Mike Gallagher

Offseason Beat

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2017 Draft Class Ranks Part 3

Sunday, July 30, 2017


We're back with the final installment of the re-draft ranks for the 2017 NBA Draft class. In case you missed it, here is a look at Dennis Smith Jr. from earlier this month and the 2017 picks ranked 2-5. Don't forget we'll have a ton of info on the rookies for the draft guide in about a month.

 

There are some important things to remember from those columns, so check those out before going through these. 

 

6. John Collins - Before we even get to how awesome Collins looked this month, his situation reminds me a lot of a player I thought should’ve been Rookie of the Year. Dario Saric was behind Ersan Ilyasova at power forward on the depth chart last year and was on a team that didn’t have much of a chance to make the postseason. The Hawks have one of the thinnest groups in their frontcourt and there’s a reason why they claimed Nicolas Brussino off waivers this month. That means Collins absolutely has a chance to get in the rotation out of the gate. The extra year at Wake Forest should go a long way to help him hit the ground running, too.

 

In Vegas, Collins was must-see action. He had a whopping 13 dunks in his Las Vegas trip and he earned the nickname John The Baptist. He also posted some really nice stats, averaging 15.4 points, 9.2 boards, 1.0 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.6 blocks.

 

Collins almost looks like a small forward for his lateral movement and ability to rise over guys, but he’ll have no problem being a four man. There’s even a chance he gets a look at the five in some small-ball matchups, especially with the lack of talent at center in the ATL.

 

Thanks to those dunks, Collins made 59.3 percent from the field in his five summer league games, which is a step down from his 62.2 percent from the field last year. He’s also a strong shooter from the line with a 74.5 free throw percentage on 6.7 attempts per game, so that gives him a really nice fantasy floor. He also had some really nice averages as a Demon Deacon overall with 19.2 points, 9.8 boards, 1.6 blocks and 0.6 steals in those 26.6 minutes per game. He doesn’t shoot the trey, but that’s OK for the 6’10” big man.

 

Collins may not produce early because the Hawks will want to try to play their veterans more early in the year, but he definitely could have a Marquese Chriss-like impact in the second half.

 

7. Jayson Tatum - Is Jayson Tatum the seventh most-talented player in the draft? No way. Is his style of play not suited for fantasy? Nope. Is he easily in the worst position for any player taken in the lottery? You bet he is.

 

As mentioned in the intro from the 2-5 ranking, the fact that so many bad teams are more likely to play their younger guys late in the season is just such a huge bonus. The Celtics may have an even better chance at the top seed than we thought with the Kyrie Irving drama — the Cavs are still the favorites, of course. That means it'll likely have to be an injury to a key player for Tatum to make a big impact.

 

President Danny Ainge said Tatum should look at how Jaylen Brown handled his first season. "I think that [Tatum will] learn a lot from Jaylen,"  Ainge said." I think Jaylen handled his rookie role with a good team about as well as anybody could." While you could argue Tatum is a better prospect than Brown, the Duke rookie is just buried behind Brown, Gordon Hayward and Jae Crowder. Plus, they added Marcus Morris, so that didn’t help him either.

 

Some good news is that the Celtics are more open to having a position-less approach to their rotation. There was even some talk of the Celtics playing Tatum at the two, and he does have size to play some four, as well. Hayward and Brown could play some two, especially Brown as a possible starter. Still, the lack of opportunity just caps Tatum for his first season.

 

8. Jarrett Allen - This is all opportunity. The Nets starting center spot is going to be an “open competition” for Timofey Mozgov and the rookie from Texas -- maybe even Quincy Acy or Trevor Booker, too. Plus, it really helps that the Nets led the NBA in pace last year, and they’re going to be very, very small at the forward spots this season. That means there should be some opportunity to block some shots.

 

The biggest negative on Allen is he didn’t play at summer league. Yeah, it would’ve been nice to see him out there, but the fact that he wasn’t healthy is a little worrisome. His hip flexor strain is hardly as concerning as Caris LeVert’s foot fracture(s) at Michigan, but the Nets will obviously err on the side of caution every time.

 

He could be a blocks and boards guy with possibly some scoring and field goal percentage boosts. 

 

9. Donovan Mitchell  - Technically, Mitchell led Vegas in points per game with 28.0, but he did play only two games over there. The Louisville product didn’t dominate to that degree in Utah with his 15.3 points per game, but he was electric and was easily a top-three guard for just pure entertainment value.

 

One interesting aspect on Mitchell was how he fared at point guard. When he was all done and was interviewed on NBATV, he said he was most proud of how he handled the duties at point guard because many said he couldn’t add that to his game. The Jazz may want to use him as a facilitator in the second unit, so that’s a key development to watch in camp.

 

If Mitchell can beat out Alec Burks and the Jazz are OK with going with Joe Johnson as a small-ball four again, there could be an opportunity to play minutes in the 20s. Although, the Jazz still have a pretty good chance to make the playoffs even without Gordon Hayward, so that should cap his upside. Rodney Hood’s knees having another rough year would really help Mitchell bust out.

 

10. Justin Jackson - The Kings are a total mess, especially 2-4 on their depth chart. Jackson has a legitimate chance to start at the three unless the Kings slide Bogdan Bogdanovic over to the three, they start George Hill at the two, get Vince Carter out there, or even possibly move Buddy Hield over as the starting three man next to Bogdan or Hill.

 

Jackson was really good on both ends in Las Vegas, averaging 16.7 points, 3.3 boards, 2.3 assists, 0.3 steals and 0.3 blocks on 37.9 percent from the field. Yeah, that field goal percentage isn’t great and he wasn’t all that efficient at UNC with his 55.5 true shooting percentage.

 

Speaking of his college numbers, they were pretty solid. The 2017 ACC Player of the Year averaged 18.3 points, 4.7 boards, 2.8 dimes, 0.8 steals, 0.2 blocks and 2.6 treys. He was pretty solid on his Js at 39.4 percent on twos and 37.0 percent on threes, so he may be able to find success as a shooter.

 

Despite how the Kings added some help this summer, they’re likely going go be tanking late in the year, which should lead to some dynamite JJ numbers. 

 

If you're looking for some deep cuts on rookies to watch, check out our pod from Wednesday!



Mike Gallagher has covered fantasy hoops for eight years and this season is his second with Rotoworld. You can find him on Twitter talking about a player's shots at the rim.



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