NBA Lottery Mock Draft

1. Philadelphia 76ers – Markelle Fultz

After trading up with the Boston Celtics to acquire the number one pick, the 76ers stated that they will take the Washington product first overall. Even though Fultz did not play in the bright lights at Washington, the star point guard dominated the PAC-12. Fultz plays like a point guard, but has the size and scoring ability of a shooting guard. Philadelphia should be excited for this young prospect to pair with Joel Emiid, Ben Simmons, and Dario Saric.

2. Los Angeles Lakers – Lonzo Ball

Even though Ball will not be the first player selected, he has received the most recognition because of his play at UCLA and his father’s loud and controversial comments. Ball does not have the greatest shooting touch or finishing ability, but he is a natural leader and a master with the ball. Ball has the passing ability that has not been seen in many decades out of college. Many people compare Ball to Jason Kidd and the Lakers hope that he will fulfill his potential and help lead the Lakers’ revival.

3. Boston Celtics – Jayson Tatum

Although the Celtics should opt to draft Josh Jackson with the third overall selection, it seems more and more likely that they will draft the Duke forward as Jackson did not workout for Boston. The Celtics need a player like Tatum that can carry the scoring load when Thomas needs a break from the ball. Even though he does not possess a great three point shoot, which contradicts the Celtics style of play, he can hit shots from anywhere inside the arc. In addition, Tatum’s strong build and size should allow him to become a solid defensive player and durable player under the tutelage of Brad Stevens.

4. Phoenix Suns – Josh Jackson

The Suns are getting an absolute stud and future superstar in Josh Jackson at number four overall. The Suns have a lot of offensive firepower with Devin Booker, Eric Bledsoe, and TJ Warren, but they lack a wing that can lock down opposing stars in the Western Conference. Jackson would be a great fit for the Suns due to his extreme athleticism, competitive nature, and incredible motor. Even though he is not a great shooter, he is an exceptional slasher and finisher around the rim.

5. Sacramento Kings – De’Aaron Fox

Even when the Kings are fortunate enough to move up in the draft order, they have to flip their pick with the 76ers and drop to the fifth overall pick. The Kings have a multitude of needs so they should just look for the best player available, which in this case is De’Aaron Fox. Fox dominated college basketball at the end of the season because of his phenomenal passing ability as well as his surprising scoring touch. Like many of the other players, he does not have a great shot, but he gets to the rim with ease and is a tough on the ball defender.

6. Orlando Magic – Frank Ntilikina

The Magic’s new GM, John Hammond, is from the Milwaukee Bucks’ organization should give good insight into who they will selecting. In Milwaukee, Hammond loved players that could defend multiple positions and handle the ball. The foreign product has both of those abilities along with a great passing ability and leadership skills. Even though he does not have a great jump shot, he is a good slasher, similar to fellow countryman Dennis Schroeder. The Magic could be looking for a new point guard to either replace or pair along with Elfrid Payton for the foreseeable future.

7. Minnesota Timberwolves – Jonathan Isaac

The Minnesota Timberwolves may have the best collection of young talent in the league, but they still have not been able to translate that into wins. The collection of Towns, Wiggins, Dunn, and LaVine give the Wolves future stars at every position, but power forward. Although Dieng has filled his role valiantly, he does not have the same upside or athleticism as Isaac. The former Seminole will play well alongside Towns because he will help with interior defense and give Towns more room inside the paint to operate. Isaac is not a polished product in the slightest, but his immense upside, ability to protect the rim, and shoot from behind the arc make him a great fit for Minnesota.

8. New York Knicks – Dennis Smith

The New York Knicks are looking to trade in order to acquire another top pick, even if it means trading star Kristops Porzingis. The Knicks need a point guard of the future and Smith can be the answer to their quarrels. During his time at NC State, Smith dominated the ACC, even the toughest competition, because of his quick acceleration, court vision, and passing ability. Many of the Knicks’ problems can be answered with a point guard that can defend opposing guards and effectively distribute the basketball to Porzingis and Carmelo Anthony. Although he is coming off of an ACL injury, the Knicks should be excited to draft Smith as the future point guard.

9. Dallas Mavericks – Lauri Markkanen

The Mavs are in need of a franchise player to replace future Hall of Famer Dirk Nowitzki and fortunately for Mark Cuban they may be able to find that man in Markkanen. Although it is presumptuous to believe that the Arizona center will have as distinguish career as Nowitzki, he has the attributes and skills to replicate his success. During his sole year at Arizona, Markkanen was able to create success by stretching out to the three point line and using his seven foot size body to shoot over defenders. Like Nowitzki, Markkanen could use help at rebounding and shot blocking, which could happen if he listens to coach Rick Carlisle.

10. Sacramento Kings – Malik Monk

With their second lottery selection, the Kings should look to bolster their wings, especially after drafting multiple big men in last year’s draft and Fox with their first selection. The Kings should look to add Monk, not just because of his offensive prowess, but due to his rapport with Fox. During their time in Lexington, Monk and Fox became the best backcourt in basketball. Fox’s incredible court vision along with Monk’s insane range and scoring ability, the best in the class, made the duo unstoppable. Monk may not possess great size or strength for the position, but he should definitely be considered at this point in the draft.

11. Charlotte Hornets – Luke Kennard

Luke Kennard seems to be a perfect fit for the Hornets at number 11 in the draft. During his two years at Duke, Kennard displayed a drive, intelligence, and shooting stroke, unlike many in college basketball. Kennard’s basketball IQ and three point shooting ability will fit well next to Kemba Walker and Nicolas Batum, neither of which are great shooters. In addition, Batum and new Hornet, Dwight Howard, should be able to make up for Kennard’s defensive limitations due to his less than exceptional athleticism and strength.

12. Detroit Pistons – Donovan Mitchell

The Detroit Pistons are almost able to return to the playoffs in the crowded Eastern Conference. The addition of a player like Donovan Mitchell should significantly help their chances. Although he does not have great size for the position, his elite strength and explosion allows him to beat defenders and score inside the paint. Mitchell may need work on his shooting, but he should help the Pistons, who are in dire need of offensive assistance.

13. Denver Nuggets – OG Anunoby

The Denver Nuggets are hoping to return to the playoffs and hope that Anunoby can give them the advantage to succeed in the West. Anunoby’s biggest asset that will help the Nuggets is his knack for knocking down three point shots. The former Hoosier may be raw offensively, but he has good range and should be able to draw attention away from Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. In addition, if Danilo Gallinari leaves Denver this offseason, Anunoby should be able to fill his shoes as one of the most underrated 3 and D players in the NBA, if he can return from a knee injury that may knock him out for a majority of the season.

14. Miami Heat – Zach Collins

The former Gonzaga Bulldog would be a good addition for the Heat as they hope to return to dominance in the East. Collins did not play major minutes for the Zags as he was only a freshman on a veteran latent team, but he may have been the most talented player on the squad. If the Heat can have Collins paired alongside Whiteside down low, they will be extremely difficult to score against inside the paint. While he does not have the shot blocking ability like Whiteside, although very few do, he can shoot from the outside and force opposing defenders to respect his game.

2017 NBA Mock Draft – Top Ten

  1. Markelle Fultz – Philadelphia 76ers

Everyone and their mother at this point knows that the Sixers are going to draft Markelle Fultz number one overall. Philadelphia needed a scoring option at guard who could knock down a three and that’s exactly what they’ll be getting from the Washington product. Fultz has the potential to become a lethal scorer with his handles and NBA-ready shot. The Process is almost complete.

 

  1. Lonzo Ball – Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers shocked everyone, shipping off former no. 3 pick and budding star DeAngelo Russell for veteran big man Brook Lopez to shed Timofey Mozgov’s contract, looking clear out space for the Paul George and LeBron James sweepstakes. The backcourt is now clear for Lonzo to take center stage in LA and bring winning back to the purple and gold. With his elite passing ability and an already outstanding IQ and ability to make plays, Lonzo looks to be one of the most NBA-ready players in the draft. With a 6’6” frame and his athleticism, his ceiling is as high as anyone’s in the draft. Lavar called it. Against all odds, Lonzo will be a Laker

 

  1. Jayson Tatum – Boston Celtics

The Celtics have called Tatum “the next Paul Pierce,” as he had shown flashes of offensive brilliance towards the end of his freshman season at Duke. The Celtics hope Tatum can become that second offensive weapon they need to compliment Isaiah Thomas. They will be able to play inside-out with Tatum’s ability to score in the post and midrange in the half-court set. He will need to improve on defense, however he certainly has the athleticism and full-build to hold his own in the NBA.

 

  1. Josh Jackson – Phoenix Suns

Devin Booker and Josh Jackson would be an impressive young core for the Suns to build around. He’s the most athletic player in the draft for his size and an absolute lock-down defender for all 92 feet. He has also shown flashes of the rare ability to “take-over” games at Kansas, where he stopped teams single-handedly defensively, resulting in easy buckets on the other end. He will need to develop an NBA-ready jump shot, especially improve from behind the arc, but with his motor and motivation, there’s no reason he can’t become an all-star at the next level.

 

  1. DeAaron Fox – Sacramento Kings

DeAaron Fox has been called the best guard in the draft by many scouts and reporters. However, after some leaked footage of his private workout with the 76ers, where it was shown he was struggling with rhythm 3s, the talks of seeing Fox taken higher have subsided with Philly moving up and Lonzo a lock to go to LA. Say what you will about his jumper, Fox has proven in college to be one of the quickest guards in the league, absolutely lethal in the pick and roll, and a great competitor. His success will go as far as his jump shot will take him.

 

  1. Jonathan Isaac – Orlando Magic

Perhaps the biggest wild-card in the draft, at a skinny 6’10”, it’s impossible not to draw comparisons to Kevin Durant from the eye-test. Jonathan Isaac has yet to fill out his frame that continues to grow, but we have already seen glimpses of what he can become. He has great footwork and athleticism, however he has a long way to go to develop his game, particularly his strength and physicality at his size. He has a serviceable shot that complements his skills, however being undersized, he settles too often rather than taking advantage of his size. His combination of length and athleticism with skill is not seen every year, but he has a long way to go before he reach his ceiling.

 

  1. Dennis Smith – Minnesota Timberwolves

It’s take two for the Timberwolves, as last year’s top 5 pick Kris Dunn has majorly disappointed in his rookie season. They’ll hope to get better luck with Dennis Smith, the athletic freak guard from N.C. State. Smith is a nightmare to guard in the fast-break, with an explosiveness that will be scary with Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns running the floor. His quickness also can translate to make him an elite perimeter defender at the next level. He will need to improve his decision making and jump-shot however, if he doesn’t want to fall into the same boat as Dunn.

 

  1. Lauri Markkanen – New York Knicks

Kristaps Porzingis 2.0. Amid rumors that Kristaps is on his way out, the Knicks have been looking for his imminent replacement. Well, they might have found him here with the Arizona product from Finland. He certainly passes the “where’s that guy from?” test, but can he play like Porzingis? On the offensive end, Markkanen blew away everyone with his efficiency and athleticism as a 7-footer. He shot an incredible 42% from behind the arc, while possessing a nice soft touch inside. He will be lethal off screens and in the post as he adjusts to NBA play. However, he will need to improve on the defensive end. For his size, he is an underperforming rebounder and will get bullied in the post. He has the size to battle down low, but he will need to develop that part of his game in order to make it in the NBA.

 

  1. Frank Ntilikina – Dallas Mavericks

If Markkanen falls to the Mavs laps at 9, the Mavs will certainly snatch him up to fill the large void Dirk will be leaving soon. However, I think he’ll be gone by then so the Mavs will draft Frank Ntilikina out of France. At 6’5” with a nearly 7’0” wingspan, Ntilikina has the physical gifts to be an absolutely dominating point guard. A tremendous passer and terrific ball-handler, he is perhaps the most true point guard in the draft. However, he is incredibly underweight for his size and that will hold-back his game from elevating to the next level. He will need to add weight and strength in order to succeed in the NBA, but with his length and athleticism, he has one of the highest ceilings in the entire draft.

 

  1. Zach Collins – Sacremento Kings

Although he only played less than 20 min/game in his lone season at Gonzaga, Collins brings a huge frame with excellent athleticism to the NBA. His speed and mobility are his greatest assets and he’s shown to play a mature style of basketball, blending a good set of post moves with his patience. He’s a strong rebounder and defender on the other end as well, but his biggest knock is that he is so largely unproven. There may be a steep learning curve with Collins, but the upside, like his huge Final Four game against South Carolina, can make it all worth it.

3 Best Picks to win the World Series based on Vegas Odds

Favorites:

Chicago Cubs (+450)

If someone is a betting man, they should bet on Chicago Cubs right now. The Cubs’ stock will never be lower, which is great for potential bettors. After losing six straight on the road in California, Chicago returned home to sweep the St. Louis Cardinals to get above .500 and are only a game back of first place. The team will obviously make the playoffs and once they make the postseason, they will star. Even though the Astros are 11 games better in the loss column, this team still has the most talent in the MLB. On offense, they possess stars such as reigning MVP Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Ben Zobrist, Javy Baez, Addison Russell, and Kyle Schwarber. Although Rizzo, Russell, and  Schwarber have struggled this season, they have done nothing, but hit since they have entered the MLB. However, the difference between this team and the Stros is their starting pitching and experience. The Astros have never made it out of the ALDS and the Cubs have won a World Series and possess four solid starting pitchers. Although none of them have succeeded this season, they have too much talent and past success to not turn it around. Lester is the only pitcher with a below 4.00 ERA among the four starters, Lester, Hendricks, Arrieta, and Lackey. Hendricks’ season last year may have been a flash in the pan, but the other three have top end potential. Lester is a great pitcher and becomes even better when the calendar turns to September and October. In the postseason, Lester owns a 2.63 ERA. Lackey is a similar pitcher, even though he is aging and is not a true ace. In October, Lackey possesses a 3.27 ERA and he has been pitching for winning teams his entire career. Lastly, Arrieta is in a contract year and he will be motivated to return his Cy Young form if he wants to make max money this offseason. Along with their starting rotation, the relief staff is nasty. Wade Davis is one of the great closers in the MLB and Carl Edwards Jr. and Mike Montegomery have been incredible in the setup role.

Boston Red Sox (+750)

In terms of the American League, I would choose the Red Sox to win the pennant over the Houston Astros and reach the World Series. Like the Cubs, the Red Sox were one of the favorites to start the season, but began the year slowly. As of late, they have played better baseball and have pulled their record to five games above .500 and second place in the division. Even though the Yankees have started well, the Red Sox have one of the most talented rosters in MLB. On offense, they are as skilled as the Cubs with Xander Bogaerts, Dustin Pedroia, Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts, Hanley Ramirez, and Jackie Bradley Jr. Bradley, Betts, Ramirez, Pedroia, and Pablo Sandoval have experienced either injuries or a down season, which is a reason why the Red Sox are in their current location. The lineup is so vaunted because they have players that hit for power, high average, and speed. In terms of pitching, the rotation is still finding themselves, but they have the potential to be dominant. Chris Sale has been everything that the Red Sox expected when they dealt two of their top prospects for the lefty. Sale is in the competition for the league lead in ERA, WHIP, wins, and strikeouts. Along with Sale, Price, a legitimate ace, has just returned from injury, Drew Pomeranz has pitched well lately, and Porcello should be able to improve on his 4.24 ERA. In the bullpen, the team has been absolutely dominant. The trio of Craig Kimbrel, Robby Scott, and Joe Kelly each have over 20 games pitched and have an ERA under 1.50. The team is going to make a big run soon so bettors should take advantage of this position, like with the Cubs.

Sleeper:

St. Louis Cardinals (+2500)

For my sleeper pick, I chose a team that was over +1000. Although there were many good options such as the first place Yankees, the Cardinals are the team with high odds that have the best chance of winning. The Cardinals just have a championship pedigree that never seems to dissipate even when stars leave the squad. The Cardinals have been mediocre this season as they are three games below .500, but still only 2.5 games out of first place. Although it is unlikely that they will win the division due to the Cubs, they are only 6 games out of a wild card position. The Cards will make up this ground because they have started to play better lately, the Diamondbacks will not continue this success, and there are over 100 games left in the season. The offense has been sluggish all year for the Cardinals, but their stars are too good to not turn around. Aledmys Diaz, Yadier Molina, Dexter Fowler, Randal Grichuk, and Matt Carpenter are all batting below .260, which is consistently below their career averages. Each of these batters have experienced great success in the past and their averages will climb closer to the .300 mark by the end of the season. However, the team will succeed because of the strength of their staff. The staff has experienced mixed results, but they have an incredible combination of talent, experience, and youth. Carlos Martinez and Michael Wacha have top notch talent and have shown the ability to dominate teams even in October. Adam Wainwright, Lance Lynn, and Mike Leake are consummate professionals. Wainwright is a former ace that still possesses the ability and knowledge to retire professional hitters. Lynn and Leake are both having superb years as they each have ERAs under 3.00 and WHIP below 1.10. The team’s bullpen does not stack up well when compared against the elites, but the combination of Trevor Rosenthaul and Seung Hwan Oh are a solid 8th and 9th inning duo. Although the team does not have the talent of teams like the Astros, Cubs, or Red Sox, they are a good long odd bet because of their solid offensive ability, pitching strength, and knack for October success.