2017 NBA Mock Draft: Fultz and Ball top the draft

Jan 25, 2017; Tempe, AZ, USA; Washington Huskies guard Markelle Fultz (20) dribbles the ball against the Arizona State Sun Devils during the second half at Wells-Fargo Arena. The Sun Devils won 86-75. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 25, 2017; Tempe, AZ, USA; Washington Huskies guard Markelle Fultz (20) dribbles the ball against the Arizona State Sun Devils during the second half at Wells-Fargo Arena. The Sun Devils won 86-75. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

The 2017 NBA Draft already has been turned upside down by trades. The Philadelphia 76ers moved up from number 3 and acquired the first overall pick. Expect a flurry of deals on Thursday night as this should be one of the most wild, fast-moving drafts in recent memory.

Let’s take a look at another mock NBA Draft, just hours before the real thing happens.

1. Philadelphia 76ers: PG Markelle Fultz, Washington

The 76ers moved up from pick 3 to acquire their guy, a 6’4 scorer to pair with a young core of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Fultz will immediately pay dividends as he is a dynamic scorer with All-Star potential. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Fultz is the leading scorer for the 76ers next season.

2. Los Angeles Lakers: PG Lonzo Ball, UCLA

This pick makes sense on and off the court. Ball will be the new face of the Lakers franchise and will be another cog in the Lakers re-build. Ball has a wonky shot but is a big-pass first guard that could improve into an All-Star.

3. Boston Celtics: SF Jayson Tatum, Duke

The Celtics stated that they felt that they could draft the same guy they wanted with pick 3 that they would have drafted with pick 1. Celtics are obviously very high on Tatum, a 6’8 big that can score. Tatum has all the potential in the world to become an elite big man, something the Celtics need and could immediately impact their team in the battle versus the Cavaliers to be the number one team in the East.

4. Phoenix Suns: SF Josh Jackson, Kansas

Many NBA Draft sites have mocked Kentucky guard De’Aaron Fox here, but the Suns already have two pretty good guards with Devin Booker and Eric Bledsoe. Josh Jackson is a long small forward that can play offense and defense. There is value in drafting a lock down defender on the wing and leave the elite scoring the emerging star Devin Booker. This pick could let the Suns have their point guard, shooting guard and small forward positions set for years to come.

5. Sacramento Kings: PG De’Aaron Fox, Kentucky

Quite simply the Kings need to add above-average NBA talent. Fox is the classic late riser after an amazing NCAA tournament. Fox can come in and be the guard the Kings desperately need, a scorer who the Kings will hope to become elite and the player they can build around for the future.

6. Orlando Magic: PF Jonathan Isaac, Florida State

Isaac is a 6’11 big man with immense potential. With a lack of depth up front, the Magic have desperately needed a presence in the paint since the days of Dwight Howard. The Magic would love to have a Guard slip to them here but Fox is gone and it may be too rich to select his running mate Malik Monk, Isaac is the pick.

7. Minnesota Timberwolves: G Frank Ntilikina, France

The first international player selected, Ntilikina could develop into the guy who can get Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins the ball in future years. With a high-ceiling, Ntilikina can play both guard positions and has been a high riser on draft boards with his high intensity defense.

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8. New York Knicks: SG Malik Monk, Kentucky

No one knows what the Knicks will look like come tip-off in 2017. With Porzingis trade rumors swirling and Carmelo Anthony on his way out, the Knicks are in full re-build mode. Monk is another high-ceiling guard that can score, averaging almost 20 points-per-game at Kentucky.

9. Dallas Mavericks: PG Dennis Smith Jr., North Carolina State

Dallas seems to have found a gem in Steph Curry’s brother Seth, and maybe even Yogi Ferrel, but Smith Jr. has the potential to be a star. Smith Jr. can play both on and off the ball and has the killer instinct to get to the rim that Curry and Ferrell don’t have.

10. Sacramento Kings: PF Lauri Markkanen, Arizona

With De’Aaron Fox selected at number 5, the Kings get one of the most intriguing prospects in Markkanen. The Arizona big projects to what exactly the NBA is trending to, a long 7-footer that can stretch the floor and shoot. With Cauley-Stein banging down low and Fox slashing, Markkanen should be open to knock down jumpers and threes.

11. Charlotte Hornets: SG Luke Kennard, Duke

The Hornets traded Plumlee and Belinelli the other day and acquired big man Dwight Howard. Kennard is a sharp-shooting Guard that should excel with Kemba Walker slashing and Howard doing what he does down low. Kennard fits the Hornets drafting preferences as he was an excellent college performer, and he might be the best shooter in the draft.

12. Detroit Pistons: G Donovan Mitchell, Louisville

Mitchell had a break out season at Louisville and will be looking to translate that into a top 12 selection. At this point there aren’t many guards left to take here and the Pistons will need a back court help moving forward. His toughness and versatility will come in handy on this Pistons team.

13. Denver Nuggets: C Zach Collins, Gonzaga

Zach Collins comes out as the first on-and-done player from the Zags, and it makes sense. Collins could be selected top 10 and is capitalizing on a great tournament. The 7-footer finished the season shooting close to 48% from the 3 point line and should space the floor nicely for the up-and-coming Nuggets.

14. Miami Heat: F OG Anunoby, Indiana

Anunoby suffered a season-ending knee injury in January, which will push his down some draft boards as it will likely keep him off the court for at least the start of the season. With a freak wing-span of 7’2, the crafty forward will be able to guard multiple positions. If it wasn’t for his knee injury he would likely be a top-10 selection, great value for the surging Miami Heat.

15. Portland Trail Blazers: F/C John Collins, Wake Forest

The Trail Blazers come into the 2017 NBA Draft with 3 first round picks. A team that could package some picks and move up the board. If the Blazers stand pat at pick 15 they could select one of the most offensively gifted big-men in the draft. Collins nearly averaged a double-double at Wake Forest and could become the big the Blazers need with their two elite guards.

16. Chicago Bulls: F/C Harry Giles, Duke

Some may think this is too early for Giles but Harry comes into this Draft as one of the most intriguing players this year. Some thought he could be a top-3 pick if it wasn’t for his injuries in High School and at Duke. With Jimmy Butler being dangled in trades, Giles could be their star moving forward if he reaches his elite potential.

17. Milwaukee Bucks: PF T.J. Leaf, UCLA

T.J. Leaf was over shadowed at UCLA with all the Lavar and Lonzo Ball hype, but it doesn’t hide the fact he averaged 16.3 points and 8.2 rebounds while shooting 46.6 percent from 3-point range this season. Leafs is a perfect stretch-4 for the modern-day NBA and could space the floor for the Greek Freak.

18. Indiana Pacers: SF Justin Jackson, North Carolina

Paul George is likely on his way out. If George is traded on draft day or Pacers brass knows he is leaving, Jackson could be a good replacement at the Forward position. Jackson is a polished player, his ceiling may not be very high but at pick 18 there is value at getting a player that could start from day 1 and have a 10 year NBA career.

19. Atlanta Hawks: C Jarrett Allen, Texas

The Hawks make-over is in full swing, trading Howard leaves a big hole in the front court and Allen could be a decent replacement. With a ridiculous wing span of 7’5, Allen should be able to protect the paint for a re-building squad.

20. Portland Trail Blazers: SG Terrance Ferguson, Adelaide

With the Trail Blazers second and third pick look for the team to select some more boom and bust type players. Ferguson has top-10 potential but teams are shying away because of the odd scenario where he left to play in Australia instead of going to the University of Arizona.

21. Oklahoma City Thunder: SG Josh Hart, Villanova

Josh Hart is a ready-made prospect, a player that could play along side Westbrook and understand that the offense runs through Russ. Hart also has decent range shooting over 40% beyond the arc in his final season at Villanova.

22. Brooklyn Nets: C Bam Adebayo, Kentucky

The Nets recently shipped off Lopez but will want to add a long-term piece to their front court. A high energy big man, Bam can dunk the ball in traffic as well as switch on defense. Another one-and-done player from Kentucky, but with a bit of seasoning, Bam could develop into a star.

23. Toronto Raptors:  C Anzejs Pasecniks, Latvia

The Raptors have a history of selecting international players and having a selection so late in the draft could be a good opportunity to draft another foreign player. Pasecniks is a known commodity who needs to add some strength but has a huge 7’2 frame and serious potential.

24. Utah Jazz: F Semi Ojeleye, SMU

Derrick Favors had a disappointing 2016 season and Trey Lyles doesn’t look like a starting forward anymore. Ojeleye averaged 19.0 points and 6.9 rebounds at SMU this season and could become a starting forward for the Jazz in a few years.

25. Orlando Magic: C Justin Patton, Creighton

The second pick in this NBA Draft for the Magic after selecting Jonathon Isaac from Florida state, they will select another big man. Patton is your traditional center but if he develops as he should, Patton and Isaac could be a scary front court for years to come.

26. Portland Trail Blazers: PF Tyler Lydon, Syracuse

Lydon averaged 13.2 points and 8.6 rebounds as a sophomore and shot 40 percent from 3-point range in two seasons at Syracuse. Lydon projects as a stretch-4 in the NBA and could get some time on the court next season with his reliable jumper.

27. Los Angeles Lakers: C Ike Anigbogu, UCLA

After drafting UCLA Guard Lonzo Ball second overall, the Lakers pair him up with his running mate. The oft-injured Anigbogu showed immense potential when he was healthy as a defensive force and elite rim protector.

28. Los Angeles Lakers: G Frank Jackson, Duke

The Lakers recently traded De’Angelo Russell and Swaggy P just opted out. The Lakers could draft Jackson as a Guard to come off the bench and add depth. Jackson can play both Guard positions and his a decent shooter, maybe not a star, but the depth teams need.

29. San Antonio Spurs: PF D.J. Wilson, Michigan

There are rumors swirling that LaMarcus Aldridge could be on the trading block. The Spurs got beat up down low versus the Warriors, lacking depth and defenders. Wilson can defend many positions and has a decent shot to keep the opponent honest.

Next: Sixers looking for another pick

30. Utah Jazz (via Warriors): PG Jawun Evans, Oklahoma State

A great value if Evans is still here. He fits a team that has needed back-court scoring since Alec Burks’ knee injury two years ago. Evans is good in pick-and-roll situations and could become an instant-offense scorer off the Jazz bench.