We’ve seen this over and over: A General Manager takes a player in the Draft and trades him away, then that player becomes a superstar and everybody’s on his back from letting him go. But, truth to be told, Drafting is one of the hardest parts of the job.
A lot of things can help a player thrive or kill his confidence and prevent him from reaching his true potential, and more often than not, scouts make mistakes because of the intangibles they just can’t measure or make projections on.
So, now that we’ve seen them in the league for a couple of years and know what they bring to the table, let’s take a look at the 2017 NBA Draft and the way it should’ve gone instead.
1. Philadelphia 76ers
Original Pick: Markelle Fultz
Re-Draft Pick: Donovan Mitchell
The Philadelphia 76ers traded up to land Markelle Fultz with the 1st overall pick, but a strange injury made him literally forget how to shoot the ball. He spent more time on the shelf than in the hardwood, and Elton Brand sent him away to the Orlando Magic.
Instead, they could’ve saved us all the Rookie of the Year controversy by just taking Donovan Mitchell to play next to Ben Simmons during both of their rookie seasons. Now, Mitchell is a star in the making and the best player from this class.
2. Los Angeles Lakers:
Original Pick: Lonzo Ball
Re-Draft Pick: Jayson Tatum
Lonzo Ball was supposed to be the second coming of Jason Kidd. He also was supposed to be the guy that could take the Lakers’ rebuilding process to a whole new dimension with his top-notch playmaking and ability to play lockdown defense.
Needless to say, they’d fared better off with Jayson Tatum, who made an immediate impact in the league. Tatum has all the tools to be one of the best scorers in the world and is an underrated defender as well. Hence, he should’ve been the second overall pick.
3. Boston Celtics
Original Pick: Jayson Tatum
Re-Draft Pick: De’Aaron Fox
With Tatum off the table, the Boston Celtics should’ve turned their attention to De’Aaron Fox, who could’ve easily coexisted with Kyrie Irving in the backcourt thanks to his defensive instincts. Now, he could’ve been his point guard for the future.
Fox got off to a slow start of his career but he quickly turned the corner and proved why the Sacramento Kings were so high on him. He’s fast, athletic, strong, and won’t back down in the clutch. Also, he’s a hell of a defender as well, so he would’ve been a perfect fit for the Celtics.
4. Phoenix Suns
Original Pick: Josh Jackson
Re-Draft Pick: Kyle Kuzma
The Phoenix Suns thought they were getting a top-notch two-way talent on Josh Jackson, who showed glimpses of being a suffocating defender in college. However, his poor work ethic and lack of improvement forced them to move on from him in no time.
Instead, they could’ve gone with one of the biggest steals of the Draft: Kyle Kuzma. Kuzma’s defense has improved a lot from his rookie year and he’s proved that he can score in bunches. Perhaps he’ll never be a superstar, but he could definitely be a second scoring choice on a Championship team.
5. Sacramento Kings
Original Pick: De’Aaron Fox
Re-Draft Pick: Lauri Markkanen
The Sacramento Kings drafted De’Aaron Fox with the 5th overall pick, but with him already gone, they should’ve taken Lauri Markkanen instead. Maybe they would still be craving a starting point guard, but they would’ve landed one of the most promising big men in the game.
Markkanen can consistently score from all three levels. He can also dominate the glass, put the ball on the floor, and even push it up the court. He needs to put a lot of work on the defensive end, though, but he has the tools to get there.
6. Orlando Magic
Original Pick: Jonathan Isaac
Re-Draft Pick: John Collins
The Orlando Magic drafted Jonathan Isaac with the sixth overall pick as they were looking for a top-notch defender that could play both forward spots. However, his presence makes spacing somewhat difficult next to Aaron Gordon, as they’re an odd fit together offensively.
Instead, they could’ve used their pick to land John Collins, who hasn’t been as injury-prone as Isaac and has been a much more valuable offensive player than him as well. Perhaps he’s not the defensive juggernaut Isaac is, but he’s got All-Star potential for sure.
7. Minnesota Timberwolves
Original Pick: Lauri Markkanen
Re-Draft Pick: Dennis Smith Jr.
The Minnesota Timberwolves used their pick on Lauri Markkanen and sent him to Chicago in the Jimmy Butler trade. However, in this scenario, they would’ve used their pick to get their point guard for the long term in Dennis Smith Jr.
Needless to say, the Timberwolves got the worst part of the deal with the Bulls but this way, they’d have an athletic freak capable of scoring at will in the paint. Obviously, he needs to get his career back on track, but he’s just too talented not to take him at 7.
8. New York Knicks
Original Pick: Frank Ntilikina
Re-Draft Pick: Lonzo Ball
The New York Knicks took Frank Ntilikina with the 8th overall pick despite the fact that most people thought he was a couple of years away from being ready. While Ntilikina has been a great defender and shown some potential, he’s far from the franchise player they were looking for.
Instead, they could’ve had the talented Lonzo Ball as their playmaker of the future. The Ball family sitting courtside in the Madison Square Garden would be something to watch, for sure, but he’ could’ve had more time to prove he’s able to thrive in a big market.
9. Dallas Mavericks
Original Pick: Dennis Smith Jr
Re-Draft Pick: Bam Adebayo
The Dallas Mavericks got Dennis Smith Jr and claimed he’d be their franchise cornerstone going forward, but quickly turned their backs on him to let Luka Doncic run the show. Now, he’s not even a part of the team, but he helped them land Kristaps Porginzis.
But in this re-do, the Mavericks would’ve gotten Bam Adebayo instead. While Adebayo is not the offensive force Porzingis is, he’s one of the league’s rising stars at the center spot thanks to his defensive and playmaking skills for sure.
10. Sacramento Kings
Original Pick: Zach Collins
Re-Draft Pick: Jarrett Allen
The Sacramento Kings got Zach Collins and traded him to the Portland Trail Blazers for a handful of role players, but they could’ve used that pick to land the big man they were hoping to get when they picked Willie Cauley-Stein several years later.
Allen quickly surged as one of the league’s most feared rim protectors and rebounders. He may need to put a lot of work on his finishing, but he’s got the body type and skills to become something of the likes of DeAndre Jordan 2.0, if you may.
11. Charlotte Hornets
Original Pick: Malik Monk
Re-Draft Pick: Markelle Fultz
The Charlotte Hornets thought they were getting a superstar in Malik Monk, an athletic shooting guard that showed an impressive ability to put points on the scoreboard. However, that ability hasn’t exactly translated to the NBA, at least for the time being.
So, with Markelle Fultz sliding in our Draft board, the Hornets would’ve taken him at 11th. With him, they would’ve had Kemba Walker’s replacement, even though they could easily coexist. Fultz is still figuring things out, but he’s got superstar potential.
12. Detroit Pistons
Original Pick: Luke Kennard
Re-Draft Pick: Frank Ntilikina
The Detroit Pistons took Luke Kennard with the 12th overall pick, and even though he struggled early on, he ended up being a solid role player for their team with his ability to knock down shots from deep. However, they could’ve gotten Frank Ntilikina instead.
The Pistons have been urging a starting point guard for years and Ntilikina would’ve been a better choice for him than Reggie Jackson, if you ask me. He’s one of the best backcourt stoppers in the league, and would’ve been in a better position to succeed here than with the Knicks.
13. Denver Nuggets
Original Pick: Donovan Mitchell
Re-Draft Pick: Jonathan Isaac
The Denver Nuggets trusted Donovan Mitchell out of Louisville, but not even them thought he’d be that good that fast. In our re-draft, they wouldn’t be getting the scoring machine Mitchell is, but they would’ve landed a defensive specialist.
Isaac needs to work on his three-point shot but once he starts knocking them down consistently, he’ll be one of the ultimate 3-and-D players in the league. He could make up for a lot of Nikola Jokic’s flaws in the defensive end, as well.
14. Miami Heat
Original Pick: Bam Adebayo
Re-Draft Pick: Zach Collins
The Miami Heat saw a lot of raw talent in Bam Adebayo and coach Erik Spoelstra clearly wanted him to be Hassan Whiteside’s replacement. Now, he’s the starting big man for the team after outhustling and outplaying him on both ends of the floor.
However, with Adebayo already off the table, the Heat would’ve had another tailor-made player for their system in Zach Collins. Collins can stretch the floor with his sweet shooting stroke, defend in the post, or finish inside, but needs more playing time to fulfill his great potential.
15. Portland Trail Blazers
Original Pick: Justin Jackson
Re-Draft Pick: OG Anunoby
The Portland Trail Blazers used their 15th overall pick as a part of the Zach Collins deal, drafting Justin Jackson with it. While Jackson has been a solid role player and looks like a player with a bright future in the league, they would’ve fared way better with OG Anunoby.
OG Anunoby showed glimpses of the ability to become one of the best 3-and-D players in the league, but his development took a slight bump last season due to injuries. Anyway, he’s long, smart, strong, and has great instincts in the defensive end.
16. Chicago Bulls
Original Pick: Justin Patton
Re-Draft Pick: Josh Hart
The Chicago Bulls took Justin Patton as a part of the Jimmy Butler trade and sent him to Minnesota. However, Patton has barely played after being shipped to the Philadelphia 76ers and is now assigned to the Oklahoma City Thunder’s G-league team.
Instead, the Bulls could’ve used that pick to Draft Josh Hart. Hart had some great runs with the Lakers, especially as a scorer, and he could’ve been the starting small forward they’ve been looking for years now. He’d be a great fit, for sure.
17. Milwaukee Bucks
Original Pick: DJ Wilson
Re-Draft Pick: Monte Morris
The Milwaukee Bucks took DJ Wilson with the 17th overall pick, but so far, he’s been pretty much a non-factor. Instead, they could’ve used that pick to get Monte Morris, who slipped all the way to the second round and has fought for every minute of playing time.
Monte Morris isn’t exactly great at anything in particular, but he’s a master of taking care of the ball, and that’s one of the main things you want from your backup point guard. He can hold his own on defense as well, so he’ll be around for some time.
18. Indiana Pacers
Original Pick: TJ Leaf
Re-Draft Pick: Derrick White
The Indiana Pacers took TJ Leaf 18th overall, as they saw him as a modern-day power-forward that could stretch the floor, play some center in small-ball lineups, and knock down some shots. However, Derrick White was the obvious choice here.
White has quickly blossomed into Gregg Popovich’s system, showing an ability to consistently score from beyond the arc, as well as an underrated playmaking ability. He’s something like Patty Mills 2.0, and would’ve provided a much-needed offensive spark off the bench for the Pacers.
19. Atlanta Hawks
Original Pick: John Collins
Re-Draft Pick: Luke Kennard
The Atlanta Hawks got a major steal with John Collins at 19. He’s quickly outplayed his draft spot, proving that he can play at both forward spots and even as a center. However, this re-draft has them picking Luke Kennard with that pick.
Kennard is not much of a solid defender, nor a guy that can create off the dribble. However, he draws a lot of attention in the perimeter because of his well-known ability to knock down shots. It may not sound like much, but all teams need sharpshooters.
20. Portland Trail Blazers
Original Pick: Harry Giles
Re-Draft Pick: Thomas Bryant
The Portland Trail Blazers took Harry Giles to send him to the Sacramento Kings in return for Zach Collins. However, they would’ve been better just taking Thomas Bryant instead, as they wouldn’t even need to trade for Hassan Whiteside this season.
Bryant has proved on a limited basis that he can be a dominant scorer in the paint. He scores at a high clip, is a great finisher above the rim and can dominate both sides of the glass. However, durability has been a concern so far with him.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder
Original Pick: Terrance Ferguson
Re-Draft Pick: Justin Jackson
The Oklahoma City Thunder took Terrance Ferguson with the 21st overall pick and it looked like a steal back in the day due to his well-known athleticism. However, Ferguson did little to prove his worth as a scorer when given the chance to replace Andre Robertson.
Instead, they could’ve used that pick to land Justin Jackson, who’s not exactly a superstar, but does all of the little things that help a team win. He can shoot, pass, rebound, and isn’t afraid to put his body in the line by taking a charge. You need those kinds of guys.
22. Brooklyn Nets
Original Pick: Jarrett Allen
Re-Draft Pick: Harry Giles
The Brooklyn Nets thought they were getting a backup big man when they drafted Jarrett Allen. Needless to say, he ended up proving that he was worthy of being a starter in this league. However, they would’ve had to pick Harry Giles in this scenario.
Giles is what they thought they were getting with Allen. A strong athlete with a lot of raw talent that can be a solid rebounder and slide into the starting lineup when needed. However, he’s not going to give you much more than just a few boards.
23. Toronto Raptors
Original Pick: OG Anunoby
Re-Draft Pick: Josh Jackson
The Toronto Raptors got one of the steals of the Draft with OG Anunoby, who was instantly thrown into the fire and assigned to defend some of the best players in the world. However, that should’ve been Josh Jackson instead, at least in this re-draft.
Josh Jackson could still have a solid career in the league if he stops fooling around and focuses on basketball. He’s got great physical tools to be a lockdown defender but needs to put a lot of work on his offense, especially his jump shot.
24. Utah Jazz
Original Pick: Tyler Lydon
Re-Draft Pick: Dillon Brooks
The Utah Jazz took their attention to Tyler Lydon, a backup power forward that could put the ball on the floor and spread their offense with some shooting. However, that pick would’ve been far better used if they’ve taken Dillon Brooks.
Brooks proved to be a reliable scorer for the rebuilding Memphis Grizzlies during their injury-depleted season. He can run some point, play the two, and even the three if needed. He’s not going to be a star but is a hard-working role player for sure.
25. Orlando Magic
Original Pick: Anzejs Pasecniks
Re-Draft Pick: Jordan Bell
The Orlando Magic wasted their 25th overall pick on Anzejs Pasecniks, a Latvian who’s yet to play a minute in the NBA, and that may never actually commit to stop playing overseas. Instead, they could’ve used that pick in Jordan Bell.
Everybody was aware of Bell’s defensive abilities from his days in Oregon and he was quick to show them in the big league. However, some off-court issues, lack of discipline and constant injuries have taken a toll on his development.
26. Portland Trail Blazers
Original Pick: Caleb Swanigan
Re-Draft Pick: Malik Monk
The Portland Trail Blazers played it safe by taking Caleb Swanigan with the 26th overall pick. He showed some impressive bounce during his rookie year, and while he didn’t particularly step up from the pack, he wasn’t terrible either.
However, now that he’s available, the Blazers could’ve give Malik Monk a shot. I mean, the talent’s clearly there, the physical tools are there. Perhaps he just needs a system that works better for him, and we all know how Terry Stotts brings the most out of his backcourt.
27. Los Angeles Lakers
Original Pick: Kyle Kuzma
Re-Draft Pick: Terrance Ferguson
The Los Angeles Lakers got a huge steal in Kyle Kuzma at 27th, but now that he climbed all the way up to the fourth pick, they would’ve had to go with the best athlete still available in the Draft, and that’s Terrance Ferguson for sure.
Terrance Ferguson can jump out of the gym. He’s got an outstanding bounce, and freakish athleticism. He’s failed to be a consistent shooter and struggles in the defensive end, but you can’t ask for much else at this stage of the 1st round.
28. Los Angeles Lakers
Original Pick: Tony Bradley
Re-Draft Pick: Frank Mason
The Lakers used their following pick to get Tony Bradley, who hasn’t done much to prove he’s worthy of a roster spot in the league. Then, they’d trade him to the Utah Jazz to wrap their hands around Josh Hart, a trade they obviously won.
However, with Josh Hart already out of the table, the Lakers would’ve been smart to dress Frank Mason in the purple and gold, as he would’ve been a solid backup point guard for them at a fair spot. They would’ve traded him to get Anthony Davis anyway, I guess.
29. San Antonio Spurs
Original Pick: Derrick White
Re-Draft Pick: TJ Leaf
Gregg Popovich did it again. He outsmarted and outscouted everybody and managed to steal Derrick White with the 29th overall pick. However, he wouldn’t have that same luck in this hypothetical scenario, so he would’ve had to pick TJ Leaf instead.
Still, TJ Leaf is a typical San Antonio Spurs player. He’s smart, can play team defense, knock down shots from deep, and do a little bit of everything. We all know what Popovich is capable of turning late 1st rounders into, so Leaf wouldn’t be an exception to that rule.
30. Utah Jazz
Original Pick: Josh Hart
Re-Draft Pick: Caleb Swanigan
And finally, the Utah Jazz used their 30th overall pick to get Josh Hart and trade him to the Lakers, a transaction they must be regretting right now, considering Josh Hart turned out to be one of the best scorers in this Draft class.
In this scenario, they would’ve landed Caleb Swanigan instead. Swanigan is an underrated athlete and solid shooter but is never going to be much more than just a role player on a deep rotation, which is what you’d expect with a player taken at this spot.