2017 NBA Draft: Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball go 1-2; 14 Pac-12 players taken overall
Washington's Markelle Fultz and UCLA's Lonzo Ball were the top two overall selections of the 2017 NBA Draft Thursday night, as the Pac-12 ended up with six first-round selections and 14 picks overall. The 14 picks are a Pac-12 record for the current NBA Draft format of two rounds dating back to 1989 and the six first-rounders are tied for second most in conference history. Additionally, the 14 draft picks are tied for the most of any conference alongside the ACC.
[Related: Complete 2017 NBA Draft board (NBA.com)]
As expected, the Philadelphia 76ers selected Washington’s Markelle Fultz with the first overall pick, making him the first Husky to go No. 1 overall in school history. He is the first player to be drafted first overall from a current Pac-12 school since Utah’s Andrew Bogut was the top choice of the Milwaukee Bucks back in 2005 and is the first player to be taken No. 1 from a school that was in the Pac-12 at the time of the draft since Bill Walton went first to the Portland Trail Blazers in 1974.
It’s no shock at all that Fultz is the top choice, especially when you consider that he put up averages of 23.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 1.6 steals per game while shooting 41 percent from downtown. The prospect of him playing alongside Joel Embiid (if he's healthy), Ben Simmons (if he's healthy) and Dario Saric is very juicy. They might not trust the process anymore in the City of Brotherly Love, but Markelle Fultz should help make that team pretty competitive in 2017-18.
And oh yeah, he's not the first Husky hooper to go No. 1 overall this year...
— WNBA (@WNBA) June 22, 2017
Thursday's selection made Washington the first school to boast two No. 1 overall basketball picks in the same academic year.
LaVar Ball’s vision is one-third of the way to its full realization, as Lonzo Ball went second overall to his hometown Los Angeles Lakers. With Fultz and Ball going 1-2 Thursday night, it’s the first time ever that the Pac-12 has had the top two picks in the NBA Draft. It’s also the first time a conference has had the top two picks in the draft since Kentucky’s Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist were the first two off the board in 2012.
Ball gives the Lake Show a guy who can be a Showtime-esque playmaker, and the floor should be his from the jump considering that the Lakers traded away D’Angelo Russell to the Brooklyn Nets. It seems as though the Lakers have a pretty solid plan in place with Magic Johnson at the helm, and Ball is a guy they have faith in to help restore glory to a proud franchise.
He’s not going far!
— UCLA Basketball (@UCLAMBB) June 22, 2017
Technically, Arizona's Lauri Markkanen was taken seventh overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves, making him the first Finnish lottery pick in NBA Draft history. However, Markkanen will play his rookie year with the Chicago Bulls, the Bulls traded superstar Jimmy Butler and their No. 16 pick (Justin Patton of Creighton) to the Timberwolves for Markkanen, Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn. Thus, the Bulls are getting a guy people have compared to Dirk Nowitzki because he's 7'0'', from Europe, and he can shoot the lights out. Before a bit of a slump midway through the season, Markkanen was shooting better than 50 percent from downtown. As it is, he ended up at 42 percent from behind the line, so he will bring a nice perimeter threat for the 2017 No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference.
— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) June 23, 2017
T.J. Leaf became the second Bruin off the board when the Indiana Pacers took him with the No. 18 pick. In his lone year with the Bruins, Leaf averaged 16.3 points and 8.2 rebounds while shooting a very healthy 62 percent from the floor and 47 percent from downtown. It's still to be determined whether or not Paul George will be in Indiana for one more season, but Leaf and Myles Turner should make for a nice frontcourt for the Pacers.
He’s off to Indy!
— UCLA Basketball (@UCLAMBB) June 23, 2017
Kyle Kuzma became the fifth Pac-12 guy to go in the first round when the Brooklyn Nets took him with the 27th pick. He's not going to the East Coast, however, as this pick has been dealt to the Los Angeles Lakers in the trade that sent D'Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov to the Nets and Brook Lopez to the Lakers. Kuzma really turned it on his junior year in 2016-17, averaging 16.4 points and 9.3 rebounds per game before opting to turn pro. Kuzma had perhaps the widest range of anybody in this draft with respect to mock drafts, with prognosticators having him go as high as the top 20 and as low the mid-to-late 40s, so a late first-round selection is pretty nice spot for him, and he'll bring athleticism and grit to the Lake Show. Gotta wonder if Lonzo Ball will give Kuzma any grief for UCLA's 83-82 win over Utah back in January in the SLC now that they're teammates.
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) June 23, 2017
Two years ago, I'm sure most of the NBA scouting community had no idea who NCAA Division II prospect Derrick White was. Sure, he averaged more than 25 points per game his junior season at Colorado-Colorado Springs, but it was most likely the 18.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game on 51 percent shooting overall and 40 percent from 3-point range in his one year at Colorado that got White selected 29th overall by the San Antonio Spurs. This was the second straight year San Antonio took a Pac-12 guy with the No. 29 pick after taking Washington's Dejounte Murray in this spot in 2016. There's a lot to like about White, who is in great hands with a great organization and will likely spend some time developing on assignment with the Spurs' G League (not D-League) team in Austin.
Derrick White is heading to San Antonio!!
— Colorado Basketball (@CUBuffsMBB) June 23, 2017
Considered by many to be a lottery pick had he come out after his freshman year in 2016 and widely projected to be a first-round pick in 2017, Ivan Rabb was snatched up early in the second round by the Orlando Magic with the 35th pick, and it is being reported that this pick will be traded to the Memphis Grizzlies. While many on Twitter have been saying Rabb's decision to come back to Cal for his sophomore year turned out to be the wrong move since he fell to the second round, but he certainly improved under Cuonzo Martin as a sophomore, upping his averages to 14 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. He's a skilled big who proved he can put up big numbers against quality opponents, but he'll have to prove his worth without the safety net of guaranteed money. If you're in to looking into signs with numbers, Draymond Green was selected 35th overall five years ago and things turned out pretty well for him.
— 95.7 The Game (@957thegame) June 23, 2017
After spending a year overseas, former Bruin Jonah Bolden went 36th overall to the Philadelphia 76ers, giving the FEDS, as some Philly fans are now calling them for their Fultz-Embiid-Dario Saric-Ben Simmons quartet, two Pac-12 guys in this year's draft. After playing one year at UCLA, Bolden lit it up in Serbia for FMP Beograd, averaging 12.6 points and 7.0 rebounds per game en route to being named an Adriatic League Top Prospect and Serbian KLS Super League Round 1 MVP (Player of the Week honor, basically). Putting up those numbers in a basketball-crazed country like Serbia and against a high level of competition in the Adriatic League bodes well for Bolden's future pro prospects.
— UCLA Basketball (@UCLAMBB) June 23, 2017
How does playing for the NBA champs sound, Jordan Bell? While he was officially selected by the Bulls with the No. 38 pick, the Golden State Warriors bought the pick to select the 2017 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year who made a big name for himself in the NCAA Tournament by blocking eight shots in the Elite 8 victory over Kansas. This is a great pick up for the Dubs, who bought the No. 38 pick from Milwaukee last year to select Patrick McCaw, and that turned out to be a pretty good get. At 6'9'' with a nearly seven-foot wingspan, Bell does what you need a big man to do – rebound (8.8 per game as a junior last year), block shots (2.3 per game in 2016-17) and finish at the rim (64 percent from the floor last season). The Warriors REALLY must like him if they're willing to spend $3.5 million for his rights:
Warriors paid $3.5 million for the rights to No. 38 pick Jordan Bell
— Marcus Thompson (@ThompsonScribe) June 23, 2017
Not long after Bell heard his name called, fellow Duck Tyler Dorsey went three selections later to the Atlanta Hawks at No. 41. In Dorsey, the Hawks are getting a sniper, as the Los Angeles native shot 42 percent from downtown as a sophomore last year and was an incredible 20-for-33 (61 percent) from downtown in the 2017 NCAA Tournament. The Hawks appear to be in a bit of a rebuild with Dwight Howard's trade to Charlotte and Paul Millsap's pending free agency (there's still some pretty good talent there though), so he might get a decent look in spots next year.
— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) June 23, 2017
Not long after Bell heard his name called, fellow Duck Tyler Dorsey went three selections later to the Atlanta Hawks at No. 41. In Dorsey, the Hawks are getting a sniper, as the Los Angeles native shot 42 percent from downtown as a sophomore last year and was an incredible 20-for-33 (61 percent) from downtown in the NCAA tournament. The Hawks appear to be in a bit of a rebuild with Dwight Howard's trade to Charlotte and Paul Millsap's pending free agency (there's still some pretty good talent there though), so he might get a decent look in spots next year.
— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) June 23, 2017
And just four picks after Dorsey, Pac-12 Player of the Year Dillon Brooks went 45th to the Houston Rockets, giving the Ducks three selections in the span of eight picks. He won't be headed to H-Town, however, as the Rockets are shipping Brooks off to Memphis. The Canadian went to work in a Duck uniform, averaging more than 16 points per game each of his last two seasons and shooting 40 percent from beyond the arc as a junior, a season in which he was also a consensus second-team All-American in addition to his conference POTY honors. Brooks knows how to deliver in the clutch as well, notably hitting a game-winning 3-pointer in the conference opener against UCLA.
— GoDucks (@GoDucks) June 23, 2017
Reminiscent of fellow former UCLA big man Kevon Looney, who "slipped" to No. 30 in 2015 due to injury concerns, Ike Anigbogu possesses first-round talent, but went 47th overall to the Indiana Pacers. Many mock drafts had him going in the 20s, but reportedly teams were concerned with his knee. It probably also didn't help his cause that, despite having the raw tools, Anigbogu didn't get a lot of floor time, averaging 4.7 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in just 13 minutes per game off the bench. Assuming the medical issues aren't too bad (he's not even 19 yet, so he's super young and can hopefully fully recover), Anigbogu has the potential to give the Pacers a ton of value at No. 47.
Stunned that UCLA center Ike Anigbogu fell from the 1st round to the 47th pick to the Pacers. Tough night for the kid. Steal for the Pacers.
— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) June 23, 2017
Nice surprise at No. 53, as Arizona's Kadeem Allen went at that slot to the Boston Celtics. He didn't put up huge numbers on Arizona teams loaded with talent, but he was a veteran presence for the Wildcats and averaged 9.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.6 steals per game in his senior season. Many projections didn't have Allen getting drafted at all, but hey, Allen will take going to an organization that just registered the best record in the Eastern Conference and has a ton of assets at its disposal. High praise from this DraftExpress expert:
Celtics killing the second round. Kadeem Allen will be a ten year pro. One of the best perimeter defenders in this draft. Great story.
— Mike Schmitz (@Mike_Schmitz) June 23, 2017
Another guy who didn't show up in many mock drafts, Jabari Bird will join Kadeem Allen in Boston after the Celtics selected him at No. 56. Highly touted out of high school as a McDonald's All-American, Bird didn't blow anybody's socks off with off-the-chart stats, but his stats steadily improved over the course of his collegiate career, culminating in a 14.3-4.7-1.0 points-rebounds-assists senior campaign on 36 percent 3-point shooting. Hmm... help me out here... has a Bird played for the Celtics before?
— Cal Men's Basketball (@calmensbball) June 23, 2017