We’re exactly two weeks away from the 2017 NBA Draft. Our mock drafts are becoming more important, and less important, with every passing day. It's a paradox.
Hey, it’s hard trying to decipher which rumors are true and which ones are just white noise created by NBA execs trying to throw the competition off the trail. We do our best.
Onto the mock!
1. Boston Celtics
Markelle Fultz, G
This one feels like a lock. Fultz worked out with the Celtics on Tuesday, didn't schedule any additional workouts with another team and told ESPN: "It almost feels like I belong here."
2. Los Angeles Lakers
Lonzo Ball, G
Ball to LA also feels like a lock. The Lakers held several workouts on Friday, but not with anyone projected to go in the Top 10. Need more proof? Kevin Smith, of RealGM, sent out a Tweet on Monday stating, "every NBA front office person" he spoke to expected Ball to land with LA.
3. Philadelphia 76ers
Josh Jackson, G
The Sixers pick is a little harder to call. Team president Bryan Colangelo recently expressed interest in trading the No. 3 overall pick, while several media outlets claim Philly is in negotiations with Sacramento to acquire the No. 5 and No. 10 picks in a deal that would land the Kings De'Aaron Fox.
I've also seen several articles pointing to the Sixers using hte No. 3 pick to acquire Kentucky star Malik Monk, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense since they don't necessarily need another guard.
Despite all the rumors, I'm sticking with my guns on this one. I think Philly snags Josh Jackson and effectively completes an already star-studded roster brimming with potential.
4. Phoenix Suns
Jayson Tatum, F
The question for Phoenix: do they grab another guard to put on their already guard-packed roster — which makes sense considering De'Aaron Fox is probably the third best PG in this draft — or do they give Devin Booker a bigger toy to play with? I'm going with the latter and expect Tatum to don the Suns colors on draft night.
5. Sacramento Kings
De’Aaron Fox, G
Which means Sacramento — if the rumors are true — gets its wish and snags the talented Fox, who would undoubtedly provide a lot of stability on a roster thirsting for leadership.
6. Orlando Magic
Dennis Smith, G
This one is more simple. The Magic need a PG. With the No. 6 pick I think they go after need rather than the best available player. Malik Monk makes sense here too, but I think Orlando takes a chance on the PG from NC State.
7. Minnesota Timberwolves
Jonathan Isaac, F
Minnesota already boasts one of the more talented young-ish rosters in the league, and adding a sharp shooter like Jonathan Isaac, who shot 35-percent from downtown, would create a freakishly athletic squad — alongside Ricky Rubio, Zach LaVine, Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns — other teams would certainly envy.
8. New York Knicks
Malik Monk, G
I've seen Monk's name a lot more these days, as the Kentucky guard has impressed in workouts with the Suns, Sixers and Kings. However, the best fit for the SEC Player of the Year might be in New York, where his high-octane, long-distance offense would thrive alongside Kristaps Porzingis and — should he stay — Carmelo Anthony.
9. Dallas Mavericks
Lauri Markkanen, F
I'm sticking with this one, because it makes too much sense to pair Markkanen up with Dirk Nowitzki.
10. Sacramento Kings
Zach Collins, C
With their second pick, the Kings go big with Gonzaga star Zach Collins. The kid is a prototypical modern-day NBA center in that he can stretch the floor with his outside shooting and use his length to bully defenders underneath the basket.
11. Charlotte Hornets
Jarrett Allen, C
This is where things get really interesting, as none of the remaining players are better than one another. As such, you could make a case for any team for all of them. Exhibit A: Jarrett Allen, a big man who could go as high as the No. 11 pick, or drop into the late teens. I'm thinking Charlotte goes for the big guy, if only because his size and rebounding ability should help him flourish in the big leagues.
12. Detroit Pistons
Frank Ntilikina, G
The Pistons are still a few years away from playoff contention, and have a pair of veteran PG in Reggie Jackson and Ish Smith, so bringing in a questionable prospect like French PG Frank Ntilikina feels right. They can afford to be patient with the 18-year old guard as he finds his footing.
13. Denver Nuggets
Harry Giles, F/C
Giles is all over the place in the mock drafts I've studied, but apparently carries enough upside to draw a high pick. Denver, like Detroit, is still in the process of developing a competitive roster and can afford to take a gamble on the oft-injured center.
14. Miami Heat
Justin Jackson, F
Jackson would give a Heat squad that finished the season on a red hot streak even more offensive potency. He's not a sexy pick along the lines of Markelle Fultz or Lonzo Ball, but he works hard, passes the ball well and plays solid defense.
15. Portland Trail Blazers
Ivan Rabb, F/C
I feel like I'm the only one who has high hopes for Ivan Rabb. The 6-foot-10 big guy carries a 7-foot wingspan, knows how to score and rebound the ball; and has enough basketball IQ to be effective. His size is an issue, but I think, with some development, the Cal big man could excel at the next level.
16. Chicago Bulls
Donovan Mitchell, SG
The Bulls have a number of options to choose from with the 16th overall pick, but I think they "reach" for Donovan Mitchell, the 6-foot-1 shooting guard from Louisville. He would fit in nicely alongside Jimmy Butler, and give Chicago a some nice backcourt depth.
17. Milwaukee Bucks
Tony Bradley, C
Bradley has worked out for several teams, including Milwaukee, where he would join the ranks of the Greek Freak, Jabari Parker and Khris Middleton — perhaps the most intriguing young squad in the league — and give them yet another big body to work with.
18. Indiana Pacers
John Collins, F
I'm not sure what the Pacers do this offseason. Trade Paul George and rebuild? Acquire pricey free agents? Or stay put and hope the situation fixes itself. In any event, John Collins isn't going to save your team, but he is a solid option who provide some much needed size under the basket.
19. Atlanta Hawks
Justin Patton, C
Ditto for Atlanta, a team that can't quite decide what it wants to do, or be. Justin Patton would have to compete for minutes behind Dwight Howard, and the team's current crop of big men, but he could mature into a solid role player.
20. Portland Trail Blazers
OG Anunoby, F
Indiana takes a chance with the 6-foot-8, 215-pound forward from Indiana, who averaged 11.1 points and 5,4 rebounds his sophomore season.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder
Jordan Bell, PF
The problem with OKC is that it must find a player capable of playing alongside Russell Westbrook. Kevin Durant tried, but couldn't make it work, while no one on this year's team offered much in the way of support to the MVP-candidate. Jordan Bell is intriguing in that he is a versatile forward who has impressed enough over the last few weeks to rise up on the draft boards, but can Westbrook share the court with a rookie?
22. Brooklyn Nets
Dwayne Bacon, F
Bacon might just be this year's hidden gem in that he's a 6-foot-6 shooting guard who can seemingly penetrate any defense.
23. Toronto Raptors
Ike Anigbogu, C
Toronto's current group might be done. After several years of losing to LeBron James in the Eastern Conference, it might be time for the squad to call it quits and try something new. Drafting someone like Ike Anigbogu doesn't provide instant satisfaction, but he could develop into a future asset.
I don't think Leaf drops this far, but if he does the Jazz would be foolish to pass him up. A versatile forward who hustles like no other, Leaf would compliment Rudy Gobert on both sides of the court and give the Jazz options should Derrick Favors continue to struggle with injuries.
25. Orlando Magic
DJ Wilson, F
The Magic already fill a huge need by drafting Dennis Smith, and now they can choose to go big with someone like DJ Wilson, who, thanks to his size and defense, makes for an intriguing add.
26. Portland Trail Blazers
Terrance Ferguson, G
Ferguson has jumped all over the mock drafts in recent weeks. He's slowly slipping out of the first round, most likely because he's a 19-year old mystery. What we know: he's a 6-foot-7, 186 pound, 19-year old who averaged 12.2 points and 3 rebounds per game in Austrailia. He could be likened to Jazz PG Dante Exum, who also arrived to the draft as a huge mystery, and has failed to live up to his Top 5 draft status.
27. Brooklyn Nets
Sindarius Thornwell, G
I'm surprised more hasn't been made of Sindarius Thornwell after his spectacular season in which he practically carried South Carolina deep into the NCAA Tournament. Will his style of play translate into the big leagues?
28. LA Lakers
Bam Adebayo, PF
With Lonzo Ball in tow, the Lakers go big with their second pick and select Bam Adebayo, who averaged 13 points and 8 rebounds a game for Kentucky.
29. San Antonio Spurs
Rodions Kurucs, SF
Drafting a player like Rodions Kurucs would be such a Spurs move, which is probably why everyone from Utah to Brooklyn is checking him out. If he goes to San Antonio, the kid will likely become the next Tim Duncan. If he goes elsewhere, he'll become the next Adam Morrison.
30. Utah Jazz
Luke Kennard, G
Here's another player who likely won't fall this far, but, again, at this point in the draft anything goes. Right? Utah has met with Kennard already, and could certainly use his offensive talents, especially if Gordon Hayward hits the road.