2017 NBA Mock Draft: Post-Regular Season Edition

Jonathan Wasserman@@NBADraftWassNBA Lead WriterApril 14, 2017

2017 NBA Mock Draft: Post-Regular Season Edition

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    James Crisp/Associated Press

    The NBA season is complete, which means the draft lottery odds are set.

    However, the standings still show ties that will soon be broken by a coin flip (we broke these ties via random selection). Plus, a number of the following prospects are testing the waters without having hired an agent.

    There are still some players in this mock who could choose to return to college, but we're expecting everyone in this edition to stay eligible.

    Prospects now have the combine, interviews and workouts to improve their stock. Next up is the NBA draft lottery May 16.

1. Boston Celtics (via Nets): Markelle Fultz (Washington, PG, Freshman)

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    Matt York/Associated Press

    The Boston Celtics will address their needs in free agency and just select the best overall prospect in the draft.

    They won't worry about the jam Markelle Fultz will create alongside Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart. It's a good problem to have at a time when guards are highly valued and the supply for bigs appears endless.

    No reasonable team can hold Fultz accountable for Washington's lousy record. At 18 years old, he averaged 23.2 points and 5.9 assists per game while shooting 50.2 percent inside the arc and 41.3 percent behind it.

    His tools, athleticism, scoring and playmaking ace the NBA eye test, and he had the volume production and efficiency to back them all up. The Celtics will look to pair Fultz with Thomas and either trade Bradley or Smart or play Smart as a forward.

2. Phoenix Suns: Josh Jackson (Kansas, SF, Freshman)

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    Orlin Wagner/Associated Press

    Josh Jackson made a strong enough pitch during the NCAA tournament to create the argument he's on par with UCLA's Lonzo Ball. If the Phoenix Suns don't see a significant difference in talent between the two, then fit and need will factor into their decision.

    That would give Jackson the edge at No. 2, given the hole that exists in Phoenix between Devin Booker and the Suns' trio of young bigs (Dragan Bender, Marquese Chriss, Alex Len).

    Though still in need of polish, Jackson showed real progress with his ball skills, shot-creating ability and shooting. And he flashed the potential to give the Suns some defensive toughness and versatility, which they lost when they traded PJ Tucker.

    Only the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Lakers were worse this year in defensive efficiency, per ESPN.com. Adding Ball, who let Kentucky's De'Aaron Fox go for 39 points in the NCAA tournament, wouldn't help.

3. Los Angeles Lakers: Lonzo Ball (UCLA, PG, Freshman)

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    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    The late-season wins don't have to cost the Los Angeles Lakers a chance to land Lonzo Ball. They'll be hoping the Phoenix Suns view Josh Jackson as the better fit, which would make Ball available at No. 3.

    We already know the UCLA star wants to land in L.A. Chances are, the feeling will be mutual, with D'Angelo Russell scoring from the 2-guard spot and Brandon Ingram and Julius Randle locked in as forwards.

    Russell, Ingram and Randle would each likely benefit from the addition of Ball, whose value lies in his ability to make the game easier for teammates.

4. Philadelphia 76ers: Jayson Tatum (Duke, SF, Freshman)

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    Chuck Burton/Associated Press

    With Philadelphia 76ers coach Brett Brown fully committed to playing Ben Simmons at point guard, fans can forget about Philly adding ball-dominant players like Kentucky's De'Aaron Fox or North Carolina State's Dennis Smith Jr.

    In terms of fit, Kentucky's Malik Monk makes sense, but so does Duke's Jayson Tatum, a more complete, two-way player. He's proven to be an advanced shot-creator and versatile shot-maker with textbook tools and fine athleticism.

    If the Sixers line up Simmons at the 1, they can look to add Tatum, a go-to scoring option who'll play with Dario Saric at the 4 and Joel Embiid at center.

5. Orlando Magic: De'Aaron Fox (Kentucky, PG, Freshman)

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    John Locher/Associated Press

    Don't question De'Aaron Fox to the Orlando Magic because he's another point guard who struggles to shoot. Despite his strong finish to the season, Elfrid Payton is four years older and averaged a weak 12.8 points per game on 27.4 percent shooting from three.

    Fox's ceiling is significantly higher than Payton's, and without any potential stars on the roster, the Magic won't be picky at No. 5. They'll take the best long-term prospect available, regardless of position.

    Scouts just saw Fox destroy UCLA and Lonzo Ball with 39 points in the NCAA tournament, after he'd already gone for 20 points and nine assists against the Bruins earlier in the season. Explosive, crafty in the lane and a willing setup man off screens and penetration, Fox is a jump shot away from being a consensus top-three pick.

    Nothing about his shooting mechanics (73.9 percent on free throws) are red-flag concerning. Orlando isn't going anywhere soon anyway. The Magic can grab Fox, allow his skills develop in a lead role and let another team overpay for Payton when the time comes.

6. Minnesota Timberwolves: Malik Monk (Kentucky, SG, Freshman)

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    With Zach LaVine having torn his ACL midseason, the Minnesota Timberwolves could use their draft pick to replenish the lost athleticism and shot-making.

    Malik Monk could also justify the best-player-available argument at No. 6.

    He cooled off down the stretch but still finished his freshman year averaging 19.8 points and 2.7 threes per game. And though he's undersized for a traditional shooting guard, his enormous production, elite explosiveness and scoring ability will be too enticing.

    After drafting a non-shooter in Kris Dunn last June, the Wolves won't make the same mistake. 

7. New York Knicks: Frank Ntilikina (France, PG/SG, 1998)

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    GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT/Getty Images

    Everything about team president Phil Jackson's track record and comments suggest Frank Ntilikina will be a primary target for the New York Knicks.

    We've already seen Jackson pass on NCAA stars (and likely fan favorites) like Justise Winslow and Willie Cauley-Stein for an international prospect (Kristaps Porzingis). And between Jackson and coach Jeff Hornacek, the Knicks have talked about a commitment to bringing in players who'd thrive in the triangle and also play defense.

    Ntilikina, who's reportedly over seven inches longer than De'Aaron Fox, projects as a strong perimeter defender who's versatile enough to play both guard spots and shoot the three (41 percent).

8. Sacramento Kings: Dennis Smith Jr. (North Carolina State, PG, Freshman)

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    Karl B DeBlaker/Associated Press

    His occasional no-shows and team's losses cause Dennis Smith Jr. to slip, but at No. 8, that won't bother the point guard-needy Sacramento Kings.

    Quick and explosive with high-level scoring and playmaking potential, there aren't many questions concerning his tools, athleticism or skills.

    Decision-making is another story, but at this point, talent trumps all. Plus, the Dallas Mavericks need a new floor general and pick at No. 9. Sacramento can't take the chance he's not there when it picks again at No. 10. The Kings will go with a lead ball-handler first and the best player available two picks later.

9. Dallas Mavericks: Lauri Markkanen (Arizona, PF/C, Freshman)

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    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    At No. 9, the Dallas Mavericks could view Lauri Markkanen as both the best player available and Dirk Nowitzki's long-term replacement.

    He's not the next Nowitzki, but he brings a similar package of skills that highlight shooting and perimeter scoring. A mobile 7-footer, Markkanen finished the year shooting 42.3 percent from three on 163 attempts, and though not explosive or tough inside, his lights-out jumper creates a high floor.

    The question with Markkanen concerns his ceiling and whether he can be a star despite struggling in rim protection.

10. Sacramento Kings (via Pelicans): Jonathan Isaac (Florida State, SF/PF, Fr.)

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    Robert Franklin/Associated Press

    Jonathan Isaac could go as high as No. 4, but his lack of production and quiet finish to the season may result in a mini slide.

    With the New Orleans Pelicans' pick, the Sacramento Kings are just looking for the best player available, though Isaac also fills a need, assuming Rudy Gay isn't in the team's long-term rebuilding plans.

    A 6'10" combo forward, Isaac impressed this year with his face-up ball skills, shooting range and defensive versatility. And despite the project label, he shot 59.3 percent inside the arc and was tough around the hoop, where he pulled in 12 rebounds per 40 minutes.

    His 12 points per game and tiny 20.3 percent usage suggest Isaac needs time, but that won't matter to the Kings, who have no expectations and a roster full of youngsters.

11. Charlotte Hornets: Zach Collins (Gonzaga, C, Freshman)

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    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    The Charlotte Hornets re-signed Cody Zeller, but after missing the playoffs, they aren't in any position to pass on the draft's top available player.

    No other rookie would step in and contribute much next year anyway. There appears to be a gap between Zach Collins and the next-best talent after his convincing NCAA tournament, which backed up a year of production and efficiency in a weak West Coast Conference.

    Collins checks boxes with 7'0" size, light feet, post skills, shooting touch and shot-blocking instincts. He'll start his career playing behind Zeller, but his ceiling is higher.

12. Detroit Pistons: Jarrett Allen (Texas, C, Freshman)

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    Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

    Fit or need won't matter to the Detroit Pistons, who'll just be looking for talent after missing the playoffs. Jarrett Allen stands out as the best player available at No. 12.

    He made obvious progress from November to March, having averaged 16.2 points and 9.8 rebounds during Big 12 Conference play.

    Allen, who owns a massive 7'5 ½" wingspan, flashed improving post footwork, touch and mid-range shooting ability. He brings more of a skilled offensive attack than Andre Drummond—just not the same power or athleticism.

13. Denver Nuggets: Terrance Ferguson (Adelaide 36ers, SG/SF, 1998)

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    Matt Marton/Associated Press

    The Denver Nuggets have already shown a willingness to draft outside the box with Emmanuel Mudiay, who'd chosen China over college. Terrance Ferguson went the same route, only to Australia, where Nuggets representatives visited him.

    Ferguson struggled with playing time and grown-men physicality, but at 18 years old, there is still enticing potential tied to his 6'7" size, exciting athleticism, shooting stroke and defensive quickness.

    Denver already has young talent across the board, and with the team expected to try to re-sign Mason Plumlee, there wouldn't be room for Creighton's Justin Patton or Texas' Jarrett Allen.

    Ferguson could step in and compete for minutes on the wing, assuming Danilo Gallinari winds up elsewhere in free agency.

14. Miami Heat: TJ Leaf (UCLA, PF, Freshman)

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    Steve Yeater/Associated Press

    Assuming nobody jumps out to the Miami Heat as the obvious best player available at No. 14, fit could play a role in the team's decision. That would make TJ Leaf an option for his face-up scoring and passing alongside Hassan Whiteside, who plays mostly inside and averages fewer than one assist per game.

    Leaf brings mobility, energy and skills the NBA covets at the 4, including his shooting and playmaking off the dribble.

    He finished the year strong with 17 points against Kentucky in the NCAA tournament. His defensive upside is limited, but Leaf isn't a stiff. He'll give Miami some offensive versatility and hustle in a supporting role.

15. Chicago Bulls: Justin Jackson (North Carolina, SF, Junior)

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    Justin Jackson was off in the national championship game, but the 105 triples he sank as a junior should have been enough to answer questions about his jumper. The top scorer for the nation's best team, Jackson also impressed defensively in the NCAA tournament, particularly against Kentucky's Malik Monk.

    Between Denzel Valentine and Doug McDermott, the Chicago Bulls have some history of going after productive upperclassmen on draft night, even if they're limited athletically. Jackson falls under the same umbrella.

    He compensates for limited strength and explosiveness with shot-making skills and the ability to shake free by using screens off the ball. Jackson can't fill Jimmy Butler's shoes if the Bulls trade him, but he would give Chicago another promising wing to develop.

16. Portland Trail Blazers: Justin Patton (Creighton, C, Freshman)

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    With their first of three picks in the first round, the Portland Trail Blazers can swing for the fences on Justin Patton, a high-upside project with tools and skills but weaker production and fewer reps.

    His play unsurprisingly fell off once Creighton lost its star point guard (Maurice Watson Jr.) to a season-ending injury. Long and athletic with terrific hands, Patton finished the year shooting 67.6 percent, and though still raw, he flashed post moves and three-point range that caught the attention of NBA scouts.

    A low rebounding rate (9.8 per 40 minutes) and average shot-blocking numbers (2.3 per 40 minutes) highlight a lack of toughness and strength, which also hints at risk. His ceiling, however, is as high as any center's in the draft.

17. Indiana Pacers: Donovan Mitchell (Louisville, SG, Sophomore)

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    Stephan Savoia/Associated Press

    In Louisville's loss to Michigan in the NCAA tournament, Donovan Mitchell finished with 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists. It capped a breakout year in which he nailed 80 three-pointers after he'd shot 25 percent from deep as a freshman.

    His ball skills have caught up to the explosive athleticism that's made him intriguing since high school.

    He'd have more fans if he were more of a combo guard. Mitchell never developed as a playmaker, but that's not what the Indiana Pacers will draft him for at No. 17. With the ability to attack and knock down difficult jumpers from all over the floor, Mitchell will look to carve out a career as a microwave scoring specialist.

18. Milwaukee Bucks: OG Anunoby (Indiana, SF, Sophomore)

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    The Milwaukee Bucks have some history of reaching for upside in the draft with athletic projects like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Thon Maker.

    They won't be fazed by OG Anunoby's lack of polish or production. Bucks management will look through its long-term scouting lens, which shows a monster defensive ceiling and high-end three-and-D potential.

    Milwaukee's training staff also has plenty of recent experience treating knee injuries. Anunoby went down in January, but assuming medical reports don't indicate any permanent damage, the Bucks should be willing to ignore the fact he won't play much as a rookie.

    They'll invest in his elite tools and bounce and bet on his recovery and skill development.

19. Atlanta Hawks: John Collins (Wake Forest, PF, Sophomore)

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    Robert Franklin/Associated Press

    With Paul Millsap, Ersan Ilyasova, Mike Muscala and Kris Humphries entering free agency, the Atlanta Hawks could target John Collins.

    Nobody in the Atlantic Coast Conference had an answer for him, given his nightly averages of 20.3 points and 9.3 boards in 18 conference games. Strong and explosive with scoring instincts around the basket and touch in the mid-range, Collins should give Atlanta a catch-and-shoot option, pick-and-roll weapon and high-percentage finishing target at the rim.

    He had some trouble making defensive reads, stops and rotations, but he has NBA tools, athleticism and high-level scoring ability within 15 feet, so the Hawks should still count on Collins for production and activity in the paint.

20. Portland Trail Blazers (via Memphis): Isaiah Hartenstein (Germany, PF, 1998)

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    Sam Forencich/Getty Images

    The Portland Trail Blazers' biggest need is offense from the power forward spot, with Al-Farouq Aminu and Noah Vonleh having each averaged fewer than 10 points per game.

    That should make Isaiah Hartenstein an interesting option at No. 20. He was effective at the Nike Hoop Summit on April 7, finishing with 10 points, two assists and two blocks and showing inside scoring instincts, unique ball-handling ability and defensive mobility.

    But he also missed five of his seven free throws and his only three-point attempt. Though it's a big selling point, Hartenstein's shooting still needs significant work.

21. Oklahoma City Thunder: Luke Kennard (Duke, SG, Sophomore)

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The Oklahoma City Thunder can bring in Luke Kennard to beat out Alex Abrines on the depth chart.

    No team shot a worse percentage from three than Oklahoma City. It should be drawn to Kennard's 88 triples, 43.8 percent clip and convincing stroke. Even if limited athleticism stops him from scoring the way he did at Duke, his shooting should keep him afloat.

    Still, 6'6" size, crafty footwork and difficult shot-making ability should help Kennard compensate for weak burst and strength. He'll offer the Thunder backcourt depth and another source of offense off the bench.

22. Brooklyn Nets (via Wizards): Harry Giles (Duke, PF/C, Freshman)

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    Julie Jacobson/Associated Press

    No team is in better position to gamble on Harry Giles than the Brooklyn Nets, who have two picks in the 20s and minimal talent on the roster.

    He's bound to fall after having had three knee surgeries and averaging just 3.9 points per game during one year at Duke. The Nets can buy low on Giles and stick him in the Development League to build up his reps, confidence, lower-body strength and skills.

    If he can stay heathy, Brooklyn would at least get a fiery competitor who'll finish and crash the offensive glass. The upside will kick in if his bounce fully returns and his post game and shooting stroke gradually improve.

23. Utah Jazz: Mathias Lessort (France, PF/C, 1995)

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    The Utah Jazz could use some depth on the wing, but they won't have many exciting 2s or 3s to choose from at No. 23. Instead, they'll see value in Mathias Lessort's athleticism, shot-blocking, pick-and-roll defense and energy, which continue to shine in France's top division.

    He's already hit the 20-point mark twice in April, and though not particularly versatile or skilled, his mobility and bounce translate to baskets at the rim. He's also made 30 of his last 37 free throws and started to show touch with his mid-range jumper.

    The Jazz could view Lessort as a backup two-way energizer, and at 21 years old and 250 pounds, they may be able to use him right away.

24. Toronto Raptors: Semi Ojeleye (SMU, PF, Junior)

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    Jessica Hill/Associated Press

    As they search for more frontcourt offense, the Toronto Raptors should think about Semi Ojeleye following a breakout junior year.

    He averaged 19 points and drilled 73 threes at a 42.4 percent clip, a figure he backed up by sinking 78.5 percent of his 219 free-throw attempts.

    Otherwise, he's proved to be a versatile shot-maker with explosive athleticism around the basket. Defensive struggles will limit Ojeleye's minutes and potential, but his scoring and jumper look poised to carry over.

25. Orlando Magic (via Clippers): Ivan Rabb (California, PF/C, Sophomore)

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    Ben Margot/Associated Press

    The Orlando Magic could see Ivan Rabb as a value pick this late after he falls in the draft for struggling to dominate as California's No. 1 option.

    He still averaged a double-double, scored 14 points per game and registering a strong 18.3 rebounding percentage. Rabb's best attributes are his hands, nose for the ball and motor around the basket.

    Without the ability to protect the rim, guard the perimeter or stretch the floor, he'll be limited to bench minutes in the NBA. But at No. 25, the Magic will value the likelihood of his inside scoring and activity in the paint translating. They'll see Rabb as a high-floor, low-ceiling backup big.

26. Portland Trail Blazers (via Cavaliers): Rodions Kurucs (Latvia, SF, 1998)

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    With three first-round picks, look for the Portland Trail Blazers to either trade or draft-and-stash at No. 26.

    Rodions Kurucs jumps out as the most likely option. He's played mostly in Spain's second league but should have the chance to earn minutes next year for Barcelona's senior team, which recently called up the 19-year-old wing for a Euroleague game.

    He looks the part physically and athletically, and though not overly sharp skill-wise just yet, the Blazers aren't likely to bring in a third rookie next year anyway. They'll let him season abroad to polish his scoring and shooting.

27. Brooklyn Nets (via Celtics): Jawun Evans (Oklahoma State, PG, Sophomore)

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    Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

    For the Brooklyn Nets, it's worth a second pick late in the first round to see if Jawun Evans can overtake Isaiah Whitehead and Spencer Dinwiddie on the point guard depth chart.

    According to Synergy Sports, Evans was the most productive power-conference pick-and-roll player in college basketball. Quick, shifty and skilled, he is dangerous off the dribble, both as a scorer and playmaker.

    He lacks explosiveness and doesn't attempt many jumpers, but through two years at Oklahoma State, he made the threes he took (55-of-135) and shot better than 80 percent from the line twice.

28. Los Angeles Lakers (via Rockets): Ike Anigbogu (UCLA, C, Freshman)

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    With a second first-round pick, the Los Angeles Lakers will look to address their defense, which ranked last in efficiency, per ESPN.com.

    Ike Anigbogu stands out as a possible solution, given his 6'10", 250-pound frame, long arms, athleticism and 3.7 blocks per 40 minutes. He doesn't offer much offensively outside of easy baskets on dump-downs, lobs and putbacks. But as a backup, defensive-oriented 5, Anigbogu's calling card will be rim protection, pick-and-roll coverage, rebounding and finishing.

29. San Antonio Spurs: Wesley Iwundu (Kansas State, SG/SF, Senior)

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    Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

    Gradual improvement that culminated in a 24-point, seven-assist, six-rebound performance against Wake Forest in the NCAA tournament could help push Wesley Iwundu into the first round.

    A point forward, Iwundu's identity revolves around versatility, which highlights unique playmaking for a wing (3.5 assists per game) as well as the potential to guard multiple positions.

    He passes the NBA eye test with athleticism, length and handles. After he made a career-high 32 threes (37.6 percent) and 76.7 percent of his free throws, the argument that Iwundu's jumper is broken seems inaccurate.

30. Utah Jazz (via Warriors): Tyler Lydon (Syracuse, PF, Sophomore)

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    Nick Lisi/Associated Press

    Tyler Lydon didn't add enough to his game or sharpen the weaknesses that stood out during his freshman year. Scoring and playmaking limitations, along with disappointing rebounding numbers and two years of zone defense, will keep teams from reaching for Lydon in the first round.

    The Utah Jazz will take him at No. 30 for his ability to stretch the floor and shoot the three. Lydon hit 49 triples in back-to-back seasons, shooting over 39 percent from deep each year.

    Utah has gotten little out of Trey Lyles since it drafted him over Devin Booker in 2015. The Jazz could value Lydon's specialty skill (shooting) in a backup role, either at the 4 or small-ball 5.

        

    Stats accurate through Wednesday's games and via RealGM.com, Hoop-Math.com and Sports-Reference.com unless otherwise noted. Height and weight information via DraftExpress or school bios unless otherwise noted.

    Jonathan Wasserman covers the NBA draft for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter: @NBADraftWass.

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