With the Lottery officially over, Mock Draft season is finally upon us. Let’s take a look at what last night’s results mean for the Timberwolves.
Familiarity breeds contempt, so the cliché goes.
For the Minnesota Timberwolves and the NBA Draft Lottery,
it’s a saying that rings all too true.
For the ninth time in franchise history, the Wolves moved down in draft position. This time from number six to number seven because the Sacramento Kings, now the Philadelphia 76ers due to a pick swap, leapfrogged Minnesota in the lottery.
Other than that, the night went pretty much chalk.
Thankfully for Los Angeles, the Lakers held on to their pick by landing in the second position for the third straight year.
Unfortunately for the Suns, they were bumped down two spots and out of the top three.
Finally, as if winning a game seven at home the other night wasn’t enough good news for the Celtic faithful, the men in green ended up in the lottery’s pole position.
So without further adieu, let’s mock draft the results. Boston, you’re on the clock…
And with the first pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, the Boston Celtics select…Markelle Fultz. No surprise here, for Fultz is the clear number one choice. Boston’s long-term strategy is playing out beautifully. The Celtics open the Eastern Conference Finals at home tonight against Cleveland and get to welcome Mr. Fultz to the Garden a month from now. Oh yeah, they have Brooklyn’s number one pick next year, too. With apologies to Kermit the Frog, it is easy being green these days.. PG. Washington. Markelle Fultz. 1. player. 18
2. player. 20. Everyone is happy in La La Land. Except, of course, the producers of the film. Are they still lamenting the Oscar night switcheroo? No, the La La Land I’m talking about is La La as in LaVar land. LaVar and Lonzo Ball get exactly what they were hoping for as the Los Angeles Lakers move up one spot to number two — a place they’ll be drafting for the third straight year. Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka, in their first major act as the Laker front office team, will undoubtedly make sure Mr. Ball will be lacing up his $495 shoe in purple and gold next season. Also, over the course of around 18 months, Lonzo will have played high school, college, and professional basketball in about a 45 mile radius. Will his talent, though, be enough to drag the Lakers out of the cellar?. PG. UCLA. Lonzo Ball
Kansas. Josh Jackson. 3. player. 93. As if the 76ers needed more young talent. Along with the Wolves, the 76ers have one of the most promising young rosters in the NBA. Of course, that’s if they can stay healthy. With health being one of the major issues Philadelphia has faced throughout “The Process”, Brett Brown, head coach of the team, has yet to have the opportunity to see how all of these young, talented pieces may fit. That being the case, the Sixers select Josh Jackson for a couple of reasons. One, he’s the best player left on the board at this point. And two, he may prove to be that dynamic two-way wing Philadelphia inserts between its two injury-prone cornerstones, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. If all three of those players are healthy and they mesh on the court, look out Eastern Conference.. SF
SF. Duke. Jayson Tatum. 4. player. 66. While the first three may be fairly straightforward now that the lottery is complete, the fourth pick might be where this draft starts to get a little more interesting. In recent mock drafts and scouting reports, certain players, such as the Kentucky guard combo, are moving up the boards. However, because Phoenix already has two dynamic young guards who need the ball to be successful, they will be looking to go in other direction with this choice. They choose Tatum and hope that he can bring some versatility to the wing position and give the Suns another weapon in their extremely young arsenal.
De'Aaron Fox. 5. player. 67. Due to the pick swap with Philadelphia, the Kings, whose spot actually moved up to number three, will draft in Philadelphia’s spot, number five. Kings’ fans shouldn’t be too heartbroken, for the team not only has this pick, but Sacramento also gets a choice in the ten slot. Because of this flexibility, the Kings snatch up the best player available, De’Aaron Fox. Fox had a fabulous NCAA tournament, and has been impressing scouts since the Big Dance. He and Buddy Hield will provide plenty of excitement in the revamped Kings’ backcourt.. PG. Kentucky
Jonathan Isaac. 6. player. 38. The Orlando Magic select Jonathan Isaac. Those words may cause pain in plenty of Wolves’ fans’ hearts if they’re uttered by commissioner, Adam Silver, in next month’s draft. Isaac is one of the favorite choices amongst Timberwolves’ fans and the on-line community. Unfortunately, the lengthy Seminole may be gone before Tom Thibodeau has a chance to take a chance on him. Like Ball before him, Isaac won’t have to travel far to make it to his next practice. Magic fans will rejoice when they find out that Mr. Isaac is making his way from Tallahassee to Orlando to be, perhaps, the team’s centerpiece as they move forward in their seemingly ongoing rebuild.. SF/PF. Florida State
86. When the Timberwolves pick at number seven next month, several popular choices may already be gone. In this mock draft, there’s no Tatum, Isaac, Jackson, or Fox to pick from for Minnesota. Realistically, any of those players, besides Jackson, could still be around when the Wolves are on the clock. Now, it comes down to two players: Malik Monk and Lauri Markkanen. The Timberwolves have to make a choice. They may eventually trade the pick, but they are unable to do so until after they draft a player. So, if you’re waiting on a draft night trade, you need to wait until after Minnesota makes its selection. Despite Monk’s excellent scoring ability, Thibodeau cannot pass up the opportunity to draft Karl-Anthony Towns’s front court running mate in Markkanen. Thibs will introduce the big KAT to a big cat, Wildcat that is, after he makes Lauri an NBA rookie with the seventh pick.. PF. Arizona. Lauri Markkanen. 7. player
SG. Kentucky. Malik Monk. 8. player. 27. The Knicks have the eighth pick, and they need to find some young perimeter scoring to complement Kristaps Porzingis in the front court. Malik Monk, a player who could potentially go as high as number four, slides down to eight in this scenario. Phil Jackson is convinced Monk will be able to run the triangle offense, so he wastes no time in making him the newest member of the Knicks. Now, the question is: do they move on from Melo and build around Monk and the Zinger?
Zach Collins. 9. player. 79. No one, with the possible exception of Fox, improved their draft standing in the NCAA tournament as much as Mr. Collins did this March. The Zags athletic freshman looked like a young Kevin McHale as he worked in the paint, displaying an array of post moves that would make most NBA veterans jealous. Collins, a player who may fit well on the Wolves in a possible trade-down situation, may thrive under the tutelage of aging star and future Hall of Famer, Dirk Nowitzki. While he may not have a ceiling as high as some other lottery picks, Collins could be exactly the player the Mavs need as they bid farewell to the face of the franchise, Nowitzki.. PF. Gonzaga
67. Bare with me here. These are the Kings, remember. If anyone is going to throw a monkey wrench into the lottery, it’s Vlade Divac and Sacramento. This is not the pick any experts are choosing, nor is it the pick I would make if I had the tenth choice. However, the Kings have two lottery choices, so the odds of them rolling the dice with the second one are high. Divac, though he has young bigs in Skal Labissiere and Willie Cauley-Stein, just can’t help himself in trying to find a diamond in the rough. Giles was thought to be a top-five choice all the way up until the beginning of the college basketball season. He had a rough year at Duke, but I wouldn’t put it past the Kings’ front office to swing for the fences with this one. In the end, it probably won’t be Giles in this slot. If I were to guess, though, this is where the draft may take an interesting turn.. C. Duke. Harry Giles. 10. player
Dennis Smith. 11. player. 170. Dennis Smith is the third player chosen in the first eleven who stays in state for his professional career. The Hornets take the NC State point guard and run him out there with Kemba Walker, creating a backcourt similar to the tandem up in Portland. With a versatile wing in Nicolas Batum and a number of solid front court players, Buzz City gets themselves another perimeter threat in Smith.. PG. NC State
PG. France. Frank Nitilikina. 12. player. 64. The Pistons pick up a point guard with the 12th selection in Frank Nitilikina. The French prospect may slide in behind Reggie Jackson to begin the year, but he may find himself starting by mid-season. Jackson was rumored to be traded last year, for Ricky Rubio at one point, so Stan Van Gundy won’t be afraid to pull the trigger this year if Nitilikina can prove he’s ready to run an NBA team.
13. player. 73. National Champion Justin Jackson certainly had more than “One Shining Moment” this past spring. Now, he makes his way to the Mile High City to provide some wing youth for an up-and-coming Denver team. The Nuggets feature an exciting backcourt in Jamal Murray and Gary Harris, and the best young big man west of the Twin Cities in Nikola Jokic. Jackson will slide in perfectly behind veteran, Wilson Chandler, and could be a replacement if need be. What the Nuggets do should interest the Timberwolves, for if the Wolves have playoff aspirations next season, Denver is a team they must surpass.. SF. North Carolina. Justin Jackson
110. Erik Spoelstra’s Miami Heat largely overachieved this season and nearly missed the playoffs. Adding a talented young big man, TJ Leaf, to play alongside Hassan Whiteside is the perfect fit for a Miami team ready to make it back into the playoffs next season. Leaf benefited from playing with Lonzo Ball this past year in Westwood, and he should find similar opportunities while running the floor with veteran Goran Dragic. Leaf fills a need for Miami, and Spoelstra will find a way to get the most out of this young Bruin.. PF. UCLA. T.J. Leaf. 14. player
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