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NBA Draft 2018: Start Time, Order, Prospects Guide and Mock Draft Predictions

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistJune 21, 2018

Arizona's DeAndre Ayton 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

The landscape of the NBA changes dramatically Thursday night with the start of the 2018 NBA draft. 

These changes don't all happen right away. Some top-tier prospects taken in the first round of the draft will need time before making their full impact known (think, Victor Oladipo). Others will arrive and change a team's fortunes right away while rewriting what fans think they know about the Association. 

It all happens in a flurry as the draft starts at 7 p.m. ET and selections come off the board while negotiations occur behind the scenes. Here's a full draft guide before things get started. 

           

NBA Draft TV Schedule

Date: Thursday, June 21

Time: 7 p.m. ET 

TV: ESPN 

        

2018 NBA Draft Order and Mock

1. Phoenix Suns: Deandre Ayton, C, Arizona

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

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

4. Memphis Grizzlies: Luka Doncic, SG, Slovenia

5. Dallas Mavericks: Mohamed Bamba, C, Texas

6. Orlando Magic: Wendell Carter, C, Duke

7. Chicago Bulls: Michael Porter Jr., SF/PF, Missouri

8. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Nets): Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky

9. New York Knicks: Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma

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

11. Charlotte Hornets: Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama

12. Los Angeles Clippers (via Pistons): Lonnie Walker, SG, Miami

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

14. Denver Nuggets: Zhaire Smith, SF, Texas Tech

15. Washington Wizards: Miles Bridges, SF/PF, Michigan State

16. Phoenix Suns (via Heat): Kevin Knox, SF, Kentucky

17. Milwaukee Bucks: Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA

18. San Antonio Spurs: Kevin HuerterSG, Maryland

19. Atlanta Hawks (via Timberwolves): Jacob Evans, SF, Cincinnati

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): Troy Brown, SF, Oregon

23. Indiana Pacers: Donte DiVincenzo, SG, Villanova

24. Portland Trail Blazers: Josh Okogie, SG, Georgia Tech

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

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

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

28. Golden State Warriors: Melvin Frazier, SG/SF, Tulane

29. Brooklyn Nets (via Raptors): Dzanan Musa, SG/SF, Bosnia and Herzegovina

30. Atlanta Hawks (via Rockets): Grayson Allen, SG, Duke

     

It shouldn't come as much of a surprise to see Deandre Ayton come off the board first overall. 

After all, Ayton is a 7'0", 261-pound center who just dropped averages of 20.1 points, 11.6 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game while shooting 61.2 percent from the floor. To top it all off, he's rather rare in the sense he shot a solid 34.3 percent from deep. 

In short, Ayton is about as rare as it gets for a draft prospect these days, and it's no wonder he's leading the charge in the odds department: 

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Deandre Ayton going one? 2018 NBA draft betting odds https://t.co/H5U4NhsYHa https://t.co/ik2SyYUENG

Luka Doncic out of Slovenia isn't too far behind, though. 

Doncic is a plug-and-play asset at any position regardless of the team that drafts him, in large part because he has "NBA-friendly versatility and competitiveness," as Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman wrote while ranking him as the top prospect in the class. 

This could easily turn out to be the case in hindsight, as the 6'8" Doncic is already pulling in awards and winning titles at the age of 20 years old. Quality defense and an ability to pass the ball well are merely strong footnotes to a quality foundation of upside. 

Mohamed Bamba is already a household name. The freshman out of Texas is a big 6'11" and 226 pounds with rare NBA length thanks to a 7'10" wingspan. While averaging a double-double as a freshman in college was expected, it's his ability from range that has teams keeping him high on boards. 

Bamba himself talked about making sure he develops a three-point shot to keep pace with the ever-evolving NBA: 

NBA TV @NBATV

Mohamed Bamba on how he adjusted his game to fit the modern @NBA game before entering the #NBADraft. https://t.co/Ni8L0q5eUJ

Alongside Bamba is Michigan State's Jaren Jackson Jr., another 6'11", 236-pound prospect who can defend all over the court but also averaged 10.89 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.0 blocks while shooting not only 51.3 percent from the floor, but 39.6 percent from deep. 

Jackson isn't going to come off the board first overall, but he could end up as the best player in the class outright—he's still only 18 years old, after all. 

Keeping with the frontcourt trend in the top 10, Duke's Marvin Bagley III averaged 21 points per game and nearly shot 40 percent from deep as a freshman. To say he's the best sheer scorer in the class wouldn't seem like much of an exaggeration: 

NBA on ESPN @ESPNNBA

Explosive. Instinctive. Productive. Marvin Bagley III is ready for the NBA. https://t.co/yqdrIJ5Ujm

Next to Bagley is his teammate Wendall Carter Jr., a prospect checking in at 6'10" and 251 pounds who has the fundamentals underneath the hoop but can also stretch the floor for his teammates by knocking down threes—he sunk 41.3 percent of them as a freshman. 

It's a similar story for Missouri's Michael Porter Jr., though where they differ is the fact Porter was considered the top overall prospect before injuries derailed his last season. But if his body is right and he can get his game back on track, he's another prospect with a chance at becoming the best overall player from the class. He also has a strange variance on draft night, ranging as high as two to dropping out of the top 10. 

From there, it's all about the guards. Kentucky's Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has superb size (6'6" 180 pounds) but still needs to work on a halfcourt game. Collin Sexton is a point guard out of Alabama in the attacking sense, meaning he averaged 19.2 points and only 3.6 assists per game. But the blend of ability makes him moldable and perfect in the right systems. 

The draft broadcast and social media certainly won't let fans forget about Oklahoma's Trae Young, not after he averaged 27.4 points and 8.7 assists per game while shooting 42.2 percent from the floor. He's an elite passer who can dominate from any range if tasked with scoring, and concerns about a 6'2", 178-pound frame are bound to disappear in a hurry. 

In short, it's not hard to see why this is one of the most hyped classes in recent memory—and also one of the most unpredictable.   

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