Markelle Fultz the Sportsbooks Pick to be the Overall First Pick

Markelle Fultz - Philadelphia 76ers

University of Washington point guard Markelle Fultz is the sportsbooks pick to be the overall first pick in the 2017 NBA draft, albeit selected by the Philadelphia 76ers and not the Boston Celtics. Celtics and Sixers have agreed to swap the Nos. 1 and 3 picks, and the transaction should be finalized today. Boston will get at least one extra first-round pick – specifically, the 2018 that Philly acquired from the Suns via the Lakers at the 2015 trade deadline. If that pick doesn’t fall between No. 2 and No. 5 in next year’s draft, the 76ers would give the Celtics a 2019 first-round pick they acquired from the Sacramento Kings.

The bottom line is, the Sixers are expected, even obligated, to select Fultz. While the Nets presumably shed a Single Tear, à la Iron Eyes Cody. Fultz visited the 76ers’ practice facility for a meet-and-greet on Saturday, where he took pics with potential teammates Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Robert Covington – a foursome that according to Embiid would be legend-wait-for-it-dary “if it happened.” If it does happen, Fultz would have the one thing he lacked during his one-year college career; an actual team. He averaged 23.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game in 25 games, and was the lone saving grace in a Huskies team that finished 9-22.

Only Kevin Durant and Michael Beasley have had a better scoring average as freshmen than Fultz. Both KD and Beasley were the 2nd overall pick in 2007 and 2008 respectively. Obviously, though, he hopes to be more like the former and less like the latter. Alas, there are no sportsbooks odds on whether a prospect will be a hit or a bust. As a matter of fact, we still don’t know if Philly’s previous picks have been a hit or a bust. Embiid (No. 3 in 2014) missed his first two seasons and played 31 games in 2016-17; Jahlil Okafor (No. 3 in 2015) has not reached the 60-game mark in either of his two seasons; and Simmons (No. 1 in 2016) missed the entirety of last season. So when Embiid said “if it happened” he was not referring to the Sixers selecting Fultz; he probably meant “if all of us are ever healthy enough to play together at the same time.” Now it makes sense.

In other draft-related news, online sportsbook expect Lonzo Ball to be the 2nd overall pick. The Lakers and Ball have been playing ‘will they or won’t they’ like they were Sam and Diane. I loved Cheers because you always knew it was only a half-hour till Wings and then you could just sleep till Monday.

Oh right, the draft. According to several betting sources the Lakers have not made Ball any promises, notwithstanding the fact that the UCLA point guard has not had any type of contact with any other NBA team. If LA were to pass on Ball and instead go for Josh Jackson or De’Aaron Fox, the 2017 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year could end up in, of all places, Boston. Which probably was Danny Ainge’s Machiavellian plan all along.