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Thumbs up for Mitchell; thumbs down on Philadelphia for missing their pick.

Redrafting the 2017 NBA Draft


Here are the rules for the draft:

  1. Your team knows how everyone played their first year.
  2. Your draft plan did not change based on trades and free agent signings that happened since the draft.
  3. You don’t steal a player earlier in the draft from another team in the hopes of getting a favorable trade.

I’m only going to redraft the lottery picks, as these are the players who are having the largest impact in the NBA as the season begins.

With the first pick in the 2017 draft, the Philadelphia 76ers select…

Donovan Mitchell

Even if he’s not the best player in the draft, he’s the perfect fit with Simmons and Embiid. JJ Redick is a good player, but Mitchell can kill teams that challenge 3-point shooters, while Redick cannot. Mitchell is a better rebounder and defender and would cost 1/3 what they paid Redick.

Can you imagine if the 76ers had taken Mitchell instead of Fultz?

With the second pick in the 2017 draft, the Los Angeles Lakers select…

Lonzo Ball

Hate him if you want, but he is the perfect Laker to recreate ShowTime 2.0. Aside from the media circus and his dad putting a target on his back, Ball is so good that trolls said he was a bust by saying his ceiling was Rondo and Rubio, who are both excellent point guards. This year, Ball has gotten stronger, so he can finish at the rim better and have more control on his jump shot.

In the three games he started since the Rondo suspension, Lonzo is averaging 12.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 6.6 apg , with 2.6 steals, while shooting 53.5% from the field and 40% from deep.

With the third pick in the 2017 draft, the Boston Celtics select…

Jayson Tatum

Tatum may turn out to be the best player from this draft class, but one thing is certain. He’s already the best player on the Celtics, and becoming a true leader of the team as he is now trash talking Joel Embiid.

He is taking on the role of primary scorer in isolation situations away from Kyrie Irving. The down side is that when he let Kyrie run the offense last season and just set up for corner 3’s he had what may be an impossible to replicate shooting percentage.

Last year, Tatum averaged 15/4.8/2.1, shooting 45.3% on 3’s. In the playoffs, he was forced into the role as the #1 option, and his numbers increased to 18.5 pg, 4.4 rpg, 2.7 apg, but dropped to 32.4% on 3-pointers.

This year, as he tries to take over the alpha role from the vets, he’s averaging 18.8/9.6/2.0, but shooting only 27.3% on 3-pointers. (I hope he hasn’t been taking shooting lessons from Marcus Smart. Actually, I hope he’s been taking shooting lessons from Marcus Smart!)

With the fourth pick in the 2017 draft, the Phoenix Suns select…

OG Anunoby

Last year Anunoby was one of the best young defensive wings in the league, with a defensive rating (102.4) that was 2.7 points better than his team’s rating (105.1). And he shot 37.1% on his 3-pointers. He’s lost his place now that the Raptors have Kawhi Leonard, but imagine him playing next to Devin Booker, Elie Okobo, TJ Warren and Deandre Ayton for the Suns.

Instead, the Sun took Josh Jackson, who plays the same position as TJ Warren, currently their best 3-point shooter and second best scorer. No matter how well he defends, a 41.7% high volume shooter who shot 26.3% on 3-pointers last year is not the kind of guy you want starting on a playoff team. Unless you’re the Thunder.

With the fifth pick in the 2017 draft, the Sacramento Kings select…

D’Aaron Fox

Last year, Fox looked like a jouneyman at best, shooting 30.7% on 3-pointers, while averaging 11.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 4.4 apg, and 1 steal. This year, he’s made a nice jump now that the team is playing at his pace (no more Zach Randolph), averaging 17.6 ppg, 4.8 rpg, and 6.6 asp to go along with 1.4 steals. He’s shooting 10% on 3-pointers, but it doesn’t matter as he’s shooting a respectable 46.9% from the field due to all the layups he gets in transition (77.8% scoring frequency).

I think the Kings stick with this pick, as they need a decent sized (6'3") point guard to go along with 5'11" Frank Mason, who is probably the better overall player (per 36 numbers last year: 15.1 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 5.4 apg, .360 3P%, .817 FT%), but can’t be matched up against big guards. Mason had a +7.9 On/Off Rating, compared to Fox (-5.8).

With the sixth pick in the 2017 draft, the Orlando Magic select…

Jonathan Isaac

Another really good pick. I like his ability to stretch the floor (.368 3P%) and then attack close outs with a dribble and a mid range jump shot (.514 FG%). He’s a little thin, but he crashes the boards well. He looked good in the Magic win over the Celtics, so while John Collins ended up being on the NBA All-Rookie team, these two players are close enough in ability that there was no reason to change this pick.

With the seventh pick in the 2017 draft, the Chicago Bulls select…

Lauri Markkanen

This was the only good decision Chicago made last year, as Markkanen made the NBA All-Rookie 1st Team and showed some ability on the boards to go along with his outside shooting. Everything else they’ve done (signing Lavine and Jabbari Parker to big contracts, which dumping Mirotic instead of Portis) has left the team as a bottom dweller.

With the eighth pick in the 2017 draft, the New York Knicks select…

Frank Ntilikina

I’m not crazy about this player, but he seems to be the best point guard left in the draft, and that’s what the Knicks needed, having signed Tim Hardaway Jr to an insane contract.

With the ninth pick in the 2017 draft, the Dallas Mavericks select…

Kyle Kuzma

Kuzma was arguably the best offensive player of all the rookies last year. I’ve wrote about him extensively, paying special attention to his ability to put a team on his back and beat elite competition.

Kuzma’s star was fading early this season, as he was being forced to bang with centers as a small ball 5. Thankfully for the Lakers, they found a good banger in Johnathan Williams, who has been a post player his whole life.

With the suspension of Brandon Ingram after the fight with the Rockets, Kuzma was inserted in the starting lineup and has feasted off the passing of LeBron and Lonzo, averaging 25.3 ppg, 5 rpg, 1.3 apg and 1 block, with .517 FG% and 90.9 FT%.

While Dallas selected a point guard, Dennis Smith really doesn’t fit the bill, which is why they went after a real playmaker in Doncic this year. If Dallas drafted Kuzma, he would have a year to learn all the tricks from Dirk Nowitzki.This could be a match made in heaven, so I’m really glad Mark Cuban whiffed here.

With the tenth pick in the 2017 draft, the Sacramento Kings select…

Zach Collins

The Kings traded this pick to Portland in exchange for two lower first round picks, and I think this was a really good pick for their roster composition. Collins has played well this season as a small ball 5. He can’t bang like their starter Nurkic, but he’s fast and can shoot 3-pointers. He and Nik Stauskas kept the Trail Blazers in the game against the Lakers, until McCollum and Lillard caught fire in the 4th quarter.

With the eleventh pick in the 2017 draft, the Charlotte Hornets select…

Josh Hart

Leave it to the greatest shooting guard of all time, Michael Jordan, to not recognize the competitive fire and all around ability of Josh Hart. Not only did Hart win an NCAA Championship, he withdrew from the draft because he didn’t think he would be drafted in the lottery. So he went back to school, worked on his game, and was the best player on a team that featured the NCAA player of the year in Jalen Brunson. Then, he was picked 30th in the draft. Talk about placing multiple chips on your shoulder.

Everything this kid does is tough. He was determined to play Summer League a second year, so he could prove that he could dominate. And he did, winning the MVP award.

He worked on his game to do more off the dribble in addition to his 3-point shooting. He drives to the rim without fear, even though he almost never gets the call. And he plays tough defense on every possession, whether he’s barrelling through screens or guarding much bigger players in the post.

Other than Jimmy Butler and Bradley Beal, name one shooting guard who is as good a two way player as Hart. (Come on, Brandon, I dare you).

Among all NBA shooting guards this season, Hart is #2 in steals, #6 in rebounds, #13 in blocks, #7 in FG%, and #4 in 3P% at 44.8% (for players that shoot at least six 3-pointers per game). He’s averaging 15.6 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.4 apg, and 2.2 steals.

With the twelfth pick in the 2017 draft, the Detroit Pistons select…

Frank Mason III

Drafting unathletic guards who can shoot 3-pointers from Duke must be a thing. It took many years for JJ Redick to become a decent NBA starter. The Pistons have some good bigs, but are a complete mess when it comes to running an offense. As good as Blake Griffin is, he ain’t LeBron James. Having a real point guard might help.

With the thirteenth pick in the 2017 draft, the Utah Jazz select…

John Collins

I know they really needed a guard, but Collins was on the NBA All-Rookie team and he is fast enough to be a good backup for Gobert, especially considering Gobert’s injury history. After the All-Star break, he averaged 11.3 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 2.1 apg, and .9 blocks, while shooting .458 FG% and .357 3P%.

If they really needed a guard, maybe they go with Malik Monk who was terrible in the beginning of last season but played great the last 5 games.

With the fourteenth pick in the 2017 draft, the Miami Heat select…

Bam Adebayo

I really liked this pick. Miami found a great small ball 5. Unfortunately, they can’t unload Whiteside’s contract and get some decent wings to slot in with Dragic and Richardson.

Well, that’s it for the 2017 NBA lottery picks. I just had to praise Kuzma (+/- rating of +7 vs Nuggets on Thursday night) and especially Hart (+15) for the way they’ve played in that exciting win. If Denver calls, hoping to trade one of them for Gary Harris (-12) and Jamal Murray (-12), I don’t even take the call:)

Written by

Ad agency creative director, writer & designer at Former pro tennis player and peak performance coach for professional athletes.

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