Predictions

Alex Whitney’s 2017 NBA Mock Draft

1. PG Markelle Fultz WASHINGTON

Fultz has been the undisputed #1 for a while now. However, there has been some late chatter that the Celtics will consider Josh Jackson with the #1 pick. Fultz can score the ball in numbers and has defensive potential. If they do go with Fultz, then this could be the last year of Isaiah Thomas in Boston as Fultz is the starter of the future. A trade could still be in the works for someone like Jimmy Butler or Paul George.

2.PG Lonzo Ball UCLA

Lonzo Ball to the Lakers is a match made in heaven right? Lavar Ball sure hopes so. I can’t see Ball playing anywhere else in the league. His dad wants him to play for the Lakers and ultimately I think he will. Although he may not be the best fit as D’Angelo Russell is already running the helm in LA.

3. SF Josh Jackson KANSAS

I think Josh Jackson is the best player available on the board at this time, and the Sixers need to go with best player available. He may not be the best fit with Malik Monk maybe taking that title, but his defensive tenacity and toughness are intriguing enough where he can play real minutes in his first season. I like Jayson Tatum a lot, but he’s too much of a 1v1 player for the Sixers liking. Jackson can create off the dribble and get to the rack. However, his shot is a little worrisome.

4. SF Jason Tatum DUKE

Everyone in the league knows that the Suns have amazing guard play, especially with the emergence of Devon Booker last season. I think Tatum could be a perfect fit for the Suns. He has been working on his shot in the offseason, and his ability to get to the rim and drive and kick would make Booker an even better player.

5. PG De’Aaron Fox KENTUCKY

The Kings are reportedly “in love” with Fox and will most likely do whatever it takes to acquire him, even if it means giving up the 10th overall selection as well. It’s not hard to see why his stock has been rising. He is extremely athletic and his quickness has been compared to John Wall. Fox’s leadership and big game ability really showed up in the NCAA tournament, and has Vlade Divac and the King’s drooling.

6. SG Malik Monk  KENTUCKY

The Magic have been living off of potential for what seems like forever at this point. They need a guy who can make an instant impact and Monk would be that guy. I love Monk. He can score at will and is super athletic. His ability to score reminds me of Jamal Crawford, but Monk has the chance to be better. With a pass first guy like Elfrid Payton, and a big man like Nik Vucevic, Monk can drain threes all day.

7. SF Johnathan Issac FLORIDA STATE

The Wolves seem to have young talent at every position on the roster. With a starting five of Kris Dunn (or Rubio), Zach LaVine, Andrew Wiggins, Gorgui Dieng, and Karl-Anthony Towns, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of room for a rookie to start. I think Isaac can spell Dieng in the rotation and bring some more scoring and athleticism from the 3 or 4 spot.

8. PG Frank Ntilikina FRANCE

It has been reported the Knicks are targeting Ntikilina with their 1st round selection. To be honest, they need help in a lot of places. Ntikilina has tremendous length and size for a PG (6’5”), and has an improved shot. Derrick Rose will not be there for much longer and Ntikilina can come in and start from day 1. He’s not a flashy player, but would fit in nicely dishing the ball to Carmelo and KP.

9. PG Dennis Smith Jr. NC STATE

Assuming the Mavericks resign Nerlens Noel, they will be looking for a PG in the draft. They would be ecstatic if Dennis Smith Jr. was still there at #9. Yogi Ferrell is a solid PG, but Smith is definitely more talented. He has a really good shot and passing ability; he can do a little bit of everything. Even if the Mavericks sign Jrue Holiday, Smith could push Seth Curry at the 2 spot for playing time.

10.PF Lauri Markkanen  ARIZONA

I know what your thinking… haven’t the Kings drafted 3 big men in the past couple years? Yes they have, but last years 1st round pick Giorgios Papagiannis is still a mystery. Willie Cauley-Stein is a nice piece and Skal Labissiere played decently well last year, but they still need help at the PF/C positions. Those 3 guys don’t bring as much to the table as Markkanen does. He moves quickly for his size and can be a stretch 4 with his shooting ability. Every team needs a stretch 4 in today’s NBA and Markkenen fits that mold.

11. PF/C Zach Collins  GONZAGA

The Hornets cannot survive with Cody Zeller starting at center on a regular basis. A Marvin Williams and Zeller frontcourt does not scream rim protection to me. Collins has the ability to block shots and score on the offensive end. He Collins has a high motor and the ability to get up and down the court. His defense, however, will make the Hornets better.

12.  SG Luke Kennard  DUKE

If Kentavious Caldwell-Pope leaves in the offseason, the Pistons will need more shooting help. If there is one thing Kennard can do, that is shoot. He’s best as a spot up shooter but has the ability to shoot off the dribble as well. He also has a high basketball IQ that would greatly improve the Pistons.

13. SF Justin Jackson NORTH CAROLINA

With Danilo Gallinari being a free agent, the Nuggets will need to fill his scoring ability. Justin Jackson can do that in a pinch. He’s a great shooter and overall great scorer. He also has good size and is more athletic than Gallinari. He would be a perfect guy to play off of the emerging star of Nikola Jokic.


14. PF John Collins 
WAKE FORREST

A power forward rotation of James Johnson and John Collins sounds pretty good to me. John Collins has proved to be a threat on the offensive end. With Hassan Whiteside gobbling up rebounds out will, another big man presence like Collins can create a dynamic front court duo. An overall good fit for the Heat as they can finally get rid of the ever-ineffective Josh McRoberts.  

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