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.
We have already discussed picks 1-15 in a previous article. Now let’s finish up the first round and see where these rookies would be drafted today.
#16 Overall Pick: Minnesota Timberwolves
Chris: Jarrett Allen
I was really high on Jarrett Allen when the Nets selected him at the 22nd pick. His 8 points and 6 rebounds were solid for a guy who only started 31-of-76 games his rookie year. Allen would be a solid backup for KAT on a Timberwolves team that needed a better bench this year. My concern for Allen would be that Thibodeau wouldn’t actually put him in the game because he never utilizes depth, but I truly think Allen deserved to be picked higher than he actually was.
Devin: John Collins
John Collins is a great prospect here for the Timberwolves, because he is solid 4, which is something they need badly. They have great guards and a terrific center, but they are certainly lacking in the power forward area. This gives them even more weapons and a little bit more rebounding. He has a great ceiling and will succeed under this offensively talented team.
#17 Overall Pick: Milwaukee Bucks
Chris: OG Anunoby
The Milwaukee Bucks love drafting players with a lot of length and OG Anunoby has plenty of it, just ask his 8-foot wingspan! Anunoby was a solid backup for the Toronto Raptors and would be able to provide both outside shooting and the defensive help the Bucks needed all season.
Devin: Jarrett Allen
The Bucks are in dire need of a center and the best available at 17 is Jarrett Allen. Allen has shown a quality amount of skill to start his career and would potentially be a fix at the position for Milwaukee. The Bucks pass on T.J. Leaf and Justin Patton because Allen is a bigger need, and he has shown more than the others at his position.
#18 Overall Pick: Indiana Pacers
Chris: John Collins
Indiana had a successful season because they were able to push Cleveland to seven games and, had things gone differently, could have actually beaten LeBron and company in fewer games. In the series against Cleveland, the Pacers showed that they lacked bodies down low to keep King James out of the paint. By taking John Collins from Wake Forest, the Pacers would have a solid backup for Myles Turner in Collins who can score (10.5ppg) and rebound (7.3rpg). Indiana feels they could have beaten the Cavaliers this postseason, and with Collins it may have actually happened.
Devin: T.J. Leaf
I’ve got Indiana still drafting T.J. Leaf because their need for another big is huge. With Al Jefferson not playing ever and leaving soon, I think their need is bigger than ever for another big. Leaf’s ability to shoot threes is also a large reason why Indiana takes him, because Sabonis, Turner and Young haven’t proven to be able to do it at a consistent level. Have a big to space the floor would be a great asset for Indiana.
#19 Overall Pick: Atlanta Hawks
Chris: T.J. Leaf
Atlanta picked at a position of need in the actual 2017 draft and took John Collins. In the re-draft, the Hawks still end up with T.J. Leaf, who was a good shooter at UCLA and was Lonzo Ball’s right hand man during their only season together. Leaf has the ability to stretch the floor, which is something the Hawks could continue to do going forward.
Devin: Jonathan Isaac
Finally, I have Jonathan Isaac falling from 6th to 19th in this re-draft. With his season ruined by a bad ankle, his draft stock has fallen substantially. I have Atlanta going with a power forward, because they want someone to take the spot of Paul Millsap. The Hawks will hope to get someone close to John Collins’ productivity, and Isaac might be the answer. We haven’t seen much from Isaac this year, but the hopes that he develops well and can get over his injury are why Atlanta take him.
#20 Overall Pick: Sacramento Kings
Chris: Jordan Bell
Jordan Bell actually got drafted by the Golden State Warriors with the 38th overall pick. At 6’9” Bell provided a good size for the power forward position as well as an athletic and undersized center for when the Warriors utilized smaller lineups. Bell’s versatility and solid rookie campaign for the defending champions improved his stock this time around for the draft.
Devin: Jordan Bell
After I had the Kings draft Fultz and Ntilikina, the need for a big man is high. Jordan Bell is the next best big here. He has shown flashes of being able to do everything for Golden State. His stock dropped as the season went on due to inefficiencies, but the Kings will hope to capitalize on those flashes by drafting him here.
#21 Overall Pick: Oklahoma City Thunder
Chris: Terrance Ferguson
Surprising enough this late in a re-draft, I still think the Thunder take shooting guard Terrance Ferguson with the 21st overall pick. Ferguson was a 3-and-D player when he was drafted and was relegated to pretty much just that role all season. However, with Paul George most likely on the move, Carmelo Anthony possibly being terminated, and Andre Roberson still recovering from a ruptured left patellar tendon, Ferguson may be leaned on next season to step up in his role.
Devin: Terrance Ferguson
I expected Terrance Ferguson to rise in this re-draft, but he’s actually going to go in the same spot as he did in the real draft. Ferguson hasn’t shown enough to be taken any higher than this in my opinion. Thunder still need a shooting guard whether or not Paul George is there. Ferguson’s potential to be a 3-and-D player is still real, but he is an absolute project.
#22 Overall Pick: Brooklyn Nets
Chris: Frank Mason III
Frank Mason III was a steal for the Kings with the 34th overall pick and he would still be a solid pick up for the Nets with the 22nd overall pick. Many don’t realize that the 23-year-old rookie averaged 7.9 ppg, 2.8 apg, and 2.5 rpg. When D’Angelo Russell and Jeremy Lin both went down, the Nets were left thin at the guard spot, and Mason III could have added a mature presence to that position despite being a rookie.
Devin: Harry Giles
With Brooklyn not being able to get Jarrett Allen, they are forced to swing for the fences with this pick due to not having a draft pick in 2018. The most intriguing prospect left is Harry Giles. He didn’t play in 2017, but he has a lot of potential to be good. He is explosive and knows how to handle the ball. He struggled in college with spreading the floor, but that’s a problem for another day.
#23 Overall Pick: Toronto Raptors
Chris: Semi Ojeleye
Toronto was looking to make the next step this season, and while they still did not have enough to beat LeBron and the Cavaliers, they still could have drafted someone to develop into a solid defender to put on LeBron. Semi Ojeleye from SMU was taken by the Boston Celtics with the 37th overall pick, and at 6’7” and 235 pounds, Semi entered the league already extremely strong given he is 23 years old. Semi is currently a 3-and-D player in need of the three point shot, but the Raptors could have used him this year to try to slow down LeBron James.
Devin: Semi Ojeyele
Toronto found a great player in OG Anunoby, but with him no longer being available, I think they will go for the closest player to his caliber. Semi Ojeleye is a solid defender for big powerful guys on opposing teams. They will use him just as they did OG, but in hopes to develop his offensive game more. OG is a better offensive player, but with some grooming, maybe Toronto can get Semi to his level.
#24 Overall Pick: Denver Nuggets
Chris: Harry Giles
The Denver Nuggets barely missed the playoffs this year. If they could have done it all over again, I think they would have taken a player with more upside than Tyler Lydon, who didn’t play his rookie year. Harry Giles did not play his rookie year either, but that is okay because if a couple games had gone better for the Nuggets, they very well could have been a 5 or 6 seed in the Western Conference this year. Giles could have looked to really learn from the plethora of talented big men the Nuggets have while he prepared to make his debut next season.
Devin: Justin Jackson
Denver has a ton of pieces and I honestly believe they have one of the best rosters for the future. It sounds as if Will Barton will no longer be there next season, so the need for a small forward is real. They will take Justin Jackson in hopes that he can fill the shoes that Barton will leave behind. Jackson had an all-around scoring game at UNC but hasn’t yet brought that into the NBA. He may take a year or two to be fully functional but he is a good pick for Denver at 24.
#25 Overall Pick: Philadelphia 76ers
Chris: Justin Jackson
If there was one thing the 76ers really missed down the stretch, it was production from the small forward position. Justin Jackson certainly could not have revived that position on his own, but he is a solid player that could have really added some depth to the 76ers when Covington was struggling in the playoffs (against Boston especially).
Devin: Josh Hart
Philly needs a point guard that can back up Ben Simmons when he is off the floor. A good point guard that can score, pass, and shoots well from three is Josh Hart. He played well on the Lakers this season by shooting nearly 40% from deep and scored 7.9ppg and had 4.2rbg. His outside shooting will be valued here as the 76ers need that if they want to go anywhere in the future.
#26 Overall Pick: Portland Trail Blazers
Chris: Tony Bradley
The Blazers are set at the guard position, but really needed depth at the PF/C position. Tony Bradley is an athletic big who protects the rim and does his damage down-low. He could have developed this year and looked to replace Ed Davis, Jusuf Nurkic, or both this upcoming season alongside hypothetical teammate Bam Adebayo.
Devin: Justin Patton
This is a hard pick for Portland because they are fairly well stacked at all positions. In the 2017 draft, the Blazers picked Caleb Swanigan here, but he played mainly in the G-League last season with little eye-popping performances. I think Portland could go with Justin Patton here instead because he has a higher ceiling in my opinion than Swanigan does. Patton didn’t play at all in Minnesota but doubling down on Zach Collins and Patton seems like a great move especially if they lose Nurkic.
#27 Overall Pick: Los Angeles Lakers
Chris: Ivan Rabb
At this point in the draft, the Lakers are already sitting with Dennis Smith Jr., and at this point, I think they need to take a big man. More specifically, they need a guy who can replace the potential loss of Julius Randle. Ivan Rabb is young, but he had a solid rookie campaign off the bench averaging 5.6ppg and 4.4rpg. Randle will depart from LA if the Lakers want both Paul George AND LeBron James for next season, and Rabb could mitigate the loss.
Devin: Derrick White
A bit of a sleeper in this draft was Derrick White from Colorado. He wasn’t able to see much time on the court this year, but when he did, he shot 61% from 3 and 48% from the floor. Having him in the backcourt would be a nice addition to the already drafted Dennis Smith Jr. and Brandon Ingram. He could get a lot of playing time in L.A. which makes me think he would thrive there.
#28 Overall Pick: Utah Jazz
Chris: Josh Hart
I agree with Devin that the Jazz need help at the shooting guard position at this point, but I still have Josh Hart on the board and have him going to the Jazz at 28. Hart averaged 7.9ppg, 4.2rpg, and 1.3apg and even started 23 games for the Lakers. He played with a lot of heart at Villanova and continued that to the NBA.
Devin: Dillon Brooks
I think with the lack of shooting guards for Utah is still a big issue. OG is a great pick, but I’m not sure how well they will be able to play him at the 2 or anyone else on the team at that position either. I think Utah should go for a shooting guard here just in case they can’t fill that void with OG. Therefore, I have Dillon Brooks going to Utah because he showed some nice things in Memphis and would be valued on this Utah squad. Scoring 11 ppg for the Grizz is a nice sign of things to come.
#29 Overall Pick: San Antonio Spurs
Chris: Wesley Iwundu
If the Spurs knew Kawhi Leonard would only play in 9 games this season and would end the season on the rocks with his future in San Antonio, the Spurs would look to find a sleeper to fill in his role. Wesley Iwundu was taken by the Magic with the 33rd overall pick. Iwundu has a 7’ wingspan and is even the same height as Leonard at 6’7”. Iwundu is a player who prides himself on his defensive intensity and, with Popovich developing him, could be a serviceable defender for the Spurs in Leonard’s place.
Devin: Anzejs Pasecniks
This was hard for me, because I feel the Spurs need another shooting guard here, but I’m going with a guy many of you probably still haven’t heard of, Anzejs Pasecniks. Anzejs was drafted by the 76ers at 25 overall. He never played in the NBA this season, but an overseas big man sounds like something San Antonio would be all over. He is a 7’2’’ center that is fast, has hustle, and is a solid defender. I could see Gregg Popovich making him into something valuable.
#30 Overall Pick: Los Angeles Lakers
Chris: Dillon Brooks
Remember that the Lakers missed out on Kyle Kuzma in this re-draft. I suspect they would take a player to help Brandon Ingram at the small forward position. Dillon Brooks averaged 11 points his rookie year, but more importantly, he played in all 82 games showing he can provide stability and consistency to the struggling Lakers. Brooks ended up starting 74 games in his rookie year so he can clearly play at a level worthy of a first round draft pick.
Devin: Frank Mason III
This is where Josh Hart was originally selected by the Lakers, but obviously he was taken before this spot. I still think the Lakers stick with a point guard and draft Frank Mason III here as their backup point. They had the right idea with going for two point guards in the first round and they will keep that trend in this re-draft. Mason showed he could compete in the league despite his small stature. He also shot well from three but needs to improve his shooting from the floor overall. His passing ability is also a big plus for Los Angeles and their young core.