NBA Mock Draft 2018: 1st-Round Predictions and Wild-Card Prospects to WatchJune 8, 2018
As the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers battle each other in the Finals for the NBA championship for the fourth time in four years, the other 28 teams are focused on bringing some parity to the league.
That's why there's such a big focus on the 2018 draft.
Front offices around the Association have hopes that they'll find the next generational player in this year's class that will put them in a position to knock off the Warriors and the Cavs from their postseason pedestals.
Luckily for teams like the Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Hawks, there are some strong prospects waiting for their names to be called by Adam Silver.
It's virtually a toss up between the first three picks as to who will go first, but this is one of the few times where there's really no wrong pick.
Here's an updated look at the projections for each pick in the first round and a few wild-card prospects to watch.
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): Mikal Bridges, SG/SF, Villanova
9. New York Knicks: Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma
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): Jacob Evans, SF, Cincinnati
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
Michael Porter Jr., SF, Missouri
There's a lot of scrutiny surrounding Missouri standout Michael Porter Jr., and it's not because of his talent.
It all comes down to health.
Teams are unsure about his back.
Porter underwent surgery to supposedly correct the issue that ended his freshman season with the Tigers, but he's being extremely selective with his medical records.
According to Dave Matter of the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Porter took a physical with the Chicago Bulls medical team instead of releasing his medical information to teams.
Additionally, he'll be holding his own pro day today in Chicago instead of working out for teams in their house, forcing teams to rely on the medical report by the Bulls medical team, and much has been made about their lack of competence dealing with Jimmy Butler's health.
That makes for one heck of a roll of the dice should a team take him with a high pick.
The talent is there.
The 6'11" big man can stroke it and has an uncanny ability to fill up the stat sheet, but teams have to come out of this draft with a player that validates their long-term investment.
Questions remain about his defense and leadership abilities, but he has the talent to be a franchise player.
Doubt makes Porter the ultimate wild card, but if he's healthy and remains so, he'll be a considerable pickup for the team that selects him.
Donte DiVincenzo, SG, Villanova
It's true, the riskiest picks are also the ones that could end up being the best ones.
So why not swing for the fence?
Villanova's Donte DiVincenzo is the perfect example of that in this year's class.
The redshirt sophomore took the basketball world by storm during the national championship game, scoring a game-high 31 points off the bench in the Wildcats' victory over the Michigan Wolverines.
Since then, it's been a whirlwind.
Teams started to lust after his ability to seize the moment, competitiveness and off-the-charts athleticism.
The rub, then, is this kid is still unproven.
No matter what team selects him, they'll have to give him time to develop and hone his craft.
He'll demand some immediate minutes because he's just so gifted and competitive, but it will take some time for him to reach his potential
On the other hand, DiVincenzo could fizzle out on the next level because he's leaving way too early.
There's no question that if he stayed in school for two years he'd be a Top 5 pick.
As it stands, he's out of the lottery but still a first rounder.
DiVincenzo is gambling on himself, so only time will tell if that hubris pays off.
Mitchell Robinson, C, United States
Mitchell Robinson is the ultimate mystery man in this draft class.
Most teams don't truly know what to make of him.
He skipped the combine, which was ill-advised considering he didn't play college basketball this past season, and he also switched agencies.
The 7'1" big man last averaged 25.7 points, 12.6 rebounds and six blocks per game while a senior at Chalmette High School.
But when he chose to forgo playing at Western Kentucky to sit out and work on his game, he turned heads, in a bad way.
But now it's time for the draft, and teams can't ignore Robinson as a prospect.
What's the old rule again?
Oh yeah, you can't teach height.
Here's a player with a 7"4' wingspan and elite-level athleticism.
Robinson is a project, for sure, but he can contribute to a team right away in the vein of Clint Capela by being an energy guy, a rim runner, rebounder, lob catcher off the pick-and-roll and shot blocker.
Those parts of his game are coveted by almost every team in the league.
In addition to his natural abilities, Robinson showed that he can stroke the long ball.
Give him a few years and he could pay dividends should he be selected in the first round.
Or he could be out of the league in three years.
Both scenarios are possible, so that's why he's a risky pick.