2017 is upon us and we are less than six months away from the draft as conference play has begun. The #1 pick remains up for grabs with a handful of players still in the mix to end up going first overall. With today’s NBA being dominated by point guards, this year’s draft becomes even more intriguing as this is quite possibly the best point guard draft ever with five potential franchise talents at the position in Fultz, Ball, Smith, Ntilikina, and Fox. If there was ever a year to tank, this is the one as even a top 8-10 pick is pure gold in this draft. Players selected in the 6-10 range could easily end up as good as picks in the top 5. Here is our second extended look at the 2017 mock draft.
|1.||Markelle Fultz 6-4 185 PG Washington Fr.||What stands out about Fultz is his ability to make everything look so easy. He has the most raw talent of any player in the draft. With an effortless style, he seems to be able to create shots for himself against any defender no matter their size or athleticism. An absolute wizard with the ball, he’s a score first point guard who is extremely creative and has an advanced Pick & Roll game already. He has a tendency to go for the crowd pleasing play a little too often, but his ability to convert these plays makes him a joy to watch. He is incredibly shifty and possesses a lightning quick first step to blow by defenders. He’s not a finished product, and still needs to work on becoming an all around floor general, a more supportive leader and stronger defender. But through the first half of the year, Fultz has put himself at the forefront of a strong draft class, despite playing on a struggling team. With Michael Porter heading to Washington next year, UW could be the first first team ever to produce back to back #1 picks without reaching the NCAA tournament.
NBA Comparison: James Harden
||Lonzo Ball 6-6 190 PG UCLA Fr.||
Ball is the best passer on the college level since Jason Kidd. He has a calm demeanor and an inner strength and maturity rarely found in a freshman. His ability to make those around him better is truly special. His 3 point shot has proven to be another weapon. His shooting form is his greatest weakness as he has a very unothodox wind up and release, however the ball ends up in the same place every time, sort of like Kevin Martin’s shot. There is some skepticism about how it will limit his effectiveness against NBA defenders and be effective out past 22 feet. He also needs to add better ability to create for himself, particularly in the midrange. Ball is a game changer who has UCLA squarely in the running for a national title. He remains a legitimate candidate for the top overall pick.
||Dennis Smith 6-2 190 PG NC State Fr.||Smith has really caught fire from 3 of late showing that he’s becoming a more complete point guard. If he’s hitting threes at 40% on a high volume, his offensive game becomes deadly. He began the season at the top spot and while dipping some due to inconsistency finds himself back in the mix for one heading into conference play. Smith is an incredibly explosive guard who shows an excellent feel for the game and a natural leadership ability. Comparing him to Fultz, he may not have quite the dazzling offensive repertoire, but he shows even more speed and explosiveness and a natural feel for the point guard position. His defensive efficiency and assertiveness has improved through the non-conference schedule, though he still has a tendency to have lapses in focus too often.
NBA Comparison: Chris Paul/Derrick Rose
||Frank Ntilikina 6-5 190 PG France 1998||Ntilikina caught fire in Istanbul at the U18 European Championships in late December and thoroughly impressed scouts on hand. Some came away saying he’s better than Fultz and should be in the running for the top overall pick. He’s got a huge 7-foot wingspan and has really progressed as a floor general and shooter. He really creates problems for opposing guards with his on ball defense utilizing his length and foot speed. Ntilikina is a supreme talent who will force scouts to cross the pond in droves as his Strasbourg team’s season winds down.
NBA Comparison: Dante Exum
||Josh Jackson 6-8 205 SG/SF Kansas Fr.||Jackson may be the fiercest competitor of all the prospects in this year’s draft. He brings a high level of intensity and energy to every game and plays both ends of the floor with passion. While the NBA has become a point guard dominated league, the Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard has demonstrated how valuable a wing with elite 2-way skills can be. Jackson has the talent and athleticism to become that type of player if he learns the right work habits and continues to develop. He enters the league with a jumpshot lacking in form, but he has shown some promise with it. He also has demonstrated the ability to play clutch in big games when called upon.
NBA Comparison: Kawhi Leonard
||Jayson Tatum 6-8 205 SF/SG Duke Fr.||After missing the first eight games of the season, Tatum made his return in early December and has proven to be as good as advertised. While his 3 point shot is much better than he has shown, he has displayed a versatile all around game with polish and maturity rarely seen in a freshman. His run/jump athleticism and speed is solid, though not spectacular limiting his potential some. While being a top 3-5 pick in such a talented draft may be challenging, Tatum is sure to continue building momentum as the season progresses. He’s a can’t miss long term NBA contributor with All Star potential.
NBA Comparison: Allan Houston
||De'Aaron Fox 6-3 180 PG Kentucky Fr.||The crown jewel of Kentucky’s banner recruiting class, Fox has proven to be a lot more ready for college basketball than many expected. He’s got the type of elite speed and quickness that will allow him to get anywhere on the floor he chooses at the highest level. He’s proven to be an extremely dynamic athlete as well, able to soar way above the rim for ally oop finishes and also has the body control to finish off drives in the paint against bigs. He’s shown the type of defensive ability to disrupt even the best opponents as he won the personal match up with Lonzo Ball in their clash with UCLA. His outside shot remains his main weakness, but the form on it actually looks solid and his efficiency and confidence should improve over time.
NBA Comparison: Dennis Schroeder
||Malik Monk 6-4 185 SG Kentucky Fr.||
Mr. 47 has proven to be one of the deadliest shooters and scorers on the college level. He not only can get scorching hot from deep and go on scoring binges, he’s also proven to be extremely clutch. He capped off his legendary 47 point performance against North Carolina with two last minute 3 pointers to seal the game. His ability to create and the cojones he’s shown to rise in big games at big moments has obviously not gone unnoticed by scouts, raising his draft profile. Amazing to think that even a year ago he was viewed as just an average shooter. While he’s seen as an undersized 2 lacking a great floor game, his athleticism and tremendous shot give him a great deal of intrigue.
NBA Comparison: Eddie Jones
||Jonathan Isaac 6-10 205 SF/PF Florida St. Fr.||Isaac is another extremely promising player further giving this draft an insane amount of talent. He has been compared favorably to 2016 number 2 pick Brandon Ingram as he has a similar game with his great size, length and versatility. He’s a little older but he was a late bloomer and before suffering his ankle injury was getting top pick hype from scouts. His ability to pull up and shoot over defenders is absolutely effortless.
NBA Comparison: Rashard Lewis
||Harry Giles 6-10 225 PF/C Duke Fr.||Giles is a wildcard for the draft as he has come back in late December and struggled to show much explosiveness off his surgically repaired knee(s). Giles was once seen as a likely top 3 pick, but concerns about his knees have his stock falling. He’s still likely to be a lottery pick, but he’ll need to get back closer to where he was during his high school career when he was one of the most dynamic big men to emerge in years in order to restore team’s confidence in his potential.
NBA Comparison: Derrick Favors
||Robert Williams 6-9 235 PF Texas A&M Fr.||Williams is raw even for a freshman but the upside is absolutely tremendous considering his 7-foot-4 wingspan and high motor and level of competitiveness. He’s got a nastiness to him and will not back down even when Texas A&M is losing, as he showed against UCLA blocking shots and talking trash to their bigs. He has shot blocking ability and also shows the makings of an offensive game on the block with some turnaround hooks and face up jumpers. If he were to return he could develop into a top 5 pick next year and may jump a number of highly decorated bigs like Bam Adebayo and Marques Bolden in this year’s draft if he decides to be a one-and-done.
NBA Comparison: Jermaine O’Neil
||Lauri Markkanen 7-0 230 PF/C Arizona Fr.||The smooth shooting 7-footer from Finland has scouts extremely intrigued. He is very light on his feet and attacks the rim well off the bounce. While not the most explosive run/jump athlete, his ability to stretch the floor at 7-feet gives him a great deal of intrigue. He needs to continue to add core strength and become a better rebounder and defender, but he has a good frame and solid muscle tone. Scouts have compared him favorably to 4th overall pick Dragan Bender from the 2016 draft.
NBA Comparison: Nicola Mirotic
||Bam Adebayo 6-10 245 PF/C Kentucky Fr.||The Flinstone Kid has been demonstrating that he’s more than just a brute under the basket. He has the ability to make plays out in transition with solid footwork and agility. He’s a bit raw as a post player, but has shown some improvement in his post footwork and offensive touch. While not the most explosive of athletes, he is solid and plays with a high motor and toughness.
NBA Comparison: Markieff Morris
||Isaiah Hartenstein 6-11 230 PF Germany 1998||
Hartenstein was once seen as a prospect that could go in the top half of the lottery, but he has been riddled with leg injuries over the past couple seasons. He seems to be finding his groove once again as he showed scouts in Istanbul that he’s gaining his confidence and ability to dominate. He’s got a lot of talent with his combination of size, mobility and offensive polish. It’s really a matter of staying healthy, gaining strength and continuing to gain playing time and confidence. If he finishes the year strong he could even begin to move up from here.
NBA Comparison: Donatas Motiejunas
||TJ Leaf 6-10 225 PF UCLA Fr.||Leaf has been one of the biggest surprises of the college season. He has proven to be a very clutch and cerebral player. His combination of athleticism and polish makes him dominant on the college level in just his freshman season. He could stand to add weight, but he has shown the willingness to battle and toughness to go up against stronger post players. His rebounding and overall efficiency should get him looks in this year’s lottery if he continues to play well.
NBA Comparison: Nick Collison
||Dwayne Bacon 6-7 220 SG/SF Florida St. So.||Bacon has certainly been sizzling this season, much to the delight of local headline editors. Similar to Cal’s Ivan Rabb, Bacon surprised many by following his mother’s advice and staying in school despite a first round draft grade. He has made a noticeable jump in production and efficiency and should see his name called not long after that first wave of talented freshmen are off the board. He handles and passes it well and has really found confidence in his outside shooting this season.
NBA Comparison: Gerald Wilkins
||Ivan Rabb 6-10 220 PF California So.||Rabb made the surprising decision to return for his sophomore season after many had him projected as a lottery pick following his freshman year. While he may struggle to increase his draft stock, it’s hard to fault him for wanting to return to Cal. He’s a bright kid who enjoys class and will be that much more ready to contribute at the next level with two years of college development under his belt. Rabb has struggled some with injuries, so staying healthy this season will be imperative. Rabb figures to be one of the top returning players to come off the board on draft night.
NBA Comparison: Tom Gugliotta
||Luke Kennard 6-6 200 SG Duke So.||
Kennard has proven to be Duke’s go to scorer and most consistent performer. He is a dead eye shooter but has an underrated all around game with excellent passing ability. He’s not very quick off the dribble, but his ability to shoot is an x-factor and will make him very intriguing to teams. A big NCAA tournament could really enhance his draft stock.
NBA Comparison: Kyle Korver
||Marques Bolden 6-11 245 C Duke Fr.||Bolden missed the first few weeks of the season and has yet to impact games much but the intrigue due to his size and athleticism is obvious. He’s a long term project that would be drafted on upside and likely take a few years to develop. Coach K may push for the big man to return for his sophomore year, but Bolden figures to be taken near the end of the lottery just on potential due to his 7-foot-6 wingspan and excellent mobility.
NBA Comparison: Andrew Bynum
||Terrance Ferguson 6-7 185 SG Australia 1998||
Ferguson could be a trendsetter with his decision to play down under after failing to gain eligibility at Arizona. If it ends up not ill adversely affecting his draft stock, other one-and-done draft hopefuls may follow his lead in playing their mandatory post grad year in Australia. Ferguson is all over the place on draft boards, and while his body and ability to create remain concerns, his shooting and defense give him a lot of intrigue.
NBA Comparison: Rudy Fernandez
||Miles Bridges 6-7 230 PF/SF Michigan St. Fr.||
Bridges is one of the most explosive forwards on the college level. He’s a tweener as he lacks a polished perimeter game, and is severely undersized for the power forward position. However he had some eye opening performances early in the season, before injuring his ankle, showing off his elite run/jump athleticism and body control. His shot is a bit flat with a low release point, but he has had solid numbers and appears to have a form similar to Aaron Gordon’s which can be adjusted.
NBA Comparison: Trevor Booker
||OG Anunoby 6-8 235 PF/SF Indiana So.||
There was a lot of hype surrounding Anunoby heading into the season, but he has been slow to break out into the star that some envisioned. He is a long, defensive minded player who also has an underrated shooting stroke. His 7-3 wingspan and lateral quickness give him solid ability to guard both wings and bigs. While his outside shot shows nice potential, he must improve in creating offense for himself. Regardless, his length and defensive prowess gives him a lot of intrigue with scouts.
NBA Comparison: Noah Vonleh
||Tyler Lydon 6-9 220 PF/SF Syracuse So.||
Lydon started slow but has gained momentum as the season has rolled along. He’s a bit of a tweener and needs to add weight but he’s an active player with a very good outside shot. Lydon benefits with the league going with small more skilled line ups and should be able to help a team stretch the floor. His biggest challenge with be on the defensive end, but his length will help him.
NBA Comparison: Pat Garrity
||Jaron Blossomgame 6-8 220 SF Clemson Sr.||
Blossomgame has really struggled with his 3 point shot in his senior year. He struggles to create shots for himself and apparently thrives more in catch and shoot situations or in manufacturing baskets around the rim or on the break. He’s a bigtime athlete with good maturity and size for the NBA wing position.
NBA Comparison: Joey Graham
||Jawun Evans 6-0 190 PG Oklahoma State So.||
Evans has become one of the top point guards in the nation in his sophomore year. He’s an absolute blur with the ball, and presents a real challenge for opposing guards to contain when he isolates. He lacks great height at 6-foot, but has a 6-foot-5 wingspan giving him solid length. He’s an explosive scorer with a good feel for the point guard position. First round this year may be difficult when you consider the number of high level point guards available, but he is stating his case as the best of the non-freshmen PGs available.
NBA Comparison: Ty Lawson
||Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk 6-7 205 SG Kansas Jr.||
During the summer "Svi" played in Treviso, Italy for his Ukrainian National team and really struggled prompting scouts to question what happened to the player with so much promise that he showed at 16 years of age the year before joining the Jayhawks. He is 19 now and the age of many freshmen and finally coming into his own, playing a vital role for one of the top teams in the nation. His confidence has really improved and his outside shot, which has always been his forte is now connecting at 45% on over 5 attempts per game. If he can show the ability to attack the rim more consistently he could be a tempting prospect in the late first round.
NBA Comparison: James Jones
||Johnathan Motley 6-9 230 PF Baylor Jr.||
Motley has taken a big jump in his junior year showing an added face up game and some real confidence and consistency in his mid-range shot. He’s added some skill to his long, athletic and active body. Motley is one of the most talented bigmen in the country with very good run/jump athleticism. With Baylor’s surprising season, Motley has gained some momentum as a prospect. If he finishes the season out strong he could find a spot in the late first round.
NBA Comparison: Keon Clark
||Hamidou Diallo 6-5 190 SG Undecided HSSr.||
Diallo is a dynamic athlete with a New York toughness to him. He could be this year’s Thon Maker as he’s potentially eligible for the draft as a 5th year grad student. The big piece that’s missing from his game is his outside shooting. And in today’s NBA that is a big concern. Similarly athletic former Kentucky first round shooting guard Archie Goodwin has flamed out of the league due to a lack of shooting ability.
NBA Comparison: Shabazz Muhammad
||Edmond Sumner 6-5 185 PG/SG Xavier So.||Sumner is among the top non-freshmen point guards. He’s extremely long, and quick and has shown nice potential in his sophomore year. Considered more of a combo at this point, there are still concerns about his ability to be a full time point guard and his outside shooting. He has a tendency to pass up open looks even from the midrange which really concerns scouts. His elite level speed gives him the ability to drive as well as defend, but he still has a ways to go before he can be an NBA contributor. If he can gain confidence and consistency as the season winds down, he’ll have a shot to be a late first rounder.
NBA Comparison: Delon Wright
||Cam Oliver 6-8 235 PF Nevada So.||
Oliver is a freakish athlete who has proven in the early season to be a prolific 3 point shooter. He could stand to work a little more on his post game instead of continually drifting out to the perimeter for three point shots. Granted he’s been extremely effective from behind the arch as a sophomore. Oliver has the talent to be a first rounder, he just needs to stay focused and motivated on the floor. His football physique and athleticism will shine in individual workouts.
NBA Comparison: Thomas Robinson