This is Basketball Society’s 3rd version of their Mock NBA Draft.
To check out the 2nd version of the mock draft, click here.
1. Phoenix Suns – Luka Doncic, G/F – Real Madrid
Luka Doncic, as of right now, is the most talented player in this NBA Draft. He’s proven that he is one of the best in the 2nd greatest league, outside of the NBA, in the world. While there is some worry regarding Doncic’s willingness to leave Real Madrid, it’ll be hard for the Suns to pass on Doncic who could slot right into the back-court next to Devin Booker.
Now, we’d be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge the fact that DeAndre Ayton is fully confident that he’s going to be the number 1 pick in this draft. In our initial mock, we actually had Ayton at #1. There’s just some part of us that believes that the Suns are going to love connecting Luka Doncic with his former coach in Igor Kokoskov.
2. Sacramento Kings – DeAndre Ayton, F/C – Arizona
The Sacramento Kings would be absolutely thrilled if the Phoenix Suns pass on DeAndre Ayton. If that somehow does happen, there’s no chance that the Kings pass on Ayton. While they do have WCS and Skal on the roster, Ayton is a transcendent talent that they just won’t be able to pass on.
DeAndre Ayton showed us so much while he was at Arizona. The ability to spread the floor, dominate the block, and protect the rim. All of that was so apparent from this 7 foot phenom. Pairing him with the other young talent that Sacramento has may jump-start their rebuilding process and make them playoff contenders a lot earlier than we had expected.
3. Atlanta Hawks – Mohamed Bamba, C – Texas
The Atlanta Hawks are a team struggling to find their identity. Over the last three seasons, the Hawks lost every starter that was a part of the 2015 team that made it to the Eastern Conference Finals. Even head coach Mike Budenholzer, who won 2015 NBA Coach of the Year, is no longer in Atlanta. The Hawks current building blocks are Taurean Prince and John Collins. Both players are known for their defensive abilities. Mohamed Bamba is the best defensive prospect in this draft class.
Bamba finished his freshman year with a Big 12 leading 3.7 blocks per game. During his pre-draft workouts, he measured a 7-10 wingspan and ran a 3.04 three-quarter-court sprint. That’s the longest wingspan recorded in NBA history and a recorded speed faster than Russell Westbrook, Dwyane Wade and John Wall. No top prospect improved their stock more than Bamba in pre-draft workouts. His defensive potential is hard to pass on outside the top two.
4. Memphis Grizzlies – Marvin Bagley III, F – Duke
As soon as it was announced that Marvin Bagley III would be able to reclassify as a freshman and attend Duke University, Bagley was immediately considered the top candidate to be taken first overall in this draft. While that now doesn’t seem too likely, that isn’t an indictment of Bagley. Rather, it should go to show you just how talented the top of this draft is.
The Grizzlies are in a weird spot currently. Mike Conley will be coming back and ready to make a playoff push alongside Marc Gasol, but this team is not fully built for that in the Western Conference yet. Marvin Bagley III is someone who can surely help with that and will immediately make an impact.
5. Dallas Mavericks – Michael Porter Jr., F – Missouri
Michael Porter Jr. is an interesting case. The team that will be selecting him will be taking a risk given the talent that is still on the board, without a question. Porter had injured his spine this past college season whilst at Missouri and only played all of 3 games. During those 3 games, Porter did not look at all like the player we were in awe of during his high school days.
Porter now has had 3 plus months to rest and get back to full health. It’s hard to tell whether he will regain his latter high school form, but Porter is still very young. He’s going to have plenty of time to heal up and Dallas, a team that is not yet ready to contend, will take their time as they bring him into the league. There’s so much potential in Porter and in a couple years, we may look back and feel that Dallas was extremely lucky to be able to get a fully healthy Michael Porter Jr. with the 5th overall pick.
6. Orlando Magic – Trae Young, G – Oklahoma
Out of this entire draft, there seems like no better fit than with Trae Young and the Orlando Magic. The Magic are in desperate need of a point guard and Young is ready to take a huge role in an offense as he did at Oklahoma.
The Magic currently have D.J. Augustin under contract as the player to lead their offense. With Aaron Gordon, Evan Fournier, and Nikola Vucevic steadily improving each year, it’s time for the Magic to now bring in a young star who can provide an offensive burst and lead an offense. That’s what Trae Young will be able to do.
7. Chicago Bulls – Wendell Carter Jr., F – Duke
The Chicago Bulls struck gold last summer selecting Lauri Markkanen with the 7th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. With the no. 7 pick again in 2018, they are in great position to select Markkanen’s front court mate for years to come.
Wendell Carter Jr. joins a long list of quality big men in the upcoming NBA Draft. It’s clear he’s the best big outside the top 3, but one thing that separates himself from the rest is his complete offensive game. Carter Jr. showed that he can score, rebound, and pass at a high level and makes his teammates better. It’s hard to say he did the same on defense. After the NBA Combine, Carter Jr. publicly called out Coach K’s system for not fully showcasing him nor his teammates’ strengths. He’s entering the NBA with something to prove. That attitude is what the Bulls need to take the franchise to the next level.
8. Cleveland Cavaliers – Jaren Jackson Jr., F – Michigan State
Jaren Jackson Jr. could go anywhere from 3rd to the Hawks, all the way down to Philly at number 10. It’s very unlikely that a team wouldn’t trade up to snag him if Jackson was still there at #7, but we are going to assume for this mock that no one trades and JJ falls to the Cavs at 8.
There is no telling where LeBron will end up, but given his frustration during the Finals, it’s very likely that he will be leaving Cleveland. Either way, Jaren Jackson Jr. is a phenomenal talent with an extremely high ceiling who could do very well alongside TT and Love.
9. New York Knicks – Mikal Bridges, F – Villanova
To the Knicks we have one of Basketball Society’s favorite prospects, Mikal Bridges. Mikal is STILL underrated even though he is widely considered a top 10 pick in this draft. He’s the prototypical 3 and D wing with great intangibles. He’s going to make an immediate impact for whatever team he ends up with.
The Knicks desperately need some wing help. They have Porzingis manning the middle and Ntilikina looking promising as a defensive guard. Now, they need someone like Bridges who can come in and put some points on the board while being able to defend the opponent’s best wing. Mikal will need some time to fully develop his game, as all rookies do, but just watch out for Mikal if he is able to play at MSG.
10. Philadelphia 76ers – Lonnie Walker IV, G – Miami
The 76ers are in for an interesting summer. With Brett Brown now at the helm in the front office, we are going to see if he’s more prone to holding onto a good chunk of their picks in this draft or trading them in the hope of bringing in a star that can help them compete immediately. If Philly does keep this pick, Lonnie Walker IV seems like a good player to get.
Lonnie Walker wasn’t able to show his full repertoire at Miami last season given the fact that he was surrounded by such great talent. But, once Bruce Brown went down for the year, you could see the player that Walker can become at the next level. Philly could slot him right alongside Ben Simmons in the back-court. Walker would provide the scoring punch and slashing ability they need at that position.
11. Charlotte Hornets – Kevin Knox, F – Kentucky
The Charlotte Hornets are always that Eastern Conference team looking to make that next step. They acquired Dwight Howard to play next to Kemba Walker, but that third option didn’t show up last season. Forwards Nicolas Batum, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and Marvin Williams took major steps back in their progression, so it’s clear the Hornets need a boost at the wing. Kevin Knox would provide that boost.
Knox joins a long list of Kentucky Wildcats to be selected with a lottery pick. At 6-9, 215 lbs, Knox played both small and power forward last season. With terrible wing depth, Knox ability to play both positions gives James Borrego some much needed versatility in creating match-ups. Even though Knox averaged a team-high 15.6 points per game, he’s unlikely to lead an NBA team in points. He looks like the potential third option the Hornets are looking for.
12. Los Angeles Clippers – Collin Sexton, G – Alabama
Collin Sexton is a traditional NBA point guard who could get unlucky on draft night. Teams like New York, Philadelphia, and Charlotte all have bigger needs outside of point guard, so Los Angeles could be in position to snag one of their biggest needs with their extra first-round pick acquired from the Detroit Pistons for Blake Griffin. Sexton would confirm they won that unexpected trade.
Sexton torched college basketball last season averaging 16.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game. Most NBA ready point guards average more assists than rebounds per game, but Sexton’s teammates weren’t the greatest. He was the only one that averaged more than 11 points per game, and that will immediately change when he enters the NBA. He still needs to add some muscle from his 190 pound frame, but that will come with time. Expect Sexton to struggle physically early, but he’s one of the fastest players in the draft.
13. Los Angeles Clippers – Robert Williams, F – Texas A&M
The Los Angeles Clippers started last season with Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan and could be without both entering 2018. Griffin isn’t leaving Detroit, but Jordan could be leaving the Clippers via free agency. If the Clippers feel Jordan will walk, they’ll have their eyes on another dominant SEC prospect to fill that massive void.
Robert Williams finished his sophomore season averaging a SEC high 9.8 rebounds and second best 2.6 blocks per game. That earned him SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year with South Carolina’s Chris Silva. With Danilo Gallinari and Tobias Harris manning the 3-4 spot, the Clippers just need an athletic big man who can grab rebounds and block shots to finalize the starting lineup. Drafting Williams checks off that final box.
14. Denver Nuggets – Miles Bridges, F – Michigan State
The Denver Nuggets are going to be in a tricky spot with this pick. Like Philly, they are ready to win now. But, there still will be a lot of talent left on the board at the 14th pick, so it may not be prudent of them to trade this pick if someone like Miles Bridges is available.
Denver’s biggest hole is at the 3 spot. They have Harris and Murray in the back-court while Millsap and Jokic run the front-court. The one need is at small forward and Miles Bridges can fill that need. He’s strong, athletic, and very intelligent. Miles proved during his time at Michigan State that he can contribute even if he doesn’t have the ball. Bridges will have to start getting accustomed to taking closer to 6 or 7 shots per game given the talent on the roster, but that shouldn’t be a problem for him at all. He’s going to be ready to get Denver to the playoffs.
15. Washington Wizards – Zhaire Smith, G – Texas Tech
We were on the Zhaire Smith train well before he finished that 360 alley-oop during the NCAA Tournament that opened the eyes of so many fans. We don’t have to tell you how much bounce this kid really has, but we will tell you that there is so much more to his game. His shot looks very good and has drastically improved his ball handling ability. Maybe he can make that Malcolm Brogdon type impact in his rookie season for a team.
The Wizards, at this point, have to just be tired. Tired of continuously making it to the playoffs to only be eliminated in the 1st or 2nd round. They have John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Otto Porter, what more do they need??? Well, Zhaire Smith might be the perfect pick. What the Wizards need is some bench production. They need someone who can provide a spark off the bench and ignite a crowd. Zhaire Smith could do this and if he’s available for the Wizards, they better not make the mistake of passing on him.
16. Phoenix Suns – Mitchell Robinson, C – IMG Academy
It’s very unfortunate that we weren’t able to see Mitchell Robinson play in the NCAA this past season for Western Kentucky. Coming out of high school, Robinson was one of the best centers rated throughout the nation. Now, we are left wondering how good Robinson will truly be in the NBA.
The Suns, after having selected Doncic with the first pick, would be looking for a big man at pick number 16. Mitchell Robinson fits the mold as a talented big who has a ton of potential. A lineup of Doncic/Booker/JJax/Chriss/Robinson would be something that would finally get Suns fans back in those seats at the Talking Stick Resort Arena.
17. Milwaukee Bucks – Troy Brown, G/F – Oregon
Troy Brown didn’t live up to his full potential whilst at Oregon, but he did show us what he is capable of at times. He never fully found his touch from deep during his tenure in college, but his shooting mechanics are there.
The Milwaukee Bucks are close to contending, but not quite there. They will try to make an impact in free agency this summer, but could use someone like Troy Brown either way to provide a punch immediately. His defense is vastly underrated and is one of those players who can get a big time steal that shifts the momentum in a game.
18. San Antonio Spurs – Dzanan Musa, G/F – KK Cedevita
Would you look at that, we have the Spurs taking an international player with their first pick in the draft! Who would’ve guessed that? While it seems like a thing that happens year after year, we truly believe it’ll happen again.
It seems like some time since the Spurs have had this high of the pick in the draft and Dzanan Musa is someone who will be very appealing to Pop and company. While Musa shot only 31.3% from deep during all competitions this year, we expect Musa to be able to raise that percentage up while learning in the Spurs organization.
19. Atlanta Hawks – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, G – Kentucky
There are many signs that point to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander falling in the upcoming NBA draft. After Collin Sexton was picked at 12, no team from picks 13-19 needed a starting point guard other than the Atlanta Hawks. That’s great news for them knowing that Dennis Schroder voiced his concerns with the organization earlier this off-season.
Gilgeous-Alexander, just like previous Hawks pick Mohamed Bamba, is the longest and one of the most athletic prospects at his respective position. He possesses a 7-0 wingspan, so outside of his ability to score and pass, he can rebound and be extremely disruptive in passing lanes. With the Hawks building their new identity on length and athleticism, Gilgeous-Alexander perfectly fits the mold. Bamba and Gilgeous-Alexander would give Lloyd Pierce two nice building blocks to speed up the organization’s rebuild.
20. Minnesota Timberwolves – Khyri Thomas, G – Creighton
Khyri Thomas is the best perimeter defender in this draft. He’s so strong and skilled and will be a great selection in the NBA Draft. There’s still a concern on whether he can create for himself and be an elite scorer at the next level, but we should feel okay for now given his shooting splits in college (54/41/79).
The Timberwolves are a team with plenty of offense, but very little defense. KAT and Wiggins are both talented offensive weapons, but don’t do much on the other side of the ball. Jimmy Butler can use some help and Khyri Thomas will be ready to supply just that.
21. Utah Jazz – Keita Bates-Diop, F – Ohio State
The Utah Jazz are a team on the rise in the Western Conference. They defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder in the opening playoff round, but struggled to score points in the semi-finals against the Houston Rockets. A lot of that had to do with the Ricky Rubio injury, but they struggled to find consistent scoring outside of Donovan Mitchell. With the evolution of small-ball basketball, it’s unlikely the Jazz bring back Derrick Favors. They need to replace him with a forward that can stretch the floor.
Keita Bates-Diop won Big 10 Player of the Year last season after his explosive 19.8 point and 8.7 rebound per game. He also shot 36 percent from three, so he has the ability to stretch the floor and defend both forward spots. Looking at the forward depth, the Jazz currently have Jonas Jerebko and Thabo Sefolosha. Bates-Diop would provide a significant athletic boost if selected at 21.
22. Chicago Bulls – Anfernee Simons, G – IMG Academy
Anfernee Simons found a loophole in the NBA’s eligibility rules and will be entering the NBA Draft out of high school. He spent a post-grad season at IMG Academy, and according to the new rules, that made him eligible for the NBA Draft. He’s a difficult prospect to scout having not played college basketball, but he was ranked in the top 10 in his recruiting class before declaring for the draft. The potential is there, but it looks like he needs a year of development in the G-League. With the Chicago Bulls thinking long term, they are in great position to take that risk.
Simons is a 6-4 combo guard and a lanky 6-7 wingspan. He left IMG with the reputation as an elite scorer, so there aren’t many things he can’t do offensively. The only problem is he weighs roughly 190 pounds, so he won’t be able to attack at the next level until he gains some weight. Give him two seasons and he should be a full-time NBA player. Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, and Simons makes for a very interesting backcourt.
23. Indiana Pacers – Chandler Hutchison, F – Boise State
Chandler Hutchison has been receiving more and more hype as we close in on Draft Day. The Boise State versatile forward had a fantastic season for the Broncos. Hutchison showed the ability to score the ball at a high level, handle the ball as a point guard would, and rebound the ball as a bigger forward.
There’s still a lot of talent available at the 23rd spot for the Indiana Pacers. Indiana could use someone like Chandler Hutchison who can play so many different positions. In due time, we believe that Chandler will be able to guard 1-4 positions in the NBA and can be a very good asset for any NBA team. The Pacers should feel very good if Hutchison is still there when they are on the clock.
24. Portland Trail Blazers – Jacob Evans, F – Cincinnati
Jacob Evans is such a talented defender who would be able to slot into the small forward position for the Trail Blazers. Evans, at Cincinnati, showed that he is a capable scorer, but what impressed us the most was his strength. Given the fact that he isn’t a great rebounder or playmaker, he’s going to have to become an even better scorer if he’s going to be able to stay in the league long-term.
The Trail Blazers are in need in some help next to Dame and CJ. Jacob Evans could be the player to provide it. He’s going to have to turn into a much better 3-point scorer and shot creator if he’s going to be able to do just that though.
25. Los Angeles Lakers – Aaron Holiday, G – UCLA
Coming into this season, Aaron Holiday was known for being the youngest brother of Justin and Jrue Holiday. Now, he’s known as being one of the best point guards in this loaded class. UCLA struggled throughout the season, but their lone bright spot throughout the year was Aaron Holiday. He was the only player in the NCAA this season to shoot above 40% from deep while averaging above 20 points and 5 assists per game.
The Lakers are a young and talented squad who could use a scoring punch off the bench. With Isaiah Thomas most likely on the way out, they could use someone like Aaron Holiday to get some minutes over Tyler Ennis and be able to produce off of the bench for a Lakers team that will need production.
26. Philadelphia 76ers – Gary Trent Jr., G – Duke
Gary Trent Jr. should not fall this far in the draft. He’s one of the best shooting guards in the draft and will bring the offensive and defensive consistency that he showcased at Duke to the NBA. A contending team like the Sixers could really use someone with his skill-set.
We have the 76ers taking Lonnie Walker with the 10th pick and while that may seem like they should go a different route with this pick, we’ve learned that teams can’t ever have too many shooters. That is especially the case for Philly, a team that thrives off of the 3-point shot.
27. Boston Celtics – Bruce Brown, G – Miami
The Boston Celtics enter the off-season with a key role player entering free agency. Combo guard Marcus Smart finished out the last year of his rookie contract and is expecting a new deal worth roughly $10 million per year. The Celtics have interest, but at that price he will not return to Boston. Looking at the draft, there’s a few prospects who could immediately fill Smart’s role in the rotation. One of those prospects is Bruce Brown.
Brown is a gritty combo guard who struggles offensively but doesn’t play scared. He’s an excellent rebounder who averaged 7.1 per game last season, and Brad Stevens isn’t afraid to let his guards play aggressive in the paint. His only notable flaw is three-point shooting. That was the same problem for Terry Rozier and Jaylen Brown, but Stevens system led to them significantly improving those numbers every season. Grit and versatility is everything Danny Ainge likes in an NBA prospect.
28. Golden State Warriors – Donte DiVincenzo, G – Villanova
Unsurprisingly, Donte DiVincenzo’s stock has skyrocketed since his phenomenal showing throughout the Tournament for Villanova. He’s going to end up being a 1st Round pick more than likely, but it’s still unknown of where he’ll end up. For now, we see him more as a late 1st rounder.
There’s not much to say about this pick except for the fact that teams better hope that DiVincenzo is not there for the Warriors to take him. Can only imagine how much better he would get after learning from guys like Klay and Steph.
29. Brooklyn Nets – Kevin Huerter, G/F – Maryland
Kevin Huerter has only recently been catching traction as a 1st Round prospect. Maryland lost a great one in Huerter who was a do it all forward. Unfortunately, it’s been reported recently that he will be undergoing surgery in his shooting hand and will be missing a couple months of action meaning that he will miss all of Summer League.
The Brooklyn Nets seem like they succeeded with getting Jarrett Allen in the draft last year. He should be a formidable big for the future in Brooklyn. Now, it’s time for them to get someone like Kevin Huerter that can contribute in so many different parts of the game.
30. Atlanta Hawks – Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, G/F – Kansas
With the Hawks previously selecting Mohamed Bamba and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, the Hawks needs shift to three-point shooting. The Hawks finished last season 15th in the league in three-point shooting percentage, and their two previous picks won’t do much, if at all, to increase that number. Looking at the remaining players on the draft board, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk is the best shooter available.
Mykhailiuk played four seasons at Kansas and made major strides from behind the arc his senior season. He made 115 three-point shots his senior season while shooting 44.4 percent from three. Both of those numbers were his career highs. With Lloyd Pierce coming from the Gregg Popovich coaching tree, he’s bringing a system with him that needs bench shooting. Expect Mykhailiuk to find playing time early if he lands in Atlanta.
31. Phoenix Suns – Rawle Alkins, G – Arizona
After the Suns drafted both international star Luka Doncic and project Mitchell Robinson, their focus shifts to improving their bench. One piece their missing is a physical presence who isn’t afraid to do the dirty work. Rawle Alkins can do all that. Alkins at age 20 already holds a hammer of a frame at 220 pounds. He’s got the ability to pass, shoot, and defend at a high level, so he has the ability to come off the bench and contribute at multiple positions. He’s not the most polished prospect, but the Suns need a presence like him off the bench.
32. Memphis Grizzlies – De’Anthony Melton, G – USC
De’Anthony Melton has first-round talent, but his stock plummeted after being unable to play his sophomore season due to his involvement in the college basketball bribery scandal. Since he couldn’t play, he left USC in February to focus on professional basketball. Melton made a name for himself on the defensive end his Freshman year with 1.9 steals and one block per game. He fits the mold of a physical Memphis Grizzlies point guard.
33. Dallas Mavericks – Moritz Wagner, F – Michigan
The Dallas Mavericks have been preparing for life after Dirk Nowitzki for a few seasons now. He turns 40 on June 19th, so it’s unclear how many seasons he’ll play after 2018. After selecting Michael Porter Jr in the first round, the Mavericks need to find more players to space the floor. Moritz Wager is a stretch four, and there’s no better player for him to learn under his rookie season than Nowitzki. Wagner averaged 14.7 points and 7.1 rebounds per game while shooting 39 percent from three. He’s certainly no Nowitzki, but with his potential NBA role, Dallas is a perfectly landing spot to begin his development.
34. Atlanta Hawks – Jalen Brunson, G – Villanova
After selecting Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and a potential trade involving Dennis Schroder, the Atlanta Hawks are left with Isaiah Taylor as the only other point guard under contract. Jalen Brunson is an NBA ready backup point guard with a low ceiling but high floor. He won two National Championships, so he knows what it takes to win and has a winning attitude. That’s exactly what teams look for in a backup point guard. Brunson and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk is a solid bench backcourt.
35. Orlando Magic – Omari Spellman, F/C – Villanova
The Orlando Magic were abysmal offensively last season. They finished tied for 23rd in points per game and 28th in three-point shooting. Drafting Trae Young 6th overall to improve in both categories, but they’re still missing a shooter off the bench. Omari Spellman shot 43.3 percent from three last season and would provide much needed depth at power forward. His role will earn himself immediate minutes in Orlando.
36. New York Knicks – Jerome Robinson, G – Boston College
After passing on a versatile guard at no. 9, the New York Knicks won’t pass on one at 36. Jerome Robinson is an aggressive scoring guard with playmaking abilities. He averaged 20.7 points and 3.3 assists per game last season. Duke star Marvin Bagley III was the only ACC player to average more points per game than Robinson last season. What will interest the Knicks is Robinson’s much improved three-point shot. Robinson made 41 percent of his three-point shots his last season. That’s eight percent higher than his sophomore campaign.
37. Sacramento Kings – Jevon Carter, G – West Virginia
The Sacramento Kings need to improve on the defensive end. They finished tied for 28th in opponents three-point shooting percentage, so at 37 they need to have their eyes on a defensive-minded guard. Jevon Carter is one of the best defensive guards in this draft. Carter averaged three steals per game last year and 1.7 or more all four seasons in college. At 6-2, 205, he won’t have any issues defending multiple positions. DeAndre Ayton and Carter significantly improves the Kings weak defense.
38. Philadelphia 76ers – Vince Edwards, F – Purdue
Vince Edwards is one of our big time sleepers in this draft. Not many people have him even being drafted, but after seeing what someone like Kyle Kuzma did last year, you’d be hard pressed to pass on Edwards this year. No, they aren’t exactly the same type of player, but Edwards can have a similar type of impact given his offensive capabilities. Look for him to be a great 2nd Round steal for whatever team that decides to take a flyer on him.
39. Philadelphia 76ers – Isaac Bonga, F – Fraport Frankfurt
Isaac Bonga is a great draft and stash candidate for the Sixers. During all competitions this year, he only averaged about 7 points per game, but he showed flashes of excellence when he was given the opportunity to be a bigger part of the offense. Bonga is long and skilled and should be taken in the 2nd Round this year.
40. Brooklyn Nets – Chimezie Metu, F – USC
We fell in love with Chimezie Metu during last year’s Tournament. He was a long, lean big who could stretch the floor and run it like a guard. He’s such a good mid-range and free throw shooter given his stature. Give Metu a couple years to develop and he could be a great small ball 5 and one of the 2nd round gems that teams look back a regretting having passed on him.
41. Orlando Magic – Brandon McCoy, C – UNLV
Brandon McCoy had a very successful freshman season in the Mountain West Conference. He averaged 16.9 points and 10.3 rebounds per game, so he decided to declare for the draft in a class loaded with center talent. Even though the numbers are nice, he’ll likely drop into the second round because he’s not the most polished center. Orlando is a great fit for McCoy because Steve Clifford has been very successful with Al Jefferson and Dwight Howard during his five seasons in Atlanta. This allows McCoy to work with Clifford for one full year and take over as a backup next season. Lots of work, but Clifford is a great coach for big men.
42. Detroit Pistons – Trevon Duval, G – Duke
Trevon Duval isn’t the most NBA ready prospect, but his strengths fit the Detroit Pistons current roster. Duval is a an extremely athletic point guard that excels in the pick and roll. With Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin running the show, the Pistons need a point guard that can maximize their stars strengths. Since Reggie Jackson is the only point guard under contract through next season, the Pistons could look to Duval as the true backup in 2019. Dayne Casey proved in Toronto that he needs a quality backup floor general.
43. Denver Nuggets – Hamidou Diallo, G – Kentucky
Hamidou Diallo went from a potential first round pick last summer to a second-round gamble in 2018. He decided to return to Kentucky and only averaged an underwhelming 10 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. If he wants to get that NBA potential back, he needs to go to a team with an uptempo offense. Not many offenses operate faster than in the Mile High City.
44. Washington Wizards – Alize Johnson, F – Missouri State
Alize Johnson is one of those unknown players in this draft. He played in the Missouri Valley conference with Missouri State and dominated, but how will that translate? He’s a menace on the boards and showed that he’s got a lot in his game. At times, he’d impress us with his ball handling and outside touch while at other times we were left disappointed because of his lack of aggressiveness. Alize has All-Star potential, but will surely need a good development team to help him reach that one day.
45. Brooklyn Nets – Rodions Kurucs, F – FC Barcelona
A Gregg Popovich assistant drafting an international player should surprise no one. Rodions Kurucs is a scoring wing with a three-point shot that should transition well into the NBA. Even though the shot is there, he’s got an extremely tiny 220 lbs frame. He needs to add significant weight if he wants a consistent and get used to playing more physical basketball if he wants a consistent NBA career. He’s a clear project, but the Nets have the time and patience to see how he develops.
46. Houston Rockets – DJ Hogg, F – Texas A&M
This is one of the more surprising picks that we have given the fact that many people don’t have D.J. Hogg being selected in this draft. It’s hard to imagine someone with his skill and stature not being selected though. The Rockets seem to always throw a curveball with their picks in the draft and Hogg may very well be that next one. He’s got such a smooth shot and can defend better than you’d think. Hogg should be drafted and we bet that the Rockets would be a team to take a chance on him.
47. Los Angeles Lakers – Justin Jackson, F – Maryland
Justin Jackson is another potential first-round pick who slid due to injury. He returned to Maryland for his sophomore season, but tore his labrum in December and hasn’t played since. Jackson will still draw major interest due to his versatility. At 6-7, 225 lbs, he’s got the size to play and defend both forward spots. Looking at the Lakers current roster, the only player that can play that role is Luol Deng. If Jackson can avoid future shoulder problems, he has the skill set to be a consistent bench player for years to come.
48. Minnesota Timberwolves – Tony Carr, G – Penn State
Tony Carr came out of nowhere this season to become one of the best guards in the Big Ten. Penn State wasn’t supposed to be good whatsoever, but Carr changed all of that with his play. He’s a combo guard who could seriously make a big impact in the NBA if he works on his play-making ability. Khyri Thomas would be an awesome guard for him to work with if they both end up in Minnesota.
49. San Antonio Spurs – Billy Preston, F – BC Igokea
It’s been a roller-coaster year for Billy Preston. Preston was the 18th on ESPN’s 2017 high school top 100 list and Kansas’s top recruit. Unfortunately, as we all know, his time with the Jayhawks didn’t exactly go the way he was hoping. Now, he’s become a bit of a risk to draft. He hasn’t played much basketball in the last few months, but if there’s any way he can reach the potential we saw in him during high school, there’s no questioning a pick like this for the Spurs late in the 2nd.
50. Indiana Pacers – Josh Okogie, G/F – Georgia Tech
The Indiana Pacers like specific types of shooting guards. They like aggressive scorers who can pass and frequently make it to the free-throw line. Josh Okogie does all that. Okogie averaged 18.2 points and 2.5 assists per game last season and averaged 6.5 free-throw attempts or more per game in both seasons. This last season he significantly improved his defense with 1.8 steals and one block per game. The Pacers proved last season scoring points wasn’t a problem. Drafting Okogie would give them another offensive weapon, but much needed defensive depth in the back court.
51. New Orleans Pelicans – Melvin Frazier, G/F – Tulane
The New Orleans Pelicans are desperate for wing production so they will be selecting best wing available at 51. They may just need to look into their backyard to find it. Melvin Frazier is an extremely athletic wing who burst onto the college basketball scene last season. During his junior campaign he averaged career high’s in points, rebounds, assists, blocks, steals, field goal shooting percentage, three-point shooting percentage, and free throw shooting percentage. He also finished with the third fasted three quarter sprint at the NBA Combine. The only problem with Frazier is it’s tough to see him playing only one role due to his usage in college. The need for wing production will make him hard for the Pelicans to pass on.
52. Utah Jazz – Arnoldas Kulboka, F – Orlandina Basket
We have the Jazz taking Keita Bates-Diop with their first pick which will immediately help them compete while Arnoldas Kulboka can be someone that the Jazz will be able to stash away for a couple of years. By the time that Arnoldas is ready to contribute, we expect the Jazz to be a team ready to seriously compete for a championship.
53. Oklahoma City Thunder – Devonte Graham, G – Kansas
Devonte Graham is such a talented guard. Scouts and teams were concerned what position Graham would be in the NBA last year and figure that he wouldn’t be able to lead an offense as he was purely a scoring 2 guard next to Frank Mason. This year, he proved to us that he can play the point. We are still concerned about his decision making skills, but he’s well worth the risk at this spot in the Draft.
54. Dallas Mavericks – Landry Shamet, G – Wichita State
Rick Carlisle is a head coach known for his attention to detail. He’s got a fiery personality and goes ballistic when his players turn the ball over or play out of position. When looking as his backup point guards, he’s relied on guys high IQ. players who shoot threes like J.J. Barea. With Barea entering the final year of his contract and turning 34 at the end of June, Carlisle may need to look other routes for the future backup to Dennis Smith Jr. Shamet and Barea are very similar in playing high IQ. basketball while shooting roughly 44 percent from three the last two seasons. Shamet doesn’t fit many teams, but he fits in Dallas.
55. Charlotte Hornets – Jaylen Adams, G – St. Bonaventure
The Charlotte Hornets current roster is extremely thin at point guard. Kemba Walker holds the top spot, but the only other point guard on the roster is Julyan Stone. After selecting Kevin Knox with the 11th pick, the Hornets need to look at point guard with their second-round pick. Jaylen Adams averaged 19 or more points per game the last two seasons and five or more assists the last three. His ability to knock down threes and feed the post make him a nice fit in Charlotte.
56. Philadelphia 76ers – Elie Okobo, G – Élan Béarnais Pau-Lacq-Orthez
We are quite confident that Elie Okobo will not fall this far in the draft. Someone will take a flyer on him earlier and possibly even at the end of the 1st round. Still, there are so many teams that have other needs that they will try to fill and the teams that do need a point guard are looking more for players that are immediately ready to come in and make a real impact. The 76ers have plenty of talent at the uard spots and can afford to stash Okobo.
57. Oklahoma City Thunder – Jarred Vanderbilt, F – Kentucky
Jarred Vanderbilt was a high school star whose Kentucky career was cut short due to foot and ankle injuries. Those are terrible injuries for a player known for his elite athleticism, but the Oklahoma City Thunder may loose Paul George and need some promise at the wing. Vanderbilt didn’t show much offense at Kentucky, but showed he’s got great rebounding and defensive potential. The Thunder made the risk last season with Terrance Ferguson because of his athleticism. I can see them taking another risk on an elite athlete in 2018.
58. Denver Nuggets – Kenrich Williams, F – TCU
Kenrich Williams is a do it all type forward who would truly benefit from coming up and learning alongside someone like Miles Bridges. He’s an unbelievably effective rebounder as a small forward and can turn into a good scorer at the next level. It’s hard to imagine him becoming a truly complete player given his defensive liabilities, but he can still be someone that the Nuggets could use off the bench in the future.
59. Phoenix Suns – Grayson Allen, G – Duke
Grayson Allen looks like the classic college star who won’t get that fame when he advances to the pros. He needs time to transition, and Phoenix can allow him to do that. Due to the Suns stockpiling of draft pick the last few seasons, the Suns have the ability to stash second-round picks. Allen is a risk with the reward of a solid bench shooter. Their current back-court depth is shaky.
60. Philadelphia 76ers – Kostas Antetokounmpo, F – Dayton
Final pick in the draft and the Sixers have another pick. It’s highly unlikely that they keep this pick, but if they do, expect them to go for someone like Kostas. Antetokounmpo did not have the kind of production we were looking for at Dayton but there is no denying his potential given his height and length. We can see Kostas going a little earlier in the draft, but if he falls then don’t expect Philly to pass on him here.