2017 NBA Mock Draft: Predictions for Where Top Prospects Will Land in 1st Round
Even after the beatdown loss that was Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, it’s still a good time to be a Boston Celtics fan.
With the first overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, the Celtics have the potential to build a dynasty in two different ways: 1) Draft the best player available and build a contender organically or 2) Trade the pick in a package for a star player to compete with the Cleveland Cavaliers as soon as next year.
I think trading the pick for the likes of Jimmy Butler or Paul George would be a rash decision, and I would prefer to see the Celtics draft Markelle Fultz and build a contender for when LeBron James’ grip on the Eastern Conference loosens with age, but I’m not going to even try to get inside of the mind of General Manager Danny Ainge.
All options aside, the Celtics are in good hands with a bright future no matter what they do. As for some franchises, this draft will determine the fate of their immediate and distant futures, particularly those who missed out on a top-three selection.
Here’s a look at my updated mock draft following the lottery:
|2017 NBA Mock Draft|
|1. Celtics (via BKN)||Markelle Fultz, G, Washington|
|2. Lakers||Lonzo Ball, G, UCLA|
|3. 76ers||De’Aaron Fox, G, Kentucky|
|4. Suns||Josh Jackson, F, Kansas|
|5. Kings (via PHI)||Jayson Tatum, F, Duke|
|6. Magic||Frank Ntilikina, G, France|
|7. Timberwolves||Jonathan Isaac, F, Florida State|
|8. Knicks||Malik Monk, G, Kentucky|
|9. Mavericks||Lauri Markkanen, F, Arizona|
|10. Kings (via NO)||Dennis Smith Jr., G, NC State|
|11. Hornets||Ivan Rabb, F, California|
|12. Pistons||Zach Collins, C, Gonzaga|
|13. Nuggets||Moritz Wagner, F, Michigan|
|14. Heat||Isaiah Hartenstein, F, Germany|
|15. Trail Blazers||TJ Leaf, F, UCLA|
|16. Bulls||John Collins, F, Wake Forest|
|17. Bucks||Tony Bradley, C, North Carolina|
|18. Pacers||Jarrett Allen, C, Texas|
|19. Hawks||Justin Jackson, F, North Carolina|
|20. Trail Blazers (via MEM)||OG Anunoby, F, Indiana|
|21. Thunder||Dwayne Bacon, F, Florida State|
|22. Nets (via WAS)||Terrance Ferguson, G, Australia|
|23. Raptors (via LAC)||Jordan Bell, F, Oregon|
|24. Jazz||Josh Hart, G, Villanova|
|25. Magic (via TOR)||Jonathan Jeanne, C, France|
|26. Trail Blazers (via CLE)||Ike Anigbogu, C, UCLA|
|27. Nets (via BOS)||Luke Kennard, G, Duke|
|28. Lakers (via HOU)||Justin Patton, C, Creighton|
|29. Spurs||Harry Giles, C, Duke|
|30. Jazz (via GSW)||Sindarius Thornwell, G, South Carolina|
No. 1 Boston Celtics: Markelle Fultz, Guard, Washington
This is a no-brainer for Boston.
Drafting Fultz is the easiest decision the Celtics will ever have to make in the draft. Forget about trades, forget about Butler and George. Unless a deal floats around that means the Celtics can trade for a player like Anthony Davis, don’t even bother exploring it.
Fultz can provide valuable minutes and scoring off the bench the moment he takes the floor at TD Garden, as he averaged 23.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game for the Huskies as a freshman. He can complement any back court pairing of Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley, Terry Rozier and even Isaiah Thomas, who said the two could figure out how to play with one another if he was the top pick.