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NBA Mock Draft 2018: ESPN projects all 60 picks

A lot of SEC flavor at the top, though not from the schools you’d expect.

USA Today Sports and USA Basketball

We have yet to see the 2017-18 Kentucky Wildcats play a game, but some of them are already viewed as potential first-round picks in the 2018 NBA Draft.

The latest mock draft from ESPN has several Cats cracking the first 30 selections. However, this isn’t expected to be one of the stronger groups of NBA Cats in terms of top-end NBA talent. Amazingly, three players from the SEC crack the top eight, but they’re Michael Porter (Missouri), Colin Sexton (Alabama) and Robert Williams (Texas A&M).

None of the Cats made the lottery (first 14 picks), but Hamidou Diallo did go 17th overall to the 76ers.

17. Philadelphia 76ers - Hamidou Diallo

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 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 very possible Diallo cracks the top 10 when it’s all said and done.

As for who else will join him in the draft, freshman center Nick Richards cracked the first round, joining John Wall and the Wizards.

22. Washington Wizards - Nick Richards

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.

Surprisingly, that’s it for the Cats. In what was a full 60-pick projection, only two Cats made this list. However, it’s probably that ESPN thinks guys like Kevin Knox and Jarred Vanderbilt are multi-year college guys. That’s incorrect, at least for Knox, who will almost certainly be a late first or early second-round pick if he comes out.

Here is the entire first round of this projection:

1. Chicago Bulls - Luka Doncic

2. Atlanta Hawks - Michael Porter

3. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Nets) - Marvin Bagley

4. Sacramento Kings - DeAndre Ayton

5. Phoenix Suns - Mohamed Bamba

6. New York Knicks - Miles Bridges

7. Indiana Pacers - Robert Williams

8. Orlando Magic - Collin Sexton

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

10. Dallas Mavericks - Wendell Carter

11. Detroit Pistons - Trevon Duval

12. Memphis Grizzlies - Bruce Brown

13. New Orleans Pelicans - Lonnie Walker

14. Charlotte Hornets - Justin Jackson

15. Utah Jazz - Dzanan Musa

16. Phoenix Suns (via Heat) - Troy Brown

17. Philadelphia 76ers - Hamidou Diallo

18. Portland Trail Blazers - Mikal Bridges

19. LA Clippers - Chimezie Metu

20. Denver Nuggets - Mitchell Robinson

21. Milwaukee Bucks - Rodions Kurucs

22. Washington Wizards - Nick Richards

23. Brooklyn Nets (via Raptors) - Shake Milton

24. Atlanta Hawks (via Timberwolves) - Grayson Allen

25. Cleveland Cavaliers - Isaac Bonga

26. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Thunder) - De'Anthony Melton

27. Boston Celtics - Austin Wiley

28. San Antonio Spurs - Tyus Battle

29. Atlanta Hawks (via Rockets) - Brandon McCoy

30. Golden State Warriors - Andrew Jones