Empire of the Suns post-lottery NBA Mock Draft: Doncic at No. 1 for Suns
May 15, 2018, 6:27 PM | Updated: May 21, 2018, 1:42 pm
(AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
The NBA Draft Lottery is over. The Phoenix Suns are picking No. 1 overall.
The official order is set, so let’s get into a mock draft. As the confusion that is sometimes brought on by an NBA mock draft quickly following the NFL Draft, this mock is one writer’s opinion on the class and not an outright prediction on who will be picked where.
With the Suns picking first in the second round, we felt it was only right to stretch the full first round to 31 picks.
1. Phoenix Suns – Luka Doncic, F, Real Madrid, 19 years old
I believe Doncic is the best player in this class and the potential for him and Devin Booker as a ball-handler duo trumps any concern I have about roster space. Plus, you know, having Igor Kokoskov designing that offense will help.
2. Sacramento Kings – Deandre Ayton, PF/C, Arizona, 19 years old
Quite a night for the Kings, who went from the seventh-best lottery odds to the second overall pick. Now, they get their franchise center. In terms of speed, you can’t top a center-point guard ball-screen duo of Ayton and De’Aaron Fox.
3. Atlanta Hawks – Jaren Jackson Jr., C, Michigan State, 18 years old
Jackson would be perfect for the Hawks, who have a ton of wings and guards but need a defensive anchor that stretches the floor. That’s exactly what Jackson specializes at and what makes him so valuable.
4. Memphis Grizzlies – Marvin Bagley III, C/PF, Duke, 19 years old
Bagley is the type of piece who can be productive right away if the Grizzlies want to keep trying to win with Marc Gasol and Mike Conley. If that’s not the plan, his high upside still works as the signature long-term piece of the franchise.
5. Dallas Mavericks – Michael Porter Jr., F, Missouri, 19 years old
If I’m putting pieces around Dennis Smith Jr., I want players who can space the floor while also taking some of the scoring load off. Porter needs time to groom his handle, but he’s got a smooth shooting stroke and natural scoring ability.
6. Orlando Magic – Mohamed Bamba, C, Texas, 19 years old
With Aaron Gordon (if he comes back) and Jonathan Isaac, the Magic have two forwards who can do a whole lot defensively. Add in Bamba as the true rim protector and interior presence and now you’ve found your team’s identity.
7. Chicago Bulls – Wendell Carter Jr., C, Duke, 18 years old
Carter and Lauri Markkanen together feels like the perfect blend of opposing skill-sets. Markkanen is the far more skilled scorer while Carter can focus on smart plays, rim protection and rebounding as he develops further as a shooter and scoring option.
8. Cleveland Cavaliers (via BKN) – Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma, 19 years old
This is the type of home run swing you take to try and keep LeBron James around, right? Even if James leaves, Young is far and away the best potential No. 1 option available on the board and is the type of guy to build around.
9. New York Knicks – Mikal Bridges, SF, Villanova, 21 years old
The Knicks are desperate for someone useful on the wing to bridge the gap between Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee and Frank Ntilikina. Bridges is ready right now to play good NBA defense, hit threes and score when he needs to.
10. Philadelphia 76ers (via LAL) – Miles Bridges, F, Michigan State, 19 years old
After watching the Sixers in the playoffs, all they need around Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are guys who can 1) switch multiple positions and defend 2) shoot and 3) are smart and savvy enough to make an impact in other areas. Bridges is a bet to do all of that. While he might not become better than Dario Saric or Robert Covington, Philadelphia wouldn’t need him to be and playmakers like Simmons and Markelle Fultz would help negate his questionable offensive ceiling as a scorer.
11. Charlotte Hornets — Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama, 19 years old
Kemba Walker seems like the primary trade chip Mitch Kupchak needs to blow this team up and Sexton would be the ideal plug-and-play guy to form the identity of the team alongside last year’s first-round pick Malik Monk in the backcourt.
12. Los Angeles Clippers (via DET) – Zhaire Smith, F/G, Texas Tech, 18 years old
This is the second straight time I mock Smith here. He’s a strange mix when it comes to a raw skills package but other attributes like his athleticism and basketball IQ make him a potentially impactful rookie with a high ceiling. He makes a lot of sense for an overfilled roster of a good team that could find just the right role for him as he grows.
13. Los Angeles Clippers – Jontay Porter, C, Missouri, 18 years old
DeAndre Jordan and Boban Marjanovic become unrestricted free agents at the end of next season, leaving the Clippers with no big man signed after then. Porter’s skilled stretch five game would work well on offense with the likes of Danilo Gallinari and Tobias Harris.
14. Denver Nuggets – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky, 19 years old
Denver’s roster makes no sense from a “what do they need to draft?” perspective but they need another point guard, and Gilgeous-Alexander’s defensive upside spending stretches with either Jamal Murray or Gary Harris on the floor is fine.
15. Washington Wizards – Mitchell Robinson, C, Chalmette High School, 19 years old
Speaking of dumb rosters, my goodness. Do the Wizards play 4D chess here and draft the replacement for whoever they trade between Otto Porter, Bradley Beal and John Wall? Probably, but I’m more of a checkers guy when it comes to predicting what Washington does, so Robinson as a raw long-term replacement for Marcin Gortat works.
16. Phoenix Suns (via MIA) – Dzanan Musa, SF, Cedevita, 18 years old
There are attractive prospects on the board, but Musa’s skill-set of the ability to score off the dribble and shoot at 6-foot-9 is appetizing. He’s an inconsistent shooter, needs to grow physically to survive on defense and is a bit of a chucker, but the Suns can send him overseas for a year or two while the roster figures itself out.
17. Milwaukee Bucks – Lonnie Walker IV, SG, Miami, 19 years old
Remember the point about shooting and defense in the Sixers section? Ditto for a team built around Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton. Walker needs time, but how his clear NBA skills translate might indicate he should be drafted at least five spots higher.
18. San Antonio Spurs – Robert Williams, C, Texas A&M, 20 years old
Williams is flawed and inconsistent, but all his tools are there to be an All-Defense level player as a rim-running five. If he falls this far and the Spurs like him from an interview standpoint, there isn’t better value they can get with this pick.
19. Atlanta Hawks (via MIN) – De’Anthony Melton, PG, USC, 19 years old
I’m lost on where Melton fits in this range. Sitting out a year really hurt him, in my opinion. The Hawks need other guards besides Dennis Schroder, so I don’t mind this.
20. Minnesota Timberwolves (via OKC) – Kevin Knox, F, Kentucky, 18 years old
A talent-grab for Minnesota, which doesn’t really matter when you have Tom Thibodeau as your coach and he plays Jimmy Butler 45 minutes a game.
21. Utah Jazz –Troy Brown, G/F, Oregon, 18 years old
I have Brown as a top-15 prospect but his lack of reliable shooting and a defined NBA skill outside of passing hurts when push comes to shove in making picks. In Utah, his combo-guard skills and role player potential seem like a great development fit playing with Joe Ingles, Jae Crowder and Donovan Mitchell.
22. Chicago Bulls (via NOP) – Keita Bates-Diop, F, Ohio State, 21 years old
Bates-Diop has about a 22.47 percent chance of being a legit two-way wing and the Bulls need don’t have one of those yet, so he’s worth taking a flyer on.
23. Indiana Pacers – Shake Milton, G, SMU, 21 years old
I feel like Milton is almost too perfect to play next to Victor Oladipo that it would fail. An elite shooter in college with a combo-guard handle and defensive potential? Like I said, too good to be true. Or, he’s the steal of the draft!
24. Portland Trail Blazers – Khyri Thomas, SG, Creighton, 21 years old
I propose the same pick here as my last mock with Thomas playing as an off-ball shooter and defensive savant alongside either Damian Lillard or C.J. McCollum.
25. Los Angeles Lakers (via CLE) –Landry Shamet, PG, Wichita State, 21 years old
Another repeat. Shamet coming off the bench and spending time with Lonzo Ball is a terrific fit.
26. Philadelphia 76ers – Jacob Evans, G/F, Cincinnati, 20 years old
He can defend. He can shoot. Draft him, Bryan.
27. Boston Celtics – Kevin Huerter, SF, Maryland, 19 years old
The one thing missing on the Boston roster is a sniper from deep. Huerter seems competent enough to pick up on Boston’s philosophies and earn enough time to space the floor and knock down open shots.
28. Golden State Warriors – Kenrich Williams, F/G, TCU, 23 years old
Williams is a second-look guy where you realize how smart he operates beyond having a great motor. The jumper has got to be there but Golden State would turn him into a rotation piece almost immediately as a smart wing.
29. Brooklyn Nets (via TOR) – Jerome Robinson, G, Boston College, 21 years old
Robinson is the best bucket-getter outside of the lottery and he’s sitting here on the first-round bubble before the NBA Combine, so keep an eye on him as a riser. He suffers from “Luka Doncic syndrome” with a question as to how he creates separation against NBA defenders. His 3-point shooting is all over the place, but the dude can score.
30. Atlanta Hawks (via HOU) – Melvin Frazier, G, Tulane, 21 years old
Man, Frazier really pops on film as an NBA guy. He has an incredibly long frame (a supposed wingspan of 7-foot-2) and is a workhorse defensively. Progress as a shooter, hitting 38.5 percent of his 3.0 attempts from deep a game as a junior, got him on the NBA radar and if he can be an average shooter in the NBA, he’s gonna have a long career as a defensive menace.
31. Phoenix Suns — Donte DiVincenzo, G, Villanova, 21 years old
The breakout star of the Final Four, DiVincenzo is much more than a shooter. He’s a heady guard who can really score the basketball in crafty ways and works hard in other areas of the court. A smart shooter on the perimeter with a good motor wouldn’t be the worst thing for the Suns to select with this pick.