With the draft lottery in the books, the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, and Philadelphia 76ers are set to select the first three picks in the 2017 NBA Draft. This is a great year to have a top three pick as well. The top end talent this year has three guys with a superstar ceiling in my eyes, and while only one is likely to achieve that ceiling, there are countless others with All-Star potential. Depending on the situation and the development of said player, I see a total of 20 players with the possibility of attending at least one All-Star game.
Every team in the top five, especially the Celtics and the Sacramento Kings (who also own the 10th and 34th picks), are in a great position to add high ceiling talent at the top. Any team in the first round has a realistic shot at selecting an All-Star, even in the 21-30 range. What matters is if that player is put into a good situation or a great situation to develop.
With that in mind, here is my first top 30 big board, and the fourth version of a 2017 big board on Denver Stiffs. Check out Big Board 3.0, written by our own Daniel Lewis back on March 12th to see how we differ on certain players.
Upside value is considered in this ranking as well, found in the last column. The ranking isn’t entirely based on upside, but it does take it into account. Here are the tiers based on upside:
- Transcendent player: 7.00 or greater
- Top 10 player: 5.50 to 6.99
- All-Star: 4.00 to 5.49
- Above Average Starter: 2.00 to 3.99
- Average Starter: 0.50 to 1.99
- Below Average Starter: -0.99 to 0.49
- Quality bench player: -1.99 to -1.00
|Rank||Player, Position, Team||Height||Wingspan||Upside Value|
|1||Markelle Fultz, PG, Washington||6'4||6'9.75||6.50|
|2||Josh Jackson, SF, Kansas||6'8||6'9.75||5.70|
|3||De'Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky||6'4||6'6.5||5.30|
|4||Jonathan Isaac, SF/PF, Florida State||6'11||7'1.25||5.45|
|5||Zach Collins, PF/C, Gonzaga||7'0||7'1||5.20|
|6||Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA||6'6||6'7||6.00|
|7||Jayson Tatum, SF, Duke||6'8||6'11||5.10|
|8||O.G. Anunoby, SF/PF, Indiana||6'8||7'2.25||5.40|
|9||Frank Ntilikina, PG/SG, France||6'5||N/A||4.70|
|10||Donovan Mitchell, SG, Louisville||6'3||6'10||4.50|
|11||Dennis Smith, PG, NC State||6'3||6'3||5.00|
|12||Malik Monk, PG/SG, Kentucky||6'4||6'3.5||4.60|
|13||Lauri Markannen, PF/C, Arizona||7'0||N/A||4.90|
|14||Jarrett Allen, C, Texas||6'11||7'5.25||4.50|
|15||Terrance Ferguson, SG, Australia||6'7||6'8.75||3.90|
|16||Jordan Bell, PF/C, Oregon||6'9||6'11.75||4.00|
|17||John Collins, PF, Vanderbilt||6'10||6'11.25||3.80|
|18||T.J. Leaf, PF, UCLA||6'10||6'11||3.70|
|19||Justin Patton, C, Creighton||7'0||7'3||4.40|
|20||Luke Kennard, SG, Duke||6'6||6'5.25||3.50|
|21||Sindarius Thornwell, SG, South Carolina||6'5||6'10||4.20|
|22||Jonathan Jeanne, C, France||7'2||7'6.5||4.80|
|23||Ivan Rabb, PF/C, California||6'10||7'1.5||4.20|
|24||Semi Ojeleye, SF/PF, SMU||6'7||6'9.75||3.90|
|25||Justin Jackson, SF, North Carolina||6'8||6'11||3.60|
|26||Bam Adebayo, PF/C, Kentucky||6'10||7'2.75||3.40|
|27||Isaiah Hartenstein, PF/C, Germany||7'0||7'2.25||3.80|
|28||Ike Anigbogu, C, UCLA||6'10||7'6.25||4.40|
|29||Josh Hart, SG, Villanova||6'6||6'8.25||3.00|
|30||Dillon Brooks, SF, Oregon||6'7||6'6||2.90|
Here are some notes on guys who may seem to be in different positions than the other main draft outlets.
- Zach Collins is legit. Playing on a team with foreign connections, the Bulldogs started older players ahead of him, including Polish behemoth Przemek Karnowski. At the college level, Collins’ best position is at center, which is another reason why he came off the bench. He excelled both behind Karnowski and next to him as a power forward, showing his true potential as a two-way big during March Madness. At the NBA level, he is tailor made to function as a smaller 5, given his efficiency in all facets on offense and his defensive impact as a rim protector. Many question the competition level, but Collins should have put those concerns to the bed with his tournament performances.
- Lonzo Ball is also legit, which is why he has the second highest upside in this class in my eyes. If he finds his way to the right situation, then he could very well be a top 10 player in the league at the end of the day. That being said, there are three times as many bad situations for Lonzo. He needs the ball in his hands, but not too much. He needs the spotlight, but probably not the LA spotlight. I’m about 99% there on his talent level, but only 50% there that he is used effectively. That doesn’t even factor in his...distractions...off the court.
- Donovan Mitchell has experienced a meteoric rise in the last month. Credit Mr. Lewis for having him 18th on March 12th before it was cool. Mitchell had a great combine, posting some incredible court numbers along with a 6’10 wingspan. He projects as a solid guard defender, and if he can space the floor effectively, his value goes through the roof.
- Dennis Smith and Malik Monk come in lower than most people have them, and it’s entirely because of defensive concerns. Players like Kyrie Irving, Damian Lillard, and Isaiah Thomas provide immense offensive value but lose a large chunk of value by being inept on the other end. Both Smith and Monk project to be quality offensive players as well, maybe even as good as the trio of guards listed, though it’s unlikely. Without developing defensively, teams will struggle to put together elite franchises around said players.
- 12 of the players ranked in between 13 and 28 on my board will spend significant time at the power forward and center positions, which is an absurd amount. Players range from behemoths like Jarrett Allen, Jonathan Jeanne, and Ike Anigbogu, to stretch forwards like T.J. Leaf and Semi Ojeleye, to hybrid bigs like Jordan Bell and Ivan Rabb. There are a variety of options for teams in the lower half, and it’s genuinely possible for any of them to be successful at the next level. It will involve commitment from the team drafting them though, or else it may turn into a big man platoon like the one the Golden State Warriors currently employ.
- The first five players left off the top 30 were Edmond Sumner, Caleb Swanigan, Tyler Dorsey, Harry Giles, and Rodions Kurucs. Each player was left off for various reasons, but I see each guy being successful in the right situation. Sumner in particular could become a quality starting point guard in the NBA if he recovers well from an ACL tear.
Which player is ranked too low on Big Board 4.0?
This poll is closed
Lonzo Ball - 6th
Dennis Smith - 11th
Malik Monk - 12th
Justin Jackson - 25th
Other (comment below)