Markelle Fultz, Josh Jackson, and Lonzo Ball are the top three players in the 2017 NBA Draft. Find out where they go.
Chris Ransom follow @DraftUtopia Last Updated: June 22, 2017.
Philadelphia 76ers: Markelle Fultz, PG, Washington A+ Grade
- Philadelphia has traded the third overall pick, their 2018 first round pick they got from the Lakers, and a 2019 first round pick they got from the Sacramento Kings to Boston for this pick. The Celtics may only get one of these picks. More clarification will be provide on Monday when this trade is officially finalized. The 76ers worked out Fultz on Saturday and plan on taking Fultz at 1 leaving Ben Simmons at small forward or power forward.
- 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. Defense is something Fultz can improve on, but as far as scoring goes he is the top overall player on my board.
Los Angeles Lakers: Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA A+ Grade
- 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 in 2018 or 2019 so its critical for them to get this pick right if they keep it.
- Fultz is going to the 76ers at 1. The Lakers worked out Lonzo Ball, Josh Jackson, and De'Aaron Fox multiple times with all three working out for the Lakers twice. With the Lakers moving D'Angelo Russell and Timothy Mozgov for Brook Lopez and the 27th overall pick, the overwhelming favorite to go second overall has to be Lonzo Ball.
- The Los Angeles Lakers draft the 6-6 190 lb Lonzo Ball because the Lakers need a point guard with Russell gone. Lonzo Ball averaged 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. Ball defends well too. Lonzo Ball is my third best player in the entire draft behind Markelle Fultz and Josh Jackson from a talent standpoint.
- Brandon Ingram is a full year younger than Josh Jackson. That along with the fact that both Paul George and LeBron James being Free Agents in 2018 is one reason why I'm giving this an A+ grade. The other reason this pick gets an A+ grade is because Lonzo Ball has green on every area of his projected shooting chart which translates well to the NBA along with his passing, court vision, quality defense, and extremely high basketball IQ. I know his dad Lavar Ball can be annoying, but this is the right pick for the Lakers long-term if the plan is to get a guy like Paul George or LeBron James to play with Ball.
- After this pick, the Lakers starting five consists of Lonzo Ball at point guard, Jordan Clarkson at shooting guard, Brandon Ingram at small forward, Julius Randle at power forward, and Brook Lopez at center. Not only does Los Angeles have a good starting five, they also have two first round picks at 27 and 28 on top of that which is why the Lakers get an A+ grade here.
Boston Celtics: Jayson Tatum, SF, Duke A+ Grade
- The Celtics are going to have to choose between Josh Jackson and Jayson Tatum at 3. The Celtics worked out Tatum. They offered Jackson the chance to work out with the team, but he flaked on them to go to a second workout with the Lakers. That's why I think this pick is most likely going to be Tatum now.
- If the Celtics do take Jackson expect them to trade his rights to the Chicago Bulls for Jimmy Butler since we've also heard that the Bulls will agree in principle to trade Jimmy Butler to Boston for this pick. The Celtics loved Tatum and Brad Stevens thinks he can guard the 1, 2, 3, or 4 on defense plus Jackson reportedly told the Celtics to suck a fat one which has me leaning Tatum or Jackson and a trade to the Bulls for Jimmy Butler.
- If the reports by Adrian Najworowski about what Josh Jackson said to the Celtics are true then I expect the Celtics to stay put and get Tatum at 3. Tatum is the safer pick, and if the Celtics go Jackson they will trade his rights to the Chicago Bulls for Jimmy Butler. That's really the only reason I waited so long to post a grade for this pick.
- I think Tatum can play the 3 or the 4 unlike Josh Jackson who is more talented and better defensively, but he's more of a guy that can play the 3 or the 2. The Celtics need a true 4 at power forward. Tatum is a better fit for Boston, and I'm not sure Jackson goes here with the issues he had earlier this year off the court.
- 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 makes sense here because he can shoot or defend well.
Phoenix Suns: Josh Jackson, SF, Kansas A+ Grade
- The Phoenix Suns get a small forward at 4. Josh Jackson is the #2 player on my board behind Markelle Fultz. He makes complete sense for the Suns at 4.
- 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. The Suns need someone like Jackson to compliment Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker who can dominate at point guard and shooting guard. 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. Jackson defends well too.
- 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 the second best player in this entire draft after Markelle Fultz.
Sacramento Kings: De'Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky A+ Grade
- The Sacramento Kings are losing Darren Collison to Free Agency this year. I don't think the Kings are too upset about that because there is a good chance they get De'Aaron Fox or Dennis Smith Jr. at 5. I like Smith Jr. slightly better, but Fox showed why he's a top 5 pick when defending against Lonzo Ball plus the Kings have a thing for players from Kentucky so they get Fox at 5.
- 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. Fox has one of the worst shooting charts I've seen from a prospect in years and that alarms me to an extent.
- 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 5 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 5 grade on Fox.
Orlando Magic: Jonathan Isaac, SF, Florida State A+ Grade
- The 6-10 210 lb Jonathan Isaac would make an awesome prospect in Orlando. 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.
Chicago Bulls: Lauri Markkanen, PF, Arizona A+ Grade
- 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. Markannen has long range ability on his shooting chart that compares to Dirk Nowitzki. At the same time Markkanen is raw defensively, but Chicago should be able to fix that.
New York Knicks: Frank Ntilikina, PG, Strasbourg A+ Grade
- The Knicks pick at 8 plus Derrick Rose and Brandon Jennings are Free Agents. Frank Ntilikina is not a guy who averages double digit points per game, but his shooting chart is much better than De'Aaron Fox's. He's also a good defender like Fox which is why he goes in the top 8.
- New York loves taking International Players so I can see this pick happeneing I feel like they are more likely to take an International Player like Frank Ntilikina over Lonzo Ball. 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 Knicks get their new starting point guard here.
Dallas Mavericks: Dennis Smith Jr., PG, North Carolina State A+ Grade
- 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 Mavericks could really use a point guard with Westbrook's talent.
Portland Trail Blazers: Zach Collins, PF, Gonzaga B Grade
- 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. Collins has the versatility and defense down. He needs to show more athleticism though. This pick got a B grade since Portalnd gave up 15 and 20.
Charlotte Hornets: Malik Monk, SG, Kentucky A+ Grade
- The Charlotte Hornets get the 6-3 200 lb Malik Monk who has the versatility to play both point guard and shooting guard. Malik 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 an .822 free throw percentage. Malik Monk is capable of playing the 1 at point guard or the 2 at shooting guard. He's a solid defender as well.
Detroit Pistons: Luke Kennard, SG, Duke C+ Grade
- Kennard averages 19.5 points per game. He needs to improve defensively and he's not the best shooting guard here.
Utah Jazz: Donovan Mitchell, SG, Louisville A Grade
- Utah traded Trey Lyles and 24. This was a great pick by Utah here. In this situation they take the 6-5 203 lb Donovan Mitchell out of Louisville. Donovan Mitchell averaged 15.6 points per game, 4.9 rebounds per game, 2.7 assists per game, a .408 field goal percentage, a .354 three point percentage, and a .806 free throw percentage.
Miami Heat: Bam Adebayo, C, Kentucky F Grade
- Miami didn't need another center they have Whiteside. This was without a doubt the worst lottery pick so far.
- The 6-10 260 lb center averaged 13 points per game, 8 rebounds per game, 0.8 assists per game, a .599 field goal percentage, and a .653 free throw percentage. The one year starter did not take a single shot from long-range and relies heavily on his short range ability, but he's an excellent defender to make up for that which is why Adebayo finally cracks my top 20.
Sacramento Kings: Justin Jackson, SF, North Carolina A+ Grade
- Sacramento traded down. They still got Rudi Gay's replacement.
- 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.