Markelle Fultz has long been projected by most to be the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. And he still will be. But he'll be playing in Philadelphia as opposed to Boston thanks to a surprising trade between the Eastern Conference franchises.
On Monday it became official.
Philadelphia is picking first. Boston is picking third.
That development didn't change this mock draft as it pertains to which players will go in the top five. But it does mean I now have Fultz playing in Philadelphia and Jayson Tatum landing in Boston -- where he should be a rotation player for a team that will make, and advance in, the 2018 Eastern Conference playoffs. That's a good spot for Tatum. And this could be a blessing for Fultz too. He no longer has to worry about whether he can play with Boston's Isaiah Thomas, who is another ball-dominant guard. Now he can be Philadelphia's primary ball-handler and back-court scorer from Day 1 -- not to mention a part of a young nucleus that could do big things in Philadelphia for years to come.
Gary Parrish's NBA Mock Draft
1.Â 76ers via trade with Celtics
The Sixers did not move from third to first to select anybody other than Fultz. So he'll be the first pick, and I love it for Philadelphia. Contrary to what some think, I genuinely do believe Fultz is the best prospect in this draft. And he's also a position of need for the Sixers. So this is a win-win. And a young core of Fultz, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons could be terrific in time.
Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA
The Lakers' decision to move D'Angelo Russell makes it more likely than ever than Ball will be the second player selected. And I think that's the right move for Los Angeles. Because though LaVar Ball has made a habit of overstating his son's ability, the fact remains that the one-and-done point guard from UCLA is a uniquely gifted passer and play-maker who really does make his teammates better. No, he's not an elite athlete for his position. And no, that jumper isn't pretty. But Ball is a good-enough athlete and the shot goes in. So I'm not predicting problems. I'm predicting future All-Star Games.
3. Celtics via trade with 76ers
Danny Ainge has made it clear that the Celtics will get the same player picking third that they would've gotten picking first, which means he was never as high on Fultz as most. And everything I've heard in the past 48 hours suggests Tatum will be the pick. The one-and-done prospect from Duke should crack Boston's rotation immediately and provide play-making ability that'll make Thomas' job easier. It's not often that a top-three pick joins a 50-win team. So Tatum should feel fortunate if things break this way.
Whether Jackson will develop into a star is up for debate. And I've heard some analysts refer to him as a "role player." But, at worst, he's going to be a high-motor wing who competes on both ends of the court, every possession, for years. And there's value in that. Literally every NBA franchise needs a lockdown wing defender who can guard multiple positions. Jackson can do that. And if he develops a consistent jumper to go with everything else, watch out.
De'Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky
The Kings are desperately in need of a young point guard with a high ceiling, and Fox is exactly that. At 6-feet-4, he has nice size for the position and is super-fast with the ball. He was sensational in Kentucky's Sweet 16 win over UCLA while finishing with 39 points. And though his 24.6 3-point percentage is a concern, it's neither something that can't be improved nor the type of thing that should prevent Sacramento from selecting Fox here -- provided he's available. Which is no guarantee, by the way. Fox could easily go second, third or fourth overall. But the Kings should hope he doesn't.
Recent reports suggest the Magic are leaning toward Jonathan Isaac. But this is an organization that shot 32.8 percent from 3-point range last season. So Orlando needs shooting in the worst way. And Markkanen can provide it. The 7-footer shot 42.3 percent from beyond the arc in his lone college season. He's a perfect stretch-4 in the modern NBA. Nice player. Nice fit.
The Timberwolves can take Isaac, play him with Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, and now we're talking about something with big potential. Minnesota would then have a core of Isaac, Towns, Wiggins, Zach LaVine and Ricky Rubio. Those are some nice pieces that could soon have the Timberwolves advancing in the Western Conference playoffs -- especially if Towns develops into an All-NBA player. Remember, he's still only 21 years old.
Frank Ntilikina, PG, France
The Knicks have been considering moving Kristraps Porzingis for multiple picks and/or assets. But, ultimately, I do not believe that will happen in advance of the draft. So they will pick eighth. And they need a point guard, which means I won't be surprised if they go with Ntilikina -- the 19-year-old from France who met with them earlier this week. At 6-5, he has great size for the position. And he can make perimeter jumpers. So he's perfect for what New York should be trying to build around Porzingis.
Dennis Smith, PG, NC State
The Mavericks need a point guard and should probably take whichever of the five best drops to them. In this mock, that's Smith. The NC State product averaged 18.1 points, 6.2 assists and 4.6 rebounds in his one season of college basketball. Some have questioned whether he plays hard enough all of the time. But with the right coach and right organization, he could turn into a star.
Malik Monk, SG, Kentucky
Fox and Monk worked well together at Kentucky. So why not take them both, if you're Sacramento and you can? That's what I would do if I were the Kings and Monk remains on the board at 10. He's an athletic combo guard who made 39.7 percent of his 3-point attempts while averaging a team-high 19.8 points for a Kentucky team that won the SEC and made the Elite Eight. Why he doesn't use his athleticism more to get into the lane consistently remains a mystery. But if Monk ever does that, he could develop into something special. Make no mistake, the potential for stardom is there.
Luke Kennard, SG, Duke
Just about everybody in the NBA not named the Warriors could use a player who can dribble, pass and shoot. And Kennard can dribble, pass and shoot (well), which is why he could end up being the steal of this draft. The 6-6 guard was among college basketball's biggest breakout stars as a sophomore while averaging 19.5 points and shooting 43.8 percent from 3-point range for a Duke team that won the ACC Tournament. He's one of the hottest names right now because of an impressive pro day during which he blew scouts away with his ability to make jumpers from basically everywhere on the court.
Mitchell had a breakout season and averaged 15.6 points and 4.9 rebounds for a Louisville team that won 25 games. Yes, he's only 6-3. And he's not really a point guard. But he's an elite athlete with a 6-10 wingspan who has been rising on draft boards thanks to a versatile game that seems transferable to the NBA.
Collins is the first one-and-done player in Gonzaga history. The 7-foot forward shot 47.6 percent from the 3-point line on the season -- and finished with 14 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks in the Zags' national semifinal win over South Carolina. Those numbers and that performance on such a big stage helped secure a place in the top 20 of this draft. He could go in the top 10. But, if he doesn't, he won't go much lower than this.
Anunoby suffered a season-ending knee injury in January, which will cost him with some franchises and sideline him for at least the start of the season. But the 6-8 wing remains a lottery talent and should be evaluated as such. He's probably a top-10 pick if not for the medical setback. His ability to guard multiple positions could make him special in time.
15. Trail Blazers
Patton is the rare one-and-done redshirt freshman. He's a 7-foot forward who averaged 12.9 points and 6.2 rebounds in just 25.3 minutes while helping Creighton stay ranked for much of the season despite the loss of Maurice Watson. He's a work in progress, sure. But he's also a player with an undeniably high ceiling.
The Bulls were 24th in 3-point shooting this season. So they could use a shooter. And Jackson shot a career-high 37 percent from 3-point range as a junior, which greatly enhanced his NBA stock. He's a national champion who should be able to contribute immediately at a position of need for Chicago.
Allen was on a bad team in his one year at Texas -- mostly because the Longhorns were young everywhere and without a point guard. But the 6-11 athlete was consistently good from February on and showed flashes of why he's worthy of being selected in the top 20. I'm not sure he can help Milwaukee next season. But he could eventually.
Terrance Ferguson, SG, Australia
Ferguson, as expected, was inconsistent while playing in Australia this season. But that shouldn't affect his standing with NBA scouts too much. He only shot 31.3 percent from 3-point range in 30 games. That's not good. But that's not an accurate reflection of how well the former Arizona signee can actually shoot from beyond the arc.
Collins was ranked 230th in the Class of 2015, according to 247Sports. But he still developed into a player who averaged 19.2 points and 9.8 rebounds this season and emerged as a legitimate NBA prospect. In other words, he's one of this draft's most surprising stories and the type of thing Wake Forest coach Danny Manning can use to influence recruits going forward.
Harry Giles, PF, Duke
Giles has reportedly looked way better in recent workouts than he ever did at Duke, which is encouraging and the reason why somebody will take a flyer on him in the first round. Will Giles ever become what so many projected him to become -- i.e., the next Chris Webber? Honestly, I'm not sure. But he might. So he's worth a gamble in the 20s -- and perhaps even in the teens.
TJ Leaf, PF, UCLA
Leaf averaged 16.3 points and 8.2 rebounds while shooting 46.6 percent from 3-point range this season. He was overshadowed by his teammates at UCLA but still a statistical monster. He's a perfect stretch-4 for the modern-day NBA. Russell Westbrook could use him in Oklahoma City the same way Kyrie Irving uses Kevin Love in Cleveland.
Ike Anigbogu, PF, UCLA
Anigbogu only played 13 minutes per game for UCLA, which suggests he's nowhere close to contributing at the NBA level. But he's still an interesting prospect who is only 18 years old. His tenacity and toughness should get him picked in the first round.
Lydon shot 40 percent from 3-point range in two seasons at Syracuse and averaged 13.2 points and 8.6 rebounds as a sophomore. He'll be a stretch-4 in the NBA and capable of cracking a rotation as a rookie thanks to that reliable jumper.
Ojeleye started his college career at Duke, where he was just a bit player. But the 6-7 forward was tremendous at SMU this season. He averaged 19 points and 6.9 rebounds while leading the Mustangs to American Athletic Conference regular-season and tournament titles.
Bam Adebayo, C, Kentucky
Adebayo lacks the skill set most NBA front offices desire from front-court prospects these days. But he's still a high-energy explosive forward who produced for a Kentucky team that advanced to the Elite Eight. Throw it near the rim, and he'll dunk it. And, yes, this means I have the Magic selecting a pair of John Calipari's one-and-done players in the first round.
Anzejs Pasecniks, C, Latvia
The Blazers have three first-round picks. So they could trade this one or use it on a draft-and-stash option. If they choose the latter, Pasecniks is an obvious option. He's an athletic big who can play either frontcourt position. And it's possible he could play in the NBA next season, if the franchise that selects him prefers.
27. Lakers via trade with Nets
There has to be a place in the NBA for anybody who produces at the high-major level the way Swanigan did this season. The 6-9 forward averaged 18.5 points and 12.5 rebounds for the outright Big Ten champions and was a consensus first-team All-American. And the fact that he shot 44.7 percent from 3-point range suggests he's equipped to step away from the basket at the NBA level too.
Isaiah Hartenstein, PF, Lithuania
Hartenstein was reportedly just OK at the Nike Hoop Summit and thus didn't do much to enhance his reputation with NBA scouts. Still, it's hard to imagine him not going somewhere in the first round. And, with three first-round picks, the Lakers can afford to take a flyer on an international player.
Evans is little and not necessarily a run-the-team point guard. But he's so good in pick-and-roll situations that there's no obvious reason he can't become an instant-offense scorer off of somebody's bench. And San Antonio needs point guard help, obviously. So this pick would add a talented piece and also fill a need.
The idea that Rabb might be available this late suggests he didn't help himself in scouts' eyes with that second year at Cal. But Rabb swears he doesn't regret his decision to skip last year's draft. And, either way, the good thing about going late in the first round is that you usually join a quality team. So Rabb wouldn't have to suffer through losing seasons in Utah, and there's something to be said for that.
Tony Bradley, PF, North Carolina
Bradley could've possibly been a lottery pick next year. But he opted to leave North Carolina after one season and will now likely slip into the second round.
D.J. Wilson, PF, Michigan
Wilson is an athletic forward who could become a nice stretch-4 in the NBA. He shot 37.3 percent from 3-point range this season.
Frank Jackson, G, Duke
Jackson recently underwent foot surgery, which will prevent him from working out for teams anymore before the draft. But his ability to play both backcourt positions and shoot make him an intriguing second-round option.
Bell is a super athlete with a great motor who can block shots and rebound. The Kings should be thrilled to exit this draft with him -- plus Fox and Monk.
White averaged 18.1 points and shot 39.6 percent from 3-point range in his one season at Colorado. He's one of the most remarkable stories of this draft.
Thomas Bryant, PF, Indiana
Bryant didn't have a great sophomore season. But he's still only 19 years old and capable of developing into one of the steals of this draft.
Jonah Bolden, PF, Australia
Bolden was just a bit player in his one season at UCLA. But he's developed well in Australia and now projects as a NBA player.
Mathias Lessort, PF, France
Lessort averaged 10 points and 6.9 rebounds in just 22 minutes per game in the French A-League this season. Some have compared him to former French-league standout Clint Capela.
Dillon Brooks, SF, Oregon
Brooks helped Oregon win 64 games over the past two seasons. He averaged double-figures in each of his three years with the Ducks.
42. Â Jazz
Tyler Dorsey, SG, Oregon
Dorsey should be one of three Oregon players selected in this draft. He's a 6-4 guard with a reliable jumper.
Motley is a Houston native who could develop into a small-ball center for the Rockets. He averaged 17.3 points and 9.9 rebounds for a Baylor team that spent time ranked No. 1.
Robinson is a 6-8 forward who shot 39.1 percent from 3-point range this season while averaging 6.1 rebounds in 26.4 minutes. He can play either forward position.
Frank Mason, PG, Kansas
Mason was named the consensus National Player of the Year after helping Kansas earn the No. 1 overall seed in the 2017 NCAA Tournament. He's small but will likely develop into a rotation player in the NBA, at worst.
Morris was consistently great the past three seasons at Iowa State. His assist-to-turnover ratio suggests he'll be able to run an offense and take care of the ball.
P.J. Dozier, SG, South Carolina
Dozier is a former McDonald's All-American who helped South Carolina advance to the Final Four. If not for an inconsistent jumper, he might go in the first round.
Dwayne Bacon, SG, Florida State
Bacon was a highly productive player in two years at Florida State. He averaged a team-high 17.2 points as a sophomore.
Sindarius Thornwell, SG, South Carolina
Thornwell was phenomenal all season and especially during South Carolina's run to the Final Four. He's a super-strong guard who can score and rebound.
The Celtics passed on Fultz, sure. But that doesn't mean they couldn't use a point guard with size -- and Sumner is one. The only thing keeping him out of the first round is a season-ending knee injury suffered in February.
Sterling Brown, SG, SMU
It's hard to believe that SMU has turned into a program that can have multiple draft picks. But Brown's development into a capable guard at the AAC school suggests it's possible.
Jaron Blossomgame, SF, Clemson
Blossomgame did not improve his stock with a senior season of at Clemson - mostly because he shot just 25.5 percent from beyond the arc. But he's still an interesting prospect.
Davon Reed, SG, Miami
Reed averaged 14.9 points and 4.8 rebounds while shooting 39.7 percent from 3-point range as a senior. He's worked out well in recent weeks and is 100 percent on NBA radars. At worst, I think, he ends up with a two-way contract.
L.J. Peak, SG, Georgetown
Peak is a 6-5 guard who averaged 16.3 points in his final season at Georgetown. He's a capable shooter even if he didn't shoot a good percentage as a junior.