20 Jun 2018 NBA Mock Draft
This list will contain each of the specific team’s needs, their pick (I am projecting what I think they will do) and a grade. Feel free to follow me on Twitter @bieryplox33. Enjoy!
Team Needs: Sarver’s Suns seem to have the 2 & 3/4 filled out with Devin Booker and Josh Jackson. They certainly could stand to draft a point guard to go next to Booker or a big man to patrol the paint. Look for them to either draft Ayton or Doncic.
Pick: DeAndre Ayton | Center | 7-1 | Arizona | 19.9
Ayton is the aid to relevance the Suns desperately need. He has a chance to excel as a top tier player on both ends of the floor, has an all-time great body, and penchant to play on the perimeter at least some on D (guarded the perimeter in college). On the offensive side of the ball, he could be Boogie Cousins on the block, though he’s not as skilled as Boogie was coming out of Kentucky. This is a great pick, as Ayton has a high floor and a high ceiling.
Team Needs: Death, taxes, and Sactown mediocrity. Sacramento is perpetually picking down here, and they can’t seem to help themselves. They truly need everything, and even though they took a point guard last year, trading De’Aaron Fox (spelling) isn’t out of the question. They really should draft talent regardless of fit.
Pick: Luka Doncic | Small Forward | 6-7 | Real Madrid | 19.3
The Kings have landed a star here. Doncic has incredible character, some of the best skills in the draft (shooting, play-making, feel) and a very good body. Luka played in a league much tougher than the NCAA. He has a thirst to improve, and will want to show doubters he’s far different from some of his European predessecors that were ‘soft (PS I hate that label)’.
Team Needs: With the exception of Taurean Prince and John Collins, ATL doesn’t have any players that will likely be on the next great Hawks team. There will probably be a guy or two currently on the roster who exceeds expectations, but other than those guys, they simply need talent. A shot creator or playmaker would serve them very well, or a shooting center who can start next to Collins. Ideally, that big would complement Collins by stretching the defense to the 3 point line and by protecting the rim, allowing Collins to play the dive man on pick and roll and to wreak havoc on the glass.
Pick: Jaren Jackson | Big Man | 6-11 | Michigan State | 18.7
Jackson isn’t a sexy pick, but he could prove to be better than any other big in the draft. He seems to be a can’t miss prospect with a somewhat low ceiling due to a funky jumper and the fact he hasn’t dominated like guys he’s going ahead of. I envision Jaren playing both the 4 and the 5 in the league. Jackson is uber young, which helps his stock. Look for Atlanta to make their layup with a guy who will produce.
Team Needs: Conley/Gasol is still a formidable duo that has their owner thinking they could win 50 games next season. That’s almost certainly far too optimistic, but they could certainly make the playoffs next season, with a quick face-lift. Memphis needs a more reliable PF and more two-way talent.
Pick: Marvin Bagley III | Power Forward | 6-11 | Duke | 19.1
Bagley isn’t without risk, but he has unreal potential in today’s NBA. I project him to be a great power forward, who can switch on D, grab loads of rebounds, and soak up some backup center minutes against non-threatening bigs. Bagley’s motor never quits running. He plays like a banshee! On offense, his jumper has nice form, he has great feel for the game, and should punish smaller fours on the block. He should be able to pull slower bigs out of the paint, and either shoot the ball well, or use his hyper athleticism against them. Bagley has a chance, along with Porter Jr, Ayton, Bamba and Doncic, to be the best player in this draft.
Team Needs: Dallas’ Dennis Smith Jr. appears to be the crown jewel they will build around, but other than Harrison Barnes (who toggles among both forward positions), they could use talent everywhere. Expect them to take the best player available.
Pick: Mohamed Bamba | Center | 6-11 | Texas | 20.1
Dallas finally has their bigman of the future with the long-limbed Bamba. Granted, he’s only a theoretical shooter at the moment. Bamba has a chance to be the best player in this draft, given his potential ability to protect the paint for a top defense, and his potential penchant to shoot from deep. His measurables are all-time great, a 7 foot 10 wingspan and a 9 foot 8 standing reach, Bamba has the tools to be the best rim protector of the 2020’s.
Team Needs: Orlando has had quite the tumultuous run since their dreaded Dwight-mare saga. They have tried going in several directions, to no avail. Quite frankly, I am not sure they could beat themselves out of a wet paper bag if tasked to do so. Furthermore, Orlando doesn’t have anyone that truly excites me, besides Jonathan Isaac, and he isn’t even a sure thing. They need some help on the wing, and at the center position.
Pick: Michael Porter Jr | Small Forward | 6-10 | Missouri | 19.9
Orlando desperately needs an infusion of talent, and will potentially take Porter here. His medical history is very concerning, but he already shows excellent shooting and is 6 foot 10. MPJ would be a top 2 or 3 pick, if it weren’t for his medical red flags. Porter has the most variance of any prospect in this draft, but could be the best. He also could play less than 200 career games.
Team Needs: After what appeared to be a disastrous Jimmy Butler trade, the Bulls appear to have known something about Lauri Markkanen that the public didn’t. He looks very fluid, smooth and is tougher than initially expected. They could pair a bulky center next to him (Wendell Carter Jr perhaps) or could chase more wing talent.
Pick: Wendell Carter Jr | Power Forward | 6-10 | Duke | 19.1
Duke product Wendell Carter should pair well with Lauri Markkanen, as he can theoretically protect the rim, and dominate the low post while Lauri floats around the perimeter. Carter has an advanced feel for the game, but lacks explosiveness, switch-ability, and has slow release on his jumper. The Al Horford comps seem unfair, because Horford was fair more athletic. Carter shouldn’t bust, but I’m not sure he will be an impact player.
8 Cleveland From BKN
Team Needs: Cleveland’s roster as currently constructed has holes everywhere. What LeBron accomplished with them this postseason is absolutely brilliant. They could use a facelift everywhere except for the forward spots, but their salary cap is a disaster.
Pick: Kevin Knox | Small Forward | 6-9 | Kentucky | 18.8
The Cavs are in a bit of a tough spot here, with a bit of a drop-off here after the elite players go off the board. Knox, along with Jaren Jackson, is one of the youngest guys in the early portion of the draft. Kentucky draft prospects are very hard to gauge, but Knox has elite size, a nice shooting stroke, and age on his side. Look for the Cavs to shoot for upside before the inevitable rebuild begins.
9 New York
Team Needs: Other than Porzingis’ at a big-man spot, and a guard spot, they have holes everywhere. Ntkilina seems to be a great defender thus far, but they really don’t have much else that they can look to long term, in addition to the fact that they didn’t land a top pick. Basketball is better when the Knicks are good, so hopefully they can escape the basketball purgatory they have perpetually been in.
Pick: Trae Young | Point Guard | 6-2 | Oklahoma | 19.7
This is a match made in heaven. Trae Young as a Knick, chucking shots in a lost season without The Zinger in the fold. Trae’s absolute best outcome in my mind is peak Isiah Thomas. A scoring maven who is targeted on defense, and exposed constantly. This would balance out positively, if Trae can reach his offensive peak, but I’m not sure he will. Regardless, this is the upside pick you have to make here after the top guys go off the board.
10 Philadelphia From LAL
Team Needs: Similar to Memphis, Philly has the book-ends figured out, with Embiid and Simmons in the fold. They will need a shooting guard replacement, if they can’t resign Reddick and Bellinelli. There has also been discussion that they upgrade Robert Covington, but he seems like a fine 4th or 5th option who can guard the opposing teams best scorer. Philly could use more wing talent.
Pick: Mikal Bridges | Shooting Guard | 6-7 | Villanova | 21.7
Villanova Wildcat product Bridges is the perfect modern day 3 and D player, and he should contribute on day one. It makes a lot of sense for Cleveland to target him, if they try to woo LeBron back. I’m not sure what his upside is, but if he’s even a Trevor Ariza type, that’s already a big win.
Team Needs: Charlotte has been on the treadmill of mediocrity, and though they had a chance to select Donovan Mitchell, they failed to do so. With Kemba Walker’s time in Charlotte seemingly coming to an end soon, they could look point guard here. They should go best player available, and Kevin Knox (if available) may make some sense.
Pick: Collin Sexton | Point Guard | 6-2 | Alabama | 19.4
Sexton has electric athleticism, a dynamite motor, a will to win and could be the Kemba Walker replacement. Sexton doesn’t have supreme scoring skills, but could work his way up to being a very good point guard and has a very high floor.
12 LA Clippers From DET
Team Needs: After trading Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, the Clippers began to lean towards teardown, granted they didn’t use a wrecking ball to fully do the job. They have tons of assets and pieces on the roster, but still have yet to fill the wing defender void that seemingly has been there since before the Obama administration.
Pick: Lonnie Walker | Shooting Guard | 6-4 | Miami | 19.5
The Clippers need talent, and Walker represents a guy who can flatout get buckets, and is young with room to grow. Watch them take a swing on some upside here.
13 LA Clippers
Team Needs: See above.
Pick: Robert Williams | Center | 6-9 | Texas A&M | 20.7
Williams is a DeAndre Jordan clone, a rim running athletic freak who can protect the rim. The Clips don’t have much center depth, so Williams makes some sense for them.
Team Needs: The Denver Nuggets are closer to contending than a lot of people think, and they would make a super fun LeBron landing spot. Wilson Chandler is an adequate small forward, but they could use another guy to play that spot.
Pick: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander | Point Guard | 6-6 | Kentucky | 19.9
SGA is a tenacious defender, long, hyperactive, but lacks offensive feel. Currently, he reminds me more of Michael Carter-Williams than a Shaun Livingston, but he has loud upside if he can improve on offense. He could fit in well in Denver, running up and down at altitude.
Team Needs: Washington may make a change, as the Wall-Beal-Porter era hasn’t been as fruitful as many pundits initially envisioned. With their current roster construction, they could use some spark plug scoring punch off the bench or a more reliable stretch 4 to bend opposing defenses.
Pick: Miles Bridges | Power Forward | 6-7 | Michigan State | Sophomore
Bridges seems to be a perfect fit, as a potential small ball four next to Wall-Beal-Porter, a guy who projects to be a glue guy.
16 Phoenix From MIA
Team Needs: See above.
Pick: Jerome Robinson | Shooting Guard | 6-6 | Boston College | 21.3
For a team that needs everything, Robinson is a flatout floor pick, and should return value here. He’s fluid, finishes well with both hands, and could come off the bench and do well on day one.
Team Needs: After landing Coach Budenholzer (who perpetually looks as if he ate a hot pepper), the Bucks have a new identity. They have a Jabari decision impending, but aside from what they do there, the Bucks could use some microwave scoring off the pine or a point guard to direct the offense off the bench.
Pick: Zhaire Smith | Shooting Guard | 6-5 | Texas Tech | 19
Smith is a supreme athlete, headed to a team that’s chocked full of alien type specimen. If he can improve his offensive shot to slightly above league average, he could be a starter, which is a nice get at pick 17.
18 San Antonio
Team Needs: San Antonio is in a position they typically don’t find themselves in often: in flux. With Kawhi appearing to want out of San Antonio, the Spurs have a massive decision to make. That decision will shape their team needs greatly. Until then, it’s hard to identity what direction they will go.
Pick: Elie Okobo | Point Guard | 6-2 | Pau Orthez | 20.7
San Antonio plucks the international market for undervalued assets better than anyone. Okobo has a nice feel for the game, and could really be a nice player in SA.
19 Atlanta From MIN
Team Needs: See above.
Pick: Mitchell Robinson | Center | 7-1 | USA | Freshman
After taking a strange road to the Association, Robinson is here. This is purely an upside play, betting on the talents of a smooth athlete with a penchant for catching lobs.
20 Minnesota From OKC
Team Needs: Minnesota’s bench was absolutely piss-poor and they could use a two way player off the bench. They should aim for a guy to help on day one instead of aiming for sheer upside.
Pick: Troy Brown | Shooting Guard | 6-7 | Oregon | 18.8
Minnesota needs some help on the wing and Brown could be a nice get here, as he’s a very young switchy guy with a nice basketball IQ. His jumper isn’t ready made, but Minny could correct this.
Team Needs: Quin Snyder is one of the best coaches in the association and Utah has really stifled opposing offenses. Utah’s defense is utterly elite, but their offense relies far too heavily upon Donovan Mitchell. They need a play-maker and/or a shot creator.
Pick: Kevin Huerter | Shooting Guard | 6-7 | Maryland | 19.8
Utah is hurting for shooting, and this Maryland product could step in and knock down shots from day one.
22 Chicago From NO
Team Needs: See above.
Pick: Aaron Holiday | Point Guard | 6-1 | UCLA | 21.7
With brothers in the NBA (and on the team), Holiday has the bloodlines to do well in the NBA. Holiday could come in and run the second unit from day one. Fairly high floor.
Team Needs: After Paul George announced his plans to head West to LA, the Pacers found their next star, Victor Oladipo. They have a need for more wing depth, and possibly a backup plan in case the underrated Thaddeus Young.
Pick: Keita Bates-Diop | Wing | 6-8 | Ohio State | 22.4
Diop has the same wingspan as Kawhi Leonard, a very high floor and room for big upside. Pacers should pluck Diop if he’s here.
Team Needs: The Blazers are in a bit of a tough predicament. They have two great offensive guards, but neither McCollum or Lillard get after it enough on defense. Their offensive skills are slightly redundant and they may not combine for enough defense to ever win big. Portland could really use some wing defenders who can shoot the ball.
Pick: Jacob Evans | Shooting Guard | 6-6 | Cincinnati | 21.0
A rugged defender out of Cincinnati, Evans should be able to offer wing defense on day one to a team that very much needs it.
25 LA Lakers From CLE
Team Needs: The Lakers could go in so many directions this off-season, they could land some super high star players, Miami Heat style. Most likely, they will end up with Paul George and another solid contributor. That means they will have a need on the wing, perhaps they could chase a 3 and D specialist.
Pick: Chandler Hutchison | Shooting Guard | 6-7 | Boise State | 22.2
Chandler is one of my favorite guys in the entire draft, a late bloomer with massive size and great explosiveness.
Team Needs: See above.
Pick: Donte DiVincenzo | Shooting Guard | 6-5 | Villanova | 21.4
Yet another Villanova Wildcat, the 6ers would love to land this combo. DiVincenzo has an unreal vertical leap, a nice jumper and plays his tail end off.
Team Needs: After finishing up one of the best and quickest rebuilds in sports history, the Celtics look primed to contend for a title for a long time. They don’t have any glaring needs, but landing a young big-man to develop would make some sense, as Horford and Baynes are quickly advancing in age. They already have a plethora of wings, but GM Danny Ainge may go grab another, considering they are so valuable.
Pick: Grayson Allen | Shooting Guard | 6-5 | Duke | 22.7
Allen will hit deep shots, aggravate opponents, and embrace being the modern day version of Danny Ainge.
28 Golden State
Team Needs: The best team of all-time (perhaps) doesn’t have any glaring needs, yet they continue to hit on the peripheries. They bought 2017 2nd rounder Jordan Bell with cash, frustrating opposing teams, and brightening their future even further. Look for them to chase a ready made wing shooter who defends.
Pick: Melvin Frazier | Forward | 6-9 | Tulane | 21.8
The Warriors find another knockdown shooter with uber long arms here, late in the draft.
29 Brooklyn From TOR
Team Needs: Brooklyn is in a very unusual spot, they don’t own their pick, aren’t anywhere near being good enough to contend, but had cap room and leveraged that flexibility in order to gain picks for bad contracts (though Demarre Carroll has revitalized his career.) A very shrewd move. They should chase upside regardless of fit or position, but it makes sense to either get a 3 and D player here or a stretch 4 who can defend.
Pick: Khyri Thomas | Shooting Guard | 6-3 | Creighton | Junior
Defensive toughness: Brooklyn needs it, and Thomas brings it. This guy will fit in well, on a team that strives to be competitive.
30 Atlanta From HOU
Team Needs: See above.
Pick: Dzanan Musa | Forward | 6-9 | Cedevita | 19.1
Atlanta needs talent and this guy can flat-out shoot the rock. Look for them to shoot for the upside.
Thank you very much for reading my article, and if you have any questions or comments feel free to reach out to me via twitter @bieryplox33.