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NBA Mock Draft 2018: First Projection by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony

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An early look at how the 2018 NBA Draft could shape up now that Marvin Bagley has joined the fun.

USA Today Sports and USA Basketball

With Marvin Bagley making his college decision to join the 2017 class, ESPN has released a 2018 NBA Mock Draft by Jonathan Giovany.

Despite Bagley’s immense potential, Missouri freshman Michael Porter was still the top pick in this projection. Bagley went No. 2, followed by Arizona’s DeAndre Ayton at No. 3.

Surprisingly, this turned out to be a projection with very few Kentucky Wildcats among the 60 picks. There were, however, a pair of Cats to hear their names called in Round 1, the highest of which being Hamidou Diallo:

18. Utah Jazz: Hamidou Diallo, Kentucky, SG

Diallo is an athletic shooting guard with a massive, 6-foot-11 wingspan who is highly explosive in the open court. He also brings significant potential defensively, though he's a very poor shooter and just a rudimentary ball-handler in the half court.

Diallo probably would have heard his name called in Round 1 of this year’s draft had he opted to remain in it, but he pulled out and returned to Lexington in hopes of becoming a lottery pick next year.

The only other Cat in this projection is incoming freshman center Nick Richards:

22. Milwaukee Bucks Nick Richards, Kentucky, C

A 7-footer with a tremendous frame and a 7-foot-4 wingspan, Richards is quick off his feet and fluid in the open floor. He shows flashes with his footwork and touch in the post and has timing as a shot-blocker. His motor runs hot and cold, though, and he isn't very polished on either end of the floor.

Richards has a world of untapped potential, so it’s no surprise seeing him mentioned as a first-round pick in mock drafts early on. He’ll probably get drafted in Round 1 off of sheer athleticism and the frame of what an NBA center should look like. With some work, he could easily become a lottery pick in 2018.

Not making this projection were Kevin Knox, Jarred Vanderbilt, Wenyen Gabriel and P.J. Washington. I feel good about at least two of those guys being first-round picks in 2018, though it’s likely Knox and Vanderbilt, who have far too much talent to think they wouldn’t hear their names called in Round 1.

Here’s how the entire first round played out in this projection by Jonathan Givony:

1. Chicago Bulls: Michael Porter

2. Boston Celtics (via Nets): Marvin Bagley

3. Atlanta Hawks: DeAndre Ayton

4. Phoenix Suns: Luka Doncic

5. Sacramento Kings: Robert Williams

6. Orlando Magic: Miles Bridges

7. New York Knicks: Mohamed Bamba

8. Indiana Pacers: Collin Sexton

9. Philadelphia 76ers (via Lakers): Jaren Jackson

10. Dallas Mavericks: Wendell Carter

11. Memphis Grizzlies: Trevon Duval

12. Detroit Pistons: Bruce Brown

13. New Orleans Pelicans: Lonnie Walker

14. Portland Trail Blazers: Mitchell Robinson

15. Philadelphia 76ers: Justin Jackson

16. Charlotte Hornets: Dzanan Musa

17. Phoenix Suns (via Heat): Troy Brown

18. Utah Jazz: Hamidou Diallo

19. LA Clippers: Mikal Bridges

20. Denver Nuggets: Chimezie Metu

21. Brooklyn Nets (via Raptors): Rodions Kurucs

22. Milwaukee Bucks Nick Richards

23. Atlanta Hawks (via Timberwolves): Shake Milton

24. Washington Wizards: Grayson Allen

25. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Thunder): Isaac Bonga

26. Cleveland Cavaliers: De'Anthony Melton

27. San Antonio Spurs: Austin Wiley

28. Boston Celtics: Tyus Battle

29. Atlanta Hawks (via Rockets): Brandon McCoy

30. Golden State Warriors: Andrew Jones