Mock All You Want, I'm Caught in the Draft
Photo courtesy of Wix.com
Some things you do, even if you know you shouldn't.
I have followed the NBA draft since before I was a teenager. I would devour all the limited info I could get back then from TV & radio along with preview and post draft magazine and newspaper coverage. Then I would turn into the GM for each team, compiling a complete roster for the coming season.
In high school and college I routinely avoided doing my real homework to tackle the important task of breaking down the NBA Draft.
This type of dedication to the useless (and so many other fruitless endeavors during my school years) did not lead me to a cottage industry starring role as the NBA's version of Mel Kiper. No, instead it eventually landed me in the oh-so-glorious world of radio. After wasting a few "DJ" years, I have been lucky enough to "professionally" covered the NBA Draft in one form or another (mock drafts, interviews, NBA draft parties etc.) since 1992.
I have enjoyed it all!
I have loved the surprise picks, the draft day trades and the unbridled glee when the Seattle Sonics selected Blaine's Luke Ridnour (#14 overall in 2003). I remember how cool it was to get the first interview with Luke on draft night while all the other Seattle media tried to become our best friends to get Luke's phone number!
I still wonder about the busts. Why didn't Dennis Hopson live up to all the billing in 1987. Where is Nikoloz Tskitishvili these days? Did Greg Oden ever follow-up on that back-up plan of dentistry? And can the demise of Gonzaga's Adam Morrison be blamed on that stache?
So now what? Covering the NFL Draft earlier this years was a done deal. After so many years of coverage, they had me all set-up at Seahawks headquarters. But with no Sonics anymore, do I skip the NBA Draft this year, due to my own forced free agency?
Nah... I probably shouldn't, I do hate the idea of Seattle not being involved for yet another year, but I enjoy it too much. So without the benefit of a big voice guy (and echo girl) here is my 2018 NBA Mock Draft (no trades allowed).
1. Phoenix Suns - Deandre Ayton - Arizona, C: Worst kept secret in the Draft. Phoenix will go old school, opting for size & power. Ayton was dominant at the college level and teaming with Devin Booker will help both become perennial All-Stars.
2. Sacramento Kings - Marvin Bagley III - Duke, PF: Bagely brings the offense and star power the Kings sorely lack. His defensive dificencies also make him a match for Sac-city.
3. Atlanta Hawks - Luka Doncic - Real Madrid, G: The Slovenian youngster was the EuroLeague MVP. He won't wow Hawks fans on draft night, but will on the hardwood next season. 4. Memphis Grizzlies - Michael Porter Jr - Missouri, SF/PF: Once thought to be a number 1 lock, injuries and limited college playing time have made him a wildcard pick that could fall, but no farther than #7.
5. Dallas Mavericks - Mohamed Bamba - Texas, C: Could be the steal of the draft even at #5. the 7-footer is great defensively and the Mavs future looks bright building around the pick and roll with Bamba & Dennis Smith.
6. Orlando Magic - Jaren Jackson Jr. - Michigan State, C: The combination of size and long range shooting ability is what everybody wants in today's NBA. Needs to add some bulk, but he can contribute right away. 7. Chicago Bulls - Wendell Carter - Duke, C: The big-man run continues. The Bulls add another needed big body upfront. Safe, solid pick. Reminds me of Elton Brand.
8. Cleveland Cavaliers -Trae Young, - Oklahoma, PG/SG: Cavs pull out all the stops to try and entice LeBron to stay. Can't beat Curry and the Warriors? Cats get someone just like Curry with great 3-point range and playmaking skills.
9. New York Knicks - Kevin Knox - Kentucky, SF: - Rising father than any other prospect in the first round. Youg and big, especially at the small forward position. Not a star but a needed building block in NYC.
10. Philadelphia 76ers - Mikal Bridges - Villanova, SF: Trust in the process grows as Philly gets a heady 3-and-D star out of the best program currently in the NCAA. Good combo with Ben Simmons.
11. Charlotte Hornets - Shai Gilgeous-Alexander - Kentucky, PG: Change is coming to Charlotte. Kemba Walker will be elsewhere sooner or later. Jordan rebuilds with his replacement. Tall, rangy and smart. Needs to improve offensively, but the defense is already there.
12. L.A. Clippers - Collin Sexton - Alabama, PG: Change is continuing in ClipperLand. Sexton, with his ability to drive to the cup and defensive intensity, helps L.A. find their next Chris Paul.
13. L.A. Clippers - Robert Williams - Texas A&M, C: How do you radically change things in LA-LA land? Trade DeAndre Jordan. Williams, with his 7-4 wingspan is the right replacement. Another Clint Cappella in the making.
14. Denver Nuggets - Miles Bridges - Michigan State, SF: Denver has locked in on Bridges. They need an explosive win player who can jump out of the gym. Check...this is your guy.
15. Washington Wizards - Lonnie Walker - Miami, SG: The Wizards are in dire need of a shake-up. Brining in an athletic shooter like Walker allows Washington to put Bradley Beal on the block.
16. Phoenix Suns - Aaron Holiday - UCLA, PG: A smart lead guard with strong NBa bloodlines and an ability to score. Just what Phoenix needs to form a dangerous trifecta with Booker and Ayton.
17. Milwaukee Bucks - Jerome Robinson - Boston College, SG: Defensive questions are more than overcome with Robinson's scoring ability and mentality. 3 point range stretched the floor for the Greek Freak.
18. San Antonio Spurs - Kevin Hurter - Maryland, SG/SF: One of the best shooters in the draft. Can create his own opportunities. Defense is a liability, but not for long under Coach Pop.
19. Atlanta Hawks - Zaire Smith - Texas Tech, SF: Athletic, athletic, athletic! Explosive, great two-way player that will have to improve his ability to get off a shot in the NBA.
20. Minnesota Timberwolves - Donte DiVincenzo - Villanova, SG: A 3-and-D guard that showed he can play on the biggest stage. Strong addition of basketball IQ to a team on the rise.
21. Utah Jazz - Elie Okobo - Pau-Orthez, PG: The French point guard loves the pick and roll and can shoot the 3. Could be the perfect backcourt running mate for Donovan Mitchell.
22. Chicago Bulls - Chandler Hutchison - Boise State, SF: If Hutchinson is available at 22, he is going to Chi-Town. Great handles for a big man with the ability to hit the 3 and D-up.
23. Indiana Pacers - Bruce Brown - Miami, SG: Nate MacMillan gets a defensive minded guard in his own mold. Brown has more scoring ability than Mac10 had, but defense will be his calling card for a legitimate contender in Indy.
24. Portland Trail Blazers -Troy Brown - Oregon, SF: Portland needs a wing that can score. they find one who traveled somewhat under the radar in their own backyard in Eugene.
25. L.A. Lakers - Keita Bates-Diop - Ohio State, PF: A scoring power forward that has good shooting range. He is undersized defensively, but with the offseason changes forecast for the Lakers, he seems like a strong fit.
26: Philadelphia 76ers - Josh Okogie - Georgia Tech, SG: An elite athlete that may be the best wing defender in a draft full of 3-and-D prospects.
27: Boston Celtics - Jacob Evans - Cincinnati, SG/SF: Boston has plenty of good starters. Evans is the kind of quality bench guys they need. Strong defensively, with good size and ability to shoot long-range.
28: Golden State Warriors - Grayson Allen - Duke, SG: The champs add more shooting and another reason for every fan outside of the bay to hate them. No defense there, but tell that to Nick Young.
29: New York Nets - Jalen Brunson, Villanova, PG: Brunson is a winner. His talent level is not NBA star quality, but his smarts and attitude are. The Nets need that winning mentality to start to turn things around.
30: Atlanta Hawks - Dzanan Musa - Cedevita, SF: And we end with a WHAT? or more appropriately a WHO? Strong international prospect that is expected to play right away for a team that needs all the help it can get.
There you have it. My take on what will go down tonight during the first round of the NBA Draft.
Should i have done it? Absolutely. Will it be spot on? Absolutely not! But, if you're reading this you know the addictive like draw of the draft. Thanks for keeping me company! Now c'mon NBA...bring back our Sonics!