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2018 NBA Mock Draft: Early Predictions for Next Year's Class

Andy Bailey@@AndrewDBaileyFeatured ColumnistJune 22, 2017

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 7:  Luka Doncic, #7 guard of Real Madrid and Jaycee Carroll, #20 guard of Real Madrid during the 2016/2017 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Regular Season Round 30 game between Real Madrid and Anadolu Efes Istanbul at Barclaycard Center on April 7, 2017 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Sonia Canada/Getty Images)
Sonia Canada/Getty Images

With the 2017 NBA draft upon us, this year's class has been analyzed, broken down, ordered and reordered over and over again. Now, it's time to take an early look at what 2018 has to offer.

Much like this crop of prospects, the 2018 class has some intriguing talent at the top of the board. Luka Doncic has been a productive role player in Spain's top league since he was 17. Michael Porter Jr. looks like he has the potential to be one of the nation's top scorers right away. And DeAndre Ayton could fit right in with the NBA's recent center revolution.

Those three and 27 others are included in the full mock, absent which teams will be picking, below:

     

1. Luka Doncic (Slovenia/Real Madrid, SF/PG, 18)

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As mentioned above, Doncic has been a regular contributor to one of the best teams outside the NBA for two seasons now. He's 18.

The young, 6'6" wing averaged 17.3 minutes for Real Madrid over the last two seasons, a healthy amount for a role player in Spain. And he posted 13.5 points, 7.7 rebounds and 6.3 assists per 36 minutes. His true shooting percentage over that span was .600, per DraftExpress.

As Real Madrid teammate Jaycee Carroll told Bleacher Report, "He can do it all."

Doncic may not have the kind of explosive athleticism that some other top prospects have at his age, but his skill level and decision-making are ahead of most players 10 years his senior.

    

2. Michael Porter Jr. (Missouri, SF/PF, HS Senior)

Porter was ridiculously productive in his final season at Nathan Hale High School in Seattle. He put up 24.8 points, 11.1 rebounds and 2.5 assists on his way to Gatorade National Player of the Year honors.

And his coach may have already given him a leg up on the competition in this year's class. "In the gym, he's teaching me NBA guy stuff all the time," Porter said of Brandon Roy, per Tom Westerholm of MassLive.

A 6'10" combo forward under the tutelage of Roy? In his time with the Portland Trail Blazers, Roy was one of the smoothest wings in the league. Imagining elements of his game in a frame the size of Porter's is scary.

      

3. DeAndre Ayton (Arizona, C, HS Senior)

        

4. Miles Bridges (Michigan State, SF/PF, Freshman)

Michigan State freshman Miles Bridges was working his way up 2017 boards before a surprise withdrawal from this year's draft.

His combination of size and athleticism makes him an intriguing combo forward, one of the NBA's hottest positions right now. Think of Jae Crowder or fellow Spartan Draymond Green. Bridges has enough guard skills to run at the wing, and he's also stout enough to hold his own inside against bigs.

If he asserts himself as one of the best players in the NCAA as a sophomore, which he's more than capable of, he could climb into the top five.

        

5. Mohamed Bamba (Texas, C/PF, HS Senior)         

6. Wendell Carter (Duke, PF, HS Senior)

7. Collin Sexton (Alabama, PG, HS Senior)      

8. Robert Williams (Texas A&M, PF/C, Freshman)     

9. Trevon Duval (Duke, PG, HS Senior)     

10. Jaren Jackson (Michigan State, PF/C, HS Senior)         

11. Isaac Bonga (Germany, SF/PF, 17)

        

12. Hamidou Diallo (Kentucky, SG, Freshman)

Like Bridges, Kentucky's Hamidou Diallo had his name in the hat for 2017 for a bit. In fact, he tested the waters long enough to participate in the NBA Scouting Combine, where he wowed in the athletic tests.

Per NBA.com, Diallo's 44.5-inch vertical was the best at this year's event. He was also second in the shuttle run and third in the three-quarter sprint.

If he's given a chance to run some offense from the wing this season with the Wildcats, he could become one of the most tantalizing prospects for 2018. 

          

13. Lonnie Walker (Miami, SG, HS Senior)           

14. Mitchell Robinson (Western Kentucky, C, HS Senior)          

15. Bruce Brown (Miami, SG, Freshman)      

16. Chimezie Metu (USC, PF/C, Sophomore)        

17. Troy Brown (Oregon, SG, HS Senior)       

18. De'Anthony Melton (USC, PG, Freshman)

19. Dzanan Musa (Bosnia and Herzegovina, SF, 18)         

20. Justin Jackson (Maryland, SF, Freshman)       

21. Shake Milton (SMU, PG, Sophomore)         

22. Arnoldas Kulboka (Lithuania, SF, 19)      

23. Andrew Jones (Texas, PG, Freshman)

           

24. Nick Richards (Kentucky, C, HS Senior)

Jamaica native Nick Richards will join Diallo on next season's Kentucky squad. In his last season of high school basketball in New Jersey, he showed a promising combination of size and explosiveness.

Richards didn't put up huge raw numbers for The Patrick School, but he stands 6'11" with a 7'4" wingspan, and as DraftExpress' Jonathan Givony wrote, he is "super agile for his size. Can really run when motivated. Able to sit down and slide laterally. Nimble diving to the rim out of pick-and-roll."

If Kentucky coach John Calipari can figure out how to keep Richards motivated and aggressive, he could push his stock closer to next season's lottery.

      

25. Tadas Sedekerskis (Lithuania, SF, 19)     

26. Tyus Battle (Syracuse, SG, Freshman)         

27. Grayson Allen (Duke, SG, Junior)          

28. Vlatko Cancar (Slovenia, PF, 20)       

29. Rawle Alkins (Arizona, SG, Freshman)         

30. Mikal Bridges (Villanova, SF, Sophomore)

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