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Fearless Forecast for NBA Draft Props

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Updated: .June 22, 2017

By Charles Jay

It’s pretty tough to get on board with some of the NBA Draft props that are posted by our friends at America’s Bookie, because you just never know when that last-minute deal is going to be swung that might change things around completely, or at least enough to make a kid drop a few rungs. This is not a matter of taking a 1-30 list of the “top prospects,” because so much depends on who likes who, or whether a team is drafting for a specific need. If you are in the middle of the first round, for example, and you have a bunch of guards, do you really want to add another one, when what you’re really looking for is more size? That might make you pass up on the “best available player.”

And as you’ll see tonight (if you don’t know already), sometimes a team drafts a player for another team, so that a deal for that player can subsequently be made. So it’s a roll of the dice, and that is why we are going to zero in on a few that might fit with our idea of “logic.”

We already know that Markelle Fultz is going #1 to the Philadelphia 76ers. Don’t we? And that would make Lonzo Ball the #2 guy, to the Lakers, right? They are 1-2 either way. But after that, there is much in the way of mystery.

Here we go:

DE’AARON FOX – DRAFT POSITION
Over 4.5 (-180)
Under 4.5 (+150)

The consensus is that if the Boston Celtics were looking for a point guard, they’d have held on to the #1 pick, unless of course, they were fixated on Fox. But likely, it is help at the small forward spot they are looking for. Could the Phoenix Suns feel the same way? If there’s one place they seem strong, it’s in the backcourt, although Fox might be an ideal feeder for the immensely talented Devin Booker. We DO know that the Sacramento Kings are extremely interested in the “one-and-done” star out of Kentucky, who needs to work on his jump shot but had to play a lot of defense to make up for the shortcomings of Malik Monk.

JAY’S PLAY: OVER 4.5 (-180)

JAYSON TATUM – DRAFT POSITION
Under 4.5 (-260)
Over 4.5 (+210)

I don’t know that I would go overboard at this price, but it would appear that Tatum has some appeal to both the Celtics and Suns. It has been said that he might wind up proving to be the most talented player available. Does he engage too much in isolation plays? Yes. But some teams may see that as a positive. And we couldn’t see him sliding too far.

JAY’S PLAY: UNDER 4.5 (-260)

JONATHAN ISAAC – DRAFT POSITION
Under 6.5 (-350)
Over 6.5 (+270)

Again, here is a guy the Cetlics like, although he doesn’t offer the offensive capability of a Josh Jackson or Jayson Tatum. But Florida State’s Isaac, at 6’11”, can play defense, block shots and really run the floor. He can play center and be effective against small lineups. Any team that is interested in a big man would covet him. We’re just not sure it’s anyone in the first six.

JAY’S PLAY: OVER 6.5 (+270)

JOSH HART – DRAFT POSITION
Under 39.5 (-150)
Over 39.5 (+120)

Hart is a physical 6’5″ guard who can post up other guards, pass and play defense. He has a “plus” jump shot, and he’ll hit the boards, which is a bonus a team could get when the opponent goes into the smaller sets. Somebody should value this enough to take him in the tail end of the first round.

JAY’S PLAY: UNDER 39.5 (-150)

JUSTIN JACKSON – DRAFT POSITION
Under 19.5 (-155)
Over 19.5 (+125)

Perhaps he isn’t the most super-talented guy at the small forward spot, but he is probably more ready to play a role on an NBA team than most people who would be drafted in the second half of the first round. He must bulk up, but we could easily see fringe playoff contenders (like Chicago, for instance) taking a long look.

JAY’S PLAY: UNDER 19.5 (-155)

LAURI MARKKANEN – DRAFT POSITION
Over 7.5 (-180)
Under 7.5 (+150)

In watching Markannen play, you notice a couple of things. One is that he can shoot lights out form distance, and that no one is going to prevent him from getting his shot. He is compared with Dirk Nowitzki for that reason. But he can’t put the ball on the floor like Dirk. He’s not a banger, which might leave him out in the cold at the “4” spot when opponents go to small lineups, because he isn’t necessarily a defender. He’ll be a valuable offensive piece, just not this high in the draft.

JAY’S PLAY: OVER 7.5 (-180)

LUKE KENNARD – DRAFT POSITION
Under 12.5 (-185)
Over 12.5 (+155)

Kennard is said to be the best shooter in the draft, with the ability to defend against more than one position. Somebody’s got to take him ahead of this.

JAY’S PLAY: UNDER 12.5 (-185)

DENNIS SMITH – DRAFT POSITION
Under 8.5 (-120)
Over 8.5 (-110)

An intriguing one. Smith may be as good as any of the point guards that will likely be drafted ahead of him. He did blow out his knee in high school, but rebounded to have a great freshman season at NC State, even though his team went into the toilet. Like Fultz, he had to carry a big burden. The trainer who helped him in rehab (Shane Farmer) says “This kid is the best player in the draft – hands down.” But he may have turned some teams off by his refusal to take measurements, and he skipped the draft combine. The Knicks are #8; we think they’ll take Frank Ntilikina, the “French Freak.”

JAY’S PLAY: OVER 8.5 (-110)

OK, you’re on the clock……..

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