NBA Draft Order 2018: Round 1 List of Picks and Latest Mock Draft
National NBA Featured Columnist March 28, 2018 Comments Comment Bubble Icon
It’s just about go-time for the 2018 NBA draft class.
The men’s NCAA tournament will crown its champion Monday night. The Association’s 2017-18 campaign will close less than two weeks later.
The draft board has never been clearer, both in terms of the top prospects available and the teams’ selection order.
It’s an ideal time for a one-round mock, then, and a chance to spotlight a few of this prospect crop’s biggest sleepers.
2018 NBA Mock Draft
1. Phoenix Suns: Deandre Ayton, C, Arizona
2. Memphis Grizzlies: Luka Doncic, SG/SF, Slovenia
3. Atlanta Hawks: Marvin Bagley III, PF/C, Duke
4. Orlando Magic: Jaren Jackson, Jr., PF/C, Michigan State
5. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Brooklyn Nets): Mohamed Bamba, C, Texas
6. Dallas Mavericks: Wendell Carter Jr., C, Duke
7. Sacramento Kings: Michael Porter Jr., SF/PF, Missouri
8. Chicago Bulls: Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama
9. New York Knicks: Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma
10. Philadelphia 76ers (via Los Angeles Lakers): Mikal Bridges, SF, Villanova
11. Charlotte Hornets: Miles Bridges, SF/PF, Michigan State
12. Los Angeles Clippers (via Detroit Pistons): Robert Williams, C, Texas A&M
13. Denver Nuggets: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky
14. Los Angeles Clippers: Kevin Knox, SF, Kentucky
15. Phoenix Suns (via Milwaukee Bucks): Daniel Gafford, C, Arkansas
16. Phoenix Suns (via Miami Heat): Zhaire Smith, SF, Texas Tech
17. Washington Wizards: Troy Brown, SG/SF, Oregon
18. Atlanta Hawks (via Minnesota Timberwolves): Dzanan Musa, SG/SF, Bosnia and Herzegovina
19. Utah Jazz: Anfernee Simons, PG/SG, IMG Academy
20. Chicago Bulls (via New Orleans Pelicans): Mitchell Robinson, C, USA
21. San Antonio Spurs: Jacob Evans, SF, Cincinnati
22. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Oklahoma City Thunder): Khyri Thomas, SG, Creighton
23. Indiana Pacers: Lonnie Walker IV, SG, Miami
24. Philadelphia 76ers: Chandler Hutchison, SG/SF, Boise State
25. Los Angeles Lakers (via Cleveland Cavaliers): Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA
26. Portland Trail Blazers: Jontay Porter, C, Missouri
27. Boston Celtics: De’Anthony Melton, SG, USC
28. Golden State Warriors: Keita Bates-Diop, SF/PF, Ohio State
29. Brooklyn Nets (via Toronto Raptors): Rui Hachimura, SF/PF, Gonzaga
30. Atlanta Hawks (via Houston Rockets): Bruce Brown Jr., SG, Miami
Miles Bridges, Michigan State
Had Miles Bridges bolted to last year’s draft, he might have landed in the middle of the lottery. By staying in school, he further cemented his strengths (athleticism, versatility) and weaknesses (shot-creation).
But now he’s clinging to one of the final lottery spots. That sounds like a bargain, even if this class might have even more potential than the last one.
Save for a move from small-ball 4 to 3, Bridges was largely the same player as a sophomore.
His scoring, assists and threes saw minor upticks, while his boards, blocks and field-goal percentage dipped a bit. Notably, he saw a big spike in free-throw shooting (from 68.5 percent to 85.3), hinting at a higher ceiling for his floor-spacing future.
He’s not particularly long (6’6″ with a 6’9″ wingspan), but his explosiveness can counter that. He also doesn’t need to be a big-time shot-blocker to have an impact defensively. His ability to guard up or down a spot is valuable in today’s game.
There are enough warning signs to think he’ll never be a star, but he seems like one of the safer selections. Safety is underrated this time of year. If he’s a support starter or big-minute reserve for the next decade, he will have done more than enough to warrant his draft slot.
Anfernee Simons, IMG Academy
The rare none-and-done prospect as a postgraduate preps hooper, Anfernee Simons is one of the most interesting players in the class.
He won’t turn 19 until June and already boasts drool-worthy upside.
“While physically underdeveloped and likely a ways away from contributing at the NBA level, he’s considered one of the most athletic guard prospects in the class,” ESPN.com’s Jonathan Givony wrote. “He has significant scoring potential due to his terrific shooting range, particularly off the dribble.”
Think of the 6’4″ combo guard as a lottery ticket with better odds than that implies, but still the same jackpot prize.
His shooting alone deserves mid-first consideration. In a league that prioritizes perimeter marksmanship more than ever, his quick, consistent release and deep range could both skyrocket his stock during predraft workouts.
But he’s not just a sniping specialist. He’s an elite athlete who can create shots and bury them off the bounce. His arsenal of floaters and pull-ups make him a point-producing threat from all three levels.
Potential like his can be tricky to find outside the lottery. That’s because his body and game both need to mature. But if he pans out, everyone will wonder why he wasn’t snatched up sooner.
Jontay Porter, Missouri
Could the Porter family send two players into the 2018 first round? Older brother Michael Porter Jr. has already announced his exit. Younger brother Jontay Porter is keeping his options open.
“It will be a win-win regardless of what I do,” Porter said, per Aaron Reiss of the Kansas City Star. “I’ll get better at the sport regardless of what I do.”
Frontcourt-needy clubs drafting late in the first are hoping he follows his brother’s lead.
Porter isn’t the most athletic big in the class, but he might be one of its most skilled. Considering he’d open the 2018-19 NBA season as an 18-year-old, that shouldn’t be overlooked.
And his skills just so happen to snugly fit today’s league.
His per-40-minute marks speak to his versatility —16.1 points, 11.1 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 2.7 blocks and 2.0 triples.
He has size and strength but also finesse and a soft touch. He can score from the post to the perimeter. He’s clever and capable as a passer. He has tight handles for his size. His lack of explosiveness hurts around the rim, but his defensive reads are usually right and on time.
Combine his ability with his age, and he offers both polish and potential. It isn’t hard to envision him becoming the steal of this draft.