Midway through the NBA season, it has become clear what team’s biggest needs heading into next season will be. The 2017 Draft Class promises to be one of the best of the past decade, and is loaded with talent that will be ready to contribute from Day 1.
- Markelle Fultz (Washington)
Fultz is an elite point guard, with top level skill and athleticism. Fultz is the top freshman scorer in the class (22.7 ppg), and pairs this with elite level playmaking (6.6 apg) and a high basketball IQ. He is unquestionably the best prospect available, regardless of defensive concerns. Fultz provides an NBA team with an extremely athletic, multitalented playmaker at the point guard position who looks to have the ability to be a perennial All-Star.
- Josh Jackson (Kansas)
The best all around wing in the draft, Jackson has an extremely versatile game and has the ability to guard multiple positions. At 6’8”, Jackson is an NBA ready small forward with elite athleticism. He lacks NBA level shooting ability, but still projects as an immediate contributor with a high ceiling.
- Lonzo Ball (UCLA)
Lonzo Ball has been a stud all year for UCLA, leading the most dynamic offense in the country. He’s a fantastic playmaker who will be able to run a team’s offense from the get go. Furthermore, he’s a great athlete with a nice stroke from deep, hitting 43% of his 3 point attempts despite his iffy mechanics. While there are concerns about his pull up game and his ability to create his own shot, Ball would pose as a potential franchise cornerstone for a team, in a Jason Kidd type of mold.
- Jayson Tatum (Duke)
Tatum, the super talented wing from Duke, has the potential to be a top notch NBA scorer. He is adept at creating his own shot, but questions about his efficiency may hurt his stock. He profiles as a solid defender, but with a lack of elite athleticism, his ceiling could be limited compared to other players in the draft.
- Dennis Smith (NC State)
Smith has been the best Freshman in the ACC so far, proving his ability as both a scorer and playmaker. He is maybe the top athlete in this draft, drawing some comparisons to Russell Westbrook. His shot is still developing, but has so far been better than advertised. Smith’s well rounded offensive game and top tier athleticism may make him a potential all star, and he could be a dangerous scorer immediately in the NBA.
- Malik Monk (Kentucky)
After dropping 47 on North Carolina, everyone in the country should know about Wooden candidate Malik Monk. Monk is a fantastic shooter and athlete who can create off the dribble. Monk has NBA range along with a strong ability to use his athleticism to shoot around the rim. Monk has undoubtedly been Kentucky’s best player this year, leading another blue chip class of prospects. While there are questions about his size and length, Monk’s scoring ability is ultimately too much to pass up even if he has to play at the 2.
- Jonathan Isaac (Florida State)
While he is not the biggest name on this list, Isaac has picked up legitimate top 5 steam. He has drawn KD comparisons, and GMs all over the league are drooling over his long term potential. He is a 6’10 forward with the skills of a guard and above-average athleticism. He has displayed the quickness to guard smaller players as well as a strong, respectable outside stroke.
- De’Aaron Fox (Kentucky)
An elite defender, Fox is already a great two way point guard. Averaging 1.8 steals per game, he is a bulldog on the defensive end. A very strong athlete, Fox is a terrific finisher around the rim, which helps make up for his suspect perimeter shot. He is a strong playmaker, and has drawn many comparisons to his Kentucky counterpart John Wall.
- Lauri Markkanen (Arizona)
Much like an unathletic Kristaps Porzingis, Markkanen is a 7 foot power forward with a great stroke from three. He is an inside out threat with his quick release, a prototypical stretch big. Considered a top 5 pick by some, Markkanen has dropped because his lack of athleticism. He doesn’t block many shots and does not project to be a strong NBA rebounder.
- Frank Nikitina (France)
The French point guard has demonstrated that he has all the tools to succeed in the NBA as a capable defender and playmaker. At 6’5 he is a good on ball defender who can get to the rack and distribute. He has a solid outside shot, which helps make up for his average athleticism. His ceiling is not as high as the other point guards in this draft, but he projects to be a solid NBA starter.
- Miles Bridges (Michigan State)
Bridges created a lot of early buzz this year as he flashed his athletic potential jumping out as MSU’s leading scorer. He missed a couple games due to injury, but as a super athletic wing with so much potential, a team will likely take a chance on Bridges in the lottery. Bridges needs to improve his ball handling, shooting, and post defense in order to develop into a more complete player. Questions about what position he will play in the Association might also hurt his stock.
- Harry Giles (Duke)
Harry Giles has struggled tremendously since coming back from his second torn ACL. As a result, his draft stock has diminished. However, expect him to rebound as the season progresses and flash his ability to get buckets in the post. Once the top recruit in the nation, Giles has limitless potential. The question is can he stay on the floor long enough to reach it.
- OG Anunoby (Indiana)
One of the most hyped players in the Big Ten, OG Anunoby has been likened to Kawhi Leonard. Coming out of college Anunoby would enter the NBA still pretty raw, but as an impressive defender with so much athletic potential, he is a potential lottery pick.
- Ivan Rabb (Cal)
After deciding to return to Cal last year, Rabb has had a quiet but solid season for the Golden Bears. Most importantly, he has flashed improvements from last year offensively, placing him in the lottery range if he decides to enter. He has a limited ceiling, but projects to be a solid rotation big in the NBA.
- Bam Adebayo (Kentucky)
Bam Adebayo is not the most versatile on offense, however he is an NBA ready physical big man. Adebayo will likely never be more than a role player due to his lack of scoring ability, but he will likely be a physical backup big man to any team that needs extra rim protection and athleticism inside.
- Terrance Ferguson (Australia)
With elite athleticism and a nice stroke, Terrance Ferguson will likely end up in the mid-first round. He has not gotten to play a major role in Australia, and likely hurt his stock by electing to skip playing in college, but still projects as a good 3-and-D player.
- Dwayne Bacon (Florida State)
After returning for a second season, Dwayne Bacon has had a very good season as the Seminoles’ top scorer. He has shown an improved jumper making him more well rounded as a scorer than he was last year. He looks like a potential spark plug off the bench, and could sneak into the top 20.
- Justin Patton (Creighton)
The athletic 7-foot redshirt freshman has been tremendous this season, with a well rounded offensive game. He has shown defensive upside as well. Patton has the tools to be a first round pick come march.
- Isaiah Hartenstein (Germany)
Hartenstein showed up at the U-18 Euro Championships. As a built big man with a nice touch around the rim and developing jumper, he impressed by showing a lot of versatility.
- Tyler Lydon (Clemson)
The versatile syracuse forward has not sparked too much buzz this year, but has had a quietly good season. With a knockdown 3 point jumper and good IQ as a passer, Lydon should find himself picked somewhere in the late first round should he declare.
- Omer Yurtseven (NC State)
Yurtseven is a very skilled big man, making him an intriguing prospect. He’ll take time to adjust to the league but he has an appealing potential with good length and a soft stroke.
- Johnathan Motley (Baylor)
Motley has had a phenomenal year demonstrating his capabilities as an NBA ready big man. A good rebounder and defender, Motley’s game inside the paint also sets himself up as a good NBA role player.
- TJ Leaf (UCLA)
UCLA’s other freshman sensation has performed at a really high level. A great scorer inside who also has a decent stroke, Leaf is a versatile and deceptively athletic 4. It’s unclear if he has the ability to guard NBA big men though, limiting his stock.
- Marques Bolden (Duke)
Marques Bolden is another Duke 5 Star Freshman big man who has had underwhelming season. With the body of an NBA center and all the tools, a team will still take a chance on Bolden in the late first round given his upside.
- Kostja Mushidi (Germany)
A good two way player who can still improve as a shooter and in creating his own shot. He’s a good defender who can also finish at the rim with decent playmaking ability.
- Luke Kennard (Duke)
Kennard has had a great sophomore year as the most reliable player on this year’s Duke team. WIth a high IQ, Kennard is a good shotmaker who has potential as a decent scorer off the bench. Kennard is limited by his quickness to guard NBA guards.
- Jawun Evans (Oklahoma State)
The sophomore from Oklahoma State is a solid overall point guard. He is crafty, smart and a great passer. He’s been one of the nation’s best point guards this year.
- Josh Hart (Villanova)
Josh Hart, most known for the shot last year in the NCAA tourney final, has had a very good year so far. After deciding to come back for his senior year, he has shown a very well rounded game as a good defender and a good scorer at all levels. He doesn’t have too much upside though, limiting his stock.
- Alec Peters (Valparaiso)
A fantastic shot maker and scorer, Peters has averaged an impressive 24 ppg this year. He is a good option off the bench with the potential to contribute immediately, even if he doesn’t have too much upside.
- Justin Jackson (North Carolina)
Jackson has improved significantly since he was a freshman at UNC. He is the leader of a good Tar Heels team. He has potential as a decent role player in the NBA. With decent size and a decent stroke Jackson could find himself picked towards the end of the first round.