There's plenty of groupthink in NBA Draft circles. I guess that's just the deal: Team executives, scouts and pundits all move in the same circles and see the same players at the same tournaments and the same workouts. It makes sense that consensuses tend to emerge by the time a draft comes around.
But a consensus is not always right.
Go no further than just one year ago, when Markelle Fultz was considered by most to be the hands-down, for-sure, no-doubt top pick in the draft. While the jury is still out on Fultz ? one injury-riddled, funky-shooting rookie year does not necessarily make a bust ? you'd have to think the Philadelphia 76ers aren't thrilled about passing over Jayson Tatum, Donovan Mitchell and others for Fultz.
Drafting NBA players is far from an exact science. Remember what Sam Hinkie wrote in his epic 13-page resignation letter last season about drafting the hugely talented Joel Embiid and taking on the injury concerns that went with selecting him third overall: "You can be right for the wrong reasons. In our business, you're often lionized for it. You can be wrong for the right reasons. This may well prove to be Joel Embiid."
|NBA Mock Draft - 08/06/2018|
|2. Sacramento Kings|
|Marvin Bagley III, PF, Duke: Like Ayton, Bagley is a physical marvel with unicorn potential on the offensive end with some questions on defense. Bagley's and Ayton's collegiate stats were virtually identical: Bagley averaged 21.0 points, 11.1 rebounds and shot 39.7 percent from 3-point range, while Ayton averaged 20.1 points, 11.6 assists and shot 34.3 percent from 3-point range. Scouts look at Bagley's narrow frame and see someone who doesn't have nearly as much physical upside as Ayton. I look at Bagley's elite athleticism and out-of-this-world second jump and see a taller version of Andrew Wiggins ? and most importantly, a taller Wiggins with a ridiculous motor. Bagley's coaches at Duke told me they'd never seen a player this talented play this hard, whether it's in preseason practices or during the pressure of March. The fact that Bagley says he's excited about Sacramento makes him even more intriguing of a pick.|
|6. Orlando Magic|
|Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma: A dream fit for the team and a dream fit for the player, should Young last this long. The Magic need a point guard, badly. They also need some excitement surrounding a franchise that's been stuck in neutral, and utterly identity-less, since Stan Van Gundy was fired. Young is a potential star. Sure, the Steph Curry comparisons put way too much pressure on the young man's shoulders, but his playing style as well as his collegiate stats back it up. Scouts question whether he can bulk up. His size is the biggest question mark ? but he's the roughly the same size as Chris Paul and Kemba Walker, so size doesn't have to kill his game. Pressure seemed to get to him last season as he became the face of college basketball. Playing in a relatively pressure-free environment in Orlando could be perfect for him.|
|11. Charlotte Hornets|
|Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky: Think Kemba Walker will be around after next season? I don't, so it's time for the Hornets to start planning for a Kemba-less future that might have a couple more lottery picks, since this team needs to go down before it can go up. If Gilgeous-Alexander were to stick around for a sophomore season at Kentucky, add some muscle and some leadership experience, I believe he could be in the running for a top-five or perhaps top-three pick in the lackluster 2019 draft. He was the main reason why Kentucky morphed from an incoherent team in January to a team that was rolling in March. He's tall and long, a good athlete, and a very good shooter. He'll need some time to develop. But if the Hornets have anything, it's time.|
|13. Los Angeles Clippers|
|Lonnie Walker IV, SG, Miami (Fla.): Walker is an explosive athlete with beautiful shooting form, shooting 34.6 percent from 3-point range and 73.8 percent from the line this season. His stats were hampered because he took a while to get up to speed to the college game after an offseason injury. He's a long, lean athlete with quite a ceiling.|
|22. Chicago Bulls|
|Jerome Robinson, SG, Boston College: One of the best shooters and playmakers in this draft. Robinson tore it up as the featured player on a Boston College team that had one of its best ACC seasons in a long time. The Bulls could use an elite shooter or two, and Robinson could become that in the NBA.|
|23. Indiana Pacers|
|Chandler Hutchison, SF, Boise State: An older, versatile wing who showed steady improvement in each of his four years in college. He's an ideal size (6-7with a wingspan of 7-1) for today's switchy NBA.|
|30. Atlanta Hawks|
|Elie Okobo, PG, France: A long lefty point guard with a solid all-around game, Okobo is a very good athlete who has NBA range on his shot. Watching tape from him, you'll notice his unorthodox shooting form ? but it's a quick release, and it goes in. He has excellent defensive potential as well.|