The Hashtag Basketball writing team decided to get together, pretend to be GM's for a day and do a mock draft. Here are picks 1-14.
The Hashtag Basketball writing team decided to get together, pretend to be GM's for a day (really, who hasn't?), and do a mock draft.
Here are the first fourteen lottery picks.
Picks 1-14 Picks 15-30 Picks 31-45 Picks 46-60
Markelle Fultz (Washington, PG)
Pick 1 - Philadelphia (From Boston via Brooklyn)
Selection made by Jordan Christmas
Why did you select Markelle Fultz?
The talent gap between Fultz and the next best player is pretty sizable. He can score at all three levels of the court, has NBA ready moves, is an underrated passer, and has an incredible feel for the game despite turning 19 in May. Fultz has the physical tools -- with a 6'4 200-pound frame and a 6'10 wingspan -- to become an impact defender, and you better believe head coach Brett Brown will have Fultz commit to playing defense. Fultz is also the perfect compliment to Ben Simmons, who will be the de-facto point guard, but who also can't shoot. Fultz can play on the ball, off the ball, and with the unique talents of Joel Embiid mixed in the pot -- health permitting -- the ceiling of this team is no longer the roof.
Lonzo Ball (UCLA, PG)
Pick 2 - Los Angeles Lakers
Selection made by Tyler Watts
Why did you select Lonzo Ball?
The Los Angeles Lakers go for the hometown point guard as the next piece in their young core. This is not the pick I would make as I have mentioned in a previous article. I would have taken De'Aaron Fox over Ball if I was choosing a point guard, but the Lakers seem infatuated with Ball. Ball has a very high ceiling, but expect some immediate struggles as he adapts to the NBA and many outbursts from father LaVar along the way.
Josh Jackson (Kansas, SF)
Pick 3 - Boston (from Philadelphia via Sacramento)
Selection made by Dustin Lewis
Why did you select Josh Jackson?
Jackson and Jaylen Brown become the dynamic wings of the Celtics future after Boston traded out of the top spot in the draft. Jackson is an athletic and hardworking player whose motor isn’t questioned. However, it’s obvious that his offensive game needs polish and he could never become a good shooter. Pairing Jackson up with defenders Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, and Brown could create one of the best defensives teams in the league. Jackson has the potential to develop into an all-star if he can hone in on his offense.
De'Aaron Fox (Kentucky, PG)
Pick 4 - Phoenix
Selection made by Devon Haripal
Why did you select De'Aaron Fox?
With Josh Jackson off the board, Plan B for GM Ryan McDonough is to pivot over to freshman point guard De’Aaron Fox, 19, from the University of Kentucky. Measuring in at a little over 6’3” with a 6’6.5” wingspan to boot, Fox’s physical attributes are what peg him as a highly-touted prospect coming into the draft. What stands out the most is his end-to-end speed, which often drew comparisons to Kentucky alum John Wall. In the open court, Fox was arguably the fastest point guard in the nation. His shiftiness and quick first step allow him to get to the rim at ease, where he can finish strong, despite a wiry 170-pound frame. The biggest knock on Fox is the inconsistency that comes with his shot, which also lacks NBA range. If he can find a way to develop a consistent jumper and the ability to hit threes at a consistent mark, the Suns have an exciting franchise point guard on their hands. Fox concluded the 2016-17 season for the Wildcats averaging 16.7 points, 3.9 rebounds, 4.6 assists, and 1.5 steals on 47.8 percent from the field, 24.6 percent from three — garnering First-Team All-SEC, SEC Tournament MVP, and SEC All-Freshman Team awards.
Jayson Tatum (Duke, SF)
Pick 5 - Sacramento (from Philadelphia)
Selection made by Nick Agar-Johnson
Why did you select Jayson Tatum?
The Kings have a huge hole at small forward after Rudy Gay chose to opt out. While they have a bigger hole at point guard (and one they would have loved to fill with De'Aaron Fox), small forward is also a big need for them. Jayson Tatum will slide right into Gay's role on offense. His ability to score effectively in isolation and in transition will make him a great fit alongside Buddy Hield and Sacramento's athletic young bigs. While his 3-point shooting (only 34.2% in college) and defense are major concerns, it seems highly unlikely that Tatum will not be able to be at least a lower-end starter or top-notch sixth man. His floor is high enough that it would be hard to imagine him being a bust, and his potential upside as a Carmelo Anthony-esque scorer is hard to ignore.
Jonathan Isaac (Florida St, SF/PF)
Pick 6 - Orlando
Selection made by Andrew Buchanan
Why did you select Jonathan Isaac?
Long, lengthy prospect with a lot of upside, exactly the kind of guy that John Hammond would pick here. Doesn't fit the best with Aaron Gordon but has the most potential of the guys available.
Zach Collins (Gonzaga, PF/C)
Pick 7 - Minnesota
Selection made by Michael Marzec
Why did you select Zach Collins?
With Orlando having selected Jonathan Isaac, Tom Thibodeau and the Minnesota Timberwolves are brought back to the drawing board. The offensive skill sets of both Lauri Markannen and Malik Monk are attractive, but Zach Collins projects as the best long-term option for Minnesota. The Wolves struggled defensively and have little front court depth. Collins can protect the rim while spacing the court on offense. Furthermore, he's capable of playing alongside Dieng, Towns or Bjelica at any point.
Malik Monk (Kentucky, SG)
Pick 8 - New York
Selection made by Jourdan Canil
Why did you select Malik Monk?
The Knicks needed another option to space the floor and that's exactly what Monk provides. He can show off some playmaking ability without being exposed in the triangle, and could easily start or come off the bench for the Knicks.
Dennis Smith Jr (N.C. State, PG)
Pick 9 - Dallas
Selection made by Andrew Buchanan
Why did you select Dennis Smith Jr?
Dallas needs a point guard and if Smith Jr. is available at number 9 I don't see them taking anyone else. Has crazy upside and is an athlete that will help create space for others on the floor.
Frank Ntilikina (Strasbourg, PG)
Pick 10 - Sacramento (From New Orleans)
Selection made by Nick Agar-Johnson
Why did you select Frank Ntilikina?
pThe Kings have an incredibly thin roster at point guard with both Darren Collison and Ty Lawson set to hit free agency. Frank Ntilikina is a nearly perfect complement to Buddy Hield; while his offensive game has room to grow, his massive 7'1" wingspan and solid frame will allow him to take the tougher assignment on defense every night. Additionally, his speed and overall athletic gifts will help push the pace for Sacramento in transition. While his passing instincts will need to develop, Willie Cauley-Stein and Skal Labissiere will be fantastic lob targets for Ntilikina as well as great running mates in transition. Ntilikina is also a solid pick at #10 given that he is not a ball-dominant guard; that will fit nicely with the high-volume scoring of Hield and fellow 2017 draft mate Jayson Tatum.
Donovan Mitchell (Louisville, SG)
Pick 11 - Charlotte
Selection made by Quinn Pilkey
Why did you select Donovan Mitchell?
Donovan Mitchell isn't a perfect player, but perfect players are rarely available with the 11th pick. For a player at the end of the lottery, though, he's a pretty good fit for the Hornets. At Louisville, he showed promise as a two-way player and should be able to slot in at shooting guard next to Kemba Walker or provide him some relief by taking over point guard duties in some small stretches. How much time he'll get as a rookie remains to be seen, but he definitely has the potential to be exactly the kind of player that Charlotte needs.
Luke Kennard (Duke, SG)
Pick 12 - Detroit
Selection made by Adam Coffman
Why did you select Luke Kennard?
In a vacuum, leaving Lauri Markkanen and Zach Collins on the board was a tough decision, as both have greater upside, but with Andre Drummond and a wealth of combo forwards already inked to longer-term deals, Kennard presents the best fit. The Pistons ranked just 27th in three-pointers made and 28th in 3P% last year, so Kennard, who shot the lights out at Duke, should get all the attempts he needs. His ceiling is somewhat limited due to his lack of defensive acumen and ballhandling ability, but the Pistons, who ranked eighth in terms of defensive rating, already roster a fair amount of creators between Reggie Jackson, Tobias Harris, Ish Smith, and others.
Jarrett Allen (Texas, C)
Pick 13 - Denver
Selection made by Jacob Evans
Why did you select Jarrett Allen?
Maybe a bit of a reach at 13, but Allen has the skills and athleticism to become an elite rim protector. At nearly 7 feet tall with a ridiculous 7’5 wingspan, it’d be easy to see Denver shifting Jokic to power forward while Allen patrols the paint at the 5. Allen actually spent most of his time at Texas at the power forward spot, which gave him experience guarding perimeter players and showed his potential as a versatile pick and roll defender. Denver finished 29th in defensive efficiency last year, and Jarrett projects to be a stud on that end of the floor. On offense, Allen’s mid-range game is impressive, and he can also work with Denver’s stable of young guards in the pick and roll game. He finishes effortlessly at the rim, has a back to the basket game replete with an array of nifty fakes and spin moves, runs the floor exceptionally well, and can drive to the rim from the high post. Allen is undoubtedly unpolished on the offensive end, but the potential is there.
Harry Giles (Duke, C)
Pick 14 - Miami
Selection made by Michael Marzec
Why did you select Harry Giles?
The Miami Heat’s second half turnaround elicits attention towards the organization’s ability to leverage its players potential. Before his most recent injury, Giles was a surefire top-five pick. While he struggled in his last month at Duke, he remains an elite athlete with all-star level potential. Entering a stable organization with elite player development results in an ideal outcome for both Harry Giles and the Miami Heat.