We are now within touching distant from the pinnacle that is arguably the highlight of the offseason, especially for those teams outside of playoff contention; the NBA Draft.
As the draft approaches, many pundits and fans alike have been sharing their views and opinions on who will fall where and what we can expect on the 22nd. In the final edition of Hoops Nations’ own mock draft series, let us have one last look at who we believe will fall to which franchise.
With the 1st pick, the Philadelphia 76ers select Markelle Fultz
The only reason the Philadelphia 76ers would trade up would be to select Markelle Fultz, this much is absolutely certain. The fans know it, Joel Embiid knows it, and Fultz himself knows it as he turned up to his Sixers workout with a team cap on.
Fultz walking into the Sixers facility with a team cap on. Trust the Process. pic.twitter.com/GuJo0M18u4
— James (@JCraggSport) June 18, 2017
Averaging 23.2 points, 5.9 assists, 5.7 rebounds and 1.6 steals a game, as well as being the highest scoring freshman in the country, it’s fair to say he is the most talented player in this year’s class. Fultz fits the system at Philadelphia to a tee, being the premier shooter he is, he will benefit greatly from Ben Simmons’ drive and kicks.
With the 2nd pick, the Los Angeles Lakers select Lonzo Ball
This is a no brainer for the Los Angeles Lakers in reality, isn’t it. Lonzo Ball has the superstar ego and demeanour to fit right into life in L.A., and his pass-first mentality and his ability to play off the ball would work phenomenally alongside D’Angelo Russell.
Ball put up some sturdy numbers in his one and only year with UCLA, averaging 14.6 points, 7.6 assists, 6.1 rebounds, and 1.6 steals per contest. These stats paint the picture of an all-around player who can contribute on all ends of the floor. While Magic Johnson and the Lakers have flirted with the possibility of drafting other players over Ball, the reality is they’ll take the Californian native.
With the 3rd pick, the Boston Celtics select Jayson Tatum
After trading down to the third pick, the Boston Celtics lose the chance to add to their already guard-heavy repertoire, and instead draft offensively gifted Jayson Tatum out of Duke University. With Jae Crowder and a few other assets likely to depart Boston in a trade package for either Anthony Davis or Jimmy Butler, Tatum provides the shot creation and finishing ability needed for the second unit.
At 6-foot-8, Tatum would offer a degree of rebounding presence, exemplified by his 7.1 rebounds per game last season, as well as the obvious scoring touch, as he averaged a hefty 16.8 points per contest.
— Kevin O’Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) June 18, 2017
With the 4th pick, the Phoenix Suns select Josh Jackson
Josh Jackson falls right into the welcoming Phoenix Suns’ arms. Drafting a point guard wouldn’t make much sense considering Tyler Ullis’ breakout year and Eric Bledsoe’s presence, so acquiring Jackson was the way to go as Phoenix add a versatile wing that can play either shooting guard or at the three, a position they hadn’t cemented since P.J. Tucker’s departure.
With the 5th pick, the Sacramento Kings select De’Aaron Fox
At long last the Sacramento Kings may have finally found their point guard of the future in De’Aaron Fox. Replacing wayward characters Darren Collison and Ty Lawson as the creative focal point of the team would put some gloss back on a franchise that has suffered with dysfunction for many years.
Despite his inconsistency with shooting, when healthy Fox has the undeniable ability to lead his side to success, as he made poignantly clear this season with the Kentucky Wildcats.
With the 6th pick, the Orlando Magic select Dennis Smith Jr.
The Orlando Magic have lacked a real identity for a few seasons now, but acquiring a new, offensively talented point guard may help them kick start a successful rebuild after this past season’s went so dismally.
Drafting Dennis Smith Jr. would likely spell the end for inconsistent shooter Elfrid Payton, who showed signs of progression this season, but evidently not enough to secure a starting place for next year.
Dennis Smith Jr. apparently had a 48 inch vertical at the Lakers workout 😳
— Hoops Reference (@RTHoopsTalk) June 12, 2017
With the 7th pick, the Minnesota Timberwolves select Lauri Markkanen
Markannen has the elite ability to stretch the floor allowing Karl-Anthony Towns to control the post and giving wings Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine the freedom to drive to the basket without congestion.
With the 8th pick, the New York Knicks select Frank Ntilikina
While scouting and knowledge is limited on the point guard who plays in his home country France, the Knicks will evidently know enough about him to select him as a precaution incase Derrick Rose goes back on his promise in free agency and jumps ship.
With the 9th pick, the Dallas Mavericks select Malik Monk
Albeit surprising to see him fall so far, the Dallas Mavericks select Malik Monk. With little experienced, uber-talented guards ahead of him in the rotation, Monk will be given ample play time and space to shine to boast his array of scoring capabilities.
While he may not make the starting line-up immediately, he will definitely have a key role in the backcourt rotations, and may even force his way into the starting line-up, giving Seth Curry a real cause for concern.
With the 10th pick the Sacramento Kings select Jonathan Isaac
Selecting Jonathan Isaac with the 10th pick would round off a successful first-round of the draft for Sacramento. With Rudy Gay declining his player option to become an unrestricted free agent, the Kings will not have to look far to find his replacement, as 6-foot-10 forward Isaac offers a monumental degree of versatility.
— Jonathan Isaac (@jisaac_01) June 18, 2017
In Fox and Isaac, Sacramento have two cornerstones to begin a potentially fruitfully successful rebuild.
With the 11th pick the Charlotte Hornets select Donovan Mitchell
With the 12th pick the Detroit Pistons select Luke Kennard
With the 13th pick the Denver Nuggets select Justin Jackson
With the 14th pick the Miami Heat select Zach Collins