2017-06-21 12:38:02
2017 N.B.A. Mock Drafts: The Experts’ Picks

12:38, June 21 194 0

The N.B.A. draft has been making news for weeks. The two teams with the most glittering pedigrees, the Celtics and the Lakers, grabbed the top two picks in the lottery. Then the 76ers traded to get the No. 1 pick. Now the hypothetical assets will turn into real human beings.

How to watch: ESPN has the broadcast Thursday at 7 p.m. You can also stream it online here.

So who’s going where? Here’s a quick look at how the N.B.A. experts around the country see the draft unfolding at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn:

There’s not much point in scouring mock drafts at slots 1 and 2. Everybody agrees that the 76ers will take point guard Markelle Fultz of Washington and the Lakers will take U.C.L.A. point guard and expensive shoe pitchman Lonzo Ball at No. 2.

Now it gets interesting, as opinions begin to diverge. Many of the names are the same, but the orders are shuffled.

Benjamin Hoffman of The New York Times:

3. Boston Celtics – Josh Jackson, forward, Kansas.

4. Phoenix Suns – De’Aaron Fox, guard, Kentucky.

5. Sacramento Kings – Jonathan Isaac, forward, Florida State.

6. Orlando Magic – Malik Monk, guard, Kentucky.

7. Minnesota Timberwolves – Jayson Tatum, forward, Duke.

Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com:

3. Celtics, Jackson.

4. Suns, Fox.

5. Kings, Tatum.

6. Magic, Monk.

7. Timberwolves, Isaac.

Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated:

3. Celtics, Tatum.

4. Suns, Fox.

5. Kings, Jackson.

6. Magic, Isaac.

7 Timberwolves, Lauri Markkanen, forward, Arizona.

Gary Parrish of CBS:

3. Celtics, Jackson.

4. Suns, Tatum.

5. Kings, Fox.

6. Magic, Monk.

7 Timberwolves, Isaac.

Chris Roling of Bleacher Report:

3. Celtics, Jackson.

4. Suns, Tatum.

5. Kings, Isaac.

6. Magic, Fox.

7 Timberwolves, Zach Collins, center, Gonzaga.

NBADraft.net:

3. Celtics, Jackson.

4. Suns, Tatum.

5. Kings, Fox.

6. Magic, Isaac.

7 Timberwolves, Dennis Smith Jr., guard, North Carolina State

Draft Express and Ricky O’Donnell of SB Nation agree:

3. Celtics, Tatum.

4. Suns, Jackson.

5. Kings, Fox.

6. Magic, Isaac.

7 Timberwolves. Markkanen.

Five of the eight mock drafts see the Knicks, who have become increasingly international, going for the only foreign-based player creating top 10 buzz, Frank Ntilikina, an 18-year-old French guard who plays for Strasbourg. Two think they will take Monk and one goes for Smith.

Will any upperclassmen go high? Only one of the mock drafts has an upperclassman in the top 10. CBS lists sophomore Luke Kennard of Duke at No. 10.

What about other college stars? Frank Mason III of Kansas was the Naismith college player of the year. But so were Jimmer Fredette and Tyler Hansbrough. Mason, along with other college stars like Josh Hart of Villanova and Caleb Swanigan of Purdue is projected to go in the second round.

Who is Markelle Fultz? A 6-4 point guard who averaged 23 points and 6 assists in his freshman year at Washington. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Washington was terrible, going 9-22 and losing their last 13 straight. It’s not all Fultz’s fault, of course, but it has raised questions about his desire and leadership.

Is there a sleeper? The second round is notoriously guesswork, with a few greats like Draymond Green alongside many complete busts. So we’re guessing too, but how about Jonah Bolden? He grew up in Australia, spent some time at American prep schools and had a brief cameo at U.C.L.A., then turned up playing professionally in Serbia, where he was the Adriatic League young player of the year. Bolden’s peripatetic career has kept him under the radar. And in a draft loaded with smaller players, he’s 6-10.

How long do the teams get to pick? Five minutes in the first round and two in the second. That makes the event a much faster show than the N.F.L. draft, which allows an interminable 10 minutes in Round 1.