BallnRoll 2018 NBA First Round Mock Draft Predictions and Breakdown
The NBA Draft is almost a month away.
While the NBA playoffs are stealing all the spotlight, a new class of future NBA talent is ready to take over the headlines. From DeAndre Ayton to Luka Doncic to Jaren Jackson, the 2018 Draft class is filled with untapped potential and names who look to become the stars of the future.
As for how the first round of the draft will go, BallnRoll has put together its official first round mock draft, breaking down each lottery pick and projecting how the first 30 selections will play out.
1. Phoenix Suns: C DeAndre Ayton, Arizona
For a couple of months now, DeAndre Ayton has been the consensus top pick. With an NBA-ready body, the big man has an elite skillset, head and shoulders above of most centres at his age and stage of development. Despite a large, seven-foot, 260-pound frame, he is very athletic, has some quickness to his game, and can step out and shoot threes. While the defensive side of the ball is still a work in progress, the tools are there for Ayton to become a star on both ends of the floor.
2. Sacramento Kings: G Luka Doncic, Real Madrid
This year’s hot international prospect, Luca Doncic put on a show in the EuroLeague this season, which is outer-worldly when remembering that he is only 19-years of age. At 6’8”, 220-pounds, Doncic has great size, is a very polished scorer and ball handler, and while his shot-creating ability is not stellar by any means, he is a very capable shooter. While it is yet to be known if Doncic decides to come to the NBA next season, a future backcourt of De’Aaron Fox and Doncic should easily sell the Kings on the pick.
3. Atlanta Hawks: PF Marvin Bagley III, Duke
A long and incredible athletic power forward, Bagley has been one of the top two American prospects in the game through the entirety of the collegiate season. A great rebounder with the ability to step out and make shots, Bagley is still very left-hand dominant and lacks a potent offensive arsenal, but with his explosive athleticism and raw skillset, Bagley can very well turn into a double-double machine.
4. Memphis Grizzlies: PF Jaren Jackson Jr., Michigan State
A raw but talented big man, Jackson is long and versatile on both ends of the court. At this point, he is more of a project, but with the correct development, he can become one of the better big men in the entire NBA. He shows a great feel for the game with the ability to shoot from the outside, while showing that he can defend in space and at the rim on the other side of the ball. The Grizzlies are going through a turnover period, meaning if Jackson can come into his own in the next couple of years, the Grizzlies will be locked and ready to start a new chapter in their franchise’s history.
5. Dallas Mavericks: C Mo Bamba, Texas
Since Tyson Chandler, the Mavericks have not had a consistent fixture anchoring their defense inside the paint.
Enter Mo Bamba.
With an absurd 7’10” wingspan, Bamba is the best defensive player in the draft – the best rim protector and it isn’t even close really. While the offensive game is still not there, Bamba shows softer hands and a better touch then most big men who roam in the paint. If he can continue to develop a on the offensive side of the glass, Bamba can become a big part of the Mavericks future for many years to come.
6. Orlando Magic: SF Michael Porter, Missouri
While the medical information remains cloudy on Michael Porter, who missed his entire freshman season due surgery, the Missouri product has the chance to become the best scorer in this draft. At 6’10”, Porter has a Kevin Durant-like game and while the defensive side of the ball is not there yet, Porter is a big forward who can shoot and create his own shot. With the size and skill level that Porter brings to the table, teams will be chomping at the bit to see him fall to them on Draft night.
7. Chicago Bulls: C Wendell Carter, Duke
While the Bulls already have Lauri Markkanen in their front court, they will enter the Draft looking to pick the best player possible.
At seven, it will be Wendell Carter.
Overshadowed at Duke by the star power of Bagley, Carter has quietly turned himself into a top-10 NBA prospect. He can run the floor well for a big man, has a good touch around the basket, good footwork, and his shot can eventually expand beyond the three-point line. He isn’t the explosive athlete that Bagley is, but he has the tools to be a great player on the NBA level.
8. Cleveland Cavaliers: PG Trae Young, Oklahoma
No matter what LeBron James decides to do, the Cleveland Cavaliers need a point guard of the future. That will become a player James is a fan of in Trae Young.
An explosive scorer, Young has some flair to his game and is one of the top shooters in the draft – the best shooter at his position. The physical traits are not there with Young and that may be a cause for concern, but the Sooners guard is able to create his own shot, is quick off the dribble, and understands how to run his own offence while getting his teammates involved.
9. New York Knicks: PG Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Kentucky
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander really came on in the National Tournament.
At 6’6”, he is a long and lanky guard who will need some time to mature in the NBA game. The size sell and show does what he can do on both ends of the floor. As he continues to improve his offensive game, the former Wildcat could be a hidden gem in the draft, and while the Knicks aren’t known for bringing in a ton of those, this can be a step in the right direction for the franchise.
10. Philadelphia 76ers: SG Mikal Bridges, Villanova
What best to put around Ben Simmons then more shooters?
Mikal Bridges is the exact player who can instantly come in and make a difference for a team like the Sixers. The 6’7” guard shot 43-percent from long range in his freshman year at Villanova, helping the Wildcats win yet another National Championship. In an age where 3-and-D players are highly coveted, the Sixers should look no further than Bridges at number 10.
11. Charlotte Hornets: SF/PF Miles Bridges, Michigan State
While Jackson was the raw talent in Michigan State, Miles Bridges was their best player.
It will be interesting to see how he will fit on the next level, but the big forward is strong, powerful and does a lot of things well on the basketball court. He can knock down shots, is a good rebounder, and shows great skill and versatility. Despite all the good, the main question is his projectability. A great player on the collegiate level, it will be interesting to see where Bridges goes from here.
12. Los Angeles Clippers: SF Kevin Knox, Kentucky
With two picks in the lottery, this is the start of a new era for the Clippers and it will begin with Kevin Knox.
Knox is still very raw, but he is athletic, has tools, and as he gets stronger, he will be able to become an impact player on the offensive end of the floor. The 6’9” forward is only 18-years old and for a teenager to come into the draft with the tools that Knox does, he could turn into a draft day steal in a couple of years. A Kentucky kid, the pedigree and the promise should get Knox picked up at the back-end of the lottery.
13. Los Angeles Clippers: PG Collin Sexton, Alabama
The Clippers are on the clock again and this time they will select the point guard of their future in Collin Sexton.
While he may not be as explosive of a scorer as Trae Young or as big as Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Sexton is a very solid all-around player. At 6’1”, he is still going to get stronger and has come to be known for his high work ethic off the court. His scoring tools will translate over to the NBA and his quickness and good sense of balance will make him a threat whenever he gets into the paint.
14. Denver Nuggets: SG Zhaire Smith, Texas Tech
Another 18-year old filled with promise, Zaire Smith may not have much polish on the offensive side of the ball, but he may very well be the most athletic player in this draft, with incredible explosiveness unmatched in his class. It is a high-risk, high-reward pick for with the right development, Smith can become a very good two-way player in the NBA. Of course, on the flip side, all of that natural athleticism may never translate over into making Smith a legitimate NBA player.
One thing is for sure, the Nuggets have the luxury of taking a shot in the dark.
15. Washington Wizards: C Robert Williams, Texas A&M
16. Phoenix Suns: PG Aaron Holiday, UCLA
17. Milwaukee Bucks: SG Lonnie Walker, Miami
18. San Antonio Spurs: G Donte DiVincenzo, Villanova
19. Atlanta Hawks: G Anfernee Simons, IMG Academy
20. Minnesota Timberwolves: SG Kevin Huerter, Maryland
21. Utah Jazz: SF Troy Brown, Oregon
22. Chicago Bulls: SG Gary Trent Jr., Duke
23. Indiana Pacers: F/C Jontay Porter, Missouri
24. Portland Trailblazers: SF Dzanan Musa, Intl.
25. Los Angeles Lakers: G Landry Shamet, Wichita State
26. Philadelphia 76ers: C Mitchell Robinson, Chalmette
27. Boston Celtics: Khyri Thomas, Creighton
28. Golden State Warriors: SF Chandler Hutchison, Boise State
29. Brooklyn Nets: PG Jalen Brunson, Villanova
30. Atlanta Hawks: SG Grayson Allen, Duke