The NBA Lottery Draft was earlier this week. With the order for the Top 14 teams set, we now have an idea of who could end up being sleeted where. Here is my NBA Mock Draft for the Lottery Teams.
2018 NBA Mock Draft (Lottery Picks) :
1 – Phoenix Suns : C Deandre Ayton – Arizona
The Phoenix Suns got the number 1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. The Suns have some very good young talent on their team that they could build with. Phoenix has a young core of Devin Booker, Josh Jackson, and TJ Warren.
Deandre Ayton would be a very nice fit in Phoenix who is in the need for a center. Ayton is the best player in this draft with tremendous upside. Pairing Ayton with the young core in Phoenix could have the Suns primed for a playoff run next season in the Western Conference.
2 – Sacramento Kings : G Luka Doncic – Real Madrid
The Sacramento Kings ended up with the number 2 pick in the draft. The Kings are in the middle of a rebuilding process. The Kings had one of the best drafts of any team last season. They landed De’Aaron Fox, Justin Jackson, Harry Giles, and Frank Mason.
Luka Doncic is said to be the greatest guard to come out of Europe all time. Doncic is the most ready player in this draft to come in and succeed right away. Pairing Doncic and Fox could give the Kings one of the most dynamic backcourt duos in the league.
3 – Atlanta Hawks : PF Marvin Bagley – Duke
The Atlanta Hawks were a 60 win team in the Eastern Conference Finals just 4 years ago. The Hawks are now starting to rebuild after losing their entire starting 5 from that 60 win team. The Hawks are in a good position with the 3rd pick in the draft and have many different options.
Marvin Bagley is a gifted offensive player with great athletic ability. The one knock on Bagley is his lack of hustle and energy of the defensive side of the ball. This was shown and exposed last season at Duke. With the right coaching staff and the work Bagley will put in at the next level he will be a starter for years to come.
4 – Memphis Grizzilies : PF Jaren Jackson Jr.– Michigan State
The Memphis Grizzilies are probaly the most surprising team in the lottery this season. The Grizzilies were projected to compete in the top of the Western Conference this season before injuries. The Grizzilies have a talented roster with Mike Conley, Marc Gasol, Tyreke Evans, Chandler Parsons, and rookie sensation Dillon Brooks. Jaren Jackson Jr.would be a perfect fit with Memphis at the Power Forward position next to Marc Gasol. Memphis parted with Zach Randolph last offseason which opened up the need for a Power Foward. Jaren is a great rim protector and rebounder with long arms and great athleticism who will be the perfect piece next to Marc Gasol.
5 – Dallas Mavericks : C Mohamed Bamba – Texas
The Dallas Mavericks are in the same position as the lakers were with Kobe Bryant last his last 3 seasons. The Mavericks all time great Dirk Nowitzki is near the end of his career and the Mavericks are letting him finish his career. The Mavericks drafted Dennis Smith Jr.last season in the top 10.
Mo Bamba could take over the starting center role in Dallas with Nerlens Noel on his way out after last season. Bamba is a defensive center with the ability to take over games on the defensive end. Pairing Bamba and Smith for years to come could be a dynamic duo. Bamba just has to work on his offensive game when he gets to the league and could be a quality center.
6 – Orlando Magic : PG Trae Young – Oklahoma
The Orlando Magic have been in the lottery for a couple years now. The Magic have young talent to possibly build around for the future. Their star player Aaron Gordon is a free agent this offseason so it will be something to watch for. Trae Young was college basketballs biggest name last season leading in PPG and APG. Young has moulded his game to Steph Curry’s with his ability to shoot the ball from anywhere.
Trae didn’t have much help last season at Oklahoma so some scouts are curious to see how he will tansition to the next level but with his ability to shoot the ball and pass the ball he will fit in nicely with players at the next level. Trae Young can bring excitment to the Orlando Magic and will most certainly add a scoring punch to their backcourt who struggled to score last season.
7 – Chicago Bulls : SF Michael Porter – Missouri
The Chicago Bulls made the playoffs 2 years ago and were an injury away from knocking off the number 1 seed in the first round. The Bulls then blew up their roster that following offseason. They let Rajon Rondo walk in free agency, bought out Dwayne Wade’s contract, and traded away Jimmy Butler. When the Bulls traded Butler they recieved Kris Dunn, Zach Lavine, and a first round draft pick which ended up being Lauri Markkanen.
The Bulls have a young core to build around. Adding Michael Porter to that core would be great for Chicago. Porter had a back injury last season, causing him to most the whole regular season. He was able to return for a few games in the ACC and NCAA Tournament. Porter was the number 1 player coming out of high school last season. However, the back injury caused him to slip this far down. If he can stay healthy, the Chicago Bulls could wind up with the steal of the draft.
8 – Cleveland Cavaliers (via Nets) : C Wendall Carter – Duke
The Cleveland Cavaliers have the number 8 pick in the draft and are playing in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Cavaliers aquired this pick last offseason when they traded star player Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics. The Cavaliers are in a tough position this offseason no matter what happens in these playoffs. LeBron James is a free agent but has a player option to return to the Cavaliers. Nobody knows what LeBron is thinking but their is a lot of speculation that he will not be returning to Cleveland next season.
Wendall Carter was the other outstanding freshman frontcourt player on Duke last season. Carter has a versitale game where he can score from almost anywhere on offense and has the defensive capabilities to be a great rim protector.
9 – New York Knicks : SF Mikal Bridges – Villanova
The New York Knicks have had a rough couple of seaons the past few years. The Knicks have a new GM and a new head coach and are trying to build something special in New York. The Knicks have a lot of young talent to build around in Kristaps Porzingis, Frank Ntilikina, Trey Burke, Emmanuel Mudiay, and Tim Hardaway. They are in need of a small forward after trading away Carmelo Anthony last offseason.
Mikal Bridges would be a perfect fit on the Knicks as a 3-and-D guy. Bridges was one of the best one on one defenders in college last season and is a guy who is a consistent 3 point shooter. Mikal will need to work on creating his own shot at the next level but he is ready to come in and start for any team in the league.
10 – Philadelphia 76ers (via Lakers) : SF Miles Bridges – Michigan State
The Philadelphia 76ers had a phenomenal season this year finishing 3rd in the Eastern Conference. The 76ers have been rebuilding for the past 4 – 5 years but after trusting the process, the future looks bright. The 76ers have one of the best young cores in the league with Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, and Markelle Fultz.
Miles Bridges would be a nice piece to add to that core with his ability on both ends of the floor. Bridges played out of position at Michigan State and is more of a SF type. Miles can create his own shoot and is great around the rim with his finishing ability. His defense still has some work to do with him playing out of position in college but he will be just fine at the next level.
11 – Charlotte Hornets : PG Collin Sexton – Alabama
The Charlotte Hornets already have one of the best Point Guards in the league in Kemba Walker. The Hornets are a middle of the pack team in the league and are trying to figure out what to do next. Whether or not the Hornets decide to keep or trade Kemba, there should be no hesitation with them going after Collin Sexton with the 11th pick in the draft.
Collin Sexton is one of the best overall guards in this draft. Sexton is a guard who likes to go downhill and attack on every possesion while also being a guy who likes to press and play hard nose defense. If the Hornets decide to keep Kemba they could always pair the 2 guys in the starting lineup alongside Batum and Howard.
12 – Los Angeles Clippers (via Pistons) : PF Robert Williams – Texas A&M
The Los Angeles Clippers will have back to back picks here as this pick is due to the trade of Blake Griffin. The Clippers seem to be heading in a different direction after trading their franchise players in Chris Paul and Blake Griffin this season. The Clippers were always one of the best teams in the Western Conference but could never get over the hump and thought it was time to head in a different direction.
They still have the pieces to compete and adding Robert Williams could be a nice fit. Williams is a guy who is a strong finisher at the rim, a shot blocker, and an above average rebound due to his athleticism. Robert Williams is compared a lot to DeAndre Jordan who could eventually be his teammate in Los Angeles. Pairing Williams and Jordan together next season could be a nightmare for opposing teams. Together, the 2 could make for one of the best defensive frontcourts in the league.
13 – Los Angeles Clippers : PG Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – Kentucky
As we were just talking about the Los Angeles Clippers with the previous pick in this draft. The Clippers could go for a Point Guard here in trying to replace Chris Paul. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was never thought of as a one and done player at Kentucky and wasn’t even the best point guard on their roster last season.
When Quade Green struggled to start the season and Shai took over he never looked back and became one of the best point guards in college basketball last season. Shai lead the nation in assist to turnover ratio and made a name for himself which eventually put him in the lottery discussion.
14 – Denver Nuggets : SF Kevin Knox – Kentucky
The Denver Nuggets won 46 games last season. Their season came down to the last game, where they ended up losing to the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Nuggets are the first team in league history to win 46 games and miss the playoffs. Denver should be bringing back everyone on their roster from last season with the exception of Will Barton who was one of their better players.
The Nuggets need a different look at SF with Wilson Chandler being on the decline. Kevin Knox was the best playey on the Kentucky Wildcats last season and was one of the best shooters in the nation. Kevin Knox could fit right in with the style in Denver. He can also slide right into their starting lineup of Jamal Murray, Gary Harris, Paul Millsap, and Nikola Jokić. The Nuggets have a very bright future and Kevin Knox could be the missing piece in the puzzle.