While everyone’s attention is on the NBA Playoffs, let’s not forget that NBA Draft is just over a month away. That also means the combine is almost here as well. With only eight teams remaining in the playoffs, 22 other teams are preparing for what many people claim to be a deep draft class. Let’s take a look at the projected 6-10 picks of the 2017 NBA Draft:
Pick 6: Minnesota Timberwolves – F Jonathon Isaac
Minnesota already has plenty of offensive talent on their roster, so looking for some help on defense is an area of need. Taking a versatile defender with offensive upside might be the smartest move the Wolves can make. Isaac is extremely efficient at covering the pick-and-roll. His ability to contest shots around the basket and switch around the perimeter should hold extra value in Minnesota. Standing at 6-10, Isaac has promising handles and has smooth shot mechanics as he shot 59% from inside the arc. Isaac could be a perfect fit for the Wolves because of his versatile defense and offensive upside. Adding a defensive-minded youngster to the offensively talented youngsters already on the team is exactly what Minnesota could use.
Pick 7: New York Knicks – G Frank Ntilikina
The Knicks are in need of a quality point guard, so why not add another foreign player to the roster like Ntilikina? Born in 1998, Ntilikina is young and has plenty of room to develop. He fits in with the triangle offense the Knicks run which could play a huge role in drafting him. His offensive ability along with his defensive potential and maturity will benefit him at the next level. In France’s top division, Ntilikina is shooting almost 55% from inside the arc and 40.5% from behind it. He plays well on and off the ball, which with all of this in mind, gives him the edge over other point guards in this draft.
Pick 8: Sacramento Kings – G Dennis Smith Jr.
The Kings can’t pass on a quality point guard in the draft as they have found no luck in finding one in free agency. Although Smith was a bit inconsistent at North Carolina State, his production overlooked that. He has scoring and playmaking abilities which could earn him big minutes if drafted by the Kings. His athleticism, skill level, and takeover ability scream NBA. This being the first of two picks in the top 10, Sacramento should look to grab a point guard first and focus on another position at pick 10.
Pick 9: Dallas Mavericks – F Lauri Markkanen
Considering Dirk’s age, finding someone who can replace him should be on the Mavs’ mind. The parallels to Dirk can’t be ignored and who else better than Dirk to mentor Markkanen? He is a seven footer who is arguably the most accurate shooter in the draft. He is someone who compensates his average athleticism with deadly shooting and high offensive skill. This all seems too familiar, doesn’t it? Bringing back defensive-minded Nerlens Noel would benefit Markkanen due to his struggles defending the rim. If Dennis Smith or De’Aaron Fox are still on the board, look for the Mavs to be interested in one of them as well.
Pick 10: Sacramento Kings (via Pelicans) – C Zach Collins
With the departure of DeMarcus Cousins, finding a big man whether in the NBA Draft or free agency is a need for the Kings. Collins stands at seven feet, 230 pounds, and is light on his feet. His back-to-the-basket game, shooting touch and shot-blocking instincts are what differentiates him from others in the draft. His credibility rose with big performances in the NCAA Tournament. The most notable game he had was in the Final Four against South Carolina where he had 14 points, 13 rebounds, and six blocks. Collins has starter potential in the NBA and if developed correctly, he could be a future star at the center position.
Anything can change from now, to the combine, to the actual draft. As the NBA Playoffs move along, prospects will begin to show exactly what they’re made of. Who will land where? Only time will tell.