NBA MOCK DRAFT
NBA MOCK DRAFT
Welcome to the modern-day world of the NBA where the "one-and-done" players continue to flood their way into the league ... in fact, most of the top 10 projected picks here were one-year collegians but will any/many of them be big hits right from the start?
Now, our NBA Mock Draft lets you know who's going where and we've sprinkled in a couple of potential deals to further liven up the evening in Brooklyn:
NBA DRAFT 2017
1 - PHILADELPHIA (via trade with Boston) - Markelle Fultz, PG, Washington: The Sixers paid a major price to slide into the top spot in this draft and not sure this is the "right" guy (we are sticking to our guns that Kentucky's De'Aaron Fox is the single-best player in this draft).
2 - LOS ANGELES LAKERS - Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA: We're hearing rumblings that the Hollywood crew might go elsewhere (maybe Fox or perhaps Kansas' Josh Jackson) or might dangle the pick as trade bait but when the dust settles they land this playmaking whiz and hopes his daddy isn't a pain in the rear.
3 - BOSTON (via trade with Philadelphia) - De'Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky: The rich get richer, indeed! The Celtics play this just right and get an extra first-rounder in either 2018 or '19 plus get their guy here as long-armed lefty moves into the rotation and Boston could be headed for a 60-plus win season ahead.
4 - PHOENIX - Josh Jackson, SG, Kansas: The Suns basically are sitting here waiting for the best available player to fall into their laps and now they're hoping he's matured since off-the-court December incident involving female hoops star at Kansas.
5 - MIAMI (projected trade with Sacramento) - Jayson Tatum, SF, Duke: Gotta hand it to Heat exec Pat Riley who we see pulling off a major trade to get into the top five as we forecast his dealing off the #14 overall pick in this draft and a future first-rounder (and maybe a body or two) in order to high-hurdle to this spot. Tatum's already got a "pro body" and might be the real steal of this draft.
6 - ORLANDO - Frank Ntilikina, PG, France: No doubt this somewhat surprise selection will ruffle the feathers of New York (#8) and/or Dallas (#9) who both reportedly have this 6-foot-5, long-armed international star very high on their draft boards.
7 - MINNESOTA - Jonathan Isaac, SF, Florida State: The Timberwolves really floundered last year despite a superstar season from Karl-Anthony Towns and so now Minny will pair 'em together (both right around seven-feet tall) and hope that's the magic formula.
8 - NEW YORK - Dennis Smith, Jr., PG, N.C. State: Knicks are truly bummin' with Ntilikina off the board (and they won't trade away a disgruntled Kristaps Porzingis) and so they go to Plan B and that's best available point guard but we don't love this kid who pretty much went MIA in some late-year games for the 'Pack.
9 - DALLAS - Lauri Markkanen, PF, Arizona: The guy that some folks are calling "Dirk Nowitzki Lite" winds up dropping down to Dirk's team and the Mavericks are pinching selves even though they would have preferred Ntilikina.
10 - SACRAMENTO - Malik Monk, SG, Kentucky: Okay, so we have the Kings trading away the #5 overall pick but holding onto this one and they get the best pure shooter in the whole draft.
11 - CHARLOTTE - Luke Kennard, SG, Duke: Told y'all last week that this former Blue Devils' star was moving up the draft boards in a hurry and his three-point skills should benefit a team that often relies too much on G Kemba Walker.
12 - BOSTON (projected trade with Detroit) - Justin Patton, C, Creighton: What ... you thought the Celtics were done wheeling-and-dealing? No chance as GM Danny Ainge sends away a future first-round pick to snare this athletic 7-footer who most folks had going in the low-to-mid 20s.
13 - DENVER - Zach Collins, C, Gonzaga: Nuggets keeping fingers crossed that either this seven-footer or above-mentioned Patton still on the board, so this is a "win" for Mile High club.
14 - SACRAMENTO (projected trade with Miami) - TJ Leaf, PF, UCLA: A 47 percent three-point shooter in his one year in school and so Kings hope to spread the floor and become a "Golden State-type" model.
15 - PORTLAND - Justin Jackson, SF, North Carolina: Better-than-you-think 3-point shooter who's also stepped up his defensive skills and so T-Blazers throw 'em into the mix with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum and hope to do better than the West's #8 seed.
16 - CHICAGO - Caleb Swanigan, PF, Purdue: Hard-working rebounder who could (and we say could) wind up being packaged with Bulls' star G Jimmy Butler for a big-time draft night deal.
17 - MILWAUKEE - Jarrett Allen, C, Texas: Gotta admit we're not sure which way Bucks should turn ... guard help or up front ... but we'll follow the "experts" who all seem to believe they opt for this near seven-footer.
18 - LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (projected trade with Indiana) - Donovan Mitchell, SG, Louisville: The Clips will not look quite the same as recent editions and once they see this gutty guard starting to fall they jump in and play let's make a deal.
19 - ATLANTA - John Collins, PF, Wake Forest - The Hawks just dealt away veteran C Dwight Howard and so they need some size (he's 6-foot-10) and kid's a great offensive rebounder.
20 - PORTLAND - Harry Giles, PF, Duke - There were some thoughts that the Blazers would trade away one or two of the team's three first-round draft picks but we say that won't happen and now they take a shot at a guy that's had a couple of knee surgeries in his recent past.
21 - OKLAHOMA CITY - Tyler Lydon, F, Syracuse: Maybe this is a "reach" here but Thunder love his ability to score from deep (he's 6-foot-9) and someone has to score besides Russell Westbrook.
22 - BROOKLYN - Terrance Ferguson, SG, Australia: The draft host Nets still own this pick (they traded away #27 to the Lakers in the Brook Lopez/D'Angelo Russell deal) and here snag a sweet-stroking Aussie.
23 - TORONTO - OG Anunoby, SF, Indiana - Most folks feel this former Hoosier will go somewhere in the teens but we drop 'em down because of some shaky offensive skills.
24 - UTAH - Semi Ojeleye, F, SMU: Jazz must face fact it could lose star Gordon Hayward to free agency and believe this former Mustang star can step right in and be a "plus" player.
25 - ORLANDO - Kyle Kuzma, SF, Utah: Magic might dangle this pick first but we say they grab this high-ceiling 6-foot-9 stud.
26 - PORTLAND - Tony Bradley, PF, North Carolina: Hey, we have the Blazers making it an ACC "hat trick" after projected picks of Jackson (UNC) and Giles (Duke).
27 - LOS ANGELES LAKERS (trade with Brooklyn) - Alec Peters, PF, Valparaiso: Kid faced constant double-teams in the Horizon League and so might be a better shooter in the pros.
28 - LOS ANGELES LAKERS - Isaiah Hartenstein, PF, Lithuania: Team up this 7-foot lefty with newly-acquired Lopez and the Lakers could be dangerous, after all.
29 - SAN ANTONIO - Ivan Rabb, PF/C, California: Spurs believe this 6-foot-11 kid is a top 15 talent in this draft and so you might see coach Gregg Popovich with a smile on his face when he meets/greets the media.
30 - UTAH - Jawun Evans, PG, Oklahoma State: Doesn't it always get back to the pick-n-roll with the Jazz?