Sport NBA Mock Draft 2018, post-lottery edition: Suns, Cavs make tough calls with first-round picks

16:46  16 may  2018
16:46  16 may  2018 Source:   sportingnews.com

Creighton guard Khyri Thomas to hire agent, remain in 2018 NBA Draft

  Creighton guard Khyri Thomas to hire agent, remain in 2018 NBA Draft Thomas averaged 15.1 points and 4.4 rebounds per game on a Creighton team that went 21-12 last season. He was also named the conference’s 2018 Defensive Player of the Year.Thomas knocked down 40.6 percent of his 3-point attempts over his three-year career at Creighton.MORE: Suns' loss to Warriors earns them worst record in NBA"I'm thrilled for Khyri as he moves on to the next stage of his career," Creighton coach Greg McDermott said in a press release. "His selfless approach to the game, positive attitude and tireless work ethic has been a joy to be around the last three years.

NBA Mock Draft 2018 : Lottery Picks 1-14. GettyMarvin Bagley’s strong NCAA tournament performances only reinforce his soaring draft stock. NBA Mock Draft 2018 : Picks 15-30. IMGAnfernee Simons projects to be a first round pick in the 2018 NBA Draft .

NBA Mock Draft 2018 : Lottery Picks 1 -14. GettyLuka Doncic is battling to be the top pick in the 2018 NBA Draft . As you are watching the top players during March Madness, keep in mind Doncic has been playing professionally for three years in one the world’s toughest leagues.

Tuesday night’s lottery solidified the 2018 NBA Draft’s order, and there were some surprises. Both the Kings and Hawks jumped into the top three, leaving the Grizzlies and Mavericks out in the cold. The Suns, meanwhile, hung onto the top spot.

Given the new landscape, now seems like a good time to update our Mock Draft with a potential look at how June’s actual draft could shake out. Of course, since it’s so early in the process, everything remains fluid.

Here’s how things might go down...

1. Suns — Luka Doncic, G, Real Madrid

Age: 19.2 | Height: 6-8 | Weight: 228

This is going to be a fascinating decision for Phoenix, as the two favorites to be the No. 1 pick on draft night both have ties to the franchise. Deandre Ayton played just down the road at Arizona while new Suns head coach Igor Kokoskov coached Doncic and the Slovenian national team to a EuroBasket title last summer.

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Welcome to an early edition of The Ringer’s 2018 NBA Lottery Mock Draft , as selected by our three resident NBA draftniks: Kevin O’Connor, Danny Chau, and Jonathan Tjarks.

The trade deadline created a lot of movement in the 2018 NBA draft .? Molina sidelined for one month post -surgery. LeBron, Jordan winners see Cavs on opposite sides of history. Cleveland will receive Brooklyn's first - round pick unprotected.

Although Kokoskov won’t be in charge of the pick, his presence in the room should give Phoenix’s front office unique insight into the top European prospect in recent history. Doncic would give the Suns another perimeter playmaker, a primary ball-handler and much-needed shooting.

Still, the decision between Doncic and Ayton figures to be a close call.

2. Kings — Deandre Ayton, C, Arizona

Age: 19.8 | Height: 7-1 | Weight: 260

Presumably the front office run by general manager Vlade Divac and assistant general manager Peja Stojakovic will be hoping Doncic falls into their lap here at No. 2, but if not, Ayton seems like he’ll be the pick despite a roster stacked with young big men.

The Arizona center possesses physical traits coaching staffs can’t teach, including immense size and impressive athleticism. His upside as an offensive centerpiece is intriguing. He can shoot it a bit from the outside, dominate switches in the post and should be a dangerous roll threat.

NBA Draft lottery 2018: Full results, pick order for first round

  NBA Draft lottery 2018: Full results, pick order for first round Who will earn the No. 1 pick in this year's NBA Draft? Check out the latest results from the NBA Draft lottery right here. 2018 NBA Draft lottery results, first-round order(Will be updated as picks are revealed) to win No. 1 pick in NBA Draft lottery © Provided by Sporting News 2018-nba-draft-lottery-odds-051518.jpg *The Cavs will receive the Nets' pick unprotected.**The Lakers’ pick will go to the 76ers if it is No. 1 or Nos. 6-30. The pick will go to the Celtics if it is Nos. 2-5.***The Pistons’ pick will go to the Clippers if it is outside of the top four.

Yet, with the official order of the picks firmly set, we feel a sense of duty to at least make an educated guess. Things will surely change as we get closer to draft night, however, at this moment in time, here’s a look at our post - lottery NBA mock draft .

Kevin Knox is a likely lottery pick in the 2018 NBA Draft . NBA Mock Draft 2018 : Picks 15-30. Duke’s Grayson Allen offers teams value at the end of the first round .

Defensively, there are unanswered questions about his instincts, but the tools are there.

3. Hawks — Marvin Bagley III, PF/C, Duke

Age: 19.2 | Height: 6-11 | Weight: 234

For an Atlanta team facing an uncertain offseason following point guard Dennis Schroder’s recent comments about the direction of the franchise, jumping into the top three of the lottery is a boon. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony reported on lottery night the Hawks will likely select Bagley here if he falls to them.

Bagley’s foundational combination of athleticism and an elite motor is something for NBA teams to build on, but his skill set offensively is still raw. There are flashes of floor spacing, short roll playmaking and face-up drives. It all remains left hand dominant, however.

Defensively, Bagley faces similar questions to Ayton, and it’s tough to imagine him as an anchor at the NBA level.

4. Grizzlies — Jaren Jackson Jr., PF/C, Michigan State

Grayson Allen will address tripping incidents with NBA teams prior to draft

  Grayson Allen will address tripping incidents with NBA teams prior to draft Allen averaged 15.5 points per game on a Duke team that went 29-8 and advanced to the Elite Eight last season . He does not appear in the first round of Sporting News' latest 2018 NBA Mock Draft.

The latest mock draft from ESPN has several Cats cracking the first 30 selections. However, this isn’t expected to be one of the stronger groups of NBA Cats in terms of top-end NBA talent. None of the Cats made the lottery ( first 14 picks ), but Hamidou Diallo did go 17th overall to the 76ers.

With Marvin Bagley making his college decision to join the 2017 class, ESPN has released a 2018 NBA Mock Draft by Jonathan Giovany. With some work, he could easily become a lottery pick in 2018 .

Age: 18.7 | Height: 6-11 | Weight: 242

Yes, Memphis still has Marc Gasol, but Jackson’s upside is too much to pass up here. Plus, he has the ability to knock down the 3-ball and defend the perimeter should the Grizzlies want to play the pair alongside one another for stretches.

As one of the youngest prospects in 2018, Jackson has exciting room for growth. He’s the best big man defender in the draft class and flashes exciting offensive potential. He has the potential to take over for Gasol as he ages.

a man holding a basketball: mohamed-bamba-ftr-021318.jpg © Provided by Sporting News mohamed-bamba-ftr-021318.jpg

5. Mavericks — Mohamed Bamba, C, Texas

Age: 20.0 | Height: 6-11 | Weight: 225

Given Dirk Nowitzki is aging and Nerlens Noel doesn’t seem part of Dallas' long-term future, the Mavericks using their top-five pick to lock down a frontcourt piece wouldn’t be a surprise. Bamba is a raw prospect, but his potential as a rim protector and rim runner alongside Dennis Smith Jr. could give Dallas a nice one-two punch.

Bamba features a 7-9 wingspan and averaged 4.8 blocks per 40 minutes as a freshman. The offensive game is still a work in progress, though. He’ll need to find a defined role on that end to be successful.

Oklahoma guard Trae Young thinks he’s the draft’s ‘best overall player’

  Oklahoma guard Trae Young thinks he’s the draft’s ‘best overall player’ Young carried the Oklahoma offense as a freshman, averaging 27.4 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. Young also proved he could shoot from NBA 3-point range. He pulled up from all over the court and knocked down 36 percent of his attempts from behind the arc.Young told reporters Friday he has big goals for his professional career.“I think I’m the best overall player in the NBA draft,” Young said at the NBA Draft Combine (via USA Today ) “My main focus isn’t to be necessarily the best player in the draft, it’s to be the best player in the NBA. That’s what I’m focusing on each and every day.

Here's how the first round goes down in Sporting News' latest NBA Mock Draft . The NBA playoffs are underway, which also means the collection of teams hoping to land the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft via the lottery is set.

ESPN 2018 NBA Mock Draft . Pick No. Team. Player. Position. College/Country. 1. Atlanta. DeAndre Ayton. SEC. 2018 NBA mock draft : Projections for first round , top player Auburn.

6. Magic — Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma

Age: 19.7 | Height: 6-2 | Weight: 180

Although Orlando general manager John Hammond has previously shown a preference for length and athleticism in draft prospects, the team’s need at the point guard spot is glaring.

If everything clicks, Young has the potential to be the best player in this draft because of his pull-up shooting ability. The 19-year-old possesses extreme range and a quick release that can bend defenses. He’ll be a risky selection because of his defensive downside, but if the offense comes through, watch out.

7. Bulls — Wendell Carter Jr., C, Duke

Age: 19.1 | Height: 6-10 | Weight: 259

There’s a compelling argument for Missouri’s Michael Porter Jr. here, and it wouldn’t be surprising if he’s the pick. However, Carter fills a future position of need in the frontcourt next to Lauri Markkanen.

The 6-10 center is a high-IQ prospect who has potential as an offensive playmaker and floor spacer. Defensively, he projects to be a drop back big who can handle rotations around the rim where his instincts can shine.

8. Cavs (via Nets) — Michael Porter Jr., SF/PF, Missouri

Age: 19.9 | Height: 6-10 | Weight: 215

Cleveland faces an uncertain future with LeBron James’ free agency decision looming large over the franchise. Having a top-10 pick alleviates some of the pressure, though.

NBA Draft 2018: Suns GM says team is open to trading No. 1 pick

  NBA Draft 2018: Suns GM says team is open to trading No. 1 pick Phoenix won the draft lottery after it finished 2017-18 with a 21-61 record and missed the playoffs for the eighth straight season. Suns general manager Ryan McDonough told ESPN he would consider including the draft’s top selection in the right deal."We're certainly open to [a trade],” McDonough said. “I think if you look around the NBA, as far as the veteran players, there are probably a few players we'd consider trading the pick for … So it'll be a busy month for us."The Suns are expected to select either Arizona big man Deandre Ayton or Slovenian guard Luka Doncic if they do keep the pick. Ayton averaged 20.

The aim of our mocks is to project what the first round of the draft might look like if the season ended today, based on which players are trending. (Note: Minnesota owns Oklahoma City’s lottery -protected 2018 first - round pick .)

Another wild NBA trade deadline should have implications on the 2018 draft . The Los Angeles Lakers will take the Cleveland Cavaliers ' first - rounder (top-three This mock draft order is based on the standings heading into Thursday, Feb. 8. 1. Dallas Mavericks: Luka Doncic (Slovenia, PG/SG, 1999).

Porter could function either as an understudy to James should he stay with the Cavaliers, or he could be the team’s next centerpiece. Alongside James, Porter’s outside shooting and secondary playmaking would shine. On his own, the 19-year-old would need to develop into a primary scorer, which is what most expected him to be coming out of high school before a back injury derailed his freshman season.

9. Knicks — MIles Bridges, SF/PF, Michigan State

Georgia Tech guard Josh Okogie to remain in 2018 NBA Draft

  Georgia Tech guard Josh Okogie to remain in 2018 NBA Draft Okogie averaged 18.2 points and 6.3 rebounds per game as a sophomore last season.“I’m extremely humbled and grateful for this opportunity to fulfill my childhood dream,” Okogie’s announcement said in part. “To (Georgia Tech) coach (Josh) Pastner and the Georgia Tech men’s basketball staff, thank you for believing in me and allowing me to represent Georgia Tech to the highest standard as a student athlete.

NBA Draft 2018 : 1 st- Round Mock Draft , Prospects' Pre- Lottery Landing Spots - Bleacher Report. 8. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics): Oklahoma PG Trae Young. 9. New York Knicks: Alabama PG/SG Collin Sexton.

This mock draft order was created based on the standings heading into March 12. Despite the lost season, the New York Knicks might end up picking late in the lottery and missing out on the potential franchise talents. With three first - round picks , the Hawks can afford to gamble on upside.

Age: 20.2 | Height: 6-7 | Weight: 230

The Knicks’ front office has already highlighted small forward as a position of need for the roster, so Mikal and Miles Bridges seem to make sense. Either selection would work, but the upside of Miles due to his youth may be slightly more attractive.

The Michigan State forward has proven himself to be a diverse jump shooter capable of spotting up on the perimeter or coming off screens. He can attack defenders in a straight-line drive off closeouts, and his athleticism is explosive. Bridges may not become a star at the next level, but he’s an excellent piece of connective tissue for a roster.

a man standing in front of a crowd: mikal-bridges-ftr-031418.jpg © Provided by Sporting News mikal-bridges-ftr-031418.jpg

10. 76ers (via Lakers) — Mikal Bridges, SG/SF, Villanova

Age: 21.7 | Height: 6-7 | Weight: 210

Realistically, this is a dream scenario for Philadelphia, as the front office should be looking for additional shooting on the wing. Bridges is one of the draft’s elite spot-up shooters, having converted 43.5 percent of his 3s last season.

The 21-year-old is also an excellent team defender. He uses his length and high basketball IQ to be a disruptive presence off the ball both in passing lanes and at the rim. Bridges is basically the perfect piece for a Philadelphia roster already oriented around Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.

NBA Draft 2018: Suns GM says there's an 'overwhelming likelihood' team keeps No. 1 pick

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CLEVELAND , Ohio – The NBA All-Star break has a couple more days left for the Cavaliers , the trade deadline is over and the Cavaliers still have their coveted first - round draft pick from the Brooklyn Nets. What can it get them? Let’s take an early forecast with this mock draft .

11. Hornets — Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama

Age: 19.4 | Height: 6-3 | Weight: 190

Like last season, this is a difficult spot for Charlotte. Both Kentucky’s Kevin Knox and Texas Tech’s Zhaire Smith could fit here, as the Hornets have a need on the wing, but selecting Sexton could open up some options.

In the short-term, Sexton could learn under the tutelage of Kemba Walker, or he could reopen conversations centered on trading the veteran point guard. Long-term, Sexton needs to develop as a jump shooter to be a well-rounded scoring threat. His competitiveness and downhill playmaking should earn him floor time until his shot develops.

12. Clippers (via Pistons) — Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky

Age: 19.9 | Height: 6-6 | Weight: 180

The Clippers will have a pair of late lottery selections to help retool a roster that missed the playoffs for the first time since 2011. Gilgeous-Alexander could offer the team a point guard of the future.

Although he’s not an explosive vertical athlete, the 19-year-old’s hesitation moves and headiness allow him to create looks at the basket. If the jump shot develops into something more consistent, he could be a steal.

13. Clippers — Zhaire Smith, SG, Texas Tech

Age: 19.0 | Height: 6-5 | Weight: 195

Wing depth ought to be a priority for every NBA team, so the Clippers pick up a high-upside option here. Smith is poised to become the first non-top 100 high school recruit to be a one-and-done since eligibility rules changed in 2006. Why?

Smith is an elite athlete with a great feel for the game, reflected by the 7.0 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.5 blocks he averaged per 40 minutes as a freshman. He’s still a raw offensive prospect, lacking much of a jump shot or the ability to create, but his foundation is exciting.

14. Nuggets — Robert Williams III, PF/C, Texas A&M

Age: 20.6 | Height: 6-10 | Weight: 240

Denver is still looking for an appropriate frontcourt partner to pair with Nikola Jokic, and perhaps Williams could fill that role. The key here is Williams' acumen as a rim protector. His 7-4 wingspan allowed him to swat 4.1 shots per 40 minutes as a sophomore.

There would no doubt be offensive kinks to work out, as Williams lacks a jump shot, but position him in the dunker spot along the baseline and go from there.

a man standing in front of a crowd: lonnie-walker-ftr-051618.jpg © Provided by Sporting News lonnie-walker-ftr-051618.jpg

15. Wizards — Lonnie Walker IV, SG, Miami

Age: 19.4 | Height: 6-5 | Weight: 204

Washington’s cap situation means it will need to hit on its draft pick if it wants to improve its roster situation without being forced to rely on trades.

Walker would give the team some perimeter depth from the bench. His shooting and athleticism are positives, but his overall floor game in terms of passing and defending remains a bit of a concern.

16. Suns (via Heat) — Kevin Knox, SF/PF, Kentucky

Age: 18.8 | Height: 6-9 | Weight: 215

The importance of developing out wing depth has been a theme throughout this Mock Draft, and it’s the prominent reason for this decision here as well.

Knox is a versatile combo forward with a projectable jumper and the ability to create downhill against closeouts. He needs to develop as a defender to be more of a 3-and-D threat, however.

17. Bucks — Mitchell Robinson, C, N/A

Age: 20.1 | Height: 6-11 | Weight: 223

Although Thon Maker’s still young, the Bucks’ situation at center remains in flux. Robinson chose not to play college basketball this season, instead opting to workout in Dallas, but his potential as a rim protector and rim runner makes him a possible selection here.

Robinson, in theory, would bring a defensive anchor to Milwaukee while functioning as a nice roll threat on offense.

18. Spurs — Jontay Porter, C, Missouri

Age: 18.5 | Height: 6-11 | Weight: 240

San Antonio has historically had success with highly skilled big men. Porter isn’t the most athletic prospect in the class, but his offense has an extremely high ceiling.

He can knock it down from outside, attack closeouts and is one of the best passing big men in the draft. Add in the potential development bonus that comes with his youth, and it would make sense for the Spurs to reach for him here.

19. Hawks (via Timberwolves) — Troy Brown, SG/SF, Oregon

Age: 18.8 | Height: 6-7 | Weight: 215

Brown’s versatility as a playmaker at 6-7 should be enticing to a team in the top 20 of the draft. His size gives him upside as a defender, and the positional value of wings continues to be important. Brown’s below average jump shot remains a limitation on his offense, however.

a man holding a basketball: keita-bates-diop-ftr-051618.jpg © Provided by Sporting News keita-bates-diop-ftr-051618.jpg

20. Timberwolves (via Thunder) — Keita Bates-Diop, SF/PF, Ohio State

Age: 22.3 | Height: 6-7 | Weight: 235

Trading out Taj Gibson for Bates-Diop would be an interesting way for Minnesota to modernize its offense by adding another floor spacer.

The 22-year-old shot 35.9 percent from behind the arc last season and is comfortable creating his own looks, especially when shooting over defenders. Bates-Diop also brings some defensive versatility to the table.

21. Jazz — Dzanan Musa, SG/SF, Cedevita

Age: 19.0 | Height: 6-9 | Weight: 195

Utah’s biggest problem in the playoffs was a lack of shot creation on the perimeter, and that’s Musa’s biggest strength.

The 19-year-old’s scoring instincts and shot-making are serious positives, even if he won’t be ready to contribute immediately. Developing him alongside Donovan Mitchell for the long-term future is a nice path forward.

22. Bulls (via Pelicans) — Jacob Evans, SG/SF, Cincinnati

Age: 20.9 | Height: 6-6 | Weight: 210

After going big in the top 10, the Bulls need to shore up their perimeter spots. As a 3-and-D wing with quality instincts, Evans has the potential to outperform his draft slot in terms of contributing to winning basketball.

This season, he knocked down 37.0 percent of his 3-pointers and averaged 1.7 steals and 1.3 blocks per 40 minutes. The 20-year-old should be a nice role player at the next level.

23. Pacers — Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA

Age: 21.6 | Height: 6-1 | Weight: 185

Pairing Holiday, an elite spot-up shooter, with Victor Oladipo in the backcourt would be a good option for Indiana here at No. 23. His shooting ability would allow Oladipo to continue to be the primary ball-handler for the Pacers.

Holiday’s competitiveness, toughness and familial history with the NBA will likely be prized by franchises.

24. Trail Blazers — Chandler Hutchison, SF, Boise State

Age: 22.1 | Height: 6-7 | Weight: 197

Portland needs to add some wings to its roster, and Hutchison is arguably the top one available at this point in the draft due to his size and positional versatility. That he’s bumped up his 3-point shooting over the past two seasons has allowed him to become a viable NBA prospect.

25. Lakers (via Cavs) — Anfernee Simons, PG, IMG Academy

Age: 18.9 | Height: 6-4 | Weight: 180

Simons is this year’s prep-to-pro prospect who will take advantage of being the draft’s unknown. The 6-4 combo guard is a microwave scorer with a theoretically high upside due to his athleticism.

Simons will need time to mature and develop, but the Lakers may have time to spare.

a basketball player with a football ball: khyri-thomas-ftr-010418.jpg © Provided by Sporting News khyri-thomas-ftr-010418.jpg

26. 76ers — Khyri Thomas, SG, Creighton

Age: 22.0 | Height: 6-3 | Weight: 210

Length and shooting is the name of the game here for Philadelphia. Thomas possesses a 6-10 wingspan and should be able to defend either guard spot at the next level. He’s also a career 40.6 percent 3-point shooter.

Throw him into the backcourt rotation either at shooting guard or in some lineups as the point guard next to Ben Simmons, and he should be able to find a role for himself in the NBA.

27. Celtics — De’Anthony Melton, SG, USC

Age: 20.0 | Height: 6-4 | Weight: 190

Boston faces upcoming contract decisions on Marcus Smart (this offseason) and Terry Rozier (next offseason), and Melton could provide some relief if one or either player leaves. The 6-4 guard missed out on college basketball this season due to the FBI probe, but as a freshman, he showed an impressive floor game.

Melton is a high-quality defender with the ability to make plays as a passer on the other end of the floor. The jumper needs some work, but the Celtics are familiar with working in a non-shooter for stretches already thanks to Smart.

28. Warriors — Josh Okogie, SG, Georgia Tech

Age: 19.7 | Height: 6-4 | Weight: 213

Okogie hasn’t actually made his final decision on whether he’ll stay in the draft this year, but if he does, he could be a riser during the pre-draft process.

The 6-4 guard stands out as a potential defensive stopper due to his length, strength and athleticism. He’s also a career 38.2 percent shooter from behind the arc. Okogie isn’t a first-round projected prospect yet, but he could end up here by the time the draft rolls around.

29. Nets (via Raptors) — Jalen Brunson, PG, Villanova

Age: 21.7 | Height: 6-2 | Weight: 190

Brunson isn’t a high-upside play, but he should be a steady presence in the NBA for a long while.

One of the best shooters in the class, he can pull up off the dribble or spot up along the perimeter. He’s also comfortable running an offense as its primary ball-handler. Brunson may top out as a quality backup point guard. That’s still nice value here late in the first.

30. Hawks (via Rockets) — Moritz Wagner, C, Michigan

Age: 21.1 | Height: 6-11 | Weight: 245

This will be Atlanta’s third first-round selection of the night, and we’ll see if they actually end up making all of them, but for now the assumption is they’ll use it to select a player.

Wagner would give the Hawks shooting in the frontcourt whether in the starting lineup long-term or coming off the bench.

a group of people in a dark room: NBA Mock Draft 2018 © (SN Illustration) NBA Mock Draft 2018

NBA Draft 2018: Suns GM says there's an 'overwhelming likelihood' team keeps No. 1 pick .
The Suns finished the 2017-18 season with the worst record in the NBA and won the draft lottery in mid-May. Suns general manager Ryan McDonough said after the lottery the team was open to trading out of the draft’s top spot. But, that no longer appears to be the case.“There’s a very small grouping of players we’d consider trading it for,” McDonough said Friday (via azcentral.com). “It would have to be a proven young star player with multiple years on his contract or multiple years of team control.

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