Top 5 Mock Draft 2017: Trusting the process, Showtime Lakers, Lavar Ball madness and other mock shenanigans.
There’s been plenty of hype around this year’s talented 2017 draft class and for good reason. Arguably the two most popular teams (Celtics-Lakers) in the NBA just happened to have a shot at the #1 pick in the draft. As soon as the lottery ended — the buzz of the draft only increased. There’s still tons of questions to be answered, questions that will only be answered on June 22nd at 7 EST.
Will Lavar Ball get his wish? Who will be the next victim of the Sacramento Kings Organization? Which assset will Danny Ainge get next? Find out on the next episode of Dragon Ball Z!
FYI: I am not a draft expert, don’t read this bullshit — go read chad Ford’s Mock Draft
- Philadelphia 76ers: Markelle Fultz | G | Freshman | Washington |
(Not) a hot take alert: Markelle Fultz is the best PG prospect we’ve seen in the NBA draft since Chris Paul in 2005. He was hands down the #1 pick in the draft and plenty teams coveted him. The news of Boston trading their #1 pick wasn’t surprising to me, but Philadelphia completely shocked me on being the recipient of the trade.
What the 76ers get: A physically gifted guard with amazing ball skills. Has the ability to create for himself and others, attack the defense with a number of hang dribble crossovers and spin moves. He’s a player that can coexist with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid as he can play off the ball as well. Fultz has the potential to be a top 10 player in the NBA. He’s a complete player at the PG position which is hard to find. Even John Wall, Stephen Curry, and Kyrie Irving had clear legitimate weaknesses and questions coming out of college. It’s extremely hard to find one in Fultz’s game
Most interesting stat: Fultz averages 1.13 ppp (88th percentile in the nation) on catch and shoot, great news for Ben Simmons.
NBA Ceiling: James Harden/Gilbert Arenas. A player that is perennially a top 10 player in the NBA, who can move his way into the top 5. MVP candidate with his own major shoe deal, has the ability to take a team into the playoffs as a #1 option. He also has the potential to be a triple double threat and scoring champion, Just like Harden.
2. Los Angeles Lakers: Lonzo Ball | G | Freshman | UCLA
(Not) a hot take alert : Lonzo Ball is by far the most talked about prospect in the 2017 NBA Draft. While his father Lavar has had a lot to do with that, Lonzo is an elite player in his own right and has received some unnecessary hate. D’Aneglo Russell is another guard that gets some unnecessary hate so it’s only right that Lonzo would end up in LA with him. Ball is the hometown kid who had a legendary season, which helped UCLA have one of it’s best seasons since the Jordan Farmar days when his Bruins knocked off Adam Morrison’s and his Gonzaga team.
There’s been talk for a while about D’Aneglo Russell’s fit at the PG position in LA, so Lonzo at #2 is a valid option for the Lakers.
What the Lakers get: A tall guard with elite passing and skills that are built for the modern NBA. The NBA is constantly evolving and one if it’s biggest evolution’s is at the point guard position. Team’s like the Blazers, Rockets and Warriors have had success using two guard lineups. Lonzo and D’Aneglo both have great passing skills to see over the defense and they project to be great 3 point threats for years to come.
Lonzo is a unique player, and his ability to impact the game without the ball staying in his hands is intriguing. The Lakers look like a team that will have tons of offensive talent to build around. I see Lonzo as a guy that will help maximize that talent, not to be the main guy that gets built around. While there’s still questions about his jumper and handle, he’s a safe pick that can blossom into a great player in time.
Most interesting stat: Had a usage rate of only 18.1% at UCLA, yet still impacted the game like high usage college players like Markelle Fultz and Dennis Smith Jr.
NBA Ceiling: N/A. Shawn Livington with a 3 point shot? Shorter Lamar Odom? Lonzo Ball is definitely NOT Jason Kidd. His ceiling to me is his biggest question mark. Ball projects to have a great floor and I fail to see a situation in which he doesn’t become an above average player. I can see Lonzo Ball averaging around 17–5–7 with high efficiency at the 3 point line. Will his defense be great in the NBA? That’s another good question. He’s an interesting player and I can wait to see how he pans out in the future.
3. Boston Celtics: Josh Jackson| F| Freshman | Kansas
(Not) a hot take alert: Josh Jackson’s mock status has probably been the most unstable of the lottery prospects. There’s been talk about him going #1 (which won’t happen due to the 76ers trade), and there’s been rumors that he can fall all the way to 4th or 5th in the draft. He’s a player that people either love or hate, as he’s another player that has a very unique skill set for his position.
What the Celtics get: A player that will have the ability to play minutes and impact the game straight out the gate. The first thing that stands out about Jackson is his ability to take over games defensively. It’s no secret that defense is the main reason why rookies don’t play extended minutes in the NBA, Jackson’s skillset will have him on the court at times where many other rooks won’t play in. He has the potential to be a defensive player of the year. With great instincts, explosiveness and lateral quickness, Jackson has the opportunity to be a top 5 wing defender in the NBA in due time.
Offensively, Josh is a high level IQ player who’s both creative and instinctive at getting the ball to his teammates. He’s the best passer who isn’t a PG in the draft, and that’s something that a great coach like Brad Stevens will utilize in his offense to get the most out of his guys. Jackson’s handle and jumper are his biggest questions, but he arguably has the highest ceiling out of any player in the Draft.
Most interesting stat: 1.14 PPP (84th percentile) handling the ball in transition. Can get out on the break, make the right play and get back to defend.
NBA Ceiling: Prime Andre Iguodala with the potential to impact the game more. Just like Andre, Josh Jackson will be 21 when his rookie season ends. They both have shaky handle, but are great on the fast break. When Iguodala was on the 76ers, he was an all star who could put up 18–5–5 a night, defend at a high level and shoot respectable from the 3 point line. I think there’s a chance that Jackson could get his points per game in the 20’s, but being a DPOY candidate and averaging around 18 a night is certainly worth being the 3rd pick in the draft.
4. Phoenix Suns: Jayson Tatum| F | Freshman | Duke
(Not) a hot take alert: Jayson Tatum was built to get buckets. He’s an isolation killer, who can be a solid piece around the Suns franchise player Devin Booker. Tatum looks to be the small ball 4 that a lot of teams are looking to acquire on their rosters. Wing Scorers are always needed on teams, especially as posting up in the NBA is becoming more outdated each season.
What the Suns get: A great scoring threat to take pressure off Devin Booker. At the surface, Devin Booker and Jayson Tatum both posses a great scoring arsenal. Tatum gets his buckets in many ways — off the catch, in the pick and roll, in the low post and especially isolation. He has the handle to play 2–4 on offense and create mismatches for opposing defenses. With a high release point on his jump shot, Tatum has the ability to make tough shots — something that he’ll need to do in the NBA.
He’s a good scorer, the question going into the NBA will be how his scoring will fare against great athletes. He’s not great at defense, rebounding or passing which could cause trouble. Will his scoring be good enough to make up for his lack of overall game? We’ve seen it happen before with players like Carmelo Anthony, Paul Pierce and Danny Granger.
Most interesting stat: 1.22 PPP on open catch and shoot jumpers. Very Versatile scorer with catch and shoot skills combined with Isolation creativity.
NBA Ceiling: A more skilled and fluid Tobias Harris/Danny Granger.
5. Sacramento Kings: De’Aaron Fox | G | Freshman | Kentucky
(Not) a hot take alert: D’Aaron Fox helped himself out tremendously during the SEC and NCAA Tournament. He outplayed Lonzo Ball in their march madness match up which drew him a lot of attention from scouts and GMs. I’m not the type of person to judge a player strictly on a 1 game sample, but Fox did put together a very good freshman season for Coach Cal. Fox has a great personality to go along with his skillset which makes him a great option for a team going through a culture change.
What the Kings get: A point guard for the future, something that Sacramento desperately needs after failed experiments with Rajon Rondo, Ty Lawson, and Tyreke Evans. The Kings are already set at shooting guard with Buddy Hield, so drafting Fox if he falls at 5 seems to be the safest bet. Dennis Smith Jr is more talented in my opinion, but he’s a risk and Sacramento doesn’t seem to be the right place for him to develop. Fox combines his elite quickness and great footwork to be a threat in the pick and roll. He’s a great transition player with the potential to be a great playmaker.
Most interesting stat: Shot 20 of 42 on floaters at Kentucky. Combined with his ability to get to the free throw line, he won’t be a Rondo or Micheal Carter-Williams type of liability on offense.
NBA Ceiling: Less polished Mike Conley, more offensively skilled Rajon Rondo.