At this point in the leadup to the 2018 NBA Draft, you’ve seen plenty of mock drafts. You’ve probably read about many of the players projected to be in the range of your team and you’ve likely gotten annoyed that so many mock drafts are projecting the same guy to your team.
Allow us to shake things up for you.
Let’s imagine all the trades. I’m not even going to argue the legitimacy of the trades. We’re just going to roll with it for something new this time.
1. Phoenix Suns – DeAndre Ayton, C, Arizona
It would be easy if I started doing trades from the very beginning. I’m getting more creative than that. The Suns seem to be leaning more towards Ayton, though I’m not sold on him.
2. Sacramento Kings – Luka Doncic, G, Real Madrid
Listen, I’ll go on record now. If the Kings pass on Doncic, they’ll regret it. So they’ll likely pass on him.
3. Los Angeles Lakers (via Hawks) – Marvin Bagley, F, Duke
Lakers trade Kyle Kuzma, 25th pick, 2019 Bulls second rounder to Hawks for the 3rd pick
Not only is this my first trade, but it’s the Lakers making the trade. Los Angeles sells high on Kyle Kuzma and trade into the top three for a player I think is the second-best prospect in this draft
4. Los Angeles Clippers (via Grizzlies) – Jaren Jackson Jr., F, Michigan St.
Clippers trade the 12th, 13th picks to the Grizzlies for the 4th pick
Always looking to follow big brother, the Clippers make their own trade. And let me warn you, this is going to get wacky for the Grizzlies. But the Clippers get a DeAndre Jordan replacement for either the immediate future or distant, depending on free agency.
5. Dallas Mavericks – Wendell Carter Jr., C, Duke
The Mavericks need a pick-and-pop buddy with Dennis Smith, Jr. and Wendell Carter can be exactly that. Plus he’s a good enough rim protector to allow the Mavericks to play small around him.
6. Boston Celtics (via Magic) – Mohamed Bamba, C, Texas
Celtics trade Terry Rozier, 27th pick to Magic for 6th pick
With Terry Rozier coming off a crazy playoff run, Danny Ainge does exactly what we’d all expect Danny Ainge and trades him for an actual center to play behind Al Horford and eventually succeed him.
7. Chicago Bulls – Michael Porter Jr., F, Missouri
Considering Michael Porter allowed the Bulls to conduct a physical on him, something he hasn’t allowed other teams to do (so far), I think this is a safe landing spot for him.
8. Memphis Grizzlies (from Cavaliers via Nets) – Trae Young, G, Oklahoma
Cavaliers trade Jordan Clarkson, JR Smith, Cedi Osman and 8th pick to Grizzlies for Mike Conley
I told you it was going to get weird for the Grizzlies. The Cavaliers are about to be swept in the NBA Finals and are going to be panicking hoping to keep LeBron around. Mike Conley could do that. Memphis, meanwhile, gets Conley’s immediate replacement.
9. New York Knicks – Collin Sexton, G, Alabama
Color me not impressed with Frank Ntilikina. Even if he does pan out, Sexton and Ntilikina can play side-by-side in the backcourt.
10. Philadelphia 76ers (via Lakers) – Mikal Bridges, F, Villanova
No word on how many burner accounts will roast this pick.
11. Charlotte Hornets – Robert Williams, C, Texas A&M
Cody Zeller is really good. He also is frequently injured. For the nearly 50 games Zeller is out, Williams will be a solid contributor.
12. Memphis Grizzlies (from Clippers via Pistons)* – Miles Bridges, F, Michigan State
13. Memphis Grizzlies (via Clippers)* – Kevin Knox, F, Kentucky
I’m not sold on Knox entirely while I’m higher on Bridges than most. Considering the night they’re about to have in this mock, they can afford to take a risk on Knox.
14. Denver Nuggets – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, G, Kentucky
I’m not sold on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander mainly because his name isn’t pronounced the way it should be.
15. Washington Wizards – Lonnie Walker IV, G, Miami
If I know anything about the Wizards, it’s that they’ll mess this all up at some point.
16. Atlanta Hawks (from Suns via Heat)* – Zhaire Smith, G, Texas Tech
Hawks trade Dennis Schroder, 30th pick to Suns for Dragan Bender, 16th pick
Time to get weird again.
The Hawks have a Dennis Schroder problem and the Suns have a crowded frontcourt with Ayton now. Time to get mix it up! The Hawks add a crazy athletic Smith to maybe bring some excitement back to Atlanta (probably not).
17. Memphis Grizzlies (via Bucks)* – Keita Bates-Diop, F, Ohio State
Bucks trade Tony Snell, Matthew Dellevadova, Thon Maker and the 17th pick to Grizzlies for Marc Gasol, 32nd overall pick
Listen I didn’t come into this piece expecting Memphis to have four draft picks, but here we are. With their final pick, they add another wing player, their third on the night. Because they’ll have a Tyreke Evans-sized hole to fill because they didn’t trade him at the deadline.
18. San Antonio Spurs – Dzanan Musa, G/F, Cedevita
The Spurs are contractually-obligated to take the top foreign player on the board.
19. Atlanta Hawks (via Timberwolves) – Troy Brown, G, Oregon
Without Schroder, the Hawks have more than a couple holes in the backcourt. Brown and Smith would be a fun tandem moving forward.
20. Miami Heat (from Timberwolves via Thunder) – Mitchell Robinson, C, N/A
Timberwolves trade Andrew Wiggins, Gorgui Dieng, Cole Aldrich and the 20th pick to Heat for Hassan Whiteside, Dion Waiters, Jordan Mickey
The Timberwolves have an Andrew Wiggins problem and the Heat have a Hassan Whiteside problem, so let’s make a deal! The Heat take on more money and get the 20th pick for their problems while Whiteside gives Tom Thibodeau an old-school big man.
With a hole in the frontcourt now, Miami takes a project center that could turn into a big contributor.
21. Utah Jazz – Aaron Holiday, G, UCLA
With Dante Exum potentially on the way out, Aaron Holiday could take the backup point guard minutes from the underwhelming Exum.
22. Chicago Bulls (via Pelicans) – Elie Okobo, G, Pau-Orthez
I don’t like any of the Bulls’ point guards. I don’t know if Okobo is the answer but it’s worth finding out.
23. Indiana Pacers – De’Anthony Melton, G, USC
With Darren Collison non-guaranteed next year, Melton could be a cheaper option for the Pacers.
24. Charlotte Hornets (via Trailblazers) – Jacob Evans, F, Cincinnati
Trailblazers trade Jake Layman, 24th pick to Hornets for Marvin Williams
The Trailblazers’ front office has made some interesting comments about needing players who can compete in the playoffs. Considering that and the fact Portland has a big trade exception (h/t to Sagar Trika) and Portland can absorb Marvin Williams’ salary. In return, Charlotte gets a younger perimeter play for their rebuild.
25. Atlanta Hawks (from Lakers via Cavs)* – Kevin Huerter, G, Maryland
I’m aware I’ve now drafted three guards to the Hawks, but can you name me one guard on the Hawks that isn’t Schroder, who has been traded in this mock? Checkmate.
26. Dallas Mavericks (via 76ers) – Josh Okogie, G, Georgia Tech
Sixers trade Jarryd Bayless, 26th pick to Mavericks for Warriors’ 2019 second rounder
Philadelphia very easily could move this pick to shed salary. Dallas is an easy choice to absorb the money for the pick and Okogie could be a solid sidekick to Smith, Jr.
27. Orlando Magic (via Celtics)* – Chandler Hutchison, F, Boise State
I like Hutchison as a prospect so it’s unfortunate he ends up in Orlando.
28. Golden State Warriors – Khyri Thomas, G, Creighton
For as great as the Warriors’ top five with Shaun Livingston (or six with Andre Iguodala healthy), they have very little depth. Thomas provides defense, shooting and a high IQ.
29. Brooklyn Nets (via Raptors) – Moritz Wagner, C, Michigan
The Nets’ draft strategy should be to draft the tallest player left on their board.
30. Phoenix Suns (from Hawks via Rockets)* – Anfernee Simons, G, Team Breakdown
With a backcourt of Schroder and Devin Booker in this mock draft, the Suns can take Simons and let him develop in the shadows.