The 2017 NBA draft is almost here, folks. On Thursday, teams will select future stars and role players from this year's crop of talented rookie prospects. The first team to make its selection will be the Philadelphia 76ers, as they completed a trade to acquire the No. 1 pick on Monday.
Presumably, the 76ers are going to take Washington product Markelle Fultz with the top selection. After that, there's no telling how the draft could unfold.
If you're looking to watch the action in real time, you're in luck. We're here with everything you need to know about the 2017 NBA draft—including television and scheduling information. We'll also examine some of the latest draft buzz and mock the entire first round based on factors like prospect potential, team needs and team fits.
2017 NBA Draft
Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn
When: Thursday, June 22
Time: 7 p.m. ET
National TV: ESPN
Live Stream: WatchESPN
2017 NBA Mock Draft
1. Philadelphia 76ers (via Boston): Markelle Fultz, G, Washington
2. Los Angeles Lakers: Lonzo Ball, G, UCLA
3. Boston Celtics (via Philadelphia): Josh Jackson, F, Kansas
4. Phoenix Suns: De'Aaron Fox, G, Kentucky
5. Sacramento Kings (via Philadelphia): Jayson Tatum, F, Duke
6. Orlando Magic: Malik Monk, G, Kentucky
7. Minnesota Timberwolves: Jonathan Isaac, F, Florida State
8. New York Knicks: Lauri Markkanen, F, Arizona
9. Dallas Mavericks: Dennis Smith Jr., G, NC State
10. Sacramento Kings (via New Orleans): Frank Ntilikina, G, France
11. Charlotte Hornets: Zach Collins, C, Gonzaga
12. Detroit Pistons: Harry Giles, C, Duke
13. Denver Nuggets: Ivan Rabb, F, California
14. Miami Heat: Justin Jackson, F, North Carolina
15. Portland Trail Blazers: John Collins, F, Wake Forest
16. Chicago Bulls: Luke Kennard, G, Duke
17. Milwaukee Bucks: Jarrett Allen, C, Texas
18. Indiana Pacers: Tony Bradley, C, North Carolina
19. Atlanta Hawks: TJ Leaf, F, UCLA
20. Portland Trail Blazers (via Memphis): Dwayne Bacon, F, Florida State
21. Oklahoma City Thunder: OG Anunoby, F, Indiana
22. Brooklyn Nets (via Washington): Isaiah Hartenstein, F, Germany
23. Toronto Raptors (via LA Clippers): Jordan Bell, F, Oregon
24. Utah Jazz: Justin Patton, C, Creighton
25. Orlando Magic (via Toronto): Caleb Swanigan, F, Purdue
26. Portland Trail Blazers: (via Cleveland): Josh Hart, G, Villanova
27. Brooklyn Nets (via Boston): Sindarius Thornwell, G, South Carolina
28. Los Angeles Lakers (via Houston): Donovan Mitchell, G, Louisville
29. San Antonio Spurs: Terrance Ferguson, G, Australia
30. Utah Jazz (via Golden State): Frank Jackson, G, Duke
76ers Complete Trade for No. 1
The 76ers and the Boston Celtics had were working on a deal to swap first-round picks over the weekend. They completed that deal on Monday.
"We're thrilled to be able to select what we expect [to] be an impact player with the third pick in this year's very talented draft class, while also adding a highly valuable future asset as we continue to build toward Banner 18," Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said, via ESPN.com.
As Matt Pepin of the Boston Globe pointed out, that future asset could come in the 2018 or 2019 draft, depending on how things fall next season:
Matt Pepin @mattpep15
One amazing chart that explains Celtics/76ers trade that you have to read right now and probably didn’t know (part 3 will surprise you) https://t.co/E0grzLK1TP2017-6-19 19:31:11
Essentially, the Celtics will get a 2018 first-rounder if the Los Angeles Lakers struggle in 2017-18 and a 2019 first-rounder if they don't. Unless something unexpected happens between now and the draft, the 76ers will be taking Fultz.
James Herbert of CBSSports.com recently explained why this is the move that makes the most sense for Philadelphia:
"The guard out of Washington is the clear-cut best prospect and the best fit for Philadelphia in this year's draft. He has all the athleticism, size and feel for the game that you want out of a modern-day, attacking guard, and he has all sorts of upside on defense. Next to Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, the Sixers need a guard who can create but is also comfortable playing off the ball. Fultz is that player and much more. He is the guard of their dreams."
The 76ers have spent the last few years compiling young talent without a big payoff in the standings. Adding Fultz, though, should flesh out the roster to the point that Philadelphia will finally have a competitive team—perhaps even a legitimate contender in the next few years. He'll give the team an athletic offensive option to complement Simmons, while guys like Embiid and Jahlil Okafor control the middle of the court.
For now at least, we can pencil in Fultz at No. 1.
Lakers Looking to Add Another Pick, Eventually Add George
Since the future draft capital of the Celtics hinges on what the Lakers do next season, it's worth noting that L.A. is looking to add to its draft ammunition now. The team currently owns two first-round selections—including No. 2 overall—and is reportedly looking to add a third.
According to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com, the Lakers have contacted "at least two teams" regarding the acquisition of another first-round pick. Per Shelburne, there have also been inquiries about the team's second overall selection, but the team isn't interested in dealing it.
Los Angeles has been linked to UCLA product Lonzo Ball for much of the draft process and he could be the choice at No. 2. If the Lakers can acquire an additional first-round pick, they could add two more young players to build around.
According to Bleacher Report's Kevin Ding, sources have indicated that the Lakers are indeed closing in on Ball at No. 2. According to Ding, the Lakers are also interested in eventually adding Paul George, who has made it clear that he plans to leave the Indiana Pacers after the season.
With George's time in Indianapolis coming to an end, the team has looked into dealing this offseason. According to Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com, the Pacers began shopping George over the weekend and even contacted the Cleveland Cavaliers.
However, Pacers general manager Kevin Pritchard hasn't been in contact with the Lakers, according to The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski:
Adrian Wojnarowski @WojVerticalNBA
Sources: Indiana's Kevin Pritchard engaging teams on trading Paul George, but so far, not Lakers. There's a rental market, but how robust? https://t.co/oM9XrATMr92017-6-18 22:09:46
It would probably be difficult for the Lakers to acquire George and add another first-round pick this offseason. The team's best bet may be to allow a team to rent George for one year and hope he signs with the Purple and Gold next offseason.
George has shown interest in joining the Lakers in the past.
"A SoCal native, he's been talking about playing for his hometown team, the Lakers, for a long time," Mitch Lawrence of the Sporting News recently explained. "He's never made his long-term intentions a secret within the Pacers locker room, according to former teammates. He wants to wear the purple and gold."
The Lakers have some nice young building blocks now, like D'Angelo Russell, and could add more in this year's draft. If they can round out the roster by adding George next offseason, L.A. could quickly be back in the playoff picture.