The 2017 NBA draft is underway, live from Barclays Center in Brooklyn (ESPN; online at WatchESPN). Follow along with our live coverage and analysis below.
Editor’s note: This story will update through Friday, so keep checking back!
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1. Philadelphia (From Brooklyn, via Boston)The pick: Markelle Fultz, PG, WashingtonAnalysis: When the 76ers traded up to get the top overall pick in this year’s draft, there was no doubt that Fultz was the player they coveted. The DeMatha product will be an ideal fit alongside Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid as part of a very exciting core in Philadelphia moving forward. The 6-foot-4 guard can play in either backcourt spot, and has earned Dwyane Wade comparisons for his combination of scoring, passing and athleticism. The future looks bright for the Sixers, as former general manager Sam Hinkie’s “Trust the Process” mantra is starting to pay off. — Tim BontempsWhat he brings: For the second straight year, the draft’s top choice is from a college team that finished well below .500. But Fultz didn’t stumble down the stretch like Ben Simmons. Throughout his lone college season, the 6-foot-4 guard displayed a rare ability to not only get buckets but also propel Washington’s offense which, though sparse (the Huskies scored just over one point per possession in 2017, which ranked eighth in the Pac-12), jumped to 1.09 PPP in possessions in which Fultz distributed the ball. While Fultz’s outstanding lift helped him to connect on 41 percent of his threes, the guard shines most once he placed in pick and roll scenarios. Fultz’s skill set is such that he can either smoothly drive the lane, finding the angles that didn’t exist before he began his move, and either convert at the bucket (1.3 PPP, per Synergy Sports), drawing a foul (six fouls per 40 minute) or dish to a fellow Husky. He already has an NBA-level feel within various pick and roll coverages, and when coupled with his overall scoring acumen that often incorporates electrifying, mixtape-worthy moments, it’s clear how Fultz became the first overall pick in the 2017 draft. — Matthew Giles
2. Los Angeles LakersThe pick: Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLAAnalysis: Like the top pick, there was little drama about the second selection, with 6-foot-6 point guard Lonzo Ball, the UCLA star with dynamic passing vision, always expected to be Magic Johnson’s first selection as team president. Ball will give the Lakers the opportunity to go back to the “Showtime” Lakers of Johnson’s heyday, as his best attributes are his ability to push the pace in transition and move the ball around the court. He had an instant impact on the Bruins, leading them to a 30-win season in his lone year in Westwood, and Los Angeles will be hoping the local product can do the same for the Lakers, who have consecutively had their worst four seasons since moving to Los Angeles over 50 years ago. — Tim BontempsWhat he brings: What sets the 6-foot-6 guard from others in this draft is his vision, which can accurately be characterized as absurd. Per Synergy Sports, UCLA scored 1.5 points per Ball assist in 2017, which ranked third overall in Division I. The Bruin frosh has forever been known for his innate court sense, but even if a defender manages to stymie Ball, there’s a good chance a teammate is popping off a pick, rolling to the bucket, or flashing off a screen and is free at the exact instant when Ball hits him with an assist. And Ball’s points per assist jumps to 1.6 in transition, where the guard often throws to space, perfectly knowing the area of the court where only his teammate can convert. Sure, his jump shot has one of the weirdest forms in recent memory (though he made 41 percent from deep in 2017), and he rarely gets to the rim (just 79 two-point attempts in the half-court, per Hoop-Math.com), but Ball’s value to a team has less to do with his own offense and more about how he expertly and efficiently creates for everyone else around him. — Matthew Giles
3. Boston (from Sacramento, via Philadelphia)The pick: Jayson Tatum, SF, DukeAnalysis: This was where the intrigue began, with the Celtics — after trading down with Philadelphia — having to decide between a pair of small forwards in Tatum and Josh Jackson. The choice turned out to be Tatum, the better scorer of the two options and who has drawn comparisons to former Indiana Pacers star Danny Granger. At 6-foot-8 with a 6-foot-11 wingspan, he could potentially be able to play as a stretch forward eventually, and gives the Celtics some additional scoring punch — something they need alongside Isaiah Thomas. — Tim BontempsWhat he brings: Improvisation isn’t a trait that the Duke forward possesses. No matter. Whenever the 6-foot-8 Tatum attacks an opposing defender, his moves have the confidence of someone who has practiced that same move thousands of times and can get the shot off against even the most harassing defender. Tatum was at his best when the Blue Devils cleared out and let him unleash his second-nature moves and counters. Nearly a quarter of his offensive possessions in 2017, per Synergy, were the result of Tatum going iso, and he scored .90 PPP. Tatum knows how to set his defender up, as well as where he needs to get to on the court to achieve the most efficient attempt, and while he can force the issue at times, he is also comfortable scoring among the dwindling seconds of the shot clock (per Hoop-Math.com, Tatum posted an effective field goal percentage of 49 percent — second-highest on Duke — within a possession’s final five seconds). — Matthew Giles
4. PhoenixThe pick: Josh Jackson, SF, KansasAnalysis: The “it” player in this year’s draft was Jackson, the hyper-athletic forward from Kansas who seems to be coveted by half the league. Both the Celtics at No. 3 and the Phoenix Suns at No. 4 have been linked with him, and several other teams — including the Knicks and Clippers — have been connected with trying to get one of these picks in a trade to grab him. But assuming the Suns hang onto him, Jackson could potentially turn into a former star in Phoenix, Shawn Marion, as a terrific defender who can do a little bit of everything offensively. — Tim BontempsWhat he brings: There are few players in this draft more NBA-ready than Jackson, a 6-foot-8 wing, thanks to his finishing ability whenever the freshman finds himself around the rim. According to Synergy Sports, 14 percent of his possession resulted in cuts, and Jackson scored 1.5 points at the basket. He is a sui generis finisher, using his lanky frame and robust physicality (which readily absorbs contact) to connect whenever comes off a screen or beats a defender to the paint. Though his handle needs some tightening — nearly half of his made shots at the rim resulted from a Kansas assist — and his jump shot is still limited to catch and shoot opportunities, there aren’t many with Jackson’s uber athleticism and skill set who can prevail against taller and longer bigs looking to swat his shots into the stands. And when he uses that same skill set on the other side of the ball, posting steal and block rates of more than three percent, Jackson is the ideal modern-day two-way player. — Matthew Giles
5. Sacramento (from Philadelphia)The pick: De’Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky
Analysis: The Kings have been searching for a point guard to lead their team for years, and Fox should be the answer. He torched Ball in Kentucky’s win over UCLA in the Sweet 16, and has the kind of charisma to become the face of the franchise — something Sacramento desperately needs in the wake of trading DeMarcus Cousins back in February. His shot is an issue, and if it doesn’t develop it will prevent him from being the star the Kings (and others) think he could become. But his combination of length and athleticism will provide Sacramento with the foundation it needs. — Tim BontempsWhat he brings: The 6-foot-3 Fox is already a defensive savant. Equipped with lanky arms and quick-twitch muscles, Fox was arguably the best defender John Calipari has ever coached at Kentucky. Take UK’s Sweet 16 game against UCLA in the NCAA tournament: Fox held the Bruins’ Ball to 4-of-10 shooting and four turnovers, which prompted an amazing quote from the Wildcat frosh’s father: “My son already ate [Ball’s backside] up twice…we played [UCLA] twice. Twice [Ball] got outplayed.” But Fox isn’t a slouch on the other side of the ball. The guard excelled in pick and roll possessions, utilizing that same brilliantly fast speed to gain a step on his opponent and forcing the defense to shift, which left openings for other Wildcats that Fox easily exploited (scoring 1.06 points per Fox P&R pass, per Synergy). In an interview with Bleacher Report, Fox spent much of the pre-draft process fixing his jump shot — he made just 25 percent of his threes, and he claims that he was bringing the ball too far back — which, once combined with his ability to easily break free of his defender, will only further Fox’s effectiveness within a team’s offense. — Matthew Giles
6. OrlandoThe pick: Jonathan Isaac, PF, Florida StateAnalysis: Isaac is one of the rangy, long-limbed forwards that has become all the rage in the NBA lately, and exactly the kind of player new General Manager John Hammond targeted repeatedly in his old job with the Milwaukee Bucks. He and team President Jeff Weltman had long been rumored to take Isaac, and they didn’t disappoint on draft night. It’ll be a short trip from Tallahassee to Orlando for Isaac, who they will hope will eventually grow into a stretch-four that can protect the rim defensively and space the floor offensively. — Tim BontempsWhat he brings: There is little doubting the 6-foot-10 Isaac’s intangibles. Isaac converted nearly 60 percent of his twos in his lone season at Florida State, and the majority of those makes (41 percent) were in the paint, where his athleticism and length helped him to negate any physical advantages other bigs may have possessed. But it was difficult to gauge Isaac’s full potential because the Seminoles lacked a true point guard, and there was often little to no ball movement within the team’s offense (FSU’s assist rate — 49 percent — ranked amid the lowest of ACC squads). Isaac doesn’t have the skill set to create for himself yet, which means he missed out on a fair amount of ally-oops and lobs. And yet, Isaac still posted an offensive rating near 1.20 PPP, an encouraging sign for a player that is nowhere near to scratching his potential. — Matthew Giles
7. Chicago (via Minnesota)The pick: Lauri Markkanen, PF, ArizonaAnalysis: After the Bulls shipped out Jimmy Butler for a pair of guards, they used the pick they received in the deal to take Markkanen, a sweet-shooting big man from Finland who spent last season at the University of Arizona. He should be a great fit for the way Coach Fred Hoiberg likes to play, and Markkanen’s addition could mean that Nikola Mirotic, Chicago’s incumbent starting power forward, could be allowed to go elsewhere as a restricted free agent if his price tag gets too high. Markkanen is an elite shooter, averaging 15.2 points and shooting 42.3 percent from three-point range. — Tim BontempsWhat he brings: A 7-foot stretch-five who is just as comfortable connecting from deep (42 percent) as he is rolling to the rim and using his agility and deft touch to convert in the paint (72 percent around the basket). Markkanen possesses an offensive efficiency that was nearly unrivaled at the DI level — only one other player (Wake Forest’s John Collins) used more plays than the Finnish forward in 2017 and was more effective (1.16 PPP, compared to Markkanen’s 1.15). He’s at his best, though, in pick and pop scenarios, taking advantage of his frame to provide himself a fraction of space from the defender and then unfurling a shot that is pure fundamental beauty (1.2 points per pick and pop). If he is forced to create off the dribble, he’s just as efficient; his frame belies his quickness off the bounce, and he scored .95 points per dribble jumper. He’s got a ways to go defensively, but it’s hard to dispute the skill set Markannen showcased as a freshman at Arizona and how it’ll translate to an NBA that currently covets someone with his abilities. — Matthew Giles
8. New YorkThe pick: Frank Ntilikina, PG, FranceAnalysis: While all of the silliness involving the potential future of Kristaps Porzingis has dominated headlines in New York the past few days, the Knicks were always honed in on taking Ntilikina, a long-limbed French guard who, at 6-foot-5, has the kind of big frame that team President Phil Jackson always prefers in his guards. His combination of defensive potential, shooting ability and ability to play either guard spot has earned him some comparisons to Utah Jazz guard George Hill, and he should be a long-term fit with the Knicks. — Tim BontempsWhat he brings: Super raw but Ntilikina’s game projects all the buzz words that NBA executives crave. He is an athletic, superlong guard that has the potential to be an impactful two-way player once he gets more minutes (he only logged 20 minutes a game overseas and shared point guard duties with ex-Florida guard Erving Walker). The 6-foot-5 Ntilikina is still early in his development, but the type of project that teams are willing to wait on. — Matthew Giles
9. DallasThe pick: Dennis Smith, PG, North Carolina StateAnalysis: The Mavericks were thought to be interested in both Ntilikina and Smith, as either would give them the potential long-term answer at point guard they have been trying to get for several years now. Smith had his detractors after an eventful season at North Carolina State that saw the coaching staff fired in the middle of it, but he’s an explosive athlete that could become one of the best players in this draft in time. He should do well playing for one of the league’s best coaches in Rick Carlisle, as well. — Tim BontempsWhat he brings: Most remember the ferocious dunk Smith — who has a 49-inch vertical — unleashed on Duke in a late January win for North Carolina State. Problem is, there wasn’t much else to gush about the 6-foot-3 guard’s freshman season. Smith’s athleticism and lightning quick first step helped to separate him from the other guards in this draft class, and there are few as effective as Smith in the open court — the guard was nearly impossible to stop from converting at the rim (74 percent). Against a set defense, though, that effectiveness plummeted (effective field goal percentage of 47 percent) as opponents learned to crowd Smith and force him to convert in traffic, a scenario with which he struggled. But, just as DI coaches coveted Smith, so do NBA executives, who hope to tap into and focus all of those traits that make Smith so devastatingly effective. — Matthew Giles
10. Portland (From New Orleans, via Sacramento)The pick: Zach Collins, C, GonzagaAnalysis: Portland swapped two of its three first round picks to move up five spots and take Collins, an athletic 7-footer from Gonzaga that could give Portland some nice depth behind Jusuf Nurkic. He didn’t play a ton of minutes for the Bulldogs this season, swapping in and out with Przemek Karnowski, but showed the kind of mobility that teams are looking for these days in big men, which earned him some Cody Zeller comparisons for reasons beyond also being a white 7-footer. — Tim BontempsWhat he brings: No other player in this draft helped himself during the NCAA tournament as much as Collins did. The 7-foot freshman converted 64 percent of his twos during the Bulldogs’ March Madness run, and what is fascinating about Collins’ game is the ease with which he scored under duress. The big grabbed 12 percent of Gonzaga’s misses, which led the squad, and per Hoop-Math.com, he scored 84 percent of those putbacks. Possessing sound lower-body fundamentals, an agility few 7-footers have, and several go-to low-post moves, Collins is a terrific finisher in the paint. According to Synergy Sports, the big dropped 1.3 points per pick and roll or offensive board. He has the same level of patience on the defensive side of the ball, blocking an astounding 10 percent of opponents’ attempts in just 17 minutes per game, and he outshone more seasoned Bulldogs during some of most crucial moments of the Zags’ season. — Matthew Giles
11. CharlotteThe pick: Malik Monk, SG, Kentucky
Analysis: An explosive scorer, Monk will pair with Kemba Walker to give the Hornets some additional firepower after acquiring Dwight Howard from the Atlanta Hawks earlier this week. Monk scored 47 points against North Carolina last season, but the questions about him are whether he can actually play point guard, or if he’s going to be an undersized shooting guard. But for a Charlotte team that desperately needs more ways to score, he’s got a chance to come in right away and help the Hornets. — Tim BontempsWhat he brings: The 6-foot-3 guard dropped 30 or more points four times this past season, so Monk does not struggle getting buckets quickly. Skilled at creating space off screens or spotting up (1.3 points per guarded catch and shoot, per Synergy), Monk more than lived up to his high school reputation as one of the nation’s most prolific scorers. And yet, when Monk isn’t hitting, the guard devolves into a one-dimensional player. Defensively, he was often hidden among the Wildcats’ backcourt, and he doesn’t possess the requisite handle to create his own shot or get to the rim (46 percent within the arc), which is why even Kentucky’s 38 games, there are still question marks about Monk. Does his scoring explosiveness outweigh the lack of intangibles and ability (so far) in the other aspects of the game? — Matthew Giles
12. DetroitThe pick: Luke Kennard, SG, DukeAnalysis: The 6-foot-6 guard shot up draft boards after a sophomore season at Duke that saw him average 19.5 points and 5.1 rebounds while shooting 48.9 percent from the floor and 43.8 percent from three-point range. The Pistons needed more depth and scoring in the backcourt, and while they are expected to keep Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in restricted free agency, Kennard’s presence will at least give Stan Van Gundy an option at that spot in case something happens and Caldwell-Pope goes elsewhere.What he brings: Kennard was one of the more difficult half-court matchups in DI this past season. First, Kennard is eerily efficient along the perimeter; per Hoop-Math.com, the guard made 50 percent of his two-point jumpers and 42 percent of his threes. Kennard was often able to get his defender on his hip, which then enabled him to use a bevy of feints to free himself for just a moment and connect. In pick-and-roll possessions, Kennard scored 1.12 PPP, and when Coach Mike Krzyzewski shifted his soph off the ball, Kennard was even more effective, converting 1.11 points either spotting up or coming off a screen. From his foot work to his quick release, Kennard has exceptional body control, which fuels his game’s efficiency. Even if he didn’t possess the athleticism to compete against teams that sought to harass the ball out of Kennard’s hands, he still has a court awareness that helped to propel the Blue Devils’ offense, assisting on 13 percent of the team’s baskets. — Matthew Giles
13. Utah (via Denver)The pick: Donovan Mitchell, SG, LouisvilleAnalysis: The Jazz sent Trey Lyles and the No. 24 pick to the Denver Nuggets to jump to this spot and get Mitchell, a combo guard from Louisville that could help the Jazz with backcourt depth. While Utah would like to keep George Hill, and also had Rodney Hood and Dante Exum, Alec Burks can’t stay healthy, and Mitchell — who was an option for at least a couple teams ahead of this spot — could immediately step in and help round out the Jazz’s guard rotation for what should be one of the best teams in the West if they hang onto Gordon Hayward in free agency next month. — Tim BontempsWhat he brings: Even though Mitchell ran Louisville’s offense during his sophomore season, the guard’s skill set skews toward a 3-and-D NBA future. The 6-foot-3 Mitchell connected on 40 percent of his threes in ACC play, and he oft showcases his athleticism in the half-court, getting past defenders with ease (19 percent of his shots at the rim were assisted) and finishing through contact (54 percent). Those same traits benefited Mitchell on defense, where he posted the ACC’s top steal rate (nearly 4 percent); he is aggressive without being reckless and, equipped with a 6-foot-10 wingspan, can body much taller players. — Matthew Giles
14. MiamiThe pick: Bam Adebayo, PF, KentuckyAnalysis: The Heat already have Hassan Whiteside under contract, but that didn’t stop Pat Riley from grabbing Adebayo, the athletic big man from Kentucky, with the 14th pick. He averaged 13 points, eight rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game for the Wildcats this year, and should slot in behind Whiteside to give Coach Erik Spoelstra — a defense-first coach at his core — another strong defender to throw at backup units. — Tim BontempsWhat he brings: A 6-foot-10 big who excels skying for ally oops in transition, off pick and rolls, and who uses his advanced physical frame to bully opposing bigs in the paint, Adebayo wasn’t often called on to do much in his freshman season — his usage rate of 16 percent was the lowest of any of the Kentucky starters. And yet, he still showcased a game that is tailor-made for the current NBA. He can rim run, he can shot block, and he has soft enough hands to finish at the rim in traffic. Coach Calipari didn’t need him to score on the block, but when he did, and especially when he went over his left shoulder, he was nearly automatic (1.02 PPP). Adebayo accomplished exactly what Calipari wanted him to — block shots and dunk often — but his game is going to have to progress at the NBA level. — Matthew Giles
15. Sacramento (via Portland)The pick: Justin Jackson, SF, North CarolinaAnalysis: After trading back, the Kings chose Jackson, a 6-foot-8 forward who gives the shooting-poor Kings some additional oomph on the wing. Jackson shot 37 percent on over seven three-point attempts this season as a junior at North Carolina, and should be able to give Sacramento some immediate production at small forward, where they’ll need to replace the minutes soaked up by departing free agent Rudy Gay. — Tim BontempsWhat he brings: The 6-foot-8 Jackson may appear slight, but don’t be fooled by his lanky frame. Jackson returned for his junior year with a efficiently improved and diverse skill set. He possesses one of DI’s prettiest shots, a floater that he unfurls from up to 10 feet away from the basket, and he shoots it in a variety of ways, which helps counter the length of any opposing bigs. Before this past season, Jackson wasn’t known for his perimeter game, but after an offseason boosting his three-point touch, Jackson made 37 percent of his threes and 1.12 points per catch and shoot jumper. And while he doesn’t have a tight handle, he also rarely turns the ball over (12 percent turnover rate), which is why, even with an increased usage rate in his final season (nearly 30 percent), Jackson continued to post an offensive rating of 1.19 PPP. — Matthew Giles
16. Minnesota (via Chicago)The pick: Justin Patton, C, CreightonAnalysis: After swapping picks with the Chicago Bulls as part of the Jimmy Butler trade, Minnesota grabbed Patton, a big man who has drawn Channing Frye comparisons for his three-point shooting ability. Patton was a lightly recruited prospect who exploded as a freshman at Creighton, and will need some time to grow into the NBA. He’ll have the time to do so with the Timberwolves, who will have Karl-Anthony Towns and Cole Aldrich ahead of him. — Tim BontempsWhat he brings: After a redshirt season at Creighton, the 7-footer immediately burst on the DI level in 2017. Patton made nearly 70 percent of his twos, and thanks to a growth spurt in high school, possesses a quickness and nimbleness most bigs can only wish they had. He scored more than 1.3 PPP in possessions that resulted in a pick and roll, transition or cut, and while that rawness meant he sometimes rushed his shot, his touch is so soft that he was still able to convert. He is no stiff defensively either, showing patience on pump fakes (committing four fouls per 40 minutes) while waiting to snuff any attempt in the paint (a block rate of 6 percent). — Matthew Giles
17. MilwaukeeThe pick: D.J. Wilson, PF, MichiganAnalysis: Wilson only played a combined 182 minutes in his first two years at Michigan before breaking out as a junior, averaging 11 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. The 6-foot-10 forward becomes the latest long, athletic big to play for the Bucks, and could have a chance to carve out minutes there in time. — Tim BontempsWhat he brings: Another big who underwent a massive growth spurt in high school, Wilson is much more comfortable converting from the perimeter than anywhere around the rim. But since Wilson converted 37 percent from beyond the arc, that didn’t matter much to Coach John Beilein. And when he did venture into the paint, he didn’t shy away from connecting in the half-court (81 percent, per Hoop-Math.com). And while he was largely confined to shooting off the catch in Ann Arbor, his fluid motion and length made him of the toughest covers in the Big Ten; bigs couldn’t hard-hedge and leave him free beyond the arc, and if they flat-hedged, Derrick Walton would feast on his own three-point attempts. Wilson is still a project, but one that any NBA team would love to mold. — Matthew Giles
18. IndianaThe pick: T.J. Leaf, PF, UCLA
Analysis: At some point, Indiana will be moving on from Paul George and will begin building their team around center Myles Turner. Drafting Leaf is a step in that direction, as the athletic forward has earned some Ryan Anderson comparisons for his ability to stretch the floor. A 6-foot-10 forward, he should be a nice complement to Turner for Indiana. Leaf averaged 16.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and shot 46.6 percent from three-point range for UCLA, forming a lethal partnership with No. 2 overall pick Lonzo Ball. — Tim BontempsWhat he brings: Pick-and-pop bigs have been a theme of this year’s draft class, and Leaf, who received his fair share of assists from Lonzo Ball in 2017, often looked to slide beyond the arc following a screen (47 percent). But Leaf’s best skill is his vision. He handed out 68 assists in the half-court, and his teammates scored 2.5 points per assist (per Synergy). Teams had to be creative how they guarded Leaf — if a double was too early, that often meant a splashed Bruin three, and if that same squad chose to single cover him, he used his frame and quickness to score 1.17 points per post-up. — Matthew Giles
19. AtlantaThe pick: John Collins, PF, Wake ForestAnalysis: The first draft pick of the tenure of new General Manager Travis Schlenk is John Collins, who averaged 19.2 points, 9.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks during a breakout season as a sophomore at Wake Forest. With Dwight Howard traded away this week and Paul Millsap all but certain to follow him out the door as a free agent next month, Collins could get a chance to play a ton of minutes right away in Atlanta for Coach Mike Budenholzer. — Tim BontempsWhat he brings: A favorite of advanced stat heads nationwide, Collins is a load to guard in the post. The 6-foot-10 sophomore possesses a wide range of post moves, using his quick feet and an even quicker release to stymie waiting shotblockers — Collins scored 1.02 points per post-up which, per Synergy, ranked in the top 25 of all bigs who used at least 100 possessions on the block. He also has exceptionally soft hands, and though Wake Forest didn’t often pass to its rolling bigs, Collins feasted once he shed those screens, scoring an astounding 1.7 points per roll (including nearly eight fouls per 40 minutes). He doesn’t yet possess a reliable faceup game, and he is a black hole defensively, and but his nimbleness will help negate any concerns (so far) on that side of the ball. Anyone who can post an offensive rating of 1.25 PPP in just 26 minutes will make an NBA exec take notice. — Matthew Giles
20. Sacramento (From Memphis via Denver and Cleveland and Portland)The pick: Harry Giles, C, DukeAnalysis: With their third first round pick, Sacramento took one of the more controversial picks in this year’s draft. Giles has already had multiple knee injuries during his short career, and looked rough last season as a freshman at Duke. But he has plenty of potential if he can ever regain the form that made him one of the top prep prospects in this class, and after the Kings had success with another fallen prospect in Skal Labissière last year, they’ll hope to have a similar level of success this year with Giles. — Tim BontempsWhat he brings: It’s difficult to judge Giles’s freshman season because he spent the first weeks getting accustomed to just playing basketball again. Two knee injuries wiped clean the end of his high school career, and the rust was evident. He often looked confused within Duke’s half-court sets, and more than a step slow on defense — a concern for a player once projected to be the top pick in the 2017 draft. By the time Duke came to Brooklyn for the first-ever ACC tournament at the Barclays Center, though, Giles came alive, and showcased the best spurts of his lone college season. The 6-foot-11 Giles was crashing the rim and blocking shots, and converting passes that had previously slipped through his hands. Sure, he likely could have used another season under Krzyzewski, but the big is done delaying his NBA arrival. Giles was reborn in Brooklyn, and NBA execs hoping he continues that momentum. — Matthew Giles
21. Oklahoma CityThe pick: Terrance Ferguson, SG, AustraliaAnalysis: Ferguson was first committed to Alabama and then Arizona before opting instead to spend the year before he was eligible for the NBA draft playing in Australia. At 6-foot-7 with long arms, Ferguson is yet another lengthy wing player for General Manager Sam Presti to try to grow into a contributor in Oklahoma City, but Ferguson also has the kind of potential to become an intriguing fit with the Thunder in the future — especially if Russell Westbrook remains with the team for the long-haul. — Tim BontempsWhat he brings: At the moment, Ferguson is an athletic three-point shooter who can go through streaks that would cause Malik Monk to blush. Originally destined to attend Arizona, Ferguson spent what would been his freshman year in Australia, where he earned minutes because few could match Ferguson once he was keyed in. He is still very much a project, but one worth a first-round pick because he projects to be an elite-level 3-and-D player. — Matthew Giles
22. Brooklyn (From Washington)The pick: Jarrett Allen, C, TexasAnalysis: The Nets traded away Brook Lopez earlier this week. So when freshman center Jarrett Allen fell, they scooped him up to become their potential long-term starter at the position using the pick they acquired at the trade deadline from the Washington Wizards in exchange for Bojan Bogdanovic. Allen, who turned 19 in April and is 6-foot-11, averaged 13.2 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.5 blocks for Texas as a freshman last season, and will likely get minutes behind recently acquired Timofey Mozgov. — Tim BontempsWhat he brings: An enigma who was often cited as the most talented frontcourt prospect in high school. The 6-foot-11 Allen attempted more than 300 field goals, all of them around the bucket, and he converted 58 percent of those shots that, to the casual observer, seems ideal. But per Synergy, Allen scored just .76 points per post-up, lacking the explosiveness or the requisite fundamentals to be an impactful big at the college level. But Allen showcased brilliance in spurts, and can be the type of rim-running, shot-blocking big that every NBA team covets. — Matthew Giles
23. Toronto (From LA Clippers via Milwaukee)The pick: OG Anunoby, SF, IndianaAnalysis: Not at all surprising that Toronto, led by General Manager Masai Ujiri, would go get Anunoby here. The forward from Indiana is raw and spent most of the season sidelined with a torn ACL, but has tools. If he can properly recover from the injury, he has a chance to turn into a Jae Crowder-type down the road. If he does, grabbing him at No. 23 will be a steal for Toronto. — Tim BontempsWhat he brings: A virtuoso defender whose versatility is his greatest asset. The soph, who stands 6-foot-8, can guard 1 through 5; he has the foot speed to stay in front of guards, and the length to bother and body opposing bigs. Through 16 games, before an injury ended his 2017 season, Anunoby posted a block and steal rate of more than 5 and 3 percent, respectively, while also grabbing nearly 20 percent of IU’s defensive boards (which is equally as impressive as his rate led the squad). He is still very much an offensive unknown, as he attempted a little more than 100 field goals in both seasons, but thanks to an already stout defensive skill set and burgeoning potential on that side of the ball, it’s worth overlooking the offensive question marks of his game. — Matthew Giles
24. Denver (via Utah)The pick: Tyler Lydon, PF, SyracuseAnalysis: The Nuggets moved back in the draft and grabbed forward Trey Lyles earlier in the night to get this pick, then used it to snag Lydon to give them another forward that can shoot. Given how every team in the league is looking for length and shooting ability in its frontcourt, Lydon could develop into a contributor here, though his fit next to Nikola Jokic as a potential long-term starter is difficult to see. — Tim BontempsWhat he brings: A pick-and-pop savant with a quick release and uncanny accuracy (40 percent from deep in his two seasons at Syracuse). He also has a feel for spacing in the half-court, knowing how to set his defender up on screens and quickly fade beyond the arc. The big is so efficient in all manner of catch and shoot possessions, scoring 1.3 PPP, but there are questions about his frame and whether his game is still too one-dimensional. That being said, Lydon can shoot, and that skill set is too valuable to ignore. — Matthew Giles
25. Philadelphia (From Toronto, via Orlando)The pick: Anžejs Pasečņiks, C, LatviaAnalysis: After Philadelphia sent a future first-round pick to Orlando to acquire this pick, the 76ers selected Pasečņiks, a Latvian 7-footer who will be almost certainly be a draft-and-stash candidate for the roster-heavy Sixers. Pasečņiks averaged 7.8 points and 3.1 rebounds in 16 minutes per game for Gran Canaria in Spain this season. — Tim BontempsWhat he brings: The 7-foot-2 Pasečņiks is a throwback, a classic NBA five who can score above the rim with either hand (a plus for a future rim running big) but has a skill set that exists once he steps away from the paint. A project, yes, as he is limited defensively, but Pasečņiks is going to be given time to develop, and the long-term projection is bright for the center. — Matthew Giles
26. Portland (From Cleveland)The pick: Caleb Swanigan, PF/C, PurdueAnalysis: A consensus first team all-American at Purdue this season, Swanigan gives Portland a second big in this draft, along with Gonzaga center Zach Collins. Swanigan was the Big Ten Player of the Year after averaging 18.5 points, 12.5 rebounds and shot 52.7 percent from the field this past season. The fit here is a bit odd, given that Portland already has Jusuf Nurkic and traded up for Collins, but General Manager Neil Olshey apparently decided Swanigan’s talent was too irresistible to pass up here. — Tim BontempsWhat he brings: When the 6-foot-9 Swanigan arrived at Purdue two years ago, he was a tweener, an undersized big with a classic back-to-the-basket game that felt ancient in the ever-evolving DI. But then Swanigan spent the summer between his freshman and sophomore years developing his perimeter touch, and emerged with a three-point shot that defenders had to respect (44 percent). The Big Ten player of the year in 2017, Biggie relied on that jump shot to completely remix his game, and transformed into an even more impactful offensive force on the block (55 percent) — he also realized the value of ball movement, and posted Purdue’s third best assist rate. He overpowered college bigs with his brute lower body strength, but that won’t happen in NBA, so unless he undergoes the requisite leap, he will have to be hidden on that side of the ball. — Matthew Giles
27. Los Angeles Lakers (From Boston, via Brooklyn)The pick: Kyle Kuzma, PF, UtahAnalysis: The Lakers saw what they liked from Kuzma during the NBA draft combine in Chicago last month, and then brought him in for a group workout later on. That turned out to be enough to convince them to take Kuzma, who averaged 16.4 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 31 minutes per game for the Utah Utes as a junior. Kuzma’s future will be determined by whether he can become a reliable three-point shooter. If he can, he could become a steal for the Lakers as a potential stretch-four down the road. — Tim BontempsWhat he brings: The 6-foot-9 Kuzma is NBA draft catnip. A stretch-four whose shown sparks of a three-point touch (30 percent through three seasons at Utah), the forward is a black hole on the offensive side of the ball. Once he gets the rock, it is not moving, and though he led the Utes in usage rate (28 percent), he was the squad’s fourth most efficient offensive player (1.12 PPP). Kuzma was so highly regarded among Pac-12 players because of the potential for a double-double nightly, and that is why he was drafted in the first round, but his perimeter game, which is his best asset, will need to improved. — Matthew Giles
28. Utah (From Houston, via Los Angeles Lakers)The pick: Tony Bradley, C, North CarolinaAnalysis: With a 7-foot-5 wingspan, Bradley is another long-armed center for the Utah Jazz, who had success developing Rudy Gobert into a defensive force under Quin Snyder, and will now hope to make Bradley a reliable backup to him after moving up two spots to snag him. Bradley averaged 6.9 points and 5.1 rebounds in 14.5 minutes per game as he helped North Carolina eventually win a national championship this spring as a freshman. — Tim BontempsWhat he brings: There wasn’t much room within UNC’s frontcourt for Bradley to earn consistent minutes during his freshman season, which is a shame because, when he did take the court, he grabbed 19 percent of opponents’ misses (thanks to his 7-foot-5 wingspan) and posted a block rate of nearly 5 percent. Coach Roy Williams didn’t need Bradley to score, and so his contributions were largely relegated to ally oops and second chance buckets, but had Bradley stayed in Chapel Hill for his sophomore season, he would have among the ACC’s top bigs. He’s a project, but one that could be a shot-blocking and rebounding force. — Matthew Giles
29. San AntonioThe pick: Derrick White, PG, University of ColoradoAnalysis: The Spurs take one of the more intriguing prospects in the draft in White, who spent three years at Division II Colorado-Colorado Springs before transferring to the University of Colorado as a senior and averaging 18.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.4 assists, helping the 6-foot-5 guard earn first team All-Pac 12 status and helping springboard him into a late first-round selection. — Tim BontempsWhat he brings: Though Colorado won 19 games in 2017, the team failed to crack the NCAA tournament, which means the nation missed its chance to watch one of the draft’s most intriguing sleepers. At 6-foot-5, White had the requisite tools — height and tight handle — to get his own buckets, making more than 57 percent of his twos and a whopping 40 percent of his threes. But where White truly amazed was in pick-and-roll possessions; the Buffs didn’t run P&Rs that often — just 9 percent of its possessions, per Synergy, were P&Rs — but with White directing the offense, he and his teammates scored just under one point per possession. His athleticism won’t wow anyone, but White, who drew six fouls per 40 minutes, is uber-effective converting at the rim, making 63 percent of his attempts. White could be the steal of this draft. — Matthew Giles
30. Los Angeles Lakers (From Golden State, via Utah)The pick: Josh Hart, SG, VillanovaAnalysis: Hart chose to come back to Villanova after helping the Wildcats to the 2016 national title, and his decision was rewarded by getting him into the final spot in the first round in the 2017 draft. Hart, who is from Silver Spring and played high school ball at Sidwell, averaged 18.9 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists for Villanova this past season as a senior, and was named a consensus first-team all-American. — Tim BontempsWhat he brings: The ultimate role player, the 6-foot-5 Hart does it all. Give him space on the perimeter and he’ll knock down threes (40 percent); let him turn the corner on a pick and he uses his body to shield shotblockers and finish consistently at the rim. And, as the top option on every opponents’ scouting report, he still posted an offensive rating of more than 1.20 PPP. The 2017 KenPom player of the year, Hart embodies intangibles and fundamentals while still packing the swagger of someone who expects to score every time he touches the ball. — Matthew Giles
31. New Orleans (From Brooklyn, via Atlanta and Charlotte): Frank Jackson, PG, Duke32. Phoenix: Davon Reed, SG, Miami33. Orlando (From Los Angeles Lakers): Wesley Iwundu, SF, Kansas State34. Sacramento (From Philadelphia via New Orleans): Frank Mason III, PG, Kansas35. Memphis (Via Orlando): Ivan Rabb, PF, California36. Philadelphia (From New York via Utah and Toronto): Jonah Bolden, PF, Australia37. Boston (From Minnesota via Phoenix): Semi Ojeleye, SF, SMU38. Golden State (From Sacramento via Cleveland and Chicago): Jordan Bell, PF, Oregon39. Los Angeles Clippers (From Dallas, via Philadelphia): Jawun Evans, PG, Oklahoma State40. Charlotte (via New Orleans): Dwayne Bacon, SG, Florida State41. Atlanta (From Charlotte): Tyler Dorsey, G, Oregon42. Utah (From Detroit): Thomas Bryant, C, Indiana43. Houston (From Denver): Isaiah Hartenstein, PF, Germany44. New York (From Chicago): Damyean Dotson, SG, Houston45. Houston (From Portland): Dillon Brooks, SF, Oregon46. Philadelphia (From Miami via Atlanta): Sterling Brown, SG, SMU47. Indiana: Ike Anigbogu, C, UCLA48. Milwaukee: Sindarius Thornwell, SG, South Carolina49. Denver (From Memphis via Oklahoma City)50. Philadelphia (From Atlanta)51. Denver (From Oklahoma City)52. New Orleans (From Washington)53. Boston (From Cleveland)54. Phoenix (From Toronto)55. Utah56. Boston (From LA Clippers)57. Brooklyn (From Boston)58. New York (From Houston)59. San Antonio60. Atlanta (From Golden State via Philadelphia and Utah)
Latest news and rumors
— The dominant story around the NBA right now is the potential departure of Kristaps Porzingis from the New York Knicks. Team President Phil Jackson appears eager to move on from Porzingis, and has been engaging with multiple teams about dealing the 21-year-old Latvian elsewhere.
The discussions, regardless of what Jackson gets back, have led to incredulous reactions from around the league. Three separate executives, when asked for their thoughts on the matter, offered the same reaction: “Is he trying to get fired?” As one continued, “It is the only logical explanation for what he’s doing.”
Some have said the Knicks are telling people that they’ll be proven right by their willingness to move on from Porzingis, with the theory being that references long-term concerns about his ability to stay healthy. But the overwhelming consensus around the league is that Porzingis is more than worth the risk — which is why every team has checked in on his availability this week.
— One of the more intriguing teams tonight is the Milwaukee Bucks. No one around the league has a sense of what new General Manager Jon Horst is interested in doing — or who, exactly, is running the show. Many think Coach Jason Kidd could be a big winner in the way the general manager hiring process played out, which could potentially lead to another client of Jeff Schwartz (Kidd’s longtime agent) heading to Milwaukee.
-Of course LaVar Ball and Lonzo Ball wore Big Baller Brand to the draft. Of course they did. But how about new No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz botching his first post-draft Instagram ad? C’mon, man!
– Looking for the latest rumors and player movement ahead of the draft and NBA free agency? From Paul George to Jimmy Butler to Kristaps Porzingis, we’ve got you covered here.
– Where do the NBA draft prospects rank? We’ve evaluated the top 50 and broken them down, from Markelle Fultz to Frank Mason.
– How do today’s NBA talent evaluators regard prospects that spent four and five years in college? Not highly at all. In an era in which the league’s scouts, front office members and agents all agree that the NBA draft is becoming more like the MLB draft, where players are selected as young as possible as clubs draft almost exclusively for a faraway future, four-year college guys are scarce among top picks.
– This NBA offseason is already more compelling than the 2016-17 campaign, and the one-and-done draft parade hasn’t even begun, writes Jerry Brewer.
– “A top 15 draft pick told me the other day, ’cause we were involved in this conversation about Phil Jackson and the Knicks, and he said Phil Jackson was falling in and out of sleep during my workout,” Jay Williams said.
– Is the anchor for the NBA’s next great super team among the 2017 draft class? Washington Post Express asked that very question.
– “I’m gonna prove why I’m the No. 1 pick,” Markelle Fultz told The Post’s Kent Babb ahead of the draft. Babb spent days with Fultz, his family and trainer and painted a portrait of a local kid, cut from varsity just a few short years ago, who turned into the NBA’s top prospect almost overnight. It explores Fultz’s insecurities which tend to motivate him. Read it here.
– It wasn’t long ago that Dwight Howard was the marquee free agent on the NBA’s open market, shaking the foundations of the league by bolting from the Los Angeles Lakers to join the Houston Rockets. Just four years later, Howard found himself being traded away in a salary dump.
– Thanks to the D’Angelo Russell-Brook Lopez trade, the Lakers armed with more than enough cap space to sign Paul George — who made it clear to his current team, the Indiana Pacers, that he plans to sign with the Lakers next summer — but they are also within striking distance of a second max salary slot.
– On opposite sides of the country Monday afternoon, two seemingly unrelated events could set in motion a massive change for LeBron James and the entire NBA. The King could land in Los Angeles.
– To Danny Ainge, there was a simple logic to the Celtics’ blockbuster trade that sent the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft to the 76ers for their third overall pick plus a future first-rounder. The Boston executive thinks that he’ll be able to drop back two spots and still get the player he would have selected first overall.
– Indiana Pacers star Paul George, one of the league’s best two-way players, plans to play out the final year of his contract and enter free agency next summer — with the intent of heading back to his native Southern California to play for the Los Angeles Lakers. While George’s wishes were widely known, the fact that his agent was willing to tell the Pacers exactly what his client plans to do sets up the dominoes that will impact everything this summer. And it’s made George the grand prize for every team to pursue over the coming months.
– The Boston Celtics traded the No. 1 overall pick in Thursday’s NBA draft to the 76ers for Philadelphia’s No. 3 overall pick, plus other compensation. Know this: the Celtics are taking a giant leap of faith. There is no other way to look at this deal.