Ridiculously early 2017 NBA Mock Draft has two Duke stars in top three
This year's draft is over so let's look ahead to the 2017 NBA Draft when a Duke duo could go early
The 2016 NBA Draft is over, which means it's past time to start looking to the 2017 NBA Draft that'll again feature one-and-done college products at the top.
Who will go first? And second? (And third and fourth and so on and so forth?) Obviously, it's impossible to know for sure. But below is a reasonable guess at how next year's first round could look. My colleague Sam Vecenie set the draft order based on odds for next season mixed with his own expertise. But you should know that I did not take team needs into consideration when making these picks. It's essentially just a list of my top 30 prospects for next year's NBA Draft.
(Note: I also did this last year -- right after the 2015 draft. You can check that one here. But here's the review: Thirteen of my projected lottery picks actually entered the 2016 NBA Draft, and eight of those 13 actually became lottery picks. Twelve of the 13 were among the first 33 picks. And my top seven all went in the first round.)
1. Brooklyn Nets
Josh Jackson, Kansas
Jackson has the size and athleticism to be an elite wing at the NBA level. He'll be the latest one-and-done prospect to help Kansas win a Big 12 championship.
2. Phoenix Suns
Harry Giles, Duke
The only negative with Giles is that he's already had two ACL surgeries. That's rough. But it won't stop him from going in the top three.
3. Philadelphia 76ers
Jayson Tatum, Duke
Tatum is a highly skilled forward who will play alongside Harry Giles at Duke. Now you understand why Mike Krzyzewski's Blue Devils are the favorite to win the national title.
4. Orlando Magic
Markelle Fultz, Washington
Fultz is a big and strong point guard who can dribble, pass and shoot. Just a tremendous prospect. He could be an NBA star.
5. Los Angeles Lakers
Thomas Bryant, Indiana
Bryant could've been a first-round pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. But he decided to spend at least one more year at Indiana. And, I think, he'll benefit from it.
6. Sacramento Kings
Malik Monk, Kentucky
Monk might be the most exciting freshman in college basketball next season. He's a first-class athlete and leaper with a jumpshot - and he's a terror in the open court.
7. Milwaukee Bucks
Dennis Smith, NC State
Smith is a top-shelf athlete who should flourish in the pick-and-roll. He'll make North Carolina State's loss of Cat Barber not hurt so much.
8. Denver Nuggets
Frank Ntilikina, Belgium
You knew we couldn't go too far without an international prospect, right? Ntilikina is a point guard with size and a great wingspan who is only a reliable jumper away from being something special.
9. New Orleans Pelicans
Jarrett Allen, Texas
Allen is a tremendous late pickup for Texas coach Shaka Smart. But, barring a surprise, the 6-11 big will only spend one year in Austin.
10. Portland Trail Blazers
Lonzo Ball, UCLA
Ball has unusual vision and a unique skillset - even for a point guard. His game is quirky. But he does a lot of things that normal prospects just can't do.
11. New York Knicks
Ivan Rabb, California
Rabb would've been a first-round pick had he entered the 2016 NBA Draft. Odds are, an extra year of college won't hurt because he's already shown the ability to perform consistently in the Pac-12.
12. Detroit Pistons
Bam Adebayo, Kentucky
Adebayo is the quintessential high-motor forward. He lacks skill. But he really, really runs, plays hard and just generally gets after it.
13. Memphis Grizzlies
Jonathan Jeanne, France
Jeanne is reportedly 7-2 with a 7-7 wingspan. And, believe it or not, he can shoot comfortably from the perimeter. So there is a lot of intriguing stuff here - though the 18-year- old prospect still needs to add strength and develop.
14. Indiana Pacers
Grayson Allen, Duke
Allen has a good chance to be college basketball's National Player of the Year. A great junior season at Duke might launch him into the lottery.
15. Minnesota Timberwolves
De'Aaron Fox, Kentucky
Fox should become John Calipari's latest one-and-done point guard. He'll combine with Malik Monk to create college basketball's most dynamic backcourt.
16. Washington Wizards
Terrance Ferguson, Arizona
It remains unclear if Ferguson will actually play at Arizona. But, as Thon Maker just showed, skipping college isn't the worst thing in the world for a five-star prospect.
17. Charlotte Hornets
Isaiah Hartenstein, Germany
Hartenstein projects as a stretch-four in the NBA. He's skilled for his size and needs only to show he can make better decisions with the basketball to ensure a spot in the first round.
18. Utah Jazz
Omer Yurtseven, NC State
Yurtseven is a great late pickup for Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried. He's a skilled big with great hands and an adequate face-up game.
19. Dallas Mavericks
Tyler Lydon, Syracuse
There are some NBA people who thought Lydon - not Malachi Richardson - was the best prospect at Syracuse last season. He's a 6-8 forward who shot 40.5 percent from 3-point range as a freshman.
20. Houston Rockets
Jaron Blossomgame, Clemson
Blossomgame is a 6-7 wing who shot 44.6 percent from 3-point range last season. If he shows he can continue to make jumpers at that rate while taking them more regularly, there's no way the senior should fall too far outside of the lottery.
21. Atlanta Hawks
Jonathan Isaac, Florida State
A history of injuries might keep some franchises from gambling on Isaac (and his slender frame). But, at some point, he'll be selected in the first round as long as he stays healthy at Florida State and performs consistently.
22. Miami Heat
Rodions Kurucs, Latvia
Kurucs is a small forward with size who runs the floor well and often scores in bunches. He'd be a great draft-and-stash prospect given that he's currently in the second year of a four-year deal with FC Barcelona.
23. Chicago Bulls
Marques Bolden, Duke
Only two true centers - Jakob Poeltl and Georgios Papgiannis - went in the top 20 of the 2016 NBA Draft. That's a sign of the way the game is being played these days, and it could be an issue for Bolden and prospects like him.
24. Toronto Raptors
OG Anunoby, Indiana
Anunoby was a lightly regarded recruit coming out of high school, relatively speaking. But most expect the 6-8 wing, who is still only 18 years old, to make a huge leap next season and find himself somewhere high on some franchise's boards.
25. Boston Celtics
Miles Bridges, Michigan State
Bridges is the type of hard-nosed forward Tom Izzo has flourished with at Michigan State. He's a bit of a tweener. But so was Draymond Green, once upon a time.
26. Los Angeles Clippers
Kostja Mushidi, Belgium
Mushidi is a 6-5 shooting guard who led the German U18 national team to an international title this year thanks to a 25-point effort against Serbia in the title game. He could be another nice draft-and-stash prospect.
27. Oklahoma City Thunder
Josh Hart, Villanova
Hart is capable of being a First Team All-American and leading Villanova to another Final Four - perhaps even another national title. And if he does that while shooting more consistently from 3-point range, his draft stock will benefit.
28. San Antonio Spurs
Shake Milton, SMU
Milton has great size for his position and could be the AAC Player of the Year next season. He shot 42.6 percent from 3-point range as a freshman.
29. Cleveland Cavaliers
Nigel Hayes, Wisconsin
Hayes has the potential to be a stretch-four in the NBA. He just has to sink jumpers at a better rate next season to convince a franchise to take him.
30. Golden State Warriors
Monte Morris, Iowa State
Morris has for the past two years been one of the best assist-to-turnover-ratio point guards in college basketball. He should end up on an NBA roster regardless of whether he gets selected in the first round.
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