2017 NBA Lottery Mock Draft 2.0
The Pre-Draft, last minute rankings.
One mock draft is insanity. Trades happen, stocks rise and fall. So we needed to re-do this thing just in time for the draft. See who rose up in the rankings and where your team may be picking:
1. Philadelphia 76ers (From Boston via Brooklyn)
Markelle Fultz, PG, Washington
The Sixers swapped positions with the Celtics, but that doesn’t mean that the draft pick changes here. Fultz will slide in nicely and allow Ben Simmons (when he plays) to be the primary ball handler and distributor. As I wrote in the prior addition of this mock, Markelle has good position flexibility at both guard spots. The Process may finally be nearing its end.
2. Los Angeles Lakers
Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA
The Lakers are staying pat with Lonzo Ball at this spot. I don’t see any reason they wouldn’t now that they have dealt DeAngelo Russell, another PG who needs the ball in his hands to be effective. Laker fans should be excited to see what a Lonzo Ball-Brook Lopez pick-n-roll will look like. Oh and the cap space. Don’t forget the cap space!
3. Boston Celtics (From Philadelphia)
Jayson Tatum, F, Duke
Tatum is growing on me here because I like the offense that he can bring to the Celtics. Having Jae Crowder and Jaylen Brown as 2 defensive wings should be counter balanced with 2 offense wings in Tatum and Gordon Heyward (if they sign him), right? I have Josh Jackson at number 3 on my big board, but hearing reports of him not giving the Celtics a workout isn’t promising for him to go here. Unless the Celtics are super petty and draft him anyway, thus making me a Celtics fan.
4. Phoenix Suns
Josh Jackson, F, Kansas
The Suns should return to their high tempo offense by bringing in the athletic Josh Jackson to run alongside Devin Booker, Marquese Chriss, Eric Bledsoe and Tyler Ulis. That’s a lot of athleticism. Jackson isn’t a Kentucky player, but I’m sure the Suns will overlook this trait. Jackson still needs to work on an outside game, but he can be a top wing defender.
5. Sacramento Kings
De’Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky
I love De’Aaron Fox. He’s a mature player, he’s athletic, and he’s a top notch defender. There are worries about his jumper, but everything I’ve seen from this kid suggests that he’s going to lock himself in a gym until he’s hitting 3’s with ease. Do I trust the Kings to make this pick? No. Malik Monk could be taken off the board right here. But in a point guard driven league, you gotta get the quarterback to your team.
6. Orlando Magic
Malik Monk, G, Kentucky
I promise I’m not a Kentucky fan, but I love Malik Monk, too! I think he has a little CJ McCollum with a ceiling of James Harden in terms of scoring. The Harden comp could be hyperbole, but he can definitely shoot the lights out. Getting him here is great value for Orlando. Been hearing a lot of Johnathan Isaac chatter (mostly from Magic fans), but Monk has higher probability to be an All-Star in my opinion.
7. Minnesota Timberwolves
Johnathan Isaac, F, Florida State
Keeping Isaac here to be the Swiss army knife in Thibodeau’s defense. Isaac has been getting a lot of buzz and I’m hearing that the Celtics even up at #3 have shown a lot of interest in the forward. The Timberwolves could benefit by stretching the floor on offense, creating lanes for Andrew Wiggins to drive and kick. And back to defense, I love the idea of running a lineup of 5 guys that can switch on to any other position player.
8. New York Knicks
Dennis Smith Jr., PG, North Carolina State
Does this pick make sense for the triangle? No. Does it make sense that at this point, the Knicks will draft someone that doesn’t make sense to their ‘system’? Yes. Dennis Smith is an athletic PG that wants the ball in his hands and wants to do something with it. It would be very dope if they drafted him as a running mate next to Kristaps Porzingis and got rid of Phil Jackson. And traded Joakim Noah. Knicks fans can come out of hiding in their bodegas if that’s the case.
9. Dallas Mavericks
Frank Ntilikina, PG, France
Ntilikina should go one spot higher and actually makes more sense in the Knicks system. But if the Mavs get Frank here, he could be the steal of the draft. He’s a big point guard that plays hard, tough defensive. The Mavs really need to nail this lottery pick in order to get back into the playoff conversation and I think giving the keys of the offense to Ntilikina is the way to go.
10. Sacramento Kings
Lauri Markkanen, F, Arizona
Markkanen is 2 different players to me. I’ve watched him play well against UCLA twice this past year and he was very impressive. And I’ve also seen him get bullied and man-handled on the boards which is not impressive. Thus, I think Markannen has 2 ceilings. He could be Dirk, which would require him being on a team that can hide his defensive deficiencies (Would Cauley-Stein provide enough for that?). Or, his ceiling is Channing Frye. Which is bad. The Kings are the perfect team here to take the risk. This is their 2nd pick in the lottery and if they hit 50% on lottery picks, you can’t fault them too bad. If they draft the next Westbrook and Dirk, then the Kings may not be one of the saddest franchises in the league.
11. Charlotte Hornets
Luke Kennard, G, Duke
Originally, I had Zach Collins here, but I hope they wouldn’t do that with the addition of Dwight Howard. Kennard makes sense here and not just because he’d be an in-state favorite. He’s a shooter and if Batum doesn’t start to earn his contract, then they’ll need that. I think Kennard’s floor here could be Kyle Singler, who was a solid role player.
12. Detroit Pistons
Zach Collins, F, Gonzaga
Zach Collins to basically be Andre Drummond’s replacement. Stan Van Gundy appears to be 0/2 with athletic big men that can stay on the floor for all aspects of the game. Why not try with a center that won’t have that problem, just groom him to play better defense. Collins was a 74% free throw shooter and can shoot 3’s. Basically, the opposite of Drummond.
13. Denver Nuggets
OG Anunoby, F, Indiana
Staying pat here with Anunoby to the Nuggets with the 13th pick. He may have to redshirt this year, but the Nuggets as a whole are a year, if not 2, from being playoff contenders. Take a flier on him, wait a year, let either Gallinari or Chandler go (or both), lure a top free agent and BAM! Nuggets look good in the West.
14. Miami Heat
Donovan Mitchell, G, Louisville
New addition to the mock draft as I’m letting go of Harry Giles to insert Donovan Mitchell as a solid 3-and-D guard. He’s definitely undersized at 6’3”, but he’s got a 6’10” wingspan. WHAT?! Sounds like a Bucks prospect. Mitchell’s helped himself in the interview process so his character won’t be an issue and high character guys are something that Pat Riley loves to grab.