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NBA Draft 2018: 1st-Round Mock Draft and Predictions for Top Underrated Players

Maurice Bobb@@ReeseReportFeatured ColumnistMay 22, 2018

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 15: Grayson Allen #3 of the Duke Blue Devils puts up a shot against the Kansas Jayhawks during the State Farm Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden on November 15, 2016 in New York City. Kansas won 77-75. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Lance King/Getty Images

On June 21, 30 NBA teams will converge on the home of the Brooklyn Nets, the Barclays Center, for the 2018 draft.

The pingpong balls have had their say, so the draft order is set. For the first time in their 50-year history, the Phoenix Suns will start things off, with the Sacramento Kings picking second overall.

Most mock drafts have the Suns taking Deandre Ayton of Arizona with the top pick and the Kings selecting Luka Doncic of the Real Madrid at No. 2.

If Phoenix, who had the worst record in the league last season at 21-61, take Doncic, Sacramento will likely nab Ayton.

Whether Ayton and Doncic go first and second or go in reverse order, both players could have an immediate impact on the team they join, which should be great news for the Suns and the Kings.

Jaren Jackson Jr., Marvin Bagley III and Mohamed Bamba will most likely round out the top five, with the rest of the elite prospects filling out the top 10.

Jonathan Givony @DraftExpress

European champion, Euroleague champion, Euroleague MVP, Euroleague Final Four MVP (now official). Not sure what else 19-year old Luka Doncic can do to prove himself as an elite NBA prospect, besides possibly jumping over a car in a dunk contest. Someone's getting a player June 21 https://t.co/rVjiGoRAG5

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2018 NBA Mock Draft

1. Phoenix Suns: Deandre Ayton, C, Arizona

2. Sacramento Kings: Luka Doncic, PG/SG, Real Madrid

3. Atlanta Hawks: Jaren Jackson Jr., PF. Michigan State

4. Memphis Grizzlies: Marvin Bagley III, PF, Duke

5. Dallas Mavericks: Mohamed Bamba, C, Texas

6. Orlando Magic: Wendell Carter, PF/C, Duke

7. Chicago Bulls: Michael Porter Jr., SF, Missouri

8. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Brooklyn): Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma

9. New York Knicks: Mikal Bridges, SG/SF, Villanova

10. Philadelphia 76ers (via Los Angeles Lakers): Miles Bridges, SF/PF, Michigan State

11. Charlotte Hornets: Kevin Knox, SF, Kentucky

12. Los Angeles Clippers (via Detroit): Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama

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

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

15. Washington Wizards: Lonnie Walker IV, SG, Miami

16. Phoenix Suns (via Miami): Zhaire Smith, SG, Texas Tech

17. Milwaukee Bucks: Dzanan Musa, SG, Bosnia and Herzegovina

18. San Antonio Spurs: Mitchell Robinson, C, United States

19. Atlanta Hawks (via Minnesota): Anfernee Simons, SG, Unattached

20. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Oklahoma City): Troy Brown, SG, Oregon

21. Utah Jazz: Chandler Hutchison, SF, Boise State

22. Chicago Bulls (via New Orleans): Jontay Porter, PF/C, Missouri

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

24. Portland Trailblazers: Omari Spellman, PF, Villanova 

25. Los Angeles Lakers (via Cleveland): De'Anthony Melton, G, USC

26. Philadelphia 76ers: Khyri Thomas, PG/SG, Creighton

27. Boston Celtics: Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA

28. Golden State Warriors: Donte DiVincenzo, SG, Villanova

29. Brooklyn Nets (via Toronto): Kevin Huerter, SG, Maryland 

30. Atlanta Hawks (via Houston): Jalen Brunson, PG, Villanova

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - JANUARY 31: Kevin Huerter #4 of the Maryland Terrapins brings the ball up court during the game against the Purdue Boilermakers at Mackey Arena on January 31, 2018 in West Lafayette, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Whenever the draft is discussed, most fans stick to the lottery picks, where all of the most celebrated players vie for spots in the top 14.

The late selections are reserved for the underrated athletes who either play for lesser-known schools or fly under the radar.

Don't discount players that get picked late, though, as there can be some real, undiscovered treasure there.

One example is Draymond Green. The three-time All-Star, two-time NBA champion and reigning Defensive Player of the Year was selected in the second round by the Golden State Warriors with the 35th pick in 2012.

This year, one of the most underrated players in the draft is Duke's Grayson Allen. He may not go in the first round because of questions about his leadership and on-court attitude, but he's a first-round talent.

Allen had a nice four-year career in Durham, where he averaged 14.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3 assists while shooting 43 percent from the floor and 38 percent from behind the arc.

Jonathan Givony @DraftExpress

Grayson Allen's 10.31 lane agility speed is one of the five best marks in our NBA Combine database's history. Seems like he's going to end up testing off the charts here athletically.

He tied for the fourth-highest max vertical leap at 40 1/2 inches and standing vertical at 32 1/2 inches.

Allen also won the 2014 McDonald's All American Slam Dunk Contest. Athleticism isn't the only arbiter of talent for securing a long NBA career, but it's a great start.

Add in Allen's shooting ability and competitive nature, and he's destined to be a success at the next level.

"I think the NBA, they like competitive guys," Allen told the AP's Andrew Seligman (via Boston.com).

Another underrated player who could be a steal is Maryland's Kevin Huerter.

Huerter doesn't have an agent, so the 6'7" guard can return for his junior year, but he made that decision that much harder after a strong showing at the combine.

With numerous NBA scouts looking on, Huerter made 15 three-point shots in a row from behind the arc, reportedly causing Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton and Kings assistant general manager Peja Stojakovic to stop in their tracks to watch.

Jonathan Givony @DraftExpress

Kevin Huerter also appears to be helping himself so far. Looks automatic from NBA range with his feet set. Passing it well. Putting in a good effort in defensively. He's grown over an inch since last year according to the measurements. Seems to have strong buzz among NBA folks.

The fact that Huerter was lights out from deep despite a torn ligament in his shooting hand made his shooting feats that much more impressive.

The combo guard stroked the three ball, read the floor well and tested well athletically.

"A lot of the teams are looking for the same thing; I just think it shows the way the NBA is going," Huerter told Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post. "They want versatile guys, both offensively and defensively. They're looking for positionless guys, people who can do a lot of things on the court, space the court, be able to shoot."

Huerter played so well on Day 1 in the scrimmages, that he opted to sit on Day 2. Now, after showing off his skill set, Huerter is projected as a late first round or early second-round pick.

If he stays in the draft, there's a team out there that will get someone who can really space the floor and hit open shots.

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