The 2017 draft class was solid during their rookie season, led by Donovan Mitchell and Jayson Tatum. Some players have exceeded their expectations while some have not fully lived up to the hype. With that in mind, here is redo or re-draft of the 2017 class (lottery only) now that teams have a better gauge on how good players really are. I would like to clarify that this list is mostly based on their past performances and full potential of each player is not factored in as much. That being said, it’s still a young group so this list may change on a year-to-year basis. Enjoy!
1.Philadelphia 76ers take: Donovan Mitchell originally:Markelle Fultz
Taken 13th overall in the 2017 draft, Mitchell was a steal and likely would have won Rookie of the Year if not for Ben Simmons. Mitchell and Tatum have been far and away the best players of the draft to this point and one may argue Tatum is the better player. However, Mitchell would fit the 76ers’ system more than Tatum. Mitchell dominated his rookie season, averaging 20.7 ppg with 5.7 win shares, and carrying the Jazz to the second round of the playoffs. The Sixers’ lineup would be better if Markelle Fultz was replaced at shooting guard byr Donovan Mitchell whereas Tatum does not fit in as well.
2.Los Angeles Lakers take: Jayson Tatum originally:Lonzo Ball
No doubt with Mitchell taken at one, the Lakers take Jayson Tatum. Lonzo Ball still has potential as a defender and shooter, but Tatum was arguably the Celtics’ best player during the playoffs last season. Without Kyrie Irving or Gordon Hayward, Tatum averaged 18.5 ppg on 47.1% shooting as the Celtics lost to the Cavaliers in game seven of the Eastern Conference finals. Also, take a second and just imagine Lebron and Tatum on the same court; they’d be a top team in the west.
3.Boston Celtics take:Lonzo Ball originally:Jayson Tatum
Taken second in the 2017 draft, Lonzo has struggled to stay healthy but has shown loads of potential when on the court. Ball’s biggest weakness during his rookie season was his shooting. but 11 games into this season, he has improved his 3 point shot from 30.5% to 38.8% and his true shooting from 44.4% to 55.7%. While it’s a small sample size for this season, it’s an encouraging sign to see him shooting better and having Lebron there takes the spotlight off him. The Celtics would definitely downgrade their lineup by replacing Tatum with Lonzo, who would probably be the sixth-man.
4.Phoenix Suns take:Lauri Markkanen originally:Josh Jackson
With the fourth pick, the Suns would upgrade power forwards by taking Lauri Markkanen over Josh Jackson. Markkanen and Jackson are both power forwards, but Jackson lost his starting spot to Ryan Anderson at the start of the season. Markkanen had a solid rookie season, averaging 15.2 ppg and ranking 2nd amongst rookies with 7.5 rpg, only behind Ben Simmons. Markkanen has yet to play this season due to an elbow sprain, and having him instead of Josh Jackson would’ve given Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton some more support in Phoenix
5.Sacramento Kings take:De’Aaron Fox originally:De’Aaron Fox
Taken fifth in the 2017 draft, De’Aaron Fox stays with the Kings. Fox is a freakish athlete and one of the fastest players in the NBA as he averaged 11.6 ppg and 4.4 apg during his rookie campaign. Though the is still young, Fox seems to have gotten better over the offseason and he is now averaging 18.7 pgg and 7.3 apg through the Kings’ first 11 games. Sacramento has been better than expected so far, currently 6-5, and Fox’s improvement is a big reason for that.
6.Orlando Magic take:Kyle Kuzma originally:Jonathan Isaac
Taken 27th overall out of Utah by the Lakers in the 2017 draft, Kuzma is the highest climber from their actually draft spot on the list. Expected to be a deep reserve going into the season, Kuzma quickly emerged as a reliable option as he averaged 16.1 ppg and 6.3 rpg on 45.0% shooting. Since Kuzma is a very similar player to Jonathan Isaac, this pick makes sense. While it’s still early in their careers, it appears the Magic would have been better off by taking Kuzma.
7.Chicago Bulls take:Dennis Smith Jr. originally:Lauri Markkanen
Dennis Smith Jr., had a very solid season in his rookie year for the Mavericks after he was taken ninth overall out of NC state. Smith Jr., would be a better option at point for Chicago than often-injured guard Kris Dunn. The problem that I saw with this pick is that the chemistry between DSJ and Zach Lavine may be rough since they are both shooters who can take the ball up. Still, Smith Jr., is a natural playmaker, and has the potential to be one of the best players coming out of this draft.
8.New York Knicks take:Markelle Fultz originally:Frank Ntilikina
And finally, here is the highly criticized Markelle Fultz. After the 76ers traded up from the third pick to take Markelle first overall last year, he lost the form to his jumper after sustaining a shoulder injury and only played 14 games in his rookie year. That being said, Fultz is still on this list due to how much potential he has. During his lone season at Washington, Markelle averaged 23.5 ppg and 5.9 apg for a subpar team. But most encouraging of all was that Fultz shot 41.3% from 3 point range. Frank Ntilikina seems like a bad selection for the Knicks and it would have been interesting to see how Fultz performed if there was less pressure on him as a lower pick.
9.Dallas Mavericks take:John Collins originally:Dennis Smith Jr.
Taken 19th overall by the Hawks out of Wake Forest in 2017, Collins had a very solid rookie season. An explosive and aggressive player, Collins averaged 10.5 ppg and 7.4 rpg in just 24.1 minutes per game. Collins picked it up at the end of last season and he averaged 12.2 ppg and 8.8 rpg during the month of April as a starter. Had the Mavericks taken Collins, it’s very likely that he would have been the power forward of the future to replace Dirk Nowitzki. He has not played yet this season due to an ankle sprain but it will be exciting to see how he plays alongside Trae Young when he returns.
10.Portland Trail Blazers take:Josh Hart originally:Zach Collins
Taken with last the pick of the first round by the Lakers out of Villanova, Hart has exceeded expectations so far. Coming off the bench for much of his rookie season, Hart averaged 7.9 ppg and shot 39.6% from deep. Through 11 games to start the season, it appears Hart has gotten much better as he’s improved those numbers up to 12.1 ppg and 45.5% from 3. Hart would be an interesting pick for the Blazers. While he likely wouldn’t crack the starting lineup with Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum in their backcourt, Hart would help to improve 3 point shooting off the bench alongside Seth Curry and Nik Stauskas.
11.Charlotte Hornets take:Jarrett Allen originally:Malik Monk
While Malik Monk isn’t necessarily a bad player, the pick really didn’t address the Hornets’ needs. The Hornets already had Kemba Walker and Nicolas Batum in their backcourt so Monk didn’t receive all that much playing time last season, averaging 13.6 mpg in 63 games. Jarrett Allen is an efficient scorer and above-average defender, Allen was a solid pick by the Brooklyn Nets last season as he was taken 17th overall. While Cody Zeller has been decent as the Hornets’ starting center, having Jarrett Allen would be better.
12.Detroit Pistons take:Jonathan Isaac originally:Luke Kennard
Taken 6th overall by Orlando in 2017, Isaac has shown a lot potential but just hasn’t stayed healthy. He has only been in uniform for 35 out of 93 possible games. Last season, the Magic struggled with a record of 25-57, second worst in the east. However, with Isaac on the court, the Magic played better and had an 11-16 record. He has a much higher ceiling than Luke Kennard and likely would would start at small forward over Stanley Johnson if the Pistons had him. It could have been a really fun team to watch with Isaac playing next to Blake Griffin.
13.Utah Jazz take: Josh Jackson originally:Donovan Mitchell
Taken fourth overall by Phoenix last season, Jackson has been a disappointment to start his NBA career. After an underwhelming rookie season where Jackson averaged 13.1 ppg on a low 26.3% clip from 3, Jackson has played terribly to start this year. Through 10 games, Jackson is down to 7.4 ppg on 26.1% from 3 and committing turnovers at an atrocious 28% rate. He has lost most of his minutes off the bench after losing his starting spot from last season in favor of rookie Mikal Bridges. While Jackson is still young, the Jazz hit the lottery with Donovan Mitchell and likely wouldn’t be a playoff team if they had Jackson instead of him.
14.Miami Heat take: OG Anunoby originally:Bam Adebayo
OG Anunoby has played well in the minutes he’s received to begin his career. While it’s tough to get minutes behind Kawhi Leonard, OG has been a reliable option off the bench, averaging 6.2 ppg in 83 career games. Anunoby takes care of the ball and only turns it over at a rate of 10.2%. Anunoby would fit in nicely with the Heat system and would likely play a key bench role for Erik Spoelstra.
I hope you enjoyed!
Comment your thoughts below!