While fans of the Golden State Warriors can take some time to bask in the afterglow of the team’s 2016-17 NBA Championship title, fans of the other 29 have eyes firmly fixed on the NBA Draft, which goes down on June the freakin’ 22nd. Are you ready? Alex Golden is, and here’s his forecast for how things will shake out in his 2017 NBA Mock Draft 5.0; the 4.0 version may be found here.
For the Grueling Truth’s 2017 NBA Mock Draft 5.0, I jump into the GM role for every NBA franchise. I try to use logic and select the player I best think fits their system, culture and is the most talented overall. For this mock, I decided to make about a dozen trades that I could see happening on Draft Night. So if your team doesn’t have a pick, they very well could have one if they traded for one…
1. Boston Celtics – Makrelle Fultz, Point Guard (Washington)
While the rumors of trading this pick will heat up come Draft night, I don’t anticipate the Celtics making any drastic changes. The Celtics have a huge task list in the free-agent market, so I expect them to start their wheeling and dealing during that period, instead of during the draft.
2. Los Angeles Lakers – Lonzo Ball, Point Guard (UCLA)
The Lakers could very well look to trade this pick or gamble on Josh Jackson but ultimately, I believe Lonzo Ball will become a Laker.
3. Philadelphia 76ers – Josh Jackson, Shooting Guard/Small Forward (Kansas)
If there is a team that is desiring the skills of De’Aaron Fox, don’t be surprised if the 76ers make a move. The rumor recently floating through the air is that the Kings would offer both 5 and 10 for Fox. This doesn’t make sense to me. It is very possible that Fox could wind up at 5. So, I think Philly must take the shooting guard out of Kansas. Jackson has all the potential of being the best wing in this draft.
4. Phoenix Suns – De’Aaron Fox, Point Guard (Kentucky)
The Suns are a team that could make a lot of moves. They have an abundance of cap space and they could look to deal this pick and move up, or they could possibly look to make a trade for Andre Drummond. However, I am a firm believer that the Suns are willing to gamble on Fox and unload Eric Bledsoe.
This is where my idea for Detroit and Phoenix comes into play: While I don’t have a trade happening, I would be interested to see if the Suns would be willing to do a deal that includes Tyson Chandler, Eric Bledsoe and the 32nd pick for Andre Drummond and the 12th overall pick. The Pistons probably won’t way more than that, but I’m not sure what the trade value for Drummond is. In another scenario, the Suns could take Fox at 4 knowing Sacramento wants him, and trade the pick to Sacramento for the 5th overall pick and get the 34th overall pick in the 2nd round. Either way, the Suns could do a lot with the 4th overall pick here and I am intrigued to see what they will do.
5. Sacramento Kings – Jayson Tatum, Small Forward (Duke)
The Kings are praying that either Jayson Tatum or De’Aaron Fox falls to them here. I know they want Fox more, but Tatum is a highly praised prospect who scouts continue to say could be the steal of this draft. He has all the tools you want in a small forward and I love his fit in here with the Kings.
6. Orlando Magic – Jonathan Isaac, Small Forward/Power Forward (Florida State)
The Magic have a lot of assets in this draft. They have two first round picks, and two early second round picks. I don’t know for sure what the Magic will do with all those picks, but I would not be the least bit shocked if they kept them all. The Magic are in complete rebuild mode and they need young talent. The only player(s) I would deem safe on this roster are Evan Fournier and Aaron Gordon. The Magic need a small forward and with Isaac sitting there at 6, I think the Magic look to pair Gordon’s athleticism with Isaac. Both players are incredibly skilled and with their length and size they could really cause havoc for opposing teams.
7. Minnesota Timberwolves – Malik Monk, Shooting Guard (Kentucky)
From the Rubio rumors to the Zach Lavine rumors, the Timberwolves will be hearing their phone ring a lot this draft. I would not be at all surprised if the Bulls called once again about Kris Dunn and Zach Lavine for Jimmy Butler. Or the Bulls might ask for Lavine and the 7th pick for Butler. It would be nice for the Wolves to get some veteran leadership on the court, but if nothing goes down, they must select the scoring machine, Malik Monk. Monk is a fascinating scorer and could really relieve pressure off the starting unit. He reminds me of a young Ben Gordon.
8. New York Knicks – Lauri Markkanen, Power Forward (Arizona) *The Knicks trade Courtney Lee and the 8th overall pick to the Lakers for Corey Brewer and D’Angelo Russell*
We have our first trade. There have been rumors surfacing that the Lakers can’t have Lonzo Ball and D’Angelo Russell in the same backcourt. Russell has been okay, but the Lakers have been a toxic situation. If the Lakers want to move Russell and get a lottery pick in return, the Knicks would the most likely team to do it.
In this trade, the Knicks get to unload Courtney Lee’s contract and they acquire a young talent in Russell with an expiring deal in Brewer. The Lakers can snag another young talented power forward who can stretch the floor and guard 1-5 on the court. He is a 7’ power forward. This deal really makes sense for both sides in my opinion, but I can see why both sides would hesitate to pull the trigger.
9. Dallas Mavericks – Frank Ntilikina, Point Guard (SIG Strasbourg, France)
Nothing new here with the Mavs. Marc Cuban said that they weren’t in the business of trading for a veteran guard to eat more cap space. With Dirk’s time slowly fading before our eyes, the Mavs are in rebuild mode on the fly. They’re not going to tank, but they know they want to build a foundation for the future.
10. Sacramento Kings – Dennis Smith Jr., Point Guard (North Carolina State)
Like I mentioned earlier in the Sixers section, the rumors that the Kings would deal 5 and 10 are true. However, I don’t think that the rumor necessarily means they do it. It is just a matter of gauging the market for the opportunity to move up and select Fox. With the 10th pick though, they will get a highly skilled player in Dennis Smith. Smith is still a work in progress but the Kings are a work in progress themselves. Building around a team of Tatum, Hield and Smith Jr. doesn’t sound like too bad of a plan.
11. Charlotte Hornets – Luke Kennard, Shooting Guard (Duke)
The latest news says the Hornets want Kennard because of his ability to score and shoot. The Hornets need a few more pieces to legitimize their roster into a playoff contender and I think this is a good first move. A starting front court of MKG, Cody Zeller and Marvin Williams doesn’t seem like a playoff contending team to me.
12. Detroit Pistons – Zach Collins, Power Forward/Center (Gonzaga)
The Pistons are boldly proclaiming that both Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson are available, but at this point, I couldn’t find a deal that made sense off the top of my head. I mentioned in my Suns pick that I thought about Drummond and the 12th overall pick going to Phoenix for Tyson Chandler, Eric Bledsoe and the 32nd pick but I feel like Detroit would want so much more in return. Needless to say, they could go about 3 different ways here with either Mitchell, Jackson or Collins, but I went with Zach Collins because he is the overall best player on the board at this point.
13. Denver Nuggets – Donovan Mitchell, Shooting Guard (Louisville) *Traded to the Atlanta Hawks along with the 49th overall and the 51st overall picks for the 19th overall and the 31st overall picks*
Our second trade in the lottery takes place here. After speaking with Adam Mares from Denver Stiffs, I was informed that the Nuggets are actively shopping their pick to make smart financial decisions heading into the off-season. However, in this trade scenario, I left out the possibility of a sign and trade of Milsap to Denver. Instead, I gave the Hawks the Nuggets 13th, 49th and 51st overall picks in exchange for the 19th and the 31st overall picks. With a shooting guard who has starter level talent sitting on the board at 13, I have the Denver Nuggets selecting Donovan Mitchell for the Atlanta Hawks. Mitchell would be a good match for Coach Bud’s system.
14. Miami Heat – Justin Jackson, Small Forward (North Carolina)
The Miami Heat are going to be very active in free agency. It is no secret that they want Gordon Hayward, but they could also look to go after Blake Griffin. While I am pessimistic on Hayward going to Miami, I would love to see them get Blake Griffin. That would mean their biggest hole is at the small forward position. Enter Justin Jackson. Jackson is a proven prospect, making it to back-to-back NCAA Championship games. He is a gifted player and he will only maximize his game if he were to land in Miami with Coach Spo.
15. Portland Trailblazers – John Collins, Power Forward (Wake Forest)
John Collins is a talented prospect with a lot of potential. If the ACC Player of the Year award isn’t enough to prove how talented he is, I don’t know what else you are looking for. The Blazers are set in the backcourt and they have a bright future with Jusuf Nurkic holding down the center position. John Collins’ arsenal is very diverse and he seems to be a solid fit here for the Blazers. If they went with another option I would bet on OG Anunoby or even Harry Giles.
16. Chicago Bulls – Harry Giles, Power Forward/Center (Duke)
While the Bulls aren’t sure rather they want to rebuild or retool, they have a good chance at landing a talented prospect here at 16. If they keep Jimmy Butler, they need to start building for the now. With no point guards in the middle of the first-round worthy of taking, the Bulls should look to add a power forward to their roster. With Mirotic becoming a Free-Agent, the Bulls should look to find another big man to go with Bobby Portis. Giles has been impressing scouts recently by showing he isn’t having setbacks from his injury. This is good for Giles draft stock.
17. Milwaukee Bucks – Ike Anigbogu, Center (UCLA)
Last year in the draft, the Bucks gambled on Thon Maker and it turned out to be a solid pickup. Maker can stretch the floor and play the stretch five position while still being able to protect the rim. Anigbogu is exactly the type of center they need to complement this team. Anigbogu has mentioned in all his summer workouts that he is branding himself as a rim protector who can guard quicker wings. The Bucks have a few options here, but the most logical sense is Anigbogu.
18. Indiana Pacers – OG Anunoby, Small/Power Forward (Indiana)
The Pacers have some ugly contracts they may want to rid themselves of, but that would include trading their pick as well. The majority of guys the Pacers have had in for workouts so far are athletic forwards who would complement Myles Turner. However, if OG Anunoby is here at 18, the Pacers may take a gamble on the sophomore from Indiana University. This would be a popular pick for the hometown fans, but besides that, his skillset is enticing. He has unfortunately been sliding because of his injury concerns and his inconsistent desires in college to be the dominate force on both ends of the floor. Regardless, the Pacers need wings that can defend positions 1-5 and OG does that.
19. Atlanta Hawks – TJ Leaf, Power Forward (UCLA) *Traded to the Denver Nuggets along with the 31st overall pick for the 13th, 49th and 51st overall picks)
If you remember my trade earlier, you remember this pick is now the Denver Nuggets. With the likelihood that TJ Leaf could fall to 19, the Nuggets could use this pick on him seeing they could use a stretch four. The Nuggets ultimate goal is to acquire Paul Milsap in Free Agency but, while that is still a target of theirs, they could look to add a highly skilled forward to be a consistent role player.
20. Portland Trailblazers – Jarrett Allen, Center (Texas)
The Blazers have been rumored to look to trade one of their picks but I think they want to trade the 26th if at all possible. With a handful of centers sitting on the board, I expect the Trailblazers to buy into one of them. Whether it be Patton or Allen, both bring a skillset that will improve their depth at center. While I am a lot higher on Patton’s potential, I think Allen has all the tools to be a better pro.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder – Jordan Bell, Power Forward (Oregon)
The Thunder need a power forward and Jordan Bell is more than just that. He would allow the Thunder to play a different style, where he could wind up being the center. While Enes Kanter struggled to stay on the floor during the playoffs, they could bolster that role by inserting Jordan Bell into a small ball center.
22. Brooklyn Nets – Justin Patton, Center (Creighton)
The Nets do already have Brooke Lopez, but adding Justin Patton is a good move for the franchise. While Patton still has plenty of time to improve, it won’t be a rushed process as the Nets are still in rebuild mode. Lopez is an incredible talent and he could bring Patton under his wing. There are possibilities of Lopez being dealt and it could happen even sooner depending on how they draft.
23. Toronto Raptors – Semi Ojeleye, Power Forward (Southern Methodist)
This off-season presents a lot of interesting questions for the future of the Raptors. I am a fan of Semi Ojeleye’s potential and I think that the Raptors could take a gamble on him. With Patrick Patterson and Serge Ibaka hitting the free agent market, the Raptors have a hole at the power forward spot. Ojeleye might not be ready for game time action right away, but Toronto won the D-League under coach Jerry Stackhouse this last season. Ojeleye will develop this season whether it is under coach Casey or under coach Stackhouse.
24. Utah Jazz – Terrance Ferguson, Shooting Guard (Adelaide 36ers, Australia)
Gordon Hayward, George Hill and Joe Ingles are at the top of the Jazz’s list to resign. If the Jazz must let Joe Ingles walk because the asking price is too high, they could have a backup plan in the overly athletic, shooting guard from Australia. Ferguson is loaded with potential and the highly respected Quinn Snyder could look to turn that potential into stardom. I think Ferguson has what it takes to become a consistent contributor in the league.
25. Orlando Magic – Bam Adebayo, Center (Kentucky)
The Magic do already have two centers right now, but they would love to get rid of that Biyombo deal. While the Magic have an uphill battle to climb, Bam Adebayo is a terrific athlete who will be a force on the boards. The Magic will more than likely must deal Vucevic over Biyombo to create a trade, but I don’t believe that is their hearts desire. There are teams out there that could use Biyombo, but it is apparent that his semi-successful 2016 Eastern Conference Playoff run was inspired by this success.
26. Portland Trailblazers – DJ Wilson, Power Forward (Michigan) *The Blazers deal Allen Crabbe and the 26th overall pick for Greg Monroe and the 48th overall pick*
We have another trade! This one makes a lot of sense to me. Greg Monroe is more than likely opting into his contract for next season and the Bucks could look to move him. The Blazers have a young small forward that could provide a strength, to an area of weakness for the Bucks. The Blazers desperately need to add depth to their front court, and if they can unload Crabbe in this deal, they are smart. The Bucks could then take DJ Wilson to backup Jabari Parker at the power forward position.
The Bucks would really love this guy because he is a versatile player who fits Jason Kidd’s system. The Bucks would also be doing the Blazers a favor by taking on the 3 remaining years of Crabbe’s contract and relieving the Blazers from this salary. Neither of these players have been mentioned in rumors, but these two scenarios make sense to me.
27. Brooklyn Nets – Tyler Lydon, Small/Power Forward (Syracuse)
Staying close to home, the Nets should look to add a dynamic player in the versatile Tyler Lydon. The Nets will only get better as time goes on and adding the Syracuse standout will possibly entice fans to even more games. The Nets also have an abundance of cap space so they could take on a loaded contract that is attached with a pick. I like what coach Atkinson showed this season and expect this team to only get better.
28. Los Angeles Lakers – Isaiah Hartenstein, Power Forward/Center (Germany/ Žalgiris Kaunas, Lithuania)
I am intrigued by what the Lakers have going this off-season. They’re more than likely going to take Lonzo Ball with the 2nd pick and they will look to add some talent here at 28. The international big men are enticing here for the Lakers. Hartenstein is the most coveted big man, especially after Jonathan Jeanne received horrible news about his future that will likely cost him a first round selection.
29. San Antonio Spurs – Tony Bradley, Center (North Carolina)
Bradley continues to receive high praise from scouts but they are concerned with his heavy legs. The Spurs could go the usual route and select an international big man, but they want to be competitive right now. Bradley seems like a Spurs type player. Pop takes projects and turns them into system guys who gain a lot of attention. Pop teaches guys how to play the game the right way. This is a good match.
30. Utah Jazz – Anzejs Pasecniks, Center (Latvia/Gran Canaria, Spain)
The Jazz have a few picks to play around here with in the first round, but I’m not sure exactly what they would look for in a trade. While the Jazz have huge offseason questions, they could get another big man with international experience to provide help off the bench.
31. Atlanta Hawks – Frank Jackson, Point Guard (Duke) to the Denver Nuggets (along with the 19th overall pick) for the 13th, 49th and 51st overall picks*
Frank Jackson has all the potential in the world to be a solid role player in the NBA. I don’t see him as an NBA starter but someone that could help a team off the bench.
32. Phoenix Suns – Ivan Rabb, Power Forward/Center (Cal)
Rabb has slid down many Big Boards because he has been outworked in pre-draft workouts against first-round level talent. He also struggles shooting the basketball. Any team that drafts him is looking for a rim protector that can rebound.
33. Orlando Magic – Juwaun Evans, Point Guard (Oklahoma State)
Evans is small and quick. He will be an energizer off the bench playing in a limited role.
34. Sacramento Kings – Derrick White, Point/Shooting Guard (Colorado) *Traded to the 76ers for the 36th and 39th overall picks*
We have a trade! The Kings trade the 34th pick to the Sixers for the 36th and 39th pick. The Kings will want to continue rebuilding and there is a lot of talent here in the 2nd round. Derrick White proved his senior year that he has talent to produce in the NBA. The 76ers need a bench scorer that can play both the one and the two so that is why they trade two close picks for White.
35. Orlando Magic – Mathias Lessort, Power Forward/Center (Nanterre 92, France)
With four picks, the Magic may look to draft Lessort in hopes of him being on the roster in the near future.
36. Philadelphia 76ers – Caleb Swanigan, Power Forward/Center (Purdue) Traded to Sacramento for the 34th overall pick*
The Kings have solid big men who can run the floor. Swanigan isn’t a run and gun type center, but he can be. He has developed his three-point shot and has been losing more weight to get in shape. The Kings get a steal here at 36.
37. Boston Celtics – Jonathan Motley, Power Forward/Center (Baylor)
The Celtics have a lot of free agents that are in the front court. With Brad Stevens coaching, Motley could turn into a Clint Capella type of player.
38. Chicago Bulls – Edmond Sumner, Point Guard (Xavier)
Sumner is a long point guard with a big frame. The Bulls may take a chance on Sumner in the 2nd round.
39. Philadelphia 76ers – PJ Dozier, Point/Shooting Guard (South Carolina) *Traded to Sacramento for the 34th overall pick*
The last pick here for the Kings goes to Dozier. He proved his talents in the NCAA tournament and he will be given a chance to play a bench role with the Kings.
40. New Orleans Pelicans – Josh Hart, Shooting Guard (Villanova)
Shooting is what the Pelicans need and that is exactly what Josh Hart will provide. Plus, Hart has the heart of a winner. That is something that can’t be taught.
41. Charlotte Hornets – Thomas Bryant, Forward/Center (Indiana)*
The Hornets will need a center here to solidify their bench. Bryant is very raw but he can stretch the floor. Plus, Charlotte has a history of selecting forwards from Indiana (Vonleh, Zeller)
42. Utah Jazz – Jonah Bolden, Power Forward (Australia/Radnicki Basket, Serbia)
Bolden is a skilled player but will most likely be a draft-and-stash prospect.
43. Houston Rockets – Kyle Kuzma, Power Forward (Utah)
The Rockets need more scoring firepower. Said, no one ever. But hey, if it is sitting right there in front of your face, why not add more ammo to your arsenal?
44. New York Knicks – Alec Peters, Power Forward (Valparaiso)
Peters might be one of the most overlooked prospects in this draft. He has what it takes to be a contributor because he is a smart basketball player.
45. Houston Rockets – Wesley Iwundu, Shooting Guard/Small Forward (Kansas State)
The Rockets don’t need more scoring, but they do need a little bit of defense. Iwundu is athletic enough to turn into a defensive presence and could learn to be a 3 and D type player.
46. Philadelphia 76ers – Sterling Brown, Shooting Guard (Southern Methodist University) *Traded to the Thunder for Cash Considerations*
The Thunder will look to get into the 2nd round in hopes of finding a scoring guard. With Philly having so many picks, they will likely trade some. The 76ers could gamble on draft-and-stash type players, but with the majority of those international players withdrawing from the draft, they can trade it for cash.
47. Indiana Pacers – Cam Oliver, Power Forward (Nevada)
The Pacers went with a wing in the 1st round, so adding an athletic rebounder who is compared to Kenneth Faried makes total sense.
48. Milwaukee Bucks – Monte Morris, Point Guard (Iowa State)*Traded to the Blazers along with Greg Monroe for the 26th overall pick and Allen Crabbe)
Portland will be happy knowing there are some solid point guards in the latter half of the 2nd round. Morris is a senior from Iowa State and he proved that he can score in a fast-paced offense. That is what the Blazers run as well.
49. Denver Nuggets – Tyler Dorsey, Shooting Guard (Oregon) Traded to the Atlanta Hawks for the 19th and 31st overall picks*
The Hawks are back on the clock and they select the scoring, combo guard, Tyler Dorsey. Dorsey has a lot of talent but we need to see more of it.
50. Philadelphia 76ers – Alberto Abalde, Small Forward (Joventut, Spain)
Alberto Abalde is a draft-and-stash prospect.
51. Denver Nuggets – Jaron Blossomgame, Small Forward (Clemson) *Traded to the Atlanta Hawks for the 19th and 31st overall picks*
Blossomgame is a forward that is similar to KJ McDaniels. He has length and a good body size, but he will have to put in a ton of work to get playing time.
52. Washington Wizards – Frank Mason Jr., Point Guard (Kansas)
Frank Mason was so good in college and now he has an opportunity to be the Washington Wizards backup point guard with Brandon Jennings and Trey Burke more than likely not returning in the off-season.
53. Boston Celtics – Dillon Brooks, Small Forward (Oregon) *Traded to the Los Angeles Clippers for Cash Considerations
The Celtics make a trade as they receive cash from the Los Angeles Clippers who are in dire need of cheap contracts. Brooks was a fine player in the NCAA Tournament who provides the Clippers with a small forward option.
54. Phoenix Suns – Sindarius Thornwell, Shooting Guard (South Carolina)
Thornwell was considered the best player for the Gamecocks last season and he hung his hat on defense. The Suns could use an athletic wing who can defend. Playing time will be hard to receive though with the Suns loaded backcourt.
55. Utah Jazz – Kobi Simmons, Point/Shooting Guard (Arizona)*Traded to the Memphis Grizzlies for cash considerations*
The Jazz will more than likely be willing to trade a pick this late with the possibility of receiving cash in the long run. The Grizzlies could use a combo guard off the bench as well.
56. Boston Celtics – Vlatko Cancar, Small Forward (Slovenia/Mega Leks, Serbia)
Cancar is a draft-and-stash prospect.
57. Brooklyn Nets – Dwayne Bacon, Shooting Guard/Small Forward (Florida State)
I really like Bacon and I continue to be shocked at how low his stock is. Whether I am wrong or right on Bacon’s potential, I think the Nets can take a risk here.
58. New York Knicks – Devin Robinson, Power Forward (Florida)
The Knicks will take the best player available at this point and a power forward seems very likely.
59. San Antonio Spurs – Nigel Hayes, Power Forwad (Wisconsin)
Hayes was a terrific player in the Big Ten but hasn’t received much attention in the Draft. I think the Spurs are smart and will look to take the savy Hayes. Hayes could become the Spurs’ Boris Diaw.
60. Atlanta Hawks – Isaiah Hicks, Power Forward (North Carolina)
Last but not least, the Hawks select Hicks from UNC. The Hawks need bench players that can contribute and a proven college power forward isn’t a bad route to go.