The NBA Draft Combine occurred in Chicago on May 9, 2017. The NBA Draft Lottery took place on May 16, 2017, in which the Boston Celtics earned the top pick. And the actual NBA Draft will be held on June 22, 2017. Below is my First Round Mock Draft Version 3.0.
Check out my first two mock drafts:
1. Philadelphia 76ers – Markelle Fultz (Washington G): Fultz was one of the best freshman in the country, but went largely under-the-radar because his team was simply bad. However, his 23.2 points, 5.9 assists, and 5.7 rebounds per game, is hard to ignore. He is all but assured the top selection, after the 76ers traded their No. 3 overall pick, and two future draft selections, to the Celtics, in order to take the former-Washington guard. Fultz, alongside Ben Simmons, Dario Saric, and Joel Embiid, have Philly fans excited again.
When Markelle Fultz plays, he wants to make sure you won’t forget it.
— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) June 9, 2017
2. Los Angeles Lakers – Lonzo Ball (UCLA G): Ball is a terrific talent, averaging 14.6 points and 7.6 assists in his lone season for the Bruins. Although, if he was drafted by the Laker, they would likely move either D’Angelo Russell or Jordan Clarkson to make room for their point guard of the future. If I’m Magic Johnson, I’d be taking De’Aaron Fox with this pick, but everything points to the Lakers taking either Ball or Josh Jackson, and I think they’ll land on the former UCLA-guard.
3.Boston Celtics – Josh Jackson (Kansas F): Jackson came into the season as one of a handful of players that were considered to be possible No. 1 overall picks, and he is still near the top of the board. Jackson was able to stay focused after struggling for the first few weeks of the season, and finished with 16.3 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per game. I expected Jackson to be drafted No. 4 by Phoenix up until today, when Boston dealt their No. 1 slot to move down. If Danny Ainge keeps this pick, which he may not, in an effort to trade for Jimmy Butler or Paul George, he’ll take Jackson.
4. Phoenix Suns – Jayson Tatum (Duke F): Tatum already has a NBA-type body and range. I’m not a NBA general manager, but if I was, I’d take him a lot higher than his stock suggests. According to multiple reports, the Suns are fixated on Ball and Jackson, but I have them going before Phoenix’s pick, so they’ll have to settle for Tatum, which in my eyes, may be a blessing in disguise. Devin Booker and Tatum will fit in nicely on the perimeter for Earl Watson’s club.
5. Sacramento Kings – De’Aaron Fox (Kentucky G): Fox is already a great passer, if he can hit outside shots consistently in the NBA, he’ll be a big-time player. Since his Sweet Sixteen game against Ball and UCLA, in which he dropped 39 points and four assists, he has shot up the draft boards. I had Fox going No. 3 overall to the 76ers before the blockbuster trade, but now with the Celtics picking third, Fox will probably slide to No. 5. Sacramento will be pleased, though, because they’ve been saying for weeks that Fox is their guy, in fact, the Kings front office was considering attempting to trade up in order to take the former-Kentucky guard. Now, Sac-Town will probably get him fifth overall.
6. Orlando Magic – Dennis Smith Jr. (NC State G): Smith Jr. was higher in each of my last two mock drafts, but because of the rise of De’Aaron Fox, the NC State-guard has slid a bit. But his 18.1 points, 6.2 assists, and 4.6 rebounds is good enough to nab a top-1o pick.