The 2017 NBA Draft‘s First Round has come and gone, as we saw the best collegiate and international players selected. Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, Jayson Tatum, Josh Jackson, and De’Aaron Fox were the top-5 picks, but who were the real winners?
Minnesota Timberwolves – Jimmy Butler is headed to the Minnesota Timberwolves, after years of being on the trading block. A lot of reports had him headed to the Boston Celtics or Cleveland Cavaliers, but he’s joining Andrew Wiggins and Karl Anthony-Towns for the T-Wolves. In the trade, the Chicago Bulls acquired Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, and the No. 7 pick, who turned into Lauri Markkanenn, a 7-footer from Arizona. Minnesota also got the Bulls’ No. 16 pick in the swap, which was used on former-Creighton center Justin Patton. Butler is one of the NBA’s best guards, and adding him to a young group, makes them a playoff team.
Philadelphia 76ers – Markelle Fultz is the obvious headliner, being drafted No. 1 overall, but it was definitely the right pick for Philadelphia, given his incredible upside. Not only are the 76ers getting the best player in the 2017 class, but he’s joining a ton of talent with former No. 1 pick Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, and Dario Saric, who could form a contender in three or four years.
Los Angeles Lakers – Lonzo Ball was taken No. 2, but the Lakers, led by Magic Johnson, had a very productive week beyond the former-UCLA guard. Earlier in the week, Los Angeles traded former No. 2 pick D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov to the Brooklyn Nets, for former All-Star Brook Lopez, and the No. 27 pick, who was used on Kyle Kuzma. After that, Josh Hart was drafted No. 30. All of this is building up to either a trade during the season or a signing of Paul George next summer. The Lakers are (finally) on the come-up.
Sacramento Kings – De’Aaron Fox is one of my favorite players in the 2017 class because of his passing ability, but he’s a lot more than that. He can attack the rim with the best of them, and if his jumper develops more, he’ll be an All-Star year in and year out. The Kings, who usually blow their draft picks, did a good job tonight. They traded the No. 10 pick (Zach Collins) to the Portland Trailblazers for the No. 15 and No. 20 picks, who ended up being Justin Jackson, out of North Carolina, and Harry Giles, out of Duke.
Charlotte Hornets – Malik Monk was expected to go in the top-10, and I’m guessing Michael Jordan and the Charlotte Hornets were ecstatic when he fell to them at No. 11. Kentucky is constantly producing NBA players and Monk is another one, who is arguably the best pure scorer in this class. Monk is a fantastic fit with Kemba Walker in the Charlotte backcourt, who has long been without an effective shooting guard. Not only did the Hornets get Monk, but earlier in the week, the Hornets traded for Dwight Howard a couple of days ago. It was a great week for the Charlotte, who will be looking to return to the playoffs after a one-year hiatus.
Photo Credit: CBS Sports.