2018 NBA Mock Draft: Final 2-Round Predictions
NBA scouts and executives are anticipating a wild, unpredictable draft night filled with reaches, risers, fallers and trades.
The top of the order is starting to take shape. But once we inch closer to No. 4, nothing is guaranteed.
How far will Michael Porter Jr. and Trae Young slide? How high does Jerome Robinson go after flying under the radar for most of the predraft process?
A number of those questions won't be answered until NBA Commissioner Adam Silver steps up to the podium Thursday night.
1. Phoenix Suns: Deandre Ayton (Arizona, C, Freshman)
Rival teams anticipate the Phoenix Suns taking Deandre Ayton over Luka Doncic and Marvin Bagley III at No. 1 overall. He gives them the most favorable mix of potential reward and minimal risk while filling a hole at center.
Ayton averaged 20.1 points on 61.2 percent shooting during his lone season at Arizona. He was dominant at the basket, flashed skill around the key and showed he can step out and knock down jump shots.
It's easy to buy his offensive upside, particularly given his immaculate physical tools and athletic ability.
The big question with Ayton is how much stock to put into his defense, which wasn't always convincing at Arizona. Phoenix will take its chances, however, knowing the Suns coaching staff has 243 pounds of muscle, quick feet and 7'5 ½" length to work with.
Watch out for Phoenix looking to move up from No. 16 to land a point guard late in the lottery.
2. Sacramento Kings: Marvin Bagley III (Duke, PF/C, Freshman)
The Sacramento Kings do like Michael Porter Jr., but likely more as a trade-down target from No. 2. If they stick where they are, Bagley should be the pick for a franchise that enters the draft with Skal Labissiere and Willie Cauley-Stein as its core bigs.
One of the draft's top athletes, Bagley averaged 21.0 points on 61.4 percent shooting and 11.1 rebounds during his lone season at Duke. He did so mostly at the age of 18—he turned 19 in March—and without a great deal of polish.
Bagley generated offense by tapping into his bounce, speed, quick second jump and scoring instincts. But he also sporadically showcased face-up driving ability, post moves and spot-up shooting.
The Kings will overlook his defensive limitations for his potential to continue building on the array of skills he flashed in glimpses, which point to unique scoring versatility.
3. Atlanta Hawks: Luka Doncic (Slovenia, PG/SG, 1999)
Luka Doncic's long year of basketball finally ended Tuesday. During that 82-game stretch, Doncic won MVP of Euroleague, the world's most competitive setting outside of the NBA, and his Real Madrid squad won both Euroleague and the ACB Finals.
Doncic first put himself in the conversation for 2018's No. 1 overall pick last summer when he took it to various NBA pros at EuroBasket, where he helped Slovenia win gold.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Tuesday night that Doncic has "moved to the forefront of Atlanta's international conversation" at No. 3. He makes too much sense as both the best player available and either a backcourt partner for Dennis Schroder or his replacement at the lead guard spot.
Beyond his unprecedented track record, Doncic distinguishes himself with his 6'8" size, passing, vision, crafty two-point scoring ability and three-point shooting.
Atlanta could look at Jaren Jackson Jr. or Mohamed Bamba here, but signs are starting to point to Doncic, the draft's most proven prospect.
4. Memphis Grizzlies: Jaren Jackson Jr. (Michigan State, PF/C, Freshman)
The Memphis Grizzlies sit tight here and draft the best available player in Jaren Jackson Jr., whose ability to stretch the floor and switch on defense suggests he'll fit alongside Marc Gasol.
Since Jackson is only 18 years old, he'll give the Grizzlies a young prospect to build around once Gasol's time in Memphis runs out.
Wendell Carter Jr. will earn consideration here as well, but Jackson's two-way upside remains too enticing, even though he never worked out for the Grizzlies.
5. Dallas Mavericks: Mohamed Bamba (Texas, C, Freshman)
Mohamed Bamba gives the Dallas Mavericks their franchise defensive anchor to pair with their offensive cornerstone in Dennis Smith Jr.
Bamba's 7'10" wingspan and flashes of shooting touch fuel some of the most unique upside in the draft.
The Mavericks have discussed Carter here, but Bamba's potential to change a game with his rim protection and length is too tough to pass on.
6. Orlando Magic: Trae Young (Oklahoma, PG, Freshman)
After passing on Dennis Smith Jr. last year, the Orlando Magic won't let another point guard slip past them. They'll grab their floor general of the future in Trae Young, who'll give them a much-needed playmaker in the backcourt.
Orlando is already dealing with a frontcourt logjam with Aaron Gordon (restricted free agent), Jonathan Isaac and Nikola Vucevic. And though the Magic could use Michael Porter Jr.'s scoring ability, adding him would create an even clunkier frontcourt.
The Magic will fill the biggest need on their roster with one of the draft's most exciting shooters and passers.
7. Chicago Bulls: Michael Porter Jr. (Missouri, SF/PF, Freshman)
Rival teams are expecting Michael Porter Jr. to fall with questions surrounding his back and durability. But all it takes is one team.
And with Bamba and Jackson gone, the Bulls could have the urge to gamble on Porter and his scoring potential.
It's an opportunity for Chicago to buy low on a player who was considered a No. 1 overall candidate by scouts heading into the season. A 6'10 ¾" shot-maker, Porter would give the Bulls lineup a much-needed offensive mismatch alongside Lauri Markkanen.
Mikal Bridges and Kevin Knox would be viewed as safer options at No. 7.
8. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Nets): Wendell Carter Jr. (Duke, PF/C, Freshman)
The Cleveland Cavaliers will take the best player available, and there appears to be a gap between Wendell Carter Jr. and everyone else.
From his post game to his shooting touch, he offers more upside than Tristan Thompson, and he gives the Cavaliers an NBA-ready body.
A terrific rebounder, excellent passer and strong shot-blocker, Carter also does the little things that contribute to winning basketball.
9. New York Knicks: Kevin Knox (Kentucky, SF/PF, Freshman)
Mikal Bridges will make the New York Knicks think, but with management preaching patience and Kristaps Porzingis possibly out for the year, the front office will pass on the more NBA-ready player for the 18-year-old upside pick.
Kevin Knox would give the Knicks a scorer from either forward spot. He averaged 15.6 points despite working almost exclusively off the ball (73.6 percent of his offense came from spot-ups, off screens, handoffs and transition), which bodes well for his future fit in a lineup between Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr.
At 6'9", he made 1.5 threes per game, shot 45.1 percent off the dribble and converted 25 floaters. He'll be a tough matchup at the 3 or the 4, but he'll have to prove that he can defend and rebound his position.
10. Philadelphia 76ers (via Lakers): Mikal Bridges (Villanova, SF, Junior)
The Philadelphia 76ers can add another three-and-D player in Mikal Bridges to slot alongside Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and presumably Markelle Fultz.
Turning 22 years old in August, Bridges will be able to contribute immediately with his shooting and defensive versatility. He should be fairly interchangeable at both ends, too. The Sixers can consider playing him opposite Robert Covington in the same lineup.
Lonnie Walker IV and Zhaire Smith represent long-term upside picks at No. 10, but neither have a bankable skill right now. Bridges made a big jump in 2017-18, and despite his age, there is no reason why he can't continue to trend upward once he's in the league.
11. Charlotte Hornets: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Kentucky, PG, Freshman)
Compared to Young and Sexton, Gilgeous-Alexander is at least four inches taller and longer than both. He'd give Charlotte a passer first, but also a crafty scorer and versatile defender who has reminded scouts of the pre-injury version of Shaun Livingston.
12. Los Angeles Clippers (via Pistons): Collin Sexton (Alabama, PG, Freshman)
The Clippers need a point guard, and they'll take the best one to fall to them at No. 12. Sexton would give them a relentless scorer and tough defender to pair alongside Lou Williams.
13. Los Angeles Clippers: Robert Williams (Texas A&M, C, Sophomore)
Assuming DeAndre Jordan opts out, the Clippers could view Williams as a cheaper replacement. He's similarly long and explosive around the rim, making him an exciting lob catcher and shot-blocker.
14. Denver Nuggets: Zhaire Smith (Texas Tech, SG/SF, Freshman)
Teams look at Smith through the long-term projection lens. He's limited off the dribble, but he just turned 19 years old earlier this month. He's one of the draft's top athletes and defenders, and he shot 18-of-40 from deep during his lone season at Texas Tech.
15. Washington Wizards: Jerome Robinson (Boston College, SG, Junior)
A high-level scorer, Robinson averaged 24.3 points during ACC play, burying defenses with his mean perimeter skills off pick-and-rolls, pull-ups and step-backs. He's soared up boards quietly and quickly.
16. Phoenix Suns (via Heat): Aaron Holiday (UCLA, PG, Junior)
Holiday blew up replacing Lonzo Ball as UCLA's lead guard, finishing his junior season averaging 20.3 points and 5.8 assists while shooting over 40 percent from three for the third straight season. If the Suns stay put at No. 16, they could add Holiday to run the point next to Devin Booker.
17. Milwaukee Bucks: Lonnie Walker IV (Miami, SG, Freshman)
An explosive leaper with a convincing shooting stroke, Walker has a terrific foundation for a 2-guard. He'll need to use the next few years improving his ball skills off the dribble.
18. San Antonio Spurs: Kevin Huerter (Maryland, SF, Sophomore)
Huerter soared up boards after the combine, where he was able to show off his signature shooting stroke along with his underappreciated playmaking. He'll miss the next two months to recover from hand surgery, but that won't affect any team's evaluation.
19. Atlanta Hawks (via Timberwolves): Miles Bridges (Michigan State, SF/PF, Sophomore)
Bridges didn't improve enough as a sophomore to lock himself into the lottery, but there should still be interest in one of the nation's most explosive athletes. He also made at least two threes per game in both of his seasons at Michigan State. It wouldn't be surprising if another team was picking here at No. 19, though.
20. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Thunder): Donte DiVincenzo (Villanova, SG, Sophomore)
With Jamal Crawford likely to leave in free agency, the Timberwolves could target DiVincenzo for offense and energy off the bench. He can offer the microwave scoring and secondary playmaking we saw in the national title game in addition to tough perimeter defense.
21. Utah Jazz: Troy Brown (Oregon, SG/SF, Freshman)
The idea of Brown is more appealing than his freshman numbers. Still 18 years old, he's become a first-round name for his potential two-way versatility as an interchangeable playmaking wing who guards up to four positions.
22. Chicago Bulls (via Pelicans): Chandler Hutchison (Boise State, SF, Senior)
Hutchison has been quiet on the workout front after skipping the combine, which suggests he may have a promise from a team. Given the Bulls' need for a wing and another scoring weapon, they would make for a logical landing spot.
23. Indiana Pacers: Elie Okobo (France, PG/SG, 1997)
Okobo's 44-point game last month earned attention, but his overall improvement and production has put him into the first-round mix. He shot 41.8 percent from three and picked apart defenses with pick-and-rolls. Lack of speed and explosion are the big knocks on Okobo, who'll turn 21 in October.
24. Portland Trail Blazers: Dzanan Musa (Bosnia & Herzegovina, SG/SF, 1999)
Musa has been working out for teams after another productive season overseas. The Blazers could use an additional wing scorer, which is exactly what Musa would provide.
25. Los Angeles Lakers (via Cavaliers): Anfernee Simons (USA, SG, 1999)
A high-upside project, Simons is tough to reach on early, as teams have only seen him face high school competition. He's a long-term value pick for his athleticism and scoring potential, although he'd benefit from evolving into a playmaking combo guard.
26. Philadelphia 76ers: Josh Okogie (Georgia Tech, SG, Sophomore)
Okogie moved into the first-round discussion after the combine, turning heads with his athleticism, aggressive attacking and flashes of perimeter scoring. He was ultimately overlooked during the season while playing for a weak Georgia Tech team.
27. Boston Celtics: Grayson Allen (Duke, SG, Senior)
Allen might not be for everyone, but it's easy to see general manager Danny Ainge admiring his competitiveness. Allen hit at least 80 threes in each of his final three seasons at Duke, and the Celtics could use his shot-making coming off the bench.
28. Golden State Warriors: Melvin Frazier (Tulane, SF, Junior)
The Warriors could view Frazier as an NBA-ready defender who's become threatening enough from behind the arc. He'll be able to play to his strengths in the Warriors' loaded lineup of stars.
29. Brooklyn Nets (via Raptors): Moritz Wagner (Michigan, PF/C, Junior)
The Nets could use a shooting big man to stretch the floor, and Wagner shot at least 39 percent from three in each of the past two seasons. Defensive concerns and athletic questions limit his ceiling to that of a role player.
30. Atlanta Hawks (via Rockets): Jalen Brunson (Villanova, PG, Junior)
It would be surprising if the Hawks made the pick at No. 30, as this would be their third of the first round. Brunson should be a target for any team here (including the Hawks) for his potential to run an offense, make shots and bring floor and locker-room leadership.
31. Phoenix Suns: Bruce Brown (Miami, SG, Sophomore)
A two-way playmaker, Brown can set the table offensively and guard multiple positions. Phoenix will take him for his defense and hope for his shooting to improve over time.
32. Memphis Grizzlies: Khyri Thomas (Creighton, SG, Junior)
Thomas earned fans this season for his three-and-D skill set, plus a highly efficient scoring attack inside the arc. His inability to create lowers his ceiling, but Thomas offers appealing role-player potential working off the ball.
33. Dallas Mavericks: Jacob Evans (Cincinnati, SG/SF, Junior)
Evans should draw first-round looks for his NBA body, toughness and versatility at both ends. However, he'll likely fall to the 30s since he lacks a convincing speciality skill.
34. Atlanta Hawks: Keita Bates-Diop (Ohio State, SF/PF, Junior)
The Big Ten Player of the Year, Bates-Diop has evolved into a versatile scorer with a three-point shot and post game. Defensive inconsistency, a lack of explosiveness, a previous leg injury and age (22) are his big drawbacks.
35. Orlando Magic: Devonte' Graham (Kansas, PG, Senior)
Graham eventually figures to receive a chance as a backup, as he's valued for his pick-and-roll play and shooting. Already 23 years old, he lacks any degree of upside. It's reasonable to expect a Shabazz Napier-like career trajectory.
36. New York Knicks (via Bulls): Hamidou Diallo (Kentucky, SG, Freshman)
Despite a disappointing season, Diallo still has enough upside tied to his elite athleticism, length and scoring ability. The Knicks are just looking to acquire talent, and Diallo's is first-round caliber. They'll look to the coaches to help unlock it.
37. Sacramento Kings: De'Anthony Melton (USC, PG/SG, Sophomore)
The FBI's pay-for-play investigation forced Melton to sit out the season after he'd struggled as a shooter in 2016-17. He's still appealing for his defensive toughness and ability to set the table.
38. Philadelphia 76ers (via Nets): Rodions Kurucs (Latvia, SF/PF, 1998)
Kurucs has drawn attention through the eye test for his positional tools, shooting stroke and slashing. However, teams haven't seen him play much over the past two seasons, as his minutes have been limited in the Spanish ACB.
39. Los Angeles Lakers (via Knicks): Mitchell Robinson (USA, C, 1998)
One of the highest-risk, high-reward options, Robinson will earn looks in the 20s, but he'll be tough to settle on that early. This late, it's easier to gamble. He's an explosive athlete who's also a mystery in terms of his skills and feel for the game since he skipped college and the combine.
40. Brooklyn Nets (via Lakers): Landry Shamet (Wichita State, PG/SG, Sophomore)
Shamet has positional size, one of the draft's most accurate shooting strokes and a high passing IQ. Only limited strength and explosiveness can hold him back, as he struggles to beat defenders off the dribble.
41. Orlando Magic (via Hornets): Gary Trent Jr. (Duke, SG, Freshman)
Teams looking for shooting could target Trent, who buried 97 threes as a freshman. The Magic will want to surround him with passers and defenders, as Trent remains limited outside of the shot-making department.
42. Detroit Pistons: Jevon Carter (West Virginia, PG, Senior)
Carter looks like a backup ball-handler who'll be waiting in the second round. He's one of the few guards whose defensive appeal is greater than his offense.
43. Denver Nuggets (via Clippers): Kenrich Williams (TCU, SF, Senior)
Williams has role-player potential stemming from his shooting, passing and defensive IQ. He has the chance to be the glue between a lineup's featured scorers.
44. Washington Wizards: Omari Spellman (Villanova, PF/C, Freshman)
Spellman offers a unique mix of 254-pound size and three-point shooting. He's a skilled big who'll need to spend next year improving his conditioning and adjusting to being defended by taller, longer athletes.
45. Charlotte Hornets (via Bucks): Rawle Alkins (Arizona, SG, Sophomore)
Alkins didn't make a sophomore jump, but he missed the first month of the season after suffering a foot injury. He has an NBA body and defends with toughness, but he needs a bankable offensive skill.
46. Houston Rockets (via Heat): Malik Newman (Kansas, SG, Sophomore)
Teams will view Newman as a scoring spark they can bring off the bench. He'll require a short leash, given his questionable shot selection and limited playmaking instincts. But he's capable of catching fire and making shots in bunches when he's on.
47. Los Angeles Lakers (via Nuggets): Kevin Hervey (Texas-Arlington, SF/PF, Senior)
Hervey would go earlier if he hadn't torn both ACLs and wasn't turning 22 in July. He has the size to play both forward spots, and though he isn't explosive off the dribble, he's an advanced shot-maker from all over.
48. Minnesota Timberwolves: Issuf Sanon (Ukraine, PG/SG, 1999)
Sanon didn't play big minutes this season, but he generated buzz earlier in the month at Nike Global Camp, impressing with his open-floor offense and playmaking.
49. San Antonio Spurs: Justin Jackson (Maryland, SF/PF, Sophomore)
Jackson missed most of the year with a shoulder injury, but he created enough intrigue as a freshman between his combo-forward physical tools and three-point shooting.
50. Indiana Pacers: Jarred Vanderbilt (Kentucky, PF/C, Freshman)
Vanderbilt is one of the draft's top rebounders, but his offensive limitations are difficult to look past. He'll need the right fit on a team that specifically values his nose for the ball around the basket.
51. New Orleans Pelicans: Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (Kansas, SG, Senior)
With their one pick, the Pelicans could look to add a shooting specialist. Mykhailiuk is a sniper, but will he able to hold his own physically at either end of the floor?
52. Utah Jazz: Trevon Duval (Duke, PG, Freshman)
Duval isn't a lost cause, given his athleticism and tools for the position along with his playmaking. The Jazz can take their chances this late on him improving his scoring ability and shooting.
53. Oklahoma City Thunder: Chimezie Metu (USC, PF/C, Junior)
Metu would offer intriguing value at No. 53 based on his NBA body, efficient production and skill level. His challenge will be fitting in as a post big who isn't a rim protector or a three-point shooter.
54. Dallas Mavericks (via Trail Blazers): Shake Milton (SMU, PG/SG, Junior)
Milton shot at least 42.0 percent from three in all three of his seasons at SMU. He can defend as well, but for a ball-handler, he lacks the ability to blow by or separate.
55. Charlotte Hornets (via Cavaliers): Kostas Antetokounmpo (Dayton, SF/PF, Freshman)
It's worth taking a flier on the Antetokounmpo genes at No. 55. He's raw offensively, but there is some appeal tied to his potential defensive versatility as a big who can block shots and switch.
56. Philadelphia 76ers: Gary Clark (Cincinnati, PF, Senior)
Clark is one of the few prospects capable of being drafted after not receiving an invite to the NBA combine. He'll turn 24 years old in November, but he was unquestionably one of the bigger impact bigs in college basketball.
57. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Celtics): Isaac Bonga (Germany, SF/PF, 1999)
An 18-year-old point forward, Bonga is interesting for his long-term potential, as he's a big who can handle the ball and facilitate. He just won't be ready anytime soon.
58. Denver Nuggets (via Warriors): Arnoldas Kulboka (Lithuania, SF, 1998)
Kulboka would need his shooting to carry him. His jump shot is smooth, but his thin frame, limited burst and poor defense don't bode well for the rest of his game translating to the NBA.
59. Phoenix Suns (via Raptors): Alize Johnson (Missouri State, PF, Senior)
Johnson brings intriguing versatility as a high-motor rebounder, transition ball-handler and open shot-maker. His defensive limitations and lack of a half-court scoring repertoire are the problems.
60. Philadelphia 76ers (via Rockets): Ray Spalding (Louisville, PF, Junior)
Spalding offers energy around the basket and a low-post game. He'll have to make his mark as an off-ball activity big in the paint.