The time has finally come for me to release my first lottery mock draft for the 2017 class. Although I will only be covering the first 14 picks right now, you can expect more in depth analysis in the months to come.
Please feel free to comment your own thoughts on whatever you want to discuss.
- Boston Celtics (via Nets)- Markelle Fultz
- Miami Heat- Malik Monk
- Philadelphia 76ers- Josh Jackson
- Phoenix Suns- Jayson Tatum
- Minnesota Timberwolves- Dennis Smith
- Dallas Mavericks- Lauri Markkanen
- Philadelphia 76ers- Lonzo Ball
- Orlando Magic- Jonathan Isaac
- Sacramento Kings- De’Aaron Fox
- New Orleans Pelicans- Miles Bridges
- Portland Trail Blazers- OG Anunoby
- New York Knicks- Harry Giles
- Detroit Pistons- TJ Leaf
- Chicago Bulls- Frank Ntilikina
- Markelle Fultz with Boston- The Celtics have a history of always taking the best player available, regardless of team needs, so I don’t expect them to do anything different here. However, Fultz will fill in a gap at shooting guard, and he might end up being the last piece that the Celtics need to become a contender. If he does end up with the Celtics, I expect Fultz to move into a starting role immediately.
- Malik Monk with Miami- While I am a big fan of Tyler Johnson, he is simply not talented enough to be Miami’s go-to option on the wing for years to come. Malik Monk can not only provide a much needed boost in 3-point shooting (the Heat are 27th in the league in 3-point percentage), but also start the rebuilding process that Miami will undergo in the next few years. He could fit in well by helping to balance Hassan Whiteside’s dominating presence on the inside with his shot creation abilities on the wing. While I do not think Monk is the second best prospect in the entire draft, I believe he can fill Miami’s gaps just as well as any prospect on the board.
- Lauri Markkanen with Dallas- Dirk Nowitzki’s illustrious career is coming to a close, and in turn the Mavericks have fallen on hard times. But who’s a better replacement for Dirk than Lauri Markkanen? Unlike many European prospects, he made the choice to play college ball instead of going straight to the pros. Scouts are a lot better at predicting the talent of a guy coming out of college than a guy coming from overseas, so there is no doubt among anyone that Markkanen can play. He has all the right skills that teams are looking for in NBA bigs, and he can either play a 4 or a 5 in small ball lineups. You can expect Markkanen to fill the void at the power forward position for the Mavs immediately.
- Miles Bridges with New Orleans- The Pelicans are currently trying to build around Anthony Davis, and I think Bridges has the potential to be a very good role player, at least for his first few seasons. He has the strength and size to compete at any level, and can knock down 3s at a pace that will make him a well above average shooter in the NBA. While he is not talented enough to step into a starting role in his rookie season, Bridges can be a valuable asset to the Pelicans, especially come playoff time.
Notes and Observations:
- The main reason that the Celtics’ future is so bright is that they have so many Nets draft picks. They Nets will probably finish with the worst record in the league this year, which gives Boston a chance to acquire future superstar Markelle Fultz. This just goes to show you how bad the Nets are. They have incentive to win, but they are going to finish with a worse record than the Sixers, who are trying to lose.
- If Lonzo Ball did in fact go to the Sixers, it would be very interesting to see how he would share the ball handling duties with Ben Simmons. Both have exceptional court vision, but I think Ball is a little better at creating from the wing than Simmons. But speaking of Sixers point guards, it’s time that somebody commend the play of TJ McConnell. He has filled the Sixers’ point guard void, and you can count on him for double digit assists if he gets good minutes.
- Frank Ntilikina is an interesting prospect. Most people have him ranked in the top 15 on draft boards, but he has played abysmally so far in Europe (3.2 ppg in 12 minutes per game). I don’t really know anything about this guy, so comment your take on him if you feel like showing off your knowledge.
As always, thanks for reading. Feel free to comment your thoughts and share if you enjoyed this article!