim and finishes with authority through contact. He also has shown an aptitude for shooting the three ball and can step in day 1 and have a role for an NBA team. He may struggle to find a defined position in the NBA.
11. Los Angeles Clippers- Wendell Carter
Carter is a highly skilled and talented big man that has a very refined game that compares to current NBA All-Star Al Horford. Great feel for the game an an ability to handle the ball or score in the post, but he is not an elite or explosive athlete on the NBA level which will require him to use his smarts to be highly effective.
12. Philadelphia 76ers- Kevin Knox
Knox is a gifted scoring combo forward that uses his frame, athleticism and creativeness on the offensive end to be a constant scoring threat. He will need to learn to be more efficient and a better defender and all around player, but he could be an effective NBA starter and has some Tobias Harris in his game.
13. Los Angeles Clippers- Lonnie Walker
Walker is 6’4″ 200 pounds, with a lightning quick first step and springiness and the ability to get into the teeth of the defense and finish at the rim. He still needs to harness his abilities to be a more under control and efficient player on both ends and lacks the focus or awareness at times on the defensive end to be the elite defender he is capable of being. He could be a good fit for a Clippers team in need of talent at the two-guard position.
14. Denver Nuggets- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
The biggest revelation on an underwhelming Kentucky team this season has been 6’6″ point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. He needs to develop and add to his slight frame, but he is a good passer and ball handler and uses his height to be able to see the floor and be a play-maker for a gifted Kentucky team. He has also shot an impressive 41% from three-point range this season and could be a perfect fit for a Nuggets team in dire need of point guard play. He is more of a scoring guard than a true point guard at this point and has a similar game to Spurs second year guard Dejounte Murray.