2018 NBA MOCK DRAFT
Welcome to the second edition of our 2018 NBA Mock Draft. We will be predicting all 30 picks of the first round. This year’s draft class is top heavy. There are around 5 players who can make a case for being the top overall pick. The talent level drops after the first 8 picks, in our opinion.
These players lives will be dramatically changing as they are finishing up their respective college seasons and are auditioning for NBA scouts and general managers every time they step on the basketball court.
We will provide analysis on each player and our reason for each team selection. Included are scouting reports on each player. Just click on their highlighted name to read their individual scouting reports. Welcome to our 2nd edition of our 2018 NBA Mock Draft.
- Phoenix — DeAndre Ayton, C, Arizona
Expect Phoenix to go with the “no-brainer” pick and take the most physically gifted big man in this draft in DeAndre Ayton. Ayton played his last two years of high school basketball in the Phoenix area, so taking him would provide a nice marketing gimmick for the Suns organization.
- Sacramento — Luka Doncic, G, Real Madrid
Even with greater needs in the front court, the Suns can’t possibly pass on taking Luka Doncic. He would add another dynamic playmaking element to a roster featuring young talents like De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Heild, and given his experience playing professional basketball in Europe, he could come in and contribute right away.
- Atlanta — Jaren Jackson, C, Michigan State
While the conventional wisdom is that Atlanta could/would take Marvin Bagley III with this pick, we think Jaren Jackson actually makes more sense. The big man might have the most upside of any player in this draft, reminiscent of a Joel Embiid-type player – whom new head coach Lloyd Pierce coached while in Philadelphia.
- Memphis — Marvin Bagley III, F, Duke
If Atlanta passed on Marvin Bagley, there’d be parties on Beale Street if/when Memphis took him with this pick. The team needs young talent in the worst way, and while there are major questions about his defensive ability, Bagley has already shown to be a gifted athlete and scorer.
- Dallas — Mohamed Bamba, C, Texas
Mohamed Bamba has freakshow length (a 7-foot-9 wingspan) and a hellacious ability to block shots and protect the rim. The Nerlens Noel experiment in Dallas was a complete disaster last season, and Bamba could help with Dallas’ rebounding woes (the Mavericks were 28th in rebounding last year).
- Orlando — Mikal Bridges, F, Villanova
People might be surprised that they passed on some of the other available guys here, but General Manager John Hammond loves drafting length. Last year’s top pick Jonathan Simmons could be a small-ball center for Orlando, and Mikal Bridges would add more of scoring and shooting element to the team. Plus, he’d bring a championship pedigree for a team that needs to learn how to win.
- Chicago — Michael Porter Jr, F, Missouri
Michael Porter Jr. was once considered to be the top player in the nation, but after missing almost the entire year at Missouri, his stock appeared to have taken a dip. But NBA scouts are currently whispering that he might be one of the most coveted prospects in this year’s group. He’d be a great wing opposite Lauri Markkanen in Chicago.
- Cleveland (via Brooklyn) — Trae Young, G, Oklahoma
If Cleveland wants any chance of keeping LeBron James in his home state, adding a player who can come in and contribute immediately would be a huge first step. Trae Young’s stock might have cooled off, but he’s proven that he can get hot and score in droves.
- New York — Collin Sexton, G, Alabama
Collin Sexton was made for New York. The fearless point guard plays with passion and grit, and is equally gifted at passing the ball as he is at putting it through the hoop himself. He’d be a perfect pairing with Frank Ntilikina, last year’s pick by the Knicks.
- Philadelphia (from LA Lakers) — Miles Bridges, F, Michigan State
With Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid established at the four and the five positions, the blueprint for Philadelphia is about figuring out the remainder of their lineup. Mikal Bridges is a lethal shooter and excellent perimeter defender with the sneaky ability to handle the ball himself and score off the pull up. He’d be such a great fit for Philadelphia.
- Charlotte — Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, G, Kentucky
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander would be such a good fit in Charlotte’s lineup, considering he’s a player with enormous athleticism, can play multiple positions, and doesn’t need the ball in his hands to be great. He could be a tremendous wing player for a team that needs premier talent.
- LA Clippers (from Detroit) — Wendell Carter, C, Duke
If the draft shook out this way for the LA Clippers, they might end up with the steal of the night. Considering DeAndre Jordan is in the last year of his deal, the Clippers could start their rebuild with Wendell Carter as the in-house replacement for Jordan.
- LA Clippers — Lonnie Walker IV, G, Miami
Lou Williams can’t play in the league forever, and if Austin Rivers is ever the answer to anything, you’re asking the wrong question. Lonnie Walker is a fearless scorer with a huge wingspan (6-10.5) despite the fact he’s only 6’4.
- Denver — Robert Williams, C, Texas A&M
For as magnificent as his highlights may be, Nikola Jokic is a defensive liability for the Denver Nuggets. Robert Williams could be the defensive anchor in a lineup featuring Jokic, especially since they have complimentary skillsets.
- Washington — Aaron Holiday, G, UCLA
Anyone who’s watched this team knows that Washington’s starting five isn’t the problem; it’s always been the bench, which the team has mismanaged for years. Aaron Holiday can come in and play for the bench unit, alongside last year’s breakout player in Tomas Satoransky.
- Phoenix (from Miami) — Kevin Knox, F, Kentucky
Considering the Suns have absolutely no idea if they’ll ever get anything from the duo of Marquese Chriss and/or Dragan Bender, being able to take Kevin Knox with this pick would be a complete steal for them.
- Milwaukee — Zhaire Smith, F, Texas Tech
As if Milwaukee isn’t loaded already with length and athleticism, they could easily add another guy with said toolset in Zhaire Smith. He could be the Demarre Carroll-type player that new head coach Mike Budenholzer had in Atlanta.
- San Antonio — Dzanan Musa, F, Cedevita
Would be totally unsurprising to see San Antonio go the international route with a high-upside player? We think not. At 6’9, Musa is a high-scoring wing with lots of basketball IQ, and an even bigger upside which could be developed beautifully in San Antonio.
- Atlanta (from Minnesota) — Khyri Thomas, G, Creighton
It’s no secret that Dennis Schroeder may not be in the long-term plans for the Atlanta Hawks. Thomas would bring a lot of the same toolset that Schroeder presents (specifically the length and the passing), as well as the unselfishness and intangibles they lacked with Schroeder.
- Minnesota (from Oklahoma City) — Keita Bates-Diop, F, Ohio State
For a Minnesota Timberwolves team that’s facing a lot expectations to start winning more games immediately, Bates-Diop presents an experienced, versatile, high-intangibles forward that would fit right in with Tom Thibodeau’s demanding ways.
- Utah — Troy Brown, G, Oregon
Even though Utah is already set in the back-court with Donovan Smith and Ricky Rubio, it’s hard to see them passing on someone who possesses the positional versatility and defensive tool-set presented by Troy Brown.
- Chicago (from New Orleans) — Anfernee Simons, IMG Academy (HS)
You’ll often see a team with multiple picks in the first round take a prospect who can contribute immediately, and then another one who is a long-term project. Chicago could take a chance with their second pick on a young guy (he’s not even 19 years old yet) who could become a lights-out scorer.
- Indiana — Jacob Evans, F, Cincinnati
In reality, the Indiana Pacers need an infusion of talent anywhere alongside Victor Oladipo and Myles Turner. Jacob Evans has a blend of the ability to come right in and contribute (he shot 38% from three in college) while still being young enough to have upside to develop (he’s not even 21 years old yet). In other words, he could be another building block for the Pacers.
- Portland — Chandler Hutchison, F, Boise State
A senior coming out of a usually unheralded college basketball program, Chandler Hutchison is a polished wing that shows the ability to handle the ball and shoot from the perimeter. He’d add some depth at the wing spot, which Portland needs.
- LA Lakers (from Cleveland) — Mitchell Robinson, C, Chalmette High School
Mitchell Robinson is a flash back to the “old days,” in that he’s an enormously-talented big man who never went to college (he sat out of basketball the past year), and could be a star if developed correctly. Brook Lopez only has one year left on his deal, so LA could take a chance on Robinson to replace Lopez.
- Philadelphia — Bruce Brown Jr., G, Miami
Again, Philadelphia’s blueprint for the foreseeable future involves surrounding Ben Simmons with wing players who can shoot the ball. Bruce Brown is an athletic, high-motor combo guard who can shoot the ball or score off the dribble, and defend his man up and down the court as well.
- Boston — Jalen Brunson, G, Villanova
Depending on what happens with guys like Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier, the Boston Celtics could add a guard with off-the-charts intangibles and a winning pedigree. He’s exactly the type of guy that would perform well in Brad Stevens’ system in Boston.
- Golden State — Grayson Allen, G, Duke
The window for Golden State’s dominance can only stay open for so long, and just how long that window stays open will be determined, in large part, by how they can supplement the bench behind their “big four.” Grayson Allen is an athletic player perfectly suited to come off the bench, and won’t be afraid to add a little more edge to a team that already has Draymond Green on the roster.
- Brooklyn (from Toronto) — Donte DiVincenzo, G, Villanova
The star of this years NCAA Championship game has improved immensely from his freshman to sophomore seasons. DiVincenzo is a big-time athlete who played a lot of PG for the Wildcats. He has NBA 3-point range and is a very good defender. He is trying to make the switch to PG full-time. If DiVincenzo can do this, he just might end up as one of the drafts biggest steals. There is a good chance he rises up draft boards before draft night.
- Atlanta (from Houston) — Melvin Frazier, F, Tulane
Marvin Frazier is one of the more unheralded prospects in this draft, despite possessing the highly-coveted “three-and-D” skillset, and playing under former NBA head coach Mike Dunleavy at Tulane. He can come in and contribute right away on defense on the wing, and buy time while his jumpshot continues to develop.
NOTE: We will be publishing our last mock draft a few days before draft night. It will include both rounds (60 picks).
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