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.
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.
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