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Fresh Start_305: The 2017 NBA Draft
Well, the NBA draft has come and gone once again, and the annual reminder that the actual draft is a dumb idea because we should just let all the players flood into the Barclays Center as they watch the jumbotron as Adrian Wojnarowski tweets out the selections. Woj was at least ten minutes ahead of the actual draft with the “sources” tipping picks.
With this draft being one of the best of the last fifteen years; it was exciting to watch teams implode on live TV. The Chicago Bulls made probably the second worst trade of the decade (behind the Harden to Houston trade), and followed it up with the worst pick in the draft. Hats off to Minnesota for fleecing the Bulls, and making D-Wade reconsider his decision to come back home.
For the most part the draft went as projected, but of course there are teams that miss picks, players that fall, and just craziness happening in the green room in Brooklyn. The NBA offseason has officially started if you didn’t think so already; and here is my Draft grades for each pick of the first round.
1. PHI: Markelle Fultz (PG)
Pros: Fultz is the final piece of Sam Hinkie’s masterpiece referred to as “Trust the Process.” Fultz is a great passer and the point guard that this 6’ers team needed. Everything is going right for now in Philadelphia and the “FultzEmbiidDarioSimmons” are going to be a great basketball team to watch.
Cons: Fultz shooting ability is questionable in a league that is moving deeper and deeper past the three-point line. Also, his medical history has been a subject of conversation.
2. LAL: Lonzo Ball (PG)
Pros: Ball’s upside is a “poor man’s” Jason Kidd. He’ll have a year to grow without Paul George and the POSSIBLE Lebron James arrival. Ball is the best passer in this draft, and will still be able to play off the ball and hit three’s off screens.
Cons: His weird shooting motion and of course his dad is Lavar Ball
3. BOS: Jayson Tatum (SF)
Pros: Jayson Tatum will be a great complimentary player to IT and MAYBE Gordon Hayward. The upside of Tatum is a Paul Pierce type of player (seem familiar Boston fans?).
Cons: As my brother put it “I’d rather have Markelle Fultz.”
4. PHX: Josh Jackson (SF)
Pros: Incredible in-game dunker and has the upside to be the dynamic-duo partner to Devin Booker.
Cons: We don’t know if he has the range to compete in the NBA, and didn’t seem to thrilled to be heading to Phoenix (I could just be over thinking that).
5. SAC: De’Aaron Fox (PG)
Pros: You get your franchise player after the Demarcus Cousins trade. Fox wants to play for the Kings and will help the gap from losing Boogie last year.
Cons: Might be too short to be an elite point guard in the NBA.
6. ORL: Jonathan Isaac (SF)
Pros: You get your “Greek Freak” player two years too late. Isaac is the only player that should have been on the Magic’s board. Isaac is the perfect start to the rebuilding project which Orlando has desperately needing since parting ways with Dwight Howard.
Cons: If Isaac can’t shoot up to at least 2% within of the league average behind the three-point line, the Magic will have 4 players on the court that can’t play in the final 2 minutes of the game.
7. CHI: Lauri Markkanen (PF)
Pros: He is 7 feet tall and can shoot three’s.
Cons: He rebounds like a 6’2” guard. You traded Jimmy Butler (a top 15 player in the league) for the seventh pick and you pick Markkanen.
8. NYK: Frank Ntilikina (PG)
Pros: His upside is a “poor man’s” Giannis Antetokounmpo and will help Porzingis bring the Europe takeover to Madison Square Garden.
Cons: You could have had Dennis Smith or Malik Monk. The Knicks are still running the triangle offensive. And, Phil Jackson is still the General Manager of the Knicks.
9. DAL: Dennis Smith (PG)
Pros: Smith could be the best player in this draft. Dennis Smith is the best player to run the pick roll offense that Dallas run. The chip on his shoulder can lead the Mavs into playoff contention if they retain and make small improvements to this roster. *cough Nerlens Noel*
Cons: Smith is coming from North Carolina State and didn’t lead the Wolf Pack to anything major in one of the best conferences in college basketball.
10. POR: Zach Collins ( C)
Pros: Collins is a raw prospect that can be the replacement big that the blazers missed last year in their first round exist. His pick and roll/pick and pop game will expand the potential of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum in the Portland backcourt.
Cons: I personally don’t like that you take Collins over Bell or Allen still on the board. You could have traded this pick to get even more in this draft.
11. CHA: Malik Monk (SG)
Pros: I love Malik Monk. I think Monk is another player that could be the best player in this draft. Monk has that Mamba instinct in him, and will torch the league for waiting on him until 12. This pick also allows the Hornets to see what they have with Monk and Walker in the backcourt possibly. This pick is an absolute home run.
Cons: After you are done celebrating this pick, you still have Dwight Howard on the roster.
12. DET: Luke Kennard (SG)
Pros: Kennard’s shooting ability has the ceiling of one of the best in the league. He fits the need to stretch the floor.
Cons: He isn’t as polished all-around as some other prospects in the draft. You could have traded this pick for future picks and possibly packaged Drummond. Also now, Detroit doesn’t seem like they will resign Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
13. DEN: Donovan Mitchell (SG)
Pros: Mitchell is an excellent finisher around the basket. He can create his shot from almost anywhere on the floor.
Cons: I don’t know how he will fit-in in Denver. His off-ball skills aren’t great unless it’s in transition finishing a dunk. Defensively he will have a lot taken out from him because he will be the best defender on the roster—which in turn will affect his offensive game
14. MIA: Edrice Adebayo (PF)
Pros: Great pick and roll player. Good touch around the basket. Adding his 18-foot jumper will is a nice touch but isn’t enough.
Cons: He can’t shoot from the outside which will limit his presence late in games. Miami already has their rim protector so a lineup with Adebayo and Whiteside is unlikely to happen that often.
15. SAC: Justin Jackson (SF)
Pros: Good motor and is a good system guy. He has great touch around the basket and is a streaky three-point shooter.
Cons: He is in the wrong system, and you could have Fox and Monk in the same backcourt. Plus, he will be stuck behind Buddy Hield for his first year.
16. MIN: Justin Patton ( C)
Pros: A good post player and will be a good compliment to Towns in he reaches his ceiling.
Cons: I didn’t watch any Creighton basketball this year so I don’t know if he actually a good pick.
17. MIL: DJ Wilson (PF)
Pros: Great rebounder, good motor, and team player.
Cons: Being that I am a Michigan fan, I watched a lot of DJ Wilson and it is a shock to me that he went this early in the draft. Wilson is a scrappy player that doesn’t have that good of a jump shot, and losing focus in some key moments. But, I’m always tougher on Michigan guys because I am fan.
18. IND: TJ Leaf (PF)
Pros: Decent three-point shooter. Great rebounder, and is put in a position where he doesn’t have to stress that much right away.
Cons: Lavar Ball will continue to have to see one of those “four white guys” when the Pacers play the Lakers. Leaf’s passing skills are suspect.
19. ATL: John Collins (PF)
Pros: You replace Dwight Howard with a good rebounder and low post scorer.
Cons: You replace Dwight Howard with a good rebounder and low post scorer that won’t be able to find the floor because his lack of touch behind the three-point line.
20. SAC: Harry Giles (PF)
Pros: Great length, good scoring ability, and has tremendous upside.
Cons: Only played 26 games starting six of them—so you don’t really know what you have. Should have stayed another year at Duke.
21. OKC: Terrance Ferguson (SG)
Pros: Starts to address the Thunder’s dire need for three-point shooting.
Cons: Is at best a 6th man on the team with lapses on defense and the lack of great shot creating skills.
22. BKN: Jarrett Allen ( C)
Pros: You replace Brook Lopez with a younger and faster guy with a better contract. Looks to be a “poor man’s” Anthony Davis at the height of his ceiling.
Cons: Lacks great three-point shooting.
23. TOR: OG Anunoby (SF)
Pros: Fits the system of the Raptors perfectly. Is a great defensive player with streaky flashes behind the three-point line.
Cons: OG is coming off an ACL injury…
24. UTA: Tyler Lydon (SF)
Pros: Can jump out of the gym and can be a “poor man’s” Blake Griffin.
Cons: He is a ‘Cuse player going to the NBA.
25. ORL: Anzejs Pasecniks ( C)
Pros: A good player to stash away.
Cons: You never really know with foreign players—especially projects.
26. POR: Caleb Swanigan (PF)
Pros: I absolutely love Swanigan and think he is one of the most over looked players in the draft. A great rebounder and decent three-point shooter. He reminds me a ton of Draymond Green.
Cons: Being that he is only 6’9” he will have a tough time guarding his position.
27. LAL: Kyle Kuzma (PF)
Pros: Good basketball I.Q. and rebounder.
Cons: He is coming from a small D1 school and being a project late is a tough pick when Josh Bell is still on the board.
28. UTA: Tony Bradley ( C)
Pros: Good rebounder and athletic big man.
Cons: Streaky player that got sat behind a walk-on player in the NCAA tournament…
29. SAS: Derrick White (PG)
Pros: A decent replacement for Patty Mills, and he is going to San Antonio so ANYTHING is possible with White.
Cons: He is a “combo guard.” (just go to Bill Simmons for that one).
30. LAL: Josh Hart (SG)
Pros: Physical player with grit. Is a good rebounder for a guard. He is an older player which will mix well with the Lakers new core.
Cons: He is an older player so his window is already starting to close, and he doesn’t have one particular great attribute about him.
Sources:(espn.com, twitter.com/wojverticalnba, basketball.realgm.com)
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