As college basketball athletes declare for the NBA (National Basketball Association) draft, many are wondering one question– who will be the number one pick?
A couple days ago the NBA draft lottery occurred, and the Boston Celtics found out that they would have the number one pick in the 2017 NBA draft (via Brooklyn Nets). This pick was acquired from the Nets during a trade in 2013 when the Nets received a couple of Boston’s old, but talented, players and the Celtics received some of Brooklyn’s future first round picks along with mediocre players. This trade worked out better than expected for the Celtics (53-29) and it continues to look promising, but for the Nets (20-62) not so much.
Following the Celtics number one overall pick will be the Los Angeles Lakers (26-56), Philadelphia 76ers (28-54), Phoenix Suns (24-58), and Sacramento Kings (32-50) for the top five picks in the draft. The decision is a tough one for the Celtics since the top two prospects in the draft are point guards and the Celtics already have an elite point guard in 28 year old Isaiah Thomas and could use help in other positions.
They would be well off with the 6’8” small forward from Duke University, but I could see them taking Markelle Fultz (PG) or Lonzo Ball (PG) to play at the shooting guard position. The Los Angeles Lakers have a lot of work to do once again this year as they continue to have losing record seasons. UCLA playmaker Lonzo Ball is the only player I can see LA drafting with their number 2 overall pick. The 76ers are still “Trusting the Process” as they have been for the past several years and any player that is said to be a lottery pick would be a good pick for the 76ers. The only position the Phoenix Suns are set on is their 20 year old shooting guard, Devin Booker. Other than that, every position is a weak spot for them and I could see them taking one of the following three players if they remain, Kansas small forward Josh Jackson, Kentucky point guard De’Aaron Fox, or Duke small forward Jayson Tatum. Once again, the Sacramento Kings are another team who have a lot of work to do, especially after trading their all star center Demarcus Cousins during the mid-season trading window. At this point small forward/power forward Jonathan Isaac would be a solid player for this struggling team to start their rebuild around.
So my draft predictions for the first 15 picks of the 2017 NBA draft are as follows. With the first pick I have the Boston Celtics taking Markelle Fultz (PG) as he is too good to pass up on and they could play him at shooting guard next to Thomas. The Los Angeles Lakers will take UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball and trade away one of their other young, talented point guards for another needed position. Although the 76ers do not need a small forward, I think they will take Josh Jackson (SF) and play him at the shooting guard position. The Phoenix Suns will take Jayson Tatum (SF) to play along with Booker. With the fifth pick, the Kings will take De’Aaron Fox (PG) and start their rebuild around him over the next couple of years. The Orlando Magic will take Malik Monkey (SG) making Kentucky players back to back picks. With the 7th pick, and a very young, talented roster, the Minnesota Timberwolves could take Jonathan Isaac (SF/PF). The New York Knicks are next on the list and will probably take the next most talented player left in Dennis Smith (PG). While Dirk Nowitzki continues to age, the Mavericks will need to replace him by taking Lauri Markkanen (PF) from Arizona. With the 10th pick, the Sacramento Kings are up to pick again and will take Gonzaga March Madness runner-up, Zach Collins (PF/C). Strasbourg International Frank Ntilikina will be taken 11th overall by the Charlotte Hornets. Louisville’s Donovan Mitchell (SG) will be taken by the Detroit Pistons to accompany big man Andre Drummond (C). Then, OG Anunoby (SF/PF) will be chosen by the Denver Nuggets who have been struggling in that position since Carmelo Anthony left years ago. The Miami Heat can add to their chances of making playoffs by taking Justin Jackson (SF) who has shown a lot of improvement over the past couple years as a Tar Heel. And finally, midway through the draft, I think the Portland Trailblazers will choose Luke Kennard (SG) from Duke.
Although these picks could be completely wrong, this is what I think teams will decide to do with their 2017 NBA draft picks. Whether it is the 1st overall pick or the 60th overall pick, this draft is filled with talent and anyone of these players could evolve into the league’s next superstar.
–BY BRANDON GARDNER