2017 NBA Draft Grades for Every Pick
After a night of drafting, the NBA has officially welcomed 60 more young men into its exclusive fraternity.
The early portion of the night featured plenty of potential stars walking across the stage in their fancy suits, as everyone from Markelle Fultz to Lonzo Ball to Frank Ntilikina got a chance to shake Adam Silver's hand. But even that wasn't the main theme; teams selected a record 16 freshmen during the first round, including each of the first five picks.
By the time the festivities drew to a conclusion, going from omega to Alpha (Kaba)—Mr. Irrelevant—rather than alpha to omega, upside had reigned supreme too many times to count. Did the process work out well for your team?
To find out, continue on to our pick-by-pick grades for all 60 selections.
No. 1 Philadelphia 76ers: Markelle Fultz, PG, Washington
This is what The Process was all about.
Even if Markelle Fultz couldn't lead the Washington Huskies to March Madness—or even get close, for that matter—he's a legitimate stud. His 6'4" frame gives him plenty of size, and his eye-popping athleticism will only make him tougher for opposing point guards to check. Then you include shooting touch, impressive handles, quality court vision and a knack for finishing plays at the hoop, and he becomes close to a complete package.
No matter who Fultz plays with in Philadelphia, he'll fit in. He can defer touches to Ben Simmons and thrive as an off-ball weapon. He can run pick-and-rolls with Joel Embiid and take advantage of any defensive set, either splitting a double-team or waiting to make a perfectly timed pocket pass to the rim-running big. It all works.
The Sixers paid a steep price to acquire the No. 1 pick from the Boston Celtics by parting with this year's No. 3 selection and another first-rounder to be conveyed in the future (which season depends on how the complicated protections shake out). But Fultz has been the overwhelming favorite to come off the board first throughout the draft process, and they shouldn't regret giving up so much to move away from perpetual tanking with another potential superstar.
Philly trusted The Process for a long time. Now, it's ready to see some results.
No. 2 Los Angeles Lakers: Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA
Prepare yourselves for the intersection of LaVar Ball and Hollywood. I'm sure the outspoken father of this year's No. 2 pick won't make any headlines while his son plays for the Los Angeles Lakers. He's done a tremendous job letting the point guard's performances do all the talking, because that's what Big Ballers are about.
But as much as we'd love to focus on LaVar's inevitable First Take appearances, this is about Lonzo Ball, who can turn the Lakers around. They've already fully committed to him by dealing D'Angelo Russell to the Brooklyn Nets and eliminating the vast majority of the competition he'd see at the 1, and he shouldn't make them regret the decision.
Ball isn't a perfect prospect. He can be bullied by stronger players and will face enduring questions about the merits of his unorthodox—but effective—form. Perhaps it'll be tougher for him to create separation with his patented step-back against NBA length and athleticism while he uses that sidewinding release.
But even if his shooting numbers dip, Ball can thrive as a creative and effective distributor. He's comfortable filling a facilitating role, in which he can make the most of his ball-handling and passing prowess. Averaging 7.6 assists as a collegiate standout is no easy feat, and it points toward him making life far easier for Julius Randle, Brandon Ingram and the rest of the youngsters joining him on the Purple and Gold.
No. 3 Boston Celtics: Jayson Tatum, SF, Duke
Heading into the draft, Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge claimed the player he'd end up taking at No. 3 would've been the same one he'd have drafted before trading out of the No. 1 slot. Now, it's clear that was Jayson Tatum, which is...interesting.
The Celtics are known for not allowing outside perception to influence their draft board, and that explains why they played the part of contrarians. It's an aggressive evaluation of a player who often displayed lackluster effort during his brief time at Duke and doesn't quite possess the prototypical explosiveness we've come to expect from superstar wings.
Could Tatum justify this lofty standing? Of course.
He's a gifted scorer with a game that, upon even casual examination, can remind onlookers of Carmelo Anthony. Drilling mid-range jumpers and playing a slow-it-down face-up game tends to do that, especially when coupled with smooth athleticism. Factor in his defensive upside, and he could very well become the top wing in this class—maybe even the top overall player, even if that seems like Markelle Fultz's designation to lose.
There are just no guarantees here, since Tatum will need plenty of touches in a system that filters so many toward Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford. Adjustments will be necessary to make this a perfect fit, and the former Blue Devil will need to spend his rookie season learning how to provide new types of contributions.
No. 4 Phoenix Suns: Josh Jackson, SF, Kansas
With Devin Booker, Marquese Chriss and Dragan Bender patrolling the court in the desert, the Phoenix Suns needed two things above all else: perimeter defense and a capable wing. T.J. Warren is promising, but he's not the centerpiece they need at small forward, and he's certainly not a point-preventing stalwart.
Josh Jackson is.
One of the best defenders in this draft class, Jackson's biggest weakness is that he's sometimes a bit too aggressive. He'll have to curtail those instincts to avoid whistles in the NBA, but not by much; the Suns want him to hound opposing wings with his incredible motor while wandering away from his own marks to provide weak-side help.
On offense, Jackson's future is a bit more uncertain. His jumper isn't quite there yet, and he sometimes settles into a rhythm of passivity. But there's plenty of upside, and having a scorer like Booker distracting a defense should pay major dividends for his long-term development.
No. 5 Sacramento Kings: De'Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky
The biggest concern for De'Aaron Fox is obvious.
More and more every year, the NBA is a shooter's league. But the point guard connected on only 24.6 percent of his three-point attempts during his freshman campaign with the Kentucky Wildcats, which allowed defenders to sag off him on virtually every possession. His quickness still overwhelmed them, but that same strategy might not work against professional stoppers.
Fox's athleticism makes him a two-way force. He's a hounding presence with quick hands on the defensive end, and his first step and burst toward the hoop make him a threat to either split a double-team or punish lackadaisical effort with a quick backdoor cut away from the primary action. But his role may still be shrunk if he can't connect from the perimeter.
Right now, that's not a huge issue for the Sacramento Kings. Ty Lawson and Darren Collison are both unrestricted free agents, which makes finding a capable point guard the offseason's most obvious priority. So while Fox's lack of spacing ability is less than ideal, it's a situation Sacramento should be more than willing to live with while acquiring more upside at the position than it's possessed in quite some time.
No. 6 Orlando Magic: Jonathan Isaac, SF, Florida State
Jonathan Isaac has the frame necessary to function as a prototypical combo forward in today's NBA, but only if he adds weight to that 6'10" body. He can't yet absorb the pounding that comes with playing the 4 against traditional lineups, and the wear and tear of an 82-game campaign might be a bit too much right now.
But the Orlando Magic are willing to let him develop while he’s under team control. His height and wingspan (7'1") are just that intriguing, especially when paired with such a diverse array of skills.
Athleticism is the first trait to jump off the page when watching Isaac. He can leap out of the gym to protect the rim as a weak-side shot-blocker, and he's plenty capable of springing toward the hoop to finish an offensive play. His lateral speed lets him remain with tough defensive assignments, and he has the burst necessary to storm by whoever's guarding him before creating a shot off the dribble.
It's his skill that's more in question, since he hit only 34.8 percent of his triples while taking 2.8 per game as a freshman at Florida State. He has the stroke—and the success at the charity stripe, where he connected at a 78 percent clip—to improve, but whether he does so in a Magic lineup that's still rather devoid of consistent floor-spacing options is up for debate.
No. 7 Chicago Bulls: Lauri Markkanen, PF/C, Arizona
Given the wealth of star power left in the draft, selecting a specialist at No. 7 doesn’t make an inordinate amount of sense. Yet that’s exactly what the Chicago Bulls did with the pick they received from the Minnesota Timberwolves for dealing franchise cornerstone Jimmy Butler.
Lauri Markkanen can play. He’s a tremendous shooter with a high, quick release that should become nearly unblockable with further practice. His range extends well beyond the three-point arc, and he’ll drag many a defender outside the paint to open up driving lanes for...well, we’re not quite sure yet, since Chicago’s roster is very much in flux.
But what else does he provide?
He’s a smart positional defender and can pass to cutters, even when the windows are tiny. But he has severe defensive limitations that will make him a liability at the next level, and he’s rather weak on the glass. He must be paired with the right fellow big, and the Bulls don’t yet have that player on the roster.
In a vacuum, Markkanen at No. 7 is fine. But given the need for a well-rounded star and the amount of upside still on the board, this is a reach for the Bulls.
No. 8 New York Knicks: Frank Ntilikina, PG, France
Frank Ntilikina may have spent his youth hanging from a pull-up bar rather than using that piece of workout equipment in its intended fashion. That’s the only (non-scientific) explanation for his ginormous wingspan (7’1”), which sits nine inches greater than that of a typical NBA point guard, on par with an average center and greater than the wingspan with which LeBron James entered the league (7’0.25”), per HoopsHype.com.
The Frenchman is certainly a raw product. His handles aren’t remarkably tight, and he struggles to create his own looks from the perimeter. For that matter, his spot-up jumpers aren’t much better.
But the New York Knicks are going for upside here, and he possesses that in spades. Right away, he should be a vastly superior defender to Derrick Rose and make life easier for the interior defenders patrolling Madison Square Garden. The length even gives him the ability to switch onto multiple positions, which is invaluable in a league that now has so many 3s initiating pick-and-roll action.
They just have to be patient now. If they are, this could be a home run, even if it’s a risky selection inside the top 10.
No. 9 Dallas Mavericks: Dennis Smith Jr., PG, NC State
If you've watched Dennis Smith Jr. for any amount of time, you've probably seen some Eric Bledsoe in his game.
The N.C. State product is a remarkably explosive point guard who's never afraid to jam on someone, and he'll inevitably produce far more dunks than you might expect from a 6'2" player. He's quick with his first step and loves nothing more than driving into the paint—which can admittedly become easier to predict and shut down when the scouting report is out. His quick hands also allow him to rack up steals, and he rarely hesitates to get aggressive on defense.
At times, Smith can take over a game with his athleticism so easily that you might wonder why he wasn't taken even sooner. But then come the turnover problems and inconsistency as a perimeter shooter, which the Dallas Mavericks will have to live with and work on throughout the early stages of his career.
And that's what makes Dallas such a perfect landing spot for Smith. Head coach Rick Carlisle is a master of maximizing the potential of the men on his roster, and he'll be jumping with joy at the thought of having such a high-upside point guard available for the first time in years. Chalk this up as one of the best picks of the 2017 NBA draft.
No. 10 Portland Trail Blazers: Zach Collins, PF/C, Gonzaga
Zach Collins might not make an immediate impact for the Portland Trail Blazers, given the overall rawness of his game and the need to improve his footwork around the basket. Fortunately, Portland is prepared for that situation, still in possession of high-scoring guards (Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum). A healthy Jusuf Nurkic will also let Collins develop at a slower pace, lessening the need for contributions from day one.
When the Gonzaga product develops, he may become one of the league's most potent scoring threats out of the frontcourt while also protecting the rim with aplomb.
A fluid athlete who thrives when he's allowed to move up and down the court, Collins has shown flashes of ability to score in all situations. He has three-point range on his ever-improving jumper, possesses enough athleticism to finish lobs around the hoop and displays nice touch in between. Plus, he can even hit teammates with surprisingly accurate passing chops when defenses start to collapse around him.
The Blazers just need to be patient. Let him grow organically, and he could reward the faith in a big way.
No. 11 Charlotte Hornets: Malik Monk, SG, Kentucky
Malik Monk is far from perfect. He desperately needs to add more strength to his 6'3" frame and can fall into the habits of an inefficient gunner, taking plenty of bad shots and trying to shoot himself out of a cold spell.
But while at Kentucky, he showed enough to prove he has as much scoring upside as anyone in this draft class. It's by no means ridiculous to think Monk could develop into a combo guard capable of producing an efficient 25 points on any given night, thanks to a sterling blend of athleticism, handles and touch from the outside. He has the dribbling skills and off-the-bounce ability to score as a point guard, and his explosion won't hurt when he's filling an off-ball role.
Doesn't this sound like something the Charlotte Hornets could use? They were far too reliant on Kemba Walker during the 2016-17 campaign, and having a young go-to scorer to pair with him makes perfect sense. He'll stay fresher throughout the season, and they might avoid a midseason downward spiral while chasing a playoff berth.
Monk will force the Hornets to live with some ugly stretches, but it's nothing they weren't already used to. And when he explodes—which he will—it'll be more than worth the short-term suffering.
No. 12 Detroit Pistons: Luke Kennard, SG, Duke
The Detroit Pistons love them some shooters, regardless of whether they continue to pursue head coach Stan Van Gundy's patented four-out, one-in stratagems. If they keep trying to surround Andre Drummond with floor-spacing threats, they'll need players capable of taking and making threes. And even if they don't, shooting never hurts in today's NBA.
Enter Luke Kennard.
The former Duke standout is a solid athlete, even if he doesn't possess the hops that typically go hand-in-hand with lottery wings. His 6'5" wingspan won't help him on the defensive end, either. But so long as he drills triples, the other aspects of his game—smart positional defense and a knack for secondary playmaking are chief among them—won't matter much.
During his sophomore season for the Blue Devils, Kennard took 5.4 treys per game and connected on 43.8 percent of them. Those are elite numbers, and undergoing slight regression as he adjusts to the NBA's three-point arc will still leave him operating as one of the best shooters Detroit has rostered in quite some time.
No. 13 Utah Jazz: Donovan Mitchell, SG, Louisville
The Utah Jazz didn't exactly need another ace defender to put in front of Rudy Gobert, but it can't hurt. Especially at this point in the draft, where it's no longer a big reach to take Donovan Mitchell.
After all, an elite defender is just what Mitchell has become. It may take some time for his offense to come around—though you shouldn't be worried about his development going down a Michael Kidd-Gilchrist route—but he's already one of the best perimeter defenders in this year's class.
Mitchell can capably parlay his athleticism into successful slashes. He's a solid passer, giving him the ability to slide over to the 1 in a pinch, though his natural position remains shooting guard. However, it's still his defense that made him one of this year's fastest-rising prospects, vaulting him from the tail end of the first 30 picks into the lottery.
If you need a comparison, think about a more polished version of Norman Powell. The three-point stroke is a bit more advanced, but the athleticism and positional versatility on the preventing end check many of the same boxes.
This is a boom-or-bust pick for Utah, as well as a sliiiight reach, and that depresses the grade a bit. But if he works out, the Jazz could soon pair an elite three-and-D youngster with Gordon Hayward (maybe?) and Gobert (definitely). Here's hoping they don't ask him to run the point if George Hill leaves in free agency, though.
No. 14 Miami Heat: Bam Adebayo, PF/C, Kentucky
It must be something about that Kentucky water.
Bam Adebayo finishes the lottery by joining the Miami Heat, who presumably plan to pair him with Hassan Whiteside. But it makes you wonder if there are more moves on the way, because this is a strange fit.
The incumbent center isn't much of a floor-spacer, and the Heat offense was at its best when he stopped taking elbow jumpers. He can hit them, but it's better when he shows off his rebounding prowess around the basket. It throws everything off when he slides further from the hoop.
Adebayo will help form a terrifying interior duo on defense next to him, but he's another limited offensive player who won't scare teams while operating outside the paint early in his career. Apparently, Miami's plan is to win games by holding the opposition to 60 points per night.
Of course, that's possible. The former Kentucky standout is a legitimate force near the basket, constantly showcasing his explosive leaping ability and shot-blocking acumen. It'll be fun to watch him and Whiteside compete for swats, even if the fit remains questionable—particularly when Adebayo wasn't projected to come off the board for a while longer.
No. 15 Sacramento Kings: Justin Jackson, SF, North Carolina
Justin Jackson doesn't really feel like a Sacramento Kings player, but he's going there after the organization traded down and acquired this selection from the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Kings have typically valued pure ability and upside over cerebral contributors who seldom make the wrong plays, and the latter is exactly what Jackson became during his three-year career with the North Carolina Tar Heels. He rarely takes bad shots but instead picks the spots to showcase his perimeter jumper while constantly seeking out open mid-range attempts. He doesn't turn the ball over, even though he works as a playmaker more frequently than your typical 6'8" small forward.
Jackson's limited athleticism may hinder his upside. The same can be said about his age—he'll turn 23 toward the end of his rookie season. His motor is a concern as well, since he took too many plays off while operating under Roy Williams' supervision.
But on the flip side, he's readier to contribute immediately than your average prospect, and that bodes well for his ability to fit in with a youthful team that needed a steadying presence next to Buddy Hield and De'Aaron Fox.
No. 16 Minnesota Timberwolves: Justin Patton, C, Creighton
What do you do when you're already trotting out a lineup comprised of Ricky Rubio, Jimmy Butler, Andrew Wiggins, Gorgui Dieng and Karl-Anthony Towns?
You take whoever you feel is the best player available and start building up a sterling bench. That's what the Minnesota Timberwolves did with the No. 16 selection they received from the Chicago Bulls along with Butler, and picking Justin Patton this early puts him in an appropriate range. Maybe you feel John Collins was better, and he was still on the board, but it's hard to discredit the Creighton center who has so much upside left untapped.
Patton needs to build up his body and work on his rebounding fundamentals, but he could eventually show enough floor-spacing acumen to work with Towns in an ultra-sized lineup. And even if the 7'0" big man remains a sixth man, his efficiency and ability to work in transition will look quite good alongside Butler's and Wiggins' athleticism.
No. 17 Milwaukee Bucks: D.J. Wilson, PF, Michigan
If you spent any time watching March Madness this year, you couldn't help but take notice of D.J. Wilson. The uber-athletic power forward wreaked havoc against every opponent, springing up draft boards everywhere as he showcased his athleticism as a shot-blocker and displayed floor-spacing ability.
Wilson isn't a consistent shooter yet. Nor does he offer much on the offensive end after scoring just 11 points per game on 53.8/37.3/83.3 shooting as a junior. But the percentages are all encouraging, even if he's forced to pick his spots carefully.
Fortunately, the Bucks shouldn't need him to score much. Not with Giannis Antetokounmpo leading the charge and surrounded by healthy versions of Khris Middleton and Jabari Parker. It's the athleticism and all-around defense that matter most here, especially if he can ease some of Antetokounmpo's rebounding responsibilities and preserve him for more important duties.
No. 18 Indiana Pacers: TJ Leaf, PF, UCLA
Lonzo Ball wasn't the only elite prospect to grace the hardwood at UCLA in 2016-17. TJ Leaf, another freshman, impressed right alongside him, and he should continue to turn heads while working with Myles Turner for the Indiana Pacers.
Leaf's game doesn't involve too much defense, but that's fine while Turner is shutting down the paint. It's more important that he's an efficient offensive player who can do everything you'd want on that end.
On one possession, Leaf might burst free and finish an alley-oop with a thunderous slam. On another, he could spot up from the perimeter and produce a pretty sound as the ball rips through nylon. One possession later, he might establish position on the blocks and kick the rock to an open teammate as soon as the defense collapses around him.
He's plenty athletic, and he's quite skilled as well.
No. 19 Atlanta Hawks: John Collins, PF, Wake Forest
John Collins is already a quality defender. He may not be a rim-protecting stud, but he'll inevitably rack up block totals coming from the weak side and possesses a tireless motor. Whether he's locking down smaller players and poking at the ball or rotating to cover someone in the post, he knows defense is (currently) his bread and butter.
He also profiles as a capable floor-spacer, despite missing the only three-point attempt of his collegiate career. With soft touch on face-up moves and mid-range jumpers, as well as a sophomore season in which he hit 74.5 percent of his looks from the charity stripe, he should eventually stretch a defense out to or beyond the arc.
That two-way skill should be highly coveted, to the point that Collins would've had the ability to look like a major steal late in the lottery if he develops as expected. At No. 19, he's a downright theft for an Atlanta Hawks team looking for upside. He's raw and could struggle against bigger frontcourt players during his rookie season, but he's the type of guy who could make Hawks fans look past a Paul Millsap departure if the franchise chooses to plunge into a rebuild.
No. 20 Sacramento Kings: Harry Giles, PF/C, Duke
The Sacramento Kings added one of the draft's best point guards by picking De'Aaron Fox at No. 5. They added to their draft-day coffers with Justin Jackson at No. 15, which gives them upside at all three of the smallest positions. Now, it's time to shoot for the stars with No. 20.
Knee issues plagued Harry Giles throughout his Duke career, limiting his production and dropping him down draft boards. Lest we forget, the big man once seemed like a lock to go in the top five and had a chance to rise as high as the top overall selection.
This is undoubtedly risky. Giles' career could be a giant false start if he never gets healthy. But if his knees work and he starts playing like he did in high school, he could immediately surpass Georgios Papagiannis and Willie Cauley-Stein in the pecking order to give the Kings a core unlike anything they've had in quite some time.
Though it may sound hyperbolic to say about the No. 20 pick, he can look eerily reminiscent of a young Kevin Garnett when everything is working.
No. 21 Oklahoma City Thunder: Terrance Ferguson, SG/SF, Australia
Terrance Ferguson is raw. He needs to add strength. But if he pans out, the Oklahoma City Thunder will have found a tremendous shooter to pair with Russell Westbrook, as well as a terrific athlete who can keep up with him in transition and receive some nice feeds for easy layups and dunks.
In 30 games with Adelaide in the Australian NBL, Ferguson averaged only 4.6 points per game while playing 15.2 minutes during his typical appearance. Those contributions, moreover, came while he shot 38.1 percent from the field and 31.3 percent from beyond the arc.
Ferguson might need to spend time in the G League playing for the Oklahoma City Blue. But if the Thunder can just be patient and let the 19-year-old continue his development, he could be an ideal running mate as soon as two years into the future.
No. 22 Brooklyn Nets: Jarrett Allen, C, Texas
Don't be fooled by Jarrett Allen's hair. Even though the tip of his afro might reach well over seven feet into the air, he's really only 6'10". But don't let that fool you, either. With his 7'5" wingspan, he's still capable of functioning as a standalone interior defender who can shut down the paint and force opponents into awkward shots.
The Brooklyn Nets needed a replacement for Brook Lopez after trading him to the Los Angeles Lakers for a package centered around D'Angelo Russell, and they've found one. He just doesn't play nearly the same game, since Allen is defined by his rebounding, athleticism and knack for rolling to the hoop to finish plays in the restricted area.
Adjusting to this style might be difficult. But especially if Allen can add a perimeter jumper—he went 0-of-7 from beyond the arc during his lone season as a Longhorn—it'll be well worth the stylistic shift.
No. 23 Toronto Raptors: OG Anunoby, SF/PF, Indiana
The Toronto Raptors may have landed the steal of the draft.
OG Anunoby may not be ready by the time the 2017-18 season begins, as he's still recovering from a knee injury that ended his year with Indiana prematurely. But as soon as he's healthy, he'll resume functioning as arguably the draft's best defensive prospect, as well as a developing offensive player who's displayed impressive flashes of range.
While wearing short shorts, he's shown an ability to shut down perimeter studs before rotating to protect the rim. His athleticism is just that impressive, and a full recovery might eventually force Jonas Valanciunas south of the border via a trade. The shot-blocking potential of Anunoby and Serge Ibaka (assuming he re-signs) is off the charts.
No. 24 Denver Nuggets: Tyler Lydon, SF/PF, Syracuse
Does this mean Danilo Gallinari is officially gone?
The long-tenured small forward is a free agent, and the Denver Nuggets have now added both Trey Lyles (via the trade down to this pick with the Utah Jazz) and Tyler Lydon. The former will be a high-upside 4 next to Nikola Jokic, while the latter is a promising combo forward who can easily slide up to power forward and make the most of his 6'9" frame.
Lydon isn't quite strong enough to survive the NBA yet, but he should get there. And when he does, he'll be the perfect complement to Jokic, thanks to his dual ability to stretch the floor and protect the rim.
During his sophomore season at Syracuse, he shot 39.2 percent from beyond the arc (on 3.7 attempts per game) and blocked 1.4 shots per contest. How many players managed to pair those two skills quite as well as the 21-year-old?
No. 25 Philadelphia 76ers: Anzejs Pasecniks
Don't expect to see Anzejs Pasecniks in the NBA anytime soon.
The Philadelphia 76ers moved to acquire this pick from the Orlando Magic, but it's tough to see him getting any playing time over Joel Embiid, Robert Covington, Richaun Holmes, Jahlil Okafor and the other bigs operating in the City of Brotherly Love. He's 21 years old and 7'2", but he desperately needs to add strength before he can get through an NBA season.
Perhaps he'll prove us wrong. He's a high-upside pick with the ability to move well and score from a number of areas. But this has the immediate feel of a draft-and-stash, especially given Philadelphia's roster construction.
No. 26 Portland Trail Blazers: Caleb Swanigan, PF, Purdue
With Caleb Swanigan, the Portland Trail Blazers know exactly what they're getting.
The breakout big man for the Purdue Boilermakers is a bit older than your typical first-round prospect, though he's still only 20 years old. He also doesn't possess much offensive upside, since the vast majority of his production comes right around the hoop. Then again, his 78.1 percent shooting at the stripe offers hints of future growth, so Rip City could luck into a steal if that holds true.
But if his collegiate career is any indication, Swanigan will be a beast on the boards and a physical low-post player. He should throw up double-doubles if he's given enough minutes, though those could be harder to come by now that he's competing for time with a host of big men, including Zach Collins (No. 10 pick). They also shouldn't contain many more than 10 points, at least for now.
No. 27 Los Angeles Lakers: Kyle Kuzma, PF, Utah
What exactly do the Los Angeles Lakers need now? They have upside at every position (Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, Larry Nance Jr., Ivica Zubac) and a veteran standout at center (Brook Lopez). It's time to go with the best player available.
Apparently, that's Kyle Kuzma out of Utah, which, per most draft boards, is a significant reach.
Kuzma is an unorthodox power forward, capable of running the show with the ball in his hands and finding teammates with ease. He's just not particularly athletic and doesn't show enough shooting chops to justify a spot in the first round. That's especially true with three collegiate seasons under his belt, as he could only knock down 32.1 percent of his triples during his final year with the Utes.
Then again, he shot the ball well during predraft workouts. So perhaps the Lakers are onto something by betting on the smaller sample over the larger one.
No. 28 Utah Jazz: Tony Bradley, C, North Carolina
With Trey Lyles heading to the Denver Nuggets and Jeff Withey hitting the open market as an unrestricted free agent, the Utah Jazz needed to find depth behind Rudy Gobert. They found it in Tony Bradley, whose impressive size (6'11", 249 lbs) made him a terrific rebounder during his lone season for the North Carolina Tar Heels.
He's not a great interior presence on the offensive end. He doesn't pass the ball well. He's a good rim-protector, but he'll pale in comparison to Gobert (as everyone does).
Rebounding is simply his speciality after he averaged 14.1 boards per 40 minutes, and that, along with his size, should make him a good low-minute backup from the get-go.
No. 29 San Antonio Spurs: Derrick White, PG, Colorado
Brace yourselves. This is shocking.
The San Antonio Spurs made a smart pick at the tail end of the first round. In other news: Grass is green, water is wet and the Golden State Warriors are probably going to be competitive in 2017-18.
Kudos to the NBA's model organization for hedging its bets as Tony Parker recovers from a season-ending quad injury, Manu Ginobili flirts with retirement and Patty Mills hits unrestricted free agency. They're not willing to rely on Dejounte Murray alone, nor are they content counting on a big free-agency signing. Instead, they're drafting a high-upside point guard in Derrick White who has enough shooting and passing skills to capably run an offense.
If White is a bust after just one season of top-level NCAA basketball, it won't hurt the Spurs too dramatically. But if he pans out? Well, he probably will, because Spurs.
No. 30 Los Angeles Lakers: Josh Hart, SG, Villanova
It's worth noting just how incredible Josh Hart's numbers were during his final season at Villanova. As a senior, he averaged a staggering 18.7 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists while shooting 51.0 percent from the field, 40.4 percent from downtown and 74.7 percent from the stripe. Plus, he functioned as an elite defender, constantly swiping the ball away from his mark while staying between him and the rim.
Hart isn't elite in any one area, and his lackluster combination of age (22) and athleticism limits his upside. Frankly, it's surprising a veteran like this shooting guard could sneak into the first round.
But his type of steadiness is exactly what the Los Angeles Lakers could use while running out such a young lineup. The versatility will also help, and it's undeniable that Hart is a baller—not just because he's a former NCAA champion. He might not be part of the Big Baller Brand, but his four-year career with the Wildcats proved the young man knows how to play the game.
No. 31 New Orleans Pelicans: Frank Jackson, PG/SG, Duke
Don't make the mistake of thinking this is a replacement for Jrue Holiday. The New Orleans Pelicans aren't giving up on re-signing him yet, and Frank Jackson doesn't have the NBA-readiness necessary to thrive alongside DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis during an all-important season. They need someone to contribute now, if only to make sure Cousins stays for more than one full campaign.
Jackson has tremendous scoring chops and could eventually become a potent option from the backcourt. But he's raw and doesn't have the playmaking acumen to start from day one. Expect him to settle in as a backup while he figures out his true position in the Association.
No. 32 Phoenix Suns: Davon Reed, SG, Miami
Can you say reach?
That applies in two different ways.
First, we're referring to Davon Reed's wingspan, since the 6'6" shooting guard has arms that stretch out a full seven feet. He's huge for the position, and that should aid him as he attempts to continue the breakout he began while playing out his senior year for the Miami Hurricanes. But this pick is also a draft reach, since Reed entered the night as a fringe second-rounder with three-and-D potential but few tangible results to fall back upon.
No. 33 Orlando Magic: Wesley Iwundu, SG/SF, Kansas State
Wesley Iwundu may have been a bit of a reach this early in the second round, but his tantalizing upside made the Orlando Magic feel as if they needed to strike fast. Given the rate at which wings had been coming off the board, it was worth pulling the trigger early.
The Kansas State swingman isn't quite ready to compete on a consistent basis. His shot can go missing for lengthy stretches, and he sometimes loses focus on the defensive end. However, he looks like a bona fide stud when everything clicks, as he can lock down multiple positions and torture defenders with a pretty perimeter jumper that keeps them off balance while he simultaneously searches for open teammates.
No. 34 Sacramento Kings: Frank Mason, PG, Kansas
Some players are worth drafting in spite of their obvious flaws, simply because they've produced at a high level while operating on a major stage. Such is the case for Frank Mason, who finished his four-year Kansas career by averaging 20.9 points, 4.2 rebounds and 5.2 assists while shooting 50.0 percent from the field, 47.1 percent from downtown and 79.4 percent on his free-throw attempts.
Mason is undersized at 5'11". He doesn't always thrive as a playmaker and might be overmatched on the defensive end.
But he knows how to play, and his quickness should translate for the Sacramento Kings, who now have a high-profile set of point guards to add to their roster in Mason and De'Aaron Fox. In many ways, Mason is simply too tough to fail, even if he settles in as little more than a top-notch backup.
No. 35 Memphis Grizzlies: Ivan Rabb, PF, California
Don't expect much from Ivan Rabb on the offensive end. He's quite raw for a 20-year-old prospect with two years of NCAA experience, and the Memphis Grizzlies won't want to count on his flawed jumper or lacking post moves until he's undergone significant development.
But this is Memphis we're talking about. Rabb is a great defensive prospect who can explode to contest shots, then quickly spring off the ground again to corral the rebound. He fits in perfectly with the grit-and-grind mentality, and he should give the Grizz another high-upside big if JaMychal Green departs as a restricted free agent.
No. 36 Philadelphia 76ers: Jonah Bolden, SF/PF, Australia
Versatility is the name of the game here.
Jonah Bolden can do just about everything on the offensive end, whether he's showing off passing chops that would be the envy of most players his size (6'10", 225 lbs), knocking down three-point jumpers or showing off his athleticism as he attacks the rim. He's raw and inconsistent at this stage, but he gives the Philadelphia 76ers yet another unique weapon to pair with Ben Simmons, Markelle Fultz and Joel Embiid.
Make no mistake about it: Bolden is a first-round talent, regardless of how ready he is to contribute in 2017-18. He's also paid for a buyout with Zvezda in the Adriatic League, per The Ringer's Jonathan Tjarks, which means he should be wearing a Philadelphia uniform right away.
No. 37 Boston Celtics: Semi Ojeleye, SF, SMU
Semi Ojeleye will likely never develop into a strong defender for the Boston Celtics. He's never functioned as such during his amateur career, and it doesn't help that his wingspan (6'10") isn't quite what you'd like from a player who lines up at small forward but sometimes rotates to the 4.
But he's an incredible athlete who knows how to parlay his strength into production on the offensive end, where he constantly creates second-chance opportunities. Plus, he's a potent shooter from three-point territory and shot 42.4 percent from downtown during his junior season with the Mustangs.
He's a solid value at this stage, even if he's bereft of the top-tier upside that often accompanies players selected in this range.
No. 38 Golden State Warriors: Jordan Bell, PF, Oregon
This is how you continue building a dynasty.
The Golden State Warriors saw that Jordan Bell had inexplicably slipped out of the first round, and they pounced by buying the No. 38 pick from the Chicago Bulls. Now, they add yet another incredible talent to their ever-growing coffers.
Bell is by no means a perfect player, but he doesn't need to be for the defending champions. They'll just make the most of his ridiculous athleticism and shot-blocking abilities, which allowed him to become one of the NCAA's premier defenders during his time with the Ducks.
Last year, Patrick McCaw. This year, another steal.
No. 39 Los Angeles Clippers: Jawun Evans, PG, Oklahoma State
Does this mean it's officially time to say goodbye to Chris Paul?
After the selection of Jawun Evans, the Los Angeles Clippers now boast the services of a high-upside point guard. But he could also function as a top-notch backup, so don't write off the return of the All-Star floor general quite yet.
Creating his own shot might be difficult at the NBA level, given his 6'1" frame and lack of mind-numbing hops. But Evans consistently thrived as a two-way player for Oklahoma State, as he could use his quickness and vision to keep defenses on their collective toes while showing a complete understanding of the Cowboys' defensive schemes. Couple that with top-notch floor vision and the ability to squeeze the rock into the spaces he could find, and you start to understand how he averaged 19.2 points and 6.4 assists as a sophomore.
Some players just understand the game, and Evans is one of them.
No. 40 Charlotte Hornets: Dwayne Bacon, SG/SF, Florida State
Dwayne Bacon can fry a defense in multiple ways, but he might have to revamp his jumper in order to maximize his success in the NBA. His low release worked in the ACC, but he's about to face bigger, faster and more athletic defenders.
If his shot sticks, his physicality could make him an intriguing option for the Charlotte Hornets' second unit. He won't work his way into the starting five anytime soon, but every team can use an athletic slasher off the bench, especially when that player is also capable of knocking down treys.
No. 41 Atlanta Hawks: Tyler Dorsey, PG, Oregon
Tyler Dorsey should be an interesting complement to Dennis Schroder for the Atlanta Hawks. He's not a consistent player and struggles with his playmaking skills, but he has the athleticism and size (6'4") necessary to thrive as an off-ball slasher who can also back up the German floor general for short spurts.
If Dorsey is to succeed, he'll need to cut down on his turnovers and improve his decision-making. But he also gives the Hawks more upside at backup point guard than they've had in quite some time after players such as Jose Calderon and Malcolm Delaney.
No. 42 Los Angeles Lakers: Thomas Bryant, C, Indiana
Jay Bilas wasn't on camera when this pick was made on the ESPN broadcast, but he probably swooned at the thought of Thomas Bryant's wingspan. Those 7'6" arms have turned him into a tremendous rebounding threat and capable interior defender, but his production typically still stems from areas that don't require that type of length.
Even though he's a 6'11" center and can score in the paint, Bryant is also comfortable stepping out to the perimeter. The 19-year-old made 38.3 percent of his triples while taking 1.8 per game as a sophomore, and that bodes well for his long-term upside with the Los Angeles Lakers.
No. 43 Houston Rockets: Isaiah Hartenstein
Don't be surprised when Isaiah Hartenstein spends a year or two abroad before joining the Houston Rockets. This was a solid pick midway through the second round, but that's because the German 7-footer has immense potential; he's not remotely ready to contribute in the NBA until he adds muscle to his frame and works on his decision-making.
Still, the upside here is so tempting. With athleticism, size and a knack for scoring from all over the half-court set, he could be an impact player with a bit more seasoning overseas.
No. 44 New York Knicks: Damyean Dotston, SG, Houston
As a 23-year-old who was dismissed from Oregon before getting a shot at redemption with the Houston Cougars, it's a bit surprising Damyean Dotson came off the board at all. He was projected almost universally to either become an undrafted free agent or go at the very end of the second round, but the New York Knicks decided the upside outweighed the off-court concerns stemming from rape accusations in 2014.
If Dotson is given a chance to stick with the Knicks, he could become a three-and-D prospect. But it'll be an uphill battle, especially given how much time it took for him to make it into the ranks of the Association.
No. 45 Memphis Grizzlies: Dillon Brooks, SF, Oregon
What is Dillon Brooks? He's a confident small forward who loved the spotlight while leading the Oregon Ducks near the top of the NCAA rankings. He averaged 16.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game, finding different ways to contribute every night and never shrinking under the glare of the spotlight.
What isn't Dillon Brooks? He's not a consistent jump-shooter, which means he'll fit in perfectly with the rest of the Memphis Grizzlies.
No. 46 Milwaukee Bucks: Sterling Brown, SG, SMU
Sterling Brown profiles as your prototypical three-and-D player, which means he could be a great fit off the Milwaukee Bucks bench. That team keeps collecting two-way players to join Giannis Antetokounmpo, and it surely won't regret adding Brown's physical defense or perimeter stroke.
During his senior season at SMU, Brown took 3.9 triples per game and connected at a 44.9 percent clip. Antetokounmpo, Malcolm Brogdon and the rest of the Brewtown facilitators are already licking their chops.
No. 47 Indiana Pacers: Ike Anigbogu, C, UCLA
Say hello to one of the draft's potential gems.
Concerns over Ike Anigbogu's knee dropped him out of lottery contention and more than halfway through the second round before the Indiana Pacers ended his free-fall. It wasn't long ago that he was considered a lock for the top 20, thanks to his wingspan (7'6") and remarkable athleticism.
If Anigbogu is healthy, he'll add his defensive chops to the growing collection of quality bigs in Indiana. Pairing him with Myles Turner and TJ Leaf gives the Pacers an almost unfair amount of upside in the frontcourt.
No. 48 Los Angeles Clippers: Sindarius Thornwell, SG, South Carolina
We've generally avoided focusing too heavily on stats during this grading process, but Sindarius Thornwell has one so outstanding that we can't resist. During his final season at South Carolina, he emerged as such a stellar two-way player that he led the entire NCAA in NBA Math's total points added metric, narrowly edging out UCLA's Lonzo Ball and Wisconsin's Ethan Happ.
Thornwell can do everything well, whether he's functioning as a bona fide stopper, dishing out assists from a non-traditional position or calling his own number. It's only his age (22) and lack of pedigree that held him back in the draft, since he didn't break out until his senior year.
The Los Angeles Clippers may have unearthed this draft class' biggest gem.
No. 49 Denver Nuggets: Vlatko Cancar, SF, Slovenia
Let's all say it at once: draft and stash.
The Denver Nuggets literally don't have room on their roster for another player, much less an inexperienced Slovenian small forward who played just 20 minutes per game for KK Mega Leks in the Adriatic League. Though he could eventually become a solid shooter in the NBA, it'll be awhile before he surfaces on this side of the pond.
No. 50 Philadelphia 76ers: Mathias Lessort
Though the French small forward entered the night as one of the international prospects with a solid chance to rise from the second round into the first, he likely won't spend much time with the Philadelphia 76ers in the near future. They just don't need another oversized (6'9") forward with so many already on the roster, and it's in Mathias Lessort's best interest to develop elsewhere.
Until he arrives, he should focus on improving his defensive instincts and shooting touch, as both would make him almost unplayable for the time being. Still, his athleticism offers tremendous upside—hence Philadelphia's interest in using a second-round flier.
No. 51 Denver Nuggets: Monte Morris, PG, Iowa State
If the Denver Nuggets have space on their roster, Monte Morris is good enough to challenge for playing time. Point guard is the weakest position in the Mile High City while Emmanuel Mudiay continues to stagnate and Jamal Murray settles in as a combo guard, which gives this Iowa State product a chance to emerge as a steal.
Morris might have more trouble scoring in the NBA, but he spent 2016-17 proving (yet again) that he was one of the NCAA's most deft distributors. It's tough enough to average 6.2 assists per game at the college level; it's tougher still to do so while turning the ball over just 1.5 times per outing.
Don't be surprised when Morris not only makes the team, but also earns legitimate playing time.
No. 52 Indiana Pacers: Edmond Sumner, PG, Xavier
A torn ACL, a lack of meat on his 6'6" frame and limited shooting chops depressed Edmond Sumner's draft stock after an impressive two-plus-year career at Xavier, but this dude can still play. His size can't be taught, and he has the passing skills necessary to capitalize on the vision aided by his height advantage.
Will Sumner play a big role for the Indiana Pacers? Probably not. But he can at least push the incumbent floor generals and provide depth at the important position, especially if the team is unable to retain Jeff Teague in free agency.
No. 53 Boston Celtics: Kadeem Allen, PG, Arizona
It would be downright shocking if Kadeem Allen logged a single minute for the Boston Celtics in 2017-18. They're overflowing with depth at the point, as Isaiah Thomas is still leading the charge and is backed up by a litany of high-upside players such as Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier.
Allen, if he's signed, should spend the next season learning with the Maine Red Claws, the team's G League affiliate, only to be called up if there's a dire need for additional depth because injuries have struck with a fervor.
No. 54 Phoenix Suns: Alec Peters, SF, Valparaiso
Kudos to the Phoenix Suns for ending Alec Peters' draft slide, as the small forward slipped from fringe first-round consideration to the back end of the second round. Why? Presumably because he's only got 232 pounds on his 6'9" frame and will consistently be bullied around by bigger players.
Peters is a solid rebounder who can space the floor with a three-point jumper, but he should see far more of the weight room than the court during his rookie season in the desert.
No. 55 Utah Jazz: Nigel Williams-Goss, PG, Gonzaga
Sometimes, a team makes it easy for you to fall in love with a pick.
If George Hill returns to the Utah Jazz (or they ink a new lead guard to a big contract in free agency), Nigel Williams-Goss won't have a chance to sit any higher than No. 3 on the depth chart. But if Hill leaves, the Gonzaga product could challenge Dante Exum and the other incumbents for legitimate minutes.
The junior doesn't possess elite athleticism, but he successfully steered his teammates to one win after another with his vision and passing acumen. He always makes the right plays, which is exactly what the Jazz look for when so many of their points typically come from other positions.
No. 56 Boston Celtics: Jabari Bird, SG, California
Everything that applied to Kadeem Allen also holds true here. The Boston Celtics simply don't have space for another guard—particularly one, like Jabari Bird, who isn't ready to hold his own defensively.
The former California sharpshooter can scorch nets, but the C's won't have trouble finding other players who can do the same thing. Until he adds strength to his frame and proves he can contribute when he's not taking open jumpers, the G League—or an international league—will be his home.
There is one overwhelming positive for this fit, though: This shooting guard has a last name Celtics fans might enjoy.
No. 57 Brooklyn Nets: Aleksandar Vezenkov, SF, Bulgaria
Positional versatility tends to be a good thing in today's NBA, but that's not necessarily the case for Aleksandar Vezenkov. His game fits the model of a typical stretch 4, but at only 6'8" and without elite athleticism, it could be tough for him to match up against other power forwards.
Vezenkov has gotten some nice high-level experience while operating at FC Barcelona in the Liga ACB, but he'll have trouble doing anything more than spotting up for jumpers in the NBA. The ball-handling skills aren't there yet for this 21-year-old, and he's not ready to contribute in other areas.
No. 58 New York Knicks: Ognjen Jaramaz, PG, Serbia
We've said it before, so let's say it again—loudly this time, for the people in the back: draft and stash!
A 6'4" point guard from Serbia, Ognjen Jaramaz is an aggressive player who loves attacking the hoop and showing off his athleticism. But until he shores up his passing skills and fixes his perimeter jumper—both the accuracy and the low release point—playing for the New York Knicks will only be a pipe dream, and his age (22 in September) is already working against him.
No. 59 San Antonio Spurs: Jaron Blossomgame, SF, Clemson
If Jaron Blossomgame's game is going to blossom in any location, it'll be with the San Antonio Spurs.
Was that pun too easy? Too bad.
The small forward has the hops and shooting stroke—which, strangely, disappeared during his senior season after he made such strides as a junior—necessary to score points in bunches, but he's functioned as more of an athlete than a basketball player throughout his career with Clemson.
There are too many mental lapses on both ends of the floor, and that'll have to change quickly for the 23-year-old if he hopes to stick around for the ever-competitive organization that gave him a chance with the draft's penultimate pick.
No. 60 Atlanta Hawks: Alpha Kaba, PF, France
Until Alpha Kaba relies on more than his physicality and athleticism, it'll be tough for him to assert himself as a true alpha dog on the offensive end—again, at this stage in the draft, we refuse to apologize for shameless puns. He has some skill with his face-up jumper and could make an immediate impact as an interior defender, but the lack of positional awareness would prove too detrimental while the Atlanta Hawks were attempting to score.
Fortunately, he'll have plenty of time to work on that overseas. Mr. Irrelevant in this year's class should remain irrelevant in the NBA world for a while longer, though his 6'10" frame and 7'3" wingspan offer hope he could eventually change that.