With Thursday’s NBA Draft nearing closer, it’s time for a third and final lottery mock draft.
Trades won’t be included in the mock, albeit recent reports have the Toronto Raptors trying to trade into the top 10 to draft Shai Gilgeous-Alexander per Marc Stein, the Philadelphia 76ers trying to trade into the top 5 per David Griffin on Sirius XM radio and not to mention the always-circulating Kawhi Leonard trade rumors.
Stein also reported the Sacramento Kings are considering drafting polarizing forward Michael Porter Jr. at No. 2, which would certainly shake up draft boards.
Although trades are sure to happen, we’ll keep the draft order the same and project the selections based off who the teams would pick in their current spots.
1. Phoenix Suns: DeAndre Ayton, C, Arizona (⇔)
Ayton hasn’t moved since the first mock and will likely be drafted first overall. Unless the Suns have an unforeseen trade up their sleeve.
2. Sacramento Kings: Luka Doncic, G, Real Madrid (⇔)
Doncic stays slotted in at the No. 2 spot in spite of the Porter Jr.-Sacramento rumors. The Kings are better off selecting the safer prospect with immense upside who comes without injury concerns. It’s also the Kings, so they could do something sporadic, but if former EuroLeague star and current Kings GM Vlade Divac is making the call here, I think it’ll be Doncic.
3. Atlanta Hawks: Marvin Bagley III, F, Duke (⇑1)
With Doncic gone, the Hawks take the next best player in Bagley with the hopes he can return them to their playoff mainstay ways. Atlanta missed didn’t make the playoffs for the first time since 2006-07 and won only 24 games in 2017-18.
4. Memphis Grizzlies: Jaren Jackson Jr., F, Michigan State (⇓1)
Probably were hoping for Doncic or Bagley here to help Mike Conley Jr., Marc Gasol and Co. try to get back into contention ASAP. But getting a player that may take some time to develop could pay off if he reaches his full potential: a defensive anchor with the ability to hit the three consistently.
5. Dallas Mavericks: Mohamed Bamba, C, Texas (⇔)
If Bamba’s freakish 7-foot-10 wingspan isn’t enough, he also has the potential to step out and hit jumpers. That might take a little time, but he should be a defensive presence right away. The last time the Mavericks had a center of Bamba’s character, Tyson Chandler, they won a title.
6. Orlando Magic: Trae Young, G, Oklahoma (⇑2)
Orlando’s last three selections in the top 10 have been 6-foot-10 forward Jonathan Isaac in 2017, 6-foot-8 forward Mario Hezonja in 2015, and 6-foot-9 forward Aaron Gordon in 2014. It’s time to take a point guard, especially with Elfrid Payton being shipped at last years trade deadline.
7. Chicago Bulls: Michael Porter Jr., F, Missouri (⇓1)
Porter Jr. could go as high as No. 2 to the Kings and will garner looks at No. 5 to the Mavericks. The Bulls should jump at the opportunity to pair him Lauri Markkanen if he’s still available.
8. Cleveland Cavaliers: Wendell Carter Jr., F, Duke (⇓1)
Carter Jr. is an upgrade over current big men Tristan Thompson and Larry Nance Jr., versatile enough to play next to Kevin Love and the best player on the board at this point in the draft. If LeBron leaves, at least Cleveland will have a new building block.
9. New York Knicks: Mikal Bridges, F, Villanova (⇔)
Adding Bridges would continue the New York trend of selecting lengthy, defensive-minded players with their lottery draft choices the past two drafts. A defense featuring Bridges, Kristaps Porzingis and Frank Ntilikina would cause problems.
10. Philadelphia 76ers: Lonnie Walker IV, G, Miami (⇑3)
I previously had the Sixers taking Collin Sexton with this pick but the shooting, size and all-around potential of Walker IV should be enough to entice the Philadelphia front office. He may not be an instant contributor to the tune of a Mikal Bridges, but he offers room to grow as an offensive and defensive playmaker. Putting Walker IV into a lineup with 52-win talent will help ease his learning curve and catalyze the process.
11. Charlotte Hornets: Kevin Knox, F, Kentucky (⇑2)
Charlotte, who recently agreed to trade Dwight Howard and seems to be on the verge of blowing it all up, can take the talented 18-year-old to aide the rebuilding process. This may be too low for Knox as he reportedly impressed in his workout with the Knicks, who select at No. 9, and had two meetings with the Sixers, who select at No. 10. A point guard could also be in play here if the Hornets decide to trade or don’t think they’ll be able to resign Kemba Walker.
12. Los Angeles Clippers: Collin Sexton, G, Alabama (⇓2)
The Clippers are in position to take the best available players back-to-back to improve on last season’s 42-40 record with no playoff berth to show. Sexton starred at Alabama averaging 19.2 points and would be a good start.
13. Los Angeles Clippers: Robert Williams, F/C, Texas A&M (⇓1)
Drafting Sexton and Williams would give Los Angeles a new duo to build around in hopes of returning to the Chris Paul–Blake Griffin annual 50-win era. He’d also be a solid replacement if DeAndre Jordan opts out and leaves in free agency.
14. Denver Nuggets: Miles Bridges, F, Michigan State (⇓3)
The 6-foot-7 forward provides terrific value in the late lottery. He averaged 17.1 points and 7.0 rebounds his senior season at one of the most prominent college programs in the nation. His athleticism makes him different than the “tweeners” that have come before him and could make him a steal.
15. Washington Wizards: Chandler Hutchinson, SF, Boise State
16. Phoenix Suns: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, G, Kentucky
17. Milwaukee Bucks: Zhaire Smith, G, Texas Tech
18. San Antonio Spurs: Khyri Thomas, G, Creighton
19. Atlanta Hawks: Troy Brown, G, Oregon
20. Minnesota Timberwolves: Aaron Holiday, G, UCLA
21. Utah Jazz: Elie Okobo, G, France
22. Chicago Bulls: Dzanan Musa, F, Bosnia
23. Indiana Pacers: Donte DiVincenzo, G, Villanova
24. Portland Trail Blazers: Mitchell Robinson, C, Chalmette HS
25. Los Angeles Lakers: Anfernee Simons, G, IMG Academy
26. Philadelphia 76ers: Kevin Huerter, G, Maryland
27. Boston Celtics: Jerome Robinson, G, Boston College
28. Golden State Warriors: Jalen Brunson, G, Villanova
29. Brooklyn Nets: Jevon Carter, G, West Virginia
30. Atlanta Hawks: Josh Okogie, G, Georgia Tech