(Photo credit: USA TODAY Sports via Reuters/Patrick Gorski)
The lottery positions for 2018 have been confirmed, with the Phoenix Suns holding serve at number one, the Sacramento Kings making a sizeable jump to number two, and the Dallas Mavericks falling to number five.
1. Phoenix Suns: DeAndre Ayton, 7'0" center – The Bahamas
The best talent on the board, and the best talent we’ve seen in a long time. DeAndre Ayton fits perfectly with Devin Booker. This one’s a layup for Phoenix.
2. Sacramento Kings: Michael Porter, 6'10" forward – Missouri
Wherever you have Michael Porter graded, you know Sacramento’s owner Vivek Ranadive is every chance to fall in love with a guy like this on NBA Draft day. And there is plenty to love. Porter would not be a bad pick at all for the Kings.
3. Atlanta Hawks: Marvin Bagley, 6'11" power forward – Duke
It’s a shame Dennis Schroder has become unsatisfied with life in Atlanta, as the pick and roll combination between him and Marvin Bagley would be a sight to behold. If he falls into the Hawks’ laps, they’re absolutely drafting him.
4. Memphis Grizzlies: Jaren Jackson, 6'11" power forward – Michigan State
Memphis could absolutely get a steal with Jaren Jackson at pick four. A hardworking, polished big man who can jump out of the gym, you really feel Tom Izzo guys like him were made for the Grizzlies.
5. Dallas Mavericks: Mohamed Bamba, 7'0" center – Texas
You know Mark Cuban would love to take the Texas guy, and there’s no reason he shouldn’t. They may not be getting one of the three or four “elite” level talents, but this is the right pick for Dallas to make at this stage of the draft.
6. Orlando Magic: Trae Young, 6'2" point guard – Oklahoma
There’s something about player and team that draws them towards each other. No, that’s not entirely a veiled shot at the Orlando front office. Only a little one. Trae Young has had doubters, but so did another free-shooting point guard named Stephen Curry.
7. Chicago Bulls: Luka Doncic, 6'8" guard / forward – Spain
It would be an interesting mix of talent for Chicago to pair an athletic backcourt alongside a less-than-so frontcourt, but I love the floor spacing it creates. Luka Doncic would be a key contributor in making it happen. This might be a team Fred Hoiberg can actually coach.
8. Cleveland Cavaliers: Collin Sexton, 6'2" point guard - Alabama
Will the Cavs still own this pick on NBA Draft night? Who or what exactly is it they’re building around? Who knows? Could LeBron James leave, seeing Cleveland pair up this pick with another player or two to move up? That would be fun.
9. New York Knicks: Mikal Bridges, 6'7" guard / forward – Villanova
He may not be Mo Bamba, but New York are getting a great player in Mikal Bridges, who should be ready to help them straight away. Either way, nothing compares to taking your rival’s hometown kid one pick before they have the chance to.
10. Philadelphia 76ers: Kevin Knox, 6'8" forward – Kentucky
Almost like a higher upside version of the player they so covet, Knox could very well be the better professional. But he comes with a lot of questions marks and that scary “tweener” tag so many teams avoid. However, this is too good a value to pass up.
11. Charlotte Hornets: Wendell Carter, 6'10" power forward / center – Duke
I’ve always wanted to see Charlotte picking more players who played at a college in their basketball-rich state. As of now, it s a untapped fan connection waiting to be embraced.
12. Los Angeles Clippers: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, 6'6" point guard – Canada
The Clippers aren’t going to be able to get around with guards such as Lou Williams and Patrick Beverley on their roster much longer. This is a team itching for at least a part-rebuild, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is the perfect place to start.
13. Los Angeles Clippers: Miles Bridges, 6'7" forward – Michigan State
It might be the easy comparison to make to liken Miles Bridges to his fellow Michigan State alum Draymond Green, but the similarities are certainly there. It would be interesting to see how Los Angeles fits him alongside Tobias Harris.
14. Denver Nuggets: Khyri Thomas, 6'3" guard – Creighton
It’s hard to know in which direction the Denver Nuggets are heading, or whether they need another combo guard. But with a fairly solid roster, the best available player – Khyri Thomas from Creighton – would not be a bad call.
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