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NBA DRAFT: Analyzing the good, bad and ugly

Henry Golden



Well that is a wrap. The 2017 NBA draft is finally over and it completely lived up to expectation. Some teams traded up while others traded down but every team managed to get exactly or close to what they wanted and needed.

Here’s how the first round ended up looking like.

1. Philadelphia: Markelle Fultz


Now this is no surprise. Every single analyst out in the NBA world predicted this. Markelle Fultz was projected to go number one for months now and deservingly so. He is a great scorer even though he never played against many top 25 schools during the 2016/2017 NCAA season and only led Washington University to nine wins but he is NBA ready and surly is a good fit to this young 76ers roster who are in need of a point guard.

2. Los Angeles: Lonzo Ball

Again, this is no surprise. Lonzo Ball has been a Laker ever since he was born and Los Angeles is also a great fit for him. He does not have to leave far from home and also his skill set is perfect for this team. Lonzo Ball is a proven winner and his passing abilities are superb. He led Chino High School to more wins every year from his freshman to senior years and he changed the culture and lifted a deadbeat UCLA team from the ashes and brought them back to the NCAA tournament and a sweet sixteen appearance. He is going to change this young Laker team and they are going to improve on their win total next year. They will not make the playoffs next season, but they will be a very interesting to watch.

3. Boston: Jayson Tatum

Now this was a great pick by the Boston Celtics. Jayson Tatum was mostly under the radar the months leading up to the draft however, he shot up draft boards in the last couple of weeks. He is a big bodied power forward and is extremely tough in the paint. He can post up while also have a soft touch when either going for the fifteen foot jump shot or a hook shot in the paint. He is a very complete player and will fit nicely in the Celtics rotation. He will most likely be taking Jae Crowder’s spot on the starting roster if not now then later next season.

4. Phoenix: Josh Jackson

Probably the most complete two-way player in this years draft. Josh Jackson is a beast and plays very well on both sides of the ball. Josh Jackson has so much to prove and has a lot of potential in the NBA. His size and athletic ability to play two positions in the NBA on both sides of the ball is phenomenal and he is very much a competitor. Teams can not find players like him every year so this year is special and the Phoenix Suns should be grateful. One improvement though needs to be his jump shot and once he gets that down he will surely be an All-Star caliber player.

5. Sacramento: De’Aaron Fox

This is exactly where most NBA analysts had De’Aaron Fox going. De’Aaron Fox is a quick and very agile player who could surprise people next season. Fox is like the Energizer Bunny because of his game-changing quickness, willingness to climb into the ball defensively, and fearless mentality attacking the rim despite his slight 170-pound body frame. Also, with the Kings needing a point guard because with Aaron Afflalo and Ty Lawson not cutting it, De’Arron Fox could be the point guard the Kings have been seeking for some time.

6. Orlando: Jonathon Issac

The player for Florida State is staying where he is and is now a forward for the Orlando Magic. However, out of the first five overall picks, he is the least ready to have an immediate impact. He is long and big bodied and can also score in numerous ways (12 points per game while shooting over 50 percent and 7.8 rebounds per game) but questions still remain if he will succeed at the next level.

7. Minnesota: Lauri Markkanen

Slightly higher than most people had him going in the draft but it does not take away the fact that Lauri Markkanen is a fantastic player. First of all he is a great defender. He can defend the paint but also can come out and defend the perimeter if need be. He can also shoot the basketball fairly well. He ability to hit the three-point shot is crucial in today’s style of play. Lauri Markkanen averaged 15.6 points, 7.2 rebounds per game all while making 42.3 percent of his three-point attempts.

Lauri Markkanen will now play for the Chicago Bulls because of the Jimmy Butler trade.

8. New York: Frank Ntilikina

This was such a New York Knicks move. Putting all of the effort into going after a foreign player when there is not a lot of film on and just hoping and praying he turns out to be a solid player. Frank Ntilikina may thrive as a point guard in the NBA because he is long and a very good passer but his 5 points per game while playing just 17 minutes per game should be concerning to the Knicks organization however.

9. Dallas: Dennis Smith Jr.

Not a huge talking point during the college season because N.C. State was not at all a good team but Dennis Smith Jr. could serve the Dallas Mavericks well. With JJ Barea getting up there in age and Seth Curry not really living up to the expectation of most, Dennis Smith Jr. could see himself inserted as the primary point guard for this team fairly early. He can absolutely score the ball (averaging 18.1 points per game) and is a decent passer. He may be a little on the short side but he is extremely quick and agile and can get to the rim with ease.

10. Sacramento: Zach Collins

Now this might be the 2017 NBA draft’s first bust. Zach Collins played very well in his one and only year at Gonzaga but he might have left a little too soon. He only averaged 10 points per game and 5.9 rebounds per game which is kind of low for a big man playing in a weak conference. Understandingly that he came off the bench for most of the year but his numbers are just not eye-popping and has a lot to work on during the summer months.

Zach Collins is reportedly heading to the Portland Trail Blazers in a trade with the Kings (Portland Trail Blazers trade picks No. 15 and No. 20 for No. 10.)

11. Charlotte: Malik Monk

The Charlotte Hornets now have their shooter. Malik Monk is a straight up sniper and can hit from almost anywhere. His lethal jump shot and quickness brings along a lot of similarities to JR Smith. Shooting the three-point shot and the pull up three-point shot is the go to shot however, he can also get to the rim with ease for a lay up or a monstrous dunk.

12. Detroit: Luke Kennard

Kyle Korver-esque. Luke Kennard is one of the best shooters in this years draft and thrives on straight on three-point shots and pick and roll three-point shots. This is an excellent pick by the Detroit Pistons because they desperately need shooters. Along with being a fantastic shooter, Luke Kennard also brings maturity and leadership qualities with him.

13. Denver: Donovan Mitchell

A shooting guard who is primarily there to defend. He is a versatile payer that brings the Jazz an extra level of tough. There are also some questions on what position he will play because of the situation with Gordon Hayward on whether or not he will stay with the team.  Donovan Mitchell does he believes he is a true point guard even though most NBA analysts and coaches see him as a shooting guard. It will be interesting when the season starts on where he playing on the court.

Mitchell will be heading to the Utah Jazz after a trade with the Denver Nuggets.

14. Miami: Edrice Adebayo

The big man coming out of the University of Kentucky and no he is not like Anthony Davis. However, Bam Adebayo is a physical big man, is excellent at running the floor in transition and can guard multiple positions. He will be force to be reckoned with but he may be left for dead with the style of play changing because he can not hit the three-point shot and h jump shot is not very good either.

15. Portland: Justin Jackson

Completely changing and working hard to get to where he is now, the former three star recruit coming into college is now playing for the Sacramento Kings. The shooting forward coming out of the University of North Carolina has improved his jump shot over the years and now can hit the three-point shot very well. He is also quick for his size (6′ 8″ 200 pounds) and is a versatile defender. He should be able to fit in well with the Kings and come of the bench and contribute early and often.

Justin Jackson has been traded to the Sacramento Kings in a trade with the Trail Blazers.

16. Chicago: Justin Patton

One of the top centers in this years draft, the Timberwolves now have a back up that can fill the role of Karl-Anthony Towns when he is on the bench. He is very skilled in the low post and has a nice touch when shooting jump shots or out on the perimeter. Eventually the Timberwolves plan would be have both Justin Patton and Karl-Anthony Towns to play on the floor together as both can spread the floor quite nicely.

Justin Patton is headed to the Timberwolves from the Jimmy Butler trade.

17. Milwaukee: DJ Wilson

This was also a huge surprise in this years draft. D.J. Wilson was not on many analyst’s draft boards coming into last night. However, he is long, is a good defender and can also sot the three-point shot. His lack of toughness could be a concern but can be worked on during the summer months.

18. Indiana: T.J. Leaf

Lonzo Ball’s go to forward at UCLA, T.J. Leaf is a good fit for the Indiana Pacers. He can run the floor with such ease and his finishing abilities are off the charts. The three-point shot is also in his repertoire and it makes him an even more complete player. He does however lack length and that could be difficult to figure out who he will cover and defend next season.

19. Atlanta: John Collins

A long 6′ 10″ power forward who is a pure athlete but will probably come off the bench for the Atlanta Hawks. However, with Dwight Howard gone and Paul Millsap looking to leave in free agency, John Collins might be inserted into that starting role sooner than later because of his size. He is a good rebounder and shot blocker while defending the paint very well.

20. Portland: Harry Giles

The number one prospect coming into last college season, Harry Giles was the early prospect projected to go number one in this years draft. However, injuries have haunted him ever since high school. He tore his ACL, MCL and cartilage in his left knee early in his high school career and the ACL in his right knee in 2015. After a year-plus of rehabilitation, he had surgery in October  which was a procedure on his left knee. He missed the first eleven games of his Duke career and looked extremely rusty when he did finally step foot on the court. The Kings are taking a risk with Harry Giles and he could end up becoming a bust just because he is injury prone.

Giles is headed to the Kings via a trade with the Trail Blazers.

21. Oklahoma City: Terrance Ferguson

Apparently Terrance Ferguson was a top prospect but after he decided not to go to college and play professionally in Australia, he fell from many people’s draft boards. Experts say he can stretch the floor with ease and can find the open shooter while also shooting the ball well himself. He can probably be compared to Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors but he is not at his full potential yet.

 22. Brooklyn: Jarrett Allen

The big man from Texas. Jarrett Allen is an elite rebounder and shot blocker but also can get to the rim. With Brook Lopez gone off to the Lakers the Brooklyn need to bring him in get him ready for the start of the season.

23. Toronto: OG Anunoby

OG Anunoby looked like a lock for the lottery before he tore his ACL in the middle of January. The long, athletic wing can guard four positions on the floor, shoot 3-pointers and finish at the basket with power. He is extremely athletic but the Toronto Raptors must bring him along slowly so no further injuries occur in his career.

24. Utah: Tyler Lydon

Another surprise in the first round is Tyler Lydon coming out of his second year at Syracuse. He is a decent shooter and defender but size and durability is a concern. Interesting what he will show when the season begins.

Lydon is headed to the Nuggets via a trade with the Jazz.

25. Orlando: Anzejs Pasecniks

A very skilled big man from Latvia coming out of a season over in Europe. Probably not going to have much of an impact this season and will either play in the D League or take his talents back over to Europe.

Anzejs Pasecniks is headed to the 76ers via a trade with the Magic.

26. Portland: Caleb Swanigan 

Probably the most skilled out of all the big men in this draft. He has improved his post game and his jump shot over the past year and it has shown. He will probably come off the bench for the Trail Blazers and hopefully will see more minutes down the road.

27. Brooklyn: Kyle Kuzma

A bit of a stretch but it is not surprising that it is coming from the Brooklyn Nets organization. He lacks the skills necessary for a player that size especially his rebounding. He must improve that aspect if he wants to get some quality minutes.

Kyle Kuzma is headed to the Lakers via a trade with the Nets.

28. Los Angeles: Tony Bradley

Tony Bradley did not really pop out and shine while at the University of North Carolina but he can rebound the ball well especially on the offensive glass. He lacks a face up game and needs work on his low post moves but many believe he has the potential to have an impact in the league down the road.

Tony Bradley has been traded to the Jazz via a trade with the Lakers.

29. San Antonio: Derrick White

Nothing too special about Derrick White but he was a decent point guard for Colorado University. He shot up teams’ draft boards with a fantastic performance and this years NBA combine. Also, with Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili retiring soon, Derrick White could fill those shoe.

30. Utah: Josh Hart

Now this was a good pick knowing that he is now heading to the Los Angeles Lakers. Josh Hart knows what it means to win and he can bring that mentality to this young Lakers team. He shoots well and also passes better than D’ Angelo Russell and truly is a shooting guard and will complement Lonzo Ball quite nicely.

Hart is headed to the Lakers via a trade with the Jazz.

And now the fun begins. The NBA Summer League starts July 7 and everyone will finally see what these draftees bring to the table and see their full potential and skills on the NBA stage.



Henry Golden covers the UAlbany men's basketball team for the Upstate Courier, as well as other various sporting events in the Capital Region. He currently attends Sage College of Albany. He can be reached through social media, @Golden_Henry05 on Twitter.