Chad Ford NBA Mock Draft 2017: Notable Picks from ESPN Guru's 5th Mock

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistMay 17, 2017

MEMPHIS, TN - MARCH 24:  Lonzo Ball #2 of the UCLA Bruins reacts after a play in the second half against the Kentucky Wildcats during the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament South Regional at FedExForum on March 24, 2017 in Memphis, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

ESPN NBA analyst Chad Ford released his fifth mock draft for the 2017 NBA draft following the lottery results Tuesday night. The Boston Celtics landed the top pick courtesy of a previous trade with the Brooklyn Nets and are projected to select Washington point guard Markelle Fultz.

The Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers also landed coveted top-three selections thanks to the pingpong balls. Ford forecasts they will take UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball and Kentucky shooting guard Malik Monk, respectively, when the draft gets underway at the Barclays Center in New York City.

Here's a look at the rest of his current first-round predictions for the June 22 event:

2017 NBA Draft: Chad Ford's Mock Draft 5.0
PickTeamSelection
1Boston Celtics (from BRK)Markelle Fultz, G, Washington
2Los Angeles LakersLonzo Ball, G, UCLA
3Philadelphia 76ers (from SAC)Malik Monk, G, Kentucky
4Phoenix SunsJosh Jackson, F, Kansas
5Sacramento Kings (from PHI)De'Aaron Fox, G, Kentucky
6Orlando MagicJayson Tatum, F, Duke
7Minnesota TimberwolvesJonathan Isaac, F, Florida State
8New York KnicksDennis Smith, G, NC State
9Dallas MavericksFrank Ntilikina, G, France
10Sacramento Kings (from NO)Zach Collins, C, Gonzaga
11Charlotte HornetsLauri Markkanen, F, Arizona
12Detroit PistonsLuke Kennard, G, Duke
13Denver NuggetsOG Anunoby, F, Indiana
14Miami HeatHarry Giles, F, Duke
15Portland Trail BlazersJohn Collins, F, Wake Forest
16Chicago BullsDonovan Mitchell, G, Louisville
17Milwaukee BucksTerrance Ferguson, G, Australia
18Indiana PacersTJ Leaf, F, UCLA
19Atlanta HawksJarrett Allen, C, Texas
20Portland Trail Blazers (from MEM)Ike Anigbogu, C, UCLA
21Oklahoma City ThunderJustin Jackson, F, North Carolina
22Brooklyn Nets (from WSH)Justin Patton, C, Creighton
23Toronto Raptors (from LAC)Edrice Adebayo, F, Kentucky
24Utah JazzTony Bradley, C, North Carolina
25Orlando Magic (from TOR)Frank Jackson, G, Duke
26Portland Trail Blazers (from CLE)Isaiah Hartenstein, F, Germany
27Brooklyn Nets (from BOS)Hamidou Diallo, G, Kentucky
28Los Angeles Lakers (from HOU)Ivan Rabb, F, California
29San Antonio SpursJonathan Jeanne, C, France
30Utah Jazz (from GSW)Moritz Wagner, F, Michigan
ESPN.com

Notable Selections

1. Boston Celtics: Markelle Fultz, G, Washington

Fultz was the bright spot of an otherwise forgettable 9-22 campaign for the Huskies. The dynamic playmaker averaged 23.2 points, 5.9 assists, 5.7 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.2 blocks to showcase a ridiculously well-rounded skill set. He also shot 47.6 percent from the field and 41.3 percent from three-point range.

He hasn't generated nearly as many headlines as Ball—whose father, LaVar Ball, is the main reason for most of them—but he's held steady as the most likely No. 1 pick. He told Bleacher Report's Jason King coming off the board first is far from his biggest goal, though.

"When I was younger, trying to make the make the freshman and JV team, my dream was always to make it to the NBA," Fultz said. "At first, I was thinking about just getting to the NBA, just watching the NBA, being one of the All-Stars in the NBA. But I actually want to be the best to ever play this game. And I think I have a pretty good chance to do that."

The Celtics hold a variety of options. They can take Fultz or Ball, depending on whom they believe has more upside, go for a player who could make a larger immediate impact within their current roster like Kansas small forward Josh Jackson or even trade the selection for an established player.

It's not often a team currently competing in the Eastern Conference Finals is also looking toward that type of promising offseason. Mark in Fultz with pencil right now and expect the rumors to start flying once their playoff run comes to an end.

     

2. Los Angeles Lakers: Lonzo Ball, G, UCLA

Sometimes the stories write themselves. The Lakers could have fallen outside the top three in the lottery Tuesday night, which would have forced the franchise to relinquish it to the Sixers. Instead, they were lucky enough to get the second pick, which is prime position for Ball.

It's no secret LaVar, the Ball family patriarch, has wanted his son to play in Los Angeles, his hometown. It sounds like they are going to take as many steps as possible to make that a reality, with a source telling ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne it's possible he doesn't even work out for other organizations.

"We will make that decision closer to June," the source said, before adding it's been "clear from the start our desired destination is Los Angeles."

While there's no doubt Ball is an intriguing talent, it's fair to wonder how he'll respond to all the added expectations from his father's over-the-top comments in recent months, which includes proclaiming his son was already better than two-time MVP Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors.

Meanwhile, new Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson told TMZ Sports the team was "very happy" with its lottery luck but wouldn't commit to taking Ball if he's on the board. It certainly feels that's the end game, however.

     

17. Milwaukee Bucks: Terrance Ferguson, G, Australia

The Bucks might not be ready to contend for an NBA title next season, but they could emerge as the most exciting team to watch. Adding Ferguson to a roster already featuring Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, Malcolm Brogdon, Thon Maker and Jabari Parker, once healthy, would be quite a sight.

Ferguson, an Oklahoma native, opted to play for the Adelaide 36ers in Australia rather than go the traditional one-and-done college route. The 19-year-old guard has displayed a terrific combination of athleticism and shooting ability that should make for a smooth NBA transition.

Pete Toal‏ of the Unquestionably Raw NBA Podcast provided a scouting report:

Milwaukee seems like an ideal fit on paper. The team ranked tied for 21st in threes made per game during the 2016-17 campaign, and the rookie wouldn't be asked to take on a massive role right out of the gate given the team's budding roster.

Ferguson must become more sound from a technical standpoint and will benefit from adding more power to his frame. But he's still the type of prospect who could see his stock rise leading up to the draft based on his long-term upside. It would be tough for the Bucks to pass if he's still available.