NBA Mock Draft: After losing tiebreaker, Knicks grab Kentucky's De'Aaron Fox
Winning the tiebreaker lets the Timberwolves grab NC State point guard Dennis Smith at No. 6
This week, the drama that normally imbues the NBA reached a higher level. No, I'm not talking about James Harden's playoff exploits, or the unexpected Chicago Bulls renaissance.
In a room in Secaucus, New Jersey, NBA Draft.for the upcoming
Kudos to the NBA for making this a mini-event, really, but the extent to which this will matter could be significant. The Knicks, seemingly so close to losing to the Sixers on the season's final night, instead rallied to win. After losing a tiebreaker to Minnesota, that means the single point victory on April 12 dropped the Knicks from fourth to seventh in this year's draft, should the pingpong balls bounce according to math.
So where does that leave all the incoming talent? To the draft board!
Markelle Fultz, PG, Washington: What once looked like a luxury for the East's top seed now appears to be a necessary upgrade. Fultz, were he in this series, could be guarding Dwyane Wade and giving the Celtics more perimeter scoring punch. He's right: it's going to be "the craziest backcourt".
Josh Jackson, SF, Kansas: Nothing's changed here, Jackson can defend wings, rebound and score in a way the Suns desperately need, and he'll immediately start and contribute next year.
Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA: Get ready, Los Angeles, for the Celtics-Lakers Fultz-Ball rivalry. It's going to be fun, last a while, and help the Lakers as long as D'Angelo Russell thrives off the ball.
Jonathan Isaac, SF, Florida State: Brett Brown's plan was to make his Sixers a top-15 defensive team this year, and somehow he did it. Give Brown a defensive weapon like Isaac, and top-10, top-5 are possible.
Jayson Tatum, SF, Duke: The Magic look like the landing spot for Tatum, provided they believe he will be a legit number one scoring option. A lot of Carmelo Anthony in his game, and that's not an insult, no matter what Phil Jackson tells you.
Dennis Smith Jr., PG, NC State: Whatever the concerns about the shot selection, there's too much elite playmaking and athleticism here for the Timberwolves to pass up a long-term solution at point guard.
De'Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky: This is the easy choice here for a Knicks team that needs a point guard desperately, provided Jackson wasn't serious about going back to Derrick Rose. And he wasn't, right? Right?
Lauri Markkanen, PF, Arizona: The Kings need shooting desperately, and there's no more reliable place to get it in this draft.
Frank Ntilikina, PG, France: Combining this long point guard's potential with Rick Carlisle's player development skills will make for a must-watch NBA story next season.
Justin Jackson, SF, North Carolina: Getting Jackson to the Kings is a win for everyone, with Jackson punching up their defense, and the Kings giving him an opportunity to play right away.
Malik Monk, SG, Kentucky: Just imagine the space Monk's going to have to shoot on every Kemba Walker drive-and-kick. He might shoot 40 percent on 3-pointers his rookie season.
Donovan Mitchell, SG, Louisville: Expect Stan Van Gundy to fall in love with Mitchell the moment he watches film of Mitchell's perimeter defending.
Tyler Lydon, SF, Syracuse: His shot will get him on the court, and don't underestimate his ability to defend, even rim protect at times, in very small lineups.
Mikal Bridges, SF, Villanova: Jay Wright did the NBA a favor and created Bridges in precisely the 3-and-D role he'll be inhabiting at the next level, however much Wright prefers Bridges not limit himself.
Justin Patton, C, Creighton: Terry Stotts loves passing bigs, and Patton's got the raw skills to do it, though he'll need to improve his decision-making. But who among us shy of 20 years old didn't?
TJ Leaf, PF/C, UCLA: More than before, this Celtics series will convince the highly reluctant to rebuild Bulls to find complementary talent for their core, and Leaf as floor spacer is just such a player.
Semi Ojeleye, SF, SMU: The rebounding, intensity and shot-creation all scream lottery pick, and the Bucks will happily take him here if he slips
Sindarius Thornwell, SG, South Carolina: Nate McMillan's team aspires to be better defensively than they are (16th in the league this year in defensive efficiency), and Thornwell will help bridge that gap.
John Collins, PF, Wake Forest: It will be up to Mike Budenholzer to get Collins engaged on the defensive end, but the Hawks could sure use the efficient post game Collins provides, a worthy counterpoint to Mike Muscala's diversified game at the five on the second unit.
Monte Morris, PG, Iowa State: Not only can Morris spell either Damian Lillard or CJ McCollum, he provides a pure distributor look in the process.
Johnathan Motley, PF, Baylor: You know how Billy Donovan? He'd never have to say it about Motley, a gifted defender and scorer at the 4/5.
Harry Giles, PF/C, Duke: Expect Sean Marks to take Giles here and hope he can be a worthwhile counter to Brook Lopez in the paint, and possible successor if the Nets deal Lopez for young, controllable assets.
Frank Mason III, PG, Kansas: Mason can be the Kyle Lowry understudy, and his maturity and diversified offensive game could make him a quick successor, too.
Rodions Kurucs, SF, Latvia: An interesting project the Jazz can draft and stash.
Ivan Rabb, PF/C, California: The Magic need playmakers, and Rabb can be just that out of the post or even wing in a big lineup, supporting skills for his NBA-ready rebounding.
OG Anunoby, F, Indiana: The Blazers simply have to defend better next year, and so if the best wing defender in the draft is available to them at 26, they won't blink.
Isaiah Hartenstein, PF, Germany: Essentially, Hartenstein's ceiling as a versatile five is what Brook Lopez made himself into in 2016-17, so it is easy to imagine the Nets lining Hartenstein up as a successor.
Tacko Fall, C, Central Florida: The nascent skyhook will look particular apt in Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's purple and gold.
Alec Peters, PF, Valparaiso: Think of him as a young Boris Diaw, and he's even old enough to drink with Gregg Popovich already.
Luke Kennard, SG, Duke: It is fun to imagine Kennard's shooting and penetration within the confines of the Utah offense, perhaps the final piece to get them up into the top ten in offensive efficiency next season.
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