Final 2018 NBA Mock Draft: Where will Canadian Gilgeous-Alexender go?


Kentucky guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is expected to be drafted in the first round. (Ted S. Warren/AP)


After months of reports, smokescreens, and endless speculation NBA Draft night is here. On Thursday night the league’s future stars will find their landing spots as the landscape of the league shifts accordingly.

This year’s draft is as fascinating as any in recent memory, with a ton of top-end talent, no clear consensus after the first pick, teams with shady draft histories controlling the top 10, and what should be a flurry of draft-night trades in store.

Here’s a look at Sportsnet’s final mock draft:

Pick Team Player
1 DeAndre Ayton, C, Arizona
Ayton to the Suns is as close to a lock as we have in this draft. He reportedly wowed Suns staffers at his private workout in Phoenix — so much so that afterwards he said he wasn’t going to work out for any other teams. He’s a rare physical specimen — a seven-footer with a rumoured 44-inch vertical leap — with the quickness and versatility to be a dominant low-post presence, even if his rim protection has come under question. Joining Devin Booker and Josh Jackson would give Phoenix a promising young core that other rebuilding clubs could only dream of.
2 Marvin Bagley Jr., PF/C, Duke
Here’s the part where the Kings screw it up by passing on Luka Doncic, who has a once-in-a-lifetime pedigree by normal draft prospect standards. Bagley has a ton of talent and translatable skills for the NBA — including an explosive second-jump, mobility, great hands, and natural rebounding instincts — but it’s also not hard imagining him following in the footsteps of recent uninspiring Kings big men draftees Willie Cauley-Stein, Skal Labissiere, and Harry Giles. This is a process of elimination for Sacramento, after several of the top prospects, including Doncic, indicated they do not want to play for the Kings by reportedly withholding medical information during the pre-draft process. Bagley has cooperated throughout.
3 Luka Doncic, G, Slovenia
Atlanta hit the reset button last season and sometimes you have to get lucky when you’re starting from scratch. If Doncic falls to the Hawks it gives them a backcourt star to build around and a foundational piece to usher in the next era of Atlanta basketball. He is fresh off winning the Spanish ACB league title and MVP honours, the EuroLeague title and MVP honours, and last summer helped lead Slovenia to a gold medal — and the six-foot-eight prodigy just turned 19 in February. He has “All-NBA” written all over him.
4 Jaren Jackson Jr., PF/C, Michigan State
Like Sacramento, the Grizzlies aren’t considered a favourable landing spot and most recently a report surfaced that big man Mo Bamba has said he doesn’t want to be drafted by Memphis. No matter, because Jackson Jr. is a superior centre prospect who can take the reins from Marc Gasol in the coming years and play alongside him in the interim.
5 Mo Bamba, C, Texas
A high-risk/high-reward player if there ever was one, Bamba has unparalleled physical tools — he’ll have the NBA’s longest wingspan, and is surprisingly mobile for his seven-foot-one frame — but could face a steep learning curve in the league. The Mavs are supposedly not keen on committing to a rebuild and may look to flip the pick. But if they hold onto it, Bamba is as intriguing a prospect as there is, with the potential to develop an exciting pairing with Dennis Smith Jr.
6 Wendel Carter, Duke, PF/C
The fastest riser on draft boards in recent days, Carter projects to be a bruising big man who can protect the rim on one end and attack it on the other, all while showing signs of developing a nice shooting touch and other skills required of the modern day big. With Aaron Gordon’s future in question, Carter offers an enticing replacement or accompanying star. Orlando’s biggest positional need is at point guard, but with no real core in place, no one would fault them for taking who they may view as the best player remaining on the board.
7 Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma
The most polarizing prospect in the draft, Young electrified fans with his offensive game at Oklahoma last season, leading the NCAA in both scoring and assists. His Steph Curry-like three-point prowess should be able to translate well, and defensive-minded players like Kris Dunn on the Bulls’ roster can help cover for his biggest weakness on the other side of the ball.
8 Colin Sexton, PG, Alabama
If LeBron James stays, then the Cavaliers have chosen a player he’s reportedly very fond of in this draft class. And if he leaves? Cleveland gets a tenacious guard with explosive speed, an unrivalled competitive spirit, and a legitimately high upside at a position of glaring need.
9 Michael Porter Jr., F, Missouri
The top-ranked player coming out of high school, a back injury cost him his lone season with Mizzou. As a result, he’s one of the biggest question marks in the draft. If he’s healthy he’s projected to be a go-to type scorer who would form a fitting 1-2 punch alongside Kristaps Porzingis. The Knicks are reportedly very high on Porter, but worries about his potential as an injury-prone player make him one of the riskier prospects there is. Albeit one with a ton of upside.
10 Mikal Bridges, G/F, Villanova
The draft’s best 3-and-D prospect, Bridges would not only be a fan favourite given the proximity of his championship tenure at Villanova but, he also fills a real team need at small forward particularly given Robert Covington’s struggles in the post-season.
11 Kevin Knox, F, Kentucky
He has the size to comfortably play the 4 and an ability to create his own offence. The Hornets, who traded Dwight Howard the day before the draft, are directionless and would be wise to take a chance on a player who could develop into a go-to scorer in the near future.
12 Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky
Hamilton, ON’s Gilgeous-Alexander is one of the most mysterious prospects in the draft, and could reportedly be one of its fastest-risers as well. There’s a real chance that he could be the top PG off the board, and the Clippers would be happy if he fell out of the Top 10. He’d be a welcome addition in their backcourt, where his unique and versatile offensive game and top-tier defence could make him an impact reserve early in his career with a clear path to a starting gig.
13 Robert Williams, PF/C, Texas A&M
Williams is a brusing big man who runs the floor well and will be one of the NBA’s most powerful and exciting alley-oop finishers. What’s more, he gives the Clippers a potential replacement should DeAndre Jordan decline his player option and hit the free agent market this summer.
14 Jerome Robinson, SG, Boston College
There’s bound to be somebody who surprises everyone and jumps into the lottery. Robinson brings great shooting and the ability to play off the ball, which could make him a potent weapon on a team with playmakers like the Nuggets.

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