Names To Keep An Eye On For The 2017 NBA Draft...
As the first half of the NBA season concludes, the Celtics sit in prime position to land one of the top picks, of the 2017 draft. The Celtics currently own the Brooklyn Nets 1st round draft pick, and the Nets have done exactly what the Celtics had hoped for. They have been atrocious as expected. Brooklyn has only 1 win since December 26th, and Brooklyn has gone 1-25 and their last 26 games, and have lost their last 14 games in a row. The Celtics sit comfortably, with the best odds to land the 1st overall pick of the draft.
This draft class, is loaded with talent, the top 10 picks could all potentially be stars. This draft class has a lot of depth, and is very enticing to many NBA general managers. But who will be on the Celtics radar? Could the Celtics find the next superstar, or the next generational player in the NBA? Here are some names to keep tabs on.
Markelle Fultz is a 6'4 freshman guard, from the University of Washington. He is widely considered by many to be the top selection in this draft. His athleticism, and quickness is well documented in the video above. His defensive ability is a very underrated aspect of his game, his quick hands, and quick feet lead to many turnovers at the defensive end. Fultz has a solid jump shot, which has improved mightily throughout this college season. His likely fit in the NBA is a combo guard, who will look to score. Fultz can be an effective NBA player, who can be an elite scorer, quickly. Markelle Fultz could be a fit in Boston, if the Celtics elect to select him. The Celtics can move Fultz off the ball, and let him play the two guard, for the majority of the time. He is more of a scorer than a passer, but Fultz can make plays by passing the ball as well. Fultz and Isaiah Thomas could coexist, if Boston elects to go that route. Fultz reminds me of Russell Westbrook, with his athleticism, and his scoring abilities from the guard position. Fultz has the ability to take a game over himself, which is very similar to Westbrook.
Lonzo Ball is a 6'6 freshman point guard, from UCLA. Ball is a prolific passer, with great court vision, and great playmaking abilities. Ball has great and unique size from the guard position, that is tough to stop or defend. Lonzo is a mismatch at the point guard position, he can spread the floor, and find open teammates at will. Lonzo Ball's passing abilities are well known, but his shooting ability is a very underrated aspect to his game. He is a better shooter than most of the people at his position, which makes him a dual threat at the offensive end of the court. He averaged a triple-double his Senior year in high school, and is known to be a "team guy." Lonzo Ball can play alongside any NBA players, and make them better scorers. The Celtics and Lonzo Ball seem to be the best fit, because the Celtics lack a "pass first" type of player. Ball could be the missing star in Boston, and could help spread the floor. Ball would benefit Isaiah Thomas in a plethora of ways, and would open up many lanes for the Celtic shooters. He will average a double-double in the NBA, it is almost a guarantee. Ball is a tough player to compare with, due to his unique height and length. But, I find Lonzo Ball's game to be very similar to Jason Kidd. His ability to spread the floor is unpreceded, which was very similar to Jason Kidd. Ball is bigger than Jason Kidd, but they both have very similar games, and styles of play.
Josh Jackson is a 6'8 freshman forward from Kansas University. Jackson is a very versatile player, who can play the guard or the forward position. Jackson's defensive abilities stand out as the best aspect of his game. His offensive abilities are very raw. His ball handling is very questionable, but his shooting has improved, but it is not at the level it should be, yet. Jackson is very athletic, has quick hands, and can be explosive in the open court. If Jackson develops a jump shot, he will be an all-star in this league, and he certainly is in the discussion, for the first overall pick. The Celtics are a very guard heavy team, so Jackson would make sense in Boston, especially if they want to resign Avery Bradley and Isaiah Thomas next offseason. Jackson's game is very similar to the way Jimmy Butler plays. Jackson and Butler both have rare defensive abilities, and both are freak athletes, who are very versatile. Butler struggled early on in his career with his jump shot, similar to Jackson. Josh Jackson is a name to watch as he continues to grow and develop.
The NBA draft is months away from now, but it is never too early to look at the next tier of talent that the NBA will soon have to offer. If the Celtics do elect to keep this draft pick, these 3 names should be on the top of their wish list. If the ping pong balls fall the Celtics way, they will have a major, crucial, and franchise altering decision on their hands.