After the NBA’s 2017 post season was dubbed one of the most boring in years, the draft — and off-season — have proven to be a lot more exciting.
In a culmination to the drama, the Philadelphia 76ers took guard Markelle Fultz from the University of Washington with the No. 1 pick on Thursday night.
The draft aired live on ESPN from Brooklyn, New York, in front of an audience of hundreds of fans.
Coming in at number two, the Los Angeles Lakers lived up to expectations and picked former UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball, getting the media circus surrounding his outspoken father LaVar in the package deal. Ball already has his own shoe from LaVar’s Big Baller Brand, the $495 ZO2. LaVar was prepared, donning a Laker purple and gold BBB cap after Lonzo was picked.
Earlier in the week, the 76ers traded up to take the No. 1 pick and the Celtics traded down to No. 3, also acquiring the Los Angeles Lakers’ 2018 first-round pick if it falls between 2 and 5, or the Sacramento Kings’ 2019 first round pick if it does not. The Celtics used that pick to grab former Duke forward Jayson Tatum.
That was only one of several major trades in the days preceding the draft, as the Los Angeles Lakers traded former No. 2 overall pick DeAngelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov to the Brooklyn Nets for Brook Lopez and the No. 27 pick in this year’s draft, clearing the way for Ball to take over as the team’s lead guard, while the Atlanta Hawks sent eight-time All-Star Dwight Howard and the 31st pick to the Charlotte Hornets for Marco Belinelli, Miles Plumlee and the No. 41 pick.
During the draft, the Chicago Bulls agreed to trade star forward Jimmy Butler and the 16th pick to the Minnesota Timberwolves for the No. 7 pick, Zach LaVine, and Kris Dunn.