Pair of Pac-12 Players Highlight 2017 NBA Draft

Plenty of intrigues came buzzing around the Barclays Center surrounding what would happen in the 2017 NBA Draft. Names swirled through the rumor mills and teams checking all options before the first selection. Markelle Fultz emerged as the likely choice to be taken first overall after an impressive showcase. When the dust finally settled and final mock drafts were in check, Fultz heard his name called first by commissioner Adam Silver.

Fultz’s destination though will be in the city of Brotherly Love.

Days before the draft, the Boston Celtics traded the No. 1 overall pick to the Philadelphia 76ers. Boston received the third overall pick from Philadelphia and a few more picks. Regardless of who had the top pick, Fultz stood out among other prospects. Fultz could have been an impact player to lead Boston on another playoff run and challenge Cleveland in the Eastern Conference.

Instead, he will join a young team featuring Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. A future big three is about to develop in the coming years which could make Philly a force.

A freshman from the University of Washington, Fultz is the complete package with his versatility on the court. He led the Huskies in points per game while averaging at least five assists per game and rebounds per game.

The selection of Fultz made history. Washington became the first school to see players go first overall in both NBA and WNBA Drafts the same year. Kelsey Plum went first overall to the San Antonio Stars back in April.

(Photo: Jae C. Hong, AP)

Soon after Fultz was selected, all eyes focused on the Los Angeles Lakers and the next selection of Lonzo Ball. The selection appeared to be a forgone conclusion after the lottery determined the Lakers would select second in the draft. Lonzo was widely favored as a top-three pick with his passing ability.

His selection almost came in doubt after reports surfaced Ball’s conditioning appeared questionable after working out with the Lakers. Los Angeles was reportedly also shopping the No. 2 pick to gauge interest. Speculation ended after Ball’s name was called and chosen by the Lakers.

In only one season at UCLA, Ball was the field general making his teammates look good from his passing game. He led the Bruins in assists per game while finishing third on the team in scoring. His defense comes into question as Ball did not have an impressive performance during the NCAA Tournament. Ball has plenty of room for improvement, especially his shooting which could help make him an elite player in the NBA.

While excited to remain in Los Angeles, the biggest fanfare came from Lonzo’s father, LaVar. Throughout the process, LaVar has made outlandish claims which have garnered headlines and television appearances. Big Baller Brand has certainly drawn attention with the price on Lonzo’s signature shoe at $495 and clothing. In an appearance with Lonzo on Jimmy Kimmel Live, LaVar promoted the shoes which come in a plastic box. LaVar told Kimmel not to open the box, or the shoes would fly away making for one bizarre interview as Lonzo could only laugh at the situation.

In all seriousness, LaVar sure knows how to promote with all the attention he has gotten. Now his mission is to get the other two sons onto the Lakers.

Oregon’s Trio Selected

Jordan Bell’s draft stock rose during Oregon’s run in the NCAA Tournament. With teammate Chris Boucher out for the season, Bell rose to the occasion defensively. After announcing his decision to turn pro, his draft stock heightened further after an impressive combine. He will now be bringing his talents to the Bay Area.

Bell could have fit in defensively for the Lakers as the team struggled to stop opponents. Speculation has Bell potentially falling to Los Angeles with the No. 28 selection. In the end, Bell did not get selected in the first round.

Chicago selected Bell in the second round at No. 38 but would not stay a Bull for long. Bell will not be complaining as the 2017 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year is joining the Golden State Warriors. His rights got traded to Golden State in exchange for cash. With Bell coming to the NBA Champions, his shot-blocking ability and toughness are about to make the Warriors even tougher to beat.

Shortly after being selected, Tyler Dorsey and Dillon Brooks did not have to wait long for their names to be called. Dorsey got chosen by the Atlanta Hawks where his offense can provide a boost in the playoffs. The NCAA Tournament saw how active Dorsey could be and his shooting can help Atlanta make longer runs in the playoffs.

Brooks got chosen by the Houston Rockets, but his rights were traded to the Memphis Grizzlies. A clutch shooter with Oregon, Brooks is a vocal leader with the ability to score from anywhere. Capacity to guard is an issue, but Brooks has shown he can step in critical moments of the game. A downside is not having an offensive impact as Brooks has often gotten into foul trouble making his impact minimal.

Expect all three Oregon Ducks to play significant roles for their respective teams in the coming years. Minutes might be tough for Bell going to the Warriors but should see action this season. Dorsey and Brooks are both going to contending teams and should help continue the trend.

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