By: Connor Glowacki
The NBA Draft is TONIGHT and below is the 'CKG, From The Sidelines' Mock Draft of 2017. Check out our mock draft before the 2016 edition here.
1.) Philadelphia 76ers- Markelle Fultz, SG/PG, Washington
Sometimes you just have to trust The Process.
With Philly trading up two spots for the number one overall pick and indicating that they would select the former Washington swingman, this move may bring the 76ers back into NBA relevancy with a 'potenitally' lethal and young Big 3 with Fultz and former top picks forward Ben Simmons and center Joel Embiid.
In college, Fultz displayed an uncanny ability to get to the rim and showcased a pretty solid jump shot. I would expect Fultz to play more of a shooting guard role with Philadelphia due to Simmons being the more natural ball handler, but this scenario could better demonstrate his offensive prowess.
If, and this is a big IF, all three centerpieces can actually stay healthy, the 76ers might have THE young core for the future and should thank former general manager Sam Hinkie for putting them in this position after so many years of embarrassment.
2.) Los Angeles Lakers- Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA
Lonzo Ball has the tools to be the best point guard in this draft class. He has a terrific sense of anticipation for went to deliver passes in the full court and at 6'6" can visualize the plays that are supposed to run and where to find his teammates.
The fact that Ball has potentially a lethal 3-point shot has delivered comparisons from Jason Kidd to even Stephen Curry. Since the 76ers have Simmons as the ball handler, Ball will likely fall to his hometown Lakers with the second overall pick.
Even though I worry about his defensive ability against more athletic guards, Kentucky's De'Aaron Fox, for example, Ball on paper is this year's best pure point guard and should stabilize the position for Los Angeles for the foreseeable future.
3.) Boston Celtics- Josh Jackson, SF, Kansas
I know there's been controversy over Jackson refusing to workout for the Celtics for whatever reasons. That means Boston could end up taking someone like Jayson Tatum or trading the third overall pick just days after trading the top pick to Philadelphia. Whatever the reason for Jackson's no-show is, the Celtics have all of the power with the pick and should still take him if he's available, either to play or as a trade asset.
At 6'8", Jackson has a 7-foot wingspan and may be the most athletic player in the draft with the most upside into becoming a superstar. I genuinely believe Boston and Jackson can sort things out here and Jackson can work his way into a very deep Celtics rotation.
4.) Phoenix Suns- Jayson Tatum, SF, Duke
Tatum has the same measurables as Jackson, but has not been getting the praise and attention that Jackson has received. To be fair, Tatum didn't nearly put up the same numbers that Jackson did in their freshman collegiate campaigns.
But Tatum would work really well in an up-tempo Phoenix attack alongside guards Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker. Tatum, in my opinion, has enough upside to be a star in the NBA and impact both sides of the court. He probably won't make the Suns a playoff contender right away, but drafting Tatum would be a step in the right direction for the organization.
5.) Sacramento Kings- De'Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky
Fox is another player that many people believe can become a superstar at the NBA level. Even though he doesn't necessarily have the vision that Ball has in the full court and is two inches shorter than his counterpart, Fox schooled Ball throughout the Kentucky-UCLA NCAA tournament game and would create some excitement that is desperately needed for a struggling Kings organization.
Guard Buddy Hield shined when he was traded to Sacramento last season as he averaged over 15 points per game as a member of the Kings. A Fox-Hield backcourt could be the team's backcourt for possibly a decade if they can develop together.
6.) Orlando Magic- Jonathan Issac, SF, Florida State
Issac is another one-and-done freshman with tons of upside at the NBA level. He is slightly taller than his shooting forward counterparts at 6'10" and averaged almost eight rebounds along with 12 points per game with the Florida State Seminoles.
Jackson and Tatum might have slightly more upside and publicity than Issac, but he could be a great fit with an Orlando Magic organization that is still trying to find its direction with former draft picks, point guard Elfrid Payton and forward Aaron Gordon.
7.) Minnesota Timberwolves, Dennis Smith, PG, North Carolina State
I thought Minnesota should've taken Jamal Murray with their first round selection last year and I still stand by it, given taht Murray outplayed point guard Kris Dunn throughout their rookie seasons. But I also thought Dunn could be a great point guard with the Timberwolves due to his extensive collegiate experience at Providence and his offensive playmaking ability.
But even playing with young star talents like guard Andrew Wiggins and forward Karl-Anthony Towns, Dunn struggled to say the least. It may be too tough to give up on Dunn but with the potential trade rumors of point guard Ricky Rubio,
Minnesota should bite the bullet and take a chance on another point guard, this one being Dennis Smith. Smith is fearless and is ready to take on the top point guards in the NBA. At the very least, Smith will challenge Dunn to step up his game at the point guard spot.
8.) New York Knicks- Malik Monk, SG, Kentucky
Yes, this seems like a surprise because all signs would point to take the Knicks taking a point guard. But the New York Knicks are in an eternal state of dysfunction with the failures of team vice president Phil Jackson and the current trade drama surrounding forwards Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis. New York needs to make a splash and take a chance with a potential STAR player.
That star player could be the 6'3" Kentucky guard Malik Monk. Monk can score and out the ball on the floor. I've seen games in college where he, along with Fox, was able to take over a game by himself. Take Malik Monk, New York.
REST OF THE FIRST ROUND (PREDICTIONS)
9.) Dallas Mavericks- Frank Ntilinka, PG, France
10.) Sacramento Kings- Lauri Markkanen, PF, Arizona
11.) Charlotte Hornets- Zach Collins, C, Gonzaga
12.) Detroit Pistons- John Collins, PF, Wake Forest
13.) Denver Nuggets- Bam Adebayo, PF, Kentucky
14.) Miami Heat- Donovan Mitchell, SG, Louisville
15.) Portland Trailblazers- Justin Patton, C, Creighton
16.) Chicago Bulls- Justin Jackson, SF, North Carolina
17.) Milwaukee Bucks- Jarrett Allen, C, Texas
18.) Indiana Pacers- Luke Kennard, SG/SF, Duke
19.) Atlanta Hawks- D.J. Wilson, PF, Michigan
20.) Portland Trailblazers- T.J. Leaf, PF, UCLA
21.) Oklahoma City Thunder- Semi Ojeleye, SF/PF, SMU
22.) Brooklyn Nets- Tyler Lydon, SF/PF, Syracuse
23.) Toronto Raptors- OG Anunoby, SF/PF, Indiana
24.) Utah Jazz- Ike Anigbogu, C, UCLA
25.) Orlando Magic, Harry Giles, C, Duke
26.) Portland Trailblazers, Anzejs Pasecniks, C, Gran Canaria
27.) Los Angeles Lakers, Kyle Kuzma, PF, Utah
28.) Los Angeles Lakers, Derrick White, PG/SG, Colorado
29.) San Antonio Spurs, Caleb Swanigan, PF/C, Purdue
30.) Utah Jazz, Terrance Ferguson, SG/SF, Adelaide
How do you think the 2017 NBA Draft will play out? Let me know what you think by leaving a comment here or on Twitter @ConnorGlowacki.