The 2017 NBA Draft is nearing with the playoffs drawing to a close. By now a vast majority of the teams have hit the scouting trail and watched plenty of video in hopes of finding the missing link to a championship or the next face of their respective franchises. As the Lottery selection has officially ended we will get down to the 2017 NBA Mock Draft now.
The NBA Draft is just as unpredictable as any other sport. No one really knows how a top choice or second rounder will turn out. That’s the beauty of the game. With that being said, it’s time for the official start of the NBA Mock Draft. Mocks are hard. Players can choose to stay in school or come out early and with this class, it’s very thin on bigs, however, it’s guard heavy. It’s funny because those are the positions most of these team do not need.
1- Boston Celtics- Markelle Fultz (PG-Washington)
The Celtics need a post player to pair with Al Horford but how can you pass up a scorer and defender like Fultz? Isaiah Thomas averages 30 points per game but what Fultz will provide are nights off for Thomas from carrying the offense alone. With Avery Bradley, the Celtics are a bit more defensive but Bradley cannot score like Fultz from either the perimeter or off the dribble.
2- Los Angeles Lakers- Malik Monk (SG-Kentucky)
Ok, so Monk stunk it up in his last game in the NCAA Tournament, it happens to the best of them. The Lakers are in need of a Center, not shooters or defenders on the wings. The Lakers taking Monk will help in a potential a trade with the Philadelphia 76ers that will net them Jahlil Okafor for Jordan Clarkson.
3- Philadelphia 76ers- Dennis Smith Jr (PG-NC State)
If the 76ers can somehow grab Jordan Clarkson for Okafor than selecting Smith is the next logical choice. I like T.J. McConnell but Smith is a different kind of beast. He has handles, can attack and play above the rim, plus he has a pretty decent perimeter game. To pair Smith with a frontcourt of Saric, Embiid and Simmons would be brutal for the rest of the NBA for years to come.
4- Phoenix Suns- Lauri Markkanen (PF-Arizona)
Despite the Suns record they actually have tons of talent. This season was one of growth as the team decided to shut down players in order for the younger guys to gain some valuable experience. In short, they decided to tank. The Suns are loaded in the backcourt with Eric Bledsoe, and Devin Booker but what they need is another big man to stretch the floor. This is where Markkanen will make his money. He’s not the next Dirk but he’s showing signs of being the next Brook Lopez. Not much of a defender or rebounder but he will be a matchup problem along with Len and T.J. Warren.
5- Sacramento Kings- De’Aaron Fox (PG- Kentucky)
At some point, the Kings will have to gut their roster and this offseason seems to be the best time. Darren Collison and Ty Lawson have played great but neither is the future playmaker they need. Drafting Fox is the smart choice. He may not be the best shooter in NCAA but he does everything else just fine. He can be the next Rajon Rondo if surrounded by the right teammates.
6- Orlando Magic- Josh Jackson- (SF- Kansas)
What are the Magic’s plans with Aaron Gordon? Is he a player or just a highlight reel? The backcourt could be addressed but the Magic must deal with a few defensive issues they have. Jackson could very well be the top pick this year and the Magic could very well use his defense on the perimeter. He could turn into the nest Matt Barnes minus the off the court issues.
7- Minnesota Timberwolves- Isaiah Hartenstein (PF Germany)
It never fails. Every year there is a shocker of a pick and in 2017 it will belong to the Timberwolves. I believe that Ricky Rubio has done enough to warrant another year in Minny. Zach LaVine is set at the 2-guard and Andrew Wiggins, KAT, and Gorgui Dieng will man the post. By drafting the German big man it will give him a season or two to learn before Dieng moves on. Some have labeled him the next Dirk but isn’t that with any 7-foot German big man who can shoot?
8- New York Knicks- Lonzo Ball (PG-UCLA)
His father can crave the Lakers all he wants but the truth is, the Lakers don’t need Ball. Who called Ball the No.1 pick anyway? His best bet will be to join Carmelo Anthony in New York for however long he’s going to be there. The Knicks are looking for a new face of the franchise and the kid with the wicked jump shot may be the prize.
9- Dallas Mavericks- Ivan Rabb- (PF- Cal)
The Mavericks need to start thinking about a replacement for Dirk. The Draft is thin in terms of bigs and any pick here will be a gamble but the Mavs must focus on the future. Nerlens Noel is the man in the middle and Rabb will provide further muscle up front. His inside presence is outstanding but his outside shot may be just as good. If given quality minutes he can easily be a double-double player in the NBA.
10- Sacramento Kings (From New Orleans)- Jayson Tatum (SF-Duke)
Rudy Gay is gone and Tyreke Evans may be out the door as well as a Free Agent. The backcourt could be addressed but the Kings must deal with a major vacancy at the SF position. Coach K loves to recruit wings that can play both ends of the floor. Last year it was Brandon Ingram, this year it’s Tatum. His numbers are not All-Star level but he will be a solid contributor for a team that must begin to focus on the defensive end.
11- Charlotte Hornets- Miles Bridges- SF- (Michigan State)
It’s time the Hornets sent Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to the bench. I love his defensive hustle but the Hornets need scoring on the wings. Bridges will add the athleticism the Hornets have been missing for some while now. He has improved on his perimeter game but his true strength is driving to the basket and making poster shots of his opponents. Pairing Bridges with Kemba Walker on the break will be a highlight reel every night.
12- Detroit Pistons- Luke Kennard- (SG- Duke)
The Pistons need a perimeter threat to go with those bigs in the post. Pope is ok but he’s a bit inconsistent. The Pistons need Kennard to be the J.J. Reddick or the Kyle Korver of Detroit. If Kennard can continue to show his range outside of Cameron Indoor Stadium then Reggie Jackson can rest easy.
13- Denver Nuggets- Frank Ntilikina- (PG- France)
The Nuggets have a stable of players at the PG slot but Jameer Nelson is getting up there in age and Emmanuel Mudiay has continued to struggle. It may be time to move forward. Ntilikina is not the next Tony Parker, he may be better. His defense is just as good as his offense and what’s better is that he can make a shot from the perimeter, unlike Mudiay
14- Chicago Bulls- Johnathan Motley- (PF- Baylor)
The Bulls can forget trading Jimmy Butler or watch Dwyane Wade walk out the door. It’s time to address their frontcourt. Free Agency may be an option here with Blake Griffin, however, cap space will be a deciding factor. Taking a rebounding force in Motley will prove to be a wise decision as the Bulls were a tad small in that department in 2016.