Top 9 2017 NBA Mock Draft: Do we finally Trust the Process, do the Knicks finally do something, is Ball gonna ball in LA?

Top 9 2017 NBA Mock Draft: Do we finally Trust the Process, do the Knicks finally do something, is ball gonna ball in LA?

Kansas Josh Jackson( Left) Future first round pick Markell Fultz (Center) Lonzo Ball( Right)

This years NBA draft will be a true testing point for the future years of the NBA, with the perennially match-up of Cavs v. Warriors IV, storied franchises such as the Sixers, Lakers, and Knicks have been bottom dwellers in their respective conferences. Is this the year that Philly is done trusting the process? Does Boston realize the mistake of trading the number one, or beef up to dethrone the king? Will Lonzo get his wish to play with the lakers? These questions will be answered on ESPN Thursday night just a mere 70 hours away

  1. ) Philadelphia 76ers: Markelle Fultz | Guard (1/2)| Freshmen| Washington

Team needs: A prolific guard who can play on and off the ball. SHOOTERS. A stretch 4 that can extend the floor. Bench depth

My biggest takeaway: Fultz is hands down the best guard prospect since Chris Paul (NO I’m not saying he is better in comparison to Wall, Kyrie, Steph ect). Philly and Boston went all in for Fultz, and Philly fans love this deal and so do I.

What does he offer/what do the Sixers get? A pure NBA ready Point guard who is Physically gifted beyond most players his age. He has a tight sweeping cross over that mimics James Harden, Fultz can use his body to make room and his athletic ability to create his own shot anywhere on the court. Standing 6'5 with a 6'10" wingspan he is LONG and is well above the average PG height for the NBA , his jumper could use a little work, but he does have a good form and catch and shoot game, which works beautifully in the Ben Simmons led offense. What he lacks in jumper he makes up for at finishing at the rim at UW (which was a horrific program) he averaged 23/6/6 on 52% from 2 and 41 from 3.

Concerns: He is a tough shot maker not a pure shooter and it rattles his confidence, he is very up and down confidence wise and gets lazy on D when shot isn’t falling. He gets beat A LOT by back cuts on defense.

Weirdest Stat: Thanks to Andy for this stat, Fultz averages a smooth 1.113 Point Per Possession from catch and shoot situations which is in the 88th precetile. Also finished at 57% within 5 feet of the rim which for comparison is better than Russell, Roy, Harden and Drose in their freshmen year campaigns. (He also runs the P/R better than any guard in the country, which in toadies NBA is crucial)

Best/ Worst comparison: With his sweeping cross, athletic ability , finishing moves and pure PG ability he reminds me of Brandon Roy and James Harden, guards who are bigger with tight handles and use more body and angles to finish over taller defenders. At worst he is a very very athletic Deangelo Russell.

2.) LA Lakers: Lonzo Ball |Guard (1)| Freshmen| UCLA

Team needs: They have scorers, and Dlo is statistically much better running the 2 in comparison to the 1, they need a Guard who can move the ball at will and is unselfish. Need to let go of Mozgov, Ivica Zubac is the anchor of D in the paint. A sense of direction, to keep the hope of a grabbing a star alive.

My biggest takeaway: Lonzo Ball can ball but out of the entire draft I am most crucial of him. Lonzo is a pure passing point guard with sneaky athleticism, and a beautiful yet funky stroke from deep, he game could help the lakers in the long run with the Up and down young core they already have.

What does he offer?/What do the lakers get? Lonzo can ball period. He is a beautiful passer standing well over the average NBA defensemen at 6'4 with a 6'7 ish wingspan at the guard spot. They get a pure shooter and big shot maker who can create for himself and others at ease. Lonzo has HIGH basketball IQ off the Pick and Roll and in transition which new GM Magic Johnson loves. Lozno is a good fit for the lakers because he can “make the engine go”, with Dlo, Clarkson and Ingram starting to mesh, ball can come in and run the point to set up easier shots for the team. 10 assists a game is starting to look quite easy for lonzo these days.

Concerns: I said earlier I am critical of Lonzo, well.. Lonzo has flaws.. a lot of flaws. He physically is a wimp on the defensive side of the ball he gets killed a lot with back cuts and gives up on picks a lot, his lateral speed isn’t the greatest either. He has a meh frame only weighing about 180–190. He struggles to stay in front of faster more athletic guards (Mr. Fox from UK showed us this) at the NBA level how will he handle pick and horn sets night in and night out. Lastly his jumper. The mid range is dead right..? Wrong guards at the NBA level use midrange pull ups a lot and lonzo doesn’t have that in his tool box he took roughy 35–50 all season , his jumper starts so low that quick guards will steal it and longer physical guards will bump him from point A to point Z and jam or prevent a pull up. Lonzo elite upside overshadows his downside.

Weirdest Stat: He played worse against low- mid major D1s his numbers dropped when playing again lower schools which is one of his weaknesses (later to come). His PPG/RPG/APG/SPG all dropped when playing lesser comp.

Best/ Worst comparison: say it with me “HE IS NOT JASON KIDD HE IS NOT STEPH CURRY” ball is… well.. I don’t really know? If you break down individual traits he has the passing ability of a Jason Kidd, with the scoring ability of a Kris Middleton. I cannot compare his whole body of work to anybody else I have seen in the NBA. On the other hand, I still see him at worst averaging 10/4/10.. at best 17/6/11.

3.) Boston Celtics: Jayson Tatum |Forward(3)| Freshmen| Duke


Team needs: The celtics as a first seed need to improve on a lot with LeBron and the Cavs still dominating the east. A defensive big that can accept that role (A few players lower in the draft can help with that role). Also need a wing scorer, Boston looks a mess when IT4 and Al Horford are not scoring, Tatum fills this role perfectly. They also need a superstar with the thought of IT4 leaving next year they need someone who will help keep the Celtics dream of winning another championship alive.

My biggest takeaway: This pick goes 2 ways with me half of me says Jackson other half says Tatum, the 3/4 picks are flip flopped. Nevertheless Tatum gets buckets.. ISO buckets. Teams can never have enough winger scorers and sure does Boston need one.

What does he offer?/ What does Boston get? Well a 6'8 combo guard/Forward who can handle the rock and put the ball in the hoop. Tatum at Duke averaged 16 points and almost 10 a game came from ISO plays. He combines his 6'11" wingspan with a beautiful array of jab steps, step over dribbles, crossovers and hesitation moves to keep defenders guessing at every second, he uses his size, speed and semi- decent handle to score on defenders. He also has a silky stroke shooting nearly 44% on ungraded catch-and- shoot situations. His pull up game is fairly decent shooting 40% from the field on one or two dribble non transition pull ups. Jayson is VERY efficient being in the 99th% bracket in efficiency dealing 1.303 Points per possession. Tatum is a matchup problem put smaller guards and he moves to the post switch a more physical forward and he dazzles him with an array of moves he causes matchup problems on the court which could really help Brad Stevens.

Concerns: He really cant do anything else.. he isn’t a great passer, nor the best of athletes, his scoring hasn’t faired very well when playing other great athletes, he isn’t a great defender, and he looks lost sometimes he seems in a daze when the game gets slowed down to a halt, when his shot is not falling he heat checks.. and heat checks… and heat checks. (My wonderful duke loving girlfriend has thrown her fair share of things at the TV because of this man) He will struggle mightily scoring on the KDs and lebrons of the NBA but will fair well against average NBA players, If he plays the 4 he cannot guard low post lays well either.

Weirdest stat: He gets to the line quite well at about 4.8 times a game which is in the above average class for NBA prospects

Best/ Worst comparison: If everything goes right he is ISO Joe Johnson/ Kiki Vandeweghe, his scoring ability could lead to 17–20 PPG and his height and weight could get valuable minutes in the celtics rotation. At worst he is Danny Granger, or your average ISO only NBA role player.

4.) Phoenix Suns: Josh Jackson| Combo guard/ Forward| Fresh.| Kansas

Team needs: Wing scorer not named Devin Booker, a wing defender, someone who can score not named Devin Booker, Veteran Leadership at center and a 3 point shooting.

My biggest takeaway: Jackson has the ability to be the best player in this draft in the future years, and the suns need it. Devin Booker is the only positive player on the Suns roster they lack an elite defender and scorer not named Booker. Jackson is a steal here at 4 because frankly he could of been 1.

What does he offer?/ What do Suns get? Jackson stands at 6'8 204 with a 6'10 wingspan which makes him a force on the defensive end. He does an amazing job of getting and staying in his stance, while playing the passing lanes and cutting off ball handlers with his incredible lateral quickness. He has several chase down blocks that remind you of NBA legend LeBron James. He is extremely physical for his lanky frame, and will throw his body around to stop a ball handler. His greatest upside is his offensive ability scoring 21 points per-40 minutes on solid shooting percentages (55% 2P%, 38% 3P%). He doesn’t do one thing great, he just finds sneaky ways to get his points, he doesn’t wow you with ball handling which will be tested heavily at the next level, he doesn’t blow by you with a quick first step, he plays the transition well and in the right system could get buckets( which is why I still think Boston might take him). He has great body control and long gazelle like strides to the rim and uses his long arms and jumping ability to score on the break, I have seen him at least 17/18 times take it coast to coast a la Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Concerns: He doesn’t have a solid form jump shot. He changes his jumper almost every time down the floor which makes him very very streaky. He also cannot shoot free throws.. just shooting 57% from the line which is trouble some for a SF at the NBA level. His ball handling is very average, and struggles hitting pull up jumpers only hitting about 21% of mid range pull up jumpers according to DraftExpress. He gets into foul trouble a lot for being too physical and got a couple tech for outlandish behavior in college this year.

Best/ Worst comparison: At his best he could be a Jimmy Butler/ Paul George/ Avery Bradly type of player who does it on both ends. At his worst he is a more versatile Tony Allen, regardless the Suns need both of these type of players to become relevant in the west again.

5.) Sacramento Kings: De’Aaron Fox|Guard(1)| Freshmen| Kentucky

Team needs: Everything, take whoever falls to you honestly. Kings need a PG/SG/PF

My biggest takeaway: Kings need everything. Fox is the obvious pick here, young athletic fast, can pass, and gave your cross state rival (Lakers) first round pick straight buckets in college? PICK HIM

What does he offer?/ What do Kings get? Fox who stands at 6'4 is an explosive athlete who can beat you off and on ball. Fox gets into transition beautifully and when he has the ball he is a blur, he is extremely quick and excellent finisher at the rim, he jumps out of the building on both one and two foot jumps. In the half court setting he is devastating when put into a one on one situation using his quick first step and hesi to beat nearly any defender. Against physically absent guards (Lonzo Ball) Fox thrives by body bumping them and jumping clear over them for silky left hand finishes.

Concerns: He lacks the IQ for pick and roll situations which he will be thrown into with WCS and the Kings, his biggest issue is his lack of jumper. He mimics what John Wall was coming out of college explosive guard who could pass had a great handle but couldnt shoot. He also doesn’t do well against defenders who jam him and sit under his dribble line, he is moved very easily only weighing 182 pounds and forces shots when moved off his point A — → B path, his right hand is also suspect and prone to going back left very quick.

Best/ Worst comparison: John Wall comes to mind when you see Fox play, quick athletic guards who are one men fast breaks who struggle to hit the 3 at a high rate, and are dogs on the defensive end. Fox doesn’t have the NBA ready body like Wall did, and he is light years away from being anything like the Gang sign throwing John Wall we saw in this years playoffs. Realistic comparison would be a Kriss Dunn type of player who isn’t fond of the three and is still adapting to the speed and complex D of the NBA.

6.) Orlando Magic: Lauri Markkanen| PF/ Center|Fresh.| Arizona

Team needs: Orlando has two bigs with contacts that don’t make sense, drafting Lauri is a risk but gives them a reason to let one of the bigs go. Also in need of a PG because Payton has hit his max potential in my option. Orlando is a mess, honestly.

My biggest takeaway: Lauri has the most clear cut up and down side. Orlando really takes a gamble here but it pays off in the long run.

What does he offer?/ What does Orlando get? Lauri has a clip that rains 3s. He is widely considered as a top 5 shooter over 6'10 to ever walk on a college campus.. EVER. His 7'0 230 frame make you gawk. He runs the pick and pop extremely well which helps because a typical center can operate in the low block while having two 7 footers on D. He shot in the 90th bracket his college hoops making 42% from three point land and 54 from 2. He shoots Its well at 83.5% and can move well off the dribble, he has a decent fade away that he uses against stronger low post defenders. He give effort on D and uses good footwork and close out techniques to stop stretch 4s.

Concerns: He cant really do anything but shoot.. He has short arms and isn’t an explosive athlete, he doesn’t cover much ground up and down the floor and when switches gets beat a lot, he struggles to handle Ice and hedge screen packages and looks confused in some cases, could get stronger also and is an average rebounder.

Best/ Worst comparison: Lauri Markkanen has little chance of being what Dirk or that unicorn up in New York. He does have a great chance to be a Ryan Anderson though. He stretches the floor and is 7 foot which teams love. A pick and pop game with Payton or if he falls to 7 with the T- wolves would help him with an up and down spread style. Drafting 7 foot shooters and hoping its Dirk hasn’t worked recently if Lauri doesn’t leave ORL within 3 years he will be Dragan Bender.

7.) Minnesota Timberwolves: Jonathan Issac|Forward|Freshmen| FSU

Team needs: Bench depth, veteran leadership, small forward, power forward.

My biggest takeaway: Issac is huge standing at 6'11 and can dribble the ball, T- Wolves have lots to look forward too and they have found their all around player that can guard and play multiple spots on the floor.

What does he offer?/ What does Minn.get? 6’10 versatile forward, Great size and length for the perimeter. Good athleticism. Very fluid and coordinated. Runs the floor like a guard and has great mobility … Good ball handling ability, can create off the dribble . Smooth shooting stroke with proper shot rotation, good from midrange and can extend to the three point line. Shoots well off the catch as well as off the dribble. Can score off of step backs and fade aways . Can put the ball on the floor and get to the rim … Can score inside and out … Good defensive ability and versatility … Moves his feet well laterally , goes hard for loose balls and rebounds … Solid passing ability and court vision … Hit a six inch growth spurt and is a very late bloomer.

Concerns: He is semi uncoordinated and jumps at a lot of ball fakes. Needs to speed up off the dribble release, and get a tighter handle if he wants to constantly play in the open floor, get stronger and round his body out would help. Needs a go too move or cross over.

Weirdest Stat: When on the floor grabbed 28% of all rebounds that were viable.

Best/ Worst comparison: Rashad Lewis/ Prime Iggy. Can really fill the stat sheet, easily a 15/5/5/3/3 guy who can get out in translation. I really don’t see a downside to a better version of very early on Jimmy Butler?


8.) New York Knicks (LOL): Dennis Smith Jr| Guard| Freshmen| Nc State

Team needs: Bench depth, Center, shooting, wing defender, athletic guards not named D rose, passer, an able body to help Melo and the Unicorn.

My Biggest takeaway: Knicks need something, with looming rumors of KP being draft bait, Melo aging and fans getting more and more pissed Smith Jr is an explosive athlete that can play the 1 in New York.

What does he offer?/ What does New York get? Knicks get a player that reminds you of Drose in college, Smith can go flying around the court in transition hitting gears and changing speeds with advance euro steps and crossovers to get to his spot. He has an incredible vertical leaping ability, and can at will hump clear over you. his half court game is vicious passing well with both hands out of the P/R situation and will get very low to the ground. He is a big shot maker which helps and hurts him. When he gets hot he takes a lot of shots but is a willing passer.

Concerns: Smith gets in trouble when teams clog the lane he isn’t the biggest standing about 6'1 and doesn’t have an array of moves to create space, he is a streaky jump reliant shooter who has funky form and shoots a lot on the way down. His ft shooting is not that great either only shooting 71% from the line. Lastly, his D is horrid NC State ranked dead last in the ACC for team defense and Smith Jr didn’t look great getting beat by back cuts and not sliding for help, he doesn’t move his hips well and gives up a lot on plays he tries to block smaller guards shots a lot.

Best/ Worst comparison: Steve Francis with the similar scoring and athletic ability its hard not to draw these two together, Smith will be an explosive athlete averaging about 10–12 a game is rookie year putting quite a few bigs on his highlight tape. At worst he is a washed up Steve francis.

9.) Dallas Mavericks: Malik Monk| Guard| Freshmen| Kentucky

Team needs: Point guard, shooting guard, playmakers, rebounders.. Dirk to somehow play till he is 55.

Biggest takeaway: Dallas is in trouble the best player in team history and second best PF ever is about to retire and they have no one who can help keep the team afloat. this pick can come down to 3 players Monk, DSJ, or french PG Frank Ntilikina.

What does he offer?/ What does Dallas get? A tad undersized shooting guard at the NBA level at 6'3 in shoes, with just a 6'4 wingspan. A freakishly explosive leaper capable of finishing emphatically above the rim, with a 42-inch vertical leap. What teams love most is his jump shot which is NBA ready, its quick simple and pretty, he can shoot from anywhere on the court and uses his body and angles well to get where he needs to go on the floor. He can finish on transition and would work great in an up and down style system. he comes of pin down, elevators and cross screens for catch and shoot situations perfectly and could average 40% from 3 in the NBA. Has a quick pull up jumper.

Concerns: He has a small frame for the NBA. He also isn’t a great passer, and doesn’t like to finish in contact, struggled in college to play when facing complex NBA defensives and stalls out a lot when teams jam him or face guard him, doesn’t show athletic ability in half court setting by using step backs doesn’t have an array of cross overs or moves to create space which will be his biggest issue.

Best/ Worst comparison: Eric Gordon/ C.J. McCollum- If he finds a way to become more consistent with that shot or learns when not to settle for jumpers and becomes more interested in getting in the lane. Has scoring ability. If he stays the same he is a swag P, Lou Will, J.R. smith player who can go for 35 one night on 11/19 and the next night score 2 on 1/10.

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