2017 NBA Mock Draft, Week 22: College basketball is over

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New order, new destinations. This is our latest mock 2017 NBA Draft.

College basketball has come to an end and the NCAA Tournament helped us hone our evaluations of several NBA prospects. In the first round, both North Carolina’s Justin Jackson and Gonzaga’s Zach Collins improved their positioning relative to their peers while others like Oregon’s Jordan Bell and South Carolina’s Sindarius Thornwell have solidified their position as early second rounders.

As usual, the order for the mock draft has been determined using the projections done by FiveThirtyEight and no changes have been made to the lottery order.

Here’s a look at the first round.

Jan 14, 2017; Stanford, CA, USA; Washington Huskies guard Markelle Fultz (20) moves the ball against the Stanford Cardinal in the second half at Maples Pavilion. Stanford won 76-69. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

Learn more about Markelle Fultz at The Step Back.

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Markelle Fultz

PG, Washington

Despite winning seven of 17 games during March — a season high — the Brooklyn Nets are still well on pace to end up with the most ping pong balls in the lottery. That’s excellent news for the Boston Celtics, the franchise that owns an unprotected pick swap with the Nets this season. That will put Boston in position to draft Washington’s Markelle Fultz. The 18-year old point guard is a potential game changer for the Celtics despite a crowded backcourt that would likely require some reconfiguring down the line should Fultz pan out as expected.

As a freshman, Fultz averaged 23.2 points, 5.9 assists and 5.7 rebounds per game while posting a 55.8 true shooting percentage. He already excels playing in pick-and-roll — a staple of modern NBA offenses — and is comfortable shooting off the dribble. Both of those skills are necessary for lead guards in the league. Fultz also flashed the ability to knock down outside shots this season, hitting 41.3 percent of his 3s on nearly six attempts per 40 minutes.

While there are some concerns about Fultz’s consistency on the defensive end, he averaged 1.7 steals and 1.3 blocks per 40 minutes for the Huskies with a particular penchant for chasing down blocks in transition. Even if Fultz ultimately struggles to translate defensively, his size — 6-foot-4 with a nearly 6-foot-10 wingspan — will give him some cover as he can guard the worst perimeter player on the opposing team.

Learn more about Markelle Fultz at The Step Back.

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