The 2017 NBA draft, on paper, looks like it will have many more hits than misses. In particular, it's hard to make a case that any of the top five players on most big boards (Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, Josh Jackson, Jayson Tatum, De'Aaron Fox) will turn out to be busts.
The same could be said for most of the players projected to go in the first round. Some of these prospects could potentially fall short of expectations, but they still have the opportunity to go on to great NBA careers.
Here's a look at three such prospects as well as a new mock draft.
|2017 NBA Mock Draft|
|1. BOS||Markelle Fultz|
|2. LAL||Lonzo Ball|
|3. PHI||De'Aaron Fox|
|4. PHX||Josh Jackson|
|5. SAC||Jayson Tatum|
|6. ORL||Malik Monk|
|7. MIN||Jonathan Isaac|
|8. NYK||Frank Ntilikina|
|9. DAL||Lauri Markkanen|
|10. SAC||Zach Collins|
|11. CHA||Justin Jackson|
|12. DET||Dennis Smith Jr.|
|13. DEN||Rodions Kurucs|
|14. MIA||TJ Leaf|
|15. POR||Terrance Ferguson|
|16. CHI||Justin Patton|
|17. MIL||Harry Giles|
|18. IND||Donovan Mitchell|
|19. ATL||Isaiah Hartenstein|
|20. POR||Luke Kennard|
|21. OKC||Jordan Bell|
|22. BRK||Jawun Evans|
|23. TOR||Semi Ojeleye|
|24. UTAH||John Collins|
|25. ORL||Ivan Rabb|
|26. POR||Jonathan Jeanne|
|27. BRK||OG Anunoby|
|28. LAL||Jarrett Allen|
|29. SAS||Josh Hart|
|30. UTAH||Derrick White|
The Florida State forward mostly shined in his one year in Tallahassee, averaging 12.0 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game for a Seminoles team that finished tied for second in the ACC and earned a No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament.
Isaac has loads of potential. NBAdraft.net compares him to former NBA forward Rashard Lewis, who played 16 NBA seasons and made two All-Star games.
Former St. John's men's basketball coach and current ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla also had high praise for Isaac:
The primary knock on Isaac is that he was too inconsistent last season. If you take a look at his 2016-17 game log, some monster games (e.g. a 23-point, 10-rebound, seven-block outing against Notre Dame) are mixed in with poor ones (a couple of two-point performances in ACC play).
His team also crashed and burned in the NCAA tournament in a bad 91-66 loss to No. 11 seed Xavier in the second round.
Isaac can also stand to bulk up his 6'11", 205-pound frame.
Ultimately, Isaac will be just 20 years old when the 2017-18 NBA season begins, and no team is going to ask him to be a franchise savior right away. He'll have time to develop and gain strength.
If Giles didn't suffer serious knee injuries in 2013 and 2015, we'd be talking about him as a consensus top-five pick, maybe even top three.
Unfortunately, Giles' freshman season at Duke last year only saw him average 11.5 minutes per game as he worked his way back from the second injury.
Giles still has much potential and impressed at the NBA Draft Combine, as Eric Fawcett of Press Basketball noted:
Per DraftExpress, Giles measured at 6'10½" with shoes and has a 7'3¼" wingspan. Given those measurements, it's hard to imagine Giles slipping far past the 20th pick.
It's conceivable that Giles' NBA career never gets off the ground and he's unable to truly recover from those injuries.
But it's also possible that he develops and becomes a formidable NBA pro as he keeps rounding into form. It will be interesting to see which team believes in Giles. That team could be getting the steal of the draft.
The forward showed promise in his two-year career in Indiana, to the point where he's a consensus first-round pick in NBA mock drafts, but he tore his right ACL in January and missed the rest of the season.
Shams Charania of The Vertical spoke with Anunoby about his rehab process on May 19: "My rehab has been going great, doing a lot of strength drills and core work. I can do set shots, and now I need to get more dynamic as the months continue. I’ll be jogging, shooting, working on my strength soon. I want people to know how hardworking of a player I am."
The 6'8", 235-pound forward averaged 11.1 points and 5.4 rebounds for IU as a sophomore last season. He did well against top competition, scoring 16 against eventual national champion North Carolina and 13 versus Kansas. Both those games resulted in wins for the Hoosiers.
Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report wrote about Anunoby in his latest big board, noting that while his three-point (31.1 percent) and free-throw shooting (56.3 percent) left a lot to be desired last year, he still showed some impressive signs:
"But without any notable offensive skills to lean on, he still shot a terrific 70.1 percent inside the arc, a tribute to his tools and athleticism. Even if his handle and jumper never improve, Anunoby's defense, attacking and finishing could hold first-round value."