Article Written by Travis Aylward (@travaylward)
With the NBA Finals underway, that means it’s almost time for the draft. This year’s draft seems to be between Deandre Ayton and Luka Doncic. Who will go #1? Here’s my mock draft #1-10.
#1- Phoenix Suns - Luka Doncic, SG/SF, Real Madrid
It was a really tough decision deciding between Luka Doncic and DeAndre Ayton, but I ended up choosing the former. I just don’t know if Ayton is a generational talent like I think Doncic is. Especially in the era of basketball now, where Centers just aren’t appreciated as much as they used to be. In 2018, Luka Doncic played for Real Madrid in the Euro League. He was a Euro League rising star, made the Euro League first team, was the MVP of the league as well as the final four MVP, and a Euro League champion as him and Real Madrid won the Euro League title. Luka Doncic is 218 pounds and stands at 6’5. He averaged 16 points, 4 assists, 5 rebounds, and shot 33% from 3 in 2018 in the Euro League.
#2- Sacramento Kings - DeAndre Ayton, C, Arizona
DeAndre Ayton is a beast. He’s 7’8, 250 pounds, and has 7’5 wingspan. He’s a center but can shoot threes as well. This past season, he played for the Arizona Wildcats in the Pac-12 conference, winning the Pac-12 POY. He averaged 20 pts, 2 assists, 12 rebounds and 2 blocks. As I said, Ayton can shoot threes. He had a 34% 3pt percentage, and if he can raise that to a 37-39% in the NBA, it would make him even better. A concern about Ayton is his defence. He’s not a good defender, and he’s slow. The good thing about Phoenix having the #1 pick is that they have never really made defence their top priority in recent year drafts, which could be a good thing for Ayton. Maybe Ayton does go #1 overall. Take your pick between Ayton and Doncic, they’re both going to be incredible players.
#3- Atlanta Hawks – Mohamed Bamba, C, Texas
There are rumours swirling around that the Boston Celtics would like to package a deal revolved around Jaylen Brown to move up in the draft and draft Mohamed Bamba, but at this point the Atlanta Hawks have the #3 pick and I believe they will use it to draft Bamba. With Dennis Schroeder wanting out, the Hawks have virtually no one on their roster. Once Schroeder leaves town, the Hawks best player will be John Collins. Collins and Bamba could pair well in the front court, and depending on who the Hawks receive if Schroeder gets traded, they may get a valuable asset from that deal.
#4- Memphis Grizzlies – Michael Porter Jr., F, Missouri
Coming into the draft, the Memphis Grizzlies had the 2nd best odds of the 1st overall pick. After falling all the way down to 4, they likely now lose out on the chance of drafting Ayton or Doncic. Michael Porter Jr. was injured for most of this past season with Missouri. He played just two games. Even though he only played two games, I personally am a big Porter Jr. fan. I love the way he plays. He’s a good free throw shooter, can shoot threes, and can score when he wants.
#5- Dallas Mavericks – Marvin Bagley, C, Duke
If it weren’t for Bagley’s bust potential, I’d have swapped Bamba and Bagley and had the latter at #3. Marvin Bagley is 6’11, but he’s quick. The Dallas Mavericks, unlike the Hawks, have a decent roster. Bagley can play alongside Harrison Barnes, Dennis Smith Jr., and Wesley Matthews.
#6- Orlando Magic – Jaren Jackson Jr., F/C, Michigan State
The Orlando Magic are most likely looking to build around Aaron Gordon. With Jackson Jr. being able to play power forward or center, you can have Jackson Jr playing power forward with Gordon and Biyombo, or have Jackson Jr. at center with Gordon. Jackson Jr. is a terrific two-way player. He had a 39% 3pt percentage last season, and averaged 3 blks.
#7- Chicago Bulls – Wendell Carter Jr., C, Duke
Yup, another Center. 2018 may be the year of the centers. Wendell Carter Jr. didn’t get all the attention at Duke. He didn’t even get all the attention at his position. Due to Duke having Marvin Bagley as well, Bagley got most of the attention at Duke. Carter Jr. was okay with that though. He even said Bagley was more athletic. Wendell Carter Jr. is a terrific player though. This past season, Carter Jr. averaged 20 points, 3 blocks, and 13 rebounds.
#8- Cavaliers (via Nets) – Trae Young, G, Oklahoma
It’s unlikely Lebron James stays in Cleveland this offseason, but nonetheless, Trae Young could still work nicely in Cleveland. I hate to compare Young to Steph Curry because everyone does it, but I have to. There’s just so much Steph in his game. He’s a lights out 3 point shooter, but can also pass. He was the first person to ever lead college in points and assists in one season.
#9- New York Knicks – Mikal Bridges, G/F, Villanova
Fresh off of winning a National Championship, Mikal Bridges will bring a winning mentality to whichever team drafts him. Bridges had an absurd 43% 3pt percentage, while averaging 18 points this past season with Villanova,
#10- 76ers (via Lakers) – Collin Sexton, G, Alabama
No doubt about it, the 76ers surpassed expectations this year. Along with the Celtics, they probably have the 2nd best future in the league. Assuming Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons continue along their developmental path, the Sixers could be a real contender in the very near future. Sexton had a good 33% 3pt percentage last season with Alabama, and surrounding him with shooters like 76ers have may help him raise that percentage.
Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)