Shmackem: Who ya got? NBA Draft special

Jah-Tosh Baruti

The NBA Draft is this Thursday, as 60 prospects will see their dream unfold and be selected to an NBA franchise.

This is one of the most exciting times in basketball.

Players that we’ve seen for the past year, if they are one and dones at the College level, others we seen play several years in college and also prospects we’ve seen play against pros overseas are now going to be in the best basketball league in the world.

All the speculation of who should go No. 1 overall, what team should select whom in the lottery, which are the top 14 picks for the non-playoff teams barring trades, are any franchises willing to let go of a top pick for a seasoned veteran, all of these questions are going to be answered in Thursday’s draft.

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Below are my projections of which prospects the top ten lottery teams will select in the 2018 NBA Draft.

Jah-Tosh’s top 10 picks mock draft:

  1. Phoenix Suns – Deandre Ayton (Arizona, center, freshman)

  2. Sacramento Kings – Marvin Bagley III (Duke, power forward/center, freshman)

  3. Atlanta Hawks – Luka Doncic (Slovenia, 1999, guard/forward)

  4. Memphis Grizzlies – Wendell Carter (Duke, forward/center, freshman)

  5. Dallas Mavericks – Mohamed Bamba (Texas, center, freshman)

  6. Orlando Magic – Trae Young (Oklahoma, point guard, freshman)

  7. Chicago Bulls – Michael Porter Jr. (Missouri, small forward/power forward, freshman)

  8. Cleveland Cavaliers – Jaren Jackson Jr. (Michigan State, power forward/center, freshman)

  9. New York Knicks – Mikal Bridges (Villanova, small forward, junior)

  10. Philadelphia 76ers – Kevin Knox (Kentucky, small forward/power forward, freshman)

The top three picks are easy. However, they can be interchanged depending on fit.

Although, it has been reported that the Suns taking Ayton and the Kings taking Bagley are locked in at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively.

It’s a no brainer for the Suns to take Ayton with the franchise’s first No. 1 pick ever, because it desperately needs a center and he went to high school in Arizona, then attended college at the University of Arizona, so he’s from the area.

As for the Kings, leave it to this team to somehow mess this No. 2 pick up, it has been notoriously horrendous at scouting, drafting and player development.

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For a team that has not made the playoffs for 12 straight years, which barring trades, would give them 12 consecutive lottery picks in the draft and out of all those picks, only one draftee has been an All-Star.

That lone All-Star was Kings bigman DeMarcus Cousins, who was selected at No. 5 overall in the 2010 draft.

Cousins became a three-time All-Star and All-NBA player for the Kings and regarded as the best center in basketball. He averaged 21 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block per game.

However, the Kings never made the playoffs during his seven year tenure, due to their inability to place talent around Cousins, even though they drafted high in the lottery nearly every year.

The Hawks need a point guard, with current Hawks point Dennis Schröder’s trade request.

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Doncic would fill that void and them some. He has the potential to go No. 1 with his skill set of playmaking and shooting. Doncic also has rare size for a point guard at 6-foot-8.

Young is the drafts biggest wild card as he could go as high as No. 3 or as low as No. 9. He was the first Division 1 player to lead the nation in both points at 27.4 points per game and assists at 8.7 assists per game.

According to CBS Sports, Young has the second highest boom or bust potential, which measures the likelihood of player becoming a star or non-star, essentially.

Young has been likened to superstar and reigning NBA Champion Stephen Curry.

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After pick No. 3, things can get a bit hectic. There also could be some big trades going on in this draft, trades potentially including big names and even NBA superstars, such as Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Love and others could be on the move after the draft.

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