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NBA Mock Draft 2017: Must-See Picks & Expert Projections


Welcome to COED.com’s 2017 NBA Mock Draft! We are going to look at the 30 picks in the first round and tell you where top prospects are going to end up. Every website is doing a mock draft these days, so it is hard to be original without being outlandish. Even so, this mock draft will look at team needs, past draft history and player potential to determine who will end up where. I can’t promise that these picks will be correct, but I can promise they are well thought out. Most of them anyway.

The Picks

With their first round pick in the 2017 NBA Draft…

1. Philadelphia 76ers: Markelle Fultz, PG, Washington

Who he is: Fultz is this year’s Ben Simmons. The standout freshman put up big numbers for a non-competitive team and showed he is a force on the offensive end.

Why they’ll pick him: The 76ers traded up to this spot by giving the Boston Celtics the third pick in this year’s draft and a future first-round picks. Fultz seems to have developed a relationship with Joel Embiid and other players on the 76ers. Fultz is believed to be the best player in this year’s draft, and the 76ers know he could be a big part of their core going forward. The price to move up was not too steep, and while the 76ers could have gotten a solid player at number three, the years of acquiring draft picks and planning for the future are over. I thought the Celtics could have gotten more for the picks, but the Sixers were able to move up and are finally ready to make some noise. Consider the process trusted.

What else to do with this pick: They could be a part of a big time bait and switch and bluff the Lakers into trading up. There also could be a team a bit lower down like the Kings or the Suns who prefer Fultz and could put together a huge offer to move up to number one. However, seeing the first pick of the draft move hands once is a surprise. Seeing it move again is unlikely.

2. Los Angeles Lakers: Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA

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Who he is:  Lonzo Ball is best known for being Lavar Ball’s son. He also plays some basketball. He was the star of a turnaround UCLA team and has been compared to the GM who may draft him, Magic Johnson. Ball brings a top level understanding of the game and elite playmaking to any team that drafts him.

Why they pick him: It’s very possible that Lonzo Ball could pull an Eli Manning and refuse to play for any team other than the Lakers. While Lonzo would be an asset to any team, the Lakers are almost predetermined to take him. This is all part of Lavar’s master plan and while it may trap the Lakers a little bit, there are certainly worse players to get stuck with.

What else to do with this pick: The Lakers are flush with guards and a few huge veteran contracts. If they want to make a splash in free agency they need to clear some cap while also keeping some competitive pieces. If they trade down and take a position of need like a forward, they may be better positioned to make a move this summer in free agency. I do not really see this happening, but do not be surprised if Magic wants to avoid any Ball related distractions and trades down or takes somebody else (Josh Jackson or Jayson Tatum.)

 3. Boston Celtics: Jayson Tatum, SF, Duke

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Who he is: Another year, another Duke Freshman in the lottery. Tatum was the third-ranked recruit out of high school in 2016, and while he started the season slowly, he really showed his offensive prowess at the end of the season. He became the go-to option for a loaded Duke team and averaged close to 17 points on the season.

Why they’ll pick him: The Celtics traded down two spots with the 76ers and acquired a future first-round pick in the process. Clearly, they realized that they did not need Markelle Fultz to add to their crowded backcourt, and instead will address another need. Last year’s lottery pick, Jaylen Brown, came on at the end of the season and should continue to develop as a solid wing defender with a big of athleticism. Tatum could be the other wing that provides more of a scoring punch. He could play small-ball four if he needed to, or he could provide solid scoring off the bench. Whatever the Celtics decide, Tatum would be another solid weapon.

What else to do with this pick: If not Tatum, Josh Jackson makes a great deal of sense here. He is more limited on the offensive end but could help out on defense against a team like the Cavaliers. The Celtics could also trade down even further as they acquire assets for this year and the future. The Celtics are in a unique position, but trading out of the first spot came as a surprise to me. It shows a commitment to Isaiah Thomas in the backcourt as well as a trust in the depth of this draft.

 4. Phoenix Suns: Josh Jackson, SF, Kansas

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Who he is: While Kansas had a senior win the Wooden Award in 2017, Josh Jackson is the freshman that all the lottery teams want. In this new NBA, Jackson’s athleticism, defensive effort and ability to play above the rim appeals to every team. He may not be a polished scorer on the offensive end, but you can always teach scoring. Natural athleticism is harder to teach.

Why they pick him: Of the teams in the lottery who actually belong there (sorry Celtics) the Suns probably have the most young talent on their team. Between Brandon Knight, Eric Bledsoe and 70 point Devin, the Suns have some great young talent. Unfortunately for them, all three of those players occupy very similar roles and are not lockdown defenders. Jackson will help the Suns dominate on the wing, and his athleticism will allow them to play small and keep their talented guards on the court.

What else to do with this pick: Another athletic point guard does not make a ton of sense, but De’Aaron Fox should still be available here and if Bledsoe or Knight is going to be traded, Fox could make sense. Jonathan Isaac could occupy the same role as Jackson if the Suns prefer him, or they could look to add some rim protection and try to move Tyson Chandley and his contract. The Suns do have the assets to move up if they want a distributing guard like Lonzo Ball, but the teams ahead of them will likely ask for a big haul.

5. Sacramento Kings: De’Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky

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Who he is: Fox makes up one-half of Kentucky’s talented backcourt from the past season. Fox’s biggest moment of the season came when he dropped 39 against Lonzo Ball and UCLA in the NCAA tournament. Fox is the most athletic guard in this draft class and will produce on both ends of the court.

Why they’ll pick him: The Kings have a below average roster on paper, and they got rid of Demarcus Cousins in hopes of turning a corner as a franchise. While the Kings may have gotten fleeced when they got rid of Cousins, they can now look for a new franchise identity and direction. Picking Fox would take the best player available while also filling a position of need. Putting Fox next to Buddy Hield in the backcourt could yield some interesting results.

What else to do with this pick: The Kings do have a bunch of holes in their roster, but they do have two top ten picks to try and fill these holes. They could trade up in hopes of snagging a better player, or trade down do accumulate more picks. I suggest the latter.

6. Orlando Magic: Malik Monk, SG, Kentucky

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Who he is: The sharp-shooting freshman out of Kentucky scored 47 in an early season game against UNC. Monk is athletic and a deadeye (39.7% from 3). He will rapidly add offensive punch to any team that drafts him.

Why they’ll pick him: The Magic are desperate for offense after finishing 27th in the league in points per game. Without a real face of the franchise or any dangerous scorers, Monk would fill a big need. He does not project to be the best player on a great team, but he certainly could be the best player on a bad team.

What else to do with this pick: Like the Kings, the Magic have recently not gotten their fair share in some trades. The Magic have a bunch of holes to fill, and not enough cap room. They could trade back for more picks, but then they would just be adding more average players to try to improve a bad roster. Trades have not worked well for the Magic, so a high potential pick like Jonathan Isaac could be the answer if Monk is not around.

7. Minnesota Timberwolves: Zach Collins, C, Gonzaga

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Who he is: The freshman big man from Gonzaga did not play much as a freshman, but he put people on notice when he did. He only averaged 17.3 minutes a game, but still averaged 10 points and 1.8 blocks in that time. His per 36-minute stats jump off the page

Why they’ll pick him: The Timberwolves have some of the best young players in the league in Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns. The problem is their defense. They allowed opponents to shoot 47.5% against them last season, third worst in the league. Collins is not a flashy pick and will not add to the hype, but could help coach Tom Thibodeau establish a defensive identity and a toughness they did not have in his first year.

What else to do with this pick: The Timberwolves are not good at picking in the lottery. Names like Jonny Flynn, Wesley Johnson and Derrick Williams should make Timberwolves fans uneasy. The Timberwolves could draft yet another point guard if they want with Dennis Smith Jr. or another athletic wing like Jonathan Isaac. Whatever they decide to do, they will probably enter next year predicted to break out, then fail to do so.

 8. New York Knicks: Dennis Smith Jr. PG, NC State

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Who he is: The super-fast super-athletic point guard who could be the Knicks’ guard in shining armor.

Why they’ll pick him: The Knicks have struggled to find a point guard for years now. After Derrick Rose got injured again, they find themselves in a similar situation. The Knicks should be giddy if Smith falls to them, and should not pass up the chance to draft him. Knowing the Knicks, however, they will probably draft a point guard from Armenia because he can promise to play the triangle offense.

What else to do with this pick: Maybe the Knicks can move this pick along with Carmelo Anthony to move up and take a guard like Fox. Maybe they can move Anthony for a pick later in the first and try to rebuild that way. Maybe they can move Anthony for the ghost of Latrell Sprewell. Whatever the Knicks do, they need to stop wasting the Kristaps Porzingis prime. The Zinger may not have much longer.

 9. Dallas Mavericks: Lauri Markkanen, PF, Arizona

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Who he is: A carbon copy of Dirk Nowitzki with a slightly harder to spell last name. Obviously, Markkanen is a unique individual with his own special perks and idiosyncrasies, but when you are 7 feet tall, from Europe and shoot 42% from three, the Dirk comparisons are bound to happen.

Why they’ll pick him: What better way to replace a hall of fame than with a carbon copy of him. It’s possible Markkanen could be a bust and nothing like Nowitzki. But he does fill a need and could develop until Dirk retires.

What else to do with this pick: Dallas also needs a point guard, but with the top tier guards gone at this point, their best option is Frank Ntilikina from France. Ntilikina is a bit of an unknown, so the Mavs may want to play it safer while also filling a position of need.

 10. Sacramento Kings: Jonathan Isaac, SF, Florida State

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Who he is: Isaac is a long and athletic small forward whose projections far outdo his on the court numbers. Isaac was productive but not dominant in his only season in college, but his athletic 6’11” frame and 34% shooting is a perfect fit for today’s NBA

Why they’ll pick him: Like I said before, the Kings need pieces to help rebuild their team. Isaac could be a capable replacement for Rudy Gay and would pair very nicely if the Kings also pick up De’Aaron Fox earlier in the draft.

What else to do with this pick: This pick could be coupled with a veteran (Tyreke Evans, Rudy Gay) to try to move up, but the Kings are in a good spot here, and if Isaac falls to them they should be thrilled. If he does not, rim protection should be a priority if Willie Cauley-Stein cannot be relied upon.

11. Charlotte Hornets: Jarrett Allen, C, Texas

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Who he is: A tall man with even longer arms. He moves well for a five and should continue to grow into his body.

Why they’ll pick him: The Hornet need some rim protection or at the very least, some depth up front. Cody Zeller has never been known as much of a defensive stopper, and the Hornets could use another body to help out in the paint. He also could run the pick and roll with Kemba Walker and offer more of a threat than the Hornets currently have.

What else to do with this pick: The Hornets are also in need of some outside shooting. This may be a little too early for Luke Kennard, and somebody like Lauri Markkanen is probably gone at this point. Trading up or down to target either player could be an option.

12. Detroit Pistons: Frank Ntilikina, PG, France

Who he is: A talented pro from France, but is relatively unknown and unproven to NBA teams.

Why they’ll pick him:  Ntilikina offers some depth at point guard, and he could even take over for Reggie Jackson if the team wants to move him. While Ntilikina is an unknown, the Pistons should risk it at a position that will help them in the long run.

What else to do with this pick: The Pistons are paying a lot of money for an average team. The Pistons could draft from a number of players here to try to get younger and cheaper. Shooting guard may need to be replaced if Kentavious Caldwell- Pope leaves in free agency, and depth up front and on the wing is important. The Pistons are in a tough spot, and unless they move a big contract, they will likely dwell in NBA purgatory with a fine but unspectacular roster.

13. Denver Nuggets: Justin Jackson, SF, UNC

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Who he is: Believe it or not, Jackson is the first upperclassman I have coming off the board. Jackson was a three-year contributor for the Tar Heels and a prime example of improving over his years in college. This past season he led UNC to a national championship while also winning ACC player of the year.

Why they’ll pick him: The Nuggets are young and have talent, and should try to add experienced depth on the outside. Jackson adds strong outside shooting with good passing ability. He has played in all the big moments and is not afraid to take the big shot. For a team whose best player is a big man from Serbia, Jackson could be the locker room leader and bench contributor to make the Nuggets tougher.

What else to do with this pick: More depth up front could never hurt, especially if Giles is still on the board. His defense could really help shore up a starting lineup that is mostly scoring focused. Moving this pick for a proven veteran wing defender could also be a good idea since this team is already very young.

14. Miami Heat: John Collins, PF, Wake Forest

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Who he is: Another big man, but Collins makes his living on offense. He practices good footwork around the rim and has a solid mid-range jump shot. Defense is not great, but his numbers are. Hopefully, the numbers translate as he learns the NBA game.

Why they’ll pick him: Now that the Chris Bosh era is over in Miami (a sad ending I will say) the Heat should confidently search for a new frontcourt player to pair with cornerstone Hassan Whiteside. Collins will pair nicely next to Whiteside, and adds more of a mid-range game to Miami’s front court. Miami does have James Johnson coming off a career year, but if the price on him is too high, they should feel confident moving forward with Collins.

What else to do with this pick: The Heat were surprised two years ago when Justice Winslow fell to them in the middle of the first round. They way this mock is shaping up, it looks like another Duke prospect, Harry Giles, may do the same. Giles has the injury trouble, but may be worth the risk for the Heat. Pat Riley never loved to build through the draft, so if Giles does not pan out, he can still go out and sign Blake Griffin, Klay Thompson, and Russell Westbrook (heard it here first).

15. Portland Trail Blazers: Harry Giles, PF, Duke

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Who he is: Giles was the top recruit in 2016 despite tearing his ACL twice in high school. Giles missed the first few games of the season, and never really got into any sort of groove. Any team that selects him will be projected based on his high school days and hope that he can return to health.

Why they’ll pick him: This could end up being the steal of the draft. It’s not like Giles forgot how to play basketball. Players are number one recruits for a reason. Yes, his injury and surgery history is troubling, but it could work in Portland’s favor. They have had young talents (Greg Oden, Brandon Roy) go down with career altering injuries. Maybe the Blazers will reverse jinx themselves, and Giles will play for 15 years and never miss a game.

What else to do with this pick: Including this pick, the Blazers have three first round picks (15, 20, 26). None of those carry a significant amount of capital, but there should be some solid depth players picked in this range. Could the Blazers move a combination of these picks and other assets to move up in the draft? Could three of these picks plus another asset get them a player like Kevin Love? Portland has a variety of options to look at.

16. Chicago Bulls: Luke Kennard, SG, Duke

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Who he is: While Grayson Allen was projected to be the face of Duke this past season, Kennard turned out to be the best guard on the team. While Kennard cooled off as the season went along, he was still productive the whole year and projects as a knockdown shooter and sparkplug for the offense.

Why they’ll pick him: Dwayne Wade is not the answer long-term, especially at his current price tag. If the Bulls are keen on moving forward with Jimmy Butler as their main cog, they are going to need to put some more offense around him. Kennard can handle the ball a little bit, but mostly he will be running around screens looking to get off a deep shot. He is more than just a long-range shooter, but his best asset to the Bulls will be an ability to space the floor.

What else to do with this pick: The Bulls also make no sense. After some big free-agent splashes last year, the Bulls were very average. Granted, those free-agent splashes were a bit long in the tooth and not outside shooters, but still. The Bulls need to get younger and better at shooting quickly, or Butler may want to take his prime elsewhere. The pick is not high enough to trade on its own, but Butler may be able to move them into the top three. If they so desire.

 17. Milwaukee Bucks: OG Anunoby, SF, Indiana

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Who he is: A rangy athletic defender, but a lack of offensive polish and injuries knock him out of the lottery. Anunoby has the build and defensive ability to play at the next level, but he has not lived up to the hype. The hype was pretty high, though.

Why they’ll pick him: Because he fits everything the Bucks are as a team perfectly. No, Anunoby does not have much of an offensive game, but the Bucks will be content to win 75-65 with 40-15-10-5-5 from Giannis. Anunoby will be another athletic wing on a team full of them. But there are certainly worse problems to have. If Anunoby develops a three-point shot and plays above the rim on offense, he could be the steal of this draft.

What else to do with this pick: Donovan Mitchell is also a great idea here and makes it even more difficult to score on the Bucks. They could use a more capable and cheaper option at center, but do they really even need a center? A lineup of Middleton, Parker, Brogdon, Anunoby/Mitchell, Giannis could probably guard all five positions.

18. Indiana Pacers: Donovan Mitchell, SG, Louisville

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Who he is: A lockdown defender with off-the-charts athleticism, Mitchell led the Louisville defense while also contributing from three-point range.

Why they’ll pick him: This is one of the easier picks in the draft. If Mitchell is still around at this point (may not be since he is a combine hero), the Pacers would gladly take him. Mitchell could take some pressure off of Paul George at the defensive end and he could be a part of the core with George and Myles Turner. He also will allow the Pacers to part ways with Lance Stephenson, though I get the feeling that they are too attached at this point.

What else to do with this pick: They player taken right after this spot, Caleb Swanigan, would also be a nice fit and he would work well next to Turner. T.J. Leaf helps with team shooting as well. The Pacers will likely have their ears open to trade offers for Paul George, but it is going to take a lot to get him i.e. Second overall pick and Brandom Ingram (Lakers probably say no, but should they?)

 19. Atlanta Hawks: Caleb Swanigan, PF, Purdue

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Who he is: A double-double machine who put up video game-like numbers in his second season. He is not the most athletic forward, but he extended his range last year and dominated on the glass. He should be able to contribute immediately with an NBA body.

Why they’ll pick him: This dude just screams Paul Millsap. I might be projecting, but Swanigan has all the tools to be a dominant rebounder, post-presence and even three-point shooter. Millsap has said he wants to test free-agency, and the Hawks may want to try actually being bad one year. They are always so painfully average, building around Swanigan and other young pieces may actually net them a lottery pick instead of another eight seed. What a novel concept.

What else to do with this pick: If the plan is to offer Millsap whatever he wants, then the Hawks are going all in and shooting for a five seed. In that case, a wing threat would really help them out. I think all the noteworthy ones were drafted at this point, so depth at guard I guess?

20. Portland Trail Blazers: Justin Patton, C, Creighton

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Who he is: Another athletic big man, Patton flew under the radar at a smaller school. Good at getting to the rim and playing off of crafty guards.

Why they’ll pick him: The Blazers are more than set in the backcourt, but they need a nice thick body to set screens and help them get free. Patton would be an upgrade setting screens and making plays near the rim. Defensively he will have to rely on effort and good coaching, but he can be an asset to a team that needs just a few more.

What else to do with this pick: I discussed it above, but a team like the Blazers is a good team. They do not need three first-round players to develop over the next few years. That is of course if they are just gonna fast forward until the Warriors break up because of cap issues. In that case, take it slow, relax, enjoy your 50 wins a season and try to extend Lillard and McCollum’s prime as long as possible.

21. Oklahoma City Thunder: TJ Leaf, PF, UCLA

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Who he is: The smooth shooting big-man from UCLA hit close to 47% from three will benefit from playing with solid passers. He can hurt teams from mid-range as well on a pick-and-pop.

Why they’ll pick him: He could help Russell Westbrook’s assist number. Leaf can certainly shoot the ball, which is more than some of Westbrook’s supporting cast can say. We know a one-man team does not get very far in this league, and while I am not saying TJ Leaf is the other guy who will take the Thunder over the top. I am saying Westbrook will get a 20-20-20 game with Leaf on his team.

What else to do with this pick: That’s a great question. It is rare that a playoff team, two years removed from a conference finals appearance, has so many holes. Obviously losing Kevin Durant hurts. But Victor Oladipo did not up his production. Steven Adams did not up production. Westbrook did up his usage rate and production. The Thunder need a player with an ego who will get a pass from Westbrook, and not look to give it back to him. What was that? Trade this pick for Carmelo? Actually….

22. Brooklyn Nets: Terrance Ferguson, SG, Australia

Who he is: Ferguson was committed to play at Arizona this year, but he decided to play overseas in hopes of improving his draft stock. He is a good athlete, but may need time to adjust to NBA play.

Why they’ll pick him: No way he is any worse than what they have. Ferguson has the body and athleticism to play in the league, and if the Nets just put him out there with no pressure and say “do whatever you want,” he could develop into a solid wing threat.

What else to do with this pick: Hope the Celtics feel bad for you and trade you back the third overall pick. The Nets have been bad the past few years, they were bad this year, and they will continue to struggle unless they strike gold in the draft. It is much harder to get lucky when you are drafting this late in the first round.

23. Toronto Raptors: Jordan Bell, PF, Oregon

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Who he is: A tournament hero who helped bring his team to the Final Four. Bell was a beast on the glass and saw his draft stock shoot up as a result.

Why they’ll pick him: The Raptors got exposed on the glass in their playoff losses. Serge Ibaka did not do enough inside, and if the Raptors keep throwing up bricks in the playoffs, they need somebody to retrieve them. Bell is high energy on both sides of the ball, and will give the Raptors some toughness.

What else to do with this pick: The Raptors are another team with some decisions to make. Kyle Lowry is a free agent, and it seems like this team’s ceiling as constructed is the conference finals. Is a rookie the missing piece to beating the Cavaliers or the Celtics? My bet is no. The Raptors could look to shop one of their backcourt stars and try to move up for an impact player. But that would be a bold move.

24. Utah Jazz: Jawun Evans, PG, Oklahoma State

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Who he is: The Big-12 guard proved himself as a capable scorer and distributor and he is also the sixth best point guard in this draft. The gap between five and six will be large in pick number, but Evans is not at a lack for talent or speed.

Why they’ll pick him: George Hill is going to get a boatload of money in free agency, but it might not be the Jazz who are paying him. If this is the case, the Jazz need to back up their backcourt. Evans brings some much-needed athleticism to this team and can be an elite perimeter stopper to pair with the stifle tower. He also may get Gordon Hayward some better looks, and the Jazz need anything they can to incentivize him to stay.

What else to do with this pick: Ask Gordon Hayward who he wants to play with. Or pick a long-term project. The Jazz can go two ways in this draft, all depending on if they think Gordon Hayward is going to accept or decline his player option. Jawun Evans would help the team now, but a foreign-born player, or a freshman who did not play much would be a backup plan if it looks like Hayward is going to test the market.

25. Orlando Magic: Edrice (Bam) Adebayo, C, Kentucky

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Who he is: Adebayo is a physical presence on the inside who excels on the glass and clear out space. He will not score much in a face-up or pick and pop game, but he should contribute rolling to the rim, running the floor and cleaning up the offensive glass.

Why they’ll pick him: Since Dwight Howard left, the Magic have struggled to find a suitable rim protector. The bigs they currently have on their team do not get the job done. Adebayo can play both front court positions and could help redefine the Magic team. In a time of no contact and threes from half-court, Adebayo could bring physicality and hustle to a Magic team that needs something to fall back on.

What else to do with this pick: Like I said before, stop getting the raw end of trade deals. It is unlikely that any trade involving the Magic’s picks will be “win-later,” deals so they should focus on accumulating assets. Shoring up the middle should be a priority, but perimeter scoring comes in a close second if the Magic do not address that need with pick number 6

26. Portland Trail Blazers: Sindarius Thornwell, SG, South Carolina

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Who he is: The man with one of the cooler names in the NCAA tournament, Thornwell became a household name with his stellar two-way play in the NCAA tournament.

Why they’ll pick him: The Blazers gave the Warriors a decent series two years ago, and picking Thornwell would benefit the effort against the Golden Empire. While Thornwell had his coming out party during the 2017 NCAA tournament, he was solid all year for the Gamecocks. He could provide backcourt depth, and even play small ball three if he has to.

What else to do with this pick: The Blazers have other needs, but they also have other picks. Thornwell in this situation is a pick specifically to compete with the Warriors. The Blazers can use their other picks to make sure they get that far.

27. Brooklyn Nets: Thomas Bryant, C, Indiana

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Who he is: Bryant deferred his draft potential last year to return for his sophomore season at Indiana. While his jump shooting improved, Indiana did not and neither did his draft stock.

Why they’ll pick him: In his second year, Bryant developed almost into a Brook Lopez lite. He shot more threes and started drifting further and further away from the basket. His rebounding and rim protection went down a bit, but the Nets need some warm bodies. Bryant can score and will provide some good emotion.

What else to do with this pick: One of the benefits of being terrible is that it’s hard to sink any lower. Even just finding a solid rotation player is a win for the Nets. All positions are positions of need until they finally get out from under their trade for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. Draft 2019 is not soon enough for Nets’ fans.

28. Los Angeles Lakers: Tyler Lydon, SF, Syracuse

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Who he is: A shot capable wing with good size but only average athleticism. He did not defend man-to-man much in college and he is going to need to be a lights out shooter if he cannot defend in the NBA.

Why they’ll pick him: If they pick Lonzo Ball second overall, he will need somebody to pass to. Lydon could provide knockdown shooting off the bench and he may develop into a capable defender. Surrounding ball with shooting is a worthy strategy to compete in the modern NBA

What else to do with this pick: Dwayne Bacon, Tyler Dorsey, Alec Peters. Pick a shooter and put him around Lonzo Ball. This pick could be moved if somebody else is desperate to move up, or it could be paired with an expiring contract to move up.

29. San Antonio Spurs: Isaiah Hartenstein, PF, Germany

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Who he is: A poor man’s version of Markkanen, he is able to stretch the floor but does not provide much defensively.

Why they’ll pick him: The Spurs need to get younger on the front line, and Hartenstein can develop behind LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol. The Spurs work well with international players, and Hartenstein could be a project that pays off for them once their older big men retire.

What else to do with this pick: Pick to beat the Warriors. Pick the rangiest, longest and most athletic defender still available. Since Kawhi Leonard got hurt in the first game of the Western Conference Finals, nobody knows for sure how close the Spurs are to the Warriors. A player like Thornwell would be great if still available, but somebody like Devin Robinson could also be a good pick.

30. Utah Jazz: Ike Anigbogu, PF, UCLA

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Who he is: The lesser known UCLA freshman, Anigbogu still should sneak into the first round. He is tall, has a massive wingspan and plays hard on defense. He does not offer much offensively, but can contribute as a rim protector.

Why they’ll pick him: Putting another defensive stopper next to Rudy Gobert could create an impenetrable front line for the Jazz. The Jazz may also enter rebuild mode really fast if Hayward decides to leave.

What else to do with this pick: Whatever Gordon Hayward wants. If they are serious about keeping him around, they need to put players around him who help him succeed.

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