The 2017 NBA Draft Preview
The dust has settled on the NBA lottery, with all pick swaps and positions finalized. Throughout this 10 part series, the potential selections of all first round picks will be deduced.
Widely regarded as the deepest draft since 2003 where future Hall of Famers LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Dwayne Wade, to name a few, were selected.
The lottery itself presented two dramatic changes to the order; Sacramento jumping into the top 3 only to have Philadelphia enforce their pick swap thus becoming the 5th selection and Phoenix tragically falling two spots to number 4.
As a result, the future of the lottery teams have become considerably clearer now, however there are still major questions surrounding the future of the teams personnel and potential draft selections.
The Boston Celtics are currently in the midst of a deep playoff run. About to challenge the juggernaut that is the Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston has been able to bury the demons of the past in the Brad Stevens era to potentially cause a major upset.
Looking forward to the draft the selection of Markelle Fultz which seems imminent.
Yet, with the inspirational play of Isaiah Thomas and the growth shown by Terry Rozier, Boston may want to address other needs such as wing scoring to solidify their potent offense.
Jayson Tatum could offer a surprise selection at #1. Tatum is a smooth combo forward with great size (6’8) and length (6’11). Tatum is able to operate from all level using advanced dribble and step back moves to create separation and abuse mismatches.
Conversely, his poor defensive mentality and versatility could hinder the switching scheme of Boston.
Markelle Fultz, on the contrary, is an NBA ready prospect with no glaring holes in his game. Fultz’s dimensions (6’4 height with a 6’10 wingspan) mixed with a stern frame (196 pounds) gives him the physical gifts needed to guard multiple positions at the NBA level. Similar to Tatum, Fultz is able to score at all levels in addition to being a strong rebounder.
The only flaw (if there is any) is his lack of intensity. This concern was a by-product of playing on a terrible Washington team that disregarded the defensive side of the game.
Fultz has been the consensus #1 pick since day 1 yet there is a slight potential for Boston to decide to lean totally on Thomas and select a scoring forward likened to Danny Granger.
Los Angeles Lakers
Following the settlement of the lottery order, Lavar Ball, father of UCLA standout Lonzo Ball, stated Ball is “only working out for the Lakers” thus cementing all the preconceived ideas that Ball will be a Laker.
Ball has great size and has become an efficient Jason Kidd-esque passer.
Ball also finishes at an extremely high rate in the restricted area (75%) due to his uncanny cutting skills for a point guard.
Complied with his high basketball IQ, selfless decision making and defensive instincts, Ball is the perfect backcourt partner for D’Angelo Russell.
With the selection of Ball, the Lakers will be able to play D’Angelo off ball allowing him to focus on his strengths; secondary ball handling and weak side pick and rolls.
However, questions of his build are raised. His slender frame will prohibit him from guarding bigger and stronger guard while his unorthodox shooting mechanics may plague in as an off the dribble shooter.
Although the Lakers should be attempting to solve their defensive issues with the selection of Jayhawk swingman Josh Jackson or defensive minded point guard De’Aaron Fox it is seemingly set in stone that Lonzo Ball will become a Laker.
Through the infamous Nik Stauskas trade Philadelphia were placed in a great position.
The final stages of Sam Hinkie’s notorious “process” are brimming with potential and excitement.
After the Sacramento Kings shockingly jumped into the top 3, Philadelphia invoked their pick swap clause.
The glaring hole in the 76ers roster is elite shooting.
Last year’s 76ers shot an abysmal 34% from 3 with only Joel Embiid and Nik Stauskas shooting above 36.5%.
Philadelphia, with Ball and Fultz seemingly already drafted, can fulfill their shooting needs or a fly on a high defensive upside prospect with a poor track record of outside shooting.
Malik Monk and Josh Jackson propose a difficult choice for Bryan Colangelo and Co.
Kentucky’s 6’3 deadeye shooter Malik Monk has the potential to be the next Ray Allen. A supremely athletic guard with NBA range and pick and roll capabilities Monk has the tools needed to become a secondary ball handler next to Ben Simmons.
His poor length (6’4 wingspan) prevents Monk from being able to defend shooting guards such as Klay Thompson and DeMar DeRozan. However playing next to Simmons in the backcourt will allow Monk to defend point guards which in itself may be an issue.
On the other hand, Josh Jackson, a 6’8 swingman with a 6’10 wingspan, is an energetic forward who has the defensive versatility of an Andre Igoudala.
During his single season at Kansas, Bill Self employed Jackson as a power forward to minimize his shooting flaws.
Although he shot an impressive 37.8% percent from 3, his free throw percentage (56.6%) questions Jackson’s shot making ability in the NBA.
For a team who is desperate need of a lock down shooter the 76ers will likely select Monk, however defensive talent such as Jackson is rarely seen.