NBA Mock Draft 4.0
The NBA Draft is always full of surprises. The rumors, speculation, and talk of the next generation of talent are all factors making the draft more exciting.
1. Phoenix Suns- DeAndre Ayton, Big, Arizona
This pick is all but guaranteed. The Phoenix Suns believe that DeAndre Ayton is the best player in this draft. Who can blame them? Ayton is one of the most athletic centers in recent memory and downright dominated opponents at Arizona. Ayton joins Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Davis as the only bigs selected with the first overall pick in the past seven years. That's a pretty elite group.
2. Sacramento Kings- Luka Doncic, Guard, Slovenia
Luka Doncic is, in my opinion, the best player in this year's draft. To get him with the second overall pick after jumping up five spots in the lottery would be an absolute steal for the Kings. Drafting him would likely send Bogdanovic or Hield to the bench, but Doncic's, as well as Fox's shot-creating ability, could be disastrous for other teams. The Kings add another piece to a solid young core.
3. Atlanta Hawks- Jaren Jackson, Big, Michigan State
Jaren Jackson is one of the riskiest picks in this year's draft. His potential is elevated, but the uncertainty in selecting him is greater than any other player this year. Remember, the Hawks selected a high-risk, high-reward player in John Collins last year as well.
4. Memphis Grizzlies- Marvin Bagley, Big, Duke
Marvin Bagley entered the season as the number one overall player in this draft class. His offensive ability at Duke was used to its fullest, but Bagley struggled remarkably on defense. Duke even ran a 2-3 zone to try and ease the pain of Bagley on defense. However, the upside in this pick is very present. Memphis fills another void in Bagley, who should be an instant upgrade over JaMichal Green.
5. Boston Celtics*- Mohammed Bamba, Big, Texas
Wait, what?! The Boston Celtics send Jaylen Brown to the Mavericks for the 5th overall pick. Dallas adds another surefire young piece to a core that consists of Dennis Smith Jr. The Celtics move up to get an athletic center who has been dominating the workout cycle. Mohammed Bamba even ran the 3/4 court spring faster than John Wall and Kemba Walker. Not to mention, the Celtics free up some minutes on the wings and get the rim protector they have been searching for.
6. Orlando Magic- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Guard, Magic
The Orlando Magic front office values length and athletic ability over anything. The popular pick here is Trae Young, but with Steve Clifford's experience last year with Malik Monk, the Magic will try to go a separate route. Gilgeous-Alexander has as much potential as most players in this year's top ten. Some may see this as a reach, but SGA's end-of-season run for the Wildcats was simply incredible, and scouts should re-evaluate where they hold Gilgeous-Alexander.
7. Chicago Bulls- Wendell Carter, Big, Duke
The Chicago Bulls have one of the most gifted young players in the NBA in Lauri Markkanen. If they select Carter, their defense will rapidly improve. Robin Lopez is an adequate player, but Carter brings shades of Al Horford. His ceiling is also higher than most 'experts' give him credit for. This is one of the best fits in this draft, should it actually happen.
8. Charlotte Hornets*- Michael Porter, Forward, Missouri
Suprise! The Charlotte Hornets move Walker in order to take a huge swing on Michael Porter, who has largely been a mystery coming out of Missouri. The Cleveland Cavaliers move this pick in order to do everything in their power to persuade LeBron James to stay.
9. New York Knicks- Trae Young, Guard, Oklahoma
According to reports, the Knicks plan on using Frank Ntilikina as a two-guard instead of a point-guard. If this is the case, Trae Young would be the perfect player to pair with him. Young was the most thrilling player in college basketball last season and even drew some similarities to two-time MVP Steph Curry. The Knicks land a large market player with very big aspirations.
10. Philadelphia 76ers- Miles Bridges, Forward, Michigan State
The 76ers will have a lot of holes to plug this offseason with the inevitable departures of JJ Redick, Ersan Ilyasova, and Marco Belinelli. Miles Bridges would be a great player to throw into an already-solid forward rotation for the 76ers. Bridges has the physical tools to play the three or even a small-ball four, but the 76ers should be very happy to get a guy they know will have an impact.
11. Charlotte Hornets- Mikal Bridges, Wing, Villanova
The Charlotte Hornets traded Kemba Walker (in this mock draft), so they should pick a guard, right? Nope. If Mikal Bridges is still available, they should not hesitate to select him. Bridges averaged eighteen points, five rebounds, and two assists in his final season at Villanova. Bridges, who has drawn some comparisons to Otto Porter and Robert Covington, was extremely efficient last year for the Wildcats. He posted 53/44/85 shooting splits and was named to the All-NCAA Tournament Team.
12. Los Angeles Clippers- Collin Sexton, Guard, Alabama
The Los Angeles Clippers will be looking to add a guard in this draft, one way or another. Collin Sexton would be very fun to watch in a system that features Tobias Harris and Danilo Gallinari already. While the Clippers do have two picks and might even try to trade up, Collin Sexton falling to them could be a really nice fit.
13. Los Angeles Clippers- Kevin Knox, Forward, Kentucky
The Los Angeles Clippers have also made it known that they will likely draft a forward in this year's draft. With players like Mikal Bridges and Miles Bridges already taken, Kevin Knox is the next best thing. The Kentucky freshman averaged 16 points and five rebounds while shooting a solid 45% from the field. Knox has lots of potential, so putting him in the rotation alongside Tobias Harris could help his development tremendously. And with Harris's contract expiring after the 2018-19 season, Knox could be the replacement the Clippers need to stay afloat.
14. Denver Nuggets- Khyri Thomas, Guard, Creighton
The Denver Nuggets will likely have to find a replacement for 6th Man of the Year candidate and future MVP Will Barton, and Thomas could be a very good role player. At Creighton, Thomas was the best 3&D player. He was immaculate on defense, often covering the better of the two opposing guards, and was still very efficient on offense. While the Nuggets might take a player like Afernee Simons or Zhaire Smith here, Thomas might be the best of the three in terms of fitting in the modern NBA.
15. Washington Wizards- Robert Williams, Big, Texas A&M
16. Phoenix Suns- De'Anthony Melton, Guard, USC
17. Milwaukee Bucks- Lonnie Walker, Wing, Miami
18. San Antonio Spurs- Zhaire Smith, Guard, Texas Tech
19. Atlanta Hawks- Kevin Huerter, Wing, Maryland
20. Minnesota Timberwolves- Afernee Simons, Guard, USA
21. Utah Jazz- Elie Okobo, Guard, France
22. Chicago Bulls- Chandler Hutchison, Wing, Boise State
23. Indiana Pacers-Keita Bates-Diop, Wing, Ohio State
24. Portland Trail Blazers- Troy Brown, Wing, Oregon
25. Los Angeles Lakers- Mitchell Robinson, Big, USA
26. Philadelphia 76ers- Dzanan Musa, Wing, Bosnia and Herzegovina
27. Boston Celtics- Josh Okogie, Wing, Georgia Tech
28. Golden State Warriors- Donte DiVincenzo, Guard, Villanova
29. Brooklyn Nets- Melvin Frazier, Wing, Tulane
30. Atlanta Hawks- Shake Milton, Guard, SMU
Dallas Mavericks get: Jaylen Brown
Boston Celtics get: 5th overall pick (Mo Bamba)
Charlotte Hornets get: George Hill, Cedi Osman, 8th overall pick (Michael Porter Jr.)
Cleveland Cavaliers get: Kemba Walker, Marvin Williams