When the 2017 NBA Draft just a short time away, PTB’s Brian Bayless checks in with his thoughts on what could—and should—go down at the Barclays Center on Thursday.
This is a team-by-team mock draft. So, fans of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, and Memphis Grizzlies will not see their team here as they do not have picks in the draft.
1st Rd (19): C Justin Patton, Creighton
2nd Rd (41): PF Cam Oliver, Nevada
2nd Rd (60): SG Damyean Dotson, Houston
The team just traded away C Dwight Howard for pennies on the dollar and will likely lose PF Paul Millsap via free agency, so those positions need to be addressed in the draft as this team is in rebuilding mode. Patton will likely not be able to contribute as a rookie but has shown the ability to score down low in college. He also needs to gain strength. Oliver is an excellent rebounder and can knock down three-point spots and could turn into a solid starter if able to adapt as an NBA stretch power forward. Dotson is a bit old for an NBA Draft prospect (23) but can also shoot from behind the arc as the Hawks might also have to replace Tim Hardaway Jr., who could also depart via free agency.
1st Rd (3): SF Jayson Tatum, Duke
2nd Rd (37): PF Ivan Rabb, California
2nd Rd (53): PF Alpha Kaba, France
2nd Rd (56): PF Isaiah Hicks, North Carolina
After trading away the No. 1 overall pick in this draft, GM Danny Ainge stated that there was a good chance the player they wanted with the original pick would be there at No. 3. At this point, I assume it’s Tatum over Josh Jackson, who has cancelled workouts for the Celtics. Tatum is a scorer that the Celtics desperately need. Its also quite possible the Celts package their picks for a star player. With three second round picks, the C’s can use that to help out their front court. Rabb’s draft stock has plummeted and there are reports that his workouts have not gone well but he can rebound and is certainly worth a shot here. He was projected as a possible lottery pick last year as a freshman. Hayes can also rebound and block shots and can bring much needed athleticism to the team’s front court. With three second-round picks, they can select an International player like Kaba as a draft-and-stash option.
1st Rd (22): C Jarrett Allen, Texas
2nd Rd (57): SF Wesley Iwundu, Kansas State
The Nets are a team that should really take the best player available with their picks. Its going to be a long time before they are in a position to become competitive again. Allen would be a good value at No. 22 and with the team trading away their best player in C Brook Lopez, would have a shot to get playing time right away. Iwundu is a swingman that can defend well and has shown improvement as a shooter while in college.
1st Rd (11): SG Luke Kennard, Duke
2nd Rd (31): PF Caleb Swanigan, Purdue
Before trading for Dwight Howard, I had the Hornets selecting C Zach Collins in the 1st Round. Now they can address shooting with Kennard from Duke, whose stock has risen rapidly due to his impressive shooting during team workouts. Swanigan is a tough presence inside that can rebound and score. The Hornets will need to make the most of their picks as the team’s cap space is limited.
1st Rd (16): SF Justin Jackson, North Carolina
2nd Rd (38): SG Tyler Dorsey, Oregon
With all of the rumors surrounding Chicago trading Jimmy Butler, there is as strong chance he will get moved. If he is moved, then I suspect they select Jackson here. If not, they can look to address the front court. with Jarrett Allen, Justin Patton, or John Collins. Dorsey can help add shooting off of the bench where the team has very little at shooting guard behind Dwyane Wade. He even played the point in college and could possibly be a combo guard for the team.
1st Rd (9): SG Malik Monk, Dallas
The Mavericks have just one pick this draft and have holes all over their roster. They need to rebuild and have very few young pieces. Monk is one of the most explosive players in this draft and can go as high as 5th overall to the Magic in this draft. He might never be an NBA-caliber starting point guard but is a scorer. The Mavericks could also look at point guards in this draft like Ntilikina or Dennis Smith but if Monk’s still on the board then they should take him without hesitation. Zach Collins is also in play here at center.
1st Rd (13): SF OG Anunoby, Indiana
2nd Rd (49): SF Jaron Blossongame, Clemson
2nd Rd (51): PG Kobi Simmons, Arizona
Anunoby might miss his entire rookie season due to a torn ACL suffered this past January but has the skill set the Nuggets need. This team has a horrible defense and Anunoby can defend four positions as well as shoot and drive to the hoop. He’s worth a gamble here, especially since this team is not in a position to contend. Blossongame is another strong defender who struggled to shoot as a senior but had been a reliable shooter the rest of his career. With Emmanuel Mudiay looking like a bust the team can stand to improve its point guard situation. Simmons has potential but struggles to shoot and might have to settle as a combo guard in the pros.
1st Rd (12): PG Dennis Smith, North Carolina State
Smith could be a huge steal here. This is not the biggest need for the Pistons but I also do not see Reggie Jackson finishing the year with this team. Smith can get to the hoop as good as anyone in this draft class and is getting better as a three-point shooter but can be erratic at times. They could also look at center if they deal Andre Drummond with Zach Collins being an option if he is still on the board. They also have to get better shooting from behind the arc and that makes Luke Kennard an option too.
2nd Rd (43): SF Dillon Brooks, Oregon
2nd Rd (45): C Anzejs Pasecniks, Latvia
The Rockets need front court depth more than anything else but it will be tough to come by here. Pasecniks apparently impressed scouts during a workout in Los Angeles with his athleticism and could be a nice draft-and-stash option for the team as he will need to improve his defense and add strength to play in the NBA. Brooks can score and had a really good collegiate career. Its not the biggest position of need but the team does have Trevor Ariza and Lou Williams as free agents at the end of this coming season and its doubtful both of them will be retained. The only question about Brooks is what position will he play in the pros as he might end up a defensive liability.
1st Rd (18): PF John Collins, Wake Forest
2nd Rd (47): SG Sterling Brown, SMU
This team is very likely having to prepare for life without Paul George. Collins fills a need at power forward although the team could also consider someone like TJ Leaf here. The team also needs help in the backcourt and will have to likely do that in the second round. Brown was an efficient shooter in college and defended the perimeter well although the only question with him is will his lack of athleticism hurt him in the pros. Replacing point guard Jeff Teague if he departs will likely have to be done via free agency.
1st Rd (2): PG Lonzo Ball, UCLA
1st Rd (27): C Tony Bradley, North Carolina
1st Rd (28): PF Isaiah Hartenstein, Germany
Ball seems like the obvious choice here provided the pick is not traded away. Although, the Lakers have been coy about their plans here and could end up taking Josh Jackson or another point guard in De’Aaron Fox. Its also been reported they love Markelle Fultz but will likely have to trade up to get him at #1. The team already dealt away D’Angelo Russell and needs someone to facilitate the offense. The front court needs a lot of help too. Despite acquiring Brook Lopez, he is a free agent after this season and the trade seemed designed to create cap space to sign Paul George next season meaning he is likely not a long-term solution. Bradley is agile with upside while Hartenstein is a skilled big man who they can stash away in Germany for a year or two.
1st Rd (14): C Zach Collins, Gonzaga
With one pick in this draft the Heat can look to address the front court, which really lacks depth. I see Collins going as early as #9 to Dallas here but I think he would be the pick for Heat if still on the board. He should be able to pair up nicely with Hassan Whiteside. If Dion Waiters leaves via free agency then they can look at a replacement with Donovan Mitchell as an intriguing option if available.
1st Rd (17): C Bam Adebayo, Kentucky
2nd Rd (48): SF Semi Ojeleye, SMU
The team re-signed Greg Monroe but still needs a physical presence in the post. Adebayo came on late this season for Kentucky and has a lot of upside plus the ability to become an excellent rebounder in the NBA. If not Adebayo they can consider other players like John Collins or even a stretch four player like TJ Leaf and Kyle Kuzma. Ojeleye is one of the better shooters in the draft but offers little else. Still, you need shooters in today’s NBA and Milwaukee is lacking in this area.
1st Rd (7): PF Lauri Markkanen, Arizona
The Timberwolves have some young pieces to build around. However, there bench was a major weakness so taking the best player available might be the way to go with the 7th overall pick. There are reports that the team wants Markkanen and he would fit in well with the team. The team also could go for a guard, with Malik Monk, Dennis Smith, and Frank Ntilikina as options too. Monk would be a great scoring option for the team off the bench.
NEW ORLEANS PELICANS
2nd Rd (40): SG Josh Hart, Villanova
This team needs a lot of help in the back court. Hart has the chance to contribute right away with his ability to shoot and defend. He could start for this team at some point as a rookie due to their lack of depth. Other wing players like Semi Ojeleye, Dwayne Bacon, and Wesley Iwundu are options too.
1st Rd (8): PG Frank Ntilikina, France
2nd Rd (44): SF Devin Robinson, Florida
2nd Rd (58): SG Sindarius Thornwell, South Carolina
This team needs a point guard and rumors are floating around that Ntilikina is who they are targeting. He also has the skill set that can help him run the triangle offense. Malik Monk and Dennis Smith are other possibilities too. They also need help on the wing and on defense. Carmelo Anthony is not getting any younger and they have little else behind him.
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
1st Rd (21): SG Terrance Ferguson, Australia
Surrounding Russell Westbrook with talent is the top priority with this team. Ferguson is one of the top shooters in the draft and could be a great value here. Andre Roberson is a free agent and Victor Oladipo seems lost on this team. A stretch four could fit with this pick too with TJ Leaf as another candidate.
1st Rd (6): SF/PF Jonathan Issac, Florida State
1st Rd (25): PG/SG Frank Jackson, Duke
2nd Rd (33): SF/PF Alec Peters, Valparaiso
2nd Rd (35): PG Frank Mason, Kansas
The Magic really need to improve their offense. Isaac is similar to another former Magic player in Rashard Lewis. He’s athletic and can score inside and out. Adding strength is a must though but he does have a ton of upside. It does not seem like this team is sold of Elfrid Payton given the inconsistent playing time he received over the season so adding a pair of guards in Jackson and Mason helps if they decide to trade him or even if he stays as both are good on offense. Peters is a forward that can shoot but could also prove to be a liability on defense. Other first round choices are Malik Monk and Lauri Markkanen or a point guard.
1st Rd (1): PG Markelle Fultz, Washington
2nd Rd (36): PF Jordan Bell, Oregon
2nd Rd (39): PG Monte Morris, Iowa State
2nd Rd (46): PF Mathias Lessort, France
2nd Rd (50): SF Tyler Lydon, Syracuse
Fultz appears to be the top choice in this draft. He could help from a solid nucleus with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Plus, I do not see how someone like Ball would fit in well with Simmons on the court as both are not good shooters. Even with Fultz, they could still use more help at the point where Morris can end up a steady backup in the league as he is lauded for having a high basketball IQ. The team does not seem to want Jahlil Okafor as part of their future plans and he did disappoint last season so Bell can replace him. The team can stash Lessort in France for a year and Lydon is a shooter, something the 76ers need to improve as they head into the future.
1st Rd (4): SF Josh Jackson, Kansas
2nd Rd (32): PF Jonathan Motley, Baylor
2nd Rd (54): C Eric Mika, BYU
If Jackson is off the board then the Suns will likely take Jayson Tatum. Jackson would be a good value for the Suns, whose biggest position of need is at small forward. He would pair up nicely with Devin Booker. If the team decides to deal Eric Bledsoe they can look to draft a point guard such as De’Aaron Fox or Lonzo Ball if he manages to slip to the 4th pick. Motley is an athletic power forward and Mika is a rebounder and seven-footer as the team might have to look for a replacement for Alex Len.
1st Rd (15): PF Harry Giles, Duke
1st Rd (20): PF Kyle Kuzma, Utah
1st Rd (26): PG Jawun Evans, Oklahoma State
With three first round picks and limited cap space due to a lot of bad free agent signing last season, the team will likely have to address it needs through this draft, although I do not see them keeping all three picks. They could trade up and take someone like Jonathan Isaac. Giles is a wild card as he was one of the top prospects heading into college last season but missed games due to knee issues and struggled when he played. He’s worth a gamble with the 15th pick. Kuzma is a forward that can play both spots and can shoot, which will help this team. With nothing behind Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum in the backcourt, Evans can give them a good ball-handler coming off of the bench. The team could also use the 26th pick on Jonah Bolden and stash him overseas.
1st Rd (5): PG De’Aaron Fox, Kentucky
1st Rd (10): SG Donovan Mitchell, Louisville
2nd Rd (34): SF/PF Jonah Bolden, Australia
The Kings have young talent in the front court but need help everywhere else. With one of the 1st round picks the Kings will address the point guard positions as it appears Darren Collison will depart via free agency. Fox seems like a solid choice here at #5 but if Jayson Tatum or Josh Jackson are still on the board then I figure they’ll select one of them and hope a point guard like Frank Ntilikina or Dennis Smith is around at #10. Mitchell can help at shooting guard and chance to become a lockdown defender, which will be needed with the strong guard play in the Western Conference. Bolden is a versatile forward with potential who can play overseas for another year before coming over.
1st Rd (29): PG Derrick White, Colorado
2nd Rd (59): PF Nigel Hayes, Wisconsin
Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili are shells of their former selves and need to be replaced. White is a bit old (22) for a draft prospect but was effective and can shoot and distribute the basketball. Even if they get Chris Paul another point guard would be needed. Hayes is athletic with a giant wingspan that could carve out a nice bench role for the Spurs.
1st Rd (23): PF DJ Wilson, Michigan
With just one pick the Raptors can fill a need at three-point shooting and at the stretch four position with Wilson, who had a strong performance in this year’s NCAA Tournament. With both Patrick Patterson and Serge Ibaka free agents, its doubtful both of them will be retained. If Wilson gets tougher and adds strength he could end up being a steal here.
1st Rd (24): PF TJ Leaf, UCLA
1st Rd (30): C Ike Anigbogu, UCLA
2nd Rd (42): PG Edmond Sumner, Xavier
2nd Rd (55): SF/PF Aleksandar Vezenkov, Bulgaria
Getting a stretch four like Leaf fits this team well. They can settle for a point guard in the second round with someone like Sumner, who would have likely been a late lottery pick if not for tearing his ACL this past January. If he comes back from that injury the Jazz could have a steal. Anigbogu provides depth behind Rudy Gobert where the team does not have too much behind him. They can stash Vezenkov overseas since they have four picks in this draft, although I would not be surprised to see them make a trade.
1st Rd (52): SG/SF Dwayne Bacon, Florida State
The Wizards are a team with a very poor bench. With one pick at the back end of the second round they should just take the best player available. Bacon is an athletic wing and that position will be in even more need if Otto Porter departs via free agency. Finding a potential backup point guard can be considered here with this pick too seeing how Brandon Jennings and Trey Burke failed in that role.