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NBA Mock Draft 2017: Edition 2

De'Aaron Fox to Philadelphia
1. Boston Celtics: Markelle Fultz, G, Washington (Scouting Report)
After managing to land the No. 1 selection, Boston should take some time to look at either Lonzo Ball or Markelle Fultz here. Ball would bring an elite-level playmaker to Boston, but Fultz fits the roster better. He would fill in nicely next to Isaiah Thomas as an off-ball guard that can score in bunches.
2. Los Angeles Lakers: Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA (Scouting Report)
Lonzo Ball and his family have made it perfectly clear that he wants to go to the Lakers, and he would certainly be one of the best available at the second spot. His arrival could move D'Angelo Russell to shooting guard, where he is more comfortable, and help run the up-tempo offense head coach Luke Walton wants to have.
3. Philadelphia Sixers: De'Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky
The Sixers were unable to steal the Lakers' pick (if it had dropped past three they would have received both LA's first-rounder this year and in 2018), they were steal certainly winners of the lottery, landing at three. They could land the dynamic and lightning-quick Fox out of Kentucky, who could be the perfect running mate with a healthy Ben Simmons.
4. Phoenix Suns: Josh Jackson, G/F, Kansas
Beyond the ever-improving Devin Booker, the Suns are incredibly thin at wing, without any long term scoring threats. That would change quickly if they brought in Jackson, whose athleticism and court vision would excel in the transition game and would certainly bring instant offense.
5. Sacramento Kings: Jayson Tatum, F, Duke
Out of the top-rated prospects in the 2017 Draft Class, I think Jayson Tatum made the most progress from the start of the season to the end, and he's a rock-solid NBA prospect. The Kings are completely rebuilding their frontcourt with Demarcus Cousins gone, and would have to add a versatile scorer, a role Tatum would fit perfectly.
6. Orlando Magic: Malik Monk, SG, Kentucky
Elfrid Payton is among the worst shooting guards in the NBA, and the Magic as a whole don't shoot the ball well from deep. That needs to change if they ever want to turn the corner, so selecting Malik Monk would make sense. Monk is still streaky at this point in his career, but he has proven he can absolutely take over games at times, and can really stroke it from downtown.
7. Minnesota Timberwolves: Jonathan Isaac, F/C, Florida State
It's pretty clear Karl-Anthony Towns is on the verge of superstardom, but the fantastic big man doesn't play great defense or really protect the rim. The T-Wolves choked away too many games this past season, and stopping opponents from getting easy baskets needs to be of top priority. Isaac is among the top rim protectors in the Draft, and should slide in nicely next to KAT.
8. New York Knicks: Frank Ntilikina, G, France
The Knicks have made it well-known they plan to go after Jrue Holiday or one of the other top guards in the free agent market this summer, but they need to get younger talent with more potential in the long term. Phil Jackson hit on Kristaps Porzingis, so he may got the International route once more and land Ntilikina, a dangerous offensive player with a smooth jumper.
9. Dallas Mavericks: Lauri Markkanen, F, Arizona
He is definitely a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer, but the Mavericks have to accept Dirk Nowitzki is almost certainly nearing the end of his career. His game has aged well because he never relied too much on athleticism and he's still as smart and crafty as ever, but decreased minutes going forward could be an option. If that's the case, Dallas would love to develop somebody behind him and Markkanen's versatility is reminiscent of a young Dirk.
10. Sacramento Kings: Dennis Smith Jr., PG, NC State
Even though his team was terrible, Dennis Smith Jr. was absolutely superb in 2016-2017, and has a ton of talent. However, teams may be concerned about his health (torn ACL in senior year of high school) and he could slip. After adding Tatum to help their frontcourt, the Kings should use their pick acquired in the Cousins' deal to add a building block at point guard.
11. Charlotte Hornets: Zach Collins, F/C, Gonzaga
I've mentioned before how much I love Collins as a prospect, but he isn't viewed on the same level as some of the other big men in this Draft. If he is available here at 11, Charlotte should jump on the chance to add the seven-footer, who has significant more upside than the mediocre Cody Zeller or Frank Kaminsky.
12. Detroit Pistons: Jarrett Allen, C, Texas
Despite the continued presence of Andre Drummond, the Pistons need more help in their frontcourt, and there are an abundance of options here. Allen had some ups-and-downs in his lone season at Texas, but he is a lengthy defender that has the potential to make this move worth it.
13. Denver Nuggets: Terrance Ferguson, G/F, Australia
Some casual fans may not be aware of Ferguson, who opted to head overseas instead of staying in college and going to Arizona, but they should soon make themselves aware of his fabulous athleticism and defensive abilities. The Nuggets are thin and aging at wing, which should surely change if Ferguson was out there.
14. Miami Heat: John Collins, F/C, Wake Forest
After a quiet freshman year at Wake Forest, John Collins exploded this past season, and has emerged as a quality NBA prospect. He increased his PPG from 7.3 to 19.2 and his rebounds per game also nearly tripled. Much like Detroit earlier, Miami has plenty of possibilities with this selection if they're looking for a big man, but Collins' wild improvement could convince them to go with him.
15. Portland Trail Blazers: Justin Patton, C, Creighton
The Trail Blazers appeared to get quite a steal when they acquired Jusuf Nurkic mid-season, who played very well in the Portland system. However, adding another young center would still really help, and after an impressive freshman season, Patton could be a steal if he falls out of the lottery.
16. Chicago Bulls: Justin Jackson, G/F, North Carolina
Chicago is a very bad shooting team, which is a significant problem for a team that has a lot of attacking wings who need space to operate. Justin Jackson took huge leaps this past season, and emerged as a reliable three-point shooter. His ability to space the floor and attack defenses in a variety of ways will be a key asset for the Bulls.
17. Milwaukee Bucks: Ike Anigbogu, C, UCLA
Even though Anigbogu didn't get much attention on the Bruins' lineup this past season, he has emerged as a high-upside, high-energy player. He is still growing as an offensive player but is good around the rim and an insane 7'6" wingspan enables him to alter plenty of shots defensively. He would add another young, talented frontcourt option to the table for Milwaukee.
18. Indiana Pacers: Bam Adebayo, C, Kentucky
The Pacers have unearthed a gem in Myles Turner, but the rest of their big men are aging (Al Jefferson) or don't have significant roles on this roster. Coming out of Kentucky, Bam Adebayo still has a long way to go offensively and is still one-dimensional, but his strength and impressive physical tools are enough for Indiana to take a chance on him.
19. Atlanta Hawks: Hamidou Diallo, G/F, Kentucky
An impressive showing at the NBA Draft Combine certainly helped Diallo's stock, as his amazing athleticism was on full display. Yet, he is still a major risk as he hasn't played one minute of college basketball (enrolled at Kentucky for one semester but never played) and his jump shot needs a ton of work. The Hawks may be searching for a steal here and while Diallo is obviously risky, his potential is still enticing.
20. Portland Trail Blazers: Donovan Mitchell, SG, Louisville
Much like Diallo, Donovan Mitchell helped out his Draft stock with a strong showing at the Combine. The former Louisville Cardinal may not have the upside of some of the other players in this Draft, but he is a proven scorer who could provide plenty of offensive help off the bench in Portland.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder: Luke Kennard, G, Duke
In their first off-season post-Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City has a number of things they must address. Paramount on that list is adding some sharpshooters, who can take some pressure off of Russell Westbrook so he doesn't have to do it all. Kennard seems like a natural fit on this roster and proved to be quite the deadeye over the past two seasons for the Blue Devils.
22. Brooklyn Nets: Ivan Rabb, F/C, California
Every single NBA Draft we see young players leave too early and struggle at the next level, not fully prepared for the rigors of the NBA. Ivan Rabb hoped to not fit this trend and opted to stay an extra season at Cal to improve his game despite being a likely lottery selection in 2016. The move didn't really pay off; he didn't improve much from last season and struggled when called on to be the Bears go-to option. Even so, he is a skilled forward that can space the floor and really dominate in the mid range. He would definitely improve a terrible Brooklyn frontcourt from the get-go.
23. Toronto Raptors: Tyler Lydon, F, Syracuse
Tyler Lydon first emerged as an NBA Draft prospect with his superb play for Syracuse in their Final Four run in 2016, and he showed improvements in his sophomore campaign. Lydon is a little bit undersized for the NBA, but he makes up for it with fabulous instincts and a solid jump shot. His versatility and smarts make him a great fit to Toronto.
24. Utah Jazz: Dwayne Bacon, G/F, Florida State
Nothing is set in stone yet, but there is a lot of people around the Jazz organization worried about Gordon Hayward leaving. The franchise's top player has emerged as a perennial All-Star, and will certainly attract plenty of attention from teams like Miami and Boston when he hits the free agent market this summer. If that is too happen, Utah needs to fill the scoring void, and they could do just that by adding Bacon. Although streaky and inconsistent, Bacon has proven he can take over games at times while at Florida State.
25. Orlando Magic: O.G. Anunoby, G/F, Indiana
I mentioned in my last mock how I envision Anunoby ending up going higher than 25 (perhaps in the lottery), but I still believe he could drop some as he recovers from a season-ending injury. Anunoby's a terrific defender and high-energy player, and he could play a number of positions at the next level. Orlando needs help nearly everywhere, so they shouldn't hesitate to add the former Hoosier.
26. Portland Trail Blazers: Jonathan Jeanne, C, France
With their third selection of the first round, there remains a strong chance Portland goes for an overseas option that they can stash for a years and wait to develop. Coming out of France, Jeanne certainly could refine his skills in Europe before coming over to the NBA. Standing at 7'2" with a 7'6" wingspan, Jeanne possesses excellent shot-blocking ability and he has drawn comparisons to Jazz center Rudy Gobert.
27. Brooklyn Nets: Harry Giles, F/C, Duke
Much like Anunboy, Harry Giles is a name that could shoot up draft boards as the process goes on, and I doubt he lasts until pick 27 with his high ceiling. If he does get fully healthy, the Nets are getting a crazy athletic forward that can hurt defenses in a variety of ways.
28. Los Angeles Lakers: T.J. Leaf, F, UCLA
After snagging Lonzo at pick 2, why don't the Lakers double-down on some UCLA prospects by adding Leaf here? None of Leaf's abilities really jump out at you, but he is extremely reliable and a force on the glass. If he gets stronger and can develop even better from the outside, the Lakers get quite a steal in the late first.
29. San Antonio Spurs: Jawun Evans, PG, Oklahoma State
The play of Kawhi Leonard and some of the other younger pieces on the Spurs have masked the fact that the old core of San Antonio is growing extremely old. Manu Ginobli is clearly a shell of what he once was, and Tony Parker may soon be nearing the end of his career. It may be time to snatch up his replacement in Evans, whose playmaking potential would give Gregg Poppovich plenty to work with going forward.
30. Utah Jazz: Rodions Kurucs, F, Lativa
Much like the Blazers, Utah has a plethora of picks and doesn't really need to use all of them for right now. Kurucs is viewed as a great European stash option; the Latvian has shown bits and pieces playing for Barcelona 2, and could really fill out as a dangerous slashing forward, something the Jazz could certainly need in the future.

2 comments:

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Karthik Reddy said...


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