NBA Mock Draft 2018: Deandre Ayton jumps up board, Cavs score top prospect with Nets' pick

The 2018 NBA trade deadline featured plenty of action, including several swapped first-round picks. As a result, it’s worth investigating how those trades have reshaped the 2018 NBA Draft. What follows is an attempt at predicting June’s first round. (For a strict ranking of prospects, you can check out our most recent big board.)

The draft order is based on FiveThirtyEight’s win projections as of Feb. 10. Using such projections is valuable given the bundle of teams at the bottom of the standings.

NBA TRADE DEADLINE: Biggest winners and losers

Here’s a look at how the first round may shake out...

1. Suns — Luka Doncic, G, Real Madrid

Age: 18.9 | Height: 6-8 | Weight: 228

Doncic continues to put up insane numbers playing against some of the top competition in the world. For now, he’s averaging 25.8 points, 8.8 rebounds and 7.2 assists per 40 minutes on a 61.8 true shooting percentage across all competitions. The 18-year-old brings primary creator upside that’s difficult to find at the top of this draft, and a trio of Doncic, Devin Booker and Josh Jackson would give Phoenix an intriguing perimeter setup as it builds towards the future.

Read more about Luka Doncic here.

2. Hawks — Deandre Ayton, C, Arizona

Age: 19.5 | Height: 7-1 | Weight: 250

Although Duke’s Marvin Bagley III rates out as the top frontcourt player on our current big board, Arizona’s Ayton may be a slightly better fit for the Hawks, and given the slight talent difference between the two bigs, he gets the nod here.

The 19-year-old is physically ready to compete in the NBA right now, and his offensive game featuring pick-and-pops and post-ups could develop into a nice focal point for Atlanta. Defense, though, remains a question mark for Ayton. He’s averaging just 2.3 blocks per 40 minutes in college despite possessing a size and athleticism advantage over his competition.

Read more about Deandre Ayton here.

3. Kings — Marvin Bagley III, PF/C, Duke

Age: 18.9 | Height: 6-11 | Weight: 234

Like Ayton, Bagley’s biggest question mark is his defense. While he’s shown flashes of weak-side rotations and rim protection, the consistent production hasn’t been there. Whether he can make progress on that end of the floor will determine a lot about where he fits positionally in the NBA.

Still, Bagley probably has the highest offensive upside of any big in the class. He’s flashed a rare ability to pass on the move in isolation or out of short rolls, and he possesses a nice shooting stroke that could extend out to the NBA 3-point line. If those two skills progress, Bagley will allow a team to maintain positional size while operating in the confines of a modern pace-and-space offense.

Read more about Marvin Bagley III here.

4. Grizzlies — Jaren Jackson Jr., PF/C, Michigan State

Age: 18.4 | Height: 6-11 | Weight: 242

Consider this pick a bit of a projection as Jackson doesn’t rate quite this highly on our big board. Marc Gasol isn’t going to be in Memphis forever, and the Michigan State big man could be a nice long-term replacement.

While the other bigs in the 2018 class are searching for unicorn traits, Jackson’s already there. He’s shooting 44.1 percent from the college 3-point line, has a history of shooting success from high school and blocks nearly 6.0 shots per 40 minutes. At 6-11 with excellent defensive instincts and lateral mobility, he could top out as one of the best defensive players in the NBA at some point during his career. That should suffice.

Read more about Jaren Jackson Jr. here.

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5. Mavericks — Mohamed Bamba, C, Texas

Age: 19.7 | Height: 6-11 | Weight: 242

With a 7-9 wingspan, Bamba has the physical tools to one day be the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year. He averages 5.4 blocks per 40 minutes for Texas and deters a significant number of shots around the rim for the nation’s fifth-ranked defense. There are some questions about his focus and intensity, but none about the ability.

On the offensive end, Bamba could help the Mavericks establish a formidable pick-and-roll attack alongside Dennis Smith Jr. The Texas freshman has an impressive catch radius and would force help defenders to make difficult decisions as he crashes towards the rim. He’s even flashed a bit of shooting range with a slow-loading jumper.

Read more about Mohamed Bamba here.

DEVENEY: New Cavs have big chips on shoulders

6. Cavs (via Nets) — Michael Porter Jr., SF/PF, Missouri

Age: 19.6 | Height: 6-10 | Weight: 215

The hubbub surrounding the value, or lack thereof, of the Nets’ pick in the lead-up to the trade deadline was likely overblown. Brooklyn’s projected record borders on being one of the worst five in the league in a draft that features seven prospects who possess the potential to be the best player on an NBA team.

As such, Cleveland is able to snag Porter at No. 6. The 6-10 combo forward was once projected to be the top prospect in the class prior to having back surgery earlier this season. Porter’s three-level scoring ability would pair nicely alongside an aging LeBron James should he choose to stay, or give the Cavs a nice piece to rebuild around. Now, we just have to wait and see if Porter actually takes the floor this season.

7. Magic — Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma

Age: 19.4 | Height: 6-2 | Weight: 180

The Magic offloaded point guard Elfrid Payton at the trade deadline, opening up a hole for a young prospect to step in and shape the team’s offense. No player in this draft is better fit for the role than Oklahoma’s Young, the centerpiece of one of college basketball’s top offenses.

Young is averaging 34.3 points and 10.7 assists per 40 minutes while projecting as a better than 40.0 percent 3-point shooter at the next level. The 19-year-old’s ability to pull up from well behind the arc off the bounce can have a gravitational effect on opposing defenses. Young is just the fresh start Orlando’s looking for.

Read more about Trae Young here.

8. Bulls — Mikal Bridges, SG/SF, Villanova

Age: 21.4 | Height: 6-7 | Weight: 210

The Bulls need a connecting piece between Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen, and it’s a spot Villanova’s Bridges could slot into with ease. The 6-7 wing is one of college basketball’s most versatile defenders with the stats to back it up, as he’s averaging 2.1 steals and 1.5 blocks per 40 minutes.

Bridges is the quintessential 3-and-D wing. He projects as a high 30s 3-point shooter at the next level based on his quality free throw shooting and 3-point volume. The 21-year-old’s upside hinges on what kind of creation he can offer. If he can attack closeouts consistently, he’ll be one of the league’s top role players. If he can initiate on his own, he’ll be a star.

Read more about Mikal Bridges here.

9. Knicks — Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama

Age: 19.1 | Height: 6-3 | Weight: 190

The Knicks' recent roster moves, including signing Trey Burke to a multi-year deal and trading for Emmanuel Mudiay, seem to suggest the franchise doesn’t see 2017 first-rounder Frank Ntilikina as the long-term answer at point guard, hence Alabama’s Sexton comes off the board here.

The 19-year-old is an aggressive attacker off the bounce with a low-to-the-ground handle that allows him to get to the rim at will. His pick-and-roll game should fit well with a healthy Kristaps Porzingis. His ability to improve as a jump shooter — he projects as an average one right now — will determine his ceiling outcome.

Read more about Collin Sexton here.

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10. Sixers (via Lakers) — Miles Bridges, SF/PF, Michigan State

Age: 19.9 | Height: 6-7 | Weight: 230

The Sixers appear to have already found their franchise cornerstones, so filling out the pieces around them is now the priority. Michigan State’s Bridges would give Philadelphia a (theoretically) versatile defender with the ability to create offense off the catch from the 3-point line. The 19-year-old is one of the draft’s best athletes with plenty of potential to turn into one of the best role players in the 2018 class.

Read more about Miles Bridges here.

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11. Hornets — Kevin Knox, SF/PF, Kentucky

Age: 18.5 | Height: 6-9 | Weight: 215

As expected, the Hornets stood pat on Kemba Walker at the trade deadline. Now, they’ll look to inject their forward rotation with some youth and upside.

Kentucky’s Knox doesn’t have the statistical profile of the wings ahead of him, but his positional size is a positive in a draft sorely lacking at the position. Knox flashed his potential in a 34-point performance against West Virginia last month. He needs to show he can consistently knock down shots in order to move up NBA teams’ boards.

12. Clippers (via Pistons) — Wendell Carter Jr., C, Duke

Age: 18.8 | Height: 6-10 | Weight: 259

The Clippers acquired this pick from the Pistons as part of the pre-deadline deal for Blake Griffin.

Although the team stood pat on DeAndre Jordan at the deadline, the Clippers could be looking for a long-term frontcourt solution as soon as this summer. Duke’s Carter is the next best big on the board.

The 18-year-old has been featured behind Marvin Bagley III this season, but he has flashed playmaking ability from the elbow and low block. In the NBA, he’ll be an interesting threat in pinch post and dribble hand-off actions. Defensively, there are some concerns about how well Carter moves on the perimeter.

Read more about Wendell Carter Jr. here.

13. Bulls (via Pelicans) — Robert Williams, C, Texas A&M

Age: 20.3 | Height: 6-9 | Weight: 237

The Bulls acquired this pick from the Pelicans as part of a deal for Nikola Mirotic.

A future frontcourt pairing of Williams and Lauri Markkanen should excite Bulls’ fans, as the Texas A&M big man can help alleviate a lot of defensive pressure at the rim where Markkanen struggles. Williams is averaging 3.7 blocks per 40 minutes this season behind his 7-4 wingspan and impressive athleticism.

Offensively, Williams represents an enticing lob target out of ball screens. His opportunities have been limited with the Aggies, though, as he plays next to Tyler Davis, one of the top post-up bigs in the country.

14. Clippers — Troy Brown, SF, Oregon

Age: 18.5 | Height: 6-7 | Weight: 215

If projections hold, the Clippers will have two lottery picks to replenish their roster with youth and athleticism following the Griffin deal. Here, Brown would give Los Angeles positional size, versatility and playmaking on the wing. The 6-7 freshman is one of just two first-year players averaging better than 12.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game this season.

The lingering issue for Brown is his outside shot. He’s made just 32.9 percent of his 3-point attempts so far.

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15. Nuggets — Dzanan Musa, SF, Cedevita

Age: 18.7 | Height: 6-8 | Weight: 190

Musa is averaging 21.9 points per 40 minutes playing for Cedevita this season and shows potential to be a wing scorer at the next level. Although his shooting numbers from behind the arc aren’t impressive, he still projects to be an above average 3-point shooter based on his free throw percentage and makes per 40 minutes. Musa would seemingly fit in well on a Nuggets roster that needs help at small forward.

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16. Pacers — Chandler Hutchison, SF, Boise State

Age: 21.8 | Height: 6-7 | Weight: 190

The Pacers are able to pick up a bit of help on the wing here in the middle of the first round. Hutchison has rocketed up draft boards during a senior season in which he’s averaged 25.6 points, 9.8 rebounds and 4.6 assists per 40 minutes. The 21-year-old is an off-the-catch playmaker with the ability to attack the basket and pass on the move. His size also represents intriguing defensive versatility on the wing.

17. Suns (via Heat) — Daniel Gafford, C, Arkansas

Age: 19.3 | Height: 6-11 | Weight: 234

Arkansas’ Gafford is winner of the annual four-star big man who pushed his way into the one-and-done conversation award. The 6-11 freshman’s length and athleticism translates at the rim on both ends of the floor. He’s averaging 3.4 blocks per 40 minutes and ranks in the 84th percentile nationally as a pick-and-roll dive man, per Synergy.

For a Suns team that will need to replace Tyson Chandler’s minutes in the near future, Gafford could be a solution.

18. Trail Blazers — Lonnie Walker, SG, Miami

Age: 19.1 | Height: 6-4 | Weight: 192

Miami’s Walker has taken advantage of the opportunity afforded to him by Bruce Brown’s injury and is now averaging 17.8 points per 40 minutes on the season. The 6-4 shooting guard is a potentially explosive scorer who projects as an above average 3-point shooter at the next level.

Although Walker doesn’t have much equity as a primary scoring option, he should be a dangerous catch-and-shoot threat. His ability to improve defensively — where his 6-10 wingspan should be more of a factor — will shape his future contributions.

Read more about Lonnie Walker here.

19. Jazz — Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG/SG, Kentucky

Age: 19.6 | Height: 6-6 | Weight: 180

Perhaps the most important problem for the Jazz long-term is figuring out who pairs well in the backcourt with Donovan Mitchell. Kentucky’s Gilgeous-Alexander has the potential to provide a nice counterweight.

At 6-6, the 19-year-old has positional size that Mitchell lacks. His length should make him a versatile defender at the next level, and his quick hands have been impactful for the Wildcats. Gilgeous-Alexander is also an intriguing creator due to his ability to change speeds and finish at the rim with both hands.

Read more about Shai Gilgeous-Alexander here.

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20. Wizards — Mitchell Robinson, C, N/A

Age: 19.8 | Height: 6-11 | Weight: 222

Once committed to Western Kentucky, Robinson isn’t playing basketball competitively this season. Instead, he’s opted to train for the 2018 NBA Draft on his own. Robinson, then, will be a risky selection given the lack of film against high level competition, but Washington is in need of some frontcourt depth.

The 19-year-old has the potential to be the best rim protector in the class, as he averaged 8.0 blocks per 40 minutes during his final season in the Nike EYBL. That was the top mark among the best bigs in this class, including elite rim protectors like Mohamed Bamba and Jaren Jackson Jr.

MORE: T.J. McConnell's triple-double off bench makes Sixers history

21. Sixers — Bruce Brown, PG/SG, Miami

Age: 21.5 | Height: 6-5 | Weight: 190

Brown’s sophomore season has been hampered by injuries and poor shooting numbers, but the 21-year-old still represents a potential two-way guard who will pair best next to a primary creator in the NBA. He’s an athletic, long and strong multi-positional defender averaging 1.7 steals per 40 minutes for his career.

Once Brown gets back on the court, he’ll need to show he can find efficient baskets one way or another.

Read more about Bruce Brown here.

22. Bucks — Anfernee Simons, PG/SG, IMG Academy

Age: 18.6 | Height: 6-4 | Weight: 177

Simons is playing a post-graduate season at IMG after graduating from high school last spring, which means he’ll be eligible to enter the 2018 NBA Draft. In 2016, the Bucks showed they won’t hesitate to select a high schooler if they believe in the talent when they took Thon Maker at No. 10.

Simons is far from NBA ready, but he has the potential to be a bucket getter from either guard spot, something that could be useful to Milwaukee down the line.

23. Timberwolves (via Thunder) — Shake Milton, PG/SG, SMU

Age: 21.3 | Height: 6-6 | Weight: 195

SMU’s Milton is a lengthy combo guard who ranks in the 96th percentile on spot-up possessions and is posting a 65.8 adjusted field goal percentage on catch-and-shoots, per Synergy. He’d bring Minnesota some much needed outside shooting as well as additional backcourt depth. Defensively, Milton’s size and versatility will be useful in the NBA.

24. Lakers (via Cavs) — Khyri Thomas, SG, Creighton

Age: 21.7 | Height: 6-3 | Weight: 200

The Lakers were able to unload Jordan Clarkson’s contract while opening up cap space and securing this first-rounder from Cleveland at the deadline. After nailing Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart in the 20s last year, expectations will be high for the team’s front office come June.

At 6-3 with a 6-10 wingspan, Thomas would give the Lakers another 3-and-D wing option who can also defend point guards. He is a career 39.9 percent 3-point shooter who has averaged 2.0 steals per 40 minutes. These days, NBA teams can’t have too many quality wings.

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25. Hawks (via Timberwolves) — Trevon Duval, PG, Duke

Age: 19.5 | Height: 6-3 | Weight: 186

The Hawks reportedly explored offloading several pieces at the trade deadline, which may suggest point guard Dennis Schroder isn’t part of the team’s long-term plans. Duke’s Duval, a 6-3 freshman with explosive athleticism, has NBA starter potential, but needs to shore up some of his deficiencies, including a high turnover rate and poor defensive awareness. Still, few point guards this deep in the draft offer the explosiveness of Duval.

MORE: Latest college basketball power rankings

26. Spurs — Jontay Porter, C, Missouri

Age: 18.2 | Height: 6-11 | Weight: 240

The Spurs have a history of success with skilled, but slightly less athletic big men, and Porter fits the mold. The 18-year-old can knock down outside shots and is an impressive passer for his size. Concerns about Porter center around his athleticism and lack of lateral mobility.

However, he’s still been a reasonable defender at the college level as an anchor around the rim. Porter’s averaging 3.4 blocks per 40 minutes this season.

27. Celtics — Keita Bates-Diop, PF, Ohio State

Age: 22.0 | Height: 6-7 | Weight: 190

The Celtics obviously place a premium on switchable defenders who can shoot the 3-ball well. After an injury-ravaged junior campaign, Bates-Diop has proven his potential to fit into that role.

The 22-year-old is shooting 36.4 percent from deep this season and 82.1 percent from the foul line. He has a high release point that allows him to shoot over most contests. Defensively, he has the size to guard multiple positions and is averaging 2.0 blocks and 1.2 steals per 40 minutes.

28. Nets (via Raptors) — De’Anthony Melton, PG/SG, USC

Age: 19.7 | Height: 6-4 | Weight: 190

USC’s Melton won’t play college basketball this season as a result of the FBI’s investigation into bribery payments made to players. However, his freshman season highlights his potential as a versatile defender and playmaker.

Melton averaged 5.1 assists, 2.8 steals and 1.5 blocks per 40 minutes, statistics that emphasize his impressive floor game. In question, though, is his jumper. He shot just 28.4 percent from behind the arc and barely over 70.0 percent at the foul line.

29. Hawks (via Rockets) — Jacob Evans, SG/SF, Cincinnati

Age: 20.6 | Height: 6-6 | Weight: 210

The Hawks have a trio of first-round picks, and given they’ve already snagged a big and guard, they might as well lock up a wing here. The back end of the first offers plenty of flexibility for Atlanta, but Cincinnati’s Evans fits the statistical profile of a successful 3-and-D wing.

The 20-year-old is a career 38.8 percent 3-point shooter on 6.1 attempts per 40 minutes. He is also averaging more than 3.0 “stocks” — steals plus blocks — per 40 minutes this season. Evans gives the Hawks an additional option at a position of need.

30. Warriors — Landry Shamet, PG, Wichita State

Age: 20.9 | Height: 6-4 | Weight: 179

The Warriors’ emphasis on pace and space would seem to fit well with Wichita State’s Shamet, a career 43.8 percent 3-point shooter over 304 attempts. The 6-4 guard is elite both off the catch and off the dribble. He is also a tough, competent and well-taught team defender.

Shamet doesn’t have a ton of starter equity, but his ability to play either guard position offers important roster flexibility off the bench.