2018 NBA Mock Draft: Top Prospects and 1st-Round Predictions Following Lottery

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMay 17, 2018

OMAHA, NE - MARCH 25: Marvin Bagley III #35 of the Duke Blue Devils moves the ball against Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk #10 of the Kansas Jayhawks during the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament Midwest Regional Final at CenturyLink Center on March 25, 2018 in Omaha, Nebraska. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Lance King/Getty Images

According to Justin Hartling of OddsShark, Arizona center Deandre Ayton is the clear favorite at minus-200 to go No. 1 overall to the Phoenix Suns in the 2018 NBA draft.

Real Madrid guard Luka Doncic looks to have the only other realistic chance to go No. 1, and he's listed with 3-2 odds. Michigan State forward Jaren Jackson Jr. is 12-1, and the rest of the field is 15-2.

In other words, Ayton or Doncic will almost certainly go No. 1 overall. It will be interesting to see how sentiment develops in the pre-draft process, but until the draft is live on June 21, here's a look at how it may turn out if Doncic goes first overall. The first three picks are analyzed in more detail below.


NBA Mock Draft

1. Phoenix Suns: Real Madrid G Luka Doncic

2. Sacramento Kings: Arizona C Deandre Ayton

3. Atlanta Hawks: Duke F Marvin Bagley

4. Memphis Grizzlies: Michigan State F Jaren Jackson Jr.

5. Dallas Mavericks: Duke F Wendell Carter

6. Orlando Magic: Missouri F Michael Porter Jr.

7. Chicago Bulls: Texas C Mohamed Bamba

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

9. New York Knicks: Alabama G Collin Sexton

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

11. Charlotte Hornets: Texas Tech G Zhaire Smith

12. Los Angeles Clippers (via Detroit Pistons): Texas A&M F Robert Williams

13. Los Angeles Clippers: Kentucky G Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

14. Denver Nuggets: Cedevita Zagreb F Dzanan Musa

15. Washington WizardsMissouri F Jontay Porter

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

17. Milwaukee Bucks: Chalmette High School C Mitchell Robinson

18. San Antonio Spurs: Michigan State F Miles Bridges

19. Atlanta Hawks: Miami G Lonnie Walker

20. Minnesota Timberwolves (originally via Oklahoma City Thunder): Kentucky F Kevin Knox

21. Utah Jazz: Boise State G Chandler Hutchison

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

23. Indiana Pacers: USC G De'Anthony Melton

24. Portland Trail Blazers: Creighton G Khyri Thomas

25. Los Angeles Lakers (originally via Cleveland Cavaliers): Oregon F Troy Brown Jr.

26. Philadelphia 76ers: Duke G Gary Trent Jr.

27. Boston Celtics: Villanova F Omari Spellman

28. Golden State Warriors: UCLA G Aaron Holiday

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

30. Atlanta Hawks (originally via Houston Rockets): Villanova G Donte DiVincenzo


1. Phoenix Suns: Real Madrid G Luka Doncic

The 19-year-old Doncic has been fantastic for a Real Madrid team that is 30-3 and currently leads the Liga ACB table, averaging 14.5 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.7 assists.

The 6'8" guard would be a great fit with the Suns, who are now led by Doncic's old Slovenian national team coach (Igor Kokoskov). The Suns have three players who are going to do most of the team's shooting and scoring in Devin Booker, Josh Jackson and T.J. Warren. What they need is a franchise point guard who can facilitate the offense and distribute to those players, and Doncic seems like a fit there.

On the flip side, Doncic is joining a Suns team that struggled from behind the three-point line last year, ranking last in the league with a 33.4 percent rate. To put that number in context, only one other team (the Los Angeles Lakers) shot worse than 35.1 percent.

Doncic likely won't help that number improve much (right away at least), as he had made just 31.0 percent of three-pointers this year, but a Doncic-Suns pairing has far more potential plusses than minuses.


2. Sacramento Kings: Arizona C Deandre Ayton

If Ayton falls to No. 2, the Kings will likely take all of 10 seconds to pick him. No one on Sacramento's roster averaged more than 7.0 rebounds per game last season, and the team as a whole was tied for third-last in rebounding differential.

Furthermore, Sacramento needs a No. 1 go-to scoring option, as no King averaged more than 14.5 points per game last season. In addition, the player who scored those 14.5 points per game (Zach Randolph) is now a free agent.

Therefore, the 7'1" Ayton can help fill a couple needs. He averaged 20.1 points and 11.6 rebounds per game last season and shot an efficient 61.2 percent from the field. Ayton also ranked second in Division I men's college basketball with a 33.54 player efficiency rating, per ESPN, and was first overall among players who were in power conferences.

Ultimately, No. 2 to the Kings seems like Ayton's floor. Both Phoenix and Sacramento have needs in the post, and Ayton is the best big man in this draft. In other words, Ayton will be on a Pacific Division team next year (barring an unexpected trade), so it's just a matter of which one.


3. Atlanta Hawks: Duke F Marvin Bagley

The Atlanta Hawks would have a good problem on their hands if Ayton and Doncic go first and second in some order. Really, they're in a position to take a great player regardless, but the Hawks would likely choose between Duke forward Marvin Bagley and Michigan State forward Jaren Jackson in this spot.

Bagley is the more polished offensive player, as he averaged 21.0 points on 61.4 percent shooting last year. He can also knock down shots from long range, as the former Blue Devil made 39.7 percent of his threes. The 6'11" forward is also better than Jackson on the boards right now, grabbing 11.1 per night.

On the other hand, Jackson is the better defensive player, as he blocked 3.0 shots per game despite playing just 21.8 minutes on average. He's not on Bagley's level offensively, but Jackson did hit 39.6 percent of his three-pointers last season. Furthermore, Jackson won't be 19 years old until September, which makes his potential intriguing given his success on the Big 10 stage at just 18 years old.

Ultimately, Bagley seems like a better fit for a Hawks team that needs significant offensive help: Atlanta was 26th out of 30 NBA teams in offensive efficiency last year, and Bagley can help raise that ranking immediately. That being said, if Bagley sneaks into the top two, Jackson could definitely find himself going to Atlanta at No. 3.


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