2018 NBA Draft: Top College Prospects Every Team Will be Targeting

The top college prospects every team will be drooling over ahead of the 2018 NBA Draft.

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Is it early to be worrying about the 2018 NBA Draft? Maybe. But as the college basketball season gets under way, it’s smart to have a good sense of some of the country’s top prospects. You’d hate for it to suddenly be the end of the 2017-18 campaign and you have no idea who some of the top talents headed for the league are, right?

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the top college basketball prospects who every NBA team will be drooling over this season. A lot can change between now and June, but the following players seem highly likely to turn scouts’ heads time and time again in the coming months.

15. Chimezie Metu, C, USC
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Despite being 6-11, Chimezie Metu is a ridiculous athlete with terrific agility and quickness for his size. Although he needs to get stronger and struggles at time against bigger, more physical frontcourt players, the USC center has the skills to be a scoring machine at the next level. As long as he can improve defensively, Metu will be heavily sought after in June.

14. Lonnie Walker, SG, Miami (FL)
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Right now, Lonnie Walker is one of the more intriguing 2 guard prospects of the 2018 draft class. With excellent burst, range and the ability to play above the rim, Miami‘s new scorer should have no trouble putting up plenty of points this season. As long as he can prove himself capable of defending top wing talents as well, Walker will be a lottery pick come June.

13. Kevin Knox, SF, Kentucky
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Like a couple of other prospects on this list, Kevin Knox is all about upside. He’s got the size, athleticism and quickness to be a difference maker on the court, but is still extremely raw. More than anything, he needs to learn to play under control and make the most of his opportunities with the ball in his hands. A year at Kentucky could do him wonders, but he’ll need to really focus on turning that potential into tangible production on a game-by-game basis.

12. Troy Brown, SG, Oregon
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One of the more overlooked prospects of the 2018 draft class, Troy Brown figures to pull in a horde of fans in the near future. Although he doesn’t do anything particularly well, he’s a well-rounded wing who wins on both ends of the court. Brown should provide a terrific defensive presence for Oregon while continuing to hone his abilities on the offensive end. His versatility and position flexibility will endear him to NBA scouts.

11. Hamidou Diallo, SG, Kentucky
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Easily one of the most athletically gifted players in all of college basketball, Hamidou Diallo is about as raw as they come. He was tempted to enter the draft a season ago despite no college experience, but opted to spend a season at Kentucky before going pro. Now, he needs to prove that he can turn that athleticism into production — on both ends of the court. I love Diallo’s overflowing potential, but he’s a relative unknown at this point.

10. Miles Bridges, SF, Michigan State
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There’s a lot to like about Miles Bridges, who tore it up for Michigan State last season. He’s a terrific post presence, capable shooter and quality defender who can lock down a number of positions. Unfortunately, his lack of height (6-6) will limit his effectiveness at power forward in the NBA. That’s why he needs to prove he can be more of a perimeter threat this season if he’s going to reach his true potential as a physical, athletic forward.

9. Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama
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One of the 2018 class’ top true point guards, Collin Sexton wins a lot of points with his tenacity and ability to put the ball in the basket. We know he’s more than capable of scoring in bunches, routinely working his way into the paint with the dribble. However, Sexton will need to prove he can be more of a facilitator this season at Alabama if he wants to be the first 1 guard off the board come June.

8. Robert Williams, PF, Texas A&M
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Texas A&M got its star back this season when Robert Williams decided to return to school. Realistically, it was a smart move for a big man who can still use some refinement with the offensive aspects of his game. The main concern with Williams is his age, as he’ll be 21 by the time the 2018-19 NBA season gets under way. Despite that, the overall talent is there for him to be a Top 10 pick based purely on his dominance in the paint on both ends.

7. Wendell Carter, PF, Duke
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It’s not often big men like Wendell Carter come around. On top of bringing a versatile offensive attack to the floor, he’s a tremendous rebounder and capable playmaker in the frontcourt. His basketball IQ is off the charts, which should bode well for his future prospects within Coach K’s system. Look for Carter to rise up draft boards as the season rolls around, even with so much elite talent making up this Duke roster.

6. Jaren Jackson, PF, Michigan State
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The NBA’s recent love affair with stretch-4s is why Jaren Jackson finds himself so high on this list. The Michigan State power forward figures to spend much of his freshman season lighting it up on the offensive end, from down low to outside the arc. My only concern is that we’d like to see more rim protection and rebounding from him, but he’s very young and has plenty of time to develop both of those traits.

5. Trevon Duval, PG, Duke
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Arguably the 2018 class’ top point guard, Trevon Duval marks off all of the check boxes when you’re looking for an elite 1 guard. He’s tall (6-6), lengthy, athletic and aggressive. More than anything, we need to see that he can lead an offense and be a facilitator. If he can prove that this year at Duke, though, Duval could easily come off the board within the first few picks.

4. Mohamed Bamba, C, Texas
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Mohamed Bamba may be at No. 4 on this list, but he could easily be at No. 1 by the end of the 2017-18 college basketball season. With an absurd mix of size, length and athleticism, it’s safe to say his ceiling is sky-high. His defensive and rebounding chops are already outstanding. As long as his offensive game can undergo some grown at Texas this season, his will be one of the first names called come June.

3. DeAndre Ayton, C, Arizona
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At this point, I believe DeAndre Ayton is about half a step behind the top two talents on this list. However, based on what we know about the Arizona big man, he could easily work his way into the No. 1 pick discussion in the coming months. He’s powerful, athletic, has range and can create opportunities for himself in the post. If he can develop some more efficiency to his offensive game, Ayton will be one of the premier talents to come out of college in 2018.

2. Michael Porter, PF, Missouri
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Although listed as the No. 2 prospect here, Michael Porter Jr. could easily hear his name called first during the 2018 NBA Draft. He’s got all of the tools teams are looking for — size, quickness, power to battle down low, and the ability to score at will. It’s assumed Porter will tear it up during his one year at Missouri, allowing him to come into the NBA with little doubt about his elite-level talent.

1. Marvin Bagley III, PF, Duke
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Originally, Marvin Bagley III wasn’t even expected to enter the college ranks until next year. However, after filing for reclassification, he enrolled at Duke a year early and is already making a major impression. He set the Blue Devils’ freshman debut record with 25 points, and figures to make waves throughout what should be his only year of college basketball. If he stays on his current trajectory, Bagley could very well be the No. 1 pick of the 2018 NBA Draft.