NBA Mock Draft 2018: Latest Predictions Entering Final Four

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMarch 26, 2018

Villanova's Mikal Bridges (25) drives on Radford's Donald Hicks (5) during the second half of an NCAA men's college basketball tournament first-round game Thursday, March 15, 2018, in Pittsburgh. Villanova won 87-61. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

The 2018 Final Four may not feature a ton of NBA draft lottery talent, but there are plenty of intriguing prospects on the rosters of Kansas, Michigan, Loyola-Chicago and Villanova.

With most of the high first-round talent out of the NCAA men's basketball tournament, the future pros left in the competition are hoping to showcase their respective skills one more time before moving on to the next level.

In the collection of players on the four rosters, there is one guaranteed first-round pick, while a few others are working their way up draft boards with their performances in the Big Dance.

Below is a look at a few NBA draft prospects to watch while you are taking in the Final Four Saturday night.

            

2018 NBA Mock Draft

1. Phoenix Suns: DeAndre Ayton, C, Arizona

2. Memphis Grizzlies: Luka Doncic, SG/SF, Slovenia

3. Atlanta Hawks: Marvin Bagley III, PF, Duke

4. Dallas Mavericks: Jaren Jackson Jr., PF, Michigan State

5. Orlando Magic: Michael Porter, SF, Missouri

6. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Brooklyn): Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma

7. Sacramento Kings: Miles Bridges, SF/PF, Michigan State

8. Chicago Bulls: Mohamed Bamba, C, Texas

9. New York Knicks: Mikal Bridges, SG/SF, Villanova

10. Philadelphia 76ers (via Los Angeles Lakers): Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky

11. Charlotte Hornets: Wendell Carter Jr., PF/C, Duke

12. Los Angeles Clippers (via Detroit): Robert Williams, PF/C, Texas A&M

13. Los Angeles Clippers: Kevin Knox, SF/PF, Kentucky

14. Denver Nuggets: Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama

15. Phoenix Suns (via Miami): Dzanan Musa, SF, Bosnia and Herzegovina

16. Phoenix Suns (via Milwaukee): Zhaire Smith, PG/SG, Texas Tech

17. Washington Wizards: Anfernee Simons, PG/SG, Unattached

18. Atlanta Hawks (via Minnesota): Khyri Thomas, PG/SG, Creighton

19. Utah Jazz: Daniel Gafford, PF/C, Arkansas

20. Chicago Bulls (via New Orleans): Trevon Duval, PG, Duke

21. San Antonio Spurs: Mitchell Robinson, C, United States

22. Indiana Pacers: Jontay Porter, PF/C, Missouri

23. Philadelphia 76ers: Chandler Hutchison, SG/SF, Boise State

24. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Oklahoma City): Troy Brown, PG/SG, Oregon

25. Los Angeles Lakers (via Cleveland): Lonnie Walker, SG, Miami

26. Portland Trailblazers: Brandon McCoy, C, UNLV

27. Boston Celtics: Gary Trent Jr., SG, Duke

28. Brooklyn Nets (via Toronto): Moritz Wagner, PF/C, Michigan

29. Golden State Warriors: Jalen Brunson, PG, Villanova

30. Atlanta Hawks (via Houston): Grayson Allen, SG, Duke

Draft order based on NBA standings following Sunday's games.

             

Final Four Prospects To Watch

Mikal Bridges, Villanova

The highest projected NBA draft pick left in the NCAA tournament is Villanova's Mikal Bridges.

Not to be confused with Miles Bridges of Michigan State, the guard has thrived in the postseason, starting with a tremendous three-game performance at the Big East tournament. 

What separates the 21-year-old from his teammates when it comes to translating to the next level is his length and athleticism.

As either a shooting guard or small forward, Bridges is a solid defender with the knack to drop shots into the basket from three-point range.

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 23:  Mikal Bridges #25 of the Villanova Wildcats watches his three point shot during the first half against the West Virginia Mountaineers in the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament East Regional at TD Garden on March 23, 2018 in Bost
Elsa/Getty Images

Since February 17, Bridges scored over 20 points on seven occasions and put together a streak of 11 games with three or more three-pointers before failing to make a shot from downtown in the Elite Eight.

NBA teams know what type of player they are getting in Bridges mentally as well, as he comes from one of the most hard-nosed programs in the nation.

Given his skill set and readiness for the next level, Bridges shouldn't last past the top 10, and he could jump into the top-five picks if a team loves him that much.

Although he has to work on his strength to be able to bang around with the big bodies in the NBA, that should come with time as he continues to grow.

              

Jalen Brunson, Villanova

Jalen Brunson is going to be an interesting draft case study over the next few months.

The unquestioned leader of Villanova is one of the best point guards in the nation, but he doesn't project as high on draft boards as Oklahoma's Trae Young or Alabama's Collin Sexton.

The 6'2" guard isn't going to blow anyone away with his size, but he more than makes up for that with his leadership and skill on the ball.

Look for Brunson to follow in the same path as past Villanova players from the Jay Wright regime and go in the late first round or early second round.

A year ago, Josh Hart was selected 30th overall, while Darrun Hilliard went 38th overall in the 2015 NBA Draft.

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 25:  Jalen Brunson #1 of the Villanova Wildcats handles the ball on offense against the Texas Tech Red Raiders during the second half in the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament East Regional at TD Garden on March 25, 2018 in Boston, M
Elsa/Getty Images

Brunson's experience is going to benefit any potential suitor, and if he hears his name called in the latter stages of the first round, he should end up on the roster of a perennial playoff contender.

Don't be surprised if the Golden State Warriors add the junior guard to their roster, as they bring aboard a player with championship experience.

Since he is a junior, the 21-year-old could come back to Villanova for his senior season and lead the Wildcats on another deep run into the Big Dance.

However, if Brunson feels he is ready to test the NBA draft waters, he should gain plenty of interest across the league.

              

Moritz Wagner, Michigan

Michigan big man Moritz Wagner is going to hear a ton of comparisons to Dirk Nowitzki because he's a German frontcourt player who possesses the ability to knock down three-point shots.

While he isn't as coveted as Nowitzki was when he entered the NBA draft, Wagner's stock receives a boost because of his play behind the three-point line.

The 20-year-old is a 52.4 percent shooter from the field, and he holds a 39.6 percent mark from beyond the arc, a number consistent from his production a year ago.

Jae Hong/Associated Press

Much like Brunson, Wagner enters the prospect pool with a wealth of experience and an improved resume from the coaching of John Beilein.

However, he is going to be a polarizing prospect in terms of where he lands on draft day, as he could go as high as the late first round or fall deep into the second.

Since few big men entering the selection process have as versatile a game as Wagner, he should work his way into the first round, as a team takes a chance on him because of his package.

There's also a chance Wagner spurns the NBA for another year and hones his skills further under Beilein at Michigan in order to boost his stock even more.

        

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90

Statistics obtained from ESPN.com

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