The newest class of NBA players is on its way; we just won’t know who’s going where until after Thursday night.
That’s when the 2017 NBA draft will pair the NCAA and Europe’s top prospects with the franchises betting they’ll be superstars. Washington one-and-done star Markelle Fultz looks like he’ll be the first player selected, and a series of trades will give him a much softer landing spot than the typical team at the top of the draft. The woeful Brooklyn Nets struggled all the way to the bottom of the league standings, but won’t get the premier pick that comes with a 20-win season.
Instead, they shipped their 2017 pick to the Celtics back in 2013 to acquire aging superstars Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. The Nets’ all-in approach led to a pair of playoff appearances, then a deep dive into a bottomless pit from which light cannot escape. They’ll give Boston their first selection in 2018 as well.
The Celtics weren’t content with the opportunity to pick Fultz with the top selection. President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge shipped the pick to the 76ers for this year’s No. 3 pick and a protected 2018 first-rounder that would become a 2019 first if it lands either at No. 1 or No. 6 or above. Ainge would explain his curious choice to ship the top pick before the draft — the first time it’s been traded since 1993 — by suggesting Fultz was never the team’s target.
“We think there’s a really good chance the player we’ll take at [No.] 3 is the same player we would have taken at [No.] 1,” Ainge told the media Monday. “So this was a great opportunity to acquire an impactful asset.”
While Fultz is the headliner, he’s just the tip of a deep draft class. UCLA’s Lonzo Ball, who has used this offseason to become better known for his boisterous father than his basketball skill, is another top-tier point guard with All-Star potential. Two explosive wings, Kansas’s Josh Jackson and Duke’s Jayson Tatum, are primed to round out the top four.
That means everyone in the top 10 should come away satisfied with their picks — and the inexpensive rookie contracts that come with them. The Kings, who hold the fifth and 10th selections, will have another opportunity to jump-start the rebuild that’s been going on since Chris Webber left town. The Lakers, who pick second, and Suns, who pick fourth, round out the top five.
The full draft order for the NBA’s signature offseason event is below.
2017 NBA Draft Order
|1||1||Philadelphia 76ers (from Brooklyn via Boston)|
|1||2||Los Angeles Lakers|
|1||3||Boston Celtics (from Sacramento via Philadelphia)|
|1||5||Sacramento Kings (from Philadelphia)|
|1||8||New York Knicks|
|1||10||Sacramento Kings (from New Orleans)|
|1||15||Portland Trail Blazers|
|1||20||Portland Trail Blazers (from Memphis via Denver and Cleveland)|
|1||21||Oklahoma City Thunder|
|1||22||Brooklyn Nets (from Washington)|
|1||23||Toronto Raptors (from L.A. Clippers via Milwaukee)|
|1||25||Orlando Magic (from Toronto)|
|1||26||Portland Trail Blazers (from Cleveland)|
|1||27||Los Angeles Lakers (from Boston via Brooklyn)|
|1||28||Los Angeles Lakers (from Houston)|
|1||29||San Antonio Spurs|
|1||30||Utah Jazz (from Golden State)|
|2||31||Charlotte Hornets (from Brooklyn via Atlanta Hawks)|
|2||33||Orlando Magic (from L.A. Lakers)|
|2||34||Sacramento Kings (from Philadelphia via New Orleans)|
|2||36||Philadelphia 76ers (from New York via Utah and Toronto)|
|2||37||Boston Celtics (from Minnesota via Phoenix)|
|2||38||Chicago Bulls (from Sacramento via Cleveland)|
|2||39||Philadelphia 76ers (from Dallas)|
|2||40||New Orleans Pelicans|
|2||41||Atlanta Hawks (from Charlotte)|
|2||42||Utah Jazz (from Detroit)|
|2||43||Houston Rockets (from Denver)|
|2||44||New York Knicks (from Chicago)|
|2||45||Houston Rockets (from Portland)|
|2||46||Philadelphia 76ers (from Miami via Atlanta)|
|2||49||Denver Nuggets (from Memphis via Oklahoma City)|
|2||50||Philadelphia 76ers (from Atlanta)|
|2||51||Denver Nuggets (from Oklahoma City)|
|2||53||Boston Celtics (from Cleveland)|
|2||54||Phoenix Suns (from Toronto)|
|2||56||Boston Celtics (from L.A. Clippers)|
|2||57||Brooklyn Nets (from Boston)|
|2||58||New York Knicks (from Houston)|
|2||59||San Antonio Spurs|
|2||60||Atlanta Hawks (from Golden State via Philadelphia and Utah)|