2018 NBA Mock Draft: Full First-Round Predictions Post-Trade Deadline
Another wild NBA trade deadline should have implications on the 2018 draft.
The Los Angeles Lakers will take the Cleveland Cavaliers' first-rounder (top-three protected) as a part of the Isaiah Thomas trade, per ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski. And after the Orlando Magic dealt Elfrid Payton to the Phoenix Suns, per Wojnarowski, they suddenly need a point guard of the future.
Between the draft's strong top 10 and teams having multiple selections, we should eventually see more trades involving picks as we inch closer to June 21.
There still isn't a clear-cut No. 1, and there may not be until the lottery or even draft night. Who goes first likely will come down to the team making the pick, as each general manager could have a different prospect atop his board.
This mock draft order is based on the standings heading into Thursday, Feb. 8.
1. Dallas Mavericks: Luka Doncic (Slovenia, PG/SG, 1999)
NBA executives continue to fly out to Spain for more looks at Luka Doncic, who's remained steady, productive and right in the mix for the No. 1 pick.
The Dallas Mavericks have been keeping tabs on Euroleague's leader in player efficiency rating. Though he's only 18 years old and is playing against tougher competition compared to the NCAA, Doncic has been as consistently effective as any top college prospect.
Over Real Madrid's last five games, he's averaging 16.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists in just 24.1 minutes.
A 6'8" playmaker with three-point range and unique basketball IQ, Doncic would complement Dennis Smith Jr. with size, shooting and setup-passing skills.
2. Atlanta Hawks: Deandre Ayton (Arizona, C, Freshman)
The Atlanta Hawks could have their eyes on Deandre Ayton, even if they win the lottery.
He'd give them an anchor to build around and feature in the half court, where he's currently averaging 1.189 points per possession, ranking in the 98th percentile.
Shooting 59.5 percent on post-ups, 45.1 percent on jump shots and 10-of-16 out of isolation, Ayton has developed into a skilled offensive player both inside and out.
Improving defensively will be the priority, but between his quickness and 7'5 ½" wingspan, he has tremendous tools to work as a rim protector. He's spending time at Arizona guarding both big-man positions alongside Dusan Ristic.
3. Sacramento Kings: Marvin Bagley III (Duke, PF/C, Freshman)
The Sacramento Kings will use the draft to address their uninspiring frontcourt.
Marvin Bagley III can give it a major boost with his athleticism, motor and developing inside-out scoring ability. The Kings could also look at Michael Porter Jr. and Mohamed Bamba, but Bagley's production and upside will make for too persuasive of an argument in Sacramento's war room.
A high-active presence around the rim, Bagley has also now made 17 three-pointers.
Scouts should remain wary of his defensive issues, which showed up during Duke's loss to St. John's on Saturday. Bagley rarely blocks shots (3.1 block percentage, per Sports Reference), and he generally gets scored on too easily for a player with his foot speed.
But the Kings won't let that deter them from the bouncy, energetic 18-year-old, who's averaging 21.4 points and 11.2 rebounds in 32.5 minutes. They'll take their chances on his defense improving and his ball-handling, post game and jumper creating major mismatch versatility.
4. Orlando Magic: Trae Young (Oklahoma, PG, Freshman)
After trading Elfrid Payton at the deadline, the Orlando Magic could retool in the draft and go in a completely different direction.
Still leading the country in scoring and assists, Trae Young would give Orlando a highly advanced shot-creator and shot-maker at the point. With Aaron Gordon and Jonathan Isaac, the Magic could also be hesitant to clog their frontcourt by adding Michael Porter Jr. or Mohamed Bamba.
Despite questions about Young's size and athleticism, he's still quick and skilled off the dribble. He also hasn't had trouble getting past anyone, including strong college defenders like West Virginia's Jevon Carter.
Even if Young isn't the next Stephen Curry or Steve Nash, his ability to break down defenses, set the table and shoot are convincing strengths likely to translate to the NBA.
5. Phoenix Suns: Mohamed Bamba (Texas, C, Freshman)
The Phoenix Suns must prioritize improving their defense, which ranked last leaguewide heading into Thursday's action, per NBA.com. They can do so by drafting Mohamed Bamba, who's blocking 4.1 shots in 30.5 minutes per game.
His potential as a rim protector could change Phoenix's identity, which currently revolves around scorers Devin Booker and TJ Warren, who've generated a lot of empty production.
Despite Texas having lost first-rounder Jarrett Allen and his 7'5" wingspan, Bamba has the Longhorns ranked No. 5 nationally in defensive efficiency, per KenPom.com. The more intriguing development: He is averaging 18.4 points with five three-point makes over his last five games.
Phoenix will value his defensive upside, but signs of improving scoring and shooting tease at a ceiling that could reach unicorn level.
6. Memphis Grizzlies: Michael Porter Jr. (Missouri, SF/PF, Freshman)
Michael Porter Jr. could go as high No. 3, but his back injury—plus Orlando's need for a point guard and Phoenix's need for defense—allow the Memphis Grizzlies to grab him at No. 6.
He's back on Missouri's bench and moving around without any visible trouble. His medical reports will still be a big draw before the draft, though. As long as they check out and he gives them to the Grizzlies, they could have a tough time passing on him, since some scouts viewed Porter as the draft's No. 1 prospect in October.
A 6'10" combo forward, Porter would give Memphis a much-needed scorer at the 3 or 4.
7. Cleveland Cavaliers : Jaren Jackson Jr. (Michigan State, PF/C, Freshman)
The Cleveland Cavaliers already should be targeting Jaren Jackson Jr., the nation's leader in box plus-minus (second in defense). The Michigan State product is swatting 6.0 shots per 40 minutes.
His 7'4" wingspan and defensive instincts combine to create a monster in rim protection. But he's also shooting 44.1 percent from three and 79.1 percent at the free-throw line.
With teams either looking for bigs to stretch the floor or defend, Jackson does both. And at just 18 years old, there is enormous room for him to improve in other areas offensively.
At this point, No. 7 is starting to look like Jackson's draft floor. Each of the top six teams will wind up looking at him as well.
8. Chicago Bulls: Mikal Bridges (Villanova, SF, Junior)
Mikal Bridges would fill a three-and-D hole between Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen.
He'd be a fitting complement on the wing. The Chicago Bulls would value his shooting (41.5 percent from three-point range) and defense (1.7 steals, 1.2 blocks), but signs of an expanding offensive repertoire suggest there is far more upside for coaches to unlock.
Bridges is 13-of-26 on post-ups and 5-of-11 out of isolation, and he's generating .90 points per possession as a pick-and-roll ball-handler.
9. Philadelphia 76ers (via Lakers): Wendell Carter Jr. (Duke, C, Freshman)
Wendell Carter Jr. has started to climb into the top 10 on scouts' boards.
The Philadelphia 76ers could view him as the best player available or a fit alongside Joel Embiid.
Consistent and skilled, Carter is averaging 14.4 points on 61.3 percent shooting, beating defenses with polished post moves, soft touch and a nose for the ball on the offensive glass.
His ability to score inside and out could work next to Embiid, but the versatility to play center (6'10", 259 lbs, 3.1 blocks per 40 minutes) should be another selling point for Philadelphia.
10. New York Knicks: Miles Bridges (Michigan State, F, Sophomore)
This draft has become even more important for the New York Knicks after they lost Kristaps Porzingis to an ACL tear. Now in tank mode and expected to prioritize young players' development over winning, the Knicks could use an additional building block.
It wouldn't hurt to add one who's athletic, which means Miles Bridges should already be on New York's watch list. One of the draft's most explosive leapers, he also makes 2.1 three-pointers per game and shows the potential to guard multiple positions.
With spot-ups, transition and off-screen action accounting for 57.6 percent of his offense, Bridges hasn't been able to show anything new as a shot-creator, which scouts wanted him to improve upon after last year. But the Knicks are likely to value his athleticism, shooting and motor while ultimately hoping his off-the-dribble skills get better over time.
11. Charlotte Hornets: Kevin Knox (Kentucky, SF/PF Freshman)
The Hornets lack upside at both forward positions, and though Knox won't compete for Rookie of the Year, the 18-year-old, 14.9-point scorer will be an enticing long-term play. He's in a slump, shooting just 11-of-32 over Kentucky's last three games. But performances like his 34-point effort against West Virginia, when he buried five threes and showcased his athleticism attacking the basket, fuel intrigue and optimism.
12. Utah Jazz: Chandler Hutchison (Boise State, SF, Senior)
The Jazz need forwards, and Hutchison continues to strengthen his case as a top-20 prospect. He hit a game-winner at New Mexico on Tuesday (23 points, 12 rebounds), and he's now up to 19.9 points per game, turning heads with his mix of size, athleticism, ball-handling (3.6 assists) and attacking. Signs of an improving jumper (1.4 three-pointers) will make it easier to reach and gamble on Hutchison's versatility.
13. Los Angeles Clippers (via Pistons): Collin Sexton (Alabama, PG, Freshman)
The Clippers may have found something in Tyrone Wallace, but with two lottery picks, they won't pass on Sexton. Their point guard depth chart is full of role players. Sexton would give them another scorer and extra toughness, even if he struggles to develop as a facilitator.
14. Los Angeles Clippers: Robert Williams (Texas A&M, C, Sophomore)
The Clippers held on to DeAndre Jordan, but it couldn't hurt to add insurance behind him. Jordan has a player option for next season, and the Clippers have already started retooling the roster. Williams, who's blocking 3.8 shots per 40 minutes (again) and shooting 64.3 percent, has drawn comparisons to Jordan in the past due to his defensive tools and athleticism.
15. Philadelphia 76ers: Lonnie Walker IV (Miami, SG, Freshman)
Averaging 18.0 points over Miami's last eight games, Walker is finding his scoring rhythm. He's starting to take advantage of the opportunity created from Bruce Brown Jr.'s injury. Long and explosive, Walker has a promising 2-guard foundation from which to build between his tools, athleticism and jump shot. He could replace JJ Redick if the veteran departs in free agency.
16. Phoenix Suns (via Heat): Dzanan Musa (Bosnia & Herzegovina, SG/SF, 1999)
The Suns could look to draft-and-stash with their second first-round pick, and Musa has emerged as the clear-cut No. 2 international behind Doncic. He's been hot and cold, but at 18 years old, he's a top-15 scorer in the Adriatic League.
17. Chicago Bulls: Troy Brown (Oregon, SG/SF, Freshman)
The Bulls can add another wing in Brown, who's interchangeable at the 2 and 3 with 6'7" size, playmaking skills (.968 points per possession as a pick-and-roll ball-handler) and familiarity working off the ball (30.5 percent of offense out of spot-ups). He needs to improve his shooting, but he's still making a three-pointer per game, and he's shown he can defend multiple positions.
18. Portland Trail Blazers: Keita Bates-Diop (Ohio State, SF/PF, Junior)
Breakout star Bates-Diop hasn't slowed down, having just gone for 35 points and 13 rebounds against Illinois on Sunday. He's developed into a complete three-level scorer, knocking down 1.8 threes per game and torching defenses from the mid-range and elbows. He's a late-bloomer at 21 years old, but Bates-Diop's tools and production could be too enticing for Portland to pass up.
19. Denver Nuggets: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Kentucky, PG, Freshman)
The Nuggets could add another Kentucky guard to pair with Jamal Murray. Gilgeous-Alexander lacks Murray's shake and scoring punch, but Denver will value his two-way playmaking, specifically the ability to facilitate and force turnovers (1.7 steals) on defense.
20. Indiana Pacers: Anfernee Simons (IMG, PG/SG, 1999)
Simons is a wild card, as he's still in high school, contemplating whether to attend college. But he's also draft-eligible (post-grad) and is interested in testing the waters. Quick and athletic with takeover scoring ability and a jumper, Simons' upside could be worth chasing, even if he'll need to spend next year in the G League working on his floor game and point guard skills. Multiple NBA teams were in attendance (as was Bleacher Report) to watch him go off for 29 points at the Hoophall Classic in January. According to ESPN's Mike Schmitz, the Pacers just saw him drop 36 points last week in Sarasota, Florida.
21. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Thunder): Shake Milton (SMU, PG/SG, Junior)
Milton will miss time with a hand injury, but he's made a noticeable jump through 22 games, and the 18.0 points and 4.4 assists could already be enough. Shooting over 42 percent from three for the third consecutive season, Milton has also become a more complete scorer, particularly off the ball (32.6 percent of offense). He's generating 1.339 points per possession out of spot-ups, where he's converting his drives to the basket (43.8 percent) and runners (6-of-10).
22. Milwaukee Bucks: Daniel Gafford (Arkansas, PF/C, Freshman)
Gafford has drawn attention for his activity above the rim, specifically easy baskets and shot-blocking. He's also flashed a budding post game with quick moves and wiggle playing back-to-the-basket. Gafford is a project, but the Bucks aren't looking at any obvious contributors for 2018-19.
23. Washington Wizards: Jontay Porter (Missouri, C, Freshman)
Even with a smaller role off the bench, it's still easy to detect Porter's pro potential. It was obvious on Tuesday at Mississippi, when he went for 18 points, 13 rebounds, five blocks and four assists in 23 minutes. Porter lacks speed and explosiveness, but at 6'11" and 240 pounds, he's developed soft hands, three-point range and strong instincts as a passer and shot-blocker. The big question is whether he leaves with his brother or stays another season at Missouri.
24. Los Angeles Lakers (via Cavaliers): Brandon McCoy (UNLV, C, Freshman)
McCoy isn't a sexy scorer, but it's tough to argue against his consistent production or the tools he's using to average 17.6 points and 9.9 rebounds on 59.1 percent shooting. At 7'1" and 250 pounds, he's a low-post option and presence on the offensive glass, but he'll need to improve as a rim protector.
25. Atlanta Hawks (via Timberwolves): Mitchell Robinson (USA, C, 1998)
The Hawks can take chances with one or more of their three first-rounders. Ineligible for the G League after leaving Western Kentucky before the season, Robinson is training for the draft and should still draw first-round interest for his power, explosiveness and room to improve skill-wise.
26. San Antonio Spurs: Landry Shamet (Wichita State, PG, Sophomore)
Shamet went cold for three games late in January, but he bounced back on Tuesday with 20 points and five assists against Memphis. He isn't a standout athlete, but he possesses good size at the point, passing IQ and elite shooting numbers—44.6 percent from three, 40.0 percent on pull-ups and 45.2 percent on total jump shots in the half court.
27. Brooklyn Nets: Gary Trent Jr. (Duke, SG, Freshman)
Trent has his flaws and weaknesses, including shot-creating, athleticism and defense. But his shooting and scoring instincts are becoming easier to buy. Averaging 19.6 points over Duke's last seven games, Trent is on the rise, and he could start to interest teams that value shot-making.
28. Boston Celtics: Bruce Brown Jr. (Miami, SG, Sophomore)
Foot surgery could cost Brown six weeks and a chance to improve his stock, which hasn't taken off during what was supposed to be his breakout year in Miami. He's shot poorly and hasn't improved his scoring in the half court. However, Brown's tools and athleticism, pick-and-roll offense and defensive versatility should be enough in the 20s.
29. Atlanta Hawks (via Rockets): Hamidou Diallo (Kentucky, SG, Freshman)
Diallo has hit a wall, averaging just 6.0 points over Kentucky's last seven games. Struggling to make shots or create good ones, he hasn't developed skill-wise the way scouts wanted. Diallo still remains worth gambling on this late in the first round for his explosive athleticism and potential to improve as a ball-handler, shooter and defender.
30. Golden State Warriors: Trevon Duval (Duke, PG, Freshman)
Duval has had trouble scoring consistently without a three-ball or perimeter shot-creating ability. At No. 30, the Warriors see an opportunity to add another ball-handler who can put pressure on the defense and set up teammates. It's worth finding out whether his jumper can improve.
Chandler Hutchison (Boise State, SF, Senior): Up eight spots
Hutchison continues to rise and look more like a future NBA scoring wing. He's also dished out at least five assists in three of Boise State's last four games. He could have something to offer even without a consistent jump shot, though signs of it improving only strengthen his case further.
Bruce Brown Jr. (Miami, SG, Sophomore): Down 11 spots
Brown was having a down year before his injury. Now, he may not even have a chance to redeem himself. Even if he does return before Miami finishes its year, Brown won't have much time to ease concerns over his scoring (11.4 points) and shooting (26.7 percent from three-point range).
Gary Trent Jr. (Duke, SG, Freshman)
Lonnie Walker IV (Miami, SG, Freshman)
Grayson Allen (Duke, SG, Senior): Allen was a disaster in Duke's loss to St. John's, finishing 1-of-7 with three turnovers and two assists. For a 22-year-old, inconsistency and a discouraging defensive outlook could knock Allen into the middle of the second round.
Jalen Brunson (Villanova, PG, Senior): Not everyone sees an NBA player in Brunson, arguably the top point guard in college basketball. He remains a question mark for scouts due to a glaring lack of speed and athleticism. He'll need the right general manager in the 20s for a shot to go in the first round. The emergence of younger prospects like Walker and Trent could make it difficult.
Stats courtesy of Synergy Sports unless otherwise noted.