NBA Mock Draft 2018: Deandre Ayton leads intriguing first round
The 2018 NBA Draft takes place on Thursday, with the Phoenix Suns holding the first overall pick after winning the annual lottery.
Their selection with the top pick has seemed like a foregone conclusion for some time, but there is plenty of intrigue elsewhere in the top 10.
It remains very much a mystery what the Sacramento Kings will do with the second overall pick, but we took a shot at predicting their intentions and those of the rest of the teams with a first-round selection in our mock draft.
1. Phoenix Suns: Deandre Ayton, C, Arizona — This one has seemed like a done deal for a while, with Phoenix falling in love with the in-state prospect's size, scoring ability and rim protecting.
On working out for other teams: “No one else… I know I’m going number one.”— Phoen1x Šuns (@Suns) June 6, 2018
-Deandre Ayton pic.twitter.com/OX5WC0pYaW
2. Sacramento Kings: Marvin Bagley III, F, Duke — Perhaps the most complete big man in the draft, Bagley uses his athleticism to create his own shots and is also a great area rebounder.
3. Atlanta Hawks: Luca Doncic, G, Real Madrid — Once considered a potential top overall pick, Atlanta would be ecstatic to get this NBA-ready floor general at number three and have him help turn the franchise around.
4. Memphis Grizzlies: Jaren Jackson Jr., F, Michigan State — Not always used properly at Michigan State, Jackson could be a much better pro than college player due to his size and shooting range.
5. Dallas Mavericks: Mohamed Bamba, C, Texas — While there's talk of Dallas taking Michael Porter Jr. to help get DeMarcus Cousins in free agency, they must take the best player available, and Bamba has all the tools to succeed in the NBA.
6. Orlando Magic: Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma — The most electric player in the draft should help Orlando's inefficient backcourt.
7. Chicago Bulls: Michael Porter Jr., G, Missouri — Injuries have plagued him, but he has first overall talent and could mesh well with the Bulls' young roster.
8. Cleveland Cavaliers: Wendell Carter Jr., F, Duke — The other star forward out of Duke is a better shooter than Bagley and more physical with the ball in his hands. His defense is a question, though.
9. New York Knicks: Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama — Great shooter and scorer, but he may not have the creativity to thrive as a point guard at the next level.
10. Philadelphia 76ers: Lonnie Walker, SG, Miami — Inconsistent last year with the Hurricanes, the former five-star recruit has the physical tools to resemble James Harden.
11. Charlotte Hornets: Robert Williams, PF, Texas A&M — After trading Dwight Howard to Brooklyn, Charlotte needs some muscle in the post. Williams is a freak athlete with a growing all-around game.
12. Los Angeles Clippers: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky — A sly point guard with a knack for the big shot. The Clippers need explosive guards with upside.
13. Los Angeles Clippers: Kevin Knox, F, Kentucky — The Clippers have not been able to find a starter-quality small forward for years. Knox ends their search with his shooting and length.
14. Denver Nuggets: Miles Bridges, F, Michigan State — Joining former Spartan Gary Harris in Denver would link two of the school's top players together in the NBA. Bridges is strong and an able shooter.
15. Washington Wizards: Mikal Bridges, F, Villanova — A late bloomer, and old for college draft standards (22 in August), but he's ready to step in and average 15 points per game as a rookie.
16. Phoenix Suns: Zhaire Smith, SG, Texas Tech — He had some rough games against top opponents last year, but his speed and streaky shooting make him enticing off the bench.
17. Milwaukee Bucks: Troy Brown, F, Oregon — An underrated prospect because he played out west for a struggling team, but Brown is long, athletic, good on defense and blessed with upside offensively.
18. San Antonio Spurs: Chandler Hutchison, F, Boise State — A bit of a late riser who can handle the ball, score and defend. Hutchison is an intelligent player fitting the Spurs mold.
19. Atlanta Hawks: Josh Okogie, G, Georgia State — Atlanta stays in-state to add another dynamic guard to the backcourt.
20. Minnesota Timberwolves: Khyri Thomas, G, Creighton — The Timberwolves need defense, and Thomas was among the best lock-down defenders in college basketball last season.
21. Utah Jazz: Donte DiVincenzo, G, Villanova — Could be a better pro than college player, and his shooting ability would pair nicely with Donovan Mitchell.
22. Chicago Bulls: Mitchell Robinson, C, sat out last season — After making a mess of his freshman college season, Mitchell was forced to sit out of all competition last year. One of the few true centers in the draft, he has top-10 upside.
23. Indiana Pacers: Kevin Huerter, SG, Maryland — A great shooter to pair with Victor Oladipo in the backcourt. Needs to get stronger.
24. Portland Trail Blazers: Dzanan Musa, SF, Bosnia — An interesting prospect who could remain overseas. Portland needs length, and Musa has superstar potential.
25. Los Angeles Lakers: Jalen Brunson, PG, Villanova — The Lakers struck gold late in the first round last year with Kyle Kuzma, and Brunson is a winner. He will stick in the NBA despite size and speed issues.
26. Philadelphia 76ers: Grayson Allen, SG, Duke — One of the most maligned college basketball players of all time, Allen has the shooting touch and competitive drive to succeed.
27. Boston Celtics: Elie Okobo, PG, France — The perfect developmental piece to wait in the wings behind Kyrie Irving. He could be the steal of the draft, or never take the court.
28. Golden State Warriors: De'Anthony Melton, PG, USC — The Warriors need to get young with their backcourt depth, and Melton is a dynamic scorer.
29. Brooklyn Nets: Jacob Evans III, SG, Cincinnati — Raw offensively, but long and skilled on defense. The Nets could be a defensive force next season with Howard and Evans.
30. Atlanta Hawks: Keita Bates-Diop, SF, Ohio State — Exploded as a senior last season. Did he figure something out, or was it the product of a down year in the Big Ten?
"It's a luxury for us to bring a young player into this environment."— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) June 20, 2018
Hear more from Bob Myers on his outlook heading into the NBA Draft tomorrow pic.twitter.com/S7ZQYlDBtC