Empire of the Suns 2017 NBA Mock Draft: Rapid fire full two rounds
It’s NBA Draft week!
For the second and final mock following the reported agreed-upon blockbuster swap between the Celtics and Sixers, we will be going a full two rounds with rapid-fire analysis for each pick. Let’s jump in.
(Disclaimer: Picks are heavily influenced by one opinion and are not predictions for what will happen.)
1. Philadelphia 76ers (from BOS) – Markelle Fultz, PG, Washington (19 years old)
Danny Ainge better have another move or two planned because allowing Fultz to team with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid in his own conference is unwise.
2. Los Angeles Lakers – Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA (19 years old)
The Lakers’ system is a great fit for Ball minus the dozens of other reasons why this makes so much sense.
3. Boston Celtics (from PHI) – Jayson Tatum, SF, Duke (19 years old)
Not the biggest Tatum fan but you can’t deny how well he would mesh with Jaylen Brown. The Celtics also need a legitimate source of offense from someone over 6 feet tall and they have room for Tatum to play small-ball four.
4. Phoenix Suns – Josh Jackson, SF, Kansas (20 years old)
The best-case scenario for the Suns outside of Ball slipping.
5. Sacramento Kings (from PHI) – De’Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky (19 years old)
A great blend here of value and the right prospect.
6. Orlando Magic – Dennis Smith Jr., PG, North Carolina State (19 years old)
Smith’s upside is too high to go outside the top-six of this draft, even though there’s a decent chance that might happen on draft night. All the teams that passed him outside the top-two will likely regret it.
7. Minnesota Timberwolves – Jonathan Isaac, SF/PF, Florida State (19 years old)
The best outcome for any team in the draft outside of Philly. Isaac is exactly what the Timberwolves need next to Karl-Anthony Towns and for their offensive-minded team as a whole.
8. New York Knicks – Frank Ntilikina, PG, France (18 years old)
Ntilikina has been linked to the Knicks for months and that’s because he would be a pretty great triangle point guard.
9. Dallas Mavericks – Malik Monk, SG, Kentucky (19 years old)
Rough fall for Monk. Not sure how the Mavs would use him, but Rick Carlisle is a sorcerer and Monk’s by far the best prospect available in this scenario.
10. Sacramento Kings (from NO) – Lauri Markkanen, PF/C, Arizona (20 years old)
Kings have the athletes down low to cover for Markkanen while he shoots and shoots and shoots.
11. Charlotte Hornets – Donovan Mitchell, SG, Louisville (20 years old)
Mitchell and Kemba Walker together would be a delight and give the Hornets more perimeter defense with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
12. Detroit Pistons – Zach Collins, C/PF, Gonzaga (19 years old)
Collins is a safe pick in this range who should be a reliable big man with upside.
13. Denver Nuggets – OG Anunoby, SF, Indiana (19 years old)
The Nuggets need defense and that might be all Anunoby does in the pros.
14. Miami Heat – Justin Jackson, SF, North Carolina (22 years old)
With Miami having a lot more cap space this summer, they are absolutely going to be looking to win now and Jackson could contribute right away.
15. Portland Trail Blazers – Anzejs Pasecniks, C, Latvia (21 years old)
It’s likely Portland will trade some of these picks but with a nearly full roster and three first-rounders, they should take three gambles and hope one works out in this exercise. There are plenty of those in this range and Pasecniks is the best in my opinion.
16. Chicago Bulls – Isaiah Hartenstein, PF/C, Germany (19 years old)
Bulls should go BPA here for international prospects and I think that’s Hartenstein, who has upside higher than any young player on their roster.
17. Milwaukee Bucks – Jarrett Allen, C, Texas (19 years old)
Milwaukee loves raw long prospects and Allen is the best one outside the lottery.
18. Indiana Pacers – Ike Anigbogu, C, UCLA (18 years old)
Pacers are a mess for a playoff team. There aren’t any upside perimeter selections at this point so Anigbogu’s rim protection next to Myles Turner will have to do.
19. Atlanta Hawks – Harry Giles, C, Duke (19 years old)
The Hawks need youth down low. Giles is a risk they should take at this point.
20. Portland Trail Blazers (from MEM) – Justin Patton, C, Creighton (20 years old)
Patton should be picked by a team that won’t need to overly rely on him being good for a while. Check!
21. Oklahoma City Thunder – Luke Kennard, SG, Duke (21 years old)
Kennard would be the offense the Thunder need from someone not named Russell Westbrook.
22. Brooklyn Nets (from WAS) – Josh Hart, SG, Villanova (22 years old)
The second-half of the middle round has overfilling rosters that don’t have room for solid, older wings. At this point, there isn’t a tremendous upside option that fits Brooklyn’s recent draft history, so they should just go best player available. I’m betting on Hart to be a very good pro.
23. Toronto Raptors (from LAC) – Jordan Bell, C, Oregon (22 years old)
Bell will thrive in a playoff style and that’s where Toronto is headed for the foreseeable future.
24. Utah Jazz – Sindarius Thornwell, SG, South Carolina (22 years old)
Utah might need good bodies on the perimeter in a hurry depending on how free agency goes and Thornwell is a solid all-around wing who is going to be great defensively.
25. Orlando Magic (from TOR) – D.J. Wilson, Michigan, PF (21 years old)
Another cramped roster that should just take a big swing here. Wilson needs to figure out what he’s good at then develop from there, but the physical tools are a great foundation.
26. Portland Trail Blazers (from CLE) – Wesley Iwundu, SG, Kansas State (22 years old)
Iwundu is a gamble despite his age and he could provide Portland with the guard version of Mo Harkless, a versatile defender with questions on offense.
27. Brooklyn Nets (from BOS) – Semi Ojeleye, PF, SMU (22 years old)
Brooklyn takes a ton of threes without having many real shooters and I believe in Ojeleye’s smooth stroke.
28. Los Angeles Lakers (from HOU) – Devin Robinson, SF, Florida (22 years old)
The Lakers should be desperate for a decent wing and Robinson has all the athletic tools to be that, especially as a defender.
29. San Antonio Spurs – Derrick White, G, Colorado (23 years old)
No need to explain why White will definitely be good for nearly a decade if he winds up on the Spurs, right?
30. Utah Jazz (from GS) – Jawun Evans, PG, Oklahoma State (20 years old)
Evans might be good enough offensively to be a starter. Utah might lose George Hill too.
31. Atlanta Hawks (from BKN) – Ivan Rabb, PF/C, California (20 years old)
It would be unlucky if Giles or Rabb didn’t turn out to be a solid pro and that’s a good enough draft outcome for Atlanta.
32. Phoenix Suns – Sterling Brown, SG, SMU (22 years old)
Brown’s a very good shooter when he is set and has all-around skills with a good frame he uses well defensively. If he’s a great shooter in the NBA, he will be a good role player for a long, long time.
33. Orlando Magic (from LAL) – P.J. Dozier, SG/PG, South Carolina (20 years old)
Dozier has the tools to be a great defender and contribute offensively, but he requires patience.
34. Sacramento Kings (from PHI) – John Collins, PF, Wake Forest (19 years old)
Collins is not a player made for today’s game but there are no doubts about his remarkable production. We will use the same argument we did for Markkanen to hopefully cover for Collins’ weaknesses.
35. Orlando Magic – Aleksandar Vezenkov, SF/PF, Cyprus (21 years old)
Vezenkov’s one of the best shooters in this draft and the Magic sure need shooting.
36. Philadelphia 76ers (from NYK) – Terrance Ferguson, SG, Australia (19 years old)
Put shooters around Ben Simmons. The skill in Ferguson’s 3-and-D profile is barren, but the jumper is nice and he’s a terrific athlete.
37. Boston Celtics (from MIN) – Johnathan Motley, PF, Baylor (22 years old)
Amir Johnson replacement? The way Motley plays will be a wonderful match in Boston.
38. Chicago Bulls (from SAC) – Tyler Lydon, PF/SF, Syracuse (21 years old)
Lydon’s a smooth shooter in a variety of ways and that helps any team.
39. Philadelphia 76ers (from DAL) – Dillon Brooks, SF/PF, Oregon (21 years old)
Put shooters around Ben Simmons. Brooks can dribble, pass and shoot at an NBA level, which is a trio of skills that is rarer than you think for most offensive-minded wings.
40. New Orleans Pelicans – Dwayne Bacon, SF, Florida State (21 years old)
Pelicans should take the best available wing here. Bacon’s scoring prowess makes him worth a flyer.
41. Charlotte Hornets – Caleb Swanigan, PF/C, Purdue (20 years old)
Like Collins and T.J. Leaf, Swanigan was a fantastic college basketball player but I really doubt how he works in the NBA and that’s mostly because of defense. Charlotte has the roster depth to make this type of selection.
42. Utah Jazz (from DET) – Bam Adebayo, C, Kentucky (19 years old)
There’s not much appeal to an energy big off the bench and that’s likely what Adebayo is in the NBA if he sticks.
43. Houston Rockets (from DEN) – Frank Jackson, PG, Duke (19 years old)
Another disappointing Blue Devil, Jackson didn’t show enough at Duke to pick up first-round buzz but his upside will still get him drafted.
44. New York Knicks (from CHI) – Jonah Bolden, PF, Australia (21 years old)
Bolden’s a very intriguing second rounder who becomes even more intriguing when he plays with Kristaps Porzingis.
45. Houston Rockets (from POR) – Cameron Oliver, PF, Nevada (20 years old)
Oliver has all the tools to be a very good NBA player in a stretch-four role teams want to fill, but consistency and development are required. Like Bolden, I could see a team falling in love with him in the 20s.
46. Philadelphia 76ers (from MIA) – Tyler Dorsey, SG/PG, Oregon (21 years old)
Put shooters around Ben Simmons. Dorsey has a mature offensive game that could become valuable if he finds the right spot to land at.
47. Indiana Pacers – T.J. Leaf, PF, UCLA (20 years old)
I’m not buying Leaf’s shooting or defense at all. He showed enough for the Bruins to potentially prove me wrong, though.
48. Milwaukee Bucks – Edmond Sumner, PG, Xavier (21 years old)
Sumner’s physical profile is much higher than your average late second-round pick but it’s now or never for his skills to catch up.
49. Denver Nuggets (from MEM) – Tony Bradley C, UNC (19 years old)
He’s all potential at this point but Bradley would almost have to get better practicing against Nikola Jokic and Mason Plumlee.
50. Philadelphia 76ers (from ATL) – Damyean Dotson, G, Houston (23 years old)
Put shooters around Ben Simmons. The former Duck shot 44.3 percent on 7.6 attempts per game from deep in his senior year and has some NBA combo guard traits to go with the shot.
51. Denver Nuggets (from OKC) – Frank Mason, PG, Kansas (23 years old)
Are we sure Mason isn’t going to be a pretty solid backup point guard? Bring him on as Jameer Nelson’s replacement.
52. Washington Wizards – Chris Boucher, C, Orgeon (24 years old)
At this point in the draft, Boucher’s age shouldn’t be a concern. He moves well and has skills teams want from their bigs.
53. Boston Celtics (from CLE) – L.J. Peak, SG, Georgetown (21 years old)
This is probably 15-20 spots too low for Peak, who could easily become a good role player with his balanced game and NBA body. Let him figure it out with the group of annoying two-guards Boston has.
54. Phoenix Suns (from TOR) – Thomas Bryant, C, Indiana (19 years old)
Some nights Bryant looks like a top-20 prospect and others he looks like he has no clue what’s going on. A decent gamble for the Suns to see if they can harness that potential.
55. Utah Jazz – Jeremy Morgan, SG, Northern Iowa (22 years old)
Morgan hasn’t had any buzz and didn’t land in the group of balanced, older wings who have a defensive pedigree, but a lot of smart people rank him and the tape shows he belongs with the likes of Thornwell and Brown.
56. Boston Celtics (from LAC) – Mathias Lessort, PF/C, France (21 years old)
Like Adebayo, Lessort shouldn’t be more than an energy big.
57. Brooklyn Nets (from BOS) – Jake Wiley, PF/C, Eastern Washington (22 years old)
Here’s your Nets gamble. Wiley is very undersized but the athleticism he possesses makes him one of the most fascinating prospects in this range.
58. New York Knicks (from HOU) – Deonte Burton, PF, Iowa State (23 years old)
Burton’s got the athleticism to survive figuring out what his role would be despite being undersized and he has a surprising amount of skill on the perimeter.
59. San Antonio Spurs – Nigel Hayes, PF, Wisconsin (22 years old)
Someone needs to draft Hayes to make sure he’s not the journeyman big who does everything coaches like and that sure sounds like someone the Spurs would draft.
60. Atlanta Hawks (from GS) – Davon Reed, SG, Miami (22 years old)
There’s a group of wings on the first-round bubble that could be the next Malcolm Brogdon teams are looking for, but maybe Reed is actually that guy despite not being in that group.
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