2017 NBA Mock Draft: Predictions for Where Top Prospects Will Land in 1st Round

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
Team Player
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
Author’s picks

Notable selections

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.