NBA Mock Draft 2017: Updated 1st-Round Projections, NBA Finals Edition

nba mock draft 2017, updated predictions, projections, nba draft rumors, picks, celtics, lakers, 76ers, markelle fultz, lonzo ball

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With the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers set to meet for an NBA championship for the third year in a row, the 28 other teams across the league are preparing for the 2017 NBA draft.

If this year’s postseason was any indication, there aren’t many squads that are anywhere near the level of Golden State or Cleveland, but the draft is a good way to help close the gap–especially with neither of those teams owning a first-round pick this year. Only a small percentage of rookies typically make an immediate impact, but this year’s class is deep and full of guys who look like potential studs.

With that in mind, here’s a look at my first-round projections, as well as a breakdown of the first couple of picks:


2017 NBA Mock Draft

Pick Team Player College
1 Celtics Markelle Fultz Washington
2 Lakers Lonzo Ball UCLA
3 76ers Malik Monk Kentucky
4 Suns Josh Jackson Kansas
5 Kings De’Aaron Fox Kentucky
6 Magic Jayson Tatum Duke
7 Timberwolves Jonathan Isaac Florida State
8 Knicks Frank Ntilikina France
9 Mavericks Dennis Smith NC State
10 Kings Lauri Markkanen Arizona
11 Hornets Zach Collins Gonzaga
12 Pistons Justin Jackson North Carolina
13 Nuggets Isaiah Hartenstein Germany
14 Heat Jarrett Allen Texas
15 Blazers OG Anunoby Indiana
16 Bulls Terrance Ferguson Adelaide
17 Bucks Justin Patton Creighton
18 Pacers T.J. Leaf UCLA
19 Hawks Ivan Rabb California
20 Blazers John Collins Wake Forest
21 Thunder Donovan Mitchell Louisville
22 Nets Harry Giles Duke
23 Raptors Rodions Kurucs Latvia
24 Jazz Ike Anigbogu UCLA
25 Magic Luke Kennard Duke
26 Blazers Jawun Evans Oklahoma State
27 Nets Bam Adebayo Kentucky
28 Lakers Tyler Lydon Syracuse
29 Spurs Jordan Bell Oregon
30 Jazz Semi Ojeleye SMU


1. Boston Celtics: Markelle Fultz, PG, Washington

Markelle Fultz highlights: Washington point guard brings dynamic offensive, defensive talent to…Point guard Markelle Fultz displays a dynamic scoring ability on the court, averaging 23.2 points per game and shooting 40 percent from beyond the arc with the Huskies. He's a force to be reckoned with defensively, too, averaging five rebounds per game.2017-05-19T01:29:24.000Z

The Celtics are in an interesting position in that they already have a roster good enough to advance to the conference finals but also have highly valuable assets in the form of this year’s top pick and the Nets’ pick next year, which is likely to be another lottery selection.

As such, a trade is a potential option here. The C’s are obviously in win-now mode, and shipping some of their young pieces plus an elite pick for a superstar like Jimmy Butler is something that often gets mentioned, but according to the Chicago Tribune‘s K.C. Johnson, the Celtics wouldn’t deal this pick in February without protections, so it’s highly unlikely they do so now that they’re set in stone at No. 1.

Assuming they keep the pick, Fultz makes the most sense.

Markelle Fultz to the Boston Celtics at No. 1? Breaking down the top 2017 NBA Draft prospectThe Boston Celtics received the first overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, and Washington guard Markelle Fultz could be the prospect the Celtics pick first overall. Here what Tom Westerholm thinks about Fultz and his potential fit with the Celtics. Video shot, edited and produced by Nate Rubinstein.2017-05-17T01:05:49.000Z

While it may create a bit of a backcourt log-jam, Fultz’s ability to play both guard positions makes it a lot easier for Brad Stevens to sort out the rotation. He’s versatile enough to play the 2 next to fellow former Husky Isaiah Thomas, while he can run the show when IT goes to the bench.

There are 96 minutes to go around at the two guard positions, and something like 35 for Thomas, 31 for Fultz, and 30 for Avery Bradley comes out to a potentially killer guard rotation for Boston. A Thomas-Fultz combo could be unstoppable offensively, while a Fultz-Bradley backcourt has the potential to be extremely disruptive on the defensive end.


2. Los Angeles Lakers: Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA

nba mock draft 2017, updated predictions, projections, nba draft rumors, picks, celtics, lakers, 76ers, markelle fultz, lonzo ball

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It’s difficult, but forget about all the Lavar Ball theatrics and predictions and ridiculous comments. Forgot about the guarantee of his son playing for the Lakers and the circus that is likely to follow. From an on-court perspective, Lonzo Ball is a tremendous fit for the Lake Show.

Bringing in a true point guard with a pass-first mentality is exactly what the Lakers need, and that’s what they’ll get with Ball, who helped UCLA to the 20th-fastest tempo and second best adjusted offensive efficiency last season, per Ken Pomeroy. There are concerns about his defense and his jump shot, but having one elite skill at this age–as he does with his passing and court vision–can take you a long way.

Lonzo Ball Transforming UCLAFreshman point guard Lonzo Ball is transforming UCLA basketball with his elite passing instincts and unselfish play. Subscribe to DraftExpress here youtube.com/user/DraftExpress?sub_confirmation=1. NBA Draft scouting video. NBA prospect. DraftExpress. NCAA basketball. draftexpress.com, twitter.com/DraftExpress2016-12-01T16:05:36.000Z

Inserting Ball at point guard allows D’Angelo Russell to play a more comfortable role as a scorer, while the Lakers’ young guys like Julius Randle, Brandon Ingram and Ivica Zubac should all benefit from having a pass-first player running the offense.


3. Philadelphia 76ers: Malik Monk, SG, Kansas
nba mock draft 2017, updated predictions, projections, nba draft rumors, picks, celtics, lakers, 76ers, markelle fultz, lonzo ball

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Every draft has some sort of surprise near the top. Josh Jackson is the assumed pick at this spot, and a good argument can even be made for him going No. 1 overall, so this would certainly classify as a surprise.

The Sixers, though, need an infusion of scoring, shooting and athleticism in the backcourt. With T.J. McConnell and Gerald Henderson at the guard spots last year, they ranked last in offensive rating and 25th in three-point percentage. Ben Simmons, who is expected to step in at point guard, certainly stands as an upgrade for the team’s offense, but they will still need someone to help stretch the floor, as the LSU product is generally considered a poor outsider shooter.

Enter Monk, who can be streaky but can also heat up faster than a microwave:

VideoVideo related to nba mock draft 2017: updated 1st-round projections, nba finals edition2017-06-01T07:00:41-04:00

My personal opinion would be to take Jackson at this spot, as his ability as a two-way player is awfully compelling. But this is a prediction, and you have to think one of the most offensively-challenged teams in the league takes a long look at the most explosive scorer in the draft.