With the conference tournaments winding to a close and the big dance set to start, now is a good time for a full Mock Draft.
Draft order courtesy of http://www.tankathon.com.
1. Memphis Grizzlies – C DeAndre Ayton, Fr, Arizona. DeAndre Ayton has been sitting atop my mocks for months, and I think he is the pretty clear top prospect in this class. He is athletic, a great rebounder and shot blocker, and able to score anywhere from the block to the three point line. He is an ideal 2018 center and could be the centerpiece of a rebuilding team. Sure, Memphis has Marc Gasol, but it would be foolish to pass on Ayton.
2. Phoenix Suns – PF/C Marvin Bagley III, Fr, Duke. Scouts are a bit down on Marvin Bagley, mainly because big men do so much these days. Bagley is basically a scorer and rebounder, which is not a bad thing, but he does not shoot or defend as well as teams would like, though he has the ability to greatly improve both areas. He reminds me of LaMarcus Aldridge and would give the hapless Suns much needed front court consistency.
3. Orlando Magic – PG Trae Young, Fr, Oklahoma. The jury is still out on how Trae Young will fare in a structured offense, but the talent and ability is there to be a 20 point per game scorer right off the bat. Orlando remains one of the worst shooting teams in the league and has a huge need for someone who can get his own buckets.
4. Atlanta Hawks – SG/SF Luka Doncic, Slovenia. I think Mohamed Bamba would be the better pick but Luka Doncic has star power and could make people want to tune in and watch Hawks basketball. He is not a supreme athlete or good defender, but there is little he can not do with the ball in his hand. Doncic is simply the best player not in the United States and may be the highest rated European wing prospect ever.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Nets) – PF/C Mohamed Bamba, Fr, Texas. Please stop the lazy Nerlens Noel comparisons. Bamba is stronger and miraculously might have a bigger reach. Already a tremendous shot blocker and rebounder, Bamba is working on developing a jump shot, and can already knock down the college three. If Cleveland can land one of the top five guys that would make the Kyrie Irving trade a little less lopsided.
6. Sacramento Kings – SF/PF Michael Porter Jr., Fr, Missouri. Michael Porter Jr. was most definitely in the running for the top overall pick coming into the season, so to see him return to the court, even if only for an instant, is good news for NBA fans. The talent level falls off after the top six, So Sacramento lucked out by landing a player who could be an elite offensive forward in the NBA.
7. Dallas Mavericks – PF/C Jaren Jackson Jr., Fr, Michigan State. If Jaren Jackson Jr. played for another coach, he may be in contention for the top pick. He has great size, is athletic, can rebound and block shots and score from almost anywhere on the court. All he lacks is experience, but he would be a great consolation prize for a team like Dallas that loses out on the tank race.
8. Chicago Bulls – PF/C Wendell Carter, Fr, Duke. Lost in the freshman shuffle has been Wendell Carter, even though you could argue he has had just as big of an impact for the Blue Devils as Marvin Bagley. Carter is a very efficient scorer who can rebound and is a strong passer. He has worked hard to improve his conditioning and jump shot and could thrive as a current generation center. He would give the Bulls a true center to pair with a strong power forward duo.
9. New York Knicks – SF/PF Miles Bridges, So, Michigan State. If not for a stellar freshman class, Miles Bridges could be a top five pick. He remained consistent as a sophomore, and continued to show a blend of strength and shooting that scouts like. His tweener status does not mean as much in today’s NBA, and he should instantly start at small forward for the Knicks.
10. Charlotte Hornets – PG Collin Sexton, Fr, Alabama. The Hornets could blow things up and look completely different next year, so I will just go best player available. Collin Sexton was a consistent 20 point per game scorer in college, and that ability should translate to the NBA. Scouts will like to see if he can get others involved, but scoring is always king, especially from the lead guard position.
11. Los Angeles Clippers (from Pistons) – SG/SF Mikal Bridges, Jr, Villanova. The Clippers traded Blake Griffin and will probably lose DeAndre Jordan, So this is another best player available situation. Mikal Bridges transformed from a great role player to legit college star as a junior. He shot lights out from all over the court and showed great defensive ability as well. He is the premier 3 and D wing player in this draft, and I would spend a lottery pick on him in a heartbeat.
12. Philadelphia 76ers (from Lakers) – PF/C Robert Williams, So, Texas A&M. After a slow start to the season, Robert Williams basically duplicated his strong freshman season. He would be an ideal first big off the bench in Philadelphia, where he could use his energy to block shots and grab rebounds. He has built up his body and should have a nice career as a starting center.
13. Denver Nuggets – SF Kevin Knox, Fr, Kentucky. There are ten good to great teams battling for eight spots out west, and right now Denver is one of the unfortunate losers. A small consolation prize would be another talented shooter to add to a nice core. Kevin Knox has nice length and a sweet stroke, and would not be asked to do much more than knock down three pointers for the Nuggets.
14. Utah Jazz – Daniel Gafford, Fr, Arkansas. If you are looking for an unheralded freshman who could shoot his way into the top ten, look no further than Daniel Gafford. Gafford is very athletic, and is already adept at getting after the ball on defense. He could be a top five pick in 2019, but could stillfind his way into the late lottery this year.
15. Phoenix Suns (from Bucks) – PF/C Jontay Porter, Fr, Missouri. Over the course of the season, Jontay Porter has gone from a second round project to possible lottery pick. A legit seven footer with solid athleticism, he has taken on much more responsibility as the Tigers made their playoff run. A great shooter, scorer and willing defender, Porter has become much more than simply Michael’s brother. Add Porter to Marvin Bagley and the Suns could actually have the makings of a real front court.
16. Phoenix Suns (from Heat) – PG Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Fr, Kentucky. Elfrid Payton has been solid for Phoenix but he is an upcoming free agent and may not be back. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has been a very solid floor general for the Wildcats. He has great length and keen court vision, and has the ability to dish 10 assists per night, score at a nice clip and play very solid defense.
17. Philadelphia 76ers – PG/SG Bruce Brown, So, Miami. If Bruce Brown was a better shooter he would be a top ten pick, but that shot just will not fall with consistency. The 76ers will simply need Brown to play his usual brand of pesky on the ball defense and provide hustle minutes off the bench, something he should excel at.
18. Los Angeles Clippers – PG Jalen Brunson, Jr, Villanova. I do not know why Jalen Brunson doesn’t get more love. Sure, he is not the best athlete in the world, but give me a guy who takes care of the ball and has tremendous shooting percentages across the board. He has the ability to become a great backup or even a solid starting point guard for the Clippers.
19. San Antonio Spurs – SG/SF Troy Brown Jr., Fr, Oregon. Troy Brown has developed into an interesting player. Not quite the shooter folks thought, but his all around offensive game has been quite impressive, especially his ability to lead an offense. This would be the highest pick the Spurs have had since trading for Kawhi Leonard, and they have a rare chance to land a solid talent.
20. Washington Wizards – C Omer Yurtseven, So, NC State. Omer Yurtseven looked lost as a freshman, but has blossomed into one of the best center prospects in the country this year and a legit late lottery contender. A PER lovers dream, Yurtseven contributes across the board, especially on offense. Marcin Gortat is starting to show his age, and there is little front court youth on the Washington roster to develop.
21. Atlanta Hawks (from Timberwolves) – SF Dzanan Musa, Bosnia. With three first round picks and a long term rebuilding plan, drafting the only legit first round draft and stash candidate makes sense for the Hawks. Dzanan Musa is still raw and undeveloped physically, but his shooting should translate quite well when he arrives stateside.
22. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Thunder) – SG/SF Gary Trent Jr., Fr, Duke. Gary Trent Jr. is the poor unfortunate soul that was drafted into rookie purgatory. Trent contributes in several ways, though he may never be more than a role player at the NBA level. Unfortunately, he will get real comfortable on the bench playing for a head coach who despises rookies.
23. Los Angeles Lakers (from Cavaliers) – SG/SF Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, Sr, Kansas. It took a while, but the former top recruit shined for Kansas as a senior. Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk is a very good shooter who can handle the rock as well and should be an ideal wing backup in Los Angeles.
24. Chicago Bulls (from Pelicans) – SG Hamidou Diallo, Fr, Kentucky. I will preface this by saying Hamidou Diallo has not been great. However, for a tanking team with multiple first round picks, he is worth a gamble at pick 24. Diallo is supremely athletic and could develop into a Zach LaVine type. Or he could be the first rounds leading candidate to be a future G League all star.
25. Indiana Pacers – PG Aaron Holiday, Jr, UCLA. It seems like Aaron Holiday has been at UCLA for a decade. The junior has little else to prove at the college level and could develop into a lower level starter in the NBA. I see his career unfolding similar to former Bruin guard Darren Collison. He could bounce from team to team holding down the starting spot until someone better comes along.
26. Portland Trail Blazers – C Brandon McCoy, Fr, UNLV. The Trail Blazers have never met a center they did not want to draft. Brandon McCoy has been a solid double double threat but will unfortunately have to fight off Jahlil Okafor (game type) and Anthony Bennett (system type) questions if he wants to be a first round pick.
27. Boston Celtics – PF Killian Tillie, So, Gonzaga. A week ago I thought Killian Tillie needed one more year of college basketball to cement himself as a first round pick. Now I think 27 overall is an extremely conservative assessment. Three straight 20 point conference tournament games will do that. Tillie is a more athletic Kelly Olynyk and would provide great shooting off the Celtics bench.
28. Brooklyn Nets (from Raptors) – PF/C Moritz Wagner, Jr, Michigan. Fortunately for Nets fans this is the last year they owe first round picks. Sean Marks has done a good job of accumulating late first rounders, and Moritz Wagner would be a solid selection here. He can do a bit of everything that teams ask stretch fours to do.
29. Golden State Warriors – PG Trevon Duval, Fr, Duke. Teams are not often in the market for point guards who cannot shoot, but Duval has nice size and is a solid ball handler and could make a nice backup guard in Oakland one day.
30. Atlanta Hawks (from Rockets) – C Udoka Azubuike, So, Kansas. Udoka Azubuike has improved greatly as a sophomore but may lack the shooting and athleticism to be more than a backup.