I had planned to do a piece outlining the most likely outcomes of the Sixers draft…but then this weekend happened. In case you live under a rock or Al Gore revoked your internet privileges, the Philadelphia 76ers made a big move to secure the first overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. I’ll have draft profiles and scouting reports for all of the Sixers selections in the coming weeks.
Let’s all celebrate the big news by listening to the greatest song ever recorded while you read through my predicted selections that will more than likely be incorrect! CLAP YOUR HANDS!
1 – Philadelphia 76ers (from BOS) – Markelle Fultz
PG – Washington – 6’4” 195
Were you expecting a Shyamalan plot-twist here? Much more to come on this selection in the coming weeks, but the Sixers get the best player in the draft and it’s not even close.
2 – Los Angeles Lakers – Lonzo Ball
PG – UCLA – 6’6” 190
Be careful what you wish for Magic! Best passer I’ve seen in college, but has some serious holes in his game. As drastic a “boom or bust” prospect you can find.
3 – Boston Celtics (from PHI) – Jayson Tatum
SF – Duke – 6’8” 204
Go-to scorer potential but not much else. Interested to see if Danny Ainge, aka The Pick Collector, uses this one or trades it for a veteran on draft night.
4 – Phoenix Suns – Josh Jackson
SF – Kansas – 6’8” 203
Jackson is a much better version of TJ Warren. Defensively he will make an early impact, but only time will tell if he can expand his game to become a star.
5 – Sacramento Kings (from PHI) – De’Aaron Fox
PG – Kentucky – 6’4” 171
Isn’t it great that we’re all huge Kings fans now? Fox has been my heart’s favorite pick all season, even when my eyes told me otherwise. Best case he’s John Wall. Worst case he’s Dennis Schroder.
6 – Orlando Magic – Jonathan Isaac
PF – Florida St – 6’11” 205
Common misconception about Isaac is that he can play on the wing. From what I’ve seen, he’s at his best hedging screens and preventing trips into the paint. In the right scheme, could be a defensive terror.
7 – Minnesota Timberwolves – Lauri Markkanen
PF/C – Arizona – 7’0” 225
Tom Thibodeau will lose the rest of his hair watching this guy play defense and rebound, but boy can he shoot.
8 – New York Knicks – Malik Monk
SG – Kentucky – 6’4” 197
I feel bad for anyone that has to go spend time with James Dolan and Phil Jackson, but hopefully they can carve out a role for this kid. At least he’ll learn how to play the kazoo.
9 – Dallas Mavericks – Frank Ntilikina
PG – Strasbourg (France) – 6’5” 170
The Mavs (and I) love French Frank, so much so that they hired his coach to be an assistant on their summer league team. That’s too much of a coincidence. He’s a guard you grow in a laboratory and could be something really special.
10 – Sacramento Kings (from NO) – OG Anunoby
SF – Indiana – 6’8” 215
OG, although injured, is the best perimeter defender in the class and if he learns how to do literally anything else on the court, he’s an excellent pick for the Kings. Did I just say that? Quick, find them another projectable center prospect.
11 – Charlotte Hornets – Donovan Mitchell
SG – Louisville – 6’3” 210
Perfect fit next to Kemba Walker. Super twitchy defensive prospect with a promising jumper and huge arms. Hornets look like a really solid team with Mitchell and Dwight How-ahahahah I can’t.
12 – Detroit Pistons – Dennis Smith
PG – NC State – 6’3” 195
It was tough for me to slot Smith down this far, but I don’t see a good fit outside of Dallas above. I’m not projecting trades, but if Smith is on the board this late, don’t be shocked to see someone move up. He’s a super talented kid that could end up being the best player in the class, or he’s Marcus Thornton.
13 – Denver Nuggets – Zach Collins
PF/C – Gonzaga – 7’0” 230
The Nuggets get a nice projectable two-way big with range and toughness. Collins is a really nice player and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a team gamble on him, even as high as 7th.
14 – Miami Heat – John Collins
PF – Wake Forest – 6’10” 225
Collins reminds me a little bit of Chris Bosh in terms of his game – not as athletic and the range isn’t quite as deep, but he can put up points in a hurry. Bonus points for taking the hometown kid.
15 – Portland Trail Blazers – Justin Jackson
SF – North Carolina – 6’8” 193
Portland could really stand to upgrade on the wing and Jackson is a perfect fit. He’s an upgrade over (former Sixer) Moe Harkless and as a junior, has the experience to step in early on and compete for a big role.
16 – Chicago Bulls – TJ Leaf
PF – UCLA – 6’10” 220
Looking at the Bulls roster is like trying to put together a fantasy football team from waivers only. If it wasn’t for the most impressive streak in sports history, the Bulls would be much lower. They get much needed athleticism and floor-spacing in Leaf, who quietly put up really good numbers for UCLA all season.
17 – Milwaukee Bucks – Terrence Ferguson
SG – Adelaide (Australia) – 6’7” 186
The Bucks are wild. They zig when everyone zags. So let’s overthink things and take Terrence Ferguson, a US wing who decommitted from Arizona to head overseas to Australia, where he absolutely stunk. I’m not convinced he wants to be an NBA player due to this mechanics, inconsistency, and body language, but he certainly has the prerequisites for what you look for in a modern NBA wing: size, speed, and a (forgotten) jumper.
18 – Indiana Pacers – Ike Anigbogu
C – UCLA – 6’10” 230
Let’s assume the Pacers trade Paul George. I know, big assumption. What do they have left? Myles Turner. What does Myles Turner need? A bruising counterpart in the paint. Anigbogu has as much potential as any big in the draft, he just needs to put it together. Having Al Jefferson to learn from isn’t the worst idea either.
19 – Atlanta Hawks – Justin Patton
C – Creighton – 7’0” 226
The Hawks need front-court help after losing Dwight Howard (still laughing) and possibly Paul Millsap. Patton needs some time but he’s an athletic, two-way center that fits the bill.
20 – Portland Trail Blazers (from MEM) – Jordan Bell
PF – Oregon – 6’9” 227
Jordan Bell is a freak athlete and proved it at the combine, testing out better than nearly every player in attendance (including the guards). He’s a defensive monster but unfortunately is undersized and forgot to box out in the NCAA tournament. If he was two inches taller he’d be a lottery pick. Incredible value and fit for the Blazers.
21 – Oklahoma City Thunder – Jonah Bolden
PF – Radnicki Basket (Serbia) – 6’10” 227
Sam Presti is a creative guy, having taken former crushes of mine like Alex Abrines and Rodrigue Beaubois. Bolden is not just a fun Euro, he’s a great fit on this roster as a bouncy, stretch-four that can run the floor with ease.
22 – Brooklyn Nets (from WAS) – Jarrett Allen
C – Texas – 6’11” 224
Brooklyn quietly played decent basketball down the stretch last season. Replacing
revolving door starting center Brook Lopez (traded to LAL) with Allen is a great start to building a better defense. Allen has a long way to go, but reminds me of Nerlens Noel.
23 – Toronto Raptors (from LAC) – Anzejs Pasecnicks
C – Gran Canaria (Spain) – 7’2” 229
If you squint, you can see the next Porzingis. If you open your eyes, you definitely don’t. He’s a big, mobile,
Lativian gangbanger Latvian center that oozes with potential but is nowhere near ready. The Drakes will eventually have to move on from Jonas to compete against the Cavs (sorry Josh) and Pasecnicks is someone they can bring over down the road to eat into those minutes.
24 – Utah Jazz – Bam Adebayo
PF/C – Kentucky – 6’10” 250
Great name! Great fit! He’s got a little bit Derrick Favors in his game already, so he’s ahead of the curve. Will be a nice reserve player who can eventually take on a bigger role in the future.
25 – Orlando Magic (from TOR) – Harry Giles
C – Duke – 6’11” 222
I was really hoping Giles would slide down to the Spurs, but I can’t justify the Magic passing him by. I’m not a Giles fan and never have been. Nothing on his high school tape blew me away and I certainly don’t trust an 18 year old that is already three knee surgeries deep. But if he can somehow stay healthy, he’s a huge steal and a great value pick as a rim protector and defensive anchor. But seriously, is there anyway that Pop wouldn’t make this guy a perennial All-NBA defensive player?
26 – Portland Trail Blazers (from CLE) – Isaiah Hartenstein
PF/C – Zalgiris (Lithuania) – 7’0” 225
Portland is up against the cap and gets to stash one overseas for a few years. Hartenstein is all about projection as the production just isn’t there yet, but he looks the part and has glimpses of an outside game.
27 – Los Angeles Lakers (from BKN) – DJ Wilson
PF – Michigan – 6’10” 240
The Lakers take a versatile defender here that should be a nice bench player when they roll out their 2020 #SuperTeam of Lonzo Ball/LaMelo Ball/Paul George/LiAngelo Ball/LeBron James.
28 – Los Angeles Lakers (from HOU) – Tyler Lydon
SF/PF – Syracuse – 6’10” 225
See above but replace “a versatile defender” with “floor spacing big-man”.
29 – San Antonio Spurs – Mathias Lessort
PF/C – Nanterre (France) – 6’9” 250
OF COURSE THEY’RE TAKING AN INTERNATIONAL GUY! Spurs stay on-brand here and take one of my favorite players in the draft in Lessort. Lessort is a hybrid of Reggie Evans, Kenneth Faried, and Draymond Green. He can’t really shoot or do anything exceptionally well, but his motor doesn’t stop churning. Spurs need youth and energy in the paint, and Lessort brings that in spades.
30 – Utah Jazz (from GS) – Semi Ojeleye
SF/PF – SMU – 6’7” 235
The Jazz close out the first round with a nice combo-forward that does a little bit of everything and should compete for minutes right out of the gate. Hopefully he didn’t pick up any bad habits from his old coach Larry Brown, like promising Larry Hughes he’d draft him over Paul Pierce. I’m not upset though.
36 – Philadelphia 76ers (from NYK) – Tyler Dorsey
PG/SG – Oregon – 6’4” 180
Tyler Dorsey is a great fit on this team. He is a shooter through-and-through and proved that he wasn’t a pushover on defense either during the 5-on-5 portion of the combine. Dorsey doesn’t have great size for a two-guard, but he could play the point in a pinch with the second unit, or get some run in certain small-ball lineups as a two-guard. He has a short, pure shooting stroke and has never shied away from taking the big shot, carrying Oregon to two deep NCAA runs in consecutive years. Dorsey is a tremendous fit and someone that I would be pounding the table for on Thursday night in Philly’s war-room.
39 – Philadelphia 76ers (from DAL) – Thomas Bryant
C – Indiana – 6’10” 241
Assuming the Sixers look to trade Jahlil Okafor (which seems likely) they will need to replenish the front-court with bodies, especially with Joel Embiid playing at most 70 games next season. The position will be addressed in free agency, but Bryant would be a nice start. He has an impressive offensive game, with a decent inside game and a surprisingly adequate shooting touch from outside. He is long-armed and mobile, with the potential to be a decent defensive player in time. I emphasize potential as he has yet to show it in two years at Indiana. I’ve liked Bryant for two seasons now and would be happy to see what the team can mold him into.
46 – Philadelphia 76ers (from MIA) – Vlatko Cancar
SF/PF – Mega Leks (Serbia) – 6’8” 210
The Sixers can’t add 5 players to the roster, so look for them to stash at least one player overseas. It’s a weak class, but Bryan Colangelo has spent some time this season overseas and wouldn’t have had to go far to see an old teammate of Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot at Mega Leks (of the famed neon jerseys). Cancar is a combo forward that reminds me of Dario Saric a bit. He’s a better shooter but isn’t as big, strong, or cerebral as Saric. He wins with energy, effort, and range at the moment, and if he can continue to progress, could be a nice bench piece in a few years to bring over on a cheap deal.
50 – Philadelphia 76ers (from ATL) – James Blackmon
SG – Indiana – 6’3 184
Taking a shot here. The international class is so bad that I can’t even pick someone to slot here from who I presume would still be on the board. So where do we turn? The G-League. I was looking for an older player with something to prove and already featuring an NBA-level skill. Enter James Blackmon. I’ve followed Blackmon, who just finished his junior year at Indiana, since his freshman year when he showed his range and scoring proficiency from the start. He suffered a knee injury in his sophomore year right as I was poised to push him higher and higher up my board, but came back strong as a junior. Over his career at IU, he shot 42% from three and averaged 16 points per game. He’s undersized, older, and has some wear and tear on his body, but he will get you buckets. Reports from his workouts are that he doesn’t miss. Send this guy down 95 to the 87ers and see what he can do. He probably won’t end up more than a bench player when all is said and done, but anyone that can shoot and score that easily should be given a chance to earn a spot on a roster.
*Draft order as of 6/20 – 11PM
**All player measurements from DraftExpress
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