2017 NBA Mock Draft – 2/2/17

I completely rewrote all of my blurbs, so this mock is worth a full read.

Please make sure to click here to view the latest 2017 NBA Mock Draft.

# Team Player H/W Hometown Position School 16-17 Stats
1. Boston Celtics slhg02hbef3j1ov4lsnwyol5o Markelle Fultz, Fr 6’4, 195 lbs Upper Marlboro, MD PG/SG Washington 23.1 ppg, 6.0 apg, 6.0 rpg
No changes at the top, where Markelle Fultz is still the consensus top player available. He seems to have the best blend of offense, play making ability, shooting, size and point guard skills. He is basically a one man show for the overmatched Washington Huskies, and his percentages have suffered a bit as a result, but scouts are all over his ability to lead his team, even if it has not translated to wins. The Celtics are receiving calls left and right for this pick, but so far they have declined all offers. Expect the big offers to continue rolling in. Boston’s back court is set with Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley, and the Nets ammunition could land them a legitimate superstar.
2. Phoenix Suns 23843702014 Josh Jackson, Fr 6’8, 207 lbs Detroit, MI SG/SF  Kansas 16.0 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 3.0 apg
Josh Jackson is nipping on Markelle Fultz heels as the top overall prospect in this class. Jackson has elevated his game in recent days, with three straight 20+ point scoring efforts against ranked teams. Bill Self has total confidence in the freshman, which is rare, as Jackson has played 77 of a possible 80 minutes during Kansas last two wins against Kentucky and Baylor. Jackson has two straight double doubles and has even knocked down 10 of his last 18 three point buckets. If he can continue to improve a shaky jump shot, the sky is the limit. The fact that this is such a point guard league right now is the main reason Fultz could still be picked over Jackson. The Suns are set with Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker. Jackson’s defense and toughness would be a huge addition on the wing in Phoenix.
3. Los Angeles Lakers uig7aiht8jnpl1szbi57zzlsh Lonzo Ball, Fr 6’6, 190 lbs Chino Hills, CA PG UCLA 14.8 ppg, 8.0 apg, 5.8 rpg
Los Angeles could go several different directions with this pick, but with a team this bad, the best player available is usually the way to go. The jury is still out as to whether a D’Angelo Russell/Jordan Clarkson back court is good enough long term, as both players have struggled with overall consistency. I worry a bit about Lonzo Ball’s athleticism and shooting, but he is crafty and smart enough to overcome his shortcomings. Another important factor that cannot be overlooked is the potential star power that Ball could bring to Los Angeles. Unlike the Lakers other top picks, Ball is a Southern California kid with an NBA friendly game, and has the demeanor and charisma to be the face of the NBA’s most popular franchise.
4. Orlando Magic wd9ic7qafgfb0yxs7tem7n5g4 Jonathan Isaac, Fr 6’10, 210 lbs Naples, FL SF/PF Florida State 13.3 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 1.6 bpg
The Magic have completely fallen apart in recent weeks, and it could cost overmatched General Manager Rob Hennigan his job. Moving forward, Orlando will hope to recoup a bit of value for Serge Ibaka before he departs as a free agent, and build around Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier. Orlando needs help everywhere, and should just draft the best player available. Perhaps the most unheralded of the top freshman, Jonathan Isaac is having a tremendous season and is a legitimate contender for the top overall pick. His length, ability to hit the three and shot blocking skills make him a perfect small forward/stretch four in today’s NBA. He would be a tremendous fit next to Gordon in Orlando’s front court, and could be that future star the Magic so desperately need.
5. Philadelphia 76ers 21870342016 Dennis Smith Jr., Fr 6’3, 195 lbs Fayetteville, NC PG North Carolina State 18.7 ppg, 6.9 apg, 4.7 rpg
The 76ers have a great chance to complete their rebuilding effort during the 2017 draft. With lottery luck, they could have two top ten picks, where they would want to add some guards and scoring punch to the roster. Dennis Smith Jr., who is perhaps the most inconsistently great freshman in the country, followed up a 32 point gem against Duke with a 3-12, 8 point, 5 turnover stinker against Louisville. Three days later he dropped a 15 assist triple double in a tough overtime loss against Syracuse. With Ben Simmons expected to be the primary ball handler for Philadelphia, Smith could focus on scoring and playing defense. He has legitimate 20 point per game potential.
6. New Orleans Pelicans 496226812014 Jayson Tatum, Fr 6’8, 205 lbs St. Louis, MO SF Duke 16.1 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.9 apg
The current formula in New Orleans has not worked, and with both Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans free agents following the season, things may look much different for the Pelicans next year. The one and only constant is Anthony Davis, so other than power forward and perhaps scoring guard (with Buddy Hield on the roster), New Orleans could go with the best player available. Unlike the other three top Duke freshman, Jayson Tatum is having a very fine and productive season for the Blue Devils. He is athletic, a good defender and a great slasher and rebounder. The only issue is a very shoddy jump shot, which clouds his NBA potential somewhat. He is still a sure fire top ten pick and would provide some much needed energy to a lethargic Pelicans roster.
7. Sacramento Kings 24040432017 Malik Monk, Fr 6’4, 200 lbs Lepanto, AR SG Kentucky 22.4 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.3 apg
It has been another lost season in Sacramento, thanks to free agent spending sprees and numerous top ten picks that have turned into nothing of significance. It looks like the Kings are set to offer DeMarcus Cousins an extension worth $200 million, so it will be up to the front office to actually hit on some draft picks and signings to build a contending roster around him. Malik Monk is perhaps the best pure scorer in college basketball. He has not been asked to do much else for the Wildcats, but has several 30+ point games on his roster. Shooting is always in high demand, which should make Monk a top ten pick come draft night.
8. Minnesota Timberwolves zq8qkfni1g087f4245egc32po Robert Williams, Fr 6’9, 237 lbs Vivian, LA PF Texas A&M 10.7 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 2.4 bpg
Robert Williams continues to shoot up my draft board, and now he is securely in my top ten. The Texas A&M coaching staff has finally given it’s best player 27-30 minutes per game, and Williams responded with four straight 10+ rebound games. Williams is still a project offensively, but is blessed with a great frame, powerful rebounding ability and tremendous shot blocking skills. His ability to bang down low and play defense would make him a great compliment to Karl-Anthony Towns in Minnesota’s front court.
9. Dallas Mavericks ifk08eam05rwxr3yhol3whdcm Lauri Markkanen, Fr 7’0, 230 lbs Jyvaskyla, Finland PF/C Arizona 16.8 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 1.0 apg
The Mavericks should be tanking so they can add a top tier talent to an old, tired roster, but that has never been the M.O. of Mark Cuban and Rick Carlisle. In fact, I would not be surprised if Dallas tried to add more veteran talent to the roster, in an effort to once again try to land free agents in the off season. If they choose to keep this pick, Lauri Markkanen looks like a very good fit. On paper, he does have the look of a Germany-era Dirk Nowitzki. He is a legit 7 foot, and is one of the best shooters in the country. While he might not ever be more than a passable defender, teams are always looking for shooting wherever they can get it, and Markkanen has the ability to be a very good scorer at the NBA level.
10. Miami Heat burm5gh2wvjti3xhei5h16k8e Miles Bridges, Fr 6’7, 230 lbs Flint, MI SF/PF Michigan State 16.3 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 2.0 apg
The Michigan State Spartans are having a miserable year by their lofty standards, but that is no fault of Miles Bridges, who has been as good as advertised. Bridges reminds me of Stanley Johnson with confidence and an ability to hit the three pointer. He is strong, a great rebounder and a natural born leader. The Heat need bodies and talent everywhere other than center, where Hassan Whiteside has been worth every bit of his max contract.
11. New York Knicks 2nn48xofg0hms8k326cqdmuis Bruce Brown, Fr 6’5, 190 lbs Boston, MA PG/SG Miami 12.3 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 3.1 apg
The Knicks are an organization and roster forever in flux, so predicting which way the  team will draft is next to impossible. I will assume New York will just go with the best player available in hopes of adding young talent to join the likes of Kristaps Porzingis and Wily Hernangomez. I have had Bruce Brown in my first round all season, but it is time to move him up, yes, all the way into the late lottery. You can thank a 30 point, 4 rebound, 5 assist, 2 steal, 2 block, 4-6 from three point range and 10-13 from the line performance in a win against North Carolina for that. I have compared Brown’s game to a UCLA Russell Westbrook, and think he could be a similar (use similar in the loosest term as it would be blasphemous to say he will be as good as Westbrook) guard in the NBA. He fills up the stat sheet on both ends of the court and only turns the ball over 2 times per game.
12. Milwaukee Bucks 22582752016 De’Aaron Fox, Fr 6’3, 187 lbs Houston, TX PG Kentucky 15.9 ppg, 5.7 apg, 4.4 rpg
The Bucks have used Giannis Antetokounmpo, Matthew Dellavedova and Malcolm Brogdon at point guard this year, but none of those players are the true point guard a Jason Kidd team needs. The play of De’Aaron Fox has leveled off in recent weeks, but in many other drafts he would still be the top point guard available. He is strong, very quick and has the ability to be a lock down defender. The reason he remains available at the end of the lottery is he has shown little ability to hit the three point shot, which is almost a must in today’s NBA. Still, he has a bit of young Jason Kidd to his game and would be a massive upgrade over Dellavedova in Milwaukee.
13. Denver Nuggets xeti0fjbyzmcffue57vz5o1gl Harry Giles, Fr 6’11, 227 lbs Winston-Salem, NC PF Duke 5.4 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 0.5 apg
Harry Giles is being brought along very slowly, and it is beginning to look like he will never be a difference maker at the college level. However, a double double in only 17 minutes of action against Georgia Tech shows why he was the top overall recruit in the country. In most years, a player of his talent could still be taken in the top five or ten, but this is a ridiculously deep draft, and lottery teams will be very leery of passing up on a more productive player for the potential that Giles offers. Picking near the end of the lottery and with two first round picks and a deep roster, Denver is one of the teams who could afford the gamble. If it pays off, the Nuggets could have one of the best front courts in the league with Giles and Nikola Jokic.
14. Detroit Pistons 3079 Rodions Kurucs 6’8, 190 lbs Riga, Latvia SF Latvia 9.5 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.0 apg
Rodions Kurucs has slowly climbed up my board and now finds himself in the late lottery. He continues to get better and better for his Barcelona team, showing a fantastic ability to score, thanks to his length and great jump shot. He has the look of a skinny Danilo Gallinari, and could become a solid NBA scorer if properly developed. The Pistons have been a disappointment, but is still a solid roster, though always one on the lookout for additional scoring and shooting.
15. Portland Trail Blazers bahmh46cyy6eod2jez4g21buk Edrice Adebayo, Fr 6’10, 260 lbs Washington, DC PF/C Kentucky 13.2 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1.6 bpg
Despite struggling, the Trail Blazers find themselves back in the Western Conference playoffs. Of course, whichever sub .500 team makes the playoffs will simply get steamrolled by the Warriors, but it would be an accomplishment nonetheless. Portland is a deep team with several overpaid veterans that management will want to see be given minutes, so whoever is drafted here will not make much of an impact. You can assume that the Trail Blazers will draft front court, with Edrice Adebayo the best player available. Adebayo is not flashy, but has legit center size and can rebound, block shots and is athletic enough to hit a mid range jump shot.
16. Charlotte Hornets 512019262015 John Collins, So 6’10, 235 lbs West Palm Beach, FL PF/C Wake Forest 17.0 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 1.6 bpg
After a 26 point, 16 rebound, 3 block performance in a win against Boston College, I can no longer allow John Collins to languish at the very end of the first round in my mocks; he has simply been too good. For those who take an analytical approach to college basketball, Collins has the second top PER in the nation, behind only Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ. That is due to his scoring, rebound, shot blocking and efficient scoring. While Collins still needs to bulk up, he is dropping 20 points per night with ease and needs to be taken very seriously as a draft prospect. Despite spending several draft picks on big men, the Hornets still need scoring, especially in the front court.
17. Chicago Bulls hj3gmh82w9hffmeh3fjm5h874 Frank Ntilikina 6’5, 170 lbs Brussels, Belgium PG France 5.2 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 1.4 apg
Most years a player like Frank Ntilikina would be a shoo in top ten pick, but this is not most years. I had a hard time mocking him above any of the previous players, even with his freakish talent. This would be a good landing spot, as the Bulls are on a serious lookout for a point guard of the future. Ntilikina is still a bit of an unkown but could be a Boston era Rajon Rondo type, thanks to his speed, play making skills and ability to be a lengthy, pesky defender. Bulls fans, I said Boston era Rajon Rondo, not Chicago era Rajon Rondo. Do not hate me.
18. Indiana Pacers 3083 Ivan Rabb, So 6’11, 220 lbs Oakland, CA PF California 15.1 ppg, 10.6 rpg, 1.8 apg
While Ivan Rabb lacks the upside of many players picked ahead of him, he is a safe bet to come in right away and produce as a rebounder and weak side defender. Rabb’s production could have landed him in the top five of the 2016 draft, which is a testament to how ridiculously deep this class is. This is a great draft for those middling playoff teams who are too good to land a top player, but not good enough to refuse bench help. There will be quality rotation guys who have the potential to develop into starters well into the second round. Rabb could be Thaddeus Young’s potential replacement.
19. Oklahoma City Thunder khmovcnezy06c3nm05ccn0oj2 Tyler Lydon, So 6’9, 223 lbs Elizaville, NY SF/PF Syracuse 14.3 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 1.4 bpg
Like the Syracuse team as a whole, Tyler Lydon has been inconsistent as a sophomore. However, with games such as his 26 point, 7 rebound performance against North Carolina and a 14 point, 11 rebound, 7 block game against top ten ranked Florida State, he shows that he is a legit first round prospect. His blend of length, shooting and shot blocking would be a welcome addition to the Thunder bench.
20. Atlanta Hawks 22091682016 Jarrett Allen, Fr 6’11, 235 lbs Round Rock, TX PF/C Texas 12.3 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 1.5 bpg
he Hawks have one eye on contending and the other on the future, and could use some young players to develop, especially along the front court. The Longhorns have been miserable this season, but that is not the fault of Jarrett Allen, who has really come alive during conference play, and continues to rise up my board. Allen’s signature performance has been a 22 point, 19 rebound, 3 block performance against Kansas, the best team on Texas schedule. He is athletic, springy and would make an ideal big man off the bench, with the ability to take over for Dwight Howard in a couple of seasons.
21. Washington Wizards 21956712016 Johnathan Motley, Jr 6’10, 230 lbs Houston, TX PF Baylor 16.2 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 2.1 apg
It has been quite a couple of months for the Wizards, who have gone from top five pick in the draft to a serious threat to earn the right to lose to the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference finals.  However, the bench remains a sore spot, which means the Wizards should just draft the best player available, with an eye on the front court. Baylor was recently ranked #1 in the country, and their best player has been junior Johnathan Motley. Motley exploded in a win against Texas with 32 points, 20 rebounds and 3 blocks, which has helped catapult him into the first round. He is a double double machine that could develop into a quality back up big man in the NBA.
22. Denver Nuggets (from Grizzlies) xeti0fjbyzmcffue57vz5o1gl Isaiah Hartenstein 6’11, 225 lbs Eugene, OR PF Germany 3.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 0.4 apg
Isaiah Hartenstein has lottery talent, but he has not shown much for his Lithuanian team, though that is common with European prospects. With proper development, he could become a starter in this league. He has the size, strength and rebounding ability. The Nuggets are a deep team that probably does not have room on it’s roster for two more rookies, and would leave him overseas to develop.
23. Toronto Raptors 22745782016 Justin A. Jackson, Jr 6’8, 210 lbs Tomball, TX SF North Carolina 18.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.6 apg
Justin Jackson was a former top recruit who has spent three years working his way into a first round prospect, and he has finally arrived as a junior. Jackson has become a much more aggressive scorer and capable leader as the years have gone on, and could become a decent starting small forward in time. The Raptors are always looking out for bench scoring, and Jackson would be a nice addition to a second unit that already includes Patrick Patterson, Terrence Ross and Cory Joseph.
24. Utah Jazz 23467492017 Jalen Brunson, So 6’3, 190 lbs Lincolnshire, IL PG Villanova 14.5 ppg, 4.3 apg, 2.4 rpg
Jalen Brunson has flown under the radar for the defending champions, but is having a tremendous sophomore season. He really has no business being available at this point of the draft, but that is a testament to how deep this class is. Brunson has been especially impressive on offense, with shooting percentages through the roof. This could be the best class of point guards in a decade, and Brunson belongs in the mid first round conversation. George Hill has been tremendous and the Jazz will do everything it can to resign him, but there are bench minutes available, especially with Dante Exum struggling to establish himself.
25. Toronto Raptors (from Clippers) 22745782016 Justin Jackson, Fr 6’7, 225 lbs East York, Ontario, Canada SF Maryland 11.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 0.9 bpg
I am not trying to be cute by mocking two players with the same name to the Raptors, though that would be a hilarious development for the Toronto commentator team. The Maryland Terrapins are a very surprising 20-2 on the season and Justin Jackson is the best NBA talent on the roster. Any time a team is playing as good as Maryland is, people start to take notice. Like most freshman in this range, Jackson has struggled with consistency but has shown his ability with two straight 20 point, 10 rebound performances where he shot a combined 9 of 12 from three point land and turned the ball over a total of three times in 62 minutes. Another year in college should make him a lottery pick, but if he leaves after his freshman season, he could be a late first round pick. Not to mention the Raptors would love to finally draft a Canada native.
26. Brooklyn Nets (from Celtics) hsuff5m3dgiv20kovde422r1f Terrance Ferguson 6’7, 186 lbs Flower Mound, TX SG United States 5.0 ppg, 1.3 rpg, 0.7 apg
The Nets cannot score and are the worst defensive team in the NBA. Summary? This team needs talent anywhere it can find it. Despite an up and down season in Australia, Terrance Ferguson has drawn the respect of several scouts, who are impressed with his toughness, defense and how he has responded as an 18 year old teenager playing basketball on the other side of the planet. This draft is light on wings, and Ferguson has the ability to develop into a nice spot up shooter who can defend as well.
27. Portland Trail Blazers (from Cavaliers) bahmh46cyy6eod2jez4g21buk Dwayne Bacon, So 6’7, 221 lbs Lakeland, FL SG/SF Florida State 17.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 1.7 apg
Dwayne Bacon has been a bit overshadowed by superstar freshman Jonathan Isaac, but he has improved as a sophomore, especially his three point shot. Bacon will never be a super efficient scorer, but there is always a place in the NBA for wing players who can create his own offense. Portland is a deep team, but could use an additional go to scorer.
28. Houston Rockets 8xe4813lzybfhfl14axgzzqeq Josh Hart, Sr 6’6, 215 lbs Silver Spring, MD SG Villanova 18.6 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 3.3 apg
Villanova is not a team loaded with high draft picks, but thanks to great coaching and experience, several guys should find themselves on NBA rosters. Josh Hart has worked himself into late first round consideration thanks to an NBA ready game that involves shooting, ball handling and defense. He has the chance to be an efficient bench scorer who should find open looks beyond the arc playing with James Harden.
29. San Antonio spurs 827 Caleb Swanigan, So 6’9, 250 lbs Fort Wayne, IN PF/C Purdue 18.8 ppg, 12.9 rpg, 2.9 apg
Caleb Swanigan is one of the very best players in college basketball, but his NBA prospects are murky, to say the least. Prospects with his body type and athleticism do not have a strong track record of NBA success. Swanigan’s ability to rebound should translate relatively well, but does he have the athleticism to make it? The Spurs usually draft overseas prospects at this point in the draft, but with the talent still remaining, could go with a guy like Swanigan in hopes they land an eventual rotation contributor.
30. Utah Jazz (from Warriors) 23467492017 Cameron Oliver, So 6’8, 225 lbs Sacramento, CA SF/PF Nevada 14.9 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 2.8 bpg
I really like Cameron Oliver’s game, and want to ensure he stays in the first round of my mock, though in 2017, that has been a difficult task. Oliver offers a nice blend of shooting, rebound and shot blocking. He has the athleticism to become a solid stretch four who can defend as well, and would make a nice backup front court piece for the very deep Utah Jazz.

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