Each NBA draft has a lasting legacy. For example, 2003 will be remembered for the four future All-NBA Team members (who all may be Hall of Famers someday) picked in the top five selections.
What will the legacy be for the 2017 draft? It’s obviously too early to tell right now, but below you’ll find the three most notable takeaways from this year, alongside an NBA draft board and grades for each team.
NBA Draft Board
Atlanta Hawks (A)
Wake Forest power forward John Collins (19th), Oregon guard Tyler Dorsey (41st), Mega Bemax PF/C Alpha Kaba (60th)
Boston Celtics (A)
Duke forward Jayson Tatum (third), SMU forward Semi Ojeleye (37th), Arizona guard Kadeem Allen (53rd), Cal guard Jabari Bird (56th)
Brooklyn Nets (A)
Texas center Jarrett Allen (22th), FC Barcelona forward Aleksandar Vezenkov (57th)
Charlotte Hornets (B)
Kentucky shooting guard Malik Monk (11th), Florida State shooting guard Dwayne Bacon (40th)
Chicago Bulls (F)
Arizona forward Lauri Markkanen (seventh). Traded Jimmy Butler to Minnesota for shooting guard Zach Lavine, point guard Kris Dunn and the seventh pick.
Cleveland Cavaliers (N/A)
The Cavs did not have a pick in this draft.
Dallas Mavericks (C)
NC State point guard Dennis Smith Jr. (ninth)
Denver Nuggets (B)
Syracuse forward Tyler Lydon (24th), Mega Bebax power forward Vlatko Cancar (49th), Iowa State point guard Monte Morris (51st)
Detroit Pistons (A)
Duke shooting guard Luke Kennard (12th)
Golden State Warriors (A)
Oregon power forward Jordan Bell (38th)
Houston Rockets (A)
Zalgiris Kaunas PF Isaiah Hartenstein (43rd)
Indiana Pacers (B)
UCLA power forward TJ Leaf (18th), UCLA center Ike Anigbogu (47th), Xavier guard Edmond Sumner (52nd)
Los Angeles Clippers (A)
Oklahoma State point guard Jawun Evans (39th), South Carolina forward Sindarius Thornwell (48th)
Los Angeles Lakers (A)
UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball (second), Utah forward Kyle Kuzma (27th), Villanova guard Josh Hart (30th)
Memphis Grizzlies (A)
Cal forward Ivan Rabb (35th) and forward Dillon Brooks (45th)
Miami Heat (A)
Kentucky forward Bam Adebayo (14th)
Milwaukee Bucks (B)
Michigan forward DJ Wilson (17th) and SMU guard Sterling Brown (46th)
Minnesota Timberwolves (A)
Creighton center Justin Patton (16th). Acquired Jimmy Butler and the 16th pick from the Chicago Bulls for shooting guard Zach Lavine, point guard Kris Dunn and the seventh pick.
New Orleans Pelicans (B)
Duke shooting guard Frank Jackson (31st)
New York Knicks (B)
SIG Strasbourg PG Frank Ntilikina (eighth), Houston shooting guard Damyean Dotson (44th), Mega Bemax guard Ognjen Jaramaz (58th)
Oklahoma City Thunder (B)
Adelaide guard Terrance Ferguson (21st)
Orlando Magic (B)
Florida State forward Jonathan Isaac (sixth), Kansas State forward Wesley Iwundu (33rd)
Philadelphia 76ers (B)
Washington point guard Markelle Fultz (first), CB Gran Canaria center Anzejs Pasecniks (25th), FMP Beograd power forward Jonah Bolden (36th), Naterre 92 power forward Mathias Lessort (50th)
Phoenix Suns (A)
Kansas forward Josh Jackson (fourth), Miami guard Davon Reed (33rd), Valparaiso power forward Alec Peters (54th)
Portland Trail Blazers (A)
Gonzaga center Zach Collins (10th), Purdue power forward Caleb Swanigan (26th)
Sacramento Kings (A)
Kentucky point guard De’Aaron Fox (fifth), UNC forward Justin Jackson (15th), Duke forward Harry Giles (20th), Kansas point guard Frank Mason III (34th)
San Antonio Spurs (A)
Colorado guard Derrick White (29th), Clemson forward Jaron Blossomgame (59th)
Toronto Raptors (B)
Indiana forward OG Anunoby (23rd)
Utah Jazz (A)
Louisville guard Donovan Mitchell (13th), UNC forward/center Tony Bradley (28th), Gonzaga guard Nigel Williams-Goss (55th)
Washington Wizards (N/A)
The Wizards did not make a pick in this draft.
Teams selected a total of 16 freshmen in the first round.
The first player taken who went to college and didn’t leave after one year was Duke sophomore guard Luke Kennard, who the Detroit Pistons grabbed at No. 12.
The first upperclassman wasn’t picked until 15th (UNC junior forward Justin Jackson to the Sacramento Kings) and the first senior didn’t come off the board until 29th (Colorado guard Derrick White, to the San Antonio Spurs).
Don’t expect this to be a trend, especially if the one-and-done rule is scrapped and high schoolers can jump straight to the NBA again. If high schools could jump into the NBA right now, the vast majority of those freshmen probably would have never stepped foot on campus.
First-Round Talent in Second Round
The influx of young, elite freshman talent created a situation where players who would go in the first round almost any other year ended up going in the second round.
It’s a bad situation for those players, most of whom are upperclassmen, as their rookie contracts will obviously pay them less.
Of course, on the flip side, teams with second-round picks benefit from the increased amount of depth. Semi Ojeleye, who was the star player on a 30-win SMU team and shined at the NBA Draft Combine, fell 37th to the Boston Celtics. NCAA tournament stars Jordan Bell and Sindarius Thornwell went 38th and 48th, respectively, to the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers.
Ultimately, the rich get richer in the NBA. The Warriors’ dynasty gets stronger with a player like Bell causing havoc with the second unit. The same goes for Ojeleye and the Celtics, whose stock is continuously rising. Thornwell may well find himself as a starter on the Clippers, especially if the team’s core decides to disperse.
The silver lining for the players, at least, is that they can take advantage of those good situations on playoff teams and position themselves well for solid second contracts.
Point Guards in the Beginning, Big Men at the End
Every so often in sports drafts, we see a run on a particular position. That was the case three times this year.
First, eight guards were taken with the first 13 picks, with five floor generals selected in the top nine. Next, 12 big men were taken from the 14th through 28th picks. Finally, a run on guards ended the second round, with six taken between picks 51 through 58.
Obviously, the elite talent resided in the point guard position. When one player is being compared to James Harden and another is being talked about alongside Jason Kidd, it’s hard to ignore. It’s even more difficult to see either Markelle Fultz or Lonzo Ball being anything worse than a solid NBA starter.
But keep an eye out for the big men in this year’s draft, especially those taken in the back end of the first round. Much like the second-rounders who would have been first-rounders in other years, some of these big men would have been lottery selections in past drafts.
John Collins, for example, was a dominant power forward at Wake Forest who nearly averaged a double-double in his sophomore year. He can score and rebound on the next level right now, but Collins slipped to No. 19. The Atlanta Hawks got a steal with him.
Ultimately, this entire class has a chance to be special and help carry the NBA into the 2030s.
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