The NBA Mock Draft season is in full effect. “Selection Sunday” just took place for the NCAA Tournament. The field of 68 is set. This will be the last time that draft prospects can prove their worth before the NBA combine.
This is the first NBA Mock Draft of the year here at ESNY. Keep an eye out in the future for updated mock drafts all the way up to draft night. The order is based on the standings as of the close of business Friday, March 9.
1. Memphis Grizzlies– Luka Doncic, SG/SF, International
The 6-foot-6, 218-pound Doncic is a virtual Swiss Army knife on the basketball court. He can play either guard position as well as small forward. He has been in the conversation for the top overall selection all season. Pairing Doncic with Marc Gasol, a healthy Mike Conley and Chandler Parsons and the Grizzlies could find themselves right back in the playoffs.
2. Phoenix Suns– DeAndre Ayton, C, University of Arizona
After missing on picks like Alex Len and Dragan Bender, Phoenix finally acquires their center of the future. The 7-foot-1, 250-pound big man from the Bahamas is averaging 19.9 points, 11.3 rebounds and 1.9 blocks for the Wildcats this season. Ayton, along with Devin Booker and Josh Jackson is a solid core for Phoenix to build around. Don’t forget that they have two more picks in the first round.
3. Orlando Magic– Trae Young, PG, University of Oklahoma
Young has endured a roller coaster type season in Norman. The Sooners were ranked as high as third in the nation earlier in the season. Now, they may not even make the tournament. Despite all that, Young leads the country in points per game (27.4) and assists per game (8.8). Orlando gets themselves another building block for the future.
4. Atlanta Hawks– Marvin Bagley III, PF/C, Duke University
Atlanta is in position to draft the best player available. It just so happens that player is arguably the best player in college basketball. The 6-foot-11, 235-pound Blue Devil can play either the four or the five. This pick will not inject the Hawks directly into the playoffs but will provide them with a franchise player for years to come.
5. Dallas Mavericks– Jaren Jackson Jr. PF/C, Michigan State University
Last season Dallas drafted their point guard of the future. This draft they will get their anchor in the paint. The Mavs still will not win many games next season but they now have a solid foundation going forward. The 6-foot-11, 243-pound Spartan is versatile enough to play the four or the five. He is knocking down 39.6 percent from behind the three-point line. On defense, he is a shot eraser averaging 3.2 blocks per game.
6. Cleveland Cavaliers*- Collin Sexton, PG, University of Alabama
The legend of Collin Sexton keeps growing. He almost willed his team to a win earlier in the season while being unmanned 3-5. Now he is hitting coast-to-coast game winners in the SEC Tournament. Since Kyrie Irving was traded, Cleveland has been trying to replace him. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Sexton gives the Cavaliers a lead guard to build around whether LeBron James stays or goes.
7. Sacramento Kings– Michael Porter Jr. SF, University of Missouri
Out of sight, out of mind is the perfect saying when it comes to Porter Jr. The 6’10, 215 pound forward was squarely in the discussion for the number one overall pick before the season started. After playing only 25 total minutes this season due to injury, he falls to the Kings at seven.
8. Chicago Bulls– Mo Bamba, C, University of Texas
Robin Lopez is not getting any younger. He turns 30 in April. While that is not old, it is old enough to not be included in the Bull’s long term plans. The 6-foot-11, 225-pound Longhorn fits right in those plans. He is averaging 12.9 points, 10.4 rebounds and 3.7 blocks in 30.2 minutes per game this season. Chicago could be fighting for a playoff spot next year.
The two biggest problems for the Knicks have been their perimeter defense and three-point shooting efficiency. Drafting the 6-foot-7, 191-pound wing would help drastically in both of those areas. The Junior is averaging 17.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game this season. He is also knocking down 42.9 percent of his three-point attempts. Many of the fans will want to see Miles Bridges drafted here, but Mikal’s skill set is too good to pass up.
10. Charlotte Hornets– Miles Bridges, SF/PF, Michigan State University
Charlotte is a team on the verge of needing a complete rebuild. The 6-foot-7, 230-pound Sophomore is a good start when that time comes. Depending on the matchup, Bridges can either the small forward or power forward position. He is averaging 16.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.1 turnovers per game this season. Not to mention, shooting 46.3 percent from the floor and 36.9 percent from behind the three-point arch.
Picks 11 through 20
11. Philadelphia Sixers*– Gary Trent Jr. SG, Duke University
12. Los Angeles Clippers*– Wendall Carter Jr, PF/C, Duke University
13. Denver Nuggets– Kevin Knox, SF/PF, University of Kentucky
14. Utah Jazz– Robert Williams III, PF, Texas A&M University
15. Phoenix Suns*– Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, University of Kentucky
16. Phoenix Suns*– Dzanan Musa, SF, International
17. Philadelphia Sixers– Daniel Gafford, C, University of Arkansas
18. Los Angeles Clippers– Lonnie Walker IV, SG, University of Miami
19. Atlanta Hawks*– Trevon Duval, PG, Duke University
20. Minnesota Timberwolves*– PJ Washington, PF/C, University of Kentucky
Picks 21 through 30
21. San Antonio Spurs– Hamidou Diallo, SG, University of Kentucky
22. Indiana Pacers– Keita Bates-Diop, SF, Ohio State University
23. Washington Wizards– Brandon McCoy, C, UNLV
24. Los Angeles Lakers*– Austin Wiley, C, Auburn University
25. Chicago Bulls*– Jarred Vanderbilt, SF, University of Kentucky
26. Portland Trailblazers– Jalen Brunson, PG, Villanova University
27. Boston Celtics– Bruno Fernando, C, University of Maryland
29. Golden State Warriors– Nick Richards, PF/C, University of Kentucky
30. Atlanta Hawks*– Troy Brown, SG/SF, University of Oregon
*=Traded Draft Picks
Cleveland receives Brooklyn’s pick
Philadelphia receives the Los Angeles Laker’s pick
Los Angeles Clippers receive Detroit’s pick
Phoenix receives Milwaukee’s pick
Phoenix receives Miami’s pick
Atlanta receives Minnesota’s pick
Minnesota receives Oklahoma City’s pick
Chicago receives New Orleans’ pick
Brooklyn receives Toronto’s pick
Atlanta receives Houston’s pick