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NBA Mock Draft 2018: ESPN projects entire first round with just 2 Kentucky Wildcats

Big shakeups at the top in what’s become a top-end draft class that’s lacking depth.

NCAA Basketball: Alabama at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The Kentucky Wildcats’ NBA stock has taken a hit, at least if ESPN’s latest mock draft is any indication.

In this 30-pick projection, only two Cats see their names called in Round 1. The first is Kevin Knox, who had climbed as high as the top 10, but he’s checking in at No. 12 in this mock by way of the Los Angeles Clippers, where his starting salary would be a whopping $3,179,280.

The only other Wildcat taken in this projection is Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who goes No. 19 to the Utah Jazz, where his starting salary is $2,231,760. I still think it’s very likely Knox and Shai are both leaving for the NBA this year, and with salaries like that, no one can blame them.

This is the first ESPN mock draft that has had Hamidou Diallo not projected in the first round. Diallo has had a very rough stretch recently, so bad that he hasn’t even looked like a draftable prospect at times.

But we all know Diallo has a world of potential that was on display earlier this season, so if he can get back to being that guy, he’ll definitely hear his name called in the 2018 NBA Draft.

And for what it’s worth, 2018 recruit Anfernee Simons goes No. 20 in this mock. There was some thought that Kentucky could pursue him, but to this point, it hasn’t happened.

Here’s a look at what the top 20 picks look like in this projection:

1. Phoenix Suns, Luka Doncic

2. Atlanta Hawks, Deandre Ayton

3. Sacramento Kings, Mohamed Bamba

4. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Nets), Jaren Jackson

5. Orlando Magic, Marvin Bagley III

6. Chicago Bulls, Michael Porter Jr.

7. Memphis Grizzlies, Trae Young

8. Dallas Mavericks, Wendell Carter Jr.

9. New York Knicks, Collin Sexton

10. Philadelphia 76ers (via Lakers), Mikal Bridges

11. Charlotte Hornets, Miles Bridges

12. LA Clippers (via Pistons), Kevin Knox

13. LA Clippers, Robert Williams

14. Chicago Bulls (via Pelicans), Lonnie Walker IV

15. Phoenix Suns (via Heat), Daniel Gafford

16. Portland Trail Blazers, Dzanan Musa

17. Indiana Pacers, Troy Brown

18. Denver Nuggets, Chandler Hutchison

19. Utah Jazz. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

20. Milwaukee Bucks, Anfernee Simons