Tuesday, myself and Rob Dauster from NBC’s College Basketball Talk talked through a first round 2017 mock draft. You can listen to how we came to these conclusions (also at the bottom of this post).
Teams tend to take the best player on the board, but if it’s close between guys — and in spots this draft is very bunched up — teams take need and other factors into account. We looked at it the same way, and here is what we projected.
1. Boston Celtics: Markelle Fultz, Washington. The top player on nearly everyone’s draft board because he can do it all: Make threes, finish above the rim, play in transition, elite on the pick-and-roll, hits midrange pullups, great size for his position. The only questions are defense and how far he can lead a team.
2. Phoenix Suns: Josh Jackson, Kansas. Great physical gifts for a wing, strong defender who could become lock-down guy, great motor, needs to improve his shooting but form is strong.
3. Los Angeles Lakers: Lonzo Ball, UCLA. Fantastic court vision and high IQ, incredible in transition. Can he score in half court (he mostly dished on P&R)? Shooting motion is odd but the ball goes in.
4. Philadephia 76ers: Jayson Tatum, Duke.: Phenomenal isolation scorer, he can face guys up or post up smaller players. How will his game translate to NBA where everyone has size and athleticism? Is he a small ball four?
5. Orlando Magic: De’Aaron Fox, Kentucky. Good size, speed, and athleticism, strong defender and could be elite on that end. Has a lot of work to do on his shot.
6. Minnesota Timberwolves:
Lauri Markkanen, Arizona. He’s a 7-footer that shot 42.3% from three, and not just spot-ups. Floor spacing backup behind Karl-Anthony Towns.
7. New York Knicks: Malik Monk, Kentucky. Guy just knows how to score, and can get red hot for stretches. Not fantastic at anything else. Future sixth man in the Jamal Crawford/Lou Williams mold?
8. Sacramento Kings: Jonathan Isaac, Florida State. One of the best athletes in the draft and already a strong defender with elite potential. Very raw on offense.
9. Dallas Mavericks: Dennis Smith Jr., N.C. State. Strong playmaker, good handles good in the open court, but was up and down and didn’t seem consistently interested in defense.
10. Sacramento Kings: Frank Ntilikina, France, Tall 6’5″ point guard who is a good two-way player, someone with a lot of offensive potential.
11. Charlotte Hornets: Zach Collins, Gonzaga. Fantastic performances on big stage of NCAA Tournament, he can make threes, score in the post, blocks shots, rebound. Came off bench at Gonzaga, still a work in progress.
12. Detroit Pistons: Terrance Ferguson, Australia. A 6’6″ wing with insane athleticism, good spot up shooter but has work to do on both ends. Chose to play in Australia rather than college last season.
13. Denver Nuggets: O.G. Anunoby, Indiana. Great physical tools for an NBA wing, 6’8″, athletic, can be impressive defender, needs to work on his shot and handles.
14. Miami Heat: Justin Jackson, North Carolina. Can shoot the three, and when he gets in the lane has a fantastic floater. Not great at creating his own shot. Good size, but will he defend at next level?
15. Portland Trail Blazers:
Jarrett Allen, Texas. Great size — 6’11” with 7’6″ wingspan — and he’s a great athlete. Could develop into Clint Capella like NBA big, but will he put in the work to do it?
16. Chicago Bulls: Luke Kennard, Duke. Incredibly efficient offensively, he can shoot, work off the ball, even get buckets in the pick-and-roll. Real questions defensively.
17. Milwaukee Bucks: Justin Patton, Creighton. A lot of potential, he’s a 7-footer with length, can shoot some but needs shots created for him, and defensive tools needs work.
18. Indiana Pacers: Donovan Mitchell, Louisville. Big time athlete and can use that to defend. Can create his own shot but will he work off the ball well.
19. Atlanta Hawks: John Collins, Wake Forest. A bit of a late bloomer (young for his grade,), he’s an efficient scorer but will he pass? 6’11” but how will he defend, rebound at the next level.
20. Portland Trail Blazers:
Ike Anigbogu, UCLA. He’s got good size — 6’10” with long arms, strong — and is quick off the floor, which helps with rebounding and shot blocking, but the rest of his game needs polish.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder: Semi Ojeleye, SMU. Played as a stretch four last season and showed to be a good shooter, but he’s undersized for that role in the NBA. Can he play the three?
22. Brooklyn Nets: Isaiah Hartenstein (played in Lithuania). Great size at 7’1″ and a solid athlete who can do a little bit of everything.
23. Toronto Raptors: Hamidou Diallo, Kentucky. The most explosive athlete in the draft, fantastic physical tools, but very raw and is a real project. Never played for Kentucky.
24. Utah Jazz: T.J. Leaf, UCLA. Great size at 6’10”, fluid athlete who excelled in transition and can shoot the three. Needs to get stronger and round out his game.
25. Orlando Magic: Tyler Lydon, Syracuse. Can shoot the three and was a good rim protector (but in the Syracuse zone). Was a good stretch four in college but is undersized for that at the next level.
26. Portland Trail Blazers:
Ivan Rabb, California. Would have gone a lot higher last year, but returned to college for a season. Put up better numbers this season but was less efficient.
27. Brooklyn Nets: Harry Giles, Duke. Was the top of this class early in high school then injuries robbed him of some athleticism and development time. Is he past that, or is he forever diminished (and if so how much)? Good roll of dice this late in round.
28. Los Angeles Lakers: Bam Adebayo, Kentucky. Will be more of a four, he can defend on perimeter and is good athlete, but not a shooter. Could be a Julius Randle backup?
29. San Antonio Spurs:. Rodions Kurucs, Barcelona. Athletic wing with good size out of a top European program. We won’t hear from him for two or three years, then Gregg Popovich will put him in and he’ll be fantastic. Because that’s what the Spurs do.