The NCAA tournament features premium talent that will soon be displayed in the NBA. Let’s take a look at some pre-draft rankings and see what prospects have helped and hurt their stock so far through the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament.
Team needs will be taken into account.
Selections are based on NBA standings from March 20th, 2017.
Pick 1 – Boston Celtics – Markelle Fultz – PG – Washington
The top prospect in this years class. The Celtics are in prime position to snag the first overall pick and will take the best overall player. Adding Fultz to a roster that is currently second in the Eastern Conference is a scary thought for the league.
Pick 2 – Los Angles Lakers – PG – Lonzo Ball – UCLA
The standout freshman will get to play for the hometown team and his outspoken father will receive his wish. Ball has drawn comparisons to Jason Kidd and a possesses tremendous court vision. Ball fills the stat sheet on a nightly basis and will give the Lakers the star prospect they seek to aid their rebuild.
Pick 3 – Phoenix Suns – SF – Jayson Tatum – Duke
Tatum has started to figure out the college game and beginning to dominate the opposition. Tatum has the NBA frame and possesses a tremendous ability to score the ball. His value is he can score from anywhere on the court whether its driving the ball to the basket or from beyond the arc. Their is not a more talented one on one scorer in the college game than Tatum.
Pick 4: Orlando Magic – SF – Josh Jackson – Kansas
Jackson may be the best two way player in the draft. He is drawing comparisons to prime Andre Igodula. Jackson has a high motor and has a ton of athleticism. He would fit nicely into Frank Vogels defense first system and could project to a Paul George type player. Payton, Jackson and Gordon would give the magic three of the more athletic players at their respected positions.
Pick 5: Philadelphia 76ers – SG – Malik Monk – Kentucky
The Sixers will target a guard with their first section. Embiid and Saric are the cornerstones of the team with Okafor hanging around on the bench. Ben Simmons will debut next year and what better way to pair his ability with the best shooter in the draft. Monk is a three point specialist with unlimited range. Monk will be an excellent floor spacer and a future 20 points per game player in the NBA one day.
Pick 6: Sacramento Kings – PG – Dennis Smith Jr. – NC State
Smith is a top point guard in the draft but questions surrounding his motor and effort arose towards the end of the season when NC State went into a rut. Smith has “a do everything” skill notching two triple doubles this season. Smith is the best player remaining and with Kings not having a point guard under contract for next season, Smith steps into the starting position immediately.
Pick 7: New York Knicks – PG – De’Aaron Fox – Kentucky
Fox is a lightening quick guard who has a quick first step and is capable of getting to the bucket with ease. He has good size for the position and is a willing defender. The Knicks need a young, quick point guard in the worse way and Fox fits the description. A Fox – Porzingis pick and roll would be a welcoming sight for Knicks fans
Pick 8: Minnesota Timberwolves – PF – Lauri Markannan – Arizona
Markannen may be the smoothest shooting seven footer to enter the NBA draft. Markannen will be a tremendous fit next to KAT and Wiggins as a stretch four that will allow for better floor spacing for the former two to operate. Markannen is not the most terrific defender and does tend to drift to the outside too often but is worth the section for a team wanting to take the next step.
Pick 9: Sacramento Kings – SF – Miles Bridges – Michigan State
With the pick they received in the Demarcus Cousins trade, Bridges goes to a Kings team in desperate need of talent. Bridges is coming off an NCAA tournament where he averaged 20 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. Bridges should be a nice piece as a combo forward to place next too Will Cauley – Stein.
Pick 10: Charlotte Hornets – PF – John Collins – Wake Forrest
The Hornets have shown a knack for drafting players who played their collegiate ball in their home state. Collins is an efficient low post scorer who finishes well around the rim. Collins struggles defensively but coach Steve Clifford will fix those deficiencies. They were tot too many players in the ACC that could defend Collins this season.
Pick 11: Dallas Mavericks – PG – Frank Ntilikina – Belgium
Go watch his highlight tape. Elite guard with deep shooting ability. His highlight tape reminds of John Wall. The Mavericks luck into the unknown and add a terrific PG to add to the Seth Curry, Harrison Barnes, Nerlens Noel core as they prepare for life without Dirk.
Pick 12: Portland Trailblazers – SF – Jonathon Isaac – Florida State
The lengthy forward was stock flew into the top five when Florida State was winning a bunch of games earlier in the season. Isaac is a 6’10 small forward who handle and shoot the ball like a guard. He needs to fine tune his post game and add more muscle to hold his own against NBA bigs but is in a intriguing prospect Portland can’t pass on. Isaac will be selected higher if he comes out with a more aggressive attitude during pre draft workouts
Pick 13: Chicago Bulls – PF – Robert Williams – Texas A&M
The super athletic forward finds a home in Chicago. The Bulls are relatively thin at the power forward position giving heavy minutes to Nikola Mirotic, who will be subject of trade rumors in the off-season, and Bobby Portis, first rounder in 2014. Williams athleticism and shot blocking ability will give the Bulls a solid defensive presence next to Jimmy Butler.
Pick 14: Miami Heat – PF – Isaiah Harenstein – Germany
Versatile forward who can present a match up problem at either the power forward or center position. Runs the floor well and can shoot from distance. Has a unique passing ability for his size and his versatility will be displayed the same way James Johnson is showing out this season.
Pick 15: Denver Nuggets – PF – Bam Adebayo – Kentucky
Adebayo has established himself to be a rebounding machine especially on the offensive glass. Adebayo is a high energy big with a tremendous motor. In Denver, he will play behind Nikola Jokic and Mason Plumlee but will establish himself as a top player in their bench rotation.
Pick 16: Detroit Pistons – SG – Luke Kennard – Duke
The Pistons need offensive firepower for their bench unit and Kennard fits the billing. The 6’5 guard has taken the leap into college star his sophomore year averaging 19.5 points on 44% shooting from 3. Kennard is a crafty player with the ball and is capable finishing around the rim against bigs.
Pick 17: Milwaukee Bucks – C – Justin Patton – Creighton
The Bucks have shown in recent memory to draft athletic players with elite size. Patton joins the list. The 7 foot center will provide insurance if current center Greg Monroe decides to opt out his contract. Patton is a more developed prospect than last years pick, Thon Maker but still is a raw prospect with a lot of upside.
Pick 18: Indiana Pacers – PF – T.J Leaf – UCLA
The Pacers need youth in the worst way. They are a middling team with a superstar in Paul George who has been rumored to want out when he is a free agent in 2018. Myles Turner is the only current player on the roster to build around. Leaf is a skilled, athletic forward capable of spreading you out to the three point line. Leaf is a willing defender and was able to hold his own in the NCAA ranks.
Pick 19: Atlanta Hawks – PF – Harry Giles – Duke
The Hawks take a gamble on Giles and his health and hope hes able to stay on the court. The former number 1 overall recruit tore his ACL twice in high school and never looked fully recovered in his lone season at Duke. The upside is there if Giles knees hold up.
Pick 20: Portland Trailblazers – PF – Ivan Rabb – California
Rabb was a likely top seven selection had he declared for the draft after his freshman season. However, he came back for his sophomore year, put up similar numbers, but his draft stock fell due to a more talented pool of prospects. The Blazers receive great value for this selection and add a rotational player to their bench.
Pick 21: Oklahoma City Thunder – SG – Josh Hart – Villanova
The first senior taken in the draft is a stat sheet filler who does a little of everything on the court. Hart is a good defensive guard capable of defending three positions. Hart can step right in and handle the ball when Westbrook heads to the bench and provide more offense than the Thunder currently get from Norris Cole, Semaj Christon, or Alex Abrines.
Pick 22: Toronto Raptors – SF – O.G. Anunoby – Indiana
Anunoby would have been a much higher selection had not an ACL tear derailed his season. Anunoby is a high energy, athletic wing who built a reputation of being one of the better defenders in the B1G. The Raptors take the chance here as they need to retool their wing depth as they just traded Terrence Ross and PJ Tucker is set to be a free agent.
Pick 23: Orlando Magic – SG – Donovan Mitchell – Louisville
The Magic acquired this pick in the Serge Ibaka trade and use it to draft Mitchell to add a three point marksman to the team. Mitchell shot 36% from 3 this past season but the low percentage was mostly due to the ineffective spacing Louisville possessed. Mitchell adds depth to the wing that currently employs Evan Fournier and Terrence Ross as the starters.
Pick 24: Brooklyn Nets – PG – Jawun Evans – Oklahoma State
The Nets are looking to acquire the most talent available to them . Evans would be a terrific fit to back up PG Jeremy Lin Brooklyn. Evans is one of the more polished offensive guards in the draft averaging 19.2 points and 6.4 assists his sophomore season. Evans needs to become a better finisher around the rim but his talent exceeds his draft position.
Pick 25: Utah Jazz – C – Jonathan Jeanne – France
Stifle Tower part 2. Jeanne does not have the defensive ability as Rudy Gobert but possesses elite size standing at 7’2. The Jazz with no true back up center make Jeanne their project in hopes he becomes a similar player to Gobert. The Jazz are a top defensive team in the league and more size and length will only improve that.
Pick 26: Brooklyn Nets – PF – Caleb Swanigan – Purdue
The B1G player of the year goes 26 to Brooklyn adding much needed rebounding and finishing ability in the paint. Swanigan is top offensive talent with defensive issues. He struggles with lateral mobility and quickness. However, on a team needing talent in the worst way, Swanigan should find a home in Brooklyn and should see a ton of minutes.
Pick 27: Portland Trailblazers – PG – Monte Morris – Iowa State
Portland acquires a back up point guard to run the offense for the second unit. Morris sees the court well and had a six to one assist to turnover ratio his final season at Iowa State. His court vision will be a welcoming addition and will allow for Damian Lillard to play off the ball as well.
Pick 28: Los Angles Lakers – SG – Allonzo Trier – Arizona
The Lakers add another guard to give them four young guards to build around in the future. Trier would join Ball, Russell and Clarkson in the Lakers rotation. Trier, who missed the majority of the season due to steroid use, has returned and has become a go to scorer for the Wildcats. Expect him to climb up draft boards with a solid remainder of the tournament.
Pick 29: San Antonio Spurs – SF – Justin Jackson – North Carolina
Jackson fits the prototypical Spurs model for a player they would seek in the draft. Jackson is 6’8 small forward with an array of offensive moves. Jackson displays one of the best floaters in the NCAA and his three point shot steadily progressed each season at North Carolina. His offensive game will contribute to a long NBA career as a rotational player.
Pick 30: Utah Jazz – SF – Dillon Brooks – Oregon
The do it all forward from Oregon is the last selection of the first round. Brooks is a smart, fundamental player that molds well into the Quin Snyder System in Utah. Brooks has good size and shoots the ball 40% from 3. Brooks may be needed more than you know if Gordon Hayward decides to bolt in free agency.