2018 NBA mock draft: Suns take Deandre Ayton at No. 1, Kings settle on star Luka Doncic

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The Phoenix Suns won the lottery and have the first pick in the NBA draft for the first time in franchise history.
USA TODAY Sports

The NBA draft lottery is over, and the order is set.

Next, 69 NBA prospects are expected to be evaluated and assessed in five-on-five workouts, individual drills and interviews at the NBA draft combine in Chicago beginning on Wednesday. NBA players, coaches, executives and media will assemble in a packed gym for one of the landmark events leading up to the draft. 

ESPN 2 will broadcast the combine workouts on Thursday and Friday from 3-7 p.m. ET.

With the NBA draft a little more than a month away, here is USA TODAY Sports’ second NBA mock draft compiled by staffers with consult from NBA scouts and executives.

1. Phoenix Suns – Deandre Ayton

Arizona • Center • Freshman

Height: 7-1 • Weight: 250

Despite Phoenix’s ties to Luka Doncic, the Suns can’t afford to miss on this pick, and Ayton is the safer choice. Arizona’s awful showing in the NCAA tournament against No. 13 Buffalo won’t hurt Ayton’s stock, but it did highlight his deficiencies. While he’s as physically gifted as any prospect in his class, his defensive instincts are lacking for someone his size. 

2. Sacramento Kings – Luka Doncic

Real Madrid • Guard

Height: 6-6 • Weight: 218

Doncic is unusually polished for a 19-year-old having spent three years playing professionally with Real Madrid. He’s a great passer, has good offensive instincts and a smooth, repeatable three-point stroke. His biggest challenge may be adjusting to the athleticism of the NBA game. The Kings couldn’t pass on the second-best prospect in the draft. 

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3. Atlanta Hawks – Marvin Bagley III

Duke • Forward • Freshman

Height: 6-11 • Weight: 234

Bagley is a refined offensive player with outstanding athleticism and room to grow physically. He didn’t shoot many three-pointers, but he did bury almost 40% of his attempts, which could make him a matchup nightmare at the next level. He immediately bolsters the Hawks’ frontcourt next to John Collins. 

4. Memphis Grizzlies – Jaren Jackson Jr.

Michigan State • Forward • Freshman

Height: 6-11 • Weight: 242

Jackson is a terror on defense. His reach and anticipation are fantastic, and his impact around the rim isn’t strictly predicated on blocking shots. He alters shots just by the prospect of blocking them. Teams will need to be patient with Jackson, who must get stronger and enhance his offensive game.

5. Dallas Mavericks – Mohamed Bamba

Texas • Forward • Freshman

Height: 6-11 • Weight: 225

Bamba was second in the NCAA with 3.72 blocks per game, and with a 7-foot-9 wingspan, Bamba is the kind of imposing center you draft to anchor a defense. He was also among the best offensive rebounders in college basketball. He immediately improves a weak Mavericks frontcourt. 

6. Orlando Magic – Michael Porter Jr.

Missouri • Forward • Freshman 

Height: 6-10 • Weight: 215

Orlando’s front office likes drafting for size and length, making Porter a possible target. It’s fair to wonder whether Porter did himself any favors by returning from back surgery to play in the SEC tournament. Individual workouts, the draft combine and medical evaluations are going to be integral to Porter’s value. 

7. Chicago Bulls – Wendell Carter Jr.

Duke • Forward • Freshman

Height: 6-10 • Weight: 259

Strong and physical, Carter has advanced post moves for a freshman. He also seeks out and plays through contact – an encouraging sign as he’ll be battling NBA bodies. Carter’s inside presence is a nice complement to Lauri Markkanen’s outside game. 

8. Cleveland Cavaliers – Trae Young

Oklahoma • Guard • Freshman

Height: 6-2 • Weight: 180

If you need an offensive sparkplug, able to create, facilitate, score off the dribble and stretch the defense, Young checks all those boxes. The (unfair?) comparisons to Steph Curry needlessly put pressure on him, and teams will need to decide how comfortable they feel with Young on the defensive end before playing him valuable minutes. Not to mention, the Cavs desperately need backcourt help.

9. New York Knicks – Mikal Bridges

Villanova • Guard • Junior 

Height: 6-7 • Weight: 210

One of the best two-way prospects in the draft, Villanova’s Bridges shined in the tournament. His smooth athleticism, quick feet, perimeter defense and sound outside shooting lends itself perfectly to the modern NBA. He’s not the type of player that will take a defender off the dribble, but his catch-and-shoot ability, which helps stretch the floor, is valuable.

10. Philadelphia 76ers – Miles Bridges

Michigan State • Forward • Sophomore 

Height: 6-7 • Weight: 225

Bridges has NBA athleticism, but a question remains about positional fit. He’s not tall enough as a traditional forward, and it remains to be seen how well he would defend perimeter players at the next level. His three-point shooting (36% this season) is a valuable asset which, coupled with his quick first step, makes him a multidimensional offensive threat.

11. Charlotte Hornets – Collin Sexton

Alabama • Guard • Freshman

Height: 6-3 • Weight: 190

With Kemba Walker’s future in Charlotte uncertain, Sexton makes the most sense here. His size for an NBA guard is ideal, and though his outside shooting isn’t where it needs to be nor is he a pass-first guard, his attacking mentality will enhance any backcourt.

12. Los Angeles Clippers – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Kentucky • Guard • Freshman

Height: 6-6 • Weight: 180

The lanky freshman showed significant improvement throughout the season, and whoever nabs him is getting a versatile point guard with a ton of room to grow. His stock soared during the NCAA tournament as he carved up defense with his attacking, probing style.

13. Los Angeles Clippers – Robert Williams

Texas AM • Center • Sophomore 

Height: 6-10 • Weight: 241

There aren’t many natural forwards with the athleticism and motor that Williams possesses. His physique and leaping ability are NBA caliber and he could have dunk contests in his future, not unlike since-traded Blake Griffin. 

14. Denver Nuggets – Kevin Knox

Kentucky • Forward • Freshman 

Height: 6-9 • Weight: 215

A versatile, athletic forward, Knox can get up and down the court, and he’s a crafty finisher at the rim. He’s also got a good frame and a decent three-point shot. Teams will need to take the long view when considering Knox and understand that his game will take time to mature.

15. Washington Wizards – Zhaire Smith

Texas Tech • Guard • Freshman 

Height: 6-5 • Weight: 195

The bouncy guard came on strong as the season progressed, and it’s easy to see the intrigue with him. He’s an extraordinary finisher around the rim and his defensive anticipation is already above-average. Smith offers insurance for a strong Wizards backcourt. 

16. Phoenix Suns – Lonnie Walker IV

Miami • Guard • Freshman

Height: 6-5 • Weight: 204

The stout Miami freshman is built like an NBA guard and can finish with above-average athleticism and power. His shooting and shot selection need to become more consistent, but he’s unafraid of having the ball in his hands in the clutch.

17. Milwaukee Bucks – Mitchell Robinson

Chalmette High School • Center

Height: 7-0 • Weight: 233

The NBA combine will be the first look teams get at Robinson in months after he de-enrolled from Western Kentucky before the start of last season. He’s extremely athletic and has the ability to stretch the floor for a big man, but team interviews will be essential for Robinson as teams try to get a read on him. If Robinson develops, he and Giannis Antetokounmpo could be an athletic terror. 

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