NBA Draft 2018: Mock Draft and Teams That Could Make Surprising Selections

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJune 4, 2018

Missouri's Michael Porter Jr. shoots over Georgia's Nicolas Claxton (33) and Tyree Crump (4) during the first half in an NCAA college basketball game at the Southeastern Conference tournament Thursday, March 8, 2018, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

The NBA draft never goes as expected because of the unpredictability of a few franchises.

As the June 21 draft inches closer, the field of prospects appears to be one of the most impressive collections in recent memory.

Although there are plenty of quality players to choose from, some teams may feel the need to take risks and select prospects higher than they should be taken.

A few franchises have been guilty of this throughout their history, while some under-pressure teams may end up in the same situation in 2018 because of how their rosters look.


2018 First-Round NBA Mock Draft

1. Phoenix Suns: Deandre Ayton, C, Arizona

2. Sacramento Kings: Luka Doncic, SG/SF, Slovenia

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

4. Memphis Grizzlies: Mohamed Bamba, C, Texas

5. Dallas Mavericks: Marvin Bagley III, PF, Duke

6. Orlando Magic: Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma

7. Chicago Bulls: Wendell Carter, PF/C, Duke

8. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Brooklyn): Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama

9. New York Knicks: Michael Porter, SF, Missouri

10. Philadelphia 76ers (from Los Angeles Lakers): Mikal Bridges, SG/SF, Villanova

11. Charlotte Hornets: Miles Bridges, SF/PF, Michigan State

12. Los Angeles Clippers (from Detroit): Kevin Knox, SF/PF, Kentucky

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

14. Denver Nuggets: Lonnie Walker, SG, Miami

15. Washington Wizards: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky

16. Phoenix Suns (from Miami): Troy Brown, SG, Oregon

17. Milwaukee Bucks: Zhaire Smith, SG, Texas Tech

18. San Antonio Spurs: Keita Bates-Diop, SF, Ohio State

19. Atlanta Hawks (from Minnesota): Dzanan Musa, SF, Bosnia and Herzegovina

20. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Oklahoma City): Mitchell Robinson, C, United States

21. Utah Jazz: Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA

22. Chicago Bulls (from New Orleans): Chandler Hutchison, SF, Boise State

23. Indiana Pacers: Donte DiVincenzo, SG, Villanova

24. Portland Trailblazers: Jacob Evans, SF, Cincinnati

25. Los Angeles Lakers (from Cleveland): Kevin Huerter, SG, Maryland

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

27. Boston Celtics: Josh Okogie, SG, Georgia Tech

28. Golden State Warriors: Jalen Brunson, PG, Villanova

29. Brooklyn Nets (from Toronto): Anfernee Simons, SG/PG, Unattached

30. Atlanta Hawks (from Houston): Grayson Allen, SG, Duke


Teams That Could Make Surprising Selections

New York Knicks

When you think of surprising and disappointing draft selections, the New York Knicks and their unhappy fans usually come to mind first.

The Knicks haven't selected in the first round much this decade, which could be seen as a good thing by some of the team's fans.

However, they've gotten the last two first-round choices right, as they added Kristaps Porzingis with the No. 4 pick in 2015 and Frank Ntilikina at No. 8 in 2017.

Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

Most of the other recent first-round selections by the Knicks haven't spent enough time in New York to be considered success stories, as Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Jordan Hill, Iman Shumpert and Tim Hardaway were all traded at some point in their first four seasons.

Given the wealth of talent in this year's draft class, the Knicks should be able to find a complementary piece to the growing amount of star players on their roster. However, the one player expected to be taken in the lottery with red flags could end up in New York's lap.

If the top eight teams in the draft order pass on Missouri's Michael Porter, it probably means there are lingering issues from the back injury that prevented him from playing most of his freshman season for the Tigers.

Porter's potential could be too much to pass up at No. 9, or the Knicks could go in a different direction and select someone like Kentucky's Kevin Knox or Texas A&M's Robert Williams, both of whom are expected to land outside the top 10.

Whoever New York selects shouldn't turn into as big of a bust as Mike Sweetney, but the Knicks still need to be careful while breaking down the prospects available to them in order to avoid another failed first-round pick.


Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers might have the most to lose of any team in the first round given their back-to-back selections at No. 12 and No. 13.

With two straight picks in their possession, the Clippers could take more of a risk with one of them while locking down a surefire NBA star with the other.

In the ideal situation, Knox and Williams would be the best two players left on the board for the Clippers, but if they value another position more, they could be inclined to go after a guard.

The collection of shooting guards available at that point in the draft could be intriguing to the Clippers, as they look to add a consistent scorer to their rotation in an attempt to replace Blake Griffin's point production.

Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

The surprising options would be Miami's Lonnie Walker, Oregon's Troy Brown or Texas Tech's Zhaire Smith.

There is one scenario that could shock everyone, and that would involve the Clippers reaching on a player like Ohio State's Keita Bates-Diop or Villanova's Donte DiVincenzo.

No matter which direction the Clippers go with their selections, they'll be criticized given the state of the franchise and the need to improve immediately.

With their roster in flux, the Clippers could take risks with their selections and pick who they think are the best fits for their depth chart, which is a strategy that might not align with the draft boards of the teams around them in the selection order.


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

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