NBA Mock Draft
Everybody's heading to Brooklyn for tonight's NBA Draft - but are we gonna get some shockers along the way and will there be some deals sprinkled in involving veteran/name players? Will we see any of the "power teams" move up into the top five picks of this year's draft ... and what teams holding more than one first-round choice are gonna be active in trying to trade up? Ahh, plenty of answers are ahead as here's our NBA Mock Draft:
1. PHOENIX - Deandre Ayton, C, Arizona: The Suns ain't taking any more calls regarding this top pick and so this is a slam dunk for this 7-foot-1 stud who won't turn Phoenix into an instant playoff squad but he'll help.
2. SACRAMENTO - Marvin Bagley III, PF, Duke: Gotta believe that the Kings like the way their team is shaping up after a slew of lottery drafts and this former one-and-done Dookie will give 'em in-the-paint presence. P.S., Sacramento is tempted to trade down but it wants to get its hands on one of the top five guys.
3. ATLANTA - Mo Bamba, PF/C, Texas: Sporting a now-famous 7-foot-10 wingspan, this 7-foot-1 former frosh star is an instant impact player whose offensive game still very much needs fine-tuning but better believe this selection ticks off Dallas at #5.
4. PHILADELPHIA (projected trade with Memphis) - Luka Doncic, SG, Slovenia: The Sixers are the first team to make a major swap here as they deal away picks #10 and #26 for the right to get inside the top five; the 6-foot-8 Doncic is just 19 years old but he's time-tested tough in Euro-ball.
5. DALLAS - Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma: The Mavericks don't have much of a contingency plan should Bamba get snapped up in the top four, so this is major adjustment time for Mark Cuban's club; still, Young's the best pure shooter in this man's draft and the NBA's a shooter's league these days.
6. ORLANDO - Wendell Carter, Jr., PF, Duke: Truth is the Magic had its heart on Young, so here's another case of a team getting torpedoed but this 6-foot-10 gem has a well-rounded game even after playing just one year in college ... did we mention that New York at #9 really wanted 'em?
7. CHICAGO - Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama: The Bulls have been linked to Missouri F Michael Porter, Jr. but the kid's recent hip woes scare 'em away and so they opt for this race-to-the-hoop star who's on everyone's top 10 draftees.
8. ATLANTA (projected trade with Cleveland via Brooklyn) - Jaren Jackson, Jr., PF, Michigan State: The Hawks deal away picks #19, #30 and PG Dennis Schroder to get up here inside the top 10 plus the Cavs will chuck in some "gifts" (we're thinking Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson).
9. NEW YORK - Kevin Knox, SF, Kentucky: Word is the Knicks have three players in mind here but both Carter and Sexton are gonesville, so they grab sweet-stroking wing player who has ability to make things happen at the rim too. Solid choice.
10. MEMPHIS (projected trade with Philadelphia via LA Lakers) - Mikal Bridges, SF, Villanova: The Grizzlies don't believe that they're "far away" and so opt for this mature two-time national champion who is true plug-and-play guy.
11. CHARLOTTE - Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky: This move signals what is straight ahead for the Hornets who figure to trade G Kemba Walker before the night's done (destination San Antonio?).
12. LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (via Detroit) - Michael Porter, Jr., SF, Missouri: The Clips have these next two picks and so they grab the free-falling one-and-done Mizzou "star" who has back/hip issues these days (he cancelled a couple of workouts last week and that didn't sit well with a batch of NBA teams).
13. LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS - Zhaire Smith, SG, Texas Tech: The truth is the Clippers tried like heck to deal away one of these picks in attempt to move up but no dice; now they snatch up this top-shelf athlete who should be headed to All-Star Dunk Contest.
14. DENVER - Miles Bridges, SF, Michigan State: The Nuggets love the fact that this former Sparty star can play a few different positions plus he could be a true three-point threat to boot.
15. WASHINGTON - Robert Williams, C, Texas A&M: This 6-foot-10, 250-pounder is not a true offensive threat but he can board/block/bang and he's a good in-the-paint fit for the perimeter-minded Wizards.
16. PHOENIX (via Miami) - Dzanan Musa, SF, Bosnia: The Suns have some international flair on their side (see brand-new head coach Igor Kokoskov) and so they step away from the states for this mid first-round selection who sports a consistently good jump shot.
17. BROOKLYN (projected trade with Milwaukee) - Kevin Huerter, SG, Maryland: The Barclays Center hosts acquired C Dwight Howard on Tuesday night and now swap first-round picks (#29) with the Bucks while nabbing this three-point assassin.
18. SAN ANTONIO - Lonnie Walker IV, SG, Miami: The Spurs are clinging to hope they won't have to deal Kawhi Leonard but they play it safe here with a scorer who could "plug in" for Leonard in terms of scoring.
19. CLEVELAND (projected trade with Atlanta via Minnesota) - Josh Okogie, SG, Georgia Tech: Will there be life "after LeBron"? This 3-point shooting star could be part of the mission to get Clevelanders thinking positive about their hoopsters.
20. MINNESOTA (via Oklahoma City) - Omari Spellman, C, Villanova: We don't believe any of those silly rumors that claim Karl-Anthony Towns will get traded but T-Wolves can't pass up this near seven-footer who might one day be Towns' full-time heir.
21. UTAH - Chandler Hutchison, G, Boise State: The Jazz struck gold last year with mid first-rounder Donovan Mitchell ... now will lightning strike again?
22. CHICAGO (via New Orleans) -- Keita Bates-Diop, SF, Ohio State: The Bulls' second pick in Round One is a native son (from Normal, IL) who may be real post-lottery bargain.
23. INDIANA - Mo Wagner, C, Michigan: The Pacers really wanted either Hutchison or Bates-Diop but both are off the board and so they gobble up NCAA Tournament hero who plays with tons of emotion.
24. PORTLAND -- Donte DiVencenzo, SG, Villanova: Insiders say this NCAA Championship Game hero was "promised" that he would be selected in Round One and so he dashes for the cash and now hopes to become part of a super-backcourt with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.
25. LOS ANGELES LAKERS (via Cleveland) - Gary Trent, G/F, Duke: This former Blue Devil could be on the receiving end of lots of fast-break points if the youthful Lakers display some modern-day "Showtime" magic.
26. MEMPHIS (projected trade with Philadelphia) -- Khyri Thomas, PG, Creighton: The Grizzlies go "best player available" here and this defensive force just needs to bone up his 200-pound frame.
27. BOSTON - De'Anthony Melton, PG, USC: Sat out last season per FBI school investigation but Celtics' boss-man Danny Ainge considers him great "insurance" should Kyrie Irving exit the premises.
28. GOLDEN STATE - Jevon Carter, PG, West Virginia: Rare senior selection who plays hard every minute ... potentially a great Sixth Man candidate.
29. MILWAUKEE (projected trade with Brooklyn) - Kevin Hervey, F, UT-Arlington: Figures to be instant offense guy off the pine for the Bucks who could be a "watch-out-for-'em" team in 2018-19 campaign.
30. ATLANTA (via Houston) - Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA: If things work out just right, then this will be the Hawks' third pick in Round One and this 6-foot-1 flyer would make it center / forward /guard in terms of those picks (see above choices). Yes, this franchise has an "under construction" sign out in front, but this is some draft night!