Richey's mock 2018 NBA Draft

Richey's mock 2018 NBA Draft

But basketball writer SCOTT RICHEY correctly picked the first five picks of last year's NBA draft ... before missing on the final 25. How will he fare tonight? Here are his projected first-round picks before the 6 p.m. event in Brooklyn:


1. Deandre Ayton | Suns | Arizona, 7-0, 260

It's a given at this point. Try and find a mock draft without Ayton in the No. 1 spot. It can't be done.

2. Luka Doncic | Kings | Real Madrid, 6-8, 225

Kings GM Vlade Divac played for Yugoslavia with Drazen Petrovic. How could he not pick Petrovic 2.0?

3. Jaren Jackson Jr. | Hawks | Michigan State, 6-11, 235

Every team is looking for the next unicorn, and Jackson is that potential unicorn as a 3-and-D center.

4. Marvin Bagley III | Grizzlies | Duke, 6-11, 235

Post defense is Marc Gasol's forte, so Bagley will fill the backup role and do what he does best — score.

5. Mohamed Bamba | Mavericks | Texas, 7-0, 225

Bamba boasts a 7-9 wingspan and the athleticism to hedge on switches. That will help as his offense improves.

6. Trae Young | Magic | Oklahoma, 6-2, 180

Orlando's point guards last season were D.J. Augustin and Shelvin Mack, so Young would be an upgrade.

7. Wendell Carter Jr. | Bulls | Duke, 6-10, 250

Step one to a rebuilt frontcourt was drafting Lauri Markkanen. Step two is pairing him with a big man like Carter.

8. Collin Sexton | Cavaliers | Alabama, 6-2, 185

Sexton is exciting. On a team where the only excitement was LeBron James (and he might leave), the Cavs need that.

9. Michael Porter Jr. | Knicks | Missouri, 6-11, 210

Porter will either be the savior in New York, or his bad back will remind fans of Amar'e Stoudemire's bad knees.

10. Mikal Bridges | 76ers | Villanova, 6-7, 210

Philadelphia has its 1-2 punch with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. What it needs is a 3-and-D wing like Bridges.

11. Kevin Knox | Hornets | Kentucky, 6-9, 215

Knox provides wing production, which the Hornets don't really have with Nicolas Batum or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

12. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander | Clippers | Kentucky, 6-6, 180

Austin Rivers is still playing big minutes in the Clippers' backcourt. That's reason enough to go guard-hunting.

13. Robert Williams | Clippers | Texas A&M, 6-9, 240

Regardless of what happens with DeAndre Jordan, the Clippers need frontcourt help, which Williams will provide.

14. Miles Bridges | Nuggets | Michigan State, 6-6, 220

Will Barton is an unrestricted free agent, so Denver could move on next season at small forward with Bridges.

15. Lonnie Walker IV | Wizards | Miami, 6-5, 195

Best available here? Walker has a combination of elite athleticism, a 6-10 wingspan and an easy three-point shot.

16. Zhaire Smith | Suns | Texas Tech, 6-4, 200

Yes, Phoenix has Devin Booker, but its backcourt depth leaves something to be desired — an opening for Smith.

17. Elie Okobo | Bucks | Pau-Lacq-Orthez, 6-2, 180

Giannis Antetokounmpo has the ball in his hands a lot, but he's not a point guard. Okobo is the best option here.

18. Jerome Robinson | Spurs | Boston College, 6-5, 190

San Antonio could lose Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green this offseason, so adding help on the wing is imperative.

19. Kevin Huerter | Hawks | Maryland, 6-7, 195

Huerter's pre-draft workouts vaulted him into the first round conversation, and his shooting kept him there.

20. Khyri Thomas | Timberwolves | Creighton, 6-4, 200

There's zero chance Tom Thibodeau doesn't pick the two-time Big East Defensive Player of the Year.

21. Mitchell Robinson | Jazz | Chalmette (La.), 7-1, 225

Learning from Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors might be ideal for Robinson, who has his share of baggage.

22. Troy Brown | Bulls | Oregon, 6-7, 210

Brown's ability to defend three positions will help a Chicago team with multiple guards that can maybe defend one.

23. Aaron Holiday | Pacers | UCLA, 6-1, 185

The Pacers have their star in Victor Oladipo, and giving him a better backcourt running mate is a priority.

24. Donte DiVencenzo | Blazers | Villanova, 6-5, 200

Portland went all in on bigs in last year's draft, so picking DiVencenzo addresses some backcourt depth issues.

25. Omari Spellman | Lakers | Villanova, 6-9, 255

Odds are this pick might end up being dangled as trade bait, and a versatile big like Spellman would intrigue teams.

26. Chandler Hutchison | 76ers | Boise State, 6-7, 195

Just like drafting Bridges at No. 10, Philadelphia adds to its depth on the wing by targeting a scorer like Hutchison.

27. Jalen Brunson | Celtics | Villanova, 6-2, 200

Trade speculation has swirled around Terry Rozier, so landing a new backup for Kyrie Irving might be the move.

28. Gary Trent Jr. | Warriors | Duke, 6-5, 205

Those minutes Nick Young got for the NBA champs last season? Give them to the former five-star guard instead.

29. Keita Bates-Diop | Nets | Ohio State, 6-8, 225

Bates-Diop's length is where he stands out as elite, but the Normal U-High grad does everything well.

30. Landry Shamet | Hawks | Wichita State, 6-5, 190

Atlanta has Dennis Schröder under contract through 2020-21, but another ball handler like Shamet wouldn't hurt.