An updated NBA mock draft report claims that Lonzo Ball is in the top five, but he apparently isn’t at the No. 1 slot on the list.
According to Bleacher Report, Markelle Fultz still secures the first pick in the NBA mock draft. The 19-year-old turned heads and made a name for himself as a freshman at the University of Washington. Within 23 minutes of play, Markelle came off of the bench during an exhibition game in November 2016 and made 14 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and caused 3 turnovers. Those stats paled in comparison to his official collegiate debut as a Husky, which created an opportunity for Fultz to walk away with 30 points scored, 7 rebounds grabbed and 6 assists delivered against the Yale Bulldogs.
Game after game, Markelle proved that his big debut was not a fluke – averaging 23.2 points, drawing attention, and generating enough buzz to make him a top prospect in the world of college basketball. He was named an All-American 3rd team member even though his team, unfortunately, did not secure a postseason opportunity. It really did not surprise very many fans or critics when Fultz announced his decision to add his name into the 2017 NBA Draft pool.
The Boston Celtics could still decide to trade their pick, but chances are that they are going to secure Fultz on their roster. In addition to the flexibility and vigorous on-court energy Markelle will bring to the table, the Celtics could really use Fultz as Isaiah Thomas’ back-up/replacement. Even if that is not the plan, they could still find a way to make waves throughout the regular season with Markelle Fultz as a skilled scorer and play-maker.
Markelle Fultz has had multiple conversations with Danny Ainge & is hopeful he will be taken 1st overall by Boston. https://t.co/hdEXDRIAsE
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 30, 2017
Just realized Markelle Fultz will make more money than Isaiah Thomas next season
— Michael Pina (@MichaelVPina) May 26, 2017
— Eric Edholm (@Eric_Edholm) May 26, 2017
Since multiple reports project that the Los Angeles Lakers will pass on Lonzo Ball, the NBA Mock Draft 2017 claims that the 2nd pick will be attached to the 20-year-old Kansas Jayhawks star Josh Jackson.
Like Markelle, Josh Jackson only played college basketball for one season but he made that season count in a major way. Instead of excelling in one specific area on the court, the starting small forward made it clear that he had all-around star power – making plays, scoring, defending and rebounding his way into the headlines time after time. As a result of his hard work and impressive performance, Jackson walked away from his sole season as a college star with a list of accolades as well – including the Big 12 Freshman of the Year and being named an All-Big 12 First Team member.
Will the Lakers surprise everyone and draft Josh Jackson #2 overall rather than take Lonzo Ball? pic.twitter.com/XAzaV0SUcx
— Jayhawks In The NBA (@NBA_Jayhawks) May 31, 2017
Jackson showed how serious he was about working his through the 2017 NBA Draft when reports confirmed that he enlisted former Chicago Bulls star B.J. Armstrong as his agent to mentor him through the potentially life-changing process.
If the Los Angeles Lakers decide to go with Josh Jackson or any other draft pick, chances are that the Philadelphia 76ers will not allow Lonzo Ball to slip through the cracks. Even with the controversial news and negative memes generated by his father’s involvement in recent months, Lonzo proved himself as a first-class prospect with his consistent performance and impressive skills showcased during his time with UCLA.
Rounding out the Top Five of the updated NBA Mock Draft 2017 were Kentucky point guard De’Aaron Fox going to the Phoenix Suns and the Sacramento Kings walking away with Jayson Tatum from Duke. With less than three weeks until the official 2017 NBA Draft on June 22nd, fans and critics will have to remain on the edge of their seats with anticipation over where these college basketball stars will end up.
[Featured Image by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images]