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2017 NBA Mock Draft: Latest Predictions for 1st-Round Prospects

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Lonzo Ball Lands in Los Angeles Although the Boston Celtics have a point guard in Isaiah Thomas, it’s hard seeing the team pass up on the player who is No. 1 on most NBA draft boards , Markelle Fultz, who averaged 23.2 points, 5.9 assists and 5.7 rebounds for Washington as a freshman. At No. 2, forward Josh Jackson simply makes too much sense for the Phoenix Suns. Here’s Lucas McLean of Valley of the Suns with more on that topic:
Jackson is the player the Suns desperately need. The biggest weakness on Phoenix’s roster is an elite defensive presence. With the departure of P.J. Tucker the Suns lost a huge edge. No longer do they have a player who can guard the opposing teams best offensive threat relentlessly. Jackson jumps passing lanes, closes out ruthlessly, and can guard point guards to power forwards. Therefore, Lonzo Ball will stay home and go to the Los Angeles Lakers at No. 3. He can start immediately and play alongside D’Angelo Russell in the backcourt. Head coach Luke Walton’s Lakers like to push the tempo—per ESPN.com, they rank sixth in pace —which is something that Ball should have no problem handling considering he led a UCLA team that finished 20th in tempo out of 351 Division I teams, per KenPom.com . Malik Monk Will Have More Fans Trusting the Process The Philadelphia 76ers desperately need a starting-caliber shooting guard who can light it up from deep. They rank 28th in field-goal percentage ( 44.1 percent ), 25th in three-point percentage ( 34.0 percent ) and dead last in offensive efficiency ( 100.3 ), per ESPN.com. Therefore, it’s pretty obvious the 76ers need an offensive infusion. Malik Monk can be of assistance, as he averaged 19.8 points per game while shooting 45 percent from the field and 39.7 percent from three-point range. He also scored 47 points against eventual national champion UNC in a 103-100 win in December. Imagine this starting lineup for the Philadelphia 76ers next year: Ben Simmons running the point, Monk at shooting guard, Robert Covington at small forward, Dario Saric at power forward and Joel Embiid down low. Maybe former general manager Sam Hinkie was right after all. Fox Gives Jolt to Knicks The New York Knicks have a massive hole at point guard, with Derrick Rose almost certainly leaving town as a free agent. De’Aaron Fox is the clear answer, no questions asked. As seen this year, he plays with an intensity and heart that will immediately endear him to the Knicks fans dying to see tough, aggressive basketball played at Madison Square Garden once again. Fox was fantastic this season, averaging 16.7 points and 4.6 assists per game for the Kentucky Wildcats. He notably posted 39 against Ball and the UCLA Bruins in the Sweet 16. Perhaps most importantly, Fox would provide rock-steady defense for a Knicks team that allows 107.9 points per game. Here’s Howard Megdal of CBSSports.com with more on Fox:
His steal percentage is just under three percent, but that only tells part of the story. He’s a 6-foot-3 guard capable of the chase-down block. He’s a virtual wall defending off screens (0.415 PPP, per Synergy), while also strong in isolation (0.671), which is a fancy way of saying teams who tried to solve him one-on-one, through bigs coming over and knocking him down or by trying to bully him with a taller player, all found out: they can’t. Fox checks off all the boxes. He’d be a great fit in New York. Like the new article format? !

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