2017 NBA Mock Draft: The Final Countdown

2017 NBA Mock Draft: The Final Countdown

The Lottery Mafia

2017 NBA Mock Draft: The Final Countdown

Draft night has finally arrived! In a few hours we will finally know the destination for the freshman class of the NBA. So let me take one final shot at guesstimating what hat these kids will put on as they walk up to the podium to shake Adam Silver’s or Mark Tatum’s hand. A special feature with this mock draft is that every player will have their Draft Profile linked to their name. So please feel free to click on the link for more details on each prospect’s scouting profile!

  1. 76ers via Celtics Markelle Fultz: The 76ers aggressively traded up for the rights to select Fultz. He will be the ideal combination of talent and fit from this draft to pair with Simmons, Embiid, and the rest of the Sixers core. Trust the Process.
  2. LakersLonzo BallThe Russell trade to Brooklyn seals it, Lonzo is a Laker. This is Lavar’s team now!
  3. Celtics via 76ers – Jayson TatumThe general consensus for the Celtics trading down was that they would snag Josh Jackson here. But it seems strange that he has not even worked out for them and his shooting concerns may be a poor fit with Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart. In the last 24 hours a lot of steam has picked up that Tatum has been on the Celtics radar since he came out of high school. Tatum has the potential to be their next Paul Pierce. Ainge is the master of the curve ball and he knows this pick is the pivot for the rest of the draft, so anything is possible, even another blockbuster trade. Expect the unexpected here.
  4. Suns – Josh JacksonThe Suns have stated on multiple occasions that they will select the best player available with this pick. Jackson is probably the top player left on their board and would be a fantastic fit in their transition offense. Another option here might be Jonathan Isaac.
  5. Kings via 76ers – De’Aaron FoxFox has been linked to the Kings throughout the draft process. The Kings are looking for their next franchise player and team leader. Fox’s leadership and character traits are unquestionable, but he is a risky selection with his strength and shooting questions.
  6. Magic – Jonathan IsaacThe Magic need to make the right selection here. They don’t have a definite franchise player on their current roster. Isaac has an extremely high floor due to his elite defensive skills and could become a superstar if he develops scoring assertiveness. Dennis Smith is the other option here if they don’t mind hurting Elfrid Payton’s feelings and prefer to pick the player with the highest upside.
  7. Timberwolves Malik Monk: Minnesota’s dream scenario is for Isaac to drop into their lap, but in this case he slips out of their grasp. Monk fits on any team’s offense and will be a perfect shooter to play off of Towns. Regardless of what happens with Rubio and Dunn, Monk can contribute as a secondary ball handler and pick-and-roll initiator. Overplay on Towns, and Monk will make you pay.
  8. KnicksDennis SmithThe Knicks always come into the draft with drama. This pick should be simple if Smith is still on the board. He has as much upside as any other prospect in this draft class and taking him at No. 8 is a no-brainer for me. However, Smith doesn’t look like a great fit in the triangle offense and Phil Jackson is very stubborn. Rumor has it he believes Ntilikina is a great fit in the triangle. Then again he is wining and dining Markkanen. Imagine if Phil trades down for Luke Kennard? Expect Knicks fans to rain boos into Barclays Center, even Porzingis wasn’t spared a couple years ago.
  9. MavericksFrank NtilikinaThe Mavericks rarely find themselves in the lottery, in fact they haven’t been back here since they drafted Dirk. It would be almost cosmic serendipity if they draft Markkanen to eventually replace Dirk, but my sense is Frank is higher on their draft board. Ntilikina has fantastic defensive potential and his offense has improved by leaps and bounds.
  10. Kings via Pelicans – Lauri MarkkanenThe Kings have a plethora of bigs but they need to take whoever is highest on their board if they do this rebuild properly. Many think Markkanen will never overcome his defensive shortcomings due to his below average rim protection, but if he establishes himself as an elite scorer that simply won’t matter.
  11. Hornets – Donovan MitchellThe Hornets could use a secondary ball-handler to complement Kemba Walker. Mitchell can contribute on both ends of the floor and will have the composure to do so right away. If he knocks down shots he could help with fill Belinelli’s shoes too. With the Dwight trade they definitely don’t need another big.
  12. Pistons Zach CollinsThe Pistons are pretty loaded in the front court so Collins might be a surprising selection. The alternatives left in the draft are just not his caliber of upside and the Pistons shouldn’t be too attached to their current roster. Collins can be a stretch 5 or a 4 if he improves his lateral movement, as he fouls way too much.
  13. Nuggets – OG AnunobyAnunoby has incredible defensive upside and is the type of player the Nuggets should take a risk on. Even if he never develops into a confident offensive player he complements Jokic well on defense with his ability to slide along the perimeter and protect the rim.
  14. Heat – Harry GilesGiles was the #1 ESPN Top 100 high school prospect 12 months ago. Due to two major knee injuries and a frustrating year coming off the Duke bench at the end of the season, it was surprising he entered the draft. A month ago he may have not been in the first round, but he is showing signs that he’s regaining a lot of his previous explosiveness. The Heat should aim high here and hope he fulfills his promise.
  15. Blazers – Justin PattonPatton is a very witty kid off the court, and a high energy player on the court. The Blazers lack rim protection and although there are some players who do that better than Patton in this draft, Justin is an elite shot-blocker and has the potential to contribute on both ends. He even showcased some three-point shooting range, albeit a small sample size.
  16. Bulls – Luke KennardLuke has been moving up draft boards by blowing scouts away in workouts with his combination of shooting and playmaking skill. His athleticism is subpar but he is a very skilled baller. The Bulls lack secondary ball-handlers and shooting. That is exactly what Kennard excels at.
  17. BucksJohn CollinsCollins was a highly productive player at Wake Forest and he may be duplicative with Jabari Parker already on the Bucks roster, but Parker hasn’t been healthy for two seasons now. Defensively there are questions, but Giannis cleans mistakes up.
  18. Pacers Jordan BellBell is a refined ready to produce player that could be a great fit with Turner in the Pacers front court. Defensively he is a menace and offensively he lacks range, but Turner steps out to the three-point line.
  19. HawksAndzejs PasecniksThe Hawks aren’t keeping Millsap, and they already traded Dwight. Rebuild alert! Take a chance on this promising European big and hope his fluidity and scoring ability translates to the NBA.
  20. Trail Blazers via Grizzlies – Ike AnigboguIf Patton doesn’t bring rim protection with their first selection, Anigbogu DEFINITELY will. Aside from catching lobs and pick-and-rolls his offense is non-existent. With Patton in the fold they can be more patient with Ike and let him develop his skills.
  21. Thunder – Justin JacksonSam Presti has a really strong drafting record, so it is ironic I have him projected to draft a player I haven’t particularly been high on all year. The one thing I can’t question about Jackson is his effort and contributions to winning basketball. He also should be a great fit off the ball providing floor spacing and the ability to slash when Westbrook is doing his triple double thing.
  22. Nets via Wizards – Isaiah HartensteinThe Nets traded their other pick in this first round to take a shot on D’Angelo Russell. The strategy is obvious, go after players with the highest potential at superstardom. Hartenstein could be an absolute bust, but in the off chance that he fixes the holes in his game, there is a shot that this athletic 7 footer does a poor man’s Blake Griffin impression.
  23. Raptors via Clippers – Jarrett AllenThe Raptors are in an interesting situation with Lowry entering free agency and a core with him that is an Eastern Conference contender. Masai is usually very creative and he may be gaining confidence that he can retain Lowry below the max with all the PG’s that have changed homes this offseason already. This is why I expect him to go after a big with upside. Allen will need prove that he can live up to his hype entering Texas, as he lacked energy.
  24. Jazz – Bam AdebayoBam Bam and Gobert could be a formidable rim protecting duo. Adebayo will need to continue improving his jumpshot.
  25. Magic via Raptors – D.J. WilsonWilson is a rising prospect with prototypical stretch 4/5 skills. He has a nice ceiling but also a pretty solid floor. Worst case scenario he becomes an effective option off the bench.
  26. Trail Blazers via Cavaliers – Ivan RabbRabb looked like a potential lottery pick last season but a disappointing year without any tangible improvements could see him dropping to the second round. Since I have the Blazers investing heavily in defense, maybe this pick they take a shot on an efficient scorer. Trading down or into the 2018 draft makes sense, especially if they can unload some salary.
  27. Lakers via Nets – Terrance FergusonThe Lakers acquired this pick in the Russell/Mozgov for Lopez trade. Expect them to take a shot on a risky prospect that could become an explosive 3-and-D contributor.
  28. Lakers via Rockets – T.J. Leaf: With Lopez, Zubac, Nance, and Randle on the roster this season, Leaf may not get much playing time. The Lakers should consider bringing him in to complement Lonzo long term though, as they had great chemistry in college. Aside from Zubac, those other three bigs could be gone pretty soon anyways.
  29. Spurs – Frank JacksonJackson was an elite prospect coming out of high school and he isn’t exactly a reclamation project. He had limited opportunities on a deep Duke squad, but has shown a legitimate ability to drain deep 3’s with ease and could be the long term replacement for Mills.
  30. Jazz via Warriors – Derrick WhiteWhite is a player that has improved in every stage of his career path, so even though he is older there is still plenty of opportunity for further development. Right now he could step in and contribute to the Jazz as a ball-handler and floor spacer. A smooth and fluid late-bloomer.

Second Round

  1. Hornets via Hawks – Jonah Bolden3’s and defense, just what the Hornets need.
  2. Suns – Tony BradleyA crowded front court but Bradley has too much upside as a freak rebounder to drop further.
  3. Magic via Lakers – Caleb SwaniganExtremely productive scorer who has come a long way by getting in better shape and developing his shooting range.
  4. Kings via 76ers – Wesley IwunduSmooth versatile player that can be a hybrid Guard-Wing
  5. Magic – Josh HartThe best player in college isn’t going to be the best player in the NBA, but should be a fine one.
  6. 76ers via Knicks – Cameron OliverIf he were two inches taller his production would be deserving of lottery status. Has good length though.
  7. Celtics via Timberwolves – Thomas BryantCeltics are stocked with guards and forwards, so Ainge will take his favorite big if he doesn’t trade the pick.
  8. Bulls via Kings – Jawun EvansExactly the type of backup PG the Bulls need. Could be a solid fill-in starter as well due to his impeccable pick and roll efficiency and ball security.
  9. 76ers via Mavericks – Ognjen JaramazA bit of a sleeper who is already producing at a high level in Europe. Stash and let him marinate a couple seasons overseas.
  10. Pelicans – Alec PetersHighly productive scorer that projects as an effective bench scoring big. They won’t be looking for a starter as long as Boogie and Davis are there.
  11. Hawks via Hornets – Dillon Brooks: With a complete roster overhaul expected this summer, the Hawks will need someone with the bravado to handle some of the load on offense, and Brooks is highly confident.
  12. Jazz via Pistons – Sterling BrownBrown is a floor spacer that could contribute immediately.
  13. Rockets via Nuggets – Kyle KuzmaKuzma is the perfect fit for the Rockets offense. Just shoot 3’s and cut to the rim for layups.
  14. Knicks via Bulls – Mathias LessortA bruiser of a player, the Knicks have a knack for finding fan favorites that play with high energy off the bench. Lessort can fill that role and be another gem to notch on the belt of their international scouting team.
  15. Rockets via Blazers – Semi OjeleyeOjeleye won’t be moving far from SMU to Houston if he impressed Morey with his shooting.
  16. 76ers via Heat – Jonathan JeanneCommon sense would be that Jeanne goes undrafted after the news of his career threatening genetic disorder, but the 76ers have so many picks why not take a flier and hope for the best.
  17. Pacers – Tyler LydonLydon has offensive potential but his defense is going to be a major issue that keeps him out of the first round but makes him a solid investment later in the draft.
  18. Bucks – Sindarius ThornwellThornwell has the name and the game to fit in perfectly with the Bucks organization that wants to talk about “results” now.
  19. Nuggets via Grizzlies – Nigel HayesAn immediate contributor if the Nuggets make a playoff push this year.
  20. 76ers via Heat – Blaz MesicekA solid stash that shows versatile offensive game. If he has a late growth spurt could be a stretch-4 steal.
  21. Nuggets via Thunder – Tyler DorseyAnunoby can’t shoot, Tyler Dorsey can.
  22.  Pelicans via Wizards – P.J. DozierPelicans will need to surround their bigs with wings and guards that can hit 3’s and play some defense.
  23. Celtics via Clippers – L.J. PeakPeak can space the floor and make life easier for Celtics lineups that include some non-shooters.
  24. Suns via Raptors – Chris BoucherAn older prospect with elite length and impressive shooting ability.
  25. Jazz – Johnathan MotleyA tough competitor that would add grit to the Jazz front court.
  26. Celtics via Cavaliers – Monte MorrisA very capable backup PG.
  27. Nets via Celtics – Devin Robinson3-and-D potential for a team that needs both.
  28. Knicks via Rockets – Nigel Williams-GossKnicks need more playmaking.
  29. Spurs – Dwayne BaconAn effective player in a defined role, the Spurs define roles clearly in their system.
  30. Hawks via Warriors – Aleksandar VezenkovA solid flier for the last pick in the draft, Vezenkov had a very productive season with Barcelona.

Notable Undrafted Players: Edmond Sumner, Alpha Kaba, Alberto Abalde, Jaron Blossomgame, VJ Beachem, Kobi Simmons, Vlatko Cancar, Kennedy Meeks, Davon Reed, Andrew White III, Damyean Dotson, Frank Mason, Kadeem Allen, Luke Kornet, Isaiah Briscoe, Derrick Walton Jr., Melo Trimble, Peter Jok, Jamel Artis, Xavier Rathan-Mayes

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