2017 NBA Draft Big Board 2.0

While the NBA season is just getting started, the college year is on the horizon with a number of promising talents set to fall into the 2017 NBA Draft class.

Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia 76ers, despite the myriad of positives that have surrounded the team thus far from player to player, still aren’t all that great as a whole. The team has stumbled to a winless start, and it appears that we’ll likely see another down year in terms of winning as the team continues it’s lengthy rebuild.

With that said, despite the emergence of Joel Embiid and the looming promise of Ben Simmons, the 2017 NBA Draft has the potential to really alter the course of this franchise even further. In what is a loaded draft class, the Sixers could be realistically eying two lottery picks, with future acqusitions later in the draft always in play.

With this team being so heavily based in the future, it’s a worthwhile endeavor to look ahead to what future seasons could bring — and analyzing this draft class be a big part of that. You can take a look at my first big board here.

The following is a breakdown of the top 30 prospects for 2017 heading into the new campaign at the collegiate level.

Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

30. SG Melo Trimble, Maryland

Height: 6-2

Age/YR: 21, Junior

Trimble came into last season as somebody lauded as a potential lottery pick, with his dynamic scoring prowess exciting a number of NBA scouts and analysts early on. That, however, seemed to go down the drain pretty quickly. He was inefficient and ineffective at times last year, and struggled to covert as proficiently as many expected from the high octane scorer. As somebody who is undersized for his position, Trimble’s stock could fluctuate based on just how capable he looks as a possible point guard-transfer.

He has some deficiencies he needs to continue to improve on, but his outside shooting, when working, is among the more dangerous in college basketball, and his raw upside as a perimeter scorer in general is still highly appealing. He was considered a potential lottery talent last season for a reason, and although that may not be the case anymore, he’s still someone worth keeping an eye on for a Maryland team that will look significantly different this upcoming campaign.

29. SF Justin Jackson, North Carolina

Height: 6-8

Age/YR: 21, Junior

Jackson was a major cog for a highly effective North Carolina offense last season, utilizing his length on the perimeter to find nooks in the defense and hit shots given his high release. As somebody often compared to Kevin Durant (that’s an extreme stretch talent-wise), Jackson’s ability to knock down shots from the perimeter at almost any angle and shoot over the defense was highly promising during his most recent campaign. His 3-point percentage wasn’t overly appealing at just 29 percent, but he has a fluid shot motion and commendable upside as a plug-in scorer at the next level.

He’s still thin in build and would certainly need to bulk up, a concern that is only bolstered by the fact that he’s already nearing 22 years of age. He could be somewhat turnover prone at the next level if asked to do too much with the ball, and needs to work out some of the kinks in his game, but has the physical tools and two-way upside that comes with them to be well-deserving of a spot in the Top 30 to kick of the year.

28. SF Tyler Lydon, Syracuse

Height: 6-9

Age/YR: 20, Sophomore

Lydon broke out towards the end of last season, with his smooth shooting touch from the perimeter garnering him extensive praise as a potential stretch four option at the next level. He’s a smart player with the ball in his hands and a quietly effective athlete, moving well off the ball and excelling in catch and shoot scenarios.

Lydon hit 40 percent of his shots from beyond the arc last season, and has the foot speed and mobility needed to cover multiple positions on the defensive side of the ball. His frame is well-suited to fill out with time, and some improved ball handling skills and production around the painted area could send his stock soaring up a good bit.

27. SG Josh Hart, Villanova

Height: 6-6

Age/YR: 21, Senior

Hart was a key veteran piece in a Villanova team that dominated it’s competition throughout the NCAA tournament last year en route to an inevitable championship. While he’s not the best athlete by NBA standards, Hart’s overarching skill as a player makes him a highly intriguing prospect to watch. He’s a good perimeter shooter, and handles the ball well when asked to do so. He’s a more than competent secondary playmaker, and has the type of all-around understanding of the game that should help him make a smooth transition into a number of roles at the next level.

There aren’t many players that come into the league with the same basketball I.Q. Hart showcases on the offensive side of the ball, and that’s why he’s a firm top-30 pick. He positions himself well for success and makes plays that benefit the team within the system, rather than attempting to do too much with the ball in his hands. His defensive shortcomings are apparent by NBA standards, and his ceiling isn’t overly high, but lock him in as a solid veteran in a relatively young 2017 class.

26. SG Terrance Ferguson, Adelaide

Height: 6-7

Age/YR: 18, International

Ferguson took a unique route in making the decision to forgo college ball in favor of playing overseas for a year, signing with the Adelaide 36ers in Australia. As somebody who was an All-American coming out of high school, there’s certainly a great deal of upside to take note of — he just needs to make a lot of improvements to reach his ceiling. Standing around 6-7, Ferguson is one of the most impressive athletes in the draft class, and carries a lot of potential based on his physical gifts alone.

He’ll be able to man either wing position at the next level, and has the bounciness around the basket needed to make some exciting plays on both sides of the basketball. His outside shooting is still a work in progress and he is still a raw offensive weapon, but his has some nice tools as a slasher and boasts the type of a long term appeal as a two-way piece that should interest a lot of competitive rosters.

Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

25. SF V.J. Beachem, Notre Dame

Height: 6-8

Age/YR: 21, Senior

Beachem has carved out a nice niche as Notre Dame’s go-to perimeter shooter over the last couple of seasons, with a skill set that lays the foundations for a solid floor in terms of production at the next level. He shot a noteworthy 44 percent from beyond the arc on over 5 attempts per game last year, and has the type of smooth, fluid athleticism that projects him as an ideal role player at the next level.

He still needs to put some more weight on his frame, and much akin to his fellow senior Josh Hart, there isn’t incredibly high amount of upside here. Still, regardless, finding 6-8 wings with the type of shooting prowess Beachem possesses isn’t easy, and should allow him to transition seamlessly into almost any system as a spacer off the bench from day one. He plays within himself and understands his role, a valuable asset when your best attribute is so critical to today’s style of play.

24. PG Devonte Graham, Kansas

Height: 6-2

Age/YR: 21, Junior

Graham has all the tools of somebody who could be a solid backup point guard at the next level on day one. At 6-2, he has a well built frame and a nice blend of speed and athleticism that allows him to penetrate the defense coming off of screens and finish strong around the basket, even against larger opponents. He doesn’t flash much big play ability, but is smart with the ball in his hands and understands how to operate well within the flow of the offense.

Graham is more quick than explosive, but has multiple different speeds he’s capable of playing at during the course of a game, and controls the pace rather nicely when he’s facilitating the ball. He shot nearly 44 percent from beyond the arc last season as well, and showed aptitude both on and off the ball in that regard. If a team is looking for a sure-fire option at point guard in the later stages of the first, I feel like Graham is going to be one of the better options to look into.

23. PF Bam Adebayo, Kentucky

Height: 6-10

Age/YR: 19, Freshman

Adebayo has only built on an already impressive physical frame coming into the season at Kentucky, a highly promising sign for somebody who figures to make a living as a high-energy guy underneath the rim. Adebayo, from an NBA perspective, is highly limited offensively outside of shots at the rim, but has a few other attributes that should make him an immediate contributor at the next level and someone who could go much higher than 23rd come draft night in 2017.

Defensively, Adebayo’s hustle and strength underneath the rim is a really nice combination. He’s willing to put his body into high-contact scenarios in order to make a play, and has the shot blocking chops and mobility on the defensive end to get into the heads of his oppositions and make plays as a result. He’s also a high octane rebounder, and there’s always a desire for those types of guys at the next level. Kenneth Faried is a comparison that’s going to come up a lot here, and given the Manimal’s knack for grit and determination on the court, it seems to be a valid one.

22. SF Miles Bridges, Michigan State

Height: 6-6

Age/YR: 18, Freshman

Bridges is an undersized power forward that is going to have to make the transition to small forward to really excel at the next level, but his physical tools and the brilliance of Tom Izzo and company is reason for optimism. The 18-year-old is extremely well built, and has all the athletic tools needed to be a stellar defender on the perimeter. He still has some hitches to work out offensively, but projects well as a slasher given his strong finishing ability at the rim, and has the potential to be a legitimate small ball four option at the next level, even if he can’t sustain the four spot as his full-time position.

Bridges has some work to do in terms of his shooting and all-around offensive polish on the outside. He has spent much of high school doing the dirty work underneath the basket, and although his energy and effort, coupled with his athletic aptness, is an excellent basis to build off of, there’s still some significant growth he’ll need to do under Coach Izzo to move further up this list. Looking at Draymond Green, however, that doesn’t appear to be out of the question.

21. PF Isaiah Hartenstein, Zalgiris

Height: 6-11

Age/YR: 18, International

As one of the more coveted international prospects in this upcoming draft, Hartenstein has established himself as another solid stretch four prospect from overseas. He’s not the most imposing physical force, but his fluidity of motion is pleasing given his height, and his ability to knock down shots from numerous areas on the court is a solid attribute for almost any offensive system in the NBA.

Hartenstein showcased the ability to put the ball on the floor when playing on the outside and create his own offense at the Basketball Without Borders Global Camp back in February, and has the type of soft touch around the rim that should translate into a solid post game in time. He has some significant progress to make defensively, but checks all the boxes of a strong stretch four worth investing in as a potential mid-to-late first rounder.

Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

20. PG Edmond Sumner, Xavier

Height: 6-5

Age/YR: 20, Sophomore

Sumner has an immense amount of upside heading into his sophomore season with Xavier, as the lengthy point guard has the versatility to needed to evolve into a highly intriguing draft prospect. Sumner, who stands at 6-5, has excellent size for the point guard spot, which allows him to read the defense clearly and work his way around smaller defenders. He utilizes his length to free up space when he shoots as well, and has a unique degree of isolation scoring potential that’s worth monitoring.

He’s still relatively thin and has tendency to turn the ball over a bit too much from time to time, but has the tools needed to overcome those problems. He’s not an erratic player by any means, and could solve some of his turnover woes with continued work under the Xavier coaching staff in year two. We saw Dejounte Murray shoot up draft boards as a lanky, two-way athlete with a high ceiling–don’t be surprised if we see Sumner do the same.

19. C Jonathan Jeanne, Le Mans

Height: 7-3

Age/YR: 19, International

In what is essentially the Thon Maker situation of this year’s draft class, Jeanne is the type of high upside, long term project that somebody is bound to gamble on at some point. He’s incredibly raw and woefully skinny, but at 7-3, possesses the type of two-way skill set that could–way down the road–develop into a ridiculously dynamic threat around the basket.

Jeanne is capable of putting the ball on the floor and has a reliable-enough 3-point jumper to bank on it as an asset moving forward. He’s a killer shot blocker, for obvious reasons, and has the type of mobility that could make him a scary two-way force several years from now. He’ll be bullied by stronger post players early on and isn’t nearly ready to contribute to an NBA team as it stands. He’s solely a long term gamble, but one with enough upside to legitimately warrant a ranking this high.

18. SG Grayson Allen, Duke

Height: 6-4

Age/YR: 21, Junior

Allen’s decision to return to Duke for a third season surprised a lot of people, and although his stock may not move much because of it, he’s in a good position as the leader of an otherwise young Duke roster. Allen doesn’t carry the most bountiful of upsides, but in terms of somebody I can envision as a plug-in scorer off the bench  from day one, few players stand out more than Allen. He’s an explosive athlete off the dribble, and has shown his ability to hit tough shots from nearly anywhere on the court time and time again during his tenure in a Duke uniform.

There is always going to be those who like and those who dislike Allen’s style of play, but at the very least, he gives a lot of effort every night. He lacks the physical stature of most elite two-guards, but is able to control the ball extremely well, albeit he’s not much of a passer, and and is going to be able to find avenues of production as a scorer at any level of play.

17. C Omer Yertseven, N.C. State

Height: 7-0

Age/YR: 18, Freshman

As somebody who dominated junior leagues overseas, Yertseven has been a highly hyped prospect for an N.C. State team that could do a great deal of damage pairing himself alongside fellow freshman Dennis Smith Jr. Yertseven, despite being ruled eligible  will have to sit the first 9 games of the campaign — something at least worth noting here. While throwback big men haven’t been the most ideal fit into today’s NBA as of late, Yertseven’s scoring prowess in the post, coupled with his work on the boards is something that is bound to translate well to the NBA.

He has some of the more developed footwork in the draft class around the basket, and has proven himself a capable rim protector and hefty rebounder during his time overseas prior to hitting the collegiate scene. He’s quite possibly the most polished scorer around the basket when comparing all the noteworthy centers in this draft, and should be given an ample role to prove himself in upon his debut for the Wolfpack.

16. PG Lonzo Ball, UCLA

Height: 6-6

Age/YR: 19, Freshman

Ball is a stud from an athletic standpoint, measuring out at 6-6 and bringing a level of explosiveness that will make him easily capable of competing with the most impressive athletes in the NBA. Ball has been a high volume scorer throughout his high school career, and weilds the passing knack needed to be a legitimate playmaker at the next level with little problem. The only major concern is mostly derived from how Ball scores the basketball.

He’ll get his fair share of points driving to the rim and fiishing inside, but the perimeter shooting that he has relied on so heavily in the past could be a sizable weakness if he doesn’t manage to make a few amends over the course of the season. His 3-point stroke has a major, major hitch in it, and his funky release could hinder him against more capable defenders, both in college and the NBA. Defensively, he shapes up as one of the better point guard prospects in this draft. There’s a lot to like with Ball and undeniable potential for him to move up this list in the future if he makes the right improvements.

Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

15. PF Lauri Markkanen, Arizona

Height: 7-0

Age/YR: 19, Freshman

As another highly praised international talent, Markkanen is perhaps the most versatile offensive power forward outside of the top 10. Standing as a legitimate 7-footer, Markkenen has a smooth stroke from deep, coupled with excellent mobility that allows him to find his spots on the court and produce within the offense a very high level. He’s still filling out physically, which is his primary concern, but is a killer in pick-and-pop scenarios.

Markkanen has the length and fluidity to make plays defensively as well, although there are still some improvements — both physically and skill-wise — that he’ll need to make on that side of the ball while at Arizona. He has excellent touch from all areas of the court, and is the type of floor spacing four that molds nicely into today’s NBA.

14. C Thomas Bryant, Indiana

Height: 6-10

Age/YR: 19, Sophomore

Bryant was somewhat inconsistent during his freshman campaign at Indiana, but displayed a level of hustle and defensive upside that ought to intrigue a number of teams as he makes the transition to the next level. Standing around 6-10, his frame is extremely well built for the NBA game, and his energy on both sides of the ball consistently stood out during his time at the center of the Hoosiers’ rotation last season.

Offensively, he’s still a bit limited, but operates well when rolling to the basket off of screens and is a solid bet for offensive rebounds on a nightly basis. He’s among the more viable rim protecting bigs in the draft, even if he’s not the tallest center in the group, and is more than willing to absorb contact when facing physical opposition. Physically, he checks out as an excellent prospect to develop at the next level and a feasible late lottery, mid-first round selection as a result.

13. PG Frank Ntilikina, Strasbourg

Height: 6-5

Age/YR: 18, International

In a draft filled with high quality domestic talent, Ntilikina ranks as the best prospect from international waters at the moment. Standing at 6-5, he has excellent physical tools for the point guard position, and couples that with a basketball I.Q. that isn’t really matched by anybody else in the draft class. Ntilikina is a pass first guard, however he can at times take that moniker to the extreme. He’s very reluctant to search for his own offense at times, and that can hurt him given the excellent scoring tools he has.

While his perimeter shot is somewhat awkward in terms of release, he has range extending out the 3-point line. His explosiveness is highly underrated as well, and he has shown the ability to create space and knock down shots when determined to do so, it’s simply a matter of him improving his aggressiveness on a consistent basis. He also projects as a strong defender against both guard positions, a major positive for a number of rotations.

12. SF Jonathan Isaac, Florida State

Height: 6-11

Age/YR: 19, Freshman

Isaac is a really interesting prospect at number 12, as he has the ability to shift his positioning in these rankings in a major way with his play this upcoming season. He’s one of the more raw offensive prospects in the lottery conversation, but possesses a rare combination of length and scoring aptitude that, at 6-11, makes him a tantalizing prospect. He has excellent range on his jumper and moves around the court far better than your typical near-7-footer, he just hasn’t quite put all the pieces together.

He’s a bit turnover prone at the moment, and is still a good ways away from filling out physically by NBA standards. He’s rail thin and extremely long, garnering the same Kevin Durant comparisons that followed Brandon Ingram around throughout the draft process last season. He’s even bigger, and longer than Ingram though and doesn’t quite have the same level of polish coming in. Defensively, he’s going to be at a disadvantage until he can find his footing at the next level as well, but all in all, he’s worth a gamble as one of the more bountiful upsides in a loaded draft class.

11. C Jarrett Allen, Texas

Height: 6-11

Age/YR: 18, Freshman

Allen enters college ball as one of the most polished ow post scorers in the NCAA, bringing a unique level of length and touch around the basket that will make him one of the more impressive offensive weapons in his class. While back-to-the-basket bigs aren’t as greatly needed in the NBA these days, his versatility on the low block and excellent energy on the boards on both sides of the ball are worth investing in. He’s somewhat thin by the typical standards of five men, but has plenty of room to fill out his frame and is far from weak or non-aggressive underneath the rim.

Allen utilizes his size to block shots at a high clip defensively as well, and is an unappreciated athlete with the mobility to excel in pick-and-roll situations. His methodical and high-I.Q. approach to the game on the low block have garnered comparisons to future Hall of Famer Tim Duncan, and when you watch him play, some of those comparisons become increasingly more evident. That’s clearly a high bar to set and the likelihood of him reaching that level is slim, but Allen is the type of two-way force around the basket that a number of teams should look into.

Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

10. SF O.G. Anunoby, Indiana

Height: 6-8

Age/YR: 19, Sophomore

Anunoby came out of virtually nowhere in the NCAA Tournament last season, emerging from an obscure role and becoming an integral part of Indiana’s rotation towards the end of the season. Standing at 6-8, Anunoby is one of the most well-built athletes in the draft, and has a combination of athleticism, length, and bulk that make him an elite defensive prospect on the wing and an ideal two-way prospect to invest in at the next level.

Anunoby can cover multiple positions on the perimeter effectively, and has enoug tools offensively to eventually develop into a nice commodity on that side of the ball as well. His 3-point shooting went up during his tournament run, and he shot a quality 45 percent overall on the season from deep. Anunoby also showed some promise as a slasher, even making some pretty passes in stride as well. If he keeps up his high growth curve, he should be a prime NBA talent come 2017.

9. PF Ivan Rabb, California

Height: 6-10

Age/YR: 19, Sophomore

Rabb made the unexpected decision to return to Cal for a second season, something that could, in the long term, benefit his development heading into Draft night in 2017–even if his stock doesn’t alter greatly in a loaded class of talent. As an explosive athlete around the rim and an upper echelon rebounder at the four spot, Rabb showcased flashes of being the more consistent of of the Golden Bears’ two-headed monster alongside Jaylen Brown last season.

While his offensive repertoire wasn’t always the most consistent, he showed signs of extending his shooting range out to the 3-point line — a development he could continue to build off of this upcoming campaign. He has a nice set of moves around the basket and runs the floor extremely well for a player of his size. Rim protection and work on the boards is where Rabb is going to be his most impactful early on in the NBA, but his solid physical tools and budding skill sets could lead to him becoming one of the more gifted big men in this draft on both sides of the ball.

8. PG De’Aaron Fox, Kentucky

Height: 6-4

Age/YR: 18, Freshman

Fox enters a unique situation at Kentucky, joining a stacked backcourt alongside fellow freshman Malik Monk and veteran Isaiah Briscoe. While  work will likely be split rather evenly between the three to some degree, Fox figures to be the primary ball handler when he’s on the court, with his explosiveness and shifty ball handling making him among the more difficult covers on the perimeter in this class. While he’s still filling out physically, his 6-4 frame is well constructed for the point guard spot, and he’s among the quicker players off the bounce in college basketball.

Fox can find his way to the rim with ease and has some solid facilitation skills to build off of, but what really slides him into the Top 10 here is his defense. Fox has excellent awareness on the defensive side of the ball, and projects as an elite defender against either guard spot at the next level. He forces turnovers at a high clip and turns that into easy transition opportunities going to the other direction, and having a capable two-way guard with Fox’s athletic tools is a nice prospect to cultivate.

7. C Marques Bolden, Duke

Height: 6-11

Age/YR: 18, Freshman

Few 18-year-olds carry the physical stature that Bolden does, as his 6-11 frame is bolstered by NBA-ready strength and an unreal 7-6 wingspan that is bound to entice a lot of NBA teams come draft night. While he is still raw in several facets offensively, he’s as fluid as athletes come at his rather massive size, and his defensive upside is the highest in the draft from a rim protection standpoint. His rebounding and shot block prowess is essentially a given heading into the next level, it’s just a matter of improving decision making and, at times, effort on both sides of the ball.

Effort has been the one knock on Bolden coming into Duke, but there’s a good chance a lot of that has to do with the ease of high school competition when you possess the physical tolls he does. Coach K and company should be able to push him much harder at the colleigiate level, and I don’t anticipate that emerging as a massive problem down the road. Bolden may be limited to shots at the rim on offense, but the all-around benefits of having a big man of his size and stature underneath the basket — with ample room to build off of and develop — is undeniable.

6. SF Jayson Tatum, Duke

Height: 6-8

Age/YR: 18, Freshman

As we get into the cream of a highly talented crop, Tatum marks the most elite offensive prospect thus far. The 6-8 forward isn’t necessarily the most explosive athlete, but handles the ball well and is smooth when handling himself on the court. He can knock down shots from deep at a high clip, both off the dribble and when spotting up, and has the type of isolation scoring prowess on the wing that makes him one of college basketball’s most anticipated young players.

Tatum understands how to create the right angles on his shot and work his way through the defense, and although he can pass up better opportunities elsewhere at times, his aptness as a scorer is worthy of it’s own plays every once in a while. He’s a solid defensive prospect as well, it just boils down to him committing more on that side of the basketball. The title of best offensive threat on the wing in this draft has to go to Tatum until further notice, and he’s safely entrenched in the top 6 until further notice as a result.

Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

5. SF Josh Jackson, Kansas

Height: 6-8

Age/YR: 19, Freshman

In the mold of a more skilled Andrew Wiggins almost, Jackson brings a level of explosiveness and two-way upside that few players can to the wing. His perimeter shooting is still a work in progress, but his aptitude as a slasher and underrated basketball I.Q. have made him one of the most hyped offensive pieces in recent years. He’s able to get to the rim with a quick first step and in turn play above it with ease, while his passing skills at the three spot are rarely seen at such a young age, especially from players who have carved out their niche thus far via their athletic talents.

Jackson still has some control issues to iron out at Kansas and he’s far from a polished product offensively, but he has all the physical tools to excel at the NBA level. He’s an exceptional defender on the perimeter as well, utilizing his instincts and quickness to search out ill-advised passes and turn sloppy offense into easy transition opportunities on the other end. In terms of the best pure athlete in the draft, Jackson might just take the proverbial prize. He’s a special talent on both sides, and an apparent lock in the top 5 conversation.

4. PG Malik Monk, Kentucky

Height: 6-4

Age/YR: 18, Freshman

If anybody is going to challenge the aforementioned Jackson for the title of best athlete in this draft class, it’s Monk. Standing at 6-4, Monk’s explosiveness off the dribble and ability to play above the rim have earned him consistent comparisons to Derrick Rose, even from John Calipari himself. Monk has shown excellent touch as both a shooter and a passer as well, albeit not fully trusted with the primary point guard role yet — something he likely won’t see at Kentucky either. He’ll most likely be reserved to off ball duties alongside Fox and Isaiah Briscoe, a slight concern for someone whose point guard skills could be a focal point of his development down the road.

Athletes of Monk’s caliber simply don’t come around all that regularly, and his ability to make smart plays with the basketball from time to time and knock down shots consistently from deep is a massive bonus. His defensive chops should hold up fine against either guard spot as well, and he could be seeing himself placed into the same limbo that Jamal Murray saw with the Wildcats last season in terms of position-less guard play.

3. PG Markelle Fultz, Washington

Height: 6-4

Age/YR: 18, Freshman

Fultz has burst onto the high school scene as of late, becoming one of a handful of truly elite guard prospects towards the top of this draft. As a smooth scoring guard, Fultz combines excellent outside scoring with incredible offensive instincts. He understands the flow of the offense impressively well this early on in his career, as his ability to interpret when to attack the basket and when to sit back and facilitate the offense is among the best in this draft class. He’s a skilled shooter on the perimeter, and has the type of crafty ball handling needed to create space off the dribble and knock down shots from almost any angle on the court.

Fultz has the opportunity to be one of the most prolific offensive players in college basketball this season, with Washington likely to give him ample room to operate with Dejounte Murray and Marquese Chriss out of the equation. He’s the most skilled scoring guard out of the crop as it currently stands, and couples that with, perhaps, the best court vision in the draft alongside the aforementioned Ntilikina. He fills the mold of D’Angelo Russell in a number of ways, and it’s those types of all-around, athletic guards who are thriving in today’s NBA.

2. PF Harry Giles, Duke

Height: 6-11

Age/YR: 18, Freshman

Giles is a truly special talent, and if it weren’t for injury concerns regarding his knee, there’s a good chance I would have him first overall at this point. Standing at 6-11, Giles is by far the most dynamic big man in the draft. He’s capable of taking his opposition off the dribble, and has the athleticism to chase down blocks defensively or push the pace offensively. He’s an elite defensive prospect in almost every aspect at the four spot, and backs that up with an incredible degree of upside on the other side of the ball.

He has garnered Nerlens Noel comparisons for his defense and DeMarcus Cousins comparisons for his offense, which further points out just how special he could be. He hasn’t fully mastered the 3-point shot yet, but he’s well on his way, and has the ability to outmaneuver and bully his opposition at almost any spot on the floor. He’s too quick for bigger, more traditional defenders to cover, and his size and strength around the basket will give smaller four men fits on both sides of the ball. He has struggled with injuries, most recently having his left knee scoped in early October, but his talent is too much to overlook. I still consider him an absolute lock in the top 3 or 4.

1. PG Dennis Smith Jr., N.C. State

Height: 6-3

Age/YR: 18, Freshman

Smith has eased his way up to the top spot on my big board heading into the season, as the ultra-quick point guard brings a level of offensive upside that’s tough to match. He’ll be worked in as the focal point of an explosive N.C. State offense as well, only setting him up to see ample development in a legitimate star role over the course of the campaign. Smith is likely the fastest player end-to-end in this draft class, with a quick first step and notable explosiveness to the basket. He’s well constructed physically at 6-3, and combines strong outside shooting with excellent finishing touch in traffic around the basket.

Smith’s combination of athleticism and talent isn’t necessarily matched in both aspects — even in a loaded draft class for point guards — and his upside as somebody who could reach Damian Lillard or John Wall levels of production is simply undeniable. He can operate extremely well at different speeds, and provides the type of elite scoring and facilitation upside that is worthy of a number one spot here. As his decision making with the ball in his hands improves, Smith is going to evolve into a special, special player to watch. This may be the best draft class since 2003, and Smith could be the best out of the group.

Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

What this means for the Philadelphia 76ers…

The 2017 NBA Draft class is shaping up to be one of the best in recent memory, with potentially generational talents filling up the top of the lottery, and a lot of really solid, high upside pieces being scattered throughout the first round. Philadelphia, while they could have feasibly found their cornerstones moving forwards in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, are still in the midst of a rebuild — meaning they’ll have an opportunity to add yet another stellar young piece to that mix.

It feels at this point like Nerlens Noel will be shipped out eventually, and that the primary focus for the foreseeable future will be to add a high octane perimeter piece to help balance out the firepower the team currently has stacked up in the frontcourt. Bryan Colangelo has been adamant in stating that the tank is over, which doesn’t come as much of a surprise given Embiid’s recent success and the prospects of Simmons returning midseason. That also means that, finally, we should see the Sixers targeting a guard on draft night.

They’ll likely have their lottery pick and the Los Angeles Lakers’ first rounder, wherever that may be, meaning they’ll have a legitimate chance to add two quality talents. If the Sixers find themselves towards the bottom of the standings once again, which seems likely, then the likes of Dennis Smith Jr., Markelle Fultz, and Malik Monk become prime options to consider.

Robert Covington‘s struggles as of late and some rather lacking perimeter depth could lead the team to look for some additional wing depth as well, especially if Covington fails to find a groove as the season progresses. There’s nothing guaranteeing him as a long term solution in Philly, and that could open up the door for players like Josh Jackson and Jayson Tatum as well.

The Sixers could have the luxury of going after two of those players, or if the Lakers’ stellar improvements under Luke Walton continue all season, they may be handed one of the quality talents towards the end of the lottery or middle of the first round, although that still seems like a lofty goal for such a young Los Angeles roster.

The 2017 draft will give the Sixers an opportunity to place another star alongside Embiid and Simmons, in a manner that very few draft classes ever will. The overarching talent level set to enter the league next season is simply unreal, and it’s an opportunity that seems almost tailor made to the silent genius that so many attest to in regards to Sam Hinkie’s “Process.”

This is a special group of kids, and in turn, a special opportunity for Philadelphia to take that next step towards competitiveness.

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