2017 NBA Mock Draft
1. Philadelphia 76ers
Markelle Fultz, PG, Washington: After dealing a pair of first-round picks to move up the Sixers may have added the final piece to their rebuilding puzzle. Fultz will be able to play either guard position depending on how Ben Simmons develops, and combining those two with Joel Embiid and Dario Saric gives Brett Brown an elite core of young players all 23 or younger. Credit to the Sixers for ponying up and going after their guy.
2. Los Angeles Lakers
Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA: As speculation continues around whether the Lakers are sold on Ball, odds are on draft day they'll go with a player who fills a need, is the best prospect available, and is a local kid to boot. Ball immediately gives the Lakers a dynamic combo guard whose jump shot (41.2 percent from deep) is just as good as his playmaking (7.6 assists).
3. Boston Celtics
Josh Jackson, SF, Kansas: We may to wait until draft night to see if Danny Ainge cashes in his assets for a proven veteran. This could certainly be the Bulls or Pacers selecting at this spot. For now, we'll assume they keep the pick and go with the best two-way player in the draft. Jackson should complement Jaylen Brown well on the perimeter, and the Celtics get perhaps the best player in the draft despite moving out of the top spot.
4. Phoenix Suns
Jayson Tatum, SF, Duke: A strong workout with the Celtics has Tatum moving up draft boards, and he's both the best player available and a need-filler for the Suns here. Phoenix could go for a home run in selecting a player like Jonathan Isaac or even De'Aaron Fox, but Tatum's floor and scoring prowess will help out right away on a Suns team that finished 22nd in efficiency.
5. Sacramento Kings
De'Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky: The Kings reportedly were looking to move up in the draft to have a chance at Fox, but they may not need it. Both Boston and Phoenix are deep enough in the backcourt that it's likely they pass on Fox, who brings a lightning-quick pace and elite-level defense at the point. Shooting concerns are there, but it's easier to teach a jump shot than it is the speed and intangibles Fox possesses. The Kings have been desperate for an answer at point guard for a while.
6. Orlando Magic
Jonathan Isaac, SF, Florida State: Orlando needs as much help as it can get for their putrid offense. But the Magic also need good basketball players, so grabbing a talent like Isaac here makes sense. He was electric in his lone year Florida State, compiling 37 steals and 49 blocks in 32 games. His offense game showed promise, as he averaged 12.0 points on 51 percent shooting and a respectable 35 percent from deep. He looks like Kevin Durant, and can do a little bit of everything. his upside is sky-high, cliche and all.
7. Minnesota Timberwolves
Lauri Markkanen, PF, Arizona: There's a spot on all 30 NBA teams for a 7-footer who can shoot the 3. Markkanen took the college basketball world by storm in his freshman season, connecting on better than 42 percent of his 163 3-pointers for the Wildcats. The Timberwolves are looking for a complement to Karl-Anthony Towns, and Markkanen fits the bill. Question marks about his defensive ability are there, but if he hits 40 percent from deep it won't matter.
8. New York Knicks
Frank Ntilikina, PG, France: We're going to safely assume that Phil Jackson isn't dumb enough to trade Kristaps Porzingis. Leaving the Unicorn in New York would allow the Knicks to address their biggest offseason need, point guard, and they fill it with Ntilikina, a player they have reportedly been after for a while now. He's long, excellent defensively and has plus court vision. He may need some time to develop, but that worked wonders for New York a year ago with Porzingis.
9. Dallas Mavericks
Dennis Smith, PG, North Carolina State: Seth Curry and Yogi Ferrell aren't long-term answers, and the Mavericks would be thrilled to get a talent in Smith this late. Had it not been for an ACL tear in high school he would be considered in the same breath as a player like Fox. Putting Smith next to Harrison Barnes gives Dallas something to look forward to in the future.
10. Sacramento Kings
Malik Monk, SG, Kentucky: Admittedly it's tough to see a talent like Monk falling this far. But with all the talent at point guard and small forward in the top 10 - and those positions being in such high demand in today's NBA - the one-dimensional Monk falls here to the Kings. Teaming him up with Fox (taken at No. 5) would be a great storyline and the Kings would love to have both.
11. Charlotte Hornets
Donovan Mitchell, SG, Louisville: Another value pick here as the Hornets grab a player who has been rising up draft boards ever since an impressive NBA Combine showing. The Hornets need help in a lot of different areas, but a combo guard to play behind or alongside Kemba Walker is near the top of the list. Mitchell provides defensive intensity Steve Clifford will love, and if he can improve his jump shot he could become an Avery Bradley clone.
12. Detroit Pistons
Luke Kennard, Duke: The Pistons could go a number of directions in the draft, but grabbing some outside shooting should be at or near the top of the list. Detroit attempted the fifth fewest 3-pointers per game last year, and their 33 percent clip was third worst in the league. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope should be back as a restricted free agent, but Kennard would be a welcome addition on the second unit. He's helped his stock in the pre-draft process, and could go even earlier than here.
13. Denver Nuggets
Justin Jackson, SF, North Carolina: What the Nuggets do with this selection could say a lot about how far they believe they are from competing for a playoff spot. If they don't resign Danilo Gallinari there will be a real need for outside shooting, and taking a proven shooter like Jackson makes sense. It's admittedly a reach for a player who doesn't offer much else at this stage in his career, but that shooting prowess should be ready to go from Day 1.
14, Miami Heat
Zach Collins, PF, Gonzaga: Willie Reed declined his player option and will likely price himself out of Miami on the free agent market, and the Heat don't have much else on the frontline behind Hassan Whiteside. Collins saw his stock rise in a major way in the NCAA Tournament, and he's still just 19 years old. It also leaves the door open for the Heat to attack free agency looking for a wing, knowing they've shored up a spot on the frontline.
15. Portland Trail Blazers
Jarrett Allen, C, Texas: The Blazers may have found their franchise center in Jusuf Nurkic, who they traded for at February's trade deadline. But for as much as Nurkic does offensively he's just as poor on the defensive end. Enter Allen, arguably the most physical center in this year's class who can simply guard the rim in his first few seasons as he hones in his offensive skills. With three first-round picks, the Blazers taking a project or two seems likely.
16. Chicago Bulls
OG Anunoby, SF, Indiana: Yes, another torn ACL in Chicago. Anunoby missed most of his sophomore season with the Hoosiers after suffering the knee injury, and he likely won't be ready for training camp. But a Bulls team that's closer to rebuilding than competing can take a flier on a Lottery talent this late in the first round. If Anunoby can get back to full-strength and work on his jumper he could wind up being a real steal. Of course, the Bulls' Jimmy Butler situation could also change what they do with this pick.
17. Milwaukee Bucks
Ike Anigbogu, C, UCLA: He didn't play much in his lone season with the Bruins, but Anigbogu is just scratching the surface of his potential. The Bucks don't have very many needs, but there are certainly question marks at center. A long, defensive presence fits the mold of what the Bucks are looking for, and Anigbogu, one of the draft's top shot blockers, would only improve a Bucks defense that needs to regain its form.
18. Indiana Pacers
John Collins, PF, Wake Forest: Yes, the Pacers already have a similar player in Myles Turner (as far as the offensive end is concerned). But Collins goes from a steal this late in the first round to the steal of the draft if he can develop an outside shot. He took just one 3-pointer in his two seasons with the Demon Deacons, but his production speaks for itself. Paul George's status with the Pacers will determine how Indiana uses this pick, but an heir to Thaddeus Young (two years remaining) could be an option.
19. Atlanta Hawks
T.J. Leaf, PF, UCLA: On the surface this looks like Paul Millsap insurance, as the All-Star forward will hit free agency on July 1. But Leaf brings an offensive skill set that fits the Hawks (he made 46 percent of his 58 3-point attempts) and showed some toughness with the Bruins, averaging 8.2 rebounds and 1.1 blocks on the defensive end. It's yet another summer of change in Atlanta, and Leaf could be one of the faces ushering in a new era.
20. Portland Trail Blazers
Harry Giles, PF, Duke: Again, with three first-round picks the Blazers are going to be looking for international players and others who can come along slowly. That's Giles, the top high-school prospect in his class a year ago who has battled numerous knee injuries. He only played 300 minutes with the Blue Devils, but on skill set alone he's worth a pick this late. A healthy Giles would be a top-5 pick.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder
Semi Ojeleye, SF, SMU: You may have heard that Russell Westbrook needs more help. He's got a pair of frontcourt studs in Steven Adams and Enes Kanter, but on the perimeter there's not much there in the wake of Kevin Durant's departure. Finding a wing who can score and hit 3-pointers should be priority No. 1. That's exactly what Ojeleye brings, as he averaged 19.0 points and shot 42.4 percent from deep for the Mustangs. The former Duke product would be a welcome addition on the perimeter.
22. Brooklyn Nets
Justin Patton, C, Creighton: The Nets will need to swing for the fences with their pair of first-round picks. Patton redshirted under Greg McDermott before turning in an incredible season for the Bluejays as a freshman. Brook Lopez could certainly be on the trading block this year, freeing up time at center for Patton to get as much run as he can handle.
23. Toronto Raptors
Ivan Rabb, PF, California: Serge Ibaka and Patrick Patterson are both free agents, and general manager Masai Ujiri has said the Raptors are looking for a culture change. Their offseason will begin and end with whatever free agent Kyle Lowry decides to do, but adding a player like Rabb will help a frontcourt that will look much different next season. Rabb struggled in two seasons at Cal (relative to expectations set for him) but he's a player who could look better in the NBA than he did in college. Even if he never irons out his game he's an excellent rebounder with good length. He's a project, but well worth the risk this late in the first round. Rabb could have been a top 10 pick a year ago.
24. Utah Jazz
Juwan Evans, PG, Oklahoma State: George Hill and Shelvin Mack are free agents and Dante Exum has proven next to nothing in his first three NBA seasons. Evans still has plenty to work on at the next level but in a deep point-guard class he's a steal here. He likely wouldn't start from Day 1 but would join a roster with plenty of talent around him to help him acclimate slowly.
25. Orlando Magic
Frank Jackson, PG, Duke: Elfrid Payton came on strong at the end of last season but the Magic remain in a position where they simply need to add talent everywhere. Jackson was a major winner at the NBA Combine and would give a more athletic look at the position than Payton. It's possible the two could also play together at times, as both are able defenders.
26. Portland Trail Blazers
Derrick White, PG, Colorado: The Blazers are set in the backcourt with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum but they could use depth. White is a combo guard (in the same mold as the aforementioned starters) who had a fantastic year for the Buffaloes a year ago. With so much salary cap tied up, Portland could use cheap rookies who come in right away.
27. Los Angeles Lakers
Bam Adebayo, C, Kentucky: Things worked out well for the Lakers and Julius Randle, so they go back to the John Calipari well once again with one of the toughest centers in this year's class. It's a different look than what they currently have, and they're lacking for depth somewhat after dealing Timofey Mozgov. He's entirely different from recently acquired Brook Lopez, so this gives Luke Walton some versaility.
28. Los Angeles Lakers
Tony Bradley, PF, North Carolina: It remains to be seen if Julius Randle and Ivica Zubac will be part of the Lakers' future. Zubac is raw and Randle has been dangled in Paul George rumors. Bradley could give them insurance as well as a project to mold in the way they see fit. Bradley surprisingly kept his name in the draft, so it's likely he has a Round 1 guarantee. Los Angeles would be a solid destination, and he's a good fit next to Adebayo (27th overall).
29. San Antonio Spurs
Frank Mason, PG, Kansas: College basketball's National Player of the Year isn't a first round prospect on most boards, but the Spurs have never been conventional. Gregg Popovich may see a future backup behind Dejounte Murray once Patty Mills and an injured Tony Parker are done. Mason can lead a second unit, shoots well and has toughness. He's a perfect fit in San Antonio.
30. Utah Jazz
D.J. Wilson, PF, Michigan: The Jazz don't have the most versatile frontcourt in the NBA, although Trey Lyles has shown flashes. With Derrick Favors' future in Utah uncertain it may make sense for the Jazz to opt for the next biggest big. In this scenario it's Wilson, who came on strong late in the season and brings a unique skill set to the next level. He may need to add weight before he contributes, but the talent is there.