Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Abbreviated NBA Mock Draft

With a list of foreign players who I've never seen other than a few YouTube clips, I'm sticking to mocking just the first ten picks this year.  Here is my first stab at predicting who will be the first ten picks of the 2017 NBA Draft.

1. Philadelphia 76ers (from Celtics): Markelle Fultz, G, Washington

The Sixers dealt the #3 pick this year and a protected first round pick in 2018 or 2019 to the Celtics for the right to move up to select Fultz.

Among the top prospects in this year's draft, Fultz has emerged as the consensus best prospect and he fits a serious need in Philadelphia as the 76ers desperately needed a guard who can score the ball to complement their young front court of Joel Embiid, Dario Saric, and Ben Simmons.

2. Los Angeles Lakers: Lonzo Ball, G, UCLA

While Ball may not be a perfect fit for the 2017-18 Lakers of Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, and D'Angelo Russell, many in the NBA believe that LeBron James and Paul George could be heading to the Lakers next summer and Ball's play making abilities will complement those two stars games.

3. Boston Celtics (from 76ers): Jayson Tatum, F, Duke

In announcing the trade with the 76ers yesterday, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge stated, "We think there's a really good chance the player we'll take at 3 is the same player we would have taken at 1."

Tatum seems like the right fit.  He can play either forward position and gives the Celtics much needed scoring from that position.  Josh Jackson of Kansas is another versatile forward but Tatum is the better scorer and with Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart already on the roster as defensive wings with developing offense, Tatum offers the scoring they need to be more balanced.

4. Phoenix Suns: Josh Jackson, F, Kansas

I would not be surprised if Ainge bluffs Phoenix into believing they will take Jackson at #3 in order to squeeze a future pick out of the Suns, who are rumored to be enamored with Jackson.

The Kansas product would join 2016 first round picks Dragan Bender (a favorite of TheBostonInsider a year ago) and Marquese Chriss at forward as well as 2015 first round pick Devin Booker in forming a solid young nucleus for the Suns.

5. Sacramento Kings (from 76ers): De'Aaron Fox, G, Kentucky

Fox is the point guard that the Kings have been searching for since Jason Williams left town. Sacramento appears to be in yet another rebuilding phase and Fox should be a nice piece of the puzzle for their future.

6. New York Knicks (PROJECTED TRADE with Magic): Dennis Smith, G, NC State

Smith is an athletic guard who can score and he would join Kristaps Porzingis to give Knicks fans hope for the future as they figure out how to get rid of Carmelo Anthony.  The Magic will be happy to move down for a future first round pick.

7. Minnesota Timberwolves: Jonathan Isaac, F, Florida State

After only one year at Florida State, Isaac is extremely raw but he'd be a nice front court complement to Karl-Anthony Towns if he can continue to develop his jump shot and learns how to play NBA defense.

8. Orlando Magic (PROJECTED TRADE with Knicks): Donovan Mitchell, G, Louisville

Mitchell is a promising guard who would join Elfrid Payton and Mario Hezonja in the Orlando back court.

9. Dallas Mavericks: Frank Ntilikina, G, France

A long athletic point guard for Dallas to use as a building block for their (eventual) post Dirk Nowitzki future.

10. Sacramento Kings: Malik Monk, G, Kentucky

If the Kings follow my mock, Fox and Monk will join fellow Kentucky products Willie Cauley-Stein and Skal Labissiere in Lexington West.

Monk has a great shooting touch and is an excellent athlete.  Sacramento traded for Buddy Hield and has Ben McLemore already at shooting guard but Monk is too good of a prospect to pass on at #10.

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