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2017 NBA Consensus Mock Draft – Final

The Basketball Insiders Mock Draft team gives their final look at the 2017 NBA draft with an all-60 pick mock draft.

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For the last eight weeks, we have been dropping weekly Mock Drafts leading up to this point – the final Consensus. The goal of these Mocks is to look at the draft from four different perspectives as we try to get to a Consensus on each pick. Some times we get there, sometimes we get close, and in the case of this draft sometimes we just don’t see things the same way.

This week’s Consensus (our final of the season) we are rolling out a first for us in this format – the entire 60-picks of the 2017 NBA Draft, enjoy.

[DISCLAIMER – at this point in the cycle lots of picks trade hands and in order for us to deliver this kind of look, we may not be able to account for every trade that happens between the time our writers file their picks and when this item is posted. So, this mock is reflective of the picks as of 6:00am on 6/21]

2017 NBA Consensus Mock Draft - Final

Pick # Team Joel Brigham Michael Scotto Moke Hamilton Steve Kyler
1 Markelle Fultz Markelle Fultz Markelle Fultz Markelle Fultz
2 Lonzo Ball Lonzo Ball Lonzo Ball Lonzo Ball
3 Jayson Tatum Jayson Tatum Jayson Tatum Jayson Tatum
4 Josh Jackson Josh Jackson Josh Jackson Jonathan Isaac
5 De'Aaron Fox De'Aaron Fox De'Aaron Fox De'Aaron Fox
6 Dennis Smith Jonathan Isaac Jonathan Isaac Josh Jackson
7 Jonathan Isaac Lauri Markkanen Lauri Markkanen Dennis Smith
8 Malik Monk Malik Monk Malik Monk Malik Monk
9 Frank Ntilikina Dennis Smith Dennis Smith Lauri Markkanen
10 Lauri Markkanen Justin Jackson John Collins Donovan Mitchell
11 Donovan Mitchell Frank Ntilikina Donovan Mitchell Luke Kennard
12 Luke Kennard Luke Kennard Frank Ntilikina Zach Collins
13 OG Anunoby OG Anunoby OG Anunoby OG Anunoby
14 Zach Collins Zach Collins Justin Jackson John Collins
15 Justin Patton John Collins Ike Anigbogu Harry Giles
16 John Collins Jarrett Allen Luke Kennard Jarrett Allen
17 Justin Jackson Ike Anigbogu Jarrett Allen Ike Anigbogu
18 Semi Ojeleye Terrance Ferguson Zach Collins T.J. Leaf
19 Derrick White Justin Patton Justin Patton Justin Jackson
20 D.J. Wilson Jawun Evans Harry Giles Frank Ntilikina
21 Ike Anigbogu Semi Ojeleye T.J. Leaf Bam Adebayo
22 Jarrett Allen Harry Giles Terrance Ferguson Semi Ojeleye
23 Harry Giles T.J. Leaf Semi Ojeleye Kennedy Meeks
24 Tyler Lydon Donovan Mitchell Isaiah Hartenstein D.J. Wilson
25 Bam Adebayo Isaiah Hartenstein Anzejs Pasecniks Jawun Evans
26 Isaiah Hartenstein Tyler Lydon Tyler Lydon Ivan Rabb
27 Terrance Ferguson Bam Adebayo Jawun Evans Terrance Ferguson
28 Tony Bradley Ivan Rabb D.J. Wilson Caleb Swanigan
29 Anzejs Pasecniks Anzejs Pasecniks Mathias Lessort Vlatko Cancar
30 Ivan Rabb D.J. Wilson Derrick White Anzejs Pasecniks
31 Caleb Swanigan Derrick White Ivan Rabb Kyle Kuzma
32 T.J. Leaf Tony Bradley Bam Adebayo Tyler Lydon
33 Josh Hart Jordan Bell Caleb Swanigan Isaiah Hartenstein
34 Kyle Kuzma Caleb Swanigan Alec Peters Frank Jackson
35 Jonah Bolden Wesley Iwundu Frank Jackson Dillon Brooks
36 Alec Peters Mathias Lessort Jordan Bell Alec Peters
37 Thomas Bryant Thomas Bryant L.J. Peak Derrick White
38 Jordan Bell Frank Mason Thomas Bryant Jordan Bell
39 L.J. Peak Jonah Bolden Jonah Bolden Mathias Lessort
40 Jawun Evans Johnathan Motley Dillon Brooks P.J. Dozier
41 P.J. Dozier Kyle Kuzma Frank Mason Justin Patton
42 Frank Jackson Jaron Blossomgame Tony Bradley Jonah Bolden
43 Frank Mason Alec Peters Johnathan Motley Devin Robinson
44 Sindarius Thornwell Dwayne Bacon Jonathan Jeanne Thomas Bryant
45 Dillon Brooks Josh Hart Jaron Blossomgame Tony Bradley
46 Devin Robinson Frank Jackson Sindarius Thornwell Jaron Blossomgame
47 Jaron Blossomgame Edmond Sumner Tyler Dorsey Josh Hart
48 Mathias Lessort Sindarius Thornwell Devin Robinson Wesley Iwundu
49 Cameron Oliver Dillon Brooks Josh Hart Alberto Abalde
50 Tyler Dorsey Tyler Dorsey P.J. Dozier Luke Kornet
51 Wesley Iwundu Vlatko Cancar Vlatko Cancar Aleksandar Vezenkov
52 Johnathan Motley Monte Morris Isaiah Hicks Edmond Sumner
53 Alpha Kaba Devin Robinson Wesley Iwundu L.J. Peak
54 Kobi Simmons P.J. Dozier Edmond Sumner Alpha Kaba
55 Nigel Williams-Goss Cameron Oliver Aleksandar Vezenkov George De Paula
56 Aleksandar Vezenkov Alpha Kaba Isaiah Briscoe Ognjen Jaramaz
57 Damyean Dotson Peter Jok Cameron Oliver Johnathan Motley
58 Isaiah Briscoe Damyean Dotson Nigel Williams-Goss Nigel Williams-Goss
59 Dwayne Bacon Kennedy Meeks Antonio Blakeney Frank Mason
60 Peter Jok Kobi Simmons Malcolm Hill Sindarius Thornwell

Version 1.0 | 2.0 | 3.0 | 4.0 | 5.0 | 6.0 | 7.0

Joel’s Notebook:

Finally, Steve Kyler took the leash off of us this week and let us do a full 60-pick mock. This is what freedom tastes like.

It’s time to make some final decisions this week, though, and I can tell you that having done so many mocks in so many contexts, it’s all starting to bleed together. I know who I like where at this point, and the nuggets of draft information that leak out amid all the free agency and trade rumors are enough to help solidify some things. Lonzo Ball at pick number two is the inevitability it always has been, apparently. Jayson Tatum looks like the Celtics’ guy at number three (if they keep the pick). That would mean Josh Jackson falls into the hands of Phoenix, and Sacramento gets their man in Fox at pick number five.

Of course, knowing the draft as well as I do, it’s 100 percent likely that some team in the top five messes with that order. That top five is incredibly reasonable, which is why it can never be. One trade, and the whole thing goes kablooey.

As far as the second round goes, this year’s crop feels like its rife with players who actually could contribute, which is rare. Caleb Swanigan, T.J. Leaf, Juwan Evans, Jordan Bell, Sindarius Thornwell and Frank Jackson all in the second round is nuts. Any one of those guys could be a good player for a number of teams, and they’ll get snatched up at a value in round number two.

The back end of the second round was tough, though. There are probably going to be about 20 percent more international guys drafted there than what I have at the moment, but I wanted to sneak in guys I liked, such as Dwayne Bacon and Isaiah Briscoe. We’ll see how it shakes out, but this is what I’m going with for now. It’s been a heck of a mock drafting season, folks, and it’s only going to get crazier over the next two days.

Michael’s Notebook:

Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball will form a great rivalry for years to come, with both expected to be off the board after the first two picks.

As The Vertical reported, the Lakers will trade D’Angelo Russell to Brooklyn, which paves the way for Ball to bring “Showtime” back to Los Angeles and make his dad LaVar’s vision a reality. Boston’s Danny Ainge made a bold move trading down from the top overall pick and passing on Fultz. You can safely assume Fultz will circle every Celtics game on his calendar for the rest of his career.

At third overall, Ainge will choose between Jayson Tatum or Josh Jackson and the Suns will get the leftover player or De’Aaron Fox.

If Phoenix takes Fox, watch out for Eric Bledsoe to be traded on draft night. If Jackson is the pick, keep an eye on T.J. Warren to be dangled as trade bait.

Jonathan Isaac fits the prototype of Orlando Magic executives John Hammond and Jeff Weltman, who like long, athletic forwards and previously took big swings on Giannis Antetokounmpo and Bruno Caboclo.

The Timberwolves can dangle the seventh pick as part of a trade package for Jimmy Butler, a favorite of Tom Thibodeau.

The Knicks will likely choose from three guards: Dennis Smith, Malik Monk and Frank Ntilikina. The Mavericks will land one of those leftovers.

Afterward, more trade possibilities arise. Sacramento is open to moving the 10th pick. Detroit is looking for a veteran to help the team return to the playoffs and is open to moving the 12th pick. Portland has three first-round picks and will look to offload a bad contract with one of those picks. Utah is open to moving up using the 24th and 30th picks as trade bait. Orlando is in a similar position with the 25th, 33rd and 35th picks. Los Angeles is hoping to move the 27th and 28th pick as part of a trade package for Paul George according to reports.

In the second round, the Magic (2), Hawks (2), Knicks (2), Rockets (2), Nuggets (2), Suns (2), Jazz (2), Celtics (3) and 76ers (4) all have multiple picks. With that in mind, keep an eye on each of those teams to be involved in trade discussions or even sell some of those picks.

Remember, it only takes one blockbuster trade, an unexpected selection or medical red flag to change the entire draft landscape upside down.

This draft and upcoming free agency will be more exciting than the playoffs. The question is whether all the excitement will live up to the hype and produce another Finals contender besides the Cleveland Cavaliers to compete against the Golden State Warriors.

Moke’s Notebook:

I have been covering the draft closely for the past four years and, without question, the 2017 draft is unique. The only thing that we know for sure at this point is that the Philadelphia 76ers are selecting Markelle Fultz and that the Los Angeles Lakers appear to have cleared the way to select Lonzo Ball with the second overall pick. As recently as Tuesday, there were some that were of the opinion that De’Aaron Fox was in play for them at number two, but considering the attention that they’ve given Ball and the lack of attention he’s given to other teams, it’s incredibly difficult to imagine a scenario where he’s not a Laker.

From there, the draft will only get more and more interesting.

Of all lottery-projected players, there seems to be the most mystery surrounding Frank Ntilikina. Some have projected him to go as early as eighth (to the New York Knicks), while some have opined that he could slip outside of the lottery, mainly because he’s a somewhat unknown quantity. And at the end of the day, “unknown” is a remarkably appropriate term. Alec Peters, Bam Adebayo and Devin Robinson are among the prospects who have had medical red flags attached to their names, so if any of those three slip, you’ll know why.

For me, that’s about all I have to say. My sources have been fairly consistent in what they’ve told me, and I believe my mock drafts have been fairly similar. At this point, I believe there will be one or two draft night trades, but the order in which players are picked, I believe, will not vary tremendously as a result. Scouts generally believe that there are five to eight potential future All-Stars in this crop, meaning that this draft should ultimately end up being one of the deepest in recent memory.

Keep your fingers crossed that your team gets one of those guys.

Steve’s Notebook:

Oh boy, has this thing gotten interesting. The Lakers dumped the Timofey Mozgov contract and gave final closure to how the Magic Johnson Lakers viewed D’Angelo Russell in their deal to obtain Brook Lopez (and cap flexibility) and the 27th pick.

The Cavaliers have been active trying to add one more star to their roster. The Pacers have gotten serious in their quest to move Paul George, who is expected to be dealt by the end of the draft tomorrow.

The Atlanta Hawks moved on from Dwight Howard, and the Clippers have started kicking the tires on ways to improve in advance of free agency — and all that’s just what got done in the last 24 hours.

There is a lot of talk taking place, so keep in mind that NBA teams at this point in the cycle are talking daily and everyone is trying to decide what to do, not only in the draft but in the trade market surrounding it. Let’s dig into what’s floating around:

– The Knicks have opened the door on virtually everything. With pressure mounting in New York to turn the franchise around, Phil Jackson and his staff have entertained talks on the entire roster, including promising star Kristaps Porzingis. Before you get too far on this, league sources say the asking price on Porzingis is FOUR unprotected first round picks or a handful of unprotected picks and a proven star level player. It does not seem that the Knicks will get their price for Porzingis, but the Knicks have started down a dangerous path with their best building block. Word is this Porzingis camp was already sour on Phil Jackson and for him to actively shop him, it may destroy what little trust remained in the relationship.

– The Minnesota Timberwolves (seventh pick) and Detroit Pistons (12th pick) continue to be the teams mentioned most as likely to move their first-round picks. Both teams are believed to be looking for proven starting-caliber veterans rather than adding another young guy to the mix. The real value of those picks likely surfaces during the draft as players start to fall into place. Sources near both teams said they are absolutely prepared to select players with those picks, but they absolutely can be had in trade.

– Don’t expect the Jimmy Butler noise to die down anytime soon. The Bulls apparently decided over the weekend to actively listen on Butler trades, but sources near the situation say it will take a really good offer to get them to move Butler. The Cavaliers and Celtics have been mentioned most prominently in their pursuit of a Butler trade, but sources near the process say the Rockets and Wizards have logged interest in Butler and in Indiana’s Paul George. Depending on who you talk to in NBA circles, some believe Butler will be moved, while others doubt the Bulls get offered enough to do a deal by the end of the draft. The stance everyone takes is that Butler will be expensive to obtain in trade and the Bulls may not get enough to make a deal. The Bulls were also reportedly notified that Dwayne Wade will opt into his final contract year, which may influence what the Bulls ultimately do with Butler. Once Wade officially opts in, he too could be traded, but there is a sense the Bulls may take another run with this group and deal Butler next season, either at the deadline or after the 2017-18 season plays out.

Some players to watch as the draft plays out:

There are mixed reviews on Gonzaga bigman Zach Collins. While he is viewed as having a tremendous ceiling, several teams who saw him think he is too raw to be a rotation player as a rookie, meaning if he does not go early to a team that’s building and has minutes to groom him, he could slip in the draft.

There is increased talk that if Josh Jackson does not go number three to Boston, he could slide pretty hard. His camp has played the draft process very deliberately. He did not attend the NBA Draft Combine so teams have not seen medical on him. He has also declined workouts with a number of situations, which could make this a tough process if he does not go where his camp expects him to go.

Utah’s Kyle Kuzma continues to be a name some talk about a likely selection in the 20’s. Kuzma did very well in the draft workout process. The question is, where will he really land?

Looking for the reach of the draft? Could be Vlatko Cancar. There are lots of fun stories floating around about his abrupt departure from KK Mega Leks after just eight games. Some wonder if he got a promise early in the process and shut it down.

Basketball Insiders will be on the ground in New York through the entire 2017 NBA Draft process, so stay tuned for video from the media availabilities. Instant reaction to all the picks and our minute-by-minute Draft Day Diary – featuring all of the news, rumors and trades updated throughout the day. All of the draft news worth knowing in one easy to find place,

Who are these guys anyway? Steve Kyler is the Publisher of Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last 19 years. Moke Hamilton is a Deputy Editor and Columnist for Basketball Insiders and has covered basketball for the last seven years. Joel Brigham is a Senior NBA Writer and has covered the NBA for the last 12 years. Michael Scotto is a Senior NBA Writer for Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last seven years.

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Mock Drafts

2018 NBA Consensus Mock Draft – Ver 3.0

Each week, four of Basketball Insiders’ experts take a look at the draft class and weigh in on what they are seeing and hearing in the march up to the 2018 NBA Draft.

Basketball Insiders

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2018 NBA Consensus Mock Draft – Ver 3.0

Each week, four of Basketball Insiders’ top writers will break down the latest news and notes surrounding the 2018 NBA Draft. Included is an updated mock draft that reflects how each writer sees the draft landscape based on the latest news, workouts, and information from the pre-draft process.

With the 2018 NBA Draft Lottery final, here is how they see the field:

Version: 1.0 | 2.0

The weekly NBA Draft notebooks will resume next week following the NBA Draft Combine.

Who are these guys anyway? Steve Kyler is the Publisher of Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last 19 years. Moke Hamilton is a Deputy Editor and Columnist for Basketball Insiders and has covered basketball for the last eight years. Jesse Blancarte is a Senior NBA Writer and Deputy Editor for Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last four years. Benny Nadeau is an NBA Writer and his first season covering the NBA for Basketball Insiders.

More Twitter: Make sure you are following all of our guys on Twitter to ensure you are getting the very latest from our team: @stevekylerNBA, @LangGreene, @EricPincus, @joelbrigham, @TommyBeer, @MokeHamilton , @jblancartenba, @Ben_Dowsett, @SpinDavies, @JamesB_NBA, @DennisChambers_, @mike_yaffe, @MattJohnNBA, and @Ben__Nadeau .

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Mock Drafts

NBA Daily: 2018 60-Pick NBA Mock Draft – 5/15/18

The 2018 NBA Draft Lottery is tonight in Chicago and while the Phoenix Suns have the best odds at the top pick, it may not play out that way if history holds true. Basketball Insiders Publisher Steve Kyler offers up one more 60-pick Mock Draft prior to the draft order being locked in.

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The Wait Is Almost Over

The 2018 NBA Draft Lottery will be held tonight in Chicago. While there is a lot of talk about changing the Lottery process, the reality is since 1990, the worst team in the NBA has gotten the top pick just six times in 28 lotteries.

While the Phoenix Suns do have the best odds of landing the pick, it’s not a given they will walk away with the first choice. In fact, over the last 28 lotteries, the third-worst record has gotten the top pick six times. The fifth worst record has landed the top five times. The second worst record has yielded the top pick just four times over the past 28 lotteries, with the fourth worst record yielding no top picks in the same span.

With the final draft order getting decided tonight, look for the Basketball Insiders Consensus Mock Draft to drop later tonight reflecting the final first-round draft order.

Here is the latest 60-pick Mock Draft, reflecting the final Mock before the Draft Lottery –

Dates To Know:

The NBA Draft Lottery will be held tonight (May 15) in Chicago. The annual NBA Draft Combine will get underway tomorrow (May 16), also in Chicago. In any given draft year, roughly 70 percent of players invited to the Combine end up being drafted into the NBA, so a Combine invite is a significant draft milestone.

The NCAA requires all players wishing to maintain their college eligibility, without penalty, to withdraw from the NBA Draft by 11:59 pm on May 30. That is an NCAA mandated date, not related to anything involving the NBA, and that notice must be delivered in writing.

The NBA’s draft withdrawal date is June 11 by 5:00 pm ET. The NBA’s date allows a prospect to remain NBA draft eligible for future NBA drafts and is not related to any NCAA rule or date. There are ways for college players that did not accept benefits to return to college. However, they may be subject to NCAA penalties.

The 2018 NBA Draft is June 21.

The Pick Swaps:

The Cleveland Cavaliers are owed the Brooklyn Nets’ first-round pick as a result of the Kyrie Irving trade this past summer. The Brooklyn Nets traded several unprotected picks to Boston as part of the Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce trades in 2015.

The Philadelphia 76ers are owed the LA Lakers’ 2018 Draft pick, unprotected, as a result of the 2012 Steve Nash trade with the Suns. The Suns traded that pick to the 76ers as part of the Michael Carter-Williams three-team trade with the Milwaukee in 2015. The 76ers traded that pick to the Boston Celtics as part of the draft pick trade that became Markelle Fultz before the draft; it has 2 through 5 protections. Based on the final regular-season standings should convey to Philadelphia if the draft lottery holds true to the standings.

The LA Clippers are owed the Detroit Pistons first-round pick in 2018 as a result of the Blake Griffin trade. The pick is top four protected and would convey if the draft lottery holds true to the standings.

The Phoenix Suns are owed the Miami HEAT’s first-round pick as part of the Goran Dragic trade in 2015, it is top-seven protected and would convey to Phoenix based on the final NBA standings.

The Phoenix Suns were owed the Milwaukee Bucks’ first-round pick as part of the Eric Bledsoe trade. The pick would only convey if the Bucks pick landed between the 11th and 16th pick, which based on the final NBA standings did not convey. The Suns will now receive the Bucks 2019 first-round pick assuming it falls between the fourth and 16th pick.

The Atlanta Hawks are owed the Minnesota Timberwolves’ first-round pick as part of the Adreian Payne trade in 2015. The pick was lottery protected and would convey to Atlanta based on the final NBA standings.

The Minnesota Timberwolves are owed the Oklahoma City Thunder’s first-round pick as part of the Jazz/Wolves Ricky Rubio trade this past summer. The Jazz acquired the pick as part of the Thunder’s deal to obtain Enes Kanter in 2015. The pick was lottery protected and would convey based on the final NBA standings.

The Chicago Bulls are owed the New Orleans Pelicans first-round pick as a result of the Nikola Mirotic trade. The pick was top-five protected and based on the final NBA standings would convey

The LA Lakers are owed the Cleveland Cavaliers first-round pick as a result of Jordan Clarkson/Larry Nance Jr. trade. The pick was top-three protected and based on the final NBA standings would convey

The Brooklyn Nets are owed the Toronto Raptors’ first-round pick as part of the DeMarre Carroll salary dump trade this past summer. The pick was lottery protected and based on the final NBA standings would convey

The Atlanta Hawks are owed the Houston Rockets’ first-round pick as part of a three-team deal with the LA Clippers and Denver Nuggets involving Danilo Gallinari and taking back Jamal Crawford and Diamond Stone. The pick was top-three protected and based on the final NBA standings would convey

Check out the Basketball Insiders’ Top 100 NBA Draft Prospects – http://www.basketballinsiders.com/top-100-nba-draft-prospects/

More Twitter: Make sure you are following all of our guys on Twitter to ensure you are getting the very latest from our team: @stevekylerNBA, @LangGreene, @EricPincus, @joelbrigham, @TommyBeer, @MokeHamilton , @jblancartenba, @Ben_Dowsett, @SpinDavies, @JamesB_NBA, @DennisChambers_, @mike_yaffe, @MattJohnNBA, and @Ben__Nadeau .

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Mock Drafts

2018 NBA Consensus Mock Draft – Ver 2.0

Each week, four of Basketball Insiders’ experts take a look at the draft class and weigh in on what they are seeing and hearing in the march up to the 2018 NBA Draft.

Basketball Insiders

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2018 NBA Consensus Mock Draft – Ver 2.0

Each week, four of Basketball Insiders’ top writers will break down the latest news and notes surrounding the 2018 NBA Draft. Included is an updated mock draft that reflects how each writer sees the draft landscape based on the latest news, workouts, and information from the pre-draft process.

Version: 1.0

Benny’s Notebook: Even with the NBA Draft Lottery and Combine now officially on the horizon, there’s not much movement in my updated mock draft. Still, there remain plenty of unused talking points from last week, so let’s jump right in. Surprisingly, I was the only one to select Luka Dončić with the first overall pick and, believe me; I’m ready to die on this hill. Dončić has looked wise beyond his years in a strong overseas league all season, and he’ll be able to contribute from day one.

Additionally, the case for Dončić at No. 1 got a little stronger last week when the Phoenix Suns hired Igor Kokoškov as their new head coach.

Of course, Kokoškov coached Dončić and the Slovenian national team to an upset gold medal in EuroBasket 2017, so this dynamic is certainly worth watching as we move forward. Dončić will arrive after four professional seasons with Real Madrid, and he’s just 19 years-old until February — sign me up.

Once the sure-fire studs in Dončić and DeAndre Ayton are off the board, there’s the matter of Jaren Jackson Jr. and Marvin Bagley III. Make no mistake; the pair should have no trouble transitioning to the NBA — but, for now, it’s hard not to get overly excited about Jackson Jr. The former Michigan State man blocked a ridiculous three shots per game, good for seventh-best in the entirety of Division-I. On top of that, the 6-foot-11 prospect can both shoot and defend at the three-point line; something front offices will salivate over ahead of the draft.

Bagley will have no issues fitting in himself, but Jackson Jr., to me, could be really, really special.

Last but not least, Mikal Bridges. Version one saw our experts project the two-time national champion to fall somewhere between Nos. 7 and 10 — but Philadelphia will do backflips if he’s available at their pick. With Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons soaking up the majority of touches, Bridges can bring hard-nosed defense and consistent three-point shooting — a role Robert Covington has found success in — without the heavy usage. Born and raised in Pennsylvania before three accomplished seasons at Villanova, Bridges would be a perfect fit for the 76ers’ budding core.

Moke’s Notebook: I pretty much find myself in the same situation as last week. As is the case every year, I expect that my mock will look much different once the lottery has passed and we actually know who will select where.

At this point, though, I’ve already begun hearing that the Sixers have their eyes on Trae Young while the Knicks are enamored with Mikal Bridges. Again, though, this early in the process, any information that comes out should be taken with a grain of salt. The other prospect I’d keep an early eye on is Rodions Kurucs.

Kurucs was highly-regarded by a few scouts during last year’s pre-draft process, but he withdrew and opted to head back to FC Barcelona for another season. After a mostly up and down season, it’s difficult to know exactly where his stock lies at the moment, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him end up a late lottery pick. There were quite a few that were high on him last year, and an inconsistent year in Spain might not turn everyone completely off.

I’ve still got DeAndre Ayton and Marvin Bagley III as my top two, though whether they stick there will be determined by who wins the lottery. It’ll take place on May 15, and since we’ll be on the ground in Chicago, one week from now, we should have some more reliable intel.

Jesse’s Notebook: The NBA Lottery is just a few days away, and I am excited to get a set draft order out as it will give us a better sense of how the draft might ultimately play out. Going through the top 30 picks again is a reminder that this draft class is packed with talent and that there are several intriguing prospects at the point guard position. I expect many analysts to have a wide range of opinions on Trae Young, Collin Sexton and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and the order in which they should be selected. The NBA is already loaded with average to superstar level point guards, but these three lead guards all have the potential to be selected with a top-10 pick.

I anticipate Shai Gilgeous-Alexander rising up teams’ draft boards as they get a closer look at him and envision how versatile he could be in a few years when he adds some more muscle to his frame. Gilgeous-Alexander has a developed skill set and the size to be a plus-defender against NBA point guards, shooting guards and maybe even small forwards. Getting a two-way lead guard with that sort of defensive potential will be hard to pass up for any team that doesn’t already have a standout guard who can play effectively on both ends of the court.

Steve’s Notebook: Looking at the unprecedented volume of underclassmen that have declared for the draft, and how few of them made the 69 player NBA Draft Combine list it is easy to think that there will be a mass exodus before the May 31 NCAA withdrawal date. Or, that some players may be making a tragic mistake.

There is, however, a third option. Just because a player declares for the draft doesn’t mean there is an expectation of being drafted. In many cases, some of the players who were head scratchers aren’t living in a bubble. Most are simply ready to earn money as a professional and with the NBA’s G-League no offering 60 decent paying roster spots by way of the new two-way contracts, some players are simply going through the process with their eyes on a slightly less sexy prize.

The truth of the draft process is that not every player wants to be a college athlete, equally not every player gets the kind of coaching and development resources that can be available to them as professionals.

So, before you judge some of these guys too harshly, understand there isn’t necessarily delusions of grandeur at play. There is simply a reality that moving on to the next level likely gives them a chance to earn money playing and developing and sometimes that is far more appealing then returning to college, even if you don’t get drafted.

Who are these guys anyway? Steve Kyler is the Publisher of Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last 19 years. Moke Hamilton is a Deputy Editor and Columnist for Basketball Insiders and has covered basketball for the last eight years. Jesse Blancarte is a Senior NBA Writer and Deputy Editor for Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last four years. Benny Nadeau is an NBA Writer and his first season covering the NBA for Basketball Insiders.

More Twitter: Make sure you are following all of our guys on Twitter to ensure you are getting the very latest from our team: @stevekylerNBA, @LangGreene, @EricPincus, @joelbrigham, @TommyBeer, @MokeHamilton , @jblancartenba, @Ben_Dowsett, @SpinDavies, @JamesB_NBA, @DennisChambers_, @mike_yaffe, @MattJohnNBA, and @Ben__Nadeau .

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