BOSTON – The 2017 NBA draft was one of the youngest ever with the most college freshmen ever selected in the first round. We’ve had a chance to see most of this year’s bumper crop of rookies play, with many showing skills beyond their youth.
Still, there are some who haven’t exactly set the league on fire as expected, which has a few league GMs wishing they could do a draft-day do-over.
Here’s a bit of revisionist history at work today as NBC Sports Boston looks at the top 10 prospects that would be available if teams had the benefit of foresight.
Jayson Tatum: His length and scoring ability were a given. But what has really set him apart from his fellow rookies and among the Celtics players, is his defense and overall feel for the game.
Kyle Kuzma: Drafted 27th overall by the Los Angeles Lakers, his ability to shoot from the perimeter, attack close-outs and rebound, makes Kuzma the biggest surprise this year among the rookies.
Lonzo Ball: The potential remains extremely high for Ball who comes to the NBA with the kind of court vision we’ve seldom seen from such a young prospect. But he has to become a better shooter if he’s going to ever reach the superstardom level so many envision for the No. 2 pick by the Lakers in last June’s NBA draft.
Donovan Mitchell: He showed flashes of being a player who might prove to be more impactful than a 13th overall pick. So far, he has not disappointed with strong play for the Jazz.
Markelle Fultz: The jury is still out on just how impactful Fultz will be. It's a process that has been slowed by a shoulder injury. I’m still of the mindset that this kid, when all is said and done, will be really good in this league.
De’Aaron Fox: His end-to-end speed has set him apart from just about every rookie and for that matter, most veterans. He gives the Kings legitimate hope that their playmaker of the future has arrived.
Lauri Markkanen: An efficient scorer, there’s a lot to like about this big man’s game except for one thing...he plays for a really bad Chicago team. And because of that, it’s hard to tell if he’s putting up numbers because he’s a good player or because he’s on a really bad team. The truth most likely lies somewhere in the middle.
Malik Monk: Selected by Charlotte 11th overall, Monk has provided a nice scoring option off the bench for the Hornets to help ease the scoring burden on the team when Kemba Walker needs a break.
Dennis Smith Jr.: Similar to Markkanen, Smith has put up big numbers on a team that has struggled all season. But the explosiveness and knack for simply getting points are evident regardless of how much the team he plays for may struggle this season.
John Collins: There’s a huge void of talent in the frontcourt for the Atlanta Hawks and Collins has the potential to fill it sooner rather than later. He’s a double-digit scorer and grabs 7.6 rebounds per game to show that he’s a much better player than the 19th overall pick.