The day is finally here as teams try and find their future cornerstones that can be a franchise player or key contributor to a winning basketball squad. Let's get right into it. Beware this is how I think the first 14 picks will go not necessarily how I would pick them:
1. Phoenix Suns- Deandre Ayton- Center- Arizona
Ayton has been the favorite as the number one pick for quite awhile now. He has an NBA body already and he's still 19. He has the best back-to-the-basket game right now and has a smooth jumper too. There are a lot of critics of his defense but others blame it on the fact that Arizona coach Sean Miller was asking too much of Ayton that he often found himself out of position. His block numbers are staggeringly low as well. Although I have been pretty surprised by the lack of debate that maybe other prospects are worth the number one pick I think Ayton has zero bust potential barring any career ending injury. He may not turn out to be a yearly All-NBA Center but he will average 16 and 10 at least for his career.
2. Sacramento Kings- Marvin Bagley III- Power Forward- Duke
Many people speculated that the Kings would surely go with International phenom Luka Doncic here but all signs point to them taking Marvin Bagley III from Duke. Another safe pick who is a dog on the boards with an endless motor and great length and speed to run the floor. He also has very little bust potential. However bad scouts have worried about Ayton's poor defense you can multiply that by 10 for Bagley. It isn't a question of effort really but he makes poor decision after poor decision on defense and could be his downfall in the league.
3. Atlanta Hawks- Luka Doncic- Point Forward- Real Madrid
Luka Doncic the 19 year old who just won MVP of the 2nd-best basketball league in the world is ready to come try out the NBA. Some scouts believe Doncic's basketball IQ, size at 6'8, and decision making will make him a star in this league. Others are worried he isn't close to the athlete most guards are in this league and that he has slow feet. I believe this kid could be a star and he certainly will make players around him better. He'll be able to take bigs off the dribble and his 6'8 frame will allow him to look over smaller guards. He has shown he has some serious dog in him and has shown to be a clutch shot maker as well. Atlanta got a good one in Luka.
4. Memphis Grizzlies- Jaren Jackson Jr.- Power Forward- Michigan State
Scouts love the potential of Jaren Jackson Jr. who has the skills to be your prototypical big man in today's style of the NBA. He showed at Michigan State he might be just as good at defending guards as he is big men. He has a freakishly long frame and might be the best rim protector in the draft and will be a future Defensive Player of the Year caliber defender. He also shows signs of being able to hit open 3's as well. Some scouts believe in 3 or 4 years he will be the best big man from this draft.
5. Dallas Mavericks- Mo Bamba- Center- Texas
Mo Bamba won the workout and combine warrior contest by a mile. He has the longest wingspan in NBA combine history at 8 feet long. He has untapped potential as a defensive force and still has the tools to develop a low post game. Some scouts worry he may not have the drive of some other guys but there really isn't any proof of that. Teams fell in love with Bamba and some will try and make some moves to get up in the draft and take him.
6. Orlando Magic- Trae Young- Point Guard- Oklahoma
The most talked about college basketball player this past season has Steph Curry type range and led the NCAA in scoring and assists which is mighty impressive. The big worry is his lack of size and defense. He was plain awful at Oklahoma at defense and guys in the NBA will have no trouble trying to get switched onto him and going right at him. The golden question is is he worth the risk? When a guy draws comparisons to Steph's offensive skill set you gotta take him and hope for the best. Young has incredible quickness, range and with a high basketball IQ so I think offensively he will be able to figure it out. Everyone but 10 players in the league are terrible at defense anyways. When it comes down to it, it's all about effort.
7. Chicago Bulls- Michael Porter Jr.- SF/PF- Missouri
The former number one high school recruit in the country faced the biggest stock drop over the past year because of his lingering back concerns and rightfully so. He played 7 basketball games at Missouri and didn't look amazing in any of them. He is considered to be one of the best shooters in the draft and if he never suffered any injuries he is probably a top 3 pick. But a 6'11 kid with back issues already who hasn't shared his medical records is scary. He lives in Chicago and I just think the Bulls give him a chance because if he works out he can be a consistent all-star.
8. Cleveland Cavaliers- Collin Sexton- PG- Alabama
I got to watch Collin Sexton up close and personal when Bama visited Auburn this past season and I fell in love with the kid. The only reason the game was interesting was because he refused to get blown out. The guy has the most dog in this draft. He is a killer and hates to lose which is just what the Cavs need whether LeBron leaves or not. Draft an insanely athletic and intense PG to contribute right away or start a new era with. He doesn't have a consistent jumper but he can get to rim and free throw line any time he wants and when the jumper is falling he can be impossible to guard.
9. New York Knicks- Kevin Knox- SF- Kentucky
Knox is like the 3rd youngest player in the draft and has some of the highest potential. When mock drafts first started he was consistently out of the top-10 but now that seems impossible. He has great length at 6'9 and a 7'4 wingspan and can shoot from NBA range which is something the Knicks can really use. Kentucky had an up and down year but when they started figuring it out in the second half of the season I think it is because Knox started becoming the focal point of that offense. New York just got a promising young player that will take time but I see little bust potential and very high ceiling.
10. Philadelphia 76ers- Mikal Bridges- SG/SF- Villanova
Bridges' teammate Jalen Brunson won National Player of the year but Bridges was by far the best player on that team. He is ready to play in the league now becuase he's the oldest player to get picked in the lottery, unless Miles Bridges from Michigan State does, but he has great 3-and-D potential which is what the NBA is all about now and the 76ers could really use.
11. Charlotte Hornets- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander- PG- Kentucky
I don't really understand the hype on SGA but he is long and his best skill is perimeter defense which is rare. Other than that, despite his length he's not a great athlete that can take guys off the dribble and he's not a shooter either. Maybe he is a work in process but 11 seems a little high for that type of pick.
12. Los Angeles Clippers- Wendell Carter- PF/C- Duke
I think Wendell Carter fell victim to playing next to Marvin Bagley for a year. similar to Bagley, Carter has little bust potential and a great rebounder. He has a capable jumper but that really isn't a strength. Carter is just a very solid player whose ceiling just isn't as high as some of his contemporaries.
13. Los Angeles Clippers- Zhaire Smith- PG/SG- Texas Tech
I can honestly say I haven't seen this kid play once yet and probably neither have you so he is a bit of a mystery but from what I hear he has great offensive potential and he's a bit of an enigma at 6'4 he is in between positions but every team can use a guy that can create for himself. Sounds like a fun combo alongside Lou Williams.
14. Denver Nuggets- Miles Bridges- SF/PF- Michigan State
Bridges to me is the safest pick in the draft behind Ayton. There's no way this guy is garbage in the league. That being said he probably has the lowest ceiling too. He's going to be a potential starter or heavy rotation player who is solid at just about everything he does.