2018 NBA Consensus Mock Draft – Ver 1.0
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.
Here is the first Consensus Mock Draft of the 2018 Draft season:
Benny’s Notebook: There’s still much to be made about Michael Porter Jr. and his presumed bill of health. Naturally, if he’s good to go, Porter Jr. could represent a major top five shaker as we approach the draft. But, for now, there’s no reason for Dallas, Atlanta or Orlando to pass up a potential cornerstone until we know more about Porter Jr.’s status. Either way, he’d be an absolutely fantastic fit alongside Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen and Kris Dunn in Chicago — so lock that in as his floor.
It feels like some have cooled on Trae Young after Oklahoma’s disappointing late-season slump and a first-round exit in the tournament — whereas Collin Sexton used it as a springboard. Still, Young remains above Sexton on the majority of boards, but I expect the Alabama product to leapfrog the streaky shooter by draft night. Of course, Kentucky’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander could certainly get in the mix over the coming weeks — but expect all three to go in the lottery, if not the top ten.
Other quick hitters: Aaron Holiday has been a popular pick to rise as of late, so keep an eye on him — but reuniting with Lonzo Ball in Los Angeles seems almost too perfect. Jalen Brunson could walk into the Warriors’ gym ready to contribute, making him a flawless flier at No. 28. And Brooklyn loves to shoot three-pointers but have sorely lacked a stretch forward in their modern NBA offense — so enter tournament darling Moritz Wagner.
Moke’s Notebook: I’m not sure if the 2018 NBA Draft can live up to the 2017 draft, but the scouts I’ve spoken with seem to think that the 2018 class is loaded with talent. At this point, DeAndre Ayton is the one that most think has a shot to be a serious professional at the NBA level, while most deemed Michael Porter, Jr. to have that same potential before back issues derailed his one college season. At this point, there’s a split among those I’ve spoken with as it relates to Porter—some see him as damaged goods while others believe he can do exactly what Joel Embiid has done in the early goings of his career and become an All-Star caliber performer in short order. Regardless, Ayton and Porter, for me, are the only surefire top five talents out there. While most regard Luka Dončić as the real deal, the fact of the matter is that where he gets selected will have everything to do with how the draft lottery shakes out. There are some front offices out there (such as Orlando and Memphis) that need to hit a home run with their lottery pick this year, and from what I hear, there is a fairly even split among those that believe Dončić to have the capability of being a top guard in the NBA and those that believe he’ll be just another European player who fails to acclimate himself to the most competitive league in the world.
For me, I think Mikal Bridges had the potential to be an early steal, and whichever teams ends up with him gets a player who’s ready to compete from day one.
With the draft lottery only two weeks away, it won’t be much longer until we have some more data upon which to base our mocks. After all these months, I’m certainly looking forward to that.
Jesse’s Notebook: Putting together a mock draft can be challenging since we are working off of incomplete information, which is especially true right now as the Draft Lottery and Combine are still roughly two weeks away.
As a native of Los Angeles, I am keeping a close eye on what the Los Angeles Clippers decide to do with the 12th and 13th picks. The Clippers managed to land the Detroit Pistons’ first-round pick in the Blake Griffin trade and now can add some much-needed young talent to their roster. The Clippers’ restructured front office has proven itself to be aggressive, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see some sort of deal involving one of these picks to happen. DeAndre Jordan’s future with the team is in question, so adding Robert Williams could be a nice addition.
I am also keeping an eye on what the Phoenix Suns plan to do with their picks. Phoenix owes significant money to veterans who don’t fit in with the team’s long-term plans and has intriguing young talent at several positions. The Suns have the best odds of getting the top overall pick, which could allow them to draft center Deandre Ayton. Luka Dončić is tough to pass on, but Ayton has massive potential and could fortify Phoenix’s less than stellar frontcourt. Phoenix could also use a combo forward who can hit shots from the perimeter, which is why I think Kevin Knox could be a nice addition with their second pick.
One player to keep track of is Trae Young. His stock has shifted significantly in recent months but he has the skill set to change talent evaluators’ minds in workouts.
Steve’s Notebook: Strolling through the Basketball Insiders Top 100 NBA Prospects list, there are some interesting things that jump out. The 2018 NBA draft looks to be fairly big in terms of size with eight players ranked in the top 30 being 6’10 or bigger. In the top 60 that swells to 14 with 27 players in the top 100 being 6’10 or bigger. Purdue’s Isaac Haas is the tallest prospect in the top 100 at 7’2”.
The 2018 Draft class also has a glutton of point guards; there are currently four players classified as point guards in top 30 and 12 in the top 60. The 2018 Draft class is also loaded with players currently classified as shooting guards, with ten players in the top 30 and 19 in the top 60. In total, the 2018 Draft class has 27 players currently classified as shooting guards in the Top 100.
Overall, there are 236 players that declared for the draft as early entry candidates; 181 players from colleges and post-graduate institutions and 55 international players. Currently, it looks as though there could be as many as 20 draftable Seniors, so there is a reality that not all of these players will get drafted, making the NBA’s annual Draft Combine all the more valuable for paring down the class to a more manageable field.
The NBA has extended its invitations, and some players have started to confirm their invites to reporters as well their intentions to attend. The official list isn’t expected until the week of the Combine, which gets underway in Chicago on May 16, with the on-court portion starting on May 17.
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