De'Aaron Fox Says He's the Best PG in 2017 NBA Draft, Comments on Lonzo Ball

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 13, 2017

MEMPHIS, TN - MARCH 24: De'Aaron Fox #0 of the Kentucky Wildcats reacts after a play in the second half against the UCLA Bruins during the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament South Regional at FedExForum on March 24, 2017 in Memphis, Tennessee.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

University of Kentucky point guard De'Aaron Fox believes he's the best prospect in the 2017 NBA draft, even if he doesn't end up as the No. 1 overall selection June 22.

On Friday, John Jackson of the Associated Press (via NBA.com) passed along comments the 19-year-old New Orleans native made about the battle with fellow point guards Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball atop the draft class.

"I feel like I'm the best," Fox said at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago. "If they're drafted above me, I'm cool with it. You have to play basketball at the end of the day."

Fox won a head-to-head duel with Ball in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament. He scored a season-high 39 points to go along with four assists and three rebounds in the Wildcats' 86-75 win. His UCLA Bruins counterpart finished with 10 points, eight dimes and three boards.

The first-team All-SEC selection told the AP that facing off with Ball was major motivation in that performance.

"He's the consensus No. 1 pick, he could be the No. 1 pick," Fox said. "I'm just extremely competitive. That's what I tell everybody. It didn't matter if it was him or one of the other top picks. I'm competitive, and I came out hot."

Ball has generated the most buzz among the draft prospects, mostly because his father, LaVar Ball, has been a constant presence on the airwaves with a series of over-the-top comments.

That said, Markelle Fultz from the University of Washington has maintained an inside track on becoming the first overall pick next month for most of the draft process. He averaged 23.2 points, 5.9 assists and 5.7 rebounds during his only season with the Huskies.

He told Bleacher Report's Jason King in March his goals go far beyond getting picked first.

"When I was younger, trying to make the make the freshman and JV team, my dream was always to make it to the NBA," Fultz said. "At first, I was thinking about just getting to the NBA, just watching the NBA, being one of the All-Stars in the NBA. But I actually want to be the best to ever play this game. And I think I have a pretty good chance to do that."

All three freshman sensations should have bright futures in the NBA. Add in University of Kansas small forward Josh Jackson, and the class is loaded with All-Star potential inside the top five, which will make the 2017 NBA draft lottery all the more intriguing.

ESPN will broadcast the results of the pingpong balls at 8 p.m. ET on Tuesday.