2017 NBA Draft Preview: Washington’s Markelle Fultz To Have Ball As No.1 Pick

NBA Draft | Friday, June 23, 9am (AEDT), Barclays Center, Brooklyn

Another talent-laden draft class will take centre stage when the 2017 NBA Draft gets underway on Friday (AEDT).

NBA dreams will become a reality when the world’s best young players make that giant leap from college star to NBA professional. 

Last year it was Australia’s own Ben Simmons (pictured below) who snared the no.1 pick and while there are no Aussies projected to go at the top of this year’s draft, there’s plenty of intrigue surrounding which NBA prospect will become the Aussie's new teammate at Philadelphia.

After a dream result in the NBA Draft Lottery, the Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics received the overall no.1 pick but have since traded their pick to the Philadelphia 76ers. 

The LA Lakers hold the no.2 pick with the Celtics taking the 76ers’ former pick at no.3.

The Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings and Orlando Magic have the 4th, 5th and 6th picks respectively.

So, which college stars will be taken at the top of this year’s NBA Draft?

Here’s our guide to the top 3 prospects in the draft.

1 - Markelle Fultz (Washington) (point guard) 

Washington’s Markelle Fultz (pictured above) is widely regarded as the standout NBA prospect in the draft and it would be a monumental surprise if the former Huskies star didn’t go top spot. 

The 19-year-old freshman is the complete package, a star in the making and a prolific scorer.

He’s good on pick-and-rolls and a quality shooter from beyond the arc.

The teenager broke Washington’s freshman single season record of 579 points averaging 23.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists.

They’re phenomenal numbers for a freshman, underlying his immeasurable talent and ability. 

2 - Lonzo Ball (UCLA) (point guard) 

If the mock drafts are accurate, Lonzo Ball (pictured above) will end up in LA with the Lakers taking him with their no.2 pick. 

As we know from his attention-seeking father, Lavar Ball, the former UCLA guard is a precocious talent, an exceptional shooter and pinpoint shooter from range.

The 19-year-old shot 55 percent for the Bruins last season averaging 14.6 points, 7.6 assists and six rebounds.

He was a constant threat from downtown, shooting a very respectable 41.2 percent during the course of the season.

A versatile guard at either the one or two spot, he’s also adept on the defensive end where he collected 1.8 steals per game for the Bruins.

If he’s the second pick in the draft, he’ll be a handy pick-up for the young and improving Lakers. 

3 - Josh Jackson (Kansas) (point guard/shooting guard) 

In the eyes of many, standout former Kanas guard Josh Jackson (pictured above) is not only a certainty to be a top three pick, he could be a surprise no.1 or no.2 pick.

An all-round guard, Jackson was the Big 12 freshman of the year, guiding the Jayhawks to a 13th straight regular season Big 12 title, averaging 16.3 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists.

The 20-year-old is athletic and durable and as a strong high-scoring wing and solid defender, some experts are comparing him to NBA great Grant Hill and Chicago Bulls star Jimmy Butler.

His defensive prowess is underpinned by his numbers where he led the Jayhawks with 59 steals and 37 blocks.

While projected to go at no.3 which would send him to Boston, Jackson has been talked about as a potential no.2 pick for the Lakers, but if the Lakers take Ball, that would consign the former Jayhawks guard to Isaiah Thomas’ Celtics.  

The Verdict 

With Ben Simmons’ Philadelphia 76ers acquiring the no.1 pick from the Celtics, Markelle Fultz is poised to be picked up by the 76ers. 

He’s the best talent and top prospect in this year’s NBA Draft and he’ll go top spot and deservingly so. 

Other top contenders for top 10 draft picks include Jayson Tatum (Duke) (pictured below), De’Aaron Fox (Kentucky), Jonathan Isaac (Florida State), Malik Monk (Kentucky), Dennis Smith (NC State), Frank Ntilikina (France), Zach Collins (Gonzaga) and Lauri Markkanen (Arizona).

Unibet Odds: Markelle Fultz (1.02), Lonzo Ball (15.00), Josh Jackson (21.00), Jayson Tatum (41.00), De’Aaron Fox (51.00) 

Tip: Markelle Fultz 

Long shot tips: Lonzo Ball, Josh Jackson 

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