DeAndre Ayton

2018 NBA Mock Draft 1.0

#1: Phoenix Suns

Devan: DeAndre Ayton

The Suns can’t go wrong with the first overall selection. Luka Doncic would be the ideal player to select, but getting a dominant center to pair with Devin Booker is where the Suns will go.

Matt: DeAndre Ayton

Carved out of stone, Ayton is the most physically impressive center prospect in years. His floor is still that of a starting center in the League, making Ayton a safe pick with high upside as well. Phoenix will look to pair stud guard Devin Booker with a big man.

 

#2: Sacramento Kings

Devan: Marvin Bagley

While I believe the correct selection in the two hole would be Doncic, it’s the Kings. However, Bagley will provide the team with an immediate performer, who will be a Rookie of the Year favorite. While Bagley may never develop into an NBA superstar, his instant stat-padding will be enticing next to De’Aaron Fox.

Matt: Luka Doncic

The Kings have been linked to Michael Porter Jr.; however, this may be a smoke screen in order to force some GM to overpay for the Mizzou forward. With Vlade Divac running things, I see the Euro-to-Euro connection happening. Doncic is a transcendent passer who can turn average teammates into All-Stars. He’ll fit alongside anybody.

 

#3: Atlanta Hawks

Devan: Luka Doncic

The Atlanta Hawks need everything. Literally, everything. But, what better way to boost a rebuild than take the best player in the draft? Doncic will provide the Hawks and their fan base something to be hopeful about for the future. If Doncic ends up reaching the third pick on draft night, the Hawks need to run up to the podium to select this future Hall of Fame guard.

Matt: Mo Bamba

Considering he formerly worked for the Warriors, some bloggers have theorized that GM Travis Schlenk will try to recreate the Splash Brothers in Atlanta. Yet, Schlenk earned his job by outsmarting the competition. The guy knows how to mitigate risk and reward to his team’s benefit, expect the Hawks to go with Bamba here.

 

#4. Memphis Grizzlies

Devan: Jaren Jackson Jr.

It is no secret that the Memphis Grizzlies want to get back to the playoffs next season. They will be getting a fully healthy Mike Conley and Marc Gasol back next season. Pairing Jackson Jr. with those two gives Memphis a good shot of getting back to where they want to be. Jackson Jr. will be able to slide in right away and help on defense. And if the Grizzlies don’t make the playoffs and go rebuild mode, Jackson will be a strong core piece for the future.

Matt: Michael Porter Jr.

Memphis is rumored to love Michael Porter Jr. but they also have interest in trading down in the draft. This suggests that they have rated other players (wings) with a similar grade to Porter’s. That being said, I believe the Grizzlies roll the dice on MPJ. He is a high risk/high reward candidate, but after all, what does Memphis have to lose?

 

#5. Dallas Mavericks

Devan: Mo Bamba

A very high potential type of pick for the Dallas Mavericks, just the way Mark Cuban would like it. Bamba has all the potential in the world with his incredible wing span and off the charts athleticism. Bamba will fit right into what the Mavs are doing right away.

Matt: Jaren Jackson Jr.

Mark Cuban is someone who does not want to wait around. Still, he has been impressively patient. Cuban has TONS of cap space cleared to sign future free agents. To entice them, he may need someone to come in and contribute right away. This could be Bagley but, JJJ’s upside is too much for management to pass up.

 

#6: Orlando Magic

Devan: Michael Porter Jr.

What do the Magic have to lose? The team has been one of the most consistent, average lottery teams in the last handful of years. Why not take a forward with injury concerns? It’s a big risk for Orlando, but if Porter Jr. can stay healthy, he will be a nice fit next to Aaron Gordon.

Matt: Trae Young

A Young truther til I die, Orlando brings some life to its city. Filling seats is a part of the game, and Young will do so. The kid can play though, and Orlando will benefit from his non-stop work ethic. Young may be a bit of a gamble, but it is one worth taking if your team needs a guard.

 

#7: Chicago Bulls

Devan: Wendell Carter

What a perfect fit for Carter and the Bulls. Carter will be able to seamlessly fit in next to Lauri Markkanen and help the Bulls continue their rebuild. Built for the NBA with a massive wingspan, a good build, and tremendous agility, Carter will help Chicago get back to where they belong.

Matt: Marvin Bagley

I think Bagley will fall on Draft Night. This is a gambler’s league, and there are several prospects who possess a higher upside, if not a lower floor too. Bagley can slide into a power forward position. Sure, the Bulls will not have any rim protection; however, they get an energetic hustler who will thrive next to Kris Dunn.

 

#8: Cleveland Cavaliers

Mikal Bridges

Devan: Mikal Bridges

The Cleveland Cavaliers are in a tough spot on Thursday night. They need to choose if they will go 100% in on keeping LeBron, or take a young guy to build on for the future. Mikal Bridges provides a bit of both. Bridges will be an immediate impact, but he will also be able to develop into a cornerstone piece for Cleveland if LeBron leaves.

Matt: Mikal Bridges

Despite all of the noise, Cleveland has a realistic shot at retaining LeBron James. Mikal Bridges isn’t a “star” name but he can play right away for this squad. In fact, he would have seen more minutes than Clarkson and Hood in the Finals. Defensive wings who can shoot? If he stays, LeBron will love this kid. Kevin Knox is a fit here as well.

 

#9: New York Knicks

Kevin Knox

Devan: Kevin Knox

Knox is the perfect pick for the Knicks. Knox has been one of the biggest risers in the draft up to this point. There are rumors that Knox could go as high as pick six to Orlando. Knox will be able to slide into the small forward position and develop along with Porzingis and Ntilikina.

Matt: Kevin Knox

Some think NY goes point guard here, but I seem them adding a combo forward. Knox is a better shooter than his numbers at Kentucky indicate and has shown prowess working DHOs and moving off-ball. With guards like Walker, Dragic and Kyrie all (possibly) hitting Free Agency next off-season, look for New York to add the best player available regardless of position.

 

#10: Philadelphia 76ers

Devan: Trae Young

I have Trae Young sliding on draft night. There is a chance that he could go three to the Hawks, or six to the Magic, or even nine to the Knicks, but I think all those teams go a different route. Young will provide the Sixers with a high-upside scorer that is insurance to Markelle Fultz if he never gets over his injury problems.

Matt: Lonnie Walker IV

I liked Miles Bridges here, but where does he play when Embiid, Saric, Simmons, and Fultz are on the floor? His next position should primarily be as a stretch four. This is why I like LW IV here. As a shooting guard who grew up an hour away from Philly, Lonnie has serious catch-and-shoot potential. Combine his shooting ability with his athleticism and Philly may have a steal here.

 

#11: Charlotte Hornets

Devan: Miles Bridges

Star potential on the board at pick 11? Yes, please. After passing on Donovan Mitchell last year, the Hornets better not pass on Bridges this season. An explosive, three-point shooting forward is just what Charlotte ordered. Bridges will help Charlotte fans get back to being interested in the team after a handful of mediocre seasons.

Matt: Collin Sexton

Kemba Walker insurance? You betcha. New front office exec Mitch Kupchak will look to start his tenure in Charlotte with a safe pick. Sexton has a competitive nature that is contagious. He is a wonderful culture guy to build a new team around, and not a bad ball player either.

 

#12: Los Angeles Clippers

Devan: Collin Sexton

The Los Angeles Clippers have a lot of interesting questions to answer this offseason. First off, will DeAndre Jordan re-sign, or will he go his seperate way? Do the Clippers have the ability to entice the Spurs with a trade package for Kawhi Leonard? Either way, Collin Sexton is a great fit with Doc and the Clippers. A defense-first point guard with a terrific work ethic is a great value pick at 12.

Matt: Wendell Carter

Forwards Knox and Porter are on the rise, which means that someone has to get bumped out of the top 10. This player may be Wendell Carter. I have Carter in my top 7 and ranked above teammate Marvin Bagley. With DeAndre Jordan possibly leaving, Wendell will slide into the center role. Doc Rivers will love his passing IQ and ability to the stretch the floor, two skills that will modernize their offense.

 

#13: Los Angeles Clippers

Devan: Robert Williams

DeAndre Jordan insurance? You got it. Robert Williams will provide the Clippers with a backup plan if Jordan does indeed bolt this offseason. Williams is a terrific rim-running big man who will fit in nicely with Tobias Harris and Collin Sexton if the team goes that route with the twelth pick.

Matt: Miles Bridges

This dude being on the board here is criminal. Despite it being somewhat of a longshot, Bridges has star potential. West will recognize this. Bridges best case scenario is tantalizing, as he has shown glimpses of shot creation, perimeter shooting, and defensive versatility. Locking up a safe pick with Wendell Carter allows West to roll the dice a bit with this pick.

 

#14: Denver Nuggets

Devan: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

The Nuggets came one game away from sneaking into the Western Conference Playoffs last season. If they had a healthy Paul Millsap for the entire season, they likely do make the playoffs. Now, in the draft, taking SGA gives the team a great boost for the backup point guard spot. Devin Harris was great in that role last season, but he is not a long-term fix. SGA will get Jokic and others some easy baskets with his terrific passing ability.

Matt: Robert Williams

Good Lord, this team needs some defense. It is odd how a team with Gary Harris and Paul Millsap can be so bad on that end but boy, were they. I am not concerned with the fit between Jokic and Williams. Today’s offensive and defensive schemes will take care of this, power forwards can be paint protectors. This picks may guarantee Denver a playoff spot next year. SGA is an option here too, with Okobo as a sleeper.

 

#15: Washington Wizards

Devan: Lonnie Walker IV

Speaking of an average team that can never seem to get past the first or second round in the playoffs, here we are at pick 15 with the Wizards. The Wizards are in trouble. They have so much money on their books that it’s hard for them to improve in free agency. However, getting Walker IV at 15 is great value. Walker’s shooting ability will provide the team with a great scoring punch off the bench, and Walker has the ability to play with Washington’s starters in smaller lineups.

Matt: Elie Okobo

The Wizards have a great team, when healthy. If Williams is here, he is the pick. Yet, Washington will go with rising French stud Elie Okobo. Okobo has serious upside. Don’t be surprised if we look back at this draft and claim him as the best point guard. For now, he will learn the game from John Wall (not a bad mentor.) Washington can also take some minutes away from Wall as he ages; something they have to seriously consider.

 

#16 Phoenix Suns

Devan: Zhaire Smith

After taking Ayton with the first pick in the draft, Phoenix could look to go point guard at 16. However, with SGA off the board for me, the Suns shift their focus to Zhaire Smith. Smith is a great passing two guard that can develop alongside Booker and Ayton. Smith gives the Suns another dynamic and savvy wing to continue their rebuild.

Matt: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

If SGA is still on the board, Phoenix will grab him here. There are some point guards in this draft who have serious potential, SGA being one of them. His passing and craftiness, as well as his off-ball potential make him a good fit next to Booker and Ayton.

 

#17: Milwaukee Bucks

Devan: Mitchell Robinson

The Milwaukee Bucks need to get their roster in order, and quick. Giannis Antetokounmpo is playing great basketball, but he doesn’t have the supporting cast around him to win playoff series. Mitchell Robinson will give Milwaukee a much-needed center that can switch on defense and protect the paint. Robinson has a lot of questions, but Milwaukee will have enough of a reason to buy into his potential.

Matt: Troy Brown

The Bucks could use a center, but Troy Brown may very well be the best player available at this stage of the draft. He has major upside if he ever nails down that jumper. Regardless, he would enter the Bucks’ season as their best passer.

 

#18: San Antonio Spurs

Devan: Troy Brown

What a week it has been for the San Antonio Spurs and their fans and not in a good way. With Kawhi Leonard likely being dealt at some point this offseason, it is time for San Antonio to look at life without the “Klaw.” Brown has a great motor on defense and has the intangibles to be a great Gregg Popovich project. The ability to lockdown opposing players on defense and his offensive potential will make Spurs’ fans feel a little better about Kawhi leaving.

Matt: Zhaire Smith

I am not incredibly high on Smith, but the Spurs could gamble on him, if available. Their player development program is renown, just ask Danny Green, Dejounte Murray and that Leonard guy. He has the athletic tools, Pop can teach him the game.

 

#19: Atlanta Hawks

Devan: Elie Okobo

Even with Doncic being the pick at three for the Hawks, Atlanta should never exclude getting more guards. Okobo has the chance to be great, really great. In five years, we might look back at Okobo and wonder why so many teams passed on him, that’s how good he can be. If the Hawks have the chance to get that kind of potential at 19, the team needs to take him, no matter how overloaded they could be at guard.

Matt: Khyri Thomas

With Bamba taken with their first selection, Atlanta will look to add wing depth. Thomas looks every part of a 3 and D wing and will bring superior defense to a Hawks team that really needs it. He reminds me of Avery Bradley, and someone the Hawks could build around going forward.

 

#20: Minnesota Timberwolves

Devan: Kevin Huerter

The Thiberbulls need to add shooting at this point at any cost. The team is stuck playing old-school basketball when the rest of the league is attempting hundreds of more threes than Minnesota. Huerter will come in right away and be able to knock down shots for Minnesota off the bench. DiVincenzo is also an intriguing pick for the Wolves with this pick.

Matt: Donte DiVincenzo

I have Donte just outside my top 30, but the Wolves may fall in love with his shooting skills. They need a floor spacer, and DD is just that. Khyri Thomas is an option here as well, if he is still on the board.

 

#21: Utah Jazz

Devan: Dzanan Musa

A team can never have enough shooting. The Utah Jazz were a big surprise last season gaining the fifth seed in the West and advancing to the second round of the playoffs. Now, they will look to improve and further that run. Adding Musa to play off the bench or next to Donovan Mitchell can’t go wrong. A sniper from three, Musa will space the floor enough to give Mitchell his space to attack the rim.

Matt: Keita Bates-Diop

With Derrick Favors as a free agent, Utah will try and replenish their forward position. KBD is a combo forward who does a little bit of everything. He won’t be a star player, but he looks like a younger Jonas Jerebko.

 

#22: Chicago Bulls

Devan: Chandler Hutchison

If the rumors are true, Hutchison has a first round promise from the Bulls. Hutchison will be able to slide in nicely with Chicago, adding energy and effort right off the bat.

Matt: Chandler Hutchison

It has been rumored that Hutchison received a first round promise from the Bulls. They would be getting a high energy combo forward who compliments their existing roster nicely.

 

#23: Indiana Pacers

Devan: Aaron Holiday

This may be a bit early for Holiday, but the Pacers need to take the chance. Holiday is a great play-making guard who will get easy looks for Victor Oladipo and Myles Turner. In addition, Holiday has the chance to be great off the ball, when Oladipo is running the show late in the game. Holiday shot 42% from three at UCLA and has the chance to be an electric shooter in the NBA.

Matt: De’Anthony Melton

The USC product would make for a nice fit next to Oladipo. Melton is a defensive gem with an improving jumper. With Darren Collison set to hit free agency next year, this could be a good value pick at the guard spot.

 

#24: Portland Trail Blazers

Devan: De’Anthony Melton

Lillard and McCollum insurance? Not quite, but potentially for down the road. The Blazers are committed to running it back and taking another shot with Lillard and McCollum. Melton will give the team a nice backup guard that can help in the short term, but also give the team security down the road.

Matt: Dzanan Musa

Musa is a shifty European prospect who can shoot the heck out of the ball. Portland could use a sniper like him and stretch the floor for them when wings like Harkless and Turner are off the court.

 

#25: Los Angeles Lakers

Devan: Donte DiVincenzo

The Lakers love shooting, and that’s what Donte DiVincenzo does best. After a great performance in the NCAA Tournament and at the NBA Combine, DiVincenzo is climbing up draft boards. There’s a chance he’s not even on the board for the Lakers, but if he is, L.A. should pounce. Getting another shooter on the roster to play with Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram has the ability to be special, even if LBJ doesn’t join the team.

Matt: Mitchell Robinson

L.A. may be looking for a big man. They could lose out on Julius Randle during RFA, as they may let him walk to free up cap space. Robinson is a project but has flashed promise during workouts. He is a boom or bust candidate, but I like him at this part of the draft.

 

#26: Philadelphia 76ers

Devan: Keita Bates-Diop

Keita Bates-Diop is just what the doctor ordered for Philly. He isn’t a flashy player, and he won’t be a star. But, KBD will be a solid role player for many years in the NBA. KBD gives Philly depth at the forward position, and he can even play the center position in a small ball lineup.

Matt: Landry Shamet

Many do not project Shamet to be a first rounder but, I think Philly may nab him here. They brought him in for a recent workout and he may have made a lasting impression. What makes this pick hard to predict is the fact that Philly has some 2nd rounders to burn. Who do they give a guaranteed contract to?

 

#27: Boston Celtics

Grayson Allen

Devan: Grayson Allen

Allen has been impressive leading up to the draft. His athleticism was off the charts at the combine, and the word is that he’s been dominating pre-draft workouts. Allen will give the Celtics another wing (which isn’t a huge need, but Ainge always goes best available) that can light it up from deep off the bench.

Matt: Grayson Allen

The Duke Connection is real. Allen wowed during his Celtics workout. Apparently, he lost some weight and is regaining the explosiveness he displayed during his sophomore season. Allen fits the Cs mold perfectly, as he is a gritty competitor with a high IQ and legit NBA range.

 

#28: Golden State Warriors

Devan: Khyri Thomas

If Khyri Thomas slips to the Warriors at 28, watch out, the Warriors are getting another diamond in the rough. Thomas has the potential to be a solid 3 and D player in the league for a long time. Thomas can develop behind Golden State’s stars and even help the team complete their quest to win a third straight championship.

Matt: Melvin Frazier

Frazier has been linked to the reigning champs. A bouncy wing, Frazier will fit right into the Warriors defensive schemes. He needs to get rid of the hitch in his J but has potential to relieve some of their aging wings and guards of minutes.

 

#29: Brooklyn Nets

Devan: Gary Trent Jr.

Brooklyn got on the right track last season. They can add to that this season by getting Trent Jr. from Duke. Trent has the ability to fill it up on the offensive end, and he has potential on the defensive side of the ball. Nets fans will be happy to see the rebuild continue to go in the right direction if Trent Jr. is the pick.

Matt: Josh Okogie

This is a good landing spot for the Georgia Tech guard. Okogie goes to a place with solid player development, a blossoming coach and minutes to be handed out. I like Okogie here, as he can work out the kinks in his game.

 

#30: Atlanta Hawks:

Devan: Josh Okogie

MORE GUARDS. It may be a stretch having Atlanta taking three guards in this draft, but with the situation Atlanta is in, they need to take best player available, no questions asked. Okogie can turn into a great player if he’s placed in the right system. I think Atlanta is a good fit for Okogie as he will get minutes right away to help his development.

Matt: Aaron Holiday

This would be a steal for Atlanta. They may not be in love with their current point guard. Holiday won’t be able to send Schroeder to the bench forever but, he can steal some minutes away. Holiday has NBA range and can bury threes in a variety of ways.

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