2018 NBA Mock Draft: Prospects Facing Major Fall Down Draft Boards

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistApril 23, 2018

Miami's Lonnie Walker IV (4) walks off the court after their 64-62 loss to Loyola-Chicago in a first-round game at the NCAA college basketball tournament in Dallas, Thursday, March 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

NBA draft stocks are fluid up to the minute league commissioner Adam Silver starts announcing picks.

Nothing can sabotage a draft prospect quicker than a medical red flag or off-court trouble. But damage can also be done by struggling at the wrong time (when the stakes are highest) or failing to impress on the workout circuit.

Risers and fallers aren't always the easiest to notice, because in this superstar-driven league, a lot of the predraft chatter centers on the class' top picks. Still, there are warning signs if you know where to look.

After running through a fresh one-round mock, we'll spotlight three prospects in danger of falling down the draft boards.


2018 NBA Mock Draft

1. Phoenix Suns: Deandre Ayton, C, Arizona

2. Memphis Grizzlies: Luka Doncic, SG, Slovenia

3. Dallas Mavericks: Mohamed Bamba, C, Texas

4. Atlanta Hawks: Jaren Jackson Jr., PF/C, Michigan State

5. Orlando Magic: Marvin Bagley III, PF/C, Duke

6. Chicago Bulls: Michael Porter Jr., SF/PF, Missouri

7. Sacramento Kings: Mikal Bridges, SF, Villanova

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

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

10. Philadelphia 76ers (from Lakers): Kevin Knox, SF, Kentucky

11. Charlotte Hornets: Miles Bridges, SF/PF, Michigan State

12. Los Angeles Clippers (from Pistons): Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama

13. Los Angeles Clippers: Robert Williams, C, Texas A&M

14. Denver Nuggets: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky

15. Washington Wizards: Troy Brown, SG, Oregon

16. Phoenix Suns (from Heat): Zhaire Smith, SF, Texas Tech

17. Milwaukee Bucks: Mitchell Robinson, C, USA

18. San Antonio Spurs: Anfernee Simons, SG, IMG Academy

19. Atlanta Hawks (from Timberwolves): Lonnie Walker IV, SG, Miami

20. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Thunder): Khyri Thomas, SG, Creighton

21. Utah Jazz: Dzanan Musa, SG/SF, Bosnia and Herzegovina

22. Chicago Bulls (from Pelicans): Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA

23. Indiana Pacers: Keita Bates-Diop, SF/PF, Ohio State

24. Portland Trail Blazers: Chandler Hutchison, SF, Boise State

25. Los Angeles Lakers (from Cavaliers): De'Anthony Melton, SG, USC

26. Philadelphia 76ers: Jacob Evans, SG/SF, Cincinnati

27. Boston Celtics: Grayson Allen, SG, Duke

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

29. Brooklyn Nets (from Raptors): Jontay Porter, C, Missouri

30. Atlanta Hawks (from Rockets): Elie Okobo, PG, France


Prospects Facing Potential Fall

Lonnie Walker IV, SG, Miami

Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

It's hard to find the area on Lonnie Walker IV's college stat sheet where you feel he shored up that area as an obvious NBA strength.

He looks the part with the requisite length and athleticism. But it's hard to find those physical advantages on his stat sheet.

He averaged just 11.5 points on 41.5 percent shooting (34.6 percent from three). There wasn't much separation between his average assists (1.9) and turnovers (1.2). He only finished sixth on the Hurricanes in offensive and defensive rating.

Further threatening his stock is the fact his last collegiate film was anything but flattering, as Mike Schmitz detailed for ESPN.com:

"Walker ended his freshman season ... on a major low point as he crumbled down the stretch, capping off an otherwise uninspiring performance. The talented 19-year-old guard was burned on the perimeter twice in the final minute, fumbled the ball out of bounds while up one with 23 seconds remaining and eventually missed the front end of a one-and-one that opened the door for a buzzer-beating three-pointer."

Walker needs seasoning as a ball-handler, decision-maker and defender. His shooting percentages highlight the need for more improvement there, too. If you're drafting him, you're doing it for upside, but he still didn't flash as much as you'd like.


Chandler Hutchison, SF, Boise State

Otto Kitsinger/Associated Press

If scouts keep film of Chandler Hutchison's final collegiate outing on a loop, consider that a big win for the former Bronco.

While his team was ousted, the senior swingman could not have done more. He played all 40 minutes, connected on 11 of his 17 shots and finished with 39 points, 14 rebounds and four assists.

So, what's the issue?

Well, teams aren't drafting Hutchison based off one game. They're looking at the body of work, and his is marred by inconsistency. Before that postseason performance, he averaged only 14.3 points on 31.6 percent shooting and went 3-of-12 from distance over his previous three outings.

Therein lies Hutchison's challenge between now and the draft—prove he's a good enough shooter to succeed in today's perimeter-oriented game.

He checks off a lot of interesting boxes, making him the kind of versatile wing most teams are trying to get. But everything related to shooting remains unchecked. Over his four-year run at Boise State, he averaged just 1.1 threes per 40 minutes on 35.3 percent shooting. His career 68.7 free-throw percentage suggests it could be tricky for him to find the touch.

He'll turn 22 before the draft, an age at which most prospects compensate for lower ceilings with higher floors. Hutchison—who went without a three in nine of his 31 games as a senior—seemingly lacks the accuracy of a sure thing.


Landry Shamet, PG/SG, Wichita State

John Raoux/Associated Press

Landry Shamet should have his fair share of fans among NBA scouts.

He has good size for his position (6'4"), sound decision-making (career 4.1 assists against 1.5 turnovers) and a steady stroke from range (44.1 percent outside over his two full seasons).

But outside of being tall, he's not exactly dealing with the most impressive physical tools. He's thin and has problems with physicality. He also lacks speed, which bothered him against collegiate defenses and could be a deal-breaker against big-league stoppers.

His last outing not only underwhelmed (11 points on 3-of-13 shooting), his difficulties came in the areas that already concerned scouts. He struggled with ball pressure. He couldn't finish in traffic. He had a hard time just initiating the offense.

And it's not like this came against the Boston Celtics or the Utah Jazz. He was playing the Marshall Thundering Herd, ranked 126th in defensive efficiency.

"Scouts praise his skill level and basketball IQ, but there are concerns about his lack of speed and strength, which showed in the loss," Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman wrote. "Considered a fringe first-rounder entering the NCAA tournament, Shamet could have something to play for now at the NBA combine."


Statistics used courtesy of Sports-Reference.com and KenPom.com.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.