- The NBA draft is two weeks away and the buzz on international prospect Luka Doncic's landing spot is heating up. The Front Office provides all the latest news, intel and projections as the 2018 draft approaches.
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The odds are your team is out of the playoffs. The odds are even more likely that you’re bored with the Finals. Those feelings tend to suggest it’s past time to start studying up on the NBA draft, which is now a meager two weeks away. Given that all available college prospects have now committed to turning pro and teams are beginning to make promises to players and concrete plans, June is where everything gets more serious and far less speculative.
This year, it feels like the draft’s first major inflection point comes at No. 2. All indications are that Deandre Ayton will be first off the board to the Suns, unsurprisingly. Based on ongoing conversations I’ve had with league personnel in recent weeks, the sense is that nobody knows exactly what the Kings are going to do with the second pick. Though Sacramento’s recent draft history is certainly dubious, they’re justified in exploring their options. And whether it’s the right decision or not, there’s a realistic scenario where the Kings pass on Slovenian prodigy Luka Doncic in that spot, one which we’ll dive into with this mock.
In Sacramento’s position, in midst of a full rebuild, convention would suggest you take the best player available. Doncic has been touted all season as a candidate for the No. 1 pick. In that context, it’s worth wondering why Sacramento would pass on the opportunity to pair him with point guard De’Aaron Fox, last year’s No. 5 overall pick and the Kings’ most promising piece for the future. Doncic likes the ball in his hands and is a terrific playmaker, but given his limitations working in isolation against athletic opponents, placing him next to a smaller guard who specializes in shot-creation might be one way to maximize his skill set. Conversely, neither player is a consistent three-point shooter at this stage, so playing them together could end up bogging the floor down—at least initially.
Some view Doncic’s lack of elite athletic ability and already-developed skill set as factors that could limit his long-term potential, but others view him as the type of player who could be an unselfish tone-setter for a franchise. It’s possible that the Kings are trying to steer the conversation to mask their intentions, but it’s objectively fair to reason that although eminetly workable, the fit in Sacramento isn’t completely perfect.
If not Doncic, the conversation would seem to center around Duke’s Marvin Bagley, who put together a prolific statistical season and is viewed as the most readymade NBA player of the bigs on the board in that scenario. Sacramento has a slew of younger big men on the roster, but are far less invested in any of them than they are Fox. Bagley has deficiencies on the defensive end, but scouts love how hard he plays and the fluid, explosive athleticism that could help him become a difficult mismatch as his skill set continues to expand. At this stage, he looks like a real option, and while his preseason hype dimmed a bit during the season, Bagley is still a high-end talent. It will come down to who actually calls the shots and makes the pick within the Kings’ braintrust.
While it seemed unlikely two months ago, the dark horse to watch in all of this is Missouri forward Michael Porter Jr., whose health situation has to be viewed as the biggest variable in the entire draft. Porter and his surgically-repaired back are said to be feeling much better in recent weeks, and there is presently reason for optimism as it pertains to Porter’s long-term health. He’s expected to participate in Priority Sports’ pro day on Friday. While carefully structured workout environments are generally viewed with a grain of salt by team personnel, it’s a critical opportunity for Porter to show how well he’s moving physically and that he’s proceeding toward full health.
According to multiple league sources, the Kings showed significant interest in Porter over the course of the past year, despite the fact he appeared in just three regular-season games due to the injury. A strong showing will likely re-ignite the Porter hype machine. It’s yet to be seen which teams will receive his medical information as June 21 approaches, but all indications are that things are trending in the right direction, and if there’s nothing to hide, convention says Porter’s camp starts at the top of the draft and works down. With all this in mind, it’s worth wondering if Sacramento likes him enough to try and trade down and draft him later—as well as how far he might fall.
Keep in mind that while the NCAA’s early entry deadline has passed, international and non-collegiate prospects have until the NBA’s June 11 deadline to withdraw. The mock draft serves to project the state of all 60 picks on a given day, while our Top 100 player rankings provide a more comprehensive look at the talent pool. You’ll find the latest information and buzz on teams, prospects and the landscape of the 2018 draft by scrolling down.
1. Suns: Deandre Ayton, C, Arizona | Fr.
Height: 7'0" | Weight: 260 pounds | Age: 19 | Last Mock: 1
Stats: 20.1 PPG, 11.6 RPG, 61.2% FG
It would be a surprise at this point if the Suns went in a direction other than Ayton, who most view as the draft’s top prospect and fits neatly into their situation. The top-rated prospect on our Big Board since the start of the season, Ayton possesses elite physical traits, a developing inside-out skill set and a superstar ceiling if all goes according to plan. He’ll immediately be one of the most athletic centers in the league. He needs to improve defensively but has all the tools to be a quality rim protector given time. There’s a sense he may need to be pushed harder than some to reach his full potential, but Ayton has the best chance of anyone in the draft to become a true franchise player.
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2. Kings: Marvin Bagley III, F/C, Duke | Fr.
Height: 6'10" | Weight: 235 | Age: 19 | Last: 4
Stats: 21.0 PPG, 11.1 RPG, 61.4% FG
As discussed above, the Kings are exploring all options at this spot. They are looking closely at Doncic, but if they pass, Bagley would make for a natural fit. Sacramento isn’t pivoting into full win-now mode anytime soon, but pairing Bagley with De’Aaron Fox gives them an extremely athletic inside-out pairing that should favor an uptempo style. Bagley has a low-maintenance game and should be able to help immediately, given he’s an extremely productive rebounder and manufactures easy baskets. He has enough of a skill level that he could eventually help stretch the floor as a four-man as he grows. There are major strides he needs to make defensively, and in expanding his offensive arsenal (he’s extremely left-handed), but Bagley still does plenty of things well at this stage. He could eventually become a nightly double-double without requiring heavy touches, and if he can broaden his offensive impact, there’s more upside than that. The Kings are also said to be high on Michael Porter, who may still constitute a reach at this spot.
3. Hawks: Jaren Jackson Jr., C, Michigan State | Fr.
Height: 6'11" | Weight: 235 | Age: 18 | Last: 3
Stats: 10.9 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 3.0 BPG
Atlanta would surely think hard if Doncic is available here, and with three first-rounders (plus pick No. 34), there are a wide variety of pathways the Hawks can take. They lack much firepower to place around Doncic at this stage, and investing in Jackson’s extreme youth and attractive long-term potential on both ends of the floor may be more prudent for a team still in the early stages of its rebuild. Atlanta already has John Collins in place as an athletic, rim-running big, and Jackson’s burgeoning skill level coupled with his defensive mobility and shot-blocking makes him a terrific complement. He possesses a critical duality for modern bigs: he can step out and shoot from outside, while also defending in space and protecting the rim. Jackson needs to mature physically and mentally before he can become a mainstay, but with the strides he’s made over the last couple years, he’s worth a substantial investment.
4. Grizzlies: Luka Doncic, G, Real Madrid
Height: 6'8" | Weight: 220 | Age: 19 | Last: 2
Stats (all competitions): 14.5 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 4.6 APG
The Grizzlies are generally viewed as Doncic’s floor, and his mature game fits neatly with Memphis’ need for an immediate bounce-back year. Fresh off a Euroleague title and Final Four MVP honors at the ripe age of 19, Doncic’s aptitude for moving the ball, ability to make reads as a ball-handler and overall skill set make him a safe bet to become a quality contributor at minimum. Having an experienced playmaker like Mike Conley alongside him would immediately make life easier, allowing him better looks away from the ball and splitting playmaking duties. A more seasoned Doncic could end up leading the franchise as Conley and Marc Gasol near the end of their prime years. There’s skepticism around the league about Doncic’s potential return to Real Madrid, and he’s still expected to remain in the draft as his season nears a close in Spain. The Grizzlies are an ideal on-court marriage.
5. Mavericks: Michael Porter Jr., SF, Missouri | Fr.
Height: 6'10" | Weight: 210 | Age: 19 | Last: 7
Stats (2016 U18 FIBA Americas): 15.8 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 2.4 APG
As mentioned above, the health arrow appears to be pointing upward for Porter right now, and his forthcoming pro day (and any subsequent workouts) will start to dictate his eventual landing spot. There’s a definite level of doubt as it pertains to his back in front offices given the lack of information that’s been given to teams at this stage, but expect that conversation to accelerate as the draft approaches. Porter is the biggest wild card in the lottery right now, and while some of his luster has worn off as a prospect, he was extremely well-regarded as a scorer coming out of high school. There are still concerns beyond his long-term health—his lack of interest in playmaking for others and ability on the defensive end are worth questioning, and teams have some questions about his leadership qualities and makeup, given Porter will likely be framed as a franchise cornerstone. In terms of talent and potential value, it’s hard to see a mostly-healthy Porter falling too far. The Mavericks could certainly use his shooting ability, and justify him as a long-term investment here. Dallas will also look at whichever bigs are available at this slot.
6. Magic: Mohamed Bamba, C, Texas | Fr.
Height: 7'0" | Weight: 225 | Age: 19 | Last: 5
Stats: 12.9 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 3.7 BPG
Orlando would be thrilled in this scenario, with Bamba and his substantial defensive upside slipping out of the top five. While measurements are never everything, his 7’10” wingspan and 9’7” standing reach make him a true physical outlier, and provided he can fill out a bit physically, Bamba is almost certain to impact the game as a rim protector with his sheer, difference-making verticality. His offensive game is rudimentary, but his skill level and touch around the basket continues to improve and he might be able to space the floor as he becomes more confident in his jumper. It’s unlikely Bamba becomes someone you run offense through. Chief concerns from NBA teams have centered on his competitiveness, but his intelligence and coachability will favor him in the personality conversation. He’d be an ideal fit, with defensive-minded Steve Clifford now in place coaching the Magic.
7. Bulls: Wendell Carter, C, Duke | Fr.
Height: 6'10" | Weight: 250 | Age: 19 | Last: 6
Stats: 13.5 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 2.1 BPG
Carter would be a strong fit in Chicago, where center is the biggest remaining long-term need and the front office has consistently valued college prospects with winning pedigrees. Carter is widely viewed around the league as a prospect with a high chance of reaching his full potential, and with few holes in his skill set. At Duke he was overshadowed by Marvin Bagley, but wasn’t that far behind him in terms of productivity while cast into a flexible support role to help the team. He has a clean jump shot that projects to three-point range, nice touch and footwork on the inside, and is a good (though not elite) athlete. Carter offers a nice mix of talent and intangibles, with his main knock being a lack of elite vertical lift and mobility defending ball screens. He offers both safety and upside, and would be a terrific frontcourt partner for Lauri Markkanen.
8. Cavaliers: Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama | Fr.
Height: 6'1" | Weight: 185 | Age: 19 | Last: 11
Stats: 19.2 PPG, 3.6 APG, 33.6% 3FG
This spot may end up being a major inflection point in the draft given the Cavaliers’ circumstances. Reason suggests Cleveland should take the best player available regardless of position given the distinct possibility LeBron James leaves in free agency, but will also need to keep the door open to improve the team if he returns. It’s an unenviable position. If all else remains constant, Sexton might make more sense than Trae Young given his chances of maximizing his potential are less dependent on on-court fit. While he may not evolve into a star, he should be able to get downhill and attack the paint, and most scouts view Sexton’s work ethic as a positive. To become a starting-caliber guard, he’ll need to step up and make an impact defensively, learn to get his teammates involved and play a more efficient style of basketball. Rather than risk throwing Young into the fire in a less-than-optimal situation here, Sexton is a safer play, and also offers more immediate value than the available wing players if the Cavs are forced to reboot.
9. Knicks: Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma | Fr.
Height: 6'1" | Weight: 180 | Age: 19 | Last: 8
Stats: 27.4 PPG, 8.8 APG, 36.1% 3FG
While New York has an immediate need on the wing, the Knicks also provide an interesting fit for Young in this spot, with Kristaps Porzingis as a ball-screen threat, Frank Ntilikina as a defensive-minded backcourt partner and some experienced talent in place around them. There’s a sense that Ntilikina could function well alongside a more creative playmaker, and Young offers the most intriguing upside of any point guard in this draft, though he comes with some risk. His high-end shooting ability and unique flair for the game help compensate for a lack of standout physical traits, and he’s slippery off the dribble and able to score from deep range and initiate offense. Defensively, Young will be a question mark, but if a team were to adequately maximize his strengths, it could conceivably mitigate that issue. He would give the Knicks a different wrinkle and creative element if they’re willing to think outside the box.
10. 76ers: Mikal Bridges, SF, Villanova | Jr.
Height: 6'7" | Weight: 210 | Age: 21 | Last: 9
Stats: 18.0 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 43% 3FG
Philadelphia’s leadership situation has been thrust into uncertainty with the investigation into Twitter accounts potentially operated by president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo, but their roster situation remains stable and they should be able to find a wing player they like at this spot. Bridges gets the nod over Miles Bridges and Kevin Knox given he’s closer to contributing in a defined NBA role at this stage, and the Sixers are ahead of schedule from a competitive standpoint. While he lacks starry upside, Bridges is a pretty safe bet to become a useful defender and perimeter shooter. His ability to space the floor and defend multiple positions makes him an easy theoretical fit in any lineup. Bridges isn’t perfect—creating his own shot off the dribble is a weakness, and some around the league feel the actual caliber of his man-to-man defense may be oversold. But given what he brings to the table, Bridges should be able to carve out a place for himself and has a chance to become a starting-caliber player.
11. Hornets: Miles Bridges, F, Michigan State | So.
Height: 6'6" | Weight: 220 | Age: 20 | Last: 10
Stats: 17.1 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 36.4% 3FG
The Hornets return nearly all of their key pieces, and if they hold onto Kemba Walker, whose deal is up in 2019, they should be positioned to make a return to the playoffs after two down years. Bridges immediately makes their rotation more athletic, and has enough scoring ability to conceivably contribute right away. He’s a strong, powerful player who rebounds, thrives in transition and can knock down open shots. Questions remain about how legitimate a floor-spacer Bridges will be and how much of a defensive plus he can become, but he has the talent to play as a combo forward in spite of his height if he puts his mind to it. He seemed to view himself as more of a finesse scorer at Michigan State, but reinventing himself as a two-way standout would make him a much more intriguing player for the long-term.
12. Clippers: Kevin Knox, F, Kentucky | Fr.
Height: 6'9" | Weight: 215 | Age: 18 | Last: 11
Stats: 15.6 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 34.1% 3FG
Los Angeles doesn’t have many long-term pieces on the roster and is trying to rebuild on the fly, with the fate of these consecutive first-rounders pivotal to their hopes for the next few seasons and beyond. The Clippers could also potentially flip these picks in order to move up in the draft. If they stay put, there will be some intriguing talent available. Knox is still figuring it out, but has a lot of appealing tools and should be able to impact games as a scorer as he matures physically and learns the game. Athletic players in his mold are in demand right now, and he offers an appealing blank slate at a valuable position. He appears to still be getting used to his body and is one of the youngest players in the draft, which leaves room for optimism as he builds out his offensive skill set and gets used to putting the ball on the floor.
13. Clippers: Lonnie Walker, SG, Miami | Fr.
Height: 6'4" | Weight: 195 | Age: 19 | Last: 15
Stats: 11.5 PPG, 2.0 APG, 34.6% 3FG
Some scouts are bullish on Walker’s potential, given he’s a high-caliber athlete with enviable burst and is still at an early stage of his development. Walker was a mixed bag this season and hasn’t figured out how to consistently impose his will on games yet, but his explosiveness and ability to get to the rim keeps him in the lottery mix. That coupled with the fact he can shoot passably from deep and is a theoretically useful defender has some added appeal. For the Clippers, who sorely need an infusion of talent, he may be an attractive investment at this spot.
14. Nuggets: Robert Williams, C, Texas A&M | So.
Height: 6'9" | Weight: 240 | Age: 20 | Last: 13
Stats: 10.4 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 2.6 BPG
The Nuggets are facing some short-term pressure to get over the hump and into the playoffs, but there also may not be much immediate help worth reaching for at 14. This could be a spot where it makes sense for them to trade down in the draft. Williams drew some scrutiny from teams after skipping the combine entirely, and as we reported has changed agencies during the predraft process, an unusual decision for a player of his caliber. Teams see a potential starting center in Williams, but have doubts as to whether he’ll tap into his full potential. He’s a big-time athlete and natural fit into a rim-running, energy role if he can up his effort more consistently. As someone who doesn’t need heavy touches, he could thrive playing off of Nikola Jokic along the baseline and help clean up misses and protect the basket. Williams can be frustrating, but he’s physically ready for the league and with the right level of nurture and growth could provide a lot of value in this range.
15. Wizards: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky | Fr.
Height: 6'6" | Weight: 180 | Age: 19 | Last: 14
Stats: 14.4 PPG, 5.1 APG, 1.6 SPG
Washington will feel a cap crunch next season and brings back almost its entire rotation at cost, barring any major moves. There may not be much immediate help worth reaching for at this spot, and investing in the best talent available is the prudent choice. Given his size, length and instincts as a defender, Gilgeous-Alexander should become a valuable player in today’s league, able to help move the ball, match up against bigger wings and help space the floor as his shooting improves and his confidence grows. He showed major improvement over the course of the season at Kentucky, and that capacity to adjust quickly and deal with adversity should play in his favor. Gilgeous-Alexander could theoretically play alongside both John Wall and Bradley Beal, although it’ll likely take him a couple of seasons to mature into big minutes. There’s some risk here if his body doesn’t fill out, or if he regresses back to his passive habits.
16. Suns: Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA | Jr.
Height: 6'0" | Weight: 185 | Age: 21 | Last: 16
Stats: 20.3 PPG, 5.8 APG, 43% 3FG
The Suns can help address their need for a lead ball-handler with Holiday, who has a lot of fans around the league and is viewed as a safe bet to become a quality contributor. He excels using ball screens and spotting up, and could conceivably become an eventual starting-caliber player, though in likelihood he’ll be most valuable leading someone’s second unit. Holiday’s consistent jump shot, defensive toughness and overall moxie could make him a nice fit here, particularly with Elfrid Payton set to hit restricted free agency. He will have to fight hard to overcome his lack of size on the defensive end. Although he doesn’t have star upside, he doesn’t have many holes in his game either, and having two successful brothers in the NBA will help him from background standpoint.
17. Bucks: Zhaire Smith, SG, Texas Tech | Fr.
Height: 6'4" | Weight: 195 | Age: 19 | Last: 17
Stats: 11.3 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 55.6% FG
The Bucks have been no stranger to taking chances in recent years, and Smith would qualify. Viewed as one of the draft’s bigger home-run swings, he’s a jaw-dropping athlete without much of a résumé. Smith competes defensively and certainly passes the eye test, but has shown little to no ability to generate his own offense. He could become a high-flying two-way contributor or he could flame out quickly. Regardless, whoever drafts him will need to be patient. It’s worth considering he measured at just under 6'3" in shoes at the combine, which makes him much harder to picture playing at small forward, which is viewed by some as his natural position.
18. Spurs: Troy Brown, SF, Oregon | Fr.
Height: 6'7" | Weight: 210 | Age: 18 | Last: 21
Stats: 11.3 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 1.6 SPG
It’s a testament to San Antonio’s success that this is the earliest the Spurs have drafted since selecting Tim Duncan first overall in 1997 (they traded up to get Kawhi Leonard at No. 15 in 2011). The pick presents an opportunity for their aging roster to get more athletic, and Brown’s ability to move the ball and swiss-army-knife skill set on the wing would make a lot of sense. He’s not extremely aggressive and needs polish as a scorer, but has the feel to pass, handle and defend, and makes sense as an organizational fit. Brown needs to become a much better jump shooter to maximize his talent. He wasn’t especially consistent at Oregon, but scouts have been intrigued by him dating back to his high school days, and he remains a good bet to land somewhere in the middle of the first round.
19. Hawks: Dzanan Musa, SF, KK Cedevita
Height: 6'9" | Weight: 185 | Age: 18 | Last: 24
Stats (all competitions): 12.4 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 47.6% FG
Musa sat out last weekend’s Global Camp in Treviso but went through interviews with teams, and will have a good chance to wind up in the mid-to-late first round range. Given his age, he has the option to return to Europe and re-enter next year’s draft if he chooses, which gives his some level of control over his eventual destination. Given the Hawks have four of the first 33 picks, going this direction and keeping Musa overseas for a year or two could make sense as they fill out their roster. He’s known as an intense competitor and streaky-but-talented scorer. Musa prefers to play with the ball in his hands and has some athletic shortcomings, which likely means he’ll have to adjust to a new role in order to succeed in the NBA. The word is he has some maturing to do as a teammate and person. But the combination of talent, youth and positional value should make Musa a first-round selection if he stays in.
20. Timberwolves: Donte DiVincenzo, G, Villanova | So.
Height: 6'4" | Weight: 200 | Age: 21 | Last: 20
Stats: 13.4 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 3.5 APG
Tom Thibodeau rarely gives rookies much leeway to begin with, but with some emphasis on winning sooner than later and after drafting a project last year in Justin Patton, it’s fair to reason the Wolves could find more immediate utility at this spot. DiVincenzo fits Minnesota’s need for a bigger combo guard, and his high-energy game and tough mentality would make sense here. While there’s always some caution warranted with guys who drastically improve their standing through the NCAA tournament, his combine performance fortified the strong impression he left this season. DiVincenzo has impressive functional athleticism, good defensive instincts, and is an outstanding rebounder for his position. If he shoots the ball a bit more consistently, he could be more than just a role player. DiVincenzo has to improve as a man-to-man defender and doesn’t consistently create great shots for himself, but he knows how to play with others and offers a solid floor. He appears set to go in the 20–30 range.
21. Jazz: Kevin Huerter, SG, Maryland | So.
Height: 6'7" | Weight: 195 | Age: 19 | Last: 18
Stats: 14.8 PPG, 3.4 APG, 41.7% 3FG
As we reported last week, the belief around the league is that Huerter obtained the first-round promise he was seeking at the combine before opting to remain in the draft. Based on our conversations with teams, signs point to Utah having offered the guarantee. It remains highly possible Huerter is drafted among the first 20 picks, but this spot appears to be his floor. He put on an outstanding display at the combine to solidify his draft stock, making quick decisions, slick passes and open threes while playing with an injured finger in his shooting hand before shutting it down on day two. His size, shooting stroke and ability to make difficult shots off the catch and dribble are high-level traits for a two-guard, and have earned him first-round security.
22. Bulls: Chandler Hutchison, SF, Boise State | Sr.
Height: 6'7" | Weight: 200 | Age: 21 | Last: 22
Stats: 20.0 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 3.3 APG
It’s now widely known Hutchison has secured a first-round promise of his own, as we first reported following his decision to pull out of the draft combine. Indications point to Chicago being the team that promised him. Hutchison is a developed prospect who should be able to contribute immediately, and a lot of scouts are high on his tools, shooting ability, and capacity to play on and off the ball. If he makes it to the Bulls here, he should slide into the rotation early on and find a way to make an impact.
23. Pacers: Jerome Robinson, G, Boston College | Jr.
Height: 6'4" | Weight: 190 | Age: 21 | Last: 29
Stats: 20.4 PPG, 3.4 APG, 41.9% 3FG
This may be a little higher than he eventually lands, but Robinson has a lot of fans around the league and would be a nice fit in Indiana, where Darren Collison and Cory Joseph each have one year left on their deals. He provides size and combo skills, and led all ACC guards in scoring over the course of his breakout year. Robinson creates his own shot well off the dribble, changes speeds well and can put the ball in the basket from all three levels. He needs to improve defensively, but his intangibles will be attractive to teams and he appears to be a good bet to figure out a role and stick in it. He could become a stabilizing offensive factor in someone’s rotation.
24. Blazers: Josh Okogie, SG, Georgia Tech | So.
Height: 6’4” | Weight: 210 | Age: 19 | Last: 42
Stats: 18.2 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 1.8 SPG
Portland could use a bigger defensive-minded wing to bolster their rotation, and Okogie has done a lot for himself during the predraft process, putting him in play in this range. He has a lot in his toolbox, and though his motor can waver a bit, the talent is evident when he’s engaged. He needs to rein in his shot selection, but can make an open three and get into the paint, and could fit nicely with the Blazers’ stars in the backcourt. Okogie is younger than some of the freshmen in this draft, and could fit the 3-and-D mold nicely.
25. Lakers: De'Anthony Melton, G, USC | So.
Height: 6'3" | Weight: 190 | Age: 20 | Last: 26
Stats (2016–17): 8.3 PPG, 3.5 APG, 1.9 SPG
Despite sitting out the season in the fallout of USC’s involvement in the FBI’s college basketball investigation, Melton has kept himself in the mix for a first-round selection through interviews and play at the combine. He has long arms, active hands and a knack for forcing mistakes on the defensive end, and has a good sense of how to play in transition. Melton isn’t very good at finding ways to score in the halfcourt right now and isn’t really a point guard, but his jump shot looked much better than expected, which should be a major help to his draft range. He gives the Lakers another defensive option, and could make sense next to Lonzo Ball.
26. 76ers: Keita Bates-Diop, F, Ohio State | Jr.
Height: 6’8” | Weight: 225 | Age: 22 | Last: 31
Stats: 19.8 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 35.9% 3FG
After winning Big Ten Player of the Year, Bates-Diop has a chance to parley his breakout year into a first-round selection. That being said, his profile gives a lot of scouts pause. The optimistic view is that he offers a level of floor at a position of value, given his ability to shoot jumpers, decent mobility and plus physical length. Skeptics worry about his below-average explosiveness and what aspects of his offense actually translate, given the amount of favorable touches he was fed last season. If Bates-Diop can improve his three-point clip and rebound enough to play as a small-ball four, he’ll have a chance to stick, and the more versatility Philly can add through this draft, the better.
27. Celtics: Elie Okobo, PG, Pau-Orthez
Height: 6'3" | Weight: 180 | Age: 20 | Last: 39
Stats: 13.8 PPG, 4.7 APG, 41.8% 3FG
Okobo has helped himself over the course of the past month with a strong finish to his season in France that included a much-ballyhooed 44-point game in which his primary defender was veteran Aaron Craft, who’s no slouch. If the Celtics find a way to keep Marcus Smart at cost and choose to retain Terry Rozier, it’s only delaying an inevitable financial logjam. Boston could be smart to use this pick to stash a player they like, and Okobo could be groomed overseas until the Celtics have a need for him at the point. An athletic, lefthanded scorer, he offers a degree of upside that most other point guards lack at this stage of the draft and could become an NBA contributor given time.
28. Warriors: Bruce Brown, G, Miami | So.
Height: 6'4" | Weight: 195 | Age: 21 | Last: 27
Stats: 11.4 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 4.0 APG
While it appears Brown is beginning to trend closer to the cusp of the second round, he may wind up a substantial steal anywhere in this part of the draft. Given their obvious wealth of talent, the Warriors use these picks to find role players, and Brown is an athletic, extremely well-rounded guard who can play on or off the ball. He’s a former football player and has a thick build that enables him to switch and defend multiple positions, plays with consistent energy, and is easy to envision playing a valuable Marcus Smart-type role somewhere. Once viewed as a late lottery-type prospect, Brown had a tough sophomore season and there are still questions about his three-point shooting. He still has plenty going for him, and a smart team could snap him up and plug him in effectively.
29. Nets: Mitchell Robinson, C, Chalmette (La.) HS
Height: 6'11" | Weight: 230 | Age: 20 | Last: 25
Stats (2016–17 HS): 25.7 PPG, 12.6 RPG, 6.0 BPG
While the Nets have last year’s first-rounder, Jarrett Allen in place at center, the organization’s MO has been stockpiling talent and trying to create value (they finally get their own first-rounders back starting in 2019). It’s wholly unclear what happens with Robinson at this stage, but on raw ability most scouts believe he should be a first-rounder. There were rumors he may have secured a promise after withdrawing from the combine, but given he worked out in private for a chunk of the league last week in the Los Angeles area, that seems unlikely. The more feasible scenario is that his camp wanted to avoid putting him through interview process after a questionable series of decisions that led to his exit from Western Kentucky. He has the ability to become a force as a rim-running, shot-blocking center, but teams will have to feel comfortable assuming the risk, which is somewhat mitigated in this part of the draft. Robinson may have the widest range of any player available.
30. Hawks: Melvin Frazier, G/F, Tulane | Jr.
Height: 6'6" | Weight: 200 | Age: 21 | Last: 30
Stats: 13.1 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 35.9% 3FG
One of the combine’s big winners who shut it down on the second day of scrimmages, Frazier offers big-time tools, a workable jumper and measured with a nearly 7'2" wingspan. His game isn’t polished at all, but he covers a ton of ground and is the type of flier teams are eager to take. He has some bad habits and is more of a reactive than instinctive player who needs work as a decision-maker—his feel for scoring just isn’t that great. But if he plays hard consistently, hits open threes and continues to generate extra possessions on the defensive end, Frazier could make it work.
31. Suns: Rawle Alkins, SG, Arizona | So.
32. Grizzlies: Grayson Allen, G, Duke | Sr.
33. Mavericks: Anfernee Simons, G, IMG Academy | HS Sr.
34. Hawks: Jalen Brunson, PG, Villanova | Sr.
35. Magic: Jacob Evans, G/F, Cincinnati | Jr.
36. Knicks (via Bulls): Khyri Thomas, SG, Creighton | Jr.
37. Kings: Moritz Wagner, F/C, Michigan | Jr.
38. Sixers (via Nets): Jevon Carter, PG, West Virginia | Sr.
39. Sixers (via Knicks): Rodions Kurucs, SF, FC Barcelona
40. Nets (via Lakers): Hamidou Diallo, SG, Kentucky | Fr.
41. Magic (via Hornets): Trevon Duval, PG, Duke | Fr.
42. Pistons: Gary Trent Jr., SG, Duke | Fr.
43. Nuggets (via Clippers): Devonte Graham, PG, Kansas | Sr.
44. Wizards: Omari Spellman, F/C, Villanova | Fr.
45. Nets (via Bucks): Shake Milton, G, SMU | Jr.
46. Rockets (via Heat): Kevin Hervey, F, UT Arlington | Sr.
47. Lakers (via Nuggets): Chimezie Metu, F/C, USC | Jr.
48. Wolves: Kenrich Williams, F, TCU | Sr.
49. Spurs: Jarred Vanderbilt, F, Kentucky | Fr.
50. Pacers: Devon Hall, SG, Virginia | Sr.
51. Pelicans: Landry Shamet, PG, Wichita State | So.
52. Jazz: Brandon McCoy, C, UNLV | Fr. (via Blazers):
53. Thunder: Malik Newman, SG, Kansas | So.
54. Mavericks: Kostas Antetokounmpo, F, Dayton |So.
55. Hornets (via Cavs): Tony Carr, G, Penn State | So.
56. Sixers: Matur Maker, F, Mississauga Prep | HS Sr.
57. Thunder (via Celtics): Justin Jackson, F, Maryland | So.
58. Nuggets (via Warriors): Svi Mykhailiuk, SG, Kansas | Sr.
59. Suns (via Raptors): Gary Clark, F, Cincinnati | Sr.
60. Sixers (via Rockets): Goga Bitadze, C, Mega Bemax