Looking in depth at five players who have the potential to play way above the average player selected at their position in the 2017 NBA Draft.
The picks are in and judgments for each team have been passed, now is the time to analyze which of the 60 young men drafted will have the most success in relation to their draft position. The five players listed are in accordance to how big of a steal they were relative to their draft position.
OG Anunoby (23rd Overall)
Masai Ujiri and the Raptors front office has found diamonds in the rough before, such as Norman Powell, but this year their job was made a whole lot easier when OG Anunoby fell to them. OG offers incredible value at the twenty-third pick in the draft as he very well could have been a lottery pick. The Raptors are taking a small chance on him as he might not even play this upcoming season due to a knee injury that sidelined him for the last half of the college season. If OG ends up busting due to injury or some other reason it wouldn’t be as bad as if a team who desperately needed young talent were to pick him since the Raptors were one of the best teams in the East last year and therefore have an established roster. What makes OG an even better pick for the Raptors over another team is that their weakest position is at Small Forward as they currently only have DeMarre Carroll who has fallen far since his last season with the Hawks. We at Hashtag Basketball have been pretty consistently high on prospects who have fallen solely due to injury or not living up to their perceived potential and OG fits this bill perfectly as he was projected within the lottery prior to being injured and falling to the Raptors at twenty-three.
Ike Anigbogu (47th Overall)
Like OG, Ike Anigbogu fell much further than most mock drafts predicted as he slid completely out of the first round and into the bottom half of the second round at number forty-seven and the arms of the Indiana Pacers. Anigbogu is the youngest player in the draft at only 18 years of age, an indication that he has plenty of time to grow and realize his full potential. The one thing that could derail this is his knee injury which was the main reason he fell so far as teams are unsure of how problematic it could end up being in the long run. Obviously this late in the draft teams are not looking for All-Star potential but instead for a player who can contribute as a rotation player, and if Anigbogu is able to shake his injury and remain healthy then he has the potential to be a defensive stalwart who could also expand his offensive game. He has fallen to the number two spot due to the fact that his injury may be more hindering that the one suffered by Anunoby and could limit him throughout his career.
Malik Monk (11th Overall)
Monk fell quickly across most draft boards after the end of the playoffs as others, such as Frank Ntilikina, began to rise. His descent from a top five prospect was not due to his lack of ability, but rather his lack of fit on these teams in the top 10. If the 76ers had been picking fifth then there would have been a very good chance that he would have been taken there instead of at number eleven. Charlotte must be ecstatic that he fell to them at number eleven as their current shooting guards are Nicolas Batum (more of a small forward anyway) and Jeremy Lamb (a career backup). With the selection of Monk, the Hornets are now primed to have a potentially explosive spark plug off the bench who can provide lots of offense in a short amount of time. If Monk manages to squeeze into the starting lineup as well, moving Marvin Williams to the bench and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to the 4, his subpar defense will not be as much of a factor as the Hornets recently acquired Dwight Howard to lock down the paint.
Jordan Bell (38th Overall)
The Warriors have seemingly done it again, last year they bought number 38 from the Bucks and got a usable player in Patrick McCaw, and this year they have yet again bought the thirty-eighth pick in the draft, this time from the Chicago Bulls and selected Jordan Bell. Bell, a Junior out of Oregon, is much renowned for his defensive skill despite being slightly undersized for the power forward position at 6’9”. He has already expressed his desire to become a player similar to Draymond Green, despite the fact that Green came out of Michigan State much more polished than Bell. Thankfully for Bell, the majority of his learning will only have to come from the offensive side of the floor as he has minimal range and a dearth of polish in the post. The reason that Bell is such a steal at this point in the draft is that he fits perfectly into the Warriors scheme as they have plenty of offensive talent and Bell’s ability to guard multiple positions with skill is greatly coveted within their system. The Warriors should also be extremely happy to hear that Bell has already been in contact with Draymond and seems to be serious in his pursuits of becoming a valuable contributor to the team in a manner other than offense.
Josh Hart (30th Overall)
Now bear with me for this one. Most mock drafts had him in the mid-30s so, if anything, he was picked earlier than projected but I believe that at number thirty the Lakers are getting incredible value here. To demonstrate my point, one must look no further than Malcolm Brogdon. Brogdon was viewed by many teams as being “too old” or too much of a system player in order to contribute with much value to whatever team picked him. Flash forward one year and Brogdon is now the favorite to win the Rookie of the Year award after wrestling the starting point guard position away from Matthew Dellavedova and shooting over 40% from 3 while also contributing over 10 points per game. Hart has the same chances to contribute to the Lakers as Brogdon did with the Bucks as the Lakers are extremely weak at this position outside of Jordan Clarkson. Hart has been subject to many of the same criticisms that Brogdon was, thus resulting in a similar placement to Brogdon by mock draft writers. A key comparison between the two players is that they were the key cogs in both of their respective systems as Brogdon drove the offense at Virginia much in the same way that Hart drove the Villanova offense. While they are two different players as Brogdon is a better distributor and defender while Hart is a better scorer, they are both incredibly cerebral players who will positively affect their respective teams. Hart has great size as well at 6’6” to complement his game which will allow him to guard small forwards as well as shooting guards and help him get his shot off over shorter defenders. It’s difficult to look at his percentages, 40.4% from 3 and 51% overall and not envision a long and productive career for Hart, something you rarely get from the thirtieth overall pick.