*Note: This mock draft predicts a trade between the Philadelphia Sixers and Sacramento Kings. Kings get pick #3 and Sixers get picks #5 and #10
1. PG Markelle Fultz WASHINGTON
At 6’4” and 195 lbs., Fultz has good size for a point guard to go along with all the intangibles. He can score both at the rim and with a nice shooting stroke from the outside, he can handle the ball, and he has great vision and passing ability. The thing that separates from other top prospects is that he has the ability to be a good defender. I don’t think there is any doubt that he is the number one prospect in this year’s draft.
Like Fultz, Ball has good size for a point guard at 6”6” 195 lbs. His best attribute is his passing ability as he has great vision and a knack for getting teammates involved. An orthodox shooting form is some cause for concern but nonetheless he is a great player and prospect. Ball is an LA kid who has never left home and I expect the Lakers to keep it that way.
Fox a lightning quick point guard with good size at 6’4” 175 lbs. has been shooting up draft boards during the predraft process. He must improve his outside shooting but with that being said, Fox can flat out score the basketball as he gets to the rim almost at will. In the open floor, he is a terror and he can also make an impact on the defensive end of the floor. Vlade Divac is so high on this lefty version of John Wall that he trades up to 3 to ensure he gets him.
Jackson is a great defender and amazing athlete. He can guard basically every position 1-4. He needs to improve his outside shooting even though he shot it decently in college with an unorthodox stroke. Only reason he is available is because the Kings traded up to take Fox so the Suns are unable to pass up on him here.
Monk is the probably the best shooter and most prolific scorer in this draft and exactly what the Sixers need. Monk lit it up at Kentucky last year scoring in bunches. He is a little undersized for an NBA 2 guard but he is an explosive athlete with the ability to create his own shot and a quick release so he should be able to make up for his lack of size in my opinion. At 3, Monk would be a reach but by trading down to 5 the Sixers put themselves in a perfect situation to draft a guy who will be a great fit for their team.
Maybe the most intriguing prospect in this draft, Isaac is 6’11” 205 lbs., very long and lean who needs to bulk up but ultra-skilled for his size. Isaac was a stat sheet stuffer his only year at Florida State as he used his size and length to rebound and block shots while utilizing his skills to impact the game on the offensive end. He handles the ball very well for his size and has a silky-smooth shooting stroke from the outside as well nice touch around the basket along with the ability to pass out of the post. The Magic should have seen a lot of Isaac since he played in Tallahassee last season so they decide to bank on his upside and select him here.
Markkanen is a skilled, sharp shooting 7-footer who had a very impressive season at Arizona last year. He is a very smart and efficient player on the offensive end of the court but he lacks athleticism and needs to improve defensively. He will provide the Timberwolves with the stretch for they need to pair with the impressive young nucleus that they have put together.
Carmelo Anthony looks to be on his way out this offseason as his relationship with Phil Jackson and the organization seems to be irreparable. The Knicks find their replacement for him here with some luck as Tatum who is a player with a nice shot and the ability to score in iso situations falls to them. Tatum definitely could use improvement on the defensive end but has shown potential to be a solid defender.
This was a really tough pick to call as the Mavericks could go any direction. Mark Cuban has stated that they need to improve at point guard but they have a guard heavy roster which includes an aging Dirk Nowitzki and a free agent to be Nerleans Noel. Ntilikina has established himself at the top international prospect in this draft flashing plenty of potential. He has good size for a point guard at 6’5” 170 lbs. and is noted as a great defender. If Dennis Smith Jr. is still available at this pick the Mavs could easily select as well as Gonzaga’s Zach Collins who might be the top center in the draft.
This is a dream scenario for the Sixers if they were to trade back, select Monk at 5 and then have Smith passed up on by teams like the Knicks and Mavs and falling into their laps at 10. Smith, a 6’3” 195 lb. point guard, was the ACC Rookie of the Year last season after stuffing the stat sheet at NC State. He is an explosive athlete with a nice shooting stroke to go along with the ability to handle the ball and to get his teammates involved. He was coming off a torn ACL last year so many think that Smith has only shown glimpses of what could be. I believe Smith could very well be a top 5 prospect in this draft because he has all the tools to be a great NBA point guard and would be a perfect fit for the Sixers.
Kennard has decent size for a shooting guard at 6’6” but lacks speed, athleticism and length. He makes up for some of these concerns because he is a smart, skilled and very efficient player on the offensive end. Kennard can just flat out shoot the ball both in spot up situations and off the bounce. The Hornets keep the Duke product in North Carolina with this pick to pair him with their explosive point guard in Kemba Walker.
Mitchell is undersized for a shooting guard at 6’2” but makes up for this because he is very strong and an explosive athlete. Mitchell’s physical tools have scouts raving about his potential. He can shoot the ball from free as well as attack the rim. Mitchell needs to develop with creating for himself and teammates but paired with a good playmaker, he can certainly put some points on the board.
Collins flew under the radar as he played at Gonzaga and didn’t play extensive minutes as a freshman but he could very well be the best center in this year’s draft. Collins is an athletic big who runs the court exceptionally well and plays with intensity. He impacts the game on the defense end with his shot blocking ability and uses his physical tools and motor to grab both defensive and offensive rebounds. Offensively he can score inside using his athleticism and footwork but he has plenty of room to grow.
Collins was a double-double machine last season. He showed that he can not only score inside but can also step away from the basket and hit a jumper. He lacks length for an NBA center and needs to develop his game to better fit the power forward position. Collins has shown plenty of potential and the Heat will hope that he grows to it and select him to pair with Hassan Whiteside in hopes of creating a dominant inside duo.