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NBA Mock Draft 2018: ESPN Grade A projection has Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to Cavaliers

SGA and Kevin Knox both crack the lottery.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-South Regional Practice Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA Draft is Thursday, and ESPN has released an “ultimate ‘grade A’ mock draft” as we near the event.

The mock covers just the first round, but takes a deep dive on each player, including Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who is picked eighth in this mock, and Kevin Knox, who is picked 14th.

That No. 8 pick is to the Cleveland Cavaliers, pitting Gilgeous-Alexander on a team that has been to the NBA Finals four years in a row. Here’s what Mike Schmitz had to say about Gilgeous-Alexander:

Gilgeous-Alexander’s combination of floor and ceiling is intriguing for any organization in search of young talent. Trae Young and Collin Sexton have been the headliners of this year’s point guard crop, but Gilgeous-Alexander has the tools and makeup to end up as the top lead guard in this draft. With long strides, pick-and-roll savvy, finesse around the rim, a strong feel for the game, two-way potential and impressive intangibles, the smooth Canadian is the type of versatile guard who fits perfectly in the modern NBA.

ESPN’s NBA experts rank Gilgeous-Alexander’s passing and perimeter defense as “major strengths,” and compared him to Shaun Livingston and Patrick McCaw.

Schmitz also said that Gilgeous-Alexander would be a good pick for Cleveland because they’re in “dire need” of a ball-handler regardless of whether or not LeBron James returns next year.

Knox’s No. 14 selection sends him to the Denver Nuggets. Here’s what Jonathan Givony had to say about the former Kentucky wing.

One of the younger prospects in the draft, Knox is a tantalizing talent blessed with impressive physical tools and intriguing versatility on both ends of the floor. He’s a good shooter who is comfortable making jumpers on the move, and has shown the ability to defend multiple positions thanks to his size, length and mobility.

The NBA experts peg Knox to have the potential to be one of the better players in the league when it comes to finishing and perimeter defense. His NBA physical comparisons are Paul George and Aaron Gordon.

This seems low for Knox with the way his stock is currently trending. As team interviews went on, Knox’s stock has seemed to skyrocket and some outlets have had him in the top 10.

Some other notable picks in ESPN’s mock. Michael Porter Jr. is the top pick from the SEC, going No. 6 overall to the Orlando Magic. Also, former Western Kentucky Hilltoppers signee Mitchell Robinson sits at No. 17 to the Milwaukee Bucks.