The 2017 NBA Draft deadline for early entrants to withdraw from the draft came and went on Wednesday, meaning that the prospect pool is now set. The Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers are widely projected to take Washington's Markelle Fultz and UCLA's Lonzo Ball, respectively, with the first two picks, but there is a ton of question marks outside of that. This class has plenty of depth to go along with those two stars and might be the deepest group of prospects since the fabled 2003 class.
Mock drafts don't often project trades, but I'm going to include a few in this version based on reports and rumblings we're hearing from teams. I also have projected picks for both rounds for this version, so don't stop reading after the first round. And, of course, follow me on Twitter if you want to debate anything.
Without further ado, here is Version 7.0 our 2017 Mock NBA Draft:
Fultz is going to be Boston's guy, no matter what. He can do everything on the court and is big enough to play alongside Isaiah Thomas in the off-guard position. In fact, he and Thomas (who also went to Washington) have been texting all season and were/are excited about the proposition of playing together. There are questions about his drive, leadership and passion after Washington's nine-win season, but Boston seems set on him - especially after Lonzo Ball declined to work out for them.
2) Los Angeles Lakers - Lonzo Ball, PG, Fr., UCLA Bruins
6'6", 190 lbs. - 14.6 ppg, 7.6 apg, 6.0 rpg
At 6-foot-6, he can play either guard position, and while he's at his best with the ball in hands, he doesn't need it to make a huge impact on the game (which is good if he's going to play alongside D'Angelo Russell). His vision and up-tempo style would make him a perfect fit in head coach Luke Walton's system. Los Angeles is reportedly flirting with De'Aaron Fox and Josh Jackson, but Ball will be their pick.
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The Kings need everything, but plan to start with a point guard. There is reportedly mutual interest between the Kings and Kentucky point guard De'Aaron Fox, but he may not be on the board at No. 5. As such, look for them to try and trade both first round picks (No. 5, No. 10) to move up. Philadelphia doesn't really need a point guard since they plan to use Ben Simmons at the position, so they're a prime candidate to trade down.
Fox has established himself as the No. 3 point guard prospect in this class. He has the size (6'4") and athleticism that NBA teams love, along with having the scoring ability to take over a game. That being said, he is also a pass-first point guard that would rather get his teammates involved. He may not have the superstar potential of Fultz and Ball, but he's as sure of a bet as anyone in this class.
4) Phoenix Suns - Josh Jackson, Fr., SF, Kansas Jayhawks
6'8", 207 lbs. - 16.3 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 3.0 apg
Phoenix needs an upgrade at small forward, so having Jackson fall to them would be ideal. He's as athletic as anyone, is great at attacking the rim and - most importantly - is an extremely smart player. The Suns do have concerns about Jackson's character, but I think he's too talented for them to pass on.
Philadelphia trades down to get their starting shooting guard in Monk. I think Monk is the best scoring prospect in this draft, particularly from the perimeter, and the Sixers need to improve their shooting. There were times this year when he was simply unstoppable, and Philly needs a perimeter weapon like that.
6) Orlando Magic - Jayson Tatum, Fr., SF, Duke Blue Devils
6'8", 205 lbs. - 16.8 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 2.1 apg
Orlando has so many needs that they'll go best player available. One of those needs is a go-to scorer, so enter Tatum, who may just be the most well-rounded offensive threat in this class. He showcased a reliable jump shot (especially from mid-range) and wide array of finishes around the rim during the season. Tatum would finally give the Magic a core piece to build around.
Another trade! I think this draft could get wacky at the top. Minnesota is looking to trade down from this spot, and with three first-round picks (plus a desire to win now), the Blazers have the assets and motivation to make a move up. This trade has them sending their first two picks (No. 15, No. 20) and a 2018 pick to the Timberwolves for this selection.
Portland needs a versatile player like Isaac in their frontcourt, and though he's skinny and somewhat raw, he has all the ability in the world. His length and athleticism make him a very capable defender on the perimeter, and with his shooting ability, Isaac can be a matchup nightmare at small forward or as a stretch four.
Portland is lacking rim protection and a scoring threat from their forwards. Isaac would provide both.
8) New York Knicks - Frank Ntilikina, PG, Strasbourg (France)
6'5", 170 lbs. - 5.2 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 1.4 apg
New York is reportedly "enamored" with Ntilikina because of his experience (three years playing professionally for Strasbourg) and upside. Along with his elite size and seven-foot wingspan - where the defensive upside comes into play - he is a very good athlete that is polished in almost every phase of the game. The Knicks seem to be sold on him becoming a star.
9) Dallas Mavericks - Dennis Smith Jr., Fr., PG, NC State Wolfpack
6'3", 195 lbs. - 18.1 ppg, 6.2 apg, 4.6 rpg
Dallas has a big need at point guard (Yogi Ferrell is not their point guard of the future), and they'd be ecstatic if Smith is available. He's an elite athlete, lightning quick and has the potential to be a true superstar. He can play a little reckless at times and doesn't have the most reliable jumper, but all of the physical tools of a star are there - and the Mavs need one to usher in the post-Dirk era.
Philadelphia has such a need for depth in their backcourt that drafting two undersized shooting guards wouldn't be a terrible move because of their scheme (and Ben Simmons playing point).
Mitchell is the high-upside prospect who may not have a distinct position, but his 6-foot-10 wingspan has eased doubts about him being able to play shooting guard at the NBA level. He might be the best athlete in this class (which is saying something) and has developed a good jump shot, making an average of two three-pointers per game this past season.
Mitchell is still scratching the surface of how good he can be and was already an elite defender in college basketball. The Sixers would play as Monk's backup as he develops (that's how badly they need depth at the two guard).
11) Charlotte Hornets - Harry Giles, Fr., PF, Duke Blue Devils
6'10", 232 lbs. - 3.9 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 0.7 bpg
I don't think Charlotte goes with Markkanen if he's available because his skill set is too similar to Frank Kaminsky's (although Markkanen may be the better player). As such, I think they gamble on Giles.
Giles is rising as fast as any prospect after a good combine, and if he checks out medically, NBA teams say he could potentially creep even higher than this. He was very limited at Duke after tearing both ACLs in high school that resulted in three knee surgeries (and a 14-month layoff before his Duke debut), and he was playing at much less than 100 percent all season for the Blue Devils. But, when healthy, he was the top overall player in this freshman class and looked like a potential franchise player. The Hornets could use one of those.
12) Detroit Pistons - Lauri Markkanen, PF, Fr., Arizona Wildcats
7'0", 225 lbs. - 15.6 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 0.9 apg
Detroit needs to take the best player available, and Markkanen is that while fitting Stan Van Gundy's desire for shooting. The Finland-native wanted to play at Arizona instead of entering the 2016 draft, and it benefitted him greatly. He's already polished offensively with a reliable three-point jumper.
13) Denver Nuggets - Zach Collins, PF/C, Fr., Gonzaga Bulldogs
7'0", 232 lbs. - 10.0 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 1.8 bpg
Collins' draft stock really rose during the NCAA Tournament as he started to look like the McDonald's All-American he was, showcasing excellent footwork and shooting ability. I'm not as high on him as most, but given the high interest level in him, he's going to be a lottery pick.
Denver is another team that doesn't have any real needs and can take the best player available. Collins could give them a potential long-term frontcourt pairing with Nikola Jokic.
14) Miami Heat - Justin Jackson, SF, Jr., North Carolina Tar Heels
6'8", 201 lbs. - 18.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 2.8 apg
Jackson showcased his full potential this year at UNC as a lanky shooter/defender, making him a prime "3-and-D" guy in the NBA. As an experienced college player, he should be able to make an immediate impact off the bench at the NBA level.