Re-drafting the NBA's 2017 class: Who's No. 1?
The 2020 NBA draft was scheduled for Thursday until the coronavirus closed the basketball world. We won't know which player will hear his name first until October 16 - the new draft date - and it will take a few seasons to see which players will drop out. The 2017 draft class was full of potential, but three seasons later, we pretty much know which players are advancing and which busts are.
So here's how the 2017 draft should have ended with what we know today.
Jayson Tatum is the class of 2017 design. (Photo by Carmen Mandato / Getty Images)
No. 1 Jayson Tatum
Current choice: Markelle Fultz, Philadelphia 76ers
Tatums Draft Slot: No. 3 Boston Celtics
In just three short seasons, Tatum rose to the top of this draft class and is an aspiring superstar. The 22-year-old wing averaged 23.6 points and 7.1 rebounds per game before the season was interrupted in early March. Tatum is in the 92nd percentile in points per game on 5.8 possessions per game as a pick-and-roll ball handler. That's more than 2.4 possessions per game in the 2018-19 season.
Every aspect of his game has continued to improve. He has shot over 400 three-pointers this season - more than twice as many attempts as in his rookie year - and shoots 39.9 percent from below for his career. His ball handling has improved and he has an average of less than two sales per game in his three seasons. Tatum finds freedom on the offensive and becomes a scoring machine that loses 30 or more points in 14 games this season.
Its 6-foot-8 frame has started to fill up, making it a defensive threat. Tatum had four steals in his last game against the Indiana Pacers and an average of 2.5 steals in his last four games before the break. He can guard all three positions on the perimeter and fall low in ISO situations.
Tatum is the most complete player in this design class and an all-star for years to come.
No. 2 Donovan Mitchell
Actual selection: Lonzo Ball, L.A. Lakers
Mitchell's Draft Slot: No. 13 Utah Jazz
Mitchell's rise was quick and without warning during his rookie season. He won the Slam Dunk Contest and finished second at Ben Simmons as Rookie of the Year. In three seasons he scored an average of 22.7 points, 4.1 rebounds and four assists per game. It's an impressive achievement considering that LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are the only other two players in history to score an average of at least 22 points, four rebounds and four assists in their first three seasons. It's hard to believe Mitchell dropped to 13th place in 2017, and he was the biggest surprise in this class.
Mitchell is one of the best playmakers in the NBA and is great on the sidelines and in contact. At 23, he's a young leader for a highly competitive Utah jazz team and has the potential to be a franchise player later.
Bam Adebayo has some surprising aspects in his game. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman / Getty Images)
No. 3 Bam Adebayo
Current selections: Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics
Adebayos Draft Slot: No. 14 Miami Heat
Adebayo is a modern big that is extremely versatile at 6-foot-9. He has speed in the open space and great hands that make him a dream tandem for guards. In his three seasons, Adebayo has improved almost every line of statistics. His ability to find cutters on the track is rare for a power forward. He has an average of 5.1 assists per game this season, with ten or more assists five times this year.
Bam was named NBA All-Star this season after averaging 16.2 points and 10.5 rebounds per game in a heat breakout year.
De'Aaron Fox is one of the fastest players in the league. (Photo by David Berding / Getty Images)
No. 4 De'Aaron Fox
Current choice: Josh Jackson, Phoenix Suns
Fox 'Draft Slot: No. 5 Sacramento Kings
Fox is one of the fastest end-to-end guards in the NBA and certainly the best point guard in this design. He was just about to force the Sacramento Kings into a playoff spot before the season was interrupted. Fox has slowly turned into an Elite Point Guard, averaging 20.4 points and 6.8 assists per game this season.
His 3-point shot needs to be improved and only shot 33.5 percent in his career. The seedy point guard has the ability to take over possessions and can fire a shot whenever the clock is running. If this year's improvement is an indication of Fox's growth, fans will see him in an all-star game very soon.
Lonzo Ball needed a change of scene. (Photo by Abbie Parr / Getty Images)
No. 5 Lonzo Ball
Current choice: De'Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings
Balls Draft Slot: No. 2 Los Angeles Lakers
All reporting prior to the 2017 draft concerned the LaVar Ball sideline. It's not difficult to say that LaVar was the biggest star at the Barclays Center. Fans sang his name, asked for pictures, and some fans bored him out of the arena. Despite all of his father's antics, Lonzo has become a productive professional. His stay in Los Angeles lasted two seasons, but this year in New Orleans was different. Ball averaged 20.8 points per game in March, and we've started to get some insight into what he can do with Zion Williamson on the court. Ball was one of the best passers-by in college and it is still one of its greatest strengths. He has an average of seven assists per game this season and wins 15 cents against the Boston Celtics at the end of January.
He entered the league with an unconventional jump shot, but has changed his shooting mechanics and his numbers have improved. Ball's 3-point shooting percentage improved to 38.3 percent after shooting only 30 percent in its rookie season. He is the only player in this design class to score an average of at least 10 points and six assists per season.
If Jonathan Isaac is healthy, he's an elite defender. (Photo by Sean Gardner / Getty Images)
No. 6 Jonathan Isaac
Current choice: Isaac from Orlando Magic
Injuries have plagued Isaac during his three seasons. A knee injury limited him to 32 games this season, but the 6-foot-11 striker was on the way to a breakout year. Isaac averaged 12 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. Defensively, he can guard almost any position, turn everything on and hit players on the edge. His 3-point shoot (33 percent) isn't bad for a player of his size, and he's tried at least two 3-point shots in almost every game this season.
Isaac has developed into one of the best young shot blockers in the league and has been in the top 20 of the total blocks in the last two seasons. He had 78 blocks in his shortened season and ousted players like Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Dwight Howard. If Isaac stays healthy, his defensive player of the year could be honored in the future.
The value of OG Anunoby goes beyond the statistics. (Photo by Alex Goodlett / Getty Images)
No. 7 OG Anunoby
Current choice: Lauri Markkanen, Minnesota Timberwolves
Anunobys Draft Slot: No. 23 Toronto Raptors
Anunoby has excelled as a player who does all the little things. As a true 3-and-D player, his stats aren't crazy (10.7 points and 5.4 rebounds per game), but he's very effective. The 6-foot-7 wing shoots 38.1 percent of three and over 50 percent of the field.
It is what he does defensively that makes him such an asset. In isolation defense, he is in the 94th percentile and only gives 0.61 points per possession. It is also versatile and can guard all five positions. Anunoby is the perfect starting role player for any team with a superstar.
John Collins is an important part of the Hawks' future. (Photo by Todd Kirkland / Getty Images)
No. 8 John Collins
Current choice: Frank Ntilikina, New York Knicks
Collins' Draft Slot: No. 19 Atlanta Hawks
Collins is super bouncy at 6-foot-9 and a highlight when catching lobs and ending putbacks. He is a good 3-point shooter with 40.1 percent this season and achieves an average of 21.6 points and 10.1 rebounds. It's not big enough to have the defensive presence on the street that the Hawks need, and not fast enough to stay on the sidelines in front of the guards. With Trae Young leading the young Hawks, Collins is an integral part of the reconstruction and will have a long career due to his outdoor shots.
Jarrett Allen has an old school game. (Photo by Mitchell Leff / Getty Images)
No. 9 Jarrett Allen
Current choice: Dennis Smith Jr., Dallas Mavericks
Allen's Draft Slot: No. 22 Brooklyn Nets
No player in this class has more than Allen's 293 career blockers or 1,665 rebounds. The 6-11 center also begins to find its place on the offensive average, 10.6 points per game and 195 offensive boards this season. He occasionally takes a 3-pointer here and there, but most of its value comes on the lane or on the block. Allen is an old school center that is only 22 years old. He has the time to expand and develop his game. However, since the NBA places more emphasis on guards and playmakers, Allen's role on the court is limited without developing an outside shot.
Lauri Markkanen's third season wasn't great. (Photo by Adam Glanzman / Getty Images)
No. 10 Lauri Markkanen
Current choice: Zach Collins, Sacramento Kings
Markkanens Draft Slot: No. 7 Chicago Bulls
Markkanen has had a quiet career with a difficult Chicago Bulls team, but he still managed to build solid numbers. In the 2018/19 season, Markkanen scored 10 or more points in 48 of the 52 games he played. He averaged 14.7 points and 6.3 rebounds this season, scoring 20 or more points in just 10 games this year. He is 7 feet tall, but struggles with defense when he needs to get out and guard the perimeter. The bulls weren't the best place for young players to grow, and Markkanen was plagued by injuries. He could experience another wave of success in another team that could use a 7-foot playmaker on the wing.
Derrick White of the San Antonio Spurs in action against the Miami Heat during the second half at the American Airlines Arena on January 15, 2020 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves / Getty Images)
No. 11 Derrick White
Current choice: Malik Monk, Charlotte Hornets
White's Draft Slot: No. 29 San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs have an incredible eye for recognizing talent and fit. White was not a popular choice late in the first round, but has become one of the sharpest defenders in the league. The 6-4 guard is one of the best shot blockers in the league thanks to its wingspan of 6-8. In the 2019-20 season, the average was just under one block per game. He is hard on the track, reaching the free-throw line 74 times this year and shooting 85.7 percent. His 3-point shooting has improved since the 2018/19 season, but still needs to be worked on. White isn't particularly good at creating for others in the trail or in ISO situations, but it seems to do really well everything else that makes it an important rotation player.
Kyle Kuzma has taken a step back since a good rookie season. (Photo by Harry How / Getty Images)
No. 12 Kyle Kuzma
Current choice: Luke Kennard, Detroit Pistons
Kuzmas Draft Slot: No. 27 Los Angeles Lakers
Kuzma played as if he were one of the biggest sleepers in the first round of his rookie season, averaging 16.1 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. He also shot decently from the 3-point range at 36.6 percent, his career level. Kuzma was the only young asset to stay with the Lakers after the team swapped Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Josh Hart for Anthony Davis last summer. Kuzma is not a great defender, but one thing he can do is score. Will he ever be an all-star? Probably not, but he's a good player.
Josh Hart should have had a long NBA career. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman / Getty Images)
No. 13 Josh Hart
Current choices: Donovan Mitchell, Denver Nuggets
Harts Draft Slot: No. 30 Los Angeles Lakers
Hart is one of the best rebound guards in the league and is at the forefront of rebound rate statistics for players under 6-5 (along with Dejounte Murray). He's a high-motor player attacking the glass and he averaged 6.5 rebounds this season. Hart is a solid rotation player who has had his moments this season and scored big goals for the pelicans. In Christmas Day's win over the Denver Nuggets, Hart ended the race with 16 points and moved from the 3-point line to 4 to 5. Villanova has a long history of making older productive guards and Hart can help immediately is no exception. He has improved steadily every season and has the potential to have a long career as a rotation guard.
Zach Collins missed most of this season. (Photo by Steve Dykes / Getty Images)
No. 14 Zach Collins
Current choice: Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat
Collins' Draft Slot: No. 10 Portland Trail Blazer
Collins had to pause most of the year after a shoulder injury at the end of the season. We started to see what Collins could do with a little more development, as he was a key player who came off the bench during the Western Conference semi-final last year. During the series, he averaged 8.7 points and 4.2 rebounds and scored 14 points in two of the seven games. Collins is a solid rim protector that can leave the 3-point line. During the 2018-19 season, he made 40 3-pointers and shot 33 percent from deep. It's still a project, but Portland seems like a good opportunity for the young striker to develop into a solid professional.
Markelle Fultz of the Orlando Magic in action against the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center on February 24, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac / Getty Images)
No. 15 Markelle Fultz
Current choice: Justin Jackson, Portland Trail Blazers
Fultz 'Draft Slot: No. 1 Philadelphia 76ers
Many people wrote off Fultz after a limited time in Philadelphia and his unusual shoulder injury that broke his almost perfect leap from college. He's been through a lot during his three years in the league, but Fultz started finding his way around Orlando after a trade in 2019. He averaged 12.1 points and 5.2 assists this season and shot 47.3 percent of the field. His 3-point shot still needs work as he only hit 30 out of 118 this season. The advantage of Fultz is that it is still young and will be 21 in May. He appears to be healthy and has fully recovered from his excruciating shoulder injury.
No. 16 Luke Kennard
Current choice: Justin Patton, Chicago Bulls
Kennards Draft Slot: No. 12 Detroit Pistons
Current team: Detroit Pistons
Season 2019-20: 15.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, 4.1 assists
Career totals: 9.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists
No. 17 Frank Ntilikina
Actual selection: D.J. Wilson, Milwaukee Bucks
Ntilikina's Draft Slot: No. 8 New York Knicks
Current team: New York Knicks
Season 2019-20: 6.3 points, 2.1 rebounds 3 assists
Career totals: 6 points, 2.2 rebounds, 3.1 assists
No. 18 Dillon Brooks
Actual selection: T.J. Leaf, Indiana Pacers
Brooks' Draft Slot: No. 45 Memphis Grizzlies
Current team: Memphis Grizzlies
Season 2019-20: 15.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2 assists
Career totals: 12.4 points, 3 rebounds, 1.7 assists
No. 19 Monte Morris
Current selections: John Collins, Atlanta Hawks
Morris' Draft Slot: No. 51 Denver Nuggets
Current team: Denver Nuggets
Season 2019-20: 8.4 points, 3.5 templates
Career totals: 9.4 points, 3.6 templates
No. 20 Dennis Smith Jr.
Actual choice: Harry Giles, Portland Trail Blazers
Design slot by Smith Jr .: No. 9 Dallas Mavericks
Current team: New York Knicks
Season 2019-20: 5.5 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.9 assists
Career totals: 12.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, 4.5 assists
No. 21 Josh Jackson
Current choice: Terrance Ferguson, Oklahoma City Thunder
Jackson's Draft Slot: No. 4 Phoenix Suns
Current team: Memphis Grizzlies
Season 2019-20: 10.4 points, 3.2 rebounds
Career totals: 12.1 points, 4.3 rebounds
No. 22 Justin Jackson
Current selections: Jarrett Allen, Brooklyn Nets
Jackson's Draft Slot: No. 15 Sacramento Kings
Current team: Dallas Mavericks
Season 2019-20: 5.7 points, 2.4 rebounds
Career totals: 6.6 points, 2.6 rebounds
No. 23 Terrance Ferguson
Current selection: OG Anunoby, Toronto Raptors
Fergusons Draft Slot: No. 21 Oklahoma City Thunder
Current team: Oklahoma City Thunder
Season 2019-20: 4.2 points, 1.5 rebounds
Career totals: 4.9 points, 1.4 rebounds
No. 24 Frank Jackson
Current choice: Tyler Lydon, Utah Jazz
Jackson's Draft Slot: No. 31 New Orleans Pelicans
Current team: New Orleans Pelicans
Season 2019-20: 5.6 points, 1.4 rebounds
Career totals: 7 points, 1.8 rebounds
No. 25 Harry Giles
Current selection: Anžejs Pasečņiks, Orlando Magic
Giles' Draft Slot: No. 20 Sacramento Kings
Current team: Sacramento Kings
Season 2019-20: 7 points, 4.2 rebounds
Career totals: 7 points, 4 rebounds
No. 26 Semi Ojeleye
Actual choice: Caleb Swanigan, Portland Trail Blazers
Ojeleyes Draft Slot: No. 37 Boston Celtics
Current team: Boston Celtics
Season 2019-20: 3.1 points, 2 rebounds
Career totals: 3 points, 2 rebounds
No. 27 Sterling Brown
Current choice: Kyle Kuzma, Brooklyn Nets
Browns Draft Slot: No. 46 Milwaukee Bucks
Current team: Milwaukee Bucks
Season 2019-20: 5 points, 3.7 rebounds
Career totals: 5.2 points, 3.1 rebounds
No. 28 Malik monk
Current selections: Tony Bradley, L.A. Lakers
Monks Draft Slot: No. 11 Charlotte Hornets
Current team: Charlotte Hornets
Season 2019-20: 10.3 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists
Career totals: 8.6 points, 1.9 rebounds, 1.7 assists
No. 29 Wes Iwundu
Current choice: Derrick White, San Antonio Spurs
Iwundus Draft Slot: No. 33 Orlando Magic
Current team: Orlando Magic
Season 2019-20: 5.3 points, 2.5 rebounds
Career totals: 4.6 points, 2.5 rebounds
No. 30. Thomas Bryant
Current choice: Josh Hart, Utah Jazz
Bryants Draft Slot: No. 42 Los Angeles Lakers
Current team: Washington Wizards
Season 2019-20: 12.1 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists
Career totals: 9.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists
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