The ping pong balls have been pulled and the 2018 NBA Draft order has finally been set. What we don’t know is who teams will be taking—or do we?
The Phoenix Suns had the best odds of landing the number one overall pick and were able to do just that. The Sacramento Kings were the big winners of the lottery while the Memphis Grizzlies plummeted.
This is the third NBA Mock Draft of the season here at ESNY. We will have one more edition right before the draft on June 21.
Top Three Picks
1) Phoenix Suns- DeAndre Ayton C, Arizona
DeAndre Ayton has been the overall number one pick in my eyes throughout this entire process. There is no reason that it should change at this point. The 7-foot-1, 250-pound big man, along with Devin Booker, provides Phoenix inside and outside building blocks to build around.
The PAC-12 Player of the Year averaged 20.1 points, 11.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.9 blocks per game during his freshman year at Arizona. This selection would not cure Phoenix’s defensive issues but they do possess two more first round picks this year.
2) Sacramento Kings- Marvin Bagley III PF/C, Duke
The Sacramento Kings benefited the most from the lottery, jumping from No. 7 to No. 2. They acquired their lead guard of the future, De’Aaron Fox, in last year’s draft. This year, they find his frontcourt running mate in Marvin Bagley III.
The ACC player of the Year averaged 21.0 points per game at Duke. His 11.1 rebounds per game ranked ninth in all of Division I. The 6-foot-11, 234-pound Blue Devil also shot 39.7 percent from behind the three-point line.
3) Atlanta Hawks- Jaren Jackson Jr PF/C, Michigan State
The Atlanta Hawks are smack dab in the middle of a rebuild. Lucky for them, the player with possibly the highest ceiling in the draft is waiting for them at number three. Jaren Jackson Jr plays like a guard in a center’s body.
The 6-foot-11, 242-pound Jackson averaged 10.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 3.0 blocks in only 21.8 minutes per game at Texas. Take in perspective, players like Ayton, Bagley and Mohamed Bamba all averaged 33 minutes per game. He also shot 39.6 percent from deep.
Picks Four through Seven
4) Memphis Grizzlies- Luka Doncic PG/SG, Real Madrid
Luka Doncic fell a few spots in this latest mock draft. The good news is that he still lands in the best position for him. The biggest reason that Memphis is in this situation is due to injuries. Adding Doncic to a healthy Grizzlies squad puts Memphis right back in contention.
The 6-foot-6 guard has spent the last three years playing for Real Madrid of the Euro League. This past season he averaged 16.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.1 steals per game.
5) Dallas Mavericks- Mohamed Bamba C, Texas
The Dallas Mavericks find themselves in the same situation as Sacramento: addressing the backcourt last year and taking care of the frontcourt this year. Mohamed Bamba is a defensive and rebounding specialist. His offense is a work in progress and will continue to improve over time.
The 6-foot-11, 225-pound center averaged 12.9 points, 10.5 rebounds and 3.7 blocks per game this season. He ranked second in the nation in blocks. He led the BIG 12 conference in blocks and rebounds.
6) Orlando Magic- Trae Young PG, Oklahoma
The hardest team to peg in this entire draft is the Orlando Magic. They have question marks across their whole roster. Jonathan Isaac has not been able to reach his potential due to injuries. Aaron Gordon is a restricted free agent. They traded their starting point guard, Elfrid Payton, at the trade deadline.
Trae Young has the potential to come in and be the franchise star to build around. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound guard led the NCAA in points (27.4) and assists (8.7) per game. Young possesses the range to make him a threat as soon as he crosses the half court line.
7) Chicago Bulls- Michael Porter Jr. SF/PF, Missouri
The Chicago Bulls may have found themselves a steal with the seventh pick. Michael Porter Jr. was once in the conversation to be the number one overall pick. That was before he played a grand total of 53 minutes at Missouri due to a lower back injury.
At 6-foot-10, 215 pounds, Porter Jr can play either the three or the four for Chicago depending on the matchup. If the preseason All-American can stay healthy, the Bulls have another franchise cornerstone to build on.
Picks Eight through 10
8) Cleveland Cavaliers*- Wendell Carter Jr PF/C, Duke
Despite having the eighth pick in the draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers seem to be in a lose/lose situation. Do they trade the pick for a win-now situation or do they use one of their few assets for the future?
Wendell Carter Jr. can actually help in both of those scenarios. He would be an immediate improvement for them at the center position. Carter Jr averaged 9.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game during his lone season at Duke. Only 19, he can also be an investment for their future.
9) New York Knicks– Mikal Bridges SG/SF, Villanova
Perimeter play has been a constant issue for the New York Knicks. It’s been bad on both the offensive and defensive ends of the court. New York ranked 27th in the league shooting 35.2 percent from behind the three-point line. Opponents, on the other hand, rank 10th on those shots against the Knicks.
Mikal Bridges can come in and improve both of those numbers. The 6-foot-7, 191-pound wing shot 43.5 percent from deep this season on six attempts per game. Bridges also averaged 1.5 steals and 1.1 blocks per game.
10) Philadelphia 76ers*- Robert Williams PF/C, Texas A&M
The Philadelphia 76ers have the luxury of being a playoff team and having a top 10 pick. At this point, Joel Embiid is their only center under contract for next year and beyond. Robert Williams is a forward who could find himself playing a lot at center in today’s NBA. The 6-foot-9, 237-pound sophomore led the SEC with 9.2 rebounds per game. He ranked second with 2.6 blocks after leading the conference his freshman year.
11) Charlotte Hornets- Miles Bridges SF/PF, Michigan State
12) Los Angeles Clippers*- Collin Sexton PG, Alabama
13) Los Angeles Clippers- Lonnie Walker IV SG, Miami
14) Denver Nuggets- Kevin Knox SF/PF, Kentucky
15) Washington Wizards- Mitchell Robinson C, Western Kentucky
16) Phoenix Suns*- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander PG, Kentucky
17) Milwaukee Bucks- Zhaire Smith SG/SF, Texas Tech
18) San Antonio Spurs- Anfernee Simons PG/SG, IMG Academy
19) Atlanta Hawks*- Trevon Duval PG, Duke
20) Minnesota Timberwolves*- Gary Trent Jr SG, Duke
21) Utah Jazz- Brandon McCoy C, UNLV
22) Chicago Bulls*- Troy Brown SG/SF, Oregon
23) Indiana Pacers- Keita Bates-Diop SF, Ohio State
24) Portland Trailblazers- Shake Milton PG, SMU
25) Los Angeles Lakers*- Austin Wiley C, Auburn
26) Philadelphia Sixers- Jacob Evans SF, Cincinnati
27) Boston Celtics- Dzanan Musa SF, Bosnia
28) Golden State Warriors- Jalen Brunson PG, Villanova
29) Brooklyn Nets*- PJ Washington PF, Kentucky
30) Atlanta Hawks*- Hamidou Diallo SG, Kentucky
*= Traded draft picks
Cleveland receives the Brooklyn Nets’ pick
Philadelphia receives the Los Angeles Lakers’ pick
Los Angeles Clippers receives the Detroit Pistons’ pick
Phoenix receives the Miami Heat’s pick
Atlanta receives the Minnesota Timberwolves’ pick
Minnesota receives the Oklahoma City Thunder’s pick
Chicago receives the New Orleans Pelicans ‘pick
Los Angeles Lakers receives the Cleveland Cavaliers’ pick
Brooklyn receives the Toronto Raptors’ pick
Atlanta receives the Houston Rockets’ pick