The NBA mock draft 2018 edition is already receiving heavy attention just as the latest edition of NBA’s prospect selection event has ended. With Washington Huskies guard Markelle Fultz going No. 1 overall to the Philadelphia Sixers and Lonzo Ball second to the Los Angeles Lakers, speculation is emerging about which teams will have next year’s top picks. Among the prospects will be a talented shooting guard from Real Madrid and a Missouri freshman forward who is turning heads already. Could the No. 1 draft pick end up going to the same franchise for the second-straight year?
According to the Heavy in their recent NBA mock draft report, the two prospects that are leading the way early for next year’s draft class are Michael Porter Jr. and Luka Doncic. Porter Jr. is a 6-foot-10 forward with a seven-foot wingspan who will play his college basketball for Missouri this coming NCAA season. At 19 years old, he’s been part of USA Basketball, Nike Hoops Summit, and the McDonald’s All-American game, impressing those who have witnessed his skills. As a high school senior with Mokan Elite, he put up 24.8 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 2.5 assists on his averages for the season. That makes him a highly coveted prospect already, without having set foot on a college basketball court to play yet.
Porter Jr. is considered by many analysts to be the top overall pick in the draft class, but that really could depend on who has that pick next year. Another potential No. 1 pick could be Real Madrid shooting guard Luka Doncic. He’s the first 17-year-old to take a rotation spot since current NBA player Ricky Rubio, and it’s said that Doncic’s production has far exceeded that of Rubio’s. He’s also got another year to show what he’s capable of before he’s eligible for the 2018 Draft.
While his numbers of 7.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 4.2 assists may not impress on the surface, this kid has plenty of upside. He’s 6-foot-8 and weighs 185 pounds, giving him great size at the position. Earlier this year, The Vertical’s Jonathan Givony profiled why Doncic could be the top pick in 2018.
Even at 17 years old, Doncic was drawing attention from NBA personnel who traveled to Madrid to watch him play. It was said that the young international phenom has an early confidence along with ball-handling skills and creativity, plus he can play all three positions in the backcourt. With the potential that other international players have realized, Doncic is easily a valuable prospect for many NBA teams looking for a sharp player to add to their roster.
2018 NBA Mock Draft
- Michael Porter SF/PF (Missouri)
- Luka Doncic SG (Real Madrid)
- DeAndre Ayton C (Arizona)
- Mohamed Bamba SF/PF (N/A)
- Miles Bridges SF/PF (Michigan St.)
- Robert Williams PF/C (Texas A&M)
- Wendell Carter PF (Duke)
- Collin Sexton PG (Alabama)
- Jaren Jackson PF/C (Michigan State)
- Trevon Duval PG (N/A)
While 2017’s draft class was “guard heavy” in the lottery portion of things, it appears there could be more big men selected early on next year. The No. 3 prospect is California Supreme High School’s DeAndre Ayton, while Proschalars High School senior Mohamed Bamba, a power forward, is listed No. 4 by Draft Express. Rounding out the top five for next year’s NBA Draft class is Michigan State freshman forward Miles Bridges. If Bridges and teammate Jaren Jackson both impress, they could be a pair of Spartans to both be selected within the top 10 of the order.
As far as speculation about who will have the top pick, those lucky Boston Celtics have another shot to have that distinction based on trades they’ve made. If the lottery system goes in favor of the Celtics again, they are already being speculated to go for the international shooting guard Doncic. Other teams that could be up in the top of the order could be the Orlando Magic taking Michael Porter Jr, the Suns selecting Collin Sexton, and the Kings getting big man DeAndre Ayton to try to fill that void left when they traded away All-Star DeMarcus Cousins.
[Featured Image by David Banks/Getty Images]