The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

NBA draft recap and analysis: What teams are getting in Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball and beyond

Placeholder while article actions load

The 2017 NBA draft Thursday in Brooklyn brought one big trade — and not many surprises beyond that. Check out our full breakdown of each first-round pick and the latest rumors and rumblings.

Skip ahead: Latest news and rumors

Jimmy Butler trade to Minnesota shakes up the NBA draft

Markelle Fultz never forgets: Inside the head of the No. 1 pick

For Lonzo Ball, talent isn’t the issue. But there might be Daddy issues.

Bradley Beal happy for friend Jayson Tatum, but disowns him for going to Celtics

Analysis: The Kings have been searching for a point guard to lead their team for years, and Fox should be the answer. He torched Ball in Kentucky’s win over UCLA in the Sweet 16, and has the kind of charisma to become the face of the franchise — something Sacramento desperately needs since trading DeMarcus Cousins. His shot is an issue, and if it doesn’t develop it will prevent him from being the star the Kings (and others) think he could become. But his combination of length and athleticism will provide Sacramento with the foundation it needs. — Tim Bontemps
What he brings: The 6-3 Fox is already a defensive savant. Equipped with lanky arms and quick-twitch muscles, Fox was arguably the best defender John Calipari has ever coached at Kentucky. Take UK’s Sweet 16 game against UCLA in the NCAA tournament: Fox held Ball to 4-of-10 shooting and four turnovers, which prompted an amazing quote from the Wildcat frosh’s father: “My son already ate [Ball’s backside] up twice … we played [UCLA] twice. Twice [Ball] got outplayed.” But Fox isn’t a slouch on the other side of the ball. The guard excelled in pick and roll possessions, utilizing that same brilliantly fast speed to gain a step on his opponent and forcing the defense to shift, which left openings for other Wildcats that Fox easily exploited (scoring 1.06 points per Fox P&R pass, per Synergy). In an interview with Bleacher Report, Fox spent much of the pre-draft process fixing his jump shot — he made just 25 percent of his threes, and he claims that he was bringing the ball too far back — which, once combined with his ability to easily break free of his defender, will only further Fox’s effectiveness within a team’s offense. — Matthew Giles

Bulls opt to commit to a full rebuild

Analysis: An explosive scorer, Monk will pair with Kemba Walker to give the Hornets some additional firepower after acquiring Dwight Howard from the Atlanta Hawks earlier this week. Monk scored 47 points against North Carolina last season, but the questions about him are whether he can actually play point guard, or if he’s going to be an undersized shooting guard. But for a Charlotte team that desperately needs more ways to score, he’s got a chance to help the Hornets right away. — Tim Bontemps
What he brings: The 6-3 guard dropped 30 or more points four times this past season, so Monk does not struggle getting buckets quickly. Skilled at creating space off screens or spotting up (1.3 points per guarded catch and shoot, per Synergy), Monk more than lived up to his high school reputation as one of the nation’s most prolific scorers. And yet, when Monk isn’t hitting, the guard devolves into a one-dimensional player. Defensively, he was often hidden among the Wildcats’ backcourt, and he doesn’t possess the requisite handle to create his own shot or get to the rim (46 percent within the arc), which is why there are still questions about Monk. Does his scoring explosiveness outweigh the lack of intangibles and ability (so far) in the other aspects of the game? — Matthew Giles

John Calipari makes himself clear: ‘I wanted Malik in New York’

Analysis: At some point, Indiana will move on from Paul George and build their team around center Myles Turner. Drafting Leaf is a step in that direction; the athletic forward has earned some Ryan Anderson comparisons for his ability to stretch the floor. A 6-10 forward, he should be a nice complement to Turner. Leaf averaged 16.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and shot 46.6 percent from three-point range for UCLA, forming a lethal partnership with No. 2 overall pick Lonzo Ball. — Tim Bontemps
What he brings: Pick-and-pop bigs have been a theme of this year’s draft class, and Leaf, who received his fair share of assists from Lonzo Ball in 2017, often looked to slide beyond the arc following a screen (47 percent). But Leaf’s best skill is his vision. He handed out 68 assists in the half-court, and his teammates scored 2.5 points per assist (per Synergy). Teams had to be creative how they guarded Leaf — if a double was too early, that often meant a splashed Bruin three, and if that same squad chose to single cover him, he used his frame and quickness to score 1.17 points per post-up. — Matthew Giles

LaVar Ball: Playing too many ‘white guys’ kept Lonzo from winning a title at UCLA

Josh Hart reached the pinnacle of college basketball, but wasn’t a surefire first-round pick

Second round

31. New Orleans (From Brooklyn, via Atlanta and Charlotte): Frank Jackson, PG, Duke
32. Phoenix: Davon Reed, SG, Miami
33. Orlando 
(From Los Angeles Lakers): Wesley Iwundu, SF, Kansas State
34. Sacramento (From Philadelphia via New Orleans): Frank Mason III, PG, Kansas
35. Memphis (Via Orlando): Ivan Rabb, PF, California
36. Philadelphia (From New York via Utah and Toronto): Jonah Bolden, PF, Australia
37. Boston (From Minnesota via Phoenix): Semi Ojeleye, SF, SMU
38. Golden State (From Sacramento via Cleveland and Chicago): Jordan Bell, PF, Oregon
39. Los Angeles Clippers (From Dallas, via Philadelphia): Jawun Evans, PG, Oklahoma State
40. Charlotte (via New Orleans): Dwayne Bacon, SG, Florida State
41. Atlanta
(From Charlotte): Tyler Dorsey, G, Oregon
42. Los Angeles Lakers
(From Detroit, via Utah): Thomas Bryant, C, Indiana
43. Houston (From Denver): Isaiah Hartenstein, PF, Germany
44. New York (From Chicago): Damyean Dotson, SG, Houston
45. Memphis (From Portland, via Houston): Dillon Brooks, SF, Oregon
46. Philadelphia (From Miami via Atlanta): Sterling Brown, SG, SMU
47. Indiana: Ike Anigbogu, C, UCLA
48. Milwaukee:
Sindarius Thornwell, SG, South Carolina
49. Denver 
(From Memphis via Oklahoma City): Vlatko Cancar, SF, Slovenia
50. Philadelphia (From Atlanta): Mathias Lessort, PF, France
51. Denver (From Oklahoma City): Monte Morris, PG, Iowa State
52. Indiana (From Washington, via New Orleans): Edmond Sumner, PG, Xavier
53. Boston 
(From Cleveland): Kadeem Allen, SG, Arizona
54. Phoenix (From Toronto): Alec Peters, PF, Valparaiso
55. Utah: Nigel Williams-Goss, PG, Gonzaga
56. Boston 
(From LA Clippers): Jabari Bird, G, California
57. Brooklyn (From Boston): Aleksandar Vezenkov, PF, Cyprus
58. New York (From Houston): Ognjen Jaramaz, PG, Serbia
59. San Antonio: Jaron Blossomgame, SF, Clemson
60. Atlanta 
(From Golden State via Philadelphia and Utah): Alpha Kaba, PF, France

Latest news and rumors

— The dominant story around the NBA right now is the potential departure of Kristaps Porzingis from the New York Knicks. Team President Phil Jackson appears eager to move on from Porzingis, and has been engaging with multiple teams about dealing the 21-year-old Latvian elsewhere.

The discussions, regardless of what Jackson gets back, have led to incredulous reactions from around the league. Three separate executives, when asked for their thoughts on the matter, offered the same reaction: “Is he trying to get fired?” As one continued, “It is the only logical explanation for what he’s doing.”

Some have said the Knicks are telling people that they’ll be proven right by their willingness to move on from Porzingis, with the theory being that references long-term concerns about his ability to stay healthy. But the overwhelming consensus around the league is that Porzingis is more than worth the risk — which is why every team has checked in on his availability this week.

-Of course LaVar Ball and Lonzo Ball wore Big Baller Brand to the draft. Of course they did.  But how about new No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz botching his first post-draft Instagram ad? C’mon, man!

– Looking for the latest rumors and player movement ahead of the draft and NBA free agency? From Paul George to Jimmy Butler to Kristaps Porzingis, we’ve got you covered here.

– Where do the NBA draft prospects rank? We’ve evaluated the top 50 and broken them down, from Markelle Fultz to Frank Mason.

How do today’s NBA talent evaluators regard prospects that spent four and five years in college? Not highly at all. In an era in which the league’s scouts, front office members and agents all agree that the NBA draft is becoming more like the MLB draft, where players are selected as young as possible as clubs draft almost exclusively for a faraway future, four-year college guys are scarce among top picks.

– This NBA offseason is already more compelling than the 2016-17 campaign, and the one-and-done draft parade hasn’t even begun, writes Jerry Brewer.

– “A top 15 draft pick told me the other day, ’cause we were involved in this conversation about Phil Jackson and the Knicks, and he said Phil Jackson was falling in and out of sleep during my workout,” Jay Williams said.

– Is the anchor for the NBA’s next great super team among the 2017 draft class? Washington Post Express asked that very question.

– “I’m gonna prove why I’m the No. 1 pick,” Markelle Fultz told The Post’s Kent Babb ahead of the draft. Babb spent days with Fultz, his family and trainer and painted a portrait of a local kid, cut from varsity just a few short years ago, who turned into the NBA’s top prospect almost overnight. It explores Fultz’s insecurities which tend to motivate him. Read it here.

– It wasn’t long ago that Dwight Howard was the marquee free agent on the NBA’s open market, shaking the foundations of the league by bolting from the Los Angeles Lakers to join the Houston Rockets. Just four years later, Howard found himself being traded away in a salary dump.

– Thanks to the D’Angelo Russell-Brook Lopez trade, the Lakers armed with more than enough cap space to sign Paul George — who made it clear to his current team, the Indiana Pacers, that he plans to sign with the Lakers next summer — but they are also within striking distance of a second max salary slot.

– On opposite sides of the country Monday afternoon, two seemingly unrelated events could set in motion a massive change for LeBron James and the entire NBA. The King could land in Los Angeles.

– To Danny Ainge, there was a simple logic to the Celtics’ blockbuster trade that sent the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft to the 76ers for their third overall pick plus a future first-rounder. The Boston executive thinks that he’ll be able to drop back two spots and still get the player he would have selected first overall.

– Indiana Pacers star Paul George, one of the league’s best two-way players, plans to play out the final year of his contract and enter free agency next summer — with the intent of heading back to his native Southern California to play for the Los Angeles Lakers. While George’s wishes were widely known, the fact that his agent was willing to tell the Pacers exactly what his client plans to do sets up the dominoes that will impact everything this summer. And it’s made George the grand prize for every team to pursue over the coming months.

– The Boston Celtics traded the No. 1 overall pick in Thursday’s NBA draft to the 76ers for Philadelphia’s No. 3 overall pick, plus other compensation. Know this: the Celtics are taking a giant leap of faith. There is no other way to look at this deal.