NBA mock draft: All-star break edition


courtesy of NBA

The 2018 NBA Draft will be held on June 21 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY.

Joshua Miller, Staff Writer

As the NBA season comes to the halfway point, teams are starting to get an idea of where they are going to lie in the draft. Teams like the Warriors and Celtics know they’re making the playoffs, but what about teams like the Grizzlies and Knicks? Teams that are out of the playoff picture?

This upcoming draft class is full of talent, but not enough for every team looking to find the final piece that will elevate their team to playoff contention. We could see an uptick in teams “tanking”—or purposely losing to attain a higher draft pick. Given all that, here’s my top five mock draft:

  1. Atlanta Hawks: Mohamed Bamba, C, Texas

The Hawks have had a weak post defensive presence this season with the loss of Paul Millsap in the previous offseason. Bamba, a 7-foot-220-pound center, averages 4.3 blocks per game, which is more than Atlanta’s entire team average. Bamba also has a wingspan of 7 feet and 9.5 inches, which will help him in the NBA when going up against bigger centers.

Strengths: post defense, length and ability to run the floor

Weaknesses: offense outside of the post and free throws

Comparison: DeAndre Jordan

2.Orlando Magic: Luka Doncic, G, Slovenia

With Elfrid Payton being traded, the Magic have a huge hole in the point guard position. Doncic can excel at both guard spot at 6-foot-6-inches-and-218 pounds. Orlando have had average-sized point guards for years and a bigger guard could be the difference for the Magic. Doncic gives the Magic a better rebounder, jump-shooter and free-throw shooter.
Strengths: vision and shooting

Weaknesses: defense and athleticism are a question mark.

Comparison: Steve Smith

  1. Dallas Mavericks: Marvin Bagley, PF, Duke

With Dirk Nowitzki close to retirement, the Mavs need to be looking for his heir. Bagley has shown the NBA world he’s the real deal with his talent. This season we’ve seen Bagley average 20 points and 10 rebounds at the Duke University. Bagley’s jumpshot has steadily improved and could help the Mavs spread the floor. You have a player with the athletic ability to carry the torch for a future Hall of Famer like Nowitzki.

Strengths: scoring inside and out, rebounding

Weakness: free-throw shooting

Comparison: Chris Bosh

  1. Sacramento Kings: Michael Porter Jr., SF, Missouri

I know Porter Jr. has not shown us anything in college except his injury, but hear me out. Sacramento has been on the losing end of the spectrum for years and with Porter Jr. coming to the team, the popularity of the Kings would sky-rocket. Watching him at Nathan Hale High School in Seattle was electrifying and seeing him jump out of the building and dunk on defenders had NBA players watching from high school bleachers. Scouts compare him to the “King” himself,  LeBron James. Porter Jr. will bring the Kings the recognition they so desperately need to revive a floundering franchise.

Strengths: shooting, ball handling and athletic ability

Weaknesses: decision-making (sometimes)

Comparisons: Kevin Durant/Lebron James

  1. Phoenix Suns: DeAndre Ayton, C, Arizona

Ayton can take the starting role from Tyson Chandler and Alex Len based on his ability to spread the floor and exceed in the pick-and-roll game. Phoenix’s high-energy offense for the past few seasons with Devin Booker and Marquese Chriss is effective, yet there are two holes on the roster: point guard and center. If the Suns drafted Trae Young with this pick, it wouldn’t work. Devin Booker is the Suns’ go-to guy on offense. Even though Young leads the nation in assists, he is very ball-dominate and that will cause some issues on offense. Ayton is a better fit because he brings everything to the table from defense to offense.Strengths: Strong size and big frame, rebounding and length

Weaknesses: tends to settle for jump-shots

Comparison: DeMarcus Cousins