HURRY! EVERYONE GATHER ROUND! WE DON’T HAVE MUCH TIME! We’re only a few short hours from the start of the 2018 NBA Draft and I’ve waited til the last second to build my mock. I do this for two reasons: First, draft day trades are absurdly frustrating when you feel like you have a good mock. Second, there’s so much misdirection and flip-flopping leading up to the draft that you don’t get a very clear picture til about…….NOW!
1. Phoenix Suns- DeAndre Ayton
This has been the pick for weeks. I have a hard time seeing a scenario where Ayton doesn’t become a more than serviceable player. With that being said, I’d still take Luka Doncic. Ayton’s defense scares the hell out of me as a potential suitor. We’ve seen good college defenders recently not pan out (KAT), and we’ve seen shitty defenders be completely exposed to the point that regardless of how good they are on offense, they can’t get on the floor (Jahlil Okafor). Ayton has the tools to be a solid defender and his future is depending on him figuring out that end of the floor. Upside comparison: DeMarcus Cousins
2. Sacramento Kings- Marvin Bagley III
In the last few days, Bagley’s name has come up over and over again for this pick. It’s by far the most confident I’ve felt about what the fuck the Kings might do with this pick. Once again, LUKA FUCKING DONCIC is still on the board and probably won’t be picked. Besides not taking Doncic, this feels like a pretty safe pick. Bagley was incredible with Duke this year and has the offensive talent, and rebounding prowess, to be a 20 and 10 guy in only a couple of years. Upside comparison: Amar’e Stoudemire
3. Atlanta Hawks- Luka Doncic
Ahhhhh yeahhhh, there’s my guy. While this seems like the obvious pick to me, it’s far from a sure thing. The Hawks like Mo Bamba and Jaren Jackson Jr., but the recent news that Dennis Schoder is on the block indicates that they might be looking at a PG for this pick. It also seems like they like Trae Young, so I’d consider them as a real possibility to move down. If they do snag Doncic, then they have a potential star on their hands. The athleticism and defense are the main concerns, but I can’t imagine passing on his combination of size, skill, and experience at the third pick. Upside comparison: Bigger, better Manu Ginobili
4. Memphis Grizzlies- Jaren Jackson Jr.
Whatta steal for Memphis. At four they can still get a 3 and D big man, who fits next to Marc Gasol perfectly. JJJ could potentially be the best rim protector in the class, while also being just about as good at his perimeter defense. He didn’t get a ton of minutes at Michigan State but he showed his ceiling-less potential in the minutes he got. Gasol should be a great player to learn behind and could shape JJJ into a one of a kind player. Upside Comparison: Draymond Green without the play making
5. Dallas Mavericks- Mo Bamba
The opinions on Bamba are all over the place. I tend to side with the optimists. Besides the fact that the Mavs have had a hard on for a big man since Tyson Chandler left, Bamba is a physical freak of nature. He’s 7’1” with a 7’10” wingspan and he blew people away with his sprint at the combine. Recently, we’ve also seen videos come out of him looking like a potential threat from outside, and if those shots fall once hes actually in the league then we’ve got an all star on our hands. Upside comparison: Rudy Gobert with a jump shot
6. Orlando Magic- Trae Young
I was originally very confident in this pick, but in the last few days people seem to be cooling on Young even more. The problem for the Magic is that they absolutely need shooting and a PG and he fills both of those needs. Everyone else on the board would further logjam the 3-5 positions. I’d consider the Magic another team that’s very likely to make a move from this pick. Upside comparison: Steph Curry if Steph was an actual human being
7. Chicago Bulls- Michael Porter Jr.
MPJ is the most interesting case in the draft class. He could end up being an injury prone dud who doesn’t accomplish anything in the league, or he could be the best player in the class and a future MVP candidate. Back injuries are obviously a huge red flag, and this new hip injury could be a symptom of that back injury. We have plenty of reasons to doubt MPJ, but his confidence and upside is worth the risk at 7. Upside comparison: “KD but more aggressive, Giannis but with a jump shot, and a splash of T Mac” -Michael Porter Jr.
8. Cleveland Cavaliers- Wendell Carter Jr.
Honestly, I have no idea what the Cavs plan on doing with this pick. It depends on if they think they have a shot at LeBron still. I don’t believe they do and I believe they take the best player available. Carter Jr. spent most of this season in Bagley’s shadow but showed a very well rounded game in Bagley’s absence. He’s very Al Horford-ish. We didn’t get a great look at his defense because Coach K didn’t wanna bother teaching this team man defense, but he seems like an intelligent player and should be able to adjust quickly. Upside comparison: Al Horford
9. New York Knicks- Kevin Knox
Kevin Knox and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander have been the two biggest risers in the last week. Both have jumped from mid teens to potential top 10 picks. SAG seems unlikely here due to last year’s pick of Frankie Smokes. Knox fills one of the many needs of this team and could be a good fit next to KP on the offensive end. Rebounding and defense becomes a concern but the Knicks don’t have to worry for awhile because Knox will take a few years to shape into the play they need him to be. Upside comparison: Tobias Harris
10. Philadelphia 76ers- Mikal Bridges
The 76ers get the most NBA ready guy in the back end of the top 10. Being the 76ers are probably going to lose JJ Redick this offseason, they’re going to need a replacement and Bridges should help make the adjustment a lot smoother. Replacing a vet like JJ is never easy, especially with a rookie, but the 76ers couldn’t find a more capable guy than Bridges at this point in the draft. Upside comparison: Slightly better Trevor Ariza
11. Charlotte Hornets- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
SGA could find his way into the top 10 but it’s tough to find a spot for him. Charlotte has been looking to move Kemba and this seems like a suitable replacement. SGA should enter the league as a good defender right out of the gate, similar to Frankie Smokes last year. He’s also a good play maker and could end up being much more than just a defensive stud. He’s very skilled at finding where he needs to be on the court and how finding a way to get there. Upside comparison: Rajon Rondo
12. THE Los Angeles Clippers- Collin Sexton
I’ve seen a lot of other mocks having Sexton taken a few picks earlier, but I want him on the Clippers so bad that I’m gonna try speaking it into existence. Sexton plays with the kind of fire you want out of all your players. He’s gotta work on his shot and shot selection, but when you have a guy who tries this hard you’re likely to get a contributor very early in their career. At 12, I couldn’t be any happier than to get a guy like Sexton. Upside comparison: Eric Bledsoe
13. THE Los Angeles Clippers…again- Miles Bridges
Miles Bridges has a chance to let Lob City live on for a few more years. The Clippers are a little stuffed at the positions we’d want him to play, but at this point I think he’s become underrated and is a bit of a steal at 13. This is just a deep draft and at this point you’re going to start to get a lot of really good value picks. Bridges is a little rough around the edges but when you can get an athlete like this this late, you jump on it. Upside comparison: Rich man’s Jae Crowder
14. Denver Nuggets- Zhaire Smith
I don’t know a ton about Zhaire Smith other than that he’s an absolute freak of nature. We’re talking about a guy who could be the next slam dunk champ. I like this pick for the Nuggets because they have the shooters and need more of an above the rim presence. I can see it now, Smith back cutting some poor bastard and catching a lob from Jokic. Upside comparison: Young Gerald Green
15. Washington Wizards- Psyyyyyych
I ain’t doin more than the lottery you selfish bastards….
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