If every team got it right, analyzing what the 2017 NBA draft would look like.
1. Philadelphia 76ers - Jayson Tatum (3):
Celtics GM Danny Ainge was masterful in his negotiations before the 2017 draft. The Celtics had the first overall pick, and Tatum was his guy. Knowing though that Tatum was ranked third by almost everyone, he traded down to picks, and added another future pick (which turned into Romeo Langford). With the third pick, he took Tatum.
Donovan Mitchell puts up a bit of a fight, but Tatum is clearly the best player in this draft. His player impact +/- of 4.38 is the ninth best in the NBA this season, and best among 2017 draftees. Tatum has just been getting better and better over his career, and before the suspension of the season was on an absolute tear. Simply put, he was one of the best players in the game the last few months of the season.
He isn't just a future star anymore, he already is one. As long as he is around in Boston, they are going to be very competitive. On a side note, 76ers fans must be imagining right now what a Tatum/Simmons/Embiid trio would look like.
2. Los Angeles Lakers - Donovan Mitchell (13):
If not for Ben Simmons starting his career a year late, Mitchell would have been the runaway winner of the rookie of the year in 2017-18. He is the only player in this draft to have averaged at least 20 points per game in each of his three seasons, and is the no doubt steal of the draft.
He has put up excellent numbers, but isn't just doing so leading a terrible team. The Utah Jazz have made the playoffs in each of his first two seasons, and Mitchell has shined in a lot of crucial games. If Los Angeles could get a do-over, they would not be forced to make a very difficult selection in taking Mitchell. This is another huge "what if", if the Lakers had managed to have Mitchell, Lebron James, and Anthony Davis.
3. Boston Celtics - Bam Adebayo (14):
There were a lot of question marks around Adebayo before his draft, and even before this season. Before the 2019-20 campaign, he would be nowhere near third on this list though. This year though, he has showed an arsenal that is really unlike any other big man in the league. He was an NBA all star, and can kind of do it all. He doesn't shoot from deep or anything like that, but he doesn't need to.
Probably his best trait is his defense, but he has increased his rebound total this year to 10.5 per game, and his points per game up to 16.2. He is definitely not the player that Tatum is, but would still have been a good fit in Boston. Like Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra, Brad Stevens would have given Adebayo the opportunity to flourish with the Celtics.
4. Phoenix Suns - De'Aaron Fox (5):
The Suns did not do a great job in the 2017 draft. They drafted Josh Jackson, now a G-League player, and then traded him away. Fansided wrote, "Essentially, they traded the fourth overall pick for Javon Carter and added in two future picks plus a solid backup point guard to sweeten the deal. Yikes."
Fox has been a bit inconsistent in his first three years, but has still been the leader of a young team in Sacremento. He leads the team with 20.4 points per game. In addition, he is still getting better on offense, and has the potential to become an elite defender.
5. Sacremento Kings - Lonzo Ball (2):
There was a lot of hype around Lonzo Ball (and the rest of his family for that matter), that he couldn't live up to in Los Angeles. His father/brand and lack of a strong jump shot were the biggest concerns around him before the draft, but those have both been fixed.
He fits in better in New Orleans with a young core around him. His best skill is still his playmaking and passing, but because he has improved his shot, teams now have to respect it. The Kings don't get their guy in Fox here, but Ball is not a bad replacement.
6. Orlando Magic - John Collins (19):
Collins was another huge steal in the 2017 draft. His defense was a big concern for teams before the draft, and is still a bit shaky, but he is improving. With the Hawks, he has shown shooting skills that just weren't there in college. This season he is averaging 21.6 points per game on 58% shooting. He is also averaging over 10 rebounds per game, while also shooting over 40% from three. The Magic would be happy nabbing him at sixth overall.
7. Minnesota Timberwolves - Lauri Markanen (7):
Markanen, even three years into his career is still a bit of a question mark, but I have him staying at seventh in this redraft. He definitely has some injury concerns after getting hurt in each of his first three seasons. He's also had a bit of a dip in production this past year. While saying that though, he shoots at a decent clip for a big man, and still does seem to be improving. He once again goes to the T-Wolves here seventh overall.
8. New York Knicks - Jonathan Isaac (6):
Isaac really could be ahead of Markanen in this list. The simple fact is, he is one of the best defenders in the game. He is very athletic, and at 6'11" has the excellent reach. Before his season ending knee injury on January 1st, Isaac was one of the league's most improved players. His offensive game was much more efficient than earlier in his career. Despite the continued injury concerns, if Isaac can continue to improve his shot, he will be a very valuable young player.
9. Dallas Mavericks - OG Anunoby (23):
If you can't get a star player, go for a strong role player, and that is exactly what Anunoby is. Unfortunately he was hurt for the Raptors title run, but he has been a very important player on Toronto this season. He's an excelletn defender who can guard opposing teams 2's, 3's, and even 4's. He also shoots 38% from three. He is an under the radar, but valuable player.
10. Sacramento Kings - Kyle Kuzma (27):
After his first two seasons, Kuzma would have been much higher in this redraft. He averaged 16, and then almost 19 points per game in his first two seasons, but has regressed in 2020. The fact is that he just hasn't fit in well with the new LeBron James, Anthony Davis Lakers. It raises a concern that he can only put up points and make an impact on weaker teams. His shooting percentages don't amaze either. He still takes a significant jump in the draft up to the Kings in our redraft.