NBA Mock Draft 2018: 1st-Round Picks and Names to Watch on Stock Market

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistJune 16, 2018

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 15: NBA Draft Prospect, Michael Porter Jr. poses for a portrait during the 2018 NBA Combine circuit on May 15, 2018 at the Intercontinental Hotel Magnificent Mile in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
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There's more going on in the NBA galaxy than Kawhi Leonard trade speculation.

There's also less than a week remaining before the 2018 draft on June 21, which continues to see fluid stocks near the top of the board.

While smokescreens can never be ruled out this time of the year, tea leaves shouldn't be outright dismissed. If everyone thinks the Phoenix Suns are Deandre Ayton fans, for instance, you should probably expect to hear his name called first by NBA commissioner Adam Silver.

After laying out our updated mock draft, we'll spotlight three lottery stocks that are seemingly on the move.


2018 NBA Mock Draft

1. Phoenix Suns: Deandre Ayton, C, Arizona

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

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

4. Memphis Grizzlies: Luka Doncic, SG, Slovenia

5. Dallas Mavericks: Mohamed Bamba, C, Texas

6. Orlando Magic: Michael Porter Jr., SF/PF, Missouri

7. Chicago Bulls: Wendell Carter, C, Duke

8. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Nets): Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma

9. New York Knicks: Kevin Knox, SF, Kentucky

10. Philadelphia 76ers: Mikal Bridges, SF, Villanova

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

12. Los Angeles Clippers (via Pistons): Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama

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

14. Denver Nuggets: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky

15. Washington Wizards: Lonnie Walker IV, SG, Miami

16. Phoenix Suns (via Heat): Zhaire Smith, SF, Texas Tech

17. Milwaukee Bucks: Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA

18. San Antonio Spurs: Troy Brown Jr., SF, Oregon

19. Atlanta Hawks (via Timberwolves): Elie Okobo, PG, France

20. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Thunder): Jerome Robinson, PG/SG, Boston College

21. Utah Jazz: Keita Bates-Diop, SF/PF, Ohio State

22. Chicago Bulls (via Pelicans): Donte DiVincenzo, SG, Villanova

23. Indiana Pacers: Kevin HuerterSG, Maryland

24. Portland Trail Blazers: Chandler Hutchison, SF, Boise State

25. Los Angeles Lakers (via Cavs): Mitchell Robinson, C, Western Kentucky

26. Philadelphia 76ers: De'Anthony Melton, PG/SG, USC

27. Boston Celtics: Khyri Thomas, SG, Creighton

28. Golden State Warriors: Jacob Evans, SF, Cincinnati

29. Brooklyn Nets (via Raptors): Grayson Allen, SG, Duke

30. Atlanta Hawks (via Rockets): Dzanan Musa, SG/SF, Bosnia and Herzegovina


Draft Stock Market

Michael Porter Jr. — Stock Up

For most of the past seventh months, Porter's draft stock had been trapped in a tailspin. The projected top pick in August had his freshman year effectively erased by back surgery, and he slid to the latter portion of the top 10 as a result.

But he might be making up ground in a major way.

According to Jeff Zillgitt, Sam Amick and Michael Singer of USA Today, Porter is a real possibility for Sacramento at No. 2 overall:

"The Kings are known to be enamored with Porter but are still trying to gather the latest medical information. If they're convinced that he's fully healthy, he could be the combo-forward they've been searching for. A trade down could also be possible if they believe they could get him lower, as the Kings have no first rounders in 2019."

This meshes with a recent report from Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman saying, "a source close to Porter's circle told Bleacher Report the family 'feels good about him going top four,' and that 'more than likely' the Sacramento Kings could pull the trigger at No. 2."

If Porter's medicals don't raise any red flags, he might be as interesting as any prospect in this class. It's rare to find a player with his size (6'10 ¾") and three-level offensive firepower. He'll suit up as a strong forward but play like a scoring wing.


Luka Doncic — Stock Down

The fact Doncic is mocked here—and most places—in the top five while also qualifying as a down-trending stock speaks volumes about his pedigree.

He's a preternatural passer who stands 6'8". If that sounds like an incredible mix, that's because it is. Tack on a high hoops IQ and confident, repeatable shooting mechanics, and you have the key ingredients of the EuroLeague's youngest-ever MVP and Final Four MVP.

That said, it isn't quite shocking that his stock would be sliding a bit this time of year.

The pre-draft Association gets a little obsessed with measurements. The word "wingspan" seems to creep into every other sentence, and you'll often see prospects measured alongside their vertical jumps or times in sprinting or agility drills.

Doncic doesn't have the tools to impress in those avenues, and there's some fear that could bring down his ceiling.

"Not every team sees a future All-Star because of his lack of speed and explosiveness for a guard or wing," Wasserman wrote.

"In his worst moments, he appears to confirm all the stereotypes that have plagued European prospects for decades," The Ringer's Danny Chau added.


Kevin Knox — Stock Up

We should have seen this coming.

Knox is projected to be Kentucky's first prospect off the board. Over the previous eight drafts—dating back to the first season of head coach John Calipari's tenure—the top Wildcats' prospect selected has never gone lower than eighth.

Knox might not get that high, but his stock is on the upswing, according to ESPN's Jonathan Givony:

"While we've had Knox sliding to the Nos. 12-15 range the past few months after an up-and-down freshman season, NBA teams drafting in that range say they don't anticipate him being there, as there seems to be a significant market for his services in the Nos. 7-11 range.

"Knox had an underwhelming showing at his pro day in Miami, according to multiple scouts in attendance, but he has been very good otherwise in workouts. There's a significant market in the NBA for combo forwards in his mold who can make an open shot, defend multiple positions and offer some offensive versatility. He's one of the youngest players in this draft, so he still has plenty of room to continue to grow."

Knox's freshman marks didn't jump off the page. He was good-not-great in points (15.6) and rebounds (5.4), average as a shooter (44.5/34.1/77.4) and underwhelming in assists (1.4).

But he'd be far from the first Kentucky product to showcase unseen or underused skills upon entering the NBA. He won't even turn 19 until August, so it's hard to imagine he's come anywhere close to his potential yet.