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NBA Mock Draft 2018: ESPN projects all 60 selections

With the NBA and college hoops season underway, ESPN projects all 60 picks of the 2018 NBA Draft.

Chris Humphrey

The 2017-18 Kentucky Wildcats are just getting started in the college season, but several guys are already getting hype for the 2018 NBA Draft.

The latest mock draft from ESPN has several Cats cracking the first 40 picks. While this isn’t expected to be one of the stronger groups of NBA Cats in terms of top-end NBA talent, we’re still seeing several guys emerge as legit first-rounders, and possibly even lottery picks.

After not appearing in ESPN’s mock drafts coming into the season, Kevin Knox has surged into the top 10 after a hot start to his freshman season. He goes 10th overall to the Clippers.

10. LA Clippers - Kevin Knox

On a roster completely devoid of young talent, the Clippers won't be in a situation to think too much about positional needs.

Knox has established himself as one of the best combo forward prospects in the draft, with his multi-positional defensive versatility, ability to stretch the floor and athleticism in the open court.

Starting salary: $3,522,480

It’s good to see Knox finally getting love in these projections, and hopefully from NBA scouts as well. Everyone in Lexington knew he was going to be a star in the preseason, but it took the national media a little longer to catch up.

After Knox, Hamidou Diallo is the next Cat to go off the board, going 20th overall to the Karl-Anthony Towns-led Timberwolves.

20. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Thunder) - Hamidou Diallo

The Timberwolves have little to no depth on the wing, causing them to play stars Andrew Wiggins and Jimmy Butler nearly 74 combined minutes per game.

They could look to pick a young, athletic wing such as Diallo and groom him into a defensive stopper who can hopefully make shots consistently, an area in which he has been streaky historically.

Starting salary: $2,142,360

Diallo probably would have been a first-round selection had he entered the 2017 draft. Since the 2018 draft should be thinner and lacking as much star talent compared to 2017, it’s possible Diallo cracks the lottery when it’s all said and done.

After those two, Nick Richards cracked the first round by way of the Spurs with the 26th pick:

26. San Antonio Spurs - Nick Richards

With the Spurs' incumbent big man starters both in their mid 30s and no clear-cut successor in the waiting, it might make sense for San Antonio's front office to consider drafting a project center to develop long-term.

Richards is fairly new to basketball, but he has enviable physical tools and shows enough potential as a rebounder, shot-blocker and finisher.

Starting salary: $1,689,000

Richards has shown a world of potential through his first eight games. He’s averaging 15 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game over his last three contests. If he keeps up that kind of pace for the rest of the season, he’ll be in the 2018 draft, and he may even be a lottery pick.

One other Cat did manage to crack the second round, as PJ Washington went 37th overall to the Magic. That seems a bit odd as much as Washington has struggled so far this season. It’s really hard to see him leaving after this season.

Jarred Vanderbilt did not make this mock draft. As he continues to miss time while recovering from his foot injury, it’s becoming more and more possible that he skips the 2018 draft and returns for his sophomore season.

Here is look at the entire lottery of this projection:

1. Chicago Bulls - Luka Doncic

2. Phoenix Suns - Marvin Bagley III

3. Sacramento Kings - Deandre Ayton

4. Atlanta Hawks - Michael Porter Jr.

5. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Nets) - Mohamed Bamba

6. Dallas Mavericks - Robert Williams

7. Philadelphia 76ers (via Lakers) - Jaren Jackson

8. Memphis Grizzlies - Miles Bridges

9. Orlando Magic - Collin Sexton

10. LA Clippers - Kevin Knox

11. New York Knicks - Dzanan Musa

12. Charlotte Hornets - Mikal Bridges

13. Phoenix Suns (via Heat) - Trevon Duval

14. Indiana Pacers - Lonnie Walker IV

20. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Thunder) - Hamidou Diallo

26. San Antonio Spurs - Nick Richards

37. Orlando Magic - PJ Washington