We are now just two days away from the 2017 NBA Draft! Anticipation is heating up as Boston and Philadelphia just completed a trade to swap the 1st overall pick for the 3rd pick, and a future 1st rounder.
On the Charlotte Hornets side of things, Buzz City has several different prospects in mind. Donovan Mitchell, Luke Kennard, Justin Jackson, and Frank Ntilikina are among the players coveted by Hornets fans. Who does Charlotte select in the QCH Mock Draft? Find out below as Spencer Percy, Richie Randall, Reece Helms, Mark Buonocore, and Andy Moore play the role of NBA GM.[Disclaimer: These are not our predictions on the lottery picks, only what we would do if we got to play GM for the team]
1. Philadelphia 76ers (Andy Moore)
Markelle Fultz – PG, Washington – Philadelphia cashes in on some assets to get the consensus top player in the draft, without sacrificing major cap space. If all healthy, a trio of Fultz, Simmons, and Embiid could make some major noise in the East in a couple seasons.
2. Los Angeles Lakers (Reece Helms)
Lonzo Ball – PG, UCLA – And with the second pick in the NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers select…..LaVar Ball. Eh…I mean Lonzo Ball. While the 76ers are decided on picking Markelle Fultz, the Lakers have yet to make it clear who they are leaning towards. They have a lot of options such as Josh Jackson or De’Aaron Fox, but I would be surprised to see them pass on Lonzo. He’s made it clear he wants to be a Laker, and he would be a great fit. Hey, maybe they can even hire LaVar to a front office position with the team (I’m just kidding)
3. Boston Celtics (Mark Buonocore)
Josh Jackson – SF, Kansas – Jackson coming to Boston gives them another young two-way wing to bolster their bench now and replace Crowder as a starter if he leaves. Still don’t quite understand the move to trade back though.
4. Phoenix Suns (Spencer Percy)
Jonathan Isaac – SF, Florida State – The Suns have an elite scorer on the wing in Devin Booker, but defensively they’re a mess. More athleticism and versatility is a need, so Isaac checks those boxes. The Suns also have a massive rebuild project and are extremely young, so no worries needing to be patient with JI.
5. Sacramento Kings (Richie Randall)
Dennis Smith – PG, NC State – The Kings are in desperate need of a point guard. While many have Sacramento selecting the “safer” pick in Fox, I elected for the higher-upside and the overlooked Dennis Smith. Smith is a problem in transition with his elite athleticism and strength. He’s someone that can create for himself and others with his ball-handling and shifty nature. He’s still improving as a shooter but has taken great strides from behind the arc. Smith’s lack of effort might not mesh well with the current state of the Kings — but, hey, I didn’t create that culture.
6. Orlando Magic (Andy Moore)
De’Aaron Fox – PG, Kentucky – Magic takes a top-five prospect in the draft with their selection. It does not appear Elfrid Payton is the long term answer. Though Fox struggles with his jumper, the rest of his skill set is elite.
7. Minnesota Timberwolves (Reece Helms)
Lauri Markkanen – PF, Arizona – Markkanen is the perfect fit in Minnesota. The Timberwolves could use a stretch-four next to Karl Anthony-Towns and Lauri fits that criteria. He shot 42% on threes in his only season with Arizona, he’s the perfect NBA stretch four.
8. New York Knicks (Mark Buonocore)
Malik Monk – SG, Kentucky – Knicks need scoring and Monk is a top scoring guard in this draft. His high-scoring attitude will play well with Knicks fans, who are looking for something to cheer about.
9. Dallas Mavericks (Spencer Percy)
Jayson Tatum – SF, Duke – Mark Cuban couldn’t believe that Tatum fell to him at 9, but the Mavs have a way of finding themselves in good situations. With Harrison Barnes playing the same position as Tatum, it’ll be interesting to see how Dallas experiments with them on the floor together. More offensive firepower was a real need for the Mavs, so Jayson Tatum is a dream come true.
10. Sacramento Kings (Richie Randall)
Zach Collins – PF, Gonzaga – I got to play Vlade Divac again and was one slot away from selecting Tatum, which is the steal of the draft at number 9. Zach Collins made a lot of sense, here, for Sacramento.. While Collins didn’t fully display his outside shooting at Gonzaga, he’s demonstrated this ability during his workouts. He’s an above average defender who still needs to get a little more physical in the post but is only 19 years old.
11. Charlotte Hornets (Andy Moore)
Donovan Mitchell – SG/PG, Louisville – Charlotte is a team desperate to get back into the playoffs after staying home last year. Charlotte is capped out and has few options to improve their bench. Point guard is a need: Frank Ntilikina might have higher upside, but Mitchell is more ready now. Charlotte drafts for now.
Andy was in charge of this pick for the Mock Draft, but we got everyone else’s opinion on who the Charlotte Hornets should take:
Reece: Frank Ntilikina – PG/SG, France – A lot of people want Donovan Mitchell, but I think Frank Ntilikina has the higher upside. He is currently 18 years old and is 6’5 with a close to 7-foot wingspan.
Mark: Donovan Mitchell – SG/PG, Louisville – This is truly a no brainer, brings athletic ability and tough defense to a bench unit that lacks it. Plus has the size and reach to play alongside Kemba, playing with the ball or spotting up outside.
Spencer: Frank Ntilikina – PG/SG, France – I would take Ntilikina. But I’m of the “preserving for the future” mindset, while the front office is chasing a birth into the eastern conference playoffs second round.
Richie: Donovan Mitchell – SG/PG, Louisville – I think the Hornets should select Donovan Mitchell with their 11th selection. He’s a player you can plug in right away and make an impact on the defensive end. He’s fully capable of guarding the 1, 2, and 3 positions with his length and build. He showcased an ability to get his hands in the passing lanes, posting an impressive 2.6 steals per 40. On offense, he will be more comfortable playing off-ball at the shooting guard position. Some may question his size but he did a great job of creating space off-ball and averaged 1.13 points per possession in spot up situations. There’s going to be a question of whether and he can play the point, a position of need for Charlotte, and I’m a little more hesitant on that front. He has shown glimpses of effective pick-and-roll play while at Louisville and that bodes well. I fully expect him to be there at 11 and the Hornets need to take a chance, for once, on a player with a higher ceiling.
12. Detroit Pistons (Reece Helms)
Luke Kennard – SG/SF, Duke – Over the past few weeks the Luke Kennard has skyrocketed up draft boards. There have been rumors the New York Knicks are eyeing him with the 8th pick, but I think that may be a reach. The sharpshooter from Duke lands with Stan Van Gundy and the Detroit Pistons in the QCH Mock Draft.
13. Denver Nuggets (Mark Buonocore)
Frank Ntilikina – PG/SG, France – Adding Frank to the current young group of guards will allow him to be brought along slowly. His talent and physical tools will bring something the Nuggets back court sorely needs, a defensive presence.
14. Miami Heat (Spencer Percy)
Harry Giles – PF, Duke – Some will say that Giles is a reach here, but he’s a great fit in Miami. He can play spot minutes behind Whiteside and give the Heat more rim-protection. If HG learns to trust his body again and can stay healthy, this will end up being a home-run pick for Miami.