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The top 30 prospects in the 2017 NBA Draft

(50 Views) March 16, 2017 3:51 pm | Published by | No comment

markelle fultz

Elaine Thompson/AP

With the NCAA Tournament about to begin, the NBA world will be watching several of the top prospects.

In what’s considered a deep draft by experts, several college players can improve their NBA standing with a strong March Madness showing.

Unfortunately, much like last year, the top consensus pick, Markelle Fultz, will not be in the tournament. But several other point guards and versatile forwards will highlight the games, with NBA teams eyeing who they’d like to take with their draft picks.

To get feel of the top prospects heading into the draft, we collected the consensus picks from six experts, then used average draft position to rank them.

Our experts: ESPN’s Chad Ford, DraftExpress’ Jonathan Givony, CBS’s Gary Parrish, SI’s Andrew Sharp, Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman, and

Check out the top prospects below:

1. Markelle Fultz (PG, Washington)

Average rank: 1

Top 30s*: 6

Highest rank: 1

One thing to know: Despite missing the NCAA Tournament and missing games with a knee injury, Fultz has declared he’ll enter the NBA Draft and still is considered the top prospect for his well-rounded game.

* Experts with this player in the first round. 

2. Lonzo Ball (PG, UCLA)

Average rank: 2.5

Top 30s: 6

Highest rank: 2

One thing to know: Ball has perhaps the best court vision and deep accuracy in college basketball, but there is some concern over his funky shooting motion, which he says works for him.

3. Josh Jackson (G, Kansas)

Average rank: 2.8

Top 30s: 6

Highest rank: 2

One thing to know: Jackson is expected to play in the NCAA Tournament after serving a suspension for several off-court incidents, including allegedly kicking a woman’s car and causing damage and fleeing the scene after hitting a parked car while driving.

4. Dennis Smith (PG, North Carolina State)

Average rank: 4.8

Top 30s: 6

Highest rank: 4

One thing to know: New York Daily News’ Ian Powers says Smith’s seven-point, 3-of-12 shooting in the ACC Tournament was disappointing, but he showed “next-level” athleticism.

5. Jayson Tatum (F, Duke)

Average rank: 5.6

Top 30s: 6

Highest rank: 4

One thing to know: Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey called Tatum the best freshman in the country after scoring 19 points and eight rebounds to help Duke beat the Irish in the ACC Tournament championship game.

6. Jonathan Isaac (F, Florida State)

Average rank: 5.8

Top 30s: 6

Highest rank: 4

One thing to know: Though Isaac plays the three, at 6-foot-10, he may appeal to NBA teams looking for a rangy forward who can also slide up to the four more naturally.

7. Malik Monk (G, Kentucky)

Average rank: 6.6

Top 30s: 6

Highest rank: 5

One thing to know: Monk has the typical make-up of an NBA gunner: when he’s hot, he can single-handedly win games. But as ESPN’s Chad Ford notes, when he’s not, scouts worry he’s one-dimensional and can frustrate John Calipari.

8. De’Aaron Fox (PG, Kentucky)

Average rank: 8.1

Top 30s: 6

Highest rank: 6

One thing to know: Fox is one of the most athletic, gifted scoring guards in the draft, but shooting (24% from three) could be a drawback to some teams.

9. Lauri Markkanen (PF, Arizona)

Average rank: 8.6

Top 30s: 6

Highest rank: 7

One thing to know: Arizona head coach Sean Miller said the 7-foot Markkanen may be the best shooter in the school’s history after he hit 43% of his threes in his freshman season.

10. Frank Ntilikina (PG, France)

Average rank: 10.3

Top 30s: 6

Highest rank: 8

One thing to know: Ntilikina could be raising his draft stock with some impressive performances since becoming the starting point guard with Strasbourg.

11. Robert Williams (F, Texas A&M)

Average rank: 11.6

Top 30s: 6

Highest rank: 9

One thing to know: Ford reports that scouts are increasingly impressed by Williams’ overall game and not just his athletic defensive prowess (2.5 blocks per game).

12. Miles Bridges (SF, Michigan State)

Average rank: 12

Top 30s: 6

Highest rank: 10

One thing to know: FanRag’s Zach Harper believes Bridges can accurately be compared to Draymond Green, an MSU alumnus: “Bridges projects to be a versatile player on both ends of the floor, which satisfies the quest for a Draymond-esque, do-it-all forward.”

13. Justin Patton (C, Creighton)

Average rank: 14.6

Top 30s: 6

Highest rank: 10

One thing to know: CBS’s Gary Parrish writes that the 7-foot Patton has gone from “off the radar” to one of the more intriguing prospects.

14. Harry Giles (F, Duke)

Average rank: 15

Top 30s: 6

Highest rank: 13

One thing to know: According to Ford, some scouts and teams are still tentative about Giles, due to a lack of consistency, which has partially been the result of a knee injury. However, some are still intrigued by his potential, as he was one of the top prospects coming into his freshman year.

15. Isaiah Hartenstein (PF, Germany)

Average rank: 17.8

Top 30s: 6

Highest rank: 134

One thing to know: From Parrish: “[Hartenstein] should be the second international player off the board. The 7-footer moves well for a player his size and could be a legitimate threat from the 3-point line, like Marc Gasol is now, in time.”

16. Ivan Rabb (PF, California)

Average rank: 19.1

Top 30s: 6

Highest rank: 15

One thing to know: Rabb could have entered the draft after his freshman year, but decided to return to college. That’s lowered his projection, but he’s posting higher averages (albeit on lower shooting percentages) and could be a steal this late in the draft. 

17. T.J. Leaf (F, UCLA)

Average rank: 19.3

Top 30s: 6

Highest rank: 12

One thing to know: According to Bleacher Report’s Greg Couch, one scout believes Leaf could thrive in the small-ball NBA because of his diverse skill set.

18. Terrance Ferguson (G, Australia)

Average rank: 20

Top 30s: 5

Highest rank: 13

One thing to know: According to ESPN’s Neil Johnson, the 18-year-old Ferguson’s numbers in Australia, where he went to play professionally instead of enrolling in college, are cause for a bit of alarm — though his age may cover up some of the worries.

19. John Collins (F, Wake Forest)

Average rank: 20.3

Top 30s: 5

Highest rank: 15

One thing to know: Collins has made the biggest leap in average rank since our February ranks, thanks to a strong finish to his sophomore season in which he averages 22 points and 11 rebounds per game. 

20. Rodions Kurucs (SF, Spain)

Average rank: 20.8

Top 30s: 6

Highest rank: 19

One thing to know: Ford says Kurucs has been showing his scoring versatility as his playing time has increased in Spain. However, given that he’s only 19, he may be a “draft-and-stash” prospect for whichever team drafts him.

21. OG Anunoby (F, Indiana)

Average rank: 22.3

Top 30s: 5

Highest rank: 17

One thing to know: Anunoby is out for the season with a knee injury, which could affect his draft position. If healthy, he’s an intriguing 3-and-D option.

22. Bam Adebayo (F, Kentucky)

Average rank: 22.6

Top 30s: 6

Highest rank: 16

One thing to know: CBS’s Matt Norlander writes that Adebayo has failed to live up some of the hype upon entering his freshman year, and as a result, has become somewhat under-appreciated. He could play a big role for Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament. 

23. Donovan Mitchell (G, Louisville)

Average rank: 22.9

Top 30s: 6

Highest rank: 17

One thing to know: From Wasserman: “An abundance of big men left on the board could also benefit Mitchell, an explosive athlete, scorer and tough perimeter defender.”

24. Justin Jackson (F, North Carolina)

Average rank: 23.8

Top 30s: 5

Highest rank: 13

One thing to know: Jackson has made huge strides on all things shooting, as SI’s Brian Hamilton notes: “In the regular season, according to Synergy Sports, he was rewarded with spikes in several key categories: adjusted field goal percentage for overall spot-up scenarios (41.4 to 57.8), catch-and-shoot jumpers (44.3 to 56.9) and shots off screens (40.4 to 45.7).”

25. Luke Kennard (G, Duke)

Average rank: 24.5

Top 30s: 4

Highest rank: 18

One thing to know: Kennard was already one of the best shooters in college basketball, but he’s begun to show more aspects to his game, and his 20 points per game suggest he’s more than just a spot-up shooter.

26. Tyler Lydon (F, Syracuse)

Average rank: 25.3

Top 30s: 5

Highest rank: 18

One thing to know: As Ford notes, Lydon doesn’t stand out in any one way, but he shoots well from three, rebounds, and blocks shots — three skills that should easily find him a spot in the NBA.

27. Jarrett Allen (F/C, Texas)

Average rank: 26

Top 30s: 2

Highest rank: 15

One thing to know: From Ford: “Allen’s rangy athleticism, his massive 7-foot-6 wingspan and some huge games lately against Kansas and Baylor have impressed scouts. He’s shooting nearly 50 percent on his 2-point jumpers this season, which is an underrated part of his game.”

29. Johnathan Motley (F, Baylor)

Average rank: 26.1

Top 30s: 4

Highest rank: 16

One thing to know: Motley’s defensive versatility, with strength to guard bigger players and quickness to keep up with smaller players, should serve him well in the draft.

29. Caleb Swanigan (F, Purdue)

Average rank: 28.5

Top 30s: 5

Highest rank: 24

One thing to know: From Ford: “Not only has he become both an elite rebounder and low-post scorer (he hits 80 percent of his shots at the rim), but he also has proven to be an excellent shooter, hitting 45 percent of his 3s.”

30. Alec Peters (F, Valparaiso)

Average rank: 29.6

Top 30s: 2

Highest rank: 26

One thing to know: After four straight seasons raising his scoring averages (23.1 his senior season), Peters could be an attractive late-draft option.

Now, relive an NBA draft that has several GMs kicking themselves…

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? The players drafted before Stephen Curry in the 2009 NBA draft >

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