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NBA Mock Draft 2017: Edition 3

Markelle Fultz to Boston
1. Boston Celtics: Markelle Fultz, G, Washington (Scouting Report)
Despite the fact they reached the Eastern Conference Finals, Boston clearly has a lot to work on, evidenced by some of the blowout losses they suffered to Cleveland. Adding another backcourt scorer to complement Isaiah Thomas would work wonders, and Fultz proved he could score in bunches while at Washington.
2. Los Angeles Lakers: Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA (Scouting Report)
People are incredibly mixed on Lonzo Ball and what type of player he is going to be at the next level. Many view him as an elite-level playmaker who can run an offense, while others argue his shot, inconsistent defense and loudmouth father may hold him back. He has made it perfectly clear he wants to play for the Lakers, but that doesn't necessarily mean they'll invest in him. However, he'd be a pretty nice fit in the LA offense and could make it even more lethal in transition.
3. Philadelphia Sixers: Josh Jackson, G/F, Kansas (Scouting Report)
While the Boston and Los Angeles picks aren't set in stone, we have a pretty good idea where they are going with their respective picks. That isn't the case with Philadelphia, who could go nearly anywhere with the No. 3 selection. There is a good chance they trade the pick but if they keep it, adding Jackson makes sense. The former KU product has plenty to work on, but when paired with Ben Simmons, the Sixers would be absolutely lethal on the wing.
4. Phoenix Suns: Jayson Tatum, F, Duke
Beyond Devin Booker, Phoenix has plenty of question marks and no clear-cut building blocks (although Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss still have plenty of time). They are especially thin at both forward spots, so adding a versatile big man is imperative. Tatum proved he could be the No. 1 option on a good team, and his polished offensive abilities should upgrade the stagnant Suns' offense from the get-go.
5. Sacramento Kings: De'Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky
There are rumors swirling that Sacramento would be willing to trade up to select Fox, who the front office is super high on. However, things might work before them that they won't need to do that, and instead be able to add the dynamic Kentucky point guard at pick 5. Outside of a mediocre jump shot, Fox has all the tools to be a force in the NBA, and could lead the Kings' offense for years to come.
6. Orlando Magic: Malik Monk, SG, Kentucky
Former first-rounder Elfrid Payton has proven that he can run the show in Orlando, but the point guard still struggles to shoot the ball and really space the floor, a significant issue for this team. The Magic could go a long way in fixing the spacing issues by adding Monk. Monk shot 40 percent from deep on the season at Kentucky, and proved he could take over at times, providing the type of scorer Orlando has sorely missed over the past few years.
7. Minnesota Timberwolves: Jonathan Isaac, F/C, Florida State
While this Draft is stocked to the brim with explosive guards, it isn't very strong in the frontcourt, particularly at the top. Jonathan Isaac may end up being the best big man in the Draft, with impressive rim protecting abilities and offensive upside. Minnesota would love to add a center with his potential to pair with rising superstar Karl Anthony-Towns.
8. New York Knicks: Dennis Smith Jr., PG, NC State
The Knicks have a ton of issues and a lot of drama surrounding them, but perhaps no issue on this team is as big as the point guard position. Derrick Rose isn't a good fit in the triangle offense and will likely be leaving this off-season. New York may try and dangle some money in front of a big free agent name, but the smarter move would be thinking long-term and picking one. Dennis Smith Jr. would be easily the best guard available here, and give the Knicks an explosive backcourt weapon.
9. Dallas Mavericks: Frank Ntilikina, G, France
As a team, Dallas sits in an interesting position in the loaded Western Conference. The Mavericks still have enough talent to contend for a playoff spot right now, but also must realize that Dirk Nowitzki's career is coming to a close, and looking ahead to the future is necessary. Although he is raw and untested, Ntilikina has all the tools to be a building block for the Mavs going forward. With a smooth, polished offensive game and plenty of versatility the French guard would be a great pickup.
10. Sacramento Kings: Lauri Markkanen, F, Arizona
Even though Skal Labissiere and Willie Cauley-Stein were surprisingly productive over the second half of 2016-2017 for the Kings, more frontcourt helped is a must. He may not have the ceiling of some of the other bigs in this Draft, but Lauri Markkanen is a reliable offensive threat that can stretch the floor. He'd be a welcome asset to a Sacramento team still seeing what they have in the post-Demarcus Cousins world.
11. Charlotte Hornets: Zach Collins, F/C, Gonzaga
I've mentioned on previous mock drafts how high I am on Zach Collins as a prospect and if I was a GM, he would not last outside the Top 10. However, Collins' youth and inexperience may cause some teams to be more cautious, which could land Charlotte quite a steal if Collins is available here. Despite that youth, Collins' length and athleticism should make an impact for the Hornets immediately.
12. Detroit Pistons: Donovan Mitchell, G, Louisville
Donovan Mitchell's name has been rising up draft boards since a superb showing at the NBA Combine, and I wouldn't be surprised if the former Louisville guard finds himself going in the lottery. For Detroit, the dangerous wing would give them a proven scorer with a very all-around game, and an ideal fit next to Reggie Jackson.
13. Denver Nuggets: John Collins, F/C, Wake Forest
NBA scouts are impressed by John Collins' potential and quick learning ability, and he is another name that could hear his name rising up draft boards as the Draft inches closer. The former Wake Forest big man still has to improve shooting in the mid range and at the free throw line but he is a monster in the paint and still growing.
14. Miami Heat: O.G. Anunoby, G/F, Indiana
Standing 6'8" with astounding quickness and strength, O.G. Anunoby is a dazzling NBA prospect, which should keep him from dropping too far despite tearing his ACL this past season. Miami needs further reinforcement on the wing and getting a player that can impact the game like Anunoby seems like a no-brainer here.
15. Portland Trail Blazers: Justin Patton, C, Creighton
Portland hasn't always had success drafting big men (see Greg Oden over Kevin Durant, or Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan), but that doesn't change their need for a true post presence. Justin Patton still needs to grow offensively but he was an absolute force on the boards in his lone season at Creighton, and has an incredibly high ceiling.
16. Chicago Bulls: Justin Jackson, G/F, North Carolina
One of the strengths of the Bulls' lineup right now is actually on the wing, where franchise centerpice Jimmy Butler and future Hall-of-Famer Dwyane Wade roam. But, Butler's name has been heard in trade talks for months on end and there is no denying Wade is nearing the end of an illustrious career. Adding a young wing that can shoot would be an ideal solution to the problem, and Jackson can do just that.
17. Milwaukee Bucks: Terrance Ferguson, G/F, Australia
While we aren't completely sure what Milwaukee's future holds we know one thing: they want to get out and run. With Giannis Antetokounmpo leading the charge, this team is going to be absolutely freakish in transition for many years. They could only get better in the up-tempo if they can add Ferguson, an Oklahoma native who struggled this past season playing pro ball in Australia, but an insane athlete.
18. Indiana Pacers: Jarrett Allen, C, Texas
The Pacers have a rising star in their frontcourt in Myles Turner, but no long term solutions beyond that. They could quite a steal by adding Jarrett Allen with this selection, a player who could easily go in the lottery. Allen is still learning offensively but is already an elite shot-blocker that could go a long way in improving Indiana's rim protection.
19. Atlanta Hawks: Harry Giles, F/C, Duke
There is no greater mystery in this year's Draft than Harry Giles. When healthy, Giles is one of the best players in the country, but he has had torn ACLs in both knees and we saw barely any of him at the collegiate level. Yet, Atlanta is a team lacking clear direction; why not take a chance on the ultimate boom-or-bust prospect?
20. Portland Trail Blazers: T.J. Leaf, F, UCLA
Portland got a terrific rebounding big and bully in the post with Patton, but they should still look for a big man with this pick, considering the abundance of options still available. Leaf has to grow stronger and more aggressive when he hits the NBA but the shooting touch and feel for the game are already impressive.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder: Luke Kennard, G, Duke
If Luke Kennard manages to last until pick 21 (which there isn't any guarantee he does), I think it is a near lock Oklahoma City takes him. The sharpshooting guard would fit a huge need for a poor shooting team, and seems like a perfect fit next to the ball-dominant Russell Westbrook.
22. Brooklyn Nets: Ike Anigbogu, F/C, UCLA
While this is a great Draft for big men, so many of the big guys in it are raw and need significant work. That is the case for Ike Anigbogu, who has impressive physical tools and is great defensively, but still learning the ropes offensively and the finer parts of the game. Brooklyn isn't going to be good for awhile, so they can afford to wait for him to come around and cash in on his potential.
23. Toronto Raptors: Tyler Lydon, F, Syracuse
With the NBA transforming into a small-ball, fast-paced league, bigs who can run the floor and shoot are incredibly valuable, and Lydon fits that mold. The versatile forward out of Syracuse is a good athlete who has proven he can beat you on the perimeter. He will need some work, but could be a real help to a Toronto offense prone to bouts of inconsistency.
24. Utah Jazz: Kyle Kuzma, F, Utah
The Jazz already have a strong frontcourt with Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert, but it isn't very deep. That could change with the addition of the athletic Kuzma, who quietly had a very impressive year at Utah. The Jazz could keep the forward in the state, while adding a high-upside, defensive-minded big.
25. Orlando Magic: Bam Adebayo, F/C, Kentucky
With so many impressive forward and center prospects, there is a good chance at least one or two drop to the bottom of the first round or top of Round 2. That could be the case for Bam Adebayo, an overpowering center who can play volleyball on the glass. Scouts worry about Adebayo's versatility and fit in the modern NBA, but the Magic should still be willing to take a chance on him at 25.
26. Portland Trail Blazers: Rodions Kurucs, F, Latvia
After already adding two NBA-ready bigs to their rotation, the Blazers should play it smart and get an international stash guy with pick 26. Although he is very untested, Kurucs has impressed scouts with his offensive abilities and creativity. In a few years time, he would be quite the addition to the Portland offense.
27. Brooklyn Nets: Semi Ojeleye, F, SMU
A Duke benchwarmer turned SMU superstar, Semi Ojeleye is undeniably incredibly fun to watch and a player that can do so many things. He proved he could take over games for the Mustangs in '16-'17, and the 6'7" forward plays with a chip on his shoulder. For a Nets team that needs any help they can get, he'd be quite the addition.
28. Los Angeles Lakers: Tony Bradley, C, North Carolina
Being just 19 and a freshman on UNC's deep National Championship squad, Tony Bradley was pretty quiet, putting up averages of 6.9 PPG and 5.1 RPG. Yet, he has an incredibly high ceiling, and with a 7'5" wingspan he could be the rim protector the Lakers thought they were getting when they invested all that money in Timofey Mozgov.
29. San Antonio Spurs: Isaiah Hartenstein, F/C, Lithuania
It's no secret Gregg Poppovich and San Antonio love their international big man, and there is a pretty good chance they go after one late in the first round. Jonathan Jeanne would be the selection but he was unfortunately diagnosed with career-threatening Marfans syndrome days ago, so the Spurs turn to Hartenstein, a crafty big man that can shoot.
30. Utah Jazz: Jawun Evans, PG, Oklahoma State
The Jazz are still holding out hope former Top-5 selection Dante Exum can stay healthy and grow into the ultra-playmaking point guard they envisioned, but that doesn't mean they need to stay away from getting more PG help. Jawun Evans shredded the competition this past season at Ok. State, and is an electrifying offensive player.

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