Mark Wahlen & Zach Milner
Mark & Zach are NBA draft analysts & contributors to The Five By 5.
In this mock draft, with Zach selecting 1st, Mark and Zach alternated drafting pick by pick. Each team's draft history & tendencies were taken into account, as were the team's roster needs when making each pick. However, Zach & Mark also allowed room for their own opinions when making picks, based on what they deemed would be best for the team & organization. Additionally, if there's an in-depth scouting report available for the player shown, click their name to be taken to their report.
1. Phoenix Suns: DeAndre Ayton
With the recent hire of Utah Jazz assistant Igor Kokoskov, many would think that the Suns would target Luka Doncic with the #1 pick (Igor coached Luka’s Serbian national team). But Ayton still remains as the highest upside player in this draft class, and that gives him a slight nod over Doncic, whose ceiling is perceived by most as being a slightly lower. Not to mention that the Suns are in desperate need of a legitimate big man to pair with Devin Booker and Josh Jackson. The local popularity of Ayton, who played college ball a couple hours away at the University of Arizona, will also be a strong pull for Suns management who need to find a way to reignite interest in the lowly Suns. The core of Devin Booker, Josh Jackson and DeAndre Ayton could be a force in the near future with Igor at the helm.
2. Sacramento Kings: Luka Doncic
Sacramento has already stated that they are more than happy to take whoever is leftover between Ayton and Doncic, and with Ayton going number one to Phoenix, it leaves them with Doncic. Doncic is definitely a better fit with this Kings roster than Ayton anyways because of the numerous front-court players they already have. In terms of skills, Doncic should be able to do a little bit of everything for the Kings as he excels with the ball is in his hands, but is also capable of playing off ball as a secondary ball handler and spot-up shooter. This is particularly important since the Kings already have De’Aaron Fox, who needs to have the ball in his hands to be most effective. Doncic also excels in transition, so it will be very interesting to see how he and De’Aaron Fox, who’s one of the fastest guys in the league, play alongside of each other.
3. Atlanta Hawks: Jaren Jackson Jr.
Jaren Jackson Jr. has the potential to be a DPOY candidate in the future and he seems like a better fit next to John Collins than Marvin Bagley III, as Bagley is essentially the same player as John Collins. JJJ will be able to stretch the floor while John Collins gets easy buckets around the hoop, and they’ll both be dangerous as rolling bigs in pick and rolls. Atlanta will also hope that JJJ will serve as a defensive anchor for them with his high level rim protection and switchability. Although, despite the fit concerns, reports indicate that the Hawks are enamored with Bagley, so we’ll see on draft night which direction they decide to go.
4. Memphis Grizzlies: Marvin Bagley III
Marvin Bagley III is the best player available at this spot in the draft, but he also fits the Memphis culture as a hard worker that plays with a high motor. He’s the exact kind of player that you’d think Memphis would want and would take. He’s explosive, very mobile, an elite rebounder and elite finisher around the rim. In particular, his ability to finish around the rim makes him intriguing for the Grizzlies, as he and Mike Conley could develop into one of the best pick and roll combo’s in the league. And although he still has some concerns on the defensive end of the floor, pairing him with Marc Gasol, who can anchor the Grizzlies defense, makes a lot of sense. But that’s assuming Gasol is still in Memphis when the beginning of the season comes around.
5. Dallas Mavericks: Mohamed Bamba
While Dallas would have loved to be in the top four of this draft, they get a player at 5 who might have the highest ceiling out of the entire draft class in Mohamed Bamba. And while a lot of people feel like Bamba has the highest ceiling in this class, he also has a chance to become a bust with a questionable motor, basketball IQ and slender frame. However, Dallas shouldn’t concern themselves too much with this risk as they’re in for a long-term rebuild, and have a strong head coach in Rick Carlisle, who should be able to help Bamba reach his ultimate potential. In terms of skills, Bamba has the ability to be a defensive anchor for Dallas with his length and shot-blocking instincts. There are some concerns about his offensive game, but he has been putting in the work with the legendary Drew Hanlen to polish up his shooting and other offensive skills. Don’t be surprised if Dallas tries to move up in this draft as Jaren Jackson Jr and Marvin Bagley III seem like perfect fits for their roster.
6. Orlando Magic: Trae Young
The Orlando Magic desperately need a point guard, especially after trading away Elfrid Payton for peanuts at the trade deadline. Enter Trae Young. Despite slowing down as the college season wore on, and being undersized, he’s still the best point guard prospect in this draft class by a wide margin. The Magic also need a player to get excited about after several disappointing seasons in a row, and Young will bring that in spades. His shooting and passing will also be a welcomed sight to a Magic team that’s loaded with bigs that need someone to space the floor and help create easy shots for them. Michael Porter Jr. would also be an interesting pick for them, but he’s too big of of a risk and too redundant on their roster for them to pass up on a point guard of Youngs’ caliber. Although, we wouldn’t put it past the Magics’ front office to take a guy like MPJ or Mikal Bridges with this pick, as they’ve historically drafted long & athletic prospects (same front office that drafted Giannis, Thon Maker, etc. during their time with the Bucks). Collin Sexton is also a sleeper picker here as another high level point guard prospect.
7. Chicago Bulls: Michael Porter Jr.
There’s definitely legitimate health concerns with Michael Porter Jr. after he missed nearly a full season of college basketball while recovering from back surgery. But you also can’t forget that MPJ was projected to be the top pick of this draft class before the college season started. If he’s healthy, Chicago would be more than happy to take him at this point in the draft, as he has the potential to develop into a primary or secondary scoring option as a playmaking 4 that will fit nicely alongside Lauri in their front-court.. Another intriguing player they might take a long look at with this pick is Miles Bridges, who’d make for an interesting small ball 4 alongside of Lauri.
8. Cleveland (via Nets): Collin Sexton
With LeBron’s free agency decision looming, the Cavs will have a tough decision to make. They have to decide whether they want to draft someone who’s the best for their teams future if LeBron leaves in free agency, or draft someone that will try and help convince LeBron to stay. Collin Sexton gives them a little bit of both worlds. Cleveland can be excited about starting a rebuild around a guy like Collin Sexton as he’s someone who’s passion and competitive fire is unmatched in this draft class. Or they can use Sexton next to LeBron as a primary ball-handler and creator (which is the type of player that LeBron has said publicly he’d like to play next to in the next phase of his career). And yes, there’s concerns about Sextons’ ability to be that primary ball handler and creator (along with his shooting and defense), but the fit makes too much sense for the Cavs to pass up on when considering their unique situation. Mikal or Miles Bridges would both be interesting picks here as well, but with the need of a point guard of the future so apparent, Sexton is the pick.
9. New York Knicks: Miles Bridges
Miles Bridges is the best player available at this spot in the draft (along with Mikal Bridges), and the Knicks need all the talent they can find. And even though some will argue that Wendell Carter Jr. is a more talented prospect, the fit of WCJ next to Kristaps Porzingis and Enes Kanter is more than questionable, with his defensive limitations on the perimeter and lack of playmaking skills off the dribble. Miles Bridges can do a little bit of everything, being able to play either on or off the ball, and he’ll be able to provide the Knicks with more versatile lineup options as a 3-4 combo forward that can space the floor or handle the ball. Mikal Bridges or Lonnie Walker IV would be interesting picks here as well.
10. Philadelphia 76ers: Mikal Bridges
There really isn’t much to explain with this pick, as it’s probably the most no-brainer pick in the entire draft. Mikal is a knock down spot-up shooter who doesn’t need the ball in his hands to be effective, and has nice defensive tools that will pair perfectly with Philly’s young up and coming roster. Mikal also played just down the street at Villanova University, so he’s already a known & popular name around Philly. It also wouldn’t be the most shocking thing if Philly used this pick in a trade for a higher end veteran NBA talent that could help them take the next step towards contending in the East.
11. Charlotte Hornets: Wendell Carter Jr.
The chronically disappointing Hornets could look to draft Duke big man Wendell Carter Jr, who’s arguably the best talent left on the board at this stage in the draft, and someone that would hopefully be an upgrade over Kaminsky, or develop into a near future replacement for Dwight Howard. The biggest question mark about Carter is his perimeter defense, but with Kaminsky setting a low bar for him to clear in that regard, it shouldn’t be hard for Carter to find a way to break into the Hornets rotation. It would also make a lot of sense for the Hornets to trade this pick in a deal that helped clear cap space and/or brought in an impact player to try and help convince Kemba Walker to stick around for another contract before he enters unrestricted free agency this next offseason.
12. LA Clippers: Lonnie Walker IV
The Clippers guard depth was decimated by injuries this past season, and while Austin Rivers did his best to try and help fill that void, it’s clear that they need to add more depth and talent to that position. Lonnie Walker has great upside for a combo guard at this stage in the draft, and should bring some much needed athleticism and shooting on day 1 to the Clippers rotation. If Lonnie can build upon the defensive and playmaking potential that he flashed during his freshman year of college, he could end up outplaying his draft position by a healthy margin. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander would also be an interesting choice here.
13. LA Clippers: Robert Williams III
There were a lot of rumors at this years trade deadline that the Clippers were looking to move big man DeAndre Jordan via trade, who’s long been the defensive anchor of the team. And there have been just as many rumors that DJ is ready to leave the Clippers this off-season in free agency after not being traded (that is, if he chooses to opt out of his player option). As such, the Clippers may want to find DJ’s potential replacement with one of their two back-to-back lottery picks in this years draft. Robert Williams III makes the most sense as he has the potential to do exactly what DJ has done for them in regards to rim protection, rebounding and being a highlight reel worthy lob target. His shooting and motor are obvious concerns, but Williams has the upside to be a high level big man in the mold of DJ. Mitchell Robinson would also be an interesting pick here, but would be a bit of a reach at this stage in the draft. It would also make sense for the Clippers to use this pick in a trade to add more veteran NBA talent as their management isn’t looking to go into a long rebuild, and they’ll already be picking up a young talent with the 12th pick.
14. Denver Nuggets: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
Despite a valiant late season surge, the Nuggets again ended their season in disappointment by just barely missing out on the playoffs. And although they have a fairly young and talented player at nearly every position, they’re still in need of a more solidified guard rotation (specifically, a point guard). This is especially true with the future of Will Barton undetermined as a free agent. This is where Shai makes a lot of sense for them. He’s a very long (6’11” wingspan) and multi-skilled guard that should be able to play either the 1 or 2 depending on the lineups he’s used in. He’d be a natural fit next to both of Gary Harris and Jamal Murray, who are more shooting guards than true point guards, as he can run an offense and pass the ball at a high level as a 1. He’s also an above average spot-up shooter for when he’s needed to play off ball. All this while being one of the younger players in the draft, and the Nuggets have themselves another fine young player to add into their rotations. Vertical explosiveness and strength are issues for Shai, but he’s got more to be excited about than worry about. Any of the remaining wing players would also be interesting here (Knox, Keita Bates-Diop, Hutchison, etc), as would be trading the pick for a more immediate impact NBA veteran.
15. Washington Wizards: Kevin Knox
The Wizards had quite a whirlwind of a season in which they thought they’d be legitimate contenders in the East, before their season ended by being unceremoniously ejected from the playoffs in the 1st round by the Toronto Raptors amid talks that the team didn’t like playing with their all-star point guard, John Wall. So, where do the Wizards go from here? They’re essentially cap locked with one of their long time core pieces, Marcin Gortat, seemingly on a slippery slope of age related decline. Not to mention their chronic lack of depth, rumored locker room problems, looming mega pay-day for John Wall and troubles staying healthy (I could go on). The simple answer is that the Wizards need to add as much talent as they can from this draft pick. This is where Kevin Knox, who’s a tier above the remaining players at this stage in the draft in terms of talent and upside, makes a lot of sense for them. His natural position will be as a stretch or playmaking 4, but he should be capable of playing some minutes at the 3 if needed due to his above average athleticism and decent ball handling skills. He and Kelly Oubre should make for a talented and dynamic wing/forward combo off the Wizards bench. And although Knox has his fair amount of concerns related to his motor, passing and defense, he has enough upside to one day take over for Otto Porter if the Wizards decide to move him in a trade. Keita Bates-Diop would also be an interesting pick here, as would be using the pick to shed salary
16. Phoenix Suns (via Heat): Zhaire Smith
The Suns already snagged Ayton with the 1st overall pick in this draft, and with another pick coming up at 31, the Suns can afford to swing for the fences here. Smith could be that player to take a swing at, as he’s one of the most athletic guards in the draft class with a surprisingly good skill foundation, particularly with his defense and spot-up shooting. There’s still major question marks about his ability to create off the dribble, but there’s a lot there to like with Smith. And with newly hired head coach Igor Kokoskov coming from the Utah Jazz where he oversaw (with great success) the player development of the Jazz’s guards, he should be well suited to harness and guide Smith along in his player development arc. Anfernee Simons would also be a very interesting pick here, as would be moving back in the draft a few spots to pick up additional assets and one of the many guards or wings projected to be drafted in this range.
17. Milwaukee Bucks: Jacob Evans III
The Swiss army knife of Cincinnati’s team the past couple years, Jacob Evans is a tough nosed defender, high-level shooter and good passer that every NBA team could use at the wing position (including the Bucks). Evans is a particularly appealing pick for the Bucks as a team that’s phasing out of their rebuild and towards becoming a hopeful contender in the East, as he’s someone who should be able to contribute on day 1 with his mature skill-set. He’s a bit undersized and will need to add more strength if he wants to compete for a starting position, and his ability to get to the bucket is questionable, but Evans has everything needed for a long and successful NBA career as a rotational 2 or 3. It also won’t hurt to have Evans on the roster when Khris Middleton’s contract comes up next offseason, potentially leaving the Bucks with an even weaker wing rotation if he decides to sign elsewhere.
18. San Antonio Spurs: Keita Bates-Diop
The once illustrious and seemingly impeccable San Antonio Spurs have suddenly found themselves at a crossroads this offseason, teetering on the brink of a complete rebuild (the likes of which the franchise hasn’t faced in nearly two decades) as their superstar Kawhi Leonard abandoned the team for the year with seemingly one foot out the door already as he heads into the last year of his contract. As such, the Spurs have some tough questions to ask & answer this off-season: do they risk trying to convince Kawhi to stay by putting more pieces around him? Or do they trade Kawhi and start completely over? Regardless of how they answer these questions, drafting Keita Bates-Diop should help as part of either answer. He’s an extremely long and decently athletic 3-4 combo wing that can shoot the ball at a high level. If they keep Kawhi, Keita will add some much needed talent, size, offensive firepower and defensive versatility to the roster. If they trade Kawhi, Keita has the potential to step into a larger role as a Kawhi stop-gap and become a future core piece to build around.
19. Atlanta Hawks (via Wolves): Aaron Holiday
With rumors swirling about the team moving on from current starting point guard Dennis Schroder via trade this offseason, Aaron Holiday would make for a nice point guard prospect to drop into that potential void. Holiday is a great floor general with high level passing and shooting that will be a natural pairing with JJJ (who they drafted at #3) and John Collins. And although he’s a bit undersized, Holiday has a great wingspan (6’7.5”) and skill set that will hopefully help make up the difference. However, defense is still a major concern. Troy Brown, Anfernee Simons, Chandler Hutchison, Melvin Frazier and others would also be good picks here (the Hawks could use a player at essentially every position, so pretty much any of the players in this range make sense for them).
20. Wolves (via Thunder): Troy Brown Jr.
The Wolves finally made it back to the playoffs this year after one of the longest playoff droughts in NBA history. However, it ended quickly at the hands of the Houston Rockets in the first round, and with rumors swirling about Jimmy Butler’s impending free agency in 2019, the trade availability of recently paid Andrew Wiggins, the teams lack of defense for yet another season, a possible head coaching change in the near future and a potentially crippling discord between Karl Anthony-Towns and the Wolves organization looming, they may have more questions than they have answers for. However, it doesn’t change the Wolves current roster needs one way or the other, as they’re in desperate need of more guard and wing depth. Troy Brown would make a lot of sense for them, as he can play a sort of point-forward role (similar to that of Evan Turner) with his size and surprisingly good ball handling and floor game. His shooting and athleticism are major concerns, but his tough nosed play style and lunch bucket attitude will be appealing to coach Thibs and the Wolves organization. Brown is also one of the younger prospects in the draft, so he has a good amount of upside for a pick at this stage in the draft. Anfernee Simons, Melvin Frazier Jr, Chandler Hutchison and Khyri Thomas would be interesting picks here, as would moving the pick for an NBA veteran or to dump Gorgui Dieng’s salary.
21. Utah Jazz: Anfernee Simons
The surprising and surging Jazz could swing for the fences with this pick by taking the relatively unknown Anfernee Simons, who’s one of the youngest players in this draft class after deciding to take advantage of a little known loophole in the CBA that will allow him to forgo college and make the jump straight into the NBA from high school. He’s known as a 3 level scoring guard with smooth & explosive athleticism that has drawn comparisons to a young Markelle Fultz and Damian Lillard (his NBA combine measurements are also strikingly similar to Lillards'), but his defense, passing, basketball IQ and strength are legitimate concerns. However, the Jazz need another scorer, shooter and playmaker next to Donovan Mitchell, and with the Jazz’s excellent history of player development, Simons and the Jazz seem like great partners. Getting someone with Simons’ upside this late in the draft would be a big win for the Jazz, but if they decided to look elsewhere for more immediate help, they’d have no shortage of good options. Jerome Robinson, Melvin Frazier Jr, Donte DiVincenzo and Grayson Allen are other players that Jazz will take a long look at here. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea if the Jazz tried to move up in the draft or traded this pick for a proven NBA talent that they could add to their young up and coming core.
22. Chicago Bulls (via Pelicans): Chandler Hutchison
Although he didn’t participate in any portions of the NBA draft combine, the talk coming out of the combine was that Chandler Hutchison had received a 1st round promise from the Bulls. And to be honest, it makes a lot of sense. The Bulls are in desperate need of wing depth and Hutchison is one of the most talented and NBA ready wings left on the board at this stage in the draft. His shooting (particularly off the dribble) and defense are still question marks, but Hutchison brings a lot to the table with a multi-skilled and mature game. His length, athleticism, spot-up shooting and ability to finish at the rim should translate well to the NBA, and will be a welcomed sight to the Bulls rotation come day 1 of next season.
23. Indiana Pacers: Khyri Thomas
The Pacers, much like the Utah Jazz, had a surprising season in which they saw Victor Oladipo transform into one of the most dynamic guards in the NBA and nearly upset the LeBron led Cavaliers in the 1st round of the playoffs. But despite all their progress, they’re still in need of more shooters and a guard/wing that can play alongside of Oladipo. This is where Thomas, an elite shooter and high level defending guard, makes perfect sense for them. Thomas should be able to come off the bench immediately for the Pacers, and if things go right for him and the Pacers, he could potentially start alongside of Oladipo as a combo guard sometime down the road.There’s concerns about Thomas’ ability to create off the dribble, and whether or not he can score in the half-court, but his fit next to Oladipo makes too much sense to pass up on. He’s also a high character guy that won’t get himself into trouble, and that’s something the Pacers front office values greatly in their draft prospects. Melvin Frazier, Donte DiVincenzo, Jerome Robinson, Shake Milton, Grayson Allen and Kevin Huerter would also make lot of sense here.
24. Portland Trailblazers: Melvin Frazier Jr.
After a tremendous showing at this years’ NBA draft combine where he measured a near 7’2” wingspan and showcased his elite defense and athleticism during the first day of the 5 on 5 action, Melvin Frazier will certainly be a name teams in the mid to late first round will discuss extensively. And with the Blazers in need of both more wing depth and perimeter defense, Frazier to the Blazers seems like a good fit for both sides. His offense (particularly his shooting and ability to create off the dribble) remains a question mark, but when playing alongside of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, those concerns seem much less worrisome than they might be for other NBA teams looking to draft Frazier.
25. LA Lakers (via Cavs): Mitchell Robinson
He’s a bit of a basket case, being considered one of the worst interviews in recent draft history, and having made some bizarre decisions about his collegiate career, but Robinson has elite physical tools, athleticism and a budding skill set that will make NBA teams take a long hard look at him throughout the entire first round. The Lakers could swing for the fences by picking Robinson, who has the potential to be a game changing defensive anchor with high offensive upside. But can he handle the LA and NBA lifestyle? De’Anthony Melton and Jontay Porter would also be interesting picks for the Lakers, but rumors coming out of the draft combine are that the Lakers have promised to take Robinson if he’s available.
26. Philadelphia 76ers: Donte DiVincenzo
Another prospect that impressed at the NBA combine with his play in the 5 on 5 action and athletic testing, DiVincenzo is a high character combo guard that projects well as a 6th man. With the future guard rotation of the 76ers looking a bit uncertain as JJ Reddick enters unrestricted free agency this summer, TJ McConnell looking for a pay day either this summer or the next, and Markelle Fultz hardly seeing the floor in the playoffs, it wouldn’t hurt to pick up a player like DiVincenzo (who also played at the local Villanova University) to help shore up any of the potential future gaps left by those players. It’s also possible that the 76ers look to move this pick in a deal that helps them shed salary or add another NBA veteran.
27. Boston Celtics: Jontay Porter
Despite not being on NBA teams’ radars before the season started, the younger brother of Michael Porter Jr. has made quite a name for himself as Missouri’s best and most consistent player. Jontay isn’t an elite athlete (which showed up during his combine testings), but he’s extremely smart and skilled. He’s an above average passer for a big man, a decent shooter, good rebounder and shows flashes on the defensive end of the floor. He’s also one of the youngest players in this draft class, so there’s a strong chance that his body and athleticism continue to improve. He should be able to play either the 4 or 5 in the NBA when in the right system, and the Celtics could always use another high basketball IQ big man that can help space the floor in their 5 out system. If all things go well for Jontay and the Celtics, he could end up being the steal of the draft and Al Horford’s replacement one day.
28. Golden State Warriors: Kevin Huerter
He wasn’t talked about a lot before heading into the NBA draft combine despite putting up numbers at Maryland this past season, but after testing extremely well in the athletic tests, and showcasing his elite shooting and above average playmaking in the 5 on 5 action at the combine, Huerter is no longer a name being slept on. And while the comparisons to Klay Thompson are a way overboard, Huerters’ size and elite shooting are strikingly similar to Klay (although, his defense and strength is not). The Warriors could always use more shooters with NBA size, and with Klay’s future as a Warrior somewhat of a question mark with his impending free agency in 2019 and rumors (of questionable legitimacy) of Golden State using him in a trade to land either Kawhi Leonard or Anthony Davis swirling, it wouldn’t be the worst idea for them to draft Huerter as a potential Klay gap filler. De’Anthony Melton, Jerome Robinson, Josh Okogie, Grayson Allen, Elie Okobo and Moritz Wagner would also be interesting options for the Warriors.
29. Brooklyn Nets (via Raptors): De’Anthony Melton
After missing this past season due to eligibility issues related to the FBI’s investigation into college basketball, De’Anthony Melton made a strong impression at the NBA draft combine with impressive measurable's, solid athletic testing numbers and a decent showing in the 5 on 5 action. For the Nets, who still have major question marks about who’s going to be a part of their future guard rotation, Melton makes a lot of sense as a high upside pick this late in the 1st round. His on ball defense and overall defensive instincts are some of the best in the draft class, and with what appears to be an improved shooting stroke, Melton could end up being a steal this late in the draft if his development arc continues upward. Jerome Robinson, Jalen Brunson, Josh Okogie, Elie Okobo, Gary Trent Jr, Moritz Wagner and Hamidou Diallo would all be interesting options for the Nets here depending on who they think will and won’t be available when they pick again at 40.
30. Atlanta Hawks (via Rockets): Jerome Robinson
One of the potential first round prospects that’s probably not being talked about enough, Jerome Robinson is one of the best shooters in this draft class, and with his 6’5” height, 6’7” wingspan, good athleticism and great handles, he’s one of the most intriguing combo guards in the entire draft class (let alone amongst the prospects left on the board at this stage in the draft). His defense is questionable and he’s a little on the thin side, but he’d be a tremendous value pick for the Hawks at the end of the first round. Jalen Brunson, Josh Okogie, Elie Okobo, Moritz Wagner, Dzanan Musa, Grayson Allen and Shake Milton (amongst others) would also be good options here for the Hawks. But if Robinson is still on the board when the 30th pick rolls around, he’s a must pick.
31. Phoenix Suns: Jalen Brunson
32. Memphis Grizzlies: Josh Okogie
33. Atlanta Hawks: Moritz Wagner
34. Dallas Mavericks: Elie Okobo
35. Orlando Magic: Grayson Allen
36. Sacramento Kings: Landry Shamet
37. New York Knicks (via Bulls): Shake Milton
38. Philadelphia 76ers (via Nets): Dzanan Musa
39. Philadelphia 76ers (via Knicks): Allonzo Trier
40: Brooklyn Nets (via Lakers): Hamidou Diallo
41. Orlando Magic (via Hornets): Gary Trent Jr.
42. Detroit Pistons: Tyus Battle
43. Denver Nuggets (via Clippers): Rawle Alkins
44. Washington Wizards: Jevon Carter
45. Brooklyn Nets (via Bucks): Rodions Kurucs
46. Houston Rockets (via Heat): Sagaba Konate
47. LA Lakers (via Nuggets): Isaac Bonga
48. Minnesota Timberwolves: Trevon Duval
49. San Antonio Spurs: Bruce Brown Jr.
50. Indiana Pacers: Omari Spellman
51. New Orleans Pelicans: Chimezie Metu
52. Utah Jazz: Kevin Hervey
53. OKC Thunder: Justin Jackson
54. Dallas Mavericks (via Blazers): Goga Bitadze
55. Charlotte Hornets (via Cavs): Devon Hall
56. Philadelphia 76ers: Arnoldas Kulboka
57: OKC Thunder (via Celtics): Devonte’ Graham
58. Denver Nuggets (via Warriors): Alize Johnson
59. Phoenix Suns (via Raptors): Kostas Antetokounmpo
60. Philadelphia 76ers (via Rockets): Brian Bowen
Mohamed Bamba: AP Photo - Charlie Neibergall
Mikal Bridges: NBCsports.com
Kevin Knox: Rob Fergusson - thesixersense.com
We do not claim ownership of any of the photo's used. All photo's have been used under the "fair use" guidelines.
Mark Wahlen & Zach Milner
Mark & Zach are contributors & NBA draft experts for The Five By 5.
Mark & Zach collaborated on this edition of The Five By 5's 2018 NBA mock draft. As such, each made every other pick in the draft, with Mark starting with the #1 pick. In the 2nd round, they flipped positions, so Zach picked first starting at pick #31. Team's draft history & tendencies were taken into account, as were team needs when making each pick. Breakdown's of 2nd round picks will be added in the near future.
1. Phoenix Suns: DeAndre Ayton
With the recent hire of Utah Jazz assistant Igor Kokoskov, many would think that the Suns would target Luka Doncic with the #1 pick (Igor coached Luka’s Serbian national team). But Ayton still remains as the highest upside player in this draft class, and that gives him a slight nod over Doncic. Not to mention that the Suns are in desperate need of a legitimate big man to pair with Devin Booker and Josh Jackson. The local popularity of Ayton, who played college ball just down the street at Arizona university, will also be a strong pull for Suns management who need to find a way to re-ignite interest in the lowly Suns. The core of Booker, Jackson and Ayton could be a force in the near future with Igor at the helm.
2. Memphis Grizzlies: Luka Doncic
The Grizzlies will happily take the leftovers from the Suns regardless of whom they choose at #1, but it doesn’t hurt that Doncic is clearly the better fit for their roster with Marc Gasol already patrolling the paint. Luka will fit in perfectly alongside of Gasol and Conley, especially with his shooting, passing and playmaking. In other words, Luka will be what Grizz fans hoped Parsons would be for them (if not much better). Could a healthy Gasol and Conley with the addition of Doncic be enough to propel the Grizzlies back into the Western conference playoffs?
3. Dallas Mavericks: Jaren Jackson Jr.
JJJ has DPOY potential to go along with a budding offensive skill set that could make for a dynamic 1-2 punch with Dennis Smith Jr. He also fits Rick Carlisle’s’ culture of hard work, high basketball IQ and two-way play. If Carlisle can harness the potential of both JJJ and DSJ into something meaningful, the West better watch out for the Mavs a couple years down the road.
4. Atlanta Hawks: Marvin Bagley III
At this point, Bagley is the best player available, even if he’s not the best fit for the Hawks who already have John Collins on the roster. Doncic would be the most ideal fit for the Hawks, but unless they get lucky in the lottery, he’ll be gone well before the Hawks pick. Bagley and Collins will need to develop their outside shooting to make their pairing work, but they’d make for one of the most explosive front courts in the NBA on day 1, and would be terrors on the glass.
5. Orlando Magic: Trae Young
The Orlando Magic desperately need a point guard, especially after trading away Elfrid Payton away for peanuts at the trade deadline. Enter Trae Young, who despite slowing down as the college season wore on, is still the best point guard prospect in this class by a wide margin. The Magic also need something to get excited about after several disappointing seasons in a row, and Young will bring that in spades. His shooting and passing will also be a welcomed sight to a Magic team that’s loaded with bigs that need someone to space the floor and help create easy shots for them. Michael Porter Jr. would also be an interesting pick for them, but he’s too big of a risk at this stage.
6. Chicago Bulls: Mohamed Bamba
The Bulls already have a decent amount of frontcourt players including Lauri Markkanen and Bobby Portis, but none of them can be a defensive anchor like Bamba can be. Bamba’s rim protection could be a game changer for the Bulls, and his fit next to the sharpshooting Markkanen would make for an imposing offense/defense frontcourt combination. Bamba also has some shooting upside that makes him an especially intriguing big man prospect. Wendell Carter Jr. would also be an interesting pick for the Bulls, but his defensive limitations wouldn’t pair well with Markkanen, who can also struggle defensively.
7. Sacramento Kings: Miles Bridges
The Kings already have a lot of young bigs, and Fox is their point guard of the future, so they could use another wing or stretch 4 to help space the floor. Luckily, Miles Bridges can play both of those roles for them. His natural position will be the 4, but Bridges proved this past season that he should be able to play some minutes at the 3 if needed. His spot-up shooting, tertiary playmaking and overall athleticism will be a welcomed addition to the Kings young rotation.
8. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Nets): Michael Porter Jr.
There’s definitely legitimate health concerns with MPJ after he missed nearly a full season of college basketball while recovering from back surgery. But with LeBrons’ decision up in the air, the Cavs need to swing for the fences by taking MPJ who has franchise player potential if he can stay healthy.
9. New York Knicks: Collin Sexton
With the Knicks having several disappointing seasons in a row that have culminated in the firing of Phil Jackson and head coach Jeff Hornacek, the Knicks could look to add a fiery competitor and leader in Collin Sexton who fits the city of New Yorks’ culture. Sexton and Ntilikina could make for a killer backcourt combo, and his shot creation would be a welcomed addition to a Knicks roster that lacks high-level offensive creation talent outside of Porzingis, who will be working on coming back from ACL surgery.
10. Philadelphia 76ers (via Lakers): Mikal Bridges
There really isn’t much to explain with this pick, as it’s probably the most no-brainer pick in the entire draft. Mikal is a knock down spot-up shooter who doesn’t need the ball in his hands to be effective, and has nice defensive tools that will pair perfectly with Philly’s young up and coming roster. Mikal also played just down the street at Villanova University, so he’s already a known & popular name around Philly.
11. Charlotte Hornets: Wendell Carter Jr.
The chronically disappointing Hornets could look to draft Duke big man Wendell Carter Jr. who’s arguably the best talent left on the board at this stage in the draft, and someone that could hopefully be an upgrade over Kaminsky or a near future replacement for Dwight Howard. It would also make a lot of sense for them to trade this pick in a deal that helped clear cap space and/or brought in an impact player to try and help convince Kemba Walker to stay.
12. LA Clippers (via Pistons): Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
After trading away CP3, the Clippers are still looking for a long-term solution at the point guard position and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is arguably the best PG prospect on the board at this stage. He’s not a defensive ace like Patrick Beverly, nor is he a passing wizard like Milos Teodosic, but Shai brings a little bit of everything to the table with good shooting, decent passing, defense and shot creation. His lack of explosion is a little concerning, but his intersection of physical tools and overall skill-set make him lottery pick worthy.
13. LA Clippers: Robert Williams III
There were a lot of rumors at this years trade deadline that the Clippers were looking to move big man DeAndre Jordan. And there have been just as many rumors that DJ is ready to leave the Clippers this off-season in free agency after not being traded. As such, the Clippers may want to find DJ’s potential replacement with one of their two lottery picks. Robert Williams III makes the most sense as he has the potential to do exactly what DJ has done for them in regards to rim protection, rebounding and being a highlight reel worthy lob target. His shooting and motor are obvious concerns, but Williams has the upside to be a high level big man in the mold of DJ. Mitchell Robinson would also be an interesting pick here for the Clippers.
14. Denver Nuggets: Zhaire Smith
His elite physical tools and athleticism have caused Zhaire to jump up draft boards for the last few months, but he’s more than just a nuclear athlete. He’s also a knock down shooter and high-level defender with some playmaking upside. With the futures of Will Barton and Wilson Chandler in question, Denver could use more help on the wing and there’s little to lose with taking a high upside player like Zhaire at this stage in the draft.
15. Washington Wizards: Keita Bates-Diop
The Wizards chronically need more help off their bench and Keita Bates-Diop is someone who could come in and contribute immediately with his shooting and defense. He’s a long, athletic combo forward that has the potential to defend 2 through 4 and should add some scoring punch to the Wizards bench on day 1. He’d also be nice to have around in case the Wizards decide to move Otto Porter or Kelly Oubre in the near future. Aaron Holiday would also be an interesting pick for them, as they desperately need a legitimate backup point guard.
16. Phoenix Suns (via Heat): Aaron Holiday
A backcourt of Aaron Holiday and Devin Booker would be a lot of fun. Holiday has shown that he play on and off the ball, so he should fit nicely next to Booker and Josh Jackson. He also has pretty good hands on defense and is an overall active defender, but there is some fair concerns about whether or not he’ll be able to guard the top guards in the league. His outside shooting would also be nice to have to help space the floor.
17. Milwaukee Bucks: Kevin Knox
This pick is pretty simple for the Bucks as Knox is pretty clearly one of the best prospects left on the board at this stage. His defense, passing and attitude are fair concerns, but Knox has everything NBA teams are looking for in a prototypical playmaking 4. He’s a good shooter with decent handles and has elite physical tools and athleticism. He’d also be nice to have around in case the Bucks decide to move on from Jabari Parker this off-season or in the near future. Lonnie Walker IV would also be a great value pick for the Bucks at this stage in the draft.
18. San Antonio Spurs: Troy Brown Jr.
His NBA success will likely hinge on his ability to improve his shooting, but Troy Brown Jr. does just about everything else you’d want an NBA wing to do. He’s a tough defender, good passer, high-level rebounder (especially for his position), and decent ball handler and seems like a good teammate that will work hard. With the Spurs history of helping players to improve their shooting, he’d be a nice pick for them to help bolster their weak wing rotation. Lonnie Walker IV would also be a great pick for them.
19. Atlanta Hawks (via Wolves): Lonnie Walker IV
Lonnie Walker IV is arguably a lottery level talent, so getting him this late in the draft would be an absolute steal for the Hawks. Walkers’ athleticism, defense and shooting should translate well to the NBA game, and if he can continue to develop his shot creation and playmaking, he could end up being a top 10 shooting guard in the NBA. However, his low and inefficient production at Miami this past season will cause many teams to second guess his potential, which may cause his stock to slip come draft night.
20. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Thunder): Jacob Evans III
The Swiss army knife of Cincinnati’s teams the past couple years; Jacob Evans III is a tough nosed defender, high-level shooter and good passer that every NBA team could use at the wing position (including the Wolves). He should be able to contribute on day 1 and coach Thibs will love his mature personality and play style. He’s a bit undersized and will need to add more strength if he wants to compete for a starting position, and his ability to get to the bucket is questionable, but Evans has everything needed for a long and successful NBA career as a rotational 2 or 3.
21. Utah Jazz: Anfernee Simons
The surprising and surging Jazz could swing for the fences with this pick by taking the relatively unknown Anfernee Simons, who’s one of the youngest players in this draft class after deciding to take advantage of a little known loop-hole in the CBA that will allow him to forgo college and make the jump straight into the NBA from high school. He’s known as a 3 level scoring guard with smooth & explosive athleticism that has drawn comparisons to a young Markelle Fultz or Damian Lillard, but his defense, passing basketball IQ and strength are legitimate concerns. However, the Jazz need another scorer, shooter and playmaker next to Donovan Mitchell, and with the Jazz’s excellent history of player development, Simons and the Jazz seem like great partners. Getting someone with Simons’ upside this late in the draft would be a big win for the Jazz, but if they decided to look elsewhere, they’d have no shortage of good options. Thomas, Frazier Jr., Hutchison, Melton, Musa, Porter, Brunson, Jerome Robinson, Milton, Wagner, DiVincenzo, Okobo and Battle would all be great picks for them.
22. Chicago Bulls (via Pelicans): Khyri Thomas
The Bulls have seemingly found their guards of the future in Dunn and LaVine, but Kyri Thomas has the potential to be a rotational 3 & D guard for many years to come and would be a great addition to their young core. He’s not much of a playmaker off the dribble and is a bit undersized, but he does everything else you’d want. Melvin Frazier, Chandler Hutchison or Dzanan Musa would also be good options for the Bulls if they wanted to strengthen their wing rotation.
23. Indiana Pacers: Melvin Frazier Jr.
The young up and coming Pacers need more perimeter defense and shooting around their core of Oladipo, Sabonis and Turner, and Melvin Frazier Jr. has the potential to do just that. He’s arguably the best perimeter defender in this draft class with his quick hands, feet and absurd length. And although his shot hasn’t been there for most of his college career, his improved shooting this past season seems to suggest that he has the potential to become a high level 3 & D wing. He’s also a bit raw as a passer and playmaker off the dribble, but he’s shown flashes that are promising. His hard working and humble personality will be a good match for the Pacers who value high character guys in their market. Chandler Hutchison would also be a good option for them.
24. Portland Trailblazers: Chandler Hutchison
Portland could use another wing like Hutchison that’s capable of making some plays off the dribble and knocking down open shots. His shooting is still questionable, as is his defense, but Hutchison is a mature player that works hard and has the all the tools to be a long-term rotational wing in the league that should be able to help Portland on day 1. Mitchell Robinson and Dzanan Musa would also be interesting options for them.
25. LA Lakers (via Cavs): Mitchell Robinson
He’s a bit of a basket case, being considered one of the worst interviews in recent history and having made some bizarre decisions about his collegiate career, but Robinson has elite physical tools, athleticism and a budding skill set that will make NBA teams take a long hard look at him throughout the entire first round. The Lakers could swing for the fences by picking Robinson, who has the potential to be a game changing defensive anchor with high offensive upside, but could he handle the LA lifestyle? De’Anthony Melton and Jontay Porter would also be interesting picks for the Lakers.
26. Philadelphia 76ers: De’Anthony Melton
Melton didn’t play last season due to USC’s run-ins with the FBI and NCAA over improper player benefits, but Melton is still considered to be one of the best perimeter defenders in the entire draft class. He’s quick, athletic and has long arms and despite being a little undersized, is capable of guarding 1 through 3. His offense is a huge question mark, as he didn’t score or shoot the ball particularly well during his freshman season a year ago, but all the tools are there for him to become a rotational guard in the NBA. The 76ers could use his perimeter defense similarly to how Marcus Smart is used by Boston, especially while playing next to Fultz, and any added offense would be a bonus.
27. Boston Celtics: Jontay Porter
Despite not being on NBA teams’ radars before the season started, the younger brother of Michael Porter Jr. has made quite a name for himself this season as Missouri’s best and most consistent player. Jontay isn’t an elite athlete, but he’s extremely smart and skilled. He’s an above average passer for a big man, a decent shooter, good rebounder and shows flashes on the defensive end of the floor. He’s also one of the youngest players in this draft class, so there’s a strong chance that his body and athleticism continue to improve, which are arguably his biggest weaknesses. He should be able to play either the 4 or 5 in the NBA, and the Celtics could always use another high basketball IQ big man that can help space the floor in their 5 out system. If all things go well for Jontay and the Celtics, he could end up being the steal of the draft and Al Horford’s replacement one day.
28. Golden State Warriors: Dzanan Musa
Musa is considered to be diet Luka Doncic by some, and is arguably a lottery level talent as one of the youngest and most skilled wings in the draft class. His history of back problems and lack of strength are legitimate concerns that may drop his stock come draft night, but he’s an athletic, skilled and sharpshooting wing that would fit well on essentially every NBA team. At this stage in the draft, the loaded Warriors can afford to take a gamble on a player like Musa despite the health concerns.
29. Brooklyn Nets (via Raptors): Landry Shamet
One of the best shooters in the entire draft class, Shamet is a long, sharpshooting guard that’s capable of running a teams’ offense and making plays on or off the ball. However, despite his high level offense and exceptional positional length, his defense is a major question mark. There are also some health concerns that may depress his stock significantly come draft night, but his shooting and ability to run a teams’ offense is too much to pass up at this stage in the draft. The Nets have D’Angelo Russell, Jeremy Lin, Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert on the roster already, but none of those players futures are solidified with the team outside of maybe LeVert, so adding another guard that would be capable of taking any of their minutes or playing alongside of them makes sense, especially since the wing prospect pool has all but dried up at this stage in the draft.
30. Atlanta Hawks (via Rockets): Jalen Brunson
Even though people might not think that Brunson has ‘star-potential’, he’s more than likely going to be a solid player off the bench for several years to come. He’s good on and off the ball, and the passion and leadership he plays with can’t be matched. He’s someone we could see playing in the league for 10 to 12 years before joining a coaching staff, and that kind of player and person is certainly worth a late 1st round pick for any team; especially a rebuilding Hawks team that could use more guard depth and a veteran like presence to help maintain a good culture throughout their rebuild.
31. Phoenix Suns: Shake Milton
32. Memphis Grizzlies: Jerome Robinson
33. Atlanta Hawks: Moritz Wagner
34. Dallas Mavericks: Donte DiVincenzo
35. Orlando Magic: Tyus Battle
36. Sacramento Kings: Bruce Brown Jr.
37. New York Knicks (via Bulls): Rodions Kurucs
38. Philadelphia 76ers (via Nets): Justin Jackson
39. Philadelphia 76ers (via Knicks): Allonzo Trier
40: Brooklyn Nets (via Lakers): Chimezie Metu
41. Orlando Magic (via Hornets): Gary Trent Jr.
42. Detroit Pistons: Trevon Duval
43. Denver Nuggets (via Clippers): Elie Okobo
44. Washington Wizards: Devonte’ Graham
45. Brooklyn Nets (via Bucks): Hamidou Diallo
46. Houston Rockets (via Heat): Isaac Bonga
47. LA Lakers (via Nuggets): Josh Okogie
48. Minnesota Timberwolves: Gary Clark
49. San Antonio Spurs: Kris Wilkes
50. Indiana Pacers: Omari Spellman
51. New Orleans Pelicans: Rawle Alkins
52. Utah Jazz: Jalen Hudson
53. OKC Thunder: Malik Newman
54. Dallas Mavericks (via Blazers): Sagaba Konate
55. Charlotte Hornets (via Cavs): Brandon McCoy
56. Philadelphia 76ers: Jevon Carter
57: OKC Thunder (via Celtics): Yante Maten
58. Denver Nuggets (via Warriors): Matur Maker
59. Phoenix Suns (via Raptors): Shamorie Ponds
60. Philadelphia 76ers (via Rockets): Arnoldas Kulboka
Luka Doncic: sportsbyfry.com
Miles Bridges: SI.com
Trae Young: Rob Fergusson - USA Today
We do not claim ownership of any of the photo's used. All photo's have been used under the "fair use" guidelines.
Mark is a co-founder & contributor to The Five By 5.
1. Phoenix Suns
Passing on Luka Doncic would be a bold move for the Suns, but Ayton is a much better fit for their current roster than Doncic, and it’s not as if Ayton isn’t worthy of being taken 1st overall. Ayton is an absolute monster and has the highest upside in the draft. He’d be the Suns best big man big a huge margin on day 1, and with Devin Booker spacing the floor for him, he could be a devastating force in the paint. The Suns future core of Payton, Booker, Jackson and Ayton is one that could make some noise in the near future if they can figure things out.
2. Atlanta Hawks
It’s hard to think of a better landing spot for Luka Doncic out of this years bottom feeder teams than the Atlanta Hawks. Mike Budenholzer is a smart coach whose system and player development program will match perfectly to Doncic’s high skill set, basketball IQ and work ethic. The Hawks would still need a lot of help before getting back into playoff contention, but starting their rebuild with a core of Luka Doncic and John Collins is certainly a huge step in the right direction.
3. Dallas Mavericks
Jaren Jackson Jr.
Jackson is known as an elite and versatile defender, but he’d be absolutely devastating in the pick and roll with Dennis Smith Jr. Out of the pick and roll, Jackson can dive and finish explosively at the rim, or he can pop out to the 3-point line to space the floor. His Kevin Garnett like defense wouldn’t the hurt the Mavs either. The 1-2 punch of Dennis Smith Jr and Jaren Jackson Jr just might be too much fun, especially with Rick Carlisle at the helm.
4. Orlando Magic
The Magic are in desperate need for a point guard, especially after trading their starting point guard (Elfrid Payton) for a measly 2nd round pick. Enter Trae Young. Despite having a rough go lately, Young is still the best point guard prospect of the draft class by a wide margin. He’s an elite level shooter and playmaker and has the personality to be the leader in the Magic’s too often despondent locker room. His lack of athleticism, length and defense goes against John Hammond and Jeff Weltman’s past draft philosophy, but Trae is just too good and makes too much sense to pass up.
5. Sacramento Kings
Michael Porter Jr.
The Kings are infamous for taking big men in the draft and already have a glut of them on the roster (WCS, Skal and Giles), so taking someone like Bagley or Bamba doesn’t make much sense. MPJ is a much better fit. His season ending back surgery will scare away a lot of teams at the top of the draft, especially with the top being so loaded with other high end talent, but that shouldn’t dissuade the Kings from taking him here. He has top 3 talent and all-star potential that will help fill the seats of the Kings new arena if he can stay healthy. His fit alongside of Fox, Bogdanovic, Skal and WCS makes a lot of sense as a 3/4 combo.
6. Memphis Grizzlies
Marvin Bagley III
Marvin Bagley is both the best talent left on the board and the best fit for the Grizzlies at this stage of the draft. Bagley could be a devastating offensive force when running pick and rolls with a (hopefully) healthy Mike Conley next season, and Marc Gasol should be able to space the floor well enough that Bagley can operate in the paint (which is where he’s most effective at this stage of his career). Gasol will also provide a defensive safety net for Bagley who’s still developing on that end of the floor. Bagley’s high potential and high motor play will also be a nice infusion into the Grizzlies aging rotation.
7. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Nets)
Bamba is often compared to Rudy Gobert for his ability to create a “no fly zone” in the paint and at the rim with his absurd length and shot blocking instincts. And for a team that’s been horrendous on the defensive end of the floor for the past couple seasons, that’s too attractive of a skill set to pass up. Regardless of if LeBron chooses to stay or go, Bamba has the potential to be a core piece for the Cavs moving forward as the captain of their defense. He should be a big upgrade over Tristan Thompson and his fir next to Kevin Love and/or Larry Nance Jr. is interesting.
8. Chicago Bulls
The Bulls already seem to have a loose construct of their future core with Dunn, LaVine and Markkanen. Miles Bridges, who’s a versatile forward capable of playing either the 3 or 4 positions, makes a lot of sense. Bridges’ improved outside shooting paired with Markkanens’ would allow the Bulls to play 5 out and space the floor for Dunn and LaVine if they choose to play him at the 4. Bridges would also be a dynamic ball handler in 4/5 pick and rolls with Markkanen. He’d be a nice replacement for the recently traded Nikola Mirotic, and if Bobby Portis demands starting minutes at the 4, Bridges should be capable of sliding over to the 3 spot.
9. New York Knicks
The Knicks drafted Frank Ntilikina last year, and although he’s looked promising at times this season, the Knicks are still in desperate need of a point guard. Sextons’ fiery competiveness will be a welcomed sight in New York, and he has the personality to handle the New York stage. He’d also make for a very dynamic guard combo playing alongside of Ntilikina; a pairing that could give opposing teams nightmares with their defensive pressure and intensity. Let’s just hope that at least one of them can figure out how to shoot from 3 consistently.
10. Philadelphia 76ers (via Lakers)
Arguably the best 3&D prospect in the draft, Mikal Bridges is the perfect fit for the 76ers. Mikal wouldn’t have to worry about creating off the dribble (which is the weakest part of his game) next to Simmons and Embiid, and he could provide the 76ers with instant perimeter defense and outside shooting (both of which they desperately need). Even without Fultz, the 76ers core of Simmons, Bridges, Covington, Saric and Embiid would be a handful for many years to come.
11. Charlotte Hornets
Knox has the skills, physical tools and athleticism to be an elite level stretch 4 in the modern NBA, and should pair well with Kemba Walker and Dwight Howard with his ability to space the floor. Marvin Williams and Batum would be excellent mentors for him as he’s likely to fill a similar roll as them, and coach Clifford should be able to get him on the right player development track. If Knox can learn how to defend consistently at a high level and better create off the dribble: watch out.
12. LA Clippers (via Pistons)
Wendell Carter Jr.
With the future of DeAndre Jordan in question, it makes sense for the Clippers to go with the talented Wendell Carter Jr. He’s a far cry from the defensive anchor that DJ has been for the Clippers, but he’s a versatile offensive player who can post-up, roll or pop in pick and rolls, and has shown the potential to space his game out to the 3 point line. He’s also an underrated passer and has really stepped up in a big way since Bagley went down with a knee injury, so there’s a lot there to like with him.
13. Utah Jazz
Lonnie Walker IV
The Jazz aren’t likely to stay in the lottery after their most recent 11 game winning streak, so this is more of a dream pick than anything else, but Lonnie Walker would be a near perfect fit for the Jazz. He’s a tough nosed defender with a strong personal character that would fit perfectly with Utah’s organization. Walkers’ offense has been very up and down so far this year, but his buttery smooth shooting stroke and his elite athletic tools lead one to believe that he could develop into a starting caliber player (or better) in the right situation and with the right coaching staff. Both of which are things that Utah can provide. He, Mitchell and Exum (assuming he can stay healthy) would be an electric guard rotation for the Jazz moving forward.
14. LA Clippers
The Clippers could look to go with a high upside pick here by taking Shai, who’s a long and athletic guard that plays with a style best described as “slithery”. He loves to snake his way to the basket off the dribble and has shown flashes of playmaking. He’ll need to develop into a more consistent defender and shooter, but if does, he could be a very respectable starting guard (or better).
15. Phoenix Suns (via Heat)
Gary Trent Jr.
Not much of a defender, but Gary Trent Jr is arguably the best shooter in the draft class, and for a Suns team that just drafted DeAndre Ayton and needs more floor spacing, Gary makes a lot of sense for them. He’s also one of the younger players in the draft class, so the Suns will have plenty of time to work with him to improve his defense and playmaking. He’s also big and strong enough that he could end up playing some minutes at the 3 in case Josh Jackson never figures things out.
16. Chicago Bulls (via Pelicans)
The Bulls could look to add some toughness and rim protection to their frontcourt with Robert Williams. He’s not a shooter, but he is an elite shot blocker and rebounder with the potential to develop into a DeAndre Jordan type center in time. Pairing him next to Markkanen makes a lot of sense as a defensive anchor.
17. Philadelphia 76ers
With the mystery of Markelle Fultz’s shot still… well… a mystery, the 76ers could look to add a point guard in the draft as a backup. In that case, picking up Landry Shamet makes a lot of sense. He’s got a lot of George Hill to his game and has exceptional length to go with his knock down spot-up shooting. He doesn’t need the ball in his hands to be effective, so his fit alongside of Ben Simmons and the 76ers young and established core makes a lot of sense.
18. Portland Trailblazers
Maybe considered to be a reach at this stage, the Blazers could look to add Metu to their chronically weak frontcourt. Metu has a lot of LaMarcus Aldridge to his game with a good mid range shot that can be stretched out to the 3-point line on occasion and a polished post game (both back to the basket and in face-ups). He’s also a great athlete and pretty good defender (more so than LMA ever was during his time in Portland). However, similarly to LMA, there are questions about Metu’s personality, but he’s well worth the risk for the Blazers at this stage in the draft who need the kind of talent that Metu brings to the table.
19. Denver Nuggets
Jokic is obviously the future for the Nuggets frontcourt. But Gafford, who’s an exceptional athlete with a budding skill set on both ends of the floor, could be a really interesting fit alongside of Jokic as a defensive anchor. His shot blocking instincts are already there, and if he can just figure out how to rebound more consistently and turn his potential on offense into something tangible, Gafford could end up being the steal of the draft. His upside alone is worth the pick at this stage.
20. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Thunder)
The Wolves are in desperate need of bench help, and Hutchison, who’s one of the most versatile forwards in this draft class, could provide an immediate impact for them off the bench. He’d also make for a great backup plan in case they decide to trade Andrew Wiggins in the near future. He’s older than a lot of prospects and his shot isn’t as good you’d like it to be, but should be able to contribute on day 1 with his defense, passing, slashing and rebounding.
21. Milwaukee Bucks
Wilkes reminds me a lot of Harrison Barnes, and with the Bucks looking like they’ll have to make a financial decision between Kris Middleton or Jabari Parker in the near future, he’d be a great backup plan to have on the roster to help replace either of those guys. He can shoot, defend, rebound and does some nice things off the dribble at times. Combine that with his NBA body and athleticism, and the Bucks have themselves a nice prospect with good upside.
22. Indiana Pacers
He’s a little bit older, but Thomas is a high character guy that’s also a knock down shooter and lockdown defender. He’d fit really well alongside of Oladipo as he doesn’t need to have the ball in his hands to be effective, and he could defend the best guard on opposing team, allowing Dipo to spend the majority of his energy on offense. His ability to play point guard is in question, but he has the potential to be an Avery Bradley type 3 & D guard.
23. Washington Wizards
Keita Bates-Diop is a versatile defender that can guard 2 through 4, and is a capable shooter with good 3 & D potential. He’s a bit older, but that shouldn’t be an issue for the Wizards who’d like to see him contribute on day 1. Not only should he be able to contribute immediately, but he’d also be a nice guy to have on the roster if the Wizards decide to move Otto Porter Jr. as he could fill a similar roll as OPJ.
24. Atlanta Hawks (via Wolves)
One of this years mystery men, Simons is essentially coming straight out of high school due to a little know loophole in the CBA that will allow him to bypass college (if he so chooses) before being drafted. As such, there are a lot of questions about how his game will translate to the NBA, but his potential as an explosive shot-making guard is undeniable. The Hawks, with their player development program, would be a nice fit for Simons. His game has a lot of Damian Lillard to it.
25. San Antonio Spurs
Arguably a lottery level talent, Musa would be a great value pick for the Spurs at this stage in the draft. There’s some serious health concerns with him, especially with his small frame and history of back issues, but the skills and talent are there. If he can stay healthy, Musa would be a versatile wing that can run the offense and make shots alongside of Kawhi Leonard.
26. LA Lakers (via Cavs)
The Lakers could swing for the fences at this stage of the draft by going with Mitchell Robinson. Robinson is a very tall and athletic center that decided to forego college to focus on preparing for the draft. His decision to forgo college remains controversial, and it doesn’t help quell the concerns about his personality, but his outlier physical tools and athleticism provide a strong foundation to build on. Most see him as a defensive anchor type center, and the Lakers could certainly use that to pair with all their offensively gifted, but defensively deficient young core pieces.
27. Boston Celtics
Jacob Evans III
Evans is a guard/forward combo that won’t blow you away with any one thing that he does, but he does everything pretty well. He can shoot, play defense, rebound, run the pick and roll, cut off ball, etc. and he’s tough. His versatility and toughness is something that matches to what the Celtics look for in prospects, and with how obsessed they are with building a team entirely made of wings, he makes a lot of sense for them. He’d be an interesting replacement for Marcus Smart if the Celtics choose to not re-sign him this offseason. He’s not as big or strong as Smart, so he couldn’t guard bigs like Smart can, but he’s better on offense and could provide good perimeter D.
28. Brooklyn Nets (via Raptors)
The Nets have done a good job loading up on young talent the past couple seasons, but they could still use more help on the wing. Melvin Frazier would make a lot of sense for them, as he’s an extremely athletic and explosive wing that’s already an NBA caliber defender. His shot mechanics aren’t the most ideal, but he’s improved his shooting a lot over the past few seasons showing that there may still be some untapped potential there. He’s also an underrated playmaker with above average vision.
29. Golden State Warriors
The Warriors could use some more guard depth with Patrick McCaw’s development stalling out, and Shake Milton could be the answer. He’s a versatile guard that can do a lot of things for his team on both ends of the floor, and his high-level 3-point shooting would certainly fit into the Warriors game plan. His positional size and length is also an attractive feature to plug-in to the Warriors switch defense.
30. Atlanta Hawks (via Rockets)
Brown isn’t much of a shooter or an elite level athlete at this stage of his career, but he has an NBA body and brings a lot of versatility to the table with the other parts of his game. He’s an above average rebounder for a guard, and has shown a propensity to make plays for others off the dribble. He’s also long and strong enough to defend multiple positions (potentially 2 through 4). His upside is still fairly high despite his limitations, and he’s one of the younger prospects in the entire draft, so he’s well worth picking up this late in the draft.
31. Atlanta Hawks
The younger brother to current NBA guard Jrue Holiday, and it shows. His play style is very similar to Jrue's, although he's smaller than his older brother. He's having a great year for UCLA this season, and with his high basketball IQ, he has strong backup potential with starter upside.
32. Phoenix Suns
He's not playing this season due to USC trying to avoid the wrath of the FBI probe as much as possible, but Melton is a lockdown defender with great length for his size. His shooting is questionable, but he has a lot of upside.
33. Dallas Mavericks
He started the year strong but has really taken a nose-dive lately, and he's had some questionable body language throughout the year. However, his foundational physical and athletic tools are undeniable and his shooting has been better than expected, so he's definitely worth picking up in the early 2nd round. He has lottery level upside with his game having some Andrew Wiggins to it, but there's still a lot of work left to do in terms of skill development and polishing.
34. Sacramento Kings
There's some health concerns with Kurucs, but he's a shooting specialist with decent athleticism and can play multiple forward positions. His defense is still a big question mark too, but his stock is largely dependent on how his medical reports turn out.
35. Orlando Magic
He started the year with a bang and has slowed down a bit since, but Trier is still a lethal shooter and scorer that has remained one of the most efficient high volume scorers in all of college basketball this season. He has an NBA body and decent enough athleticism to go with high level scoring instincts and shooting. Defense, playmaking and attitude are question marks, but he's a very good value pick in the 2nd round.
36. Memphis Grizzlies
The younger brother of top draft prospect Michael Porter Jr, Jontay has surprised many this season with his high IQ and advanced skill set. The advanced stats love his game despite him not being a great athlete and being a bit short on the height and length department for a center, but his IQ and skill sets are advanced enough that he's worth an early 2nd round (and maybe even late 1st round) pick. He's also the youngest player in the entire draft class, so there's plenty of time for him to continue to develop, but we'll have to wait and see how his game translates to the NBA when he faces bigger, stronger and smarter players.
37. Philadelphia 76ers (via Nets)
With his tremendous frame, length and 3 point shooting, Jackson was a bit of a late riser in last years draft before deciding to go back to school. However, unfortunately for Jackson, he saw drops in most of his numbers and had his season ended early by injury. Despite his disappointing season, there's still too many things about Jackson to like as a high level 3 & D prospect that has the potential to guard 2 through 4 to pass up at this stage in the draft.
38. New York Knicks (via Bulls)
He plays for Syracuse, so his defense is automatically a huge question mark, but Battle is as good as any guard in this class at creating/attacking off the dribble. His shooting is also a question mark, but he has the tools and attitude to turn into a good player in the right situation.
39. Philadelphia 76ers (via Knicks)
Bruce Brown Jr.
Projected to be drafted much higher in most mock drafts, but with his numbers taking dips across the board this season (especially his 3 point shooting) and with a recent foot surgery, it's questionable whether or not he's worth a 1st round pick in this years draft. He's a tough dude that always plays hard and can do a lot of things on both ends of the floor, but he's a bit undersized and doesn't show enough playmaking to be trusted as a point guard in the NBA. He also struggles to finish in traffic and against length, so combine that with his below average shooting, and it's hard to see a role in which he can be a successful NBA player. However, he's a hard worker and had a better showing last season when he was injury free, so he's probably worth the pick at this stage in the draft.
40. Brooklyn Nets (via Lakers)
Maybe one of the most under the radar prospects in this draft class, Alexander-Walker is a lengthy freshman that has a surprisingly diverse offensive game with high defensive upside. There's a strong chance he goes back to school for another year, and if he does so, he's likely a 1st round pick in next years draft. But if he stays in the draft this year, he's more than worth a early to mid 2nd round pick.
41. Orlando Magic (via Hornets)
He had a strong start to the season, but has struggled ever since. His assist to turnover ratio has sky-rocketed, his shooting has fallen off a cliff and his deficiencies on the defense end have become more and more apparent. There's a chance he goes back to school for another season to try and improve his draft stock, but with Duke's loaded recruiting class, he may decide to jump in this year. Either way, he's probably not worth a 1st round pick unless you really believe in his ability to improve the gaping holes in his game, but he still has enough upside to that he's a high value pick in the 2nd round.
42. Detroit Pistons
Another late riser in last years pre-draft process, Alkins returned for another year at Arizona to try and improve his draft stock even more. The decision was probably the right thing to do, but the results have been hit and miss. He started the year with a foot injury that kept him sidelined for some time, and since returning, his production has been all over the map. However, he's still a serviceable shooter with above average passing and a big strong and explosive frame.
43. Houston Rockets (via Heat)
Maybe one of the more controversial guys in this years draft class, McCoy is putting up huge numbers on a terrible UNLV team. There's also major questions about his personality and love for the game, but being a legit 7 footer with a surprisingly good skill-set that's producing at a high level consistently; it's going to be hard for teams to pass on him.
44. Utah Jazz
Vanderbilt is a very poor shooting, high energy forward that has an NBA body and athleticism. He has a lot of potential as a playmaking 4 with his size, rebounding and above average passing, but his terrible shooting really limits his NBA upside. However, if a team believes in his ability to develop, his upside is worth a pick in this years draft.
45. Denver Nuggets (via Clippers)
Maybe one of the more underrated NBA prospects in this years class, Graham has put together a tremendous year for the Kansas Jayhawks this year and remains a solid guard prospect. He can shoot, create for others and play some defense. He's a little undersized for an NBA guard, but he has strong backup guard potential with limited starter upside.
46. New Orleans Pelicans
Hudson has an NBA body with decent athleticism and has great scoring instincts. His shot is solid, albeit inconsistent, and he projects well as a potential rotational guard who can play decent defense and make some shots. Although he could some improving on his off ball defense and playmaking.
47. Philadelphia 76ers
He's arguably the best on ball defender in this draft class, but Carter is much older than most of his fellow prospects and he's a bit undersized with only average athleticism. It's also questionable how well his defense will translate to the NBA when guarding bigger and more athletic guards, but his offense is good enough, particularly his shooting, and he's shown enough on defense that he's worth a 2nd round pick with backup guard potential.
48. LA Lakers (via Nuggets)
Another very under the radar draft prospect, Konate has been the defensive anchor for one of college's best defenses this year with his absurdly good shot blocking. He's also shown a surprisingly high skill level on offense with a greatly improved mid-range shot and footwork in the post. He could end up being a steal at this stage in the draft if his shot-blocking translates and his offense continues to improve.
49. Dallas Mavericks (via Blazers)
After a great tournament run last season, Wagner has put together a solid season so far this year and has been getting overlooked by many mock drafts. He's not an elite level athlete, and he's slightly undersized, but he's a tough nosed player that's willing to do the dirty work in the paint. He's also improved his outside shot enough to stretch his game out to the 3 point line, so he has some good potential as a stretch 5.
50. Oklahoma City Thunder
Foster is a veteran guard that can go get you buckets. He has an NBA body with decent athleticism and has proved for several seasons that he can really score the ball. He's a very good shooter, can attack off the dribble and has shown flashes of playmaking for others. He's older and transferred after a disappointing sophomore season, but he's not someone that should be overlooked in the 2nd round as it appears that he's figured things out.
51. Phoenix Suns (via Bucks)
Okobo is a somewhat undersized guard that's more of a 2 than a 1, but he's shown an ability to produce at a high level against good overseas competition for quite some time now. His intangibles are also very strong, and if he can develop his point guard skills a bit more, he has strong backup guard potential.
52. Indiana Pacers
He's not much of a shooter, but Johnson is a hard worker and elite rebounder for a wing player. If he can figure out his shooting, the tools are there for him to become a unique rotational wing player in the NBA.
53. Washington Wizards
Okogie has tremendous length for a 2 guard and has had explosive scoring at times throughout the last couple seasons, but he's inconsistent and lacks a certain level of focus and effort far too often. He has all the right tools and skills, it's just a question of whether or not he'll focus and what's required night in and night out to make it as a rotational NBA player.
54. Minnesota Timberwolves
He's a veteran forward that has put up big numbers consistently the past few seasons. However, he's a bit undersized to play the 4, which is his most natural position, and he's not much of a play-maker. And with his 3 point shooting has taken a major dip this season, it's not clear what his role would be in the NBA. But his consistent high level production is probably too much to pass up on late in the 2nd round.
55. San Antonio Spurs
It's very likely that Bonga goes much earlier in the draft as he's got tremendous upside as an oversized, lengthy guard. But with major question marks about his shooting, consistency and overall polish and basketball IQ, there's a chance he slides to the late 2nd round. But either way, with his upside being that of a unicorn, he's more than worth a pick in the 2nd round.
56. Charlotte Hornets (via Cavs)
Johnson isn't the greatest athlete, and he hasn't put up huge numbers throughout his college career, but he's just a really solid player. With an NBA body and decently polished skill set across the board, he's a good value pick late in the 2nd round with rotational upside.
57. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Celtics)
Another decently polished and overall solid wing player, Kulboka has rotational wing upside. However, he'll need to prove he can defend NBA athletes and he'll need to add significant strength to his body if he wants to make a career in the NBA.
58. Phoenix Suns (via Raptors)
This is probably too late in the draft for the likely college player of the year, but as good as Brunson is, he's still an undersized guard by NBA standards, and his ability to produce against NBA talent is a big question mark. But with that being said, he's just too good to not draft, and if nothing else, he'll always be a great locker room guy to have around. His veteran like presence and mature attitude alone is probably worth a 2nd round pick.
59. Denver Nuggets (via Warriors)
The younger brother to the Bucks big man Thon Maker, Matur is built similarly to his older brother with a long and very thin frame. However, he plays with a high motor and has a surprisingly good skill set. His upside is well worth a late 2nd round pick.
60. Philadelphia 76ers (via Rockets)
Noua is a 6'8" french power forward that has put together a nice season so far showcasing a fairly polished skill set. He's a decent, but not great athlete and his ability to guard NBA players, especially when switched onto the perimeter, is a big question mark. But he'd make for a nice draft and stash player late in the 2nd round.
Trae Young: Rob Fergusson - USA Today
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Mark Wahlen is a co-founder and contributor to The Five By 5.
DeAndre Ayton: PerformGrowUp
Trae Young: ABC News
Jaren Jackson Jr: Time In Cap
We do not claim ownership of any of the photo's used. All photo's have been used under the "fair use" guidelines.