The 2018 NBA Mock Draft
Who are the players? And where might they go?
Here's a first look mock draft with the conclusion of the NBA Draft Lottery Tuesday. The NBA draft is June 21 and the Chicago Draft Camp is this week. Teams will begin to mostly interview top players in the draft and perform measurements. Players generally regarded as potential second round picks will play in scrimmages.
Bulls vice president John Paxson said the Bulls have been conducting workouts, but probably won't have players among the projected top 10 in the Advocate Center for workouts until next month. The Bulls have the Nos 7 and 22 picks, the latter from the trade of Nikola Mirotic to the New Orleans Pelicans. Paxson pointed out personal interviews and workouts are not essential since the Bulls traded for the No 7 pick last year at the draft, so they hadn't done workouts with Markkanen. But they selected the Arizona seven footer from Finland.
1. Phoenix Suns. Deandre Ayton, C, Arizona 7-0 260. The Suns finally have a core. With Devin Booker and Josh Jackson on the perimeter and having added Elfrid Payton last season, the Suns appear with consensus No. 1 Ayton to have a potentially impressive young group to move forward.
2. Sacramento Kings. Marvin Bagley III, F/C, Duke, 6-11 235. The top of the draft is about impact players, and it's most likely Ayton and Bagley. Some will suggest the Suns will take European star Luka Doncic because they just hired his coach. Others say Doncic is the most ready NBA player. But the Kings are invested in point guard De'Aaron Fox from the No. 5 pick last year and Bagley is the kind of super athlete who can become a star. But it's also why this draft could be wild. Kings GM Vlade Divac might want Doncic instead to build around and put the talented Fox up for trade.
3. Atlanta Hawks. Luka Doncic, G, Real Madrid, 6-8 220. They're just starting a rebuild and he's a great player to begin. Their point guard Dennis Schroder indicated this week he isn't interested in a rebuilding. Doncic could be an elite NBA player, but needs to be the main ball handler to do so. The Hawks can put him there.
4. Memphis Grizzlies. Jaren Jackson Jr., C, Michigan State, 6-11 240. They took the biggest fall, dropping two spots. They'll get back Mike Conley with Marc Gasol, so they can compete for the playoffs again. Jackson is regarded as the best all around big man after Ayton. The question is whether they'd take a risk on high level athletic talent Michael Porter Jr. If he passes physicals and impresses in workouts he's the kind of talented wing player they'd most need. If Jackson slips through here he could fall to the Bulls.
5. Dallas Mavericks. Mohamed Bamba, C, Texas, 7-0 225. Perhaps they could be tempted by Porter, but it's more likely they go for a big guy. Bamba draws the Rudy Gobert comparisons for his amazing length and shot blocking ability. They need a lot as most bottom five teams do, but mostly bigs.
6. Orlando Magic. Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama 6-2 190. There will be higher regarded big men here, but they are most desperate for a point guard after trading Payton. There'll be talk about perhaps Trea Young, but Sexton makes more sense as an athletic, physical leader type. He doesn't pass much and is more in the mold of Dennis Smith Jr. from last year's draft to Dallas. They don't have great bigs, but they have enough.
7. Bulls. Wendell Carter Jr., C, Duke, 6-10 260. There will be a lot of sentiment to take a chance on Porter if he falls. But if he falls to seven, there probably will be concerns why so many teams let him pass. It will make it a brutally tough decision for the Bulls. Do you take a big risk on a high ceiling/possible bust with your high lottery pick? And hopefully last one this high. After all, being in the top 10 means getting a star. But there likely aren't many stars in this draft. The Bulls greatest position needs—and after 27 wins you don't necessarily look for need—are small forward and center. And Porter sure looks amazing, 6-10 and a great shooter, and in an NBA era where you want size for those switching defenses. Carter has been likened to a skilled big man like Al Horford. Not dominating, but smart, fundamentally sound and an ideal small center for this NBA era.
8. Cleveland Cavaliers. Michael Porter Jr., F, Missouri 6-10 215. The next LeBron? The previous seven teams better hope not. But if James leaves the Cavs after this season, as many expect, he'd be an ideal player to take a chance to move forward with a player who can be a star. Could the Cavaliers get a player in trade for this pick and one of their players to help persuade LeBron to stay. Obviously, some will depend on this playoff series with the Cavaliers trailing 2-0.
9. New York Knicks. Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma, 6-2 180. They drafted Frank Ntilikina last year and aren't sure he's a point guard and then brought in Trey Burke, another not really point guard. Young a potential showman type with his shooting who can play with Ntilikina off the ball and an excellent passer.
10. Philadelphia 76ers. Mikal Bridges, SF, Villanova 6-7 210. Local favorite stays home? More shooting around Simmons and Embiid should be ideal as it's unclear whether they return Redick, Belinelli and others outside. Bridges was a favorite on the Villanova title team and an excellent defender.
11. Charlotte Hornets. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky 6-6 180. There have been all sorts of rumors about trading Kemba Walker, and they figure to be poised with a new coach for a reset with their going nowhere roster. Walker could play a small shooting guard with a big point guard like him, but it make more sense to get a package and perhaps another lottery pick for Walker. Maybe a pair from the Clippers about to come up with the next two picks?
12. Los Angeles Clippers. Robert Williams III, C, Texas A&M 6-9 240. Maybe it's time to start to move on from DeAndre Jordan with Blake Griffin and Chris Paul gone. Williams is a super explosive defensive big man who could develop. The owner isn't particularly patient, so going with young players seems questionable. They'll likely try to parley the two picks into a player first.
13. Los Angeles Clippers. Lonnie Walker, SG, Miami, 6-4 210. He's a bit of a reach to come, but so was Donovan Mitchell. Now everyone is looking for the next Mitchell, who fell to 13th and could be rookie of the year. Walker has a bit of that profile and perhaps makes a break through.
14. Denver Nuggets. Kevin Knox, SF, Kentucky 6-9 215. He's the kind of wing player with great size who fits with Wilson Chandler figuring to be phased out. Probably needs small forward most with a solid backcourt and big man Jokic.
22. Bulls. Keita Bates-Diop, SF, Ohio State, 6-7 235. If the Bulls go big with their pick, maybe get the so called 3 (shooting) and D (defensive) player here. As usual, and especially this much before the draft, there's a wide variety of opinion regarding the picks in the 20s. If the Bulls were to go with a forward like Porter, then they could look for a big man here, like Mitchell Robinson, who didn't play in college but sat out a year. Shooting guard Zhaire Smith probably will be taken in the teens. I also like Duke's Grayson Allen, Arizona Rawle Alkins, European Dzanan Musa, Villanova's Donte DiVincenzo and Jalen Brunson.
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