For the last year, the NBA world has been drooling over the 2017 draft class. Draft night is scarily close (June 22nd) and it appears that executives are just as fascinated with the draft class as us fans are. On paper, this class appears to have a legitimate hot at producing multiple superstars; but, do not stop your admiration at the top of the draft. The players that will be drafted post-lottery possess many NBA ready skills that cater to the modern small-ball era. In other words, this draft class is deeply littered with talent- teams can possibly find rotation worthy players no matter where they are drafting.
2017 NBA Draft Backstory
To give some background info to the casual fan: Boston secured the Nets’ number 1 overall pick due to a draft day deal in 2013 that sent Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry to the Nets (Boston had the right to swap picks this year). Sacramento received New Orleans pick due to last year’s trade that sent DeMarcus Cousins to the Pelicans. Sacramento and Philadelphia swapped picks and many more twists and turns have already taken place. In case you had not heard, Boston and Philadelphia swapped #1 and #3 picks. How and why a team are picking at a particular place will be explained below in parentheses.
Enjoy the final version of my mock draft heading into draft night.
2017 NBA Draft – Round 1
#1. Philadelphia 76ers (from Brooklyn Nets via Boston Celtics)
The Pick: Markelle Fultz, PG, 6’4″, Washington, Freshman.
The Fit: Most experts feel that Fultz is the undisputed number one pick in the draft; and based on his elite offensive skill, most experts may be right. He has very few holes in his game. He can score inside, outside, mid-range and has the ability to do it off the catch or off the dribble. He is the most offensively skilled player in the draft, and few dispute it. The question mark in his game is his defense. He played on a poor team that had poor defenders around him. At 6’5″, he has the ability to block shots from the Point Guard position. Therefore, the jury may still be out on his defense; he is certainly athletic enough to develop into a serviceable NBA defender. As for the fit with the 76ers, it may be perfect. The 76ers have been heavy (roster-wise) with big men. They have their Center, Power Forward, and Small Forward of the future- they need a Point Guard that can create and also play off the ball if Simmons takes care of some of the ball handling duties. The 76ers realized this and pounced on the opportunity to move into the first slot in the draft.
The Expectation: Out of all the top picks that Philadelphia has had in the past few years, they have sacrificed the most for Fultz (kind of- it is debatable if you look back at how they acquired the extra pick and the pick swap for the third pick). Nonetheless, they are making a trade to move up to select Fultz and sacrificing additional assets. Luckily for Fultz, he will be sharing the floor for the first time with last year’s number one overall pick, Ben Simmons. The 76ers and their fans would ultimately just like for Fultz to have a healthy season and show flashes of what could make him great.
The Comparison: Fultz’s offensive ability to score from anywhere as well as pass and rebound draw comparisons to James Harden and have him pegged as a Russell Westbrook that doesn’t rely as much on pure athleticism. His ability to get in the lane and finish is reminiscent of Tony Parker, though Fultz is bigger.
#2. Los Angeles Lakers
The Pick: Lonzo Ball, PG, 6’6″, UCLA, Freshman.
The Fit: Ball could fit on any team in the NBA; he is that good. He arguably played more poised than any Freshman in the country last year with his ability to control the flow of the game. That ability, to dictate pace, is why he will be a great addition to the young Lakers. Though there are older players on the team (just barely), Ball should be able to slide in as the primary all handler immediately. He will join a nice situation with D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson as backcourt partners.
The Expectation: Ball will be expected to lead this team from a fairly early stage in his Laker tenure. Realistic NBA followers will not expect him to carry the Lakers to the promise land (yet) however, the always interesting Los Angeles front office may demand more from their number two overall pick. It’s a good thing Ball seems to thrive under pressure. Magic Johnson will expect Ball to contribute immediately as keeping this pick helps their rebuild out immensely.
The Comparison: The comparison that makes the most sense is Jason Kidd; this is due to his position and ability to control the game no matter what the pace. His instincts and basketball IQ are similar to that of Rajon Rondo. The biggest part of Ball’s game is his funky, yet highly effective jump shot which leads to analysts thinking he is not like Kidd or Rondo at all. He is a tall, pass first Point Guard with a reliable jumper.
#3. Boston Celtics (from Sacramento Kings via Philadelphia 76ers)
The Pick: Josh Jackson, SG/SF, 6’8″, Kansas, Freshman.
The Fit: The Celtics, statistically, played some of their best basketball last year when they surrounded Al Horford with four perimeter players. The Celtics were also the smallest team in the NBA last year. This is why Josh Jackson makes sense. The Celtics can have interchangeable lineups based on the matchup and Jackson has the ability to guard 1 through 4 (in time). Jackson, along with Fox, project as the best two-way players in the draft; something that is highly valued by teams in today’s NBA. The Celtics love two-way players that are tough and hard workers on the defensive side of the ball. The fans love these players as well. It is a great fit.
The Expectation: Last year’s number three pick, Jaylen Brown, had little expectaions. They wanted him to progress and learn the NBA way as he developed his game. Brown did that and developed into a valuable rotational player as the All-Star break passed; he may have even been the team’s best player in the Eastern Conference finals. For Jackson, the front office and the fans will expect him to follow the same path as Brown last year. Coach Brad Stevens will utilize Jackson’s strengths for the good of the club and he will have to earn his minutes- something that will benefit him in the long run.
The Comparison: The commitment to defense, athletic ability, workhorse mentality, and willingness to be coached makes him sound like a Kawhi Leonard replica. I’m sure the Suns would be happy with that if he was wearing their uniform. Jimmy Butler is also a fair on court comparison though Jackson will probably play some stretch four, unlike Butler
#4. Phoenix Suns
The Pick: De’Aaron Fox, PG, 6’3″, Kentucky, Freshman.
The Fit: The Phoenix Suns are a young, explosive team that is not known for its defense. Fox is an explosive player in his own right but has a calling card as a good if not great defender. The Suns have a crowded backcourt but, none of it is set in stone as they are still building for the future. Fox can learn and grow with the current young, athletic core of the Suns. He may also be a target of another team looking to move up in the draft so it’ll be something to keep an eye on because on paper, the Suns need wings and front court players. The Suns also apparently have a thing for the University of Kentucky Guards, so why not?
The Expectation: Phoenix is a pressure free environment. The team is expected to be bad, and Fox will simply be along for the ride. Unless the Suns start hot out of the gate, Fox, or whoever is drafted to Phoenix, will have plenty of opportunities to play big minutes while learning the NBA game and adjusting to the life of a professional basketball player. He speaks very well and says all the right things in interviews leading up to the draft so should make any team better for the future.
The Comparison: Fox might be the third, tall Point Guard taken to start the draft; he is different than the others as his defense and athleticism are better than Fultz and Ball. He reminds me of a bigger, longer Dennis Schroeder with much more upside. It is not unreasonable to believe that Fox will be the best player in this draft when it is evaluated many years down the road. He doesn’t have a real comparison because of his rare combination of size, speed, offensive potential, and defensive focus.
#5. Sacramento Kings (from Philadelphia 76ers)
The Pick: Jayson Tatum, SF, 6’8″, Duke, Freshman.
The Fit: Tatum can score in bunches in a variety of ways. Though streaky at times, he can get it going quick and has a very fluid shot for a player his size. A Sacramento team void of just about everything has to start from scratch. Tatum will get plenty of opportunities to prove that he can be the cornerstone franchise player alongside other young up-and-comers Buddy Heild and Willie Cauley-Stein. All signs point to a Rudy Gay exit so Tatum will quickly be in a position where the team could mold personnel to fit his game.
The Expectation: Tatum or anyone that goes to Sacramento will have their work cut out with increased expectations. It is a franchise void of high level talent and an unstable front office. It’ll be hard on a young player there, but Tatum might be well equipped to handle the situation as he showed great poise in his limited time at Duke.
The Comparison: His smoothness and footwork draw instant Paul Pierce comparisons. Tatum also resembles Gordon Hayward when he first came into the league, which is not a bad thing for Tatum fans.
#6. Orlando Magic
The Pick: Jonathan Isaac, SF/PF, 6’10”, Florida State, Freshman.
The Fit: Isaac is super-long and athletic with the ability to defend multiple positions. To line him up with Aaron Gordon, Evan Fournier, Terrence Ross, and Elfrid Payton could give opposing offenses problems due to their length. They would rely on translation but would be lots of fun to watch and give a shot in the arm to a fan base that has endured a lot over the years. They would instantly compare to the length of the Bucks (coincidentally John Hammond was just hired in Orlando from Milwaukee’s front office). Basically, it’s a great fit.
The Expectation: Isaac may not be 100% NBA ready due to his strength but he plays hard and if he carved out a rotation role at this stage in his career, the Magic would be happy. They are destined for another lottery run so we will get to see plenty of Isaac if he winds up in Orlando.
The Comparison: His thin frame is reminiscent of Josh Childress and Jared Jeffries. He is a bit longer than those two and has more of an inside game but the offensive and defensive similarities are there.
#7. Minnesota Timberwolves
The Pick: Lauri Markkanen, PF/C, 7’0″, Arizona, Freshman.
The Fit: The Timberwolves have young upcoming talent at every position. Markkanen can come in and provide floor spacing for Karl Anthony-Towns in the post or help create lane space for slashers Andrew Wiggins and Zach Lavine. He could become a valuable role player for the Timberwolves fairly quickly if he is able to add some much needed bulk to his frame. He is coming to the NBA at the right time as his shooting and size are a hot commodity right now though he will have to improve on defense to play extensive minutes for Tom Thibodeau.
The Expectation: Markkanen will be expected to give effort and show improvement in his first season in Minnesota. Anything he provides as far as production is a bonus for his Rookie season. Year two and three is where he will be expected to carry the second unit offense and become a major role player.
The Comparison: Being fairly one dimensional at this time (lack of size will limit his inside presence and he will be a perimeter offensive threat only) leads to a Channing Frye comparison with the ability to become Kevin Love if he can add enough muscle to compete on the boards.
#8. New York Knicks
The Pick: Malik Monk, SG, 6’3″, Kentucky, Freshman.
The Fit: Monk brings pure scoring to the table wherever he ends up. In New York, he would fit in nicely with the current group of players as he would be able to help immediately on offense. With Phil Jackson publicly ready to move on from Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks would need to replace his presence on offense and Monk can do that. The Knicks need solid, young pieces to join Kristaps Porzingis and need them at every position. Monk fills a need and could very well qualify as the best player available when the #8 pick is up.
The Expectation: Monk, being a highly touted prospect playing in New York, will have lots of pressure from the media as well as the Knicks organization to start digging the Knicks out of the hole. He is an uptempo player with a coach that would love to run though the rest of the roster isn’t constructed to do so. Whoever ends up in New York, they will have lofty expectations.
The Comparison: Monk has the knack for scoring much like Jamal Crawford though he doesn’t have the Crawford range. He has more of a mid-range game with the ability to take it to the hoop like Dwayne Wade.
#9. Dallas Mavericks
The Pick: Frank Ntilikina, PG, 6’5″, France.
The Fit: Ntilikina fits in well as the Point Guard of the future for the Mavericks, who are a year away from the complete rebuild anticipated when Dirk Nowitski calls it a career. It will allow incumbent Point Guards Yogi Ferrell, JJ Barea, and Devin Harris to extend their stay in Fallas for another year since Ntilikina is not quite ready for the big stage. What he brings is exceptional passing (hopefully to a talented scorer from next year’s draft to pair with Harrison Barnes), the ability to defend multiple positions, and above average size for his position.
The Expectation: The team that drafts Ntilikina is likely using this year as a developmental year and he is likely to spend some time in the D-League. So, expectations are low. A strong summer league could get fans over-excited but, management will keep expectations in check for the assumed first international player taken in the 2017 draft.
The Comparison: Ntilikina is a taller version of Rajon Rondo without the mastered ball-handling skills. He is very heady and often makes the right play. He is also very similar to Ricky Rubio but is a better defender.
#10. Sacramento Kings (from New Orleans Pelicans)
The Pick: Dennis Smith, PG, 6’2″, NC State, Freshman.
The Fit: Dennis Smith would be a great fit in Sacramento. Smith was ranked higher in many mid-season evaluations but questions about his commitment and tendency to take plays off have devalued his draft slot. Smith could contribute right away on the offensive end in Sacramento. He would battle a few veterans for minutes early in the season but would most likely take over the bulk of the playing time in the second half of the season as Sacramento attempts to develop its younger players.
The Expectation: Smith is capable of non-stop energy and can attack the rim at will on offense. If that is his strength, that is what he will be expected to do. While the franchise won’t have high hopes for itself, the idea of having Smith, the #5 pick, and Buddy Hield all ready to grow and play together is exciting. Smith could play plenty of pressure-free minutes in Sacramento.
The Comparison: Pick an explosive Point Guard that can get to the rim and finish and that’s your comparison. A few names that would fit the mold are: Steve Francis, Baron Davis, Stephon Marbury, and Derrick Rose.
#11. Charlotte Hornets
The Pick: Harry Giles, PF, 6’10”, Duke, Freshman.
The Fit: The Hornets have a ton of money tied up in contracts for good, not great, players. They are not a particularly deep team, and they appear to be mired in mediocrity for years to come; this is the worst situation for an NBA team. Enter Harry Giles- he was ranked a top five pick heading into the season before injuries set him back. He has a terrific two-way skill set and has the highest ceiling of anyone left at this point of the draft. Coach K, legendary Duke coach, speaks highly of Giles’ character which says a lot. So the fit is perfect: Charlotte needs to take a risk to try and get the best long-term player, not necessarily the sure and steady role player usually available at this point of the draft- and that is exactly the mystery and upside that Giles is.
The Expectation: It is a boom or bust pick. Giles will not be expected to be a savior for the Hornets. However, he very well could end up as the big man of the future. With any franchise, you hope your lottery pick turns into gold so the fanbase may want an instant double-double machine; the front office is more realistic and will be happy with solid rotational player.
The Comparison: His all-around game, when healthy, can easily be compared to Paul Millsap. There are no real flaws in his game. He’s got a full offensive arsenal, can rebound, and is committed to defense.
#12. Detroit Pistons
The Pick: Donovan Mitchell, SG, 6’3″, Louisville, Sophomore.
The Fit: Mitchell actually fits the Pistons and Stan Van Gundy’s style very well. He is a gritty defender and finds a way to score the ball seemingly without an enormous amount of touches; many of those shots come from behind the arc. While he may have some catching up to do on the NBA level, the frame, skill set, and work ethic are there so he could very well be a rotational player by seasons end. He can bring some toughness and scoring to the bench unit. He may play more of a Combo-Guard type position in the NBA. He is a great backup for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope if he stays during free agency.
The Expectation: Mitchell will not be expected to blow anyone away which is good, because he won’t. What Pistons fans will want and appreciate is that Mitchell will bring every ounce of effort every possession and be a source of energy off the bench. He has career “3 and D” player written all over him, which is not an insult. Lots of players have made lots of money, won championships, and played many years as a “3 and D” player.
The Comparison: The fairest comparison is Courtney Lee. He shoots well, defends well, can handle the ball if needed though he is not a natural Point Guard, and isn’t afraid of being physical. He does almost everything good but doesn’t have a unique, outstanding skill that could make him special (yet).
#13. Denver Nuggets
The Pick: Zach Collins, C, 7’0″, Gonzaga, Freshman.
The Fit: Denver is in a similar situation as Charlotte. They have money tied up in solid vets but are not good enough to contend for a long playoff run. So, adding Collins makes the most sense as he is probably the best available talent at this point in the draft. He is super active, athletic and mobile for a man his size. He would be a good compliment to add to the future core of Nikola Jokic, Gary Harris, Juan Hernangomez, and Jamal Murray.
The Expectation: Collins was a surprise addition to the draft pool becoming the first “one-and-done” player from Gonzaga. But, he is super-talented; it was a surprise that it was a player from Gonzaga, not necessarily Collins. Denver still plays veterans quite a bit so Collins will spend some time in the D-League, as expected, to hone his skills. Once the veteran contracts expire over the next two years, it should be good timing for Zach Collins to make an impact on this roster.
The Comparison: Out hustling, out jumping, and out shining his competition is what Collins does. He has a similar skill set to Josh McRoberts when he came out of Duke and teams are hoping he can be that type of player for a healthier, longer stretch than prime McRoberts ever experienced.
#14. Miami Heat
The Pick: Luke Kennard, SG, 6’5″, Duke, Sophomore.
The Fit: The Heat overachieved last year and still didn’t make the playoffs. They figured out that surrounding Hassan Whiteside with a bunch of shooters worked well. Kennard could be the best shooter, long-term, in this draft. In college, Duke usually played well when Kennard played well since he could space the floor and open things up for others. He isn’t shy when a shot needs to be taken and he should see plenty of playing time right off.
The Expectation: Kennard will be looked to as a floor stretcher whether he takes many shots or not. Defenders will respect his range, as they should to help open things up for the other members of the Heat. If Kennard can hit consistently from outside, regardless of the amount of playing time, it’ll be a successful season.
The Comparison: A Duke Shooting Guard who has a knack for big shots and can shoot you in or out of a game. Sounds a lot like JJ Redick which is not a bad comparison. His measurable features weren’t great at the combine so it’ll be interesting to see how teams feel about those things.
#15. Portland Trailblazers
The Pick: TJ Leaf, PF, 6’10”, UCLA, Freshman.
The Fit: It is always interesting to see if teams will pick for need (most usually don’t because of the learning curve of the NBA). Leaf has been projected as a mid-first round pick and Portland may be the best landing spot for him. Leaf can rebound and score from the outside which is often sought after in today’s NBA. Portland could use a reliable stretch four type player somewhere in their rotation and Leaf may be the best remaining option. The team fit would be perfect for Leaf.
The Expectation: While Leaf has his share of big supporters, the fact is that he may not see much playing time his first year or two in the league. Any contribution is a plus for Portland and they would probably agree.
The Comparison: He is the smaller, less talented version of Kevin Love. He can rebound and shoot but is not strong defensively. Plus he is a UCLA product, like Love.
#16. Chicago Bulls
The Pick: John Collins, PF, 6’10”, Wale Forest, Sophomore.
The Fit: The Bulls are an odd mix where their bigs are the three point threats and their guards can slash, score, and dish. Collins would fit in nicely as he is capable of stretching the floor but, could also be a great rim runner with excellent jumping abilities. The Bulls cold certainly benefit from his athleticism in the front court. How he meshes with the rest of the team remains to be seen. A great observation from Celtics announcer Mike Gorman during their recent playoff matchup noted that the Bulls yell at each other more than any other team he has ever seen (and he’s been doing this a long, long time).
The Expectation: The Bulls are a fringe playoff team with a chaotic locker room. Ownership is always in win now mode though they aren’t good enough to win now which has stunted the growth of some of their younger players. Collins would probably get a few chances and show flashes of what makes him a mid-first round pick only to be rewarded with bench time. It is an odd environment for any Rookie but, someone will end up in Chicago.
The Comparison: A three point shooting big man with quite possibly the best athleticism in the draft is the epitome of what the NBA is shifting to in terms of small ball. It is also possible that he doesn’t really have a comparable player though I would say he is similar to Bobby Portis and Thon Maker with a different body type.
#17. Milwaukee Bucks
The Pick: OG Anunoby, SF, 6’8″, Indiana, Sophomore.
The Fit: Anunoby would slide great into Milwaukee’s rotation. If you haven’t noticed, the Bucks feature extremely long players for their positions in terms of height and wingspan. While they lack certain skill players, they are hard to match up with and can switch regularly in any defensive situation. Once they mature as a team, they could be scary. Anunoby fits the mold of the tall and lanky Forward that the Bucks feature.
The Expectation: Anunoby still has to refine some of his skills so he will not be expected to be a major contributor. While he had a pretty good run in college, he is being drafted more on measurable traits and potential than his actual basketball resume right now. He is also recovering from a knee injury and the team that drafts him will understand this.
The Comparison: The three point and defensive potential reminds me of Matt Barnes or Trevor Ariza.
#18. Indiana Pacers
The Pick: Justin Jackson, SF, 6’8″, North Carolina, Junior.
The Fit: Jackson, a seasoned college player, would have a chance to fill a rotation spot left vacant by a handful of upcoming free agent wing players that the Pacers have. The Pacers lacked chemistry last year so they are hoping to build off of a playoff appearance last year and have any new additions slide in seamlessly; this isn’t likely. Jackson has a veteran presence about him that should help him see the floor, on any team though not in a major contributing role.
The Expectation: Jackson would be expected to fill a hole in the rotation probably left vacant by a departing veteran. If he provides 10-15 minutes of solid basketball every night, the Pacers would be thrilled to find that with the 18th overall pick.
The Comparison: Jackson has a similar skill set and frame as Tobias Harris. He’s an average size wing that can score without commanding the ball.
#19. Atlanta Hawks
The Pick: Anzejs Pasecnics, C, 7’2″, Latvia.
The Fit: Pasecnics moves very well for a player his size and also has range. If he can keep up with the physicality of the NBA, this will be a steal of a pick. He is a modern big man in the NBA and will thrive in Atlanta if he can add muscle and be able to handle pick and roll defense. He might have a bit of a learning curve but can fill a void that will be left by Atlanta role players in the near future that will flee for better pay days.
The Expectation: Like most late first round international players, expectation resides somewhere between “who is this guy?” And nowhere for the fans. After researching Pasecnics, the team’s fan base that drafts him will instantly get overly excited about his potential. He’s worth a shot at this point in the draft.
The Comparison: He is a less hyped Kristaps Porzingis. His skills aren’t quite where Porzingis are when he came to the NBA but, they aren’t as far off as his late first round tag would lead you to believe, either.
#20. Portland Trailblazers (from Memphis Grizzlies)
The Pick: Ivan Rabb, PF, 6’11”, California, Sophomore.
The Fit: The Blazers need someone that can come in right away and play in the post. Rabb has the ability to carve out a role for himself in Portland. While he won’t get them over the hump, he is more than capable of earning playing time at the NBA level. Rabb does everything well and didn’t benefit from the system in place at his alma mater, California.
The Expectation: Rabb, who would be entering his Junior year, will have the expectation that a seasoned college player coming into the lead would have; he’d be expected to contribute and provide solid basketball minutes with minimal mistakes (a lot to expect of a young man). On the right team, Rabb could surprise and play a substantial role.
The Comparison: While it would be a lofty expectation, Rabb has a similar skill set to Joel Embiid as he can play inside or out and be an athletic, versatile defender.
#21. Oklahoma City Thunder
The Pick: Terrance Ferguson, SG, 6’7″, Australia/USA.
The Fit: Ferguson, while highly athletic, lacks certain skills that would put him behind other prospects at this stage of his career. He has mediocre ball handling skills and doesn’t get to the basket all that well even though he measures well from an athletic standpoint. What he does do well is shoot- in particular spot up shooting. This can fit very well in Oklahoma City since Russell Westbrook has a massive usage rate and can dissect defenses by himself. Ferguson can come right in and play a role. He is the equivalent of a one as done except he spent his year removed from high school playing professionally in Australia. Players that have chosen international play over college in the past (Brandon Jennings and Emanuel Mudiay) have faired well in the early stages of their NBA career but haven’t developed much more than what they initially have shown; though it is a small sample size that involves a mixture of injuries and limited opportunities.
The Expectation: Teams drafting in the twenties are typically happy if a Rookie is able to fill a role but, they also realize they are Rookies and their development is more important than the results they will deliver at this stage in their career. Oklahoma City would be thrilled with 10 minutes per game of floor spacing.
The Comparison: Right now Ferguson compares to Gerald Green. He is someone that can provide quick offense and has the athleticism to develop into an adequate defender.
#22. Brooklyn Nets (from Washington Wizards)
The Pick: Jawun Evans, PG, 6’0″, Oklahoma State, Sophomore.
The Fit: Juwan Evans is relentless no matter what he is doing. The Nets need scoring, ball handling, and anybody that can compete. They are also in a very rough spot, franchise wise, for the next few years. Evans might have the highest upside at this point in the draft to go along with his ultra-competitive nature. He will garner respect from teammates with his work ethic. While this is higher than most “experts” have Evans projected, he has the grit that GMs and head coaches will drool over; someone will go after him early.
The Expectation: Evans might be a pace-changing, backup Point Guard his entire career. If the Nets find a high-character guy that can fill this rotation spot with the 22nd pick, they will be happy.
The Comparison: Evans is similar to Reggie Jackson in both size and playing style. He has no problem attacking the rim and also won’t hesitate to take an open shot.
#23. Toronto Raptors (from Los Angeles Clippers)
The Pick: Isaiah Hartenstein, PF, 7’0″, Germany.
The Fit: Hartenstein is a big body that has some shooting skills away from the basket. He fits with the Raptors in the sense that he might be the best player available at this part of the draft and Toronto will not draft based on need. He could easily be a stash overseas while he gets more experience.
The Expectation: No real expectations exist for Hartenstein at this point in his young career. He is very raw and has some work to do before being able to earn minutes at the NBA level. His size is the real attention getter for NBA scouts.
The Comparison: A less smooth Raef Lafrentz is what keeps running through my mind while watching him.
#24. Utah Jazz
The Pick: Ike Anigbodu, C, 6’10”, UCLA, Freshman.
The Fit: Anigbodu’s ability on the defensive side of the ball is what allows him to fit on any team. On the Jazz, he would be a defensive
minded backup big man to pair with Trey Lyles on the second unit (a good fit together).
The Expectation: The Jazz have enough talent that they can bring any prospect along slowly with no real expectations. A project on the offensive side of the ball such as Anogbodu could be handled by the Jazz. Any production whatsoever makes the Jazz ecstatic.
The Comparison: Oddly enough, Anigbodu could be Rudy Gobert 2.0. His strength is his play on the defensive side of the ball; he is tall and lanky. He’d make an intersting Gobert backup in Utah.
#25. Orlando Magic (from Toronto Raptors)
The Pick: Tyler Lydon, PF, 6’9″, Syracuse, Sophomore.
The Fit: An offensively gifted Forward that is a more natural stretch four would fit in nicely with Orlando’s second unit. Most bench units in the NBA struggle to find consistent offense and while Lydon isn’t guaranteed to provide that, he has shown over his two years of college that he can consistently hit jumpers- not a bad feature to have at 6’9″.
The Expectation: Lydon would be expected to fill out a bench role by season’s end after the Magic are presumed to be lottery bound. He will be expected to show improvements between the D-League and the big club.
The Comparison: Lydon is a typical offensive minded stretch four. He scored mostly from the outside and can provide a bit of rebounding though he may not be as successful rebounding the ball at the NBA level due to his thin frame. He compares to Channing Frye when he first entered the league.
#26. Portland Trailblazers (from Cleveland Cavaliers)
The Pick: Mathias Lessort, PF, 6’9″, France.
The Fit: The third of Portland’s first round picks is likely to be stashed overseas for a year or two to develop his skills a bit more. Lessort is all kinds of athletic but doesn’t have the natural ability to create offense for himself, yet. He would fit as a high energy bench player that brought some highlight blocks and dunks to the table while pumping up the crowd with his constant effort.
The Expectation: Lessort would be expected to take some time to develop his game overseas for the time being. When the time is right, they will bring him over and let him loose on the league.
The Comparison: A French Bo Outlaw (though I’m not sure if I’m complimenting him or selling him short). Lessort will be entertaining at the very least.
#27. Los Angeles Lakers (from Boston via Brooklyn Nets)
The Pick: Semi Ojeleye, SF/PF, 6’7″, SMU, Junior.
The Fit: A versatile defender with enough offensive presence to keep an opponent honest is a staple for any contending team nowadays. That is exactly what Ojeleye brings to the table; a hard-nosed style of basketball with the ability to defend any position 1-5. He can fit on any team but could especially boost the needs of the Lakers do need to quickly identify role players of they are going the to are pursue the big name so mentioned in the rumor mill.
The Expectation: For one of the fastest risers on draft boards, Ojeleye would be expected to fill a rotation spot on a team that is in transition right now. If he can carve out a role for himself, he could be a big part of this team moving forward.
The Comparison: The entire NBA fan base would benefit if he turned into the next Bruce Bowen, which is a level he can reach if he continues to commit himself to the defensive side of the ball. He has some Jae Crowder qualities as well.
#28. Los Angeles Lakers (from Houston Rockets)
The Pick: Justin Patton, C, 7’0″, Creighton, Freshman.
The Fit: You can’t teach height and that is why many seven footers stick around the NBA so long. Patton is capable of finishing around the rim and blocking shots. He can also fit into an offense quite seamlessly without demanding the ball. The young Lakers would be able to bring him along slowly and he could eventually work into a rotational role.
The Expectation: Patton, an excellent finisher inside, will be expected to improve the other parts of his game whether its positional defense, outside shooting, or free throw shooting. Fans may be on the bandwagon with a strong summer league (like Ivica Zubac last year) but team management will harness those expectations and bring him along slowly.
The Comparison: He is Jahlil Okafor with less of a mid-range game and a worse free throw shooter. Hopefully he puts all the potential together.
#29. San Antonio Spurs
The Pick: Jaron Blossomgame, SF, 6’8″, Clemson, Senior.
The Fit: San Antonio loves versatile defenders and that is the calling card of Blossomgame’s game. Though he was the best player on his Clemson team, he was also known for being the hardest worker (sometimes a rare combination). This is a stretch and goes against expert opinions of where he will be drafted but a close locker room like San Antonio’s would be a great spot for a Rookie like Blossomgame to land. He will adapt well to being an NBA role player and the Spurs can maximize his contributions.
The Expectation: He will be expected to learn the Spurs way and contribute when asked. During nights off for the regulars, he will have his chance to prove he belongs in the league and on the team. He’s most likely a career role player- and he probably already knows that and wants to embrace it right away.
The Comparison: Luc Richard Mbah Moute and Stanley Johnson are similar in size and ability to Blossomgame.
#30. Utah Jazz (from Golden State Warriors)
The Pick: Thomas Bryant, C, 6’10”, Indiana, Sophomore.
The Fit: Bryant has shown bits and pieces of what could make him a great, modern, NBA Center for years to come. He has exceptional size and the ability to space the floor respectably. He would likely take a backseat to the jammed Utah front court but could learn a lot from the group in place now.
The Expectation: Bryant would be expected to continue to improve his outside shot and add muscle during his Rookie season. Being a contributing force in 2019 would be the goal for both team and player.
The Comparison: He is Rudy Gobert in terms of body type but has the skills of Spencer Hawes (though not nearly as polished).
2017 NBA Draft – Round 2
#31. Charlotte Hornets (from Brooklyn Nets via Atlanta Hawks)
The Pick: Edrice Adebayo, PF/C, 6’10”, Kentucky, Freshman.
The Fit: The Hornets just acquired Dwight Howard. Adebayo could slot in behind a Howard adjusts to life in the NBA. Chances are that Howard moves on from Charlotte when his contract expires which can pull open the door for a better seasoned Adebayo. He has the skill set of a second unit NBA center right now that focuses on energy and being able to get garbage points. This is an important skill to have at the NBA level as not everyone is able (or accustomed) to produce without the ball in their hands.
The Expectation: Adebayo will be expected to do as he did at Kentucky which is impact the game without having the offense go through him. He is a great finisher at the rim but offers little perimeter offensive skills. If he brings the energy every night, he will be a huge hit in Charlotte.
The Comparison: Bismack Biyombo has a game on par with Adebayo.
#32. Phoenix Suns
The Pick: Jordan Bell, PF, 6’8″, Oregon, Junior.
The Fit: Bell may be the most athletic prospect in the draft. He is also one of the most versatile which means if he can thrive without the ball on offense, he could have a very long, productive NBA career. Phoenix needs depth and talent wherever they can get it so drafting the best player available at this point makes sense. He would fit nicely with fellow athletic phenom Marquis Chriss.
The Expectation: Bell wouldn’t be expected to shoulder much responsibility or expectations. If he shows flashes of what he is capable of and provides solid defense and rebounding it is a win.
The Comparison: His all around game centered around athleticism is similar to Aaron Gordon.
#33. Orlando Magic (from Los Angeles Lakers)
The Pick: PJ Dozier, SG, 6’6″, South Carolina, Sophomore.
The Fit: Dozier can guard positions one through three and can switch into fours and dives for shorts doses if needed- he’s an excellent defender. Because of this, he fits in on any team.
The Expectation: Dozier will be expected to give defensive effort and will probably get most of his skills noticed and recognized in practice his first year. If he earns his keep on the practice floor while improving his offensive game, Dozier can be part of an NBA rotation very quickly.
The Comparison: He is longer than Robert Covington but has very similar skills.
#34. Sacramento Kings (from Philadelphia 76ers via New Orleans Pelicans)
The Pick: Johnathan Motley, PF, 6’9″, Baylor, Junior.
The Fit: The Kings need some sort of excitement and Motley being available with the 34th pick could bring some. The Kings could take care of a lot of needs this draft and suddenly look much better positioned for the future than they were just a few months ago.
The Expectation: Motley would be expected to do what he does best which is utilize his athleticism to get points and rebounds. He has above average length for a Power Forward and has an NBA ready body so he can contribute right away as a second round pick- a perfect fit for Motley and the Kings.
The Comparison: He is a longer version of Terrence Jones.
#35. Orlando Magic
The Pick: Derrick White, SG, 6’5″, Colorado, Senior.
The Fit: The Magic would hope the prospect that has outperformed every level he has been on can continue. He is a natural scorer and has the ability to handle the ball (though more a secondary ball handler). He would bring a solid all-around game to the Magic.
The Expectation: White would be expected to shoulder some minutes in a reserve role. You get the feeling that if you doubt him, he will just turn into the next all-NBA player.
The Comparison: Last year’s big board riser, Buddy Hield, has a likeness to White in his size, skill set, and abilities.
#36. Philadelphia 76ers (from New York Knicks via Utah Jazz and Toronto Raptors)
The Pick: Dwayne Bacon, SF, 6’7″, Florida State, Sophomore.
The Fit: Philadelphia has a chance to become a super-athletic team during this draft and Bacon can help them get there. Bacon is long and aggressive on both offense and defense. He would be a solid fit on a developing 76ers team that could provide him opportunities.
The Expectation: Bacon just simply needs to fit in and be a part of the team to meet expectations. Being a second round pick, any production is icing on the cake for both Bacon and the 76ers.
The Comparison: Bacon and his knack for getting the ball and immediately thinking about scoring is in the mold of TJ Warren and Will Barton.
#37. Boston Celtics (from Minnesota Timberwolves via Phoenix Suns)
The Pick: Cam Oliver, PF, 6’8″, Nevada, Sophomore.
The Fit: Oliver has all the makings of an NBA player; he is physical and displays above average athleticism. Oliver is still developing a feel for the game despite gaudy counting stats at Nevada. The Celtics will likely invest their second round picks on long-term projects and while Oliver isn’t far away from contributing at the NBA level, he is still probably two to three years away.
The Expectation: Oliver would be expected to spend some time in the D-League and develop his game with the hope that when his number is called, he is ready.
The Comparison: Right now, Oliver is raw like Chris Wilcox and deploys a similar game based around athleticism, leaping ability, and the ability to defend the post from a physical standpoint.
#38. Chicago Bulls (from Sacramento Kings via Cleveland Cavaliers)
The Pick: Edmond Sumner, SG, 6’5″, Xavier, Sophomore.
The Fit: Chicago has a plethora of guards that may or may not be there in a year’s time. Summer is coming off an injury but could use the year to get acclimated to NBA life while resting off the court (there is a logjam in the backcourt anyway).
The Expectation: Get 100% healthy and ready for action would be Sumner’s expectation. He is an explosive athlete when healthy, something that isn’t said about an aging Bulls backcourt.
The Comparison: His speed and athleticism off the bench could wreak havoc on some teams much like Rodney Stuckey in his early years.
#39. Philadelphia 76ers (from Dallas Mavericks)
The Pick: Josh Hart, SG, 6’5″, Villanova, Senior.
The Fit: Though he’d be a Rookie, it’s possible that Hart could provide some leadership to a young, inexperienced 76ers team on the court. He is a solid all-around player that isn’t going to blow you away with flashy moves. What he will give you is constant effort, sound defense, respectable shooting, and the ability to finish at the rim. There is a reason Hart was among college basketball’s beat players last year.
The Expectation: While he may be able to alter the chemistry (in a good way) and mind set of a young team on the court, he still has to learn the NBA from an off-court perspective. In due time, he will be respected as a locker room leader that brings everything he has day in and day out.
The Comparison: He has a similar game to Gary Harris. Just a solid two-way player that wont hurt you while on the floor.
#40. New Orleans Pelicans
The Pick: Nigel Williams-Goss, PG, 6’4″, Gonzaga, Junior.
The Fit: The Pelicans are suddenly a big team and Williams-Goss fits that mold. He measured very well at the combine and his showing in the NCAA tournament chased away some doubts in the eyes of many as he always seemed to be in the right place at the right time; sometimes that’s luck, often times it is not. Williams-Goss also provides some depth and insurance if Jrue Holiday leaves during free agency.
The Expectation: Typical mid-second round expectations at this point. If they find the steal of the draft, great. If not, they get a serviceable backup or a tradable, non-guaranteed contract in the near future.
The Comparison: A good ball handler for his size, Williams-Goss looks a lot like Michael Carter-Williams entering the draft.
#41. Atlanta Hawks (from Charlotte Hornets)
The Pick: Alec Peters, SF/PF, 6’8″, Valparaiso, Senior.
The Fit: The Hawks are on the brink of a complete tear down. Any team could use outside shooting and that is what Peters does best. He doesn’t wow anyone with athleticism but he plays smart and can play within his limits.
The Expectation: The Hawks will be happy with any production they can get out of a second round pick. They would be thrilled if they could develop a rotation player with a second round pick. If the roster is torn down, he needs to open fill minutes; if not, he will need to develop in the D-League.
The Comparison: Ersan Ilyasova is a close comparison though Peters can’t switch to the Small Forward slot as easily as Ilyasova. He is certainly capable of hitting open shots in the same capacity, though.
#42. Utah Jazz (from Detroit Pistons)
The Pick: Jarrett Allen, C, 6’11”, Texas, Freshman.
The Fit: The Jazz already have a plethora of skilled big men and Allen isn’t ready to contribute anyway. He would most likely see lots of D-League time. He is ranked and projected much lower here due to the fact that he is a undersized big man that needs to work on many aspects of his game which is something NBA teams haven’t shown the patience from recently with young big men.
The Expectation: My prediction for biggest draft day dropper will be expected to add to his thin frame in hopes he can contribute in a year.
The Comparison: Deyonta Davis has a similar skill set and Allen may even suffer the same draft day fate.
#43. Houston Rockets (from Denver Nuggets)
The Pick: Wesley Iwundu, SF, 6’7″, Kansas State, Senior.
The Fit: Iwundu is a jack of all trades, master of none. This could fit well on a Rockets team that values versatility. He can shoot, drive, and defend multiple positions; sounds like a slam dunk, right? Iwundu took a while to develop to the player he is and could very well keep improving but he isn’t great at any one thing which makes him difficult to project at the next level.
The Expectation: If he can make the most of opportunities and be a positive presence in the locker room, he will meet expectations.
The Comparison: Kent Bazemore was less heralded than Iwundu out of college and he has enjoyed a solid career. Iwundu can enjoy a Bazemore type career if he takes advantage of his opportunities.
#44. New York Knicks (from Chicago Bulls)
The Pick: Dillon Brooks, SF, 6’6″, Oregon, Junior.
The Fit: Brooks is a good player, period. The Knicks need good players. It should be a good fit.
The Expectation: Brooks does many things well and he’d be expected to do so with the Knicks as well. The biggest knock on him is that he doesn’t fit the size of a typical Small Forward; his skills may prove scouts wrong about him being too small, not athletic enough, not long enough, etc.
The Comparison: Brooks brings nothing flashy to the table, just pure competitiveness a la Bryon Russell.
#45. Houston Rockets (from Portland Trailblazers)
The Pick: Frank Jackson, SG, 6’3″, Duke, Freshman.
The Fit: Jackson has the ability to stretch the floor and has incredible athleticism. These are both huge check marks on a Mike D’Antoni led Houston team. Playing in Houston may be a great fit for any above-average offensive player so Jackson could fit right in.
The Expectation: Jackson would have to improve in the areas he is lacking such as ball handling and defense- both important keys to getting on an NBA floor.
The Comparison: He is a bit undersized as a Shooting Guard but can elevate to offset that physical deficiency much like John Starks.
#46. Philadelphia 76ers (from Miami Heat via Atlanta Hawks)
The Pick: Sindarius Thornwell, SG, 6’5″, South Carolina, Senior.
The Fit: Thornwell is a lengthy, tough, gamer. The 76ers will be hard pressed to pass up Thornwell in the second round. He leads by example and has the ability to defend as well as knock down shots. A great fit for Philadelphia.
The Expectation: Thornwell, as a second round pick, wouldn’t have heavy expectations other than do what he is best at: score and defend with an edge.
The Comparison: He is not as tall or skilled as Klay Thompson, but he has similar features and plays with the same style and demeanor. He’s lots of fun to watch and being one of the best names in the draft, he has fan favorite written all over him.
#47. Indiana Pacers
The Pick: Kyle Kuzma, PF, 6’9″, Utah, Junior.
The Fit: Kuzma could find himself fitting in quickly in Indiana as they could use an offensive minded Power Forward in their rotation. The sense is that Indiana is going to blow things up soon and Kuzma could find himself getting a lot of minutes of that is the case.
The Expectation: Entering the draft after a Junior season at Utah that showed how consistent he can put up numbers, Kuzma may be expected to contribute more than other Rookies picked in the second round. He will have to knock down open looks and make improvements defensively to meet expectations.
The Comparison: Kuzma has a chance at becoming a Ryan Anderson type player if he is selected into the right situation.
#48. Milwaukee Bucks
The Pick: Jonah Bolden, PF, 6’10”, Australia.
The Fit: Bolden is a stretch four and wants to be; this means he won’t have any problem if a team tells him to stay on the perimeter. He could be a good fit on a second unit featuring Greg Monroe however, Monroe is widely believed to be on the move at the end of his contract. Nonetheless, Bolden could fit nicely on Milwaukee’s bench and see some time in the coming years.
The Expectation: Bolden needs to prove that he can consistently spread the floor and that his latest statistical year overseas was not a fluke. He has to get better and show that he is committed on the defensive side of the ball as well.
The Comparison: A thin, stretch four that can do a little of everything but just hasn’t been able to put it together quite yet on a consistent basis, Bolden reminds me of Noah Vonleh.
#49. Denver Nuggets (from Memphis Grizzlies via Oklahoma City Thunder)
The Pick: DJ Wilson, PF, 6’10”, Michigan, Sophomore.
The Fit: Wilson would fit very nicely in Denver as a stretch 4 with a solid, versatile defensive game. The biggest question mark surrounding Wilson is that he hasn’t ever been consistent or put up huge numbers in his college career; so why would he be able to do it at the NBA level? You could argue that his game fits the NBA better than college and you’d be right. It’s the in game performance that will make GMs hesitate taking him on draft night.
The Expectation: Wilson will be able to bide his time with some higher prices Forwards in front of him on the depth chart (though they are constant trade bait). If he plays well in his limited action, he will meet expectations for a 49th pick.
The Comparison: Its always fun if a late second rounder can outperform expectations after the pick has been previously traded twice before. If Denver can recreate 75% of Al Horford, they are thrilled.
#50. Philadelphia 76ers (from Atlanta Hawks)
The Pick: Isaiah Briscoe, PG, 6’3″, Kentucky, Sophomore.
The Fit: The Sixers have tons of picks and need depth. If they do take Fox with the third pick, why not draft his backup in Briscoe? TJ McConnell did a decent job last year but, he is a career backup. Briscoe gets an opportunity here to see what he can do since he has played second fiddle to eventual lottery picks at Kentucky the last two seasons.
The Expectation: The expectation will be to prove that he was worth a pick. Philadelphia isn’t going to be super patient with second rounders because they have so many owed to them, they don’t need to wait out the development of these players. They are looking for a home run with second round picks and Briscoe might be able to deliver it.
The Comparison: Briscoe is a great ball handler and can defend. He isn’t super-athletic and doesn’t have a great feel on the offensive end. He reminds me a bit of Dennis Schroeder early in his career.
#51. Denver Nuggets (from Oklahoma City Thunder)
The Pick: Kobi Simmons, SG, 6’4″, Arizona, Freshman.
The Fit: Denver has youth and some veterans that will take a multitude of the playing time available at this juncture. Simmons brings some athleticism to Denver and can fill into a backup role in the near future. If he progresses, it isn’t a long shot that he could become a starter in a few years.
The Expectation: Simmons just needs to find his footing at the NBA level to meet expectations as a late second round pick.
The Comparison: Everyone wondered how Zach Lavine was a top pick after his Freshman season at UCLA but, that worked out well for him. Simmons has a lot of the same physical tools and upside as Lavine.
#52. Washington Wizards
The Pick: Alpha Kaba, PF, 6’10”, France.
The Fit: The Wizards need a flexible backup plan in their front court for the coming years and Kaba may provide that. He can be stashed while the Wizards decide on whether or not to trade Marcin Gortat and figure out if Ian Mahinmi can handle modern NBA big man duties.
The Expectation: He will be expected to expand on all aspects of his game while being stashed overseas for a few years.
The Comparison: Coincidentally, the strong rebounding Kaba has a lot of Marcin Gortat in his game.
#53. Boston Celtics (from Cleveland Cavaliers)
The Pick: Caleb Swanigan, PF, 6’9″, Purdue, Sophomore.
The Fit: Boston needs rebounding and bulk inside which Swanigan can provide. Whether he can provide it at the level the Celtics expect remains to be seen. Swanigan also fits Boston’s preference for their big men to be able to space the floor.
The Expectation: The Celtics front office and fans love progress and promise. If Swanigan can be a good presence at practice, during D-League stints, and during what we would assume would be brief appearances with the big club, fans and executives will be happy. Sometimes second round picks are lottery tickets and they turn into much more. Swanigan however, would be picked at this position for a specific skill that he can provide for the team.
The Comparison: A shorter Power Forward who has struggled with weight issues, plays below the rim but has a knack for rebounding, making shots from mid range, and has a natural ability to craftily score in the post. Sounds like Boston’s second coming of Jared Sullinger.
#54. Phoenix Suns (from Toronto Raptors)
The Pick: Vlatko Cancar, SF, 6’8″, Slovenia.
The Fit: A young international player that Phoenix can stash for a year or two would end helpful. If he develops physically and can turn into a solid NBA player, great. If not, the Suns don’t have to tender Cancar a contract.
The Expectation: The expectation would be to improve overseas.
The Comparison: Cancar is a long, thin Small Forward that has a nice shooting stroke and decent all around offensive game. He has Nikola Mirotic potential, but needs to add muscle and a willingness to be physical to reach that level.
#55. Utah Jazz
The Pick: Frank Mason, PG, 5’11”, Kansas, Senior.
The Fit: Many teams will look for home run picks early in this draft but, for Utah, drafting Frank Mason with the 55th pick could pay immediate dividends. Playing four years at a top college program will allow him to fit in quickly and adapt to the NBA game faster than many of the younger guards drafted ahead of him. Utah can find its backup Point Guard that has been a revolving door for a few years now.
The Expectation: Mason would be expected to fill a role whether immediately or in the near future. He’s a natural leader with a high basketball IQ that can expect to be called upon early in his career.
The Comparison: His smaller stature and college accolades drawn Jameer Nelson comparisons. I think both Utah and Mason would not mind being the next Jameer Nelson.
#56. Boston Celtics (from Los Angeles Clippers)
The Pick: Jonathan Jeanne, C, 7’1″, France.
The Fit: The Celtics ran out of space last year with draft picks and ultimately let Ben Bentil walk for nothing. Jeanne was considered a first round pick until he was recently diagnosed with Marfans Syndrome. It could end his career- the disease is that serious. The Celtics have an enormous amount of picks coming their way in the future and could use a late second round pick in hopes that Jeanne becomes serviceable down the road. If he doesn’t, Boston has a knack for taking care of its players and will make sure Jeanne isn’t forgotten.
The Expectation: If he can become healthy and be the lengthy, shot-blocking, rebounding, defensive monster that had scouts excited then he surpasses expectations. Any realist just wants the guy to live a long, healthy life.
The Comparison: He is a Rudy Gobert clone.
#57. Brooklyn Nets (from Boston Celtics)
The Pick: Damyean Dotson, SG, 6’5″, Houston, Senior.
The Fit: The Nets need shooting and they could find a late round gem in Dotson. He is long for a Shooting Guard and can shoot it at a respectable rate from long distance.
The Expectation: Dotson would be thrilled to be drafted to a place he has a chance to compete for playing time in. He’d be expected to compete for playing time.
The Comparison: Dotson reminds me of Wayne Ellington.
#58. New York Knicks (from Houston Rockets)
The Pick: Tyler Dorsey, SG, 6’4″, Oregon, Sophomore.
The Fit: Dorsey is an efficient scorer who can fit in with most teams’ second units as a source of offense. The Knicks need talent upgrades and a little second round luck to help upgrade their roster. Dorsey is most likely the best available player at this point if he is still on the board.
The Expectation: If used right, the team should expect Dorsey to score. He should be expected to do what he does best while working on the other aspects of his game. He will also most likely spend some time in the D-League.
The Comparison: He has the potential to be an Eddie House type bench scorer.
#59. San Antonio Spurs
The Pick: Sterling Brown, SG, 6’6″, SMU, Senior.
The Fit: The Spurs love three and D players and Brown fits that mold. He is climbing draft boards due to his physicality, defensive presence, and NBA ready body. He could fit very nicely with the Spurs.
The Expectation: Brown will have to be a competitor from day one to meet expectations. That will be all that is expected of him in San Antonio- to bring intensity and a strong work ethic everyday.
The Comparison: He has potential like other wing three and D types such as PJ Tucker and Danny Green.
#60. Atlanta Hawks (from Golden State Warriors via Philadelphia 76ers and Utah Jazz)
The Pick: Tony Bradley, C, 6’10”, North Carolina, Freshman.
The Fit: Atlanta looks for a young center to groom when Dwight Howard leaves. In a year of inexperienced big men, Bradley gets to slip down the draft board like many others as he sees international draft-and-stash players go ahead of him. He could work out nicely long-term in Atlanta; it will just take time.
The Expectation: It is hard to go from 14 minutes per game in college to any type of role in the NBA. For Bradley’s sake, I hope he sees some floor time but he is most likely destined for life in the D-League for a few years anyway.
The Comparison: His ceiling is the next Hassan Whiteside. That is a very rare path taken by successful NBA players though. He is more likely to be Mikey Moore.
Looking Ahead to the 2018 NBA Draft
Many teams positioned themselves to make a move for the 2017 off-season whether it be through this deep draft or free agency period. What has gone unnoticed to the casual fan is that the 2018 draft class may be just as good, if not better, at the top portion of the draft. What the NBA didn’t expect in the years leading up to this year is that two teams would dominate the league as much as they are now; this could change the whole landscape of many team’s way of thinking.
The 2017 draft should be one of the more exciting drafts in a long time. The NBA has dominated sports headlines for the past week thanks to trades and a sudden scramble for fans of big market teams wondering what they will do (the NBA loves this). Expect many more trades to happen on draft night and for teams to position themselves for next year as well.
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