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.