NBA Mock Draft 2018: 1st-Round Predictions, Breakdown of Top Prospects

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMay 29, 2018

BOISE, ID - MARCH 15:  Deandre Ayton #13 of the Arizona Wildcats battles for a rebound in the second half against the Buffalo Bulls during the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Taco Bell Arena on March 15, 2018 in Boise, Idaho.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

At some point in time, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors will stop meeting each other in the NBA Finals.

That time will not be this year, however, as the two teams will face off for the fourth straight season in the championship round (per Basketball-Reference, this is the first occasion two teams will have faced each other four consecutive times in the NBA Finals).

Perhaps someone picked in this year's draft will play a key part in stopping those two teams from meeting for a fifth straight season in 2019. Until we find out, here's a look at a mock draft in addition to a breakdown of the prospects in the top seven and where they may end up.

              

NBA Mock Draft

1. Phoenix Suns: Arizona C Deandre Ayton

2. Sacramento Kings: Duke F Marvin Bagley III

3. Atlanta Hawks: Michigan State F Jaren Jackson Jr.

4. Memphis Grizzlies: Real Madrid G Luka Doncic

5. Dallas Mavericks: Texas C Mohamed Bamba

6. Orlando Magic: Missouri F Michael Porter Jr.

7. Chicago Bulls: Duke F Wendell Carter

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

9. New York Knicks: Alabama G Collin Sexton

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

11. Charlotte Hornets: Michigan State F Miles Bridges

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

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

14. Denver Nuggets: Kentucky F Kevin Knox

15. Washington Wizards: Chalmette High School C Mitchell Robinson

16. Phoenix Suns (via Heat): UCLA G Aaron Holiday

17. Milwaukee Bucks: Texas Tech G Zhaire Smith

18. San Antonio Spurs: Miami G Lonnie Walker

19. Atlanta Hawks: Cedevita Zagreb F Dzanan Musa

20. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Thunder): Creighton G Khyri Thomas

21. Utah Jazz: Ohio State F Keita Bates-Diop

22. Chicago Bulls (via Pelicans): Boise State G Chandler Hutchison

23. Indiana Pacers: IMG G Anfernee Simons

24. Portland Trail Blazers: Cincinnati F Jacob Evans

25. Los Angeles Lakers (via Cavaliers): Villanova G Jalen Brunson

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

27. Boston Celtics: Missouri C Jontay Porter

28. Golden State Warriors: Tulane G/F Melvin Frazier

29. Brooklyn Nets (via Raptors): Villanova G Donte DiVincenzo

30. Atlanta Hawks (via Rockets): Boston College G Jerome Robinson

       

Top-7 Breakdown

1. Phoenix Suns: Arizona C Deandre Ayton

Real Madrid guard Luka Doncic could easily go in this spot, especially with the team needing a long-term solution at point guard, but the center spot is a big question mark with Alex Len an unrestricted free agent and 17-year veteran Tyson Chandler entering the last year of his contract.

Therefore, Arizona center Deandre Ayton seems like the best bet here. Of note, the 7'1" big man had the second-best efficiency rating in Division I men's college hoops last year.

       

2. Sacramento Kings: Duke F Marvin Bagley III

The Sacramento Kings don't have a primary scorer to rely upon, and they also have big question marks in the post, especially with power forward Zach Randolph becoming a free agent this year. Duke forward Marvin Bagley III can help fill both needs, as he showed much promise while posting 21.0 points and 11.1 rebounds per game in his lone season in school. Like Ayton, he was one of the most efficient players in men's Division I, finishing fourth among all players.

              

3. Atlanta Hawks: Michigan State F Jaren Jackson Jr.

Unless Ayton somehow falls to Atlanta at No. 3 (don't bet on it), the guess here is that Michigan State forward Jaren Jackson Jr. is the pick regardless of whomever else is available. The 6'11" Jackson blocked three shots per game last season, which should be a welcome sight for a Hawks team that played roulette in the post last year. He can provide stability down low alongside 2017 first-round pick John Collins.

         

4. Memphis Grizzlies: Real Madrid G Luka Doncic

If Doncic falls this far, the Memphis Grizzlies should take him within seconds of going on the clock. Doncic can help fill a void on the wing alongside point guard Mike Conley Jr., and he can probably take over as point guard and be the franchise cornerstone someday.

Doncic has the potential to be a triple-double threat every night at the next level, and he's already faced (and beaten) top competition thanks to his team's first-place finish in Liga ACB in addition to the Euroleague championship. 

                    

5. Dallas Mavericks: Texas C Mohamed Bamba

The Dallas Mavericks can go a few different routes at No. 5, but Texas center Mohamed Bamba would help the team fill a few different needs.

Dallas needs more length down low, and Bamba offers that with his 7'10" wingspan, which helped him block 3.7 shots per game in his one year in Austin. Bamba is also a beast on the boards (10.5 per game), which should get the Mavs out of the rebounding-differential cellar.

     

6. Orlando Magic: Missouri F Michael Porter Jr.

The Orlando Magic arguably have more question marks than any other NBA team right now, in part because they don't have a head coach and power forward Aaron Gordon is a restricted free agent.

Perhaps the Magic should take the player with the most potential to become a franchise cornerstone. That could be Missouri forward Michael Porter Jr., who was ranked as the second-best player in the high school class of 2017 by 247sports.

Porter missed most of last season after undergoing spinal surgery, but NBADraft.net threw out pro comparisons to Kevin Durant and Joe Johnson for him. if he falls somewhere in the middle of those two, the Magic will get a big steal at No. 6.

     

7. Chicago Bulls: Duke F Wendell Carter

The Chicago Bulls should take the best big man available at No. 7, and that's Duke forward Wendell Carter in this case. Carter averaged 13.5 points and 9.1 rebounds in just 26.8 minutes of play on average during his freshman year.

He showed potential to be a solid scorer and rebounder on the next level, which are two significant needs for the Bulls right now (they were fifth-last in the league in scoring and had a negative rebounding differential last year). Carter should immediately start down low if the Bulls take him here.

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