NBA Mock Draft v 3.0: How the Celtics-Sixers trade shakes up the lottery

Tim and Sid discuss a, "Breaking Rumour" that the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics are discussing a trade for the first overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.

After a wild weekend in the NBA, it’s safe to say that Thursday’s draft will not disappoint when it comes to drama. This year’s draft class is deep and loaded with talent at all positions, and the 76ers’ reported trade to grab No. 1 overall should reverberate down the board. The teams in the top eight all have multiple needs, which means it also might be one of the more unpredictable drafts in recent memory.

With a new team picking first, here’s a look at Sportsnet’s latest mock draft:

Pick Team Player
1 Markelle Fultz, PG, Washington
The draft hasn’t happened yet and we can already dub the Sixers as the biggest winners of them all. In swapping picks with Boston and trading up to No. 1, Philadelphia lands the franchise point guard that most teams covet in today’s NBA. As I covered last week, Fultz is absolutely the real deal and, given Joel Embiid’s injury track record, the biggest piece in the Process puzzle.
2 Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA
While I still don’t love the notion of a Ball-D’Angelo Russell backcourt, the Lakers would ultimately be wise to take the best player available, knowing Russell could make for a good trade chip, or prove me wrong altogether. The Lakers may have bigger needs than point guard, but it seems we may be collectively underrating Ball at this point, distracted by the noise his father makes. A six-foot-six elite playmaker who can knock down open threes has a chance to thrive with the right team around him.
3 Josh Jackson, F, Kansas
By trading down to No. 3, and out of Fultz territory, the Celtics appear to be making a statement that they feel they can compete now and in the future with Isaiah Thomas running the point. They may regret that, if Fultz reaches expectations, but for a team that just finished atop the conference and made the East Finals, you can understand them putting themselves in a position to use the draft to address their current roster needs as opposed to stockpiling assets and figuring it out later (which would’ve been the case with Fultz). That means they’ll now likely be able to select Jackson, whom I already made the case for being the best fit of any player in this draft. The key here is to consider the six-foot-eight Jackson as a modern-day power forward, and not a small forward as he was in college. A potential lineup of Thomas, Avery Bradley, Jaylen Brown/Jae Crowder, Jackson, and Al Horford is very, very intriguing.
4 De’Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky
This would be predicated on the Suns looking to trade Eric Bledsoe, who should receive a fair deal of interest on the trade market and allow them to address other areas of need, like on the wing (Paul George is a darkhorse rental candidate here). In Fox, the Suns would get their point guard of the future, and a player who should pair really well with budding superstar and franchise centrepiece Devin Booker.
5 Jayson Tatum, SF, Duke
In this mock draft scenario, the Kings are (…are you sitting down?) the biggest losers on draft night, missing out on a player in Fox who has sky-high potential and fills the Kings’ most pressing need. But while Tatum may lack the upside of Fox or the players before— and after— him, it’s very easy to envision the Duke product adjusting nicely to the NBA level. He is a natural scorer whose advanced mid-range game and touch around the basket allow him to be a go-to contributor in Sacramento and a nice second option beside Buddy Hield.
6 Malik Monk, SG, Kentucky
The Magic can go any direction here and address a need in the process. They are far off from building a solid team, and so you throw current needs out the window when you’re looking to strike gold and find a potential star in the draft. Enter: Monk. He only showed flashes in Kentucky, where Fox took over as the primary option as the NCAA season wore on, but Monk can play either guard position and is an elite athlete and even better shooter with one of the highest upsides in the draft.
7 Lauri Markkanen, F/C, Arizona
The Finnish sharpshooter led all projected lottery picks by hitting more than 43 per cent of his three-point attempts in his lone season at Arizona. At seven feet tall, he should be able to continue to do damage from deep at the NBA level while helping to spread the floor and create room for Karl-Anthony Towns to wreak havoc near the hoop.
8 Frank Ntilikina, PG, France
The Knicks would be wise to take one of the two high-potential point guards still remaining, and which one they choose depends on how committed they are to the triangle offense. The last chunk of the season was spent auditioning players who could play in the system, so you’d have to believe they are truly committed to it, which makes Ntilikina the smart pick here over Dennis Smith Jr. Ntilikina’s size and passing acumen give him the edge over a superior athlete in the high-flying Smith Jr.
9 Jonathan Isaac, F, Florida State
One of the biggest risk/reward players in the draft, Isaac projects to be a skilled rebounder and rim-protector whose tall, lanky Kevin Durant-type frame and shooting potential could make him a two-way terror. But there are questions about his natural feel for the game, which is something that should improve with time. Isaac has top-five talent, so to nab him at this spot would be a real coup for a Mavs team rebuilding on the fly for life after Dirk.
10 Dennis Smith Jr., PG, North Carolina State
Ok, I take back what I said about the Kings being the losers of the draft. This team desperately needs a point guard to build around, and if Smith Jr. were to fall into their laps at No. 10 they’ll be doing somersaults in Sacramento. There are serious concerns surrounding his shooting ability and interest in playing defense, but he’s arguably the best athlete in this draft and his potential alone, under the right tutelage, is legitimately worth getting excited about.
11 Luke Kennard, SG, Duke
Zach Collins is an intriguing big man prospect, but Kennard fills a greater need on a Hornets roster with minutes and long-term salary tied up in the frontcourt in the forms of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Frank Kaminsky, and Cody Zeller. Kennard may not be a potential future star like some of the others available here, but his greatest skill— perimeter shooting— makes him incredibly valuable entering a league in which a team needs to have knock-down shooters to compete.
12 Donovan Mitchell, G, Louisville
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is entering free-agency but regardless of whether or not he re-signs in Detroit, Mitchell gives the Pistons an intriguing backcourt prospect who can play either guard position and opened eyes with a dominant performance at the draft combine. He may not be a franchise cornerstone, but it’s not hard to imagine Mitchell contributing at the NBA level.
13 Zach Collins, F/C, Gonzaga
Collins has a ton of potential, and while his current impact will likely come on the defensive end, where the seven-footer should be a solid rim-protector as he adds size, his offensive game is believed to be far more advanced and versatile than what we saw in his lone season at Gonzaga. Collins is a top-10 draft talent, plunging to the end of the lottery only due to the strength of the class of ’17.
14 Justin Jackson, G/F, North Carolina
A proven winner with a strong work ethic and reliable jumper, Jackson should be a nice piece on a Heat team that values all three attributes.
15 OG Anunoby, SF, Indiana
Portland could use a big man, but has multiple picks in the first round, where there will be plenty of options available with their next picks. But there aren’t many players like Anunoby, who could be a truly elite defender in the NBA and a dangerous rim-runner. His shooting deficiencies would be masked well on a team with a lot of players who can already stretch the floor and let it fly.
16 John Collins, PF, Wake Forest
Bobby Portis hardly broke out as expected once the Bulls traded away Taj Gibson. Collins, an excellent rebounder and skilled scorer, can be the answer in the frontcourt and a good complement to current Bulls bigs Nikola Mirotic and Joffrey Lauvergne.
17 Jarrett Allen, C, Texas
Thon Maker impressed playing the five for the Bucks in the 2017 playoffs, and while he may be Milwaukee’s centre of the future, Allen gives them a nice complement with a ton of upside coming off the bench.
18 Bam Adebayo, F/C, Kentucky
The Pacers are reportedly looking for a point guard as part of their return in a potential Paul George deal, which leaves them looking to find talent in the frontcourt with this pick. Adebayo may not be an all-star level talent, but his strength and ferocity around the hoop should translate well to the next level, where he can form a potent duo beside Myles Turner.
19 Justin Patton, C, Creighton
At seven feet tall and 230 pounds, Patton’s versatile skill-set coupled with his size makes him one of the most interesting big man prospects in the draft. He’s not quite NBA-ready, but will get a chance to develop at his own pace on a team with Dwight Howard currently soaking up minutes at centre.
20 T.J. Leaf, F, UCLA
Leaf proved to be a solid running mate and secondary option alongside Ball at UCLA, and could take his ability to run and stretch the floor to Portland, where, like Anunoby, he could complement the Blazers’ current core well.
21 Semi Ojeleye, F, SMU
The darling of Raptors reddit, Ojeleye is a versatile player who can do a little bit of everything. He may not be a future star, but he’ll be a welcome addition who could develop into a favourite weapon running the lane with Russell Westbrook.
22 Jawun Evans, PG, Oklahoma State
Despite plenty of intriguing bigs remaining, the Nets have another pick later in the round, and have a chance to add talent to the backcourt in the form of Evans, a solid lead guard who is worth the gamble here.
23 Terrance Ferguson, SG/SF, USA
The Raps aren’t expected to land a major contributor at this spot, at least not when it comes to next season. And on a team with clear deficiencies it’s fair to ask whether Masai Ujiri should be drafting for need or potential. In Ferguson the Raptors could find both— the high school star who went the Brandon Jennings route and played pro ball overseas last season could fill the biggest need with his shooting ability, while also projecting as a piece that could use some time developing the rest of his game with the Raptors 905.
24 Derrick White, G, Colorado
Though he’s not projected to be a first-rounder on most mock drafts, scouts are very high on White, who could add security for a Jazz team in jeopardy of losing George Hill to free agency and in need of playmakers in the backcourt.
25 Isaiah Hartenstein, F/C, Germany
A big man who can stretch the floor and has a relatively high ceiling, this would be a low-risk/high-reward pick for Orlando at this spot.
26 Wesley Iwundu, G/F, Kansas State
Expect the Trail Blazers to be active working the phones looking to deal one or more of their three first-rounders, but otherwise, having already picked two bigs, Iwundu, a defensive-oriented wing, would be the smart choice here.
27 Harry Giles, PF, Duke
Giles is one of the biggest question marks in this draft. He’s undergone multiple knee surgeries since being the top-ranked high school prospect in 2015, and if any team would have the patience to see if he can one day return to being the talent he was heading into college, it’s the Nets.
28 Ivan Rabb, PF, California
Rabb was a top-ranked high-schooler whose stock dropped throughout his college career. Yet his rebounding acumen and an offensive game that could translate well to the NBA could make him a steal this late in the draft.
29 Johnathan Motley, F, Baylor
With a high motor and disruptive length, Motley can make an impact on both ends of the floor and can represent potential matchup problems versus the Spurs’ new rivals in Golden State.
30 Jordan Bell, F/C, Oregon
The Jazz double down on their calling card— defence— with a potential defensive game-changer in Bell, one of the biggest breakout stars of the NCAA Tournament and an elite rim protector at the college level.