The lottery has taken shape and now more reliable mock drafts can be put together knowing the exact order of the picks. I do not care about best available when it comes to drafting because that creates log jams and putting square pegs in round holes. I select players based on best FIT so deal with it if a big name isn’t where you think they should go.
1. Boston Celtics (Via Nets) PG/SG Markelle Fultz, Washington, 6’4″
Even though Celtics GM Danny Ainge will be looking to send this pick out for Paul George or Jimmy Butler after King James and the Cavaliers brutally beat them with Swiffers, Fultz will still be the consensus number one choice for many teams. If I were him, I would even think about packaging the 1st overall pick to Sacramento for 5 and 10. Even if Ainge decides to keep the pick, Fultz skill set allows him to share ball-handling and playmaking duties with Isaiah Thomas while the other can work off the ball.
2. Los Angeles Lakers, PG Lonzo Ball, UCLA, 6’6″
This is likely the only thing LaVar Ball wants to happen that will happen. Lonzo is a TRUE point guard that will bring excitement and stability back to LakerLand. With Luke Walton moving D’Angelo Russell off the ball, Ball is a perfect fit to orchestrate the offense with DLo, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, and Ivica Zubac.
With HC Brett Brown supposedly starting a 7’0″ Ben Simmons at point guard, the best fit to continue “The Process” is a slashing guard/forward in the Bill Self product. Yes, Jackson still has to work on improving his outside jumpshot, but it is likely that he will be able to knock down 3’s at a decent clip in his rookie season. A trio of Simmons, Embiid, and Jackson in the open court will give opposing Eastern Conference teams nightmares.
4. Phoenix Suns, SF Jayson Tatum, Duke, 6’8″
Suns GM Ryan McDonough needs to select Jayson Tatum because it will be fitting a square peg in a square hole. Tatum can create shots for himself as well as shoot off the catch. He also has the size and rebounding ability to play some small ball 4. A lineup of Bledsoe, Booker, Tatum, Chriss, and Chandler/Bender will be a force in the Western Conference for years to come.
5. Sacramento Kings, PG De’Aaron Fox, Kentucky, 6’3″
Sacramento finally has a foundation to build upon with the 5th and 10th overall selections in this year’s draft. Will they find a way to use them correctly? Or will they draft another Jason Thompson or Ben McLemore? The answer here is Kentucky’s De’Aaron Fox. Although the jury is still out on Fox’s jumper, his elite explosion and speed will give the Kings a young guard with potential to build around. Fox is also capable of being a really good 2-way point using his quickness to jump into passing lanes as well as harass opponents with his on-ball defense. If Dave Joerger allows Fox to get the ball and go, Sacramento will finally have the lead guard it thought it had during Tyreke Evans’ rookie season.
6. Orlando Magic, SG Malik Monk, Kentucky, 6’3″
Orlando needs shooting, shooting, shooting, and more shooting. Monk will be able to bring plenty of that into their lineup. With Evan Fournier entrenched in the lineup at off guard, Monk is the perfect option for 6th man. A 6th man role for Monk is likely his ceiling in the NBA because he can either get really really hot or really really cold. Look for Monk to be a Lou Williams type guy and maybe even better.
There’s not much else Minnesota needs to finish building their dream home. Another point guard or ball stopper is not the answer. A versatile combo forward to slide between Andrew Wiggins and KAT will make the ceiling the roof for the Timberwolves. Isaac is a raw offensive threat, but he has the skills to develop into a special player. Isaac will come into the NBA and will see the court early for his defensive ability and versatility. That is what Minnesota needs.
8. New York Knicks, PG/SG Frank Ntilikina, France, 6’5″
This will be an easy pick for Phil Jackson and an easy fit in the triangle. Ntilikina isn’t a ball dominant player and the ball moves well when he is lineups. He can also knockdown 3’s at a decent and efficient clip which will be huge playing in the triangle as the point guard. Drafting the young Frenchmen, Jackson will also not have to worry about someone taking shots away from Carmelo and KP. Assuming both are in Knicks uniforms for the 17-18 season.
9. Dallas Mavericks, PG Dennis Smith Jr., North Carolina State, 6’2″
Mark Cuban will want to draft Lauri Markkanen because of the Dirk comparisons, but there is no reason to send Dirk out a loser. I’m in a good mood so I will give Mr. Cuban the benefit of doubt and say he will give Wes, Nerlens, and Harrison a dynamic point guard to work with for the future while giving Dirk a chance for one more playoff run. It will also help to have your starting point guard not be named Yogi or the other Curry. Smith is an explosive guard who can score and drop dimes, but in a stacked point guard class, he’s a fringe top 10 pick.
10. Sacramento Kings (Via Pelicans) PF Lauri Markkanen, Arizona, 7’0″
The Kings cannot screw this draft up, but hey they are the Sacramento Kings. By already drafting Fox, they have a lead guard to run with Buddy Hield and Willie Cauley-Stein. Insert stretch big man Lauri Markkanen into the lineup and Sacramento will finally have a young core that they can build around. With Cauley-Stein cleaning the glass, swatting shots, and outletting to Fox, the Kings will be able to put on an aerial show at the Golden 1 Center with a barrage of 3s from Hield and Markkanen and alley-oops from Fox to Cauley-Stein.
11. Charlotte Hornets, SG Terrance Ferguson, USA, 6’7″
Ferguson was the latest prep to international player. Although he struggled in Australia with the Adelaide 36ers, his potential 3 and D candidacy with elite athleticism will wow scouts in draft workouts. The Hornets desperately need an upgrade over Marco Belinelli at the 2 and with Ferguson likely still being on the board, Michael needs to select him. Charlotte also needs to surely build for the future because they are going nowhere fast with the contract of Batum and the $47 billion they have given out to big men.
12. Detroit Pistons, C Jarrett Allen, Texas, 6’10”
With the Pistons moving back to downtown Detroit, it’s also time to blow the roster up and start over. The good thing is that Head Coach and President Stan Van Gundy knows this because both Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond were on the block at the trade deadline. By drafting the freakishly long prospect out of Texas (They tend to put those guys out don’t they?) they will have a big man that offers tons of more offensive and overall potential than Drummond. The rebuild starts now.
13. Denver Nuggets, PF/C Zach Collins, Gonzaga, 6’11”
This will be a tough pick for Denver. They have a solid young player or veteran at every position. Much of their future will rest on Danilo Gallinari opting out of his contract. Do you draft another big for reassurance if Mason Plumlee is offered a huge offer sheet and you don’t want to match? Do you reach for a wing in the lottery such as Justin Jackson? The best bet for the Nuggets will be to trade back a few spots or swap rights with a team that drafts a wing. If not, the selection should be Gonzaga freshman Zach Collins for insurance in case Plumlee’s offer sheet is not matched. Collins offers upside with his athleticism, rebounding, and possible 3-pt stroke.
14. Miami Heat, PF T.J. Leaf, UCLA, 6’10”
The Heat are a tough situation to dissect. Do they really think that their core that went 11-30 and then 30-11 is the answer for the future? Likely not, Pat Riley is smarter than that especially with gobs of cap space and a lottery pick. Insert UCLA forward T.J. Leaf and Miami can place a floor spacer next to Hasaan Whiteside. A pick and pop/roll game with Goran Dragic will be big time with Whiteside rolling and Leaf popping.
15. Portland Trailblazers, SG/SF Justin Jackson, North Carolina, 6’8″
16. Chicago Bulls, PF Kyle Kuzma, Utah, 6’9″
17. Milwaukee Bucks, PF John Collins, Wake Forest, 6’9″
18. Indiana Pacers, PF Harry Giles III, Duke, 6’10”
19. Atlanta Hawks, SG Luke Kennard, Duke, 6’6″
20. Portland Trailblazers (Via Nuggets/Via Grizzlies) C Justin Patton, Creighton, 6’11”
21. Oklahoma City Thunder, SG Hamidou Diallo, Kentucky, 6’5″
22. Brooklyn Nets (Via Wizards) PF/C Bam Adebayo, Kentucky, 6’10”
23. Toronto Raptors (Via Clippers) PF Tyler Lydon, Syracuse, 6’9″
24. Utah Jazz, SG Donovan Mitchell, Louisville, 6’3″
25. Orlando Magic (Via Raptors) PG Frank Jackson, Duke, 6’3″
26. Portland Trailblazers (Via Cavaliers) SF Rodions Kurucs, Latvia, 6’8″
27. Brooklyn Nets (Via Celtics) SG/SF Dwayne Bacon, Florida State, 6’6″
28. Los Angeles Lakers (Via Rockets) SG Sindarius Thornwell, South Carolina, 6’5″
29. San Antonio Spurs, C Omer Yurtseven, North Carolina State, 7’0″
30. Utah Jazz (Via Warriors) C Jonathan Jeanne, France, 7’2″
31. Atlanta Hawks (Via Nets) PG Edmond Sumner, Xavier, 6’5″
32. Phoenix Suns, SG/SF Wesley Iwundu, Kansas State, 6’7″
33. Orlando Magic (Via Lakers) SF O.G. Anunoby, Indiana, 6’7″
34. Sacramento Kings (Via Pelicans/Via 76ers) SF Jaron Blossomgame, Clemson, 6’7″
35. Orlando Magic, C Anzejs Pasecniks, Latvia, 7’1″
36. Philadelphia 76ers (Via Knicks/Via Jazz) PF Jordan Bell, Oregon, 6’9″
37. Boston Celtics (Via Timberwolves) PF Johnathan Motley, Baylor, 6’9″
38. Chicago Bulls (Via Kings) PG Juwan Evans, Oklahoma State, 6’0″
39. Philadelphia 76ers (Via Mavericks) SG Josh Hart, Villanova, 6’5″
40. New Orleans Pelicans, SG Tyler Dorsey, Oregon, 6’4″
41. Charlotte Hornets, PF Cam Oliver, Nevada, 6’8″
42. Utah Jazz (Via Pistons) C Ike Anigbogu, UCLA, 6’10”
43. Houston Rockets (Via Nuggets) SG/SF Damyean Dotson, Houston, 6’6″
44. New York Knicks (Via Bulls) SF Dillon Brooks, Oregon, 6’6″
45. Houston Rockets (Via Trailblazers) C Caleb Swanigan, Purdue, 6’9″
46. Philadelphia 76ers (Via Heat) PF Matthias Lessort, France, 6’9″
47. Indiana Pacers, SF/PF Semi Ojeleye, SMU, 6’6″
48. Milwaukee Bucks, PG/SG Kobi Simmons, Arizona, 6’4″
49. Denver Nuggets (Via Grizzlies) PF Alec Peters, Valparaiso, 6’8″
50. Philadelphia 76ers (Via Hawks) SF/PF Aleksandar Vezenkov, Bulgaria, 6’9″
51. Denver Nuggets (Via Thunder) PG/SG Derrick White, Colorado, 6’4″
52. Washington Wizards, PG Monte Morris, Iowa State, 6’2″
53. Boston Celtics (Via Cavaliers) C Moses Kingsley, Arkansas, 6’10”
54. Phoenix Suns (Via Raptors) SF V.J. Beachem, Notre Dame, 6’7″
55. Utah Jazz, SG/SF Sterling Brown, SMU, 6’5″
56. Boston Celtics (Via Clippers) SF Vlatko Cancar, Slovenia, 6’8″
57. Brooklyn Nets (Via Celtics) PG Nigel Williams-Goss, Gonzaga, 6’3″
58. New York Knicks (Via Rockets) SG/SF Vanja Marinkovic, Serbia, 6’7″
59. San Antonio Spurs, PF Nigel Hayes, Wisconsin, 6’7″
60. Atlanta Hawks (Via Warriors) C Luke Kornet, Vanderbilt, 7’1″
Written By: Nyck Young