Mid-season 2018 NBA Mock Draft
1.) Atlanta Hawks – Luka Doncic
Doncic started the basketball season behind Bagley III and Michael Porter Jr as the potential first overall pick in the draft. Leading all of Euroleague in player efficiency rating, per RealGM.com, Doncic continues to amaze with his production at 18 years old. He's widely regarded to be the most proven European teenager ever to enter the NBA draft. He has proven himself in the second toughest league on the planet, and has the highest floor of anyone in the draft, being highly unlikely to be a bust. He will become the premier ball handler on an Atlanta team headed by a young Dennis Schroder.
2.) Orlando Magic – Trae Young
Young was a five-star prospect in high school, was a McDonalds All-American, and recruited heavily by Coach Cal at Kentucky before committing to Oklahoma. But literally nobody expected him to do what he's been doing this season. He's averaging 29.4 points and 10.2 assists, leading the nation in both categories. He mirrors Steph Curry’s style-of-play, attempting 4.0 three’s a game. We’ve seen enough of a sample size to determine Young is a gifted scorer who will translate to the next level of play. Orlando is looking for a starting point guard to compliment young stars Aaron Gordon and Jonathan Isaac.
3.) Memphis Grizzlies – Marvin Bagley III
An ideal 6’11” stretch four who is a great athlete gifted with tremendous coordination and fluidity at his size, Bagley entered the year as the top prospect in basketball. He can score any way you want him to; in the post, inside, at the three. Bagley's lack of length, defensive IQ and a signature skill could lead to Deandre Ayton and Luka Doncic going before him, but as young as he is, his ceiling might be the highest in the entire draft class. He can immediately contribute at the 4 with Gasol and Conley.
4.) Sacramento Kings – Deandre Ayton
The 19-year-old born in the Bahamas is one of those teenage phenoms talent scouts have tracked for years, though one mostly perceived as the sort of prospect who managed to dominate in high school through athletic prowess alone. Ayton, who has averaged 20.4 points through his first 13 games, is scoring 1.014 points per possession on post-ups (83rd percentile) and is shooting 53.3 percent from 17 feet to the arc. His 7-5 wingspan allows him to alter shots at the rim and even away from the basket -- meaning he's not just an offensive weapon. The Kings can build around a young core of Ayton, Fox, and Buddy Hield.
5.) Boston Celtics (via LA Lakers) – Mo Bamba
The Celtics are one of the worst rebounding teams in the league and struggle to guard bigger players around the rim. Bamba has already established himself as one of college basketball's best shot blockers, averaging 11.9 points, 10.6 rebounds and 4.6 blocks in 29.5 minutes per game. Offensively, the freshman from Harlem is more skilled than most realize; so the stuff is there to develop into a star. He possesses an Elite physical profile for a center at 7'0, with a 7' 9 wingspan and a 9' 6 standing reach.
6.) Cleveland Cavaliers (via BKYN Nets) – Michael Porter Jr.
Unless Porter is medically red-flagged with back issues, this, I think, remains about the floor for him. The 6-10 wing won't slip much further for the same reasons an injured Joel Embiid didn't slip far in the 2014 NBA Draft, i.e., because when you can get the pre-season possible No. 1 pick with the third or fourth of fifth pick, it's often wise to do it. LeBron has played with and mentored Porter Jr before, and will continue to do so to build the future around him.
7.) Dallas Mavericks – Jaren Jackson Jr.
Jaren Jackson Jr. is one of two players in the country with at least 10 made three-pointers and at least 3.0 blocks per game, per Sports-Reference.com. His size (6'10", 242 lbs, 7'4" wingspan) is the reason he is No. 2 in the nation in defensive box plus-minus. Although he struggles to score in traffic at times and is an inconsistent shooter, he will be a good compliment to young star Dennis Smith Jr.
8.) Phoenix Suns – Collin Sexton
The five-star freshman is averaging 20.6 points, 3.4 assists and 3.4 rebounds while shooting 38.8 percent from 3-point range – recently scoring a career high with 30 points in a competitive loss at Arizona. He’s keeping Alabama in games with Arizona, which alone is enough to get drafted top-10. Sexton is making 2.0 three-pointers and 9.5 free-throw makes per 40 minutes, a tribute to his relentless driving and consistent shooting early in the season. His odd shot release and speed in transition resembles De’Aaron Fox, but him and Booker should pair nicely together.
9.) Chicago Bulls – Mikal Bridges
After hitting the 20-point mark just once through two years at Villanova, Mikal Bridges has already done it five times as a junior. He's making twice as many threes (2.4) compared to last season, strengthening his three-and-D reputation and chances of moving up draft boards. He's averaging a career-high 17.8 points and 5.6 rebounds while shooting 45.2 percent from 3-point range.
10.) Utah Jazz – Kevin Knox
The 6-9 freshman is averaging a team-best 14.0 points and 5.9 rebounds in a team-high 33.1 minutes per game. And though he's not shooting a great percentage from 3-point range, he is attempting 4.5 per game. Knox can play either forward position but will probably be best as a stretch-4 who uses his athleticism and shot-making ability to cause matchup problems. He recently turned 18, so youth and development have been the crux of some of his struggles this season. He will pair with Donovan Mitchell as the young pillars Utah builds around.
11.) Charlotte Hornets – Wendell Carter
Despite the lack of usage, Carter is still third on the Blue Devils in scoring, shooting 61.6 percent while averaging 14.1 rebounds, 3.1 blocks and 2.8 assists per 40 minutes. He is a strong finisher around the basket, and he is a good post up player that can get numerous scores in the paint. He has to improve his jump shot, but he is a tough, physical player who could compliment the undersized Malik Monk.
12.) New York Knicks – Miles Bridges
Miles Bridges' strengths and weaknesses look relatively similar from last season, when he showed he can make shots and finish, but not create at a high level. Bridges competes hard on both ends of the floor, and his oft-spectacular athletic ability suggests he can be an impactful defender and transition threat. He's averaging 16.9 points and 7.6 rebounds in 29.3 minutes per game. His three-point percentage is down from his freshman season. But it won't keep Bridges from going in the top 12.
13.) Philadelphia 76ers – Dzanan Musa
Separating himself as the next international prospect to covet after Luka Doncic, Dzanan Musa continues to produce, finishing with double figures in nine of Cedevita's last 11 games. Musa is an aggressive scoring wing who shoots well from the outside and can attack effectively off the dribble. He’s an improving playmaker and has stood out for Bosnia with an advanced feel, but he’s very ball-dominant at this stage and may not be athletic enough for that role in the NBA. His size could be the factor that holds him back, as his 6’8 frame has very little muscle on it.
14.) Los Angeles Clippers – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
According to the 247Sports Composite, Gilgeous-Alexander was the second-lowest rated of Kentucky's eight 2017 signees. By the time the Wildcats began SEC play vs. Georgia Dec. 31, even with at least two sure-fire first round picks, it was clear he was UK's best player. The 6-6 combo guard is averaging 11.5 points and 4.3 assists in 29.5 minutes per game. He doesn't take a lot of 3-pointers. But he does make 45.0 percent of his attempts.
15.) Denver Nuggets – Lonnie Walker
He's able to slash to the basket and score from deep with great length and a nice frame for his position. He has long-term 3-and-D potential as he refines his skills, and learns to play off the ball. He was a consensus five-star recruit coming out of high school who still projects as a strong-framed NBA shooting guard. Yes, he's only shooting 31.4 percent from 3-point range. But, remember, Walker shot 40.0 percent from 3-point range two summers ago in the Nike EYBL. He needs to develop more at the next level.
16.) Phoenix Suns (via MLK Bucks) – Robert Williams
There aren’t many college bigs who play above the rim as easily as Williams can, and he has considerable potential as a Clint Capela-style five-man. He brings a level of athleticism on both ends on the court that has attracted NBA scouts, and his defensive resume, he is the reigning SEC Defensive Player of the Year, is only strengthened with averaging 8.4 points, 10.0 rebounds and 2.7 blocks in 25.0 minutes per game for a Texas A&M team that's been hampered by suspensions and injuries. "A young Antonio McDyess, if you will, is what I like to compare him to," said Byron Smith, his head coach.
17.) New Orleans Pelicans – Bruce Brown
Bruce Brown is an athletic, combo guard that could potentially excel as a two-way player in the NBA and would pair nicely with Jrue Holliday. He is a high-motor player that rebounds and defends well, and is a very good scorer off the dribble scorer. Brown’s intangibles will be the reason he makes it at the next level.
18.) Phoenix Suns (via MIA Heat) – Hamidou Diallo
Diallo could've entered the 2017 NBA Draft and possibly been a first-round pick. He’s an athletic wing with the freakish bounce and length that makes him worthy of first-round looks. However, he is raw and his jumper needs work. His skills combined with having tremendous athleticism could make him a candidate to go in the lottery in 2018.
19.) Portland Trail Blazers – Mitchell Robinson
Although Robinson will have had a year off from competitive basketball and enter the draft with no experience past high school, teams still have significant interest in his long frame, athleticism and shot-blocking ability. He is the definition of a project, but the 7’0 big man is a great shot blocker and is a strong finisher around the basket, something the Trail Blazers lack right now.
20.) Indiana Pacers – Trevon Duvall
Duvall is eerily similar to Rajon Rondo; they are both taller point guards with exceptional length (Duvall is 6-3 with a 6-10 wingspan) that can rack up assists and steals, and are tenacious on defense. But his inability to make a shot is a major issue. The freshman guard has taken 42 3-pointers this season and missed 35 of them. So, he's shooting just 16.7 percent from beyond the arc. In today’s NBA that almost makes him a non-factor on offense.
21.) Minnesota Timberwolves (via OKC Thunder) – Shake Milton
Milton’s size, shooting and ability to play on and off the ball make him an intriguing prospect. Milton is shooting above 40 percent from beyond the arc for the third consecutive season and in the process establishing himself as a top-20 talent. He's averaging a career 17.0 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.5 assists for an SMU team that's likely headed to the NCAA Tournament.
22.) Detroit Pistons – Chandler Hutchison
A popular sleeper and one of the top players in the Mountain West, Hutchison has 3-and-D potential and an unflashy, effective game. He’s often referred as a sleeper in this year’s draft, but a senior 6’7” lanky wing who can defend and shoot well enough are why the Pistons notoriously draft horrendously. I’m here for it. This was also the hardest player to find scouting info on, although I did find that he is being trained by the same person who developed Damian Lillard.
23.) Washington Wizards – Brandon McCoy
Brandon McCoy is an athletic big man that is having a really good freshman season so far. He's been playing really well, and he had a terrific, 33-point and 10-rebound performance against Arizona. His timing and feel are still coming along, but he naturally alters shots and has shown some ability to shoot from the mid-range.
24.) Atlanta Hawks (via MIN T’wolves) – Killian Tillie
The Frenchman has shown demonstrable polish and has flashed a nice-looking jump shot. He’s a good shooter for a big man, and has stretch big potential. He boxes out well and establishes good position inside, although he needs to add muscle in order to compete at the next level.
25.) Brooklyn Nets (via TOR Raptors) – Jarred Vanderbilt
26.) Cleveland Cavaliers – Troy Brown
Brown was an oversized point guard early in his high school career before his coaches realized he was more valuable on the wing. Still, a lot of those point guard skills Brown honed over the years continue to come in handy: he’s a good passer and ball handler at 6’7 and is knocking down 35 percent of his threes. He’s not a great shooter, but Brown also rebounds well and finds ways to impact the game without scoring.
27.) San Antonio Spurs – Anfernee Simons
Currently in midst of a postgrad season at IMG, Simons will be draft-eligible and is considering entering the pool and skipping college. As a high schooler, Simons obviously needs time, but the former Louisville commit possesses considerable upside and has the NBA intrigued. That’s why ESPN initially had him projected as the No. 5 pick in their 2019 mock draft. He will add depth and even a possible successor to the Spurs point guard position that features an aging Tony Parker and Patty Mills.
28.) Atlanta Hawks (via HOU Rockets) – PJ Washington
Washington only measures 6’7”, yet his 7’3”wingspan allows him to guard the three, four, or five. He may work best as a small-ball center at the next level and needs to prove he can be a shot-blocking presence. He will crash the basket to garner scores and boards for his team, but he is undersized, and may be lacking enough perimeter skills for a player his size.
29.) Boston Celtics – Devonte Graham
Graham is the latest in a line of KU players to emerge as a legitimate National Player of the Year candidate and NBA prospect. He’s averaging 18.6 points and 7.4 assists while shooting 44.1 percent from 3-point range for a team likely to win a 14th straight Big 12 title.
30.) Golden State Warriors – Grayson Allen
This pick is very fun to think about. The Warriors have made a name for themselves finding first round talent that has somehow found their way to the final two picks of the first round. Make no mistake about it, Grayson is first round talent. He can create his own shot in many different ways, with 30.7 percent of his offense coming in transition, 20.6 percent out of spot-up situations, 11.6 percent off handoffs and 8.5 percent off screens. And he grades out as either very good or excellent in each department, per BleacherReport. He's also in the 92nd percentile in points per possession (1.3) on jump shots. His stock will fall due to his drama on the court last season, but so far he appears to have matured this year.