Looking back at the 2017 NBA Draft, there were some clear mistakes and some clear stars that teams missed out on. Let’s give these teams another shot at it. However, this NBA draft will account for all trades made before and on draft day. For example, Utah still picks at 13 instead of Denver and Chicago still picks at 7 from Minnesota as a result from the Jimmy Butler trade.
Now that we have all seen these players exceed and fail this year, let’s see where they would have gone if the draft was today. Knowing what we know now, who falls and who rises? Who has a new face of the franchise instead of a bust?
#1 Overall Pick: Philadelphia 76ers
Chris: Donovan Mitchell
While Devin and I agree on Donovan Mitchell as the first pick in the 2017 draft, we disagree on our reasoning. It took a lot of convincing on Devin’s part because I feel Jayson Tatum will be the best player from the draft 5 years from now. However, when one looks at the 76ers roster and considers the inevitable situation of Ben Simmons being on the bench, there is nobody who can facilitate the offense in his place. Mitchell is unique in that he can play off the ball when Simmons is in, but he can also run the point when Simmons is on the bench. Despite our disagreement as to why Mitchell deserves the top pick, we both are fascinated by the idea of two rookie of the year candidates on the same team.
Devin: Donovan Mitchell
When I look at Donovan Mitchell I see a potential MVP. When I look at the 76ers I see a weakness in Ben Simmons. Simmons is a great point guard that will most likely win ROY, but when he is on the bench or can barely get you 2 points in a playoff game you need a guy that can flat out score. Donovan Mitchell doesn’t need Ben Simmons on the floor to be great but I think Ben Simmons would be a better player if he had Mitchell as his two guard. Jayson Tatum would be a good fit here as well but the 76ers need someone who can score on their on own the best. Donovan Mitchell is better in isolation than Tatum is, therefore, Mitchell is the better fit here because of his ability to take over by himself.
#2 Overall Pick: Los Angeles Lakers
Chris: Dennis Smith Jr.
The Lakers would take a point guard, if they could do it all over again, but there is no way they would take Lonzo Ball. The Lakers would look at Dennis Smith Jr. and see a point guard with Russell Westbrook esque explosiveness and a willing passer despite being just 20 years old. Dennis Smith Jr. is also a player that a team could build their franchise around. Mark my words; when Dirk eventually retires Smith Jr. will be the face of the Mavericks. The Lakers wouldn’t want to miss out on this kid.
Devin: Dennis Smith Jr.
Los Angeles needs a point guard at this point to go with their hopeful small forward in Brandon Ingram. The best available point guard in my opinion would be Dennis Smith Jr. His ceiling is higher than any other point guard in this draft, especially De’Aaron Fox and Lonzo Ball. I know the reason for drafting Ball is to hope that stars will want to play for a pass-happy point guard, but stars also want to play with other stars. Dennis Smith Jr. is the most likely point guard in this draft to become a star.
#3 Overall Pick: Boston Celtics
Chris: Jayson Tatum
Why wouldn’t you take Tatum with the number 3 pick in the draft? The kid can shoot, pass, play defense, and has hit clutch shots all regular season and playoffs despite being 19/20 years old in his rookie campaign.
Devin: Jayson Tatum
Jayson Tatum because it is so obvious that he is probably the second best player in the draft. He shoots the ball exceptionally and can score in the midrange consistently, which is a lost art. He’s athletic and plays solid defense as well. At the end of the day, this is a no-brainer.
#4 Overall Pick: Phoenix Suns
Chris: De’Aaron Fox
Finally, a disagreement. After Bledsoe declared he didn’t want to be in Phoenix the Suns
were forced to trade him away leaving them with nobody at the point guard position until they traded for Elfrid Payton. This franchise is in desperate need of young and talented guards to pair with Booker, and I don’t think Payton fits the bill. Fox showed flashes of being a really solid point guard when he was given the starting role for the Kings this season. Fox started in 60 out of 73 games averaging 11.6ppg, 4.4apg, and 2.8rpg. Overall, the Suns have serviceable players at the 2-5 spots and adding a solid point guard is a step in the right direction for turning the franchise around.
Devin: Kyle Kuzma
The offense and Devin Booker need help. Getting Josh Jackson helped the defense but far too often you would see on social media that the Suns were down by 20 or 30 points. Instead of getting Jackson I would look for the Suns to draft Kyle Kuzma. A breakout rookie from Utah that can shoot all over. He is also willing to run the floor which is exactly the kind of energy they need. I could even see Phoenix putting Kuzma at the 3 while Booker is at the 2 and Marquese Chriss is at the 4. The Suns still need help at the 1 and 5 though, but trust the process I guess.
#5 Overall Pick: Sacramento Kings
Chris: Lonzo Ball
Lonzo Ball will play in California, but not for the team he (his dad) so desperately wanted him to play for. The Kings didn’t do well on offense this season and finished 29th in offensive efficiency with just 101.1 points per 100 possessions. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a player who has the potential to put up a double- double nearly every game by scoring and assisting? Lonzo Ball would have also benefited from this selection because he would not have had to deal with the spotlight and intense pressure that comes with playing for the Lakers.
Devin: Markelle Fultz
Markelle Fultz goes to the Kings. Despite having to sit out a year, I believe that Fultz is the best choice for Sacramento. The Kings can wait a year on a great prospect like Fultz. They won’t be going anywhere for quite some time so why not wait on Fultz. In the future you are going to need scoring. I think a Buddy Hield and Fultz combo will get you plenty of that. Now that the Kings are done looking for guards they can focus on other areas for their future.
#6 Overall Pick: Orlando Magic
Chris: Markelle Fultz
The Magic actually selected SF/PF Jonathan Isaac, but he only played 27 games and started just 10. Rather than take Isaac knowing he would be hurt all year, why not take Fultz with the 6th pick? Devin hit the nail on the head when he mentioned the Kings aren’t going anywhere anytime soon and I think Orlando is in a similar spot. The differences between Fultz and Isaac is that Fultz has a higher ceiling and we actually saw flashes of Fultz being a good player when he put up 13 points,10 assists, and 10 rebounds against the Milwaukee Bucks in the final regular season game for the 76ers.
Devin: Lauri Markkanen
Orlando doesn’t have much on their roster but I think they could do something really interesting with this pick. Aaron Gordon can play small forward and at center, they have Nikola Vucevic. This would leave their 4 spot open. They went with Jonathan Isaac here but I would suggest going Lauri Markkanen instead. Having two 7-footers on the court that can both shoot outside the paint, especially Markkanen from 3, will do wonders. Their guards are still awful but that’s a problem for another day.
#7 Overall Pick: Chicago Bulls
Chris: Josh Jackson
On the surface, Josh Jackson seems like someone who plays the same positions as Denzel Valentine. However, Jackson’s game is more focused on the defensive side of the ball and, so far as positions go, he can play the two or the three; just like Valentine. Potential lineups could feature Jackson and Valentine on the floor interchanging at the shooting guard and small forward depending on matchups. The addition of Jackson would also make other Bulls players, such as Zach LaVine, more expendable.
Devin: Josh Jackson
The Bulls could use more guards at this point mainly because they are the best available on the board right now. They could reach and go Bam Adebayo or Zach Collins but I think Josh Jackson is the safest bet here. A defensive guard who can also play small forward would mesh well with Kris Dunn and Denzel Valentine. Although playing those three and still having Zach LaVine may be an issue but in this case, the Bulls are drafting best available. Plus it would give them an asset to move in the future via trade or let Zach LaVine walk in free agency.
#8 Overall Pick: New York Knicks
Chris: Kyle Kuzma
Kyle Kuzma is a talented player, the Knicks are a dumpster fire, and they are in need of talent. Kuzma fell this far for me because I still believe it is unclear if his rookie campaign was legit or if he was a one hit wonder. Ultimately Kuzma provides scoring and great energy to a Knicks team that has been static in the last few seasons.
Devin: Lonzo Ball
Lonzo Ball has fallen far enough. The Knicks are going with Ball here because Ball and Porzingis would make quite the pairing. The Knicks have so many big men and not enough guards which makes drafting Lonzo irresistible. Perhaps this would grow some attention to other players in the league and make New York relevant again. With his passing abilities, the floor would become much easier to space with their other shooters. However, the roster still needs a lot of work but adding Ball makes things a bit easier for the front office.
#9 Overall Pick: Dallas Mavericks
Chris: Lauri Markkanen
Lauri Markkanen has drawn many Porzingis and Nowitzki comparisons this year and it only seems right that he ends up in Dallas as the heir to Dirk’s throne. Markkanen could pair well with both Dwight Powell and what’s left of Nowitzki’s career as he can stretch the floor when Powell is in and he can bang down low so Dirk can save his body by working on the three point line.
Devin: De’Aaron Fox
De’Aaron Fox has finally found his home in Dallas. The Mavericks have some talent at point guard but nothing to be in awe about. Adding a point of this caliber would give something for Dallas to build around. The Mavericks have to take him because there are no other quality point guards left for them. I’m sure they wish they could have their Dennis Smith Jr. back but Fox is the best they’re going to get. Fox is still a good player but his ceiling is lower than the rest of the guards in the top 10.
#10 Overall Pick: Portland Trail Blazers
Chris: Bam Adebayo
I agree with Devin that Portland takes a big man with this pick, but disagree on the player. Bam Adebayo provided a great presence down low this season and, given more time on the court, may just develop into a player that lessens the potential loss of Nurkic this offseason. The Blazers have many problems as a team, but Adebayo could make the frontcourt a little bit easier to manage going forward.
Devin: Zach Collins
Zach Collins is still my pick for Portland here. I think Portland did a great job with this pick and they deserve some praise for it. Collins is going here because Portland needs a backup center for Jusuf Nurkic. Pending restricted free agency for Nurkic is something that Portland is aware of. Especially with their overloaded contracts there may be no way for them to resign him. Drafting Collins is drafting the center of their future. He can spread the floor and is a solid rebounder and defender. He needs to put on some muscle but no matter what he lacks, he is a must draft for Portland.
#11 Overall Pick: Charlotte Hornets
Chris: Jonathan Isaac
Jonathan Isaac can finally relax. The Hornets weren’t going anywhere this season anyway and taking Isaac would be the best option for them even if he did only play 27 games. The Hornets are drafting at the 11 spot again this year and could add some more healthy and young talent to pair with Isaac, when he is healthy, as the franchise tries to decide on the future of players like Kemba Walker, Michael Kidd- Gilchrist, and Dwight Howard.
Devin: Luke Kennard
Charlotte had the right idea with going for a shooting guard here but they made a mistake on which one. Instead of drafting Malik Monk they should’ve gone with Luke Kennard. Monk struggled all season with his jumper and shot only 36% from the floor and 34% from three. While Luke Kennard shot 44% and 41.5% respectively. He is a better shooter than Monk right now and has shown more promise so far.
#12 Overall Pick: Detroit Pistons
Chris: Luke Kennard
Detroit took Kennard in real life and I believe they would do it all over again if they had the chance. Kennard shot 45% from three point range in his rookie season and even provided a few starts for the Pistons this year. He will be a solid bench player for years to come and, for a 12th pick, that is just fine.
Devin: Malik Monk
Detroit is in need of a shooting guard and despite Monk’s poor efficiency so far they need a player that has the potential to be a quality 2 guard. They will need to groom him well because Monk may be a bit of a project compared to Kennard. With the lack of depth at this position for the Pistons though, they don’t necessarily have a choice.
#13 Overall Pick: Utah Jazz
Chris: Malik Monk
The Jazz only have one rostered shooting guard right now and it is Donovan Mitchell. Given Mitchell has been long gone by now the Jazz would turn to Malik Monk to try to develop him into being a quality starter in the next couple years.
Devin: OG Anunoby
The problem for Utah here is that they have no shooting guard on the roster but there aren’t any shooting guards left in my scenario to take at 13. I think OG Anunoby is the better choice here. He has shown the ability to guard some of the best players in the league and has an offensive game that needs work but is better than most thought when he was drafted. Anunoby has a lot of potential and is one of the best players available.
#14 Overall Pick: Miami Heat
Chris: Zach Collins
Given Hassan Whiteside’s shaky future, the Miami Heat took Bam Adebayo in the actual draft. They will have to ‘settle’ for Zach Collins who actually had a decent rookie campaign off the bench averaging 4.4ppg and 3.3rpg.
Devin: Bam Adebayo
Bam Adebayo is a great center for Miami especially because of the recent rumors that Hassan Whiteside may want out. Bam is an athletic, tall, long, and fast center that has a lot of potential for this Miami team. If they could trade Whiteside this summer then Bam would be the instant starter and probably would be for a long time. Also, when Whiteside is bench, Bam gives Miami a lot of flexibility on defense with his shot blocking ability. So losing Whiteside doesn’t mean losing your defensive anchor. He is a future starter in this league in my mind.
#15 Overall Pick: Sacramento Kings
Chris: Frank Ntilikina
Sacramento can no longer have De’Aaron Fox, but they could still get a solid point guard in Frank Ntilikina. Ntilikina still has growing to do and needs to add muscle to his 6’5” 190 pound frame, but the potential for him to develop is there.
Devin: Frank Ntilikina
I agree with Chris here, I have Markelle Fultz going to the Kings but Frank Ntilikina gives them a quality guard now and has a lot of potential. Worse case scenario for the Kings is that they have to play Fultz, Ntilikina, and Hield all together which doesn’t sound all that awful if they can all shoot. Especially if you are a fan of positionless basketball. The Kings could use Ntilikina as a trade piece in the future as well if they see Fultz and Hield being their key players for the future.
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