Post March Madness Mock Draft, Part 1.

MONK JACKSON FULTZ DRAFT Getty Images/Ringer illustration)

With North Carolina defeating Gonzaga in the title game, the 2016-17 College Basketball season is officially over. All eyes now turn to the 2017 NBA Draft. With many of the top prospects declaring for the draft, I will try to predict the upcoming NBA Draft Lottery

Draft Order as of 3/31

1. Boston Celtics (via Brooklyn)- Markelle Fultz G, Washington

With the first pick, there is really no better option for the Celtics than Markelle Fultz. For as good as Lonzo Ball is, he is a point guard and only a point guard and for Boston, that title goes to Isaiah Thomas. Fultz can do everything on the court. From shooting, to playmaking, to defending, Fultz can be the perfect backcourt partner to Thomas next season. With no elite big men prospects, the Celtics would be foolish to pass up on Fultz’s talent.

2. Los Angeles Lakers- Lonzo Ball G, UCLA

LaVar Ball won’t have to hold his tongue for too long on draft night, as Lonzo Ball will be staying in LA at pick number two. By drafting Ball, the Lakers can finally move D’Angelo Russell to the two-guard spot, which is a much more natural fit for the Ohio St. alumni. Putting a playmaker of Ball’s caliber with Russell, Brandon Ingram, and a pick and roll/pop big man Julius Randle, and the Lakers have a great core for the future.

3. Phoenix Suns- Josh Jackson F, Kansas

Devin Booker will be one of top scoring options in the NBA for years to come. We saw what he was able to do with minimal talent around him, scoring 70 points against the Boston Celtics. With Eric Bledsoe and Tyler Ulis holding down the point guard spot, look for the Suns to get much needed wing help. Jackson is an absolute athletic freak who has produced some great highlights for the Kansas Jayhawks this season. At worst Jackson will be able to come in and defend the perimeter as well as get to the rim. If his jump shot, especially from beyond the arc, ever develops we could be looking at one of the top 15 wings in the league in a few years.

4. Orlando Magic- De’Aaron Fox G, Kentucky

The Magic need someone to be the face of the franchise. Since Dwight Howard bolted for Hollywood, Orlando has been without a true superstar. Nikola Vučević can give you buckets at the rim and grab a ton of boards, Terrance Ross and Aaron Gordon can and will give you highlight reel dunk after dunk, but none of those guys are franchise faces. De’Aaron Fox was the best player for Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament putting up 21 points per game in 4 games, including 39 against UCLA and their coveted freshman point guard.

What impressed me the most about the whirlwind that is Fox is his willingness on the defensive end. When matched up against Lonzo Ball, Fox held the PAC-12 Freshman of the Year to 10 points on 4-10 shooting. His quickness and high defensive IQ will get him far in this league. He also has the personality to be a franchise face, but like most prospects, will his jumper catch up to his game?

5.  New York Knicks- Dennis Smith Jr. G, North Carolina State

Ah the Knicks. Derrick Rose would have been a great signing, if it was 2011. The Knicks need to give Kristaps Porzingis some help. Carmelo Anthony is the current franchise face, but the Score-first pass later Forward is on the decline. Dennis Smith Jr. is the point guard that the Knicks need at number 5. Another shoot first point guard, Smith Jr. is an explosive athlete with a solid repertoire of moves. With good handles and a dog mentality, the former member of the Wolfpack is out to score and take names while doing it. This is the perfect guard for the team of New York given his attitude and play style. He and Porzingis could develop into lethal pick and roll combo.

Part 2 coming soon…


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