Mikal Bridges
(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

With roughly half of the NBA still battling for that elusive Championship Ring, only 14 teams know where they’ll be picking in the 2018 NBA Draft. Still, that doesn’t mean we can’t take a shot at predicting the picks.

The NBA regular season has come to an end. Sixteen teams are gearing up to battle it out in the playoffs. The other 14 teams have received their draft seedings and now must wait until the lottery to find out where they will be drafting.

This is the second NBA Mock Draft of the season here at ESNY. There will be updated versions released the whole way up to the big night. The current order is based on the standings at the close of the regular season.

Top 5 Picks

1) Phoenix Suns- DeAndre Ayton, C, University of Arizona

Phoenix has struck out in all of their previous attempts to fill the center position. Alex Len, Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss have all failed to live up to the positions in which they were drafted. The 7-foot-1, 250-pound Wildcat averaged 20.1 points, 11.6 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in his lone season at Arizona. He can be the anchor in the paint that the Suns can build around.

2) Memphis Grizzlies- Luka Doncic, SG/SF, International

Memphis was plagued by injuries throughout the entire 2017-18 season. The glass half full take on this is that they now possess the second overall pick in the draft. Adding the 6-foot-6, 218-pound international phenom to a roster that includes a healthy Mike Conley, Chandler Parsons and Marc Gasol would place the Grizzlies right back into the playoffs.

3) Dallas Mavericks- Marvin Bagley III, PF/C, Duke University

Dirk Nowitzki is not getting any younger. The 2018-19 season will most likely be his last season in the league. The 6-foot-11, 234-pound big man can play either the power forward or center position. Pairing the ACC Player of the Year with Dennis Smith Jr. should provide Dallas with a one-two punch for years to come. Bagley averaged 21.0 points and 11.1 rebounds per game while shooting 61.4 percent from the floor.

4) Atlanta Hawks- Michael Porter Jr., PF, University of Missouri

Atlanta is in the beginning stages of a complete rebuild. There is no one on the current roster that can be a centerpiece. Porter Jr. can come in and eventually be the franchise cornerstone for the Hawks to build around. He only ended up playing a total of 53 minutes this season due to a back injury. Good thing Atlanta is drafting for the future and not just for the present.

5) Orlando Magic- Jaren Jackson Jr. PF/C, Michigan State University

Your guess is as good as mine when it comes to Orlando. They could look at the point guard position since they already have four big men under contract for next season. All things considered, they should look at the best player available. Jackson Jr. is that player. The 6-foot-11, 242-pound freshman averaged 3.0 blocks per game while also shooting 39.6 percent from behind the three-point line.

Picks 6-10

6) Chicago Bulls- Mo Bamba, C, University of Texas

Chicago has built a solid foundation for the future. Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen have the making of a future big three. The one thing that they are missing is a defensive leader who can protect the paint. The 6-foot-11, 225-pound Longhorn averaged 3.6 blocks per game, a number that led the Big 12 and was second in the nation.

7) Sacramento Kings- Mikal Bridges, SG/SF, Villanova University

Sacramento needs help on the defensive end of the court, most notably on the perimeter. They finished 27th in the league with a defensive rating of 108.9 and were dreadful defending the three-point line. They allowed the third most three-point attempts per game (31.5) and their opponents knocked down 37.7 percent of those shots. That ranked them 29th out of a possible 30 teams. Bridges can come right in and make a positive impact on those numbers.

8) Cleveland Cavaliers*- Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma University

The Cavaliers have been looking for a replacement for Kyrie Irving ever since they traded him last offseason. Jose Calderon, Derrick Rose, Isaiah Thomas and George Hill have all failed to answer the call. Young led the NCAA in points per game (27.4) and assists per game (8.7). He can become the new face of the franchise if LeBron James decides to skip town as a free agent.

9) New York Knicks- Miles Bridges, SF/PF, Michigan State University

New York could go a bunch of different ways with this pick. They could look to take a big man to pair next to Kristaps Porzingis. If they aren’t satisfied with their current point guard situation, they could go that route. They could even look to trade back and acquire a second first-round pick. All said and done though, Bridges is the right choice. At 6-foot-7, 230-pounds, he can play either forward position depending on the match-up.

10) Philadelphia Sixers*- Wendell Carter Jr. PF/C, Duke University

Joel Embiid is the only center currently under contract for Philadelphia after this season. Carter Jr. can come in and back up Embiid. He also possesses the skill set to play alongside him for stretches. The former Blue Devil averaged 13.5 points, 9.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game playing with Bagley III. He also shot 41.3 percent from behind the three-point line on 1.2 attempts per game.

Picks 11 through 20

11) Charlotte Hornets- Kevin Knox, PF, University of Kentucky
12) Los Angeles Clippers*- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, University of Kentucky
13) Los Angeles Clippers- Lonnie Walker IV, SG, University of Miami
14) Denver Nuggets- Collin Sexton, PG, University of Alabama
15) Washington Wizards- Brandon McCoy, C, UNLV
16) Phoenix Suns*- Robert Williams III, PF, Texas A&M University
17) Phoenix Suns*- Zhaire Smith, G, Texas Tech University
18) San Antonio Spurs- Mitchell Robinson, C, Western Kentucky University
19) Atlanta Hawks*- Gary Trent Jr. SG, Duke University
20) Indiana Pacers- Keita Bates-Diop, SF, Ohio State University

Picks 21 through 30

21) Utah Jazz- Trevon Duval, PG, Duke University
22) Minnesota Timberwolves*- Jacob Evans, SF, University of Cincinnati
23) Chicago Bulls*- Dzanan Musa, SF, International
24) Portland Trailblazers- Anfernee Simons, G, IMG Academy
25) Los Angeles Lakers*- Troy Brown, SG/SF, University of Oregon
26) Philadelphia Sixers- Jalen Brunson, PG, Villanova University
27) Boston Celtics- Austin Wiley, C, Auburn University
28) Golden State Warriors- PJ Washington, PF/C, University of Kentucky
29) Brooklyn Nets*- Shake Milton, PG, SMU
30) Atlanta Hawks*- Landry Shamet, PG, Wichita State University

*=Traded Pick

  • Cleveland receives Brooklyn’s pick
  • Philadelphia receives 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
  • Los Angeles Lakers receive Cleveland’s pick
  • Brooklyn receives Toronto’s pick
  • Atlanta receives Houston’s pick
Michael has been covering the Knicks since 2016. He does not claim to know everything about basketball, just more than most.