NBA Mock Draft: Will Doncic fall? Drama begins with No. 2 pick

Luka Doncic (Thanassis Stavrakis/CP)

The NBA Draft is officially one week away, with the future of the league potentially about to be transformed on June 21st.

With a ton of top-end talent, and the possibility for a flurry of draft-night trades in the works, it’s shaping up to be an exciting — and unpredictable — event.

Here’s what you can expect to see this time next week.

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 having.
2 Jaren Jackson Jr., C, Michigan State
Now here’s where things get interesting. With teenage EuroLeague phenom Luka Doncic on the board, on paper this should be a relatively easy decision for Sacramento. But how are we supposed to expect the Kings front office to make the right decision? The club is reportedly entertaining offers to trade down and it’s been said that they aren’t as high on Doncic as most, uncertain of how his game will translate to the NBA. It’s either a smokescreen, or a classic case of overthinking. If they keep the pick and pass on a once-in-a-generation prospect like Doncic, then Jackson Jr. is a mighty fine alternative. The 19 year-old projects to be a prototypical modern day two-way centre with more upside than almost anyone in the draft.
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.
4 Marvin Bagley III, PF/C, Duke
Bagley put up big numbers in college but saw his draft stock drop slightly during the NCAA season — not a knock as much as a means to point out that he was pegged as a No. 1 pick coming out of high school. With Mike Conley and Marc Gasol on the books for the next few seasons, Memphis doesn’t appear committed to a true rebuild, but it can use as much young, high-potential talent as possible and in the right setting Bagley certainly fits the bill.
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 Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma
Trae Young can shoot the ball like nobody else in this draft. Trae Young can score in bulk. Trae Young can set up his teammates. Trae Young can electrify a crowd. Those are all valuable traits for a first-rounder, but there are plenty of legitimate questions about how well they will translate to the NBA level and the size, speed, and physicality of NBA defences. It has hurt Young’s draft stock, but a team like Orlando, in desperate need of a star prospect — or one with that kind of potential, at least — and a major hole at point guard could pull the trigger regardless.
7 Mikal Bridges, G/F, Villanova
The Bulls have plenty of needs going forward, including three-point shooting and defence in and out of the paint. If a combo of Jackson, Bamba, or Bagley are available then that’s likely the pick as Chicago looks for a big man to pair with future star Lauri Markkanen. But they’re not, so Bridges is a mighty fine consolation. He’s a textbook 3-and-D wing player and a proven winner and leader during his time at Villanova. Chicago is reportedly not too thrilled with what the likes of Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn have shown in terms of leadership and maturity, and Bridges could be a player that makes an impact both on the court and in the locker room.
8 Wendell Carter, PF/C, Duke
We won’t know what LeBron James plans to do by the time the draft rolls around, which puts the Cavs in a tough position. Carter covers the bases regardless of what James decides. Overshadowed a bit by Bagley at Duke, Carter is an excellent big man prospect who uses his six-foot-10, 250-pound frame well and should be able to stretch the floor comfortably with time.
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, but if he’s healthy he’s projected to be a go-to type scorer who would form a fitting one-two punch alongside Kristaps Porzingis. The Knicks are reportedly very high on Porter and could even trade up in the draft in order to secure his services.
10 Miles Bridges, F, Michigan State
Robert Covington underwhelmed in the post-season, which has left the Sixers looking to shore up the small forward position. They’ll be active on the trade and free-agent market, but in Bridges they could find another future frontcourt star. Bridges’ draft stock dropped slightly after he returned for his sophomore season, but he’s an exciting, physical force who can score in a number of ways, although he’ll have to become a more reliable three-point shooter.
11 Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama
An awkward pick at the moment, because Kemba Walker is Charlotte’s best player. But his future with the Hornets is in serious doubt, and in Sexton, who carried Alabama down the stretch last season, the team would have his replacement already in place.
12 Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky
With back-to-back lottery picks, the Clippers can address multiple needs if they don’t package the picks to trade up. Canada’s Gilgeous-Alexander would 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 Elie Okobo, PG, France
Who? Okobo could be a long-term project, but he can also realistically prove to be the best point guard in the draft. Like Doncic, he’s excelled in Europe playing with pros and has an aggressive game that should fit well in the NBA. The Nuggets will be fighting for a playoff spot next season, and it’s unlikely that whomever they pick at this spot is a major difference-maker in that goal, so why not swing for the fences on the biggest position of need?

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