2017 NBA Mock Draft 1.0: Kings take international PG with first pick
From 30 to 1...
The 2017 NBA Draft lottery is still a week away, but here is a preliminary look at how the draft could unfold if the selections stay true to form. Expect plenty of movement between now and the actual draft on June 22nd...
30. Jazz - Andzejs Pasecniks, Center, Gran Canaria, International
Utah struck gold with a late selection of Rudy Gobert a few years back. It wouldn’t be surprising to see them go back to the well with a giant foreign-born player. The 7-foot-3 Pasecniks needs to get stronger and progress as a player, but you can’t teach this kind of size and agility.
29. Spurs - Harry Giles, Power Forward, Duke
It makes sense that one of the most talented players in the draft would slide all the way down San Antonio at 29. Pop is willing to gamble on injury issues if the talent is there. He has a veteran squad that can help bring along a big time prospect at a low risk position in the draft.
28. Lakers - Isaiah Hartenstein, Power Forward/Center, Zalgiris, International
An active 7-footer with a bit of range, Harkentein is a project that will take time to develop. Solid motor and size, the 19-year-old is already growing into his enormous frame. He’s a couple of years away from making an impact, but so are the Lakers.
27. Nets - Juwan Evans, Point Guard, Oklahoma State
Brooklyn needs players and Evans has the moxy to succeed in the Big Apple. A score-first point, Evans plays through contact and isn’t afraid to shoot with the game on the line. He’s limited by his size, but plenty of player under 6-foot have found success in the league.
26. Trail Blazers - Donovan Mitchell, Shooting Guard, Louisville
The third pick in the first round for Blazers, Mitchell has the potential to take some of the stress off the high-powered tandem of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum down the road. He can shoot, rebound, pass and even defend both guard positions, making him a nice addition to an already deep roster.
25. Magic - Caleb Swanigan, Power Forward, Purdue
The Magic have plenty length and athleticism, but they need a grinder replace what Kyle O’Quinn brought to the table a few years back. Swanigan is a defensive stalwart that hits the boards hard. In the world of potential vs. production, this is a player that should go higher than the mid-20’s.
24. Jazz - Rodions Kurucs, Small Forward, Barcelona 2, International
Even if Gordon Hayward wasn’t a potential free agent, the Jazz could use more depth at the three. Kurucs has NBA size and length, but he’ll need to add weight to compete at the next level.
23. Raptors - Bam Adebayo, Center, Kentucky
When it comes to bigs, how can you go wrong drafting a Kentucky guy? Listed at 6-foot-10, 258-pounds, Adebajo is raw, but huge. Serge Ibaka is a free agent and Jonas Valanciunas could use an enforcer down low. He’ll take time, but this is a nice late first prospect.
22. Nets - Justin Patton, Center, Creighton
A complete rebuild is in order in Brooklyn. They need more picks and more talent, but unfortunately, the NBA isn’t letting this team off the hook for their poor decisions in the past. Patton is a legit 7-footer with plenty of offensive game. He’s not ready to compete for major minutes in year one, but the Nets are years away from competing.
21. Thunder - Tyler Lydon, Forward, Syracuse
The Thunder could use another perimeter gun to open the floor for the streaking Russell Westbrook. Lydon can play either forward spot and he doesn’t mind going in amongst the trees to rebound. A reserve guard would make sense here as well, but the draft is lean in the backcourt in this range.
20. Trail Blazers - T.J. Leaf, Power Forward, UCLA
A nimble athlete, Leaf played well with Lonzo Ball and Bryce Alford running the show. He can shoot from the perimeter, run the floor and rebound. Terry Stotts could use a new, more offensive, less defensive version of Mason Plumlee.
19. Hawks - Ike Anigbogu, Center, UCLA
Atlanta needs an understudy for the aging Dwight Howard. There are a few different players on the board at 20, but Anigbogu might have the most long term potential. He raw, but Anigbogu runs the the floor and is a beast around the rim.
18. Pacers - Luke Kennard, Shooting Guard, Duke
The Pacers were desperate to add a wing scorer at the deadline to take some of the pressure off of Paul George. A high basketball-IQ shooter would fit nicely in the backcourt whether George is back or not. Kennard shot 43.8 percent from behind the arc in college and has improved greatly in his two seasons under Mike Krzyzewski.
17. Bucks - Ivan Rabb, Power Forward, University of California
What a difference a year makes. Considered a top 10 pick last season, Rabb will likely go between 15-25 this year. He has plenty of upside, but his failure to dominate at the college level, despite his level of talent, is concerning. He’ll be a quality rebounder at the NBA level, but like plenty of other prospects, he needs to find the right situation to develop his skillset.
16. Bulls - John Collins, Power Forward/Center, Wake Forest
With Taj Gibson in OKC and Nikola Mirotic an unrestricted free agent, the Bulls need bodies in the post. A high-motor player, Collins runs the floor and has an advanced post game for a 19-year-old big. Limited wingspan might hurt his stock a bit, but this is a highly productive NCAA player that should translate nicely to the NBA game.
15. Trail Blazers - Jarrett Allen, Center, Texas
The first of three first round picks for the Trail Blazers, Allen would bring depth at both the power forward and center position. 6-foot-11 with a nearly a 7-foot-6 wingspan, this is a rangy big that runs the floor. Nurkic is the man in the middle for Portland, but they need more size up front.
14. Heat - Zack Collins, Power Forward, Gonzaga
The Heat could really use a high basketball-IQ player to stick next to Hassan Whiteside in the post. A gritty big with defensive potential and skilled post moves, Collins is trying to cash in on the Zags run the NCAA Tournament. He showed plenty in of pro potential for the Finals runner up and might not make it this far down the board.
13. Nuggets - Terrance Ferguson, Shooting Guard, International
Good size for a wing, Ferguson has tools to be a solid two-way player in the NBA. Spent the last year playing professionally in Australia after skipping the college experience. Michael Malone would love to add a wing defender to compliment his high-scoring group.
12. Pistons - Justin Jackson, Small Forward, North Carolina
Jackson went through this process a year ago and showed that he can take advice and improve. He’s smooth and can shoot from the perimeter, but his ceiling is likely lower than either Isaac or Anunoby.
11. Hornets - OG Anunoby - Forward, Indiana University
6-foot-8 with a reported 7-foot-6 wingspan, Anunoby, 19, could be the draft board climber in this year’s class. An ALC tear in January might scare one or two teams off, but this is a big time athlete with crazy defensive potential. Don’t be shocked if he moves up the ranks as the draft draws nearer.
10. Kings - Jonathan Isaac, Forward, Florida State
Long and lean, this combo forward has a ton of potential, but needs plenty of time to develop. Nearly 6-foot-11 with shoes and a legit 7-foot-6 if you count his hair, Isaac is toolsy. If he matures at the NBA level, a team may have stumbled on a gold mine.
9. Mavericks - Dennis Smith, Point Guard, NC State
Smith is probably a higher ceiling prospect than Frank Ntilikina, but he comes with baggage. A torn ACL cost him his senior season in high school and there are questions about his maturity and willingness to work with others. He’ll put up stats at the NBA level, but at what cost. Dallas has the culture to nurture a prospect like this. Not many other lottery teams can say the same.
8. Kings - Frank Ntilikina, Point Guard, France, International
Darren Collison and Ty Lawson split time at the point this season and both enter the summer as free agents. One of them may return, but the Kings still need a point guard of the future. Ntilikina measures in at 6-foot-5 with a 7-foot wingspan. He has massive potential as a two-way player.
7. Knicks - Jayson Tatum, Small Forward, Duke
Tatum might not last this long, but you never know. Duke players haven’t exactly lit the world on fire at the NBA level. This is a big time athlete with potential as a shooter. The Knicks are going to need a replacement for Carmelo. Or maybe they’ll just keep being completely dysfunctional.
6. Timberwolves - Lauri Markkanen, Forward, Arizona
This smooth shooting 7-footer is a perfect fit next to Karl-Anthony Towns on the frontline. He probably isn’t Dirk Nowitzki 2.0, but his ability to stretch the floor will open up everything for the star-studded young core of the T-Wolves.
5. Magic - Malik Monk, Shooting Guard, Kentucky
Elfrid Payton showed enough down the stretch to earn a longer look as the starting point. Orlando was 29th in 3-point percentage last season and 27th in points per game. Monk makes perfect sense.
4. 76ers - De’Aaron Fox, Point Guard, Kentucky
Ben Simmons might be able to play some point three or point four, but he isn’t a starting NBA point guard. Fox showed what kind of player he can be during Kentucky’s run in the tourney. He’s a downhill runner that you can build a team around.
3. Lakers - Lonzo Ball, Point Guard, UCLA
Ball and Devin Booker could be Phoenix’s starting backcourt for the next decade. But Papa Ball is filling up a dump truck full of baggage for his kid, which will likely cost him a spot or two in the draft. Lonzo will make every player around him better once he adjusts to the NBA game.
2. Suns - Josh Jackson, Small Forward, Kansas
There is a warning brochure that comes with every Kansas draft pick. Andrew Wiggins seems to have broken the curse of first round busts from the Jayhawks. Jackson has a crazy motor and he's improved his shooting mechanics.
1. Celtics - Markelle Fultz, Point Guard, Washington
Huge decision here for the Celtics. Do they go with a high-octane point guard, a passing point guard or a play making small forward. Fultz didn’t lead his team to victory at the college level, but there is too much talent here to pass on.