The draft is in less than a week, so by now most teams have a very good idea about which players they would like to draft. Through in-season scouting, the draft combine, and pre-draft workouts and interviews, teams have gathered all of the information they can about draft prospects and this long process is coming to an end. Here is my third and final 2017 NBA mock draft:
1. Philadelphia 76ers: Markelle Fultz, PG, Washington
Markelle Fultz has been projected to go first overall since the draft scouting process began and for good reason. He can do everything on the basketball court, but what separates him from the competition is his all-around offensive prowess. He is a phenomenal floor general, especially in the pick-and-roll, with fantastic vision. He adds a smooth, successful jumper (41.3% from three on 126 attempts last season) which, along with his superb finishing ability, allows him to score from all three levels. At 6-4 and 195 lbs, Fultz has great size for an NBA point guard. He has a lot of potential as a high-level defender due to his strong frame and 6-10 wingspan, but can still improve significantly in this area of his game.
The Sixers just acquired this pick to team Fultz up with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. This gives the Sixers one, if not, the best young trios in all of basketball. They needed a good shooting point guard to pair next to Simmons who lacks in that department and they have found exactly what they are looking for. It will be very exciting to see how Fultz, Simmons, and Embiid develop together, but it seems like Philadelphia found the perfect point guard to complete the process.
2. Los Angeles Lakers: Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA
Lonzo Ball has been in the media more than any other prospect in the draft, but for the wrong reasons. However, regardless of what his father does, Lonzo Ball is worth all of the hype. He has the highest basketball IQ of any player in the draft, and it shows in his exceptional vision and playmaking ability (he averaged 8.7 assists per 40 minutes last season at UCLA). Even though Ball is a phenomenal passer, he does not need the ball in his hand. He turned UCLA basketball into a great offensive team even though he had a very low usage rate. Although he has extremely unorthodox shooting mechanics, he was a very good three-point shooter last season, hitting 41.2% of his 194 three-point attempts. Ball is also phenomenal in transition, which fits the fast pace of the Lakers.
One concerning part of Lonzo Ball’s game is his lack of creativity on offense. He has basic handles, limiting his ability to score in isolation, and his poor shooting mechanics prohibit him from scoring in mid range. Ball’s lean frame can make it difficult to defend strong guards or wings, and he struggles to stay in front of his man. However, he does have excellent instincts on defense, leading to a lot of steals.
Lonzo Ball may not be a perfect fit immediately on the Lakers— he needs to improve in the pick-and-roll, but has a lot of potential in that area— and he isn’t a great fit next to D’Angelo Russell, but the Lakers need a strong leader, and Ball’s talent is too much to pass on at two.
3. Boston Celtics: Josh Jackson, SF, Kansas
Josh Jackson may be the best perimeter defender in this draft class. He has excellent feet and is great defending the pick-and-roll. Jackson is also a great team defender, putting in a lot of effort to track down 50-50 balls. His incredible athleticism helps his defense as well as rebounding (averaged 9.6 rebounds per 40 minutes at Kansas). Jackson was a great scorer at Kansas, although his 37.8 3pt % is likely going to be unsustainable in the NBA as he was only a 56.6% free throw shooter and has a hitch and a low release in his shot. He is not a very creative offensive player, but is good on cuts, post-ups, and occasional offensive rebounds.
What often goes unnoticed about Jackson is his playmaking. He averaged 3.9 assists per 40 minutes last year due to his good vision and accurate passing. Although Jackson may struggle to score a little in the NBA, his playmaking will make him a quality offensive player anyways.
4. Phoenix Suns: Jayson Tatum, SF, Duke
You only need one word to describe the type of player that Jayson Tatum is: scorer. Tatum has go-to NBA scorer written all over him. He can score from every level although he is a little streaky from three. He is a fantastic mid-range scorer and an advanced scorer in the post. Tatum had an 84.9 FT% and was excellent on open jumpers, but struggled a little when he was contested due to a slow, low release. Tatum can also score off of the dribble, especially going to his left. Although Tatum is a phenomenal scorer, he settled for tough 2-point jumpers too often at Duke. Tatum has the size and length to be a strong defender, but he still has some word to due against faster wings and stronger bigs. However, Tatum does have the potential to be a very strong NBA defender.
Although the Suns would ideally like to add a solid defender in the draft (they were the 3rd worst defensive team last season), the Suns could use another solid wing player (unless they decide to trade one of their many point guards). Also, Devin Booker and Tatum would make a fantastic scoring wing duo.
5. Sacramento Kings: De’Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky
De’Aaron Fox shot up draft boards after scoring 39 points in the Sweet 16 against UCLA and fellow potential lottery pick Lonzo Ball. What immediately stands out when watching Fox is his incredible speed that has drawn comparisons to NBA All-Star John Wall. Even with his fantastic speed, Fox has great vision and is a phenomenal ball handler. All of this makes Fox one of the best playmakers in the draft, especially in transition and in the pick-and-roll. Fox is also one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA. He has great feet, is very active, and his terrific instincts allow him to get into passing lanes and intercept passes.
However, it is almost cringeworthy watching Fox shoot. Not because of bad form, though. Fox has a smooth stroke and looks comfortable shooting, but he has still struggled (shot 24.6% from three last season on 69 attempts). If his shots fell as you would expect from watching him, Fox would have easily been a top three pick.
6. Orlando Magic: Jonathan Isaac, SF/PF, FSU
Jonathan Isaac may be the longest player in this year’s draft. Standing 6-11 with a 7-1 wingspan, Isaac’s length and mobility make him one of this year’s most versatile defenders with the ability to guard multiple positions. At Florida State this past season, he averaged 1.8 steals 2.3 blocks per 40 minutes. His length and athleticism also helps him produce as a solid rebounder, averaging 12 rebounds per 40 minutes last season. Although Isaac didn’t score consistently in college, his upside on the offensive end is very intriguing. He has a smooth, high release, although inconsistent. He is a good spot-up shooter but needs to work on his pull-up shot. Isaac is not yet a creative scorer, but he is good off the ball as a lob target, on cuts, and on handoffs.
Isaac is still young and inexperienced; he is not a finished product yet. At the least, Isaac should be a good 3-and-D player at the next level with the potential to be much, much more.
7. Minnesota Timberwolves: Dennis Smith, PG, NC State
Dennis Smith is a high risk-high reward lottery pick. Smith is a first-rate athlete with incredible leaping ability, which he showed on some phenomenal dunks at NC State. He is also a fantastic scorer that uses solid ball handling and a good stepback to create a lot of space. Smith improved his jumper but is still very inconsistent. Smith is a score first point guard who definitely needs to improve his vision and decision-making, but he is a solid passer who averaged 7.1 assists per 40 minutes last season. Dennis Smith has the potential to be a solid defender with his quickness and frame, but he needs to put in more effort to become a consistent defender. His strength allows him to fight through screens, but he has to make an effort to do so and not die on them.
At NC State, Smith was surrounded by poor shooters which messed up their spacing in the half court. Teams were able to pack the lane and defend against his drives, which forced him to take more difficult jumpers. In the NBA, Smith will have more spacing in the half court, so his struggles at NC State may not all be indicative of his future in the NBA. Adding Smith to the T-Wolves would give them one of the most athletic young cores in the NBA. Imagine Smith, Zach LaVine, and Andrew Wiggins running together in transition.
8. New York Knicks: Malik Monk, SG, Kentucky
Malik Monk is perhaps the best shooter in this draft, whether it is from beyond NBA three-point range or mid-range. He is a force shooting off the catch, and his explosiveness makes defenders respect a drive, allowing him to have a great pull-up jumper. Monk’s athleticism also makes him fantastic in transition, finishing above and below the rim. However, in the half court, Monk rarely goes into the lane and even more rarely finishes through contact at the rim. He can struggle with decision-making, resulting in Monk taking a lot of tough shots. At Kentucky, Monk relied on Fox and Isaiah Briscoe to create shots for him, so it remains a question whether or not Monk will be able to create shots for himself at the next level.
At 6-3 with a 6-4 wingspan, Monk is short for an NBA two guard. He has good lateral quickness but his intensity comes and goes. Monk’s athleticism helps him on the defensive end, but he is still too small to defend NBA shooting guards right now. Monk has shown flashes of becoming a solid passer, and a move to point guard would definitely help Monk on both ends of the court. New York is in dire need of some backcourt help, and Monk should be able to go right into Madison Square Garden and make an impact right away with his shooting and athleticism.
9. Dallas Mavericks: Frank Ntilikina, PG, France
Frank Ntilikina may be the most unknown lottery pick this year. Ntilikina, who is from France, has been playing professionally since the age of 15. In limited playing time as a role player at the professional level in France, Ntilikina has shown flashes of extraordinary potential. This potential has primarily come from the defensive end. At 6-5 with exceptional length, he has the ability to guard multiple positions. He plays hard with a lot of hustle, attacks closeouts well, fights over screens, and is a great off ball defender as well. Ntilikina has excellent vision, especially in the pick-and-roll.
Although there are questions about Ntilikina’s ability to shoot from the perimeter, he has solid mechanics and has shown the ability to shoot with success recently. At the 2016 FIBA U18 European Championship last December, he made 17 of 29 3-pointers and 12/13 from the free throw line. Ntilikina scored a phenomenal 1.727 points per possession on 22 pull-up jumper attempts., which was easily the best mark of any player during the tournament. Ntilikina can definitely improve his handle as he averaged 4.8 turnovers per 40 minutes at the U18s. Ntilikina is still a work in progress, but Dallas needs a point guard and it doesn’t look like they will be competing for a championship anytime soon.,
10. Sacramento Kings: Lauri Markkanen, PF, Arizona
Lauri Markkanen is unlike any prospect in this draft. At 7-0, Markkanen shot 42.3% on 163 three-point attempts. He is phenomenal shooting out of the pick-and-pop and also has the ability to shoot pull-up jumpers because of his mobility. However, it remains to be seen whether or not Markkanen is more than just a shooter. He showed flashes of being a solid post scorer, especially off of face-ups, and has the ability to score off of the dribble, but will it transition will to the NBA? His mobility helps him defend on the perimeter, but he still leaves a lot to be desired in terms of his defensive ability, especially in the post. Markkanen needs to gain some strength if he wants to consistently defend bigs at the next level.
As an athletic seven-footer, you would expect Markkanen to be a solid rebounder, but he is far from that. Due to his lack of strength, he often gets pushed off of his spots down low when he is trying to gain solid rebounding position. Markkanen could also improve his shot blocking, as he only averaged .7 blocks per 40 minutes. Although Markkanen has some glaring weaknesses, his offensive potential and mobility at 7-0 is hard to pass on, and he would be a good fit next to Willie Cauley-Stein.
11. Charlotte Hornets: Luke Kennard, SG, Duke
Luke Kennard is one of the best offensive players in the draft due to his ability to score from anywhere on the court. People may look at him and think that he is only a shooter, but they would be gravely mistaken. Kennard is a phenomenal shooter (43.8% on 201 three-point attempts) with fantastic mechanics. He is also adept at hitting shots off of the dribble, off of screens, and on the move. He has fantastic passing vision and his ability in the pick-and-roll can allow him to play some point guard in the future. His ball-handling has improved, but he still has room to grow in that area.
Where the concerns arise for Kennard is with his defense. Although he works very hard on the defensive end, his lack of lateral quickness hampers his ability to defend at a high level. His short 6-5 wingspan will also make it difficult for him to defend NBA wings.
12. Detroit Pistons: Zach Collins, C, Gonzaga
Zach Collins is a very intriguing, two-way center. Because of the presence of Przemek Karnowski, Collins only averaged 17.2 minutes per game at Gonzaga but still produced. Per 40 minutes, Collins averaged 23.2 points, 13.6 rebounds, and 4.1 blocks on 67.6% shooting and 47.6% from three (only 21 attempts). Collins is a good roll man in the pick-and-roll and a solid shooter out of the pick-and-pop. He has a solid post game both backing down and facing up his defender.
Collins is a versatile defender with the mobility to defend on the perimeter and shows good instincts as a shot blocker although he is only an average athlete. Although Collins is a good defender, he has a tendency to foul way to often. Collins also has to improve his decision-making as he made too many careless turnovers at Gonzaga. The Pistons do not seem committed to Andre Drummond long term, so drafting a good two-way center could help them ease in a Drummond trade.
13. Denver Nuggets: Donovan Mitchell, SG, Louisville
Donovan Mitchell is a phenomenal defender. Although his short for a shooting guard at only 6-3, his 210-pound frame and extraordinary athleticism will allow him to guard NBA point guards and shooting guards at a very high level. Mitchell is also a solid three-point shooter, hitting 35.4% of his 226 three-point shots last season at Louisville. At only 6-3, Mitchell may need to play some point guard in the NBA, and he has the passing ability and vision to do so as a good combo-guard. His extraordinary leaping ability is an asset in transition and he is a good lob target in the half-court as well.
Where Mitchell needs to improve is in his decision-making. He settles for a lot of tough, deep shots early in the shot clock and is a little reckless at the rim. Mitchell was also a little streaky at Louisville. Denver had the second worst defensive rating last season, so Mitchell would be a perfect combo-guard for them.
14. Miami Heat: John Collins, PF, Wake Forest
If you are looking for a phenomenal post scorer, look no further than the sophomore power forward from Wake Forest, John Collins. Collins averaged 28.8 points per 40 minutes last season because of his advanced low post moves, ability to finish through contact, and athleticism. He was great in the pick-and-roll and with an improved jump shot— he has shown potential in pre-draft workouts to develop a very good jumper— he could develop a really good face up game, making him almost unstoppable in the post. Collins is also a great rebounder, averaging 14.8 rebounds per 40 minutes last season at Wake Forest.
Where Collins needs to improve is on the defensive end of the ball. He plays hard and hustles on defense, but lacks the fundamentals to defend at the next level. He isn’t very long (6-10 with a 6-11 wingspan) which limits his shot blocking potential and at only 225 pounds, he may struggle to contain NBA bigs. However, bigs who struggled defensively have often found success going to Miami, and a front court duo of Hassan Whiteside and John Collins would be pretty scary.
15. Portland Trail Blazers: Justin Jackson, SF, North Carolina
There really isn’t one area that defines Justin Jackson’s game, but he should be able to come right in and contribute off of the bench for whoever takes him. In the last three seasons at North Carolina, he has improved tremendously to become a very good offensive player. He has become a very good, but streaky, three-point shooter with range beyond the NBA line. He has a fantastic floater allowing him to make difficult shots over good shot blockers, although he settles for too many floaters when he could benefit from going all the way to the rim. He has the ability to run off of screens and has a high basketball IQ.
Jackson’s not a lockdown defender but is above average in that department. He’s also not a great athlete but is very fluid. Jackson’s future hinges a lot on his ability to carry over his improved jumper to the NBA because he lacks the ball-handling to create his own shot. However, with Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum in Portland, Jackson won’t be counted upon to create his own offense.
16. Chicago Bulls: Jarrett Allen, C, Texas
Jarrett Allen is one of my favorite prospects in the middle of the draft. He is a freakishly long, athletic center with a 7-5 wingspan and 9-2 standing reach. He has the potential to be a fantastic shot-blocker at the next level if he can improve his defensive awareness. Allen isn’t a polished post scorer but has nice touch on his jump hooks and can develop into a nice complementary offensive player in the pick-and-roll. He runs the floor well in transition and his length and athleticism help him finish above the rim. He has smooth mechanics on his jump shot and the potential to be a very good mid-range shooter.
Allen shies away from contact slightly near the rim due to his lack of strength. Texas did not space the floor very well when Allen was there as they were one of the worst perimeter shooting teams, and they also played Allen at the four next to another non-shooting big. This made it hard for Allen to really develop a post game, and although he has a lot of work to do before he can become a force inside on offense, he showed flashes that he can in the future. With all of the Jimmy Butler rumors, it is hard to tell whether the Bulls will try to compete or rebuild next year, but either way Allen would be a good back-up to Robin Lopez with the potential to be a fantastic center in the future.
17. Milwaukee Bucks: Justin Patton, C, Creighton
Justin Patton has a lot of upside as an athletic, two-way center. A fantastic leaper with good hand-eye coordination, Patton is great lob target in transition and the half-court. He has the potential to be very good in the pick-and-roll if he can develop his already promising jumper. He hit 53.3% of his 15 3-pt attempts last season and has nice touch on his jumper. Patton also has the potential to become a productive perimeter scorer with his mobility and a quick first step. Defensively, he’s very mobile, has long arms, but still needs to improve his fundamentals.
Patton is a below average rebounder, especially for someone his size with his athleticism. He is also very, very raw on both sides of the ball, so he is definitely a work in progress. However, Milwaukee loves long, athletic players with a lot of upside, and that’s what Patton is. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Thon Maker, and Patton would make one young, long, athletic front court trio.
18. Indiana Pacers: OG Anunoby, SF/PF, Indiana
OG Anunoby is the most versatile defender in this draft. Standing 6-7.75 and 232 pounds with a 7-2.25 wingspan (combine numbers), Anunoby can literally guard all five positions successfully on the court. He moves laterally like a guard and has the strength to defend in the post. He is a great rebounder for a wing (8.7 rebounds per 40 minutes), using his long arms and strong frame to his advantage. Offensively, Anunoby still has a lot of improving to do, but he is a fantastic finisher, shooting 70.1% on two-point field goals last season. He also has the potential to a productive post scorer.
The biggest question mark concerning Anunoby is whether or not his athleticism will falter when he returns from his ACL injury that he tore in January. He also leaves a lot to be desired in terms of his shooting form, which shows in his 56.3 FT% last season. However, given the time and space, Anunoby can be a productive shooter. Anunoby is still a very raw offensive prospect, but his defense and athleticism should be enough for patient teams to draft him. If Indiana moves on from Paul George in the near future, Anunoby would fill multiple needs in the same state he played college ball.
19. Atlanta Hawks: Harry Giles, PF/C, Duke
Now, it’s time for the most interesting prospect in the whole draft. Harry Giles was one of the best high school prospects two years ago, but a history of knee injuries has derailed his very promising basketball career so far. In 2013, Giles tore his left MCL, ACL, and meniscus. In 2015, he tore his right ACL, and he had another left knee procedure in 2016. However, injuries aside, Giles is one of the most talented players in this draft class. He has phenomenal potential on defense as a shot-blocker with the potential to defend wings on the perimeter. If he can get his athleticism back, Giles can be one of the draft’s best rebounders.
Before his injuries, Giles showed the ability to score out of the pick-and-roll, post ups, and in transition. However, right now, he is very limited offensively. His length and athleticism makes him a good lob target, but he can’t create his own shot and struggles at the free throw line. Hopefully he can stay healthy and show everybody what the hype was about when he was in high school, but for now, Giles is just an athletic big that can rebound and defend but struggles mightily on offense.
20. Portland Trail Blazers: Ike Anigbogu, C, UCLA
UCLA center Ike Anigbogu has tremendous size and is the prototypical NBA center. He is great athlete with the ability to finish alley-oops, and he uses his athleticism to be a proficient shot blocker. He also has a fantastic frame, which he uses to rebound at a high level especially on offense. He is not a very dynamic offensive player, but has great potential in pick-and-roll. He still has a lot of work to do in terms of shooting and touch down low, but he’s big (252 pounds), long (7-6 wingspan), and has a fantastic motor.
Anigbogu can’t create his own offense yet, but he won’t have to with Lillard and McCollum. He is also good in the pick-and-roll, which Portland uses frequently. His great rim protection and athleticism should be enough for a team to take a chance on Anigbogu’s offense.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder: T.J. Leaf
While at UCLA, T.J. Leaf was often overshadowed by Lonzo Ball, but Leaf is a great prospect as well who fits well in today’s NBA. Leaf’s best attribute is his scoring, both inside and outside. Although he has a low release on his jump shot, he made 46.6% of his 58 3-pt attempts. He shies away from contact at the rim, but has nice touch inside and made 64.4% of his 2-pt field goals. Leaf is also a very good athlete and was great in transition at UCLA. He is also a solid passer for a big man and has the ability to grab a rebound and handle it in transition. Although he is not the most physical player, he averaged 11 rebounds per 40 minutes and is productive on the offensive glass.
The biggest question mark about Leaf’s game is his defense. He has poor lateral quickness, lacks strength, and doesn’t have ideal length for a big (6-10 with only a 6-11 wingspan). His defense may be far behind his offense, but the Thunder could use a good scoring forward to run with Westbrook.
22. Brooklyn Nets: Bam Adebayo, C, Kentucky
Bam Adebayo is an extremely athletic big out of Kentucky. His biggest strength as a prospect will be his ability to run the floor and finish at the rim, but teams questioned whether or not he could extend his game beyond the five feet. In pre-draft workouts, he has shown the potential to hit shots from midrange, which has increased his draft stock over the past couple of weeks. Adebayo has good lateral quickness and his athleticism and wingspan should allow him to defend at a high level in the NBA. He is also a good rebounder especially on the offensive glass.
Among the areas that Adebayo struggled was consistency on both sides of the ball. If he plays hard on every defensive possession, Adebayo can become a very solid NBA player. Brooklyn could use all of the talent they can get late in the first round this year, and Adebayo has the upside to be a very good NBA center.
23. Toronto Raptors: Anzejs Pasecniks, C, Gran Canaria
Anzejs Pasecniks’ greatest strength is his mobility for a 7-2 center. He moves with fluidity, can run the floor, and is a good finisher with great hands. He is solid in the pick-and-roll and has nice touch around the rim with both hands. Pasecniks has shown the ability to play on the perimeter as well as a jump shooter with the ability to attack closeouts and take his defender off the dribble. However, he is still young and inexperienced and lacks feel for the game, resulting him being a ball-stopper at times.
Defensively, Pasecniks lacks strength, so he is pushed around a lot on the post. He also struggles mightily on the defensive glass, averaging only 5.6 rebounds per 40 minutes. Although he still has a lot of work to do, he is very young and very inexperienced, so he can be molded by his next coaching staff.
24. Utah Jazz: D.J. Wilson, PF, Michigan
After two unproductive seasons at Michigan, D.J. Wilson was much improved as a redshirt sophomore. At 6-10.5 and 234 pounds, Wilson has great size to be an NBA power forward. D.J. Wilson’s calling card is his versatility on both sides of the ball. On offense, he is a fantastic shooter for his size with the ability to extend his range out to NBA three-point range. He didn’t take defenders off the dribble that often at Michigan but showed the ability to and to hit shots off the bounce. Wilson was an elite finisher last season, converting 73% of his 100 field goal attempts at the basket. Although he shies away from contact too often, he is a skilled, finesse finisher around the rim.
Defensively, he has a solid frame to guard big men, but can be a little soft around the basket. He is very mobile, so he can switch onto wings on the perimeter. However, Wilson struggles on the boards. He only averaged 5.3 rebounds per 40 minutes, which is lower than many point guards in the draft.
25. Orlando Magic: Terrance Ferguson, SG/SF, Adelaide 76ers
Terrance Ferguson took the uncommon route of playing professionally overseas instead of playing college basketball. Ferguson is a tremendous athlete and although streaky, he is has a lot of upside as an NBA three-point shooter. He still has to work on taking defenders off of the dribble but has also shown potential in the area if he can improve his ball handling.
He has a lot of upside defensively, but his small frame can make it difficult to get around screens and defend NBA wings. However, he plays very hard, has great lateral quickness, and is a very aggressive defender, so as he gets older (he is only 19 years old) he could develop into a really good NBA defender.
26. Portland Trail Blazers: Isaiah Hartenstein, PF/C, Zalgiris
Isaiah Hartenstein has a tremendous frame for an NBA big man at 7-1, 250 pounds. However, he is still very mobile, which allows him to play power forward as well as center. His size and mobility allow him to crash the rim and run in transition, and he is a crafty finisher down low. He can step out onto the perimeter and hit a jump shot or he can take his defender off the dribble. Hartenstein is also a great passer who has terrific vision.
Defensively, he has the size and strength to guard fives, and the mobility to guard fours. However, he can be a little foul prone, but he should be able to fix this as he gains experience. Although he isn’t very long, Hartenstein has been a terrific rebounder during his career. There are still a lot of question marks surrounding Hartenstein, but with three first round picks, the Blazers may look towards a high upside draft-and-stash type of player like Hartenstein.
27. Los Angeles Lakers: Semi Ojeleye, SF/PF, SMU
After spending two years as an afterthought at Duke, Semi Ojeleye transferred to SMU where he became the go-to scorer for a very good SMU. He averaged 22.2 points per 40 minutes last season, and he has a smooth shot with NBA range. He is extremely athletic and is adept at finishing around the rim and above the rim. Ojeleye is a phenomenal and versatile defender with the ability to guard bigs in the post due to his 241-pound frame as well as wings.
Although Ojeleye has a nice frame, he is only 6-7, which is a bit undersized if he wants to play the four in the NBA. In order to play the three, he will have to improve his perimeter game and creativeness as a ball handler. With the Lakers acquiring this pick on Tuesday, Ojeleye would be a great fit in LA with his ability to defend multiple positions and run in transition with one of the best transition point guards in Lonzo Ball.
28. Los Angeles Lakers: Jonah Bolden, PF, Radnicki Basket
There’s a good chance you have never heard of Jonah Bolden. After struggling at UCLA, Bolden decided to play overseas in Europe. After struggling for the first couple of months, he turned into a great all-around power forward. He has the body of a prototypical NBA power forward, standing 6-10, weighing 227 pounds, and a 7-3 wingspan. He is a great athlete who can run and in transition and finish above the rim. Along with his size and athleticism, he is a fantastic shooter with range that extends beyond NBA range. This year in Serbia, he made 40% of his 4.2 3-pt attempts per game. Bolden also has the ability to take defenders off the dribble but will need to add strength in order to consistently finish around the rim.
Bolden has the length and mobility to be a very good NBA defender, but his mentality is not always the best. He also will need to get a little stronger if he wants to defend some NBA bigs. Although he is a good offensive rebounder, he often gets pushed off his spot while attempting to box out down low. Bolden has also shown the ability to be a very good passer, but his decision-making is not always up to par. Not many players have the length and shooting combination that Bolden has, or his versatility both on offense and defense, and if NBA teams think he can improve his focus and attitude, he will be a sleeper on draft night.
29. San Antonio Spurs: Ivan Rabb, PF/C, California
After deciding to return to California after his freshman year, Ivan Rabb has seen his draft stock drop significantly. He is still a great athlete who plays with a lot of effort, which results in a lot of easy buckets. His biggest strength is his rebound ability (12.8 rebounds per 40 minutes last season) as he makes an effort to box his opponent out. If Rabb can improve his strength a little, he could play the five in the NBA. He has the ability to score with his back to the basket and is a willing passer. He is still evolving a perimeter game and has shown the potential to score from the outside. He went 8-20 from three, but only shot 66% from the free throw line.
Rabb is a bit of a tweener on defense, not quite strong enough to defend the post and not quite quick enough to defend on the perimeter. At Cal, Rabb was surrounded by non-shooters, which hampered their spacing and maybe his growth. This could be why Rabb failed to develop more after a promising freshman year. Cal also played with the second slowest pace in the Pac-12 last season and hardly ran the pick-and-roll, which limited Rabb’s opportunities to get easy buckets. In the NBA, Rabb will play in a more functional offense that fits his skill set better, and the Spurs will be able to unlock all of the potential that teams saw in him last year.
30. Utah Jazz: Derrick White, PG, Colorado
Derrick White has had the most interesting journey to the draft of any prospect. He went to Legend High School in Colorado and stood 6-0 when he finished prep school. He was hardly recruited out of high school, and took a partial offer from Colorado-Colorado Springs, a Division II program with an all-time .271 winning percentage. White had three very successful years there before moving to Division 1 and continuing his success at Colorado as he was one of only 14 players in the country to average 18 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists per game.
White measured at 6-4.5, 190 pounds at the combine, giving him elite size for an NBA point guard. He’s a solid athlete who can play with pace and push the ball up the floor. White is a productive passer and scorer in the pick-and-roll and can spot up as well with the ability to score in all three levels. His experience helps him remain patient and read the defense better than most players in this draft. However, he could improve his handle if he want to be a great NBA point guard.
Defensively, White is not very quick, but he has good feet and has good instincts to get into passing lanes. His size should help him defend both guard positions in the NBA. Derrick White can be a very good combo guard who can help out the Jazz, who are competing for a championship, right when he arrives in Salt Lake City.