With the Summer League officially over, and all the rookies are getting themselves ready for their rookie season in the NBA, now it is time to look at the 2018 NBA Draft Class. This draft class has some serious potential, as last year’s class was so guard heavy, the 2018 NBA Draft Class is very big man dominant. There are some guys that could be labeled as NBA ready right now, and there are some players that went back to school after their freshman year and they could absolutely sky rocket their draft stock. The amount of potential that this draft class has is set to be one of the highest in recent memory.
Looking ahead there are names that stick out as a top two, top five, or lottery selection, but it also depends on who produces this season, and who is healthy for the season. Harry Giles is the prime example of that he was projected to go number one overall in the 2017 NBA Draft way before he even put shoes on for the Duke Blue Devils. He ended up tearing his ACL, and watched his draft stock slip because of it. Giles still ended up being a first round selection in the 2017 NBA Draft, but did not go where most thought he could of went before tearing his ACL.
The NBA season seems to be right around the corner, and with that being said here is an early look at a projection for the first round of the 2018 NBA Draft. The draft order will be set based on where we feel the league standings will be this year and we’ll take an educated guess as to who will pick where.
1. Boston (From Brooklyn) – Michael Porter Jr.
The most NBA ready prospect is none other than 6’10 forward Michael Porter Jr. The University of Missouri commit, is looking to take the NCAA by storm next season, and will show why he is hands down the best player in this draft. He has one of the best ceiling’s in this draft class, and has the skill to be a good go-to scorer in the NBA. At 6’10 he can either play the small forward or power forward position and can dominate whether it is his mid-range game, or beyond the arc.
With Boston getting lucky like they did in 2017 by getting the first overall selection from Brooklyn, it will be an absolute no-brainer to draft a guy like Porter. A playoff contender getting a solid player like Porter with the number one overall selection means that Boston fans will have a fun future to look forward to.
2. Phoenix Suns – Mohamed Bamba
Mohamed Bamba will be taking his talents to the University of Texas for this upcoming season, and will look to expand his offensive game to counteract his incredible defensive game. He will be the defensive anchor for the Longhorns this season, and him being an unbelievable rebounder will be tough for the Suns to pass up on. Phoenix is in desperate need of some size up front, and with Bamba’s wingspan measured at 7’9 puts him as one of the can’t miss prospects not only in this draft, but in the history of the NBA Draft as well.
If Bamba adds a little bit of weight to get him around the 215-220 pounds range, the 7’0 foot center will be a great selection for the Suns. Looking ahead as a basketball fan you should watch any games that the Longhorns play this season, to see Bamba’s potential for the NBA.
3. Boston Celtics (From Los Angeles Lakers) – DeAndre Ayton
Now this is where the NBA Draft gets interesting as the Boston Celtics grab another top three draft pick, and this time they use it on the 7’0 foot center out of the University of Arizona. Ayton is another one of these top prospects that is labeled as NBA ready at the moment, but a year at the University of Arizona can be very beneficial for him. He can dominate down on the block, and can be an effective weapon for the Celtics.
If DeAndre Ayton realizes that he can be a solid double-double guy every night, he can be one of the best prospects in this draft. He can shoot the ball, as well as score in the post, and if he can not fall in love with his jump shot so much he will be a great addition for the Celtics. Imagining a duo of Porter Jr. and Ayton on the same team is crazy to think about especially since they are both projected to be top picks in the 2018 Draft.
4. Orlando Magic – Robert Williams
Robert Williams decide to bypass the NBA Draft to return to school for another season, which was a smart move. Now that he did that, he can work on his offensive game, to go along with his solid rebounding, and his great defensive presence. The reigning SEC defensive player of the year is looking to make some serious strides that can help an NBA team, and he will be ready after this season. The 6’9 Power Forward/Center can be looked at as a top five selection, and can be a big factor for a young team like the Orlando Magic.
He should see his draft stock climb, because not only does he play in one of the better conferences in the NCAA, but he is also one of the better players in that conference. If he can improve his mid-range jumper, look for Williams to be considered one of the steals of the draft.
5. New York Knicks – Collin Sexton
Collin Sexton is taking his talents to the University of Alabama, and by the end of the NCAA season, every fan will want a player like Sexton to be on their team for the future. He has a competitive streak that helps let him explode and be able to go out and score thirty to forty points. At 6’2 he can explode to the rim, and can score at will off the dribble. Looking ahead one thing that Sexton might have to do is to change his style a slight bit.
He is a score-first style point guard, and if he can transition to get his teammates involved more while at the University of Alabama there is no reason why the Knicks should pass on him at the number five selection. With no true point guard, a guy like Sexton can come in and help contribute both offensive and defensively and can keep players on their toes at all times.
6. Atlanta Hawks – Jaren Jackson Jr.
Jaren Jackson Jr. is the youngest player in the 2018 draft class, and Atlanta will be looking at him closely this season to see what type of improvements that he makes. Jackson Jr. will be playing for Tom Izzo and the Michigan State Spartans this season, and should make a big impact in East Lansing this season. If Jackson Jr. wants to become a good player in the NBA he has to get tougher on the interior.
Jackson Jr. is 6’10 with a 7’4 wingspan, and can make a huge impact on the glass for offensive rebounds, but when it comes to defensive rebounds sometimes he tends to not get physical and doesn’t play the body. If he can improve on that aspect of his game there is no reason why he can’t go to a team like the Hawks and make an impact at their power forward/center position especially since they lost guys like Paul Millsap and Dwight Howard this offseason.
7. Dallas Mavericks – Wendell Carter
Wendell Carter can very well be the future for the Dallas Mavericks, with his skill of being able to be a pick and pop guy at any level. Carter is 6’10 and weighs 263 pounds and will be taking his talents to the University of Duke to play for Coach K. If Duke can use Carter to his style of play, they are going to be a tough team to beat next season, and Carter’s draft stock will sky rocket.
One thing that makes Carter a lottery selection, and not a top five selection is that lack of consistency on his jumper. If he can work on his mid-range jumper to go with his great skills in the post, and his talent passing the ball and getting others to contribute will make him one of the most saw after prospects for the 2018 NBA Draft. Dallas should hope that he falls to them at seven, because he can definitely be Dirk’s replacement for when he decides to retire.
8. Sacramento Kings – Luka Doncic
The best international prospect of the 2018 NBA Draft class is none other than Luke Doncic. Doncic is a 6’8 shooting guard that has drawn some serious attention with the way that he is playing in the Euro League. With a team like Sacramento at the eighth spot in the draft, if Doncic is still available there is no way that the Kings pass up on him. Especially with him being one of the younger players in the NBA Draft class there is potential that he could be a bust, but if all signs point positively he will be one of the better international prospects in a long time.
It wouldn’t be the Sacramento Kings if they did not take a risk at drafting Doncic with the eighth overall selection. Fran Fraschilla of ESPN should already be all over this guy, and he will know more about Doncic than anybody will coming into the 2018 NBA Draft.
9. Chicago Bulls – Nick Richards
The Chicago Bulls are going to take a big step back this season after all that they lost in the offseason, and they will select Nick Richards a center that will be playing for coach John Calipari and the University of Kentucky next season. Richards will take what he learns at the University of Kentucky and it will help him increase his draft stock. He is a 6’11 close to 7’0 foot center that has some untapped offensive potential that coach John Calipari could help bring out and hopefully will teach Richards not to play when he wants, but he has to play for the whole game.
If Richards can make it so that he gives everything he has every second of the game, he could be one of the best players in this draft class. Looking forward it will be interesting to see him play at the University of Kentucky this upcoming season, and see what Nick Richards comes to play for Big Blue.
10. Indiana Pacers – Miles Bridges
The Indiana Pacers are another playoff team that will be taking a step back, and will be in the lottery next season. With their lottery selection they will take none other than Miles Bridges the sophomore forward out of Michigan State University. This is a match made in heaven, as Bridges would be a big time factor for a Indiana Pacers team that will be looking for a face of their franchise.
With Bridges already having a season under his belt in East Lansing, he averaged 16.9 PPG, and 8.3 RPG to go along with it. Bridges will need to improve his free throw percentage which was 68.5 percent for his freshman season which is not where he would like to be. If he can get that up to around 80-85 percent, then he can be one of the steals of the draft.
11. Utah Jazz – Gary Trent Jr.
Duke has got an interesting freshman duo coming in with Wendell Carter and Gary Trent Jr. The Utah Jazz will look to add on to their young core and nothing better than getting a Coach K product like Gary Trent Jr. There is not a lot about Gary Trent Jr., but he was a McDonald’s All-American and at 6’6 the shooting guard looks like he will have a good season in Cameron, North Carolina.
He did not show much in the All-American game as he only had seven points to go along with two rebounds, but it makes it hard to believe that a Coach K product would not go in the lottery the year after being a All-American. Look to hear more about Gary Trent Jr. as the NCAA season progresses as Duke looks to be heavy favorites to play in the National Title game.
12. Memphis Grizzlies – Bruce Brown
Bruce Brown played well last year as a freshman for the University of Miami, and could have been a first round selection in the 2017 NBA Draft, but he decided to go back to school for his sophomore season and it could be a great move for him. Brown playing another year for the Hurricanes helps his case to become a lottery player in the 2018 NBA Draft. The Memphis Grizzlies have not gotten better this off season and it will show after the 2017-18 season is all said and done.
Looking forward the Grizzlies look like they will be on the outside looking in, and will be in the lottery where they will select the 6’3 shooting guard out of the University of Miami. Look to hear more about Bruce Brown when the NCAA season progresses, and he is a name to watch out for come tournament time.
13. New Orleans Pelicans – Jarred Vanderbilt
Another one of Coach Calipari’s prospects in this draft class is none other than 6’9 forward Jarred Vanderbilt. With Vanderbilt playing for a coach like John Calipari, it helps his draft stock, but his play will help it more than just by playing for the University of Kentucky. Vanderbilt has one thing to work on and that is his jumpshot. He has never shot the ball well from the free throw line or from beyond the arc as well.
Looking ahead coach Calipari will have to focus on getting his free throw percentage up, and to get his perimeter shot to be a whole lot better. Also if he can add some muscle on the lower half of his body would be a great improvement. If Vanderbilt can do that all in one season at the University of Kentucky would be huge for the New Orleans Pelicans who would love to have Vanderbilt on their team for the future.
14. Phoenix Suns (From Miami) – Brandon McCoy
The Phoenix Suns get yet another lottery selection here with the fourteenth overall selection and they will select another center this time Brandon McCoy out of UNLV. McCoy is just about 7’0 tall and he can definitely add some talent this year while he plays for UNLV. Looking forward I can see McCoy making some huge progress that will increase his draft stock to make him the last lottery selection of the 2018 NBA Draft.
He needs some work as he needs to focus on his potential as a near 7’0 center that can make a big impact in the NBA. During his freshman season he needs to work on being able to score on the block, and being able to consistently play during his time out on the floor.
15. Charlotte Hornets – Kevin Knox
Another University of Kentucky freshman that will leave early and be selected in the first round of an NBA Draft. The Charlotte Hornets will select Kevin Knox, a 6’9 forward who will take his talents and have a season of playing for Coach Calipari under his belt. One thing that Knox needs to improve on is his strength, because he can’t just rely on his quickness if he wants to be effective at the NBA level. With that being said Knox has the potential to even be a lottery selection, but most likely will be a mid-first round selection.
Knox is playing in the tough SEC next season, and will get to show his talents because he will be on TV a lot due to the fact that he is a Kentucky Wildcat. Looking forward Knox has potential to be a huge reason why the Wildcats are considered strong favorites for the NCAA title this season.
16. Philadelphia 76ers – Mitchell Robinson
This would be an absolute steal for the Philadelphia 76ers if they grabbed 7’1 center Mitchell Robinson with the sixteenth overall selection. One thing that does not work in Robinson’s favor is that he will be playing next season at Western Kentucky which is not a big name school. It will be nice to see Robinson get some exposure, because he could very well be the leading rebounder in the nation next season.
If Robinson puts on some muscle he is going to be a force to be reckoned with, due to his height and the way that he can play the game. Having a guy like Robinson play behind Joel Embiid, would be one of the better things for him to start off his career. If he goes to a team like the 76ers he will be on a playoff team and will do that for a long time.
17. Detroit Pistons – Trevon Duval
The Detroit Pistons will get a nice value pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, by selecting point guard Trevon Duval. Duval will be playing his college basketball at the University of Duke next season, and will play alongside Wendell Carter, and Gary Trent Jr. He will play under Coach K and will gain some valuable experience about how to play the point guard position. Looking ahead Duval could easily be a lottery selection, but he has to be able to show what he can do while he is at Duke.
Duval is a 6’2 point guard who is very explosive, but over dribbles at time and turns the ball over a lot. If Duval decides that he can stop over dribbling and limit his turnovers he can be one of the better players in the draft class. Look to see him play on TV a bunch this season as he will be a member of the Duke Blue Devils.
18. Denver Nuggets – Chimezie Metu
Chimezie Metu is entering his junior season, and was an absolute x-factor for the USC Trojans last season. In his sophomore season he averaged 14.8 PPG to go along with 7.8 RPG as well. The Trojans are on the up and up and Metu will be getting some more exposure from playing at USC this season. Metu is 6’10 and can play the power forward/center position and has a good solid jumper to go with it.
If Metu can add a little bit of weight he can be a solid player in the NBA, especially for the Denver Nuggets that will select him 18th overall in the 2018 NBA Draft. Down the line Metu could end up being a lottery selection, but one thing that is not working in his favor is that he will finish his junior season when he enters the NBA Draft and some teams might pass up on him because he is older.
19. Portland Trail Blazers – Rui Hachimura
Rui Hachimura will see a huge increase in his minutes during his sophomore campaign, and will be a big reason why Gonzaga will be going back to the tournament again in 2018. Portland is in need of a small forward and Hachimura can be the perfect fit for them. Standing in at 6’8 and with his unlimited potential he is going to be good when he gets his opportunity.
Hachimura is originally from Japan, and played for the Under-19 Team and averaged a team best 20.6 PPG to go along with 11.0 RPG as well. Gonzaga will have another big time player like they have had over the past seasons, but this time they will have a legitimate threat that just might not be able to be stopped. Look to hear a lot about Hachimura this year as Gonzaga will look to go back to the NCAA Tournament Championship game again next season.
20. Milwaukee Bucks – Killian Tillie
The Milwaukee Bucks could use a good face up four for their team, and one guy that fits that build perfectly is none other than Killian Tillie. Tillie was a part of the Gonzaga team that went to the National Title Game a season ago, and in his sophomore campaign he looks to get more minutes and to improve his game as a whole. Killian is from France, stands at 6’10 and can play either Power Forward/Center.
If Killian Tillie can get himself in the weight room this offseason to work on his strength, he will be one of the better sophomore players in the country next season. With aspirations to play at the highest level Tillie needs to work on those two things in order to succeed. Tillie will be a big part of the Bulldogs’ offense next season and we should be hearing a lot about him.
21. Los Angeles Clippers – Grayson Allen
The Los Angeles Clippers could definitely use a shooting guard on their team and one that they will look at in the NBA Draft is none other than Grayson Allen. Allen will be entering his senior season at Duke, looking to win his second National Championship. He won one his freshman year in a limited role, and then absolutely dominated his sophomore season, before taking a step back his junior year. Grayson Allen is a knock down three point shooter, and has some seriousness toughness on the defensive end.
Allen is 6’5 and can really help the Clippers on both ends of the court. Look to hear more and more of Grayson Allen if you already have not over the past three seasons. He could be a good possibility for ACC player of the Year and could be a big time reason why Duke has a realistic chance of making it to the National Title Game this season.
22. Toronto Raptors – Rodions Kurucs
The Toronto Raptors are a solid team that could use some depth at forward, one prospect that would help them fill that void is Rodions Kurucs. Kurucs is an international prospect from Lativa, who currently plays for FC Barcelona. He has good size and length and can play either shooting guard, or small forward. One thing that worries about Kurucs is that he has already had two major injuries in his career. Standing a 6’8 or 6’9 it looks like he can be a good player in the NBA.
Kurucs plays with a lot of passion and can be a spark that could help the Raptors’ bench out. Look for Toronto to select the Latvian forward to help create a bench that can help the starters get some rest.
23. Atlanta (From Minnesota) – Troy Brown
Troy Brown is taking his talents to the University of Oregon and will look to be one and done and look to go into the NBA Draft after his freshman season. With the 23rd selection the Atlanta Hawks will select Brown who is a 6’6 shooting guard who has a good shooting stroke. If he can work on being consistent with his jump shot, and can work on his game in the half court, it would be beneficial for his draft stock.
The Hawks could use a guy like Brown on their team for the following reasons, one they need a guy who can play shooting guard, yes they have Bazemore, but he is a small forward mainly. The second reason is a young player like that could really benefit from a head coach like Mike Budenholzer.
24. Minnesota (From Oklahoma City) – Omer Yurtseven
The Minnesota Timberwolves move down one spot, with their selection in the 2018 NBA Draft and with that selection they will take the sophomore center Omer Yurtseven out of NC State. The 7’0 center played a limited role in his freshman campaign, and should see a good increase in minutes during his sophomore season. Yurtseven is from Uzbekistan and can score from anywhere inside of ten to eighteen feet.
Yurtseven is not the type of player that is going to bang down low, as he tries to be more of a finesse player. If Yurtseven can improve his shot by getting more consistent with it, not only will he be a threat for NC State, but he will be one of the better prospects to come out of this draft class. Look to hear more from Yurtseven as the year progresses more towards the time of the 2018 NBA Draft.
25. Washington Wizards – Austin Wiley
Another sophomore center who did not have a huge role with their team, and is poised to have a better sophomore season is Austin Wiley. Wiley currently plays for the University of Auburn, and stands at 6’11. Wiley is a good offensive rebounder, and could be a help to a team that desperately needs help with rebounding, and that team is none other than the Washington Wizards. His ability to find a body on the defensive glass is one of the better qualities that he has that some of the top prospects do not have.
26. San Antonio Spurs – Mikal Bridges
The San Antonio Spurs are known for grabbing talented prospects late in the draft, and this one they will draft is just like the others. The Spurs drafting junior shooting guard/small forward Mikal Bridges is another diamond in the rough that they will get. Bridges is entering his junior year at the University of Villanova, shoots the ball at a high percentage, and can be a good player in a small role which was shown his freshman year when he helped Villanova win the National Title.
Bridges would be a good guy to come off the San Antonio bench and play for a guy like Gregg Popovich would do wonders for a talented player like him. Look to see the talented Bridges be the diamond in the rough of the draft class, that San Antonio will steal like they always do.
27. Boston Celtics – Hamidou Diallo
The Boston Celtics will finally select with their own pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, and they will take 6’5 shooting guard Hamidou Diallo out of the University of Kentucky. Coach Calipari has some high praise for Diallo, and he could definitely increase his stock especially if he plays well in Lexington this season. He is very quick, and can cause a matchup problem for anybody guarding him while in transition.
Looking forward Diallo will need to work on getting his shot very consistent, and need to improve as a whole on his jumper. If Diallo can consistently knock down jumpers to go along with his quickness, he can be one player in the draft that teams will shake their heads twice about passing up. He needs to put in the work in order to succeed in the NBA.
28. Cleveland Cavaliers – Lagerald Vick
The Cleveland Cavaliers have some big question marks coming into the current season, but with LeBron James on their team they will be one of the better teams in the league and will have the 28th selection in the 2018 NBA Draft. With that pick they will select Lagreald Vick the 6’5 shooting guard out of the University of Kansas. Vick is about to breakout on the scene in his junior year as he is a very tenacious defender, with a good jumper to go along with it.
The Cavaliers could use Vick’s tenacity off the bench, and he could be a huge time factor for the Cavaliers for the future. Look for Lagerald Vick to improve his draft stock, as he is projected to be a late first round or early second round pick, but with the way that he defends he will not make it to the second round.
29. Atlanta Hawks (From Houston) – Moritz Wagner
The Atlanta Hawks get yet another draft pick from the Houston Rockets and they will select the junior center out of the University of Michigan Moritz Wagner. Wagner is a floor spacer, and can really knock down the jumper when he gets going. He was a huge part why Michigan made their huge run in the NCAA tournament a season ago. Another reason why Atlanta will be lucky to take him late in the first round is because they can use him potentially as a starter for the Hawks sooner rather than later.
Looking forward, Wagner has to improve on the boards, but he can definitely do that in a bigger role this season for the University of Michigan. Atlanta finds a good late round selection in Wagner who can make an impact for the Hawks the second he makes it to the NBA.
30. Golden State Warriors – Jeffrey Carroll
The Golden State Warriors are the best team in basketball, there is no doubt about it and they will have the final selection of the first round in the 2018 NBA Draft. With that selection they will take the senior shooting guard Jeffrey Carroll out of Oklahoma State University. Carroll stands in at 6’6, and has a good solid jumper that can become deadly if he gets going. Jeffrey Carroll was the second leading scorer for Oklahoma State his junior year, and with the loss of their leading scorer means that Carroll will have to take over more of the load.
Carroll would be a good fit for the Warriors because he can come off the bench, and help give starters some rest. He has the potential of being a solid player in this league, especially since he can defend at a high level as well as be able to knock down a jumper consistently.
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