The Philadelphia 76ers selected University of Washington superstar freshman Markelle Fultz with the first pick in the 2017 NBA Draft Thursday night.
The Sixers had traded the No. 3 pick in this draft along with a future first round pick to the Celtics for the rights to get Fultz, and they got their man.
“Right now it’s unbelievable really,” Fultz told reporters. “I mean, say you want to do something, and to go out and do it is unbelievable.”
The 6-5 guard led the Pac-12 Conference in scoring this season, averaging 23.2 points, a team-high 5.9 assists, and 5.7 rebounds.
As expected, the Lakers selected hometown hero and UCLA stud frosh Lonzo Ball with the No. 2 pick.
“Tonight was supposed to be a good night. Definitely was, and now I’m just focused on playing,” Lonzo Ball said. “Just want to get on the court.”
Ball, a 6-6 point guard, led the nation in assists this season, averaging 14.7 points, 7.6 assists, and 6.1 rebounds for UCLA, while guiding the Bruins to a 31-5 record (15-3 Pac-12) and the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16.
The Celtics took Duke’s Jayson Tatum at No. 3, Kansas’ Josh Jackson went to the Suns at 4, and speedy Kentucky guard De’Aaron Fox landed with the Kings at No. 5.
“He was a guy we all loved,” Kings GM Vlade Divac told sacbee.com of choosing Fox. “If we had the No. 1 pick, in some way, he would be our guy. De’Aaron is a winner. He has that … like Lonzo (Ball). Make everybody better. He is a true point guard, has good size.”
For the first time ever, nine of the first 10 picks were college freshman, broken up only by the selection of 6-5 French league point guard Frank Ntilikina by the Knicks at No. 8.
The event also included a draft night blockbuster trade with the Bulls dealing All-Star guard Jimmy Butler to the Wolves for Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, and the No. 7 overall pick, which the Bulls used to select Arizona’s Lauri Markkanen.
“What we’ve done tonight is set a direction,” said Bulls VP president of basketball operations. John Paxson of trading Butler. “We’re going to do it with young players. We’re going to be disciplined and patient.”
“These are hard things to do,” he added. “We traded [Butler] a guy we really like. Tonight, we made a decision to change direction and define our path.”
Below are the complete 2017 NBA Draft first round selections:
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