We are done with the first week of March Madness, and my bracket for the first time, is actually still alive after the first two rounds. In March Madness we see some performances that skyrocket draft stocks and some performances that completely tank some draft stocks.
If you haven’t make sure to check out my Mock Draft 1.0!
Note: Draft order from tankathon.com on Wednesday, March 22nd.
Markelle Fultz, G, Washington Huskies
Nothing has changed here for the Celtics. In what could possibly be the smartest move in NBA history by Celtics G.M. Danny Ainge, the Celtics are being granted a gift here. Fultz is a dynamic playmaker, scorer, and game-controller. He has already declared for the 2017 NBA Draft, and will lead the discussion for the #1 pick.
Like I’ve previously stated, Fultz could sit behind Isaiah Thomas for a year and step into the starting role in 2018. Fultz could also be a started Day One with his skill, but having a player like Fultz come off the bench in his rookie year for a top three team in the East could be DEADLY.
2. Los Angeles Lakers
Lonzo Ball, G, UCLA Bruins
Since Fultz is off the board, the Chino Hills’ native is going to his home-state’s team, the Los Angeles Lakers. While you might not like Lonzo’s dad, Lonzo is one hell of a player.
Watching him all throughout the season be a leader for UCLA has been jaw-dropping. Ball picked up his team after they were down in the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament and led the Bruins to a dominate win.
The Lakers need a leader on this team and pairing Ball with D’Angelo Russell’s scoring, Brandon Ingram’s potential could lead to one scary trio.
3. Phoenix Suns
Josh Jackson, F, Kansas Jayhawks
4. Orlando Magic
Jayson Tatum, F, Duke Blue Devils
Tatum has been unreal recently, just looking at how he ended the regular season is just astounding. From February 28th to March 11th, Tatum and the Blue Devils played five ranked opponents in six games where Tatum put up a stat line of 19.3 PPG/ 7.3 RPG/ 2.3 APG.
Tatum vs. Jackson will be an interesting discussion leading up to the draft, but now there is a discussion where previously back around 1.0 time, it was all Jackson.
5. Philadelphia 76ers
Malik Monk, G, Kentucky Wildcats
I know, Monk has been off as of late, but when he is on, there is no stopping him. Monk is undersized for a 2 guard, but his scoring ability is HUGE. I think having a distributor in Ben Simmons (when healthy) and the inside presence of The Process (when healthy) to bounce off of, Monk will get a lot of open looks.
6. Sacramento Kings
Dennis Smith, G, N.C. State Wolfpack
After a lackluster 2nd half of the season where he saw his head coach fired, Dennis Smith has fallen. He only had three great games in February and March, during a stretch where the Wolfpack went 1-9. Smith needed to step up and he did not. The physical traits are still there, but he did not show a great leader mentality when his team was down.
De’Aaron Fox, G, Kentucky Wildcats
Has De’Aaron Fox exploded or what? His speed is deadly, he athleticism is unreal, and can attack the rim. He also has shown a good defensive prowess, and has stepped up when Malik Monk has struggled. Fox lacks any shot from deep, but pairing Fox’s speed with Porzingis’ size and Melo’s scoring ability, it could be like watching a young D-Rose paired with those two.
8. Minnesota Timberwolves
Jonathan Issac, F, Florida State Seminoles
A better defensive prospect than Markkanen, which is why he falls to the T-Wolves. The Timberwolves need defensive help after the brutal start they had to the season. With the scoring abilities of KAT, Wiggins, and LaVine, Issac’s defensive abilities will be well welcomed by coach Tom Thibodeau.
9. Sacramento Kings (via Pelicans)
Miles Bridges, F, Michigan State Spartans
Josh Jackson and Jayson Tatum are two fantastic players, but watching Miles Bridges, I have some weird feeling that he will be the best pro out of the three. He is so quick, yet so built. He is so physical driving, yet has a sweet stroke from the outside. I want to see his handles and free throw shooting improve, but I’m impressed by his size and skill.
10. Dallas Mavericks
Lauri Markkanen, F, Arizona Wildcats
I don’t know if Lauri Markkanen is your next NBA Unicorn, but the kid can score. After struggling late in the season from three he is only shooting 43% from 3. The kid can flat out stroke it from 3.
It seems almost like too good of a fit for Markkanen in Dallas as a 7 footer who can drill threes to become the heir apparent to Dirk once he retires. It also is a great fit, because once Dirk does retire running a double horns set where Nerlens rolls to the bucket and Lauri pops just seems too sweet.
11. Charlotte Hornets
Harry Giles, F, Duke Blue Devils
Due to Robert Williams forgoing the 2017 NBA Draft to return for his sophomore season at Texas A&M, I put Giles here. Now Swarm and Sting, a Charlotte Hornets FanSided website, recently talked about the Hornets’ options in the lottery and what I see as the Hornets’ needs lines up with what the Swarm and Sting see. Size. However, with Bridges off the board and Williams not entering the draft, it is up to Patton or Giles.
I do not like the fact that Justin Patton can not rebound due to his lack of aggressiveness, and for a team that is ranked 16th in rebounding differential, I think going with Giles (pulled down a rebound every 3 minutes or so he was on the court) over Patton (pulled down a rebound every 4 minutes he was on the court) would be worth it.
However, the biggest knock on Giles is the injury concerns and how that turned into a lack of production or time on the court at Duke. I can not say that those concerns are not fair, he has ACL issues for a player that relies on his athleticism, but if he can that athleticism might help him turn into a better pro than Patton.
Now it is just on the Hornets if they want to gamble or play it safe.
12. Portland Trail Blazers
Terrance Ferguson, G, Australia
Now last time the Trail Blazers were here, I mocked Harry Giles to them, because they needed size. Well, since then, they acquired Jusuf Nurkic, and he has drastically changed the way Portland has played and has changed their needs.
Now I see that brutal Allen Crabbe contract, and see a hole at small forward for the Trail Blazers. Ferguson has slid down my draft board recently, but due to needs he fits here in Portland.
Ferguson is a shooter, and while he was not super impressive overseas, if he comes over and kills it in pre-Draft workouts, he can move his way back up. There is really only one shooter in lottery range and that is Malik Monk.
With Ferguson’s athleticism and shooting, if he impresses at pre-Draft workouts, he can crack the lotto.
13. Chicago Bulls
Frank Ntilikina, G, France
I do not know if Bulls superfan, Ricky Widmer, will like this or not, but it is happening. The Bulls said that Cameron Payne was their point guard of the future when they acquired him a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder, but as Mike Rankin would say, “Bad.”
The Bulls need a playmaker around Jimmy Butler, and Ntilikina can be that guy. He changes speed well, has great court vision, and can facilitate the ball. While he might not have the insane athleticism as De’Aaron Fox, Ntilikina is still a great point guard.
Like Fox, Frank, needs to work on his outside shot, but as we all know, the Bulls do not care about perimeter spacing/shooting.
14. Detroit Pistons
T.J. Leaf, F, UCLA Bruins
It is 2 a.m. and I’m stumped.
The Pistons biggest need in my mind is a guy like Frank Ntilikina, a player who is past first with the team first in his mind (unlike Reggie Jackson), but there are no trades in this mock draft. If the Pistons saw him slipping like he did in this mock, I bet they would be calling to trade up.
However, Frank is off the board and all that is left are big men, which doesn’t make 100% sense as they Pistons have Morris, Drummond, and recently drafted Henry Ellenson. There is OG Anunoby, but he is coming off a surgery, and with Tobias Harris, KCP, and Stanley Johnson, there isn’t a huge need for an athletic wing.
The only way I can swing the Pistons picking Leaf is that Marcus Morris’ contract is up after the 2018-2019 season? Hey, maybe they will trade Drummond and that will make a need for a big.
Isaiah Hartstein, F, Germany
I said in my Mock Draft 1.0, that Hartstein would rise after I saw more tape on him and bam (not that bam) he moves up 15 spots. The Nuggets obviously have one of the best young big men in Nikola Jokic, but he is all alone down there. The Nuggets need a scorer on the wing or a point, but taking one here would be reach. What they can do is grab an athletic big who can score from all over the court.
16. Miami Heat
Justin Patton, F, Creighton Jayhawks
Justin Patton is in the lotto on my big board, but I have a feeling he will slide on draft day. He lacks aggressiveness on the boards and as a seven footer who player 25 minutes a game who only grabs 6.2 rebounds a game is worrying. This year he only had three games where he had ten or more rebounds in a game. His offensive ability is one of the best out of the big men in this draft, so I think pairing him with the aggressive, board grabbing, shot blocking, Hassan Whiteside, could be a great duo down low.
17. Milwaukee Bucks
Jarrett Allen, F, Texas Longhorns
TEAM WINGSPAN ACTIVATE! Athletic, long, can rebound, Allen just sounds like a Buck in the making. With Greg Monroe not being the starter that the Bucks imagined he would be when signing him to a 3 year/$51 million contract, Allen is who they want here. Currently starting Thon Maker and with John Henson in the mix, adding Allen who is a better defender would be an upgrade over Henson. If Jabari can return from his injury, I think the Bucks possible lineup of Giannis, Parker, Middleton, Brogdon (Delly?), and Allen would be one huge, athletic lineup.
18. Indiana Pacers
Bam Adebayo, F, Kentucky Wildcats
The Pacers need help down low defensively. Getting out rebounded by 2.9 rebounds per game and being blocked more than you are stuffing your opponents is something the Pacers need to address. A way they can fix that is by getting Bam. A high motor, fast, and energetic player like Bam could really provide a boost to the Pacers team either off the bench or in the starting five.
John Collins, F, Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Demon Deacons alert! This is my first Wake Forest player that I’ve ever mocked and that is an accomplishment that I’m not sure why I would be bragging about it. Collins, for a sophomore, performed. In the last 16 games of the season posting a stat line of 22.8 PPG/10.8 RPG/1.5 BPG/71 FG%/80 FT%, that is pretty good (insert Biggie saying, “If you don’t know, now you know). Peachtree Hoops, an SBNation Hawks’ page, talked about the Collinses (John and Zach) being linked to the Hawks, but with John’s performance and who he was playing against, I feel he is the best available player on the board.
20. Portland Trail Blazers (via Grizzlies)
Zach Collins, F, Gonzaga Bulldogs
Collins, easy last name to say (shout out to a grade school friend whose last name was Collins), has been very impressive in the Tournament run. In 42 minutes in the NCAA Tournament, Collins has put up 24 points, 11 rebounds, 7 blocks, and has stayed out of foul trouble. Adding Collins as a back up to Nurkic, would be a nice piece for the future of the Trail Blazers’ backcourt, as he could develop into a starter, plus he gets to say in the northwest!
21. Oklahoma City Thunder
Tyler Lydon, G, Syracuse Orange
He was outshined by the big shots of John Gillion or the comments of Jim Boeheim about Greensboro on a national level, but Lydon had a great sophomore effort. He saw an increase in minutes, a similar effectiveness from the field, and an increase in scoring and rebounds. Lydon’s ability to drive to the hole and also shoot from the outside make him an attractive option, especially for the Thunder who do not have a player like that. Pairing him with Russ’ ability to drive-and-dish, could be a great match.
OG Anunoby, F, Indiana Hooisers
Hey, Raptors Rapture, great minds think alike. After trading Terrance Ross, they lost their athletic wing archetype. With P.J. Tucker’s contract up after this season and DeMarre Carrol’s lack of production, the Raptors could need some help at small forward. Anunoby can step in and be a good defender right away and his athleticism can help him get to the rim. Yes, he does have the unknown that is his knee injury, but if it is not too debilitating, then OG should be a prime candidate to go here.
23. Orlando Magic (via Clippers)
Luke Kennard, G, Duke Blue Devils
Jayson Tatum is a great driver, so setting him up with a shooter like Kennard could be a nice duo to pick up in the 1st round for the Magic. Also keep the Duke boys together! Comparing numbers with another Duke shooting guard, Kennard did have better numbers than J.J. Reddick’s sophomore year, however the game has changed a lot in the 11 years since J.J. was drafted.
24. Brooklyn Nets (via Wizards)
Rodions Kurucs, F, Latvia
Tall, athletic, can shoot, and is unknown. I haven’t been able to find much tape on him, but from I’ve read with his length, ability to shoot, and athleticism, Kurucs is a prime draft-and-stash candidate. The Nets have two picks in this draft and can use a pick on long-term plan in Kurucs.
25. Utah Jazz
Ivan Rabb, F, California Bears
Man has Ivan Rabb been disappointing. His minutes have gone up, so naturally his rebound and scoring numbers, but not the rise you would like to see from a guy that became the number 1 option at Cal. His FG% went down, he took more threes, but made a smaller amount of them, his blocks went down, just nothing really impressed me this year from Rabb. He has the size and athleticism that you want in an NBA pro, and that is why he will be a first round draft pick, but the production is not there.
Rabb just declared with no intention of backing out which is smart, because if he stayed another year with similar production, he would be in the second round. Go get that first round money, young man!
26. Brooklyn Nets (via Celtics)
Justin Jackson, F, North Carolina Tar Heels
Jackson has impressively improved his range, his free throw shooting, and his scoring. However, he will be 22 when the 2017-2018 NBA Season starts, he is not ultra-athletic, not that fast, and as we have seen from NBA small forwards, you can be going up against some monsters. Jackson could be a good player, but with the negatives around him, I do not see him as a lotto pick.
27. Portland Trail Blazers (via Cavaliers)
Allonzo Trier, F, Arizona Wildcats
His three point percentage has gone up, his scoring ability has shined, and the Wildcats are in the Sweet Sixteen. I really like Trier, even though he is 21 years old. He is athletic and has shown his range this year shooting at 40% from 3. Trier could be like Allen Crabbe, but good!
28. Los Angeles Lakers (via Rockets)
Caleb Swanigan, F Purdue Boilermakers
Swanigan could be some nice bench help for the Lakers. With Mozgov being a waste of space, they need something off their bench. With Zubac and Randle there, Swanigan could be a good rotation piece. Swanigan has some weight issues, but he has been able to keep it off at Purdue and has been killing it in West Lafayette.
Josh Hart, G, Villanova Wildcats
I’m just never moving him. He is the Jarrod Uthoff of last year’s mock. Jarrod Uthoff was always mocked to the Warriors and Josh Hart will always be mocked to the Spurs, unless something drastic happens. Josh Hart has everything you need in a Spur.
30. Utah Jazz (via Warriors)
Donovan Mitchell, G, Louisville
I could watch this on loop. Hyper athletic, has improved his shot, and could develop into a scorer off the bench for the Jazz.