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Re-drafting the 2017 NBA draft

Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James (23) drives past Boston Celtics' Jayson Tatum during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston, Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
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25th September, 2018
2

Don’t we all love a re-draft? It is safe to say that some NBA meneral Managers would love to do so in what looked to be an incredibly deep draft from what we saw in the 2017-2018 NBA season.

#1. Jayson Tatum (Original spot – #3)
Although Donovan Mitchell had a better all-round season and does deserve the credentials of a no.1 pick, I must go with the Boston Celtics forward Tatum.

He shot a ridiculous percentage from three and had an impressive rookie campaign throughout the regular season that gave him all-rookie first team honours. But it was the post-season where Tatum drew the attention of having superstar potential as he led the baby Celtics to game seven of the Eastern Conference Finals, going toe-to-toe against the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers.

He went from getting his first NBA shot blocked by LeBron to dunking on him in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, Tatum could well and truly be the NBA’s closest thing to the next mamba.

#2. Donovan Mitchell (Original spot – #13)
Mitchell was the runner-up for the Rookie Of The Year trophy behind Ben Simmons in a race that sparked more debate than the MVP conversation. It was very hard not to put Mitchell in the no.1 slot, but in my opinion, Jayson Tatum will be the better long-term player although Mitchell did have a better rookie season.

The regular season saw Mitchell average 20-points-per-game while leading the Jazz to the 5th seed in the stacked Western Conference. His post-season performance was incredible, leading the Jazz past the OK3 in six games and getting a win against the 65-win Houston Rockets, all while averaging 25+ points-per-game.

Donovan Mitchell for the Jazz

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

#3. Kyle Kuzma (Original Spot – #27)
With all the hype surrounding the #2 pick Lonzo Ball, the Lakers found themselves with the steal of the draft with Kuzma at #27.

The impressive summer league and pre-season performance unexpectedly translated to the regular season and Kuzma ended up with rookie of the month for October. A stat line of 16.1 points and 6.3 rebounds was enough to earn him 1st team rookie honours.

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He proved to be a good spot-up shooter, cutter and defender throughout his rookie campaign. However, Kuzma may not have the highest ceiling of this class as he had a four-year career at the collegian level and is more developed and polished than other players in the class, such as Jayson Tatum and Lonzo Ball, who all had one-and-done college seasons.

#4. Lauri Markkanen (Original Spot – #7)
The bulls received Markkanen in a draft-day trade that sent Jimmy Butler to the Timberwolves in exchange for Zach Lavine, Kris Dunn and the draft rights for Markkanen. The big man put up 15-points-per-game while shooting 36 per cent from behind the arc which earned him a spot on the all-rookie 1st team, however, he struggled on the defensive side of the ball.

#5. Lonzo Ball (Original Spot – #2)
Despite not performing to expectations in his rookie season, Ball showed good promise in a lot of different ways. A stat line of 10 points, seven rebounds and seven assists and played above average defence.

The obvious issue with Ball however is his shot and aggressiveness with the ball in his hands. The other issue is his health as he only played around 50-games throughout the season.

The best ability is availability and if Ball can’t stay healthy, I wouldn’t expect him to remain a Los Angeles Laker for long and I am sure Magic Johnson won’t mind with not having to put up with Lavar Ball. All in all, though, I believe Ball will be a good player in years to come.

Lonzo Ball dribbles against Ben Simmons

Los Angeles Lakers Lonzo Ball, left. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

#6. Dennis Smith Jr (Original Spot – #9)
Dennis Smith had a rookie season, he experienced ups and downs while showing flashes of what he can become. He showed a good ability to find other players on the court and he can obviously throw it down, the only knock on his game was his shooting and health.

He missed a fair portion of the start of the season due to injury and his shooting woes haunted him all throughout. Playing alongside European prospect, Luka Doncic will allow us to see Dennis Smith play off the ball as Donicic can share the load when it comes to playmaking.

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#7. Ougua Annunoby (Original Spot – #23)
Annunoby looked and played like a veteran during his first season, he provides the 3 and D wing mould that is so highly regarded throughout the league. He was granted the assignment of guarding LeBron James in the second round of the playoffs and although Toronto famously got swept again, Annunoby was one of the better players on the squad despite playing alongside two all-stars in Kyle Lowry and Demar Derozan.

With Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green now in Toronto, expect Annunoby to further up his defensive game and help Toronto to make a push for the NBA finals in a LeBronless Eastern Conference

#8. Markelle Fultz (Original Spot – #1)
Fultz was the consensus #1 pick coming out of a one and done season at college. As we know, Fultz was the biggest mystery throughout the 2017-18 season (outside Kawhi) with his shot completely leaving his bag of tricks after a reported shoulder injury.

However, in his returning games in the back end of the season, he showed he could do everything aside from shoot, and even bagged a triple double in one of his few games. We have all seen him working this off-season and if he comes back with a jump shot, he could become an all-star player and fill his #1 pick potential.

However, if he does not come back with a decent shot, expect him to be moved as this won’t allow him to play alongside Ben Simmons.

Markelle Fultz for the 76ers

Philadelphia 76ers guard Markelle Fultz (AP Photo/Winslow Townson, File)

#9. Josh Jackson (Original Spot – #4)
Although being outplayed by the other players of his draft class, Jackson proved he can be an elite defender in this league and shown to be a good playmaker at the Small Forward position.

If he can fill the main hole in his game of shooting the 3-ball, Jackson can make a long-lasting career for himself assuming no devastating injuries occur.

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#10. Josh Hart (Original Spot – #30)
It seems like the Lakers are really good at finding gold at the back end of the first round and although I can’t see Hart becoming an All-Star, I believe he can sit to be one of the top 50 players in the league.