Chris Ransom follow @DraftUtopia Last Updated: April 12, 2017.
Boston Celtics: Markelle Fultz, PG, Washington
- The Boston Celtics can swap first round picks with the Brooklyn Nets who currently have the leagues worst record. The only position Boston needs is a power forward, but unfortunately for the Celtics there are no shooting guards or power forwards worth taking first overall. The Celtics could trade down, but I don't predict trades in my mock drafts.
- There were rumors about the Celtics taking Kris Dunn at 3 over Jaylen Brown who I had originally mocked to the Celtics before buying into the rumors of a point guard. The 6-4 195 lb Markelle Fultz is too good to pass on here.
- Markelle Fultz averaged 23.2 points per game, 5.7 rebounds per game, 5.9 assists per game, a .476 field goal percentage, a .413 three point percentage, and a .649 free throw percentage. Fultz has all the tools to be the top pick in the 2017 NBA Draft with his passing, dribbling, shooting accuracy from short range, medium range, and long range on tape. It's hard for me to see the Celtics passing on Fultz with the top pick.
Phoenix Suns: Josh Jackson, SF, Kansas
- The Phoenix Suns get a small forward at 2. Their biggest need is center, but like I stated earlier I don't project trades in my mocks so the Suns get the best player available at a position of need. T.J. Warren's backup P.J. Tucker got traded. Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight are both under contract until 2020.
- The 6-8 207 lb Josh Jackson averages 16.3 points per game which is more than the 14.6 points per game Lonzo Ball averaged. Ball is listed at 2 in a lot more mocks than Jackson, but Jackson makes more logical sense for the Suns at 2. Jackson also averaged 7.4 rebounds per game and 3 assists per game at small forward. Jackson has the short range, medium range, and long range accuracy when shooting on tape.
- Josh Jackson averaged a .513 field goal percentage, a .378 three point percentage, and a .566 free throw percentage. Jackson was going to be my top pick back in June when examining the initial 2017 NBA Mock Draft. I still believe he's a top 2 prospect at this point.
Los Angeles Lakers: Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA
- The Los Angeles Lakers should use this pick to move down for a center since Mozgov is replaceable. At the same time, the Lakers won't have their 2018 first round pick if they get a top 3 pick this year. Are the Lakers really going to pass on UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball? Ball is as Hollywood as it gets.
- Not only did the 6-6 190 lb Lonzo Ball average 14.6 points per game, but he also averaged 6 rebounds per game, 7.6 assists per game, a .551 field goal percentage, a .412 three point percentage, and a .673 free throw percentage. Lonzo Ball reminds me so much of Steph Curry that its scary with his passing and shooting accuracy from short range, mid range, and long range. Even if the Lakers have D'Angelo Russell under contract there is no way I see the Lakers passing on the hometown Lonzo Ball if he slips to 3.
Philadelphia 76ers: Jayson Tatum, SF, Duke
- The Philadelphia 76ers are expected to move Ben Simmons to power guard next season with Jerryd Bayless at shooting guard, Robert Covington at small forward, Dario Saric at power forward, and Joel Embiid at center. They may as well take the top forward to compliment him in Jayson Tatum who happens to be the best player available at 4. Tatum has the shooting accuracy with short range, medium range, and long range shots. Tatum also has the passing and rebounding to compliment Simmons and Embiid perfectly in Philadelphia. Jonathan Issac is a great shooter, but he gives away this me guy vibe and he didn't pass it to Dwayne Bacon enough and the 76ers need a guy who can score and distribute the ball to Simmons to maximize his ability which is why I went with Tatum here.
- The 6-8 205 lb Jayson Tatum averaged 16.4 points per game, 7.3 rebounds per game, 2.1 assists per game, averages a .452 field goal percentage, a .342 three point percentage, and an .842 free throw percentage. Tatum would compliment Ben Simmons at forward playing the small forward role that Simmons was supposed to play before Philadelphia moved him to point guard you would have Joel Embiid at center. Philadelphia would finally have a competitive trio with Tatum, Simmons, and Embiid in 2017.
Orlando Magic: Dennis Smith Jr., PG, North Carolina State
- Neither Elfrid Payton or D.J. Augustin is playing like a starting point guard. The 6-3 195 lb Dennis Smith Jr. would be the perfect replacement.
- Dennis Smith Jr. averaged 18.1 points per game, 4.6 rebounds per game, 6.2 assists per game, .468 field goal percentage, .371 three point percentage, and a .720 free throw percentage. Dennis Smith Jr. reminds me so much of Russell Westbrook and the Magic could really use a point guard with Westbrook's talent.
New York Knicks: De'Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky
- The 6-3 187 lb De'Aaron Fox grew up in Houston, Texas before committing to Kentucky. Now Fox goes to a New York Knicks team that is in desperate need of a point guard with Derrick Rose and Brandon Jennings set to become Free Agents in 2017.
- De'Aaron Fox averaged 16.7 points per game, 4 rebounds per game, 4.6 assists per game, a .479 field goal percentage, and a .736 free throw percentage. Fox has a .246 three point percentage meaning Fox needs to work on hitting three pointers if he's gonna succeed in the NBA. I'd also like to see him add more muscle, but he has enough talent to be a successful point guard in the NBA and is still a top 10 pick at this point. One thing Fox does well despite his size is defend well. He showed he could defend well against Lonzo Ball in the Sweet 16 which is why I have a top 6 grade on Fox.
Previous Pick: Frank Ntilikina, PG, Strasbourg
Minnesota Timberwolves: Lauri Markkanen, PF, Arizona
- The Minnesota Timberwolves are one power forward away from being a competitive team. Lauri Markkanen fills a position of need for Minnesota at 7.
- The 7-0 230 lb Lauri Markkanen is a power forward for Arizona. You can make the case he has the height of a center, but has the weight and muscle of a 4 at power forward. Markkanen is versatile enough to play power forward or center with his versatility, but is a better fit at power forward.
- Markkanen averaged 15.6 points per game, 7.2 rebounds per game, 0.9 assists per game, a .492 field goal percentage, a .423 three point percentage, and a .835 free throw percentage. Markkanen is the missing piece for the Timberwolves.
Dallas Mavericks: Frank Ntilikina, PG, Strasbourg
- The Mavericks should take Malik Monk here at 8. I feel like they are more likely to take an International Player like Frank Ntilikina. Many consider Frank Ntilikina the best international prospect since Emmanuel Mudiay a few years ago. Ntilikina played for France before playing with Strasbourg, but the Mavericks may take another international player here after having lots of success with Dirk Nowitzki.
Previous Pick: De'Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky
Sacramento Kings: Malik Monk, PG, Kentucky
- The Sacramento Kings lose Darren Collison to Free Agency in 2017. Malik Monk is a good candidate to replace Collison.
- The 6-3 200 lb Malik Monk can play both point guard or shooting guard with his versatility. Monk averaged 19.8 points per game, 2.5 rebounds per game, 2.3 assists per game, a .450 field goal percentage, a .397 three point percentage, and a .822 free throw percentage.
Sacramento Kings: Jonathan Isaac, SF, Florida State
- The 6-10 210 lb Jonathan Isaac would make an awesome replacement to Tyreke Evans who got shipped to Sacramento along with this pick after the DeMarcus Cousins trade which sent Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans. Many would argue that Isaac is a top 5 prospect and that's why Isaac is such a steal at this point. Isaac averaged 12 points per game, 7.8 rebounds per game, 1.2 assists per game, a .508 field goal percentage, a .348 three point percentage, and a .780 free throw percentage.
Charlotte Hornets: Miles Bridges, SF, Michigan State
- The Charlotte Hornets have their entire starting five and backups under contract for next season. The only player the Hornets lose is their third string point guard. Miles Bridges is the best player available so the Hornets can draft the best player on the board rather than looking for a need at 11. Bridges averaged 16.9 points per game, 8.3 rebounds per game, and 2.1 assists per game making him an ideal depth player for Charlotte.
Detroit Pistons: Nigel Williams-Goss, PG, Gonzaga
- The Pistons need a point guard in the worst way possible. In this situation they reach for Gonzaga point guard Nigel Williams-Goss is one of the best point guard at 6-5 195 lbs. Nigel Williams-Goss averaged 18.6 points per game, 6 rebounds per game, 4.7 assists per game, a .486 field goal percentage, a .368 three point percentage, anda .867 free throw percentage. Nigel Williams-Goss could be a lottery pick if he declares for the 2017 NBA Draft.
Previous Pick: Justin Patton, C, Creighton
Denver Nuggets: Justin Jackson, SF, North Carolina
- The 6-8 210 lb Justin Jackson has a lot of potential. Jackson averaged 18.3 points per game, 4.7 rebounds per game, 2.8 assists per game, a .443 field goal percentage, a .370 three point percentage, and a .748 free throw percentage. Jackson led North Carolina to two Championship Appearances in the Mens Basketball Tournament and helped North Carolina win the 2017 Mens Basketball Tournament.
Previous Pick: Bam Adebayo, C, Kentucky
Miami Heat: Jarrett Allen, PF, Texas
- The 6-11 235 lb Jarrett Allen is versatile enough to play power forward or center. Allen averaged 13.8 points per game, 8.4 rebounds per game, 0.8 assists per game, a .566 field goal percentage, and a .564 free throw percentage. Allen is perfect to fill the void for someone like Chris Bosh who is set to decline or retire.
Previous Pick: T.J. Leaf, PF, UCLA
Chicago Bulls: Zach Collins, C, Gonzaga
- Chicago needs a center to replace Joakim Noah. The 7-0 230 lb Zach Collins averaged 10 points per game, 5.9 rebounds per game, 0.4 assists per game, a .652 field goal percentage, a .476 three point percentage, and a .743 free throw percentage. Zach Collins is versatile enough to play power forward or center in the NBA and with Chris Bosh set to decline or possibly retire, Zach Collins is the perfect player to replace him with.
Previous Pick: John Collins, PF, Wake Forest