Hi Everyone and welcome to my NBA Draft Preview for 2017. Here are my predictions for who goes where in the first round with all 30 picks and summaries about each player. I didn’t include trades that will inevitably happen because none of us can predict that coming. Here we go with the preview…
UPDATED: 6:03 PDT on Jun. 20,2017
1. Philadelphia- Markelle Fultz, PG Washington
The 76ers have the top pick in this year’s draft again after trading up with the Celtics with the intent to draft a new point guard,Washington’s Markelle Fultz. At 6-4, Fultz has a great frame for a point guard and has the makings to be a go-to scorer. He’s also a terrific passer on the pick and roll. He does need to work on not being so uptight on defense, but that’s going to come in time. Overall,he is the consensus top pick this year and with a good young mix in Philadelphia,he’ll fit right in.
2. L.A. Lakers-Lonzo Ball, PG UCLA
The Lakers pick second for the second year in a row and although they have a young point guard on their roster in D’Angelo Russell, everyone here knows that Lonzo Ball is going to be picked here. Ball,despite his overbearing father, is a great talent. His transition play is phenomenal and knows when to move the ball. He’s also efficient in half court play. I’m gonna be honest,though,he does have a tendency to be outplayed by faster guards like he was in the NCAA tournament. However,he does have a lot of talent to play the uptempo kind of ball in the NBA and even though Los Angeles has Russell in tow, they could always use depth at guard and Ball provides just that.
3. Boston-Josh Jackson, SF Kansas
The Celtics pick third after trading with the 76ers and should probably look for a good young wing player. KU’s Josh Jackson is very versatile on both sides of the ball and has a knack for knowing where his teammates are on the court and gets the ball where it needs to go. His weakness is his shooting right now,but his talent his raw enough that he’s going to improve that over time. Boston’s a team that has a good young mix of talent and adding Jackson to it will make them even better.
4. Phoenix- Jayson Tatum, SF Duke
The Suns have a good young backcourt already, what they really need is a talented player on the wing. I think Duke’s Jayson Tatum is their guy. He uses his great size and length to shoot over defenders. A very good midrange shooter who is developing a long shot and has very solid court vision. He’s also a great rebounder for his position and plays solid defense. I think the Suns will be happy to have a guy like Tatum in the mix along with Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker leading the way.
5. Sacramento- De’ Aaron Fox, PG Kentucky
I feel like Sacramento has needed a good young point guard for a while now and their guy has finally fallen to them. Fox has great athleticism and is quick handed in transition. He has great court vision and passing ability and is great with pushing the ball up the floor. While he can score at midrange, his three-point shooting prowess is lacking,but so was another UK guard named John Wall,a guy who Fox is getting compared to. I absolutely hope that the Kings are able to nab this guy at this spot. If he gets picked before this,whoever has him is going to make other teams wish they traded up to get him. He’s going to be really good.
6. Orlando- Dennis Smith, PG NC State
Orlando needs to decide what they want to do at point guard and I think it’s time they drafted one with a lot of talent like NC State’s Dennis Smith has. He has a ton of athleticism and is a very explosive guard who’s very strong and physical. He’s also a very good shooter and keeps improving his shot and is capable of making the big play on the offensive end. Some might think Smith being drafted by the Magic may be too early, but when you have a player this good and who has impressed many teams in workouts, you can’t help but take a chance on him,he’s worth it at this spot.
7. Minnesota – Frank Ntilikina, PG Strausbourg
The Timberwolves should probably move on from Ricky Rubio and draft a point guard who not only has previous pro experience,but also can shoot the ball. Frank Ntilikina from Belgium is that guy. He’s very mature for his age and has a great basketball IQ. He’s excellent on the open floor and on the fast break and is capable of creating his own shot. He’s also a great weapon on defense. I think he’s one of the more underrated guys in this draft and I think he would flourish in Minnesota.
8. New York- Malik Monk,SG Kentucky
I think the Knicks need to draft a two-guard and the best one available at their pick is UK’s Malik Monk. Monk is an explosive guard who has great elevation when he shoots and also has great range as a three-point shooter at 40-percent and shot 50-percent from the field at UK. While he is undersized at 6-3,he makes up a lot of it with his athleticism and is capable of taking on a major scoring role. Monk would be great in New York and in fact,I’d be surprised if he slipped past them here. After that,he’s a steal elsewhere.
9.Dallas- Jonathan Isaac,SF/PF Florida St.
I feel like the Mavericks could use a solid player on the wing and where they’re drafting,none get better than FSU’s Jonathan Isaac.He has great,size and length for his position and could even be versatile enough to play power forward or even center when needed. While not known as a three-point threat,he can be lethal from there at times. He’s also known to be a mismatch around the perimeter as he can get a shot off against the best of defenders. One thing Dallas is lacking is younger players on their roster and Isaac is certainly that and he’ll fit in great not just there,but anywhere in the league.
10. Sacramento- Justin Jackson, SF No. Carolina
The Kings’ second pick in the top 10 sees them going after a wing player that they’re going to need with Rudy Gay on his way out. UNC’s Justin Jackson comes in with plenty of big game experience and has proven to be a big-time player on the biggest stage. Beyond that,he’s got a great all-around skill set and is versatile with his scoring ability. He also excels defensively and is great with communication on that end of the court. Sacramento is rebuilding their roster and trying to do so with quality players and Jackson fills that void.
11. Charlotte- Zach Collins, PF/C Gonzaga
Charlotte is more than likely taking someone to bolster their frontcourt and I think the guy who best fits their system is Gonzaga’s Zach Collins. He has excellent size for a young center and has exceptional coordination. His offensive game is versatile and his post skills are very solid. He’s a also a great rim protector and shot blocker. I think Collins will be great with the Hornets if he falls this far. He may,he may not.
12. Detroit- Donovan Mitchell,SG Louisville
With the looming free agency of Kentavius Caldwell-Pope, the Pistons may make a move to get his replacement. UofL’s Donovan Mitchell could fill that role. Though undersized for a two-guard, Mitchell does have enough of a big frame to absorb contact and has an impressive wingspan for a player his size. He’s got great athleticism and excellent speed and he executes his tough shot-making ability very effectively. His mechanics are also extraordinary and still have room for improvement. I think Mitchell is the best shooting guard available at this spot and he would fit in well over in Detroit.
13. Denver- T.J. Leaf, PF UCLA
Denver could really use the best player available and one player who is rising up a lot of draft boards is UCLA’s T.J. Leaf. Leaf is a great two-way player who plays well inside and out. His skillset is great for exposing mismatches on defense. He also has a great basketball IQ and a great motor. He also has a great mid-range jumper and also moves well without the ball in order to get good looks at tough shots. I think the Nuggets are a team that could make the playoffs in a year or two and having a high skilled guy like Leaf would be great in helping a young team find their way back to prosperity.
14. Miami- Luke Kennard, SG Duke
The Heat could use a solid shooting guard to come off the bench and light it up and that guy is Duke’s Luke Kennard. The sophomore was one of the best shooters in college and was great in catch and shoot situations as well as having a great pull-up game.He also has great vision for both the half and full court. He’s also shown great leadership abilities. I think Miami would be a great place for Kennard and his attitude towards the game shows it.
15. Portland- Lauri Markkanen, PF Arizona
There are a number of directions the Blazers could go in the first round,but I think they should get Arizona’s Lauri Markkanen. He is very versatile and can play power forward and center and has great mobility and coordination for a player of his size. He’s also very good from three-point range and he is instinctively good on defense. However, he does lack a lot of speed and he’s an above average athlete at best,which is why I have him slotted for Portland. Many mock drafts have him around 9-13, but I think he’s more of a guy who should be picked around 15-19. Just my opinion.
16. Chicago- Jarrett Allen, C Texas
The Bulls in my opinion need some size in their frontcourt,and Texas’ Jarrett Allen certainly has it. His ability to nab rebounds will be one of his specialties in the NBA. He is very athletic and is also a great mid-range shooter. He also shows great awareness in the pick-and-roll. I also think that he’s very versatile in that he can play center or he can play the four spot like he did in college. He does need to add muscle to his 235 pound frame,but that will come in time. I think he’s good to go for Chicago if he is selected here.
17. Milwaukee- Terrance Ferguson, SG Adelaide (Australia)
The Bucks should get a good wing guy to back-up Jabari Parker,who is often injured. Here’s their guy!Terrance Ferguson opted to go to Australia to play professionally in lieu of going to college for a year. The former Adelaide 36er has nice size for a wing in the NBA. He will,however,have to add to his 185 pound frame. He has a great vertical of 38″ and can finish above the rim.He also possesses a great jump shot and can shoot well from long distance. If Milwaukee wants to build on being a consistent playoff team,they should take Ferguson at the 17th spot.
18. Indiana- John Collins, PF Wake Forest
I think Indiana should bolster their frontcourt a little more and I think the best fit for them is Wake Forest’s John Collins. He blossomed into a great offensive player in his two seasons there and averaged nearly 29 points there last season. He has a great mid-range jumper and he also rebounds very well,averaging over 14 in his sophomore season. He does need to work on getting the ball to his teammates and scoring outside of being down low,but overall,he would be great in a Pacers uniform alongside Myles Turner.
19. Atlanta- Harry Giles, C Duke
A lot of mock drafts have the Hawks going after frontcourt help and mine is no different and I have the selecting probably the best one available at their spot, Duke’s Harry Giles. He is one of the most gifted talents in the frontcourt in this draft when healthy and looks the part,too. He’s a physical presence in the post and is very gritty on defense. He’s also very quick on his feet. I think he would be a great presence along with Dwight Howard,who is probably entering his sunset years in Atlanta. Giles is going to be a great prospect and a steal for any NBA GM picking in the latter half of the first round.
20. Portland- Bam Adebayo, C Kentucky
This is Portland’s second pick in this round and I think they’re going to continue to add to their depth in the frontcourt. UK’s Bam Adebayo is a center with tremendous physique and very athletic for someone with his build. He has a great mid-range shot that can extend even further and he’s a very versatile defender and he times he jumps very effectively on blocks. If the Trail Blazers are going to make the postseason year after year, having a guy like Adebayo on your team is only going to help matters.
21. Oklahoma City- OG Anunoby, SF Indiana
It’s been shown that Oklahoma City needs somebody at the small forward spot ever since a superstar ring chaser left to go play with the team that beat his. One way to do that is to draft a talented wingman,that guy is OG Anunoby of IU. He has an NBA-ready frame and great lateral speed for his position. He also has a knack for being great on defense, which could be where his calling on the court is. As for his offensive capabilities, he is great and knocking down the open three when he has the chance and has the potential to be an even better shooter. He would be great for the Thunder and he may go even sooner,but if not,he should be selected here.
22. Brooklyn- Justin Patton, C Creighton
The Nets have two first rounders and let’s face it,they need a lot of help everywhere on that roster. One thing that could help is drafting another big man to compliment Brook Lopez and that’s Creighton’s Justin Patton. He is a very agile player with great quickness and is also very explosive off the ground. He’s also very good at getting steals and is also adept at defending the perimeter. He also has a knack for knocking down shots from long distance,particularly catch-and-shoot situations. It’s difficult to gauge where Patton is going to be drafted in this round,but I think he’d fare well in Brooklyn.
23. Toronto- Jordan Bell, PF/C Oregon
I think Toronto can use some size upfront and a guy who’s very versatile as a utility player is Oregon’s Jordan Bell. At 6-8, he is more than capable at playing center despite the lack of height. He’s a very good shot blocker and is a threat to score when he grabs rebounds on the offensive end. He also has a great work ethic on and off the court,something that I think should be valued on any NBA roster. Bell also has shown ability as a great passer and is a hard player to shake with his confidence being great against any player regardless of size. I think he’s a great fit for the Raptors and would be a big part of their future ahead.
24. Utah- Kyle Kuzma,PF Utah
The Jazz have two picks in the first round and I think they’re primed to spend them on frontcourt help and on the wing,too and they won’t have to go far to get it,at least with this pick. Utah’s Kyle Kuzma is very agile and very capable with running the floor well. He’s also a rebounding machine on both ends of the court and excels at scoring on the move. He fits the role of today’s power forward quite effectively and I think would do well in Utah.
25. Orlando- Frank Jackson, PG/SG Duke
This is the Magic’s second pick in the first round and I think they need another guard. Not a point guard or a shooting guard,but more of a combo guard. Enter Duke’s Frank Jackson. His ability to score is one of his best strengths, at Duke this season he shot 40-percent from behind the arc and finished above average at the rim. He’s not quite adept as a point guard and a little undersized to be a shooting guard,but if you had to play him somewhere,it’s probably at the two. I think he would be great in Orlando and would provide a spark for them to score when they need him to.
26. Portland- Wesley Iwundu, SG/SF Kansas St.
This is the Blazers’ third pick in this round,and while none of us know if they’re going to keep it,let’s pretend that they do, I think they need to bolster the backcourt a little and KSU’s Wesley Iwundu is that choice here. He plays great defensively thanks to the system he was in at K-State. He grabs a lot of rebounds on defense and matches up well against two guards and wingmen. He’s a decent shooter,but that part of his game may need some time to develop,but he would be great for Portland if they’re still hanging around the first round with this pick.
27. L.A. Lakers- Ivan Rabb, PF California
The Lakers have another first round pick and at this point,you go with the best guy available,which is Cal’s Ivan Rabb. He’s a big man with a lot of athleticism and mobility for his size. He has a great wingspan and a great standing reach at 9-1. His mobility allows him to be able to beat other bigs down the court in transition. His post game is something good that’s brewing and shows flashes of a great mid-range jumper as well. I think with where Los Angeles is talent-wise,it doesn’t hurt having someone like this on your team.
28. L.A. Lakers- Isaiah Hartenstein, PF Germany
Los Angeles’ third first round pick should revolve around getting some more depth in the frontcourt and a guy ho has great range from three-point land. I think their guy is Germany’s Isaiah Hartenstein. He’s a very fluid athlete who is versatile. He runs the floor well and has great NBA range and is improving in his ability to catch-and-shoot in various situations. He can also be a great shot blocker at times. I think his value with the Lakers will no doubt be great if he’s selected by them. They’re a young team and with young talent like him will benefit in the long run.
29. San Antonio- Jawun Evans, PG Oklahoma St.
I don’t think the Spurs are replacing Tony Parker anytime soon,but a player who might be able to play in relief for him from time to time is OK-State’s Jawun Evans. He proved to be an excellent scorer and passer in his time in Stillwater. He can run an offense well and has an understanding of how to run one in the pro game. He also shoots the ball well from three-point land at 38-percent. He’s even showcased an ability to take over the game. I think he would shine in San Antonio and their system and would provide more youth to an aging team.
30. Utah- Semi Ojeleye, SF/PF SMU
Utah’s second pick and the final one of the first round is a gem of a pick. SMU’s Semi Ojeleye is a gifted,physical forward that can handle the ball well in the open court and can be a factor defensively and is capable of creating his own shot. He shot well from the arc in college at 42-percent. While he isn’t an elite defender, there’s time to work on that. I think the Jazz are getting a steal here,unless he slips to round two,which I don’t think happens.
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