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NBA AM: Expanded 2014 NBA Mock Draft

More and more of you have asked for a deeper dive into our Mock Draft s with explanations behind each pick, so here you get – every pick in the first round; explained.

Steve Kyler



Explaining The Latest Mock Draft:  Every week all the way up to the 2014 NBA Draft we will drop what have always called our “Consensus Mock Draft”, and while some poke fun at the idea that the four personalities powering the multi-opinion mock rarely agree or have a “consensus”, the idea is what is the “consensus of the draft” and what we often find is there really isn’t one.

Recently more and more of you have asked for a deeper dive into the mock draft with explanations behind each pick. We have built some pretty elaborate draft tools to organize the mock draft process, and those tools were not built with detailed explanation in mind. We’ll work on that going forward, but for now I’ll break this out manually for you and give you at least my thoughts on the latest mock draft version.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Every week I introduce a new variable in my process. Until we really start to get a sense of which players a team is narrowing in on. I play the wrinkle game. I ask myself, what does the draft look like if this event happens. That changes from week to week. Last week my mock reflected the idea that Creighton’s Doug McDermott could go very high in the draft. Several executives at the draft Combine raved about McDermott so I played that idea through. This week it’s UCLA’s Zach LaVine. There has been some hype around LaVine. It’s doubtful he goes in the top ten, but this week’s draft plays out as if he does.

If you wonder why I do it this way, it’s because this is how NBA teams do it. This is how teams prepare for every eventuality. Believing that one guy has to go number one and the next guy absolutely has to go number two, is how you end up unprepared on draft night. Teams play through every draft scenario possible, so I try and do the same with my mock drafts.

With that in mind, here is this week’s mock:

#1 – Cleveland Cavaliers

Andrew Wiggins Kansas SG/SF 6’8″ 197 lbs.  19 years old

There is real chance that Joel Embiid is going to go number one. Word is that his agents are going to allow the Cavs to conduct a thorough medical exam on him and if that comes back as clean as his camp is saying he could go number one overall. The problem here is I doubt that it comes back completely clear. From there I think the Cavaliers and new General manager David Griffin go with a can’t-miss athlete like Wiggins to shore up their roster and pass on the risk.

#2 – Milwaukee Bucks

Joel Embiid Kansas C 7’0″ 240 20

Where I see the Cavs passing on questions surrounding Embiid’s health, the Bucks have several bigs on the roster and they can take the chance on him. The talent level is too high and the Bucks are in a situation where they can take a risk. If it pans out they get a really good player. If it does not they get the chance to pick in the lottery next year. Unless Embiid’s back gets flagged as requiring the worst case surgery – spinal fusion – I seriously doubt that the Bucks pass on Embiid at number two. Either they pick him or they trade the No. 2 to a team that would. Two dark horse picks here are Jabari Parker from Duke and Australia’s Dante Exum. Word from Chicago is the front office would like to take Exum and build around him knowing they’d be in the lottery again next year, so it really may come down to what ownership will approve.

#3 – Philadelphia 76ers

Dante Exum Australian Institute of Sport PG/SG 6’6″ 196 18

The 76ers have been unpredictable for the last year, so I do not expect that to change in this draft. The smart money says take Jabari Parker and the 76ers very well may. But if you look at how the 76ers see the world, they have a long-term vision that is built around steady progress. The fact is that 76ers head coach Brett Brown has some history with Exum and that Exum could conceivably play with rookie of the year Michael Carter-Williams. The temptation of Exum’s ceiling may be too much for the 76ers to pass on. The pick is a little unconventional, but so was trading Jrue Holiday for Nerlens Noel and drafting Carter-Williams last year.

#4 – Orlando Magic

Jabari Parker Duke SF/PF 6’8″ 241 19

Assuming Exum is off the board that leaves Orlando with Jabari Parker. There is chance the pick is Marcus Smart, or there is a bigger chance that the Magic take Parker, and see if Utah wants him as bad as it seems they may. Drafting Parker might be a solid addition in Orlando, but it would create massive logjam at the three spot for the Magic, so drafting and keeping Parker likely means Mo Harkless or Tobias Harris get moved in the offseason. Point guard is absolutely the biggest need in Orlando, but playing broker with Parker might yield them multiple assets if the Exum is off the board.

#5 – Utah Jazz

Julius Randle Kentucky PF 6’9″ 250 19

It seems likely that the Jazz are trading down with this pick, mainly because there is nothing there for the Jazz that makes sense at number five. If the Jazz can swing a deal for Jabari Parker the belief is they would, but assuming they don’t move the pick Julius Randle may be the best talent for their roster. There are some that would suggest that sliding Derrick Favors over to the five spot and playing a frontcourt of Favors and Randle could yield bigger dividends than a the current Enes Kanter-Favors front court. There is a chance that Marcus Smart goes here as well, it would give the Jazz a very small backcourt, but Smart is a relentless defender and could bring some leadership and maturity to the process. Drafting Smart would be a best talent available scenario, although Randle may make more sense in the long run.

#6 – Boston Celtics

Aaron Gordon Arizona PF 6’9″ 220 18

If Randle is here, he is likely the Celtics guy but with him off the board the Celtics likely turn to Noah Vonleh or Aaron Gordon. There is a sense in NBA circles that the Celtics are smitten with Gordon and view him as a possible star, especially paired with Rajon Rondo. Gordon at number six might be a bit high, but we have seen the Celtics do this before, where they zone in on a guy and simply take him when they can get him and there is a sense that Gordon is the Celtics’ guy if Randle is off the board. Vonleh could be an interesting pick here as well as would Dario Saric. The Celtics are said to be high on Saric and Saric seems to be high on the Celtics.

#7 – LA Lakers

Marcus Smart Oklahoma State PG 6’3″ 227 20

There are a couple of interesting options here for the Lakers, including Noah Vonleh and Dario Saric. However, Smart offers a ready to play point guard that could thrive playing with Kobe Bryant. Smart’s shot is not nearly as bad as its made out to be but with a season of Bryant in his ear Smart likely improves in every facet of his game and that fact that he is a ‘get-after-it’ defender likely makes the pick a solid one for the Lakers.

#8 – Sacramento Kings

Noah Vonleh Indiana PF/C 6’9″ 247 18

The Kings want to trade this pick, so there is a real chance that the number eight belongs to someone else after the draft is done. Vonleh is likely the pick; the question is where does he end up? If the Kings have to keep the pick Vonleh doesn’t necessarily fit the roster, but he is the best talent on the board. Saric could be an option here as he fills a more immediate need, but it’s unclear if Saric would come to the NBA this year is he drops to number eight, so there is some risk.

#9 – Charlotte Hornets

Zach LaVine UCLA SG 6’6″ 181 19

This is likely really high for LaVine, but if there is a team that might take the gamble on the best athlete in the draft it’s likely the Hornets. There is a real chance this pick ends up with someone else. The Hornets have eyes for Orlando’s Arron Afflalo and if some combination of the ninth pick and a roster player gets the Magic off the dime the Hornets would do it. In this week’s draft, LaVine needed to go top ten for the variable to work, and the Hornets would be the fit if he is indeed the top-ten talent some have tried to paint him as. For the record, I think James Young, Rodney Hood or Adrien Payne could end up here as well.

#10 – Philadelphia 76ers

Dario Saric Cibona Zagreb SF/PF 6’10” 223 20

At this point Philly is playing with house money. There is a chance they draft a player that comes to camp with the tenth pick or they may very well go with Saric as a ‘draft-and-stash’. Given how many second round picks the 76ers hold, there is always a fear of bringing in too many rookies into training camp, and in this case with Noel in effect being a rookie, the third pick and at least one of the second round picks; bringing in a mature player like Saric or allowing him to stay abroad makes more sense for Philly given how many young guys they may have the rights to. If the 76ers spend this pick on a player for this upcoming season, Adrien Payne, James Young and Nik Stauskas all become interesting options.

#11 – Denver Nuggets

James Young Kentucky SG/SF 6’7″ 213 18

This is where the picks start to become more about talent than fit. Young is an explosive talent that could fit in nicely in Denver. This could also be were Nik Stauskas or international big man Jusuf Nurkic lands. A dark horse here might be Doug McDermott, mainly because he can contribute right away for a Nuggets team that wants to be in the postseason next year.

#12 – Orlando Magic

Tyler Ennis Syracuse PG 6’2″ 182 19

Assuming the Magic have not traded their way into a higher pick, this is where they get their point guard. Ennis presents a ready to play type of guard that can run a team. Paired with last year’s second overall pick Victor Oladipo, the Magic get a solid backcourt tandem. If the Magic are able to pull off a deal and land Smart in trade, this could be where guys like Rodney Hood, K.J. McDaniels and P.J. Hairston get a long look.

#13 – Minnesota Timberwolves

Adreian Payne Michigan State PF 6’10” 239 23

At some point he Timberwolves are trading Kevin Love, so they are going to need a four man. Payne isn’t nearly the All-Star caliber four that Love is, but he could play off the bench behind Love, bring some physicality and toughness. He is ready to play as one of the older guys in the draft. For the Wolves, they want to be in the postseason next year and Payne would be a solid addition to the frontcourt. This could also be where Hood, McDaniels or Stauskas land as well, especially if the plan is to pack Kevin Martin into whatever Love deal the Wolves decide to do.

#14 – Phoenix Suns

Doug McDermott Creighton PF 6’8″ 218 22

This is absolutely about the best offensive talent on the board. McDermott can play from the bench for the Suns and he is polished enough to get minutes under Jeff Hornacek. There are a lot of options Phoenix could consider including “draft-and-stash” with Jusuf Nurkic. Rodney Hood would be an excellent fit as would K.J. McDaniels. A real dark horse here might be Nik Stauskas, although they may not have a lot of minutes at the off-guard spot.

#15 – Atlanta Hawks

Rodney Hood Duke SF 6’8″ 208 21

Hood is a knock down shooter and he’d fit in nicely with what the Hawks have going. If you think about Hood on one side and Kyle Korver on the other, the floor is going to open way up for guys like Paul Millsap and Al Horford. There are too many reasons why this pick works for the Hawks; the only problem is if he is gone. If he is there at 15 that would be hard to pass on unless they opted for Nik Stauskas, who is more of a two guard.

#16 – Chicago Bulls

Elfrid Payton La Lafayette PG 6’4″ 185 20

Sixteen may be a little high for Payton, but the Bulls need a backup point guard and Payton has enough promise to work, but needs enough development time that playing smaller minutes behind Derrick Rose won’t be a problem. The Bulls could look for perimeter scoring here, but in terms of best talent that solves the biggest need Payton could be that guy. Rodney Hood would likely be the pick here if Atlanta passes. Stauskas could also been an option here as well.

#17 – Boston Celtics

Nik Stauskas Michigan SG 6’6″ 207 20

If Stauskas is still here at 17, there is too much that works for this not to be the pick. He is knock down shooter and would fit in perfectly with Brad Stevens and how the Celtics want to play. This pick also gives them options if Avery Bradley’s free agency gets silly. P.J. Hairston likely gets a look here as does Clint Capela.

#18 – Phoenix Suns

Jusuf Nurkic Cedevita C 6’11” 280 19

This is likely a “draft-and-stash” move as Nurkic just signed a new extension. Unless he went really high in the draft he likely is playing abroad next season. The Suns would have some other options, but considering the log jams they already have deferring this pick into next season or beyond with a big like Jusuf might be the smart play. Some names to look at here that could make sense are Clint Capela, Walter Tavares or Kristaps Porzingis. Nurkic might be the best of the bunch. This is also a pick that could get traded.

#19 – Chicago Bulls

Gary Harris Michigan State SG 6’4″ 205 19

It is very likely this pick is traded. However, the best talent on the board will be Gary Harris. The word on Harris is very hot and cold. Some teams like him a lot, some teams are not interested at all. If the Bulls have to keep this pick Harris might fit, but this would again be drafting the best talent on the board. There are a couple of other options that might get play here and that is Kristaps Porzingis and Clint Capela. Two dark horses here might be T.J. Warren and Jarnell Stokes, especially if the Bulls are planning to move on from Carlos Boozer either by trade or Amnesty cut. Warren and Stokes would be interesting if Nikola Mirotic is staying aboard for another year.

#20 – Toronto Raptors

Clint Capela Chalon PF 6’11” 222 20

It is easy to say put the Euro in Toronto, but this really would be best talent on the board and he does fill a roster need too. Its unclear if Capela comes over if drafted at 20, but he would be a solid fit with the Raptors, especially developing off the bench. The Raptors could also play the “draft-and-stash” game and look at Kristaps Porzingis or Walter Tavares. A couple of dark horse picks could be Shabazz Napier, DeAndre Daniels and Cleanthony Early.

#21 – Oklahoma City Thunder

Kyle Anderson UCLA SF 6’8″ 230 20

This is a project pick. There is a lot to like about Anderson, but he is not an elite level athlete and he is not someone you could lean on right away. The Thunder are pretty good about having vision on their draft picks and this might be the best talent on the board. A couple of other options here are T.J. Warren, P.J. Hairston, K.J. McDaniels and Glenn Robinson III.

#22 – Memphis Grizzlies

P.J. Hairston Tex Legends SG 6’5″ 229 21

Hairston fits the Grizzlies culture in so many ways and with Chris Wallace likely making the pick, this is exactly the kind of player the Grizzlies covet. This would create a bit of a long-jam with Courtney Lee and last year’s second rounder Jamal Franklin, but Hairston might be the best talent on the board. There is a chance K.J. McDaniels and Glenn Robinson III could land here too. The Grizz want perimeter scoring.

#23 – Utah Jazz

K.J. McDaniels Clemson SF 6’6″ 196 21

If the Jazz keep this pick (they may very well use this to move up), McDaniels solves a lot of problems. He is a decent outside shooter. He is a solid athlete and he is a great defender that blocks shots and rebounds. As far as best talent on the board McDaniels might be the guy if he is still here. Other options here include Mitch McGary, Cleanthony Early and Walter Tavares.

#24 – Charlotte Hornets

Jerami Grant Syracuse SF 6’8″ 214 20

This is where Charlotte might defer their pick by drafting an international player or trade out of this spot in favor of something in the second round to avoid the guaranteed contract. If the Hornets keep the pick, Grant likely fill a need and would be a “best on the board” type selection. This could also be where Mitch McGary, Cleanthony Early or Jarnell Stokes lands.

#25 – Houston Rockets

T.J. Warren N.C. State SF/PF 6’8″ 220 20

This might not be the ideal pick for the Rockets, but they have a long track record of drafting 6’8 guys and figuring out where they fit. Warren might be a good addition to the roster, but this one is really about best talent available. DeAndre Daniels, Jarnell Stokes, Dwight Powell and Johnny O’Bryant could get long looks here too.

#26 – Miami HEAT

Shabazz Napier Connecticut PG 6’1″ 175 22

The HEAT are likely losing Mario Chalmers to free agency and while Norris Cole is likely taking over the starting spot, the HEAT need a reserve guard and Napier may be too good to pass on. The HEAT very rarely draft for need and in most cases they defer their first round picks into the second round as much as possible. Because they need the talent and Napier solves the problem, he might be the best option. Word is the HEAT are also very high on Mitch McGary, Cleanthony Early and Patric Young; all three could land here if still available.

#27 – Phoenix Suns

Kristaps Porzingis Sevilla PF 7’0″ 220 18

If the Suns do not trade this pick, this is a draft-and-stash. The Suns are highly unlikely to bring more than two rookies into camp this year, so at some point they have to either defer picks by drafting international guys or they have to trade out of them. Assuming they are stuck with the pick, Porzingis is the best talent on the board. Other options here include Bogdan Bogdanovic, Walter Tavares and Nikola Jokic.

#28 – LA Clippers

Cleanthony Early Wichita State SF 6’7″ 209 23

The Clips have been searching for help at the small forward spot all year and Early could be the best talent and best option at small forward on the board. There are a few other options that likely get some play here and those include Glenn Robinson III, Dwight Powell, Mitch McGary and Jordan Adams. Early may present the best solution to the problem and he should be able to contribute right away.

#29 – Oklahoma City Thunder

Jarnell Stokes Tennessee PF 6’8″ 263 20

If Stokes is still here, this represents the best talent that solves the biggest need. The Thunder needs someone behind Serge Ibaka and as much as the team hoped it would be Perry Jones III, they have been reluctant to go to him even when the situation might call for it. Stokes is a beast physically, a decent shooter out to the three point line and would solve an immediate need. Other options here in the best talent available department include Glenn Robinson III, Dwight Powell, Mitch McGary and Jordan Adams. There are also a couple of solid “draft and stash” candidates in Bogdan Bogdanovic, Walter Tavares and Nikola Jokic

#30 – San Antonio Spurs

Walter Tavares Gran Canaria C 7’3″ 265 22

The Spurs are the hardest team in the NBA to project picks for and with them sitting dead last in the first round they could go any number of direction. Historically the Spurs have drafted young international guys and stashed them aboard. They did it last year with Livio Jean-Charles and Tavares has San Antonio Spurs written all over him. There are a few others that make sense here including Bogdan Bogdanovic, Mitch McGary and Jordan Adams, but if history holds true expect the Spurs to “draft and stash” a super upside talent and Tavares may be the best on the board.

So there you have it, the logic behind all of my picks this week. The next Consensus Mock Draft will drop next Wednesday and we’ll do this thing all over again.

If you don’t agree, want to argue my thought process or just want to log your picks or protest, drop your thought in the comment box below.

More Twitter:  Make sure you are following all of our guys on Twitter to ensure you are getting the very latest from our team: @stevekylerNBA, @AlexKennedyNBA, @TheRocketGuy, @LangGreene, @EricPincus, @joelbrigham, @SusanBible @TommyBeer, @JabariDavisNBA , @NateDuncanNBA , @MokeHamilton , @JCameratoNBA and @YannisNBA.

Steve Kyler is the Editor and Publisher of Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA and basketball for the last 17 seasons.


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Mock Drafts

2018 NBA Consensus Mock Draft – Final

For the last eight weeks, four of Basketball Insiders’ experts have offered up their views on the 2018 NBA Draft, here is their Final 60-pick Consensus.

Basketball Insiders



For the last eight weeks, four of Basketball Insiders’ experts have offered up their views on the 2018 NBA Draft, here is their Final Consensus, with notebooks to follow:

Version: 1.0 | 2.0 | 3.0 | 4.0 | 5.0 | 6.0 | 7.0

Benny’s Notebook: It’s finally here — whew.

This is our last set of mocks and mine is mostly the same over the first 30 picks. One week after dropping Luka Dončić down, I’m moving him back up to No. 2 with Sacramento. Obviously, Marvin Bagley III appears to be the popular favorite here, but Dončić has just continued to impress during his never-ending season with Real Madrid. Truthfully, the Kings can’t really go wrong here — but Dončić is the type of do-it-all prospect that the franchise could really use moving forward. For now, the jury is out on Willie Cauley-Stein, Buddy Hield, and Skal Labissiere but pairing Dončić with De’Aaron Fox feels incredibly shrewd.

Elsewhere, Jerome Robinson has been a late riser and will head into the draft night as a hot topic. The Hawks own three first round picks and walking away with Bagley, Robinson, and Grayson Allen would be a no-doubt success. They’ll have plenty of intriguing options in each slot, so watching how they mix-and-match their selections by position and current roster talent may be one of the draft’s most interesting narratives.

Another team with picks to shuffle around are the Brooklyn Nets — current holders of No. 29, No. 40 and No. 45. While reports have indicated that the Nets would like to move up, it’s tough to see them giving up any future picks after finally leaving the Billy King era behind. Some combination of those picks could see them snag a higher selection, but nominally at best. No matter what picks they end up with, look for general manager Sean Marks to swing for the fences as usual.

Ultimately, a full 60-pick mock will come with some second-round guesswork — but I feel confident about those names included here. As I mentioned last weekend, international players will almost certainly get selected, and I’ve included five of them here: Rodions Kurucs, Isaac Bonga, Issuf Sanon, Arnoldas Kulboka and Tryggvi Hlinason. Embrace the overseas journey!

Moke’s Notebook: We’ve finally arrived at the final mock draft, and there are a few poorly-kept secrets that we can relay with some confidence on the day before the 2018 NBA Draft. First, unless there is a late change of heart, the Phoenix Suns will draft DeAndre Ayton. We have a similar amount of certainty in the Sacramento Kings’ love with Marvin Bagley III, but the draft will basically have two completely separate permutations based on what the Atlanta Hawks opt to do with the third pick. The word on the street is that the Hawks like Trae Young, but are reluctant to take the risk on him at third with so many “can’t miss” prospects available in the top five. Aside from the Hawks infatuation with Young, we also have been led to believe that both the Dallas Mavericks and Memphis Grizzlies covet Luka Doncic. Considering the fact that the Grizzlies have been rumored to be open to trading back, though, it suggests that there isn’t really one prospect for whom they’re head over heels, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Grizzlies actually walk away with Mo Bamba. That second permutation of the draft will likely come to fruition if the Mavs do leapfrog the Grizzlies for Doncic after executing a deal with the Hawks…

Aside from that drama right at the top of the draft, we’ve known for several weeks that the Knicks covet Michael Porter, Jr., and I’ve been led to believe that he and Kevin Knox are the two prospects most likely to wind up as Knicks with Collin Sexton sitting at third on the depth chart.

What’s important to understand about the pre-draft process and the mock drafts that we do is that the entire monthlong process between the Combine and the draft is a period of discovery where teams (as well as us) are consistently getting new information that changes our predictions. And at the end of the day, that’s all these are—predictions. So while we do have a high degree of certainty with respect to which prospects are coveted by which team, one player being drafted much higher than initially thought (keep an eye on Kevin Huerter and Wendell Carter, each of whom have lottery-busting potential) or one slipping (I’ve heard that Trae Young or Michael Porter could fall to the backend of the lottery) could literally change everything.

At the end of the day, the Clippers are going to walk away with a player that would have gone top 10 in a lesser-talented class. Aaron Holiday, Keita Bates-Diop and Moritz Wagner are the mid-to-late first rounders that I think will have fruitless careers.

It all ends tomorrow night, and I can’t wait.

Jesse’s Notebook: The 2018 NBA Draft is almost here! We enter the draft with a lot of open questions and some uncertainty. As of yesterday, the Atlanta Hawks are now leaning toward drafting Luka Dončić if he is still on the board at No. 3. Some reports suggest that Michael Porter Jr. has a generally good medical outlook, though that does not seem to be a consensus opinion. Porter Jr. is in play to go No. 2 overall but also could slip a bit as well. I still have the sense that big trades could throw off the projections and create significant chaos. I am keeping an eye on the Los Angeles Clippers, who have the 12th and 13th overall picks. They could try to trade up for a top prospect (they have been linked to Luka Dončić in some reporting), but could ultimately stand pat. The Clippers should be positioned to add two talented players that can bring added youth and talent to positions of need.

The Kawhi Leonard situation continues to be a factor that certain teams have to consider in every move they make. Leonard reportedly met with Gregg Popovich last night and seemingly has not changed his insistence in being dealt out of San Antonio. It’s not clear this will have any impact on how teams go about their business on draft night, but it’s something to keep in mind.

Steve’s Notebook: With draft day upon us, there seem to be some answers at the top of the draft board, and a lot more questions in the middle, so let’s start with the top overall pick to the Phoenix Suns. Sources close to the process said last night that the overwhelming belief is the Suns will draft DeAndre Ayton number one. This isn’t a huge shock, but it seems it would take something earth-shattering for him not to be the top pick.

The Sacramento Kings at number two are still a little bit of wild card; the word is that several members of the Kings front office believe strongly that Michael Porter Jr will be an elite player in the NBA and that while he has questions surrounding his back, its worth the risk. It’s unclear if that will win out in the room, but Porter Jr is still firmly in the mix in Sacramento at number two. The conventional wisdom says the Kings will pass on the risk, which puts their next guy on the board in Marvin Bagley III in a Kings draft hat on Thursday.

The Atlanta Hawks seem to be tipping their hand that Euro sensation Luka Dončić is moving into the top spot on their draft board with the Hawks having done some aggressive background on Luka recently and may be ready to take him number three overall. The Hawks are said to be equally high on Bagley and Michigan State big man Jaren Jackson Jr. The Hawks seem to have moved off Trae Young despite weeks of signals that he was their guy. The Hawks are still considered a team to watch in trade down situations, but it’s looking more likely they will use the third pick, and Dončić could be their guy if Bagley is off the board at number two.

The fourth pick is said to be very much in play with the Grizzlies continuing to explore deals to shed contract money (Chandler Parsons) and picking up rookie scale talent or picks later in the draft. The Grizzlies struggled to get top level players to come in for visits and workouts, and many believe they’d rather trade down than draft a player that may not want to be there. If the Grizzlies keep the pick, the belief is it will be Jackson, although his camp has reportedly refused to provide medical information to the Grizzlies and that’s a huge red flag.

The Dallas Mavericks at five have a few options with both Wendell Carter Jr. and Mo Bamba being the likely targets. There is a scenario in which Dallas grabs not only the Grizzlies pick at four but retains their own pick at five and takes on Parson who they have a history with. The Mavericks have explored deals all over the place to leverage their existing cap room to obtain talent and assets.

The Orlando Magic at six seem to be all over the place; there were reports that the Magic may have Collin Sexton higher on their board than fan favorite Trae Young, which would line up with commentary that started around the team in early April. The Magic have kept their process somewhat quiet, but there is a real chance the Magic grab Sexton at six if the draft plays out as currently scripted.

The Chicago Bulls at seven could catch a lot of interesting options including both Porter and Bamba. The Bulls were the first team to see Porter and their medical staff did the physical that was circulated to teams. While the upside on Porter is very real, there isn’t a sense the Bulls are ready to pull the trigger despite what Bulls fans may want so that it could be an interesting scenario to watch.

The Cleveland Cavaliers at eight could find themselves with a lot to choose from. The Cavaliers had a last-minute clandestine workout with Trae Young this week and have been rumored to be very high on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. If the draft plays out as scripted the Cavs could have their choice of Young, Porter or Bamba and that would be a massive win for the Cavs.

On the trade front league source have pegged Orlando, Charlotte, Dallas, and Miami as teams to watch on the trade front, all of them seem to be willing to make big moves if deals present themselves.

There were reports last night that the San Antonio Spurs and disgruntled star Kawhi Leonard were able to meet face to face. There still is not a sense that the Spurs will pull the trigger on a trade, expect that to take shape today if they decide to open the phones on Leonard.

The Basketball Insider NBA Draft Diary is up: – it will have all the latest news, rumors and trades as they are happening, so it you want to see everything going on in one place, bookmark the Diary and hit it early and often.

Who are these guys anyway? Steve Kyler is the Publisher of Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last 19 years. Moke Hamilton is a Deputy Editor and Columnist for Basketball Insiders and has covered basketball for the last eight years. Jesse Blancarte is a Senior NBA Writer and Deputy Editor for Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last four years. Benny Nadeau is an NBA Writer and has finished his first season covering the NBA for Basketball Insiders.

More Twitter: Make sure you are following all of our guys on Twitter to ensure you are getting the very latest from our team: @stevekylerNBA, @LangGreene, @EricPincus, @joelbrigham, @TommyBeer, @MokeHamilton , @jblancartenba, @Ben_Dowsett, @SpinDavies, @JamesB_NBA, @DennisChambers_, @mike_yaffe, @MattJohnNBA, and @Ben__Nadeau .

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Mock Drafts

2018 NBA Consensus Mock Draft – Ver 7.0

Each week, four of Basketball Insiders’ experts take a look at the draft class and weigh in on what they are seeing and hearing in the march up to the 2018 NBA Draft.

Basketball Insiders



Each week, four of Basketball Insiders’ top writers will break down the latest news and notes surrounding the 2018 NBA Draft. Included is an updated mock draft that reflects how each writer sees the draft landscape based on the latest news, workouts, and information from the pre-draft process.

Version: 1.0 | 2.0 | 3.0 | 4.0 | 5.0 | 6.0

Benny’s Notebook: Fine, I’ll relent: Luka Dončić, sadly, finally drops in my mock. There’s too much noise to ignore it any longer. While I’m willing to admit that there’s plenty to like about DeAndre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III, and Jaren Jackson Jr., I still believe that Dončić will be the best player in this class. If he does fall to Memphis, how great of a fit would that be? Even if there are doubts about Dončić’s ceiling, putting his NBA-ready game in alongside Mike Conley and Marc Gasol would be an instant victory for the Grizzlies. At just 19 years old, Dončić has already won most of what Europe had to offer — he’d be an excellent catch for Memphis after their nightmare season.

I suppose there is only one mock draft left before the real deal and I really thought I would have moved Michael Porter Jr. up by now. His volatility could shake up the entire lottery — but his workout in Chicago went extremely well, apparently. Out of all the names in the mix for a top seven selection, Porter Jr. remains the one with most intrigue — expect lots more to come here over the next week. Finally, the New York Knicks are doing their due diligence ahead of their pick at No. 9 overall, working out Lonnie Walker, Robert Williams, Aaron Holiday, Kevin Knox, Miles Bridges and others as of late. With Kristaps Porzingis out for the foreseeable future, this is certainly an important selection for New York.

Moke’s Notebook: We’ve had quite a bit of action the past week, with the Suns seemingly going out of their way to give us some drama at the top of the draft. I’ve been told by a few people in the know that they’ve settled on DeAndre Ayton as their guy, but that they’re doing their “due diligence” on other prospects, most notably Jaren Jackson, Jr. and Trae Young. I can’t see the Suns passing on Ayton for either of those guys, so I’ve still got him tabbed as my top overall pick.

Jackson’s stock has risen quite dramatically, and whether the Kings hold on to their pick or trade back (which they’ve been rumored to be considering), I could see him and Bagley III swapping places as the second and third players drafted. Luka Doncic probably won’t slip past the Grizzlies at four, but it’s worth noting that stock of Michael Porter, Jr. has risen incredibly high. There was an ESPN report out of New York this past week that’s consistent with what I’ve been saying since the Combine: Porter is the dream scenario for the Knicks. I could see them engaging the Hawks on a trade involving the 9th pick and Frank Ntilikina for the 3rd pick. That wouldn’t surprise me in the least, though I’m sure the Knicks would prefer to include a player like Trey Burke.

As we get to the mid-to-late lottery, I won’t lie, there’s quite a bit of guessing. The main reason why is because most teams covet the same players, and to a large extent, the teams in the latter half of the lottery will be forced to settle on the second of third ranked prospects on their big board. Two guys who might get drafted much higher than we’re projecting, though, are Lonnie Walker and Jalen Brunson.

After this week, we’ve got one more shot at a solid mock draft, as we are just eight days away from the real thing. Hopefully, we’ll get some additional intel.

Jesse’s Notebook: While workouts continue and players like Luka Dončić commit to staying in the draft, there are still a wide range of scenarios that can play out. The Sacramento Kings have scouted Dončić but they reportedly have strong interest in other players and could look to trade down to extract more value in the draft. There seem to be several viable trade scenarios that could shake up the board and throw all mock drafts off the rails. The Clippers, armed with the 12th and 13th picks, could push to trade up in the draft and acquire a top-10 player. However, it looks like Los Angeles will have some notable talent to choose from when they are on the board.

There is still no consensus on the overall health of Michael Porter Jr. It appears that he continues to round into shape but the long-term concern is something teams have to consider. There seems to be little risk that Porter Jr. drops out of the top-10 at this point, but it’s tough to pin down where he may ultimately land. If Porter Jr. overcomes his health issues, the team that selects him could end up with the best player from this draft class.

Elie Okobo has generated some positive momentum and seems likely to be selected in the first round. Okobo has potential on both ends of the floor and could be a surprisingly effective player if he ends up with a team that puts particular emphasis in building up his overall skill set.

Steve’s Notebook: As things are starting to take some shape at the top of the 2018 NBA Draft, there are some things to watch in the final week of the draft process. It seems the Phoenix Suns are locked in on DeAndre Ayton. The Suns have been leveraging the power of the top overall pick to get looks at the other top names in the class, but the overwhelming belief in NBA circles and what’s coming out of Phoenix is Ayton is the guy.

The Sacramento Kings at number two still seems fairly wide open. The prevailing thought in NBA circles is the Kings have serious eyes for Michael Porter Jr., however that’s far from locked in according to sources close to the process. The shortlist in Sacramento seems to be Porter, Jaren Jackson Jr., Marvin Bagley III, and Luka Dončić. The Kings don’t seem to be locked in on Dončić, but sources close to the team say he is still very much in the conversation.

The Hawks at number three get interesting because they still seem to be open to trading their pick, but only if they can net Trae Young in the process and gain more assets, either additional picks or young guys on rookie scale contracts. There is a sense that the Hawks are trying to move Dennis Schröder around the draft. It’s unclear if there is any real value to have for the Hawks, but they seem more than open to it. It is not out of the question the Hawks take Young at three, so that could be an interesting draft domino.

Some other draft scuttle is that UCLA guard Aaron Holiday may have a promise in the mid-teens; word is he has been invited to the NBA Draft Greenroom.

Kentucky forward Kevin Knox could be the Cavaliers’ guy at number eight. His floor is expected to the be the Clippers at 12.

The Lakers, Clippers, and Celtics have all explored move-up options, but at this point, it does not seem like any of them are willing to pay a hefty premium to move up, but they are situations to watch as the draft unfolds, especially if players start to fall in a very unexpected sequence.

There will be one more Mock Draft on Wednesday of next week, so stay tuned.

Who are these guys anyway? Steve Kyler is the Publisher of Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last 19 years. Moke Hamilton is a Deputy Editor and Columnist for Basketball Insiders and has covered basketball for the last eight years. Jesse Blancarte is a Senior NBA Writer and Deputy Editor for Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last four years. Benny Nadeau is an NBA Writer and just finished his first season covering the NBA for Basketball Insiders.

More Twitter: Make sure you are following all of our guys on Twitter to ensure you are getting the very latest from our team: @stevekylerNBA, @LangGreene, @EricPincus, @joelbrigham, @TommyBeer, @MokeHamilton , @jblancartenba, @Ben_Dowsett, @SpinDavies, @JamesB_NBA, @DennisChambers_, @mike_yaffe, @MattJohnNBA, and @Ben__Nadeau .

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Mock Drafts

2018 NBA Consensus Mock Draft – Ver 6.0

Each week, four of Basketball Insiders’ experts take a look at the draft class and weigh in on what they are seeing and hearing in the march up to the 2018 NBA Draft.

Basketball Insiders



Each week, four of Basketball Insiders’ top writers will break down the latest news and notes surrounding the 2018 NBA Draft. Included is an updated mock draft that reflects how each writer sees the draft landscape based on the latest news, workouts, and information from the pre-draft process.

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Benny’s Notebook: It’s June! Draft month is finally upon us, which means the player pool is set and boards are starting to solidify. For now, my top half of the draft remains unchanged — but if there’s a late riser left, look no further than Lonnie Walker. He’s been impressive throughout the draft process thus far, so, needless to say, this is not an unpopular opinion. Walker only averaged 11.5 points and 1.9 assists as a freshman at the University of Miami, but the NBA-worthy skillset is apparent. His uber-athletic and explosive first step makes Walker difficult to defend and his 6-foot-4, 200-pound fame only adds to that scoring prowess. At just 19 years old, Walker could become one of the best guards in the draft, which is high praise considering the others around him.

After that, there’s a pair of highly-touted European prospects worth checking in on, Džanan Musa and Élie Okobo — both of whom seem destined for late first-round selections. Although Musa has slipped a little of late, the 6-foot-9 Bosnian sharpshooter could be an absolute force with the right coaching. His defense certainly needs work, but Musa can already score in a whole variety of ways. Imagine getting him under the tutorship of Brad Stevens or Gregg Popovich — then the possibilities are truly endless.

Okobo, on the other hand, has been a recent riser and it’s not hard to see why. In France, he averaged 12.9 points and 4.8 assists on 39.4 percent from three-point range. Last summer, Okobo won a bronze medal at the FIBA Europe U-20 Championship and seems poised to become a regular on the senior team soon enough. Oh, and he also dropped 44 points on 8-for-11 from deep in a postseason game against AS Monaco in May. At 20 years old, Okobo looks like he might be just scratching the surface — so which team will take the plunge?

Moke’s Notebook: Things are starting to get very, very interesting. Although my lottery picks are mostly the same as they were last week, there’s a growing sense among those with whom I’ve spoken that Trae Young has a shot at going as high as third to the Atlanta Hawks. If the Orlando Magic do indeed lose out on Young (I’ve been told he’s in consideration for them) then I wouldn’t be surprised to see them land on either Kevin Knox (whom they had in for a workout this week) or Michael Porter, Jr. There’s still a fair amount of reservation surrounding Porter, though, but the general consensus seems to be that he won’t get past the Knicks at ninth. The Knicks are said to be looking for the either Young or Porter to fall to them, and if not, then Knox and Colin Sexton would be the next two on their depth chart. Either way, it’s still pretty early in the process, as most of the top prospects are just beginning to do their individual workouts.

While I do think this draft is rich with talent, from a depth standpoint, the general thought is that there are five players who have star potential, another five who will be solid role players and quite a few diamonds in the rough. Nobody knows who those diamonds are yet, which is why you’ll see a fair amount of volatility once you get outside of the lottery.

It’s looking like Keita Bates-Diop and Donte DiVicenzo will be available in the 20s, and I think either would present good value at those spots.

If Wendell Carter falls to the Clippers at 12th (definitely possible if the Mavericks take Mo Bamba), they might have cause for celebration.

This is how I see things stacking up based on what I’ve heard. Let’s see where we are next week.

Jesse’s Notebook: There is still no consensus clarity on what the Sacramento Kings will do with the second overall pick but I now think there’s a solid chance they pass on Luka Dončić. If Dončić falls to No. 4, expect the Memphis Grizzlies to take him. The Grizzlies want someone who can step out onto an NBA court and contribute immediately, and that’s Dončić.

We are starting to get some more clarity on how things may shake out after the Lottery picks but things could change a lot from now until draft night. This draft has a lot depth in terms of potential role players, but it doesn’t feature many prospects outside of the Lottery who have star potential. Thus, team need and fit is likely going to be a determining factor more than overall talent once we get outside of the top-14 picks (or around that area). So if a couple of teams decide to reach on a player or two, it could throw off the entire board and throw off projections.

The most interesting group of players to keep an eye on are the wing players. There is plenty of depth at this position and teams could start zoning in on their preferred wing players as they come in for workouts.

Steve’s Notebook: With less than two weeks remaining until NBA teams must lock in on their picks, things are going to get real from here. Most of the marquee players are either scheduled to visit or have started to visit NBA teams, and many are holding their own “controlled” Pro-Days. Teams are often mixed on the value of a Pro-Day, mainly because they are typically run by the player’s personal trainers and are designed to showcase not only the player, but the trainer too.

Marquee level players also rarely workout against anyone. So, what do you really learn from a guy running drills he runs every day against a chair or thin air? Hence the draft myth of how good a player did against the chair or worse yet, when he fails to perform and loses to the proverbial chair.

A good agent will tell you the worst thing you can do is get a silly contact-related injury prior to the draft. NBA Draft history is littered with high-level prospects who get a significant injury while training and can’t workout for teams at the level or frequency they would need to solidify a higher draft position.

The other part of the Pro-Day is using the audience a marquee player draws from NBA scouts and executives to showcase lesser draft prospects that may be represented by the same agent or have the same trainer. This can be an added value for those players that might not have gotten a top tier decision maker to really look at them.

Once the Pro-Day cycle ends things will get serious. For some players, this is when they will start asking for firm commitments to establish a “floor,” or the lowest point in the draft a player might go. If a player doesn’t have a floor going into next week, they may be in for a long draft night.

It is not uncommon for players at the top of the board to agree to a workout a little outside their projected range to ensure they have a floor they are comfortable with. So, look for the odd workout or team meeting to surface next week as players try to lock in a floor.

Specific to this draft, Michael Porter Jr.’s Pro-Day seems to be the key to who he will ultimately share medical with and workout out for. The narrative around his situation is once teams see him and are ready to commit, they will make their decision on who to visit and who they will share medical information with.

On the surface, all of this sounds too calculated, but in reality, there is a business behind the draft. For the players and agents involved, there is a desire to work the process to the best of their ability, because at the end of the draft where you get drafted, usually isn’t nearly as important as the fit of the situations. Searching for the right fit is why so many agents and players work the process to ensure they land in the best situation to have a long and fruitful career.

Who are these guys anyway? Steve Kyler is the Publisher of Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last 19 years. Moke Hamilton is a Deputy Editor and Columnist for Basketball Insiders and has covered basketball for the last eight years. Jesse Blancarte is a Senior NBA Writer and Deputy Editor for Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last four years. Benny Nadeau is an NBA Writer and has just finished his first season covering the NBA for Basketball Insiders.

More Twitter: Make sure you are following all of our guys on Twitter to ensure you are getting the very latest from our team: @stevekylerNBA, @LangGreene, @EricPincus, @joelbrigham, @TommyBeer, @MokeHamilton , @jblancartenba, @Ben_Dowsett, @SpinDavies, @JamesB_NBA, @DennisChambers_, @mike_yaffe, @MattJohnNBA, and @Ben__Nadeau .

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