2017 NBA mock draft: Pantorno version 1.0
We are just about three weeks out from the 2017 NBA draft, which means it's time to start predicting how the dominoes shall fall on June 22.
1. Boston Celtics- Markelle Fultz, PG, Washington
6’4”, 195 pounds
23.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, 5.9 assists
Despite a crowded backcourt, Boston won’t be able to pass up Fultz if they hold onto the pick. Though the prospect of Paul George or Jimmy Butler might be too much to hold onto it.
2. Los Angeles Lakers- Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA
6’6”, 190 pounds
14.6 points, 6.0 rebounds, 7.6 assists
LaVar … I mean, Lonzo gets what Lonzo wants at least at the draft. The UCLA product brings the prospect of a franchise point guard to Los Angeles and could suddenly make D’Angelo Russell expendable.
3. Philadelphia 76ers- Josh Jackson, SF, Kansas
6’8”, 203 pounds
16.3 points, 7.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists
Ben Simmons is the future of the backcourt despite his size while the frontcourt features Dario Saric, Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor. One of Philadelphia’s glaring needs is at the small forward position and Jackson can be the perfect replacement for Robert Covington and Justin Anderson.
4. Phoenix Suns- Jayson Tatum, SF, Duke
6’8”, 204 pounds
16.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists
The Suns have plenty of depth at the 1 and 2 with Eric Bledsoe, Devin Booker, Tyler Ulis and Brandon Knight. The same can’t be said about the 3 as they relied on T.J. Warren and not much else. Tatum will add depth and a ton of skill.
5. Sacramento Kings- De’Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky
6’4”, 171 pounds
16.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, 4.6 assists
The Kings are kind of a mess, but there are some promising prospects to generate some excitement. Sacramento needs a point guard to bring some stability to the offense and help develop the games of Buddy Hield, Willie Cauley-Stein and Skal Labissiere. Fox will do that and open the floor thanks to his aggressive scoring approach.
6. Orlando Magic- Dennis Smith, PG, NC State
6’3”, 195 pounds
18.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, 6.2 assists
Evan Fournier and Aaron Gordon are both under 25 and clearly the future. Elfrid Payton just isn’t getting the job done when it comes to directing the offense, though. Smith not only can facilitate, he can take over the scoring when needed.
7. Minnesota Timberwolves- Jonathan Issac, SF/PF, Florida State
6’11”, 205 pounds
12.0 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists
Could you imagine a Timberwolves frontcourt of Andrew Wiggins, Jonathan Isaac and Karl-Anthony Towns? Isaac brings added defense and strength on the boards to allow Minnesota’s young studs to do their thing. Hot take alert: Minnesota could have the NBA’s best frontcourt in two or three years.
8. New York Knicks- Malik Monk, SG, Kentucky
6’4”, 197 pounds
19.8 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists
I know, the Knicks need a point guard and need a point guard hard. But with the way things could play out in front of them, it would be foolish to pass up on the best talent available, which would be Monk. This kid is a pure scorer and an enormous upgrade from Courtney Lee. An offense led by him and Kristaps Porzingis could be extremely imposing in a year or two. Use Carmelo Anthony to address either the small forward or point guard spots and build the team around youth.
9. Dallas Mavericks- Lauri Markkanen, PF, Arizona
7’0”, 225 pounds
15.6 points, 7.2 rebounds
Behold, Dirk Nowitzki’s replacement. He’s a European big man with range. It’s too perfect of a narrative to pass up with Nowitzki’s impending retirement on the horizon.
10. Sacramento Kings- Justin Jackson, SF, North Carolina
6’8”, 193 pounds
18.4 points, 4.7 rebounds
Rudy Gay could very well be on his way out of town this summer via free agency. Jackson would help soften the blow and basically tell Gay that his time in Sacramento is up.
11. Charlotte Hornets- Zach Collins, PF/C, Gonzaga
7’0”, 230 pounds
10.0 points, 5.9 rebounds
Considering the Hornets are set with Kemba Walker, Nic Batum and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, size should be the name of Charlotte’s game. Collins is the way to go in order to provide some muscle around the hoop.
12. Detroit Pistons- Donovan Mitchell, SG, Louisville
6’3”, 210 pounds
15.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists
The Pistons could use some scoring help considering they were one of the worst offensive teams in the league. Mitchell would be a nice option alongside Reggie Jackson and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope if his 3-point game continues developing.
13. Denver Nuggets- OG Anunoby, SF/PF, Indiana
6’8”, 215 pounds
11.1 points, 5.4 rebounds
The Nuggets could be a perfect fit for Anunoby, who is nursing a knee injury that will likely hold him out for a majority of the 2017-18 season. Denver is a rebuilding team and is in no rush to bring him back. As long as they're patient, an immovable presence by the basket like Anunoby is when healthy could be huge.
14. Miami Heat- Luke Kennard, SG, Duke
6’6”, 202 pounds
19.5 points, 5.1 rebounds
Dion Waiters is a free agent after next season and could garner plenty of interest if he repeats his 2016-17 performance. While the Heat could look for some frontcourt support for Hassan Whiteside, the prospects available don’t necessarily call for a No. 14 selection. Kennard’s offensive prowess and takeover capabilities could be too good to pass up.
15. Portland Trail Blazers- Jarrett Allen, C, Texas
6’11”, 224 pounds
13.4 points, 8.4 rebounds
For a team that has the pieces to contend in the West, the Blazers could use the No. 15 pick to acquire some depth behind Jusuf Nurkic. Allen can develop into a monster presence down low and will not have to contend with the pressure of producing immediately upon his NBA arrival.
16. Chicago Bulls- Frank Ntilikina, PG, France
6’5”, 170 pounds
5.1 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.4 assists
If Malik Monk is off the board, then the Knicks will take Ntilikina. If not, he could very well drop out of the lottery. Rajon Rondo is a free agent in 2018 and Ntilikina will need some time to develop. With Jerian Grant, Cameron Payne and Michael Carter-Williams, the Bulls can afford to wait for a little while. When Ntilikina is ready, he could be the best two-way guard in the game.
17. Milwaukee Bucks- Ike Anigbogu, C, UCLA
6’10”, 230 pounds
4.7 points, 4.0 rebounds
The Bucks already have a loaded frontcourt with Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jabari Parker and Thon Maker. But Anigbogu can bring added size off the bench and develop his pro game that way.
18. Indiana Pacers- John Collins, PF, Wake Forest
6’10”, 225 pounds
19.2 points, 9.8 rebounds
Paul George needs offensive support. The Pacers need to get some in order to convince him to stay once he becomes a free agent in 2019. Collins could be a step in the right direction in proving that Indiana is looking to help him.
19. Atlanta Hawks- Justin Patton, C, Creighton
7’0”, 226 pounds
12.9 points, 6.1 rebounds
Simply read this as “Dwight Howard’s replacement in two years.” He provides a very similar game to the veteran and hopefully will not become as large a distraction as Howard was throughout his career.
20. Portland Trail Blazers- T.J. Leaf, PF, UCLA
6’10”, 220 pounds
16.3 points, 8.2 rebounds
This isn’t me writing off Noah Vonleh. He is only 22 and has plenty more developing to do. However, T.J. Leaf could provide extra scoring at the position to take some pressure off him and Al-Farouq Aminu.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder- Rodions Kurucs, SF, Barcelona
6’8”, 190 pounds
9.5 points, 2.8 rebounds
Kurucs wouldn’t be able to come to the United States until the 2019-2020 season given his contract with Barcelona, but the Thunder could see a solid wing presence in the forward. He could help spread the floor and open up the offense for Russell Westbrook as long as the superstar actually stays in Oklahoma City.
22. Brooklyn Nets- Harry Giles, C, Duke
6’11”, 222 pounds
3.9 points, 3.8 rebounds
It’s hard to find any sort of consolation in watching the Boston Celtics run away with their No. 1 pick, but taking the best available talent in Harry Giles would give the Nets something to look forward to in their rebuilding process.
23. Toronto Raptors- Isaiah Hartenstein, PF/C, Zalgiris
7’0”, 225 pounds
1.0 points, 0.8 rebounds, 0.2 assists
The Raptors could use some size to join Serge Ibaka and Patrick Patterson at the 4. Hartenstein is a physical big man that can do just that and could be a steal if his offensive game can evolve.
24. Utah Jazz- Jonathan Jeanne, C, Nancy
7’2”, 210 pounds
3.7 points, 3.9 rebounds
A French center working under Rudy Gobert in Utah? Jeanne and the Jazz couldn’t ask for a better mentor in developing the rim-protecting prospect.
25. Orlando Magic- D.J. Wilson, PF, Michigan
6’10”, 240 pounds
11.0 points, 5.3 rebounds
Aaron Gordon is going to need some kind relief coming off the bench for him other than Jeff Green. Wilson isn’t going to light up the scoreboard offensively, but he is going to provide some solid defense.
26. Portland Trail Blazers- Tyler Lydon, SF/PF, Syracuse
6’10”, 225 pounds
13.2 points, 8.6 rebounds
Lydon gives Portland another scoring option within the frontcourt that could play either the 3 or 4.
27. Brooklyn Nets- Ivan Rabb, PF/C, Cal
6’10”, 215 pounds
14.0 points, 10.5 rebounds
This is another gamble of sorts for the Nets, but Ivan Rabb showed plenty of promise in his freshman year before a disastrous sophomore campaign. He could provide a serious offensive punch given his mobility.
28. Los Angeles Lakers- Bam Adebayo, C, Kentucky
6’10”, 250 pounds
13.0 points, 8.0 rebounds
He’s athletic, he can score and he can work well in transition. He can also provide a bona fide future option at center other than Ivica Zubac, Tarik Black or Timofey Mozgov.
29. San Antonio Spurs- Anzejs Pasecniks, C, Gran Canaria
7’2”, 229 pounds
7.8 points, 3.1 rebounds
Oh, look, another international afterthought who will probably become productive in San Antonio. He can move well for a player his size and can get to the hoop without a problem. He is also likely to be Pau Gasol’s replacement.
30. Utah Jazz- Terrance Ferguson, SG, Adelaide
6’7”, 186 pounds
4.6 points, 1.2 rebounds
Depth is the name of the game here. Ferguson needs time to mature and can do so in Utah’s crowded backcourt.