2017 NBA Mock Draft: Debut
Round 1 Picks 1-15
My first 2017 NBA Mock Draft is now up. Enjoy!
Chris Ransom follow @DraftUtopia Last Updated: February 22, 2017.
Boston Celtics: Markelle Fultz, PG, Washington
- The Boston Celtics can swap first round picks with the Brooklyn Nets who currently have the leagues worst record. The only position Boston needs is a power forward, but unfortunately for the Celtics there are no shooting guards or power forwards worth taking first overall. The Celtics could trade down, but I don't predict trades in my mock drafts.
- There were rumors about the Celtics taking Kris Dunn at 3 over Jaylen Brown who I had originally mocked to the Celtics before buying into the rumors of a point guard. The 6-4 195 lb Markelle Fultz is too good to pass on here.
- Markelle Fultz has averaged 23.2 points per game, 5.7 rebounds per game, 5.9 assists per game, a .476 field goal percentage, a .413 three point percentage, and a .649 free throw percentage. Fultz has all the tools to be the top pick in the 2017 NBA Draft and its hard for me to see the Celtics passing on Fultz with the top pick.
Phoenix Suns: Josh Jackson, SF, Kansas
- The Phoenix Suns get a small forward at 2. Their biggest need is center, but like I stated earlier I don't project trades in my mocks so the Suns get the best player available at a position of need. T.J. Warren's backup P.J. Tucker is a Free Agent after this season. Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight are both under contract until 2020.
- The 6-8 207 lb Josh Jackson averages 16.5 points per game which is more than the 15.4 points per game Lonzo Ball averages. Ball is listed at 2 in a lot more mocks than Jackson, but Jackson makes more logical sense for the Suns at 2. Jackson also averages 6.9 rebounds per game and 3 assists per game at small forward.
- Josh Jackson averages a .506 field goal percentage, a .362 three point percentage, and a .563 free throw percentage. Jackson was going to be my top pick back in June when examining the initial 2017 NBA Mock Draft. I still believe he's a top 2 prospect at this point.
Los Angeles Lakers: Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA
- The Los Angeles Lakers should use this pick to move down for a center since Mozgov is replaceable. At the same time, the Lakers won't have their 2018 first round pick if they get a top 3 pick this year. Are the Lakers really going to pass on UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball? Ball is as Hollywood as it gets.
- Not only does the 6-6 190 lb Lonzo Ball average 15.4 points per game, but he also averages 6.1 rebounds per game, 7.6 assists per game, a .555 field goal percentage, a .430 three point percentage, and a .679 free throw percentage. Lonzo Ball reminds me so much of Steph Curry that its scary. Even if the Lakers have D'Angelo Russell under contract there is no way I see the Lakers passing on the hometown Lonzo Ball if he slips to 3.
Orlando Magic: Dennis Smith Jr., PG, North Carolina State
- Neither Elfrid Payton or D.J. Augustin is playing like a starting point guard. The 6-3 195 lb Dennis Smith Jr. would be the perfect replacement.
- Dennis Smith Jr. averages 18.9 points per game, 4.4 rebounds per game, 6.6 assists per game, .468 field goal percentage, .371 three point percentage, and a .720 free throw percentage. Dennis Smith Jr. reminds me so much of Russell Westbrook and the Magic could really use a point guard with Westbrook's talent.
Philadelphia 76ers: Jayson Tatum, SF, Duke
- The Philadelphia 76ers are expected to move Ben Simmons to power forward next season. They may as well take the top forward to compliment him in Jayson Tatum who happens to be the best player available at 5.
- The 6-8 205 lb Jayson Tatum averages 16.4 points per game, 7.1 rebounds per game, 2 assists per game, averages a .453 field goal percentage, a .389 three point percentage, and an .870 free throw percentage. Tatum would compliment Ben Simmons at forward playing the small forward role that Simmons was supposed to play before Philadelphia moved him to power forward at the 4 as a point forward that plays like a point guard plus you would have Joel Embiid at center. Philadelphia would finally have a competitive trio with Tatum, Simmons, and Embiid in 2017.
Minnesota Timberwolves: Lauri Markkanen, PF, Arizona
- The Minnesota Timberwolves are one power forward away from being a competitive team. Lauri Markkanen fills a position of need for Minnesota at 6.
- The 7-0 230 lb Lauri Markkanen is a power forward for Arizona. You can make the case he has the height of a center, but has the weight and muscle of a 4 at power forward.
- Markkanen has averaged 15.7 points per game, 7.5 rebounds per game, 0.9 assists per game, a .498 field goal percentage, a .457 three point percentage, and a .839 free throw percentage. Markkanen is the missing piece for the Timberwolves.
Dallas Mavericks: De'Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky
- The 6-3 187 lb De'Aaron Fox grew up in Houston, Texas before committing to Kentucky. Now Fox returns to Texas to play for the Dallas Mavericks who draft him seventh overall.
- De'Aaron Fox averages 15.6 points per game, 4.2 rebounds per game, 5.4 assists per game, a .461 field goal percentage, and a .725 free throw percentage. Fox has a .160 three point percentage meaning Fox needs to work on hitting three pointers if he's gonna succeed in the NBA. I'd also like to see him add more muscle, but he has enough talent to be a successful point guard in the NBA and is still a top 10 pick at this point.
New York Knicks: Frank Ntilikina, PG, Strasbourg
- The New York Knicks take a point guard at 8 with Derrick Rose and Brandon Jennings set to become Free Agents at the end of the year. Many consider Frank Ntilikina the best international prospect since Emmanuel Mudiay a few years ago. Ntilikina played for France before playing with Strasbourg, but the Knicks may take another international player here after having lots of success with Kristaps Porzingis, who I'll admit I was dead wrong about.
Sacramento Kings: Jonathan Isaac, SF, Florida State
- The 6-10 210 lb Jonathan Isaac would make an awesome replacement to Tyreke Evans who got shipped to Sacramento along with this pick after the DeMarcus Cousins trade which sent Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans. Many would argue that Isaac is a top 5 prospect and that's why Isaac is such a steal at this point. Isaac averages 12.7 points per game, 7.7 rebounds per game, 1 assist per game, a .523 field goal percentage, a .362 three point percentage, and a .802 free throw percentage.
Portland Trail Blazers: Ivan Rabb, PF, California
- Portland has all 12 players under contract for next season plus 4 first round picks. This makes their draft situation so difficult to evaluate.
- I like Damien Lillard and C.J. McCollum as their stud guards at point guard and shooting guard. Evan Turner can be a solid power forward. I think power forward is the biggest issue for Portland right now and Ivan Rabb just makes a ton of sense here at 10 as I had Rabb at 8 in my 2016 NBA Mock Draft before he returned to school.
- Ivan Rabb averages 14.8 points per game, 10.7 rebounds per game, 1.7 assists per game. His field goal percentage, three point percentage, and free throw percentage are down from last year. Rabb is still a top 10 talent and can develop into a David Lee type of player.
Chicago Bulls: Malik Monk, SG, Kentucky
- The Chicago Bulls will need guard depth at some point. Rajon Rondo is declining, Jeremiah Grant isn't making the progress Bulls fans wanted him to at point guard, plus Dwayne Wade can opt out of his contract at the end of the year with a player option for 2017.
- The 6-3 200 lb Malik Monk can play both point guard or shooting guard with his versatility. Monk averages 21.4 points per game, 2.4 rebounds per game, 2.3 assists per game, a .476 field goal percentage, a .414 three point percentage, and a .825 free throw percentage.
Charlotte Hornets: Miles Bridges, SF, Michigan State
- The Charlotte Hornets have their entire starting five and backups under contract for next season. The only player the Hornets lose is their third string point guard. Miles Bridges is the best player available so the Hornets can draft the best player on the board rather than looking for a need at 12. Bridges averages 16.1 points per game, 8.5 rebounds per game, and 2 assists per game making him an ideal depth player for Charlotte.
Miami Heat: T.J. Leaf, PF, UCLA
- Miami needs a power forward. The 6-10 225 lb T.J. Leaf averages 16.7 points per game, 8.7 rebounds per game, 2.6 assists per game, a .628 field goal percentage, a .471 three point percentage, and a .658 free throw percentage. T.J. Leaf is not someone Miami can pass on at 13.
Milwaukee Bucks: Robert Williams, PF, Texas A&M
- I think Robert Williams will bust. Even if I feel that way he's a consensus lottery pick plus the Milwaukee Bucks are one team that could screw this pick up.
Portland Trail Blazers: Bam Adebayo, C, Kentucky
- The 6-10 255 lb Bam Adebayo has a lot of potential. He's a two year project though. I can see Portland reaching for Adebayo because center is a big need and screwing this pick up though.
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