Phoenix Suns 2018 NBA Draft profile

The NBA Draft is under a month away, which means NBA Draftmas is back. Each day the Game Haus will review a team’s past season, their team needs and targets. We will start off with the team that has the number one overall pick, the Phoenix Suns.

Summary

Devin Booker Dribbling for suns

Devin Booker (Photo by valleyofthesuns.com)

Phoenix had the worst record in the NBA at 21-61 this season and were able to win the 2018 NBA Draft Lottery. They are a long way from competing in the Western Conference but have some nice young pieces to build for the future.

The Suns have a star in Devin Booker, who averaged 24.9 points per game and also helped create for his teammates from the shooting guard position with 4.7 assists per game. With their next leading scorers being T.J. Warren (19.6 ppg) and Josh Jackson (13.1 ppg), they are set on the win for years to come.

This season the Suns traded away Eric Bledsoe and now need to replace him. They did trade for Elfrid Payton, but his career hasn’t come to fruition yet. With time he could be a solid starting point guard for the Suns, but he currently isn’t under contract for the 2018-2019 season, as their is a club option that needs to be picked up. Brandon Knight returns next season as the teams highest paid player. He can run the point and score in bunches when given the opportunity (proven in his 2015-16 campaign in Phoenix). Phoenix however still may want to improve the point guard position in this draft.

The interior play of the Suns has not been great, with a lot of aging veterans and young draft picks that haven’t worked out. That will be a place that is addressed again in the draft, it’s just a matter of when.

On defense, Phoenix had the worst unit in the league allowing 113.3 points per game. The only major stat where they ranked in the top half of the league as a team (between points allowed, points scored, rebounds and assists), was rebounds per game, in which they ranked 12th.

This team will not likely be a great contender next season but can be vastly improved in the draft.

Phoenix Suns Draft picks and needs

The Suns have four picks in the 2018 NBA Draft.

First round: No. 1, No. 16

Second round: No. 31, No. 59

If the Suns want to compete they need to improve their defense, point guard play and interior play. With the number of picks they have in this draft, Phoenix should be able to address the point guard and interior, although improving the defense could be a long process.

The draft will tell how they feel about Brandon Knight returning to the fold and Payton’s status as the team’s point guard. If they draft a big with their first pick, Knight and Payton will likely still be key parts of the team and its future. If they take a point guard, or rather a play-making player from Real Madrid who needs to have the ball in his hands to be successful, Knight and possibly Payton will likely be traded, as there will be limited minutes for one, if not both, of them.

Targets

Pick No. 1: DeAndre Ayton, C, Arizona

DeAndre Ayton Arizona screaming

DeAndre Ayton (Photo by zonazealots.com)

There is mounting buzz that this pick may be used in a trade to acquire Karl Anthony Towns. If that’s a possibility and not too much more is needed to give up to the Timberwolves, the Suns need to take the deal immediately. These profiles will not predict trades though.

Picking Ayton would immediately improve the interior play of the Suns. He physically dominated college competition with his scoring and rebounding. Ayton can also stretch the floor as he shot 34.3% from deep. Devin Booker has already mentioned that it would be cool to team up with Ayton. Those two could create a great one-two punch for the future. The starting lineup next season could look like this: Knight, Booker, T.J. Warren, Josh Jackson, DeAndre Ayton.

Pick No. 16: Anfernee Simons, PG, USA

Simons is able to go to the NBA Draft after playing a year at a prep school. This is an uncommon route and NBA teams will have to find out if taking the gamble of him not playing against good competition in college, or overseas, is worth it. He would have been one of the best point guards in the freshman class but now gets to take his chance in the pros.

The Suns can take the risk on a point guard like Simons with their second pick because they took Ayton with their first pick and have Knight returning. Simons could sit behind Knight or Payton (or even Tyler Ulis if need be) and learn while picking up spot minutes.

Pick No. 31: Grayson Allen, SG, Duke

Another way that the Suns can improve is their three-point shooting. They ranked last in the league in that category and need to have more shooters as threats so opposing defenses can’t pack in the defense, or just focus on Booker. Spreading the floor would also help take some pressure off of Ayton.

Allen has been the most polarizing figure in college basketball for the last four seasons with his spectacular play and his immaturity. He has tripped players, been a catalyst in a National Championship Duke team and has been a constant player covered in the media. He can play on or off ball but the most important thing is he can stretch the floor, hitting 38% of his shots from three-point range in his college career.

Pick No. 59: Sagaba Konate, PF, West Virginia

Konate can provide some depth for the frontcourt and could benefit from some time in the G-League if he decides to keep his name entered in the draft. He has had a good combine, doing what he does best: blocking shots and rebounding the ball. His measurements are what hurt his stock, as he’s just 6’7,5″ in shoes. At best he’s a bench/role player in the NBA, but getting that late in the second round is welcomed.

 

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2018 NBA mock draft May 17

The NBA Draft Lottery has finished and now teams can start putting their plans into place. With the NBA Draft in just over a month, who will some of these teams be targeting? Here is the 2018 NBA mock draft May 17:

1. Phoenix Suns- DeAndre Ayton, C, Arizona

Ayton has said it would be cool to play with Devin Booker and how good of a one-two punch it would be. The Suns have a nice crop of young wing players in Devin Booker, T.J. Warren and Josh Jackson, but they lack an inside presence. Ayton would give them that presence and then some. Ayton is a well-built and athletic big. He is a great rebounder, who often comes up with the ball with plenty of players around him.

2. Sacramento Kings- Marvin Bagley III, F, Duke

The 6’11” big man is athletic and can do everything on a basketball court, which includes shooting from deep at 39.7%. Sacramento was a lucky team in the lottery and can now get a real impact player. Bagley can slide in nicely with the Kings young core of De’Aaron Fox, Willie Cauley-Stein and Buddy Hield.

3. Atlanta Hawks- Luka Doncic, G, Slovenia

Doncic has the size of a wing player in the NBA but actually plays on-ball a lot for Real Madrid. He stands 6’6″ and is an excellent passer and playmaker. His three-point shooting has gone down over the last few years, so Doncic will have to work on that. The Hawks don’t have much talent on the roster and can play Doncic alongside Dennis Schroeder.

Michael Porter Missouri

Michael Porter Jr. (Photo by cbssports.com)

4. Memphis Grizzlies- Michael Porter Jr., F, Missouri 

Porter can play the three or the four for the Grizzlies. He came back from his back injury and was rusty, but showed flashes of why he was rated so highly coming out of high school. Memphis has an aging roster and could use a young star like Porter, who can do almost anything asked of him on the court.

5. Dallas Mavericks- Jaren Jackson Jr., PF, Michigan State

The Mavs tried to tank, but it backfired with the lottery results. Jackson is an athletic player, who protects the rim well. He can also stretch the floor, hitting nearly 40% of his threes over his one year at Michigan State.

6. Orlando Magic- Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma

The Magic need good guard play and have a void after trading Elfrid Payton. Young brought life to college basketball with his electrifying play. He drives, passes and shoots like Steph Curry, but does turn the ball over too much. He also has struggled on defense, but the offense should make up for it.

7. Chicago Bulls- Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama

Sexton is one of the best point guards in the class and is able to drive and distribute the ball well. This ability would fill in well with Lauri Markkanen for the future of the franchise.

8. Cleveland Cavaliers- Wendell Carter, PF/C, Duke

Carter can play the four and the five and presents a player who can even stretch the floor with his shooting. The Cavs will likely try to select Trae Young or Collin Sexton to get a point guard but may need to trade up to do it.

9. New York Knicks- Mo Bamaba, C, Texas

Bamba will be able to defend the paint, as he averages 5 blocks per 40 minutes. He has been compared to Rudy Gobert, with his good defense, and he’ll have to develop his offensive game. The Knicks can play him next to Kristaps Porzingis in what could be a dangerous frontcourt.

10. Philadelphia 76ers- Kevin Knox, F, Kentucky

Knox has good size and can shoot well. He is inconsistent though, as he can go off in some games and disappear in others. The 76ers can get another freakish player with this pick and Knox will help open up the game for Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.

11. Charlotte Hornets- Mikal Bridges, SG/SF, Villanova 

Bridges will walk in the door as a legitimate “3 and D” prospect but has a chance to develop into much more. He’s got good length but does need to add some more strength. The Hornets need to find pieces to fill in between Dwight Howard and Kemba Walker.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Kentucky

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Photo by 94feetreport.com)

12. Los Angeles Clippers- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky

He is a lanky point guard, who has a long wingspan, which helps him play good defense. SGA will need to work on his shooting and add some weight, but the length will get him selected early. The Clippers have Partick Beverly but need a point guard of the future.

13. Los Angeles Clippers- Robert Williams, PF/C, Texas A&M

Williams displayed what he is capable of in the NCAA Tournament. He has great athleticism for a big but doesn’t have the best motor. The Clippers could use another productive big with the departure of Blake Griffin.

14. Denver Nuggets- Miles Bridges, SF, Michigan State

Bridges is an athletic wing who already has an NBA body. He can shoot and drive and could fit in nice with the Nuggets’ young core.

15. Washington Wizards- Lonnie Walker IV, PG/SG, Miami

Walker doesn’t fill the biggest need for the Wizards, but he is a good value here. He didn’t produce a lot in his freshman year at Miami, but shows flashes of potential, making him worthy of consideration here.

16. Phoenix Suns- Anfernee Simons, PG/SG, USA

Simons has created some buzz after deciding to declare for the NBA Draft out of prep school. He can shoot and get to the basket well. The Suns will need a better point guard than Payton for the future.

17. Milwaukee Bucks- Mitchell Robinson, C, Western Kentucky

Robinson sat out this year to prepare for the draft after initially signing with Western Kentucky. Milwaukee could use a young developmental big.

18. San Antonio Spurs- Khyri Thomas, PG, Creighton 

The Spurs need a point guard to take over and lead the team. Thomas can get his own shots but needs to learn how to set his teammates up better.

Zhaire smith dunk

Zhaire Smith (Photo by blazersedge.com)

19. Atlanta Hawks- Zhaire Smith, SG, Texas Tech

In the NCAA Tournament, Smith electrified the crowd with his dunks, but he can also hit the three-point shot at a high percentage of 45%.

20. Minnesota Timberwolves- Gary Trent, SG, Duke

The Timberwolves need to spread the floor more and find some good shooters. Trent is a knockdown shooter who needs to improve his defense to see the floor in Minnesota.

21. Utah Jazz- Dzanan Musa, SG/SF, Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Jazz have some young pieces but could use another wing player. They can also afford to have a draft and stash if Musa fits that bill.

22. Chicago Bulls- Jontay Porter, PF/C, Missouri

Porter doesn’t get as much publicity as his brother but had a solid season at Missouri. They got a guard with their first pick and can now get some depth for the frontcourt.

23. Indiana Pacers- Troy Brown, PG/SG, Oregon

Brown is a tall, athletic guard, but doesn’t shoot well from three-point range. He needs some development but could be a good player next to Victor Oladipo.

24. Portland Trail Blazers- Brandon McCoy, C, UNLV

The Trail Blazers don’t have a lot of size and can get McCoy and help him develop.

Jacob Evans NBA

Jacob Evans (Photo by downthedrive.com)

25. Los Angeles Lakers- Jacob Evans, G, Cincinnati

Evans is a “3 and D” player, who could find his way as a solid role player in the NBA.

26. Philadelphia 76ers- Donte DiVincenzo, G, Villanova

DiVincenzo can stay in Philly to help the 76ers spread the floor even more.

27. Boston Celtics- Trevon Duval, PG, Duke

The Celtics have good point guard play, but who knows how much longer they can keep Terry Rozier in a bench role behind Kyrie Irving after his performance in the playoffs. Marcus Smart will also likely not be retained.

28. Golden State Warriors- Tony Carr, PG, Penn State

Carr broke through this season and now has a chance to be drafted in the first round. He is a big guard, who can shoot and take over for Shaun Livingston.

29. Brooklyn Nets- Chandler Hutchison, SG/SF, Boise State

Hutchison was a star at Boise State who did a little bit of everything for the Broncos. With the right coaching, he can turn into a solid NBA player.

30. Atlanta Hawks- Jalen Brunson, PG, Villanova

Brunson won multiple Player of the Year awards. He is fundamentally sound and uses that to his advantage.

 

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2018 NBA Draft big board

The NBA Draft is under two months away and there are going to be a plethora of prospects to pick from. This post will highlight the top 50 NBA Draft prospects to watch out for and will be updated until the draft. Check back for updates when players go through the combine, testing and some go back to school.

1. DeAndre Ayton, C, Arizona, Fr. – 7’1″ 250 lbs

2017-18 stats: 20.1 ppg, 11.6 rpg, 61.2% FG, 34.3% 3pt FG

While this isn’t a time in the NBA that will be known for its dominating centers, Ayton has too much game to pass up. His size, athleticism, rebounding and scoring will entice a GM to take him very early in the NBA Draft. He couldn’t be defended well in college because he was a lot bigger and stronger than his competition, but he still showed a light enough touch, shooting a great percentage from the field.

2. Marvin Bagley III, PF, Duke, Fr.- 6’11” 234 lbs

2017-18 stats: 21 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 61.4% FG, 39.7% 3pt FG

The Duke star reclassified to play in college last year and now is eligible for the NBA draft a little earlier than expected. He has a good stroke and can post up, making him a natural four-man in the NBA. He will have to add some strength to play against some of the bigger interior players in the NBA, but his length can deter shorter offensive players from going to the rim.

3. Luka Doncic, G, Slovenia- 6’6″ 218 lbs

2017-18 stats: 14.7 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 4.6 apg, 46.4% FG, 30.2% 3pt FG

Doncic very well could be the number one overall pick and does a great job of setting up his teammates. There are some holes to his game, as he isn’t the greatest scorer or shooter. His three-point shooting is inconsistent at best, but that can be improved. He fits the mold of a shorter Ben Simmons, who does a little bit of everything, but his own offense needs to be worked on.

4. Michael Porter Jr., F, Missouri, Fr.- 6’10” 215 lbs

2017-18 stats: 10.0 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 33.3% FG, 30.0% 3pt FG

Porter is a supreme talent, but had to miss the vast majority of his college season at Missouri after having spinal surgery. That will be a concern for teams thinking about drafting him and his three-point shooting may hold him back a little as well. His athleticism, height and ball-handling abilities will get him drafted, but teams will have to go all the way back to high school to see good tape of what he can do.

5. Jaren Jackson Jr., PF, Michigan State, Fr.- 6’11” 242 lbs

2017-18 stats: 10.9 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 3.0 bpg, 51.3% FG, 39.6% 3pt FG

Michigan State was loaded with talent, so Jackson played just over half of most games. His per 40 minutes stats jump off the page: 20.0 points, 10.6 rebounds and 5.5 blocks per game. His elite protection of the rim can get him on the floor early in his career. His offensive game needs to develop a little bit but is already solid.

6. Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma, Fr.- 6’2″ 180 lbs

2017-18 stats: 27.4 ppg, 8.7 apg, 42.2% FG, 36.0% 3pt FG

He lit up the college basketball world by leading the nation in scoring and assists, but Young struggled down the stretch. Turnovers were his main issue and he also lost his great shooting touch. The spacing in the NBA actually could help his turnover problem but he could be successful off-ball with his shooting if the turnovers continue.

7. Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama, Fr.- 6’3″ 190 lbs

2017-18 stats: 19.2 ppg, 3.6 apg, 3.8 rpg, 44.7% FG, 33.6% 3pt FG

Sexton made Alabama into an NCAA Tournament team this season. He is very effective at getting to the basket and at times could do it at will in college. His defense isn’t great, but he has the skillset to improve.

8. Mo Bamba, C, Texas, Fr.- 6’11” 225 lbs

2017-18 stats: 12.9 ppg, 10.5 rpg, 3.7 pg, 54.1% FG, 27.5% 3pt FG

If teams are looking for a premier rim protector and miss out on Jackson, Bamba could be their pick. He’s been compared to Rudy Gobert for his rebounding, shot-blocking and limited offensive game.

9. Wendell Carter, PF/C, Duke, Fr.- 6’10” 259 lbs

2017-18 stats: 13.5 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 2.1 bpg, 56.1% FG, 41.3% 3pt FG

He was overshadowed by Bagley at Duke, but Carter had a good year in his own right. He has a good post game and can stretch the floor with his three point shooting. His limited athleticism leaves him a little lower on this list, but he should go in the top ten picks.

10. Robert Williams, PF, Texas A&M, So.- 6’9″ 237 lbs

2017-18 stats: 10.4 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 2.6 bpg, 63.2% FG, 0% 3pt FG

Williams could have left after his freshman year, but decided to return for a second year as an Aggie. He is athletic and will find a nice home on the inside. His motor has come into question in the past.

11. Mikal Bridges, SG/SF, Villanova, Jr.- 6’7″ 191 lbs

2017-2018 stats: 17.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.3 apg, 51.4% FG, 43.5% 3pt FG

Bridges is the typical “3 and D” prospect that is valuble to NBA teams. In order to be more than that, he needs to work on his ball-handling and creating his own shot.

12. Kevin Knox, SF/PF, Kentucky, Fr.- 6’9″, 215 lbs

2017-2018 stats: 15.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.4 apg, 44.7% FG, 34.1% 3pt FG

Although he models his game after Kevin Durant, Knox is an inconsistent shooter. When he gets hot, he can light up the scoreboard, but at Kentucky there were many stretches where he would miss a lot of shots or wouldn’t take as many shots as he needed to. With his size and scoring ability, he should be a lottery pick.

13. Miles Bridges, SF, Michigan State, So.- 6’7″ 230 lbs

2017-18 stats: 17.1 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 2.1 apg, 45.7% FG, 36.4% 3pt FG

Bridges is another sophomore in the draft class that could have left after his freshman season. He’s athletic, has an NBA body and does a little bit of everything well.

14. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky, Fr.- 6’6″ 180 lbs

2017-18 stats: 14.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 5.1 apg, 48.5% FG, 40.5% 3pt FG

He wasn’t the best freshman walking in the door at Kentucky this season, but he is one of the best ones walking out. His length and height for the point guard position is uniquely large. He excels at running the pick and roll and has a nice shot. He will need to add some strength to his frame.

15. Lonnie Walker IV, G, Miami, Fr.- 6’4″ 192 lbs

2017-18 stats: 11.5 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 1.9 apg, 41.5% FG, 34.6% 3pt FG

His only season at Miami didn’t yield the best results, but Walker was able to show off his potential. He didn’t set up his teammates the best and if he wants to play point guard in the NBA will need to improve in that area.

16. Zhaire Smith, SG, Texas Tech, Fr.- 6’5″ 195 lbs

2017-18 stats: 11.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 1.8 apg, 55.6% FG, 45.0% 3pt FG

Smith is the highest player on the list that hasn’t hired an agent. That may change soon, as his athletic ability will be hard to pass on. He had highlight reel dunks in his lone season in Lubbock, but also shot the ball well. Teams will be intrigued with his upside.

17. Mitchell Robinson, C, USA, HS- 7’0″ 223 lbs

2017-18 stats: N/A

He initially committed to Western Kentucky, but left the school before the season ever started. Since that time he has been preparing for the draft. Robinson is a former five star recruit, but a team will have to take a risk on drafting a player whose highest level of competition was high school.

18. Anfernee Simons, PG, USA, HS- 6’3″ 181 lbs

2017-18 stats: High school

Simons is heading to the NBA draft straight from prep school. He is eligible for the draft because he spent five years in high school. He was thought to be one of the best point guards in the recruiting class and now will be selected mainly on potential rather than results.

19. Troy Brown, G, Oregon, Fr.- 6’7″ 215 lbs

2017-18 stats: 11.3 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 3.2 apg, 44.4% FG, 29.1% 3pt FG

Brown is a big and athletic guard, but needs to improve his shot to be truly successful at the NBA level.

20. Dzanan Musa, G/F, Bosnia and Herzegovina- 6’8″ 195 lbs

2017-18 stats: 10.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 0.9 apg, 42.9% FG, 36.4% 3pt FG

Musa might be the first draft and stash candidate selected in this draft. He’s only 18 years old and needs to develop his game a little more before getting NBA minutes.

21. Khyri Thomas, G, Creighton, Jr.- 6’3″ 200 lbs

2017-18 stats: 15.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 2.8 apg, 53.8% FG, 41.1% 3pt FG

He wasn’t the leading scorer on Creighton, that accolade belonged to Marcus Foster. Thomas’ skill-set figures to be more of an NBA fit. He still has the option to return to school, as he hasn’t hired an agent.

22. Gary Trent Jr., SG, Duke, Fr.- 6’6″ 209 lbs

2017-18 stats: 14.5 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 1.4 apg, 41.5% FG, 40.2% 3pt FG

Trent would have had bigger stats had he not chosen to go to Duke, but was able to prove that he can stretch the floor with his shooting.

23. Brandon McCoy, C, UNLV, Fr.- 7’1″ 250 lbs

2017-18 stats: 16.9 pts, 10.3 rpg, 1.8 bpg, 54.5% FG, 33.3% 3pt FG

There are a limited number of big men in the class and McCoy can go in the first round because of this. He didn’t play the best competition in the MWC, but there still quite a few solid teams in that league.

24. Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA, Jr.- 6’1″ 185 lbs

2017-18 stats: 20.3 ppg, 5.8 apg, 1.3 spg, 46.1% FG, 42.9% 3pt FG

Holiday has the NBA bloodlines with his brothers Jrue and Justin already being in the league. He has the shooting and playmaking ability to make it himself, even if he doesn’t quite have the athleticism or length desired to play in the NBA.

25. Jontay Porter, PF/C, Missouri, Fr.- 6’11” 240 lbs

2017-18 stats: 9.9 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1.7 bpg, 43.7% FG, 36.4% 3pt FG

Yes, the brother of Michael, Jontay was able to play a full season for Missouri. He is more of an inside player than his brother, but was effective. He likely would move up draft boards if he went back to school to develop.

26. Chandler Hutchison, SG/SF, Boise State, Sr.- 6’7″ 190 lbs

2017-18 stats: 20.0 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 3.5 apg, 47.5% FG, 35.9% 3pt FG

Hutchison was a do-it-all player for the Broncos throughout his career. He likely will see a huge hit to his numbers in the NBA, but can be a viable role player.

27. Jerome Robinson, G, Boston College, Jr.- 6’7″ 181 lbs

2017-18 stats: 20.1 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 3.3 apg, 48.5% FG, 40.9% 3pt FG

ACC competition is tough and Robinson played well despite not having the best support.

28. Tony Carr, G, Penn State, So.- 6’5″ 204 lbs

2017-18 stats: 19.6 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 5.0 apg, 40.8% FG, 43.3% 3pt FG

Penn State hasn’t had a player of Carr’s caliber in quite some time. He’s a big point guard who really came into his own in his second season as a Nittany Lion.

29. Bruno Fernando, PF/C, Maryland, Fr.- 6’10” 240 lbs

2017-18 stats: 10.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.2 bpg, 57.8% FG, 33.3% 3pt FG

Fernando isn’t the most polished and is a project, but a team will take a chance on him in the late first or early second.

30. Jalen Brunson, PG, Villanova, Jr.- 6’3″ 199 lbs

2017-18 stats: 18.9 ppg, 4.6 apg, 3.1 rpg, 52.1% FG, 40.8% 3pt FG

Brunson is good fundamentally and has championship experience, which teams will love.

31. Bruce Brown, G, Miami, So.- 6’5″ 190 lbs

2017-18 stats: 11.4 pg, 7.1 rpg, 4.0 apg, 41.5% FG, 26.7% 3pt FG

32. Rawle Alkins, G, Arizona, So.- 6’5″ 220 lbs

2017-18 stats: 13.1 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.5 apg, 43.2% FG, 35.9% 3pt FG

33. Donte DiVincenzo, G, Villanova, So.- 6’5″ 200lbs

2017-18 stats: 13.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 3.5 apg, 48.1% FG, 40.1% 3pt FG

34. De’Anthony Melton, G, USC, So.- 6’4″ 190 lbs

2017-18 stats: N/A- Sat out for FBI investigation

35. Trevon Duval, PG, Duke, Fr.- 6’3″ 186 lbs

2017-18 stats: 10.3 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 5.6 apg, 42.8% FG, 29.0% 3pt FG

36. Grayson Allen, G, Duke, Sr.- 6’4″ 195 lbs

2017-18 stats: 15.5 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 4.6 apg, 41.8% FG, 37.0% 3pt FG

37. Chimezie Metu, PF/C, USC, Jr.- 6’11” 215 lbs

2017-18 stats: 15.7 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 1.7 bpg, 52.3% FG, 30.0% 3pt FG

38. Moritz Wagner, PF/C, Michigan, Jr.- 6’10” 210 lbs

2017-18 stats: 14.6 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 0.5 bpg, 52.8% FG, 39.4% 3pt FG

39. Hamidou Diallo, SG, Kentucky, Fr.- 6’5″ 190 lbs

2017-18 stats: 10.0 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 1.2 apg, 42.8% FG, 33.8% 3pt FG

40. Landry Shamet, PG, Wichita State, So.- 6’4″ 179 lbs

2017-18 stats: 14.9 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 5.2 apg, 48.9% FG, 44.3 3pt FG

41. Jacob Evans, SG/SF, Cincinnati, Jr.- 6’6″ 210 lbs

2017-18 stats: 13.0 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 3.1 apg, 42.7% FG, 37.0% 3pt FG

42. Melvin Frazier, G, Tulane, Jr.- 6’5″ 200 lbs

2017-18 stats: 15.9 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 2.9 apg, 56.6% FG, 38.5% 3pt FG

43. Shake Milton, G, SMU, Jr.- 6’5″ 195 lbs

2017-18 stats: 18.0 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 4.4 apg, 44.9% FG, 43.4% 3pt FG

44. Omari Spellman, PF, Villanova, Fr.- 6’9″ 260 lbs

2017-18 stats: 10.9 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 1.5 bpg, 47.6% FG, 43.3 3pt FG

45. Devonte’ Graham, PG, Kansas, Sr.- 6’2″ 172 lbs

2017-18 stats: 17.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 7.2 apg, 40.0% FG, 40.6% 3pt FG

46. Keita Bates-Diop,  F, Ohio State, Sr.- 6’7″ 190 lbs

2017-18 stats: 19.8 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 1.6 bpg, 48% FG, 35.9% 3pt FG

47. Justin Jackson, F, Maryland, So.- 6’7″ 225 lbs

2017-18 stats: 9.8 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 1.9 apg, 36.6% FG, 25.0% 3pt FG

48. Tyus Battle, G, Syracuse, So.- 6’6″ 205 lbs

2017-18 stats: 19.2 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 2.1 apg, 43.3% FG, 32.2 3pt FG

49. Elie Okobo, G, France- 6’2″ 180 lbs

2017-18 stats: 12.8 ppg, 4.5 spg, 2.6 rpg, 46.8% FG, 38.6% 3pt FG

50. Kevin Huerter, G, Maryland, So.- 6’7″ 190 lbs

2017-18 stats: 14.8 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 3.4 apg, 50.3% FG, 41.7% 3pt FG

 

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2018 NBA mock draft April 30

The NBA regular season is now way behind in the rearview mirror and teams who aren’t in contention for the title are looking ahead to next year. Here is how the NBA Draft could look come June.

1. Phoenix Suns- DeAndre Ayton, C, Arizona

Ayton has said it would be cool to play with Devin Booker and how good of a one-two punch it would be. The Suns have a nice crop of young wing players in Devin Booker, T.J. Warren and Josh Jackson, but they lack an inside presence. Ayton would give them that presence and then some. Ayton is a well-built and athletic big. He is a great rebounder, who often comes up with the ball with plenty of players around him.

2. Memphis Grizzlies- Marvin Bagley, PF, Duke

The 6’11” big man is athletic and can do everything on a basketball court, which includes shooting from deep at 39.7%. While there have been some strains in the relationship between Marc Gasol and the organization, he should be on the team next season making Bagley fit in nicely next to him on the floor.

2018 NBA mock draft April 30

Luka Doncic (Photo by slamonline.com)

3. Dallas Mavericks- Luka Doncic, G, Slovenia

Doncic has the size of a wing player in the NBA but actually plays on-ball a lot for Real Madrid. He stands 6’6″ and is an excellent passer and playmaker. His three-point shooting has gone down over the last few years, so Doncic will have to work on that. The Mavs have Dennis Smith Jr. so they will have to play with two play-makers on the floor, which isn’t a bad thing.

4. Atlanta Hawks- Michael Porter Jr., F, Missouri

Porter can play the three or the four for the Hawks. He came back from his back injury and was rusty, but showed flashes of why he was rated so highly coming out of high school. The Hawks need to take the best player available regardless of position.

5. Orlando Magic- Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma

The Magic need good guard play and have a void after trading Elfrid Payton. Young brought life to college basketball with his electrifying play. He drives, passes and shoots like Steph Curry, but does turn the ball over too much. He also has struggled on defense, but the offense should make up for it.

6. Chicago Bulls- Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama

Sexton is one of the best point guards in the class and is able to drive and distribute the ball well. This ability would fill in well with Lauri Markkanen for the future of the franchise.

7. Sacremento Kings- Wendell Carter, PF/C, Duke

Zach Randolph started at power forward this season, but likely doesn’t have much more left in the tank. Carter can play the four and the five and presents a player who can even stretch the floor with his shooting.

8. Cleveland Cavaliers- Mo Bamba, C, Texas

Tristan Thompson’s contract is awful and the Cavs need a legitimate inside presence. Bamba will be able to defend the paint, as he averages 5 blocks per 40 minutes. He has been compared to Rudy Gobert, with his good defense, and he’ll have to develop his offensive game.

9. New York Knicks- Kevin Knox, SF, Kentucky

Knox has good size and can shoot well. He is inconsistent though, as he can go off in some games and disappear in others. The Knicks need to take the best player available in this draft regardless of position.

10. Philadelphia 76ers- Mikal Bridges, SG/SF, Villanova

Ben Simmons has shown that he can make all the plays for the offense. The 76ers need to surround him with shooters. Bridges will walk in the door as a legitimate “3 and D” prospect but has a chance to develop into much more. He’s got good length but does need to add some more strength.

11. Charlotte Hornets- Miles Bridges, SF, Michigan State

Bridges is an athletic wing who already has an NBA body. He can shoot and drive and could complement the two key pieces the Hornets do have in Kemba Walker and Dwight Howard.

2018 NBA mock draft April 30

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Photo by mycn2.com)

12. Los Angeles Clippers- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky

He is a lanky point guard, who has a long wingspan, which helps him play good defense. SGA will need to work on his shooting and add some weight, but the length will get him selected early. The Clippers have Partick Beverly but need a point guard of the future.

13. Los Angeles Clippers- Robert Williams, PF/C, Texas A&M

Williams displayed what he is capable of in the NCAA Tournament. He has great athleticism for a big but doesn’t have the best motor. The Clippers could use another productive big with the departure of Blake Griffin.

14. Denver Nuggets- Gary Trent, SG, Duke

Denver has some good young players at almost every position and can take the best player available. Trent can provide even more shooting to a team that ranks fifth in the NBA in three-point percentage.

15. Washington Wizards- Lonnie Walker, PG/SG, Miami

Walker doesn’t fill the biggest need for the Wizards, but he is a good value here. He didn’t produce a lot in his freshman year at Miami, but shows flashes of potential, making him worthy of consideration here.

16. Phoenix Suns- Anfernee Simmons, PG/SG, USA

Simons has created some buzz after deciding to declare for the NBA Draft out of prep school. He can shoot and get to the basket well. The Suns will need a better point guard than Payton for the future.

17. Milwaukee Bucks- Mitchell Robinson, C, USA

Robinson sat out this year to prepare for the draft after initially signing with Western Kentucky. Milwaukee could use a young developmental big.

18. San Antonio Spurs- Khyri Thomas, PG, Creighton

The Spurs need a point guard to take over and lead the team. Thomas can get his own shots but needs to learn how to set his teammates up better.

19. Atlanta Hawks- Zhaire Smith, SG, Texas Tech

In the NCAA Tournament, Smith electrified the crowd with his dunks, but he can also hit the three-point shot at a high percentage of 45%.

2018 NBA Mock draft April 30

Donte DiVincenzo (Photo by sportingnews.com)

20. Minnesota Timberwolves- Donte DiVincenzo, SG, Villanova

The Timberwolves need to spread the floor more and find some good shooters. DiVincenzo fits that bill and is also extremely athletic.

21. Utah Jazz- Dzanan Musa, SG/SF, Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Jazz have some young pieces but could use another wing player. They can also afford to have a draft and stash if Musa fits that bill.

22. Chicago Bulls- Jontay Porter, PF/C, Missouri

Porter doesn’t get as much publicity as his brother but had a solid season at Missouri. They got a guard with their first pick and can now get some depth for the frontcourt.

23. Indiana Pacers- Troy Brown, PG/SG, Oregon

Brown is a tall, athletic guard, but doesn’t shoot well from three-point range. He needs some development but could be a good player next to Victor Oladipo.

24. Portland Trail Blazers- Brandon McCoy, C, UNLV

The Trail Blazers don’t have a lot of size and can get McCoy and help him develop.

25. Los Angeles Lakers- Moritz Wagner, PF/C, Michigan

Wagner is a bit of a matchup problem with his size and shooting ability and can benefit from playing with Lonzo Ball.

26. Philadelphia 76ers- Grayson Allen, SG, Duke

The 76ers have their playmaker in Ben Simmons and can continue to help spread the floor for him to make plays with this pick.

27. Boston Celtics- Trevon Duval, PG, Duke

The Celtics have good point guard play, but who knows how much longer they can keep Terry Rozier in a bench role after his performance in the first round of the playoffs.

2018 NBA mock draft April 30

Tony Carr (Photo by post-gazette.com)

28. Golden State Warriors- Tony Carr, PG, Penn State

Carr broke through this season and now has a chance to be drafted in the first round. He is a big guard, who can shoot and take over for Shaun Livingston.

29. Brooklyn Nets- Chandler Hutchison, SG/SF, Boise State

Hutchison was a star at Boise State who did a little bit of everything for the Broncos. With the right coaching, he can turn into a solid NBA player.

30. Atlanta Hawks- Jalen Brunson, PG, Villanova

Brunson won multiple Player of the Year awards. He is fundamentally sound and uses that to his advantage.

 

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2018 NBA mock draft April 6

The college basketball season is now over and prospects are looking forward to the draft. Here is the 2018 NBA mock draft April 6.

2018 NBA mock draft April 6

DeAndre Ayton (Photo by uproxx.com)

1. Phoenix Suns- DeAndre Ayton, C, Arizona

Ayton has said it would be cool to play with Devin Booker and how good of a one-two punch it would be. The Suns have a nice crop of young wing players in Devin Booker, T.J. Warren and Josh Jackson, but they lack an inside presence. Ayton would give them that presence and then some. Ayton is a well-built and athletic big. He is a great rebounder, who often comes up with the ball with plenty of players around him.

2. Memphis Grizzlies- Marvin Bagley III, PF, Duke

The 6’11” big man is athletic and can do everything on a basketball court, which includes shooting from deep at 39.7%. While there have been some strains in the relationship between Marc Gasol and the organization, he should be on the team next season making Bagley fit in nicely next to him on the floor.

3. Atlanta Hawks- Mo Bamba, C, Texas

Dennis Schroeder is the best thing the Hawks have going for them and they need to find players on the interior to help him out. Bamba will be able to defend the paint, as he averages 5 blocks per 40 minutes. He has been compared to Rudy Gobert, with his good defense, and he’ll have to develop his offensive game.

4. Orlando Magic- Luka Doncic, G, Spain

Doncic has the size of a wing player in the NBA but actually plays on-ball a lot for Real Madrid. He stands 6’6″ and is an excellent passer and playmaker. His three-point shooting has gone down over the last few years, so Doncic will have to work on that. The Magic need good guard play and have a void after trading Elfrid Payton.

5. Dallas Mavericks- Michael Porter Jr., F, Missouri

The Mavs have guards and wings and now need some bigger players for the future. Dirk Nowitzki is the only really productive big on the roster and will be gone in a few years. Porter can play the three or the four for the Mavs. He came back from his back injury and was rusty, but showed flashes of why he was rated so highly coming out of high school.

6. Sacramento Kings- Jaren Jackson Jr., PF, Michigan State

Zach Randolph is the leading scorer on the Kings and is playing out his last few NBA years. By selecting Jackson, the Kings could replace Randolph and add another young player with potential to the starting lineup. Jackson has been a monster on the inside for Michigan State this season. Per 40 minutes, he is averaging 20 points and 11 rebounds per game. He also is a good rim protector.

7. Cleveland Cavaliers- Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma

Well, LeBron James has already talked about how good Trae Young is. The Cavs just got George Hill, but he is aging and could help develop Young. They can also play Young off-ball. Young brought life to college basketball with his electrifying play. He drives, passes and shoots like Steph Curry, but does turn the ball over too much. He also has struggled on defense, but the offense should make up for it.

8. Chicago Bulls- Mikal Bridges, SG/SF, Villanova

Bridges will walk in the door as a legitimate “3 and D” prospect but has a chance to develop into much more. He’s got good length but does need to add some more strength. The Bulls have some good guard play and Lauri Markkanen but could use a solid wing defender.

2018 NBA mock draft April 6

Collin Sexton (Photo by saturdaydownsouth.com)

9. New York Knicks- Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama

The Knicks selected Frank Nitilikina last year and traded for Emmanuel Mudiay, but neither have been great. They’ll need a legitimate point guard if they are ever going to compete. Sexton is one of the best players available, who is able to drive and distribute the ball well.

10. Philadelphia 76ers- Kevin Knox, SF/PF, Kentucky

Knox is still deciding whether he will enter his name into the draft, but if he does, he is a lottery pick. The 76ers don’t have too many needs and can elect to take a player like Knox, who can be a key role player before potentially breaking into stardom.

11. Charlotte Hornets- Miles Bridges, SF, Michigan State

Bridges is an athletic wing who already has an NBA body. He can shoot and drive and could complement the two key pieces the Hornets do have in Kemba Walker and Dwight Howard.

12. Los Angeles Clippers- Wendell Carter, PF/C, Duke

Will DeAndre Jordan be with the Clippers much longer? He says he wants to be there, but they are rebuilding. Carter would present good value here and could play next to Jordan if the Clippers decide to keep him.

13. Denver Nuggets- Gary Trent Jr., SG, Duke

Denver has some good young players at almost every position and can take the best player available. Trent can provide even more shooting to a team that ranks fifth in the NBA in three-point percentage.

14. Los Angeles Clippers- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky

He is a lanky point guard, who has a long wingspan, which helps him play good defense. SGA will need to work on his shooting and add some weight, but the length will get him selected early. The Clippers have Partick Beverly but need a point guard of the future.

15. Phoenix Suns- Anfernee Simons, PG/SG, USA

Simons has created some buzz after deciding to declare for the NBA Draft out of prep school. He can shoot and get to the basket well. The Suns will need a better point guard than Payton for the future.

16. Phoenix Suns- Lonnie Walker IV, SG, Miami

He hasn’t produced a lot in his freshman year at Miami, but shows flashes of potential, making him worthy of consideration here. The Suns can fill a few different needs with their first-round picks.

17. Washington Wizards- Robert Williams, PF/C, Texas A&M

Williams displayed what he is capable of in the NCAA Tournament. He has great athleticism for a big but doesn’t have the best motor. The Wizards need an inside player for John Wall and Bradley Beal to play off of.

2018 NBA mock draft April 6

Zhaire Smith (Photo by aol.com)

18. Atlanta Hawks- Zhaire Smith, SG, Texas Tech

In the NCAA Tournament, Smith electrified the crowd with his dunks, but he can also hit the three-point shot at a high percentage of 45%.

19. Utah Jazz- Dzanan Musa, SG/SF, Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Jazz have some young pieces but could use another wing player. They can also afford to have a draft and stash if Musa fits that bill.

20.  Chicago Bulls- Jontay Porter, PF/C, Missouri

Porter doesn’t get as much publicity as his brother but had a solid season at Missouri. They got a wing with their first pick and can now get some depth for the frontcourt.

21. San Antonio Spurs- Troy Brown, SG, Oregon

The Spurs will need better guard play with Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili winding down their careers. Brown is a tall, athletic guard, but doesn’t shoot well from three-point range.

22. Indiana Pacers- Khyri Thomas, PG/SG, Creighton 

Indiana needs a point guard to add to Victor Oladipo and Myles Turner.

23. Philadelphia 76ers- Mitchell Robinson, C, USA

Robinson sat out this year to prepare for the draft after initially signing with Western Kentucky. The 76ers had depth at center for years when they were “trusting the process”, but now need to find someone behind Joel Embiid.

24. Minnesota Timberwolves- Grayson Allen, SG, Duke

Minnesota is 19th in the NBA in three-point shooting percentage and Allen can help them off the bench in that category.

2018 NBA Mock draft april 6

Caleb Martin (Photo by Nevadaapeal.com)

25. Los Angeles Lakers- Caleb Martin, SG/SF, Nevada

Martin played well at Nevada this season and the Lakers could use more wing players.

26. Portland Trail Blazers- Brandon McCoy, C, UNLV

The Trail Blazers don’t have a lot of size and can get McCoy and help him develop.

27. Boston Celtics- Chimezie Metu, PF/C, USC

Boston should be better next year with all their players healthy, but don’t have many young bigs.

28. Golden State Warriors- Tony Carr, PG, Penn State

Carr broke through this season and now has a chance to be drafted in the first round. He is a big guard, who can shoot and take over for Shaun Livingston.

29. Brooklyn Nets- Moritz Wagner, PF/C, Michigan

The Nets need to acquire more talent but are stuck with the second to last pick in the first round. Wagner presents good value and could help fill their need of an interior player.

30. Atlanta Hawks- Jalen Brunson, PG, Villanova

Brunson won multiple Player of the Year awards. He is fundamentally sound and uses that to his advantage.

 

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2018 NBA mock draft February 3

+-The NBA season is over the halfway point, which means the “tanking” will intensify. There are some good prospects that many teams will covet in the 2018 NBA Draft. Here is the 2018 NBA mock draft February 3:

1. Atlanta Hawks- Marvin Bagley III, PF, Duke

Not too many mock drafts have Bagley going this high, but he is the best player in the class. The biggest mistake teams make when picking this high is to reach and fill a need. Atlanta needs talented players more than anything and Bagley would provide that. The 6’11” big man is athletic and can do everything on a basketball court, which includes shooting from deep at 34%.

2018 NBA Mock Draft February 3

Luka Doncic (Photo by youtube.com)

2. Orlando Magic- Luka Doncic, G, Slovenia

Doncic projects as a wing player in the NBA, but actually plays on ball a lot for Real Madrid. He stands 6’6″ and is an excellent passer and playmaker. His three point shooting has gone down over the last few years, so Doncic will have to work on that. Orlando lucks out in that they are getting a really good player and they have a need for perimeter players.

3. Dallas Mavericks- DeAndre Ayton, C, Arizona

With their selection of Dennis Smith Jr., the Mavericks have a pretty well fit out backcourt. They need some good players on the interior. Ayton is a well-built and athletic big. He is a great rebounder, who often comes up with the ball with plenty of players around him.

4. Sacremento Kings- Michael Porter Jr., SF, Missouri

Porter has been injured since Missouri’s first game and had to have surgery on his spine. That is a serious injury, but Porter was a highly-coveted recruit and has the ability to play point forward. The Kings could bolster their lineup to include: De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Porter, Zach Randolph and Willie Cauley-Stein.

5. Phoenix Suns- Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma

Young has been the best player in college basketball with his electrifying play. He drives, passes and shoots like Steph Curry, but does turn the ball over too much. He also has struggles on defense, but the offense should make up for it. The Suns need a point guard to replace Eric Bledsoe and to feed the ball to Devin Booker.

6. Chicago Bulls- Kevin Knox, SF, Kentucky

The Bulls have struck gold with Lauri Markkanen and now need to give him more support. With the selection of Knox, Chicago can go small with Knox at the four and Markkanen at the five or play a big man and play them at the three and four. Knox has heated up as of late with some clutch shooting and will soon see his name rise on draft boards

7. Memphis Grizzlies- Jaren Jackson, PF, Michigan State

Jackson has been a monster on the inside for Michigan State this season. Per 40 minutes, he is averaging 20 points and 11 rebounds per game. The Grizzlies can pair him and Marc Gasol together on the inside, if Gasol stays in Memphis.

8. Cleveland Cavaliers- Mo Bamba, C, Texas

Cleveland needs more players who are willing to accept their roles and be worth the paycheck. Bamba will be great for defense and rebounding, much like Tristen Thompson should be. He will provide very little on the offensive side of the ball other than dunks.

9. Philadelphia 76ers- Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama

Is it too early to give up on Markelle Fultz? Who knows, but his jump shot isn’t looking too much better. Either way, Sexton is a great player that can get to the basket and distribute the ball.

2018 NBA Mock Draft February 3

Mikal Bridges (Photo by draftexpress.com)

10. Charlotte Hornets-Mikal Bridges, G/F, Villanova

Bridges is one of the most improved players in college basketball this season. He is shooting 43% from deep on the season and provides some good athleticism. The Hornets really need to find out what they are doing with Kemba Walker before taking this pick, as he is seemingly on the trade block every year.

11. Utah Jazz- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky

The Jazz hit on Donovan Mitchell in last year’s draft, which means they are set on wing players. They also have Rudy Gobert in the middle. Taking Gilgeous-Alexander to groom behind Rubio wouldn’t be a bad idea. He is a lanky point guard, who plays great defense.

12. New York Knicks- Wendell Carter, PF/C, Duke

Wendell has been a very solid player, who sometimes gets overshadowed by Bagley. He has limited athletic ability, but he is very effective. Carter even shoots the three at a solid clip of 46%. While the Knicks do have Porzingis, he and Carter are versatile enough to play on the court at the same time.

13. Los Angeles Clippers- Robert Williams, PF/C, Texas A&M

The Clippers just traded away Blake Griffin and may want to replace him at power forward. Williams hasn’t had a very productive year at Texas A&M, but he is talented.

14. Los Angeles Clippers- Miles Bridges, SF, Michigan State

With the Clippers having an extra pick due to the Griffin trade they can also improve their perimeter players. Bridges is an athletic wing who already has an NBA body.

15. Philadelphia 76ers- Omer Yurtseven, C, N.C. State

With the earlier pick going to the backcourt, this pick needs to be used on frontcourt depth. Yurtseven is 7’0″ and has taken a huge step forward this season for the Wolfpack.

16. Denver Nuggets- Jared Vanderbilt, SF, Kentucky

Vanderbilt has been out most of the year with an injury, but has come on strong for Kentucky. He is long, which helps him rebound well, but needs to shoot better. The Nuggets can slowly bring him on to fill out the starting lineup.

17. Chicago Bulls- Hamidou Diallo, SG, Kentucky

The Bulls got Knox with their first pick, who can play the three or four, so they now select the super athletic shooting guard. Diallo may be the most athletic in the class and can get to the basket with his strong drives.

2018 NBA Mock Draft February 3

Mitchell Robinson (Photo by sportingnews.com)

18. Milwaukee Bucks- Mitchell Robinson, C, USA

Robinson had intended to go to Western Kentucky, but then dropped out of school to prepare for the NBA draft. The Bucks need more inside depth.

19. Indiana Pacers- Lonnie Walker IV, SG, Miami

Indiana could use some backcourt depth and Walker is really starting to come on for the Hurricanes. Both he and Victor Oladipo are versatile, meaning they can play on the court at the same time if need be.

20. Washington Wizards- Brandon McCoy, C, UNLV

McCoy can provide the Wizards with some much needed front court depth and also be a good developmental player.

21. Phoenix Suns- Bruno Fernando, PF/C, Maryland

The Suns picked Josh Jackson last year and Trae Young with the first pick in this mock. They can get a big here to help fill out the roster.

22. Portland Trail Blazers- Chimezie Metu, PF/C, USC

Metu has progressed every year in college and has even developed an outside shot this season.

23. Minnesota Timberwolves- Landry Shamet, PG, Wichita State

Minnesota gets a good defender and a point guard that can learn for a few seasons before challenging for starting minutes.

24. Atlanta Hawks- Dznan Musa, SF, Bosnia and Herzogovina 

The Hawks get their star rookie with the first pick in Bagley and can afford to select a possible draft and stash this one.

25. Cleveland Cavaliers- Trevon Duval, PG, Duke

Duval has played well at Duke and can develop into a good pro. Cleveland’s point guard situation can get a little bit murky after the season.

26. San Antonio Spurs- Troy Brown, G, Oregon

Brown is an athletic wing who needs to develop his outside shot more. Fortunately for him the Spurs are successful at teaching players how to shoot better.

2018 NBA Mock Draft February 3

Alize Johnson (Photo by si.com)

27. Brooklyn Nets- Alize Johnson, PF, Missouri State

The Nets acquired Jahlil Okafor, but still need some more production from the inside.

28. Boston Celtics- Grayson Allen, SG, Duke

Allen can shoot, which will be good for the Celtics’ bench next season.

29. Atlanta Hawks- Allonzo Trier, SG, Arizona

In this mock draft the Hawks have drafted Bagley, a possible draft and stash wing and now get a perimeter scorer.

30. Golden State Warriors- Tony Carr, PG, Penn State

The Warriors will likely need to replenish their guard depth this offseason and Carr has been a star for Penn State.

 

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NBA prospects to watch in the 2017 Champions Classic

The Champions Classic is loaded with NBA talent every year because of the level of teams in the event. Every year Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and Michigan State get together to play in an early season event to signify to everyone that basketball is back. Here are the top NBA prospects to watch in the 2017 Champions Classic:

Duke Prospects

Marvin Bagley, PF, Fr.

NBA prospects in the champions Classic

Marvin Bagley (Photo by bleacherreport.com)

Bagley is a generational talent that will likely be in the running to be the number one overall pick. He can do a little bit of everything and is leading Duke in scoring. He is averaging 24.5 points and 10 rebounds per game on the young season. One thing he can work on is his passing, as he continually will not find the open man and will rather put up heavily contested shots. The good thing for him is that he is good enough to make most of his shots, 65.7%, even when being double teamed.

Projected draft range: Top three pick

Wendell Carter Jr., PF/C, Fr.

Carter is only averaging 10 points and 6.5 rebounds, but there is so much talent on the Duke roster that stats aren’t the deciding factor for being a great prospect. He has been the rim protector for the Blue Devils so far with six blocks in two games. Carter was the fifth ranked prospect in the 2017 class according to ESPN.

Projected draft range: Top 10 pick

Trevon Duval, PG, Fr.

The number one point guard in the recruiting class was Trevon Duval. He is averaging a double-double in the first two games with points and assists. He averages 11.5 points and 10 assists per game. Duval has shown the ability to drive and score or dish the ball out, but needs to show he can knock down outside shots in order to keep defenses honest.

Projected draft range: Lottery pick-late first round pick

Gary Trent, SG, Fr.

Trent can be an x-factor for this Duke team this season. He is a good wing player, that with his outside shooting, can take some pressure off of Bagley. In the first two games he has already made seven threes on 13 attempts. His length can make him a good defender, but he will be tested by Michigan State on the defensive end.

Projected draft range: Lottery pick-late first round pick

Grayson Allen, SG, Sr.

Yes, Allen is still considered to be drafted in the NBA Draft. He gets a lot of criticism due to his attitude problems, but he is a solid player that has learned how to best play in his role every year at Duke. He is the second leading scorer so far, averaging 20 points a game. He has been the Blue Devils’ best shooter so far this season and, like Trent, can take pressure off of other players by knocking down shots. He has made 10 three pointers in 15 attempts.

Projected draft range: Late first round pick-early second round pick

Michigan State Prospects

Miles Bridges, SF, So.

Nba draft prospects in the champions classic

Miles Bridges (Photo by draftexpress.com)

Bridges surprised a lot of people by deciding to return to school after a great freshman season. He does everything for Michigan State from scoring to rebounding. His athleticism is crazy, and it can be seen in some of his highlight reel dunks. If he can knock down outside shots and limit turnovers, he is a complete player. Bridges will be one of the best college players this season and will get consideration for Player of the Year to go along with being considered a top prospect.

Projected draft range: Lottery pick

Jaren Jackson Jr., PF, Fr.

The Spartans have a lot of good inside players this season, but Jackson got the starting nod in Michigan State’s season opener. He had 13 points, 13 rebounds and four blocked shots against North Florida and he looks poised for bigger things. Jackson was also able to knock down nine of 10 free throws, which is a nice skill to have, being that he will be fouled a lot this year.

Projected draft range: Lottery pick

Cassius Winston, PG, So.

Winston is one of the best passers in college basketball. He makes plays and shows off his high basketball IQ in the process. Not only can he drive to the basket, he can also knock down outside shots. Winston is not the most sought after prospect right now, but with continued good play, NBA executives will start to fall in love with him.

Projected draft range: Second round pick-undrafted free agent

Kansas Prospects

Billy Preston, PF, Fr.

NBA draft prospects in the champions Classic

Billy Preston (Photo by kuhoops.com)

Unfortunately, the world has yet to see Preston on the college level yet, as he was suspended from the season opener for missing curfew and class. That is a little concerning, but overall not a big deal. He was the 18th ranked recruit by ESPN and will be asked to be one of the few legitimate inside players for the Jayhawks.

Projected draft range: Late first round pick-early second round

Legarald Vick, SG, Jr.

Vick has crazy athleticism from the wing. He has been getting significant minutes the last few years at Kansas, despite a crowded backcourt. If Vick can add some muscle and have a good season as one of the lead guys on the Jayhawks’ roster he can get drafted.

Projected draft range: Second round pick-undrafted free agent

Devonte’ Graham, PG, Sr.

Now that Frank Mason is gone, Graham is tasked with running the offense. He is a little undersized for the NBA, but has a lot of desirable qualities. Graham is a great defender and has the ability to play on ball and off of it. He has shown that he can create for his teammates so far this season with 12 assists in one game. Graham can also shoot from deep, with a career percentage of 41% on three point shots.

Projected draft range: Second round pick-undrafted free agent

Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, SG/SF, Sr.

Svi has gotten an increased role every year at Kansas. He is intriguing to NBA people because of his length and shooting ability. Svi is a 38% three point shooter and at his size, he is a tough matchup. This season he can really prove he is worth an NBA draft pick with his added minutes.

Projected draft range: Second round pick-undrafted free agent

Udoka Azubuike, C, So.

Azubuike’s year ended early last season due to a wrist injury, but now he is back and healthy. He has great length at seven feet tall and is strictly an inside player. With a changing NBA game, where good inside players are devalued, Azubuike has to expand his game. He is still worthy of a draft pick if he plays well.

Projected draft range: Second round pick-undrafted free agent

Kentucky prospects

Kevin Knox, PF/SF, Fr.

NBA draft prospects in the champions classic

Kevin Knox (Photo by seccountry.com)

NBA executives will love Knox because of his athleticism and face up game. He can dribble, shoot and rebound. Knox does need to shoot more efficiently, as in two games he has below a 30% field goal percentage. He will get good experience playing on the perimeter at Kentucky, but needs to start knocking down outside shots to make him the ultra-versatile player that will be drafted really early.

Projected draft range: Lottery pick

Hamidou Diallo, SG, Fr.

Diallo is one of the most athletic players in the draft class. He has been the best player for Kentucky so far. While he can get to the basket almost at will, he does have some areas of his game he needs to improve. These areas include outside shooting, shot selection and on-ball defending. The athleticism is good enough to get him drafted highly, but if he can improve in other areas, he can move up draft boards.

Projected draft range: Lottery pick-late first round pick

Nick Richards, C, Fr.

Richards is a former volleyball player, whose skills in that sport should help him at Kentucky. He had three blocks against Utah Valley in the opener. Richards can rebound and defend, which is nice, but he will have to show a vastly improved offensive game if he wants to be selected early on in the draft.

Projected draft range: First round pick

P.J. Washington, SF/PF, Fr.

In his first game Washington did not look good, but was great in the second game of the season. He has an inside-out game, that will pique the interest of NBA teams. Knocking down outside shots will drastically improve his draft status.

Projected draft range: Late first round pick-early second round pick

*Jarred Vanderbilt will not play in the event due to a foot injury, but is likely going to be drafted as well.

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