NBA draft: Best prospects, likely picks, rankings and needs

Prospect Profile: Deandre Ayton (0:48)

Deandre Ayton has "the most potential to be great in this NBA draft," according to Jay Bilas. (0:48)

The 2018 NBA draft is Thursday night (7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN/WatchESPN), and no one is sure what's going to happen.

Who is going in the top five? Who will be the best player in this class? What trades can teams make?

Here's everything you need to know.

Full draft order | Trade tracker | ProjectionsInsider

Mock drafts

Which player should every team draft? Our experts go pick-by-pick answering that question, with deep dives into every prospect.

  • No. 1: Phoenix Suns | Deandre Ayton

  • No. 2: Sacramento Kings | Luka Doncic

  • No. 3: Atlanta Hawks | Jaren Jackson Jr.

  • No. 4: Memphis Grizzlies | Mohamed Bamba

  • No. 5: Dallas Mavericks | Marvin Bagley III

What about the players each team will select? You can get that right here, updated with the latest intel until the draft officially starts.Insider

Rankings and scouting reports

ESPN Insider Jonathan Givony has been updating his top-100 rankings all season with the latest intel. See which prospects top his board.

Does your team have needs at a specific position? Insider Mike Schmitz ranks the top 10 guards, wings and bigs ...

... and Schmitz and Givony break down the draft's biggest standouts in key categories:

Best shooter

Givony: Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk
Schmitz: Trae Young

Best defender

Schmitz: Jaren Jackson Jr.
Givony: Jaren Jackson Jr.

Best passer

Givony: Luka Doncic
Schmitz: Luka Doncic

Best rebounder

Schmitz: Deandre Ayton
Givony: Deandre Ayton

Best leader

​Givony: Jalen Brunson
Schmitz: Devon Hall

Best athlete

Schmitz: Zhaire Smith
Givony: Zhaire Smith

Most boom-or-bust potential

Givony: Michael Porter Jr.
Schmitz: Mitchell Robinson

Better NBA than college player

Schmitz: Robert Williams
Givony: Mohamed Bamba

Best 3-and-D wing

Givony: Mikal Bridges
Schmitz: Mikal Bridges

Could've played in the 2018 Finals

Givony: Luka Doncic
Schmitz: Luka Doncic

Get full scouting reports on the likely first-round picks here.Insider

Team needs and trade assets

Teams don't always address offseason needs at the draft -- and there's a good case that they shouldn't -- but here's how Insider Bobby Marks breaks down each team heading into the offseason.

What future picks can be combined in draft trades? We go team-by-team on all the assets.Insider

Sleepers and steals

Plenty of long-time NBA players slip out of the first round. Our experts give five names to watch:

Givony's second-round standouts

  • Justin Jackson | F | Maryland

  • Jevon Carter | G | West Virginia

  • Devon Hall | G | Virginia

  • Hamidou Diallo | G | Kentucky

  • Anfernee Simons | G | Team Breakdown

Schmitz's second-round standouts

  • Bruce Brown | G | Miami

  • Shake Milton | G | SMU

  • Kevin Hervey | PF | UT-Arlington

  • Issuf Sanon | G | Olimpija Ljubljana

  • Rodions Kurucs F | Barcelona


These players rank notably higher by Insider Kevin Pelton's wins above replacement player (WARP) projections than our top-100 rankings. Insider

ESPN Analytics

Underrated prospects according to the ESPN Analytics model.

  • De'Anthony Melton | G | USC

  • Keita Bates-Diop | PF | Ohio State

  • Kostas Antetokounmpo | SF | Dayton

Overrated by the model:

  • Lonnie Walker IV | G | Miami

  • Elie Okobo | PG | France

  • Aaron Holiday | PG | UCLA

Film room

Full strengths and weaknesses, scouting reports, pre-draft videos and interviews -- get it all here.

Drafting a top-five center? Riskier than ever before

The scouting process for this draft took place against the backdrop of an NBA postseason in which traditional centers had relatively little impact. As the league trends toward more 3-pointers and switching defenses, are teams drafting for an era that no longer exists?

Six best NBA draft trades we'd like to see

Plenty of picks throughout the lottery could be in play for draft-night trades. Which moves should teams make? Our NBA Insiders give their six best deals.

Will the best player go No. 1?

Who will be the best player from the 2018 NBA draft? In many years, a clear favorite begins to stand out. But NBA teams are all over the place in how they value Deandre Ayton, Luka Doncic, Mohamed Bamba and the top tier of prospects in this class.