Final 2017 NBA Mock Draft

Although there will likely be many trades on draft day, this mock draft does not include trades.

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1. Philadelphia 76ers select Markelle Fultz: PG – Washington

The Philadelphia 76ers made a huge splash trading for the number one pick in the draft. The 76ers had a lot of assets, and were said to be huge fans of Markelle Fultz. They’ve basically made it clear that Fultz will be their pick. He’s the best player in the draft and fits a need, so the pick makes sense. They may have given up too much, but that won’t be known for a number of years.

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2. Los Angeles Lakers select Lonzo Ball: PG – UCLA

This would be an ideal scenario for both Lonzo Ball and the Los Angeles Lakers. Ball has made it clear that he wants to play for his hometown Lakers. Ball would be a great fit with D’Angelo Russell. Ball and Russell both have the ability to play with and without the ball. They could both start in a two point guard lineup. Both Ball and Russell have enough size to defend either guard position. Ball has a unique jump shot, but he makes it more often than not. He’s a great passer and has a knack for making his teammates better. If they can get over his crazy father LaVar, Lonzo could be the type of player to change the Lakers’ culture.

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3. Boston Celtics select Josh Jackson: SF – Kansas

The Boston Celtics traded away the number one pick to move back two spots. They picked up a number of assets in the process. The Celtics are said to be interested in Paul George and Jimmy Butler, and may use some of their assets to land one of those two superstars. That might make this pick available, but there’s a better chance that they’ll make a selection with the third pick. Celtics GM Danny Ainge said he thinks the player that they wanted will be available with the third pick. With rumors swirling that the Celtics might’ve taken Josh Jackson with the first pick, it’s only logical to assume that they’ll pick him here. He has the potential to become a 2-way superstar.

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4. Phoenix Suns select Jonathan Isaac: F – Florida State

There are rumors that the Phoenix Suns are interested in trading up to draft Lonzo Ball. There are other rumors that they’re interested in Fultz and Jackson too. If that’s the case, falling to the fourth pick cost them a chance at these three players. However, they still have a chance of taking a potential superstar. Jonathan Isaac is one of the biggest boom-or-bust prospects in this draft. He has elite potential on both sides of the floor. Once he adds weight to his 6’11 frame, he should be able to guard centers and both forward positions. He’s quick enough to switch any pick and roll. The Suns need a wing defender to pair with Devin Booker, who is an offensive superstar but a defensive liability. On the offensive end of the floor, Isaac has point forward potential. There’s only one 6’11 point forward in the NBA, and he’s a superstar in Giannis Antetokounmpo. That’s the type of upside Isaac is dealing with, and he’s already a better shooter than the Greek Freak. The Suns drafted two high-upside forwards in the 2016 NBA Draft. Isaac, Dragan Bender, and Marquese Chriss could make an interesting backcourt in Phoenix full of length and upside.

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5. Sacramento Kings select De’Aaron Fox: PG – Kentucky

The Kings have been rumored to be enamored with De’Aaron Fox, so they would be ecstatic if he was available with the fifth pick in the draft. There were even rumors that the Kings were willing to trade both the fifth and tenth picks to get Fox. In this scenario, the Kings get their man without having to move up. Sacramento could use a point guard, and Fox has the potential to develop into the best in this draft class. He’s an elite athlete and has tremendous size. Fox’s jump shot is a work in progress, but it’s the only major weakness in his game. If he cleans up his shooting stroke, he could become a star in Sacramento.

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6. Orlando Magic select Jayson Tatum: SF – Duke

Jayson Tatum is one of the best offensive players in the draft. Tatum has elite upside as a 2-way small forward if he can reach his defensive ceiling. Draft experts have differing opinions about Tatum’s defensive potential. Some draftniks think he can be a combo forward on both ends of the floor. Other draftniks think he’s too slow for many small forwards and too small for many power forwards. However, one thing that most draftniks agree on is Tatum’s offensive potential. He’s already a professional scorer, and will fit in nicely into any offense. Tatum hasn’t shown NBA 3-point range yet, but his shooting stroke is consistent and should allow him to become a lethal shooter from distance. Even if Tatum never becomes an above average defender, he’d be a great fit in Orlando as an offensive spark plug.

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7. Minnesota Timberwolves select Dennis Smith Jr.: PG – North Carolina State

Dennis Smith Jr. is one of the best point guard prospect in this year’s draft. He didn’t have a great freshman year at North Carolina State, but he was surrounded by inferior talent. Smith is a fantastic athlete and scorer. His jump shot isn’t perfect, but he does a great job of getting buckets near the hoop. Smith will need to prove that he’s a better passer and playmaker than what he showed in college. If he had better teammates to pass the ball to, he might not have to answer those concerns. Minnesota has Ricky Rubio and Kris Dunn as their two point guards. Rubio isn’t part of their long-term plans and Dunn is an offensive liability. He’d be at his best as a defensive stopper coming off the bench. Smith has elite upside as a potential starter, and would fit in with Minnesota’s timeline. They have bigger needs, but Smith’s talent will be too hard to pass up.

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8. New York Knicks select Malik Monk: SG – Kentucky

Malik Monk is instant offense. He’s a great athlete that will make his money as a jump shooter. He has an uncanny ability to get off jump shots quickly before defenders can react. His range is endless, which will make him a hot commodity in today’s NBA. He has a solid pull-up jumper, but can sometimes get into trouble when defenses key in on him. He’s best as a spot-up shooter, so he’ll need to improve as a ball-handler and passer if he wants to become a combo guard. The Knicks can use an efficient scorer, and there’s nobody in this draft class that can shoot deep threes at a high rate like Monk.

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9. Dallas Mavericks select Frank Ntilikina: PG – France

Frank Ntilikina is the best international prospect in this year’s draft. Although most NBA fans aren’t aware of his game, he has elite starter traits. Ntilikina isn’t an elite athlete, but he has elite length and offensive skills. Dallas could use a starting point guard, and would be a perfect landing spot for Ntilikina.

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10. Sacramento Kings select Lauri Markkanen: PF – Arizona

Lauri Markkanen is a 7-footer with the ability to stretch the floor. He’s a great three-point shooter and has the ability to handle the basketball. His athleticism and ability to move without the ball are uncanny for someone his size. He’ll need to get stronger, which will help improve a few of his weaknesses. He struggles to post up smaller defenders and defend larger bigs. These issues can be alleviated once he gets into an NBA weight room. Although Sacramento already has a surplus of bigs, Markkanen could develop into their starting stretch four of the future.

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11. Charlotte Hornets select Zach Collins: PF/C – Gonzaga

Zach Collins has the potential to develop into an elite big in a few years. He isn’t strong or polished enough to dominate in an NBA game right now, but he has an elite skill set that could allow him to flourish after a few years of development. He needs to get stronger so he can defend larger bigs and post up smaller defenders. Collins is an elite shot blocker and three point shooter, which is a rare commodity in today’s NBA. Teams are looking for 7-footers that can space the floor offensively and protect the rim on defense. Collins has that elite skill set, but will need time to improve his strength and consistency. He should develop into Charlotte’s starting center if he reaches his potential.

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12. Detroit Pistons select Donovan Mitchell: SG – Louisville

Donovan Mitchell is an elite athlete that could develop into a starter for the Detroit Pistons. His jump shot is pure, but he sometimes struggles putting the ball in the basket because of his questionable shot selection. He’s a good passer, but isn’t quite skilled enough in this area to be a full-time point guard. His elite athleticism and high basketball IQ help him thrive on the defensive end of the floor. His quick hands help him collect steals at a high rate. He’ll need to improve his shot selection and consistency if he wants to become a starter. He’d be a great fit in Detroit as a developmental shooting guard.

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13. Denver Nuggets select OG Anunoby: SF – Indiana

OG Anunoby is an elite athlete that will defend at a high level in the NBA. He has a large wingspan and has elite quickness and strength that will make opposing players’ lives miserable. If he improves as a ball-handler and jump shooter, he has the potential to be a superstar. He struggles shooting from distance and doesn’t have the ability to defeat a defender in isolation. He seems to be a hard worker, so he might be able to improve his offensive game drastically once he receives NBA coaching. With Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler’s future in Denver possibly coming to an end soon, Anunoby could become their small forward of the future.

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14. Miami Heat select Justin Jackson: SF – North Carolina

Justin Jackson is one of the safest players in this year’s draft. He’s improved every year at North Carolina. Jackson won’t be an elite player, but he’ll be a solid role player in the NBA. The only question about his game is his three-point shot. He improved his jumper last year, but it’s not a given that he’ll be a good three-point shooter in the NBA. If he can consistently knock down threes, he’ll be a solid 3-and-D role player. He’d be a perfect fit in Miami as a sixth or seventh man coming off the bench.

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15. Portland Trail Blazers select Luke Kennard: SG – Duke

The Trail Blazers could use a scorer other than their star backcourt duo of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. Kennard is more of a shooting guard, but has some point guard skills. Even if he never improves on his point guard skills, he’ll still be a valuable shooter off the bench. The Trail Blazers struggled against the Warriors in the playoffs because they didn’t have a bench scorer. He’d fit right into their lineup.

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16. Chicago Bulls select Jarrett Allen: C – Texas

Jarrett Allen is a physical center with enough size and strength to take advantage of smaller defenders at the next level. He’ll need to improve his offensive game, but he’s already a great finisher near the basket. He’s not an elite athlete, which hurts him on the defensive end of the floor. But he’s a good enough athlete to be an elite shot blocker. Allen also rebounds at a high rate. He’ll take a few years of developing before he’s ready to be an impact player, but he has an extremely high ceiling. Allen could eventually develop into Chicago’s starting center.

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17. Milwaukee Bucks select Harry Giles: PF – Duke

Harry Giles was the top ranked high school basketball player in America last season. His one year at Duke was disastrous. He’s had multiple knee injuries, and wasn’t healthy to start the season. Once he returned from injury, he looked lost and hesitant. He’s the biggest boom-or-bust prospect in this draft. The Bucks have a habit of swinging for the fences in the draft. That strategy worked with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Thon Maker, so I wouldn’t be shocked to see them go to the well one more time with Giles. If Giles doesn’t regain form, he’ll be a solid energy big off the bench. If he starts to show the ability that made him the top high school basketball player in the country, Milwaukee will have made the best pick in the draft. While the rest of the NBA has taken a liking to Golden State’s small ball strategy, the Bucks are implementing a tall ball strategy. Giles would fit nicely into their lineup due to his length and lateral agility, which is something that the Bucks covet in their bigs.

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18. Indiana Pacers select Justin Patton: C – Creighton

Justin Patton has elite starter potential. He’s still a work in progress, but showed that he’s a first round prospect during his one year at Creighton. Patton is a good athlete for his size, which should help him become a solid rim protector. His offensive game is a work in progress, but he’s shown stretch five skills. It will take Patton time to develop, but the Pacers could have a steal on their hands if they’re patient and develop him properly. The Pacers already have emerging star Myles Turner as their starting center, but he and Patton could make a dynamic duo in the future.

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19. Atlanta Hawks select John Collins: PF/C – Wake Forrest

John Collins is one of the best bigs in the draft. He has starter traits, but will likely be a backup in the NBA. Collins has the body of a power forward but the skill set of a center. This is a bit alarming, but he could remedy this problem if he expands his shooting range. This would allow him to be a stretch four and will give him his best shot at starting. The Hawks could use help in their frontcourt, and Collins is talented enough to help right away. If they develop him properly, the Hawks could have a steal on their hands.

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20. Portland Trail Blazers select Ike Anigbogu: C – UCLA

Ike Anigbogu would be a great fit in Portland. Although they already have a starting center in Jusuf Nurkic, Anigbogu will likely be a career backup in the NBA. He has elite potential as a rim protecting big, but has a long way to go on the offensive end of the floor if he wants to be more than a rotational player. His jump shot, ball-handling, and passing abilities are all a work in progress, but if he figures things out he could become a starter. Anigbogu is more of an athlete than a basketball player, but would be a good long-term project behind Nurkic.

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21. Oklahoma City Thunder select T.J. Leaf: PF – UCLA

Although he got overshadowed by Lonzo Ball, T.J. Leaf had a phenomenal freshman season at UCLA. He’s an athletic power forward with the ability to shoot threes. He’s a perfect modern-day stretch four. He’ll need to add strength to improve his defense and rebounding abilities, but that shouldn’t be an issue once he’s in an NBA weight room. Leaf is a great ball-handler for his size, and is skilled enough to score from anywhere on the court. He has the potential to develop into a long-term starter in Oklahoma City.

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22. Brooklyn Nets select Terrance Ferguson: SG – Australia

Terrance Ferguson decided to skip college after enrolling at the University of Arizona so he could play overseas in Australia. Although he didn’t get as much playing time as he would’ve gotten if he played in college, Ferguson still carved out a nice role on his Australian team. He showed NBA scouts enough to trust his athleticism, upside, and shooting potential. Ferguson has elite 3-and-D potential. He might not develop into a 2-way star, but the skills and intrigue are there. If he continues improving his shot, he could be a steal. The Nets need a lot of help, so betting on a high upside player like Ferguson would be wise with this late first round pick.

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23. Toronto Raptors select Ivan Rabb: PF – California

Ivan Rabb is one of the most intriguing players in this year’s draft. After his freshman year, most draft experts expected him to enter the 2016 draft with fellow California freshman Jaylen Brown. Rabb decided to come back for his sophomore season with the intent of improving his draft stock. Unfortunately for Rabb, he didn’t improve his draft stock and is now stuck in a deeper draft class. He still has first round abilities, but his game doesn’t have a lot of upside. Rabb isn’t a great athlete and doesn’t have much range on his jump shot, which should relegate him to an energy bench role in the pros. Toronto could use some frontcourt help for their bench, and Rabb would be able to help them as a rookie.

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24. Utah Jazz select Semi Ojeleye: F – SMU

Semi Ojeleye is an athletic combo forward that will be a great offensive player in the NBA. He’ll never be a great defender, but his offensive skills should make up for his defensive limitations. He was a one-year wonder at SMU (after transferring from Duke), but flashed skills that should make him a first round pick. He’s a great scorer from all areas of the court. Ojeleye is strong enough to bully smaller defenders. At worst, he should be a solid role player in the NBA. If he maximizes his potential, Ojeleye could become a starter for the Jazz.

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25. Orlando Magic select D.J. Wilson: PF – Michigan

D.J. Wilson is an extremely skilled power forward with a lot of upside. Although he’ll need to add weight to his frame, he has 2-way starter potential. Wilson’s shot is a work in progress, but he’s shown stretch four abilities. If he continues to improve his shot and passing abilities, he could become a solid offensive option. Wilson is a great athlete, which helps him as a shot blocker and rebounder. He’s able to guard multiple positions, which is crucial in today’s NBA. The Magic need to improve their frontcourt, and D.J. Wilson has the potential to be a long-term starter in Orlando.

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26. Portland Trail Blazers select Isaiah Hartenstein: PF/C – Lithuania

The Trail Blazers have three first round picks, which means they’ll likely make a trade or draft a prospect that they can stash overseas. This year’s class doesn’t have a lot of draft-and-stash prospects, but Hartenstein is a legit first round prospect that will likely stay overseas. He’s from Eugene, Oregon, but plays professionally in Germany. He’s a combo big with great size and a lot of strength. He’ll need to improve his jump shot and defensive consistency to become a starter, but should develop more in Germany before coming to the NBA. Hartenstein would be a perfect fit in Portland.

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27. Los Angeles Lakers select Kyle Kuzma: PF – Utah

Kyle Kuzma’s stock has been rising throughout the draft process. He probably will never be a starter due to his limited upside and athleticism. Kuzma isn’t a great defender, but he makes up for it with his rebounding and offensive skills. Kuzma is a streaky shooter, but he has shown stretch four potential. He’s a good passer and ball-handler for his size. He’d be a perfect fit on the Lakers’ bench.

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28. Los Angeles Lakers select Bam Adebayo: PF/C – Kentucky

Bam Adebayo is one of the best athletes in the draft. He uses his size and athleticism to get blocks and rebounds. He has starter upside, but has a long way to go. His offensive game is almost nonexistent. To become a starter, Adebayo must increase his shooting range. He plays with a lot of effort, but is turnover and foul prone because he often plays out of control. Los Angeles took a power forward with the previous pick, but Adebayo is a much different player than Kuzma. The Lakers need a lot of help, so gambling on a boom-or-bust prospect like Adebayo could pay off handsomely if they’re patient and develop him properly.

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29. San Antonio Spurs select Derrick White: G – Colorado

Derrick White seems like the type of player that the Spurs would covet. He’s a versatile combo guard that can play both roles on offense and defense. He’s not an elite defender, but he’s good enough to guard most point and shooting guards. He’s equally effective with and without the basketball. White has seen his stock rise more than any other prospect since the end of the college season, and now seems like a first round lock. Gregg Popovich is the perfect coach to turn White into a star. If he never reaches his full potential, he’ll still be a valuable sixth man that can give both starting guards a breather.

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30. Utah Jazz select Josh Hart: SG – Villanova

Josh Hart is one of the safest players in the draft. He won’t be a star, but he’s a hard-nosed player that will thrive as a sixth man. He isn’t elite at anything on the court, but he’s good at everything. He’ll likely be this year’s Malcolm Brogdon. Hart plays physical defense and is a great rebounder for his size. He’ll be an immediate impact player for the Jazz.

 

 

 

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