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The Sports Daily > The Lottery Mafia
April Fools Big Board – 2017 NBA Draft

March Madness is over. Congratulations to UNC for winning a dramatic final game filled with bricks, fouls, missed free throws, and shoddy officiating. Time to evaluate how the tournament games affected the draft stocks of the prospects on my big board. I’ll highlight some of the players that have already declared, some that are destined to declare, and those that had deep runs in March.

Justin Jackson UNC SF – Big Board #26: Jackson moved up 21 spots from my last Big Board due in large part for being the leading scorer on a national title winning team. Admittedly lower on Jackson’s ceiling than many others, I’m still not willing to consider him a lottery prospect. His activity on and off the ball on offense and his length give him a fairly solid floor to contribute off the bench early in his career, making him an ideal mid-to-late first round pick. Against stronger and longer defenders, expect Jackson to struggle to create offense for himself and others, much like he struggled with offensive efficiency against the long front line of Gonzaga. A fierce competitor and winner, Jackson projects as an energetic role player rather than a star at the next level.

Joel Berry UNC PG – Big Board #50: I had Berry outside of my top 100 in early March. Bumped him up to a second round pick if he decides to declare for the draft. Hate being a prisoner of the moment and simply rewarding a kid for being named most outstanding player of the tournament by raising expectations to unreachable heights, but Berry should be able to run an offense in summer league much like Tyus Jones did going into his second season in the league. Berry is older, shorter, and less athletic than Jones, and Joel will be a major defensive liability – but bench units in the NBA need a steady hand. Joel proved in this tournament that he is calm under pressure, possesses translatable range, and has the composure to dictate the flow of the game.

Kennedy Meeks UNC PF – Big Board #60: Moved into potential second round territory, but nobody was guarding him outside of 10 feet. If he can’t develop a face-up game, his physical traits won’t intimidate any bigs in the league. He can bully Jordan Bell, but he can’t move any quality NBA big in the paint.

The rest of UNC: Tony Bradley didn’t show much in the tournament, but he is young, athletic, and seemingly growing into his body, so his value holds steady as a possible early second rounder. Isaiah Hicks finished his senior year on top and will hope it translates with a selection on draft night, but expect him to be one of the last 10 off the board (or undrafted).

Zach Collins Gonzaga PF/C – Big Board #12: Gonzaga may have lost, but Zach Collins is my biggest winner of the NCAA tournament. Expect all NBA teams to keep tabs on his decision to enter the draft, much like they did with Robert Williams until he declared his return for his sophomore season. If Collins enters the draft, I expect teams in the lottery to work him out and study his film – as he checks all the boxes for a modern big man: length, agility, athleticism, defensive instincts, hands, and a jump shot. The biggest question with him will be whether he can continue to improve his defensive discipline. After a superb showing in the Final Four game against South Carolina, Collins was (unfortunately) unable to avoid foul trouble against UNC’s deep front court and the NCAA officiating crew that called any contact immediately. Seeing him handle the final five minutes of action could have helped his stock, but the ceiling is high enough to scare any team in the 10-15 range from passing up on him – lest it come back to haunt them several years down the road.

Nigel Williams-Goss Gonzaga PG – Big Board #76: Williams-Goss did everything the Zags needed him to do throughout the tournament and for the first 39 minutes of the championship game. Then he tweaked his ankle and tried to play hero-ball on consecutive possessions, only to get rejected. An unfortunate turn of events for lanky playmaker that certainly improved his stock. Teams will have to consider him as a potential fit for second units and let him prove himself as a floor general in summer league.

Sindarius Thornwell South Carolina SG – Big Board #46: Thornwell led South Carolina all season long, and he was the driving force behind the Gamecocks’ Final Four appearance. As a senior, he exhibited all the traits one would expect from a team leader, from composure and confidence, to leading the team in scoring. His physical attributes translate. The question will be whether this is his peak, or if he can contribute to an NBA offense without any elite skills. Is he this year’s Malcolm Brogdon?

Jordan Bell Oregon PF – Big Board #48: The Ducks would not have been in the Final Four without Bell’s heroic performances to get them there, but he also may have prevented them from having a shot at the national title by not being able to box out the Tar Heels not once, but twice, on free throws in the waning moments of the game. Those plays were symbolic of his potential limitations in the NBA, where his size and strength will not grade out, and his grit will have to carry him a long way. A despondent Bell will take some time off before deciding whether to come back for his senior year, but if he rides this tournament performance, expect a team to give him a shot in the second round. Teammate Dillon Brooks holds steady at #35. His showing in the tournament solidified his stock as a jack of all trades yet master of none.

The Top Tiers

Tier 1: Markelle Fultz holds steady as the most complete prospect in the draft, with Lonzo Ball moving into the second spot on the big board. His lack of aggressiveness in the Kentucky loss was dispiriting, but his passing brilliance is undeniable. Ball’s shooting mechanics will scare some teams away, as well as his inability to get shots off in the mid-range. These concerns are real and need to be reviewed and potentially addressed once he enters the league, but passing on him with a top-3 pick might look silly. Josh Jackson fills out this tier of the top-3 prospects, as his postseason play with Kansas only solidified most scouts’ stance on him as an elite athlete with very little bust factor who may be limited to a role as a well-rounded third option. Jackson’s defense will be good to great and he has the passing ability to make him a triple threat if he develops a decent jump shot.

Tier 2: Jayson Tatum, Dennis Smith, Malik Monk, and De’Aaron Fox. Nothing separates this fearsome foursome besides need and fit. Tatum is a gifted and versatile offensive weapon with length and size any team could use on the wing. Monk is a pure scorer and a fantastic shooter. His athleticism makes him an obvious pick for a team lacking shooting at the 2. The next couple months will give him a chance to showcase his handles in workouts, as his opportunities were limited by Coach Calipari giving Fox the keys to the Wildcat offense. Speaking of Fox, that performance against UCLA had many drooling about him being the best of this bunch. But, he still can’t shoot. Smith didn’t get to play, so expect to hear more about him in the coming weeks when teams start watching his game tape. He makes plays that make your draw drop, and that is what NBA stars do.

Tier 3: The first seven players on my big board all seem to be sure bets. If they don’t become NBA stars, I’m convinced at the very least they can be contributing starters to title-contending teams. This tier on the other hand has much more variance. It’s still possible the best prospect in this draft turns out to be named Frank Ntilikina, Lauri MarkkanenJonathan Isaac, Zach Collins, or Miles Bridges. Thats what makes the late lottery this year just as intriguing as the top 10. Someone is going to get a prospect here that could develop into a franchise player. Ntilikina looked like a stud at the U-18 championships, but we need a larger sample size of shooting. As an athlete, he doesn’t explode out of the gym, but his measurables are nearly perfect and he always seems under control. Markkanen didn’t get to finish his Freshman season the way he probably would have liked, but his sweet shooting was still historic for a 7-footer. No pun intended. Isaac’s per-36 stats are mouth watering, but Florida State really underperformed, and he never really found a rhythm. Collins has had a meteoric rise (as previously mentioned) and has the widest range of potential career outcomes. Last but not least, Miles Bridges did not disappoint in his matchup with Josh Jackson. His defense needs a lot of work, but he clearly showed the ability to use his athleticism to his advantage on offense. Holding his own against a top-3 prospect in this draft gives me confidence that he can contribute in a similar fashion against NBA athletes.

I try not to kill kids for having one bad game, but Justin Patton didn’t impress, and slides down the board five spots – unfortunately becoming the only notable “loser” of the big board prospects during the tournament. Now watch him blow everyone away in workouts and receive a top-10 draft promise.

See below for a complete breakdown of my fourth edition of the 2017 NBA Draft big board. Expect the fourth edition of the Mock Draft to come out after the end of the NBA regular season.

Rank Name Team Position Age Measurables Wingspan
1 Markelle Fultz Washington PG 18 6-5, 190lbs 6-9.5
2 Lonzo Ball UCLA PG 19 6-6, 190lbs 6-7
3 Josh Jackson Kansas SF 19 6-8, 200lbs 6-9.5
4 Dennis Smith NC State PG 18 6-3, 190lbs 6-3
5 Malik Monk Kentucky SG 18 6-4, 185lbs 6-6
6 Jayson Tatum Duke SF 18 6-8, 200lbs 6-10
7 De’Aaron Fox Kentucky PG 18 6-3, 175lbs 6-6
8 Lauri Markkanen Arizona PF 19 7-0, 225lbs 7-0
9 Jonathan Isaac Florida St. SF 19 6-11, 200lbs 7-1
10 Frank Ntilikina Strasbourg PG 18 6-5, 180lbs 6-11
11 Miles Bridges Michigan St SF 18 6-6, 225lbs 6-9
12 Zach Collins Gonzaga PF 19 6-11, 215lbs 7
13 John Collins Wake Forest PF 19 6-10, 225lbs 6-8
14 Isaiah Hartenstein Zalgiris PF 18 6-11, 225lbs
15 Robert Williams Texas A&M PF 19 6-8, 225lbs 7-4
16 Justin Patton Creighton C 19 6-11, 215lbs 7-1
17 Luke Kennard Duke SG 20 6-5, 200lbs 6-5
18 O.G. Anunoby Indiana SF 19 6-8, 215lbs 7-6
19 Harry Giles Duke PF 18 6-10, 240lbs 7-3
20 Bam Adebayo Kentucky PF 19 6-10, 250lbs 7-2
21 Josh Hart Villanova SG 21 6-6, 200lbs 6-7.5
22 TJ Leaf UCLA PF 19 6’10 225lbs 6-11
23 Ivan Rabb California PF 19 6-10, 220lbs 7-1
24 Rodions Kurucs Barcelona 2 SF 18 6-8, 190lbs 6-9
25 Terrance Ferguson Adelaide SG 18 6-7, 180lbs 6-9
26 Justin Jackson UNC SF 21 6-8, 190lbs 6-11
27 Omer Yurtseven NC State C 18 7-0, 230lbs 7-1
28 Tyler Lydon Syracuse SF 20 6-9. 200lbs 6-10.5
29 Jarrett Allen Texas C 18 6-11, 220lbs 7-5
30 Andzejs Pasecniks Herbalife C 21 7-2, 220lbs
31 Ike Anigbogu UCLA C 18 6-10, 230lbs
32 Thomas Bryant Indiana C 19 6-10, 240lbs 7-5
33 Caleb Swanigan Purdue PF 19 6-9, 250lbs 7-3.5
34 Johnathan Motley Baylor PF 21 6-9, 230lbs 7-3.5
35 Dillon Brooks Oregon SF 20 6-7, 220lbs 6-5
36 Donavan Mitchell Louisville SG 20 6-3, 210lbs 6-9
37 Marques Bolden Duke C 19 6-11, 250lbs 7-4
38 Kostja Mushida Mega Leks SG 18 6-5, 210lbs 6-5
39 Tony Bradley UNC PF 18 6-10, 235lbs 7-4
40 Jawun Evans Oklahoma St. PG 20 6-1, 170lbs 6-5
41 Jonathan Jeanne Le Mans C 19 7-2, 200lbs 7-6
42 Devonte Graham Kansas PG 21 6-2, 175lbs 6-3
43 Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk Kansas SG 19 6-8, 190lbs 6-7
44 Alec Peters Valparaiso PF 21 6-9, 225lbs 6-9
45 Jaron Blossomgame Clemson SF 23 6-7, 210lbs 6-10
46 Sindarius Thornwell South Carolina SG 22 6-5, 200lbs 6-9
47 Grayson Allen Duke SG 23 6-4, 185lbs 6-6.5
48 Chris Boucher Oregon PF 23 6-10, 200lbs 7-4
49 Chimezie Metu USC PF 19 6-9, 210lbs 6-11
50 Frank Jackson Duke PG 18 6-3, 200lbs 6-7
51 Joel Berry UNC PG
52 P.J. Dozier South Carolina SG 20 6-6, 200lbs 6-11
53 Mathias Lessort JSF Nanterre PF 21 6-9, 230lbs 7-1
54 Edmond Sumner Xavier PG 20 6-5, 180lbs 6-6
55 Alpha Kaba Mega Leks PF 20 6-10, 220lbs 7-5
56 Monte Morris Iowa State PG 21 6-3, 175lbs 6-5
57 Cameron Oliver Nevada PF 20 6-8, 225lbs 7-5
58 Jordan Bell Oregon PF 22 6-9, 215lbs 6-11
59 Wesley Iwundu Kansas State PF 22 6-7, 200lbs 7
60 Mikal Bridges Villanova SF 20 6-7, 209lbs 7-0.5
61 Kennedy Meeks UNC PF 21 6-10, 250lbs
62 Dwayne Bacon Florida St. SG 21 6-7, 220lbs 6-8
63 Keita Bates-Diop Ohio St. SF 20 6-7, 235lbs 7-2
64 Nigel Hayes Wisconsin PF 22 6-8, 240lbs 7-3
65 Arnoldas Kulboka Brose Bamberg SF 18 6-9, 200lbs 6-9
66 Blaz Mesicek Enel Brindisi SG 19 6-6, 190lbs 6-9.5
67 Kyle Kuzma Utah PF 21 6-9, 210lbs
68 Devin Robinson Florida SF 21 6-8, 200lbs 7
69 Isaiah Briscoe Kentucky PG 20 6-3, 218lbs 6-8.5
70 Semi Ojeleye SMU SF 22 6-7, 235lbs 6-9.5
71 Borisa Simanic Red Star PF 18 6-10, 220lbs 7-2
72 V.J. Beachum Notre Dame SF 21 6-8, 200lbs 7
73 Felipe Dos Anjos Oviedo C 18 7-2, 230lbs
74 Kobi Simmons Arizona PG 19 6-4, 170lbs
75 Melo Trimble Maryland PG 21 6-3, 190lbs 6-2
76 Shake Milton SMU PG 20 6-7, 195lbs 6-11.5
77 Nigel Williams-Goss Gonzaga PG
78 Ethan Happ Wisconsin PF
79 Aleksander Vezenkov FC Barcelona PF 20 6-9, 225lbs
80 Jonah Bolden Radnicki Basket PF 21 6-10, 215lbs
81 Tadas Sedekerskis Caja Laboral SF 19 6-8, 200lbs
82 Marko Arapovic Cedevita Zagreb PF 20 6-9, 230lbs
83 Nik Slavica Cibona SF 19 6-7, 190lbs
84 Jessie Govan Georgetown C 19 6-11, 266lbs
85 Vince Edwards Purdue SF 20 6-8, 225lbs 7
86 DJ Hogg Texas A&M SF 20 6-8, 215lbs 6-8
87 Vasilis Charalampopoulos Panothinaikos SF 20 6-8, 235lbs
88 Allonzo Trier Arizona SG 21 6-5, 205lbs
89 Ognjen Jaramaz Mega Leks PG 21 6-4, 190lbs
90 Egemen Guven Pinar Karsiyaka PF 20 6-10, 210lbs
91 Isaiah Hicks UNC PF 22 6-8, 230lbs
92 Luke Kornet Vanderbilt PF 21 7-0, 240lbs
93 Moses Kingsley Arkansas PF 22 6-9, 210lbs 7-2.5
94 Diego Flaccadori Aquila Basket Trento SG 20 6-5, 170lbs 6-8
95 Bennie Boatwright USC PF 20 6-10, 220lbs 6-9
96 Trevon Bluiett Xavier SF 21 6-6, 215lbs 6-7
97 Vlatko Cancar Mega Leks SF 19 6-8, 210lbs 6-11
98 Viny Okouo Malaga C 19 7-2, 240lbs
99 Tacko Fall UCF C 21 7-6, 300lbs
100 James Blackmon Indiana SG 21 6-3, 180lbs
101 Vitto Brown Wisconsin PF 21 6-8, 240lbs 7-3
102 Dedric Lawson Memphis SF 19 6-8, 225lbs 7-2
103 Andrew White Nebraska SG 23 6-7, 220lbs
104 Amile Jefferson Duke PF 23 6-9, 200lbs 7
105 Michael Ojo Florida St. C 24 7-1, 300lbs
106 Michael Fusek Spirou Charleroi C 21 7-5, 220lbs 7-5
107 Malik Pope San Diego St. SF 20 6-10, 205lbs 7-2
108 Youssoufa Fall Poitiers Basket 86 C 21 7-4, 275lbs 7-6.5
109 Jordan Sakho Basquet Manresa C 19 6-10, 235lbs 7-3.5
110 William Lee Alabama PF 22 6-9, 200lbs 6-10
111 L.J. Peak  Georgetown  SF  21  6-5, 215 lbs  6-9.5
112 Jacob Evans  Cincinnati  SF  19  6-6, 210 lbs
113 Drew Eubanks  Oregon St.  C  20  6-10, 240
114 Santiago Yusta  Obradoiro  SG  20  6-7, 200lbs
115 Donte Grantham  Clemson  SF  22  6-8, 205lbs
116 George De Paula  Paulistano  PG  21  6-6, 194 lbs  7-0
117 Elijah Stewart  USC  SG  21  6-5, 180 lbs
118 Jamel Artis  Pitt  SF  24  6-7, 210 lbs  6-6
119 Antonius Cleveland  Southeast Missouri  SG  23  6-6, 195lbs
120 Rolands Smits  Fuenlabrada  PF  22  6-10, 235  7-1