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2017 NBA Draft Mailbag

Jayson Tatum & Luke Kennard | Photo: Chris Summerville

With the NBA Draft just days away, there are a lot of questions about where Duke players will be selected, and if some will even be selected, so we decided to answer them for you:

Where do you think the best realistic fit for Harry Giles to realize his potential?

A year ago we were talking about Harry Giles being a potential #1 pick. Now some people wonder if he’ll even be a first round pick (spoiler alert: he will). Harry needs to go to a team that won’t ask much of him his first year. He needs time to regain his confidence so that he can show what he can do on the court. Most mocks currently have him in the 15-20 range. A team like Milwaukee or Indiana would be a good fit for him. Both already have young big men, but also veterans who would allow Harry to improve and regain his confidence. It would also allow him to not have to have as much pressure on him to contribute his first year which will be very important for him. Another team like San Antonio would be a good fit if he were to slide in the first round.

Odds Frank Jackson gets drafted in the 1st round?

Before Jackson had surgery, it was widely believed he would be a first round pick. Most seem to think the Utah Jazz would pick him with the final pick of the first round. There was also talk that he had a first round promise and that is why he made the decision to stay in. His surgery changes things. If he had a promise, he may very wll still get drafted in the first round. But more than likely he will be one of the first 10 picks in the second round.

If the Celtics move down to 3 how realistic is J-Tatum?

It’s 50/50 on if the Celtics take Josh Jackson or Jayson Tatum with the #3 pick in the draft. Tatum seems to be a better fit for the Celtics than Jackson since Boston drafted Jaylen Brown just last year. But, if some of the trade rumors turn out to be true, the Celtics could be making this pick for the Chicago Bulls in a deal for Jimmy Butler.

Will my Pacers be smart and take Kennard if he is available, and what chances does he have to drop to them?

Luke Kennard is one of the most intriguing prospects in this year’s draft. His name has shown up in mock drafts as high as #8 to the New York Knicks and as low as #30 to the Utah Jazz. More than likely he will be gone before the Pacers pick at #18. If he isn’t, Indiana would be wise to take him, given the reports that Paul George will leave the Pacers in 2018.

Will the Hornets make the smart move and draft a Duke player or will MJ take another UNC player instead?

The Hornets could really use Luke Kennard’s scoring. He would be a great fit on the team. There are those who question his defense which could be why there’s been a move away from the Hornets taking him at #11 and instead selecting Louisville’s Donovan Mitchell. Most feel Mitchell is a better two-way player and athlete than Kennard, even though Mitchell is only 6’3″. Justin Jackson could also be in play because of the obvious Carolina connection but more than likely he won’t be the selection.

Do you think Amile Jefferson has a chance to be drafted?

Amile has a very good chance to be selected in the second round of the draft. A team like San Antonio who values high IQ players would be a great fit for him, though they don’t pick until the next to last pick in the second round. He could also be selected by his hometown Philadelphia 76ers who have three second round picks. It would be somewhat of a surprise if he isn’t selected in the second round, even though that is when teams typically take international players who they have no intention of bringing over for a few years, if at all.

What about Matty Ice? Does he have any shot at all at being selected?

Duke fans have had a love/hate relationship with Matt Jones since he arrived on campus. Jones is an ACC & National Champion. Duke wouldn’t have won either championships without him. But it is almost a 99.9% lock he will not be selected in this year’s draft. He will get some looks for the NBA Summer League and likely play next season in the D-League (or Gatorade League as they are now calling it). If he can be consistent there, it’s possible a team brings him up for a 10-day contract with opportunity to stick on a roster.