2017 NBA Mock Draft: Picks 21-30
Part 3 of my 3 part NBA mock draft predicts and breaks down each pick from 21-30. If you missed parts 1 and 2, or want to review my predictions, read my posts “NBA Mock Draft: Predicting the Top 10” and “NBA Mock Draft: Picks 11-20.”
As we get into picks 21-30, we’re looking at an area where teams might take some chances. Players picked in this area usually don’t have a lot separating them from players taken at the top of the second round. Keeping that in mind, my predictions are based on what positions I think each team needs, and what areas they need to improve on.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder: Semi Ojeleye – 6’7″ SF – SMU
Oklahoma City needs to find a player who can knock down some 3pt shots for them. They ranked last in 3pt percentage this past season. Semi Ojeleye shot 42.4% on his 3pt attempts while at SMU. Aside from his ability to knock down shots, I like Ojeleye here because he’s a team player. The Thunder players know who the man is in Oklahoma City. Ojeleye won’t have a problem with the way Russell Westbrook plays because he’s willing to sacrifice for his team. In addition to that, Ojeleye is a good rebounder and defender. Oklahoma City doesn’t really need help in those areas, as they ranked 1st in total rebounds per game and 8th in defensive efficiency. Even though they don’t need help there, why not make your team even better in an area where you already have success?
22. Brooklyn Nets: Harry Giles – 6’10” PF – Duke
The Nets aren’t close to contending any time soon. It’s for that reason I think they’ll take some risks with their draft picks. Harry Giles is a big risk. He’s had multiple knee injuries over the last several years. Considered to be one of the best players in his class when he entered college, Giles didn’t live up to the hype. He performed poorly for much of the season. Despite his poor play, a lot of teams still see the potential that put him at the top of his recruiting class. One team will take a chance on this kid, hoping that he improves, lives up to his potential, and stays healthy. For a Nets team with nothing to lose, but everything to gain, Giles is prospect worth the risk.
23. Toronto Raptors: Ike Anigbogu – 6’10” C – UCLA
The Raptors could be losing Serge Ibaka in free agency this offseason. Drafting Ike Anigbogu would give them someone to somewhat fill his role. He has the same kind of defensive potential as Ibaka. During his time at UCLA, Anigbogu only played 13 minutes a game, but he was active defensively during those minutes. Per 40 minutes, Anigbogu averaged 3.5 blocks. Losing Ibaka would significantly hurt the Raptors defense, so replacing him with Anigbogu would take away some of that hurt. Where Anigbogu needs to improve, is on offense. He’s not a great post player, which is where teams typically want their big men to succeed. He’s only 18 years old, so he still has a lot of time to develop his offensive game.
24. Utah Jazz: Bam Adebayo – 6’10” C – Kentucky
The Jazz could use a little boost in the rebounding department, as they ranked 24th in rebounds per game. Bam Adebayo averaged 10.6 rebounds per 40 minutes as a freshman. He’s a better offensive rebounder than he is defensive, but a good rebounder either way. He’s got a good offensive presence when he gets into the paint. He finished 66% of his shots from inside. His mobility allows him to run up and the down floor, which helps him get open on cuts and pick and roll plays. Utah ranked 12th in offensive efficiency, which isn’t bad, but they could use a player who has the ability to finish around the rim like Adebayo.
25. Orlando Magic: Jawun Evans – 6’1″ PG – Oklahoma State
Jawun Evans could contribute right away off the bench for Orlando. Evans averaged 19.0 points, 6.5 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game, showing that he’s a guard who can do a little of everything. His 19.0 points a game show his ability to score. He’s not afraid to drive in the lane and get hit to draw a foul. Per 40 minutes, Evans drew 7.9 fouls. When he gets to line, he makes the most of his chances, shooting 80.6%. Evans ability and fearlessness to score would be a great benefit to Orlando. They ranked 29th in offensive efficiency last season, so they could use all the offensive help they can get.
26. Portland Trail Blazers: Wesley Iwundu – 6’7″ SG/SF – Kansas State
Iwundu has experience being a point-forward, which he gained at Kansas State while playing the position next to some effective scoring guards. That experience would help him fit in with the Blazers. Lillard and McCollum are two guards who love to score, similar to the guards Wesley Iwundu played alongside in college. Iwundu probably wouldn’t get the chance to handle the ball much right away, but he could eventually fill the point-forward role as he gains more experience and trust. He’s good at attacking the rim, which will draw defenders and create shot opportunities for his teammates. He’s not a great passer, but he knows how to find people. He’d also be a valuable piece because he can guard multiple positions. Portland ranked 24th in defensive efficiency last season, so a player with Iwundu’s defensive versatility would help them out there.
27. Brooklyn Nets: Isaiah Hartenstein – 7’0″ PF/C – Lithuania
The Nets have shown interest in Isaiah Hartenstein throughout the draft process. He was coached by Nets assistant coach Chris Fleming on the German national team. Fleming knows what Hartenstein can do, as well as how to coach him. The relationship between Fleming and Hartenstein would help his adjustment to the NBA. Hartenstein is a seven footer who is just 19 years old. He has the physical tools you want from the position. He’s competitive, strong, can rebound, space the floor, and more. He’s got a lot of potential to grow and become a good NBA player. By picking him here, the Nets will be hoping they get a Kristaps Porzingis type of player.
28. Los Angeles Lakers: Ivan Rabb – 6’10” PF/C – California
Why not keep another California kid in his home state? The former California player fills a need with the Lakers for his ability to rebound. The Lakers ranked 20th in rebounds per game a season ago. Julius Randle was the teams leading rebounder with 8.6 per game. The next leading rebounder on the team had 5.9 a game. With no real threat on the glass, Ivan Rabb could give the Lakers some valuable minutes. Ivan Rabb averaged 10.5 rebounds per game at California. He’s not just a defensive rebounder either. He averaged 3.0 offensive rebounds per game. He’s starting to gain more a feel on the offensive side of the ball, which I think will come with time. For now though, his main contributions should be made on the glass, helping his team get extra possessions.
29. San Antonio Spurs: Caleb Swanigan – 6’9″ PF – Purdue
Caleb Swanigan just feels like a Spurs player to me. A lot of people don’t see him going until the second round, but I think the Spurs would love to get him here. He fits with San Antonio mostly for his rebounding. He averaged 12.5 rebounds a game last season. The Spurs ranked 18th in rebounds per game, which leaves a lot of room for improvement. Swanigan also has a great offensive game, as he scored 18.5 points a game on 54.8% shooting. People knock Swanigan for his lack of athleticism and size, which may cause some problems for him in the NBA. Although that may be true, I think Popovich could find a way to help him improve in those areas, while using his strengths to make him an effective player for the Spurs.
30. Utah Jazz: Derrick White – 6’5″ SG – Colorado
With George Hill about to hit free agency, Utah might have a whole to fill at their point guard position. Derrick White is good candidate to fill that whole. He’s seen as a combo guard because he’s more of a scorer, but I think he could make the transition to point guard if needed. He averaged 4.3 assists last season, which shows there’s some potential for him to play point. Utah ranked 12th in offensive efficiency last season, but with the possibility of Gordon Hayward leaving, their offensive numbers could look slightly different. White could help them fill the possible void on the offensive side of the ball. Pairing White with Adebayo would fill two major needs for the Jazz.
Thanks for reading the final part of my 3 part NBA mock draft. Leave a comment on who you think your favorite team will draft and why! Don’t forget to watch the NBA Draft on Thursday, June 22nd. Watch for our post “Winners and Losers of the NBA Draft” shortly after the draft happens.