The 2017 NBA Draft Lottery just happened, and it featured two of the NBA’s most historic franchises getting the top-two picks. But they’re two franchises currently in entirely different situations.
The rebuilding Los Angeles Lakers (26-56) came away with the second overall pick in the draft, while the Boston Celtics (53-29) came away with the top overall pick. Yes, the same Celtics that had the Eastern Conference’s No. 1 seed this season and are in the Eastern Conference Finals. And the Philadelphia 76ers get the third pick, via a swap with the Sacramento Kings.
Here’s the full draft order:
The 2017 @NBADraft order is set!
— NBA (@NBA) May 17, 2017
The Celtics are owners of that pick thanks to the Brooklyn Nets, after the blockbuster trade in 2013 that featured Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry. Boston had the right to swap 2017 first-round picks with Brooklyn, and get Brooklyn’s first-round pick in 2018 as well. The Nets had the NBA’s worst record this season at 20-62, which gave the Celtics the best lottery odds at 25.0%.
So, an already-good Celtics team now gets the top overall pick (while the Nets remain a dumpster fire). But the consensus top-two prospects in this draft are point guards, in Washington’s Markelle Fultz and UCLA’s Lonzo Ball. And the Celtics’ best player is of course star point guard Isaiah Thomas. ESPN’s Tom Penn thinks that the Celtics shouldn’t worry about that and just take the best talent available:
If Boston indeed sticks with the best player, most feel it’s Markelle Fultz, and he may be a better fit for the Celtics next to Thomas anyway. Even Thomas thinks they can work well together:
Yes, by the way, Isaiah Thomas believes he and Markelle Fultz can thrive together: https://t.co/Zm9iYByyJd
— Jay King (@ByJayKing) May 17, 2017
It’s also possible that the Celtics trade the pick, of course (perhaps in a deal around Jimmy Butler?). But odds are that the first overall pick is Fultz, and if that happens, it seems like a near lock that the Lakers would draft Ball. And that is certainly what LaVar Ball wants.
We certainly won’t be short on storylines heading into the draft, which will be held on June 22nd.