It’s time for one of the silliest nights of the year. Tonight, 60 young basketball players will earn the opportunity to play for an NBA team via the 2017 NBA Draft. The lead up to tonight has been hectic — trade rumors involving already-established stars have been circulating for days, and we’ve even seen the top selection in the draft go from Boston to Philadelphia.
On that note, every sign shows that Philadelphia is going to select ultra-talented Washington guard Markelle Fultz with the No. 1 pick. From there, well, who knows? To get in on the fun, we’ve decided to grade every pick, from 1-60, in this year’s draft. All first-round picks will receive a grade and an explanation, while all second round picks will just receive a grade. Let’s dive in. (NOTE: The post will be updated throughout the night as players are selected and, possibly, as picks are traded)
1. Philadelphia (From Boston via Brooklyn) — Markelle Fultz, A+
Philadelphia needed a point guard and someone who could score on the perimeter. They got both of those with Fultz. He should immediately make an impact with the Sixers and has the potential to be one of the best scoring guards in the NBA.
2. Los Angeles Lakers — Lonzo Ball, A
A Los Angeles native with superstar potential, the ability to get buckets, and the court vision/feel for the game that we haven’t seen out of a college player in years? Yes, please. His ability to defend quicker guards is a concern, but this is the right pick for the Lakers, especially in light of the D’Angelo Russell trade.
3. Boston (from Philadelphia via Sacramento) — Jayson Tatum, B
Boston desperately needed someone who could create their own shot on the perimeter and give the offense a shot in the arm. The only reason this grade isn’t higher is because Josh Jackson was on the board and his ceiling is higher. Still, this was a safe pick by Danny Ainge.