Now that the Phoenix Suns have quietly settled themselves into the #2 overall position for lottery balls with only three games to go in the regular season, let’s conduct the first part of our first mock draft of the spring.
The 2017 NBA Draft has been touted as one of the best in a long time, containing talent at the top of the draft that could help multiple franchises find their cornerstone player for the future. The draft offers talent top to bottom that should put the 2016 pool into proper perceptive as nothing more than forgettable.
Today, and over the next few days, Bright Side unveils it’s first mock draft with Dave King and social media contributor Jake Weingarten taking turns with the picks and justifications.
Without further ado...
Markelle Fultz, PG, Washington
How would Fultz look in a Suns uni...
This kid without a doubt should be the #1 selection in the NBA draft. Dave, I don't know about you but this kid has fire in him that fits perfectly in the Celtic system.
This kid is super athletic, he has a freaky 6'10 wingspan, plus he's quick with his feet and is great at the rim. Backing up Isaiah Thomas might not be ideal for Fultz but it would 100% be great for the future of the Boston Celtics organization.
NBA Comparison: Russell Westbrook. Why? his wingspan and athletic ability can be compared to Russ's in some type of form.
(Dave King adds) Jake, I'd probably go with a Damian Lillard type as a closer Fultz comp, but that's me more looking at the athletic ability, score-first mentality and variety of ways to score.
With the second pick in the 2017 Mock Draft, Dave King and the Phoenix Suns select....
Josh Jackson, SF, Kansas
Jackson in a Suns uni...
Jackson is a 6'8" small forward with a bulldog mentality and great defensive instincts. He can facilitate from the wing as well as rebound and score.
In Phoenix, Jackson would be a perfect fit next to Devin Booker on the wing, providing everything Booker doesn't, and then some. The Suns need toughness, athleticism and defense on the perimeter, and Jackson could provide all of those qualities.
Also, the Suns need a talker on D who can get everyone into the right spots as the play unfolds. None of Bender, Chriss, Warren or Len is that type of barker. Jackson could be. Let’s hope he is.
NBA Comparison: Jackson's closest NBA comps are guys like Jimmy Butler and Paul George who have become two-way stars in the league.
With the third pick in the 2017 Mock Draft, Jake Weingarten and the Los Angeles Lakers select....
Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA
Ball in a Suns uni...
What else do we need to say about the kid. His father wanted him in a Laker uniform and it'd be a dream come true for Lonzo and his family. He would be a good piece next to Russell or off the bench.
He's got amazing court vision, his passing ability is unique and very rare in the college game. I think he could translate that passing ability to the pros. One thing he needs to fix is his form, yes it goes in but I don't know how that shot will work in the pros.
NBA Comparison: Jason Kidd. He has been compared to Kidd by many. His passing vision is great on the court. They were both very aggressive on the rebound end as well.
(DK adds) I’ve heard the Kidd comps as well, Jake, but Kidd was an all-world defender and Ball just doesn’t profile that way. Both were great passers and bad shooters on offense, so there’s that I guess.
Note: The Lakers are very lucky to retain their pick this year after dropping to 3rd in lotto balls. If they’d dropped to 4th after the lottery, their pick conveys to the Sixers.
With the fourth pick in the 2017 Mock Draft, Dave King and the Orlando Magic select....
Jayson Tatum, SF, Duke
Tatum in a Suns uni...
Tatum is a 6'8" scorer who can pass a little, rebound a little and put the ball in the hoop from anywhere in the half court. He also has great athleticism and can play good defense, as well as rebound. He's just a touch below Jackson in the small forward rankings.
Tatum fits perfectly in Orlando, where they are committing to Aaron Gordon at power forward and have Bismack Biyombo and Nikola Vucevic manning the pivot. Tatum on that Bismack/Gordon front line could be devastating, and could provide everything they had wanted from Tobias Harris but never quite got.
NBA Comparison: Danny Granger
With the fifth pick in the 2017 Mock Draft, Dave King and the Philadelphia 76ers select....
Malik Monk, SG, Kentucky
(DK) Monk is a 6-4' sharp shooter who can fill it up from the outside, and occasionally distribute the ball as well. Devin Booker has recently jabbed Calipari for how many shots he’s found for Monk at Kentucky, while Booker stayed a 6th man and never got to score 20 points in college despite winning ‘Sixth Man of the Year’ in the conference.
With Ben Simmons returning next year to do all the playmaking for the Sixers, and with Embiid, Saric, Okafor and Robert Covington handling front line duties, the Sixers badly need a shooter. Monk fits that need to a T.
NBA Comparison: a shorter Rip Hamilton maybe? Or a lighter Eric Gordon. it’s possible Monk’s best comp among young players is Devin Booker, but only if Monk expands his pro game like Booker did. Otherwise, Monk fits the description of a lot of combo guards who come off the bench.
With the sixth pick in the 2017 Mock Draft, Jake Weingarten and the New York Knicks select....
De’Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky
This kid is unbelievable. He had an amazing season and tournament. His slashing ability his great, he's not afraid to drive to the hoop. Plus he can shoot the three as well. His passing ability is also very good. He has great offensive IQ, his defense is very good as well. He understands where the pass is gonna go and he will speed in there and interrupt a play.
NBA Comparison: John Wall. Both are very good at driving to the lane. Both can also shoot the three at times and play very good defense.
(DK adds) I might see a Russell Westbrook type as a better comp, based on his superior speed, ball handling and aggression.
With the seventh pick in the 2017 Mock Draft, Jake Weingarten and the Sacramento Kings select....
Jonathan Isaac, SF, Florida State
Isaac is very versatile and quick on the floor. He can defend all around the perimeter and can even stretch and shoot the ball. His unique ability is the ability to run the floor. If you watch him run the floor sometimes you forget he's a forward and not a guard.
NBA Comparison: Lamarcus Aldridge. Great perimeter fender and can run the floor and stretch.
(DK adds) Isaac was impressive to me in the NCAA Tournament. He has all the tools to succeed in the NBA as a unique player. There might be some Lamar Odom in him, maybe a bit of Paul George, but it’s all very raw.
With the eighth pick in the 2017 Mock Draft, Jake Weingarten and the Minnesota Timberwolves select....
Lauri Markkanen, F, Arizona
This kid defines what it means to be a big man. What a college career he had although it was just one year. He was dropping 20+ points left and right and rebounding heavily as well. His at the rim ability is amazing, he can even shoot mid-range and the three ball at an efficient rate. His game can definitely translate into the pros.
(DK adds) The Wolves need outside shooting, and Markkanen can provide it.
NBA Comparison: His best NBA comp comes from the stretch four ranks, like Ryan Anderson in his prime with the Magic.
With the ninth pick in the 2017 Mock Draft, Dave King and the Dallas Mavericks select....
Dennis Smith, PG, NC State
Dennis Smith is a defensive powerhouse at point guard who can distribute and score, but has trouble shooting from any kind of distance.
Dallas needs athleticism and potential, and Smith gives both.
NBA Comparison: Rajon Rondo
With the 10th pick in the 2017 Mock Draft, Dave King and the Sacramento Kings (via New Orleans Pelicans) select....
Frank Ntilikina, PG, France
NTILIKINA is a prodigy 6'5" point guard with great skills but has had little chance to show them off on an international level. However, he has recently cemented his talent as a top 10 pick and potentially the very best PG in the draft one day.
Ntilinka can pass, score and might be the best defender at his position one day.
His fit with the Kings is clear - they need a new start at point guard to lead their super-skilled young front court with Jonathan Isaac, Papa Johns, Skal and Willie Cauley-Stein.
NBA Comparison: Not really sure. Maybe Russell Westbrook? Maybe a Rondo that can shoot?
Remember, these positions can change over the last few days of the season. But what Jake and I were trying to do is match up the best prospects with the best teams, based on where they were drafting.
Hope you enjoyed picks 1-10. Looks like each team got a lot better, and in my opinion filled their biggest needs with talents who can make a difference.
Let us know your thoughts!
What grade would you give the Suns taking Josh Jackson over Ball, Monk, Tatum and others?
This poll is closed