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Fantasy Spin: 2018 NBA Mock Draft (Part 3)


Once you get outside of the lottery, the NBA Draft becomes really hit or miss. In 2017, the 16 players picked in the first round after the lottery featured two guys who didn't play in the NBA last season, but it also produced useful fantasy players like Jarrett Allen and Kyle Kuzma.

In part three of RotoBaller's mock draft, I'll look at players who are projected to fall in this range. As with any mock draft, the farther we go in the draft, the less accurate the picks become, but an exercise like this is still incredibly useful as we try to build an idea of how various players and player types fit in with different teams. When it comes to preparing for fantasy season, more information can help us make better decisions.

Thanks for sticking around for the third part of this. Below are the late first round picks from this year's mock draft with analysis of what kind of fantasy asset they could be.

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2018 NBA Mock Draft: Round 1 - Picks 15 through 30

15. Washington Wizards: Robert Williams (F, Texas A&M)

Williams was primarily a power forward in college, but with 7'4'' wingspan and great ability at the rim -- offensively and defensively -- he could play center in Washington, who will be looking to replace veteran Marcin Gortat. Williams will need to improve in the pick-and-roll, though, and that hurts his immediate fantasy value. (He'll also kill your free throw percentage and his 2-for-30 career numbers from behind the line aren't encouraging -- you'd much rather see a player with his lack of shooting skills shoot...way fewer threes.)

16. Phoenix Suns: De'Anthony Melton (G, USC)

The Suns have spent their deal of draft picks on wings and big men over the past few years, and with them likely grabbing Deandre Ayton first overall in this year's draft their biggest need will be someone to pair with Devin Booker in the back court -- assuming that the team doesn't see Elfrid Payton as the future. (Which...maybe he is now that he's cut his hair and has a full field of vision!)

Melton might not be able to run the offense full time, but his shooting range and defensive abilities would be good beside Booker. I'm not sure how his fantasy value plays out, though, because so much depends on Payton. If Melton winds up as the starter, he's a sleeper. If he doesn't, he'll likely have a pretty low-key season.

17. Milwaukee Bucks: Lonnie Walker IV (G, Miami)

There's a lot of risk with Walker, but if teams believe that his shot will continue to develop like he's shown during pre-draft workouts, he'll be off the board before the Bucks have a chance to snag him. If he's available here, Milwaukee adds an athletic guard and a contingency plan for Eric Bledsoe's free agency in summer of 2019. Walker's a bit of an enigma and needs time to develop, so expect some G-League time and not much fantasy upside.

18. San Antonio Spurs: Keita Bates-Diop (F, Ohio State)

The Spurs six most used five-man units featured both LaMarcus Aldridge and Kyle Anderson on the court, with four of those containing point guard Dejounte Murray. Why does this matter? Because whether or not Kawhi Leonard returns next season, those three players represent the present and, for Anderson and Murray, the future in San Antonio. Years of using veteran players while they were contending have left the Spurs in need of young talent -- getting this pick right is important. Bates-Diop can play both forward positions, can defend inside and outside, and he shot 36 percent from deep last season. There's a lot of uncertainty, but if head coach Gregg Popovich can make Dejounte Murray into a streamable fantasy option, he can make sure that Bates-Diop's talents are maximized.

19. Atlanta Hawks: Mitchell Robinson (C, N/A)

Robinson took a year off to train, so we don't have much tape on him. He'd bring a strong defensive presence to Atlanta, but he might be limited offensively off the bat. Key word: might. Robinson is the biggest mystery in this draft, especially in terms of how his game can develop offensively. He should be able to bring rebounding and blocked shots to Atlanta pretty quickly, but he doesn't seem like a player to trust from a fantasy perspective.

20. Minnesota Timberwolves: Kevin Huerter (G, Maryland)

A post-Combine riser, Huerter can shoot and he should be able to bring above average defense to Minnesota, two areas that the team was sorely lacking in last season. He won't be a starter, but he can back up Butler and Wiggins and could hold fantasy value if either player suffers an injury.

21. Utah Jazz: Elie Okobo (G, Elan Bernaise)

Okobo loves to shoot threes, but there are legitimate questions about him on the defensive end. Still, with Ricky Rubio entering the last year of his deal and Dante Exum's future with the team up in the air, bringing in a guard who can share the backcourt with Donovan Mitchell isn't a terrible idea. He won't be too productive this season, but there's room for him to develop into a decent starting point guard.

22. Chicago Bulls: Khyri Thomas (G, Creighton)

If the Bulls add Porter early, grabbing a guard who can play defense and knock down jumpers to put beside Kris Dunn would be a smart move. He could have an immediate impact in a three-and-D role and is someone to watch for on the waiver wire next season.

23. Indiana Pacers: Landry Shamet (G, Wichita State)

Shamet, a 43.7 percent shooter from deep at Wichita State, wouldn't be asked to do too much off the bat in Indiana, but he should be able to run the offense and would pair well with Victor Oladipo. Long term, he could replace Darren Collison as the starting point guard, but for now he'd be a shooting threat off the bench and not someone with a ton of fantasy upside.

24. Portland Trail Blazers: Troy Brown (F, Oregon)

Brown does a lot of the same things that Evan Turner does. Turner still has two more years under contract, but a strong Portland team can afford to pick Brown and bring him off the bench. It doesn't help his fantasy value, though.

25. Los Angeles Lakers: Dzanan Musa (F, Bosnia)

I honestly don't know how to comment on this pick until we know how free agency shakes down for the Lakers. I have them going Musa as the best player on the board, because I don't think they know enough about their 2018-2019 roster to justify drafting purely for fit. Musa can hit threes and help the Lakers space the floor if he ends up seeing minutes for them, but the Lakers are going to hope free agency goes their way. If it does, Musa (or whoever they pick) won't have too much value.

26. Philadelphia 76ers: Donte Divincenzo (Villanova)

A Villanova kid who scores well from three and can get to the basket, DiVincenzo would project as the eventual replacement for J.J. Redick's role in Philadelphia. That doesn't bode well for his short term fantasy value on a team that already has T.J. McConnell and Markelle Fultz in backup roles.

27. Boston Celtics: Jacob Evans (F, Cincinnati)

The Celtics get a steal, but what would his role be on this team? He's a three-and-D wing player who would be great depth for a team that has a ton of good, young wing players, but he'd be unlikely to see the minutes and the shot volume to make him an appealing fantasy player.

28. Golden State Warriors: Jalen Brunson (G, Villanova)

This season exposed the Warriors lack of depth at the guard position behind Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, when the team resorted to using Quinn Cook as a starter for a good chunk of the season. Brunson would be a good choice to help bring depth to the team, especially with Shaun Livingston's age and injury history. Brunson would be a great pick, though he has almost no fantasy value unless something happens to one of the team's starting guards. But look at these numbers:

This would be a steal for the Warriors and would keep the offense from tanking should there be a Curry or Thompson injury.

29. Brooklyn Nets: Moritz Wagner (C, Michigan)

There's not too much Brooklyn can do at this point in the draft, but Wagner -- who rebounds well and can play as a stretch five and (probably???) can share the court with young big man Jarrett Allen -- is an intriguing pick. Still, he's like to struggle on the defensive end -- he doesn't block many shots and it's unclear if his strong rebounding numbers last year will hold up against the more physical environment of the NBA. I like Wagner in fantasy down the line, but he feels a little too much like a project right now as the Nets would need to figure out how to hide him defensively. Not, uhh...not great that you'd need to hide a big man on the defensive end.

30. Atlanta Hawks: Aaron Holiday (G, UCLA)

I this scenario, the Hawks have added a gifted passing guard and a big man, but they could use a guard with three point range. Enter, another Holiday brother, the third one to enter the NBA. Aaron Holiday shot over 40 percent from deep all three years at UCLA and the Hawks are thin in the backcourt, which projects to be good for Holiday, who could feast as a shooter with Doncic passing him the ball. (That obviously represents the perfect scenario, but any three point shooting guard in this situation should play a key role on a rebuilding Hawks team.

Notable players to fall out of the first round: Grayson Allen (G, Duke), Melvin Frazier (G, Tulane), Bruce Brown (G, Miami), Anfernee Simons (G, High School), Chandler Hutchinson (G, Boise State)

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