While, for the first time in many years, the Los Angeles Lakers had no stake in the 2018 NBA Draft Lottery, held on Monday night, the intrigue that comes along with it led to many fans viewing it.
This year a pair of Pacific Division teams made noise as the Phoenix Suns, who entered with the best odds at the top pick, retained the top spot while the Sacramento Kings jumped all the way up to second.
The Lakers’ pick has long been established as the 25th pick and that did not change on Monday.
With the order finally set, though, here’s our latest mock draft.
1. Phoenix Suns – Luka Doncic, G, Real Madrid
To me, it’s a no-brainer. Luka Doncic and Devin Booker would make one heck of an offensive combo.
2. Sacramento Kings – DeAndre Ayton, C, Arizona
I’m not sure center is a need for the Kings with Willie Cauley-Stein and Skal Labissiere, but you don’t pass on DeAndre Ayton because you have Cauley-Stein and Labissiere.
3. Atlanta Hawks – Marvin Bagley III, F, Duke
Marvin Bagley III is, in my opinion, the clear third-best prospect in the draft. He’s not Doncic or Ayton, but he’s a great consolation prize for Atlanta.
4. Memphis Grizzlies – Michael Porter Jr., F, Missouri
Maybe a bit higher for Michael Porter Jr. than most, but if he shows he’s healthy in the lead up to the Draft, don’t be surprised if he goes even higher than this.
5. Dallas Mavericks – Jaren Jackson Jr., F/C, Michigan St.
Jaren Jackson Jr. is young, athletic and has tons of potential. He should make a great partner for Dennis Smith Jr.
6. Orlando Magic – Trae Young, G, Oklahoma
Despite Oklahoma’s disappointing finish to the season, that should do nothing to Trae Young’s stock. He’ll still be great at the NBA level and gives the Magic a centerpiece of its rebuild.
7. Chicago Bulls – Mo Bamba, C, Texas
It should be a requirement for Mo Bamba to wear jersey #5. Mo Bamba #5. Get it.
8. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Nets) – Collin Sexton, G, Alabama
My hot take is that Collin Sexton should be drafted ahead of Trae Young. But I don’t think NBA GMs feel the same. Regardless, Sexton would be great next to or without LeBron James in Cleveland.
9. New York Knicks – Wendell Carter Jr., C, Duke
If Wendell Carter Jr.’s three-point shooting that he showed in flashes last year is the real deal, then he could be a steal at No. 9. How he fits next to Kristaps Porzingis is a question, but it’s likely not one New York has to answer in the immediate future.
10. Philadelphia 76ers (via Lakers) – Mikal Bridges, F, Villanova
Mikal Bridges somehow flew under the radar at times in Villanova with Jalen Brunson winning many of the awards. But 6’7″ wings with a 7’2″ wingspan are hard to come by and gives the Sixers another 3-and-D type to put around Simmons and Embiid.
11. Charlotte Hornets – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, G, Kentucky
It’s hard to get a good gauge on Kentucky’s prospects this year as virtually the whole team disappointed. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is a point guard from Kentucky who can’t shoot (remind you of anyone?) but I think there’s upside to him and he’s the best player available.
12. Los Angeles Clippers (via Pistons) – Miles Bridges, F, Michigan St.
13. Los Angeles Clippers – Zhaire Smith, G, Texas Tech
I’m higher on Miles Bridges than most. At worst, he’ll be a solid 3-and-D type. Pairing him with Zhaire Smith gives the Clippers some depth on the wing, something they’ve lacked in recent years.
14. Denver Nuggets – Lonnie Walker IV, G, Miami
Lonnie Walker IV is streaky, loses focus at times and makes bad decisions. But at 19, he has the size and tools to be an impact player.
15. Washington Wizards – Kevin Knox, F, Kentucky
The leading scorer on Kentucky’s disappointing team, Knox is a tweener between small forward and power forward. In past years, that spelled death in the NBA. Now? He has a future in the league so long as his shot translates.
16. Phoenix Suns (via Heat) – Aaron Holiday, G, UCLA
Maybe guard isn’t the biggest priority for the Suns, but Mike James and Isaiah Canaan played 32 and 19 games last season, respectively, and I know Aaron Holiday is an improvement over that.
17. Milwaukee Bucks – Dzanan Musa, F, Cedevita
My favorite prospect in the draft, Dzanan Musa gives the Bucks another offensive contributor right away.
18. San Antonio Spurs – Robert Williams, F, Texas A&M
Robert Williams has a ton of potential and when he’s on, he’s really good. Realizing that potential is the next step and is why he makes so much sense for San Antonio.
19. Atlanta Hawks (via Timberwolves) – Anfernee Simons, G, N/A
Anfernee Simons spent the year at the IMG Academy and likely will be a long-term project. The Hawks are nowhere near contributing and can afford to take time to develop him.
20. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Thunder) – Jontay Porter, C, Missouri
The more I’ve watched Jontay Porter, the more I like him. His feel for the game is unquestioned and he could be a Taj Gibson replacement down the line.
21. Utah Jazz – Troy Brown, G, Oregon
Troy Brown is a plug-and-play type of player who would form a great combination in the backcourt with Donovan Mitchell.
22. Chicago Bulls (via Pelicans) – De’Anthony Melton, G, USC
De’Anthony Melton is a two-way prospect who gives the Bulls a future role player on a contending team.
23. Indiana Pacers – Keita Bates-Diop, F, Ohio St.
Based on how the last small forward from Ohio State did for the Pacers, this will end terribly.
24. Portland Trailblazers – Jacob Evans, F, Cincinnati
The Trailblazers need a guy who doesn’t make much money and can contribute. Jacob Evans fills that bill.
25. Los Angeles Lakers (via Cavaliers) – Chandler Hutchison, F, Boise State
Chandler Hutchison is a bit of a do-it-all wing player who can score, facilitate and play multiple positions.
26. Philadelphia 76ers – Khyri Thomas, G, Creighton
Guards that have a 6’10” wingspan are rare. Guards with a 6’10” wingspan that can hit threes are rarer.
27. Boston Celtics – Bruce Brown, Jr., G, Miami
Both of Miami’s backcourt prospects underachieved this year, but with Marcus Smart’s future uncertain, Brown can be the next guard Danny Ainge over-covets.
28. Golden State Warriors – Landry Shamet, G, Wichita St.
Landry Shamet was made to be a Splash Bro. He’s bred to be a future Warrior.
29. Brooklyn Nets (via Raptors) – Chimezie Metu, F/C, USC
The top player on the Nets’ draft board at this point should be ‘tallest player over 6’8″‘ and Chimezie Metu is that.
30. Atlanta Hawks (via Rockets) – Grayson Allen, G, Duke
All drama aside, Grayson Allen is a great shooter who can handle the ball and translates to a solid combo guard in the league.