NBA Mock Draft 2017: Projections and Predictions for Top Sharpshooters

David McCracken@crackemcFeatured ColumnistMay 24, 2017

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - MARCH 18: Lauri Markkanen #10 of the Arizona Wildcats attempts a free throw against the St. Mary's Gaels during the second round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Vivint Smart Home Arena on March 18, 2017 in Salt Lake City, Utah.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

As we've seen throughout the 2017 NBA playoffs, it pays to have great perimeter shooters. More specifically, sharpshooters. 

Every team needs and can find a Kyle Korver or a Danny Green, but it's much more difficult to find a player who can not only shoot lights out from deep, but who can also produce in other areas of the court, like a Klay Thompson or Avery Bradley.

Luckily for NBA teams in the lottery, there are a few sharpshooters who can develop into so much more than a role player in a rotation or a solid three-and-D player.

But before we take a look at this year's field of top sharpshooters in the NBA draft, here's my latest mock draft: 

2017 NBA Mock Draft
1. Celtics (via BKN)Markelle Fultz, G, Washington
2. LakersLonzo Ball, G, UCLA
3. 76ersDe'Aaron Fox, G, Kentucky
4. SunsJosh Jackson, F, Kansas
5. Kings (via PHI)Frank Ntilikina, G, France
6. MagicJayson Tatum, F, Duke
7. TimberwolvesJonathan Isaac, F, Florida State
8. KnicksMalik Monk, G, Kentucky
9. MavericksLauri Markkanen, F, Arizona
10. Kings (via NO)Dennis Smith Jr., G, NC State
11. HornetsIvan Rabb, F, California
12. PistonsZach Collins, C, Gonzaga
13. NuggetsMoritz Wagner, F, Michigan
14. HeatIsaiah Hartenstein, F, Germany
15. Trail BlazersTJ Leaf, F, UCLA
16. BullsJohn Collins, F, Wake Forest
17. BucksTony Bradley, C, North Carolina
18. PacersJarrett Allen, C, Texas
19. HawksDwayne Bacon, F, Florida State
20. Trail Blazers (via MEM)OG Anunoby, F, Indiana
21. ThunderJustin Jackson, F, North Carolina,
22. Nets (via WAS)Terrance Ferguson, G, Australia
23. Raptors (via LAC)Jordan Bell, F, Oregon
24. JazzJosh Hart, G, Villanova
25. Magic (via TOR)Jonathan Jeanne, C, France
26. Trail Blazers (via CLE)Ike Anigbogu, C, UCLA
27. Nets (via BOS)Sindarius Thornwell, G, South Carolina
28. Lakers (via HOU)Justin Patton, C, Creighton
29. SpursHarry Giles, C, Duke
30. Jazz (via GSW)Luke Kennard, G, Duke
Author's picks


Jayson Tatum, SF, Duke

GREENVILLE, SC - MARCH 19: Jayson Tatum #0 of the Duke Blue Devils puts up a shot against the South Carolina Gamecocks during the second round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Bon Secours Wellness Arena on March 19, 2017 in Greenville, Sout
Lance King/Getty Images
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2016-17 Field Goal Percentage: 45.2 percent

2016-17 Three-Point Percentage: 34.2 percent

Where He'll Go: No. 6; Orlando Magic


Originally, I had Jayson Tatum packing his bags to the West Coast to play alongside Buddy Hield for the Sacramento Kings, but there's no way the Kings will make the right move and take Tatum. Instead, they'll pass on the versatile swingman for Frank Ntilikina. 

This leaves Tatum falling to the Magic, who just hired a new general manager in John Hammond from the Milwaukee Bucks who loves tall and athletic perimeter players who can stretch the floor.

Chris Mannix @ChrisMannixYS

John Hammond a terrific pick to work under Jeff Weltman w/Magic. Track record in Milwaukee (Giannis, Middleton, Brogdan) speaks for itself.

It's hard to imagine that Tatum leapfrogs the likes of of Josh Jackson or De'Aaron Fox, but he is a sure-fire top talent in this year's class. 

Tatum shot 34.2 percent from three-point range in college, so you might not consider him to be a sharpshooter just yet, but hey, Kawhi Leonard wasn't a threat to score coming out of college, either. 

Tatum has the right work ethic to improve some already solid numbers from deep. Just take a look at these consecutive makes from downtown during a practice session on Tuesday, per skills coach Drew Hanlen:

Before you keyboard warriors point out that his release might seem too slow for the NBA game or that he should practice with a defender's hand in his face, the fact that he is able to sink that many consecutive shots in under a minute is impressive.

He averaged 16.8 points per game and 7.3 rebounds per game at Duke without being a consistent lights out shooter. But if Tatum can hone his jumper and become a threat as a spot-up shooter in his rookie year, watch out.


Malik Monk, G, Kentucky

MEMPHIS, TN - MARCH 26: Malik Monk #5 of the Kentucky Wildcats shoots against Justin Jackson #44 of the North Carolina Tar Heels in the first half during the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament South Regional at FedExForum on March 26, 2017 in Memphis,
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

2016-17 Field Goal Percentage: 45.0 percent 

2016-17 Three-Point Percentage: 39.7 percent

Where He'll Go: No. 8; New York Knicks


The New York Knicks might not seem to be the most desirable destination for an NBA rookie with the Carmelo Anthony saga, not to mention the potentially catastrophic relationship between Phil Jackson and Kristaps Porzingis.

However, Malik Monk is a flat-out scorer, plain and simple. Monk averaged 19.8 points per game on a talented and young Kentucky Wildcats team during his freshman season.

He also shot 39.7 from three-point range, a good number coming into the league for any player, but particularly one that shot the ball from beyond the arc as much as Monk did. 

The Knicks could use a player who can stretch the floor like Monk the moment he steps foot on to an NBA court, even as a rookie.

Al Iannazzone of Newsday seems to think the Knicks are looking at Monk for that reason as well:

Al Iannazzone @Al_Iannazzone

Knicks would love if Malik Monk falls to them but he likely will be gone. "Hopefully," Monk said: https://t.co/4x66fhyzD2

He has a low floor at the next level, and at worst, he'll feature as a shooter of the bench. Think of James Jones when he used to play actual playoff minutes for the Miami Heat a few years back.

Monk obviously has a higher ceiling than Jones, but that just shows that he can benefit any backcourt right away with his jump shot, particularly a backcourt like the Knicks', which will need revamping as Derrick Rose hits free agency. Realistically, Monk's only competition heading into training camp could be Courtney Lee at the shooting guard position.

There are other options for the Knicks at the No. 8 position, but Monk makes the most sense for the offense Jackson wants to run in the Big Apple. 


Lauri Markkanen, F, Arizona

SAN JOSE, CA - MARCH 23:  Lauri Markkanen #10 of the Arizona Wildcats looks on in the first half against the Xavier Musketeers during the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament West Regional at SAP Center on March 23, 2017 in San Jose, California.  (Photo
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

2016-17 Field Goal Percentage: 49.2 percent

2016-17 Three-Point Percentage: 42.3 percent

Where He'll Go: No. 9; Dallas Mavericks

Come on, admit it. Lauri Markkanen to the Dallas Mavericks to become Dirk Nowitzki's understudy is just too good to pass up. 

A seven-footer European big man who stretches the floor with a lanky-frame and can shoot the three-ball better than any prospect in the first round? Markkanen could well be the next Nowitzki, especially if he can remain consistent from beyond the arc.

The Players' Tribune @PlayersTribune

A 7-foot sharpshooter with unlimited range. Good luck slowing down projected lottery pick @MarkkanenLauri. https://t.co/L7KFxFME5N

At Arizona, Markkanen shot 49.2 percent form the field, which on the surface isn't exactly inspiring for a such big man in college. But that's only because most of his shots came from mid-range or from three-point land, which he hit at a 42.3 percent rate last season while scoring 15.6 points per game. 

Markkanen isn't ready to play extended minutes in the NBA just yet and will experience a lot of the same growing pains Nowitzki had during his early years in the league; being too skinny, not tough enough to compete for rebounds, etc. But he has the perfect mentor in Nowitzki and the perfect head coach in Rick Carlisle to properly develop his game over his rookie and sophomore years in the NBA.

Zack Rosenblatt of the Tucson Star also likes the idea of Markkanen going to Dallas to sit and learn from the best mentor he could possible have:

Zack Rosenblatt @ZackBlatt

Lauri Markkanen makes sense in the 6-9 range. Magic, Timberwolves, Knicks, Mavericks. Idea of him learning from Dirk is the coolest one.

Markkanen is the best shooter in this draft class and has a possibility to jump up draft boards if any team is looking for the next Porzingis or Nikola Jokic, but the Mavericks will have their fingers crossed on draft day that Markkanen falls to them at No. 9, coincidentally the same spot that Nowitzki was drafted in back in the 1998 draft. 


All stats are courtesy of ESPN.com unless otherwise noted.  


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