29 October 2020

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Redrafting the 2017 NBA Lottery

The 2017 NBA Draft was the draft of sleepers. Although the lottery was disappointing, the players that came after it really showed their potential. This class had three all-stars, but several players who are very close to reaching that all-star level. There are many teams that would like a do-over of this draft; In this article, they’re getting one. Here is what the 2017 NBA Lottery would look like if teams drafted with hindsight.

1. The Philadelphia 76ers (Via Brooklyn)

jayson tatum
Nick Wass/AP Images
  • Original Pick: Markelle Fultz
  • New Pick: Jayson Tatum

The Philadelphia 76ers made a huge mistake with their pick in the draft. When this draft happened, the 76ers had traded up from No. 3 to No. 1 with Boston (who had owned the Nets pick in the Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett trade). Although Philly could have gotten Jayson Tatum at 1, they decided to draft the Washington standout, Markelle Fultz. 

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Although Fultz is in the midst of a comeback season, on the 76ers he was a bust at best. During his two years in Philly, he averaged 7.7 points on 41.4% shooting from the field. He was absolutely atrocious and the 76ers traded him after just two years.

Jayson Tatum, on the other hand, is already a borderline MVP candidate who averaged 23.6 points per game on 44.8% shooting from the field. As a candidate for Most Improved Player this season, Tatum helped lead the Celtics to the #3 seed this year and both the 76ers and Lakers missed out.

2. The Los Angeles Lakers

Utah Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell (45) plays against the Boston Celtics during the first half on an NBA basketball game in Boston, Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
AP Photo/Michael Dwyer
  • Original Pick: Lonzo Ball
  • New Pick: Donovan Mitchell

The Lakers (along with 11 other teams) also made a huge mistake drafting Lonzo Ball over Donovan Mitchell. 

Lonzo Ball has actually been a pretty good player, but not worthy of the second pick in the draft. Like Markelle, Lonzo was traded after just two seasons where he averaged 10.0 points on 38% shooting from the field, however, he did average 6.4 assists, 6.2 rebounds, and 1.6 steals to make up for his inefficiency. Despite those two seasons, though, on the Pelicans, he averaged 12.4 points on 41.2% from the field, showing steady progress.

Donovan Mitchell would’ve given the Lakers a superstar with LeBron and no need to trade their entire core for Anthony Davis. Mitchell, right off the bat, averaged 20.5 points on 43.7% shooting and has only improved from there, getting his first all-star birth this year. Had they drafted Mitchell then they could’ve kept Brandon Ingram to form a big three with Mitchell, Ingram, and LeBron, setting the Lakers up for success for the decade.

3. The Boston Celtics

Report: Hawks Hesitant to Pay John Collins 'Significant Money' in ...
Nick Wass/Associated Press
  • Original Pick: Jayson Tatum
  • New Pick: John Collins

John Collins was originally selected 19th overall by the Hawks, but everyone knows he has well outplayed that position. By year two, he was already averaging 19.5 points and 9.8 rebounds while shooting 56% from the field and 34.8% from deep. He is everything a team could want in a young Power Forward and would’ve been the perfect fit for the Celtics, especially in 2017 when they were lacking a Power Forward.

The Celtics originally selected Jayson Tatum, but he was taken by the 76ers in this redraft.

4. The Phoenix Suns

Are Expectations For Bam Adebayo Realistic?
Michael Reaves/Getty Images
  • Original Pick: Josh Jackson
  • New Pick: Bam Adebayo

The Suns had originally selected Josh Jackson with this pick. Although there hasn’t been much news on Jackson for a while, he managed to average above ten points each year of his career, although he has been steadily declining each season.

Bam Adebayo, however, is a massive upgrade over Jackson. Adebayo had a breakout season that earned him an all-star berth. He averaged 16.2 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 5.1 assists, a shocking amount of assists for a Center. He obviously would mean that Ayton wouldn’t be drafted in 2019, but in 2017, Adebayo is the clear choice.

5. The Sacramento Kings

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 14: De'Aaron Fox #5 of the Sacramento Kings shoots a free throw against the Minnesota Timberwolves on December 14, 2017 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jordan Johnson/Getty Images
  • Original Pick: De’Aaron Fox
  • New Pick: De’Aaron Fox

The Kings did it right in 2017. Fox is a fantastic Point Guard who has been a bright spot for the struggling Kings. This year, he averaged 20.4 points while shooting 47.5% from shooting, both career highs, and has also dished out 6.8 assists and gotten 1.4 steals on the defensive end. He has been a massive success as the fifth pick and will continue to thrive as his career progresses.

6. The Orlando Magic

Jonathan Isaac is making progress in his return from injury as the NBA's hiatus bought the Orlando Magic forward some time to recover. (Photo by Harry Aaron/Getty Images)
(Photo by Harry Aaron/Getty Images
  • Original Pick: Jonathan Isaac
  • New Pick: Jonathan Isaac

The Magic also made the perfect pick in this draft. Isaac is a terrific defender who was in the midst of a breakout season before his injury. This year, he was averaging 12 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.4 blocks, and 1.6 steals. He was truly an amazing all-around talent who was a huge factor in the Magic early in the season. Isaac may well be the most talented player in the draft who could slowly evolve into one of the all-time greats.

7. The Chicago Bulls (Via Minnesota)

Chicago Bulls (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
(Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images
  • Original Pick: Lauri Markkanen
  • New Pick: Lauri Markkanen

I swear I’m not doing this on purpose! The middle of the lottery just happened to draft really well. I swear, I literally looked for anyone else of his caliber, but there wasn’t. Markkanen has been a solid scorer throughout his career. Although he had a down year this year, his play from last season showed that Markkanen has promise as a Dirk Nowitzki type of player. Even though he’s likely going to be traded soon, Markkanen was the right choice for Chicago.

8. The New York Knicks

Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images
Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images
  • Original Pick: Frank Ntilikina
  • New Pick: OG Anunoby

Frank Ntilikna has been a disappointment since his entrance to the league. He has averaged a career-high 6.3 points per game this year while shooting a horrific 39.3% from the field. He has been alright as a backup Point Guard, but that’s not what you’d hope for in the eighth-overall pick.

Anunoby would be a wonderful replacement. Sure, he doesn’t have the stats that Kuzma has, but he is a silent killer. He’s an incredible defender and a consistent scorer. This season, he’s scoring 10.7 points on 50.7% shooting and 38.1% from the field. He also averages 5.4 rebounds and 1.4 steals. He’s the ideal role player like Draymond Green or Paul Millsap. He’s great at everything, but you can’t pinpoint what he’s best at. 

9. The Dallas Mavericks

Lonzo Ball of the New Orleans Pelicans: (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images
  • Original Pick: Dennis Smith Jr
  • New Pick: Lonzo Ball

Dennis Smith Jr completely fell apart this season. After once being a promising rookie averaging 15.2 points, is now the third-string Point Guard for the Knicks averaging just 5.5 points. Smith Jr is an embarrassment for the Knicks who originally traded Kristaps Porzingis for him in one of the worst trades ever done.

Lonzo Ball would’ve been a much better and more stable selection. Even though he didn’t live up to the second pick, as the ninth he would be a solid grab. His legacy would’ve been remembered much more fondly if he wasn’t taken so early.

10. The Portland Trail Blazers (Via New Orleans)

Kyle Kuzma reacts after making a three-point shot against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Nov. 19 at Staples Center.
(Sean M. Haffey / Getty Images)
  • Original Pick: Zach Collins
  • New Pick: Kyle Kuzma

Zach Collins has not had a great career for himself. He is still young, but he’s had one season with more than 70 games. In that season, he averaged 6.6 points and 4.2 rebounds. Not something you’d hope for from a top ten pick. He only played three games this season, averaging 9.0 points and 4.0 rebounds, before suffering a shoulder injury.

Kuzma would have been a much better pick for them. The Trail Blazers were in need of a solid forward to join Lillard and McCollum. Although Kuzma is in the midst of his worst season, if it wasn’t for his beef with LeBron, he likely could have had a 20-point season. Just last season he was averaging 18.7 points on 45.6% shooting, not bad for a 23-year-old. The Blazers could’ve really used his services to make a stronger playoff run in the future.

11. The Charlotte Hornets

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Brooklyn Nets
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
  • Original Pick: Malik Monk
  • New Pick: Dillon Brooks

Malik Monk is another lottery disappointment. Although expectations were high, Monk never managed to reach them. His three-point shot is horrific, shooting 32.2% for his career and 28.4% this season. He is, however, playing his best season this year, averaging 10.3 points on a career-high 43.4% shooting.

Dillon Brooks would’ve been a massive upgrade at Shooting Guard. Despite being drafted 45th overall, Brooks averaged 11 points in his rookie season, more than Monk in his best season, and is also playing great this year, averaging 15.7 points and shooting 36.9% from deep.

12. The Detroit Pistons

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 04: Luke Kennard #5 of the Detroit Pistons looks on against the Washington Wizards during the first half at Capital One Arena on November 4, 2019 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images
  • Original Pick: Luke Kennard
  • New Pick: Luke Kennard

Had Donovan Mitchell not been on the board at the time, Kennard would’ve been a great choice at 12. He’s exactly what the franchise needed at the time, a solid Shooting Guard who can shoot the lights out. Although his season was cut short this year due to injuries, he was averaging 15.8 points while shooting 39.9% from deep. He was voted the class’s best shooter because of it. He also averaged 4.4 assists this year, showing he’s more than just a shooter.

13. The Utah Jazz (Via Denver)

Orlando Magic v Brooklyn Nets
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
  • Original Pick: Donovan Mitchell
  • New Pick: Markelle Fultz

The Utah Jazz struck gold in this draft getting Donovan Mitchell 13th overall. Unfortunately for them, the Lakers grabbed him second in this draft.

Markelle Fultz isn’t the worst consolation ever. Although he doesn’t have a healthy season until this year, he’s showed that he can be a hell of a player. This season, he has averaged 12.1 points on 47.3% shooting and is also averaging 5.2 assists. The Jazz still easily would have been a playoff team with Fultz and he still has the potential to be an all-star.

14. The Miami Heat

Chicago Bulls
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images
  • Original Pick: Bam Adebayo
  • New Pick: Jarrett Allen

The Heat also struck gold in this draft grabbing Bam Adebayo 14th, but he’s been drafted 4th overall by the Phoenix Suns in this redraft.

Jarrett Allen is a suitable replacement for Bam. He’s a consistent, solid scorer averaging 9.9 points for his career on 60.7% shooting. He’s also a great interior defender despite his 1.4 blocks. His defensive presence alone elevates him into the lottery and Jimmy Butler today would have had no problem mentoring Allen instead of Adebayo.

Other notable players include:

  • Tony Bradley
  • Thomas Bryant
  • Monte Morris
  • Josh Hart
  • Derrick White
  • Harry Giles
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