NBA Mock Draft 2018: Updated 1st-Round Predictions After NCAA Championship

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistApril 3, 2018

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 10:  Deandre Ayton #13 of the Arizona Wildcats reacts after dunking against the USC Trojans during the championship game of the Pac-12 basketball tournament at T-Mobile Arena on March 10, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Wildcats won 75-61.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The 2017-18 college basketball season is officially in the books, which means it's time for dozens of players to turn their focus on the NBA draft.

Villanova won the national championship Monday with a 79-62 win over Michigan, which could have been the final college game for future NBA players such as Mikal Bridges, Moritz Wagner and possibly Jalen Brunson.

Many more didn't have quite the same success in the NCAA tournament as these guys, but that doesn't take away from what they can do at the next level.

NBA teams draft based on potential, and there is loads of it in this class.

The final draft order can still change with the final couple of weeks of the regular season, plus the lottery, but here is a first-round mock draft following the conclusion of the NCAA tournament.


2018 NBA Mock Draft

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1. Phoenix Suns: Deandre Ayton, C, Arizona

2. Memphis Grizzlies: Marvin Bagley III, C, Duke

3. Atlanta Hawks: Luka Doncic, PG, Slovenia

4. Orlando Magic: Mohamed Bamba, C, Texas

5. Dallas Mavericks: Jaren Jackson, PF, Michigan State

6. Sacramento Kings: Michael Porter Jr., SF, Missouri

7. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Nets): Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma

8. Chicago Bulls: Miles Bridges, SF, Michigan State

9. New York Knicks: Wendell Carter, PF, Duke

10. Philadelphia 76ers (from Lakers): Mikal Bridges, SF, Villanova

11. Charlotte Hornets: Robert Williams, C, Texas A&M

12. Los Angeles Clippers: Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama

13. Los Angeles Clippers (from Pistons): Kevin Knox, SF, Kentucky

14. Denver Nuggets: Lonnie Walker IV, SG, Miami

15. Phoenix Suns (from Heat): Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky

16. Phoenix Suns (from Bucks): Dzanan Musa, SF, Bosnia and Herzegovina

17. Washington Wizards: Mitchell Robinson, C, Western Kentucky

18. Chicago Bulls (from Pelicans): Khyri Thomas, SG, Creighton

19. Atlanta Hawks (from Timberwolves): Zhaire Smith, SF, Texas Tech

20. Utah Jazz: Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA

21. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Thunder): Keita Bates-Diop, SF, Ohio State

22. San Antonio Spurs: De'Andre Hunter, SF, Virginia

23. Indiana Pacers: Anfernee Simons, SG, IMG Academy

24. Philadelphia 76ers: Troy Brown, SG, Oregon

25. Los Angeles Lakers (from Cavaliers): Grayson Allen, SG, Duke

26. Portland Trail Blazers: Jontay Porter, PF, Missouri

27. Boston Celtics: Malik Newman, SG, Kansas

28. Brooklyn Nets (from Raptors): Daniel Gafford, C, Arkansas

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

30. Atlanta Hawks (from Rockets): Chandler Hutchinson, SF, Boise State


Top Picks

Deandre Ayton, C, Arizona

Phoenix Suns fans should not only be excited at the possibility of drafting Deandre Ayton but also the fact he wants to play for them.

When asked about a possible future NBA team in a radio interview with CBS Sports Saturday (h/t The Bright Side), the center says he dreams about lining up next to Devin Booker.

"Honestly, I could see myself in Phoenix," Ayton said. "I could see a little Shaq and Kobe 2.0."

Comparing himself to Shaquille O'Neal sets a high bar, but the 19-year-old was nearly as dominant at the college level. The freshman averaged 20.1 points and 11.6 rebounds per game this season, making 61.2 percent of his shots, including 34.3 percent from three-point range.

At 7'0" and 250 pounds, he is a physically imposing presence in the post who is agile enough to score from just about anywhere. This also won't stop at the next level.

While there are questions about his consistency on the defensive end, he is the most talented player in the entire class.


Marvin Bagley III, C, Duke

Big men who can score inside or out are tough to find in the draft, but this class has a few of them. If it weren't for Ayton, Marvin Bagley would be the most impressive player based on his physical tools.

SportsCenter captured some of the Duke star's biggest plays of the season:

SportsCenter @SportsCenter

This is what NBA fans can expect to see from Marvin Bagley: https://t.co/JAtAMfsZUD

Bagley's stats were just as good as Ayton's, including averages of 21.0 points and 11.1 rebounds per game as a freshman. He was an even better shooter from the perimeter, knocking down 39.7 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc.

What truly separates him from others at the position is his mobility at 6'11". He is capable of running the floor or driving to the basket; he plays like a guard until it comes to using his size to outmuscle smaller players inside.

Bagley also has a lot of room to grow considering he could have spent the past season in high school instead of reclassifying to the 2017 class.

Although the center isn't as big as Ayton or as good of a rim-protector, he could still be a star in the NBA.


Luka Doncic, PG, Slovenia

Lefteris Pitarakis/Associated Press

Fans are often skeptical of international players in the draft, usually only because they are unknown for common fans. However, there is no reason to doubt Luka Doncic.

Unlike many young players coming from Europe, the 19-year-old is facing arguably the top competition possible while playing for Real Madrid. He isn't just playing a small role either; he is filling up the box score against opponents much older than him.

Per Basketball Reference, Doncic is averaging 15.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game, helping his team in a variety of ways.

The Slovenian has the skills to be a pure point guard, but at 6'8", he would have a significant size advantage over most of the players defending him. He will be able to easily get his shot off while also finding extra passing lanes that wouldn't be available for a shorter player.

The Atlanta Hawks could use more help in the backcourt, which makes Doncic a perfect fit if he is available.


Mohamed Bamba, C, Texas

There are better offensive players in the class, but Mohamed Bamba might be the best defensive player in the country.

The center blocked 3.7 shots per game this season and altered quite a few more. His presence in the middle of the lane helped Texas become one of the top defenses in college basketball this year, ranked No. 12 in defensive efficiency by KenPom.com.

He also had impressive measurements at the USA Junior Select team last year, standing at 7'0" with shoes to go with a 7'9" wingspan, per USA Basketball. This will certainly help his skill set translate to the NBA.

Add in an outstanding rebounding ability, and Bamba has as high a floor as nearly anyone in this class.

Although the freshman still has a lot of room to grow offensively, he doesn't need to do much to justify this draft spot based on his work on the other end. He could be the player the Orlando Magic thought they were getting with Bismack Biyombo. 

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