NBA Draft steals

The best NBA draft prospects outside the lottery

Year after year, NBA front offices look for a diamond in the rough. Drafting is hard enough to pull off as it is, but some draftees fall under the radar.

Jimmy Butler, Isaiah Thomas and Giannis Antetokounmpo are all examples of non-lottery picks that have turned into stars. Some of the biggest steals fall in the draft.

It is up to the front offices to put the right guys in the right systems. Here are some of the best underrated players in the 2018 NBA draft class.

Keita Bates-Diop, Ohio State

Projection: Late first round

The NBA loves a guy who can play inside out. Bates-Diop is one of the more offensively complete college players in this draft class. He went from being a good prospect his sophomore year to a great prospect his junior year.

He averaged 19.8 points per game and 8.7 rebounds per game his junior season. He will have to be more of a small forward in his transition into the NBA. But with a 6-foot-7 frame and high release, he should have no problem shooting over defenders.

He scored 20 or more points in 15 of the 34 games he played in his junior season and scored under 10 just twice. He recorded 13 double-doubles and shot 48 percent from the field, 35.9 percent from the 3-point line and 79.4 percent from the free-throw line. Bates-Diop’s game transitions extremely well to the NBA.

He has a very polished offensive game and has the ability to guard almost anyone on defense. His draft stock is rising fast, as it should. Bates-Diop has one of the best all-around games in the 2018 draft class.

Omari Spellman, Villanova

Projection: Late first round

We go from a very proven college athlete to a young guy. Omari Spellman is a first-year player out of Villanova. He averaged 10.9 points and eight rebounds in his only season. Spellman also shot 47.6 percent from the field and shot a very impressive 43.3 percent from the 3-point line. His totaled just one less 3-pointer made than Bates-Diop, but shot less of them.

What makes Spellman interesting to NBA scouts is his athletic ability as well as his ceiling. In almost an opposite direction from Bates-Diop, going to the NBA now makes using the unpredictable an advantage. Spellman played so well with a group of stars and was a key part to a National Championship. It was his best move to advance to the NBA.

Spellman’s ceiling really falls within his athleticism. He has a 7-foot-2 wingspan even though he stands at just 6-foot-9. He is very explosive around the rim, but does not necessarily have an above-the-rim game. He has a great nose on the boards despite being undersized for his position.

He does not have a complete game in the sense that he is not a back-to-the-basket player. However, he is very comfortable away from the basket and is also comfortable facing the basket. Those two things translate extremely well to the NBA’s style of play.

Brandon McCoy, UNLV

Projection: Mid-second round

NBA Draft steals

Brandon McCoy (Photo from Review Journal)

Here is a guy that many people might not know of. Brandon McCoy is extremely skilled as a 7-foot-1 traditional center. He is 250 pounds and is a monster on the boards. He has not necessarily had his chances against Power-Five competition. However, against projected No. 1 pick Deandre Ayton, he put up 33 points and 10 rebounds.

McCoy averaged 16.9 points, 10.3 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in his freshman season. He shot 54.5 percent from the field and 72.5 percent from the free-throw line.

In a way, he is similar to Dwight Howard when he came into the league. He is extremely strong, but is also offensively raw and does not have too much diversity in his game. He is very good in the pick and roll and is also very good with his back to the basket due to his size.

He does not have a fantastic face-up game. However, he did show he could make a three, he just never had the confidence to shoot in bulk.

McCoy has the ability to dominate the paint given the right system. He is extremely raw, but can still come into his own given some time. After all, he is only 19 years old.

Malik Newman, Kansas

Projection: Late second round

Malik Newman started at Mississippi State and finished at Kansas. If you look at the difference in statistics, he looks like a completely different person.

Since his Mississippi State days, he has improved all his statistics drastically. In one season, he went from shooting 68.7 percent from the free-throw line and improved all the way to 83.5 percent at the end of his sophomore season.

His sophomore year percentages were 46.3 percent from the field, 41.5 percent from three and 83.5 percent from the free-throw line. He averaged 14.2 points, five rebounds and 2.1 assists. The thing that makes him most interesting is that during the back half of his sophomore season, his statistics skyrocketed.

Newman can be an important piece to any NBA roster. He reminds many of former Jayhawk Ben McLemore. He has a great jump shot and also has a ton of athletic ability.

 

Featured image from Bleacherfan.com

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“From Our Haus to Yours”

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 March 7

March Madness is quickly approaching, which has given NBA personnel almost a whole season to look at prospects. While the prospects have been playing, they also have been jockeying for position on NBA Draft boards. Here is the latest 2018 NBA mock draft.

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

Not too many mock drafts have Bagley going this high, but he should be considered for number one overall. The biggest mistake teams make when picking this high is to reach and fill a need. The 6’11” big man is athletic and can do everything on a basketball court, which includes shooting from deep at 34%. 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 March 7

DeAndre Ayton (Photo by sportingnews.com)

2. Phoenix Suns- DeAndre Ayton, C, Arizona

The Suns have a nice crop of young wing players in Devin Booker 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.

3. Dallas Mavericks- 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. He also is a good rim protector. Dallas just drafted Dennis Smith Jr. to fill their need at point guard and need to pair him with a young big for the future.

4. Sacremento Kings- Michael Porter Jr., SF/PF, 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. Atlanta Hawks- Luka Doncic, SG/SF, Spain

The Hawks just need to acquire talent on their roster in any way possible. 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.

6. 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 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.

7. Orlando Magic- Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama

The Magic trade Elfrid Payton to the Suns and need a new point guard of the future. Sexton is one of the best players available, who is able to drive and distribute the ball well.

8. Chicago Bulls- Mo Bamba, C, Texas

The Bulls have struck gold with Lauri Markkanen and now need to give him more support. While Markkanen is an offensive big, Bamba will be able to defend the paint. Bamba averages 5 blocks per 40 minutes. He has had a lingering toe injury, but should be perfectly fine by the time the daft rolls around.

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

Knox is a big small forward that can shoot, but is inconsistent. The Knicks have decent guards, big men and a star in Porzingis, but need a small forward who can score.

10. Charlotte Hornets- 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%. Charlotte has drafted a lot of wing players, but could focus on the interior here.

11. Philadelphia 76ers- Miles Bridges, SG/SF, Michigan State

Bridges is an athletic wing who already has an NBA body. He can shoot and drive and could feed off of Ben Simmons’ passing.

2018 NBA mock draft March 7

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (photo by aseaofblue.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. Utah Jazz- Mikal Bridges, SG/SF, Villanova

The Jazz’s roster changed with the NBA Trade Deadline and could use a young wing. Bridges can shoot and play defense, which at least makes him a good three and D prospect.

14. 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. His motor has been questioned, but if the Clippers get the most out of him he can be a good player.

15. Phoenix Suns- Tony Carr, PG/SG, Penn State

Not too many people are as high on Tony Carr, but the sophomore can play. He scores and distributes the ball well, but also can stretch the defense with his 46% on three point shots. Carr also has great size at 6’5″ and can fill a need for the Suns.

16. Milwaukee Bucks- Omer Yurtseven, C, N.C. State

Thon Maker isn’t developing as planned, so the Bucks may elect to go with another big. Yurtseven is 7’0″ and has taken a huge step forward this season for the Wolfpack.

17. Philadelphia 76ers- Lonnie Walker, PG/SG, Miami

With Markelle Fultz’s status being up in the air, the 76ers might want to get a player who can play both guard spots. He hasn’t produced a lot in his freshman year at Miami, but shows flashes of potential.

18. Denver Nuggets- Gary Trent Jr., SG/SF, Duke

The Nuggets have a few good young pieces and just need to keep adding quality players and maybe snag a key free agent. Trent is a good shooter, but needs to work on his defense.

19. Washington Wizards- Mitchell Robinson, C, USA

Robinson is a former five star prospect who chose to attend Western Kentucky, but it didn’t work out. He has since been preparing for the NBA Draft. If the Wizards can acquire a good interior player, they can compete even more in the Eastern Conference

2018 NBA mock draft March 7

Landry Shamet (Photo by draftexpress.com)

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

The Timberwolves have Jeff Teague, but might want another option in a few years. Landry Shamet  is another lanky point guard which should help him on defense at the NBA level.

21. Indiana Pacers- Khyri Thomas, PG, Creigthon

Thomas has gotten better every year at Creighton and shoots the three a nice clip of 43%, but needs to work on his passing. The Pacers don’t have a great point guard on the roster and can develop Thomas.

22. San Antonio Spurs- Dzanan Musa, SF, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Musa is 18 and only averages 10.5 points per game in Europe, but could be a good draft and stash if he develops. Given the Spurs nature to use the draft and stash effectively, this could be their pick.

23. Atlanta Hawks- Hamidou Diallo, SG, Kentucky

Diallo is athletic enough to play in the NBA, but struggles shooting the ball and on defense.

24. Los Angeles Lakers- Grayson Allen, SG, Duke

The Lakers are going to try to make a splash in free agency. Taking Allen would give them a role player who can shoot the ball and bring energy off the bench.

25. Chicago Bulls- Troy Brown, SG, Oregon

The Bulls can use this pick to develop a wing player. Brown is an athletic wing, who needs to develop his outside shot more.

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

Metu has developed an outside shot this year and can benefit from playing with Portland’s talented guards.

27. Boston Celtics- Brandon McCoy, C, UNLV

Boston can use a developmental big to pair with a bunch of their young players.

2018 NBA mock draft March 7

Daniel Gafford (Photo by arkansasonline.com)

28. Brooklyn Nets- Daniel Gafford, C, Arkansas

With 12 points and six rebounds per game, Gafford has had a good freshman season for the Razorbacks. The Nets are thin on the inside.

29. Golden State Warrios- Trevon Duval, PG, Duke

Shaun Livingston can’t play forever and more depth is needed at point guard for the Warriors.

30. Atlanta Hawks- Jontay Porter, PF/C, Missouri

Porter has had a good freshman season at Missouri with the absence of his brother. The Hawks already have drafted two back court players in this mock, so will need to get more depth on the interior.

 

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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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UNLV Basketball Is Making A Comeback

It’s been a good offseason for Runnin’ Rebels fans after a difficult season. UNLV finished 11-21 and missed the NCAA tournament for the fourth straight year.

However, the Runnin’ Rebels look to get the program back on top, starting with a good recruiting class for next year.

The class is highlighted by recent commit Brandon McCoy, who is the No. 4 ranked center and No. 15 overall ranked player in ESPN’s top 100 recruits. He committed to UNLV over Arizona, Michigan State, Oregon and San Diego State. He was also a McDonald’s All-American and played in the Jordan Classic earlier this year.

UNLV

Brandon McCoy committes to UNLV via twitter (Photo via Bleacher Report)

“I felt very comfortable with the coaching staff and loved the campus,” McCoy told ESPN. “I want to get UNLV back the way it was in the 1990s.”

Getting the program back to what it was in the 90s seems like a tall task. It is even tougher considering that a lot of people believe that the 1989-90 UNLV squad was one of the greatest, if not the greatest, college basketball team of all time.

If one thing is for certain in college basketball, it’s that anything is possible.

On top of McCoy, the Runnin’ Rebels added five more recruits, including former Oklahoma State commit Amauri Hardy, who committed to UNLV just a day after McCoy. Hardy, who is the No. 23 ranked point guard and No. 82 ranked player in ESPN’s top 100, will also look to get UNLV back to where it once was.

UNLV has a top 25 recruiting class, which shouldn’t be surprising. Despite their lack of performance the past couple of years, they have had top 25 recruiting classes. Their recruiting class ranked 11th in the country in 2014 and 16th in 2015. They went 18-15 both years.

Former coach Dave Rice was usually able to get a consistent recruiting class that usually fell within ESPN’s top 25. The problem wasn’t recruiting, but execution. UNLV had the players. They just didn’t use them to their full potential.

UNLV

2nd year head coach Marvin Menzies looks to revamp UNLV, starting this year (AP Photo).

That could have very well attributed to the departure of three UNLV players. Late in March, Troy Baxter Jr., Zion Morgan, and Jalen Poyser all said that they were leaving UNLV. It might have seemed like an issue at the time, but it helped open up six scholarship spots for next season.

Now the question is: will this year be different?

Under second-year head coach Marvin Menzies, UNLV looks to finally capitalize on their prime time talent, and it starts with McCoy. Landing the big man is a statement by UNLV, making sure that college basketball still knows the Runnin’ Rebels are there to compete.

Accompanied by an already talented roster, McCoy and Hardy are joined by incoming freshmen Jay Greene, Cheikh Mbacke Diong, Tervell Beck and Shakur Juiston. So don’t count out the Runnin’ Rebels just yet, because we could see them winning games once again, just like they did in the old days.

 

Featured Image by CSNbbs

 

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