The 2018 NBA Draft goes down Thursday, June 21 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. In preparation for the first round—in which the Trail Blazers currently hold the No. 24 pick—Blazer’s Edge staff writers Steve Dewald and Brian Freeman have mocked the first 30 selections.
In the first part of our mock draft, we covered the first ten selections. In the second part, we finished the lottery picks by working through picks 11-20. In today’s conclusion, we predict what the Blazers will do with pick No. 24.
No. 21: Utah Jazz
Troy Brown | SG | Oregon Ducks
Class: Fr. | Age: 18 | HT: 6’7” | WS: 6’11”
Brian: The Utah Jazz finished last in the NBA in assists per game last season. They are in dire need of play making ability from anyone on the roster other than Donovan Mitchell or Ricky Rubio. Troy Brown could be the answer. Brown is a high IQ guy with great vision and driving ability to create for others. He is young and has great size that could also allow him to play the small forward if he puts on weight. His shot has a good foundation and could turn into a decent NBA jumper. Jazz fans should be giddy if Brown falls to them.
Steve: I love the idea of plugging Brown into coach Quin Snyder’s rotations. He is a rangy athlete with a great feel for the game, which will fit nicely next to the pieces on Utah’s current roster. The Jazz already have a ton of positional flexibility, and with the addition of Brown, the rich get richer.
No. 22: Chicago Bulls
Chandler Hutchison | SF | Boise State Broncos
Class: Sr. | Age: 22 | HT: 6’7” | WS: 7’1”
Steve: The Bulls get the honor of breaking hearts in Portland by selecting the popular Boise State star. Hutchison reportedly has a first-round promise, and I believe it is a safe assumption that the Bulls gave it to him. Hutchison is a consistent producer, and he will earn minutes as a rookie in Chicago. The 22-year-old forward plays with enough intensity to buy time for his three-point shot to develop.
Brian: The rumors fit the pick here as Hutchinson would be a great addition to the young up-and-coming Bulls. They would end up with interesting lineup flexibility if they were able to add Porter and Hutchinson to their frontcourt, as we have predicted here.
No. 23: Indiana Pacers
Donte DiVincenzo | PG/SG | Villanova Wildcats
Class: So. | Age: 21 | HT: 6’5” | WS: 6’6”
Brian: DiVincenzo is an interesting prospect. It took a 31-point explosion in the NCAA championship game for people to understand how good he is. He’s a great athlete and can play either guard spot. His shooting and defense complement Pacers All Star VIctor Oladipo. DiVincenzo could spell him if needed. The Pacers have no youth in the backcourt and Oladipo is their only guard signed on after next season. Getting insurance now makes sense.
Steve: I could see Aaron Holiday being a fit here for the Pacers, but DiVincenzo also makes sense. The 21-year-old guard’s stock has been soaring for the last three months, and his pre-draft performances seem to validate his rise. He still has some work to do before he can be trusted as a facilitator, but his potential to play point guard complements his other skills nicely.
No. 24: Portland Trail Blazers
Jacob Evans | SG/SF | Cincinnati Bearcats
Class: Jr. | Age: 21 | HT: 6’5” | WS: 6’9”
Steve: The Blazers will have plenty of two-way guards to choose from here, but Evans’ excellent floor-to-ceiling potential ratio should accelerate him enough to fit Damian Lillard’s timeline. As a defender, Evans’ wingspan and instincts will allow him to cover tough assignments the first time he hits the floor. Offensively he still needs to improve his outside shot, but he is far from helpless on that end of the court. If Portland decides to swing for the fences on potential, Anfernee Simons could be selected over Evans.
Brian: If Portland is in the win now mode that we suspect they’re in, Evans is a great pick up at 24. Coming from an elite Cincinnati defensive system, Evans is gritty and tough on that end of the floor, something that Portland hasn't had in their backcourt lately. As a bonus, Evans can slide into the small forward position, where Portland could use the depth.
No. 25: Los Angeles Lakers
Jerome Robinson | SG | Boston College Golden Eagles
Class: Jr. | Age: 21 | HT: 6’5” | WS: 6’8”
Brian: Draft day in the Lakers war room has to be a confusing place. This could be a championship team (Hello, LeBron James) as easily at a lottery team next year. Robinson is one of the better shooters in the draft, something the Lakers sorely lack. His solid all-around game will help any lineup that the Lakers run out there next year and he could be a great fit alongside either Lebron or Lonzo Ball
Steve: Robinson is a jack of all trades on offense. Regardless of what path Los Angeles takes, Robinson would give coach Luke Walton a perimeter player that can fill multiple roles on offense. While at Boston College, the 21-year-old guard created his own shot off the dribble and kept opponents off balance with his catch-and-shoot proficiency.
No. 26: Philadelphia 76ers
Aaron Holiday | PG | UCLA Bruins
Class: Jr. | Age: 21 | HT: 6’1” | WS: 6’6”
Steve: Even with Ben Simmons orchestrating the Sixers’ offense, Holiday’s value and outside shooting are tough to pass on at No. 27. Holiday will have to acclimate to playing off the ball, but he has already been through this once before after playing alongside Lonzo Ball at UCLA. Perhaps the biggest plus for Holiday is that his brother Jrue can tell him where to find Philadelphia’s best restaurants.
Brian: 6’1 point guards with average athleticism are not the greatest value in today's NBA, but I can get behind this pick. It helps that Philly’s other point guard is 6’10 and Holiday is a lights out shooter. The potential here is low, but the immediate impact could be enough to get Philly interested.
No. 27: Boston Celtics
Elie Okobo | PG | Pau-Orthez (France)
Class: Intl. | Age: 20 | HT: 6’2” | WS: 6’8”
Brian: The Celtics have two talented point guards already in Kyrie Irving and Terry Rozier but providing restricted free agent Marcus Smart heads elsewhere next year, Okobo holds value to the franchise. Irving’s future is in flux and Boston could use a high-ceiling insurance policy. The NBA’s worst 3-point shooting team could afford to bring in another shooter, Okobo is a smart player an NBA-ready defender that gives the Celtics options moving forward.
Steve: Coach Brad Stevens is an expert at making point guards shine, and Okobo could easily be the next in line for a boost. The Celtics will have to find cheaper options in the their backcourt, so betting on a productive 20-year-old guard is a smart play at this point in the draft. Okobo has the skills to provide a spark off the bench for a talented Celtics squad.
No. 28: Golden State Warriors
Josh Okogie | SG/SF | Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Class: Soph | Age: 19 | HT: 6’4” | WS: 7’0”
Steve: Okogie goes from playing on a struggling NCAA squad to playing on one of the best teams ever assembled. He improved his stock with a strong showing at the NBA Combine in Chicago, and is as talented as any post-lottery perimeter player. The Warriors love to bury teams with the fastbreak, and Okogie is known for his transition offense.
Brian: Josh Okogie is an interesting prospect and the Warriors would be a solid landing place for him. Coach Steve Kerr has never been shy about giving playing time to rookies. Okogie is long, he can shoot it a bit, and could carve out a role as a defensive menace as his offensive game progresses.
No. 29: Brooklyn Nets
Gary Trent Jr | SG | Duke Blue Devils
Class: Fr. | Age: 19 | HT: 6’5” | WS: 6’9”
Brian: The Nets like to get up and down the court and shoot 3’s. That is what Gary Trent is all about. Brooklyn already has a similar player in Allen Crabbe but if they want to continue as a high-volume 3-point shooting team, they are going to need a few more strokers. Trent is tough, competitive, and may bring a bright spot to what has been a losing culture.
Steve: Trent provides the Nets with a young player with NBA-ready skills. Nobody doubts the 19-year-old guard’s shooting ability, but he will have to improve his effort on defense. Perhaps the opportunity to earn minutes in Brooklyn will motivate Trent to reach his full potential.
No. 30: Atlanta Hawks
Dzanan Musa | PF | Cedevita (Croatia)
Class: Intl. | Age: 19 | HT: 6’9” | WS: 6’9”
Steve: This is the third first-round pick for the Hawks, so they can afford to gamble a bit. Musa is raw and has obvious flaws, but he has the tools to be a dynamic perimeter scorer. Coach Lloyd Pierce is known for his defense-first approach, but loading up on high-upside talent should be Atlanta’s top priority for the next few years.
Brian: Musa is a bit of a wild card. He’s tough, he’s a winner and he has a solid skill set, but his strength and mobility become problems right off the bat. He looks like he hasn't fully developed physically yet so he could display a few extra tools as he fills out.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below—did Brian and Steve get it right?