2017 NBA Draft: Winners and Losers

Winners

Sacramento Kings

A winner is not typically a word used to describe the Sacramento Kings. However, it’s hard to not like what the Kings did last night. The Kings got their point guard of the future in De’Aaron Fox. Fox fits perfectly with the young core the Kings are building. Fox should be able to use his speed to penetrate the lane and kick out to shooters like Buddy Hield and Ben McLemore should they decide to re-sign him. I also love the Harry Giles pick. The Kings are nowhere close to competing so why not take a chance on a guy who was arguably the best player in this draft class a year ago? Chances are Giles doesn’t work out, but guess what, neither do most late first round picks. Giles gives the Kings the highest upside of anyone left on the board at that time and if he can regain the bounce he had when he was the best high school player in the country, watch out.


Minnesota Timberwolves

I wavered on including the Timberpuppies on the winner’s list. In one sense the team definitely got better with the addition of Jimmy Butler, but at the same time even they gave up young assets without becoming close to championship contenders. While Jimmy Butler definitely helps them on the court, what he is going to give the Timberwolves in the locker is unquantifiable. Having a strong veteran presence like Jimmy who buys into Thibs defensive minded system will be huge. There are certain members of the Timberwolves who are immensely talented but don’t always apply themselves on the defensive side of the ball (looking at you Andrew Wiggins). That shit isn’t gonna fly on Jimmy Butlers watch. Jimmy got his start in this league being a defensive specialist and he’s going to bring a level of professionalism to the Timberwolves young core.


Philadelphia 76ers

Markelle Fultz is the last piece of the process. Simple as that. The Sixers needed a point guard and Fultz is not only the best one in this draft but also the best fit with the team the Sixers have in place. The Sixers did not need another big man and the 2018 NBA draft is loaded with them. Losing the Lakers pick next year doesn’t hurt them, and is well worth the sacrifice to get a player with the upside of a Markelle Fultz.

Losers

Chicago Bulls

In one sense the Chicago Bulls took a step forward in the draft. They FINALLY picked a direction for the franchise. The worst thing that can happen to an NBA franchise is getting stuck in the middle. Being stuck in the late lottery or consistently sneaking into the playoffs only to get eliminated in the first round. This territory is where the Bulls have resided for the last few years. Despite management accepting that tanking and playing the young guys is the best direction for the franchise Bulls fans have to be disappointed in the return they received for a top 15 players. In return for JIMMY BUTLER, a player who Bulls fan insist is an elite NBA player they received; Kris Dunn a player who definitely has upside if we are being honest was absolutely horrific last year. Zach Lavine a player whose game is based on freakish athletic ability is coming of a major knee injury. To add insult to injury they didn’t even get Minnesota’s first round pick straight up, they had to give up their own pick to move up seven spots. There were times where Jimmy Butler was going to get a Brooklyn Nets pick and more coming back to Chicago in return. Knowing what the price used to be for Jimmy Butler and was received in actuality has got to hurt Bulls fans.


Boston Celtics

The Celtics aren’t losers because of missing out on Jimmy Butler or not making a move for Paul George. The Celtics clearly feel that they have a good chance at Gordon Hayward and it doesn’t make sense on spending all your assets on an all-star small forward when you think you can acquire one without giving anything up. The Celtics are losers because they missed on Markelle Fultz. Danny can say all he wants about how Jayson Tatum was the best player on his board but Markelle Fultz was the best player in this draft. Unless Danny’s master plan ends up in a championship watching Markelle Fultz score 20ppg in the division for the next decade is going to be pretty tough to watch.


Portland Trailblazers

Portland didn’t nail either of their picks. Caleb Swanigan is fine in the late 20’s but I am not as high on Zach Collins as a lot of people are. Not only did Collins not even start on Gonzaga, He didn’t start in high school until his senior year! Besides the mistakes, they made with their picks they were unable to unload any of the bad contracts that they have. (Meyers Leonard, Allen Crabbe, Etc…) Much like the Bulls were before this draft the Trailblazers are firmly planted in the no man’s land of the NBA.

2017 NBA Draft First – Round Results

  1. Philadelphia 76ers: Markelle Fultz PG – Washington

  2. Los Angeles Lakers: Lonzo Ball PG – UCLA

  3. Boston Celtics: Jayson Tatum SF – Duke

  4. Phoenix Suns: Josh Jackson SF – Kansas

  5. Sacramento Kings: De’Aron Fox PG – Kentucky

  6. Orlando Magic: Jonathan Isaac SF – FSU

  7. Minnesota Timberwolves (picking for Chicago Bulls): Lauri Markkanen PF- Arizona

  8. New York Knicks: Frank Ntilinkina PG – France

  9. Dallas Mavericks: Dennis Smith Jr. PG – NC State

  10. Sacramento Kings: Zack Collins C – Gonzaga

  11. Charlotte Hornets: Malik Monk PG – Kentucky

  12. Detroit Pistons: Luke Kennard SG – Duke

  13. Denver Nuggets: Donovan Mitchell SG – Louisville

  14. Miami Heat: Bam Adebayo PF – Kentucky

  15. Portland Trailblazers: Justin Jackson SG – North Carolina

  16. Chicago Bulls (picking for Minnesota Timberwolves): Justin Patton C – Creighton

  17. Milwaukee Bucks: D.J. Wilson PF – Michigan

  18. Indiana Pacers: TJ Leaf PF – UCLA

  19. Atlanta Hawks:  John Collins PF – Wake Forest

  20. Portland Trailblazers:  Harry Giles – Duke

  21. Oklahoma City Thunder: Terrance Ferguson SG: Australia

  22. Brooklyn Nets: Jarrett Allen C – Texas

  23. Toronto Raptors: OG Anunoby SF – Indiana

  24. Utah Jazz: Tyler Lydon SF- Syracuse

  25. Orlando Magic: Anzejs Pasecniks – Latvia

  26. Portland Trailblazers: Caleb Swanigan PF – Perdue

  27. Brooklyn Nets (will go to Los Angeles Lakers via trade): Kyle Kuzma PF – Utah

  28. Los Angeles Lakers: Tony Bradley C – North Carolina

  29. San Antonio Spurs: Derrick White PG – Colorado

  30.  Utah Jazz: Josh Hart SG – Villanova

Final 2017 NBA Mock Draft

1) Philadelphia 76ers: Markelle Fultz- 6’4 190 PG Washington FR

Fultz provides the 76ers with a much-needed scoring punch and secondary ball handler assuming Ben Simmons is the primary ball handler next season. Fultz is a natural scorer but has good play making ability. Fultz also has great size and good athleticism to be a good NBA defender.

NBA Comparison: Jamal Crawford

2) Los Angeles Lakers: Lonzo Ball- 6’6 190 PG UCLA FR
No surprise here even though that had been rumors that the Lakers were thinking of going in a different direction. Lonzo Ball provides the Lakers with a much-needed player maker. In a similar mold of Magic Johnson, Ball is a big PG who is a pass first player and makes his teammates better. Ball also is a good 3pt shooter despite his funky shooting form which is key in today’s NBA. Ball hasn’t shown a lot defensively but has the tools to be a solid defender providing he puts forth the effort.

NBA Comparison: Jason Kidd

3) Boston Celtics: Jonathan Isaac- 6’10 210 SF/PF Florida State FR
If this pick stays in Boston I expect them to swing for the fences. Isaac would provide the Celtics with some much-needed length and another potential scoring threat. Isaac is in the similar build to KD and more recently Brandon Ingram. Isaac has the ability to shoot it from anywhere on the floor and has good ball-handling skills to create his own shot. His length on the defensive end would be ideal trying to defend the elite SFs of today’s NBA. Kansas SG/SF Josh Jackson is in play at this pick as well but he would only give the Celtics another player similar to what they already have in Crowder and last years 1st round pick Jaylen Brown.

NBA Comparison: Jonathan Bender

4) Phoenix Suns: Jayson Tatum- 6’8 205 SF/SG Duke FR
Tatum would provide the Suns with a true SF who is excellent in isolation. A very smooth player who is at his best as a mid-range shooter. He’s not a great 3pt shooter but is capable. Not the best athlete but can just flat out play. He’s a safe pick who should make an impact.

NBA Comparison: Paul Pierce sooner rather than later.

5) Sacramento Kings: DeAaron Fox- 6’3 170 PG Kentucky FR
The Kings get a young PG to add to their young core of players. Fox is arguably the best on-ball defender in this draft. An elite athlete at 6’3 Fox has the measurable to be a solid PG in today’s NBA. Has great character and is a hard worker. Doesn’t shoot the ball very well and is very thin at only 170lbs but has the speed and quickness to get to the basket at will. Scored 39pts against Lonzo Ball in a victory over UCLA in the Elite 8 of the NCAA tourney. Fox gives the Kings a solid building block for the future.

NBA Comparison: Mike Conley/John Wall

6) Orlando Magic: Josh Jackson- 6’8 205 SG/SF Kansas FR
Orlando possibly gets a franchise player they have been seeking since Dwight Howard said Goodbye. Jackson was arguably the best prospect coming into the college season last year. An elite athlete who is a menace on the defensive end. has great size to play either SG or SF. His jump shot is a work in progress but has potential to develop into a good shooter.  A lot of GMs have him as a top 3 pick so if he falls to the Magic at 6 you might have the steal of the draft.

NBA Comparison: Andrew Wiggins/Kawhi Leonard

7) Minnesota Timberwolves: Lauri Markkanen- 7’0 230 PF/C Arizona FR
Popular opinion has the Timberwolves taking a PG here but I don’t see them giving up on Chris Dunn that quickly and Rubio had a nice season so I got them taking a legit stretch big here. Now it is also rumored that Minnesota again has an interest in trading for Jimmy Butler. If Minnesota does that I can possibly see a PG go here. Markkanen, on the other hand, is a better athlete than given credit for and can finish at the rim along with his great shooting ability. Doesn’t rebound well for his size but adding a smooth shooting big alongside KAT could be deadly.

NBA Comparison: Andrea Bargnani

8) New York Knicks: Frank Ntilikina- 6’5 190 PG France 1998
It’s hard to determine where the Knicks might go here with all the Melo-drama nd recent rumors that Phil Jackson is possibly shopping Kristaps Porzingis. If nothing happens between now and the time they’re up to pick I expect them to take a PG and Frank Ntilikina fits the Triangle style of play more than any PG left on the board. With a 7 foot wingspan, Ntilikina has the tools to be an elite NBA defender. His playmaking and shooting have improved within the last year.

NBA Comparison: Roddy Beaubois

9) Dallas Mavericks: Dennis Smith- 6’2 195 PG North Carolina State FR
Possibly the most explosive athlete in the draft, Smith is an elite talent that seems to struggle with consistency. Smith showed flashed at NC State of being a dominant player as he did against Duke when he went for 32pts and 6ast in the upset. Smith finishes at the rim with authority and shot well from 3 this past season. Can he stay motivated is the only concern most scouts have.

NBA Comparison: Steve Francis

10) Sacremento Kings: Malik Monk- 6’3 200 SG Kentucky FR
With their 2nd pick in the top 10, the Kings add another Kentucky product in Monk. The Kings ownership loves shooters and Monk is just that. One of the best shooters and scorers in the college game last season Monk gives the Kings instant offense and a potential deadly shooting tandem of Monk and Hield who the Kings acquired in that infamous Boogie Cousins trade. Monk is also an elite athlete who is sure to appear on his fair share of ESPN top 10 plays. A bit undersized at SG his shooting ability and athleticism will compensate for his lack of size.

NBA Comparison: Jr Smith

11) Charlotte Hornets: Luke Kennard- 6’6 195 SG Duke SO
Kennard breaks the run of freshmen taken in the draft at 10. Charlotte will look to take the best player on the board if somebody doesn’t fall to them. Kennard is one of the better shooters in this draft and would give the Hornets a threat from the outside immediately. Kennard is also a very good passer and while not a great a athlete, an underrated one. He not great on the defensive end but will give effort. Kennard is a good ball handler and should be able to make plays for his teammates at the next level. Don’t be surprised if Charlotte goes with a big here if Kennard isn’t on the board or even if he is

NBA Comparison: Jeff Hornacek

12) Detroit Pistons: Zach Collins- 6’11 230 C Gonzaga FR
Last year Detriot took Henry Ellenson in the 1st round and Collins is a similar player. Detriot is in search of shooting and Collins provides that. Collins came off the bench at Gonzaga but his numbers 10pts 6rbs per contest were still nice stats for his freshman season. Collins shot 65% from the floor, 75% from the line and 44% from 3 in 18 attempts. Look for Detriot to potentially put Andre Drummond on the trade market as he is a terrible shooter and is no good to close out games and move into the future with stretch bigs

NBA Comparison: Raef Lafrentz

13) Denver Nuggets: OG Anunoby- 6’7 235 SF/PF Indiana SO
Anunoby saw his stock fall after suffering a season-ending injury in which he tore his ACL. Man scouts considered him a top 5-10 before the injury. At this point, he might be a reach but draft now starts to thin out.  Anunoby has a solid frame and an impressive 7’2.5 wingspan. He figures to be a Defensive ace at the next level. Good finisher at the rim and has good speed and quickness for a guy his size. Not an elite athlete but a good one. Showed ability to knock down NBA 3. Would help Denver on the Defensive end immediately.

NBA Comparison: Jae Crowder

14) Miami Heat: Harry Giles- 6’10 230 PF/C Duke FR
Giles was the top-rated high school prospect in the class of 2016 even after suffering 2 torn ACLs. Giles talent is undeniable. When healthy he runs the floor very well for a guy his size and is a great passer out the post. Has range on his jump shot and has good athleticism. Health is the main concern. Giles was once considered a #1 pick prospect but after struggling in limited minutes his lone season at Duke he’s a boom or bust pick at this portion of the draft.

NBA Comparison: Chris Webber (when healthy)

15) Portland Trailblazers: John Collins- 6’9 225 PF/C Wake Forest SO
Collins is an aggressive player who likes to play above the rim. A good rebounder and has some touch on his jump shot. Doesn’t have a face-up game yet but it could come with time. Would be a nice compliment to Jusuf Nurkic in the post.

NBA Comparison: Tyrus Thomas

16) Chicago Bulls: Donovan Mitchell- 6’2 210 SG Louisville SO
At just 6’2 he’s undersized at SG but with a 6’10 wingspan and great athleticism, he’s an intriguing prospect. Plays with toughness and has strong leadership qualities. Likes to attack the rim and jump shot has shown improvement. Would add athleticism to a team lacking in that category. Very good possibility Mitchell is gone by this pick

NBA Comparison: Avery Bradley

17) Milwaukee Bucks: Kyle Kuzma- 6’9 225 PF Utah JR
Kuzma prior to the Combine was probably a 2nd round prospect. After the combine, Kuzma is now looked at by many as a lock for the 1st round. Kuzma is the 1st upperclassmen to be drafted. Kuzma shows the ability to step outside and be a stretch 4 for a team that lacks shooting from the outside. Milwaukee got a steal with upperclassmen Malcolm Brogdon in last year’s draft. I see them sticking to that same formula and addressing a need.

NBA Comparison: Channing Fyre

18) Indiana Pacers: Justin Patton- 6’11 230 C Creighton FR
The Pacers currently have promised big Myles Turner playing Center right now with undersized Thaddeus Young playing PF. Taking Patton right here would allow the Pacers to potential move Turner to PF and add size to the front line with Patton at Center. Patton his a strong skillset on the offensive end and can be disruptive on defense. Lacks speed and not the most athletic player on the board at this point but can develop into a solid player.

NBA Comparison: Robin Lopez

19) Atlanta Hawks: Bam Adebayo- 6’10 245 PF/C Kentucky FR
Adebayo has good size and athleticism for the PF position. With the NBA now transitioning to stretch bigs Adebayo’s value falls some due to him not being a great shooter. He will be a hand full on the block and has better shooting ability than given credit for. He will be tough to handle on the block and ATL can use some interior scoring and ATL would be pleased if Adebayo is available here.

NBA Comparison: Derrick Favors

20) Portland Trailblazers: Jarrett Allen- 6’10 235 C Texas FR
Portland adds another young post to their roster. Allen is somewhat of a project as he could have used another season at Texas. Allen has good length and runs the floor well. Allen will likely spend some time in the D-League his rookie season but he’s a nice prospect to develop behind Nurkic.

NBA Comparison: Adrian Payne

21) Oklahoma City Thunder: Terrance Ferguson- 6’7 185 SG/SF USA 1998
The Thunder have a huge weakness at the SF position. Andre Roberson is a solid defender but is a liability on offense, so much so that he is prone to be part of the hack a Shaq strategy at the end of games. Enter Ferguson. Ferguson was a McDonalds All-American who originally committed to Arizona but ended up changing his mind and playing pro in Australia. Though he struggled in Australia Ferguson remains an interesting prospect. He has the elite athletic ability and can knock down the 3 consistently. Ferguson has also shown the ability to be a good defender in the NBA. He’s a project but could be a huge upgrade over Roberson if developed properly.

NBA Comparison: Nick Young

22) Brooklyn Nets: TJ Leaf- 6’10 225 PF UCLA FR
Brooklyn needs all the help they can get! Leaf would provide a solid PF prospect who is capable of knocking down perimeter jump shots. Leaf is an above average athlete and is a very competitive player which can help on a team that hasn’t won too many games the past few years. Leaf was consistent all year should be able to contribute sooner rather than later

NBA Comparison: Jon Leuer

23) Toronto Raptors: Justin Jackson- 6’8 200 SF North Carolina JR
Jackson gives the Raptors a potential replacement for Demarre Carroll who has underperformed since signing with the Raptors a few years ago. Jackson is a consistent 3pt shooter (38%) in college and a solid prospect defensively. At 6’8 with a 7’0 wingspan, he can contribute right away off the bench and is a perfect 3 and D prospect.

NBA Comparison: Danny Green

24) Utah Jazz: DJ Wilson- 6’10 235 PF Michigan SO
Wilson is another guy who is a winner from his combine performance. Has a nice feel for the game and size for the PF position. Has shown improved form on his jump shot but still is a bit of a work in progress. Landing in Utah can give Wilson the time to improve his game as they have a few young bigs. Teams are said to be high on his potential and could be taken much higher.

NBA Comparison: Taj Gibson

25) Orlando Magic: Ivan Rabb- 6’10 220 PF/C California SO
Rabb has been a known name in a mock draft for the past 3 years. A Former McDonalds All-American Rabb was one of the top prospects entering College 2 years ago. Had Rabb entered the draft last season he likely would have gone higher. Rabb is a smart player with potential on the defensive end showing ability to defend the pick and roll. Offensively Rabb can knock down mid-range jump shots and could add depth to the Orlando Magic front court.

NBA Comparison: P.J. Brown

26) Portland Trailblazers: Jawun Evans- 6’0 185 PG Oklahoma State SO
Extremely quick with the ball in his hands, Evans at 6’0 is undersized in today’s NBA but his explosiveness gives him a shot to be a productive player in the NBA. Evans would give the Blazers a nice backup option for Dame Dolla. Evans can score and distribute and could be brought along slowly.

NBA Comparison:  Eric Bledsoe

27) Los Angeles Lakers: Semi Ojeleye- 6’6 240 SF/PF SMU JR
Ojeleye is my personal sleeper of the draft. A Duke transfer, Ojeleye has the size, skill, and athleticism to be a productive NBA player. He can create his own shot and is a good spot up shooter as well as being able to shoot it on the move. I think he can have a Draymond Green type impact minus the playmaking.

NBA Comparison: Larry Johnson

28) Los Angeles Lakers: Wesley Iwundo- 6’7 195 SF/SG Kansas State SR
Emerged as one of the better college players in the country his senior season at Kansas State. Has a solid all-around game with nice athleticism. Played some PG for K-State and is capable of making plays for others. The Lakers are in need of solid unselfish players and Iwundo fits the bill. The only senior in the 1st round you could see Iwundo make an immediate impact.

NBA Comparison: Dermarr Johnson

29) San Antonio Spurs: Isaiah Hartenstein- 7’0 250 PF Germany 1998
Hartenstein is the perfect draft and stash prospect that the Spurs have come to love this late in the draft the past 15 seasons. They hit more often than not on these picks and Hartenstein should be no different. Hartenstein has been of scouts radars for a while now as he was born in the states and raised across the pond as his father is a former pro. He has lottery potential but has dealt with some injuries as of late. The Spurs can afford to stash this pick and wait for him to join the team once he’s ready

NBA Comparison: Jason Smith

30) Utah Jazz: Frank Jackson- 6’3 200 PG/SG Duke FR
The Jazz PG situation is cloudy right now. Some team is probably going to overpay for George Hill and Dante Exum doesn’t seem to be ready just yet. Enter Jackson. The hometown kid returns. There have been rumors that Utah promised to draft him here at 30 and that’s why Jackson remained in the draft. Jackson had an up and down season at Duke but showed he has scoring ability and has good size and athleticism to play the PG at the next level. I think he prefers to play off the ball but at only 6’3 he’s somewhat of a tweener.

NBA Comparison: Jordan Farmer

3 in The Key Podcast – Episode 44: 2017 NBA Draft & Trade Rumors

Chevy is joined by Markus, Nate and newcomer Matt to discuss the latest NBA Trades and rumors. Nate and Matt headline talking the NBA Draft as they go in-depth of their sleepers and busts of the 2017 Draft. The team also sounds off on the latest Paul George scenarios and the Boston Celtics leverage.

2017 NBA Mock Draft

The NBA Draft is set for Thursday, June 22. NBA Staff Writier Matt McKenna features one of our first Mock Draft at Baseline Times.

2017 NBA Mock Draft by Matt McKenna

1.          Philadelphia 76ers – Markelle Fultz
Fultz is the guy here. Sixers don’t make the trade if they aren’t 100% committed to him, simple as that.
2.          Los Angeles Lakers – Lonzo Ball
This is where the draft gets interesting. As soon as the lottery ended the immediate assumption was that Lonzo Ball was going to be the pick at No. 2. However, word on the street was the Lonzo didn’t perform up to expectations at his Lakers workout. Also Magic was so enamored with Markelle Fultz that he was willing to part ways with Julius Randle to move up one spot to select Fultz. Josh Jackson was the #1 overall prospect on many boards entering the CBB season and has created a lot of chatter lately, but ultimately I think Ball is the pick.
3.          Boston Celtics – Jayson Tatum
According to reports, Boston’s crowded backcourt was a major factor in trading the #1 pick. So Lonzo won’t be coming off the board here either despite being the best player left in the draft. Tatum is an NBA-ready scorer and hopefully, will help take some of the offensive burdens of Isaiah Thomas. He isn’t the best athlete and his lack of interest on the defensive end is a bit worrisome but he is the best fit for the Celtics if they don’t end up trading the pick.
4.          Phoenix Suns – Josh Jackson
The Suns will surely be disappointed if both Tatum and Jackson are off the board as they have a plethora of young guards and a need at SF. Luckily Jackson is still available and is a perfect fit for them. Jackson gives them an edge and defensive presence that they desperately need.
5.          Sacramento Kings- De’Aaron Fox
The Kings have a need at PG and Fox is the best one on the board. Fox, Buddy Hield, Lassiberre, and WCS are a nice little core to build around. Who knows maybe things are looking up in the 916.
6.          Orlando Magic – Dennis Smith Jr.
Elfrid Payton just hasn’t panned out the way the Magic would have liked. Smith Jr gives them another chance to find a dynamic point guard. Smith is probably the best athlete in this year’s draft and has a chance to become a Damian Lillard type player if he can develop his jump shot.
7.          Minnesota Timberwolves- Jonathan Issac
Issac is one of the bigger boom or bust players in this draft. His physical tools give him through the roof potential but he tends to often be a non-factor during games. Scouts love his motor though and he would be a great fit next to KAT.
8.          New York Knicks – Frank Ntilikina
The Knicks need a point guard and D-Rose is not the answer. Phil Jackson has been adamant on the use of the triangle offense during his time as President and Ntilkina fits his system the best of any of this years guards.
9.          Dallas Mavericks – Malik Monk
Monk is one of the highest upside players in the draft. He is an explosive athlete who straight up gets buckets. I think he projects as more of a combo guard in the NBA.  He played pg in high school but that spot was taken by De’Aaron Fox at Kentucky. I think Monk will develop into a very solid NBA player that the Mavs can pair with Nerlens Noel and Harrison Barnes.
10.    Sacramento Kings – Lauri Markennan
Lauri Markennan is going to be one of the draft’s most controversial picks. He’s a legit 7 footer who is probably the best shooter in the draft.  He’s not a great defender or rebounder but he’s a better athlete than he gets credit for and would help stretch the floor for the Kings.
11.    Charlotte Hornets- Zach Collins
Zach Collins fits what the Hornets need. He can play in both the high and low post and has a good stroke and is easily projectable as someone who could expand his range to 3 point territory. He is also a better defensive option than any big man they currently have on their roster.
12.    Detroit Pistons – Luke Kennard
Crafty Scorer and three-point shooter. Lack of athleticism hurts him on the defensive end but the effort is still there. Would be a good fit next to Reggie Jackson and will be able to step in right away as a catch and shoot threat.
13.    Denver Nuggets – John Collins
Collins would be a natural fit next to Jokic. Collins is an excellent help defender and as great as Jokic is on the offensive end he needs some help on the defensive end. Collins excels as a rim runner and is a high upside , high floor type pick.
14.    Miami Heat – Donovan Mitchell
Mitchell shot up draft boards with an excellent showing at the NBA combine. Mitchell is an athletic freak who can score in bunches. Depending on where he falls he could be the steal of the draft. Can be a little out of control at times
15.    Portland Trailblazers – Jarrett Allen
A lot of potential.  Not very polished. Has excellent length and natural athletic traits but isn’t a great shot-blocker. Developing a promising mid-range jumper. Seems to get overwhelmed at times when he has to make decisions.
16.    Chicago Bulls – Justin Jackson
Chances are Jimmy Butler won’t be playing out his contract with the Bulls and they are going to in the market for a new small forward. Jackson is a good but not great athlete. His length helps him make up for his lack of athleticism. Has improved his shooting stroke every season at UNC.  Could develop into a solid role player.
17.    Milwaukee Bucks – Harry Giles
Giles came into the season as a top 3 prospect but never seemed to regain the athleticism he had pre-ACL surgery. Milwaukee has a history of taking high risk, high reward type players (Giannis, Thon Maker) and if Giles can regain the athleticism he had prior to the ACL injury he would be an absolute steal at 17. Multiple ACL surgeries make him a huge gamble though.
18.    Indiana Pacers – Terrance Ferguson
Ferguson played last season overseas in Australia, he struggled mainly due to the fact he was playing against grown men at 6’7 185lbs. He needs to add muscle to his frame but is a former McDonalds All-American. Ferguson is an explosive athlete with a quick first step and a solid shooter. His ability to handle the NBA physicality will determine how he turns out as an NBA player.
19.    Atlanta Hawks – Justin Patton
Burst on the scene as a redshirt freshman.  A legit 7 footer with high level athleticism. Potential to develop into a defensive menace. Good hands, often able to handle less than perfect entry passes.  Shown an ability to hit a jump shot. Needs to develop post game. Will most likely start as a rim runner in the NBA.
20.    Portland Trailblazers – TJ Leaf
Leaf drew a lot of Kevin Love-like comparison at UCLA.. Skilled player but not an exceptional athlete.  Good defensive instincts but isn’t a game changer on that end. Needs to get stronger, doesn’t finish all that well through contact.
21.    Oklahoma City Thunder – Bam Adebayo
Looks like a create a player from 2k. Well built at 6-10 245 lbs.  Runs the floor well. Finishes alley oops and sets screens well. Is currently a better athlete than basketball player. Needs skills to catch up with physical gifts.
22.     Brooklyn Nets – Dwayne Bacon
The Nets are in a tough spot. They are the worst team in the NBA and don’t have control of either first round pick until 2019. The Nets should take a flier with these picks and hope that they can strike gold. Bacon was a lottery pick going into his freshman year but his stock has considerably dropped. Bacon is very comfortable getting his own shot. He checks all the physical boxes but there are some questions with him defensive devotion. Can also be a streaky shooter.
23.    Toronto Raptors – Jordan Bell
Jordan Bell is the best defensive player in this draft. He’s only 6’8 but affects a ton of shots.  If you watched the NCAA tournament this year you probably got a pretty good look at Bell. He is definitely undersized but is willing to do all the dirty work.
24.    Utah Jazz – Semi Ojeleye
Semi started his career at Duke but ended up at SMU.  He is a little undersized for a power forward which will most likely be his position at the next level. Has potential to develop into a quality stretch 4.
25.    Orlando Magic – Ike Anigbogu
Definitely going to need to spend some time in the D-League. Explosive athlete who needs to develop some of his skills.  Active on the glass, good motor. Can get into foul trouble. Doesn’t have the best hands.  Could develop into a quality rim runner.
26.    Portland Trailblazers – Kyle Kuzma
Another project type player. Runs the floor well for a big man. Has a good shooting stroke that will probably improve over time. Average athlete. Will need his shot to improve if he wants to play in the NBA.  Good jab step. Creative finisher at the rim. Finishes well with both hands. Takes too many tough shots.
27.    Brooklyn Nets – Juwun Evans
Jeremy Lin is not the answer at pg. Jawun Evans could develop into a quality mid-level point guard. He makes good decisions, is efficient in the pick and roll and can shoot the ball. He is just 6 ft tall and not a tremendous athlete. He will be a solid NBA player but probably won’t ever develop into a star.
28.    LA Lakers – Isaiah Hartenstein
Not a great athlete but above average. Moves very fluid for a 7 footer.  Nice footwork. Doesn’t have a quick 2d jump. Probably won’t be an elite rim protector, picks up too many fouls. Surprisingly good ball handler for someone his size. Willing to play physical. Can be overly emotional.
29.    San Antonio Spurs – Sindarius Thornwell
Pop loves guys like this. Hard nosed player. Heart and soul of a South Carolina team he put on his back and carried to the final four. Hard worker and average athlete at best. Could carve out a solid role as a solid three-point shooter and defensive specialist.
30.    Utah Jazz – Wesley Iwundu
Another four-year senior. A jack of all trade but master of none type.  He is a very good athlete and a hard worker. He improved his free throw shooting in college showing his work ethic.  If he is going to crack an NBA rotation defense is going to have to be his calling card.

 

Celtics finalize trade sending No. 1 pick to 76ers

The Boston Celtics have announced the trade as official with a press release today. The Celtics will be trading away the No. 1 pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft to the Philadelphia 76ers. In return the Celtics will receive a “favorably-protected rights to a future first round pick.” The Sixers are expected to draft Markelle Fultz out of Washington.

Per the press release:

The future first round pick will be the Los Angeles Lakers’ 2018 pick if it’s within the No. 2 to No. 5 range of the 2018 draft. If it is not, the Celtics will instead receive either Sacramento’s or Philadelphia’s first round pick in 2019, whichever is more favorable. However, if either of those 2019 picks result in the first overall selection, Boston will instead receive the other first round pick.

This past weekend, Markelle Fultz worked out for the 76ers in Philadelphia. Fultz has completed his workout with the Sixers team management and a few familiar faces in Philly. As pictured below Joel Embiid joined in on the excitement of the trade talks by posting the photos below. The trade is pending official league approval which should come as early as Monday.

The Celtics will receive at least one additional first-round pick in the deal. Sources say Philadelphia, on top of its No. 3 overall pick, is sending the 2018 first-round ‎pick it owns via the Los Angeles Lakers, which the Sixers acquired from Phoenix at the 2015 trade deadline.

Source: Boston Celtics

NBA Draft Preview: Top 15 Prospects

The ball always keeps on rolling in the NBA. Last week the Golden State Warriors reclaimed the NBA crown. This week, the next class of potential stars will take center stage at Barclays Center for the 2017 NBA draft. This year’s draft class is rather impressive. We’ve got great scorers, and even a “Big Baller.” With so much talent to pick from, it’ll be interesting to see where some teams go with their first round pick. The Celtics and 76ers have already shaken things up with their trade, and who knows what’ll happen on, and before draft day. For now, let’s take a second to get acquainted with the top 15 prospects in this year’s draft.

15. Justin Jackson: SG/SF, North Carolina

At 6’8, 210 lbs, Justin Jackson was a top 10 prospect coming out of high school. During his time at Chapel Hill, the Junior has managed to improve his game every season. During the 2016-17 season, Jackson averaged 18.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.8 assists, on 44% shooting from the field. He also scored 16 big points in the National Championship game for the Tar Heels. His improvement as a 3 point shooter, combined with his size has made him rise up some teams draft boards. Potential suitors for Jackson include the Trail Blazers and Hornets. I personally wouldn’t mind seeing him join Portland. Maybe he can develop into another young talented player to go along Damien Lillard and CJ McCullom.

14. Zach Collins: PF, Gonzaga

Collins is an interesting case, he only played 17 minutes a game as a Freshman, but he made the most of his minutes. He averaged 10 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks a game last season. He also shot an impressive percentage from both the field and, behind the arch (65% and 47%). At 7 ft tall, 230 lbs, Collins could be a steal for some lucky team. His ability to score from the post, as well as step out and hit jumpers, makes him the prototypical “modern NBA big man.” The 14th pick belongs to the Miami Heat, but they already have a star Big man, and honestly they have bigger holes to fill. The Sacramento Kings own the 10th overall pick (from NO), and you can’t help but think they’d like another shot at landing a talented and versatile big man to replace DeMarcus Cousins.

13. OG Anunoby: SF/PF, Indiana

Anunoby was supposed to be a top 10 pick in this year’s draft. Unfortunately, a knee injury in January not only cost him the rest of his Sophomore season, but it’s going to cause him to likely drop a few spots in the draft too. Regardless, someone is going to get a steal in Anunoby. At 6’8, 235 lbs, he has the ability to guard multiple positions. He was averaging 11.1 points and 5.4 rebounds a game before his season ended prematurely. The Denver Nuggets own the 13th pick, and if Anunoby falls to them, I’d say pull the trigger. This kid could be a future All-Star if he lands on the right team.

12. Luke Kennard: G, Duke

Kennard had an incredible Sophomore season for the Blue Devils and became a breakout prospect. The 6’6, 202 lbs guard averaged 19.5 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 2.5 assists a game in 2016-17. Kennard’s great shooting ability is what makes him stand out. Last season, he shot 48% from the field, including 43% from 3 point range. Add that to that fact that he blew scouts away at his pro day with his ability to sink long jumpers from virtually anywhere, and you’ve got one of the hottest names going into the draft. The Pistons own the 12th pick, but there are no guarantees that Kennard will even last that long. There aren’t too many teams in the league that can afford to just pass up a great shooter, other than the Warriors.

11. Donovan Mitchell: G, Louisville

Mitchell is another name that has been rising up draft boards. At 6’3, 210 lbs, he possesses a freakishly long 6’10 wingspan, and many scouts like the way his game will transfer to the NBA. Mitchell averaged 15.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 2.1 steals a game last year during his Sophomore season. He needs to improve his shooting ability a bit if he’s ever going to become an impact player in the NBA, but he would be a great fit for a team like the Hornets or the Mavericks.

10. Frank Ntilikina: G, France

The first international entry on the list! At 6’5, 180 lbs, Ntilikina is a little taller than the average point guard, but he’s going to have to add some muscle mass if he’s planning on enduring the grind of a full NBA season. The youngster will still be only 18 when he hears his name called Thursday night, but he’s put in the work to get here. Talk about needing to improve as a shooter? Well in 2015-16, Ntilikina averaged a putrid 27.3% from 3 point range. He improved that to 41.7% in 2016-17. He’s still a project, but he’s got what some believe to be “unlimited potential.” The New York Knicks are rumored to be interested in Ntilikina at #8, but if they chose to pass. I wouldn’t expect him make it pass both Dallas and Sacramento at #9 and #10.

9. Malik Monk: G, Kentucky

The talented 6’3, 200 lbs freshman, could potentially be the best pure scorer in the draft. Last season at Kentucky, Monk average 19.8 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 2.3 assists a game. He shot 51.3% from the field and 39.7% from beyond the arch. He’s a great jump shooter, shooting 41.6 % on jump shots. Astonishingly enough, that number goes up to 43.2% when being guarded. The kid can flat out score. He’s a bit undersized for his position, but he possesses incredible athleticism, and he has the potential to be a good defender. The Sacramento Kings own both the #5 and #10 pick so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him go to them. If they elect to pass on the first go around though, there’s no guarantee that he’ll be there at #10. The Knicks could use a pure scorer, especially if Phil Jackson is successful in getting rid of Carmelo Anthony.

8. Dennis Smith Jr.: G, NC State

You want to talk about a lightning quick first step? That’s Dennis Smith Jr. The 6’3, 195 lbs Freshman showed many defenders in the ACC just how fast his first step is. During the 2016-17 season, Smith Jr. averaged 18.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 6.2 assists a game. He shot 45.2 % from the field, but only shot 35.9 from 3 this season, and was just 13 for 56 from mid-range as well. His shooting will have to improve, but there’s a lot of upside to Smith Jr. He’s has explosive athleticism, he’s a good passer, and he’s a talented scorer. He could go as early as #3 to the Boston Celtics.

7. Lauri Markkanen: PF/C, Arizona

Unlike the last foreign-born player on our list, Markkanen played college ball in the U.S. so NBA scouts are a bit more familiar with his game. In his one season. At Arizona, Markkanen averaged 15.6 points and 7.2 rebounds a game. He shot 49.2% from the field and 42.3% from 3 point land. At 7 foot tall, 230 lbs, that’s called versatility boys and girls, and that’s the kind of thing that gets you drafted early. The Timberwolves own the 7th pick, but they already have the talented big man in Karl Anthony Towns, and honestly, I’d be shocked if Markkanen makes it past Orlando at #6.

6. Jonathan Isaac: PF, Florida State

Isaac is truly one of the hidden gems in this draft. At 6’10 210 lbs, you’re not going to find a better combination of versatility, mobility, and just straight up skill level in a player. During his one season at Florida State, the Freshman averaged 12 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 1.2 assists a game. He shot 50.8% from the field and even showed he has a bit of range, shooting 34.8 from 3. Many scouts believe he could even play some small forward. If that’s so, then I could definitely see the Phoenix Suns at #4, the Sacramento Kings at #5, and the Orlando Magic at #6 to be extremely interested.

5. De’Aaron Fox: G, Kentucky

Here’s where the draft gets both interesting and deep. The top 5 prospects are all incredibly talented and you could make a strong case for either player being selected at either spot. In any other draft, Fox could have been just the first guard selected, but he could’ve even been the #1 pick. He’s that good. During his one season as a Wildcat, the 6’3 187 lbs Fox averaged 16.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 4.6 assists a game. His field goal percentage was 47.9 from the field, bit only 24.6 from 3 point range. That’s going to have to come up significantly. Overall though, Fox is extremely talented and full of potential. A back-court consisting of Fox and Devin Booker could be a scary thing for opposing teams if the Suns chose to add the talented guard to the mix.

4. Josh Jackson: G, Kansas

When you start getting compared to Kawhi Leonard, people start paying attention. At 6’7, 207 lbs, Jackson has the potential to be a superstar in the NBA. During his Freshman year at Kansas, Jackson averaged 16.3 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 3.0 assists a game. He shot 51.3% from the field and 37.8 from long range. He’s going to be an elite perimeter defender at the next level, and a nightmare to defend thanks to the way Bill Self played him at 4 positions in Kansas. He’s a great passer, defender, he can make plays in transition, and he’s got a great competitive nature. Sounds like a Lakers to me, but if they chose to pass, the Celtics might not be able to afford not to draft him.

3. Jayson Tatum: SF, Duke

It’s easy to get caught up in all the hype surrounding this year’s draft. After all, it’s full of talented prospects, perhaps one of the most talented though, is the Duke Freshman. Tatum came out of high school with an impressive offensive skill set and he only got better under Coach K. Tatum averaged 16.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 2.1 assists a game in 2016-17. Tatum continues to improve, he’s has great size for his position, and he’s been getting better as a shooter. If Phoenix doesn’t go with Fox, Tatum could be headed to the Suns.

2. Lonzo Ball: G, UCLA

The “Big Baller” himself, Lonzo Ball. It’s been a long crazy year for Lonzo, and it’s all going to culminate one way or another on Thursday night’s draft. Lavar Ball has been saying Lonzo was going to be a Laker since before they even officially had the pick, and for a while, it looked like a lock. Ball is the best passer in the draft, and his game has drawn comparisons to Magic Johnson, although that might be a little far. During his Freshman season at UCLA, Ball averaged 14.6 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 7.6 assists a game. He’s a good shooter, shooting at a 55.1% clip from the field, and 41.2 from beyond the 3 point line. Lonzo reportedly didn’t blow the Lakers away during his workout, and rumors say they were very impressed by Josh Jackson. That could all just be talk and rumors, but if the Lakers don’t take Lonzo with the #2 pick, it could be an embarrassing night for the Big Baller Brand and their biggest asset.

 1. Markelle Fultz: G, Washington

It really says something when you’re the #1 pick in such a deep NBA draft. It means a team is banking their future on you. Typically, #1 overall picks don’t go to good teams. Had the Celtics kept their pick instead of trading it to the 76ers, this year would’ve been an exception, but still, Philly isn’t full of scrubs anymore. The city of brotherly love trusted the process as much as they could, and it got them Joel Embid and Ben Simmons. Thursday night, the Sixers hope to add the last piece to their puzzle by selecting Markelle Fultz. As a Freshman, Fultz averaged 23.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 5.9 assists a game. He managed to shoot 47.6% from the field and 41.3% from 3 point land, despite being the best player on a bad Washington team, and drawing greater defensive attention. Fultz is being touted as one of the best prospects in recent history. He has great size and is the perfect combo of a scorer and a distributor. If he’s close to being as good as advertised. It might not be long before the 76ers become contenders again.

The NBA Draft is Thursday at 7 PM EST live on ESPN.

A Celtics Fan Cry: Don’t Do it Danny

If you’ve got an Internet connection and a pulse chances are you have heard the rumors swirling about the Celtics #1 overall pick. In these hypothetical trades, it looks like the Celtics would be receiving the #3 overall pick and some assortment of the future picks that the Sixers hold, either the 2018 Lakers pick or 2019 Kings pick.

Jesus Christ Danny, what are you trying to do to me? #1 overall picks in the NBA are the most valuable asset in sports. Over the last 15 years 9 of the #1 picks have made All-NBA teams, and 3 of the ones who haven’t are Andrew Wiggins, Karl Anthony Towns and Ben Simmons. All guys I wouldn’t mind having on the team. The only real busts have been Greg Oden and Anthony Bennett and Oden was derailed because of injuries, you could also put Andrea Bargani in the bust category but even he had a few good NBA seasons. #1 picks have a proven track record of becoming star players, especially guards who are taken #1. Where as big men are often drafted for their potential as rebounders and shot blockers, guards are much easier to project. The last guard to be selected #1 overall and not make an all-star team? John Lucas in 1976.

#1 overall picks in the NBA are the most valuable asset in sports. Over the last 15 years 9 of the #1 picks have made All-NBA teams, and 3 of the ones who haven’t are Andrew Wiggins, Karl Anthony Towns and Ben Simmons. All guys I wouldn’t mind having on the team. The only real busts have been Greg Oden and Anthony Bennett and Oden was derailed because of injuries, you could also put Andrea Bargani in the bust category but even he had a few good NBA seasons. #1 picks have a proven track record of becoming star players, especially guards who are taken #1. Whereas big men are often drafted for their potential as rebounders and shot blockers, guards are much easier to project. The last guard to be selected #1 overall and not make an all-star team? John Lucas in 1976.

Markelle Fultz’s game translates well to the NBA and is easily projectable as a future NBA stud. He also gives the Celtics scoring immediately, which they desperately need. Sure they would have a logjam at the guard position but Markelle can create his own shot, which is something only Isaiah is able to do for them now. While I think Josh Jackson is probably the 2d best player in this draft and like what he brings to the table (minus the threats of domestic violence) there is no guarantee he would even be available at 3 and he is an even worse fit than Fultz. They already have a similar player in Jaylen Brown, an entrenched starter in Jae Crowder and are targeting Gordon Hayward in free agency. What is this team going to do play a lineup of all undersized guards and small forwards? If the Celtics are going to take a player in this draft it needs to be Fultz.

While I think Josh Jackson is probably the second best player in this draft and like what he brings to the table (minus the threats of domestic violence) there is no guarantee he would even be available at 3 and he is an even worse fit than Fultz. They already have a similar player in Jaylen Brown, an entrenched starter in Jae Crowder and are targeting Gordon Hayward in free agency. What is this team going to do play a lineup of all undersized guards and small forwards? If the Celtics are going to take a player in this draft it needs to be Fultz.

If the Celtics do trade the pick the only scenario I am okay with is if they target a player like Anthony Davis. Having a trillion first round draft picks does you no good. Look a the Sixers, “trusting the process” has taken so long that they had to lose one of their first draft picks in Nerlens Noel for pennies on the dollar because they weren’t going to be able to afford to keep him. If the Celtics were to use the draft picks they receive in this trade they might have a completely different core group by the time those players are ready to contribute.

The only scenario in which I am okay with trading the #1 pick is if it results in a player like Anthony Davis or KAT. While it would likely take a king’s ransom and then some to acquire a player of that caliber those are guys who are worth it. If the Celtics offer the Pelicans the 2017 #3 pick and the 2018 Nets and Lakers unprotected picks both of which are going to have a good chance of being the number 1 overall the Pelicans have to at least hear them out.

Flipping the #3 pick and another pick for Jimmy Butler doesn’t make the Celtics a championship team. It puts them on the Spurs level, maybe good enough to beat Cleveland (maybe being the key word) but definitely not good enough to beat the Warriors. Jimmy Butler is a nice player, a top 15 NBA player, but if the Celtics are going to win a championship they need more than that. If Danny is hell bent on cashing in all his chips it needs to be for a surefire top 10 NBA talent. Unless Danny is 100% sure he can acquire a player of that quality the right move is to draft Fultz and try to improve the team through free agency.