NBA Mock Draft 2018: Order of Selections and Final 1st-Round Team Predictions

Maurice Moton@@MoeMotonFeatured ColumnistJune 21, 2018

Missouri's Michael Porter Jr. speaks to reporters during a media availability with the top basketball prospects in the NBA Draft, Wednesday, June 20, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

It's the last step before the 2018 NBA draft. Teams have watched collegiate games as well as traveled across and outside the country to evaluate the incoming rookie group in order to make the best decisions Thursday.

Despite all the talk about wings and guards taking over the league, the 2018 class features several big men projected atop the draft order. 

Deandre Ayton could go to the Phoenix Suns at No. 1. Marvin Bagley III's college film features arguably the most polished scorer in this rookie group. Where does a defensive powerhouse such as Mohamed Bamba land?

Speaking of guards, two sensational prospects with the ability to change a backcourt's dynamic will likely be among the top 10. Luka Doncic, who comes over from the EuroLeague, and Oklahoma's Trae Young possess the skills to break down a defense in a variety of ways. 

How will the first round of the 2018 draft pan out? Take a look at the latest predictions below.

           

2018 NBA Mock Draft 1st-Round Predictions 

1. Phoenix Suns: Deandre Ayton, C, Arizona 

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

3. Atlanta Hawks: Luka Doncic, PG/SG, Real Madrid 

4. Memphis Grizzlies: Michael Porter Jr., SF/PF, Missouri  

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

6. Orlando Magic: Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma

7. Chicago Bulls: Mohamed Bamba, C, Texas 

8. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Brooklyn): Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama 

9. New York Knicks: Wendell Carter Jr., PF/C, Duke  

10. Philadelphia 76ers (via Los Angeles Lakers): Mikal Bridges, SG/SF, Villanova 

11. Charlotte Hornets: Kevin Knox, SF, Kentucky

12. Los Angeles Clippers (via Detroit): Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG/SG, Kentucky 

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

14. Denver Nuggets: Miles Bridges, SF/PF, Michigan State  

15. Washington Wizards: Keita Bates-Diop, SF, Ohio State  

16. Phoenix Suns (via Miami): Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA 

17. Milwaukee Bucks: Jerome Robinson, PG, Boston College 

18. San Antonio Spurs: Josh Okogie, SG, Georgia Tech

19. Atlanta Hawks (via Minnesota): Khyri Thomas, PG/SG, Creighton 

20. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Oklahoma City): Lonnie Walker, SG, Miami  

21. Utah Jazz: Kevin Huerter, SG, Maryland

22. Chicago Bulls (via New Orleans): Donte DiVincenzo, PG/SG, Villanova 

23. Indiana Pacers: Zhaire Smith, SG, Texas Tech

24. Portland Trailblazers: Moritz Wagner, F/C, Michigan

25. Los Angeles Lakers (via Cleveland): 76ers: Grayson Allen, SG, Duke  

26. Philadelphia 76ers: Troy Brown, SG, Oregon

27. Boston Celtics: De'Anthony Melton, PG/SG, USC

28. Golden State Warriors: Gary Trent Jr., SG, Duke 

29. Brooklyn Nets (via Toronto): Chandler Hutchison, SF, Boise State 

30. Atlanta Hawks (via Houston): Omari Spellman, F, Villanova               

                    

Memphis Grizzlies Select Michael Porter Jr. at No. 4

One of the most intriguing storylines will focus on forward Michael Porter Jr., who appeared in just three games last season because of a back injury that required surgery. According to ESPN.com's Jonathan Givony, the Missouri product canceled workouts with lottery clubs due to a hip ailment. He received clearance for medical evaluations, per Yahoo Sports' Shams Charania:

Within a year, Porter accumulated red flags concerning his durability, but it's difficult to ignore his upside. The 6'10" forward comes into the league as a talented scorer. He's already developed a reliable shooting range and doesn't hesitate to drive to the lane. 

According to USA Today's Sam Amick, the Memphis Grizzlies will consider looking past Porter's injury history to take him at No. 4:

There's also interest in trading out of the No. 4 spot, per Givony, but the Grizzlies can potentially grab a player capable of elevating their 29th-ranked offense from the previous year. Of course, the positives hinge upon the 19-year-old's availability through a long season.

Porter being paired with center Marc Gasol in the frontcourt and point guard Mike Conley in the backcourt should bring some excitement to Memphis for the upcoming season.

           

Chicago Bulls Take Mohamed Bamba at No. 7 

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 20:  NBA Draft Prospect Mohamed Bamba speaks to the media before the 2018 NBA Draft at the Grand Hyatt New York Grand Central Terminal on June 20, 2018 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by dow
Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

The Grizzlies' decision to take Porter at No. 4 forces a mini-slide for the big men at the top of the draft. Bamba slips to the Chicago Bulls in the seventh spot. 

Bamba's defensive prowess complements Lauri Markkanen's scoring versatility. Nonetheless, the near 7-footer comes into the league as a 20-year-old with room to grow offensively. 

Don't underestimate Bamba's potential to spread the floor. He made 14 three-pointers during his only collegiate season (while converting just 27.5 percent) and may develop a mid-range stroke that's consistent enough to pull big men outside the paint on the offensive end.

As a rookie, the Texas product would learn the position behind Robin Lopez before breaking into a starting role. In the meantime, Chicago can rely on his shot-blocking and rebounding abilities right out of college. After averaging 12.9 points and 10.5 boards as a freshman, Bamba can potentially finish early outings with double-doubles and a handful of blocks coming off the bench.

              

Wendell Carter Jr. Falls to New York Knicks at No. 9

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 20:  NBA Draft Prospect Wendell Carter Jr. speaks to the media before the 2018 NBA Draft at the Grand Hyatt New York Grand Central Terminal on June 20, 2018 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, b
Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

Prominent draft analysts don't foresee Wendell Carter Jr. dropping this far in the selection process. Givony and Sam Vecenie of The Athletic slotted him to the Orlando Magic at No. 6. Nonetheless, it's possible we'll see some surprises with potential trades and movement among the lottery picks. 

Carter brings value on the boards and defensive end, two areas in which the New York Knicks need help. Head coach David Fizdale spent a little more than a full season in Memphis, where he worked with a few grinders in forwards Tony Allen and Zach Randolph.

In Fizdale's second stint in charge, he'll need to add a player who brings toughness to the roster. Carter averaged 13.5 points, 9.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per contest at Duke. At 6'9", he's an ideal player to pair with Kristaps Porzingis when he returns from an ACL tear.

As a big-body asset with the ability to score on mid-range jumpers, Carter would become a solid building block in the frontcourt. His underrated passing ability also helps him in an evolving game that focuses on spacing the floor and moving the ball for uncontested shots.

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