2017 1st-Rd Mock Draft

2017 1st-Rd Mock Draft

 

1 Markelle Fultz – 76ers
6’5″ PG, Washington
2 Lonzo Ball – Lakers
6’5″ PG, UCLA

 

3 Jayson Tatum – Celtics
6’8″ SF, Duke
4 Josh Jackson – Suns
6’8″ SF, Kansas

 

5 De’Aaron Fox – Kings
6’3″ PG, Kentucky
6 Malik Monk – Magic
6’3″ SG, Kentucky

 

7 Jonathan Isaac – Timberwolves
6’11” SF, Florida State
8 Lauri Markkanen – Knicks
7’0″ PF, Arizona

 

9 Frank Ntilikina – Mavericks
6’5″ PG, France
10 OG Anunoby – Kings
6’8″ SF, Indiana

 

11 Luke Kennard – Hornets
6’6″ SG, Duke
12 Donovan Mitchell – Pistons
6’3″ SG, Louisville

 

13 Dennis Smith – Nuggets
6’2″ PG, NC State
14 Harry Giles – Heat
6’11” PF, Duke

 

15 Zach Collins  – Trail Blazers
7’0″ C, Gonzaga
16 John Collins – Bulls
6’10” PF, Wake Forest

 

17 Terrance Ferguson – Bucks
6’7″ SG, Australia
18 Justin Jackson – Pacers
6’8″ SF, North Carolina

 

19 Justin Patton – Hawks
6’11” C, Creighton
20 Jonah Bolden – Trail Blazers
6’10” SF, Australia

 

21 Tony Bradley – Thunder
6’11” C, North Carolina
22 Anzejs Pasecniks  – Nets
7’1″ C, Latvia

 

23 Edrice Adebayo – Raptors
6’10” PF, Kentucky
24 TJ Leaf – Jazz
6’10” PF, UCLA

 

25 Jarrett Allen – Magic
6’10” C, Texas
26 Isaiah Hartenstein – Trail Blazers
6’11” PF, Germany

 

27 Josh Hart – Lakers
6’5″ SG, Villanova
28 Jordan Bell – Lakers
6’9″ PF, Oregon

 

29 Ivan Rabb – Spurs
6’10” PF, California
30 D.J. Wilson – Jazz
6’11” PF, Michigan

NBA Finals Preview

NBA Finals Preview

For the third consecutive season, we will see the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers meet in the NBA Finals.

This is the first time in NBA history that the same two teams have met in the Finals for three consecutive seasons, but we are here for it.

Let’s all be thankful and take a look at this year’s matchup.

Predictions:

Tyler: Warriors in four

Let’s think about this for a second; the Warriors blew a 3-1 lead last year. Everybody knows that. Had Draymond Green played in Game 5, I still say the Warriors win that game and close out the series. He’s suspended, and they lose. Andrew Bogut also goes out for the remainder of the Finals in this game. Andre Iguodala and Steph Curry both are playing through injuries, and it takes the Warriors blowing a 3-1 lead for LeBron and company to beat them.

The series before that, you might recall Kevin Durant and the Thunder, (my pick to win it all last year,) blew a 3-1 lead against the Warriors.

Fast forward to this season.

The Warriors acquire Kevin Durant. Many believe him to be the best scorer in league and one of the top three players in the world.

I don’t see a way the Cavaliers can beat this team. I just don’t.

The Warriors are quite possibly the greatest team we’ve ever seen assembled. It’s just that simple.

They are all unselfish, they have great scorers, and they have the best defense in the league. And while LeBron is the best player in the world, the Warriors are out for revenge this year. I do think the Cavs can win one, maybe two games, but I don’t think they can win four.

And with Kevin Durant still awaiting his first ring, he’s trying to get there in as few games as he possibly can, especially with LeBron on the other side.

Get the brooms out. Dubs in four.

Devin: Cavaliers in six

The Cavaliers quest for another championship is within reach. After steamrolling through the playoffs, they look ready to become the 12th team in NBA history to repeat as champions.

They’ve seemingly flipped the switch once the playoffs started and have looked like a completely different team; their defensive woes have vanished and the team is fully healthy.

LeBron is on a mission these playoffs coming in with the best playoff team he has had as a Cavalier as he is surrounded with better quality talent than what he had last season. They’ve added Kyle Korver and Deron Williams for these playoffs, and I believe those two will play a big factor in this series.

Korver is a premier 3-pt shooter and has to be respected on the offensive end, unlike last year having Matthew Dellevadova who made an impact defensively, but wasn’t a threat shooting. Williams can provide a veteran PG that’s not afraid of the big moment, along with keeping the offense moving when LeBron and Kyrie are on the bench.

Kevin Love is looking much more comfortable in his role with the team and is shooting 47% in the playoffs, while Kyrie is looking more like Uncle Drew as each game passes. Tristan Thompson has also looked like a man amongst boys on the boards.

LeBron is leading his team in every statistical category except for rebounds during this playoff run, and is averaging nearly a triple-double with 32 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. The King is on his way to making history having the highest average ppg in the playoffs passing Michael Jordan.

Most people are going with the Warriors in this series for a multitude of reasons, but LeBron will once again prove everyone wrong as the Cavs take it in six games.

 

The Cleveland Show

cleveland_cavaliers

The reigning NBA champions have been off to a rough start in 2017, going 7-8 during the month of January. Eight of the games were on the road while seven of them were against Western Conference teams, which could lead to the slumping start having just been a result of the team’s heavy travel schedule.

LeBron James has not been shy about sharing his feelings during his team’s slump.

He has talked about the team’s hesitancy spending money, the need for another playmaker and the roster being too top heavy. The team has not made any improvements to its roster since the NBA Draft when they took Kay Felder who has not shown as much promise since his Summer League stint.

In this respect, LeBron has a point in stating that his team needs another playmaker. LeBron is one of the best playmakers to ever play the game, but his team has had to resort to using Iman Shumpert as the primary backup point guard, which will be cutting it close if the Cavs plan on making a return to the NBA Finals.

They’ve started to explore other options and have looked into acquiring a veteran via trade. They’ve held a large workout with veteran free agent point guards as they look for someone to come in and be a floor general for the second unit.

The team has also been playing subpar defense while losing or keeping in close games with the likes of some of the worst teams in the NBA over the past month, (Kings, Pelicans, Suns, Nets and Mavericks.)

It all comes back to LeBron, though. Whether or not the Cavs do acquire another playmaker should make no difference—LeBron James is the best playmaker in the league.

He has help all over the court. Kyrie Irving has proven time and time again to be one of the most clutch players in the game. Kevin Love has accepted his role as the third option on the team and is actually blossoming in that role; and with the shooters LeBron has around him, including the recent addition of Kyle Korver, and J.R. Smith who has been out with injury while the Cavs have struggled as of late, he has most of what he needs to get back to the NBA Finals.

Is Ricky Rubio Dunn?

With Ricky Rubio catching a shin to the elbow during the fourth quarter of a game vs. the Kings, he has been ruled out indefinitely and gives the reigns of the offense to the number five overall pick, Kris Dunn, who is arguably one of the most NBA ready players coming out of the draft. Dunn brings lockdown defense, a pass-first mindset and an evolving offensive game. Dunn’s fortunate fall into the staring lineup could lead to big things for the already exciting Timberwolves.

The Wolves are a team of budding superstars in Karl Anthony-Towns and Andrew Wiggins, and they will help Dunn have an easier transition into the NBA by not having to carry a team, but play a role within it. He should fit easily with Tom Thibedou’s defensive mindset with that being his most NBA ready skill.

Dunn can take control of what a lot of people consider to be a playoff team and run with this opportunity, potentially putting Ricky Rubio on the outs.

The Luke Walton effect

For the past three seasons, there hasn’t been much to cheer about in Laker Land.

Other than the departing game of Kobe Bryant where he dropped 60 points on the Jazz, things have been dismal. But man, what a time to be alive.

Bringing in former Laker Luke Walton as the new head coach was perhaps the best move the Lakers have made in years.

Mike Brown got the infamous Kobe death stare that ultimately led to his firing, Mike D’Antoni could’ve cared less about playing any kind of defense, (which was evident in the Lakers first game this season against Houston,) and Byron Scott was the coach every Laker fan loved to hate.

Walton has spoken openly about bringing a winning culture back to Los Angeles with the primary focus being the team’s defense, which has looked better in the preseason and the first quarter of the regular season.

Now entering the post-Kobe era, the Lakers look to their young core, specifically D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson and Brandon Ingram to usher in a new generation of the Showtime Lakers.

With Bryant gone, Russell is looking to take over the leading role. Mr. Ice in his Veins has missed a few games due to injury, but he looks like someone the Lakers can look to in key moments when the clock is winding down. Ingram will also look to be someone who can fill this role, but with his current frame, it will take a little while longer for the young rookie to get situated in the NBA game.

Clarkson has taken to his role coming off the bench quite nicely, and Randle is just a straight up beast who seems to get in his opponent’s head every night.

Walton is definitely what the Lakers have been looking for: a young player’s coach who can relate to the team and actually has them playing a fun brand of basketball.

So here’s to the future—may it be filled with many more championships.

NBA Preview – Pacific Division

1. Golden State Warriors – Well, this should be interesting—the most exciting team to watch in the NBA just got more exciting. With the addition of Kevin Durant, the Warriors have potentially the best three shooters in the league, a walking triple-double in Draymond Green, and a number of solid role players.

We don’t expect the Warriors to have a better regular season record than they did last year, but we do expect them to be a better team. There really is no ceiling for the NBA’s newest villains, and a third consecutive trip to the Finals is definitely in reach.

2. Los Angeles Lakers – Coming off a franchise worst record of 17-65, the Lakers look to get back on track with a new head coach in Luke Walton. Walton is potentially the best move the Lakers have made in years, players included, and looks to bring a winning culture back to Los Angeles.

With a young core of players in D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Brandon Ingram and Julius Randle, along with a number of solid vets and role players, the Lakers won’t get back to winning immediately, but the future is definitely bright. The likelihood of them keeping their top-3 protected pick is unlikely, but there’s a lot to be happy about if you’re a Lakers fan.

3. Los Angeles Clippers – With what seems to always end in a second-round exit, the Clippers will once again have one of the most talented rosters in the NBA. With a trio of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, they will try to cure their playoff woes in 2017.

Jamal Crawford is still one of the best sixth men in the league, and the Clippers got front court depth on their bench in Mo Speights and Brandon Bass, while adding Brice Johnson and Diamond Stone through the draft.

4. Phoenix Suns – With a loaded backcourt in Eric Bledsoe, Devin Booker and Brandon Knight, the Suns will have no problems finding offense—the only question that remains if if they can stay healthy, and will they keep all of their weapons?

Marquese Chriss could potentially be the steal of the draft, even coming in at pick number nine. He has shown in Summer League and preseason that he can score, grab rebounds and contribute in other categories. He could be a power forward of the future, along with Dragen Bender who has been less than impressive, but was always known to be a work in progress.

5. Sacramento Kings – Frank Vogel looks to bring a defensive culture to what’s been an underachieving Sacramento team. With DeMarcus Cousins contract expiring after the end of next season, this could be a make or break season for the Kings.

Sacramento added Ty Lawson who is still trying to find his stride since leaving Denver, along with Aaron Afflalo via free agency in the offseason. Afflalo is a defensive specialist and can be another scoring option. Other than adding more bigs to the roster, no major moves were made, and it leaves Cousins wondering exactly what the Kings are thinking. Expect another season of with a late lottery pick for Sacramento.

NBA Preview – Atlantic Division

1. Boston Celtics – With the addition of Al Horford in free agency, the Celtics finally have the big man they’ve been in need of. Isaiah Thomas is coming off his first All-Star appearance, and with Avery Bradley being one of the league’s top defenders, Boston has one of the best back courts in the NBA.

Brad Stevens is one of the top candidates for Coach of the Year, and should have no problem leading a very talented Boston squad back to the playoffs with home court advantage. The Celtics will be one of few teams in the East with a chance of knocking Cleveland out of the playoffs.

2. New York Knicks – The Knicks made a major move in acquiring former NBA MVP Derrick Rose and former NBA Defensive Player of the Year Joakim Noah from the Bulls. After beating his recent court case, Derrick Rose looks to return to All-Star form.

The Knicks could potentially be one of the best teams in the NBA, and if they can stay relatively healthy, they could give the Cavaliers a real fight in the Eastern Conference.

3. Brooklyn Nets – The Nets roster is in dire need of help. Not owning their own first round pick really hurt them in getting any quality young talent, though they brought in Jeremy Lin, who looks to fill in as the starting point guard and provide them with a reliable second go to scorer behind Brook Lopez.

Other than that, the Nets look to have a down season. They didn’t make a big splash in free agency and with a roster that lacks talent, it’s tough to see them winning 20+ games.

4. Toronto Raptors – Last years darling of the NBA had the best season their franchise has ever seen. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan are set to once again be one of the top scoring back courts in the NBA, with Lowry being the perimeter threat and DeRozan having one of the best mid-range games in the league along with getting to the rack.

The Raptors have solid role players and an up-and-coming prospect in Norman Powell, who has shown he’s ready to be a key part in Toronto’s future. If Valanciunas can stay healthy, Toronto should be alright down low, even with the loss of key reserve big man Bismack Biyombo (Magic).

5. Philadelphia 76ers – The Sixers can’t seem to catch break after things were starting to finally look up. The number one overall pick, Ben Simmons, broke his toe during practice and looks to be out for the foreseeable future.

On a positive note, Joel Embiid has returned to the basketball court after three years and looks to be pushing his minutes restriction up nightly. The Sixers look to finally have a competent NBA roster filled with lots of young talent; unfortunately, they’ll still be looking at a high lottery pick in next year’s NBA draft.