Cleat Geeks

2017 NBA Draft Recap

On Thursday night, the 2017 NBA Draft took place from the Barclays Center in New York. In a trade, the Philadelphia 76ers received the number one pick from the Boston Celtics in exchange for the number three pick and a pair of first rounders in the future. As expected, they made Freshman Point Guard Markelle Fultz the draft’s top pick. The consensus top prospect, Fultz averaged 23 points per game at the University of Washington last year. Fultz will join fellow lottery picks Joel Embiid, Jahlil Okafor, and Dario Saric in Philly, as well as last year’s number one pick, Ben Simmons. Simmons, who sat out all of last season with a foot injury, will look to challenge Fultz for Rookie of the Year honors.

For the third straight year, the Los Angeles Lakers picked from the number two spot. After trading their 2015 selection D’Angelo Russell earlier in the week, the Lakers decided to fill their Point Guard void with Lonzo Ball from the nearby UCLA Bruins. Ball is a pass-first point guard who has drawn many comparisons to Jason Kidd. Due to his outspoken, eccentric father, Ball has become the most polarizing prospect in the entire draft. Every time his father, LaVar, gives an interview, his outrageous, perhaps even rude claims echo WWE promos. Some of these claims include him saying that his son is better than two-time MVP Steph Curry, as well as saying he could beat Michael Jordan 1-on-1 back in his ‘heyday,’ and then on draft night, saying that Zeus and Jesus told him that his son would be a Laker. Regardless of his father’s antics, the Lakers hope Lonzo Ball can help lead them back into the playoffs.

In the days leading up to the draft, there was much speculation about whether the Boston Celtics would use their newly acquired third pick to trade for an established superstar such as the Pacers’ Paul George or the Bulls’ Jimmy Butler. Instead, the Celtics held on to the pick and selected Jayson Tatum, a freshman wing from Duke. While many felt that the Celtics should have selected Josh Jackson or Jonathan Isaac, Tatum gives the Celtics a much-needed boost on the offensive end by being able to create his own shot. Even prior to the addition of a star via Free Agency, the Boston Celtics are closing in on the Cavaliers as the most dangerous team in the East.

Photo By: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

With the fourth overall pick, the Phoenix Suns selected Josh Jackson, a freshman wing from Kansas. Jackson gives the Suns a go-to defender on the perimeter with the ability to ability to make highlight plays on the offensive end. Many scouts tout Jackson as ‘the most sure-thing in the draft.’ Jackson will join a young core of Devin Booker, Marquese Chriss, and Dragan Bender, as well as talented point guards Brandon Knight and Eric Bledsoe.

The Sacramento Kings may have made out of draft night as the biggest winner. With the fifth pick, they selected freshman point guard De’Aaron Fox from Kentucky, who many believe could end up being the best guard to come out of this draft. After trading the tenth pick to the Portland Trailblazers, they received picks number 15 and 20. With the 15th pick, they selected ACC Player of the Year Justin Jackson from the reigning NCAA Champion North Carolina Tar Heels. With Shooting guard Tyreke Evans headed to Free Agency, the Kings may need to rely on Jackson’s offensive ability in the starting lineup. With the 20th pick, the Kings selected former ESPN ‘s #1 overall High School recruit Harry Giles, a freshman big man from Duke. Before tearing both of his ACL’s, Giles was christened by scouts as the next Kevin Garnett or Chris Weber. While highly risky, Giles becomes a great value pick by the Kings in the middle of the first round. Rounding out the Kings draft at pick number 34 is former NCAA player of the year Frank Mason, a 5’11’’ point guard from Kansas. After drafting Georgios Papagiannis from Greece last year, the Kings turned to collegiate blue-bloods Kentucky, UNC, Duke, and Kansas for their picks this year.

Perhaps the biggest news of the night came from a blockbuster trade between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Chicago Bulls. In exchange for the seventh overall pick, as well as young guards Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine, the Timberwolves received All-Star Jimmy Butler and the 16th overall pick. While the Bulls have been trying to deal Butler for a while now, dealing him to former coach Tom Thibodeau, who left on not-so-great terms, is rather shocking. The Bulls will likely buy out point guard Rajon Rondo and use 7-footer Lauri Markkanen, who they selected with the seventh pick, as their piece to rebuild around. On the other side of the deal, Minnesota has surrounded former number one overall picks Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns with a top 15 NBA player in Jimmy Butler, hoping that the trio can lead them into the playoffs.

Other notable first round selections include:

The Knicks looking to strike European gold again by drafting French point guard Frank Ntilikina with pick number eight. The Mavericks filling their gaping hole at point guard by selecting the explosive Dennis Smith Jr. from North Carolina State with the ninth pick. The Utah Jazz selecting Louisville wing Donovan Mitchell with the 13th pick as the potential replacement for Free Agent Gordon Hayward.

Notable second round selections:

With the 38th pick, Golden State adds to their embarrassment of riches by trading into the draft to add athletic shot-blocker Jordan Bell from Oregon. With the 39th pick, the Clippers select Jawun Evans, a potential Chris Paul replacement who has drawn comparisons to Paul throughout his collegiate career. Ike Anigbogu, an 18-year-old big man from UCLA with a 7’6’’ wingspan, fell to pick number 47 due to teams’ concerns over a knee injury.

After an exciting NBA draft, we now look towards Free Agency, which starts on July 1st, where NBA stars such as Blake Griffin, Gordon Hayward, Chris Paul, Pau Gasol, Paul Millsap, Kyle Lowry, and many more could shake up the entire foundation of the NBA.

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