2017 NBA Mock Draft – 2/16/17

I skipped last week. But with a few trades going down involving draft picks this is a good time for a new one. Plus, I have a new number one overall pick after Markelle Fultz has held the spot all year.

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# Team Player H/W Hometown Position School 16-17 Stats
1. Boston Celtics slhg02hbef3j1ov4lsnwyol5o Josh Jackson, Fr 6’8, 207 lbs Detroit, MI SG/SF  Kansas 16.5 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 3.0 apg
With it looking less likely that Boston will trade this pick, it is time to mock as if this player will join the Celtics in 2017-2018. While the point guards have gotten all of the pub, Josh Jackson has put forth a tremendous freshman effort, and in my opinion is the best prospect period. He has gained the complete trust of head coach Bill Self and has led the Jayhawks to 23 wins. He is scoring at a very high rate, and even when his shot does not fall, like during  a3-11 effort against West Virginia, he still contributes by rebounding and playing excellent on the ball defense. Jackson has shot the three pointer at a respectable clip, and if he can stay around that 35% mark, he has the chance to be an All Star and all NBA defender.
2. Phoenix Suns 23843702014 Markelle Fultz, Fr 6’4, 195 lbs Upper Marlboro, MD PG/SG Washington 23.2 ppg, 6.0 apg, 6.0 rpg
The Suns seem to be set in the back court with Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker. However, the next tier of prospects are basically all point guards, so it is tough to mock anyone else here. Perhaps the Suns will draft a player and figure it all out later. Then again, the last time they had multiple point guards they gave Isaiah Thomas away. Anyway, Markelle Fultz still leads the pack, but his stranglehold as point guard one is tenuous. The fact that the Washington Huskies are 2-11 in conference play has to weigh on scouts minds. Is Fultz this good, or is he simply putting up empty stats on a losing team? That same discussion did not persuade the 76ers from drafting Ben Simmons first overall last year. At the worst, Fultz is still a top five pick thanks to a game tailor made for today’s NBA, especially at the offensive end. There is little he cannot do.
3. Los Angeles Lakers uig7aiht8jnpl1szbi57zzlsh Lonzo Ball, Fr 6’6, 190 lbs Chino Hills, CA PG UCLA 15.4 ppg, 7.6 apg, 6.0 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, especially with Magic Johnson angling to call the shots. 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 Dennis Smith Jr., Fr 6’3, 195 lbs Fayetteville, NC PG North Carolina State 19.0 ppg, 6.7 apg, 4.4 rpg
The Orlando Magic have talent, but the roster that was assembled is not a fit for today’s NBA game. Orlando managed to get a little back for Serge Ibaka, but still have a long way to go. Landing a talent such as Dennis Smith Jr. would be huge for the future of the organization. Like Markelle Fultz, Smith is putting up huge numbers on a bad team. He has also been very inconsistent, mixing triple double performances with single digit scoring games. Still, there may not be a better pure scorer in the country. He reminds me of Damian Lillard, and has the chops to be the focal point of Orlando’s offense moving forward.
5. Philadelphia 76ers 21870342016 Malik Monk, Fr 6’4, 200 lbs Lepanto, AR SG Kentucky 21.7 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.2 apg
I still wish Sam Hinkie would have been able to see his vision through. I believe if so, the 76ers would be in a lot better of a position right now. Instead, they have completely fumbled the Jahlil Okafor situation, and have mishandled Joel Embiid’s injury problems as well. Going forward, this team should be built around the front court of Embiid, Dario Saric and Ben Simmons. All players who excel with the ball in their hands. Which makes a deadly spot up shooter like Malik Monk a perfect fit. Monk has not been asked to do much at Kentucky except score, but he has been remarkably consistent as a 20 point per game threat who is making over three 3 pointers per game. He has the ability to be a Bradley Beal like scorer in the NBA.
6. Minnesota Timberwolves zq8qkfni1g087f4245egc32po Jonathan Isaac, Fr 6’10, 210 lbs Naples, FL SF/PF Florida State 12.7 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 1.5 bpg
It is impossible to tell what direction Tom Thibideau is going to take the Timberwolves. Obviously Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins are a huge part of the future, but he needs to bring in some defensive stoppers or this team will continue to struggle. Trading for Jimmy Butler would help, and this pick would undoubtedly be a part of that package. As far as the players available, Jonathan Isaac would be a nice fit. When he is on, he looks like someone who could be drafted first overall. Unfortunately, he has games where he disappears, confirming his project status. However, he has the shooting and defensive ability to develop into a top notch stretch four who can block shots, something every modern NBA team would love to have.
7. Dallas Mavericks ifk08eam05rwxr3yhol3whdcm Frank Ntilikina 6’5, 170 lbs Brussels, Belgium PG France 5.1 ppg, 1.7 rpg, 1.3 apg
The Mavericks have somewhat remained in the final playoff hunt, but a lack of talent will be it’s undoing. Dallas really needs to tank to land a future face of the franchise, but a team with Rick Carlisle, Mark Cuban and Dirk Nowitzki will never go that route. Point guard would be the logical choice, and I am starting to come around on Frank Ntikilina as a lottery pick. His shooting leaves a lot to be desired, but he has star power thanks to his personality and flashy game. From judging his tapes and scouting reports, he reminds me of a taller Rajon Rondo with his wiry frame, long arms and ability to pass and pester opposing ball handlers. If his jump shot can improve, he could be a very good starter in this league.
8. New York Knicks 2nn48xofg0hms8k326cqdmuis Robert Williams, Fr 6’9, 237 lbs Vivian, LA PF/C Texas A&M 11.6 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 2.5 bpg
The Knicks sould be developing young players around budding superstar Kristaps Porzingis. Instead they signed a bunch of over the hill role players, got into wars with former players, and had a childish media beef between general manager and superstar player. As long as James Dolan is owner of the Knicks, this team will be a sideshow. Which is unfortunate for whoever they draft. In that case it is Robert Williams, who has firmly found a spot in the lottery. He is one of the strongest rebounders and best shot blockers in college basketball. Williams is coming off two straight big time double doubles (18 points, 16 rebounds, 3 blocks vs. Missouri and 18 points, 12 rebounds, 4 blocks, 3 steals against Florida). He is a project, but if he can properly develop he will make a great counterpart for Porzingis and Carmelo Anthony in the Knicks front court.
9. New Orleans Pelicans 496226812014 Jayson Tatum, Fr 6’8, 205 lbs St. Louis, MO SF Duke 16.3 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 2.0 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. Still, he is still a sure fire top ten pick and would provide some much needed energy to a lethargic Pelicans roster.
10. Portland Trail Blazers bahmh46cyy6eod2jez4g21buk Harry Giles, Fr 6’11, 227 lbs Winston-Salem, NC PF Duke 5.0 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 0.4 apg
The Trail Blazers have quickly realized giving players like Allen Crabbe, Meyers Leonard and Evan Turner monster contracts was perhaps not the best recipe for success. On the bright side, Portland has managed to land two more picks in what should be a very good draft. That could allow the team to gamble on Harry Giles. Giles is being brought along very slowly at Duke, 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. That could work in the Blazers favor.
11. Chicago Bulls (from Kings) hj3gmh82w9hffmeh3fjm5h874 De’Aaron Fox, Fr 6’3, 187 lbs Houston, TX PG Kentucky 15.6 ppg, 5.4 apg, 4.2 rpg
The Bulls are Kings fans, because if this pick is 10 or lower, it goes to Chicago. The Bulls should probably hit the reboot button after a failed season, but it is not a sure thing. Still, with two first round picks they could at least fill out a weak bench. If it was not for a terrible jump shot, De’Aaron Fox would be in the same class as the other point guards. He is big, very quick and a tremendous defender. However, it is hard for a point guard to succeed in the league today if his shooting cannot keep defenses honest. Still, he would be an upgrade over the terrible point guard play that has plagued Chicago this season, and great value here.
12. Charlotte Hornets 512019262015 Bruce Brown, Fr 6’5, 190 lbs Boston, MA PG/SG Miami 11.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 3.4 apg
One thing that has long been a problem in Charlotte is a lack of supreme athletes. No matter how good coaching is, it is hard to overcome talent deficiency. 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. He is a project to be sure, but has the ability to be the most dynamic player on the roster.
13. Miami Heat burm5gh2wvjti3xhei5h16k8e Lauri Markkanen, Fr 7’0, 230 lbs Jyvaskyla, Finland PF/C Arizona 15.2 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 0.9 apg
The Miami Heat have made a furious push since 2017 began and are now knocking on the door of the playoffs. It is a remarkable feat considering they are without Justise Winslow, Chris Bosh and overall talent. Fortunately the Heat can still land a decent talent here. Lauri Markkanen started the season as the second coming of Dirk Nowitzki, but has simply become another guy for Arizona recently. He has failed to hit double digit scoring in the Wildcats last four games. Prior to that, he scored at least 10 in all but one game. He has only made 5 of 25 shots. A prolonged slump like that is very worrisome, because if Markkanen is not scoring he does not provide much for his team. At his best, he would make a nice offensive stretch four next to the defensive minded Hassan Whiteside, but he will have to pick up his game to avoid being passed by in the draft rankings.
14. Milwaukee Bucks 22582752016 Jalen Brunson, So 6’3, 190 lbs Lincolnshire, IL PG Villanova 14.3 ppg, 4.3 apg, 2.6 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. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Malcolm Brogdon have spent most of the season as Milwaukee’s de facto point guards. Adding a quality contributor like Brunson would do wonders for a Jason Kidd coached team.
15. Denver Nuggets xeti0fjbyzmcffue57vz5o1gl Rodions Kurucs 6’8, 190 lbs Riga, Latvia SF Latvia 9.7 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.2 apg
The Nuggets are one of many teams in contention for the final playoff spot out West, and an eventual sweep at the hands of the Warriors. Denver’s roster is in flux, as they could look to trade Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler. 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. His game actually reminds me a lot of Gallinari, the player he will help replace.
16. Detroit Pistons 3079 Aaron Holiday, So 6’1, 185 lbs Chatsworth, CA PG UCLA 13.2 ppg, 4.5 apg, 3.1 rpg
I have had Aaron Holiday in and out of my mocks, and he returns with a vengeance for this edition. It is not often that a player loses his starting job and actually benefits, but Holiday has soared as Lonzo Ball’s backup. Despite playing five less minutes per night, he has improved in virtually every area, especially his scoring percentages. Other than elite size, there is little to dislike about his game. He can score, distribute the ball and is an underrated defender. Reggie Jackson has been a mess for the Pistons, who are already experiencing buyer’s remorse. An Ish Smith/Holiday combination would be an upgrade.
17. Chicago Bulls hj3gmh82w9hffmeh3fjm5h874 Miles Bridges, Fr 6’7, 230 lbs Flint, MI SF/PF Michigan State 16.2 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 1.9 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. Bridges might struggle to fit into a specific starting position, which could relegate him to bench status, but he would be a solid athlete to bring off of the Chicago bench.
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 John Collins, So 6’10, 235 lbs West Palm Beach, FL PF/C Wake Forest 18.5 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 1.7 bpg
Since my last blurb, Collins has upped his scoring by almost a point per game. He has nine straight games of scoring 20 points or more. He routinely grabs ten rebounds and blocks two shots. For analytics fans, his PER sits at an absurd 35.8. All of that makes for a very intriguing prospect, and someone who could wind up in the lottery. His finesse offensive game would be a good counterpart to Steven Adams, Domantas Sabonis and Enes Kanter in what could be a very talented Oklahoma City front court.
20. Atlanta Hawks 22091682016 Edrice Adebayo, Fr 6’10, 260 lbs Washington, DC PF/C Kentucky 12.7 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 1.6 bpg
Edrice Adebayo started the season in my top ten, but now finds himself in the 20’s. That is more of a testament to this draft’s star power than the play of Adebayo. He has shown the ability to be a consistent interior presence for the Wildcats. Adebayo has the ability to rebound, block shots and score out to fifteen feet or so. A prospect such as Adebayo is not in high demand these days, but he could still develop into a solid starting center, and would make a good eventual replacement for Dwight Howard in Atlanta.
21. Toronto Raptors 22745782016 Tyler Lydon, So 6’9, 223 lbs Elizaville, NY SF/PF Syracuse 13.8 ppg, 7.8 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. He is also clearly the leader of this Syracuse ball club, as the coaching staff has played him every single minute of the team’s last eight games. That includes two overtime periods. The Raptors have lost some scoring from it’s second unit with the trade of Terrence Ross. Lydon’s blend of shooting and shot blocking would be a welcome addition.
22. Portland Trail Blazers (from Grizzlies) bahmh46cyy6eod2jez4g21buk Jarrett Allen, Fr 6’11, 235 lbs Round Rock, TX PF/C Texas 13.2 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 1.5 bpg
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 for the Blazers, who expect to retool their front court.
23. Washington Wizards 21956712016 Isaiah Hartenstein 6’11, 225 lbs Eugene, OR PF Germany 3.7 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 0.6 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. 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.
24. Utah Jazz 23467492017 TJ Leaf, Fr 6’10, 225 lbs El Cajon, CA PF UCLA 16.6 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 2.7 apg
It has all come together for Utah this season. They have a deep, young, versatile roster. With two first round picks that will likely be in the 20’s, Utah should draft the best player available. I removed TJ Leaf from my previous mock because there were too many freshman, but there could realistically be 20 freshman in this first round. While stretch fours like Lauri Markkanen have leveled off, Leaf remains strong. He does not shoot as many threes, but hits them at a high clip, and is a good passer for a player his size. His athleticism and defensive deficiencies limit his potential somewhat, but he is tremendous value this late, and would be a late lottery pick most other years.
25. Orlando Magic (from Clippers) wd9ic7qafgfb0yxs7tem7n5g4 Luke Kennard, So 6’6, 202 lbs Franklin, OH SG Duke 19.0 ppg, 6.7 apg, 4.4 rpg
Luke Kennard does not seem like the type to leave college early, but he is playing huge minutes for a depleted Duke team, and is scoring at a very high rate, while showing the type of leadership and aggressiveness that would be attractive to the NBA. The Blue Devils should be loaded and healthy next year, so Kennard could strike while the iron is hot. The Magic drafted Dennis Smith Jr. earlier and need to continue to add scorers to this roster.
26. Brooklyn Nets (from Celtics) hsuff5m3dgiv20kovde422r1f Dwayne Bacon, So 6’7, 221 lbs Lakeland, FL SG/SF Florida State 17.4 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.7 apg
The Nets cannot score and are the worst defensive team in the NBA. Summary? This team needs talent anywhere it can find it. 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.
27. Houston Rockets 8xe4813lzybfhfl14axgzzqeq Josh Hart, Sr 6’6, 215 lbs Silver Spring, MD SG Villanova 18.7 ppg, 6.6 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.
28. Portland Trail Blazers (from Cavaliers) bahmh46cyy6eod2jez4g21buk 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 Trail Blazers.
29. San Antonio spurs 827 Caleb Swanigan, So 6’9, 250 lbs Fort Wayne, IN PF/C Purdue 18.7 ppg, 13.0 rpg, 2.7 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 lack of quickness 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 Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, Jr 6’8, 205 lbs Cherksay, Ukraine SG/SF Kansas 10.5 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.6 apg
It has taken a while, but Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk has finally developed into a legitimate NBA prospect. It is important to remember that Mykhailiuk is only 20 years old, even in his third year at college. He has shown the ability to be a good outside scorer with confidence and ball handling ability, and could work his way into the Jazz rotation.

Round 2

31. Atlanta Hawks (from Nets) – SF Justin Jackson, Jr, North Carolina
32. Phoenix Suns – PF Johnathan Motley, Jr, Baylor
33. Orlando Magic (from Lakers) – PG/SG Melo Trimble, Jr, Maryland
34. Orlando Magic – PF/C Jonathan Jeanne, France
35. New Orleans Pelicans (from 76ers) – SG Terrance Ferguson, United States
36. Boston Celtics (from Timberwolves) – SG Kostja Mushidi, Germany
37. Dallas Mavericks – PF/C Thomas Bryant, So, Indiana
38. New Orleans Pelicans – PF Alec Peters, Sr, Valparaiso
39. Philadelphia 76ers (from Knicks) – PG Kobi Simmons, Fr, Arizona
40. Houston Rockets (from Trail Blazers) – C Anzejs Pasecniks, Latvia
41. Sacramento Kings – SG Allonzo Trier, So, Arizona
42. Charlotte Hornets – SG Sindarius Thornwell, Sr, South Carolina
43. Atlanta Hawks (from Heat) – SF Jarron Blossomgame, Sr, Clemson
44. Houston Rockets (from Nuggets) – C Tacko Fall, So, UCF
45. Milwaukee Bucks – SG Grayson Allen, Jr, Duke
46. Utah Jazz (from Pistons) – PF/C Alpha Kaba, France
47. New York Knicks (from Bulls) – PG Jawun Evans, So, Oklahoma State
48. Indiana Pacers – PF Chris Boucher, Sr, Oregon
49. Denver Nuggets (from Thunder) – Frank Mason III, Sr, Kansas
50. Atlanta Hawks – PF/C Mathias Lessort, Sr, France
51. Toronto Raptors – SFR/PF Dillon Brooks, Jr, Oregon
52. Denver Nuggets (from Grizzlies) – SG Diego Flaccadori, Italy
53. Washington Wizards – SF/PF Dedric Lawson, So, Memphis
54. Utah Jazz – PG George De Paula, Brazil
55. Boston Celtics (from Clippers) – SF VJ Beachem, Sr, Notre Dame
56. Brooklyn Nets (from Celtics) – PF/C Justin Tuoyo, Sr, Chattanooga
57. New York Knicks (from Rockets) – SG Peter Jok, Sr, Iowa
58. Boston Celtics (from Cavaliers) – SF Wesley Alves Da Silva, Brazil
59. San Antonio Spurs – SF/PF Rolands Smits, Latvia
30. Philadelphia 76ers (from Warriors) – PF Yante Maten, Jr, Georgia

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