2017 NBA Mock Draft: Picks 11-20
Part two of my three part mock draft covers picks 11-20. If you missed part one, go back and take a look by reading “2017 Mock Draft: Predicting The Top 10.” The top 10 picks in the draft are used on players who can step in right away and make a big impact for a team. As we get into picks 11-20, we’re looking at players who can still make an impact, but some may take a little more time to develop. A couple of the players on my list from 11-20 could probably go in the top 10 if a team liked them enough. This range is also where teams start to pick players for their potential. They may not have a big impact right away, but down the road they could have a big role. Let’s take a look at picks 11-20.
11. Charlotte Hornets: Zach Collins – 7’0″ C – Gonzaga
The Hornets don’t have an established threat at the center position. With Frank Kaminsky, Miles Plumlee, and Cody Zeller, the Hornets could go for an upgrade. Out of these three guys, Zeller led them in rebounding with 6.5 a game. The leading rebounder on the Hornets (Marvin Williams) averaged 6.6. Zach Collins averaged 5.9 rebounds per game in his average of 17.2 minutes. This translates into 13.6 rebounds per 40 minutes. Collins is also a good shot blocker, which is something the Hornets also need. Their leading shot blocker from last season averaged 1.0 per game. Collins adds another element needed on this Hornets team with his 3pt shooting ability. He shot 47.6% from behind the arc. Charlotte ranked 18th in 3pt shooting a year ago. Collins would give an upgrade in three areas where this team needs to improve.
12. Detroit Pistons: Luke Kennard – 6’6″ SG – Duke
Luke Kennard has been moving up draft boards with strong showings in his workouts. His shooting ability has caught the eye of several teams. The Pistons go with Kennard at this spot for his shooting. This team ranked 28th in 3pt shooting last season, shooting just 33%. Kennard averaged 19.5 points per game on 52.5% shooting from the field and 43.8% from 3pt range. This team is still a long ways from contending, but adding a player like Kennard is a step in the right direction. I don’t think he’s going to be a star in the NBA, but I do think he’ll be a solid and reliable player for many years.
13. Denver Nuggets: OG Anunoby – 6’8″ SF – Indiana
Picking OG Anunoby at 13 is a little bit of a risk because of his recent knee injury back in January. If he can return to form, the Nuggets are getting a player who can make a big impact for them. Anunoby has the potential to become an elite defender. He showed the ability to guard all five positions while at Indiana. He has a great combination of size, athleticism, and speed. Defense is what the Nuggets need most. They ranked 29th in defensive efficiency last year. Anunoby’s defense will allow him to step in and contribute as soon as he’s healthy. Where Anunoby needs to improve, is on the offensive side of the ball. He only shot 31.1% from 3pt range, while averaging 11.1 points per game. I think his offensive game will continue to develop, allowing him to have a bigger offensive role down the road.
14. Miami Heat: Donovan Mitchell – 6’3″ SG – Louisville
Donovan Mitchell doesn’t have the ideal size to play shooting guard in the NBA, coming in at just 6’3″. His size suggests that he should be a point guard, but he’s not really suited to play point. He averaged just 2.7 assists at Louisville last year. Where he makes up for his lack of height, is with his 6’10” wingspan and athleticism. This allows him to guard bigger players. I think Mitchell is a good fit next to Dragic in Miami. Dragic will help Mitchell fulfill his offensive potential. From his Freshman to Sophomore season, Mitchell improved his 3pt percentage from 25% to 35%. He averaged 15.6 points per game, but he’s still developing his offensive game. His improvement from year one to year two shows that he’s still growing, and he has the potential to get a lot better.
15. Portland Trail Blazers: John Collins – 6’10” PF – Wake Forest
With Ed Davis and Noah Vonleh at the power forward spot, the Blazers need an upgrade. John Collins could come in from day one and give the Blazers some nice offense from the position. He averaged 19.2 points per game on 62.4% shooting. The majority of his points came from post-ups, which is where he excels. He’s also a pretty good rebounder, as he averaged 9.8 per game. The Blazers ranked in the middle of the pack (15th) in rebounding last year, so they could use a boost in that area. His offensive game and rebounding ability make him a good pick for the Blazers at No. 15.
16. Chicago Bulls: Justin Jackson – 6’8″ SF – North Carolina
Chicago ranked 26th in 3pt percentage last season. Shooting just 33.7%, they could use an upgrade there. Justin Jackson shot 37% from 3pt range in his junior season, which is a career high. He improved his shooting a lot from his Sophomore season. Jackson entered the draft after his sophomore season, but decided to return to school after being told to improve his shooting. Jackson worked all offseason and did exactly that. He’s got a great work ethic and determination to win, which led the Tar Heels to a National Championship. I think Jackson has the potential to develop into an All-Star player. He may start out slow, but he’ll continue to work and improve his game. I can see him having a similar path to Jimmy Butler.
17. Milwaukee Bucks: Jarrett Allen – 6’11” C – Texas
Milwaukee ranked 29th in rebounds per game a season ago. Jarrett Allen averaged 8.4 rebounds per game at Texas. Allen is very long, standing at 6’11” with a 7’5″ wingspan. His length will help the Bucks improve their rebounding. He can also help the Bucks improve a defensive unit that ranked 16th in defensive efficiency. Allen can protect the rim with his shot blocking ability. Allen needs to add some weight to his frame, as he may get pushed around by bigger players. He’s a good scorer with his back to the basket, but his light frame may limit his effectiveness scoring if he can’t match the strength of his match-up.
18. Indiana Pacers: Terrance Ferguson – 6’7″ SG – Australia
Terrance Ferguson has been inconsistent while playing in Australia. He’s only shot 31.3% from 3pt range, which is surprising because his shooting ability is considered the strength of his game. Ferguson’s potential is higher than he’s shown. The Pacers draft Ferguson here because of his potential. He’s got the potential to be an elite spot-up shooter, making him a weapon from the outside. Ferguson is also an explosive player who plays great perimeter defense. If he doesn’t fulfill his potential as a shooter, he should be able to keep a spot on an NBA roster because of his defense. He could help a Pacers team that ranked 19th in defensive efficiency last season.
19. Atlanta Hawks: T.J. Leaf – 6’10” PF – UCLA
T.J. Leaf is a big man who can shoot the long ball. He shot 46.6% from 3pt range at UCLA last season. He can also move inside and be a force under the basket, as he shot 64.4% from the field. He helps Atlanta in two offensive areas where they need to improve. They ranked 24th in 3pt% and 27th in offensive efficiency last year. Leaf can shoot from anywhere on the floor, so he’s the kind of player Atlanta needs. As a big man who can shoot, he’ll space the floor and create opportunities for his teammates. He would also bring a rebounding bonus to a Hawks team who ranked 5th in rebounds per game.
20. Portland Trail Blazers: Justin Patton – 7’0″ C – Creighton
With picks 20 and 26, the Blazers will be looking for players with a lot of upside, and that’s exactly what they’ll get with Justin Patton. He averaged 12.9 points and 6.2 rebounds in 25.3 minutes per game a season ago. He’s a great athlete who can run around and play well in transition. I think he’d be a good fit for the Blazers in their back-up center role behind Jusuf Nurkic. He needs to improve his rebounding if he wants to make a significant impact for a team, but for now his athletic ability and his ability to run the floor should get him some minutes.
Thanks for reading my predictions for picks 11-20. Predictions for picks 21-30 will be posted in a few days. Please come back and read the final part of my mock draft. Don’t forget to leave a comment about who you think your favorite team will draft and why!