2018 NBA Mock Draft: Hashtag Basketball

Some of our writing team got together to draft the first round of the 2018 NBA draft.

1. DeAndre Ayton (Phoenix Suns)

Drafted by @DevonHaripalNBA

Shocker — Phoenix takes DeAndre Ayton, 19, No. 1 overall here in our mock draft. General Manager Ryan McDonough raved about Ayton when he came in for his workout calling it “phenomenal.” Ayton told the media after his lone NBA workout, “I know I’m going No. 1.”

2. Luka Doncic (Sacramento Kings)

Drafted by @NBAJohnson

The Sacramento Kings have reportedly expressed interest in both Michael Porter Jr. and Marvin Bagley III recently, which is quite concerning since the #2 overall pick in this draft should be the easiest selection in this draft. While the Suns cannot be blamed for all but publicly declaring that they would select DeAndre Ayton, there should have at least been a little bit of a debate in their front office between the once-in-a-generation physical freak at center and the most successful teenager in the history of the second-best professional league in the world. Bagley III will almost certainly be an excellent NBA player, and Michael Porter Jr. (in spite of the glaring red flags) has one of the highest upsides in his class. But Luka Doncic is a once-in-a-generation talent in his own right.

He won the Euroleague MVP at 19--four years younger than the league’s previous youngest winner. He is an incredibly gifted passer who has the highest basketball IQ of anyone in this draft, he is a skilled shooter who can score at all three levels, and he is an underrated athlete who should only be a slight minus on the defensive end. The Kings have a really simple choice to make, barring a truly ridiculous trade offer from another team. They should select whichever player falls to them in a draft with a very clear Top 2, and they can walk away thank the Basketball Gods for finally letting some lottery luck fall into their laps. Let’s just hope that they do not waste the opportunity.

3. Jaren Jackson Jr (Atlanta Hawks)

Drafted by @HashBasketball

He's the prototypical big man for the modern NBA game with his ability to protect the rim, hit the 3-ball and switch on the defensive end. He still has a developing offensive game, and he'll have plenty of time to develop it alongside his future co-starter in John Collins.

4. Marvin Bagley (Memphis Grizzlies)

Drafted by @ignisyon

Bagley was one of the most productive players in college, and will likely be just as productive as a pro. A double-double machine, Bagley's sheer ability to score and grab boards with high energy will do wonders for a Memphis squad that looked anemic without Marc Gasol and Mike Conley for most of the year. His style could fit into a Grit N Grind 2.0 vibe of hard-working players in Memphis.

5. Mo Bamba (Dallas Mavericks)

Drafted by @416Basketball

The Mavs are building a nice core with Dennis Smith and Harrison Barnes. They could use a center. Mo Bamba brings rebounding and fantastic rim protection. For a guy of his size, he also has potential to be a decent shooter if he ever puts it all together. Mo Bamba has the potential to be the best player in the draft if everything goes right for him and he fills a hole for Dallas.

6. Trae Young (Orlando Magic)

Drafted by @tmetcalf11

Young is one of the most debated prospects in this year’s draft. Some think that he is the next Steph Curry while others believe he will be playing overseas in a few years. He has incredible shooting range and a quick release that makes him highly difficult to cover. When teams press too high on Young he is able to utilize his tight ball handling and creativeness to drive past them and finish at the rim. His passing vision and creativity are very high so as long as his teammates can knock down shots he will rack up the assists.

The biggest concern with Young is that he has little to no defensive impact and he is very small. Teams will look to attack him on every possession. The Magic were one of the worst three-point shooting teams last year and desperately needed a point guard. Young’s shooting and playmaking ability will be able to make an instant impact with the Magic.

7. Michael Porter Jr (Chicago Bulls)

Drafted by @NBAJohnson

Despite all my cracks about Michael Porter Jr. on the recent podcasts, he is still an incredibly talented scorer who was dominating everyone in his high school class (namely all of the picks so far barring Luka Doncic) just one year ago. I am concerned about his alarmingly checkered recent injury history, but there are reasons why Porter Jr. might not be a great selection even beyond those potential injury issues. He was able to use his mid-range game and athleticism to great effect against high school competition but could easily end up as the next Andrew Wiggins even if he stays healthy--an inefficient scorer who plays no defense and doesn’t contribute much outside of raw point totals. Ironically enough, one of Wiggins’ greatest strengths is that he stays healthy, having missed just one game in his four years in the league.

That being said, Porter Jr. could still easily become a great player despite all of those concerns. I wouldn’t want to draft him much higher than seventh overall, but he fits in well here (beyond mentioning that the Bulls might be the only team in the league that ends up getting to give MPJ a physical exam). Chicago needs a superstar and Michael Porter Jr. could definitely be that player.

8. Wendell Carter Jr (Cleveland Cavaliers)

Drafted by @AmNotEvan

Throughout last season, the Cavs elected to play Kevin Love as their primary center. After that failed, they went with Tristan Thompson, another failure to launch.

Now with Carter, the Cavs have a franchise cornerstone at center. Other than Mikal Bridges, Carter is the player in the draft with the highest floor. He can do it all with the ability to defend, rebound, score, and even hit three-pointers.

Even if LeBron James leaves next season, the Cavs make the smartest choice in Carter. He won’t be an NBA All-Star every season or put up the sexiest box scores, but he is the most NBA ready and can contribute to a team that needs a new start.

9. Mikal Bridges (New York Knicks)

Drafted by @HashBasketball

He is a great defender who can lock down multiple positions, and he can be deadly from beyond the arc on the other end of the floor. New York needs a smart, talented perimeter player, and Mikal one of the best three-and-d wings in the draft. He's a great fit on the offensive end with Porzingis since he doesn't demand the ball, and makes for a good defensive pairing on the wing with Ntilikina.

10. Kevin Knox (Philadelphia 76ers)

Drafted by @SportstalkXmas

The Celtics series exposed two major flaws, and the Sixers would address one of them with Knox, he has all the measurements of a potential 2-way modern wing, has a clean stroke and has shown flashes of an ability to create off the dribble. He turns 19 in August and Kentucky is notorious for pigeonholing roles for all of their talented players and Knox could benefit from shooting threes and Brett Brown yelling at him to play defense. This pick fills a need while also getting a talented player with upside.

11. Miles Bridges (Charlotte Hornets)

Drafted by @QuinnNotCook

Charlotte has a few options at pick 11, but Bridges makes the most sense. The former Spartan adds a high-upside player to either play alongside All-Star point guard Kemba Walker or help lead the Hornets if Walker were to leave. There are questions about his position on the NBA level, but the team can’t afford to pass up on such a high-upside forward that represents the best player available.

12. Shai Gilgeous Alexander (Los Angeles Clippers)

Drafted by @NoahShatzer

Maybe a few picks too early for Shai, but as a 6'6 point guard Shai is an interesting prospect, and fills a need for the Clippers. He has defensive potential, but will need to work on his jumper at the pro level.

13. Troy Brown Jr (Los Angeles Clippers)

Drafted by @NoahShatzer

His size and length give him the potential to guard multiple positions and he does a good job of jumping passing lanes. His floor vision and defensive awareness need to improve.

14. Zhaire Smith (Denver Nuggets)

Drafted by @NBAJohnson

The Denver Nuggets have three pretty sizable holes to fill at the moment. They desperately need athleticism, defensive help, and someone to take over for Wilson Chandler at small forward sooner rather than later. Zhaire Smith fits all of those needs nearly perfectly, while also having an incredibly high ceiling as a plater.

Smith will provide capable passing, complementary overall offense, energy, and great defense across multiple positions. His poor jump shot is certainly a concern, as is his relative lack of an ability to create his own shot. However, Zhaire Smith can fit in as a fifth starter in Denver on Day One while also being an incredibly fun potential lob target for Nikola Jokic.

15. Robert Williams (Washington Wizards)

Drafted by @416Basketball

The Wizards desperately need a center. Marcin Gortat isn't aging well and Ian Mahinmi isn't good. Robert Williams was the best available big on the board. He's a great finisher at the rim. Not a bad shot-blocker either. This is more of a need pick than anything else.

16. Lonnie Walker (Phoenix Suns)

Drafted by @DevonHaripalNBA

I don’t think the Suns let Collin Sexton slip past them at No. 16 come Thursday, I just didn’t realize he hadn’t been taken yet. Consensus is he’s right there in the top-10. If he’s available the Suns get the biggest steal of draft night.

Walker gives the Suns an uber-athletic guard who’s got J.R. Smith levels of confidence. He came off offseason meniscus surgery and never established himself at Miami; there’s some potential here.

17. Khyri Thomas (Milwaukee Bucks)

Drafted by @NBAJohnson

Thomas is a versatile wing that will be able to help the Bucks from day one. Thomas has shown some success as the primary ball handler but is much better when running off screens. He became a more consistent shooter from outside. He is also one of, if not the, best perimeter defenders in the draft. He has the ability to lock down multiple positions including some big men. Thomas is a rarity because he is able to combine his great athleticism with his strong defensive fundamentals. Milwaukee needs help with their wing depth and outside shooting consistency. Thomas is a mature player that avoids needless mistakes.

18. Melvin Frasier (San Antonio Spurs)

Drafted by @tmetcalf11

Frasier projects as a 3-and-D wing that can help a team right away. He is a very active defender with great instincts and better hands. Opponents often struggle to get past him and always have to be aware of him jumping their passing lanes. He has shown the ability to shoot off the catch at a high level but struggles to create his own shot. As the Spurs look to move on from Leonard and Green ages, they will need to retool their wings. Frasier’s athleticism, versatility, and maturity will fit perfectly with the Spurs’ culture and rotation.

19. Collin Sexton (Atlanta Hawks)

Drafted by @HashBasketball

I hear you. Atlanta already has a young point guard, but Sexton is too good of a talent to pass on at pick 19. He's the kind of score-first point guard that a team like Atlanta needs if they ever trade Schroder, and he's active on the defensive end. A young core of Sexton, Prince, Collins, and Jackson Jr is a step in the right direction for the franchise.

20. Kevin Huerter (Minnesota Timberwolves)

Drafted by @tmetcalf11

Huerter is one of the best shooters in the draft. He is lights out from behind the arc and also has the ability to attack the rim when opponents close out too hard. He isn’t the best athlete but when finishing at the rim he has great touch with either hand, and manipulates his body to avoid getting blocked. His lack of athleticism limits him as a defender but that doesn’t lessen the intensity that he plays with. The Timberwolves need a lot of help with outside shooting and wing depth. Huerter will be able to come off the bench and be a threat from three. His energy and confidence from outside will help the Timberwolves offense become less one dimensional.

21. Elie Okobo (Utah Jazz)

Drafted by @tmetcalf11

Okobo is a great scoring guard who excels with his outside shot or finishing at the rim. He grew up as a two guard, so he is able to cut off the ball or rotate to the open spaces on the wing already at a high level. His lack of point guard skills can be hidden next to a ball-dominant guard in Mitchell.

22. Keita Bates-Diop (Chicago Bulls)

Drafted by @NBAJohnson

Even with Michael Porter Jr. now on the squad, the Bulls would still be quite thin on the wing. While Porter Jr. and Bates-Diop both project as small/power forwards instead of as true wings, Keita will fill a need for Chicago as a great defender and glue guy. He will set screens, make the right passes, shoot at least competently from deep, and cover the opposing team’s best offensive player in a pinch. Keita Bates-Diop will be an effective backup for either Michael Porter Jr. or Lauri Markkanen, and could be an effective starter if MPJ gets hurt.

23. Donte Divincenzo (Indiana Pacers)

Drafted by @tmetcalf11

Despite a solid year, Divincenzo flew up draft boards after an incredible National Championship game and combine. Divincenzo is a good shooter from outside and is able to balance himself in mid-air when shooting off balance. He is able to punish teams shooting after running through screens or off the dribble. When teams close out too hard, he is more than happy to blow past them and throw down a huge dunk. He plays at a high energy level on both ends every game. While he is a point guard, he needs to improve on is playmaking ability and decision making. The Pacers need help at the point guard position. Divincenzo will be able to fill that role with a high level of versatility, energy, and athleticism.

24. Jacob Evans (Portland Trail Blazers)

Drafted by @NBAJohnson

I think that Jacob Evans is a great fit for most of the teams in the bottom ten of the first round of this draft, but I can’t think of any better place for him to land than with the Portland Trail Blazers at #24. Evans doesn’t have all that much star potential, but he will be a solid 3-and-D wing for a long time given his great basketball IQ and complementary all-around game. Evans is a mediocre athlete at best, but he makes up for it with great positioning on the defensive end and solid passing and shooting on the offensive end. He might never be more than a team’s fifth starter, but that is exactly what he would be in Portland in a way that would allow him to maximize his own skills while helping to cover for Portland’s glaring hole at small forward.

25. Mitchell Robinson (Los Angeles Lakers)

Drafted by @tmetcalf11

Robinson is an extremely athletic rim running big man. He is a very good shot blocker and excels at finishing above the rim. He could turn into a versatile defender because of his athleticism but will need to become much more disciplined. The Lakers are a young athletic team. Robinson will provide rim protection and an above the rim threat that they have been lacking.

26. Josh Okogie (Philadelphia 76ers)

Drafted by @SportstalkXmas

This pick also addresses another flaw exposed in the Celtics series: A lack of 6'2 to 6'5 guards that can guard the quicker and smaller point guards. The 6'4 Okogie addresses that need with his tenacity, 7'0 wingspan, thick frame and motor. He could also become a solid spot up shooter right off the bat as he shot 38% from three in college. Could be a solid contributor day 1 off the bench if in the right situation, and a going to a 52 win team sounds like a good situation.

27. Aaron Holiday (Boston Celtics)

Drafted by @HashBasketball

This is basically a free swing for the Celtics since they're already overflown with young talent. Holiday is insurance to fill the backup point guard spot in case Rozier isn't with the team next season, and isn't required to make an impact this year.

28. Chandler Hutchison (Golden State Warriors)

Drafted by @NBAJohnson

The Golden State Warriors don’t exactly have a lot of holes to fill on their roster, but Jordan Bell showed the model for how a rookie could get playing time on one of the best teams ever assembled: play your role well as a complementary piece, play good defense across multiple positions, and cut to the rim for lobs effectively. Jordan Bell plays a much greater position of need for the Warriors as a center, but Chandler Hutchison could fill two of those roles quite easily while also providing shooting.

The first one of those, however, is the most important in terms of getting playing time with the Warriors. Hutchison did not always do well with that particular missive at Boise State. Then again, the Warriors will not need him to play a feature role, while Boise State needed Hutchison to fill basically every role for them. Chandler Hutchison has the basketball IQ to adjust to a smaller role, and the Warriors’ bench would be noticeably better with him playing as a smart 3-and-D wing and taking Nick Young’s minutes.

29. Dzanan Musa (Brooklyn Nets)

Drafted by @ignisyon

While a stretch 4 may be their biggest need, this draft is weak on that outside of the lottery - so the Nets will look for upside at 29. Musa is a ballsy wing scorer that will likely improve once he gets stronger. For the wide open, space-happy Nets, Musa could be a solid value pure scorer that could thrive because of the freedom of Brooklyn's system. He'll be able to shoot at will, but also show off his driving ability in the lane.

30. De'Anthony Melton (Atlanta Hawks)

Drafted by @HashBasketball

He jumps passing lanes, has active hands to swipe the ball, and does a great job of keeping opponents in front of him. His athleticism, length, and great instincts also make him a very good shot blocker at the guard spot. His game is lacking on the offensive side, but there's no denying his talent on the defensive end.

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