It’s officially time for the 2017 NBA mock draft season. With the NBA regular season winding down as college basketball comes to a close, it’s time for the real season to begin for each and every losing teams. The teams that’ll be taking their offseason vacations a little bit earlier than the rest of the league now have the real prize of the season to look forward to the NBA draft. It’s the reward you get from standing by your team as they buried your hopes and dreams of watching a competent franchise. Sitting through the excruciating misery for 82 games earns you the chance at a top pick in a loaded draft.
The bouncing white balls may have seen more broken hearts than a Taylor Swift or Adele album, but people still tend to latch all their hopes on the chances that just once things might bounce their way. Unlike other years in the past, this year’s draft features a number of possible franchise changing prospects which removes the life or death scenario if your team happens to miss out on the first overall pick.
Here’s a look at the top of the draft would look if the season ended today.
1. Boston Celtics- Markelle Fultz
Weight: 195 lbs
Position: Point Guard
The Celtics have the luxury of being the best team in their conference while simultaneously worrying about who they’ll pick first overall in the draft. It’s a problem any team in the entire league would love to have. Boston clearly has talent across the board considering they’re a 50+ win team that’s coasting to the playoffs, so they have the opportunity to draft the best player available. Enter Fultz. He’s a 6’4″ guard with the size and strength to score whenever he wants, averaging 23.2 points during his freshman season. He has great vision, the body and size to truly develop into a threat defensively, and won’t be asked to take over the franchise right away. He’s a no-brainer here.
2. Phoenix Suns- Josh Jackson
Weight: 220 lbs
Position: Small Forward
As the standings sit right now the Suns barely edge out the Lakers as second-biggest loser, earning the right to snag Jackson with the second overall pick. The top end of this draft is loaded with quality guards, which is exactly what Phoenix doesn’t need. With Devin Booker, Tyler Ulis, Eric Bledsoe, and Brandon Knight jam packed in the backcourt, it’s time the Suns begin building elsewhere. He would be the perfect fit in their system. The freshman would fill in right away as a secondary scoring option who can attack a defense in a number of ways and would immediately become one of the better defenders on the team as soon as he puts gently places the hat on his afro on draft night.
3. L.A Lakers- Lonzo Ball
Weight: 190 lbs
Position: Point Guard
The Lakers would rather have the second pick so they can chose whether they want to load up with another athletic forward or a second ball oriented point guard, but then again they’re just lucky they don’t fall out of the top three and lose their selection to Philadelphia. Even though they believe they have their point guard of the future in Russell, Ball is the kind of guard who can coexist with a natural scorer. He’s a pass first guard who would actually play off the ball just as well as he would bringing it up the court, giving the Lakers a ton of opportunities as plays break down.
4. Orlando Magic- Jason Tatum
Weight: 205 lbs
Position: Small Forward
The Magic have more talented youth on their team than many other teams in the NBA. Their biggest issue is none of these potential players can score. Tatum is already the best scoring forward in the draft, and has the most polished offensive game out of anyone left on the board. He’d be able to pair next to Aaron Gordon or could come off the bench with a number of the other pieces around him. The problem for the Magic is they haven’t hit a home run yet with any of their draft picks. Tatum has the potential to finally be a player who sticks.
5. Philadelphia 76ers- Malik Monk
Weight: 200 lbs
Position: Shooting Guard/ Point Guard
Finally, the 76ers draft somebody that isn’t a forward. After having a logjam at center and forward over the past few seasons, the 76ers were graced with the beauty of a guard filled draft. There are a number of players who could be a fit here, but none make as much sense as Monk. He’s one of the best scorers in the draft and gets hotter than anybody in college basketball. Allowing him to fly around screens while teams collapse on Dario Saric and Joel Embiid. It’s the perfect situation for everyone available.