With the 2018 NBA draft just a few hours away, conversations are picking up steam as teams’ intentions become clearer and trade talks intensify. It’s time for another update to our mock draft, reflecting the latest information circulating around the league, all the way into the second round.
Trade chatter continues to swirl, but as is the nature of the beast, many deals are contingent on which players are available where, which means plenty of transactions will take place with teams on the clock, and different plans will be put in place dependent on which scenarios unfold. That uncertainty begins with the Kings at No. 2, who as of Wednesday night were not thought to have fully settled on a direction, debating between Marvin Bagley and Luka Doncic. The Hawks and Grizzlies have been at the center of trade talks for Nos. 3 and 4. And the way it’s going, expect a high level of movement throughout the night from the top on downward.
UPDATE 1:50 PM ET: We have Kevin Knox moving into the top 10 in our latest update, with Mikal Bridges taking a slight tumble. There's also movement in the 20s and 30s as teams set their sights on certain players and new information becomes available. Among the late climbers, Michigan's Moritz Wagner continues to creep closer toward the first round. The Clippers are also expected to be active in trade talks with the Nos. 12-13 picks. Check out the rest of the mock for more intel.
For the latest news, intel and pick projections, scroll down. For more in-depth prospect breakdowns, check out our comprehensive final Top 100 prospect rankings. (Note: Check back throughout the day for more updates to Woo's final mock draft).
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
At long last, Ayton, who has been the top-rated prospect on our Big Board since the start of the season, will hear his name called first on Thursday night. The Suns were not in position to overthink this pick, needing long-term help up front, and value his star potential and freakish athletic ability. He has the elite physical skills and a budding inside-out game that could make him one of the best centers in the league. He should be able to produce on the glass and around the basket from day one. The Suns have Tyson Chandler under contract as an ideal mentor for a player who is very much still learning and tapping into his talent. Ayton needs to improve defensively, but the entire Arizona team struggled this season and most around the league believe he has the tools to be a quality rim protector, given time and coaching. There’s a sense he may need to be pushed harder than some to reach his full potential, but Ayton has perhaps the best chance of anyone in the draft to become a true franchise player.
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Kings: Marvin Bagley III, F/C, Duke | Fr.
Height: 6'10" | Weight: 235 | Age: 19 | Last: 2
Stats: 21.0 PPG, 11.1 RPG, 61.4% FG
It appears it won’t take long for things to get interesting tonight. The prevailing sense around the league earlier this week was that the Kings would end up staying put and select Marvin Bagley at No. 2. With the draft now less than 24 hours out, there has been external skepticism about Sacramento’s decision process, but most think they have narrowed between Bagley and Luka Doncic, who has some level of internal support. With arguments being made for both prospects, ownership, as is often the case with the Kings, is thought to have final say. There was interest in Michael Porter, but his long-term health risk, the presence of other top talent and the pressure to ensure a return on this pick always made that scenario a long shot unless they can trade down. Bagley fits with their front line and is a perfectly viable route to take at this spot. It’s possible the Kings come to regret passing on Doncic, who is the most NBA-ready player in the draft.
Hawks: Luka Doncic, G, Real Madrid
Height: 6'8" | Weight: 220 | Age: 19 | Last: 4
Stats (all competitions): 14.2 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 4.6 APG
The Hawks have had discussions about trading this pick with a range of teams including the Mavericks and Magic, according to league sources. If the Kings go with Bagley at 2, Atlanta should have a rich market for Luka Doncic here and may well opt to trade the pick and move down. There is strong internal interest in Trae Young in the event that happens, and he’s likely to be available if they choose to do so. There’s also a possibility the Hawks keep the pick and end up selecting whichever of Doncic or Bagley is available. Doncic would be able to start for the Hawks immediately, and gives them another lead ball-handling option as Atlanta has soured on Dennis Schröder. He’s the most accomplished international draft entry in league history, would be a fit, and seems highly unlikely to fall out of the top three.
Grizzlies: 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
The Grizzlies are engaged in talks with a variety of teams about No. 4 and are widely known to be trying to unload Chandler Parsons’s unsightly contract in the process. It could be that Memphis no longer expects to have a shot at Doncic. Mohamed Bamba has gained major traction as a rumored trade target for teams all over the board. The Grizzlies may have some leverage negotiating down from here if Bamba and Jackson are both on the board, given that neither is likely to fall past Dallas or Orlando. And whether offloading Parsons or not, Memphis ownership is viewed by many around the league as notoriously cheap, which may play a part in the eventual decision here. If Memphis keeps the pick, Jackson would be the best prospect on the board in the eyes of some. It’s worth noting Wendell Carter is the only top-10 talent known to have worked out for Memphis and might be an option, particularly if they trade down.
Mavericks: Mohamed Bamba, C, Texas | Fr.
Height: 7'0" | Weight: 225 | Age: 19 | Last: 6
Stats: 12.9 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 3.7 BPG
Bamba is now thought to be firmly in play for Dallas if he makes it here, but there remains a possibility another team trades up to get him. It’s possible Dallas tries to move up to No. 3 from here, given the Mavs have long been tied to Luka Doncic, but they have little to offer via trade unless they were to put Dennis Smith or Harrison Barnes on the table. Dallas would likely have to eat a bad salary to pull off the deal. Regardless, the Mavs have a long-term need in the frontcourt as Dirk Nowitzki nears retirement. It feels like either Bamba or Jaren Jackson may end up occupying this spot, with Wendell Carter a dark horse.
Magic: Wendell Carter, C, Duke | Fr.
Height: 6'10" | Weight: 250 | Age: 19 | Last: 7
Stats: 13.5 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 2.1 BPG
The Magic have made attempts to move up to No. 3, offering this pick and at least one future first-rounder, as SI’s Jake Fischer reported yesterday. Speculatively, that may signal a belief that neither Bamba or Jackson, the two players who best fit Orlando’s prerogative, will fall to six. While the Magic have a need for star talent and might be tempted by Michael Porter or Trae Young, Orlando can also ill-afford to whiff on this selection. There’s a school of thought that Carter is one of the safest picks in the entire draft. If the Magic are devoid of better options, it makes more sense to hit a double or triple rather than risk striking out. Orlando will likely have more opportunities to sift for a star in the next couple drafts, given their present trajectory.
Bulls: Michael Porter Jr., F, Missouri | Fr.
Height: 6'10" | Weight: 210 | Age: 19 | Last: 5
Stats: 10.0 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 33% FG
There are definite scenarios where Porter is the player who ends up falling down toward the Clippers’ back-to-back picks, and those might be triggered in the event Chicago passes. Rumors continue to spread as to how bad his back may actually be, and don’t be shocked if there is some slippage during the draft tonight. The Bulls conducted their own medical on Porter well before the rest of the league, and are thought to have one of the better feels for his health situation. They have come up frequently as a potential soft landing spot for him. Porter’s camp has been transparent with respect to his health, but it’s still unclear exactly how teams view it, and it’s a complete case-by-case situation. There are also substantive concerns in some front offices about his maturity and adjustment to the pros. As many expected months ago, he’s probably the biggest wild card in the lottery. He offers enticing potential if he’s able to remain healthy and get close to his ceiling as a player.
Cavaliers: Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma | Fr.
Height: 6'1" | Weight: 180 | Age: 19 | Last: 8
Stats: 27.4 PPG, 8.8 APG, 36.1% 3FG
Cleveland is thought to be in the market for a guard and a strong suitor for Young, who worked out for them over the weekend. Some scouts believe he’s the most skilled player in the draft and would be a terrific piece to put in place regardless of whether LeBron James leaves in July. The Cavs have had a hole at point guard since dealing Kyrie Irving, and Young’s playmaking ability and three-point shooting are both viewed as elite skills. There’s risk here if Young can’t produce enough offense to overcome what he gives up defensively, but the flipside of that is whichever team drafts him will know exactly what it has to cover for, and can build its roster accordingly. Young’s floor as a prospect might be a little higher than some think, and scenarios where he falls out of the top 10 are a bit harder to envision as long as the Cavs and Knicks keep their picks.
Knicks: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky | Fr.
Height: 6'6" | Weight: 180 | Age: 19 | Last: 11
Stats: 14.4 PPG, 5.1 APG, 1.6 SPG
At the moment, Gilgeous-Alexander seems increasingly likely to be drafted in the top 10, which would complete his meteoric six-month rise from hesitant freshman to confident floor general. Charlotte is viewed as the floor for him, New York is thought to be interested, and Orlando is an outside possibility. Reports have also linked him as a target for the Raptors if they find a way to trade into the lottery. As a tall, unselfish guard, he should become a valuable player in today’s league, able to help move the ball, match up against bigger wings and hopefully help space the floor as his shooting improves and his confidence grows. He needs to get physically stronger, but he has multiple pathways to being successful and has shown rapid improvement over the past year. In this scenario, Gilgeous-Alexander would pair with Frank Ntilikina and give the Knicks one of the rangiest, longest backcourts in the league, if not a particularly scoring-minded one. Collin Sexton and Trae Young will be in the mix here if available, and if the Knicks do opt to address their need on the wing, Kevin Knox has been frequently mentioned.
76ers: Kevin Knox, SF, Kentucky | Fr.
Height: 6'9" | Weight: 215 | Age: 18 | Last: 14
Stats: 15.6 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 34.1% 3FG
Philadelphia and this pick continue to surface in trade rumors. Regardless, without a top executive in place calling the shots, it would be a bit of a surprise to see Philadelphia do anything drastic. If they keep this pick, one of the available wing players makes sense, and this is thought to be mean either Knox or Mikal Bridges. Knox’s youth and higher ceiling makes him a more intriguing big-picture piece for the Sixers. He seems likely to go in the 10–14 range right now, although he could be a direct beneficiary if Michael Porter ends up falling in the draft. Still just 18, Knox has age, body type and talent on his side and is nowhere near the player he’ll be in five years. He may have been under-utilized at Kentucky and has more ability still to show.
Hornets: Mikal Bridges, SF, Villanova | Jr.
Height: 6'7" | Weight: 210 | Age: 21 | Last: 10
Stats: 18.0 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 43% 3FG
Charlotte would love it if Shai Gilgeous-Alexander falls here and has also been tied to Kevin Knox. It’s possible both those players are gone, and that leaves Bridges as a fairly safe, immediately useful option. He doesn’t have star upside, but could certainly stand out within the right supporting role. Bridges will be able to knock down open threes, play in transition and defend a variety of opponents on the perimeter, and gives Charlotte some added flexibility to move one of their other wings. He’s likely to give them some value here.
Clippers: Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama | Fr.
Height: 6'1" | Weight: 185 | Age: 19 | Last: 9
Stats: 19.2 PPG, 3.6 APG, 33.6% 3FG
The Clippers are still thought to be exploring all possible options for both of these picks and seem likely to be active in some capacity tonight. If the Cavs and Knicks, who are thought to be in the guard market, both pass on Sexton, he may well make it to the Clippers, who would be happy to select him here. His ability to put pressure on the rim, draw contact and score, and a noted work ethic have some teams viewing him as a good bet to maximize his ability. Whether or not he ends up as a bonafide starting caliber guard depends on how much of a playmaker he can become (or wants to become).
Clippers: 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
Los Angeles could deal down using at least one of these picks, as packaging both to get as high as they’d like in the draft appears difficult, but if Sexton and Williams are both there, that would be a decent value proposition in terms of talent. The Clippers don’t want to lose DeAndre Jordan in free agency, but Williams is in the mix for this pick and would be a natural fit into a similar role down the line. He clearly has high-end talent, plays above the rim naturally and has more of a feel than people realize, but the concerns with him stem from inconsistency. If the Clippers pass on Williams, it’s possible he slips into the mid-late teens.
Nuggets: Miles Bridges, F, Michigan State | So.
Height: 6'6" | Weight: 220 | Age: 20 | Last: 15
Stats: 17.1 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 36.4% 3FG
It could be smart for the Nuggets to move down in the draft from here if they’re able to offload some salary in the process (likely Kenneth Faried or Darrell Arthur), given a hefty extension for Nikola Jokic is likely imminent. Atlanta at 19 could be a natural trade partner. There has also been talk that Denver is looking to move up toward the top of the draft, although it’s unclear what they would dangle in order to do so. Though he’s a tweener, Bridges is a good rebounder and passable jump shooter who has potential to be versatile defensively. He’s also skilled enough to play the way the Nuggets prefer.
Wizards: Lonnie Walker, G, Miami | Fr.
Height: 6'4" | Weight: 195 | Age: 19 | Last: 12
Stats: 11.5 PPG, 2.0 APG, 34.6% 3FG
Washington is facing another season in the luxury tax and could choose to move down lower in the first round and attach salary in the process. If the Wizards keep this pick and choose not to trade down, they have enough rotation security at present that they can afford to take whichever lottery-level falls to them. Walker’s athleticism and potential as a scorer are substantial and tantalizing. According to multiple league sources, a number of teams have flagged Walker’s medical, making him likely to slip toward the back of the lottery or out of it. While there’s not one glaring issue that puts him at im