Here is the official 789 Media 2018 NBA Mock Draft.
After previewing three of the top prospects available to be selected this year, we are taking a shot at predicting tonight’s first round, including trades:
1. Phoenix Suns – DeAndre Ayton, C
Ayton has been a near lock to join Phoenix since they landed the top pick in the lottery. He showed flashes of being a dominant center in college, and has a high ceiling to become one of the top big men in the NBA. For the Suns, Ayton fills a hole in the middle of their lineup that has been there since F/C Amare Stoudemire left the team for New York.
2. Sacramento Kings – Mo Bamba, C
Bamba may have superior athleticism to Ayton, and could very well be the best big man in this draft.
However, at the current moment, Bamba has more holes in his game than Ayton, but still has gobs of potential.
Bamba steps in and becomes the starting center day one, offering a superior offensive and defensive option to anything Sacramento has now.
3. Atlanta Hawks – Luka Doncic, G
Doncic is the wildcard of this draft.
My gut tells me that he’s going to be day one starter in the NBA, and a potential franchise changer.
The Hawks need all the help they can get, and have been rumored to be looking to move on from starting PG Dennis Schroder.
Doncic would be able to take over for Schroder, and learn in a low-pressure situation while Atlanta builds a team around him for a few seasons.
Clippers acquire #4 and F Chandler Parsons for picks #12, #13 and F Danilo Gallinari
4. Los Angeles Clippers – Michael Porter Jr., SF
Porter Jr. is another wildcard in this draft, spending most of his only season in the NCAA recovering from back surgery.
However, he was the number one rated player coming out of high school before his injury, and the Clippers need a building block.
Porter Jr. would not only fill a position of need for Los Angeles, but he’d give them a possible centerpiece for their ongoing rebuild.
Of course, trading up into the top 5 of the draft would prove costly, requiring the Clippers to take on Parsons’ less than desirable contract.
5. Dallas Mavericks – Marvin Bagley III, F
The Mavericks will end up with Bagley III, the consolation prize of all the top picks.
With the size of a “tweener” or a big man that isn’t big enough to play center but is a larger power forward, it will be interesting to see how Bagley III’s game translates to the NBA level.
He will definitely need to work on his shooting to become a stretch four, but he is solid on both ends of the floor and has good athleticism.
6. Orlando Magic – Trae Young, G
The Magic have lacked a scoring punch for years, and have struggled with guard play for as long as I can remember.
While I think Young would be a huge gamble here, he could become the focal point of an offense that would allow him all the space and time with the ball in his hands that he needs to be productive.
Slotting in Young next to F Aaron Gordon would give the Magic the makings of a possible solid core going forward.
7. Chicago Bulls – Wendell Carter Jr., C
Chicago needs a big man in the center of the lineup, and Carter Jr. can be just that.
As one of the under the radar players at Duke, Carter Jr. showed that he can do it all on both ends of the floor.
He is only 6’10”, which is a tad undersized for a center in the NBA, but playing next to F Lauri Markannen in a young Bulls’ lineup should allow Carter Jr. to succeed.
8. Cleveland Cavaliers – Collin Sexton, G
At the beginning of last year’s NCAA season, Sexton was the most raved about guard coming out of high school.
With superior athleticism and a knack for play making, Sexton showed why he can be a difference maker at the NBA level.
His biggest question mark is whether he can get his shooting stroke down, which would complete his offensive game.
Whether or not F LeBron James stays in Cleveland, Sexton could start at point guard on day one of the regular season.
9. New York Knicks – Jaren Jackson Jr., F
New York has a ton of holes, allowing them to target almost any available player with this pick.
However, I’m going to guess that they roll with the best available player approach, scooping up Jackson Jr. with the ninth pick.
He would provide the Knicks with an outstanding defensive presence and another big man to play alongside F Kristaps Porzingis.
10. Philadelphia 76ers – Lonnie Walker IV, G
The Sixers need to walk away with a play maker from this draft.
Walker IV has one of the most well rounded offensive games of this draft, and the potential to grow into a solid NBA starter.
Walker IV would fill the Sixers’ need for a guy that can create his own shot, and offer superior shot-making, athleticism, and play making ability than any other player that would be available at 10.
11. Charlotte Hornets – Kevin Knox – F
The Hornets need someone who can make shots from the wing, while also providing solid defense.
They need to look no further than Knox, who was a standout freshman at Kentucky, and started all 37 games.
He has the potential to be better than any of the wing options the Hornets currently have on their roster.
12. Memphis Grizzlies – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, G
The Grizzlies traded down to these back-to-back picks (in my prediction) and will be able to add multiple players to fill multiple holes.
Gilgeous-Alexander is a 6’6″ point guard that would slot in well behind G Mike Conley. He can learn behind Conley for a season before taking his superior athleticism and play making ability to the starting lineup in 2019.
13. Memphis Grizzlies – Mikal Bridges, F
Bridges is one of the best two-way prospects available in the draft, and helped Villanova win a title last season.
Memphis has holes on the wing, and Bridges would be able to slide in and have time to develop on a squad that will have low expectations going into next season.
14. Denver Nuggets – Miles Bridges, F
Denver could take a number of players at this spot, but I project them to land Bridges here.
The team is rumored to be attempting to move F Kenneth Faried, and Bridges would give them a young wing/big man that could have time to develop on a fairly deep team.
15. Washington Wizards – Robert Williams, F
Williams is one of the lesser mentioned big men coming into this draft.
After struggling with injuries and pace-of-play last season, plugging Williams into the lineup would provide Washington’s guards John Wall and Bradley Beal an athletic big man to run the floor with.
Phoenix trades #16 and G Brandon Knight to the Atlanta Hawks for #19, future first round pick (protected) and G Dennis Schroeder
16. Atlanta Hawks – Jerome Robinson, G
After landing Doncic at 3, I think Atlanta will try to move Schroeder to allow their top pick to start this season.
Trading with Phoenix for this pick would allow them to bring back a veteran like Brandon Knight to help mentor rookies, while also allowing them to select Robinson, who was one of the top shooting guards in the NCAA last season.
Robinson scored over 20 points per game during his junior year at Boston College, and could provide a scoring punch next to Doncic for years to come.
17. Milwaukee Bucks – Zhaire Smith, G
Smith is one of the players that is being selected more on his potential in the league than what kind of player he is currently.
He only averaged just over 11 points per game in his lone season at Texas Tech, but he provides good size (6’5″) at the shooting guard spot, and would be able to come along slowly on this deep Bucks team.
18. San Antonio Spurs – Aaron Holiday, G
Holiday lit up the stat sheet as a junior at UCLA, scoring just over 20 points per game and just under six assists per game.
Plus, his family lineage is littered with NBA players, as both of his brothers Justin and Jrue have been on NBA rosters throughout the past decade.
Aaron may be the smallest of the three, but he also could be the most explosive.
Landing in San Antonio would allow Holiday to learn from G Tony Parker for a season before taking the reins of the team in 2019.
19. Phoenix Suns – G Anfernee Simons
Simons is one of the most highly debated players in the draft.
He didn’t play in the NCAA last season, instead electing to stay at an IMG prep school to prepare for the draft.
Taking Simons here would mean that the Suns believe in his potential because he wouldn’t do much but come off the bench in his first season.
However, given a year to build his body up and learn the NBA game, Simons could prove to be a steal down the stretch.
20. Minnesota Timberwolves – Troy Brown, G
Minnesota is hurting for another rotational guard after G Jamal Crawford declined his player option earlier this week.
Brown can play both guard positions, and has superior size (6’7″) at either spot.
Of course, Minnesota is a deep team, so Brown can ease his way into the lineup.
21. Utah Jazz – Gary Trent Jr., G
The Jazz will continue the run of guards, taking Trent Jr. out of Duke.
Playing shooting guard in college, Trent provided solid shooting and good size (6’6″) from the wing.
He’s the type of player a playoff team will look to draft as he played for a big time college coach at a big time college program and projects to be a very solid pro.
22. Chicago Bulls – Chandler Hutchinson, G
Hutchinson is one of the older players in this draft, playing all the way through his senior year at Boise State.
However, in his final season, he averaged just under 20 points per game.
He could enter the mix with guards Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn for playing time on a young Bulls’ team.
23. Indiana Pacers – Kevin Huerter, G
A shooting guard in college, Huerter has the size to play on the wing in the NBA (6’7″) and the shot-making ability to be a great spot up shooter.
On the Pacers, Huerter could come off the bench and be a solid spot up shooter.
24. Portland Trailblazers – Mitchell Robinson, C
Portland is most lacking in the post, but you aren’t going to walk away with a starting big man here.
Robinson is a big man (7’2″) but lacks experience and could need a full red-shirt season before seeing the NBA floor.
However, if the Trailblazers are willing, they could secure Robinson as their big man of the future and take the season to keep him in the gym and film room to prepare him for 2019.
25. Los Angeles Lakers – Keita Bates-Diop, F
An interesting combination of size, speed, and physicality, Bates-Diop would provide the Lakers with another “tweener” on their roster.
Bates-Diop could play on the wing and as a center in a small lineup, and played through his junior year at Ohio State, gaining experience that should help him transition to the NBA.
26. Philadelphia 76ers – G Donte DiVincenzo
Philadelphia is already burning down.
The Sixers could take the hero from Villanova’s championship run this past season.
DiVincenzo definitely needs work before making an impact at the NBA level, but he has the size and ability to play at both guard spots.
As of now, the Sixers have a hole at guard on their roster. However, they could take DiVincenzo and stash him at the G-League for much of the season.
27. Boston Celtics – Elie Okobo, G
Okobo is a guard from France that I personally don’t know too much about. However, there are a number of guards available at this point of the draft, and he could be a draft-and-stash option for Boston.
28. Golden State Warriors – Mortiz Wagner, F
Wagner is a 6’11” big man that can play multiple spots for the defending world champs.
Obviously, playing time would be scarce for Wagner, but that would give him time to build up his body and spend time in the film room.
He has the potential to be a solid stretch four in the NBA with the right team and situation. Golden State could be the best fit in the draft for Wagner.
29. Brooklyn Nets – Josh Okogie, G
At this point in the draft, teams are selecting players that have caught their eyes.
I have no way of knowing whether or not Okogie is a favorite of Brooklyn, but he is 6’4″, played two seasons at the NCAA level, and should be able to play multiple positions in the NBA.
Those are the kind of players the Nets need to add.
30. Atlanta Hawks – Omari Spellman, F
Spellman played only one season at the NCAA level, but won a championship with Villanova in that lone season.
He’s a bit too small to be a center in every lineup, but has the versatility to play there if need be.
Spellman would provide the Hawks with a big guy that could play multiple positions and grow into his role on a bad team.
This is how I project the 2018 NBA Draft’s first round to play out. Let me know what you think on Facebook or Twitter @caleahearn11.