The 2017 NBA Draft goes down Thursday, June 22 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. In preparation for the first round—in which the Trail Blazers currently hold the 15th, 20th and 26th picks—Blazer’s Edge staff writers Steve Dewald and Brian Freeman have mocked the first 30 selections.
In the first part of our mock draft, we covered the initial 10 selections. In Pt. 2 we saw the Blazers take Jarrett Allen at No. 15. We wrap up today with picks No. 20-30, including Portland’s selections at No. 20 and 26.
(Player vitals courtesy DraftExpress.com).
No. 20: Portland Trail Blazers
Terrance Ferguson | SG/SF | Adelaide 36ers
Class: Fr. | Age: 19 | HT: 6’7” | WS: 6’8-3/4”
Steve Dewald: Ferguson gives the Blazers a cheap fall-back option if President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey finds a way to offload one of his current perimeter players. Despite having a year of professional basketball under his belt, Ferguson is still an unknown commodity. What we do know, however, is that the 19-year-old guard has all the tools to become a productive two-way player at the next level. If Ferguson can add some weight to his 6’7” frame and polish his outside shot, he could find a way to play alongside the Blazers’ already dynamic backcourt.
Brian Freeman: I like Ferguson’s potential. He’s tall and long, a spectacular athlete, and has a developing 3-pointer. He’s certainly not the best player available, but could easily turn out to be one of the better wing players taken outside the lottery. My only knock on this pick: the Blazers are basically adding salary they can’t afford for a player who will not be able to immediately contribute. It doesn’t seem like that’s the direction Olshey is trying to go, but if this is a pick for the future, Ferguson makes a lot of sense.
No. 21: Oklahoma City Thunder
John Collins | PF | Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Class: So. | Age: 19 | HT: 6’10” | WS: 6’11-1/4”
BF: The Thunder have some holes in their roster and Collins fills none of them. That said, he’s definitely the best player on the board. Averaging almost 20 and 10 as a sophomore in the ACC usually gets you in the NBA Lottery, but he’s a bit of an awkward fit. He’s a small center or a non-floor spacing power forward in the NBA. He doesn’t add much value other than his low post game and rebounding.
Still, Collins’ skills in the paint and rebounding are as good as almost anyone else in the entire draft. It’s easy to critique his low ceiling, but it’s also easy to see how high his floor is. He could be a contributor on a good team if he can find himself in the right role.
SD: If Taj Gibson decides to bolt in free agency, having Collins waiting on deck would be a great option for the Thunder to fall back on. The former Wake Forest standout will have a cumbersome adjustment to the NBA, but OKC has proven capable of developing talent.
No. 22: Brooklyn Nets
Ike Anigbogu | C | UCLA Bruins
Class: Fr. | Age: 18 | HT: 6’10” | WS: 7’6-1/4”
SD: Given the Nets’ current situation, they’re encouraged to swing for the fences, making the raw and talented Anigbogu an excellent selection this deep. With Brook Lopez now residing in Los Angeles, it’s a perfect time for the Nets to address the center position. Anigbogu is unproven, but he has the ability to become a difference-maker on defense.
BF: I like his upside but he’s a bit like watching my daughter run around with my Craftsman; having all of the right tools is great, but you need to be able to use them. Ike has great size and a great motor, but he has a ways to go before he can contribute in the NBA. The Nets may be the best low-pressure situation for Anigbogu to learn and grow in. If he can put it together, it could be a good step toward Brooklyn’s future.
No. 23: Toronto Raptors
Justin Patton | C | Creighton Bluejays
Class: Fr. | Age: 20 | HT: 7’ | WS: 7’3”
BF: Even after drafting big man Jacob Poeltl last year to join a frontcourt that’s already home to Jonus Valenciunas, Serge Ibaka, Lucas Nogueira, the Raptors have to be happy a player of Patton’s potential fell to them. He’s big and athletic, but still very raw. His college success came mostly from his size, and he’ll need to learn how to succeed against opponents as big and long as he is. Patton may spend most of his rookie season in the D-League, giving Toronto some time to decide which big men are part of their long-term plans.
SD: Depending on how free agency goes, Toronto could find themselves rebuilding on the fly, making Patton a solid selection at this point. With a little grooming, the former Creighton standout has all the skills to become an elite rim-runner in the NBA. It could be a few years before he sees the court, but the Raptors window for contention could be pushed back depending on other moves made this summer.
No. 24: Utah Jazz
Jawun Evans | PG | Oklahoma State Cowboys
Class: So. | Age: 20 | HT: 6’1” | WS: 6’5-1/2”
SD: The Jazz pass on better available talent to address a need at point guard. George Hill and Shelvin Mack are headed to free agency, leaving Utah with Dante Exum and Raul Neto as the remaining ball handlers on the roster. Evans has some serious size disadvantages, but he thrived inside Oklahoma State’s pick-and-roll offense last season. Selecting a productive college player at a position of need makes sense for Utah.
BF: His small stature and lack of elite athleticism start Evans at a disadvantage. He’s also not a great finisher in the lane or jump shooter off the move. That said, Evans is probably the best point guard left, and Utah could use the depth. This still seems like a reach, but Utah is still getting a tough, battle-tested point guard.
No. 25: Orlando Magic
D.J. Wilson | PF | Michigan Wolverines
Class: So. | Age: 21 | HT: 6’10” | WS: 7’3”
BF: It’s never good to hear “upside” when you talk about drafting a junior out of college, but Wilson has a very rare skill set that makes you believe he has more upside than his college career let on. He’s long and athletic enough to protect the rim and guard the perimeter, but also has a solid outside shot. The magic are coming off multiple disappointing seasons, so bringing in a player with a bit more maturity may be be a welcomed thought.
SD: Orlando’s roster needs help in multiple departments, which should put a demand on finding versatile players. Wilson has the potential to guard multiple positions at the next level, and he would fit nicely next to Aaron Gordon in the Magic’s small-ball lineups.
No. 26: Portland Trail Blazers
Anzejs Pasecniks | C | Latvia
Class: So. | Age: 21 | HT: 7’2”
SD: If the Blazers keep all three of their picks, they will likely look to stash at least one prospect overseas. Pasecniks moves incredibly well for a player over 7’ tall, and would be an excellent change-of-pace option for Portland to use when resting Jusuf Nurkic. He isn’t as polished as his Latvian counter-part, Kristaps Porzingis, but he’s still worthy of Portland’s final selection.
BF: Go big or go home! This guy is as big as they come. But we’re not looking at the next Ha Seung-jin—Pasecniks can move very well for his size. He may even be able to develop a 3-point shot in the near future. He’s a great pick, and the best part is if the Blazers stash him, he doesnt add to their mountain of a payroll.
No. 27: Los Angeles Lakers
Isaiah Hartenstein | PF/C | Germany
Class: Fr. | Age: 19 | HT: 7’ | WS: 7’2-1/4”
BF: The Lakers use the more expensive of their back-to-back picks to stash Hartenstein. They’re positioning themselves to be big players in free agency, either this offseason or next, and adding assets that don't hit their cap is the way to do it. The German-Oregonian—his dad played for the Ducks—was originally praised for his outside stroke but has since became more of a bruiser. The Lakers will most certainly stash him for at least a year, but free assets are as good as it comes for the suddenly aggressive Lakers.
SD: Hartenstein has all the characteristics of a first-round prospect, but he’s struggled to put it all together when it counts. He was relegated to a reserve role at Zalgiris, and struggled to separate himself from the pack at the Nike Hoop Summit earlier this year. The Lakers could potentially stash him overseas for a few years, giving him the chance to develop away from the bright lights of the Staples Center. If Hartenstein manages to put it together, he’ll give the Lakers a cheap option when it comes time to negotiate new contracts for Larry Nance Jr. and Julius Randle.
No. 28: Los Angeles Lakers
Ivan Rabb | PF/C | California Golden Bears
Class: So. | Age: 20 | HT: 6’10” | WS: 7’1-1/2”
SD: Rabb isn’t the flashiest prospect, but he’s a proven contributor, making him a solid choice for the Lakers’ third first-round pick. Los Angeles is already fairly deep at the power forward spot, but Rabb should be able to muscle his way into coach Luke Walton’s center rotation. The best-case scenario for the former Cal standout is that his midrange shot develops, making him an absolute steal at pick No. 28.
BF: Rabb is a great value at No. 28. I feel like his two years at Cal short-changed us a bit and he may have more potential than he showed. There seems to still be a lottery-type talent in there, but it’s hard to tell if he’ll ever find it. Rabb would be behind Ivan Zubac, Julius Randle, Larry Nance Jr., and recently added Brook Lopez in the depth charts, but there could still be some minutes available for him. He’s also insurance in case LA trades a big man or two.
No. 29: San Antonio Spurs
Sindarius Thornwell | SG | South Carolina Gamecocks
Class: Sr. | Age: 22 | HT: 6’5” | WS: 6’10”
BF: Thornwell may not be ideal for today’s NBA, but he’s probably perfect for the Spurs. He’s not a great athlete, but is very strong for a guard shoots well. Although he has a score-first mentality, Thornwell also has great vision and passing ability to fit in to the Spurs’ ball movement-heavy offense. His leadership and versatility will also be very welcomed on a team that could possibly lose Manu Ginobili and Jonathon Simmons this offseason.
SD: This is a perfect pick for the Spurs, as Thornwell is a proven commodity. The senior from South Carolina doesn’t excel in any one area, but he isn’t going to be a liability on either end of the court. San Antonio could add him to their bench rotation as early as opening night.
No. 30: Utah Jazz
Tyler Lydon | PF | Syracuse Orange
Class: So. | Age: 21 | HT: 6’10” | WS: 7’
SD: The Jazz could be forced to retool their shooting corps if the offseason goes sideways on them, making the selection of Lydon a safe bet for their future. While the former Syracuse star might not develop into a starter, he has the skills to be a productive shooter off the bench.
BF: Lydon’s a tall, confident shooter, and every team could use a player like that. He’s little bit like a worse version of Trey Lyles, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Lydon may not have any “star” potential, but he has “usefulness” potential—and that’s the best you can hope for with the 30th pick.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below—did Brian and Steve get it right?