With the NBA regular season into its last quarter, I thought I would do something completely original and re-draft the class of 2017. Enjoy.
Pick #1 – Philadelphia 76ers
Jayson Tatum. Original pick – #3. Yes, after the Philly traded up to get the number #1 pick, to me, the pick they would go for now, went at #3 – The pick they traded for #1. Granted, we haven’t seen what Markelle Fultz can do yet, due to injury, and Philly have an uncanny knack of unearthing gold after long standing injury. However, given how well Ben Simmons is playing at Guard, the lure of a solid Small Forward in Tatum would be hard to refuse. Imagine a line with Simmons, Tatum and Embiid… wow. Tatum’s biggest rep has to be that since day one he does not look like a rookie. He fits into Boston’s system like a veteran.
Pick #2 – Los Angeles Lakers
Lonzo Ball. Original pick – #2. Here comes the hate mail. Three months ago I had Ball out of my top 10. I was dubious on Ball early on, but as time progresses, I am more and more excited by Him, and he is starting to show everyone how he can be a leader in LA for a long time. Different to Tatum, as he definitely looked like a rookie, but also different because there appears to be much more potential in Ball than Tatum. Tatum comes across like he will be as good as he is now for a long time, and that is a seriously good player, but Ball could be anything. Like comparing Tim Duncan to Allen Iverson. I can’t think of anyone in this draft class that is more suited to historical Lakers Basketball, and with Magic Johnson at the helm, it’s no surprise he went for a sharp passer.
Pick #3 – Boston Celtics
Donovan Mitchell. Original pick – #13. Jumping 10 spots from his draft position, Donovan Mitchell is the first surprise packet of the NBA Draft. And if the Celtics knew that Hayward was going to go down, Donovan Mitchell would have complemented Kyrie Irving amazingly. Mitchell is leading the way for the Jazz, who are one of the hottest teams at the moment. If you consider that Boston wouldn’t get Tatum (as he went #1 in the redraft), you would have a back court of Irving, Mitchell, Brown. When Hayward comes back, you have a real challenge for positions.
Pick #4 – Phoenix Suns
Lauri Markkanen. Original pick – #7. The first good big guy of the draft. He can shoot from the perimeter, and has a lot of height. He is making an otherwise hapless Chicago team competitive. Put him in Phoenix and they would be an otherwise hapless team that would be competitive. Plus, Markkanen and Booker would work well together. They would stretch defenses with their shooting ability, which could free Dragan Bender up for some easy paint points.
Pick #5 – Sacramento Kings
Kyle Kuzma. Original pick – #27. Kuuuuz! The biggest surprise of the draft. Kyle Kuzma has proven to be a prolific scorer in the NBA. The only reason he isn’t higher in the re-draft is that he hasn’t proven himself as a certain starter or as a big-minute player. Put him in Sacramento, though, and he likely becomes their main scorer, and probably just their main man.
Pick #6 – Orlando Magic
Markelle Fultz. Original pick – #1. It is hard to push Fultz down the order, but because of his injury, it is hard to measure his potential up against what these other rookies are actually doing. I have no doubt he will be an integral part of the 76ers when he is healthy, but I don’t know that yet. The top 5 pick are already proven. I think the Magic still take him though, as they haven’t got much else going for them at the moment, and Jonathon Isaac, while being solid, has not lived up to a #6 pick. Plus, with Fultz out injured, they would still get a good draft pick next year, and suddenly you have a fresh guard and another quality rookie from the 2018 class for your club to build around.
Pick #7 – Minnesota Timberwolves traded to Chicago Bulls
Dennis Smith Jr. Original pick – #9. Bear in mind this pick would be going to Chicago regardless, as the Bulls dealt Jimmy Butler before the pick was made. So Dennis Smith would still go to Chicago. Smith has been really solid for a very underwhelming Dallas team. They will be building around him for the next few years, and are hoping for a Doncic or Ayton to join him next year. As Chicago are also rebuilding, they would equally benefit from a player of Smith’s calibre.
Pick #8 – New York Knicks
De’Aaron Fox. Original pick – #5. Fox being pushed from #5 to #8 is not because of anything he has done, it is because of the strength of Mitchell, Kuzma and Smith forcing their way above him. in Fox’s current role, he again is at a club (the Kings) that are rebuilding, and have plans to build around him. The Knicks took Frank Ntilikina, who has not lived up to the expectations people had on him. He has been good, without standing out. Put Fox in the Knicks, with Porzingis and the Knicks immediately look stronger. When you consider the Knicks were above .500 for a long time this season, he could have been the difference between them finally breaking their playoff drought, and them waiting on the draft lottery – again.
Pick #9 – Dallas Mavericks
Josh Jackson. Original pick – #4. This could be a matter of atmosphere, as Dennis Smith has thrived in Dallas because they don’t have much quality around him (besides Nowitzski), and Jackson has played second or third fiddle to Booker and Bender in Phoenix. This has pushed Jackson’s stocks down, but if he went to Dallas, it could have been a different story. Similar to Smith, Jackson would be a great building block for Dallas leading into another draft.
Pick #10 – Sacramento Kings traded to Portland Trail Blazers
Josh Hart. Original pick – #30. Another sleeper in this draft class, Josh Hart has proven himself more than capable of being a solid starting guard, or a more than solid rotation player. He was keeping Isaiah Thomas on the bench before he got injured, and that is no easy feat. How would he fit in Portland? Probably not as well, as he would be behind Lillard and McCollum, but at the very least he would be healthy trade bait. He would be their stand out #3 guard if he stuck around.
Some things to consider about this draft class:
Is it just me, or is it the strongest in a while? Obviously last year had Simmons, but in terms of depth, it has been a while since we have had a draft class this strong.
How well did the Lakers do! They got Ball, Kuzma and Hart. Good times ahead for the Lake Show if they can hold onto those three.
The three top 10 draftees that missed my list were:
- Jonathon Isaac #6
- Frank Ntilikina #8
- Zach Collins #10
So that’s the way I see the 2017 draft class. I am sure there is a lot of disagreement out there, and feel free to share! I love the banter.