With the 2018 NBA Finals in the books and another title secured for the Golden State Warriors, all eyes on are on the draft.
And as prospects visit and work out for teams all over the league, the draft picture is starting to crystallize.
Who will the Phoenix Suns take at No. 1? How far will Luka Doncic slide? How many big men will go in the top 10? Those questions and more will be answered on June 21 when the NBA draft goes down.
In the meantime, here's how things could shake out as well as analysis on some of the noteworthy prospects.
|2018 NBA Mock Draft|
|1||Phoenix Suns||Deandre Ayton (Arizona, C, Freshman, 7'0")|
|2||Sacramento Kings||Mohamed Bamba (Texas, C, Freshman, 7'0")|
|3||Atlanta Hawks||Marvin Bagley III (Duke, F/C, Freshman, 6'11")|
|4||Memphis Grizzlies||Luka Doncic (Slovenia/Real Madrid, G/F, 19, 6'8")|
|5||Dallas Mavericks||Jaren Jackson Jr. (Michigan State, C/PF, Freshman, 6'11")|
|6||Orlando Magic||Trae Young (Oklahoma, PG, Freshman, 6'2")|
|7||Chicago Bulls||Wendell Carter (Duke, C/PF, Freshman, 6'10")|
|8||Cleveland Cavaliers||Michael Porter Jr. (Missouri, F, Freshman, 6'10")|
|9||New York Knicks||Collin Sexton (Alabama, PG, Freshman, 6'2")|
|10||Philadelphia 76ers||Mikal Bridges (Villanova, F/G, Junior, 6'7")|
|11||Charlotte Hornets||Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Kentucky, G, Freshman, 6'6")|
|12||Los Angeles Clippers||Robert Williams (Texas A&M, C/PF, Sophomore, 6'10")|
|13||Los Angeles Clippers||Miles Bridges (Michigan State, F, Sophomore, 6'7")|
|14||Denver Nuggets||Zhaire Smith (Texas Tech, G/F, Freshman, 6'5")|
|15||Washington Wizards||Kevin Knox (Kentucky, F, Freshman, 6'9")|
|16||Phoenix Suns||Lonnie Walker (Miami, G, Freshman, 6'4")|
|17||Milwaukee Bucks||Mitchell Robinson (Western Kentucky, C, 20, 7'1")|
|18||San Antonio Spurs||Keita Bates-Diop (Ohio State, F, Senior, 6'7")|
|19||Atlanta Hawks||Anfernee Simons (IMG Academy, G, 18, 6'4")|
|20||Minnesota Timberwolves||Kevin Huerter (Maryland, G/F, Sophomore, 6'7")|
|21||Utah Jazz||Donte DiVincenzo (Villanova, G, Junior, 6'5")|
|22||Chicago Bulls||Troy Brown Jr. (Oregon, G/F, Freshman, 6'7")|
|23||Indiana Pacers||Jacob Evans (Cincinnati, G/F, Junior, 6'6")|
|24||Portland Trail Blazers||Chandler Hutchison (Boise State, G/F, Senior, 6'7")|
|25||Los Angeles Lakers||De'Anthony Melton (USC, G, Sophomore, 6'3")|
|26||Philadelphia 76ers||Dzanan Musa (Bosnia/KK Cedevita Zagreb, F, 18, 6'9")|
|27||Boston Celtics||Khyri Thomas (Creighton, G, Junior, 6'3")|
|28||Golden State Warriors||Elie Okobo (France/Pau-Orthez, G, 20, 6'2")|
|29||Brooklyn Nets||Hamidou Diallo (Kentucky, G, Freshman, 6'5")|
|30||Atlanta Hawks||Aaron Holiday (UCLA, PG, Junior, 6'1")|
|Picks by Andy Bailey|
Yes, No. 2 might seem pretty high for Texas big man Mohamed Bamba, but his stock appears to be on a steady incline since the start of the predraft process.
ESPN.com's Jonathan Givony detailed Bamba's preparation for the big night:
"Bamba has done everything in his power since his season wrapped in March to make his case for why teams might regret passing on him, with a regimented routine including strength training, physical therapy, boxing, beach workouts, yoga, film study and two skill workouts a day with renowned player development specialist Drew Hanlen in Los Angeles."
In the same article, Givony referenced a workout in which Bamba hit 80 percent of his NBA-range three-pointers, an eye-opening feat for a player of Bamba's physical profile, regardless of the setting.
With his 7'10" wingspan, Bamba has plenty of potential as a rim protector. If he develops into even an average threat from downtown, he's instantly one of the most interesting bigs in the NBA.
Doncic is only 19 years old. He's 6'8" and 230 pounds. He uses angles, and his first step like James Harden. He rebounds like a power forward. He's dominating a level of basketball exceeded only by the NBA.
So, why on earth is he sliding all the way to the Memphis Grizzlies and the No. 4 spot here?
Givony wrote following Real Madrid's Euroleague title run:
"The growing consensus among NBA decision-makers in attendance at Stark Arena in Belgrade is that the teams drafting behind the Phoenix Suns at No. 1, the Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Hawks are likely to pass on [the] European prodigy in favor of American frontcourt players.
"The question remains whether a team will trade up into the top three to snag Doncic, or if he will fall to the No. 4 (Memphis) or even the No. 5 pick (Dallas) after being heavily scouted in the Euroleague playoffs against Panathinaikos and mostly struggling."
The "mostly struggling" Doncic is second in box plus-minus in both the Spanish ACB and the Euroleague, according to Jacob Goldstein's 2017-18 International BPM database.
If teams pass on him because of one subpar game against Panathinaikos, there's a decent chance they may one day regret it.
The NBA is headed toward an era of positionless basketball—fast. Every year, it appears increasingly difficult to play traditional bigs in the postseason. Meanwhile, wings who can do a little bit of everything are what every team is looking for.
Doncic is just that. A playmaker with size, vision and a shooting stroke that suggests he can run an offense and create for himself.
Jaren Jackson Jr.
Jaren Jackson Jr. averaged 20 points, 10.6 rebounds, 5.5 blocks and two assists per 40 minutes, with a 10.3 defensive box plus-minus and a 5.1 offensive box plus-minus for Michigan State this season.
When he was a freshman at Kansas, Joel Embiid averaged 19.4 points, 14 rebounds, 4.5 blocks and 2.3 assists per 40 minutes, with a 10.2 defensive box plus-minus and a 4.7 offensive box plus-minus.
The similarities in Jackson's and Embiid's statistical profiles are striking, and there are no injury-related red flags with Jackson. If he comes near the impact Embiid has had, even going fifth would likely be one of the steals of the draft.