Updated 2017 NBA Mock Draft


1. Boston Celtics – Markelle Fultz / G – Washington

No-brainer here. Fultz is the best, most NBA-ready, talent in this draft. He stabilizes Boston’s bench scoring, and gives them another option if they wish to let Isaiah walk in free agency.

2. Los Angeles Lakers – Lonzo Ball / PG – UCLA

It is no secret this is where Lonzo wishes to go. He refused to work out for Boston. Rumor has it that Magic Johnson wants to see Ball and Kentucky’s De’Aaron Fox compete in a private workout before he makes his final decision. I think Magic will see the potential, in Lonzo, to bring “Showtime” basketball back to the Lakers.

3. Philadelphia 76ers – Josh Jackson / F – Kansas

Brett Brown has come out and said that Ben Simmons will play point guard for them next season. He will be the guy bringing the ball up the court and initiating the offense. With that, another ball dominant guy here doesn’t make much sense. Sixers go with highest ceiling, and add even more length and athleticism, and draft Josh Jackson.

4. Phoenix Suns – Jayson Tatum / F – Duke

The Suns have stockpiled on bigs and guards in recent draft years. Between Bledsoe, Knight, and Ulis, Phoenix has no need for another point guard. TJ Warren showed promise last year at SF, and will likely begin the season as the starter. Jayson Tatum has a higher ceiling and gives them a viable replacement if Warren gets injured or leaves as a Restricted Free Agent next off-season.

5. Sacramento Kings – De’Aaron Fox / PG – Kentucky

Sacramento enters their first offseason free of Boogie Cousins drama, but still without any real direction as a franchise. Willie Cauley-Stein and Skal Labissiere shined last season after the Cousins trade, and Buddy Hield solidified himself as an All-Rookie First Team selection. They need a PG to continue moving forward, and many believe Fox to be the best available here.

6. Orlando Magic – Dennis Smith Jr. / PG – NC State

Speculation over whether or not Orlando’s new front office will continue to have faith in Elfrid Payton to be the franchise’s floor general has been mounting for awhile. As someone familiar with new GM John Hammond’s draft strategies, I can say that Jonathan Isaac would make sense here. However, Orlando badly needs backcourt production. Dennis Smith Jr. can step in and be a scorer right away, and give the Magic someone to consider at PG long term, besides Payton.

7. Minnesota Timberwolves – Jonathan Isaac / F – Florida State

The Timberwolves have one of the youngest, most talented core group of players in the league. With established starters returning at most positions, they can comfortably look to draft based on potential here. Jonathan Isaac could become an elite NBA talent, and a form a dominant starting frontcourt with Wiggins and Towns. Falling to the T’Wolves here at 7 is a dream come true for both sides.

8. New York Knicks – Frank Ntilikina / PG – SIG Strasbourg / France

The Knicks are seemingly trying to give the Kings a run for their money as the most mismanaged franchise in the NBA. With drama swirling about whether or not Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose will be back next season, New York desperately needs another talented player to bring in alongside Porzingis before he, too, wishes to leave. Ntilikina is very young, has great length for the point guard position, and has shown potential to be an elite player. He has an affinity for reading pick and roll situations, and could even fit into Phil Jackson’s patented triangle offense.

9. Dallas Mavericks – Lauri Markkanen / PF – Arizona

I’ve seen a lot of projections suggesting the Mavs needs a point guard here. Last season, though, Dallas got meaningful PG minutes from both Seth Curry and Yogi Ferrell, after they waived Deron Williams. Those two are young and can continue to develop with the Mavs. With this pick, Dallas is able to snag their ultimate need, and the perfect fit for them, a long-term replacement for Dirk Nowitzki. Markkanen can stroke it from three and has a similar European skillset and background.

10. Sacramento Kings – Malik Monk / G – Kentucky

Sacramento has a greater need at SF with the likely departure of Rudy Gay, but if there is one thing we know about Kings owner Vivek Ranadive it’s that he loves shooters. Following the Cousins trade, Vivek proclaimed Buddy Hield to be Steph Curry 2.0. Maybe he’s crazy, or maybe he is finally on to something. Here he gets a chance to take the best shooter in the draft, and pair him back up with college teammate De’Aaron Fox.

11. Charlotte Hornets – Zach Collins / C – Gonzaga

Despite not starting a single game at Gonzaga, freshman Zach Collins saw his name shoot up the draft boards as the season progressed. A 7-footer who can shoot threes and play out of the post, Collins comes with huge upside. In Charlotte, he’ll have a chance to learn from and possibly supplant similar players, Cody Zeller and Frank Kaminsky.

12. Detroit Pistons – Terrance Ferguson / SG – Adelaide 36ers / Dallas, TX

Detroit was a team seen to be on the rise two years ago but failed to live up to expectations this past season. Reggie Jackson, partially due to injury and partially due to poor performance, struggled to play like the franchise PG many once thought him to be. The Pistons were one of the worst offensive teams in the league, top to bottom. Terrance Ferguson gives them some much-needed scoring help.

13. Denver Nuggets – OG Anunoby / SF – Indiana

The Nuggets have their franchise piece at center and a ton of young guards that may still need to time to develop. They are significantly weaker at forward. Danilo Gallinari opted out to become a free agent this year, and Wilson Chandler has a player option after next season. OG Anunoby fits well in Denver as a long, athletic, multi-dimensional forward, much in the mold of Chandler. He could become an excellent 3 & D player in this league.

14. Miami Heat – Harry Giles / C – Duke

Miami is in an interesting position in the lottery, as they showed over the second half of the season that, when healthy, they were definitely capable of being a playoff team. They also will get Justise Winslow back next season and have the cap room to potentially add a max free agent. This gives the Heat the flexibility to draft a player who isn’t needed to play a role immediately. Harry Giles, coming off multiple knee injuries and limited minutes at Duke, can progress slowly with Miami’s world-class training regiment.

15. Portland Trailblazers – Rodions Kurucs / SF – FC Barcelona B / Latvia

Portland has multiple picks in the first round, and with limited cap and roster space they will likely listen to trade offers. If they keep this pick, Rodions Kurucs is a great fit. At just 19 years old and standing 6’9”, Kurucs is an exciting prospect with an emerging offensive skillset and ability to shoot from outside. He participated on FC Barcelona’s reserve squad last year, benefitting from quality coaching and competition.

16. Chicago Bulls – Donovan Mitchell / SG – Louisville

Donovan Mitchell is a slightly undersized two-guard, but has the wingspan to make up for it. As a sophomore, he experienced a breakout year for Louisville and was given a large chunk of the offensive responsibility. Mitchell can benefit from time in the G-League, while studying future Hall of Famer Dwyane Wade.

17. Milwaukee Bucks – Justin Jackson / SF – North Carolina

Typically, teams don’t draft a prospect in the 1st round at the same position as their best player. But Giannis truly plays all 5 positions, and the Bucks want to be able to surround him with shooters. Milwaukee also needs to sure up a bench that got them beat in the playoffs. Jackson brings three-point shooting and length defensively to fit in perfectly with the Bucks.

18. Indiana Pacers – John Collins / PF – Wake Forest

The Pacers are somewhat of an enigma at this pick, as I could see them going many different directions. They know they may lose Paul George in a year, and could be facing a full rebuild. Myles Turner has already emerged as one of the best young big men in the league. John Collins has the potential to form a nice inside-outside tandem with Turner. Collins also gets to benefit from the mentoring of one of the best post scorers in the NBA, Al Jefferson.

19. Atlanta Hawks – Justin Patton / C – Creighton

Justin Patton’s ability to defend the rim, run the floor, and shoot the three all translate to the ideal NBA big man. Patton shot over 50% from three last year, but on very limited attempts. The Hawks have drafted well recently, both Taurean Prince and Dennis Schrӧder shined in this year’s playoffs. Atlanta finds another key piece for their future here with Patton.

20. Portland Trailblazers – Ivan Rabb / PF – California

Again, I expect to see trades. GM Neil Olshey has already said that Portland will offer a first round pick to any team willing to take on a bad contract, maybe Meyers Leonard or Festus Ezeli. If the Blazers keep this pick, I like the potential of Ivan Rabb. Damian Lillard had some influence in the team drafting mid-major guard CJ McCollum, and he exercises that again here to bring in an Oakland native.

21. Oklahoma City Thunder – Luke Kennard / SG – Duke

OKC is solid at many positions, but they need shooters. Andre Roberson’s defensive value is enormous, but his shooting hurt them in the playoffs. Luke Kennard has a developed offensive game, and shot 43.8% from three last year at Duke. Him and McDermott pair well to give the Thunder a boost off the bench.

22. Brooklyn Nets – Isaiah Hartenstein / PF – Žalgiris Kaunas / Eugene, OR

Hartenstein is a very unique prospect, who could probably find himself in the lottery next year. He was born in the U.S., but grew up in Germany. His father Florian, who is German, attended the University of Oregon before playing and coaching professional basketball in his home country. Isaiah has the offensive talent, and the size at 7’1”, to play a point-center role similar to the Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic. In limited film, I’ve seen him take the ball coast to coast with ease, and he looks comfortable either rim running in transition or trailing behind for a spot up three. The Nets get a steal here at pick 22.

23. Toronto Raptors – Chris Boucher / PF – Oregon

Raptors GM Masai Ujiri has shown a proclivity in the past for drafting a player at the back end of the first round who they like, but who may not even be on anybody else’s board. Maybe I’m over thinking this pick, or maybe Chris Boucher is a perfect fit for Toronto. A stretch 4 who could possibly replace Patrick Patterson off the bench, if he is let go this offseason. More likely Boucher gets plenty of run with the 905 Raptors in the G-League.

24. Utah Jazz – Jonathan Jeanne / C – Nancy / France

A bit redundant, possibly, to draft another 7’1” Frenchman, after Rudy Gobert had the best season of his career and is a finalist for Defensive Player of the Year. The Jazz saw the value, back when they drafted Gobert, of allowing a young big man time to develop. Jeanne has a long way to go yet to make it in the NBA. Training with Gobert, while gaining experience in the G-League, could allow Jeanne to progress into the next “Stifle Tower”.

25. Orlando Magic – Jarrett Allen / C – Texas

Signing Bismack Biyombo last offseason created an unnecessary logjam at center, and likely contributed to GM Rob Hennigan losing his job. Jarrett Allen fits here, because he does not need to come in and play right away. At 19, he can benefit from time to develop his body and learn the NBA game. In two years, when Vucevic is a free agent and Biyombo has a player option, Allen will be ready to be the full-time man in the middle for the Magic.

26. Portland Trailblazers – Derrick White / SG – Colorado

Derrick White is used to being underestimated and defying the skeptics. A native of Colorado, White began his career at a Division 2 school before transferring to follow his dream of playing for CU. White is a well-rounded scorer, who can shoot from three and handle the ball. At 6’5”, he would give Portland a scoring guard off the bench to play alongside Lillard or McCollum. His path to the draft is definitely something both of Portland’s star guards can appreciate.

27. Brooklyn Nets – Jawun Evans / PG – Oklahoma State

As one of five teams with multiple first-round picks, the Nets have plenty of options open to them here at 27. Last year, Brooklyn had breakout rookie point guard Yogi Ferrell in camp, and let him go. With Juwan Evans, they draft a volume scoring guard much like current starter Jeremy Lin. If they don’t end up with Hartenstein earlier, look for Latvian big man Anžejz Pasečniks to go here.

28. Los Angeles Lakers – Jordan Bell / C – Oregon

Jordan Bell played a similar role for Oregon last season, as Tristan Thompson does with the Cavs, averaging 10.9 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks per game. In addition to a great NCAA Tournament, Bell impressed scouts at the Combine during 5 on 5 play. The Lakers youth movement has a lot of talent on the offensive end, and with Luke Walton at the helm I expect this team to be really good, really soon.

29. San Antonio Spurs – Anžejz Pasečniks / C – Gran Canaria / Latvia

For years, the Spurs have relied on veteran bigs, but no player other than Kareem has ever aged as gracefully as Tim Duncan. Currently, Dewayne Dedmon is the only San Antonio big man under the age of 30. The 21 year old Pasečniks played last season on a top tier team in Liga ACB, the top division of the Spanish league. He began the season coming off the bench, playing limited minutes. As the year progressed, his role steadily increased. At 7’2” with great touch around the basket and the ability to stretch the floor and knock down threes, Pasečniks has the skills to excel in the NBA.

30. Utah Jazz – Monte Morris / PG – Iowa State

George Hill will be a free agent, and Coach Quin Snyder still doesn’t seem to trust Dante Exum to run the point. Utah can choose from a few different PG’s at the end of the first round. Monte Morris and Tyler Dorsey both impressed with basketball IQ and outside shooting during the Combine. Edmond Sumner, from Xavier, has a higher ceiling, but is coming off an ACL injury.

About Preston Dubey

Lifelong basketball fanatic and Bucks' supporter I coach basketball; but I eat, sleep, and breathe the game.

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