2017 NBA Mock Draft: 1st-Round Predictions After Lottery Results

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 17, 2017

SACRAMENTO, CA - MARCH 19:  Lonzo Ball #2 of the UCLA Bruins handles the ball on offense against the Cincinnati Bearcats during the second round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Golden 1 Center on March 19, 2017 in Sacramento, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Boston Celtics are on the clock after winning the 2017 NBA draft lottery.

The lottery results don't radically alter the outlook for the first round of the draft, but different teams have different needs. Mock drafts will inevitably shift somewhat to account for the fact fans now have a firm idea of the order of selection.

Below is a mock for the first round, followed by five storylines to follow over the next few weeks.


Mock Draft

1Boston Celtics (via Nets)Markelle Fultz, GWashington
2Los Angeles LakersLonzo Ball, GUCLA
3Philadelphia 76ersDe'Aaron Fox, GKentucky
4Phoenix SunsJosh Jackson, FKansas
5Sacramento KingsDennis Smith Jr., GNC State
6Orlando MagicJayson Tatum, FDuke
7Minnesota TimberwolvesJonathan Isaac, FFlorida State
8New York KnicksMalik Monk, GKentucky
9Dallas MavericksLauri Markkanen, FArizona
10Sacramento Kings (via Pelicans)Frank Ntilikina, GFrance
11Charlotte HornetsJohn Collins, FWake Forest
12Detroit PistonsZach Collins, FGonzaga
13Denver NuggetsJarrett Allen, F/CTexas
14Miami HeatIvan Rabb, FCalifornia
15Portland Trail BlazersIsaiah Hartenstein, FGermany
16Chicago BullsRodions Kurucs, FLatvia
17Milwaukee BucksTJ Leaf, FUCLA
18Indiana PacersOG Anunoby, G/FIndiana
19Atlanta HawksDonovan Mitchell, GLouisville
20Portland Trail Blazers (via Grizzlies)Terrance Ferguson, GAustralia
21Oklahoma City ThunderLuke Kennard, GDuke
22Brooklyn Nets (via Wizards)Harry Giles, F/CDuke
23Toronto Raptors (via Clippers)Justin Jackson, FNorth Carolina
24Utah JazzCaleb Swanigan, F/CPurdue
25Orlando Magic (via Raptors)Jonathan Jeanne, F/CFrance
26Portland Trail Blazers (via Cavaliers)Bam Adebayo, CKentucky
27Brooklyn Nets (via Celtics)Josh Hart, GVillanova
28Los Angeles Lakers (via Rockets)Jawun Evans, PGOklahoma State
29San Antonio SpursHamidou Diallo, GKentucky
30Utah Jazz (via Warriors)Semi Ojeleye, FSMU
Draft order via NBA.com


Lottery Storylines

Will Anybody Unseat Markelle Fultz Atop the Draft Board?

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 08:  Markelle Fultz #20 of the Washington Huskies sits on the bench with an injured ankle against the USC Trojans during a first-round game of the Pac-12 Basketball Tournament at T-Mobile Arena on March 8, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Leon Bennett/Getty Images

Since the Cleveland Cavaliers selected Anthony Bennett with the first overall pick in the 2013 draft, the top of the three subsequent drafts offered little in the way of surprises. Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns and Ben Simmons were widely considered the best players in their respective classes, and they all went No. 1 overall.

Markelle Fultz occupies a similar status among his peers.

There's no question the Washington Huskies were dreadful in 2016-17, posting their fewest wins (nine) since 1994-95.

Fultz only shoulders so much blame for his team's overall failure. He averaged 23.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists a game and shot 41.3 percent from three-point range. Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman noted in January why those numbers are so impressive:

Jonathan Wasserman @NBADraftWass

Markelle Fultz, who's 18, on pace to become the only player in 25 yrs to average at least 20-5-5 + shoot 40% from 3 https://t.co/Fv1hJswk6R

Fultz is the perfect guard for today's NBA in that he can shoot the three, score off the dribble and create for his teammates. And at 6'4" and 195 pounds, he possesses the frame necessary to excel at the next level.

While it's possible one of Lonzo Ball, Jayson Tatum or Josh Jackson could supplant Fultz as the consensus No. 1 player, the Washington star seems destined to land in Boston.


Do the Celtics Finally Cash in on Their Draft Assets?

WALTHAM, MA - SEPTEMBER 26:  General manager Danny Ainge of the Boston Celtics speaks with the media during Boston Celtics Media Day on September 26, 2016 in Waltham, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)
Tim Bradbury/Getty Images

This might be the last offseason the Boston Celtics have to acquire a Jimmy Butler- or Paul George-type star.

They'd still have the Brooklyn Nets' first-round pick in 2018 and protected first-rounders from the Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies in 2019. That might not be enough to swing the kind of trade that can take the Celtics to the next stage of their overall development.

The allure of keeping the Nets' first-rounder this year is obvious. The Celtics would be able to add another talented young player who'd be cost-controlled for the next few seasons.

But no one rookie will make Boston the team to beat in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics have a window to win, and at a certain point, they will go all-in on contending for a title.

Al Horford will turn 31 in June, and Isaiah Thomas will be 29 in February. They're not going to be any better than they are right now, and by the time Terry Rozier, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown are at their respective peaks, Horford and Thomas will likely be declining as players.

If Paul Millsap winds up as the best player the Celtics add in the offseason, the summer will have been a disappointment.


Are the Lakers Willing to Sign up for the Ball Family Circus?

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Through little fault of his own, Lonzo Ball carries a lot of baggage into the NBA.

If LaVar Ball wants to market a $495 signature shoe for his son or make the rounds on the national sports debate shows, then that's one thing. It's another when LaVar undermines his son's high school coach and draws the ire of Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James.

Given both his profile and proximity to Los Angeles, Lonzo would be a match made in heaven for the Los Angeles Lakers from a marketing perspective. At the same time, imagine the platform LaVar would have by virtue of his son playing for the Lakers.

The Lakers are no strangers to off-court drama, but it'd be understandable if first-year general manager Rob Pelinka had reservations about selecting Lonzo.

As well as LaVar's off-court antics, there's the question as to how Lonzo would fit with the Lakers' current roster, with D'Angelo Russell penciled in as the starting point guard and Jordan Clarkson owed a little over $36.5 million over the next three years.


Can the Magic Find the Cornerstone of Their Rebuild?

Remember when Patricio Garino's agent inadvertently shared a photo of a whiteboard at the Orlando Magic's team facilities (h/t theScore):

theScore @theScore

UMM...did Orlando Magic just leak their targets for trades and free agency?? 🤔 https://t.co/k9bAKImJKK https://t.co/zXoNNHzOWB

By far the most interesting part of the photo was Dario Saric's name under a column titled "Hybrid Trade," with the note "For AG?" next to it, seemingly alluding to Aaron Gordon.

Former general manager Rob Hennigan attempted to minimize the importance of the whiteboard, but it's hard to see how the photo wasn't some sort of illustration as to what Hennigan had planned this summer.

The fact the Magic would even consider trading Gordon—fourth overall pick in the 2014 draft—is emblematic of the franchise's failure to rebuild in the post-Dwight Howard era. Since Orlando traded Howard in August 2012, the team hasn't won more than 35 games in a season and finished last in the Southeast Division in each year.

The 2017 draft represents a sort of reset for the Magic, with Hennigan out of a job. ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst reported Orlando intends to offer David Griffin the title of president of basketball operations, which would be a major coup.

If the Magic can hire Griffin and walk out of the draft with a promising piece of their rotation, the 2017 offseason could be a source of optimism for fans in Orlando.


How Will the 76ers Choose to Complement Their Promising Frontcourt?

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 07: Dennis Smith Jr. #4 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack defends during their game against the Clemson Tigers during the first round of the ACC Basketball Tournament at Barclays Center on March 7, 2017 in the Brooklyn borough of N
Lance King/Getty Images

Even with Joel Embiid's injury history, the Philadelphia 76ers' frontcourt should be set for the foreseeable future. Saric and Ben Simmons will occupy the two forward positions, while Embiid and Jahlil Okafor will split time at center.

The backcourt is much less of a sure thing. Sergio Rodriguez and T.J. McConnell aren't an ideal one-two punch at point guard.

The Sixers could throw everything at signing Kyle Lowry or target a slightly lesser player such as Jrue Holiday, Jeff Teague or George Hill. Philadelphia's best move, however, would be selecting the best point guard on the board with the third overall pick.

The 76ers should have plenty of options, with any one of De'Aaron Fox, Lonzo Ball, Dennis Smith Jr. and Malik Monk available in the first round.


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