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 be selected first, second and third. But it does mean I now have Fultz playing in Philadelphia and Josh Jackson 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 Jackson. 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 backcourt 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. 76ers via trade with Celtics
Markelle Fultz , PG, Washington Huskies
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 Bruins
The Lakers are reportedly not completely sold on Ball, which must be frightening for LaVar. And I totally understand why Los Angeles might seriously consider at least three other players — specifically Josh Jackson, Jayson Tatum and De’Aaron Fox. But, ultimately, I think Ball is the right selection. He has star-potential, undeniably. And the Lakers would regret it forever if he developed into a star somewhere else.
Josh Jackson , SF, Kansas Jayhawks
Recent reports suggested that Boston had identified Jackson as the best prospect in this draft. I don’t agree with that assessment. But I understand it. And if Danny Ainge has a real conviction about the one-and-done prospect from Kansas, then he’s smart to move down, add a future first-round pick and still get the player he prefers. Either way, it’s just another young and interesting talent in the franchise. The Celtics are positioning themselves well for the post-LeBron James era.
Jayson Tatum , SF, Duke Blue Devils
There are some NBA people who have, at various times, believed Tatum is actually the top player in this draft. So it won’t shock many if he ends up being the best player from this draft, say, five years from now. The 6-8 wing averaged 16.8 points and 7.3 rebounds while helping Duke win the 2017 ACC Tournament in his only year of college. The lone thing missing, at this point, is a reliable 3-point shot. But that can be developed over time. So it’s not a major concern. Put Tatum next to Devin Booker , and the Phoenix Suns could have the pieces to be good again. If he’s available here, Phoenix should select him.
De’Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky Wildcats
The Sacramento Kings are desperately in need of a young point guard with a high ceiling, and Fox is exactly that. At 6-4, 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.
Malik Monk , SG, Kentucky
The Orlando Magic shot 32.8 percent from 3-point range this season, which ranked next-to-last in the NBA. So they need shooting in the worst way. And Monk could provide it. The athletic combo guard 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 of the NCAA Tournament. 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 an All-Star. The potential for stardom is there.
Jonathan Isaac , SF, Florida State Seminoles
The Minnesota 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.
Dennis Smith, PG, NC State Wolfpack
The New York Knicks are a mess and in need of basically everything — including the point guard help that Smith would bring. At 6-3, he has good size for the position and is explosive with the ball. The NC State product averaged 18.1 points, 6.2 assists and 4.6 rebounds in his one season of college basketball. He could be enough to make Kristaps Porzingis comfortable with a future in New York. And that should be New York’s priority right now.
Frank Ntilikina, PG, France
Yes, this means I think four point guards will be picked in the top nine. And, yes, that makes sense considering that position has become the most important position in the NBA – proof being that three of the four teams that advanced to the Eastern Conference and Western Conference Finals had All-Star point guards. So if you need one like Dallas needs one, and if there’s a high-ceiling one available like Ntilikina, it’s never unwise to go that direction with a top-10 pick.
Luke Kennard , SG, Duke
If Sacramento is going to take a point guard who can’t shoot with the fifth pick, it makes sense to take somebody who can with the 10th. So Kennard makes sense here. The 6-6 guard was among college basketball’s biggest breakout stars this season 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 in this draft right now because of an impressive pro day during which Kennard blew scouts away with his ability to make long jumpers from basically everywhere on the court.
Lauri Markkanen , PF, Arizona Wildcats
Marrkanen is a modern-day stretch-4 who shot 42.3 percent from 3-point range this season – and it’s possible he could be off the board several spots before the Charlotte Hornets pick. I wouldn’t be surprised if he went in the top six. But it’s hard to imagine him slipping further than this. I really do think 11th overall is his floor.
Donovan Mitchell , SG, Louisville Cardinals
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.
Zach Collins , C, Gonzaga Bulldogs
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 Gamecocks . 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.
OG Anunoby , SF, Indiana Hoosiers
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.
Justin Patton , C, Creighton Bluejays
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.
Justin Jackson , SF, North Carolina Tar Heels
The Chicago Bulls were 24th in 3-point shooting this season. So they could use a shooter. And Jackson shot a career-high 37.0 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.
Jarrett Allen , C, Texas Longhorns
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.
John Collins , PF, Wake Forest Demon Deacons
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 Sooners City the same way Kyrie Irving uses Kevin Love in Cleveland.
Ike Anigbogu , PF, UCLA
Anigbogu only played 13.0 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.
Tyler Lydon , PF, Syracuse Orange
Lydon shot 40.0 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.
Semi Ojeleye , SF, SMU Mustangs
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 19.0 points and 6.9 rebounds while leading the Mustangs to American Eagles Athletic Conference regular-season and tournament titles.
Bam Adebayo, C, Kentucky
Adebayo lacks the skillset most NBA front offices desire from frontcourt 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.
Caleb Swanigan , PF, Purdue Boilermakers
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.
Ivan Rabb , PF, California Golden Bears
Rabb recently worked out for the Lakers and would have to get serious consideration if he were still on the board here. Last year, he was a likely lottery pick. So his sophomore season at Cal cost him short-term money. But Rabb swears he’s still OK with his decision. And that’s a mature approach that could serve him well in the NBA.
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 San Antonio’s history with international prospects suggests he would fit nicely in that organization.
Jawun Evans , PG, Oklahoma State Cowboys
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.
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 lip into the second round.
D.J. Wilson, PF, Michigan Wolverines
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 , CG, 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.
Jordan Bell , PF, Oregon Ducks
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 Kennard.
Alec Peters , PF, Valparaiso Crusaders
Peters, like Monk, could add a shooter to Orlando’s roster. He shot 41.6 percent from 3-point range in his four-year career at Valpo.
Derrick White , PG, Colorado Buffaloes
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.
Edmond Sumner , PG, Xavier Musketeers
The Bulls need point guard help and Sumner could provide it. The only thing keeping him out of the first round is a season-ending knee injury suffered in February.
Mathias Lessort, PF, France
Lessort averaged 10.0 points and 6.9 rebounds in just 22.0 minutes per game in the French A-League this season. Some have compared him to former French-league standout Clint Capela.
Josh Hart , SG, Villanova Wildcats
Hart was a consensus First Team All-American this season – after helping Villanova win a national title in 2015. He shot 40.4 percent from 3-point range as a senior.
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.
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.
Johnathan Motley , PF, Baylor Bears
Motley is a Houston native who could develop into a small-ball center for the Houston Rockets . He averaged 17.3 points and 9.9 rebounds for a Baylor team that spent time ranked No. 1.
Devin Robinson , SF, Florida Gators
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.
Monte Morris , PG, Iowa State Cyclones
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.
Kyle Kuzma , SF, Utah Utes
Kuzma averaged 16.4 points and 9.3 rebounds for Utah while shooting 50.4 percent from the field. The only issue is that he doesn’t really shoot it well from the perimeter.
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.
Wesley Iwundu , SF, Kansas State Wildcats
Iwundu went from a three-star prospect to a legit NBA prospect in a four-year career at Kansas State. He’s a 6-7 forward who can do a little of everything.
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.
Cameron Oliver , PF, Nevada Wolf Pack
Oliver averaged 16.0 points and 8.7 rebounds for a Nevada team that won the Mountain West and made the NCAA Tournament. He’s a 6-8 forward who can stretch the floor.
V.J. Beachem, SF, Notre Dame
Beachem had a nice four-year career at Notre Dame. He made three NCAA Tournaments, two Elite Eights and averaged 14.5 points as a senior.
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 Tigers
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.
Damyean Dotson , SF, Houston
Dotson averaged 17.4 points while shooting 44.3 percent from the field in his final season at Houston. He played at Oregon before Houston and never averaged fewer than 9.4 points per game.
Kobi Simmons , PG, Arizona
The Brooklyn Nets need talent upgrades everywhere. So why not take a flyer on a 19-year-old who is a former top-30 national recruit?
Nigel Hayes , PF, Wisconsin Badgers
Hayes did not have great seasons after Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker left campus. But there’s some obvious talent there that could turn into something interesting.
Nigel Williams-Goss , SG, Gonzaga
Tony Parker won’t play forever. So the San Antonio Spurs adding an older and accomplished point guard might be a wise move so late in this draft.
L.J. Peak, SG, Georgetown Hoyas
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.