NBA Draft Review
June 24, 2017
by Chase Gage
The 2017 NBA Draft has come and gone. Who were the winners and losers? What did you miss? Who were the biggest steals? Why am I asking so many questions? Where are my car keys? I’ve got all the answers, except for that last one. Anyway, let’s get started.
2017 NBA Draft
- Philadelphia 76ers – Markelle Fultz, PG Washington
- Los Angeles Lakers – Lonzo Ball, PG UCLA
- Boston Celtics – Jayson Tatum, SF Duke
- Phoenix Suns – Josh Jackson, SG Kansas
- Sacramento Kings – De’Aaron Fox, PG Kentucky
- Orlando Magic – Jonathan Isaac, PF Florida State
- Minnesota Timberwolves – Lauri Markkanen, PF Arizona (Traded to Chicago Bulls)
- New York Knicks – Frank Ntilikina, PG France
- Dallas Mavericks – Dennis Smith, PG North Carolina State
- Sacramento Kings – Zach Collins, C Gonzaga (Traded to Portland Trail Blazers)
- Charlotte Hornets – Malik Monk, SG Kentucky
- Detroit Pistons – Luke Kennard, SG Duke
- Denver Nuggets – Donovan Mitchell, SG Louisville (Traded to Utah Jazz)
- Miami Heat – Bam Adebayo, PF Kentucky
- Portland Trail Blazers – Justin Jackson, SF North Carolina (Traded to Sacramento Kings)
- Chicago Bulls – Justin Patton, C Creighton (Traded to Minnesota Timberwolves)
- Milwaukee Bucks – D.J. Wilson, PF Michigan
- Indiana Pacers – T.J. Leaf, PF UCLA
- Atlanta Hawks – John Collins, PF Wake Forest
- Portland Trail Blazers – Harry Giles, C Duke (Traded to Sacramento Kings)
- Oklahoma City Thunder – Terrance Ferguson, SG Australia
- Brooklyn Nets – Jarrett Allen, C Texas
- Toronto Raptors – OG Anunoby, SF Indiana
- Utah Jazz – Tyler Lydon, PF Syracuse (Traded to Denver Nuggets)
- Orlando Magic – Anzejs Pasecniks, C Spain (Traded to Philadelphia 76ers)
- Portland Trail Blazers – Caleb Swanigan, PF Purdue
- Brooklyn Nets – Kyle Kuzma, PF Utah (Traded to the Los Angeles Lakers)
- Los Angeles Lakers – Tony Bradley, C North Carolina (Traded to Utah Jazz)
- San Antonio Spurs – Derrick White, PG Colorado
- Utah Jazz – Josh Hart, SG Villanova (Traded to Los Angeles Lakers)
Notable Second Round Picks:
31. Charlotte Hornets – Frank Jackson, PG Duke (Traded to New Orleans Pelicans)
34. Sacramento Kings – Frank Mason, PG Kansas
38. Chicago Bulls – Jodan Bell, C Oregon (Traded to Golden State Warriors)
48. Milwaukee Bucks – Sindarius Thornwell, SG South Carolina (Traded to Los Angeles Clippers)
55. Utah Jazz – Nigel Williams-Goss, PG Gonzaga
60. Atlanta Hawks – “Mr. Irrelevant 2017”, Alpha Kaba, PF Serbia
- Though the Timberwolves may not have won as far as draft picks go (they got Justin Patton, but he’s not a franchise-changing player), they won draft night. Easily.
- The TWolves were able to acquire Chicago star Jimmy Butler (and a draft pick) for Zach Lavine, Kris Dunn and the seventh pick. Butler could be the piece that puts Minnesota over the top and turns them into a playoff team. The Timberwolves already have young stars in Karl Anthony-Towns and Andrew Wiggins, so adding a more experienced all-star makes all the difference in the world. Pair Butler up with his former coach from Chicago and you’ve got a recipe for winning, and winning soon. Don’t be surprised to see the Timberwolves in the middle of the pack in the Western Conference playoff race along with the likes of Oklahoma City, Utah, Memphis and Portland next season, and maybe even higher in seasons to come if they keep this core together.
- Draft Picks:
- De’Aaron Fox, PG Kentucky
- Justin Jackson, SF North Carolina (via Trail Blazers)
- Harry Giles, C Duke
- Frank Mason, PG Kansas
- The team with the best draft seems to be (shockingly) the Sacramento Kings. We may not actually know who won the draft for years to come, but for now, it looks like the Kings killed it. Fox flew under the radar somewhat, as Fultz and Ball were the top PG prospects, but he has the potential to be as good, if not better, than any PG in the draft. Jackson led North Carolina to two NCAA championship appearances and if not for a miracle buzzer-beating three by Villanova, would have won back-to-back titles. Though he may not have the purest talent of anyone in the draft, he knows how to win better than anyone else in the field. Giles could have been a lottery pick if not for injuries, and Mason brings a leadership aspect that the Kings have desperately needed for some time. Maybe the end of Demarcus Cousins era has breathed new life in this organization.
- Also, when you can get a player from four of the greatest college programs in the history of basketball (Kentucky, North Carolina, Kansas, Duke), I think that’s a win.
Los Angeles Lakers
- Draft Picks:
- Lonzo Ball, PG UCLA
- Kyle Kuzma, PF Utah
- Josh Hart, SG Villanova
- Thomas Bryant, C Indiana
- Of course, the Lakers did what we all expected and chose the hometown kid with the second pick. Ball is already the new face of the Lakers as he and Magic Johnson usher in a new era for the historic franchise. They got other solid picks in this draft, such as a great scorer in Kuzma, but the real greatness (besides Ball) took place before the draft. The Lakers dealt away future All-Star DeAngelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov to the Nets in return for Brook Lopez and the 27th pick of the draft. Though they got rid of their star, they also got rid of the atrocious contract that is stuck to Mozgov while acquiring an All-Star big man and clearing up around $60 million in cap space for next summer. Ball will now run the show in Los Angeles and not have to share the stage with Russell. If Paul George comes to LA (like he has said he intends to) either this offseason via trade or next offseason in free agency, they’ve now got a backcourt that will suit his needs and enough money to sign another star to play alongside him. Now if they can just get rid of Luol Deng’s contract…
- Draft Picks
- Markelle Fultz, PG Washington
- Anzejs Pasecniks, C Spain
- Jonah Bolden, PF Serbia
- Mathias Lessort, PF France
- Look no further than the top overall pick when it comes to the Sixers. Philadelphia added a potential future All-Star to their young core of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Dario Saric, and he may be the final piece of the puzzle. If the injury bug stays away from the Sixers (Embiid has played approximately 31 minutes in his 16-year career, or so it seems, and Ben Simmons has yet to play a single game), they may be a serious contender in the near future. Could they reach their peak around the time that the Warriors and LeBron James start to decline? The timing may end up being perfect. Fultz was the best player in the draft, and when you get the best guy in the draft, you’re considered a winner.
- Note: Joel Embiid has played 786 minutes (approximately 20 games at 40 minutes/game) since being drafted third overall in 2014.
- Draft Picks
- Jayson Tatum, SF Duke
- Semi Ojeleye, PF SMU
- Kadeem Allen, SG Arizona
- Jabari Bird, SG California
- Lottery picks are great assets to have. They can be used as trade pieces, bargaining chips or even dangled in front of other teams faces to taunt them. That only works, though, while they’re still draft picks. Once they’re players, all of that is said and done. The Celtics apparently don’t know that. They got a great player in Jayson Tatum with the third overall pick, but it feels like such a waste of potential. After the team that finished first in the Eastern Conference was awarded the top overall pick in the draft, thousands of rumors flooded in. Jimmy Butler? Kristaps Porzingis? Paul George? Markelle Fultz? Nope, the Celtics ended up with Tatum and some more draft picks.
- Boston traded down for the third pick paired with a pick from either the Lakers or Kings next season. That doesn’t sound like too bad of a deal until you realize that the Lakers, Nets (Boston also owns Brooklyn’s first round pick next season) and Kings all got much better in the last few days. They had what was assumed to be two potential lottery picks next season as well as the top pick this season. Other teams were drooling all over those assets leading up to draft night. Danny Ainge, though, was perhaps too hesitant to deal those assets. The Celtics missed out on Fultz and now have two future picks that may be significantly less valuable than they were before the draft. They may have missed their chance to land another star to pair with Isaiah Thomas. Not saying Tatum is a bad pick, but when you can get an All-Star now, you get an All-Star now. Unless Tatum evolves into an All-NBA level talent in the next couple of seasons, this will feel like an empty pick.
- For some perspective, the Celtics have used their great assets to draft Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown and now Tatum. Would you rather have those three or someone like Butler/Porzingis/George? They may make a killing in free agency (Blake Griffin, Gordon Hayward), but as far as the draft is concerned, this was a major balk.
Malik Monk, SG Kentucky (11th, Charlotte Hornets)
The Charlotte Hornets drafted Monk with the 11th overall pick. Monk was thought of as a borderline top-five talent, but he did not fit the needs of the teams towards the top. His fall to the 11 spot made him a no-brainer for the Hornets, regardless of needs. If Monk had been in last year’s draft, he may have gone in the top three or four. That’s how deep this draft was. Monk is arguably the best shooter in this class and has freakish athleticism that could elevate him into an elite player one day. Pairing him with Kemba Walker, Nicolas Batum and the newly acquired Dwight Howard (who is not as bad as some people think) may prove to be a great move that puts this franchise on track to being a playoff contender.
Jordan Bell, C Oregon (38th, Golden State Warriors)
What a steal. The best team in the league added a great role player that can make an immediate impact. And they got him for next to nothing (the Bulls sold the pick to Golden State for a reported $3.5 million). Bell put on a show in the NCAA Tournament, leading his Ducks all the way to the Final Four (for the first time since the inaugural tournament 78 years earlier). Though he may not be a great offensive force outside of the paint, he can make a difference without the ball in his hands. How convenient, because he wouldn’t touch the ball much on a team with Kevin Durant, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. Even if he can’t make an immediate offensive impact, he will (at the minimum) be able to give the Golden State big men some valuable rest without much of a drop-off. Bell is a great rim protector and rebounder and can even defend the perimeter when he needs to. For some perspective on his broad range of talent, Bell had 11 points, 13 rebounds (seven offensive), four assists and eight blocks in the Elite Eight against Kansas. Pair that type of ability inside with the greatest shooting team the league has ever seen and you might end up with an unbeatable team that just got even better.
OG Anunoby, SF Indiana (23rd, Toronto Raptors)
Anunoby would have been a lottery pick if not for a season-ending injury at Indiana. He is less than great on the offensive end, but his defensive ability makes up for it by leaps and bounds. Any time a player is compared to MVP candidate Kawhi Leonard (called the best two-way player in the league), take that as a good sign. Anunoby will need to develop quite a bit offensively to be considered a solid two-way player but should be able to make an immediate impact on the defensive end as soon as he recovers from his knee injury. Picking a lottery-caliber player at the 23 spot will always be a steal.
Well, there you have it. The waters in the NBA will settle a bit for a week or so until free agency starts July 1. Tune back in weekly for new content. Follow me on Twitter (@ChaseGage1) for daily updates on whatever is happening in the wide world of sports. As always, thanks for reading this magnificent article. I hope to see you back here soon and I also hope to see my Celtics actually do something for a change. Will either of those things happen? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.