The NBA season is winding down, but the 2017 NBA Draft is in full swing.
In just over two weeks, 60 players will have their NBA dreams realized as they are drafted into the world’s greatest basketball league. That will include several former Kentucky Wildcats.
It’s looking more and more like De’Aaron Fox will be the first Cat to hear his name called, as he’s rising up draft boards enough that it looks like he’s a lock to go somewhere in the top five.
4. Phoenix Suns: De'Aaron Fox
The Suns are hoping that Lonzo Ball falls to No. 4. They like him and think he's a good fit in their system alongside Devin Booker.
If he's not there, it will be between Jackson, Fox and Tatum. With Jackson off the board, Fox seems like an ideal fit. The Suns are loaded with offensive talent. Getting Fox's defensive versatility, intensity and play-making should really improve the Suns and open the door to an Eric Bledsoe trade.
Fox has been rising up draft boards enough to think there’s a real chance he could pass Lonzo Ball and go second overall to the L.A. Lakers, but Ford still thinks Ball gets the nod.
After Fox, Malik Monk is the next Cat to go off the board with the ninth pick by way of the New York Knicks:
8. New York Knicks: Malik Monk
The Knicks are looking at a number of backcourt players, including Monk, Dennis Smith and Frank Ntilikina.
Monk may be the highest upside player and best fit of the group. If he lands here, Knicks fans will love him when he heats up.
The third and final Cat to crack Round 1 is Bam Adebayo, who is all the way up to 20th overall to the Portland Trail Blazers:
20. Portland Trail Blazers (via Grizzlies): Edrice Adebayo
This is the second first-rounder for the Blazers. They've been shopping this around and at least one team, the Knicks, appears interested. It's doubtful Portland keeps all three first-round picks.
Adebayo is steadily rising back up draft boards and a very strong pro day has scouts buzzing again, especially at the terrific feet that allow him to guard multiple positions.
Whether this pick is for the Blazers or someone else, there's real value there.
Bam has been viewed as a borderline first-round pick for some time now, so seeing him go this high in ESPN’s mock is somewhat good news for his stock.
Here is how the entire first round played out:
2. L.A. Lakers - Lonzo Ball
3. Philadelphia 76ers - Josh Jackson
4. Phoenix Suns - De'Aaron Fox
5. Sacramento Kings - Jayson Tatum
6. Orlando Magic - Jonathan Isaac
7. Minnesota Timberwolves - Lauri Markkanen
8. New York Knicks - Malik Monk
9. Dallas Mavericks - Dennis Smith
10. Sacramento Kings (via Pelicans) - Frank Ntilikina
11. Charlotte Hornets - Donovan Mitchell
12. Detroit Pistons - Luke Kennard
13. Denver Nuggets - OG Anunoby
14. Miami Heat - Zach Collins
15. Portland Trail Blazers - Harry Giles
16. Chicago Bulls - John Collins
17. Milwaukee Bucks - Ike Anigbogu
18. Indiana Pacers - TJ Leaf
19. Atlanta Hawks - Jarrett Allen
20. Portland Trail Blazers - Edrice Adebayo
21. Oklahoma City Thunder - Justin Jackson
22. Brooklyn Nets - Justin Patton
23. Toronto Raptors - Jonathan Jeanne
24. Utah Jazz - Andzejs Pasecniks
25. Orlando Magic - Frank Jackson
26. Portland Trail Blazers - Isaiah Hartenstein
27. Brooklyn Nets - Terrance Ferguson
28. Los Angeles Lakers - D.J. Wilson
29. San Antonio Spurs - Tony Bradley
30. Utah Jazz - Rodions Kurucs