2017 NBA Mock Draft: Fultz to Phoenix at #1

It’s that time of year again, when all the players who are going pro have declared for the Draft, but the lottery hasn’t happened yet. Which means…it’s time for NBA fans to randomly simulate the lottery at and imagine who will end up where. To save you time, we did it for you, starting with a team in the desert looking to add one more piece to an interesting young core…

1. Phoenix Suns

Markelle Fultz – PG, Washington

The Suns end up winning the lottery and end up with a very good problem: too much talent. Like the great Notorious B.I.G. said, “Mo guards mo problems except if one of the guards is Markelle Fultz.” Phoenix will happily accept a potential perennial All-Star like Fultz into their backcourt and figure out what to do with Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight in years to come.

2. Los Angeles Lakers

Lonzo Ball – PG, UCLA

The Lakers end up with their dream player in Ball and hundreds of Los Angeles kids wearing $500 sneakers. This would make sense since they’re already wearing $800 Yeezys, and Bravo could produce the reality show that a season of Lakers basketball has become right in their own backyard. Ball will immediately restore hope in the Laker faithful and become an instant playmaker in the league.

3. New Orleans Pelicans

Josh Jackson – SF, Kansas

The Pelicans are the biggest winners here and jump up eight spots to grab one of the best talents in the draft. Josh Jackson will immediately double down on the team’s bad boy mentality, established by Boogie. Adding Jackson to take on the Western Conference with Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins would be a godsend for the Pelicans, enough to push them into the playoffs each year and push over a lot of opponents in the process.

4. Boston Celtics

Jayson Tatum – SF, Duke

This is the worst case scenario for Boston. It’d be like getting a Porsche instead of a Ferrari. At the end of the day, you’re still in a pretty sweet ride. The Celtics will reluctantly take Tatum after missing out on three franchise-changing players and hope he turns into the star some say he will be. Tatum will add some serious front court scoring ability to a team that could use it and cement IT as the franchise player he (kinda, sorta) deserves to be.

5. Philadelphia 76ers

Malik Monk – SG, Kentucky

The 76ers are bummed not to get the Lakers’ pick, but realize few can have their cake and eat it too. At five, they’d be ecstatic to add Monk as the final piece of the project, like adding the cheese to a cheesesteak. Monk would beautifully complement Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Jahlil Okafor’s size and could take some of the pressure off Ben bringing the ball up.

6. Orlando Magic

Jonathan Isaac – PF, Florida St.

The Magic are spoiled for choice here and end up going with the hometown hero with a ton of upside. A project of IMG Academy and that Tallahassee university, Isaac would be welcomed with open arms in northern Florida, filling out an already young and budding lineup to compete for an Eastern Conference playoff spot.

7. Minnesota Timberwolves

Lauri Markkanen – PF, Arizona

Rumor has it that Minnesota is desperate to add a stretch four. The addition of Markkanen allows Towns to focus on the five and Wiggins on the three, leading to a ton of potential mismatches. Pairing a seven foot shooter with Ricky Rubio and Kris Dunn would take pressure off the backcourt, as defenses would be reluctant to collapse on drives to the paint to leave Lauri open beyond the arc. Only problem is, Tom Thibodeau would now have absolutely no excuse to be in the lottery every year…

8. New York Knicks

Frank Ntilikina – PG, France

The New York Knicks recently sent general manager Steve Mills to France to scout Ntilikina, who has been garnering headlines in recent weeks. He’s not the guy to help the Knicks right away, but Ntilikina has genuine star potential on both ends of the floor with a rare combination of size and skill. He’s a 6’5” point guard who can run the pick and roll and plays excellent defense, not to mention he’s shooting 44.2% from beyond the arc. Wouldn’t be surprised if he was currently the background on Phil’s phone. But you can forget every note in the scouting report. Even Jesus would have a difficult time playing for the Knicks right now.

9. Sacramento Kings

De’Aaron Fox – PG, Kentucky

Although the Kings don’t move up in the lottery, they could be the biggest winners here. They land a top-5 talent who dropped as a product of a very talented draft, especially at the guard position. Fox is an athletic freak who has the intensity and skill to immediately restore interest to basketball in Sacramento after the departure of Cousins. But Vlade Divac could very well trade this pick to the Pelicans for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

10. Dallas Mavericks

Dennis Smith – PG, North Carolina St.

Another top-5 talent who will fall due to the overwhelming amount of talent at the guard position. Dennis Smith is a very poor man’s Russell Westbrook, but a man’s Russell Westbrook nonetheless. He’s the victim of superb talent on a horrible team. At a different college and in a different year, he could be a top-3 pick. Regardless, Dallas would love to add Smith’s athleticism to a lineup that desperately needs it.

11. Charlotte Hornets

Jarrett Allen – C, Texas

From the team that took Frank Kaminsky over Justise Winslow, Devin Booker, and Myles Turner, another pick that will leave their fanbase scratching their collective heads.

12. Detroit Pistons

Zach Collins – PF/C, Gonzaga

Not totally sure if he’s a good fit next to Andre Drummond, but there isn’t a ton of wing-player value still available on the board either. Probably makes sense for Stan Van Gundy to stick with the “best available.”

13. Denver Nuggets

OG Anunoby – SF/PF, Indiana

At this point, Denver is building around Nikola Jokic. Last year they took Jamal Murray, who gave them shooting, but very little defense. This year, they do the exact opposite.

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