As promised yesterday, today I come to you with my 2018 NBA mock draft. The draft is on tonight at 7pm, and I am going to go out on a short limb and say that all of this will be moot, but I still like doing these. And, just like I did with my NFL mock draft, I am only going to do the first round, I will only write a short review as to why I think this team will pick this player, I will not be doing trades, although I think there will be plenty of them tonight, and this mock is who I think they should pick, I am not basing it on any other mock that I have seen.
Okay, here we go.
1. Suns- Deandre Ayton. Even though I think they should take a point guard, Collin Sexton, they are going to go with the local big man. He is an immediate 20-10 guy, and he will be able to learn on this team. The Suns aren't looking to make the playoffs yet, so they can take yet another chance on a big man. I also like the pairing of him and Devin Booker. They could become an All Star duo.
2. Kings- Marvin Bagley III- I don't understand why they wouldn't take Luka Doncic, more on him next, but Bagley will help them put fans in the seats. He, much like Ayton, will put up big numbers as a rookie. He is a tremendous question mark on defense, but his offense cannot be doubted. Bagley will make a ton of highlight dunks, and score in the high teens, but he will be on the Kings, and it won't really matter. He is also the only prospect that wants to play there, so they'd be dumb to pass him up.
3. Hawks- Luka Doncic. Doncic is the supposed number one prospect, yet he will "fall" to the Hawks, and they should be ecstatic by this. He will immediately come in and be their point guard of the future, and the fans will love him. He can shoot and pass, he has been playing against pros since he was 16, and he has dominated them. He has to get better on defense, but every one of these 19 year old players needs to get better on defense. Doncic has the makings to be a very, very good to great NBA player. The Hawks will be more than thrilled with Doncic.
4. Grizzlies- Jaren Jackson. If they don't trade this pick, Jackson is the best fit for the Grizzlies, and next to Marc Gasol. He has an NBA ready body, he can rebound and he can play defense. He hasn't gotten to show his full arsenal on offense yet, Tom Izzo is not great at letting his best players flourish when he has upper classmen on his team, but give him time and he could be great. Jackson is the most NBA ready player in this draft, and the Grizzlies will not pass him up. Again, all of this is moot if they trade the pick.
5. Mavericks- Mo Bamba. This pick is almost as certain as Ayton to the Suns. Bamba is the best defender of all the big men in the draft. He has a 7 foot 10 inch wingspan, which is otherworldly. He has quick feet. What gives me pause is his offense, but maybe he can learn under Rick Carlisle. And, Bamba is immediately the best big man on the Mavericks the moment they pick him.
6. Magic- Trae Young. This is the best case scenario for Young. He won't be expected to be the savior, and he can just kind of hide out in NBA purgatory while he figures out the game. It is going to take him some time because teams will prep for him, and we all saw what happened in college when teams double and tripled teamed him. Orlando should be his dream destination. I hope for his sake, they pick him.
7. Bulls- Michael Porter Jr. I have so many red flags with this kid, but the Bulls are obsessed with him. They have wanted this kid from day one. There are rumors that they are even trying to trade up to get him. I don't get it, but if they just stay put at 7, Porter Jr should be there waiting to be picked. Porter Jr is the definition of a "project", and I know the least about him as a player. I know he is cocky, I know he is coming off a back injury and I know he was a great high school player. Will any of that translate into NBA success? I don't know, but the Bulls will take a big time swing here.
8. Cavs- Mikail Bridges. The Cavs are going to need a lot, especially if LeBron needs, and who better than an upperclassmen coming off a NCAA title, that can hit the three, than to get the rebuild started. While I think Doncic is the best player, I like Mikail Bridges more. He is cool, calm and collected. He can shoot and he can play defense. I also think, if LeBron were to stay, he would be thrilled to play with Bridges. Either way, with or without LeBron, I think Mikail Bridges is the best player for the Cavs.
9. Knicks- Miles Bridges. The Knicks will take this Bridges about 5 picks too soon because he is the 21st century version of Carmelo Anthony. He is an okay 3 point shooter, he can attack the rim and he will love playing in a big city. But, he is not that good on defense, he didn't get too much better his second year in college, and his first step is a little too slow. I do like the pairing of him and Kristaps, but the Knicks need a better player here. But the Carmelo comparison will be too big for them to pass up.
10. 76ers- Wendell Carter. Carter is the perfect backup to a player like Joel Embiid. Where Embiid is a more modern big man, Carter can play old and new school basketball. Carter is also a very good post passer, can defend and can play defense. He will also not back down against guys bigger than him. He will also be able to seamlessly step into the lineup when Embiid gets hurt, or takes some time off. I think Carter is going to be a good pro, and I think the 76ers will be pleased to have him.
11. Hornets- Collin Sexton. The Hornets will most likely need a new point guard, there are new Kemba Walker rumors everyday, and Sexton is my absolute favorite player in this draft. He is an explosive point guard that can score, a la Dennis Smith Jr. He is also always going 100 percent, no matter the situation. A young back court of him, Malik Beasley and Malik Monk sounds very intriguing to me. Hopefully Michael Jordan doesn't screw this up and take another big man. If Sexton is still there at 11, he should snatch him up.
12. Clippers- Robert Williams. The Clippers will need a new big man, Deandre Jordan is old, and he wants out, and Robert Williams is basically a younger version of him. He can rebound, he can dunk, and if he wants to, he can play a little defense. The only thing that gives me pause, he isn't always engaged in the game. He comes and goes, and that is unsettling, especially in the NBA. Williams is good, he just has to be 100 percent committed to the NBA, and I don't see that yet.
13. Clippers- Lonnie Walker. The Clippers also need a point guard, and lucky for them, they have 2 picks in a row. They can get 2 positions of need in less than 20 minutes. Walker is a good point guard that can get better. He does need some work, but he is a poor mans version of Sexton. Walker will be fun to watch grow in the NBA. I think he will also enjoy LA. The Clippers, barring any trades, can get better in a very small amount of time tonight. Lets see if Doc Rivers and Jerry West decide to go young.
14. Nuggets- Zhaire Smith. The Nuggets need a point guard to put them over the top, and if Smith is still here at 14, they should snatch him up. He is a good, multi faceted guard, and he will be the cure to what ails this team. The Nuggets have everything else to be a perennial playoff contender, they just need a true point guard, and that is what Zhaire Smith is.
15. Wizards- Kevin Knox. A lot of people are much higher on Knox than I am. I am actually kind of bored with all the Kentucky players, with one exception coming up soon. I know he played out of position at Kentucky, and he looked better near the end of the year, and he has been great in these workouts, but I just don't see him as being more than a fifth starter on an okay team, or a bench player. He is a long wing, which is very en vogue in the NBA right now, but I don't buy the workout stuff or the end of the season stuff. To me he is more Tyler Ulis than Devin Booker.
16. Suns- Troy Brown. The Suns need a real point guard. They can't rely on Tyler Ulis, or anyone else to be a point guard. Booker is a 2 guard, they will take Ayton as their new center, so I feel like Brown may be the answer at point guard. He is a solid all around player, still kind of young and will fit in with what the Suns want to do. I feel like this draft will be the start of something good for the Suns, and taking Brown in the mid first round will be another step in the right direction.
17. Bucks- Shai Gilgeous Alexander. You know how I just said I was sick of the whole Kentucky thing except for one guy? SGA is that one guy. He took over the team last year when they needed a real leader, and he was, by far, the best player on that team. The Bucks need a real point guard, no disrespect to Eric Bledsoe, but his best days are very far behind him, and SGA is just the young dude they need. He and Giannis would make for a great one two punch. I feel like this might be the best fit in the entire draft too. Lets see if he falls this far.
18. Spurs- Jerome Robinson. The Spurs are one of the best drafting teams ever, and that will continue with a little known, but very solid point guard. Robinson will be able to take over for Tony Parker sooner rather than later, and even if this team loses Kawhi, they will get their guard of the future. Robinson will be the type of player that will thrive in the Spurs system, and a year or 2 from now, when Robinson is suddenly being talked about as a fringe All Star, people will look back and think it is because he was drafted by the Spurs.
19. Hawks- Kevin Huerter. Huerter is a good, tall three point shooter. He can spread the floor. He won't be counted on to lead any team to new heights. He will basically be a niche player, and after taking Doncic in the lottery, the Hawks will find their niche guy. The Hawks can view Huerter as a poor man's Lauri Markanen, a guy I was totally wrong about, and play him spot minutes as a spot up three point shooter. This will help the in the long run, and that is all the Hawks will want to do tonight.
20. Timberwolves- Aaron Holiday. The Timberwolves need better guards, and Holiday is already better than any guard they have, with Jeff Teague being the only possible exception. Holiday is fast, has good feet, can play defense, can find the open man and can hit open shots. Hell, he may already be better than Teague. He will also know his role, and he will defer to Andrew Wiggins, Jimmy Butler and KAT. This is the type of point guard the Timberwolves need if they want to return to the playoffs.
21. Jazz- Donte Divincenzo. The Jazz will need their successor to Joe Ingles because, seriously, how long can he keep this up? And, the MOP of the title game this year can step right in. The only thing Ingles has on Divencinzo is his three point range, but this kid will start hitting the NBA three very easily, very soon. He is a better athlete, a better defender, and I love a back court that involves him, and my new favorite player, Donovan Mitchell. No one's stock has risen higher after one game than Divincenzo's, and he will cash in on that tonight.
22. Bulls- Chandler Hutchinson. After swinging for the fences with the Porter Jr pick, the Bulls will go a bit more conventional with this pick. Hutchinson is a lot like Markenan, but not as good at the three point shot yet. But, he is better than a guy like Doug McDermot or Bobby Portis, both of whom the Bulls drafted recently. I feel like Hutchinson will take over the Mirotic role, and while he might not be as good as Mirotic right now, I think he will easily make the Bulls fans forget about him. This would be a solid pick.
23. Pacers- Josh Okogie. The Pacers have a very solid roster, so they can just grab the best available player in their minds. I feel like they will love Okogie. He is a pass first point guard, who can fill in as a backup right away. He will also deliver to the Pacers bigs, and he can run the offense with Oladipo at his side, if need be. Okogie is this year's Fred Van Vleet, except he will be drafted. This is a solid late first round pick, which is exactly what the Pacers need.
24. Trailblazers- De'Anthony Melton. With all the insecurity, and the talk of the Blazers trying to decide between trading CJ McCollum or Damien Lillard, they should trade McCollum, Melton would be a wise choice as a backup plan. He is the type of guard that doesn't always need the ball in his hands, and I feel like he would play much better off Lillard than McCollum does. He also plays better defense than both of those guys do right now. The Blazers need a young, true point guard, and this late in the first round, Melton is the best option.
25. Lakers- Keita Bates Diop. Here is another guy, like Divencinzo, who had a spectacular year, and will now reap the benefits. Diop is a bit of an old school big, and that is what the Lakers need. He can also shoot the three, which helps him in the modern game. And, if the Lakers continue to go young, I feel like Diop will fit in even better. Diop would go quite nicely alongside Brandon Ingram and Julius Randle, and I feel like he will really enjoy Luke Walton's run and gun offense. If the Lakers do not land a big time free agent, taking a player like Diop makes their immediate future a bit brighter.
26. 76ers- Jacob Evans. At this point in the first round, teams picking this late are usually playoff teams, and they just need bodies. That is the 76ers to a T, and a guy like Jacob Evans would be a big upgrade if they were to lose TJ McConnell to free agency, or a trade. Evans was very good at Cincinnati, and he would be a nice back up, or even put him alongside, to Ben Simmons. He has been in college for four years, and he is mature, and I feel like he is ready for life in the NBA. Evans will be a solid role player, and he will have a long career, and I feel like being picked by the 76ers would do him a world of good.
27. Celtics- Anfernee Simons. The Celtics don't need much. They are in talks with the Spurs about Kawhi. They get both Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving back. I know LeBron is on their radar. They have great young players in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. They have a great center in Al Horford. They have one of the best defenders in the NBA in Marcus Smart. This pick is just a vanity thing for them. So, why not take a chance this late in the first round on a 19 year old that didn't play college ball? Who really cares. Whoever the Celtics pick here will not be a determining factor on if they go to the Finals next year or not. This pick is irrelevant, so why not swing for the fences?
28. Warriors- Mo Wagner. I just want this to happen because I want a Michigan guy to go to the champs. But, he also is a position of need for them. He is a center, technically, and that is what the Warriors lack most. He can also shoot the three, so he would fit right in, right? I know he is a liability on defense, I watched it for three years, but the Warriors have guys that can make that up for him. This would be the ideal spot for a guy of Wagner's talents. He wouldn't get to play too terribly much, but the fans would love him, and he would know his role. I hope this happens for him.
29. Nets- Mitchell Robinson. I think the Nets will get the steal of the draft if they are able to get this kid. He is another player that didn't play any college ball, who basically sat out for a year, but he is a monster on the inside. He is so big and so strong, and he is only 19 or 20 years old. He and Johnathan Allen can team up for a very intimidating front court. Robinson is also going to be out to prove a ton of people wrong, and he seems like the type of player that something like that will make him go extra hard. I think this kid is going to be good, and I think he would help the Nets get out of the wasteland they are currently stewing in.
30. Hawks- Elie Okobo. Here we have the French James Harden. Now, I only compare him to Harden because both are left handed, and both can get to the rim. As I have said before, the Hawks are building for the future, and Okobo could be a part of that plan. The Hawks can draft and stash him, send him overseas for a few more years, or bring him right to the league, let him play spot minutes his first couple years, then let him loose. This is a pick where they can basically do whatever they want. This Okobo kid is good too. He is a slashing guard that will be hard to defend because he is left handed. He will be a building block for the future of the Hawks.
Okay, there you have my 2018 NBA mock draft. The NBA draft is the only draft I get excited about still, so I will be in and out of it all night. I'm very curious to see where these players go, and to see how many I get right. Tune in tonight to see as well.
Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing, the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast, and the greatest basketball writer on all the internet.
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