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NBA Draft stock on the rise for Trae Young, Michael Porter – Deandre Ayton still the likely top pick

UPDATED: Wed., June 20, 2018

Arizona’s DeAndre Ayton, left, speaks to reporters during a media availability with the top basketball prospects in the NBA Draft, Wednesday in New York. (Mary Altaffer / AP)
Arizona’s DeAndre Ayton, left, speaks to reporters during a media availability with the top basketball prospects in the NBA Draft, Wednesday in New York. (Mary Altaffer / AP)
By Marc Narducci Tribune News Service

The NBA draft will be held Thursday at the Barclays Center in New York.

The Phoenix Suns likely have an idea what they’ll do with the first pick in the draft, but what about the rest of the league?

1. Phoenix Suns

Deandre Ayton, C, Arizona

Ayton should be a quality low-post scorer who would team up with Devin Booker to give the Suns a good, young, outside-inside combo.

2. Sacramento Kings

Marvin Bagley III, PF-C, Duke

The Kings don’t have a great track record in making personnel decisions, but Bagley averaged 21 points and 11.1 rebounds in college basketball’s best conference and would be a ROY candidate.

3. Atlanta Hawks

Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma

This might be high for Young, and Atlanta could trade down and still draft him, but the Hawks aren’t happy with Dennis Schroder and need a point guard.

4. Memphis Grizzlies

Michael Porter Jr., SF, Missouri

He is the wild card of the draft because of his health, as a back injury cost him most of the season, but somebody is going to gamble high for him.

5. Dallas Mavericks

Luka Doncic, SG/SF, Real Madrid

The 19-year-old Doncic, who is the youngest EuroLeague player to be named Final Four MVP, has great court sense. But can he defend on the NBA level?

6. Orlando Magic

Mohamed Bamba C, Texas

Bamba is a defensive force. His offensive game will have to come around, but since Orlando allowed 108.2 ppg, the Magic will take the defense.

7. Chicago Bulls

Jaren Jackson Jr., PF-C, Michigan State

This is a lot lower than many mocks have Jackson, who has great defensive upside but averaged just 10.9 points per game for the Spartans.

8. Cleveland Cavaliers

Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama

Whether LeBron stays, the Cavs need a point guard and Sexton is advanced on offense: a score-first point guard who must work on getting his teammates more involved. He apparently had a strong predraft workout with the Cavs.

9. New York Knicks

Mikal Bridges, SG-SF, Villanova

Bridges is among the best two-way players in the draft and his professionalism and defense are two things the Knicks could use.

10. Philadelphia 76ers

Kevin Knox, SF-PF, Kentucky

Whether the Sixers keep this pick remains to be seen, but Knox, who shot 34.1 percent from 3-point range, had a good workout with them and other teams and his stock has apparently risen.

11. Charlotte Hornets

Wendell Carter Jr., PF-C, Duke

This is lower than most mock drafts have him. While Carter was overshadowed at Duke by Bagley, he averaged 13.1 points and 9.0 rebounds and shot 41.3 percent from beyond the arc.

12. Los Angeles Clippers

Lonnie Walker, SG, Miami

He has apparently enjoyed a good workout season with teams, because during his only year in college (11.5 ppg) he struggled with injury and never truly dominated.

13. Los Angeles Clippers

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky

He might be the most under-the-radar lottery pick. He should be able to defend at a high level and his offense (40.3 3-point percentage) should continue to improve.

14. Denver Nuggets

Miles Bridges, SF, Michigan State

Bridges almost came out last year but returned and didn’t appear to increase his stock. One question is whether he will be able to defend the quick 3s in the league.

15. Washington Wizards

Robert Williams, PF, Texas A&M

There are a lot of red flags with Williams, the biggest being questions about his motor, but his athletic ability is what will attract teams.

16. Phoenix Suns

Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA

Aaron will become the third Holiday brother in the NBA (following siblings Jrue and Justin) after he averaged 20.3 points and 5.8 assists. Height is a concern, but he has a 6-7 1/2 wingspan.

17. Milwaukee Bucks

Jerome Robinson, SG, Boston College

The Bucks need some firepower and Robinson increased his scoring average each year in college, averaging 20.7 points per game as a junior.

18. San Antonio Spurs

Khyri Thomas, SG, Creighton

His lack of size is a concern, but he has a 6-10 wingspan and was twice named Big East defensive player of the year. He finished his college career as a 40.6 percent 3-point shooter.

19. Atlanta Hawks

Dzanan Musa, SF, KK Cedevita

Musa was quoted as saying he feels he is a lottery pick, so he won’t lack confidence. He just turned 19, but with Atlanta having three first-round picks, it can bet on his upside.

20. Minnesota Timberwolves

Zhaire Smith, SG, Texas Tech

He is one of the top defensive players in the draft and Minnesota coach Tom Thibodeau loves D. His offense (11.3 ppg) is a work in progress.

21. Utah Jazz

Donte DiVincenzo, SG, Villanova

DiVincenzo followed up his heroic NCAA championship game (31 points against Michigan) with a strong NBA combine, where he showed he is among the top athletes in the draft.

22. Chicago Bulls

Chandler Hutchinson, SF, Boise State

He reportedly has a guarantee and most mock drafts have pegged it to the Bulls. Hutchinson went from averaging 6.8 ppg as a sophomore to 20 last season.

23. Indiana Pacers

Elie Okobo, PG, Pau Orthez

Okobo, who turns 21 in October, played in his native France and is adept at shooting off the dribble. He would fill a need at the point for Indiana.

24. Portland Trail Blazers

Omari Spellman, PF, Villanova

He averaged just 10.9 points per game but kept improving. He can be a true stretch four as he shot 43.3 percent from beyond the arc for the national champions.

25. Los Angeles Lakers

Mitchell Robinson, C, no school

He didn’t play last season after originally committing to Western Kentucky and is a true roll-the-dice player.

26. Philadelphia 76ers

Grayson Allen, PG-SG, Duke

A career 38 percent 3-point shooter, Allen might be able to provide immediate minutes, depending on what happens with fellow former Blue Devil JJ Redick.

27. Boston Celtics

Jalen Brunson, PG, Villanova

Boston can’t re-sign all its veterans in the next few years and Brunson’s high IQ and winning pedigree should appeal to the Celtics.

28. Golden State Warriors

Kevin Huerter, SG-SF, Maryland

Huerter shot 41.3 percent from 3-point range and the NBA champs are always looking for shooters.

29. Brooklyn Nets

Anfernee Simons, SG-PG, IMG Academy

Simons just turned 19 and a team will gamble on his upside. This late in the first round, the Nets would swing for the fences with this pick.

30. Atlanta Hawks

Jacob Evans, SG-SF, Cincinnati

He had a workout with the Sixers and could be in play at No. 26. Evans is a strong defensive player and hit many clutch shots at Cincinnati, including a winner last season in a 55-53 victory over Temple.

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