Every year, around the time of my final big board of the draft season, I look back at my earliest projections to see what I got right and what I got wrong. It’s something of a learning exercise, in terms of things that I can value better as an evaluator and in ways that the league is changing.

This year was no different. And looking back at my projections for the 2017 NBA Draft the day after the 2016 NBA Draft ended provided some illuminating details.

First, let’s talk about the good, though. Among the 23 players from my earliest projections who decided to participate in the 2017 NBA Draft, 17 of them are featured in my current big board. That’s a solid hit rate. Also, it would be 18 if Jonathan Jeanne had not been diagnosed with Marfan’s Syndrome, a terrible reality that will crater his stock around the league. We wish him the best as well as a happy, healthy life.

Among the seven players in my earliest projections who did not declare for the 2017 NBA Draft, one was a top-10 pick who decided to return to school (Miles Bridges), two were European players who were potential top-40 picks (Arnoldas Kulboka and Kostja Mushidi). Only Grayson Allen, Marques Bolden (who I was considerably lower on than consensus), Omer Yurtseven and Borisa Simanic tangibly lowered their stock over the course of the year to where they had to decline to enter the draft.

Finally, all 10 of my top players in the current board were featured within the top 22 of my first board, with seven players in that first top 10. And to bring this thing full circle with the numbers I started with, 17 of my initial top 23 ended up on the final big board.

But while scouting for each NBA Draft has become a year-round, multi-year effort, there are still always misses and developments that you can’t see coming. And there’s no better lesson there than with Harry Giles.

Not only did I likely overrate Giles after multiple knee surgeries in high school by placing him as my No. 1 prospect, but I also simply couldn’t see that there would be another surgery on his horizon before the season. His drop to No. 23 shows the importance of knowing medical information, and never downplaying it throughout the process.

(And realistically, No. 23 is a guess. I couldn’t even come close to telling you with any sort of confidence where Giles will be picked on Thursday night, nor can I come close to telling you what his career will look like. There’s reason to believe the top-10 talent is in there, but there’s also reason to believe he’ll never reach it. I hope for his sake he returns to complete health, but it’s impossible to predict at this stage. He’ll be picked anywhere from No. 10 to No. 40, which is about as wide a range as possible for a prospect.)

READ MORE: WHEN IS NBA DRAFT 2017? DATE, TIME, DRAFT ORDER, HOW TO WATCH

Bam Adebayo also fell out of the top five to No. 22, and Ivan Rabb plummeted from No. 9 to No. 42. Thomas Bryant fell from No. 15 to No. 41. Isaiah Hartenstein from No. 12 to No. 30. Jarrett Allen from No. 11 to No. 21. Tyler Lydon from No. 23 to 29. Another lesson from this year: the league is changing, and the big man is becoming less important within the context of the game. Players have to be able to guard both on the inside and the outside, and the best suited players to do that are the most athletic ones.

Skill, athleticism and feel for the game rule the NBA in this day and age, and we see that with the risers that I missed on earlier this year. While I did write about Donovan Mitchell’s NBA prospects as early as August, I did not include him in my earliest projections. He ends at No. 13. Luke Kennard is maybe the biggest shocker of all. He was something of an afterthought behind Allen, Frank Jackson and others in the Duke rotation coming into the season. Instead, it was Kennard who stepped up, becoming college basketball’s most efficient high-volume, high-major scorer.

Jawun Evans at No. 17 was a guy that many missed on due to his size, including myself, before he led Oklahoma State to the No. 1 offense in college hoops under new coach Brad Underwood. Derrick White came out of nowhere to dominate the Pac-12 after making the Division II leap. Ditto for Semi Ojeleye as far as a transfer is concerned, after the former Duke Blue Devil sat out a year and a half before being named the AAC Player of the Year at SMU. Even among the bigs to make big leaps, Zach Collins and John Collins, both of them possess the size, athleticism and skill to play in today’s NBA more than the big, bruising frame that carries them through the day.

Overall, the lessons to take away from this season and into the next are simply what I numerated above. Never take a medical report for granted, remember that the NBA is loaded with big men and that skill and athleticism on the wing and in the backcourt will always have a place. It may be tough to take those lessons to heart in the initial 2018 NBA Draft board that I’ll post here at Sporting News after the 2017 NBA Draft ends — given that the 2017 high school recruiting class is just loaded with big men — but at least thoughtfully considering them will help me miss the pratfalls that befell my big board over the course of the previous year.

READ MORE: WHEN IS NBA DRAFT 2017? DATE, TIME, DRAFT ORDER, HOW TO WATCH

Without further ado, here is my final 2017 NBA Draft Big Board.

NBA Draft 2017: Final prospect rankings

1. Markelle Fultz, G, Washington
2. Jayson Tatum, F, Duke
3. Josh Jackson, G/F, Kansas
4. Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA
5. Jonathan Isaac, F, Florida State
6. Dennis Smith, G, NC State
7. De’Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky
8. Malik Monk, G, Kentucky
9. Frank Ntilikina, G, Strasbourg
10. Lauri Markkanen, C, Arizona
11. Zach Collins, C, Gonzaga
12. Luke Kennard, G, Duke
13. Donovan Mitchell, G, Louisville
14. John Collins, F/C, Wake Forest
15. Justin Jackson, G/F, North Carolina
16. Derrick White, G, Colorado
17. Jawun Evans, PG, Oklahoma State
18. OG Anunoby, F, Indiana
19. Semi Ojeleye, F, SMU
20. Terrance Ferguson, G/F, Adelaide (Australia)
21. Jarrett Allen, C, Texas
22. Bam Adebayo, F/C, Kentucky
23. Harry Giles, C, Duke
24. Jordan Bell, F, Oregon
25. Ike Anigbogu, C, UCLA
26. Justin Patton, C, Creighton
27. D.J. Wilson, F, Michigan
28. Caleb Swanigan, C, Purdue
29. Tyler Lydon
30. Isaiah Hartenstein, C, Zalgiris (Lithuania)
31. TJ Leaf, PF, UCLA
32. Josh Hart
33. Anzejs Pasecniks
34. Monte Morris
35. Frank Mason
36. Johnathan Motley
37. Mathias Lessort
38. Wesley Iwundu
39. Tyler Dorsey
40. Frank Jackson
41. Thomas Bryant
42. Ivan Rabb
43. Tony Bradley
44. Sindarius Thornwell
45. Dwayne Bacon
46. Kyle Kuzma
47. PJ Dozier
48. Cameron Oliver
49. Alec Peters
50. Dillon Brooks
51. Jonah Bolden
52. Devin Robinson
53. L.J. Peak
54. Edmond Sumner
55.Jeremy Morgan
56. Sterling Brown
57. Jaron Blossomgame
58. Vlatko Cancar
59. Sasha Vezenkov
60. Andrew White
61. Marko Guduric
62. Davon Reed
63. Alberto Abalde
64. Nigel Williams-Goss
65. Alpha Kaba
66. Ognjen Jaramaz
67. VJ Beachem
68. Damyean Dotson
69. Jake Wiley
70. Derrick Walton
71. Isaiah Briscoe
72. Peter Jok
73. Antonio Blakeney
74. Kobi Simmons
75. Kadeem Allen
76. James Blackmon
77. Amile Jefferson
78. Luke Kornet
79. Rolands Smits
80. Deonte Burton
81. Melo Trimble
82. Malcolm Hill
83. Nigel Hayes
84. Eric Mika
85. Jamel Artis
86. Ismael Bako
87. Erik McCree
88. Charles Cooke
89. T.J. Williams
90. Antonius Cleveland
91. Jeremy Senglin
92. Isaac Humphries
93. London Perrantes
94. George De Paula
95. Simon Birgander
96. Bronson Koenig
97. Chris Boucher
98. Ben Moore
99. Marcus Keene
100. Przemek Karnowski

READ MORE: WHEN IS NBA DRAFT 2017? DATE, TIME, DRAFT ORDER, HOW TO WATCH