As we slowly, so slowly, creep towards the 2018 NBA Draft we’ll periodically check in on the latest mock drafts from various prognosticators. These are presented with the usual caveats that a lot can change over the next several weeks, and most of these are just guesses anyway.
SB Nation: Deandre Ayton
Ayton being available at No. 2 is a dream scenario for a Kings team that has been looking for the next face of the franchise since trading DeMarcus Cousins. Like Boogie, Ayton is a supremely gifted 7-footer who can score with his back to the basket or with a face-up jumper while dominating the glass. The defensive concerns with Ayton are real. He simply didn’t show good instincts during his one year at Arizona. That said, his combination of size and explosiveness is as good as any player to come through the draft this decade. He has every physical tool necessary to become a star.
Sports Illustrated: Luka Doncic
After moving up to No. 2, the Kings are in an enviable spot here and will have their pick of the remaining big men and Doncic, who is fresh off a Euroleague championship and MVP award at the ripe age of 19. Doncic’s aptitude for moving the ball, ability to make reads as a ball-handler and overall developed skill set make him a safe bet to become a quality contributor, and his unselfishness should help set the tone for the rest of the team. It’s fair to be concerned about his ability to create shots for himself, particularly in isolation situations where he’s unlikely to be a blow-by scorer. While the outcome of this pick is far from clear cut, Doncic would actually benefit from playing off of De’Aaron Fox, whose ability to penetrate defenses will generate favorable secondary playmaking opportunities. There’s skepticism around the league about Doncic’s potential return to Real Madrid, and he’s still expected to remain in the draft (non-NCAA prospects have until June 11 to withdraw), but there’s a possibility he slips from this spot as teams weigh his upside versus other top prospects.
CBS Sports: Luka Doncic
The 19-year-old Slovenian dominated this season while he played against grown men in the Spanish league. Doncic was 15th in the Spanish ACB league in points, fourth in assists, and 12th in rebounds. He’s a remarkable shot creator and shot maker – a smart, shifty, versatile, confident player. Think Manu Ginobili.
Sporting News: Deandre Ayton
Presumably the front office run by general manager Vlade Divac and assistant general manager Peja Stojakovic will be hoping Doncic falls into their lap here at No. 2, but if not, Ayton seems like he’ll be the pick despite a roster stacked with young big men.
The Arizona center possesses physical traits coaching staffs can’t teach, including immense size and impressive athleticism. His upside as an offensive centerpiece is intriguing. He can shoot it a bit from the outside, dominate switches in the post and should be a dangerous roll threat.
Defensively, there are unanswered questions about his instincts, but the tools are there.
ESPN (Insider): Marvin Bagley III
The Kings showed progress this season and appear to have some strong building blocks in place, particularly in the backcourt. Word around the NBA is they are not very high on Luka Doncic. The strength of this draft is in the frontcourt, and the Kings are reportedly looking to take advantage of that due to lack of progress shown by their young bigs.
Although Bagley has some positional concerns defensively, his athleticism, motor, rebounding, finishing ability and overall productivity are very attractive to Sacramento. Bagley has terrific scoring and rebounding instincts and likely brings better shot-making potential than he showed in college, with more spacing around him at the NBA level.