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NBA AM: Expanded 2014 NBA Mock Draft

More and more of you have asked for a deeper dive into our Mock Draft s with explanations behind each pick, so here you get – every pick in the first round; explained.

Steve Kyler



Explaining The Latest Mock Draft:  Every week all the way up to the 2014 NBA Draft we will drop what have always called our “Consensus Mock Draft”, and while some poke fun at the idea that the four personalities powering the multi-opinion mock rarely agree or have a “consensus”, the idea is what is the “consensus of the draft” and what we often find is there really isn’t one.

Recently more and more of you have asked for a deeper dive into the mock draft with explanations behind each pick. We have built some pretty elaborate draft tools to organize the mock draft process, and those tools were not built with detailed explanation in mind. We’ll work on that going forward, but for now I’ll break this out manually for you and give you at least my thoughts on the latest mock draft version.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Every week I introduce a new variable in my process. Until we really start to get a sense of which players a team is narrowing in on. I play the wrinkle game. I ask myself, what does the draft look like if this event happens. That changes from week to week. Last week my mock reflected the idea that Creighton’s Doug McDermott could go very high in the draft. Several executives at the draft Combine raved about McDermott so I played that idea through. This week it’s UCLA’s Zach LaVine. There has been some hype around LaVine. It’s doubtful he goes in the top ten, but this week’s draft plays out as if he does.

If you wonder why I do it this way, it’s because this is how NBA teams do it. This is how teams prepare for every eventuality. Believing that one guy has to go number one and the next guy absolutely has to go number two, is how you end up unprepared on draft night. Teams play through every draft scenario possible, so I try and do the same with my mock drafts.

With that in mind, here is this week’s mock:

#1 – Cleveland Cavaliers

Andrew Wiggins Kansas SG/SF 6’8″ 197 lbs.  19 years old

There is real chance that Joel Embiid is going to go number one. Word is that his agents are going to allow the Cavs to conduct a thorough medical exam on him and if that comes back as clean as his camp is saying he could go number one overall. The problem here is I doubt that it comes back completely clear. From there I think the Cavaliers and new General manager David Griffin go with a can’t-miss athlete like Wiggins to shore up their roster and pass on the risk.

#2 – Milwaukee Bucks

Joel Embiid Kansas C 7’0″ 240 20

Where I see the Cavs passing on questions surrounding Embiid’s health, the Bucks have several bigs on the roster and they can take the chance on him. The talent level is too high and the Bucks are in a situation where they can take a risk. If it pans out they get a really good player. If it does not they get the chance to pick in the lottery next year. Unless Embiid’s back gets flagged as requiring the worst case surgery – spinal fusion – I seriously doubt that the Bucks pass on Embiid at number two. Either they pick him or they trade the No. 2 to a team that would. Two dark horse picks here are Jabari Parker from Duke and Australia’s Dante Exum. Word from Chicago is the front office would like to take Exum and build around him knowing they’d be in the lottery again next year, so it really may come down to what ownership will approve.

#3 – Philadelphia 76ers

Dante Exum Australian Institute of Sport PG/SG 6’6″ 196 18

The 76ers have been unpredictable for the last year, so I do not expect that to change in this draft. The smart money says take Jabari Parker and the 76ers very well may. But if you look at how the 76ers see the world, they have a long-term vision that is built around steady progress. The fact is that 76ers head coach Brett Brown has some history with Exum and that Exum could conceivably play with rookie of the year Michael Carter-Williams. The temptation of Exum’s ceiling may be too much for the 76ers to pass on. The pick is a little unconventional, but so was trading Jrue Holiday for Nerlens Noel and drafting Carter-Williams last year.

#4 – Orlando Magic

Jabari Parker Duke SF/PF 6’8″ 241 19

Assuming Exum is off the board that leaves Orlando with Jabari Parker. There is chance the pick is Marcus Smart, or there is a bigger chance that the Magic take Parker, and see if Utah wants him as bad as it seems they may. Drafting Parker might be a solid addition in Orlando, but it would create massive logjam at the three spot for the Magic, so drafting and keeping Parker likely means Mo Harkless or Tobias Harris get moved in the offseason. Point guard is absolutely the biggest need in Orlando, but playing broker with Parker might yield them multiple assets if the Exum is off the board.

#5 – Utah Jazz

Julius Randle Kentucky PF 6’9″ 250 19

It seems likely that the Jazz are trading down with this pick, mainly because there is nothing there for the Jazz that makes sense at number five. If the Jazz can swing a deal for Jabari Parker the belief is they would, but assuming they don’t move the pick Julius Randle may be the best talent for their roster. There are some that would suggest that sliding Derrick Favors over to the five spot and playing a frontcourt of Favors and Randle could yield bigger dividends than a the current Enes Kanter-Favors front court. There is a chance that Marcus Smart goes here as well, it would give the Jazz a very small backcourt, but Smart is a relentless defender and could bring some leadership and maturity to the process. Drafting Smart would be a best talent available scenario, although Randle may make more sense in the long run.

#6 – Boston Celtics

Aaron Gordon Arizona PF 6’9″ 220 18

If Randle is here, he is likely the Celtics guy but with him off the board the Celtics likely turn to Noah Vonleh or Aaron Gordon. There is a sense in NBA circles that the Celtics are smitten with Gordon and view him as a possible star, especially paired with Rajon Rondo. Gordon at number six might be a bit high, but we have seen the Celtics do this before, where they zone in on a guy and simply take him when they can get him and there is a sense that Gordon is the Celtics’ guy if Randle is off the board. Vonleh could be an interesting pick here as well as would Dario Saric. The Celtics are said to be high on Saric and Saric seems to be high on the Celtics.

#7 – LA Lakers

Marcus Smart Oklahoma State PG 6’3″ 227 20

There are a couple of interesting options here for the Lakers, including Noah Vonleh and Dario Saric. However, Smart offers a ready to play point guard that could thrive playing with Kobe Bryant. Smart’s shot is not nearly as bad as its made out to be but with a season of Bryant in his ear Smart likely improves in every facet of his game and that fact that he is a ‘get-after-it’ defender likely makes the pick a solid one for the Lakers.

#8 – Sacramento Kings

Noah Vonleh Indiana PF/C 6’9″ 247 18

The Kings want to trade this pick, so there is a real chance that the number eight belongs to someone else after the draft is done. Vonleh is likely the pick; the question is where does he end up? If the Kings have to keep the pick Vonleh doesn’t necessarily fit the roster, but he is the best talent on the board. Saric could be an option here as he fills a more immediate need, but it’s unclear if Saric would come to the NBA this year is he drops to number eight, so there is some risk.

#9 – Charlotte Hornets

Zach LaVine UCLA SG 6’6″ 181 19

This is likely really high for LaVine, but if there is a team that might take the gamble on the best athlete in the draft it’s likely the Hornets. There is a real chance this pick ends up with someone else. The Hornets have eyes for Orlando’s Arron Afflalo and if some combination of the ninth pick and a roster player gets the Magic off the dime the Hornets would do it. In this week’s draft, LaVine needed to go top ten for the variable to work, and the Hornets would be the fit if he is indeed the top-ten talent some have tried to paint him as. For the record, I think James Young, Rodney Hood or Adrien Payne could end up here as well.

#10 – Philadelphia 76ers

Dario Saric Cibona Zagreb SF/PF 6’10” 223 20

At this point Philly is playing with house money. There is a chance they draft a player that comes to camp with the tenth pick or they may very well go with Saric as a ‘draft-and-stash’. Given how many second round picks the 76ers hold, there is always a fear of bringing in too many rookies into training camp, and in this case with Noel in effect being a rookie, the third pick and at least one of the second round picks; bringing in a mature player like Saric or allowing him to stay abroad makes more sense for Philly given how many young guys they may have the rights to. If the 76ers spend this pick on a player for this upcoming season, Adrien Payne, James Young and Nik Stauskas all become interesting options.

#11 – Denver Nuggets

James Young Kentucky SG/SF 6’7″ 213 18

This is where the picks start to become more about talent than fit. Young is an explosive talent that could fit in nicely in Denver. This could also be were Nik Stauskas or international big man Jusuf Nurkic lands. A dark horse here might be Doug McDermott, mainly because he can contribute right away for a Nuggets team that wants to be in the postseason next year.

#12 – Orlando Magic

Tyler Ennis Syracuse PG 6’2″ 182 19

Assuming the Magic have not traded their way into a higher pick, this is where they get their point guard. Ennis presents a ready to play type of guard that can run a team. Paired with last year’s second overall pick Victor Oladipo, the Magic get a solid backcourt tandem. If the Magic are able to pull off a deal and land Smart in trade, this could be where guys like Rodney Hood, K.J. McDaniels and P.J. Hairston get a long look.

#13 – Minnesota Timberwolves

Adreian Payne Michigan State PF 6’10” 239 23

At some point he Timberwolves are trading Kevin Love, so they are going to need a four man. Payne isn’t nearly the All-Star caliber four that Love is, but he could play off the bench behind Love, bring some physicality and toughness. He is ready to play as one of the older guys in the draft. For the Wolves, they want to be in the postseason next year and Payne would be a solid addition to the frontcourt. This could also be where Hood, McDaniels or Stauskas land as well, especially if the plan is to pack Kevin Martin into whatever Love deal the Wolves decide to do.

#14 – Phoenix Suns

Doug McDermott Creighton PF 6’8″ 218 22

This is absolutely about the best offensive talent on the board. McDermott can play from the bench for the Suns and he is polished enough to get minutes under Jeff Hornacek. There are a lot of options Phoenix could consider including “draft-and-stash” with Jusuf Nurkic. Rodney Hood would be an excellent fit as would K.J. McDaniels. A real dark horse here might be Nik Stauskas, although they may not have a lot of minutes at the off-guard spot.

#15 – Atlanta Hawks

Rodney Hood Duke SF 6’8″ 208 21

Hood is a knock down shooter and he’d fit in nicely with what the Hawks have going. If you think about Hood on one side and Kyle Korver on the other, the floor is going to open way up for guys like Paul Millsap and Al Horford. There are too many reasons why this pick works for the Hawks; the only problem is if he is gone. If he is there at 15 that would be hard to pass on unless they opted for Nik Stauskas, who is more of a two guard.

#16 – Chicago Bulls

Elfrid Payton La Lafayette PG 6’4″ 185 20

Sixteen may be a little high for Payton, but the Bulls need a backup point guard and Payton has enough promise to work, but needs enough development time that playing smaller minutes behind Derrick Rose won’t be a problem. The Bulls could look for perimeter scoring here, but in terms of best talent that solves the biggest need Payton could be that guy. Rodney Hood would likely be the pick here if Atlanta passes. Stauskas could also been an option here as well.

#17 – Boston Celtics

Nik Stauskas Michigan SG 6’6″ 207 20

If Stauskas is still here at 17, there is too much that works for this not to be the pick. He is knock down shooter and would fit in perfectly with Brad Stevens and how the Celtics want to play. This pick also gives them options if Avery Bradley’s free agency gets silly. P.J. Hairston likely gets a look here as does Clint Capela.

#18 – Phoenix Suns

Jusuf Nurkic Cedevita C 6’11” 280 19

This is likely a “draft-and-stash” move as Nurkic just signed a new extension. Unless he went really high in the draft he likely is playing abroad next season. The Suns would have some other options, but considering the log jams they already have deferring this pick into next season or beyond with a big like Jusuf might be the smart play. Some names to look at here that could make sense are Clint Capela, Walter Tavares or Kristaps Porzingis. Nurkic might be the best of the bunch. This is also a pick that could get traded.

#19 – Chicago Bulls

Gary Harris Michigan State SG 6’4″ 205 19

It is very likely this pick is traded. However, the best talent on the board will be Gary Harris. The word on Harris is very hot and cold. Some teams like him a lot, some teams are not interested at all. If the Bulls have to keep this pick Harris might fit, but this would again be drafting the best talent on the board. There are a couple of other options that might get play here and that is Kristaps Porzingis and Clint Capela. Two dark horses here might be T.J. Warren and Jarnell Stokes, especially if the Bulls are planning to move on from Carlos Boozer either by trade or Amnesty cut. Warren and Stokes would be interesting if Nikola Mirotic is staying aboard for another year.

#20 – Toronto Raptors

Clint Capela Chalon PF 6’11” 222 20

It is easy to say put the Euro in Toronto, but this really would be best talent on the board and he does fill a roster need too. Its unclear if Capela comes over if drafted at 20, but he would be a solid fit with the Raptors, especially developing off the bench. The Raptors could also play the “draft-and-stash” game and look at Kristaps Porzingis or Walter Tavares. A couple of dark horse picks could be Shabazz Napier, DeAndre Daniels and Cleanthony Early.

#21 – Oklahoma City Thunder

Kyle Anderson UCLA SF 6’8″ 230 20

This is a project pick. There is a lot to like about Anderson, but he is not an elite level athlete and he is not someone you could lean on right away. The Thunder are pretty good about having vision on their draft picks and this might be the best talent on the board. A couple of other options here are T.J. Warren, P.J. Hairston, K.J. McDaniels and Glenn Robinson III.

#22 – Memphis Grizzlies

P.J. Hairston Tex Legends SG 6’5″ 229 21

Hairston fits the Grizzlies culture in so many ways and with Chris Wallace likely making the pick, this is exactly the kind of player the Grizzlies covet. This would create a bit of a long-jam with Courtney Lee and last year’s second rounder Jamal Franklin, but Hairston might be the best talent on the board. There is a chance K.J. McDaniels and Glenn Robinson III could land here too. The Grizz want perimeter scoring.

#23 – Utah Jazz

K.J. McDaniels Clemson SF 6’6″ 196 21

If the Jazz keep this pick (they may very well use this to move up), McDaniels solves a lot of problems. He is a decent outside shooter. He is a solid athlete and he is a great defender that blocks shots and rebounds. As far as best talent on the board McDaniels might be the guy if he is still here. Other options here include Mitch McGary, Cleanthony Early and Walter Tavares.

#24 – Charlotte Hornets

Jerami Grant Syracuse SF 6’8″ 214 20

This is where Charlotte might defer their pick by drafting an international player or trade out of this spot in favor of something in the second round to avoid the guaranteed contract. If the Hornets keep the pick, Grant likely fill a need and would be a “best on the board” type selection. This could also be where Mitch McGary, Cleanthony Early or Jarnell Stokes lands.

#25 – Houston Rockets

T.J. Warren N.C. State SF/PF 6’8″ 220 20

This might not be the ideal pick for the Rockets, but they have a long track record of drafting 6’8 guys and figuring out where they fit. Warren might be a good addition to the roster, but this one is really about best talent available. DeAndre Daniels, Jarnell Stokes, Dwight Powell and Johnny O’Bryant could get long looks here too.

#26 – Miami HEAT

Shabazz Napier Connecticut PG 6’1″ 175 22

The HEAT are likely losing Mario Chalmers to free agency and while Norris Cole is likely taking over the starting spot, the HEAT need a reserve guard and Napier may be too good to pass on. The HEAT very rarely draft for need and in most cases they defer their first round picks into the second round as much as possible. Because they need the talent and Napier solves the problem, he might be the best option. Word is the HEAT are also very high on Mitch McGary, Cleanthony Early and Patric Young; all three could land here if still available.

#27 – Phoenix Suns

Kristaps Porzingis Sevilla PF 7’0″ 220 18

If the Suns do not trade this pick, this is a draft-and-stash. The Suns are highly unlikely to bring more than two rookies into camp this year, so at some point they have to either defer picks by drafting international guys or they have to trade out of them. Assuming they are stuck with the pick, Porzingis is the best talent on the board. Other options here include Bogdan Bogdanovic, Walter Tavares and Nikola Jokic.

#28 – LA Clippers

Cleanthony Early Wichita State SF 6’7″ 209 23

The Clips have been searching for help at the small forward spot all year and Early could be the best talent and best option at small forward on the board. There are a few other options that likely get some play here and those include Glenn Robinson III, Dwight Powell, Mitch McGary and Jordan Adams. Early may present the best solution to the problem and he should be able to contribute right away.

#29 – Oklahoma City Thunder

Jarnell Stokes Tennessee PF 6’8″ 263 20

If Stokes is still here, this represents the best talent that solves the biggest need. The Thunder needs someone behind Serge Ibaka and as much as the team hoped it would be Perry Jones III, they have been reluctant to go to him even when the situation might call for it. Stokes is a beast physically, a decent shooter out to the three point line and would solve an immediate need. Other options here in the best talent available department include Glenn Robinson III, Dwight Powell, Mitch McGary and Jordan Adams. There are also a couple of solid “draft and stash” candidates in Bogdan Bogdanovic, Walter Tavares and Nikola Jokic

#30 – San Antonio Spurs

Walter Tavares Gran Canaria C 7’3″ 265 22

The Spurs are the hardest team in the NBA to project picks for and with them sitting dead last in the first round they could go any number of direction. Historically the Spurs have drafted young international guys and stashed them aboard. They did it last year with Livio Jean-Charles and Tavares has San Antonio Spurs written all over him. There are a few others that make sense here including Bogdan Bogdanovic, Mitch McGary and Jordan Adams, but if history holds true expect the Spurs to “draft and stash” a super upside talent and Tavares may be the best on the board.

So there you have it, the logic behind all of my picks this week. The next Consensus Mock Draft will drop next Wednesday and we’ll do this thing all over again.

If you don’t agree, want to argue my thought process or just want to log your picks or protest, drop your thought in the comment box below.

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, @AlexKennedyNBA, @TheRocketGuy, @LangGreene, @EricPincus, @joelbrigham, @SusanBible @TommyBeer, @JabariDavisNBA , @NateDuncanNBA , @MokeHamilton , @JCameratoNBA and @YannisNBA.

Steve Kyler is the Editor and Publisher of Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA and basketball for the last 17 seasons.


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Mock Drafts

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.

Basketball Insiders



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

NBA AM: Final Mock Of The 2017 NBA Draft

Steve Kyler delivers his final 60-pick Mock Draft, as well as the latest news on the draft front.

Steve Kyler



The Final Mock Of The 2017 NBA Draft

So, it comes down to this. While there will surely be some changes between today and the actual draft on Thursday, here is my final Mock Draft of the 2017 NBA Draft season. It reflects all 60-picks and how I see it playing out based on the latest from around the NBA.


We are hearing from NBA teams that this draft class may have the most medical red-flags of any in recent history. Most of them are subjective, meaning teams have to come to grips with the risks involved, which may drive the perceived stock of a player down pretty dramatically.

A medical red-flag is something that surfaced during the physical that is of material concern. These often prompt teams to consider the situation more thoroughly and make a decision on the medium and long-term impact of the ailment. It does not immediately mean a player won’t be drafted, but does change the valuation of a player.

This draft could see a considerable amount of volatility, especially outside the top 1o selections. There is a sense that Detroit at seven, Minnesota at 12 and the Blazers at 15, 20 and 26 are all open to moving one or, in Portland’s case, more of their picks. The Pistons and Wolves are said to covet proven veterans more so that youth, although both are said to have plans to draft a player if they cannot find a deal.

The LA Lakers and New York Knicks are both said to be buyers on additional first round picks. The Cavaliers and the Rockets are also believed to be open to buying into the later part of this draft, which should make things interesting.

With so many picks in the second round belonging to the same group of teams – Denver, Philadelphia and Utah – there is a sense all of them would be open to packing together picks to move up or move out of some of them in the 2nd round.

Philadelphia has a bit of problem with their picks, as they have received in trade nearly the maximum amount of cash a team can receive in a single season. In other words, they won’t have the option of just selling picks for cash; they must make physical trades. This will get tough for them especially as they get in the mid-40s.

The Pre-Draft Basketball Insiders Podcast

Basketball Insiders publisher Steve Kyler and Senior NBA Writer Michael Scotto get into the 76ers and Celtics trade, the Lonzo Ball and Lakers situation, Paul George and the mess the Pacers find themselves in, the future of Gordon Hayward, some NBA draft sleepers, the guys whose draft stock could be falling, where certain players’ floor may be and who is and is not likely to be traded around the 2017 NBA Draft.

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, @MikeAScotto, @LangGreene, @EricPincus, @joelbrigham, @TommyBeer, @MokeHamilton@jblancartenba, @Ben_Dowsett, @CodyTaylorNBA, @SpinDavies, @BuddyGrizzard, @JamesB_NBA, @DennisChambers and @Ben__Nadeau.

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Mock Drafts

2017 “Outsiders” NBA Mock Draft

Each year, we ask “outside” experts for their mock drafts. Here’s how they see it.

Basketball Insiders



Every year, we ask some of our friends in the media world to chime in on their own Mock Draft. We call this the Outsiders Mock to help differentiate it from the Basketball Insiders Mocks we file each week. These guys, however, are the furthest from Outsiders in the NBA world.

This year’s team includes Vince Ellis (@Vincent_Ellis56) of the Detroit Free Press. Vince has covered the NBA for more years than he likes to admit and no one knows the Pistons and the Central Division better than him.

Sherrod Blakely is also a part of this year’s team. He covers the NBA and the Boston Celtics for Comcast Sports New England. In addition to be an absolute follow on Twitter (@SherrodbCSN), Sherrod also co-hosts one of the best NBA podcasts (CelticsTalk) in the business.

Brett Pollakoff of Fox Sports returns to the Mock Draft team this season. Brett is a must follow on Twitter (@BrettEP) and a frequent guest on Basketball Insiders’ Podcasts. No one is more dialed into the shoe game than Brett, who has a pretty solid Snapchat and Instagram game.

Joining us this season is Rick Kamla (@NBATVRick) of NBATV, NBA on TuneIn and host of the top rated Middays With Rick & John sports radio show on 92.5FM The Game in Atlanta. Rick is a legend in the NBA world and one of the most genuine guys in the game.

2017 Outsiders Mock Draft

Pick # Team Brett Pollakoff Rick Kamla Sherrod Blakey Vince Ellis
1 Markelle Fultz Markelle Fultz Markelle Fultz Markelle Fultz
2 Lonzo Ball Lonzo Ball Lonzo Ball Lonzo Ball
3 Josh Jackson Josh Jackson Josh Jackson Josh Jackson
4 Jayson Tatum Jayson Tatum De'Aaron Fox De'Aaron Fox
5 De'Aaron Fox De'Aaron Fox Jayson Tatum Dennis Smith
6 Jonathan Isaac Jonathan Isaac Jonathan Isaac Jonathan Isaac
7 Malik Monk Lauri Markkanen Lauri Markkanen Jayson Tatum
8 Frank Ntilikina Dennis Smith Dennis Smith Frank Ntilikina
9 Lauri Markkanen Frank Ntilikina Frank Ntilikina Lauri Markkanen
10 Dennis Smith Malik Monk T.J. Leaf Zach Collins
11 Donovan Mitchell Zach Collins Malik Monk Malik Monk
12 Zach Collins Donovan Mitchell Luke Kennard Donovan Mitchell
13 OG Anunoby Justin Jackson Jarrett Allen Justin Jackson
14 Justin Jackson T.J. Leaf Donovan Mitchell Luke Kennard
15 Harry Giles John Collins OG Anunoby Justin Patton
16 Luke Kennard Luke Kennard Zach Collins OG Anunoby
17 Jarrett Allen Jarrett Allen Harry Giles John Collins
18 John Collins Ivan Rabb Bam Adebayo T.J. Leaf
19 Justin Patton Justin Patton John Collins Jarrett Allen
20 Tyler Lydon Bam Adebayo Justin Patton Ike Anigbogu
21 T.J. Leaf Terrance Ferguson Justin Jackson Terrance Ferguson
22 Ike Anigbogu Kyle Kuzma D.J. Wilson Isaiah Hartenstein
23 Jawun Evans Harry Giles Ivan Rabb Semi Ojeleye
24 Semi Ojeleye Jordan Bell Semi Ojeleye Frank Jackson
25 D.J. Wilson Semi Ojeleye Jaron Blossomgame D.J. Wilson
26 Ivan Rabb Frank Mason Ike Anigbogu Harry Giles
27 Terrance Ferguson Tyler Lydon Anzejs Pasecniks Tyler Lydon
28 Jordan Bell Ike Anigbogu Wesley Iwundu Bam Adebayo
29 Anzejs Pasecniks Josh Hart Isaiah Hartenstein Tony Bradley
30 Derrick White Dillon Brooks Johnathan Motley Caleb Swanigan

*** This Mock does reflect the current Philadelphia 76ers trade with the Boston Celtics for the first overall pick.

The next Mock Draft will drop on Tuesday with Steve Kyler’s latest 60-Pick Mock Draft, then on Wednesday we’ll drop the final Insider’s Consensus Mock of the 2017 NBA Draft cycle, which will be the first 60-pick Mock in the Consensus format featuring all four contributors. The annual Basketball Insiders Draft Day Diary will also ramp up on Tuesday and run you all the way through the draft with the very latest news, rumors and deals as they get done, updated throughout the day.

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