ESPN college basketball analyst and hoops expert Fran Fraschilla joined Matt Mosley on The Post Up Podcast after the NBA Draft Lottery to discuss some of the top draft prospects.
The Mavericks will pick ninth in the NBA Draft on June 22. In most seasons, picking ninth might not guarantee the opportunity to draft a player who can contribute immediately and has a good chance to become a star. While the Mavs (and some other teams) have had plenty of luck at No. 9 in the past, the thing that stands out most about the 2017 crop of prospects is it’s reportedly a loaded draft on top. Experts across the board believe the Mavericks will be able to acquire a very talented player if the club does indeed stay at No. 9.
Listen to the complete podcast below, with some transcribed highlights below.
On the number of top point guards available: This is obviously a point guard-deep first 10, because you’re looking at Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, Dennis Smith, De’Aaron Fox, and Frank Ntilikina. All those guys have been mentioned in the top-10. Certainly, Dallas can improve in the backcourt. It’s not like they can’t improve in a number of places, but there’s a plethora of backcourt, playmaking guards that are gonna be in that first 10.
On French point guard Frank Ntilikina: With Frank Ntilikina, you’re getting an 18-year-old youngster, right now playing in (French) Pro A, who is 6-foot-5, can play both guard spots, has a very good feel for the game, can shoot it, can defend, is an above-average athlete although not a great athlete by NBA standards, but above-average, and he’s gonna play his entire rookie year in the NBA as a 19-year-old. You’re looking at a young man with a lot of potential, but maybe not a star right away. … He’s proving to be a good, not great player at the French Pro A level, but certainly someone who fits in the mold of French players who have come to the NBA and done very well.
On Arizona big man Lauri Markkanen: Where Lauri Markkanen fits in nicely — and he’s certainly not at the Dirk level and likely will never be — is that at 7 feet tall and 19 years old, he’s a very, very good outside shooter. When you draft this young man you’re getting incredibly high character, I can’t say that enough. The people that have interviewed him have already said one of the nicest young men that you’ll ever talk to, hard worker, wants to be a good pro. And there’s a difference, because there are youngsters that want to be in the NBA, and there are guys that want to be NBA players. Coaches in the league know the difference. This kid wants to be a good NBA player.
On NC State point guard Dennis Smith Jr.: You have a young man who is extremely athletic, strong, good size for a point guard. The average NBA starting point guard was 6-3, he’s probably in that 6-2 to 6-3 range. … He did not play well the last month of the season, but you love the raw, physical attributes of this young man. When you bring him in, the first question Rick Carlisle is gonna try to size up from him is can he make the quick adjustment to putting the ball in his hands, does he understand the pick-and-roll, can he get to the paint, can his shooting improve? All these question marks are gonna be asked by the staff of Dennis Smith, and they’re gonna find out what makes him tick.
On Florida State forward Jonathan Isaac: Tremendous potential. Maybe, if you told me seven years from now that he was the best player in the 2017 Draft, it would not surprise me. 6-foot-11, can play both forward spots, athletic, can shoot it, has really good defensive instincts, knows how to play, high character, and just scratching the surface.
On Indiana forward O.G. Anunoby: Great kid, high-level NBA defender. He’s going to be an elite NBA defender. He looks like he’s going to be a 3-point shooter in time. But the ball skills and the feel offensively not there, certainly not in the Kawhi Leonard range. I think [pick] nine’s a little high. I think he’d be ideal on a team that’s ready-made offensively.
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