2017 NBA Mock Draft: Early Predictions for Next Year's Class

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIJune 23, 2016

East forward Jayson Tatum, from Chaminade  in St. Louis, Mo. dunks against the West team during the McDonald's All-American boys basketball game, Wednesday, March 30, 2016, in Chicago. The West beat the East  114-107. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)
Matt Marton/Associated Press

This year's NBA draft is in the process of unfolding Thursday evening, but for the diehard draftniks who can't get enough of the best up-and-coming players that basketball has to offer, it's a perfect time to look ahead to 2017.

After dissecting the 2016 class for months and finally finding out where the top prospects will wind up on Thursday, we have approximately 365 days to do the same before the 2017 draft.

The one-and-done phenoms still have to play college ball, though, and the draft order is speculation as well. Whatever high-profile moves happen in free agency and the entire events of the 2016-17 season can't even come into play either, beyond vague conjecture.

With those factors in mind, take a look at a first-round mock of the 2017 NBA draft using this year's draft order as a blueprint. The teams inside the lottery will be shuffled around based on projected success for this next season, and the trades involved in the 2016 selections won't be in effect. 

2017 NBA Mock Draft: Round 1
Pick Team Selection
1 Brooklyn Nets/Boston Celtics*Jayson Tatum, SF, Duke
2 Phoenix Suns Jonathan Isaac, SF/PF, Florida State
3 Denver NuggetsHarry Giles, PF, Duke
4 Philadelphia 76ers Josh Jackson, SG/SF, Kansas
5 Los Angeles Lakers Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA
6 Sacramento Kings Markelle Fultz, PG/SG, Washington
7 Chicago Bulls Ivan Rabb, PF, California
8 Orlando Magic De'Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky
9 Minnesota Timberwolves Bam Adebayo, PF, Kentucky
10 Milwaukee Bucks Dennis Smith, PG, NC State
11 New Orleans Pelicans Grayson Allen, SG, Duke
12 Utah Jazz Tyler Lydon, PF/SF, Syracuse
13 New York KnicksMalik Monk, PG/SG, Kentucky
14 Washington WizardsIsaiah Hartenstein, PF/SF, Germany
15 Houston RocketsJaron Blossomgame, PF/SF, Clemson
16 Dallas MavericksKostja Mushidi, SG/PG, Germany
17 Memphis Grizzlies Allonzo Trier, SG, Arizona
18 Detroit Pistons Thomas Bryant, C/PF, Indiana
19 Portland Trail BlazersMiles Bridges, SF, Michigan State
20 Indiana Pacers Frank Jackson, PG, Duke
21 Atlanta Hawks V.J. Beachem, SF, Notre Dame
22 Charlotte Hornets Melo Trimble, PG, Maryland
23 Boston Celtics/Brooklyn Nets*Rodions Kurucs, SF, Latvia
24 Miami HeatEdmond Sumner, PG/SG, Xavier
25 Los Angeles Clippers Frank Ntilikina, PG, France
26 Oklahoma City ThunderDwayne Bacon, SG/SF, Florida State
27 Toronto Raptors Ray Smith, SF, Arizona
28 Cleveland CavaliersNigel Hayes, PF/SF, Wisconsin
29 San Antonio Spurs Omari Spellman, PF/C, Villanova
30 Golden State Warriors Marques Bolden, C, Duke
*Celtics have right to swap 1st-round pick with Nets.

Breakdown of Top Mock Picks

1. Brooklyn Nets/Boston Celtics: Jayson Tatum, SF/SG, Duke

MAPLE GROVE, MN- MAY 23: Jayson Tatum #22 from St. Louis Eagles and Chaminade High School during Session Four of the Nike EYBL on May 23, 2015 at Maple Grove Community Gym in Maple Grove, Minnesota. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images)
Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images

A pure scorer who can finish strong at the rim, pull up from mid-range off the dribble, hit from beyond the arc and overpower defenders, Tatum can do it all on the offensive end.

In addition to boasting an impressive scoring arsenal, the St. Louis native and fourth-rated player in 247Sports' composite rankings is a gifted passer with tremendous court vision, which makes him all the more dangerous.

Tatum's highlight reel is enough to showcase the tools he has to be a potential No. 1 overall pick. What's more fascinating about this top-pick scenario is the team involved.

The Nets sacrificed what would have been the third overall pick in this year's draft and therefore are in dire need of a blue-chip college player. Barring a barrage of free-agent spending, Brooklyn will likely enter 2016-17 with the Association's worst roster.

Philadelphia's lottery assets over the past several years will finally begin to pay dividends, leaving the Nets to occupy the cellar of the Eastern Conference.

Making matters worse for Brooklyn, though, is the fact that the Celtics have the right to swap first-round picks with the Nets in 2017. Per RealGM.com, all Boston would have to sacrifice is a 31-45-protected 2017 second-round pick if it exercises the right to swap first-rounders.

Yours truly would venture to guess Celtics general manager Danny Ainge and Co. will capitalize on the opportunity.

Jim Aberdale of CSN New England highlighted how favorable the forecast is for Boston's drafts beyond 2017 too:

Jim Aberdale @JimAberdale

#Celtics have 8 picks tomorrow, then this haul from 2017-2020. Talk about options. #Celticstalk @CSNNE @csnceltics https://t.co/uaTNnGSE3I

Should Brooklyn endure another horrible season, Boston may well find itself atop the 2017 draft after another postseason appearance and in position to take the best player available if the lottery odds shake out the right way.

Even with the Celtics' lackluster roster, head coach Brad Stevens has guided them to the playoffs.

After adding to the mix whomever Boston selects Thursday night near the top of the 2016 draft, as well as a potential big-name free agent this summer and someone like Tatum, the Celtics could soon be in contention.

2. Phoenix Suns: Jonathan Isaac, PF/SF, Florida State

Credit: 247Sports

Isaac possesses many of the attributes that make Tatum special. Although he isn't quite the passer Tatum is, the 6'10" Isaac is lengthier, has more dynamic athleticism, shows off exceptional shot-blocking ability and has a quicker release with his shot.

The future Seminole's quickness doesn't prevent him from playing under control. He handles the ball as well as any of the top guard prospects. Thanks to his height and guard-like tendencies, Isaac can create space with ease and even shoot off the dribble from beyond the arc.

About the only hole in Isaac's game is his lack of strength, which should improve with age. Should he pack on 10 to 15 pounds without losing any explosiveness, there's no telling how good he can be.

Finishing at the rim may prove to be more difficult when Isaac gets his first taste of NCAA action. As his freshman year wears on, though, he'll be able to adjust accordingly. His precision from long range will also free him up to drive to the basket.

A product of the renowned IMG Academy, Isaac was considering an attempt to declare for the 2016 NBA draft before settling on the Seminoles. That type of mindset should lead to an excellent year at FSU.

The Suns have a fully stocked backcourt with the likes of Brandon Knight, Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker. They could use someone like Isaac on the wing or as a stretch 4, where Phoenix lacks elite talent.

3. Denver Nuggets: Harry Giles, PF, Duke

MAPLE GROVE, MN- MAY 23: Harry Giles #1 from Team CP3 and Wesleyan Christian Academy during Session Four of the Nike EYBL on May 23, 2015 at Maple Grove Community Gym in Maple Grove, Minnesota. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images)
Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images

The only reason Giles isn't higher on the list is because of his injury history. After previously suffering a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee, he tore his right ACL this past November.

But if Giles does fall to No. 3 overall, especially behind a teammate in Tatum, he'll be all the more driven to prove he can still be the best player in the 2017 class.

Giles provided a promising update on his outlook for next season in March, per TodaysU.com's Dan Stack

"It's going great," he said about his rehab. "I'm getting stronger and getting ready for November. I'll be fine by the time the season starts. I'm just trying to go out there and play hard, develop and to win a national championship."

While his major knee issues are cause for concern, there's no questioning Giles' talent. He's still rated as 247Sports' No. 2 overall player for good reason.

Listed at 6'11", the 18-year-old has a polished skill set for his size and plays stronger than his thin, 222-pound frame would suggest

Tempering his aggressiveness at times would behoove Giles, but he should get through his freshman year at Duke relatively unscathed. He's part of a loaded recruiting class alongside Tatum, and the Blue Devils already have a go-to scorer in junior guard Grayson Allen.

Giles is the true X-factor of the upcoming college basketball season. If he's able to stay on the court and play up to his potential, he could well surpass Tatum as the No. 1 overall pick by the time the draft rolls around—not to mention help Duke to the Final Four.

Should the Nuggets wind up with Giles, they would be over the moon and have a legitimate face of the franchise to build around.

Denver does have a clustered frontcourt rotation—particularly at center with Jusuf Nurkic, Nikola Jokic and Joffrey Lauvergne—but Giles' flexibility to play the 3 or the 4 would be a big boost to the Nuggets' outlook.

Height/weight listings and prospect information courtesy of 247Sports.


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