The Final Four is set, but college basketball’s best draft prospects are nearly all gone from the bracket. We sort out the collateral damage in this week’s 2018 NBA Mock Draft.
The order for this mock draft is based upon 538’s CARM-Elo projections as of March 26. For each pick, team needs are taken into consideration, as well as fit.
This pick originally comes from the Rockets, who own the league’s best record.
Spoiler alert: Atlanta ends up with a big man at the No. 3 spot later on in this mock, as well as a wing using the Timberwolves’ pick. That means here, they would likely be looking at their choice out of this third tier of ball-handlers, which includes Brunson as well as Devonte’ Graham, Shamorie Ponds, Grayson Allen and other college standouts. Brunson gets the spot for me due to the high floor he possesses, which makes it difficult to believe he wouldn’t be able to operate an efficient offense during a long NBA career.
In Villanova’s Elite Eight matchup against Texas Tech, Brunson faced fellow NCAA All-American guard Keenan Evans in a grinding, close game. The game truly came down to which of the two guards came through in the clutch, and the Wildcats emerged mostly thanks to Brunson’s scoring down the stretch. No one would gloat about a 4-14 showing, but Brunson got to the line consistently (eight free-throw attempts) and surprisingly held his own defensively down low when Evans tried to post him up.
The guard is a superb decision-maker, creates space on drives surprisingly well for a someone 6-3, and makes difficult shots in traffic going toward the hoop. He isn’t as dynamic or athletic as Hawks starter Dennis Schroder, but he projects as a high-end backup with a high floor.