Just like we did for the NFL Draft, we are here to release our 2017 NBA Mock Draft.
A lot can change before June 22nd. Many expect the Celtics and Lakers to get plenty of calls until then. The biggest possible trade that could happen could be the Pacers trading Paul George to the Celtics for a large package of prospects and the #1 overall pick. Will it happen? I’d say there’s only about a 20% chance right now.
Here is the ‘America’s White Boy’ 2017 NBA Mock Draft.
1. Boston Celtics – Markelle Fultz – PG – Washington Huskies – Fultz is the consensus best player in the draft. Even though Washington was a bad team last year, it should bring up too many red flags. In baseball, they call a prospect that can do everything a ‘five-tool player’…and Fultz is the equivalent in basketball. He has hops, he can shoot, he is very good defensively and has the size for his position. It will be interesting to see how he will play with Isaiah Thomas, but it can be done. This pick is very desirable, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Boston gets a mother lode for it if they trade it.
2. Los Angeles Lakers – Lonzo Ball – PG – UCLA Bruins – As much as I would avoid Lonzo Ball just because his father will cause many headaches, his talent is hard to ignore. He’s only working out for the Lakers and the Lakers like him, so I don’t see them passing on him. If they do, he can thank his father, Lavar Ball.
3. Philadelphia 76ers – Josh Jackson – SF – Kansas Jayhawks – I like Jackson more than Ball in this draft. Jackson is such a athletic player that the Sixers can place him next to Joel Embiid & Ben Simmons. I do wish he could shoot a little better, but he can learn. His natural tools are enough to get him by until he becomes a better jump shooter.
4. Phoenix Suns – Jayson Tatum – SF – Duke Blue Devils – The Suns have a lot of young players that I think will turn their team around very soon. Tatum has been one of the top prospects since he was in high school. If he lands in Phoenix, they will be a much better team right out of the gate.
5. Sacramento Kings – De’Aaron Fox – PG – Kentucky Wildcats – Fox would be an upgrade over the point guards the Kings had last season. It could take him a season or two to add some muscle. He’s very skinny, but he will be very good defensively right out of the gate.
6. Orlando Magic – Malik Monk – SG – Kentucky Wildcats – I love Monk. He has a sweet stroke and is a game changer. He has the ability to be the best player on the court, but he also disappears if he doesn’t start out getting some touches. The Magic need more perimeter shooters and Monk will help.
7. Minnesota Timberwolves – Jonathan Isaac – SF – Florida State Seminoles – Isaac would be a great complement to Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. He’s a stretch-four who can come in and protect the rim. I can see him taken a few picks earlier than #7 as well. His stock is rising.
8. New York Knicks – Dennis Smith Jr. – PG – NC State Wolfpack – Smith was a one-man machine at NC State last year. The rest of the team wasn’t very good, so they fell short of making the NCAA Tournament. The Knicks need someone to replace Derrick Rose. I could also see them draft Lauri Markkanen to pair with Porzingis, but I think Smith will be their guy.
9. Dallas Mavericks – Lauri Markkanen – PF – Arizona Wildcats – The Mavericks could have the next Dirk Nowitzki with Markkanen. He’s seven-foot-tall with deep range. He may need to beef up his lower body to be effective in the low-post.
10. Sacramento Kings – Frank Ntilikina – PG – France – I know the Kings already drafted point guard Fox in the first round, but doesn’t it sound like something the Kings would do? Ntilikina is very young and could grow on a roster that is very shallow and raw. He needs to hit the gym to turn his body into an NBA body.
11. Charlotte Hornets – Justin Jackson – SF – North Carolina Tar Heels – The temptation for Michael Jordan to draft a Tar Heel every year must be very high. He has mostly avoided many Tar Heels since Sean May, but Jackson would be a nice pick here. They need a slasher and Jackson is mostly just a slasher right now. He will need to work on his jumper and range.
12. Detroit Pistons – Donovan Mitchell – SG – Louisville Cardinals – The comp for Mitchell has been Victor Oladipo with better ball control. I think that’s a fair comparison. Mitchell is NBA-ready and will be immediately effective on defense.
13. Denver Nuggets – OG Anunoby – SF – Indiana Hoosiers – Anunoby has the biggest range to where he’s expected to be selected in the draft. I think #13 is the earliest he could be taken and I could even see him slip into the late 40’s. It might suit the Nuggets to trade back. The Nuggets need perimeter defense, but I’m not sure they can get it here unless they pick Anunoby.
14. Miami Heat – Ivan Rabb – PF – California Golden Bears – Rabb is another guy who has a big range where he could be drafted. He should be a first-rounder and this is about the earliest I’ve seen him in any draft. I love Rabb during his freshman season, but I didn’t see a ton of him last year. He did add some weight and became a better shooter. Rabb would be a nice replacement for Chris Bosh.
15. Portland Trailblazers – Zach Collins – C – Gonzaga Bulldogs – Portland acquired Jusuf Nurkic and flourished. I would see Collins being effective playing next to him. The Blazers would have a fantastic interior defense.
16. Chicago Bulls – Luke Kennard – SG – Duke Blue Devils – The Bulls need someone to play with Jimmy Butler. Kennard could create space for Butler. He has insane range and can drive the basket as well.
17. Milwaukee Bucks – Jarrett Allen – C – Texas Longhorns – The Bucks couldn’t decide which center they liked the most last season. John Henson and Greg Monroe took turns starting. They need Allen to develop into a NBA-ready center. He’s a big guy who has length and is athletic.
18. Indiana Pacers – John Collins – C – Wake Forest Demon Deacons – Collins does all his magic at the rim on offense and defense. He is a very good rebounder and had the highest PER in college basketball last season. He works hard for rebounds and should work very well with Myles Turner.
19. Atlanta Hawks – Harry Giles – C – Duke Blue Devils – Giles didn’t make much of an impression at Duke. He missed a ton of games and didn’t look healthy until near the end of the season. I do worry about his knees. He was once the top prospect in this past freshman class. It is a little of a gamble and could be taken by a team with more than one first round pick.
20. Portland Trailblazers – Hamidou Diallo – SG – High School – Okay, I know very little about Diallo. He was planning on going to Kentucky, but was able to enter the draft due to him turning 19 before the season. He has a 44 1/2 inch vertical leap, so a lot of teams are giving him a look. I thought Thon Maker was a late-first round pick last season, but jumped up due to mystery. Diallo could have the same luck and be picked in the lottery.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder – Terrance Ferguson – SG – Adelaide (NBL) – Ferguson skipped college and played overseas for a season after high school. He has all the physical abilities and is a much better shooter than expected. He could open up space for Russell Westbrook once teams fear Ferguson’s shooting depth.
22. Brooklyn Nets – Justin Patton – C – Creighton Bluejays – If Patton is there at #22, I think the Nets will pool the trigger. I heard they like T.J. Leaf as well, but Patton could become a very good big man. Brooklyn is struggling for prospects after swapping first round picks with Boston for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. That trade will doom them and they won’t be competitive for a few more years.
23. Toronto Raptors – Bam Adebayo – C – Kentucky Wildcats – The Raptors need to replace Serge Ibaka, who will be a free agent this Summer. Adebayo is a great rebounder and can score points in the paint.
24. Utah Jazz – Jonathan Jeanne – C – France – Do the Jazz draft another Rudy Gobert? Jeanne is 7’2 with the biggest wingspan in the draft at 7’6 1/2. I haven’t heard if Jeanne is expected to play in the NBA next season or play another season in Europe. The Jazz could have a steal if he turns into 75% of what Gobert has become.
25. Orlando Magic – Ike Anigbogu – C – UCLA Bruins – Anigbogu didn’t get the ball a lot with Lonzo Ball and T.J. Leaf on the court. Anigbogu has some low-post skills and is excellent on the offensive glass.
26. Portland Trailblazers – Tyler Lydon – SF – Syracuse Orange – Lydon would be a very good bench player right out of the gate. He would need to add muscle to be a starter. He can do a little bit of everything, but isn’t elite at anything.
27. Brooklyn Nets – T.J. Leaf – PF – UCLA Bruins – Leaf could go much earlier than this, but this draft is filled with guys with his skill-set. He could be a nice stretch-four for a team. He could develop even more with the Nets. He will get minutes immediately starting in October.
28. Los Angeles Lakers – Jordan Bell – PF – Oregon Ducks – Bell has quick feet and is one of the best defensive big man in this draft. He put up a few crooked numbers in the blocks column last year. He has the skills to do the same in the NBA.
29. San Antonio Spurs – D.J. Wilson – PF – Michigan Wolverines – I love Wilson. It took him a little time to develop, but he is a good rebounder, scorer and underrated passer. Michigan wouldn’t have made it to the NCAA Tournament without Wilson’s play in the Big Ten Tournament. He should go earlier, but the Spurs always end up with a good player at the end of most NBA Drafts.
30. Utah Jazz – Semi Ojeleye – SF – SMU Mustangs – Ojeleye has an NBA body and is fast. He had one of the best 3/4 court sprints at 244 pounds. He has deep range and would be a coup if he fell to the Jazz at #30.
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.