2018 NBA Mock Draft: Predictions for Prospects Whose Stocks are On the Rise

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJune 13, 2018

Miami's Lonnie Walker IV plays against Boston College during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Boston, Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018. Boston College won 72-70. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

There's all sorts of buzz surrounding NBA draft prospects with the selection process coming up June 21. 

While the stock of some players is taking a hit due to intricacies found in advanced scouting reports, there are a handful of prospects flying up NBA draft boards with just over a week left before the picks are announced. 

Some of the prospects generating the most attention at the moment are players that weren't projected as first-round guarantees at the start of the process, but now they appear to be locks to go in the first 30 selections. 

Buzz is also being generated by foreign prospects, who have spent more time in front of NBA personnel over the last month while participating in workouts. 


2018 NBA 1st Round Mock Draft

1. Phoenix Suns: Deandre Ayton, C, Arizona

2. Sacramento Kings: Marvin Bagley III, PF, Duke

3. Atlanta Hawks: Mohamed Bamba, C, Texas

4. Memphis Grizzlies: Luka Doncic, SG, Slovenia

5. Dallas Mavericks: Jaren Jackson Jr., PF, Michigan State

6. Orlando Magic: Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma

7. Chicago Bulls: Michael Porter, SF, Missouri 

8. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Brooklyn): Wendell Carter, PF/C, Duke

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

10. Philadelphia 76ers (from Los Angeles Lakers): Lonnie Walker, SG, Miami

11. Charlotte Hornets: Kevin Knox, SF/PF, Kentucky

12. Los Angeles Clippers (from Detroit): Miles Bridges, SF/PF, Michigan State

13. Los Angeles Clippers: Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama

14. Denver Nuggets: Robert Williams, PF/C, Texas A&M 

15. Washington Wizards: Zhaire Smith, SG, Texas Tech 

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

17. Milwaukee Bucks: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky

18. San Antonio Spurs: Jerome Robinson, SG, Boston College

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

20. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Oklahoma City): Chandler Hutchison, SF, Boise State

21. Utah Jazz: Donte DiVincenzo, SG, Villanova

22. Chicago Bulls (from New Orleans): Khyri Thomas, SG, Creighton

23. Indiana Pacers: Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA

24. Portland Trailblazers: Keita Bates-Diop, SF, Ohio State

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

26. Philadelphia 76ers: Elie Okobo, PG, France

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

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

29. Brooklyn Nets (from Toronto): Mitchell Robinson, C, United States

30. Atlanta Hawks (from Houston): Jacob Evans, SF, Cincinnati 


Prospects Whose Stock Is On The Rise

Lonnie Walker

Miami's Lonnie Walker could be the first of many surprise picks in the opening 30 selections of the NBA draft. 

The shooting guard could go as high as No. 9 to New York or No. 10 to Philadelphia after the wave of elite prospects goes off the board. 

Walker worked out for the 76ers Monday and has a workout scheduled with the Knicks, who some in the league believe could take the shooting guard, per ESPN's Ian Begley: 

The 19-year-old is an intriguing option for both the Knicks and 76ers, as he is one of the most talented shooters in the talent pool. 

Both teams have a need at shooting guard, but the Sixers seem like the more likely destination since the Knicks should have the opportunity to go after Villanova's Mikal Bridges or Michigan State's Miles Bridges. 

If he slides past the Knicks and Sixers, Walker shouldn't last much longer, especially if the Los Angeles Clippers look to bolster their backcourt with consecutive selections.


Jerome Robinson 

Boston College's Jerome Robinson was far from a household name during his time with the Golden Eagles because of their lack of success in the ACC. 

When his name gets called on draft night, there will be a faction of fans who don't know much about the rising star, but there is plenty to like about his game. 

Robinson averaged 20.7 points per game and shot 40.9 percent from three-point range in his junior season at Boston College, a performance that came after an average of 18.7 points per contest in his sophomore campaign. 

Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

With an abundant need for shooters at the back end of the first round, Robinson appears set to benefit from that, which comes hand-in-hand with the recent buzz he's been receiving around the league. 

Most mock drafts have Robinson going anywhere from No. 20 to No. 30, but Sports Illustrated's Jeremy Woo has him landing at No. 17 with the Milwaukee Bucks. 

Where Robinson lands depends on a number of factors, including which teams trade up or make surprising picks that leave coveted prospects on the board later than expected. 

Regardless of which team he ends up with, Robinson's rise over the last month is remarkable, and it should put him in a situation where he can succeed immediately. 


Elie Okobo

One of the top foreign prospects to keep an eye on throughout the first round is France's Elie Okobo. 

While he isn't as highly regarded as Luka Doncic or Dzanan Musa, Okobo could be a solid choice for a team in the final 10 picks of the first round.

Okobo recently caught the attention of NBA scouts with a 44-point performance for French team Pau-Lacq-Orthez, and since then he's risen in most mock drafts. 

France's Elie Okobo (R) is challenged by  Belgium's  Kevin Tumba during the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 qualifying match between France and Belgium at the Palais des Sports Jean Weille in Nancy, eastern France, on February 25, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / JEAN-

What could propel Okobo further up the first round on draft night is the need at point guard some teams possess. 

With Trae Young, Collin Sexton and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander off the board, some of the franchises at the back end of the first round could rate Okobo higher than Aaron Holiday or Jalen Brunson. 

Okobo enters the draft as a bit of an unknown since he doesn't play for a high-profile European team, but he fits the needs of teams and has plenty of potential to grow, which means the Los Angeles Lakers at No. 25 or the Sixers at No. 26 could take a serious look at him.

Also keep an eye on Boston, Golden State or a team trading back into the first round, as they look to bring Okobo along without the pressure of thriving the second he reaches the NBA. 


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90

Statistics obtained from ESPN.com  


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