The 2017 NBA Draft is exactly one week away, and there is plenty of intrigue. The Boston Celtics are expected to take Washington's Markelle Fultz with the first pick, but there are a ton of question marks outside of that. This class has plenty of star power at the top, and it 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 8.0 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
Forget everything else you've been hearing about the Lakers looking at other options. It's true that they're looking, and it's true that they really like Josh Jackson, and they have gone to great lengths to create the illusion that they aren't sold on Ball. But make no mistake about it - they are, in fact, sold on Ball. He will be their pick.
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.
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Here's the deal - the 76ers and Kings have talked about a trade so that Sacramento can get Fox, but this won't happen unless both Fultz and Ball are off the board. Philadelphia likes Malik Monk after those two stars, and since both are already off the board, this trade (Kings send picks No. 5 and No. 10 to Sixers for No. 3 pick and a player) will happen on draft night.
The Kings have mutual interest between the Kings and Fox, but he may not be on the board at No. 5. 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 - Jonathan Isaac, SF/PF, Fr., Florida State Seminoles
6'11", 210 lbs. - 12.0 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 1.5 bpg
Are there better fits for the Magic at this spot? Absolutely. But, Orlando's new front-office tandem of Jeff Weltman and John Hammond showed just how much they love length in Milwaukee, and Isaac fits that bill to a tee. Though he's skinny and somewhat raw, there isn't anything Isaac can't do on a basketball court. 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.
Isaac is only working out for teams picking in the top four, but he won't go there. However, he may be doing that because he knows this is his floor.
7) Minnesota Timberwolves - Lauri Markkanen, PF, Fr., Arizona Wildcats
7'0", 225 lbs. - 15.6 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 0.9 apg
Minnesota is stuck in a weird spot with this pick. Do they go with the best player available in Jayson Tatum, who plays the same position as Andrew Wiggins? Do they get a point guard and give up on Kris Dunn already? I think they'll do the smart thing and go with Markkanen, who worked out for the Timberwolves this week.
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, and would be a reliable stretch four next to Karl-Anthony Towns. However, Markkanen doesn't fix Minnesota's defensive woes.
8) New York Knicks - Donovan Mitchell, SG, So., Louisville Cardinals
6'3", 211 lbs. - 15.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 2.1 spg
This would be the first real stunner of the draft, but the Knicks seem to really, really like Mitchell and the kind of player he can turn into.
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 Knicks view him as an Avery Bradley-level defender with a lot of offensive upside, which is why they'll reach a bit for him here.
9) Dallas Mavericks - Frank Ntilikina, PG, Strasbourg (France)
6'5", 170 lbs. - 5.2 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 1.4 apg
Dallas has one of the best international scouting departments in the league, and they would be thrilled if Ntilikina fell to them at No. 9. He already has a good deal of experience (three years playing professionally for Strasbourg) and plenty of upside (especially defensively) thanks to his elite size and seven-foot wingspan. He is a very good athlete that is polished in almost every phase of the game.
How thrilled would Philadelphia be if they ended up with Tatum at No. 10? They need scoring and shooting, and Tatum may just be the most well-rounded offensive threat in this class (he and Monk are battling for that distinction, so landing both would be incredible for Philly). He showcased a reliable jump shot (especially from mid-range) and wide array of finishes around the rim during the season. Tatum should fit right in Philly's lineup as their starting small forward.
11) Charlotte Hornets - Luke Kennard, SG, So., Duke Blue Devils
6'6", 202 lbs. - 19.5 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 2.5 apg
Kennard's stock just keeps rising thanks to his offensive skill and the surprising athleticism he flashed in workouts, and Charlotte seems to be the one to gamble on him. Even though Dennis Smith is still on the board, Charlotte will pass on him because of Kemba Walker. They need offensive help, especially on the wing off the bench, and Kennard fits that mold to a tee. He's incredibly polished on that end of the floor, and the Hornets can make up for his defensive limitations.
12) Detroit Pistons - Dennis Smith Jr., Fr., PG, NC State Wolfpack
6'3", 195 lbs. - 18.1 ppg, 6.2 apg, 4.6 rpg
This is a dream scenario for Detroit, who has been looking to find a replacement for Reggie Jackson. Smith is 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 Pistons need one.
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.
Big men with injury histories don't seem to do well in Portland, but the Blazers are set to gamble on another one in Giles.
Miami needs a power forward after parting ways with Chris Bosh, and with Collins off the board, it makes sense for them to consider Giles. However, Portland really likes him as a prospect, and as such, Miami could get the No. 26 pick out of the Blazers to move back one spot.
Giles has continued to see his draft stock rise after a good combine, and as he continues checks out medically, 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 Blazers are hoping he can form a Big 3 with Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum.