NBA Mock Draft 2018: Updated Predictions for 1st-Round Prospects

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorApril 29, 2018

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 27: Luka Doncic, #7 guard of Real Madrid during the 2017/2018 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Play Off Leg Four between Real Madrid v Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens at WiZink Center on April 27, 2018 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Sonia Canada/Getty Images)
Sonia Canada/Getty Images

If you are a fan of an NBA playoff team still in the mix, then you might be poring over reporters' tweets and any other information you can grab as you hope for an NBA championship.

But if you are a fan of an NBA playoff team that has gone fishing or support an NBA team whose season effectively finished by the end of 2017, then you might be on the NBA trade machine or a lottery simulator, figuring out ways to fix your team's woes.

We will take a look at the lottery-simulator route here thanks to Tankathon. You can find three lottery scenarios below, focusing on the top three teams each time. You can also view a first-round mock draft with the current draft order (pick Nos. 15 through 30 are set in stone, while the first 14 selections will be decided on May 15).

             

NBA Mock Draft: Lottery

1. Phoenix Suns: Arizona C DeAndre Ayton

2. Memphis Grizzlies: Real Madrid PG/SG Luka Doncic

3. Dallas Mavericks: Duke F/C Marvin Bagley III

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

5. Orlando Magic: Missouri SF/PF Michael Porter Jr.

6. Chicago Bulls: Texas C Mohamed Bamba

7. Sacramento Kings: Duke C Wendell Carter

8. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics): Oklahoma PG Trae Young

9. New York Knicks: Kentucky PG Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

10. Philadelphia 76ers (via Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns): Villanova SF Mikal Bridges

11. Charlotte Hornets: Texas Tech G/F Zhaire Smith

12. Los Angeles Clippers (via Detroit Pistons): Missouri C Jontay Porter

13. Los Angeles Clippers: Alabama PG/SG Collin Sexton

14. Denver Nuggets: Ohio State SF/PF Keita Bates-Diop

           

NBA Mock Draft: Picks 15-30

15. Washington Wizards: Texas A&M C Robert Williams

16. Phoenix Suns (originally via Miami Heat): Villanova PG Jalen Brunson

17. Milwaukee Bucks: C Mitchell Robinson (Chalmette High School)

18. San Antonio Spurs: Cedevita Zagreb SF Dzanan Musa

19. Atlanta Hawks: Miami SG Lonnie Walker Jr.

20. Minnesota Timberwolves (originally via Oklahoma City Thunder): Michigan State SF/PF Miles Bridges

21. Utah Jazz: Kentucky SF/PF Kevin Knox

22. Chicago Bulls (via New Orleans Pelicans): Boise State SF Chandler Hutchison

23. Indiana Pacers: USC PG/SG De'Anthony Melton

24. Portland Trail Blazers: Nevada SF Caleb Martin

25. Los Angeles Lakers (originally via Cleveland Cavaliers): Cincinnati SF Jacob Evans

26. Philadelphia 76ers: Creighton SG Khyri Thomas

27. Boston Celtics: Villanova F/C Omari Spellman

28. Golden State Warriors: UNLV C Brandon McCoy

29. Brooklyn Nets (originally via Toronto Raptors): IMG PG Anfernee Simons

30. Atlanta Hawks (originally via Houston Rockets): Duke SG Gary Trent Jr.

           

Potential Lottery Scenarios: Top 3

1. Atlanta Hawks, 2. Los Angeles Clippers, 3. Phoenix Suns

By the time June 22 rolls around, the top choices for the No. 1 pick may be 7'1" Arizona big man DeAndre Ayton and 6'8" Real Madrid combo guard Luka Doncic. If the Atlanta Hawks get the first pick, it's too close to call as to which one is the better fit. Do they pair Doncic with point guard Dennis Schroder in the backcourt, or do they partner 2017 first-round pick John Collins with Ayton down low?

It's a tough decision, but Doncic is more of a facilitator than Schroder, who is a score-first point guard. Doncic might be a better fit for the Hawks on the offensive end.

With that, the Los Angeles Clippers (who somehow pulled off a huge upset and landed the No. 2 pick here) immediately take Ayton, who would replace DeAndre Jordan. The longtime Clippers center can opt out of his contract and become a free agent this offseason, and it's all but certain he will explore free agency and leave town, with the Clippers in clear rebuilding mode after dealing away most of their core over the past year.

The Suns should then take Duke forward Marvin Bagley Jr. to help down low. The team is already building around a core of Devin Booker, Josh Jackson and T.J. Warren and need some help in the paint and at the point. Bagley helps fill one of those needs.

                

1. Dallas Mavericks, 2. Sacramento Kings, 3. Cleveland Cavaliers

You can start ordering Dallas Mavericks jerseys with Ayton's name on them in mid-May if Dallas wins the NBA lottery. Ayton is the center the Mavericks have needed since Tyson Chandler patrolled the paint for the 2010-11 championship team. Ayton could form a great duo with point guard Dennis Smith Jr. that the Mavs could build around for the next 10 years.

The Sacramento Kings jump from No. 7 to No. 2 in this scenario, and they would likely decide between Doncic and Bagley. If the Kings are sold on building around 2017 first-round pick De'Aaron Fox, Bojan Bogdanovic and Buddy Hield as their backcourt of the future, then Bagley seems the best bet.

If the Kings feels as though Doncic's talent is too much to pass up, then they could pair him alongside Fox. The guess is the Kings would look to take Bagley to help alleviate the fourth-worst rebounding differential in the league.

The Cleveland Cavaliers would then sprint to the podium to take Doncic, who would become an immediate starter. He's likely the best fit alongside LeBron James should The King stay in Cleveland (he has a player option for next season).

The Cavs need someone who can score and facilitate from the backcourt, especially considering James has been picking up the slack with those duties this year following the Kyrie Irving trade. Doncic is the perfect fit in that regard.

                

1. Phoenix Suns, 2. Dallas Mavericks, 3. Memphis Grizzlies

This might be the most obvious lottery connection. If the Suns hold serve and get the No. 1 pick, they would almost certainly pick Ayton, who would fill the void left by unrestricted free agent Alex Len's departure. Veteran center Tyson Chandler is under contract for one more year and could act as a mentor for Ayton.

That leaves the Mavs to choose between Bagley and Doncic, and the guess here is they look to build a bridge from future Hall of Famer Dirk Nowitzki to Bagley at power forward. The Mavs were last in the league in rebounding differential, and Bagley would help there.

Expect the Memphis Grizzlies to then take Doncic, who would be the team's immediate starter at shooting guard alongside point guard Mike Conley. Memphis could also go with Michigan State forward Jaren Jackson Jr. to pair with center Marc Gasol down low, but Doncic's potential is too high to pass up.

Furthermore, the team needs to replace Tyreke Evans' production (19.4 points, 5.1 rebounds, 5.2 assists), as the veteran guard is a free agent and will almost certainly head elsewhere as the Grizzlies rebuild.

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