NBA Draft 2018: Complete 1st-Round Mock Draft and More

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMay 6, 2018

AUSTIN, TX - FEBRUARY 7: Mohamed Bamba #4 of the Texas Longhorns plays defense against the Kansas State Wildcats at the Frank Erwin Center on February  7, 2018 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Chris Covatta/Getty Images)
Chris Covatta/Getty Images

For a four-year period from 2009 to 2012, the middle to back ends of the NBA draft lottery were filled with future NBA All-Stars.

Golden State Warriors point guard Steph Curry and Toronto Raptors shooting guard DeMar DeRozan respectively went seventh and ninth in 2009. Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward and Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George were selected ninth and 10th in 2010.

The following year, Charlotte Hornets point guard Kemba Walker and Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson filled the ninth and 11th slots. Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard and Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond were respectively taken sixth and ninth in 2012.

Although some lottery teams will be disappointed if they don't land a coveted top-three pick this year—the lottery determines the top three teams, while the rest of the order is determined by regular-season record—it's not impossible to find a future All-Star or even a Hall of Famer later on.

Here's a look at a new mock draft, as well as analysis on a few players who could be taken in the middle of the lottery.


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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 Jr.

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

9. New York Knicks: Alabama PG/SG Collin Sexton

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: Kentucky PG Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

14. Denver Nuggets: Cedevita Zagreb SF Dzanan Musa


NBA Mock Draft: Picks 15-30

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

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

17. Milwaukee Bucks: Chalmette High School C Mitchell Robinson

18. San Antonio SpursMichigan State SF/PF Miles Bridges

19. Atlanta Hawks: Miami SG Lonnie Walker IV

20. Minnesota Timberwolves (originally via Oklahoma City Thunder)Kentucky SF/PF Kevin Knox

21. Utah JazzBoise State SF Chandler Hutchison

22. Chicago Bulls (via New Orleans Pelicans): Ohio State SF/PF Keita Bates-Diop

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

24. Portland Trail BlazersCreighton SG Khyri Thomas

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

26. Philadelphia 76ersDuke SG Gary Trent Jr.

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.


Chicago Bulls: Texas C Mohamed Bamba

If it wasn't clear when the Chicago Bulls benched healthy starters Justin Holiday and Robin Lopez near the end of the season, it is now. Those two are not in the team's long-term plans. Both players are solid veterans who could help contending teams, but they don't fit in with the rebuilding Bulls.

Therefore, Chicago should have a few openings on the wing and at the center position. If the draft falls as presented, then the Bulls should find themselves with two fantastic big men to choose from in Texas' Mohamed Bamba and Duke's Wendell Carter Jr.

With the Bulls defense floundering all last season—and especially down the stretch—the team could use a defensive force down low, which makes Bamba a better fit. NBADraft.net compared Bamba to Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, who just led the NBA in defensive real plus-minus.

The 6'11" big man, who has a 7'9" wingspan, blocked 3.7 shots per game to go along with 10.5 boards. He could immediately start down low for a Chicago team that finished 28th out of 30 NBA teams in defensive efficiency, per ESPN.com.


Sacramento Kings: Duke C Wendell Carter Jr.

The Sacramento Kings have a glut of young players on the team, some of whom have brighter futures than others. The position that seems most set in stone for the foreseeable future is point guard, which is manned by 2017 first-round pick De'Aaron Fox.

With a return to the playoffs seemingly in the distant future given how tough the Western Conference is, the Kings may as well just take the best available non-point guard when their turn to pick arrives.

In this mock draft, that player is Duke big man Wendell Carter Jr. With veteran power forward Zach Randolph a free agent after the 2018-19 season, the Kings will soon have an opening in the frontcourt, and that's where Carter could slide in. 

Carter's calling card is his rebounding, as he posted 9.1 boards per game despite averaging just 26.9 minutes per night. The 6'10" big man would be a huge boost to the team's efforts on the glass, as Sacramento was just 27th in rebounding differential last year.


Cleveland Cavaliers: Oklahoma PG Trae Young

It remains to be seen where LeBron James will be playing next year should he opt out of his contract and become a free agent this summer. If he comes back, it makes sense to select a player who can help take some of the scoring burden off James' shoulders.

Oklahoma point guard Trae Young could be that player from this year's draft. In his one year in Norman, the 6'2" guard averaged 27.4 points and 8.7 assists per game. Young's efficiency went in the wrong direction toward the tail end of the year, and he shot just 42 percent from the field overall. However, that stat should be taken with a grain of salt as he was often called upon to carry his team's offense—no other Sooner averaged 12 or more points per game. 

In Cleveland, that won't be a problem, with James (if he stays) and Kevin Love shouldering much of the scoring workload. The issue is the Cavs have a handful of guards under contract through the 2019-20 season, including Jordan Clarkson, J.R. Smith, Kyle Korver and George Hill.

That doesn't leave a ton of playing time for Young next season, but on the flip side, he wouldn't be saddled with the pressure of being a franchise's hope in his rookie year. Coming off the bench could be for the best as he acclimates to the NBA.


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