The lottery selections in the 2018 NBA Draft at Barclays Center on June 21 could go something like this (but likely won’t):
1. Phoenix: Deandre Ayton, Arizona, C, 7-1, 250
Suns hired Luka Doncic’s Slovenia coach, Igor Kokoskov. So naturally they’ll take the offensive athletic freak center (20.1 ppg, 11.6 rpg), the best guy in the draft. Wingspan said to stretch from New York to L.A. OK, that’s a lie. He barely reaches Vegas.
2. Sacramento: Luka Doncic, Real Madrid, SG/PG, 6-7, 227
Slovenia product would fit anywhere. Great passer, shooter, terrific IQ. Drawback: only 19 so can’t be sent out for beer in rookie initiations.
3. Atlanta: Marvin Bagley III, Duke, PF, 6-11, 235
Hawks could use the first of three first-rounders on ultra-productive (21.0 ppg, 11.1 reb) center. Terrific at the rim, can step out with range. Defense a question.
4. Memphis: Jaren Jackson Jr., Michigan State, PF, 6-11, 240
Good two-way guy, can shoot with range. Long wingspan makes him an exceptional rim protector (3.0 blocks). Of course, in modern NBA everyone shoots 3s and drives on opposite Tuesdays, still…
5. Dallas: Mohamed Bamba, Texas, C, 7-0, 220
Mavs can use a stretch four replacement for when Dirk Nowitzki retires in 2038. But they also need a shot-blocking center and Bamba (3.7) could fill that need. Needs offensive development but he’s mobile with the wingspan of a 767.
6. Orlando: Trae Young, Oklahoma, PG, 6-2, 180
The Magic are in their perennial rebuild and need a point guard and people who can put the ball in the basket from beyond arm’s length. Young, though undersized, fits needs. He has quality range and is an excellent passer (8.7 apg).
7. Chicago: Wendell Carter, Duke, PF/C, 6-10, 260
A brute. The Bulls need a small forward and center and Carter can play inside. A strong rebounder (9.1 rpg) and shot blocker (2.1), he has good offensive skills.
8. Cleveland: Michael Porter Jr., Missouri, SF, 6-10, 215
The temptation may be to go for a point guard (Collin Sexton) but the Cavs also will look at small forwards. Is LeBron back? Is he going? Is he joining a cult? Porter was out with injury most of the year but he’s skilled and versatile with size.
9. Knicks: Mikal Bridges, Villanova SF, 6-7, 210
A solid two-way forward from the national champs has everything the Knicks seek: he is superb defensively, has room to grow, rebounds, shoots 3s. Needs work creating his own shot.
10. Philadelphia: Miles Bridges, Michigan State, SF/PF, 6-7, 230
Mikal is gone so the Sixers, fresh off the Celtics stomping them on the wings, need a forward with a defensive bent. This Bridges fills the need and can score (17.1 ppg).
11. Charlotte: Collin Sexton, Alabama, PG, 6-2, 185
The Hornets need athleticism. And point guard help wouldn’t hurt. Sexton very well could be off the board but if not, the Hornets should grab his long arms and skills that excel in transition. The shot needs work, though.
12. L.A. Clippers: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Kentucky, PG, 6-6, 180
The Clippers need lots: point guard, center, depth up-front. So other than the backcourt and frontcourt, they’re stocked. Gilgeous-Alexander is strong, versatile and gets to the rim.
13. L.A. Clippers: Robert Williams, Texas A&M, PF/C, 6-9, 235Williams is a brute-type center, good on pick-and-roll lobs. But he also is a very good rim protector (2.6 blocks) and guys usually don’t get turned down because they defend.
14. Denver: Kevin Knox, Kentucky, SF/PF 6-9, 215
He’ll need bulk up. but he is super athletic and versatile. He is not a dead-eye shooter from 3, but he makes enough to be effective with size that lets him handle either forward spot.