For the third time in four years, the Golden State Warriors were crowned NBA Champions. That means that the offseason is about to begin and the 2018 NBA Draft is this Thursday! There are many storylines heading into the draft, featuring some of the best talent in the league.
- Will LeBron James and Paul George opt out of their contracts with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Oklahoma City Thunder?
- Where will free agents Chris Paul and DeMarcus Cousins sign?
- Will teams look to move packages of players and picks to free up some cap space?
- Will the San Antonio Spurs trade Kawhi Leonard?
2018 NBA Mock Draft
Teams With Multiple First Round Picks
The Hawks have three first-round picks in the 2018 NBA Draft - 3,19,30. The 19th pick is via a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves for Adreian Payne back in 2015 and the final pick of the first round comes from a three-team deal that sent Danilo Gallinari to the Los Angeles Clippers...via the Houston Rockets. Atlanta has a real need for guard play and a center.
The Suns won the NBA Lottery and will have the toughest decision in the draft. Will they pick DeAndre Ayton, Luka Doncic, Marvin Bagley III or Jaren Jackson Jr.? They should draft Ayton first overall. Phoenix also has another pick at slot 16, thanks to the Miami Heat and a 2015 trade of Goran Dragic. This is where they can find a future PG, be it Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Aaron Holliday or Elie Okobo.
The Bulls have picks 7 and 22 (Nikola Mirotic deal). Last year, they drafted Lauri Markkanen who showed real promise. Now they need to find a wing player and a future center, that compliment their young backcourt duo of Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn.
The Sixers have picks 10 & 26, thanks to the Brandon Knight - Michael Carter-Williams three-team trade in 2015. We finally got to watch Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid play together and saw a bright future for Philly. Could they turn this draft into Kawhi Leonard or might they go all in on recruiting LeBron James or Paul George?
Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers have back to back picks at 12 & 13 thanks to the Blake Griffin deal with the Detroit Pistons. They have a real need for a point guard and wing play. It will be interesting if they look to move these picks for a veteran(s) or if they can find a trade partner for DeAndre Jordan as they continue to rebuild.
|2||Kings||Marvin Bagley III||PF||Duke|
|3||Hawks||Jaren Jackson Jr.||PF/C||Michigan St.|
|8||Cavs (from Nets)||Michael Porter Jr.||SF||Missouri|
|10||76ers (from Lakers)||Miles Bridges||SF/PF||Michigan St.|
|12||Clippers (from Pistons)||Kevin Knox||SF/PF||Kentucky|
|13||Clippers||Zhaire Smith||SG||Texas Tech|
|15||Wizards||Robert Williams||PF/C||Texas A&M|
|16||Suns (from Heat)||Shai Gilgeous-Alexander||PG||Kentucky|
|19||Hawks (from T'Wolves)||Kevin Huerter||SG/SF||Maryland|
|20||T'wolves (from Thunder)||Keita Bates-Diop||SF/PF||Ohio State|
|21||Jazz||Chandler Hutchison||SG/SF||Boise State|
|22||Bulls (from Pelicans)||Dzanan Musa||SF||Bosnia & Herzegovina|
|25||Lakers (from Cavs)||Mitchell Robinson||C||Chalmette High School|
|27||Celtics||Jerome Robinson||PG/SG||Boston College|
|29||Nets (from Raptors)||Khyri Thomas||SG||Creighton|
|30||Hawks (from Rockets)||Grayson Allen||SG||Duke|
Kawhi Leonard Demands Trade From Spurs
I asked a friend of mine, who is a Spurs fan, to share his thoughts on the current status of the situation in San Antonio:
For the first time in recent memory, the Spurs find themselves embroiled in basketball operations related drama. The most disappointing aspect of the post-season was not the first round exit to the eventual champions, but the noticeable absence of their franchise player, Kawhi Leonard. Leonard missed all but nine games this season and did not join the team - even as a spectator - during the first round of the playoffs.
Speculation amongst fans ran rife as to what was happening in Leonard’s mind and with his body. Fueled by conflicting reports between the players, personnel, the media, and the silence of their star player, the mystery has clouded the Spurs season.
With the recent events over the last few days, it is probably euphemistic to say that the Spurs’ draft strategy is unclear. Leonard has one year remaining on his current contract, drastically shortening the list of Leonard’s potential suitors. Arguably a top 3 player in the NBA when healthy, the Spurs will likely be looking for high draft picks.
Alternatively, the Spurs may decide to hold on its position for the time being. They could attempt to repair the relationship.
Currently, the Spurs have the 18th and 49th picks of the NBA draft. This is another unusual position that the Spurs currently find themselves in. The 18th pick is the highest pick they possessed since they drafted Timothy Theodore Duncan with the first overall pick in 1997.
Assuming the departure of Leonard by the end of the 2019 season, the Spurs most glaring need is wing scoring and, luckily for the Spurs, there is no shortage of playmakers to be found later in the draft.
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