76ers take Fultz, Lakers grab Ball to start NBA draft

Posted June 23, 2017

Washington's Markelle Fultz, right, poses for a photo with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver after being selected by the Philadelphia 76ers as the No. 1 pick overall during the NBA basketball draft, Thursday, June 22, 2017, in NY. "Definitely was, and now I'm just focused on playing", Lonzo Ball said. "I just realized that I was doing stuff that other kids weren't doing and it just started to work out for me".

Ball, meanwhile, projects as the Lakers point guard of the future after 2015 No. 2 overall pick D'Angelo Russell was reportedly shipped to the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday.

The choice of Fultz fits in nicely with Philadelphia's rebuilding program.

Teams chasing those two squads may make up ground quickest with a veteran player they can only get through free agency or a trade, so that may have to wait until July. "I'm looking forward to going into this organization and giving it my all".

That's one of the things to watch from Barclays Center, where the record for freshmen taken in the first round could fall.

Considered the most polished scorer in this year's draft class, Tatum should provide the Celtics with an immediate scoring boost on the wing alongside Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder and 2016 No. 3 overall pick Jaylen Brown.

He joins a young squad that features Australian forward Ben Simmons, another top draft pick who missed all of last season with a foot injury; Jahlil Okafor and 2017 National Basketball Association rookie of the year finalists Joel Embiid and Dario Saric.

Fultz, Simmons and another recent Sixers high draft pick, Joel Embiid, form a promising young trio that could allow Philadelphia to rise from the lower depths of the league.

The Sixers went 28-54 this past season, after winning 19, 18 and 10 games in the previous three seasons, starting a rebuilding campaign more commonly known as The Process. Despite missing out on the NCAA tournament, Fultz managed to shoot 41 percent from three-point range and his offensive game was clearly advanced for a teenager.

Embiid fired the first salvo between the new-look 76ers and Lakers on Thursday night telling him teammate Simmons through social media to dunk on Ball.

Ball became the first high-profile draftee under the regime of new Lakers head of basketball operations Magic Johnson.

LOVING LONZO - AND LAVAR: Ball acknowledged that there might be a "target" on him entering the draft because of all his father's comments.

Forwards Josh Jackson of Kansas and Jayson Tatum of Duke are two players frequently mentioned as possibilities at the No. 3 spot, and Celtics president Danny Ainge said Boston could get the player there they might have taken at No. 1.

Sacramento was the only team with two lottery picks.