2017 NBA Draft Big Board: Can Anyone Catch Markelle Fultz?
The completion of both the NBA combine and draft lottery signals the start of workout season.
Most prospects have officially begun traveling from city to city auditioning for executives who hadn't seen them live during the year. Meanwhile, the projected top-10 names are strategizing about who to work out for and against.
The latest big board takes into account performances and feedback after the combine. There were a handful of participants whose play in Chicago helped earned themselves better rankings and additional love from scouts.
Former NCAA prospects who haven't hired agents have until May 24 to withdraw from the draft.
50. Alec Peters (Valparaiso, PF, Senior)
Despite possessing limited athleticism, Peters is worth drafting because of a career 41.6 percent three-point clip and 289 threes, assuming his leg is expected to fully recover.
49. PJ Dozier (South Carolina, SG, Sophomore)
Dozier's size, athleticism and flashes of scoring and playmaking are intriguing, but he's still a major project without a core strength.
48. Tyler Dorsey (Oregon, SG, Sophomore)
Dorsey has become a dangerous offensive guard, capable of scoring in bunches, shooting the three and passing. Questionable size, length and athleticism raise concerns over fit NBA fit.
47. Thomas Bryant (Indiana, PF/C, Sophomore)
Bryant brings NBA tools and motor without the athleticism or skill. He'll need his jumper to continue improving to the point where it's a reliable everyday weapon.
46. D.J. Wilson (Michigan, SF/PF, Junior)
Wilson only averaged 11 points per game, but his potential to handle the ball, shoot and guard multiple positions is worth looking into.
45. Omer Yurtseven (North Carolina State, C, Freshman)
Yurtseven won back support at the combine after an up-and-down season at North Carolina State. He's worth second-round looks for being a pick-and-roll target and finisher with mid-range shooting potential.
44. Tony Bradley (North Carolina, C, Freshman)
One of the nation's top offensive rebounders, Bradley will look to stick by picking up second-chance points and basic buckets off dump downs and low-post feeds.
43. Jaron Blossomgame (Clemson, SF/PF, Senior)
Blossomgame was productive for the second straight year at the combine, but age (23) and shooting questions hold him outside the top 40.
42. Josh Hart (Villanova, SG, Senior)
Hart doesn't excel in any one area, which works against him as a role player. On the other hand, he does a little of everything and could stick as a jack-of-all-trades glue guy.
41. Caleb Swanigan (Purdue, PF/C, Sophomore)
Swanigan doesn't jump or defend, but he'll look to carve out a role as a rebounding specialist also capable of stretch the floor.
40. Semi Ojeleye (SMU, PF, Junior)
Ojeleye struggled inside the arc at the combine, but his shooting stroke looked just as good as it did at SMU.
39: Frank Mason III (Kansas, PG, Senior)
Mason took over during stretches of five-on-fives at the combine. Age and physical limitations will keep him from drawing first-round interest, but he couldn't have done anything more to maximize his stock.
38. Frank Jackson (Duke, PG/SG, Freshman)
Jackson showed some pick-and-roll playmaking at the combine we didn't see at Duke. He's a convincing shooter, but his key to NBA minutes will be adding something of value as a secondary ball-handler.
37. Tyler Lydon (Syracuse, PF, Sophomore)
The highest body fat percentage and third-slowest sprint time at the combine weren't good looks for Lydon. He'll still go in the No. 25-40 range for his shooting potential, having hit at least 39 percent of his threes in both seasons at Syracuse.
36. Justin Jackson (Maryland, SF/PF, Freshman)
Jackson has NBA tools and a promising shooting stroke. He looks the part of Wilson Chandler, but his skills are still too far away.
35. Ivan Rabb (California, PF/C, Sophomore)
Without the ability to stretch the floor, protect the rim or guard the perimeter, Rabb would have trouble in today's NBA. He'll need to lean on his terrific hands, nose for the ball and post moves to carve out a role.
34. Jonathan Jeanne (France, C, 1996)
Jeanne had some eye-opening moments during the second day of the combine, having used his ridiculous 7'6 ½" wingspan to finish pick-and-rolls and contest shots. He becomes a second-round steal if his body ever develops.
33. Kyle Kuzma (Utah, PF, Junior)
Kuzma pulled out of the NBA combine after the first day when he sunk four threes and scored 20 points. It doesn't negate the inconsistent effort during the season, but Kuzma clearly brings coveted versatility to the stretch 4 position.
32. Anzejs Pasecniks (Latvia, C, 1995)
At 7'2", Pasecniks' mobility and production in the Spanish ACB have lit up the NBA radar. He'll draw first-round looks from teams hoping to land the next unique Latvian talent.
31. Mathias Lessort (France, PF/C, 1995)
Lessort continues to produce overseas and strengthen his case as a two-way energizer. He'd be ranked in the top 30 if we saw more flashes of offense and shooting.
30. Jawun Evans (Oklahoma State, PG, Sophomore)
He'll hope for his ball skills and production at Oklahoma State to do his talking over the next month. Evans, who averaged 19.2 points and 6.4 assists, tore apart defenses with nifty ball-handling, scoring and playmaking.
The jury is still out on his jumper, as he only attempted 95 threes his sophomore year (making 37.9 percent). And questions over his finishing potential at the rim raise doubt about his offensive upside.
Evans is still worth looking at as a change-of-pace backup option in the 20s.
29. Derrick White (Colorado, SG, Senior)
Derrick White's fan club is growing after a standout performance at the NBA combine. It helped validate his Pac-12 production and Portsmouth Invitational performance, which earned him his invite to Chicago.
The former Division II standout has suddenly started to pick up attention. He's now being taken more seriously as a prospect. Though more skilled than athletic, at 6'4 ½", White possesses enough size, quickness and bounce to continue executing as a playmaker and scorer.
Some evaluators are bound to put extra stock into his rise from off the radar. White has quietly become one of the more interesting names to track and a possible late-first-round option.
28. Johnathan Motley (Baylor, PF, Junior)
Johnathan Motley was walking around without a noticeable limp at the combine, despite having undergone knee surgery earlier in April.
His measurements jumped out in Chicago, most notably the 7'4" wingspan, 9'0" reach and 238-pound frame. Motley's body and consistent production at Baylor are good signs that he'll be able to score inside and rebound in the pros.
Continuing to improve the mid-range jumper, which he's looked comfortable making, will help Motley become an everyday backup role player.
27. Jordan Bell (Oregon, PF/C, Junior)
Jordan Bell entered the first-round discussion after a dominant first day at the NBA combine. Other than finishing with 13 points, seven rebounds, five assists and five blocks during five-on-fives, he also got up for a 38-inch max vertical and finished top five in lane agility and shuttle run times.
One NBA executive in Chicago said Bell reminded him of a young Dennis Rodman. Bell covers ground quickly, with the ability close out in the half court, rotate and swat shots or erase fast breaks with chase-down blocks.
Continued improvement as a mid-range shooter and passer has helped lessen concerns over Bell forcing his team to play four-on-five offensively. He could draw interest from playoff teams looking for an energizer and defensive specialist.
26. Harry Giles (Duke, PF, Freshman)
Tools, determination and room for growth allow Harry Giles to maintain a first-round grade despite a resume that shows three knee surgeries and 3.9 points per game.
His 32 ½" max vertical also wasn't assuring for those questioning whether his bounce has returned.
It's still worth using a top-30 pick to find out what Giles will look like after he takes a year building his reps and confidence in the Development League. Becoming the All-Star he was billed as out of high school seems far-fetched, but carving out a role as a high-energy big sounds doable.
25. Rodions Kurucs (Latvia, SG/SF, 1998)
Rodions Kurucs stands out in Spain's second league playing with Barcelona's junior team. He passes the NBA eye test with his tools, athleticism and scoring potential for a projected wing.
Having played just one Euroleague game all season, he won't be ready for the NBA. Kurucs should see more minutes next year playing at the highest level in Europe, making him an ideal draft-and-stash candidate.
At this stage, we have an idea of what Kurucs could look like by the time he's ready to come over. Having proved so little over the past year, top 20 sounds too risky. Teams uninterested in wasting a roster spot on a low-ceiling rookie should give Kurucs a look in the late first round.
24. Bam Adebayo (Kentucky, C, Freshman)
Bam Adebayo could improve his case over the next few weeks by convincing teams there is room for his shooting to improve. We didn't see much of it at Kentucky, where he did most of his damage by running the floor, diving to the rim, finishing and crashing the offensive glass.
Occasionally, we saw flashes of back-to-the-basket offense with drop steps and jump hooks in the lane. But scoring and one-on-one play won't be Adebayo's calling cards in the pros.
To maximize his value, he'll want to show coaches he can switch out and guard forwards and wings. And he'll need to threaten the defense with a 15-foot jumper.
23. TJ Leaf (UCLA, PF, Freshman)
TJ Leaf finished in the middle of the pack across the board during athletic testing and didn't do anything to help his cause during measurements, measuring just under 6'10" with an uninspiring 6'11" wingspan for a big.
He'll be worth taking in the first round for polished skills and versatility, which cover ball-handling, shooting, passing and finishes at the basket off cuts and line drives.
Without much strength or explosiveness around the basket, his shooting development will ultimately be key. Leaf made his open threes at UCLA, converting an impressive 46.6 percent of his 58 attempts. But he also shot 67.9 percent from the free-throw line.
In the 20s, it's worth finding out if Leaf's shot-making, flashes of playmaking and energy can translate in an offensive specialist, supporting role.
22. Hamidou Diallo (Kentucky, SG, 1998)
Hamidou Diallo created buzz at the combine with his 44 ½-inch max vertical. And though it doesn't say anything about his basketball ability, it did help confirm Diallo's reputation for being one of the draft's most explosive athletes.
As one scout put it, "based on past history, elite athleticism can get guys drafted in the 20s."
He's only practiced with Kentucky and doesn't have college experience. But at 18 years old, it's worth finding out if Diallo can add enough skill over the next few years.
He's this year's textbook boom-or-bust prospect.
21. Terrance Ferguson (USA, SG/SF, 1998)
Over the next month, Terrance Ferguson's job is to remind teams of his shooting capabilities. He didn't play much this year in Australia's National Basketball League, which hurt his chance to build rhythm or confidence.
But having caught fire at previous FIBA events, shot 45.8 percent from deep at adidas Nations, won the Elite 24 three-point shootout and hit seven triples at the Nike Hoop Summit, Ferguson had already established credibility as a sniper.
He'll fall outside the top 20 without shot-creating or playmaking skills, but at 6'7" with bounce and a jumper, late-first-round teams could chase his three-and-D potential.
20. OG Anunoby (Indiana, SF/PF, Sophomore)
OG Anunoby falls under the wild-card category. The flashes of athleticism, defensive versatility and shooting could earn him looks as early as No. 12. But the fact that he only played 13.7 minutes as a freshman and 16 games as a sophomore makes it difficult to fully buy in.
He'll also be limited over the next month after undergoing season-ending knee surgery.
Assuming he'll return to full strength, Anunoby's quickness and leaping should still translate to disruptive ball pressure and defensive playmaking. Without the ability to create, though, he'll need to become a threatening open shooter to justify regular NBA minutes. Through two years at Indiana, he made a combined 27 of 74 threes and 52.2 percent of his free throws.
19. John Collins (Wake Forest, PF, Sophomore)
After averaging 19.2 points as a sophomore, John Collins had no reason to play five-on-five at the combine against fringe-first and second-round prospects.
He did participate in brief drilling, however. And he may have benefited by showcasing shooting range he didn't have the freedom to demonstrate at Wake Forest, where he took one three all season.
Collins will hang his hat on finishes, post offense, rebounding and second-chance points. But if he can consistently knock down 16 of 25 threes during workouts—like he did in Chicago—Collins could find himself in the late-lottery mix with the Miami Heat at No. 14.
18. Isaiah Hartenstein (Germany, PF, 1998)
Despite playing just 11.6 minutes a game for Zalgiris, Isaiah Hartenstein should draw plenty of first-round interest. He's intrigued for years at FIBA tournaments, Eurocamp, Basketball Without Borders and the Nike Hoop Summit.
On paper, he's what the NBA now looks for in bigs. It has all come in flashes, but Hartenstein has given scouts glimpses of three-point shooting, ball-handling, passing, finishing and defensive versatility.
He isn't the most explosive athlete and doesn't excel in one particular area. But his tools and potential to tie everything together makes him worth looking at in the mid-to-late first round.
17. Luke Kennard (Duke, SG, Sophomore)
Few first-round prospects averaged more points than Luke Kennard. Teams must now decide how well his scoring will translate, given his lack of athleticism relative to NBA wings.
His shooting, strong skill level and basketball IQ suggest Kennard can carve out a supporting role, even if his one-on-one game and finishing at the rim fail to carry over.
Teams should also see value in his ability to make plays out of pick-and-rolls with his vision, pull-up jumper and floater.
Once all the flashy freshmen names are off the board, Kennard stands out as a low-risk, low-reward draft pick worth taking in the 15-30 range.
16. Jarrett Allen (Texas, C, Freshman)
Only three players measured longer than Jarrett Allen (7'5 ¼") at the combine. Length is a big part of his game that's predicated on inside scoring and contesting at the rim.
But Allen moved into the top 15 by showing significant improvement with his footwork and mid-range jumper, which helped him average 16.2 points during conference play.
He's not explosive or advanced in the post, and weak shot-blocking numbers raise some questions. But Allen's tools, mobility and offense within 15 feet create a high floor that says safe, backup center.
15. Ike Anigbogu (UCLA, C, Freshman)
Standout tools and quickness alone push Ike Anigbogu into the top 20.
Measuring in a quarter-inch under 6'10", he wowed at the combine with a ridiculous 7'6 ¼" wingspan, 9'2 ½" reach and 252-pound frame. Between those numbers and the potential he flashed as a finisher, rim protector and pick-and-roll defender, teams should feel confident Anigbogu can imitate Clint Capela in a simplistic role.
He's shown little as a shot-creator or shooter, while his rate of 7.6 fouls per 40 minutes highlights how raw he is. But the level of talent begins to fall off once the lottery ends. Mid-first-round teams (Portland Trail Blazers, Chicago Bulls, Milwaukee Bucks) looking for an enforcer and clean-up man could give Anigbogu serious consideration.
14. Justin Patton (Creighton, C, Freshman)
There has been mixed feedback on Justin Patton, who's shown both exciting flashes of potential and instances of limited toughness and polish.
The top 10 sounds risky for Patton. On the other hand, he could offer terrific value in the mid-first round given the upside that's tied to his 6'11" size, finishing ability, post game and shooting range.
He didn't test well athletically at the combine, despite showing impressive mobility and bounce at Creighton. He did, however, stand out during measurements, given his 7'3" wingspan and 9'3 ½" standing reach.
The workout process should ultimately benefit Patton, whose jumper and footwork for a center will overshadow his weak rebounding numbers and strength.
13. Zach Collins (Gonzaga, C, Freshman)
Zach Collins' NCAA tournament play helped validate the numbers and buzz he generated during the season against weaker West Coast Conference opponents.
The fact that he declared and stayed in the draft, despite playing just 17.3 minutes a game, suggests scouts saw all they needed to, assuming positive feedback inspired Collins to keep his name in.
He isn't explosive and still has a relatively basic game. But the flashes of post moves, shooting and shot-blocking show his two-way potential. Expect Collins to earn consideration from every team selecting No. 10-14.
12. Donovan Mitchell (Louisville, SG, Sophomore)
Donovan Mitchell strengthened his draft case at the combine without touching a ball.
He confirmed the eye-test results that show him being one of the draft's top athletes. Mitchell had the highest standing vertical leap and fastest three-quarter-court sprint. And he helped diminish concerns over his size by checking in at 211 pounds with a giant 6'10" wingspan.
Limited flashes of playmaking keep Mitchell in the draft's third tier, as opposed to the second with the one-and-done freshmen. Still, the Charlotte Hornets, Detroit Pistons, Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat could consider Mitchell in the lottery for his ability to generate instant offense.
11. Lauri Markkanen (Arizona, PF/C, Freshman)
Even with all the defensive questions, Lauri Markkanen and his shooting stroke can't fall too far.
Between the eye test and his 42.3 percent three-point mark, his jumper is highly convincing. Markkanen will stick around by spacing the floor and making shots.
The question concerns his ceiling and whether he can bust through it without explosiveness or toughness in the paint.
He averaged fewer than one assist, steal and block playing 30.8 minutes per game at Arizona. Markkanen should draw late-lottery looks for his scoring versatility, but weaker grades in the passing, defense and athletic departments hurt his big-board ranking.
10. Frank Ntilikina (France, PG/SG, 1998)
Seven NBA general managers have traveled to France over the past month for Frank Ntilikina. A source says the New York Knicks, Sacramento Kings, Philadelphia 76ers and Dallas Mavericks were there the most.
Ntilikina continues to play a supporting role for Strasbourg IG, scoring little in the minutes he's given. But he's also been consistent from three all season (40.2 percent), and he's starting to flash more glimpses of two-way playmaking.
His ceiling doesn't appear as exciting as others projected to draw top-10 looks. But teams like the Minnesota Timberwolves, New York Knicks and Sacramento Kings could see value in his backcourt versatility, shooting and enormous defensive potential.
9. Justin Jackson (North Carolina, SF, Junior)
No upperclassmen has risen more than Justin Jackson. The number of teams looking for wings and shooters should also help his cause on draft night.
He's going to look good in interview and workout settings as well. Jackson's jumper has become one of the draft's best, and he'll get to show off his better-than-advertised handles, having been limited to mostly off-ball action at North Carolina.
Drilling shots off screens and floaters off curls still projects as Jackson's bread and butter. That type of offense should interest late-lottery teams like the Sacramento Kings, Charlotte Hornets or Detroit Pistons.
8. Malik Monk (Kentucky, SG, Freshman)
Every team in the lottery is bound to be drawn to Malik Monk's flashy athleticism and microwave scoring. They just have to decide how efficiently everything will translate, being that he's a 6'3" 2-guard who leans on jumpers and rarely facilitates.
The potential reward appears worth the risk starting at No. 6 in this draft, though the Philadelphia 76ers will give him thought at No. 3.
At the least, Monk's ability to shoot off screens, spot-ups and leak-outs looks poised to carry over, based on the 104 threes he sunk at Kentucky. At best, he improves his ball-handling, leading to more advanced shot-creating and threatening playmaking.
Still, productive sixth man is the more realistic projection for Monk than routine All-Star.
7. Dennis Smith Jr. (North Carolina State, PG, Freshman)
Dennis Smith Jr. should wind up meeting with most of the point-guard needy teams selecting top 10.
A few months ago, he may have even been in the mix for the Los Angeles Lakers at No. 2, though too many losses and inconsistent effort will cause him to slip to the draft's second tier.
There is a decent chance Smith can regain support over the next month by changing minds during workouts with his explosive athleticism, tight ball skills and shooting range.
The Orlando Magic were the first to bring him in. Expect the Philadelphia 76ers, New York Knicks, Sacramento Kings and Dallas Mavericks to try to follow suit.
6. Jayson Tatum (Duke, SF, Freshman)
Jayson Tatum should draw interest starting from the Philadelphia 76ers at No. 3. They'd value his scoring and shot-making from the wing, as well as his potential to become the team's No. 2 option alongside Joel Embiid.
If the Sixers pass, Tatum would jump out as a strong favorite to go No. 4 based on who's likely to be available and the Phoenix Suns' need for a small forward.
He's lower on the big board because of questions over his average explosiveness and shot selection, which highlights a heavy dose of one-on-one play and two-point jumpers. He finished his one season at Duke shooting 34.2 percent from three with more turnovers (76) than assists (62).
However, he's also the most polished forward in the draft. Textbook size, length and quickness for the position—as well as advanced skills—suggest Tatum's offensive production (16.8 points per game) will carry over.
5. De'Aaron Fox (Kentucky, PG, Freshman)
There should be interesting debate going on behind the scenes in L.A., where the Lakers will be choosing between Lonzo Ball, Josh Jackson and De'Aaron Fox.
There is an argument to be made that Fox is the best fit, given his ability to put pressure on both the rim and opposing ball-handlers. The Lakers finished last in defensive efficiency, and D'Angelo Russell is more of a perimeter scorer than driver or heady lead decision-maker.
Fox will have workouts to try to diminish concerns over his jumper, which looked better during the season's final month, when he hit nine threes over Kentucky's last 10 games. He'll likely draw interest from the Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers at No. 3 and Sacramento Kings at No. 5. The Orlando Magic at No. 6 shouldn't expect Fox to be around.
4. Jonathan Isaac (Florida State, SF/PF, Freshman)
Unique potential at both ends has Jonathan Isaac in the top five, despite the fact he failed to match the production of most lottery prospects. With big man size, guard skills and the ability to blocks shots and defend the perimeter, Isaac is set apart by two-way versatility.
Even though it would have been nice to see him take over or dominate more frequently at Florida State, he remained efficient and took quality shots, having converted 59.3 percent of his two-pointers and 31 of 89 threes. His ability to score within an offense and cover pick-and-rolls helps neutralize the risk tied to his lack of polish.
Isaac still needs fine-tuning, but at 6'10" with handles, range and defensive upside, it's difficult to imagine him getting past the Minnesota Timberwolves at No. 7.
3. Lonzo Ball (UCLA, PG, Freshman)
Most signs point to Lonzo Ball and the Los Angeles Lakers teaming up at No. 2 overall.
He's No. 3 on the big board, though, with some questions over the height of Ball's ceiling. Unlike today's All-Star lead guards, Ball isn't a volume or takeover scorer.
Still, the Lakers are likely to draft him second for his leadership at the point and knack for maximizing the talent around him. His quick decision-making and basketball IQ should immediately result in better looks throughout a game for D'Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram and Julius Randle.
Don't expect Ball to meet with anyone but L.A. The big predraft question will be whether he agrees to work out against Kentucky's De'Aaron Fox, who got the best of Ball in the NCAA tournament.
2. Josh Jackson (Kansas, SF, Freshman)
The Boston Celtics will do their homework on Josh Jackson, but being 20 years old and a questionable shooter hurt his case at No. 1. And with Brandon Ingram and Julius Randle, the Los Angeles Lakers are going to favor a guard.
However, athleticism and the potential versatility to score, facilitate and defend give him the edge at No. 2 on the big board. His jumper and one-on-one game also looked better over the final two months, creating some optimism regarding Jackson's ability to keep improving around the perimeter.
He'd arguably benefit from falling to No. 4. Jackson's fit with the Philadelphia 76ers, who have Ben Simmons and Dario Saric, isn't so clear. He'd fill an obvious need in Phoenix, where the Suns could use a two-way player between Devin Booker and Marquese Chriss.
1. Markelle Fultz (Washington, PG/SG, Freshman)
Unless Markelle Fultz has a specific desire to play for the Los Angeles Lakers, don't be surprised if the Boston Celtics are the only team he meets with.
He's remained the consensus No. 1 since August, when he was named MVP of the FIBA Americas Championship.
Given Fultz's volume production and efficiency at Washington, scouts haven't soured on him despite the Huskies' lousy record. Long and athletic, having consistently improved with every season, Fultz should see his elite scoring and playmaking carry over.
Jonathan Wasserman covers the NBA draft for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter: @NBADraftWass.