Tonight’s the night. After months of excitement were capped with the ultimate end to “The Process”, the 2017 NBA Draft is just a matter of hours away. So, how will the evening pan out for all of those teams looking for their next cornerstone player to build around? Here’s our one and only NBA Mock Draft!
1) Markelle Fultz – Philadelphia Sixers: The Philadelphia Sixers will have the top pick in the draft for the second year in a row. It’s a foregone conclusion that Fultz will be the selection. Philly will start next year with a backcourt duo consisting of two rookie first overall picks.
2) Lonzo Ball – Los Angeles Lakers: This pairing seemed magnetic from the start. Ball grew up in LA and went to UCLA. His outspoken father made his feelings known about his desire for his son to wear the purple and gold. The Lakers’ willingness to trade D’Angelo Russell, the 2015 second overall pick, suggests they will be drafting his replacement (i.e. Lonzo Ball).
3) Josh Jackson – Boston Celtics: Jackson gave Ball a run for his money for the honor of being selected second overall, but the Kansas star will be taking his talent to the team with the best record in the Eastern Conference last year. The C’s were awarded with the top pick in the draft via an old trade with the Brooklyn Nets, but sent it to Philly for an additional first round pick. GM Danny Ainge said the player they wanted at one would be there at three, and that solidifies the Jackson rumors.
4) Jayson Tatum – Phoenix Suns: The draft gets interesting here. The Suns have a couple different options. They could go with Tatum, arguably the player with the most developed offensive game. Or they could try and find a point guard to solidified their backcourt of the future with someone like De’Aaron Fox and Devin Booker. Ultimately, Tatum is the selection here for his scoring ability.
5) De’Aaron Fox – Sacramento Kings: The Kings are rumored to love Fox. They supposedly inquired about trading up to ensure drafting him. Fox is a good, fast point guard and has been compared to John Wall when he came out of Kentucky. Fox’s ceiling will be defined by his ability to shoot the ball from distance.
6) Jonathan Isaac – Orlando Magic: Isaac is a relative unknown. He has shown flashes of potential and has the length to be a franchise player. But this pick will be made more out of desperation from a team with little direction.
7) Lauri Markkanen – Minnesota Timberwolves: The T-Wolves have a lot of young pieces that will entering their prime soon. Guys like Andrew Wiggins, Zach LeVine and Karl-Anthony Towns are all either 21 or 22. Markkanen will be a great addition as a four that can provide ample spacing on the court. For his defensive lapses, Towns will be there to help out.
8) Frank Ntilikina – New York Knicks: Ntilikina is a relative unknown considering he’s been playing in France. He’s only eighteen. His best attribute might be his size. Ntilikina is six foot five with a wingspan near seven feet. He could be given the burden of turning around this tragic franchise.
9) Dennis Smith Jr. – Dallas Mavericks: DSJ’s draft stock fell tremendously with the downfall of NC State this past year and with him having already torn an ACL. He could wind up a steal in this draft. Or he could be the second coming of Derrick Rose, an explosive fearless point guard who knew how to get to the rim, that is until ACLs were torn.
10) Zach Collins – Sacramento Kings: With the Kings’ first lottery selection they’ve sured up their backcourt of the future, Fox and Buddy Hield. Conceivably they could grab another guard in Malik Monk or Donovan Mitchell. But, this is a less sexy pick and more of a necessity.
11) Malik Monk – Charlotte Hornets: The Hornets need a shooting guard. With the team’s newest addition, Dwight Howard, a big man is no longer a necessity. The team already has a point guard in Kemba Walker and he’s still improving his game. Walking and Monk could become a scary backcourt in a couple years.
12) Justin Patton – Detroit Pistons: Andre Drummond’s days in Detroit could be running out. Stan Van Gundy could use another skilled offensive big man and that’s what Patton is. This isn’t the sexiest pick but it could signal a change in Detroit.
13) John Collins – Denver Nuggets: The Nuggets are looking for a big man that can space the floor well and can compensate defensive for their superstar in Nikola Jokic. Collins will be able to do that. It will however be tough to play them both when opposing teams go with smaller lineups.
14) Donovan Mitchell – Miami Heat: If Mitchell is still on the board here Miami should be ecstatic. He has shot up draft boards and has decent size for a point guard. While Miami had Dion Waiters this season, he is a free agent and could see some large offers.
15) OG Anunoby – Portland Trail Blazers: Anunoby could’ve been a top ten pick before he tore his ACL this year. He will provide the Blazers with an athletic big man that they’ve been sorely lacking.
16) Luke Kennard – Chicago Bulls: The Bulls experimented with a backcourt full of players who couldn’t shoot from outside. Between Wade and Rondo, there was very little concern for their shooting from deep. Kennard is a shooter and a scorer. He will make an immediate impact for a team that struggled mightily.
17) Bam Adebayo – Milwaukee Bucks: While Adebayo is a relatively raw player he fits the Bucks’ mold. Their team is full of uber-athletic players like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Thon Maker. Adebayo is similar to Dwight Howard when he came out of high school. His is relatively raw with little developed skill, but he has the athletic ability to outmatch defends.
18) Justin Jackson – Indiana Pacers: With Paul George’s impending departure, this selection is his replacement. Jackson’s improved play over the past season has made him a first round pick. He shot the three ball well last year at UNC and that could be the key in his development.
19) Ike Anigbogu – Atlanta Hawks: The Hawks sent Dwight Howard to Charlotte earlier this week leaving a void at the center position n. They will have a choice between him and Texas center Jarrett Allen. Drafting a center makes sense, but who they take is a preference.
20) J. Leaf – Portland Trail Blazers: The Blazers have one of the best backcourts in the league. They need players to alleviate the scoring burden that’s placed on Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. Leaf has a great offensive game and he could make an immediate impact.
21) Harry Giles – Oklahoma City Thunder: Giles was projected to be a top pick in this year’s draft but injuries and inconsistency plagued him. His injury history is extensive and it has slowed his development. But, if he can stay healthy, this pick could end up being a steal.
22) Tyler Lydon – Brooklyn Nets: Lydon is the prototypical NBA player in today’s game. He’s built like a power forward but has the ability to score almost anywhere on the court. This pick is vital for the Nets and Lydon gives them a good role player.
23) Jawun Evans –Toronto Raptors: This selection will come down to whether or not the Raptors believe Kyle Lowry will resign with the team. Even if he does resign, this pick would alleviate the scoring burden on Lowry and DeMar DeRozan.
24) Derrick White – Utah Jazz: With George Hill a free agent, the Jazz are in the market for a guard. White’s biggest downside is that he’s already 22, and will be 23 next month. But, White played very well his senior year and has good size for a point guard.
25) Terrance Ferguson – Orlando Magic: The Magic’ roster is filled with athletic players like Aaron Gordon and Terrence Ross. They will have also added Jonathan Isaac earlier in the round. This pick makes sense for the upside. Ferguson could be a key contributor off the bench and down the road could replace Evan Fournier.
26) Ivan Rabb – Portland Trail Blazers: Rabb returned for his sophomore year at Cal and it did not go as he anticipated. This season definitely didn’t help his stock moving onto the next level. Rabb was underwhelming but he does have the skills to improve and make a difference for the Trail Blazers.
27) J. Wilson – Los Angeles Lakers: The Lakers have solid young core of Lonzo Ball, Jordan Clarkson, Brandon Ingram and Julius Randle. They had D’Angelo Russell as well but he was traded to Brooklyn earlier this week. Wilson could fit well in a small ball lineup next to Randle.
28) Anzejs Pasecniks – Los Angeles Lakers: It would be a surprise if the Lakers use all three of their picks. More likely though they will try to flip them for a player like Paul George. Late first round picks are the most valuable commodities so it’ll be interesting to see what happens.
29) Jordan Bell – San Antonio Spurs: Bell was originally a projected secod round pick, but he could realistically see his name called in the first round. Bell is a tenacious rebounder.
30) Semi Ojeleye – Utah Jazz: Gordon Hayward is expected to test free agency and that should scare Utah. He has developed into a star under Quinn Synder and his departure would be devastating for this up and coming roster. Ojeleye could be the team’s small forward of the future for the Jazz in the event that Hayward does leave.
Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports