NBA Mock Draft 2017: Celtics Take Markelle Fultz, Lakers Draft Josh Jackson?

The NBA mock draft 2017 edition is continuing to build excitement for the fans of those teams looking to rebuild for the future. However, for those fans who are Boston Celtics' faithful, the future looks even brighter and greener. The team has put themselves in an amazing position to not only compete in the Eastern Conference this year with the Cleveland Cavaliers but also to acquire one of the top young talents in the upcoming NBA Draft. One of their longtime rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers, probably won't be in the playoff picture this year, but based on the young talents they're adding to the roster, it shouldn't be long. Here's the latest look at how the Celtics and Lakers might make their picks in the upcoming 2017 NBA Draft.

In recent Boston Celtics trade rumors via the Inquisitr, it was mentioned how the Celts own the Brooklyn Nets' draft pick for the coming summer and don't plan to part ways with it in a deal. It could change with the trade deadline a week away, but as of right now, if they keep the pick, it's great news for Boston too. That's due to the fact that the Brooklyn Nets currently own the league's worst record. It means the Celtics are probably going to have one of the top four picks in the team order on the draft board. Prospects listed include Washington's Markelle Fultz, UCLA's Lonzo Ball, Kansas' Josh Jackson, and North Carolina's Dennis Smith.

Washington Huskies player Markelle Fultz
Fultz is averaging over 23 points a game for the Washington Huskies in the PAC-12 this season. [Image by Christian Petersen/Getty Images]

All four of these players are freshmen, which isn't surprising based on recent draft history. Of them, Fultz is just over 18-years-old right now and has a lot of potential. In addition to the youth factor, three of those players are point guards, and Jackson is a small forward. When it comes down to it, the Celtics could pick up any of these players, but their main goal is to have the top pick. According to NESN, that would mean drafting Markelle Fultz at No. 1 and bringing his impressive stats to Bean Town.

Fultz currently averages 23.2 points, six rebounds and six assists a night, which are certainly the type of stats the Celtics would love to add to an already talented roster. Some might question the move since they have All-Star Isaiah Thomas already suiting up, but the team would be able to groom Fultz for the future as Thomas won't be playing forever. Right now, Thomas is second-best in the league in scoring, and his fourth quarter play has been a difference maker for this surging team. Bringing in Fultz gives Boston a talented backup option or even someone who could even start alongside Thomas in the backcourt. Even if Boston doesn't get that top overall pick, the other options aren't so bad at the No. 2 through No. 4 spots.

Even if Boston doesn't get that top overall pick, the other options aren't so bad at the No. 2 through No. 4 spots because of how deep a draft this summer's edition should be.

NBA Mock Draft 2017 (via Draft Express)

  1. Celtics (via Nets) - Markelle Fultz PG (Washington)
  2. Sixers - Lonzo Ball PG (UCLA)
  3. Lakers - Josh Jackson SF (Kansas)
  4. Magic - Dennis Smith PG (NC State)
  5. Sixers - Jayson Tatum (Duke)
  6. Wolves - Jonathan Isaac SF (Florida State)
  7. Mavs - Lauri Markkanen PF (Arizona)
  8. Knicks - De'Aaron Fox PG (Kentucky)
  9. Pelicans - Malik Monk PG/SG (Kentucky)
  10. Blazers - Frank Ntilikina PG (International)
  11. Bulls - Miles Bridges SF (MSU)
  12. Hornets - Robert Williams PF/C (Texas A&M)
  13. Heat - Justin Patton C (Creighton)
What about the Lakers? A caveat with Los Angeles is that they are currently sitting with a record of 19-37, and they might not get one of the top picks. While they could receive the top-three pick when the draft lottery has been finalized, they could also fall outside of that top-three range. In that case, it means the Philadelphia 76ers take over their pick. A recent Hoops Rumors report says that the team is optimistic about both D'Angelo Russell and Julius Randle going forward, so it might not be as big a deal if they don't have a top pick. That said, a top pick gives them a future star or potential trade asset with one of the top three picks, something the Lakers need so they can create the ideal roster for the future.

Kansas Jayhawks SF Josh Jackson
Jayhawks SF Josh Jackson has been electrifying plays this season for Kansas. Will he bring the same to Los Angeles? [Image by Jamie Squire/Getty Images]

In the current NBA mock draft at Draft Express, the Los Angeles Lakers would select Kansas small forward Josh Jackson. This move is probably more puzzling since the team already has Brandon Ingram slotted there. This is a deep draft, and the Lakers may be able to draft with a trade in mind. There have been reports that the team is optimistic with young stars like Ingram, D'Angelo Russell, and Julius Randle on the roster. However, the Jayhawks' freshman is putting up 16.5 points a game, along with grabbing over seven rebounds and dishing out at least three assists. Los Angeles may end up finding that he's a better option than one of the other stars, or might even put together a deal to ship him away for some other assets.

Although records are a slight indicator of how good a pick they'll receive, teams really won't know what spot they'll be drafting in until May 16th. That's when the ping pong balls will be pulled out live on television to reveal the order of the upcoming 2017 NBA Draft. Fans can still check out an NBA Draft order simulator via Real GM. The draft itself will be held on Thursday, June 22nd at the Barclay's Center in Brooklyn, where Nets fans can watch with envy as Boston, or whoever has their pick, drafts a potential future star.

[Featured Image by Christian Petersen/Getty Images]