Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images
The NBA news and rumors were flying fast on Twitter in the days leading up to the draft. While we did see a few splashes, namely Chicago Bulls superstar forward Jimmy Butler being traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves, the picks largely went as expected.
Ultimately, this year’s player pool has a ton of star power and depth on paper. The 2017-18 season will be fascinating, as we’ll see if that thought comes to fruition.
Here’s a look at each team’s first-round selection alongside some grades and analysis.
2017 NBA Draft Board
2017 NBA Draft First-Round Grades and Selections
1. Philadelphia 76ers: Washington PG Markelle Fultz (B)
Fultz is a great fit for the 76ers, who need a go-to scorer who can shoot from the outside or slice to the rim. He’s a multidimensional offensive threat who was a dynamite offensive star in his lone year at the University of Washington, and he could immediately become the 76ers’ No. 1 scoring option.
The only reason why this grade is a “B” is because the 76ers gave up a first-round selection to the Boston Celtics to move up just two spots.
Clearly, the 76ers think Fultz is head and shoulders above the rest of the draft class, but if he becomes an All-NBA Team member someday, no one will care about that selection being traded away.
2. Los Angeles Lakers: UCLA PG Lonzo Ball (A)
The Lakers get the mature, pass-first floor general they needed in Lonzo Ball, who should immediately slot in at starting point guard.
Ball is set up for success in L.A. Not only is he close to home, but he can learn under Magic Johnson, the best point guard in NBA history.
Furthermore, there isn’t as much of pressure on Ball to produce right away as one might think.
Sure, his father’s boisterous manner has put a bull’s-eye on his back, and the second-biggest market in the country is hungry for a winner after four years of losing, but the Lakers are a very young team that still needs to grow. It’s not realistic for them to turn things around next year.
With a little time and development, Ball should develop into an All-Star.
3. Boston Celtics: Duke F Jayson Tatum (A)
The Celtics desperately needed another scorer to take the load off Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley, and Jayson Tatum, who scored 16.8 points per game for the ACC tournament champion Duke Blue Devils, fits the bill with ease. Tatum can score from anywhere on the floor and can play small forward or power forward.
His selection won’t put the C’s on par with the defending Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers, but with the addition of a star free agent this offseason (perhaps Gordon Hayward or Blake Griffin), Boston will suddenly have the deepest team in the NBA, with players who can pour in points and play shutdown defense.
4. Phoenix Suns: Kansas F Josh Jackson (A)
The Suns are a very young team that has a ton of potential. The problem is that they are very bad defensively in a conference loaded with offensive superstars. Per ESPN.com, the Suns finished third-to-last in defensive efficiency.
Simply put, they can’t compete with the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets by outscoring them every night. Instead, they need to find a way to improve on defense, and Josh Jackson fits the bill perfectly. He can slot right into the starting lineup and be tasked with defending his opponent’s best offensive threat (minus the center position).
The Suns still need more pieces to cobble together a better team defense, but Jackson is a great start.
5. Sacramento Kings: Kentucky PG De’Aaron Fox (A)
This is the best pick of the entire draft, as the Kings get a player at No. 5 who could very well be seen as the No. 1 player from the class of 2017 down the line.
Fox has as much potential as anyone else picked this year. On offense, Fox is a great ball-handler who can drive to the rim with ease. On defense, he’s tenacious. And it seems like he’s done nothing but say and do all the right things since he stepped foot in Lexington. No one in the draft may have better intangibles than him.
Fox will immediately become the Kings’ starting point guard. There will be some growing pains with this being such a young team, but Fox has Hall of Fame potential.
One can’t help but wonder if the Kings-Lakers rivalry from the early 2000s will be renewed with Fox and Ball in the same division.
6. Orlando Magic: Florida State F Jonathan Isaac (B)
Isaac stays in-state as the Orlando Magic pick him sixth overall. The former Seminoles forward should slot in as the starting small forward immediately.
His addition to the starting lineup is quite interesting, as he and power forward Aaron Gordon on the court at the same time should make for some nightmare matchups next year. Their combined length and ridiculous athleticism will be a problem for many teams.
If Isaac continues to improve his three-point shooting (he was at 34.8 percent last year), then he could become one of the best players to emerge from this draft.
7. Chicago Bulls: Arizona PF Lauri Markkanen (C)
The Bulls sent Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for a package that included the No. 7 pick, and with that selection, Chicago took the seven-foot sharpshooter from Arizona, Lauri Markkanen.
Markkanen had a solid season at Tucson, averaging 15.6 points per game (alongside 42.3 percent three-point shooting), but where will he slot within this lineup?
Is he going to play alongside Nikola Mirotic and Robin Lopez in the starting lineup? If so, the Bulls are going to have issues on defense, as smaller and quicker forwards who can stretch the floor would give Chicago problems.
Still, Chicago was a poor shooting team last year, finishing 25th in the NBA in field-goal percentage, so Markkanen could help improve that mark significantly.
8. New York Knicks: SIG Strasbourg PG Frank Ntilikina (B)
The best player on the board at No. 8 was Malik Monk, the former Kentucky shooting guard who dropped 47 points on eventual national champion North Carolina this year, but the Knicks decided to fill a larger position of need at point guard.
It’s difficult to trust the Knicks’ judgment at this point, especially when president of basketball operations Phil Jackson went on television the night before the draft and confirmed rumors that 7’3″ star forward Kristaps Porzingis could be traded, but New York has to take a shot on a young point guard to build around for the future.
New York has had issues there on and off since Walt Frazier was manning the position, so it’s time for some consistency. Ntilikina is probably its best shot at No. 8.
9. Dallas Mavericks: NC State PG Dennis Smith Jr. (C)
The Mavs fill a position of need by picking Smith at No. 9, who will presumably start alongside Seth Curry in the backcourt next season with Yogi Ferrell coming off the bench.
At times last season, Smith looked like one of the best players in college basketball, like when he scored 32 points against Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium in an upset win.
But Smith was inconsistent as well. Of course, a tumultuous season in which Mark Gottfried was eventually fired (he finished the season as a lame-duck coach) didn’t help, but Smith’s performance in the ACC tournament (seven points and four turnovers in a first-round loss to Clemson) was a disappointing end to his Wolfpack career.
Still, Smith is young (he’ll be 19 years old when the NBA season begins) and has a ton of potential. A Smith-Curry pairing could be very fun to watch.
10. Portland Trail Blazers: Gonzaga F/C Zach Collins (A)
After a trade with the Sacramento Kings, the Trail Blazers selected Gonzaga center Zach Collins, one of the most efficient players in college basketball last year (funny enough, you’ll see the same thing said about another big man named Collins at pick No. 19).
Collins was a key member on a Gonzaga team that made the national championship and lost just two games all year. He averaged 10.0 points (on 65.2 percent shooting), 5.9 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in just 17.3 minutes per game. In case you’re wondering, yes, he put up those numbers despite playing less than half the game on average.
Collins and Nurkic should make for a dynamic and athletic frontcourt pairing, with the bruising Nurkic clearing space down low and the more versatile Collins showing his range both shooting and defending.
11. Charlotte Hornets: Kentucky SG Malik Monk (A)
Somehow, Malik Monk, who averaged 19.8 points per game and was the SEC Player of the Year as a freshman, fell all the way to 11th.
The Hornets are obviously getting a steal with Monk outside the top 10. He’s an NBA-ready scorer who can slot next to Kemba Walker and Nicolas Batum and immediately make the Hornets a strong contender to return to the playoffs.
Charlotte needed some three-point shooting help, as it was 18th in the NBA last season. Monk will immediately boost that number right away and is an early contender to be the NBA Rookie of the Year.
12. Detroit Pistons: Duke SG Luke Kennard (A)
This is a no-brainer pick. The Pistons were one of the worst shooting teams in the NBA last season, making just 33.0 percent of their three-pointers, which ranked 28th out of 30 teams.
In an NBA where teams are more reliant on the three-pointer than ever, that simply isn’t going to cut it.
Enter Luke Kennard, who was one of the best scorers in Division I men’s college basketball last season. Kennard shot 49.0 percent from the field and 43.8 percent from three-point range last year.
Kennard will probably start the season on the bench behind incumbent starter Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and provide the second unit with a much-needed scoring boost.
13. Utah Jazz: Louisville SG Donovan Mitchell (A)
The Jazz traded with the Denver Nuggets to acquire this pick, and with it, they took Louisville guard Donovan Mitchell, who should immediately provide some much-needed backcourt depth. In fact, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Mitchell usurp Rodney Hood at the starting shooting guard.
Mitchell fits Utah’s identity seamlessly. He’s a tough, hard-nosed defender who finds himself on a team that prides itself on its efforts at that end of the floor, led by star center Rudy Gobert.
If the Jazz convince Gordon Hayward to stick around, they could contend for a top-three seed in the Western Conference playoffs next year.
14. Miami Heat: Kentucky PF Bam Adebayo (A)
The Kentucky power forward, who was overshadowed in Lexington by star guards Malik Monk and De’Aaron Fox, dramatically rose up everyone’s mock drafts and big boards in the days leading up to the draft.
It’s easy to see why, as Adebayo is a 6’10” power forward built like a block of granite. He was also very productive in his lone season in Kentucky, posting 13 points and eight rebounds per game.
Adebayo and Whiteside will form one of the toughest frontcourts in the NBA next year, and the Heat should be one of the best rebounding and blocking teams in the NBA (if not the best at each). Whiteside’s length is always a problem for anyone driving the lane, and Adebayo’s a solid rebounder already.
The Heat, who went 30-11 in the second half of the season, could be one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference next year.
15. Sacramento Kings: North Carolina SF Justin Jackson (B)
The Kings picked up another college star after trading with the Portland Trail Blazers to acquire the 15th pick, as they selected the best player on last year’s national championship team, Justin Jackson.
Sacramento is in full rebuilding mode after trading center DeMarcus Cousins last year, and it is clearly trying to acquire as many younger assets as possible and see what works.
While Jackson doesn’t project to have the upside and athleticism of other players picked outside the lottery, he’s still a very good and productive forward who can immediately make an impact in the Kings’ rotation as someone who can score from anywhere on the court. It will be interesting to see how he pairs with Fox if Jackson finds himself in the starting lineup.
16. Minnesota Timberwolves: Creighton C Justin Patton (A)
It’s a debate as to whether the Timberwolves or Kings are having the best draft night after Minnesota made this pick. Patton is an athletic 7-footer who will create a great frontcourt pairing with Karl-Anthony Towns (teams finding a missing piece in the frontcourt seems like a theme in this draft).
All of the sudden, the Wolves have a great starting five, with Jimmy Butler and Andrew Wiggins on the wing and Ricky Rubio manning the point. The Timberwolves look like the No. 1 candidate to be the most improved team in the NBA next year.
17. Milwaukee Bucks: Michigan PF DJ Wilson (C)
DJ Wilson and Derrick Walton led Michigan on an incredible run through the Big Ten tournament and into the Sweet 16, where the Wolverines nearly beat Oregon.
While Wilson should have a productive NBA career, Wake Forest big man John Collins, who was taken two picks later by the Atlanta Hawks, might be the best big man in this entire draft.
Wilson is a first-round draft pick for sure, but given Collins’ incredible production last season, he may have been a better pick at this spot.
Still, Wilson should fit in well with a scrappy Bucks team that is on the rise.
18. Indiana Pacers: UCLA PF TJ Leaf (C)
TJ Leaf had a great season in UCLA, scoring 16.3 points and 8.2 rebounds for an up-tempo, high-energy offense in Westwood.
Much like the Bucks and Wilson, however, John Collins seemed like a better pick in this spot. Collins seems like a player that a team can build around down the line, and he would have been a good fit with Myles Turner in the frontcourt.
However, Leaf has a lot of potential as well and should see a lot of playing time off the bat on a team that’s likely beginning its rebuilding mode following the assumed exit of star forward Paul George.
19. Atlanta Hawks: Wake Forest PF John Collins (A)
With Dwight Howard being traded to the Charlotte Hornets, the Hawks had a gaping hole in their frontcourt alongside Paul Millsap.
Enter John Collins, an energetic forward from Wake Forest who is an NBA-ready scorer and rebounder. He also happened to be one of the most efficient players in college basketball last year, posting averages of 19.2 points and 9.8 rebounds in 26.6 minutes per game.
He’ll immediately provide a jolt to the Hawks’ starting lineup, which was very inconsistent last season. If the Hawks can find another outside shooter this offseason, don’t be surprised to see Atlanta become a top-four seed in the Eastern Conference next year.
20. Sacramento Kings: Duke PF Harry Giles (A)
The Kings continued their excellent draft by taking Harry Giles after acquiring the 20th overall selection from the Portland Trail Blazers.
As said before, the Kings (much like the Suns and Lakers) are accumulating a boatload of young talent and seeing what works for them.
Giles, who was considered one of the best players in the class of 2016 when he was in high school, suffered knee injuries in 2013 and 2015. He played sparingly in his one year at Duke as he worked his way back slowly from the latter injury.
This is a great spot to take a chance on Giles. If he comes close to fulfilling the potential he once had before the injuries, then this is clearly the steal of the draft.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder: Adelaide SG Terrance Ferguson (B)
The term that keeps being thrown around regarding Terrance Ferguson, an American prospect who decommitted from Arizona and played one year overseas instead (one has to wonder if this becomes a more popular route), is “three-and-D.”
Ferguson has the potential to be a better version of DeMarre Carroll, a very solid three-and-D player for the Atlanta Hawks when they won 60 games a few seasons ago.
He won’t be expected to contribute much right away, but down the line, he could slot into the starting lineup as a knockdown outside shooter and shutdown defender.
22. Brooklyn Nets: Texas C Jarrett Allen (A)
With Brook Lopez now a Los Angeles Laker in the D’Angelo Russell deal, the Nets needed a big man to take his place.
Allen was arguably the best frontcourt player remaining at this spot (one can argue that it could be Caleb Swanigan, but Allen is more athletic and has better upside).
The 6’10” Allen should have the opportunity to play significant minutes right away in the Nets’ starting lineup. Brooklyn is a young team that is learning the pro game under head coach (and former player development guru) Kenny Atkinson, so this is a good spot for the former Texas center to learn and grow.
23. Toronto Raptors: Indiana F OG Anunoby (B)
This pick has a similar feel to the Kings’ selection of Harry Giles at No. 20. If not for a torn ACL suffered midseason that ended his year, Anunoby would have probably been a back-end lottery selection.
However, his stock dropped a bit, and Anunoby ended up being a late first-round pick. Not that the Raptors are complaining, of course, as Anunoby, if he returns to form, could end up being a crucial piece in the team’s rotation next year and a future starter at small forward.
The 6’8″ Anunoby, if he stays healthy, could have one of the longest and most productive NBA careers out of anyone picked in the back end of the first round.
24. Denver Nuggets: Syracuse F Tyler Lydon (C)
Denver grabbed this pick in its deal with the Utah Jazz, also acquiring young big man Trey Lyles as well.
Tyler Lydon is yet another big man in this draft who can bang down low and shoot from the outside. The 6’9″ power forward averaged 13.2 points per game last year and shot 39.2 percent from the three-point line, but he also grabbed 8.6 boards and swatted 1.4 blocks.
The issue is that Lydon is joining a very crowded frontcourt, featuring Nikola Jokic, Danilo Gallinari, Juan Hernangomez and Mason Plumlee. Denver was probably best served taking a guard who could provide some depth right away.
Still, Lydon has the potential to be a solid NBA pro.
25. Philadelphia 76ers: Herbalife Gran Canaria C Anzejs Pasecniks (B)
The 76ers grabbed this pick in a trade with the Orlando Magic. Pasecniks is a 7’1″ big man who could provide some excellent depth behind center Joel Embiid. Here is Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer with more on the pick:
Kevin O’Connor @KevinOConnorNBA
Anzejs Pasecniks is one hell of a value pick at 25. Super mobile, can stroke 3s, drive. Terrific move by Philly. https://t.co/oAhKTHnXvM https://t.co/SehKBAZryx
It sounds like a broken record at this point, but once again, we see another big man who can stick it from the outside getting selected in the first round. If that wasn’t an indication that the era of centers sticking to the post for 40 minutes per game is over, then who knows what else would be.
Pasecniks will probably play sparingly off the bat, but keep an eye on his development down the road.
26. Portland Trail Blazers: Purdue F Caleb Swanigan (B)
With this pick, coupled with the Zach Collins selection at No. 10, the Blazers suddenly have one of the deepest frontcourts in the entire NBA.
Swanigan was one of the most productive players in college basketball last year, scoring 18.5 points and 12.5 rebounds last year while also showing a deft shooting touch (44.7 percent from three-point range and 78.1 percent from the free-throw line). He should fit in well with Portland and make an immediate impact off the bench, giving the Blazers some excellent depth.
Ultimately, Swanigan’s versatility should help him greatly on the next level.
27. Los Angeles Lakers: Utah PF Kyle Kuzma (B)
The 6’9″, 220-pound Kuzma improved steadily in each of his three seasons playing for Utah, averaging 16.4 points and 9.3 rebounds per game last season.
With the Lakers, he’ll join a very young frontcourt where Brook Lopez is the elder statesman at 29 years old (until his contract runs out next year).
Kuzma won’t contribute much right away, especially with so many players sitting in front of him on the depth chart, but he could be a nice addition to the rotation in a year or two.
While Kuzma certainly shows promise, a shooting guard or wing seemed like the best fit here, especially with Nick Young bolting for free agency and D’Angelo Russell no longer in the mix. Of course, the Lakers did take care of that three picks later.
28. Utah Jazz: UNC C Tony Bradley (B)
The Jazz acquired this pick from the Lakers in a draft-night deal, and with the selection, Utah took the 6’11” Tony Bradley, who played sparingly in his one season at Chapel Hill but was productive while he was on the court.
It’s not Bradley’s fault that he couldn’t find much playing time last year, as upperclassmen Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks grabbed most of the time there. Still, Bradley did well in his 14.6 minutes of playing time, posting 7.1 points and 5.1 boards per game.
Bradley fills the frontcourt rotation spot vacated by Trey Lyles, who was traded to the Denver Nuggets on draft day. He’ll very likely spot center Rudy Gobert when he needs a breather.
29. San Antonio Spurs: Colorado G Derrick White (A)
The Spurs do it again with another great steal, this time picking Colorado guard Derrick White, a late bloomer who rose up big boards during the predraft process.
The former Buffalo scored 18.3 points per game last season, making over 40 percent of his three-pointers. With the Spurs, he should get some quality minutes off the bench and could even moonlight at point guard if called upon.
Don’t be surprised if White is starting for San Antonio within a few seasons.
30. Los Angeles Lakers: Villanova SG Josh Hart (A)
Well, as said in the Kyle Kuzma section, the Lakers needed another guard to replace the departed Nick Young and D’Angelo Russell, and Hart could certainly fit that bill.
Simply put, Hart is a proven winner and leader. He won the national championship with Villanova two years ago and was nothing but productive during his time with the Big East powerhouse, averaging 18.7 points per game in his senior year.
Remarkably, Hart never shot less than 50 percent in each of his four years at Villanova. Although he doesn’t have a ton of upside, and other prospects project better athletically, Hart is just a damn good player. He should get a shot to take the starting shooting guard role immediately.
2017 NBA Draft Second-Round Grades and Selections
31. New Orleans Pelicans: Duke SG Frank Jackson (B)
The Pels acquired this pick from the Charlotte Hornets in a draft-day deal.
This is a great opportunity for Jackson, who averaged 10.9 points per game in his lone season at Duke. New Orleans’ backcourt is a bit thin at the moment, especially with guard Tim Frazier now with the Washington Wizards, so Jackson can play significant minutes right away (and even start).
32. Phoenix Suns: Miami SG Davon Reed (A)
As noted before when the Suns picked defensive stalwart Josh Jackson, Phoenix needs to dramatically improve its team defense to compete with some of the best offenses the game has ever seen.
Enter Reed, who DraftExpress called Reed a “three-and-D” style wing. This is a smart pickup for Phoenix, as they get a player who can help strengthen Phoenix’s D and provide some outside shooting off the bench.
33. Orlando Magic: Kansas State G/F Wesley Iwundu (B)
The Magic need help on the wing, as evidenced by their selection of Jonathan Isaac in the first round. However, Orlando needs to boost up its bench, as its second unit was one of the least productive in the NBA last season. Iwundu could help fill two needs with one pick.
34. Sacramento Kings: Kansas PG Frank Mason III (B)
This is an A for value but a C for need, as the Kings already drafted a point guard in De’Aaron Fox in the first round.
Mason is a heck of a player and could conceivably start for an NBA team in need of a floor general next year thanks to his four years of seasoning at Kansas, so it’ll be interesting to see how he fits in with the Kings. Ultimately, the Kings probably felt the value was too hard to ignore.
35. Memphis Grizzlies: Cal PF Ivan Rabb (A)
Somehow, the Cal power forward slid all the way to 35th after being mocked in the first round by most people in the weeks leading up to the NBA draft.
The Grizzlies, who traded with the Magic for this pick, get a steal here at No. 35 and someone who could provide some much-needed depth in the frontcourt.
36. Philadelphia 76ers: Crvena zvezda PF Jonah Bolden (C)
Every year we see teams take some high-risk, high-reward flyers in the second round, and this is one such case with Jonah Bolden as Philadelphia picked him over forwards Semi Ojeleye and Jordan Bell.
He’s a 6’10” power forward with a lot of potential, but he’s going to need to ride the bench for a few years before making any significant contributions for Philadelphia. It will be interesting to see how much he contributes to The Process.
37. Boston Celtics: SMU F Semi Ojeleye (A)
This is the best pick of the second round, tied with the player at No. 38. The versatile Ojeleye is a Swiss Army Knife who can do a little bit of everything. He will be an excellent contributor off the bench and immediately makes the Celtics’ second unit No. 1 in the league.
38. Golden State Warriors: Oregon PF Jordan Bell (A)
In five years, we’ll be wondering how Ojeleye and Bell ended up in the second round. Right now, everyone is wondering how the heck the Warriors managed to come up with one of the biggest steals of the draft.
Bell could become the next Dennis Rodman or Ben Wallace. He projects as a high-energy rebounder and blocker who can dominate down low despite being a bit undersized. Golden State is a perfect fit for Bell, who can learn behind another high-energy player in Draymond Green.
39. Los Angeles Clippers: Oklahoma State PG Jawun Evans (B)
Like the Frank Mason pick, this is an A for value but a C for need, as the Clippers already have Chris Paul in the mix. However, if Paul ends up jetting elsewhere, this pick will become an A.
Evans has been severely undervalued. Although he doesn’t have the size and athleticism of other point guards, he has the results, as he ran the point for one of the best offenses in college basketball last year.
40. Charlotte Hornets: Florida SG Dwayne Bacon (C)
A curious pick after the Hornets took Malik Monk 11th overall, and Bacon doesn’t have the upside as other players picked after him. Still, Bacon was a productive college player and the leading scorer on a Florida State team that finished tied for second in a brutally tough ACC. He could be a good asset off the bench.
41. Atlanta Hawks: Oregon SG Tyler Dorsey (A)
The Hawks filled a frontcourt gap by picking John Collins, who fell much further than he should have, at 19th overall.
Now, they picked up a hot shooter in Tyler Dorsey, who lit up the NCAA tournament with his incredible offensive efforts. The Hawks need another outside shooter, and Dorsey could fit that bill.
42. Los Angeles Lakers: Indiana PF Thomas Bryant (B)
At No. 42, Bryant is a good value, especially considering his giant 7’6″ wingspan.
He joins a very crowded frontcourt, which includes first-round pick Kyle Kuzma, but Bryant could emerge as the better prospect. Regardless, he provides some nice depth for the Lakers off the bat.
43. Houston Rockets: Žalgiris Kaunas PF Isaiah Hartenstein (A)
An incredible value at No. 43, Hartenstein is a 7’1″ big man who can shoot. As Fran Fraschilla noted on the ESPN broadcast of the draft, Hartenstein may have been a lottery selection next year if he entered the 2018 draft, so Houston may be getting a huge steal here.
He needs to grow and develop, and it’s doubtful that he plays much (if at all) next season, but Hartenstein shows a lot of promise for a mid-second-round pick.
44. New York Knicks: Houston SG Damyean Dotson (B)
The Knicks need another outside shooter in a backcourt with a murky and unclear future, so enter Damyean Dotson, who averaged 17.3 points per game for Houston last season, shooting 44.3 percent from three-point range.
The 6’5″ Dotson could potentially take over Courtney Lee’s starting shooting guard spot down the line.
45. Memphis Grizzlies: Oregon F Dillon Brooks (A)
The Grizz acquired this pick from the Rockets and took another productive Pac-12 player in the second round. This time, it was Oregon forward Dillon Brooks, who helped lead the Ducks to their first Final Four appearance since 1939.
Brooks should join the Memphis rotation right away and be a great fit on the blue-collar Grizzlies.
46. Milwaukee Bucks: SMU F Sterling Brown (A)
The 6’5″, 225-pound shooting guard is another “three-and-D” prospect, per Mike Schmitz and Josh Riddell of DraftExpress, and is someone who should fit in well with the up-and-coming Bucks. He should be able to join the rotation next year.
Brown averaged 13.4 points per game last year, most notably shooting 44.9 percent from three-point range.
47. Indiana Pacers: UCLA C Ike Anigbogu (A)
The Pacers pick up a player who was mocked in the first round by numerous analysts leading up to the draft.
Combined with fellow Bruin TJ Leaf and incumbent center Myles Turner, the Pacers have a young and intriguing frontcourt next year.
48. Los Angeles Clippers: South Carolina F Sindarius Thornwell (A)
Thornwell, who willed the Gamecocks to a Final Four appearance, was one of the best players in college basketball last season. Sometimes, it seemed like he was playing at a faster speed than everyone else on the floor, as he crashed the boards with reckless abandon from the backcourt.
If the Clippers manage to keep their core intact, Thornwell could be a vital asset next season. He could be the missing link that finally gets the Clips to the Western Conference finals.
49. Denver Nuggets: Mega Leks SF Vlatko Cancar (B)
For those scoring at home, yes, three players from the Serbian team Mega Leks were drafted this season. If you had Mega Leks players being drafted more often than defending champion North Carolina Tar Heels (two) in your betting pool, then congratulations, you just won the big bucks.
As far as Vlatko Cancar goes, he is a 6’7″, 200-pound small forward who won’t be coming stateside this year. That’s probably for the best as the Nuggets already have crowded forward positions. But it’ll be interesting to see if he pans out.
50. Philadelphia 76ers: Naterre 92 PF Mathias Lessort (B)
Like Cancar, Lessort isn’t going to be a 76er just yet. The 6’9″, 250-pound big man provides plenty of promise, and Bogdan Karaicic of DraftExpress notes that he has a “huge motor.” Lessort may be a bit undersized for his position, but a huge motor can certainly go a long way toward a prosperous NBA career.
51. Denver Nuggets: Iowa State PG Monte Morris (A)
Denver is a team on the rise, thanks to breakout superstar Nikola Jokic, but it has a hole at point guard. Jameer Nelson is on the back side of his career, and Emmanuel Mudiay hasn’t worked out and likely needs a change of scenery.
Enter Morris, who was one of the best players in the competitive Big 12 last year and led the Cyclones to an NCAA tournament berth.
Don’t be surprised if Monte Morris is starting playoff games for the Denver Nuggets at point guard next season.
52. Indiana Pacers: Xavier PG Edmond Sumner (A)
Sumner suffered a knee injury against St. John’s in a midseason Big East conference game and missed the rest of Xavier’s season.
It was a particularly disappointing injury because Sumner was having such a promising year, averaging 15.0 points, 5.0 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game.
If Sumner returns to his pre-injury form, the Pacers have a potential second-round steal on their hands. Right now he could contend for the backup point guard role behind Jeff Teague.
53. Boston Celtics: Arizona SG Kadeem Allen (B)
Keith P. Smith of Celtics Blog notes that Allen is a “defensive stopper.” The 24-year-old, who played two years for the Arizona Wildcats, isn’t going to light up the scoresheet, but any team can use a player in the mold of a Tony Allen or Bruce Bowen.
He can come off the bench and shut down an opposing guard giving the Celtics some issues.
54. Phoenix Suns: Valparaiso PF Alec Peters (B)
Peters was one of the best mid-major players in college basketball last season, posting 22.5 points, 9.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists for Valpo last year. The 6’8″ power forward also showed a deft shooting touch, making 36.9 percent of his three-pointers and 88.8 percent of his free throws.
In that respect, he’s a bit like Caleb Swanigan in that regard, a player who doesn’t project to have a ton of upside but can carve out a long and solid NBA career thanks to a versatile offensive skill set.
55. Utah Jazz: Gonzaga PG Nigel Williams-Goss (A)
The best player on a team that made the national championship and lost just two games last season, Williams-Goss figures to get a crack at the backcourt rotation this upcoming year.
Coupled with the choice of Donovan Mitchell at No. 13, it’s clear that the Jazz were targeting guards to improve their backcourt depth. Williams-Goss at pick No. 55 goes a long way toward helping in that regard.
56. Boston Celtics: Cal SG Jabari Bird (B)
A look at the Celtics roster reveals that Bird probably doesn’t have a role on next year’s team. Chances are he’ll be sent to the G-League to work on his game, but if a Celtic guard gets injured, Bird could be the first man up to replace someone on the active roster.
Bird enjoyed a solid four-year career at Cal, averaging 14.3 points in his final season.
57. Brooklyn Nets: FC Barcelona PF Aleksandar Vezenkov (B)
Vezenkov doesn’t figure to be on the Nets roster next year. He’s a 6’9″, 225-pounder who NBADraft.net says is a “typical European stretch PF that can play inside/outside with ability to knock down long-range shots from beyond the arc.”
The Nets, who finished with the league’s worst record last year, need as many young players with potential that they can get, so this seems like a decent risk to take at No. 57.
58. New York Knicks: Mega Leks G Ognjen Jaramaz (B)
A curious selection for the Knicks, especially considering that they already took guards with their first two picks. Jaramaz was the second Mega Leks player taken off the board.
The 6’5″ guard won’t be on the roster next season, but at this point in the draft, it’s probably best to take shots on high upside players given the small amount of risk that comes with the 58th selection. In other words, no one is going to protest if this doesn’t work out.
Per Poasting and Toasting, though, it looks like he’s got some spring in his step. Keep an eye on Jaramaz in a few years.
59. San Antonio Spurs: Clemson F Jarrod Blossomgame (B)
The 6’7″ Blossomgame, who played four years at Clemson, averaged 17.7 points per game last year for the Tigers. He was also named First Team All-ACC for the 2015-16 NBA season.
Blossomgame had a bit of a down year shooting the ball, making just 25.5 percent of his three-pointers, but if he returns to his 2015-16 form, the Spurs could be getting a nice asset off the bench.
60. Atlanta Hawks: Mega Leks PF/C Alpha Kaba (B)
The last Mega Leks player taken in the draft, Kaba is a 6’10”, 226-pound center prospect with a ridiculous wingspan of over 7’5″. A player with those measurements seems like a steal with the last pick in the draft, though the success of the pick largely depends on his development in the coming years.