The NBA Draft is finally here! Quite possibly the most anticipated since Anthony Davis’ in 2012, this draft is loaded with depth to fill the entire lottery. Players who can score on anyone like Jayson Tatum and Markelle Fultz and guards everywhere like Lonzo Ball, Dennis Smith Jr and De’Aaron Fox. That also does not consider skilled wings Malik Monk, Jonathan Isaac and Josh Jackson. Not to mention the teams with multiple picks and the trade possibilities heading into draft night. So, sit back and relax as I take you through the entire first round of the 2017 NBA Draft.
The 2017 NBA Draft is now open!
1. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS- MARKELLE FULTZ
For the second straight year, the 76ers own the first overall pick and this time they use it to select Markelle Fultz. Fultz, a dominant combo guard out of Washington fits perfectly into the Sixers offence as he can play both shooting guard if they are serious about Ben Simmons playing the point or, he can also play point guard. He gives lots of scoring flexibility to an organization that desperately needs it.
Pro Comparison- James Harden
2. LOS ANGELES LAKERS- LONZO BALL
The Lakers now run by Hall of Fame point guard Magic Johnson start off his era taking a player in Lonzo Ball who reminds many of the days when Magic played where point guard passed before they shot. Ball is special on the fast break and a fantastic creator for his teammates. The only concern about his game is his unique jump shot which still went in 40% of the time. Ball is the perfect fit to start the new era of Lakers basketball.
Pro Comparison- Jason Kidd
3. BOSTON CELTICS- JAYSON TATUM
The Boston Celtics made the Eastern Conference Finals this past season and one abundant flaw they have is wing scoring so, they take the best available at three. Tatum is as polished an iso scorer as you will see at this age with a mid range, three point and post game all to his name. Though not as athletic as Jackson, Tatum showed a presence for the big moment in the ACC tournament, something the Celtics will need in the playoffs for years to come.
Pro Comparison- Carmelo Anthony
4. PHOENIX SUNS- JOSH JACKSON
The Phoenix Suns need talent, desperately. So, they take the best player available in Josh Jackson. Jackson is an extremely athletic defender who if he develops a jump shot will be a star. He is extremely competitive and described as a winner, something the Suns desperately need for their culture. Booker along with Jackson will form a formidable wing duo for years to come in the dessert.
Pro Comparison- Andre Iguodala
5. SACRAMENTO KINGS- DE’AARON FOX
With the trade of Demarcus Cousins, the Sacramento Kings are in desperate need of a serious NBA talent. With their first pick of the night, they take the uber competitive Fox. An extremely athletic kid, Fox poses all the skills of today’s NBA point guard. A dynamic first step along with great finishing around the rim and decent vision, he has all the tools to be special. Much like his pro comparison, Fox must add a jump shot to take the next step in his game.
Pro Comparison- John Wall
6. ORLANDO MAGIC- JONATHAN ISAAC
An organization with seemingly very little direction, the Magic select the best player available in Jonathan Isaac. Isaac is an extremely talented wing who if he bulks up can play the power forward position as well. His offensive versatility is something that will come in extremely useful for a team that struggled to score all season. His guard skills on his six ten frame are very unique and if developed right, he could become the best player in this draft.
Pro Comparison- Paul George
7. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES- LAURI MARKKANEN
The pick most likely to be traded in the NBA may be this one. The Wolves are desperate to move on from Ricky Rubio and to improve at point guard or possibly in a Jimmy Butler deal. If they keep the pick, they select super skilled Finnish forward Lauri Markkanen. Markkanen showed all the skills of the modern big man last season at Arizona with his above average athleticism, shooting and solid skills for a seven footer. Combining him with Karl-Anthony Towns would produce a truly formidable front court.
Pro Comparison- Kristaps Porzingis
8. NEW YORK KNICKS- DENNIS SMITH JR.
The New York Knicks are a hot mess right now for all kinds of reasons right now and once again find themselves in the lottery. Their most pressing need is by far at point guard where Derrick Rose failed last season. Though Smith does not fit the triangle in the truest sense, one has to think eventually they will abandon the failing system. Smith provides everything today’s NBA point guard should have. He is unbelievably athletic and extremely aggressive. A super talented scorer, his best performance was an upset win at Duke. The only reason he is not going higher is he chose to stay home and was caught in a brutal NC State program.
Pro Comparison- Damian Lillard
9. DALLAS MAVERICKS- FRANK NTILIKINA
The Dallas Mavericks need a point guard more than anything so they take the best one available, Frank Ntilikina. Ntilikina is very good off ball screens both as a passer and jump shooter. While playing pro in Europe this season, he showed an improved jump shot along with important versatility defensively. Standing at six foot six, he can guard multiple positions and has shown good enough scoring ability to play the two as well. He could be a very valuable asset long term for the Mavericks.
Pro Comparison- Malcolm Brogdon
10. SACRAMENTO KINGS- MALIK MONK
A wildcard organization like the Knicks, this draft is make or break for Vlade Divac and the rest of the Kings management team. After adding his college teammate at five, the Kings select Malik Monk, the scorer with the most potential to explode. A player who dropped forty-seven points on eventual National Champion North Carolina, Monk is a fantastic distance shooter with a diverse skill set. He has the ability to come off screens as well as create his own shots. He must add muscle to increase his durability in the much more physical and NBA and improve at the defensive end to take the next step as player.
Pro Comparison- CJ McCollum
11. CHARLOTTE HORNETS- DONOVAN MITCHELL
The Hornets struggled scoring the basketball last season and Donovan Mitchell can do just that. An athletic combo guard who translates more as a shooting guard in the NBA is an ideal back court teammate for All-star guard Kemba Walker. Mitchell can slash with the best of them in this draft and also has a nice pull up mid range and a solid three point shot. Mitchell also has very good defensive skill and potential and likely will in the future be able to guard the NBA’s best.
Pro Comparison- Eric Bledsoe
12. DETROIT PISTONS- ZACH COLLINS
For a team that needs shooting badly, Zach Collins is an extremely interesting pick. The big man out of Gonzaga showed great touch around the rim and from distance but may be the most raw player taken in the lottery. He has a very high upside, unfortunately for whoever drafts him, that may be a ways aways from happening. His stretch four capabilities would be very interesting in Van Gundy’s offence, especially paired with the very talented Andre Drummond.
Pro Comparison- Al Horford
13. DENVER NUGGETS- OG ANUNOBY
There may not be a team in the NBA with more young talent in the NBA than the Denver Nuggets. Due to this talent, they have the flexibility to take OG Anunoby, a player who tore his ACL and will likely miss most of his rookie season. This injury is the only reason Anunoby is even available at thirteen as he has shown tremendous potential defensively and is a great athlete. Many around the NBA are saying he could have the highest upside defensively in the draft.
Pro Comparison- Ron Artest
14. MIAMI HEAT- JUSTIN JACKSON
The Miami Heat are in a unique situation in the lottery as the offer a team that was fantastic down the stretch and narrowly missed the playoffs. To push them back into the playoffs, they add a polished scorer and defender in Justin Jackson. The ACC player of the year took his feedback from last years combine to heart and returned to school on a mission and proved his lottery skill level. Jackson will be a very useful player off the bench from day one and could start in the not to distant future.
Pro Comparison- Nicolas Batum
15. PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS-JOHN COLLINS
One of College basketball’s greatest success stories, Collins was the most efficient post player in the country this season. He helps fill an area of need for the Blazers and can help out break out player Jusuf Nurkic.
16. CHICAGO BULLS- LUKE KENNARD
Possibly the best shooter in the Draft, Kennard fills a desperate need for the Bulls. Pairing him off the bench with their current wing players could allow them to stretch the court unlike last season.
17. MILWAUKEE BUCKS- HARRY GILES
The Bucks have been all about the process and upside in recent drafts so why should that change in this one as they take the former number one high school player who is raw and coming off serious injuries in Harry GIles
18. INDIANA PACERS- JUSTIN PATTON
Justin Patton is an extremely interesting big man as even though he is quite raw, he is very athletic and has a super high ceiling. Combining him and Myles Turner could be special and allow for Pacers fans to forget about Paul George.
19. ATLANTA HAWKS-IKE ANIGBOGU
As one of the youngest players in the draft, Anigbogu has an extremely high ceiling. Also a great athlete who works hard, he fits perfectly into what appears an imminent Hawks rebuild.
20. PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS- JARRETT ALLEN
Allen is a great athlete and would fit very nicely into Portland’s big man rotation. He has great potential in the pick and roll and could prove to be very useful for Damian Lillard.
21. OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER- TJ LEAF
Leaf is a super talented big man with great passing ability and a solid outside shot. Pairing him with Steven Adams down low along with Russell Westbrook in the pick and roll or pop could prove to be almost impossible to guard.
22. BROOKLYN NETS- DJ WILSON
Though very raw, Wilson has a great size of blend and skill. In time he could prove to be a very effective player for the Nets who have all the time in the world for him to develop. Look for him and D’Angelo Russell to flourish together offensively down the road.
23. TORONTO RAPTORS- TYLER LYDON
Tyler Lydon offers depth in the front court that the Raptors desperately need. He also offers great long range shooting, something that continuously haunts Toronto in big games.
24. UTAH JAZZ- TERRANCE FERGUSON
The Jazz go with potential here and select Ferguson who has great potential as a long distance shooter and defender. Adding to the wing could prove vital for the Jazz depending on Gordon Hayward’s upcoming decision.
25. ORLANDO MAGIC- EDRICE “BAM” ADEBAYO
Adebayo brings a much needed intense work ethic to a lack luster franchise. He has solid defensive potential and his effort and rebounding will allow him to get on the floor in year one.
26. PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS- ANZEJS PASECNIKS
Another skilled big man with great upside for the Blazers. Pasecniks offers great skill for a seven footer and could prove to be an effective player down the road. If the Blazers take him, he will likely spend the next couple years developing over seas.
27. LOS ANGELES LAKERS- CALEB SWANIGAN
A big man with great skill very similar to Zach Randolph, Swanigan dominated the Big Ten last season and showed the type of skill that made him a McDonald’s All-American back in 2015.
28. LOS ANGELES LAKERS- ISAIAH HARTENSTEIN
Another skilled European big man, Hartenstein will likely spend a few years over seas before coming to North America so he can bulk up and refine his craft.
29. SAN ANTONIO SPURS- IVAN RABB
Rabb has all the makings to be the next Chris Bosh and with the Spurs resources, coaching and player development staff, it is hard to imagine this skillful forward not panning out.
30. UTAH JAZZ- SEMI OJELEYE
The Jazz take the talented Duke transfer Ojeleye would had a fantastic campaign this past year for SMU leading them to AAC tournament and regular season championships, proving the type of talent he has.