NBA Draft 2017: Looking At The Top Prospects

Jun 23, 2016; New York, NY, USA; A general view of a video board displaying all thirty draft picks in the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Jun 23, 2016; New York, NY, USA; A general view of a video board displaying all thirty draft picks in the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Taking a peak at a few of the top collegiate prospects ahead of the 2017 NBA Draft

The 2016-17 NBA season is in full swing and while certain teams are striving with goals of playoff success, others are looking towards the future.

Some teams have decided that starting over is the best course of action, with hopes of finding their next franchise player and other teams continue to trust the “process”.

And there’s probably never a better time to do this, in what some are calling one of the best draft classes in recent history.

It’s never too early to talk the NBA draft, as we look at the top prospects of 2017 and get a view of the future of the NBA.

Lonzo Ball, Point Guard, Freshman, UCLA

UCLA’s Lonzo Ball has incredible size, with even better court vision and has just skimmed the surface of his potential.

His motor is Russell Westbrook-esqe, bringing a high tempo and control to the game. Just watch the Bruin’s victory over then top-ranked Kentucky and you will see how he plays in big games. Sure, his shooting needs to improve, but his physicality, basketball I.Q and ability to spread the floor makes him NBA ready.

Ball will be in the running for the top selection come June.

NBA Comparison: Jason Kidd

Josh Jackson, Small Forward, Freshman, Kansas

Kansas year-after-year puts out NBA-quality players, and this year is no different.

Josh Jackson might be the best athlete in this year’s loaded draft class, with his explosiveness and ability to play above the rim. Jackson spreads the floor nicely, which is much needed in today’s NBA game and has a solid mid-range jumper.

Like many other young, lengthy forwards entering the league, Jackson needs to put some muscle on and fill out his frame. He’s a quicker, dare I say it more athletic version of fellow former Jayhawk, Andrew Wiggins.

NBA Comparison: Andrew Wiggins

Markelle Fultz, Point Guard, Freshman, Washington

Markelle Fultz, like fellow point guard prospect Lonzo Ball, is just as explosive with even higher scoring ability.

Averaging 22 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists per game, Fultz is a stat-filler with a lightning quick step that gets him to the rim with ease. He shoots the ball well and his mid-range game is developing nicely to go with his insane above-the-rim game.

Another big point guard that will be be in contention for top pick in the draft.

NBA Comparison: Zach LaVine (with an even higher motor)

Dennis Smith, Point Guard, Freshman, North Carolina State

Dennis Smith Jr. is a little smaller than the two previous point guard prospects, but he’s a freak athlete with insane speed and quickness.

He is a straight-up bulldog on both ends of the floor, plays around the rim like a big man, sees the court nicely and his first-step is second to none. On the opposite end, he plays intense, in-your-face defense with as much energy as he shows on the offensive end.

His shot needs to develop especially from long-range, but his other parts of the game are beyond NBA ready.

NBA Comparison: Derrick Rose 

Malik Monk, Shooting Guard, Freshman, Kentucky

Watch the matchup against North Carolina to see just how elite of a scorer Malik Monk can be. He went absolutely bonkers in his career-high 47-point performance.

Monk has limitless range and can knock-down shots from anywhere on the floor. Leading Kentucky with an average of 21 points per game, Monk continues to develop his game in other aspects to go with his shooting.

He’s confident, big-moment ready player and has all the ability to be a No. 1 scoring option for an NBA team.

NBA Comparison: A vastly better all-around Bradley Beal

Jayson Tatum, Forward, Freshman, Duke

A versatile wing player who can guard the 2, 3 and 4 which will be highly-touted in the NBA game. Jayson Tatum has good NBA size with a good flow of the game and can score in a variety of ways.

At 6-foot-8 he can spread the floor and bring defenders out with his great shooting range as well as be a force around the rim. Has only appeared in five games thus far this season for the Blue Devils, but is averaging 15 points, 7 rebounds and shooting 40 percent from the floor.

Tatum might come into the league a little raw, but his upside is there with no clear glaring weaknesses. Tatum might end up the top player of this draft class when it’s said and done.

NBA Comparison: Jabari Parker

All these prospects should have an eye kept on them, along with many, many others as the 2017 draft class is stacked.  As the NBA season continues on so will the path to the NBA Draft.

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