While more than half the NBA will make the playoffs at the end of the current season, the teams who finished as among the worst in the standings will be vying for the next big star for their rosters. The latest NBA mock draft 2017 edition continues to show that the top two picks will bring star point guards to the league, a position that many franchises are looking to upgrade. Surprisingly, one of the teams with a shot at the top pick doesn’t necessarily need a point guard, or a roster boost, as they’re among playoff contenders. Here’s the latest look at the NBA mock draft top picks and which players might be heading where in the NBA.
The Boston Celtics feature in many NBA trade rumors lately and for a good reason. The Celtics franchise has plenty of assets available to use for a prospective deal to bolster their team’s roster. Among them are talented young players, expiring contracts, and quite possibly the top overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. That’s right, Boston has the Brooklyn Nets’ pick in the first round, and based on how lousy Brooklyn has looked, it could be the No. 1 overall pick.
So who might Boston select if they keep the pick? Right now, CBS Sports is reporting that the best fit on their roster would be point guard Markelle Fultz. It’s noted that Fultz would be the perfect complement for Isaiah Thomas in the Celtics’ backcourt and would improve a Boston offense that is currently ranked No. 6 in the league.
The 6-foot-4 Washington Huskies star is averaging 23.2 points, six rebounds and six assists per contest in his first season of college ball. Unfortunately, his team is currently 2-9 overall and second to last in the Pac-12 standings. Still, the Celtics already have a solid roster capable of contending in the Eastern Conference, so adding in Fultz could improve their chances of future postseason success that much more.
The current mock draft pick for the No. 2 spot would be a fine selection as well, as Lonzo Ball from UCLA is considered a stud as well. The point guard is averaging 15.1 points, 5.8 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game for a Bruins team that is third in the Pac-12. Ball has been touted by some as a better leader than Fultz based on the team’s standings, although two players rank above Ball regarding UCLA’s scoring, while Fultz has carried a lot of the load in his freshman year.
The No. 2 pick is speculated to go to Philadelphia 76ers, a team that is already loaded with talent, and had the top pick in last year’s draft. They ended up taking another LSU star Ben Simmons with their choice. Simmons hasn’t had a whole lot of time on the court to show what he’s capable of, but imagine bringing Ball to Philly to star along with Simmons and big man Joel Embiid? It certainly makes the future look almost always sunny in Philadelphia.
2017 NBA Mock Draft (Feb. 5)
- Celtics – Markelle Fultz (Washington)
- 76ers – Lonzo Ball (UCLA)
- Lakers – Jonathan Isaac SF (FSU)
- Heat – Lauri Markkanen PF (Arizona)
- Pelicans – Dennis Smith Jr. (NC State)
- Suns – Robert Williams PF/C (Texas A&M)
- Mavericks – Frank Nitilikina PG (France)
- Magic – Malik Monk PG/SG (Kentucky)
- Nuggets – Jayson Tatum SF (Duke)
- Kings – DeAaron Fox PG (Kentucky)
- Timberwolves – Josh Jackson SF (Kansas)
- Bulls – Josh Hart SG (Villanova)
- Knicks – Frank Mason PG (Kansas)
While it’s still about four months or so until the 2017 NBA Draft arrives, one thing is clear from the top 13 speculative draft picks, and that is this year’s selections could feature a lot of point guards, including the Dallas Mavericks hoping that France’s Frank Nitilikina is the next Tony Parker. One also has to think with the way Russell Westbrook has been basically carrying a team with his triple-double stats average, has led to other teams wanting to find players with skills at the point.
On Saturday, NBA scouts were certainly watching as Ball and Fultz were in a head-to-head matchup. According to MassLive.com, UCLA routed Washington 107-66 in an audition for the players considered the top two picks for this summer. Despite being on the losing side, Feltz won the scoring battle over Ball 25-22 and also had six rebounds, five assists, and unfortunately, five turnovers. Ball had a nice stat line of six boards, five assists, and four steals to go with his 22-point performance in the win.
— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) February 5, 2017
The 2017 NBA Draft is scheduled for June 22 in a location still to be determined. One can say the same for many of the top 13 mock draft picks as there’s still plenty of college basketball games and the NBA Draft Combine this May to give scouts a better look at who has what they need in terms of skills.
[Featured Image by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images]