It is time once again for a new 2018 NBA Mock Draft. The NCAA withdrawal deadline has passed and the field is almost entirely set. International prospects have until June 11 to make their decision, but the bulk of the prospects are set.
This 2018 NBA Mock draft will be different from our previous mock drafts. I will take into account what is more likely to happen, as more reliable reports become public knowledge. I will weight likelihood with my own personal judgment here, rather than using all judgement as in my previous mock drafts. Also, this mock draft is the full two rounds. 60 picks deep, I will mock the entire 2018 NBA Draft.
2018 NBA Mock Draft
1. Phoenix Suns
DeAndre Ayton: Big- Arizona
All signs point to Phoenix selecting the local big man over Luka Doncic. The Suns do not have an elite big man prospect and Ayton could fill that void. Ayton can dominate the paint offensively due to his rare combination of size and athleticism which will provide an immediate impact. Betting on the upside with Ayton could pay major dividends alongside a player like Devin Booker.
2. Sacramento Kings
Marvin Bagley: Big- Duke
The Kings do not currently have a big man who can be relied on as a scorer. Selecting Marvin Bagley gives them immediate offense and a massive, versatile frontcourt pairing with Willie Cauley-Stein. Bagley provides an instant jolt on offense and has the athleticism and energy to rebound with the best of them as well. The Kings are without a franchise centerpiece at the moment, so the selection of Bagley to pair with point guard De’Aaron Fox could be a young tandem that can improve together.
3. Atlanta Hawks
Jaren Jackson Jr: Big- Michigan State
Jaren Jackson is the best player available and, for the Hawks, the defensive anchor that can play alongside the offensive force that is John Collins. The two could grow and become one of the best frontcourts in the NBA. Jackson has plenty of versatility; he possesses the ability to score in face-up situations from 12 feet out and he also shot 40% from deep. Defensively he is primed for the NBA. Jackson can switch out onto quicker guards and wings, using his quick feet and 7-foot-5 wingspan to disrupt their offense.
4. Memphis Grizzlies
Luka Doncic: Wing- Real Madrid
Luka Doncic is likely the best prospect in this class, though he falls to fourth due to team needs. Doncic’s versatility to play on and off the ball would be welcomed in an uninspiring Memphis offense. He has shown an ability to score at every level while being an elite playmaker for his teammates. The 19 year old Slovenian is fresh off a Euroleague MVP and championship. Playing against the best non-NBA level competition in the world, Doncic is primed for immediate impact in the NBA.
5. Dallas Mavericks
Mo Bamba: Big- Texas
The Mavericks had one of the worst interior defenses in the NBA last season. Enter an elite rim-protector of the likes in which we’ve rarely seen. Mo Bamba is a prospect that provides an immediate impact on defense and can grow to become a contributor on offense. Bamba’s 7-foot-10 wingspan allows him to alter and block shots from anywhere on the court. Pair that with quick feet and he can be a real danger even on weakside rotations. As a rim-diver on offense, expect a potentially dynamic combination with Dennis Smith Jr.
6. Orlando Magic
Trae Young: Lead Guard- Oklahoma
All signs point to this pick being a choice between Trae Young and Michael Porter Jr. The Magic choose Trae Young for a couple of reasons. Selecting Porter comes with potential injury concerns and a logjam in the frontcourt. Too many combo forwards. Orlando is desperate for a point guard who can distribute and score. Enter Trae Young- who brings immediate playmaking impact with an ability to get others involved. Throw in his ability to create his own offense from the perimeter and the Magic might have found themselves a point guard to build around.
7. Chicago Bulls
Michael Porter Jr: Combo Forward- Missouri
The clearest need for Chicago is scoring from the wings. Luckily for them, a scoring specialist is available here at seven. Porter is 6-foot-10 with the skills of a true wing and a versatile scoring arsenal. He didn’t get to show much of it at Missouri due to injury, however, his scoring polish has always been ahead of his peers. Work will have to be done to gain explosiveness and quickness with the ball before Porter can become a star. Though, it is easy to see him playing at an all-star level in time.
8. Cleveland Cavaliers
Wendell Carter Jr: Big- Duke
With the future of LeBron unclear, the future of the team is also murky. The Cavaliers would be best served taking the best player available here. Luckily for them, Wendell Carter Jr is not only the best player, but he does help a sore spot on the team. Interior defense was a weak spot this season and Carter’s 7-foot-3 wingspan is well-suited to bring some relief. Carter may not be able to switch onto many guards, but he can hold down the paint and protect the rim at a high level. Offensively, they get a big man who can space the floor and possesses the level of footwork necessary to score in the post.
9. New York Knicks
Mikal Bridges: Wing- Villanova
The Knicks are in a perfect spot here with Bridges landing to them. Adding 3-point shooting on the wings is a necessary tool for any team, especially one that is looking to rebuild. Mikal Bridges gives them a rock-solid option for spot-up shooting every night. He can guard multiple positions and is the ideal switchable wing defender for the modern NBA. Bridges is an ideal building piece for new head coach David Fizdale.
10. Philadelphia 76ers
Lonnie Walker: Wing- Miami
Lonnie Walker is a versatile guard who displays some serious two-way potential. Walker’s near 6-foot-11 wingspan allows him to guard multiple positions and switch onto much bigger wings successfully. In Philadelphia’s fluid, positionless team structure, this type of player is a valuable fit. With an offense that utilizes many different types of basket cuts, an elite athlete with good offensive feel should be able to contribute immediately. Walker could be viewed as some much-needed scoring relief given his ability to create his own offense.
11. Charlotte Hornets
Miles Bridges: Combo Forward- Michigan State
The Hornets seem to be entering a rebuild with new head coach James Borrego. With Kemba Walker likely to stay this summer, it would be smart to bolster a flimsy frontcourt. Bridges projects as an offensive force at the power forward position in the NBA. His ability to space the floor, work in face-up situations, and create his own offense is something that is severely lacking in Charlotte. Often misused at Michigan State, Bridges could thrive in the right role in Charlotte.
12. Los Angeles Clippers
Collin Sexton: Lead Guard: Alabama
The Clippers are in a state of flux at the moment. DeAndre Jordan is set to be a free agent this summer and they have no long-term prospects to build around. The best choice is to select the best player available and ideally your point guard of the future. Collin Sexton qualifies as both here. Sexton is going to set a tone defensively at the point of attack, pestering opposing guards. Offensively, he’ll need to polish his game off. However, his attacking nature and shotmaking ability is a great foundation to have. Sexton could help lead the way for a Clippers rebuild.
13. Los Angeles Clippers
Rob Williams: Big- Texas A&M
Los Angeles has another chance to get an impact player for the future with this pick as well. They won’t want to select a guard again, so Rob Williams is the next best option. Especially when you consider that DeAndre Jordan may very well leave. Williams is an elite shot-blocker who projects as a rim-diver on offense. His athleticism is astounding for his size, making him one of the best rim-roller’s in the class. Similar to that of DeAndre Jordan, the Clippers could get an immediate replacement with this pick.
14. Denver Nuggets
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: Lead Guard- Kentucky
Denver will likely be in the market for another quality guard who can play both positions in the backcourt. Will Barton is set to be a free agent this summer and the Nuggets will need supplemental depth. Gilgeous-Alexander can create for others as well as for himself. His 40% shooting from deep last season offers promise off the ball as well. Gilgeous-Alexander has a near 7-foot wingspan that provides him the ability to switch onto bigger defenders, aided by his quick feet. The primary question will involve which skill is going to become a “standout” skill that will be relied upon.
15. Washington Wizards
Kevin Knox: Combo Forward- Kentucky
The Washington Wizards will likely want to bolster their frontcourt, especially with Markeiff Morris entering the final year of his contract. Kevin Knox offers an ideal size and skill-set for a modern day power forward. At 6-foot-9, Knox possesses high-level athleticism and should be a quality offensive creator for his position. Knox can work off the ball and spot up off screens as well as take the ball and break down the defense himself. His quick feet paired with his size and near 7-foot wingspan will make him a switchable defender. Knox is an ideal frontcourt building block for a team that isn’t going in full rebuild mode.
16. Phoenix Suns
Zhaire Smith: Wing- Texas Tech
After taking their frontcourt centerpiece, the Suns opt to add depth on the wings. Zhaire Smith’s 3-and-D skill-set is an optimal place to look. Smith showed spot-up prowess at Texas Tech while displaying a great natural feel to the game. His instincts serve him very well on the court. Pair that with his elite athleticism and there is potential beyond just being a 3-and-D player.
17: Milwaukee Bucks
Khyri Thomas: Combo Guard- Creighton
The Bucks will be hoping that Zhaire Smith falls, but there are good options even if he does not. The Bucks are a long and defensively versatile team that needs more floor spacers. Enter Khyri Thomas; a guard with a 6-foot-10 wingspan who shot 41% from deep. His fit on the team could be seamless and Thomas can provide something that the team really needs.
18: San Antonio Spurs
Keita Bates-Diop: Combo Forward- Ohio State
San Antonio will want to update their frontcourt and add more versatility to the team. Keita Bates-Diop is just under 6-foot-8 with an over 7-foot-3 wingspan- an ideal build for a modern power forward. A four-year college player, Bates-Diop has a level of maturity and nuance that the Spurs prefer. His skill-set is enticing and Rudy Gay-esque. Bates-Diop can manufacture points from the perimeter as well as inside the point. A better shooter than his percentages show, the Big Ten Player of the Year could thrive as a floor-spacing power forward. Defensively, his length and IQ allow him to switch on screens and guard multiple positions.
19: Atlanta Hawks
Troy Brown Jr: Wing- Oregon
The Hawks solidified their frontcourt earlier in this draft and will now want to add depth to their wings. Troy Brown is a swiss-army knife of a player who has legitimate point guard skills at 6-foot-7. Brown currently projects as a slashing scorer with playmaking tendencies. On the other end, Brown looks to be an ideal switchable wing who can guard three or four positions.
20. Minnesota Timberwolves
Donte DiVincenzo: Wing- Villanova
Donte DiVincenzo may be exactly what the doctor ordered for the Timberwolves. DiVincenzo adds much-needed depth and scoring on the wings. The Villanova prospect can space the floor and operate as a spot-up shooter while also being able to create for himself. An elite athlete, DiVincenzo can keep defenses honest with his threat to attack the rim or shoot. Defensively, his bulldog motor makes him a pest for either guard position.
21. Utah Jazz
Elie Okobo: Lead Guard- Pau-Lecq-Orthez
Elie Okobo recently made headlines after dropping 44 points on former dominant NCAA defender Aaron Craft. That was the tipping point of what has been a massive improvement over the last couple of months. The Jazz will likely want an adaptable guard to pair with Donovan Mitchell, and Okobo is the perfect fit. Okobo shot just under 40% from deep with a serious off-the-dribble prowess. His playmaking ability really stands out, however. He has high-quality vision and the length to make passes around defenders. Two versatile guards with switchable defense upside is the way to go for modern NBA.
22. Chicago Bulls
Mitchell Robinson: Big- N/A
After hitting the relative jackpot with their scoring wing earlier in the draft, the Bulls will go for the best player available. To add to a solid core, Chicago opts for Mitchell Robinson. Robinson stands at 7-foot-1 with elite athleticism. Every team needs a high-level rim protector; Robinson’s 7-foot-4 wingspan may allow him to be just that.
23. Indiana Pacers
Kevin Huerter: Wing- Maryland
The Indiana Pacers will look for some scoring on the wings to build upon the successful season. Kevin Huerter is a perfect fit. Huerter can impact the game without the ball in his hands, coming off screens and spacing the floor due to defenders having to play tight on him. At Maryland, Huerter shot 42% from three last year. He isn’t just a shooter, however. Huerter can put the ball on the floor and possesses the craft to finish in the paint with a smooth floater. This pick would be optimal to provide support for budding star Victor Oladipo.
24. Portland Trail Blazers
Jalen Brunson: Lead Guard- Villanova
Jalen Bruson adds some much-needed quality backcourt depth for Portland. After drafting two bigs last year, the Trail Blazers should opt for reliable guard depth. Brunson is an elite 3-point shooter who rarely makes a mistake. His IQ and ability to control an offense is ideal to have behind star Damian Lillard.
25. Los Angeles Lakers
Moritz Wagner: Big- Michigan
This pick seems pretty simple. The Lakers need a scoring big who can space the floor to add to their young core. Mo Wagner fits that bill while having the entertaining personality to stand out in Los Angeles. Wagner is an ideal floor-spacing big who should prove valuable as many Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram prefer to operate within the arc.
26. Philadelphia 76ers
Dzanan Musa: Combo Forward- Cedevita
After adding Lonnie Walker, the 76ers should opt to add another positionless scorer. Dzanan Musa serves as a combo forward who made his name off scoring. Musa can score at all three levels, something we did not see from many forwards in Philadelphia last season. Even if Philadelphia doesn’t want to add to their roster this year, Musa can also be a draft-n-stash pick, keeping him in Europe for a season or two.
27. Boston Celtics
De’Anthony Melton: Lead Guard- USC
De’Anthony Melton has been the obvious choice for Boston here for some time. With two key guards facing murky futures in Boston, adding another versatile guard is the smart option. Melton can guard both backcourt positions while adding in helpful scoring and playmaking.
28. Golden State Warriors
Jacob Evans: Wing- Cincinnati
The best pick for the Warriors to make given the state of the franchise is niche role players. Evans is a 3-and-D specialist who projects as just that in the NBA. With the core of stars that Golden State has, adding a player like Evans is the best way to compliment such an ensemble.
29. Brooklyn Nets
Chandler Hutchison: Wing- Boise State
The Brooklyn Nets still aren’t exactly sure what they have with their young pieces. In this situation, the best option is to stockpile talent on the wings. We have seen how the addition of versatile wings has helped in Boston, and maybe Brooklyn could follow suit. Hutchison is a mature scorer who rarely has a mental lapse. The Boise State product would fit in nicely with Brooklyn’s budding core.
30. Atlanta Hawks
Landry Shamet: Lead guard- Wichita State
Atlanta has taken a big and a wing thus far so naturally, a guard should be next. Landry Shamet projects a 3-and-D lead guard who will take care of the ball. An elite 3-point shooter at 6-foot-4, he can play off the ball as a spot-up shooter as well. This pick won’t be the glamorous one, but Shamet will be a steady contributor in Atlanta.