Sunday, June 25, 2017

NBA Draft 2017 Review + What Can Be Expected of the Top 10 Draft Picks

2017 NBA Draft Class |
The climate of the NBA Draft has changed drastically since the 90's, as the anticipation has been altered with the rise of the internet and the audience is fully aware of who's going where a good month prior to Draft Day. Although I'm not a huge fan of knowing before it happens when it comes to NBA drafting, the most interesting part is watching what they do on a professional level and how well they mesh with their new teammates in the upcoming season. And us fans can only hope the new addition to our favorite teams don't disappoint us all in the upcoming season. 

Here's to the top 20 in the 2017 NBA Draft class:
  1. Philadelphia 76ers - Markelle Fultz Washington
  2. Los Angeles Lakers - Lonzo Ball UCLA
  3. Boston Celtics - Jayson Tatum Duke
  4. Phoenix Suns - Josh Jackson Kansas
  5. Portland Trail Blazers - De'Aaron Fox Kentucky
  6. Orlando Magic - Jonathan Issaac Florida State
  7. Minnesota Timberwolves - Lauri Markkanen Arizona
  8. New York Knicks - Frank Ntilikina International/France 
  9. Dallas Mavericks - Dennis Smith Jr. North Carolina State
  10. Sacramento Kings - Zach Collins Gonzaga
  11. Charlotte Hornets - Malik Monk Kentucky
  12. Detroit Pistons - Luke Kennard Duke
  13. Denver Nuggets - Donovan Mitchell Louisville
  14. Miami Heat - Edrice 'Bam' Adebayo Kentucky
  15. Portland Trail Blazers - Justin Jackson UNC Chapel Hill
  16. Chicago Bulls - Justin Patton Creighton
  17. Milwaukee Bucks - DJ Wilson Michigan
  18. Indiana Pacers - TJ Leaf UCLA
  19. Atlanta Hawks - John Collins Wake Forest
  20. Sacramento Kings - Harry Giles Duke

Focusing in on the Top 10: 

no. 1: Markelle Fultz

Photo credit: Frank Franklin II-AP PHOTO

In my opinion, Philly choosing Markelle Fultz was honestly one of the best moves the 76'ers have made in a while. It's a major step in the right direction for the franchise that has such a rich history, but still has a long way to go and they could use the help. He was so explosive as a freshman and it would've been nice to watch him play a bit longer on a collegiate level, however, it's understood how any athlete would not want to pass up the once in a lifetime opportunity to play in the big leagues. Nike was smart to endorse him prior to him being drafted and much like J. Jackson, he's one of the few that stands out to me. 

no. 2: Lonzo Ball

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
Acknowledging the elephant in the room, the dreams of LaVar Ball have come true; Lonzo is officially a Laker. As a Laker fan, I'm a little annoyed. They got rid of D'Angelo Russell and traded him for Brook Lopez. Although Rob Pelinka, General Manager for the Lakers, claimed it was simply a motion that helped the franchise in more ways than one, I don't think it was a smart decision in terms of longevity. Actually, the only real issue I have with the choice to draft Lonzo is how his father's input - no matter how well intended - will affect his personal brand. Either way, he's there now, so I'm trying to keep a pretty open mind about his overall value to Los Angeles and hopefully he'll play a key role in the Lakers' rise to the top again.

no. 3: Jayson Tatum

Photo credit: Mike Stobe-Getty Images
Jayson Tatum, who is said to be the most polished forward prospect and a leading scorer, definitely has the range to compete on a professional level. One of Duke's leading scorers towards the end of the season and going into this year's NCAA tournament, Tatum is also great at keeping the ball moving and acting quickly from a rebound. Although there are some things he can work on from an offensive standpoint, as long as he's willing to be molded into the kind of player that the Celtics need, there's no limit to what he'll be able to accomplish in his NBA career. Great choice for Boston.

no. 4: Josh Jackson

Photo credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
If you're able to recall, I was really hoping Lakers would pick up Josh Jackson, top 5 prospect leading to the draft. There are a few reasons why I rock with the kid, which I wrote about here, but he not only is he well-rounded, he has this really aggressive competitive edge that I respect. Coming off a high of being 1/2 of the teams standing in the NCAA Championship Of course, there's always room for improvement, but more than any of the other picks, I'm really looking forward to watching him play, especially as a new fan of the Kansas Jayhawks, and witness the evolution of yet another star in the making with so much untapped potential.

no. 5: De'Aaron Fox

Photo credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Fox was selected by the Sacramento Kings, an organization who could use a young guard who will likely be the face of the franchise in a few years. Despite his small stature at 6'.4" and 171 lbs, he has an outstanding approach when it comes to attacking the rim and incredible mechanics. However, the tool that is going to help him in a major way, is his mentality and his ability to recognize his own weaknesses and willingness to work on them.

no. 6: Jonathan Isaac

CSN Chicago
Not far from his second home, Jonathan Isaac stays in Florida and will be taking his talents to Orlando. Isaac is a bit of a wild card, because despite how versatile he is, there are certain areas where things could go south if he's not consistently working on improving those areas, such as being too passive at times on offense. However, he has a natural feel for the game and the kind of elite level energy that could very will put him in the same light as Lakers' Small Forward, Brandon Ingram within his first couple of seasons in the NBA.

no. 7: Lauri Markkanen

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Standing at 7'.0" and 230 lbs, Finland's very own Lauri Markkanen is the perfect size for a power forward. He's perfectly coordinated and has an almost graceful shooting ability, which is quite impressive for his size. Like Isaac, he's pretty versatile and could switch between Forward and Center seamlessly. It's been mentioned that he is the son of notable Kansas alum, Pekka Markkanen, but we'll see if the skill matches the legacy.

no. 8: Frank Ntilikina

One player I can't say I know much about is Frank Ntilikina, mainly because I don't really get into international sports outside of soccer...and maybe baseball in the World Series. Despite how much I don't know regarding his numbers on court, I do know his story from war-torn Rwanda and how his family's perseverance through adversity has shaped his work ethic. He's a great defensive player who is polished with a fiercely physical ability and intense mentality.

no. 9: Dennis Smith, Jr.

Photo credit: Mike Stobe - Getty Images
It's been said that North Carolina breeds athletes and every time draft season rolls around again, there are at least 5 athletes hailing from North Carolina, the home of some of the top basketball programs in the country. Wolfpack finished 15-17 last season and didn't make the NCAA tournament for the second year in a row, but Smith has the necessary confidence and ability to be a great PG for the Mavericks. Labeled as one of the most physically explosive guards in the draft, he has the natural athletic ability to be great on a professional level. His stand out game was on November 16, 2016, when he lead his team to a victory against Loyola University Chicago, scoring a total of 30 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assist. The Mavericks could benefit from having a fresh player who has such a high level of talent going in. Also, shout out to one of the best dressed at the Draft this year.

no. 10: Zach Collins

Photo credit: Frank Ii - Associated Press
Coming out of a pretty solid season and a couple of memorable Final Four performances, Gonzaga's main Center, Zach Collins has been selected as the #10 draft pick for the Sacramento Kings after being traded by Portland. Collins might be one to watch, simply because I don't think his collegiate track record is a good indication of how well he'll do in the NBA. I will say he was a great player off bench and could have a chance to really prove himself even further as an athlete in Sacramento. 

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