2017 Lottery Mock Draft
With the ping pong balls bouncing and the NBA Draft Lottery taking place this past week, we now know the order in which the teams are picking. The next question is who will these teams pick? Well, I’m here to give you my mock draft of strictly the lottery with explanations of each pick. So without further ado, the Boston Celtics are on the clock…
1. Boston Celtics
Markell Fultz, PG/SG, Washington : Everything about him screams “Future All-Star”. With good size to play the lead guard spot or off the ball as well as the skill to do either he projects to be good in the association. He’s very good in the pick and roll, can shoot off the dribble, set other guys up, rebound well for his size, and can knock down the three. Don’t overthink it : The number 1 pick is Fultz.
2. Los Angeles Lakers
Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA : You look at his stats and may not be as impressed as others but if you look at the tape or if you’re a coach like myself, your eyes light up watching Lonzo. He has tremendous size and length to be a point guard at 6'6, but what impresses us basketball geeks the most is his court vision, playmaking, and passing. He has the tools to be an elite point guard in the league but there are questions about his jump shot and his father. His jump shot is fine as far as it going in. He’s actually one of the better shooters in this draft but the problem will be getting it off in the league with his unorthodox form against longer and quicker defenders. Lastly is will his loud father scare teams off? I don’t see it happening but if he drops a couple of spots on draft night because of Lavar I wouldn’t be surprised.
3. Philadelphia 76ers
De’Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky : A lot of “experts” have the Sixers going with Josh Jackson out of Kansas, who I think is a fine prospect and has the potential to be the best out of this class but the Sixers need a dynamic point guard. They’ve drafted a frontline player with their first pick the last three years. It’s time they chose their point guard for the future and the electric De’Aaron Fox wouldn’t be a bad pick. My two concerns is his size and his jumper. He weighed in at the combine at only 169 lbs which is not the 187 he’s listed as on the Kentucky site. Nonetheless, if I’m Philly this is who I take to pair with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.
4. Phoenix Suns
Josh Jackson, SF, Kansas : Josh Jackson could very well end up being the best player from this very good draft class. He’s a 6'8 freak athlete that projects well as a two way player. Scouts, GMs, and draft experts see him as the player with the most potential with versatility on both sides of the ball. His biggest knock right now is outside shooting but if he can find consistency in his jumper then a nice comparison would be Jimmy Butler.
5. Sacramento Kings
Jayson Tatum, SF, Duke : The Kings could either go point guard or wing at this spot and with Rudy Gay opting out of his contract to become a free agent it may be in their best interest to draft Tatum out of Duke. Tatum is a high volume scorer and gives us reason to believe not much will change on the next level. He averaged 16.8 points and 7.3 rebounds coming off a foot injury that sidelined him for the first 7 games of the season.
6. Orlando Magic
Dennis Smith, PG, N.C. State : Smith is a prospect that we could see go as high as number 3 or fall depending on what teams do. The Elfred Payton experience hasn’t been good thus far in Orlando and with his contact expiring soon, it would be wise to draft the inconsistent Payton’s future replacement. There were games this year Smith was dominant. He’s a freakishly athletic guard with a good feel for the game and has the intangibles to be a hit of a draft pick because of his super high upside.
7. Minnesota Timberwolves
Johnathan Isaac, PF/SF, Florida St. : The more film I watch on him the more I fall in love with him as a prospect. He’s 6'10, can put the ball on the floor, hits mid range, and three point jumpers. The sky is literally the limit if he pans out. He needs to get stronger but could you imagine him and Karl-Anthony Towns terrorizing the league with both guys being able to play both inside and out if Isaac is the real deal?
8. New York Knicks
Malik Monk, PG, Kentucky : The New York Knicks are in a world of trouble. Who knows if their relationship can be salvaged with star player, Carmelo Anthony. They also need a point guard with Derrick Rose opting to test free agency. Monk is a gifted athlete and can fill it up but can he be a point guard on the next level? At only 6'3 he’s to small to play the 2 which would be perfect for his playing style but many teams will disregard the position problem because of the sheer talent he possesses.
9. Dallas Mavericks
Lauri Markkanen, PF/C, Arizona : A 7 footer who can put it on the floor and a very good shooter. He’s extremely comfortable in pick and pop situations, catching and shooting is a good attribute he owns, and shoots the three at a high percentage. He’s a versatile player but the thing with him is that at only 225 lbs, will he be bullied down low?
10. Sacramento Kings
Frank Ntilikina, PG, International : The Kings also are in need of a point guard as one for the future isn’t currently on the roster. Ntilikina is 6'5 with long arms and can finish above the rim. He’s a project right now at only 18 years of age and the film shows he’s loose with the ball at times but this prospect has a high ceiling. High enough for a top 10 pick? That remains to be seen.
11. Charlotte Hornets
Justin Jackson, SF, North Carolina : Michael Jordan picks the kid from North Carolina.. But seriously, Jackson is mature and is a good shooter. He could be a good running mate for Kemba Walker. He comes from a winning pedigree and has shown that improvement is something he’s about after winning the ACC player of the year this past season.
12. Detroit Pistons
Zach Collins, PF/C, Gonzaga : A very mobile and versatile big that’s 6'11 and can stretch the floor. The Pistons should look to go here and add more shooting by sticking the first one and done in Gonzaga’s history next to Andre Drummond. He shot 47% percent from 3 and is probably a lock to go anywhere between picks 9–15 in the draft.
13. Denver Nuggets
Hamidou Diallo, SG, Kentucky : He’s a very intriguing prosepct. He did not play a single minute for John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats this season. Reason being, he enrolled in the spring semester in January after coming from prep school. He is a freak of an athlete posting a 44.5 inch vertical at the combine and being the top ranked SG in the high school class of 2017. So, at 18 years old, if I’m the Nuggets I take a chance on him and try to develop this raw talent. He may be the steal of the draft if the talent and tape show us anything and if he improves.
14. Miami Heat
OG Anunoby, SF, Indiana : Had it not been for his season-ending injury he suffered a little after the new year, he’d be a lock to be a top 10 pick. Medical reasons will be why he falls this low. Anunoby can guard multiple positions at 6'8 and was a lockdown defender in his time at IU. Miami would be wise to choose him because I believe, when healthy, can develop into a key contributor on a team.
There you have it, my lottery mock draft. This can literally change tomorrow because so much can happen between now and the draft which is late in June after the NBA Finals . This is my opinion of who these teams should take but I’m almost positive some of these franchises won’t go in the direction in which I’ve guided them.