The PUP List’s 2017 NBA Draft ‘Don’t Shleep’ Draft Prospects
By: Alex Marcheschi
The NBA draft is easily my favorite professional sports draft. We get the prospects showing up in their finest threads, Calipari flexing his nuts, girlfriends hunting for the camera, the Sacramento Kings ruining someone’s life, Adam Silver coming down from his alien cloud to bless the youngins and the occasional earth shattering trade. For NBA junkies like myself, it is truly the apex of the vortex of NBA fandom.
My favorite draft memory dates back to 2005, I was living it up in the summer between 7th grade and 8th grade, on vacation in Florida getting sun burnt and packing on the doughy pounds as I drilled Flamin Hot Cheetos and root beer on the beach all day. When the evening drew nigh, my brothers and I headed up to the hotel room to see our idol, Jason Maxiell, get drafted. Before the program started, I called my shot. Turning to my brothers, who were 12 and 10 years old at the time, I said “Pick 26, the Detroit Pistons.” Right then and there, history was made. My brothers and I celebrated my correct prediction by heading down and playing shuffleboard under the lights. It may very well be my finest achievement.
That story gives you a look into how I view the draft. I don’t care about the phenoms. Take Markelle Fultz, take Lonzo, take Josh Jackson…I don’t concern myself with the obvious. The mid-to-late first round and second round is what gets my blood flowing. That’s when my ears perk up, give me a 10 year role playing glue guy. I NEED it. Give me Jason Maxiell. That being said, strap in for my 2017 Don’t Shleep All Stars, AKA the guys who will end up playing vital roles on teams as important bench pieces and occasional starters for at least a decade.
#1 – Justin Jackson
A champion. A bucket getter. An ice in the veins guy. At 6’8″ with a 6’11” wingspan, Jackson is perfectly suited for the NBA’s style right now. Dare I call him the next Otto Porter? Right now mock drafts have him falling in the middle of the first round and I bet the Miami mob boss himself, Pat Riley, snags him at #14. He averaged a healthy 18, 5 and 3 at UNC last year and left with a ring. Love him.
#2 – Bam Adebayo
I like to describe this guy as young Dwight Howard before he owned snakes and automatic rifles, when he actually used to care about basketball. He’s 6’10” with a 7’2″ wingspan, and he averaged 13 and 8 a game last year. He’s definitely very raw, but he comes from Coach Cal’s School of Big Men, and that’s basically an Ivy League institution at this point. Also, he has a great mom, and as we saw with the Warriors this year I guess that matters now? Bam to the Hawks at 19, to replace Dwight, makes sense to me.
#3 – Semi Ojeleye
Bearcats fans know how bad of a man Semi is, and he might be the most aptly named dude in the draft. This guy literally powers down the lane like a semi truck, good luck stopping him. Look at those biceps for God’s sake!!! He’s 6’7 with a 6’10” wingspan and he averaged 19, 7 and 1.5 at SMU last year. I like the Thunder to take him at pick #21.
#4 – Dwayne Bacon
Dwayne Bacon is a pure playmaker. He was the heart and soul of last year’s Seminole team that made some serious noise in the regular season. Jonathan Isaac was obviously their best player, but Bacon was the leader. When they needed a big bucket, he came through. He’s 6’5″ with a 6’10” wingspan, and he averaged 17, 4 and 2 last year. I see him going to the Nuggets at #49.
#5 – Sindarius Thornwell
We all saw this man put the Gamecocks on his back during March Madness, and although he’ll likely get disrespected in the draft, whoever snags him late will be getting a diamond in the rough. He’s already basically 23 years old, and NBA GMs hate that, but I don’t think it should matter too much. He’s seasoned, and could play serious role player minutes right away. He averaged 21, 7 and 3 last year for USC last year, he’s 6’5″ with a 6’10” wingspan and he can create his own shot with the best of them. I’m gonna say he goes to the Knicks at pick #58 towards the end of the draft.
#6 – Kennedy Meeks
Another Heel, and my guuuuuuy. There’s a chance he doesn’t even get drafted, and if that happens, NBA execs all over the league will rue the day they passed on Mr. Meeks. He’s 6’8″ with a 6’10” wingspan and he averaged 12 and 10 last year. Even though he might go undrafted, this guy will play in the NBA for a minimum of eight years. The best box out artist in the draft and he has the softest hands you’ll ever see at the rim. Tip in city. So much value in Kennedy, can’t wait to see where he lands. I’m hoping the Grizzlies sign him as a free agent after the draft.