As a fan of the Indiana Pacers, I knew this day was coming, but I wasn’t ready.
Paul George made it official, he wants out of Indianapolis. He wants to head back home to Southern California and play for the Los Angeles Lakers. Pacers new general manager Kevin Pritchard has a huge issue on his mind. Do they let him play next season, hope he makes the All-NBA team, so they could offer him much more money than any other team, or do they trade him now for some picks and/or another established star?
In 2010, Pritchard lost his job in Portland for a few dumb moves (and drafting Greg Oden over Kevin Durant). I’m sure he assumed a day when he needs to figure out the George problem would come, but probably didn’t think the news of George wanting out of town would leak before the 2017 NBA Draft.
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.
We knew this NBA offseason would have a lot of buzz since many top players would hit free agency on July 1st and the fact that the salary cap will hit a historic high of $94.143 million for the 2016-17 season.
Even though we expected a lot of money to be thrown around, it just didn’t really sink in until we saw the quality of players getting such huge contracts.
This list isn’t an indictment on the players getting literally a ton of cash, but an indictment on the owners spending frivolously. I guarantee their actions during the first few days of the 2016 NBA offseason will make them cry poor when this labor agreement expires. I have a feeling they may need another amnesty clause if spending continues this recklessly.
I’ve been an Indiana Pacers fan as long as I can remember. It was great during the Reggie Miller years, but after the ‘Malice at the Palace’, it became really difficult. Not only is your favorite team look at as ‘thugs’, but the years after it was just a mess.
After years of drafting ‘high character’ guys and signing ‘safe’ players, things finally turned around for the Pacers when they were lucky enough to draft Roy Hibbert, Paul George and Lance Stephenson. Things didn’t work out with Lance in the long-term, but there was hope for George and Hibbert to be a part of the team for a long time.
The Los Angeles Lakers were an embarrassment last season. After major injuries to Julius Randle and Kobe Bryant, the roster was full of D-League talent and aging veterans. If you pay close attention to sports betting odds, the current outlook for next season doesn’t look great either.
The Lakers are not used to being in this position. They always just restock instead of doing a long-term rebuild. Kobe doesn’t have much time left, so he is certainly in management’s ear in hopes of winning one more title to tie Michael Jordan’s ring count.
The 2015 NBA Draft has been hyped as a two-man draft with the top prizes being Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns and Duke’s Jahlil Okafor. I believe both big men will go onto have nice NBA careers, but this draft is deeper than most people think.
I believe Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell and Duke’s Justise Winslow could both be future NBA All-Stars…but just like any other player, they need to be in the right situation to develop.
Don’t worry international basketball fans, there’s plenty of overseas talent in this year’s draft. You have Croatian Mario Hezonja and Latvian Kristaps Prozingis as the top talents from Europe. Also, there’s an American high schooler Emmanuel Mudiay who went to China in lieu of going to college.
Here’s our early 2015 NBA mock draft for the NBA lottery selection.