NBA Draft 2018: 1st-Round Mock Draft, Landing Spots for Coveted Prospects

David McCracken@crackemcFeatured ColumnistMay 3, 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

With the NBA Playoffs on, it's easy to look past draft preparations and scouting reports on the next wave of NBA stars. But the reality is that June 21 is getting closer, and some teams will have their fortunes changed as a result of it.

This year's NBA draft is rich with talent, particularly in the first five picks, where each player could become a franchise cornerstone.

Before getting into any pre-draft projections, it's important to remember the NBA draft lottery has yet to take place, meaning that the first 14 picks in the draft won't be determined until May 15. 


NBA Mock Draft

1. Phoenix Suns: Real Madrid PG/SG Luka Doncic

2. Memphis Grizzlies: Arizona C Deandre Ayton

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

4. Atlanta Hawks: Texas C Mohamed Bamba

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

6. Chicago Bulls: Michigan State F/C Jaren Jackson Jr.

7. Sacramento Kings: Oklahoma PG Trae Young

8. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics): Duke C Wendell Carter Jr.

9. New York Knicks: Texas Tech G/F Zhaire Smith

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

11. Charlotte Hornets: Kentucky PG Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

12. Los Angeles Clippers (via Detroit Pistons): Alabama PG/SG Collin Sexton

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

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

15. Washington Wizards: Chalmette High School C Mitchell Robinson

16. Phoenix Suns (via Miami Heat): Cedevita Zagreb SF Dzanan Musa

17. Milwaukee BucksMissouri C Jontay Porter

18. San Antonio Spurs: Villanova PG Jalen Brunson

19. Atlanta Hawks (via Minnesota Timberwolves): Michigan State SF/PF Miles Bridges

20. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Oklahoma City Thunder): Miami SG Lonnie Walker IV

21. Utah Jazz: Nevada SF Caleb Martin

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: Kentucky SF/PF Kevin Knox

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

26. Philadelphia 76ers: Creighton SG Khyri Thomas

27. Boston Celtics: Michigan PF/C Moritz Wagner

28. Golden State Warriors: Cedevita SF Dzanan Musa

29. Brooklyn Nets (via Toronto Raptors): Villanova F/C Omari Spellman

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


Prospects to Watch 

Real Madrid PG/SG Luka Doncic

BELGRADE, SERBIA - MARCH 30: Luka Doncic (R) of Real Madrid in action against Branko Lazic (L) of Crvena Zvezda during the 2017/2018 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season game between Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade and Real Madrid at Aleksandar Nikolic H
Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images

Don't be scared of taking a European player off the board with the first overall pick—Luka Doncic is as elite of a prospect as it gets.

At just 19, Doncic has set the EuroLeague on fire this season, averaging 14.7 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.6 assists in 24.8 minutes per game. Offensively, Doncic can do a little bit of everything, and he can do it well. He's also a solid shooter from deep, with a career 33 percent clip from downtown.

Standing at 6'8", Doncic has the size of a point forward but the athleticism of a guard. How he fits in the NBA will depend on the situation put around him.

In this mock draft, the Phoenix Suns have the No. 1 pick and select Doncic for a few reasons. One of which is their new head coach, Igor Kokoskov, is familiar with Doncic's ability as a player after coaching him during with Slovenia's national team alongside Goran Dragic.

Doncic will be a top selection and should be a no-brainer for any team with at the top of the draft. He's that good.


Texas C Mohamed Bamba

Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

We have seen how players like Rudy Gobert can change the dynamic of a game with defense and an absurd wingspan. On that note, Mohamed Bamba could be the next elite rim protector.

At 6'11" with an 8'0" wingspan, it's hard to believe Bamba won't, at the very least, be a great defender at the next level. As a freshman at Texas, Bamba recorded a double-double, with 12.9 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. But the stat that stands out is his 3.7 blocks per game, which will terrify opposing guards at the next level.

During his one-and-done season with the Longhorns, it was rare to see a guard drive toward the basket with Bamba waiting in the paint, and for good reason.

While Bamba did have to deal with some foul trouble at times, he will be an opposing big who can rebound and block shots at an elite level as a rookie. The only questions surrounding his ceiling will come on the offensive end as he looks to build an arsenal of post moves and a reliable jumper. But if Bamba can put it all together, he will be a two-way force to be reckoned with. 


Missouri SF/PF Michael Porter Jr.

Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

One of the more highly touted recruits coming out of high school a year ago, Michael Porter Jr.'s stock plummeted after an injury-ravaged freshman season at Missouri.

While Porter did return for a late tournament run for his team, he didn't look himself from an offensive standpoint, lacking the explosiveness and athleticism on offense that drew comparisons to Kevin Durant coming out of high school.

But even though Porter didn't have the opportunity to impress in college, he stills ranks as a can't-miss prospect in this mock draft and among scouts. Why? Because his ceiling is downright ridiculous.

When healthy, Porter can do it all: score, pass, rebound and defend. Porter, 19, has the body (6'10") to play multiple positions on the wing for a team and be the dynamic scorer every team dreams of having.

It's understandable that some teams will be wary of what they saw during a brief stint in college and have some question marks regarding his medical history, but Porter is a legitimate playmaker who has all the tools to be a perennial All-Star at the next level.


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