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NBA AM: Looking Back On The 2012 NBA Draft

The 2011 NBA Draft class is eligible for extensions this offseason. Which players from the 2012 class could be looking at deals next summer?

Steve Kyler

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Looking Back At The 2012 NBA Draft:  As the saying goes, you really never know how a draft class will shake out until several years down the road. With the 2011 NBA Draft class starting to receive long-term extensions, the 2012 draft class is in essence on deck for their first big paydays.

Getting drafted into a pro sports league is no guarantee of a career. The NBA’s modern history is littered with players who were drafted, played a few years and disappeared into lesser leagues or are out of the game entirely.

Since 2001, about 22 of the 60 players drafted each year have gone on to have something of a career in the NBA, meaning they have received more than one contract and in most cases played for a number of years in the NBA at some level.

Twenty three players from the 2001 NBA Draft had careers, while just 16 players from the 2002 NBA Draft played long enough to call it a career. 2003, which is generally thought of as a deep draft, especially considering it produced LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and a cast of other notable stars, produced 26 players with NBA careers. The 2004 NBA Draft produced 22 players with careers, which is what the 2005 NBA Draft produced as well.

Looking back on the 2012 NBA Draft, there could be as many as 21 players with “career” ability, several of which could be multi-time All-Stars. Here is a look at where some of these guys stand as they enter their third year in the NBA.

The Franchise Players

Anthony Davis (#1 – 2012 NBA Draft)

Without much question Pelicans forward Anthony Davis is an NBA star. He was the top overall pick and despite some early injuries in his career, he has put up monster numbers and already earned his first of what is likely many All-Star nods. The true test of a player’s “franchise” worthiness is “would you build a team around him?” In Davis’ case, that is a resounding yes.

Damian Lillard (#6 – 2012 NBA Draft)

Much like Davis, Lillard is a star. Drafted sixth overall, Lillard was one of the more experienced players coming in, but even he’ll admit his success so quickly in the NBA was a little unexpected. Lillard is without much debate one of the best players from the 2012 NBA Draft class, and is absolutely a cornerstone type player.

Andre Drummond (#9 – 2012 NBA Draft)

Comparatively, Drummond isn’t nearly the sure fire bet that Davis and Lillard are, but given the growth of Drummond over the last two years, there is little doubt that Drummond is a special talent. The debate on whether to include him on the “franchise” list boils down to “would you start a franchise around him” and in most cases the answer is likely yes. Although, admittedly Drummond might best be suited in the next tier, the truth of the matter is Drummond likely gets a max contract, which locks him in as a franchise player for the Pistons.

The Big Money Players

Bradley Beal (#3 – 2012 NBA Draft)

Like Drummond, it’s easy to make a case for Beal as a franchise type talent. The problem is as good as Beal is, would you build a franchise around him? The answer in most situations is likely no. That in no way is trying to diminish Brad’s value, impact or status as an elite player in the NBA, or that fact that he’ll have a long career in the league.

Dion Waiters (#4 – 2012 NBA Draft)

Waiters is a small step below the top four, in that few franchises would build a team around him, but he is far and away one of the best talents from the 2012 NBA Draft. As it stands, it looks like Waiters will be staying with the Cavs this season and looks to be the starter at the off-guard position. If Waiters continues to improve as he has his first two seasons, he could be in line for a significant payday next summer.

Terrence Ross (#8 – 2012 NBA Draft)

Ross, like Waiters, isn’t a cornerstone guy, but he has proven to be extremely versatile and explosive. Arguably one of the best young shooters in the game, he is also an elite level athlete. Ross may be a victim of a numbers crunch in Toronto, but it seems pretty clear that Ross has career potential and could play a bigger role if he comes into camp with a sense of urgency.

Jared Sullinger (#21 – 2012 NBA Draft)

Sullinger fell on draft night due to injury concerns, but having endured some rookie year struggles, he has put up solid numbers for Boston. Sullinger isn’t likely going to command the max-level money he might have been in line for had he gone in the top five, but it’s pretty clear Sullinger can play in the NBA and should get a hefty long-term deal either next summer as an early extension or in restricted free agency in 2016.

Jeremy Lamb (#12 – 2012 NBA Draft)

Lamb has a ton of potential, but it’s still a little unclear if he’ll be a full-time starter. Lamb played a much larger role last year and should see more time this year. If Lamb continues to progress, he should be a guy that gets a serious payday.

Miles Plumlee (#26 – 2012 NBA Draft)

Plumlee erupted last year after being traded to the Phoenix Suns. He had an equally strong summer league. If Plumlee continues where he left off going into his third year, he could be in line for a nice big man payday. Bigs that can play are always at a premium, and Plumlee looked the part of a big than could not only play, but could start for a number of teams.

Maurice Harkless (#15 – 2012 NBA Draft)

Harkless has shown flashes of brilliance, both as a defender and as an offensive player. This will be a big season for Harkless, especially considering the crowded roster at his position. Harkless has to separate himself this season in order for him to land that long-term deal. The good news for Mo is if Orlando doesn’t want him, several other teams would gladly take him off their hands. Harkless needs a strong season to cement his value, but his play to date likely locks him into another deal in the NBA.

John Henson (#14 – 2012 NBA Draft)

Like Harkless, Henson has really progressed nicely. They say injury creates opportunity and Henson has made the most of his. The Bucks have a lot of cash tied up in other players, so it will be important for Henson to come in assertive and aggressive. If he can continue to show the same level of progression he had last year, things should work out in his favor come contract time. Considering how raw Henson looked as a rookie, he has a lot more potential today than he did two seasons ago.

Harrison Barnes (#7 – 2012 NBA Draft)

Barnes was amazing as a rookie, however his performance dropped off considerably last season. If Barnes doesn’t rebound to form this season, things could start to get shaky regarding his future. There is no doubting Barnes’ potential as a player, but his stock is headed in the wrong direction. He needs a strong season this year to cement his future. They say the third year is when you define yourself as a player. Barnes needs to look more like a starter than a bench guy to get the career-securing contract.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (#2 – 2012 NBA Draft)

Kidd-Gilchrist has a similar problem to Barnes, he was far from impressive as a rookie, but made a lot of progress last year. If he can continue to trend upwards, that could bode well. As things stand, it’s hard to imagine a team investing a ton into Kidd-Gilchrist based on his play up to this point, so he too needs a strong season to cement his future.

Jae Crowder (#34 – 2012 NBA Draft)

Crowder isn’t likely a huge money guy, but given the role he’s played for the Mavericks and the big minutes he has shouldered, its clear Crowder will have a career in the NBA if he remains healthy. For a second round pick, he has beaten the odds on a lot of fronts, and given what he means to Dallas he might get a big payday next summer as a restricted free agent.

Will Barton (#40 – 2012 NBA Draft)

Like Crowder, Barton has likely played himself in a nice multi-year deal. His progression in Portland has been nothing short of impressive. Barton’s role this season should be increased and his teammates often label him the most underrated player on the team. If Barton continues what he has done over the last two seasons, he should be in really good shape next summer.

Kendall Marshall (#13 – 2012 NBA Draft)

It seemed like Marshall was going to be an NBA Draft bust after failing to receiving the third year on his rookie scale contract. However, after a brief stop in the D-League and a strong run with the Lakers, Marshall is back on the radar. Marshall is no longer on his rookie deal, so he won’t be getting an extension, but there is a chance with just this season left on his deal that a strong showing in Milwaukee could turn into a multi-year deal next summer.

Terrence Jones (#18 – 2012 NBA Draft)

Jones really cemented himself last season and should be the starting power forward for the Rockets this season. If he continues to show improvement with the new responsibilities and a chance to really shine, he could find himself in a good place next summer. The problem for Jones is that Houston doesn’t do a lot of early extensions, so he may have to wait until 2016 before he can lock in that long-term security and given where Houston wants to be, Jones may or may not be in the same situation in 2016. Jones has proven he can play, and given the kinds of contracts players like Patrick Patterson got this summer, Jones should be in pretty good shape.

Draymond Green (#35 – 2012 NBA Draft)

Green is a favorite among the Warriors front office so that bodes well for his future and given how well he plays with the group in the Bay Area, it is far more likely that Green gets a new deal from the Warriors this summer. As a second rounder Green is not eligible for a rookie scale extension, but he looks to be a restricted free agent this summer and he’s likely to land a significant new contract.

Mike Scott (#43 – 2012 NBA Draft)

Given that Mike Scott already received a multi-year deal this summer, he is arguably the first player from 20102 to lock in a future. His three-year, $10 million contract has two guaranteed years and a team option for a third, so while he’s not completely locked in, he does have a much longer window to see what he’ll be in the long-term.

Still Not Sure

Andrew Nicholson (#19 – 2012 NBA Draft)

Nicholson has been something of an enigma. He can really play, but struggles to play extended minutes and has worn down in his first two season in the NBA. Nicholson could very easily be out of the league in two years or sign a multi-year deal at a lower dollar. All sides of the Nicholson equation need him to have a defining season, both improving and cementing his place or falling backwards. Historically the 19th pick hasn’t produce a lot of longevity, it’s been very hit and miss and Nicholson could easily fall into either category. He needs to a strong season to cement his future.

Kyle O’Quinn (#49 – 2012 NBA Draft)

O’Quinn has beat the odds at every step, and while he’s put some quality minutes on tape, he still has more to do to cement a long-term career. Considering what similar skilled players like DeJuan Blair have gotten in free agency, O’Quinn needs a stand out this season to lock in the potential for a multi-year deal next summer. Considering the 49th pick has yielded roughly three players with long-term NBA careers, O’Quinn is facing stiff odds, but if he can improve on his play last season he could be one of the ones that gets a chance to make it.

Robert Sacre (#60 – 2012 NBA Draft)

For the 60th pick, the fact that Sacre has lasted this long is impressive. It’s extremely rare for the 60th pick to amount to much and given that Sacre is already on his second NBA contract bodes well for his potential going forward. Like O’Quinn, Sacre needs to show significant improvement this season. He has one more fully guaranteed year on his deal and a team option next season. The Lakers can decline the option and restrict Sacre’s free agency, which might make landing a long-term deal a little difficult, but if he plays well this season there is a premium for bigs than can play and Sacre could beat the odds again.

They say the third season is where a player defines their career, so for most of the players on this list, this is a huge season for them. It’s unlikely more than a small handful get an early Rookie Scale extension next summer, but given where the salary cap projects to be in July of 2016, some teams may opt to sign guys early to try and get the price lower, rather than facing unrestricted free agency in a year when the cap could go up an unprecedented amount after the NBA inks its new national TV deals. There really is a lot on the line for many of these players.

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, @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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NBA DAILY

NBA Daily: One Year Later, Yogi Ferrell Continues To Rise

One year after a turbulent start to his NBA career, Yogi Ferrell is still thriving with the Dallas Mavericks.

Ben Nadeau

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It was never going to be easy for Yogi Ferrell.

At just 6-foot-0, there were major concerns about Ferrell and his ability to effectively contribute at the professional level, so the 24-year-old was a near-lock to go undrafted despite his impressive haul of collegiate honors. In 2016, he did not hear his name called on draft night — but for a gamer like Ferrell, pushing on was always the only option.

However, on this particularly cold mid-season evening, Ferrell sits at his locker and studies film on a tablet. He looks comfortable and focused as if he knows that this moment cannot be ripped away from him once again. Today, Ferrell is the Dallas Mavericks’ backup point guard and is settled into a consistent, steady role amongst a currently crowded backcourt. For Ferrell, he now finally has the life of an everyday NBA player.

But just over one year ago, Ferrell had to take the road less traveled to reach professional basketball for good.

“It was actually about this time [last year] when [the Nets] decided to waive me and I went back to Long Island,” Ferrell told Basketball Insiders. “I didn’t know I’d be here. I’m just thankful for the opportunity the Mavericks gave me and I’m just still trying to be here in Dallas.”

To be exact, the Brooklyn Nets waived Ferrell on December 8th, 2016. 365 days (and counting) later, Ferrell has earned his guaranteed contract but he’s still playing like he has something to prove.

* * * * * *

In order to fully understand Ferrell’s winding journey, it’s necessary to go back to where his story really kicked off: Summer League. Following a solid audition in Las Vegas — 8.8 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game — Ferrell was shifted to Brooklyn’s G-League affiliate, the Long Island Nets. With the offseason signings of Jeremy Lin and Greivis Vasquez, plus the addition of rookie point guard Isaiah Whitehead, there was no room for Ferrell and he was the last man cut in training camp.

Before the Nets could even blink, Vasquez re-injured his problematic ankle just three games into the campaign, an ailment that would eventually require season-ending surgery. Lin, of course, lasted just two more games before a hamstring injury derailed the key free agent acquisition until deep into the season.

Out of nowhere, it was time for Ferrell.

After waiving Vasquez, the Nets signed Ferrell on November 9th — the same day as his NBA debut, where he logged five points and three assists in a 14-point loss to the New York Knicks. But as the Nets continued to free fall without their veteran point guards, Ferrell grew more confidently into his role and was a solid fit in head coach Kenny Atkinson’s three-point heavy rotation. Over 10 contests with Brooklyn, Ferrell tallied just 5.4 points and 1.7 assists in 15 minutes per game. Nonetheless, for a suddenly talent-deficient roster, it appeared as if the point guard was poised to stick around through the winter.

In a surprise twist of fate, the Nets waived Ferrell to sign Spencer Dinwiddie to a partially guaranteed three-year deal, opting to tie their future to a different G-League point guard instead. Just like that, it was back to Long Island for Ferrell — but surprisingly, it wasn’t something that he hung his head over for too long.

“I knew my next opportunity was going to come — I didn’t know when, but I just wanted to make sure I was ready for it,” Ferrell said. “I had a great coach — coach [Ronald] Nored — and he told me to still go about my business as if I was still in the NBA. I didn’t get all the luxuries, but if you treat yourself like a pro, like you’re there now, once you get there, it’ll make it easier and you can make a splash.”

Upon returning to the G-League, Ferrell continued his hot streak and ended up averaging 18.7 points and 5.8 rebounds over a total of 18 games — both before and after his NBA call-up with the Nets. Ultimately, it wasn’t long before another franchise took notice of the enigmatic guard and the Mavericks capitalized, signing Ferrell to a 10-day contract while both Deron Williams and Devin Harris were hampered by injury. His debut with Dallas saw Ferrell tally nine points and seven assists in a win over the San Antonio Spurs and future Hall of Famer Tony Parker — but somehow, that was only the beginning

Affectionately nicknamed Yogi-Mania — a play on Linsanity, Lin’s historic stretch with the Knicks back in 2012 — Ferrell re-joined the NBA red-hot, even leading Dallas to back-to-back wins over the Cleveland Cavaliers and Philadelphia 76ers. Quickly thereafter, Ferrell signed a multi-year deal with Dallas and then promptly torched the Portland Trail Blazers for nine three-pointers and a total of 32 points. Over his initial two-week stretch with the Mavericks, Ferrell scored 10 or more points in seven of his first nine games and made a serious claim for a permanent spot in the rotation.

Of course, the multi-year contract offered Ferrell something else he hadn’t yet experienced in the NBA: Job security. After Ferrell’s team option was picked up last June, he was happy to have a role with the Mavericks once again, no matter how big or small. Without the worry of being on borrowed time, Ferrell was able to train, learn the system and embrace of the city of Dallas during the offseason.

“The offseason was pretty good, I played summer league with some of the young guys,” Ferrell said. “It was great to work every day and get to know the coaches better, the area of Dallas better. Headed into training camp, I just wanted to work on my game and I had lot more confidence.”

One of those coaches he’s gotten to know better is Rick Carlisle, an old-school guard that has found success as both a player and coach. Under Carlisle, Ferrell has averaged 28.3 minutes per game so far as a sophomore, good for the third-highest total on the entire roster. Ferrell, who was in the G-League at this time last year, has merited more playing time than any other point guard on the team — a list that includes rookie sensation Dennis Smith Jr. (28.1), J.J. Barea (22.5), and the aforementioned Harris (18.9). For Ferrell, much of his second-year successes have come from simply putting Carlisle’s words of wisdom into action.

“He’s just always telling me to be a threat,” Ferrell told Basketball Insiders of Carlisle. “First of all, be a threat to score because that’s what opens up everything else. If you’re pushing the pace and getting in the paint, attacking, especially for somebody like myself in my position. You want to just cause 2-on-1s and kicks and find whatever the defense gives us.”

While Yogi-Mania was built off of an electric career-altering hot streak, Ferrell has been a contributor this season in a more consistent, experienced way. Building off the All-NBA Rookie Second Team berth Ferrell earned in just 36 games with Dallas last season, the point guard is now often one of the first guards off the bench, a role that Barea has long excelled in. The comparisons between Ferrell and Barea are all too obvious, the latter being another 6-foot-nothing guard that has carved out a 12-year career after going undrafted in 2006.

During the Mavericks’ championship-winning playoff run in 2011, Barea averaged 8.9 points and 3.4 assists, including massive back-to-back 15-plus point outings in Dallas’ series-defining Game 5 and 6 victories. These days, Ferrell is just thankful to have teammates like Barea and Harris to learn from on and off the court.

“I always say that I like watching them, especially how they play,” Ferrell said. “I try to mimic the older guys, Devin and J.J., they’re so synced together when they play, it’s something special to watch. I just try to go out there and mimic what they do, they’ve been successful at it and been in this league for a long time, so I’m just trying to learn from guys like them.”

* * * * * *

Precisely, it’s been 370 days since Ferrell was first waived by Brooklyn and found success at the NBA level that little believed was possible. Not one to let an obstacle get in his way, Ferrell went undrafted and still managed to earn a multi-year contract before he even hit 20 career appearances. For his dominating stretch in the G-League last season, Ferrell was named an All-Star — although he was too busy with Dallas to attend the festivities — and he still went on to earn a spot with the All-NBA Rookie Second Team as well.

Overcoming roadblocks and adversity at every turn, it’d be easy to now exhale and relax — after all, his contract is currently guaranteed and he’s got a solidified role in an NBA rotation — but Ferrell, forever hungry, isn’t ready to stop there. Staying motivated isn’t difficult for Ferrell because he knows that much of his journey is still left in front of him and he’s ready to keep climbing upward.

“I’m a winner, I came from a winning program,” Ferrell said. “My mentality is still to prove that I belong here. I just want to win, that’s it.”

For Ferrell, this isn’t the end of an underdog story — this is just the beginning of something even greater.

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NBA

Rookie of The Year Watch – 12/13/17

Shane Rhodes checks back in on what’s become a relatively consistent Rookie of the Year race.

Shane Rhodes

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It has been a pretty ho-hum Rookie of The Year race so far in the 2017-18 season, with the top rookies staking their claims to this list at the beginning of the season and, for the most part, staying there. While there has been some movement up and down over the season and since our last installment, for the large part those who were on the list remain on the list.

Those players have earned their spots on this list with their play, however. This rookie class is one of the better, more exciting classes in recent memory. These players have just managed to remain at the top of the hill.

Let’s take a look at this week’s rankings.

stockup456. Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls (Last Week: Unranked)

By virtue of John Collins missing time due to injury, Markkanen jumps back onto this list. However, that’s not to say Markkanen has played poorly this season. On the contrary, the former Arizona Wildcat and current Chicago Bull has played very well; it’s just hard to get recognized when you are on the worst team in the league.

Markkanen is averaging 14.7 points and 8.1 rebounds per game, third and second among rookies, respectively, while adding 1.3 assists per game as well. Athletic enough to get his own shot and big enough to be a mismatch when he’s on the floor, Markkanen is probably the best (healthy) offensively player the Bulls have. While his defensive game isn’t great, his defensive rating of 106.4 still ranks ninth amongst rookies.

Perhaps most importantly, Markkanen inspires hope for a brighter future in Bulls fans that have watched the team plummet from the 50-win team it was just three seasons ago.

stockup455. Dennis Smith, Jr., Dallas Mavericks (Last Week: 6)

His shooting percentages continue to underwhelm and the Dallas Mavericks still have one of the worst records in the NBA, but Dennis Smith Jr. has been one of the Mavs’ bright spots this season while averaging 14.4 points, four rebounds and four assists per game.

While he hasn’t been a great shooter overall, Smith Jr. has managed to be a big contributor on offense for the Mavs, with an offensive rating of 101.4, ninth among rookies, and an assist percentage of 25.2 percent, fourth among rookies. He is second on the team in scoring behind Harrison Barnes’ 18.4 points per game as well. He is still a work in progress, but Dallas has found a keeper in Smith Jr.

stockdown454. Kyle Kuzma, Los Angeles Lakers (Last Week: 3)

While the Lakers have stumbled over the past few weeks, Kuzma continues to play well when he is on the floor. He still paces the Los Angeles Lakers in scoring with an average of 16.1 points per game, third among rookies, while also dishing in 6.6 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game.

Kuzma is now second among rookies in double-doubles with eight on the season and three in his last five games. With a diverse offensive game, the power forward should continue to impress as the season goes along.

stockup453. Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz (Last Week: 4)

Donovan Mitchell has been electrifying in recent weeks. Second in scoring among rookies, Mitchell is averaging 17.3 points per game to go along with three rebounds and 3.2 assists. As his confidence has grown, so to have his field goal percentage and three-point percentages. Mitchell has led the Utah Jazz in scoring in 11 of their 27 games, and is second on the Jazz in scoring too, behind Rodney Hood’s 17.7 points per game.

Mitchell became the second rookie ever, first since Blake Griffin in 2011, to score more than 40 points in a single game after going for 41 against the New Orleans Pelicans. Coupling that with his high-flying athleticism, Mitchell has been one of the best rookies to watch this season.

stocknochanges452. Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics (Last Week: 2)

Jayson Tatum is on pace to be only the second rookie ever to lead the league in three-point percentage. In over 38 years, the only other player to do it was Anthony Morrow, who shot 46.7 percent on 2.7 attempts per game during the 2008-09 regular season. Tatum is currently shooting 50 percent on over three attempts per game.

The 19-year-old forward has also made a near seamless transition from the isolation-dominated basketball that he played at Duke, and has flourished as the third, fourth and sometimes even fifth option on offense, having scored in double digits in 25 of 29 games and averaging 13.8 points per game on the season. His defense continues to be better than advertised as well.

Tatum has been Mr. Clutch among rookies as well. In the last five minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime, Tatum has 14 field goals on 21 attempts, seventh in the entire NBA and tops among rookies. In fact, Tatum is the only other rookie in the top 15 in clutch field goals.

While Mitchell has been on fire recently, Tatum has performed well enough to this point where he is still in control of the number two spot among rookies. But the race for this second spot is close and will continue to be close throughout the season. The race for the number one spot on the other hand? Not so much.

stocknochanges451. Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers (Last Week: 1)

It would make for a very boring race if Ben Simmons remained at the top of this list for the entire season. And it looks increasingly likely that that is going to be the case.

Try as they might, the other rookies just can’t hang with Simmons; none of them have the right combination of production and physicality to keep pace with the point-forward. Tatum has been better than advertised while Mitchell and Kuzma have exceeded all predraft expectations, but none of them can produce what Simmons has. With averages of 17.5 points, 8.9 rebounds and 7.7 assists per game, Simmons would be just the second rookie in NBA history, the first since Oscar Robertson during the 1960-61 season, to finish the season with that stat line.

So, unless they combine their powers to become a being with superhuman basketball skills, the other rookies don’t stand a chance against Simmons in the race for Rookie of the Year.

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Mock Drafts

NBA Daily: Another 2018 NBA Mock Draft – 12/13/17

Basketball Insiders’ publisher Steve Kyler drops his latest 2018 first-round NBA Mock Draft.

Steve Kyler

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A little less than a month ago we dropped the first 2018 NBA Mock Draft, which was met with a lot of disdain. Which is often a good thing because it sparks the discussion in NBA circles.

Since that Mock dropped, we’ve seen a bit more play out of some of the top prospects and many of the assumptions made almost a month ago are starting to settle into place a little more clearly.

The prevailing thought from NBA scouts and executives is that the possible 2018 NBA Draft class has a lot more questions than answers. The common view is that outside of the top 3 or 4 players there could be a very wide range on who the next 10-12 players will be; so expect for the second tier to evolve a lot over the course of the college basketball season.

A couple of things have started to surface among NBA scouts and executives, there seem to be three camps emerging around the top overall player – Duke’s Marvin Bagley III and international phenom Luka Dončić, seem to be the leading names mentioned most, with Arizona’s DeAndre Ayton making a strong push into the discussion. We can safely call this a three-horse race at this point.

The prevailing belief is that none of the three is far and away better than the other as a professional prospect, making it more likely than not that the top player selected will have a lot more to do with which team ultimately lands the pick, more so than the player themselves.

This class also seems to be brimming with promising athletic point guards, which unlike last year’s draft, could provide a lot of options for teams still trying to find that impact point guard.

There also looks to be 27 players in the projected top 100 that are 6’10 or bigger, eight of which project in the top 30. To put that into perspective, there were 11 players 6’10 or bigger drafted in the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft, and 17 total in the 60 2017 NBA Draft selections.

As we get into the 2018 calendar year, we’ll start to do deeper dives into the tiers of players and their possible NBA strengths and weakness.

So, with all of that in mind, here is the second 2018 first-round NBA Mock Draft.

Here are some of the pick swaps and how they landed where they are currently projected:

The Philadelphia 76ers are owed the LA Lakers 2018 Draft pick, unprotected, as a result of the 2012 Steve Nash trade with the Suns. The Suns traded that pick to the 76ers as part of the Michael Carter-Williams three-team trade with the Milwaukee in 2015.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are owed the Brooklyn Nets first-round pick as a result of the Kyrie Irving trade this past summer.

The Minnesota Timberwolves are owed the Oklahoma City Thunder’s first-round pick as part of the Ricky Rubio trade this summer. The pick is lottery protected and based on the current standings would not convey.

The Phoenix Suns are owed the Miami HEAT’s first-round pick as part of the Goran Dragic trade in 2015, it is top-seven protected and would convey to Phoenix based on the current standings.

The Atlanta Hawks are owed the Minnesota Timberwolves first round pick as part of the Adreian Payne trade in 2015. The pick is lottery protected and based on the current standings would convey.

The Phoenix Suns are owed the Milwaukee Bucks first-round pick as part of the Eric Bledsoe trade. The pick only conveys if the Bucks pick lands between the 11th and 16th pick, which based on the standings today would not convey.

The Brooklyn Nets are owed the Toronto Raptors first round pick as part of the DeMarre Carroll salary dump trade this past summer. The pick is lottery protected and based on the current standings would convey.

The Atlanta Hawks are owed the Houston Rockets first round pick as part of a three-team deal with the LA Clippers and Denver Nuggets involving Danilo Gallinari and taking back Jamal Crawford and Diamond Stone. The pick is top-three protected and based on the current standings would convey.

Check out the Basketball Insiders’ Top 100 NBA Draft Prospects http://www.basketballinsiders.com/top-100-nba-draft-prospects/

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